Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Take this day to appreciate mother nature and everything she has given us. Appreciate her, enjoy her, and take care of her. Not just today, but every day. Every day should be Earth day.

Here are some easy tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint:
  • Reduce, REUSE, REUSE, REUSE, REUSE, REUSE and recycle! This especially goes for non-biodegradables such as plastic and Styrofoam but also for everything else. I make some homemade Jams, so I keep the store bought containers and reuse them. Then recycle. (That's not really raspberry jam, it's home-made carrot jam. Go ahead and judge, I think carrot jam is delicious!)
  • Carpool.
  • Turn off things when not in use. This goes for the lights, electronic appliances and the water faucet!
  • Plant trees, flowers, herbs. It's not just good for the environment, it's personally rewarding too.
  • Insulate your home (saves on the bills too!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Power of Pomegranate Oil for Skin

Pomegranate oil is a precious, light and gentle emollient with healing anti-oxidant properties.
This nutritious oil is incredibly rich in fatty acids such as linolenic and punicic acid (very rare) and full of powerful anti-oxidants that fight free radical damage.

Pomegranate oil was used for centuries in ancient Persia and Greece as a skin protectant. Several recent scientific studies (see reference list at bottom) validate its ability to:
  • Promote regeneration & strengthening of skin
  • Add luster
  • Stimulate keratinocyte proliferation
  • Improve elasticity
  • Protects against sun and other environmental damage with both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
  • Protect against skin cancer.
While Pomegranate juice has been getting some press lately (see below ad for Pom Wonderful), the oil is actually more concentrated in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Not only is it great for skin, it has been demonstrated time and time again (see many references below) to also slow obesity and several types of cancer when regularly ingested.

There is no doubt that pomegranate oil is simply one of nature’s best and most precious gifts. hydrOtion's Simply Pomegranate Antioxidant Face Creme has incredibly high concentrations of this powerful oil, without being diluted by other oils and fillers. This is our lightest and perhaps most powerful natural creme yet. It soaks into skin, leaving it nourished, healthy and smooth.

We love pomegranate oil so much, we've incorporated it in several other hydrOtion products such as the Smoothing Night Creme, Firming Day Creme, Ultimate Eye Creme and Super Vitamin Lip Conditioner.

Now for a little fun:

Scientific References:
  • Vroegrijk IO, van Diepen JA, van den Berg S, Westbroek I, Keizer H, Gambelli L, Hontecillas R, Bassaganya-Riera J, Zondag GC, Romijn JA, Havekes LM, Voshol
    PJ. Pomegranate seed oil, a rich source of punicic acid, prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Mar 30. [Epub
    ahead of print]
  • Elfalleh W, Ying M, Nasri N, Sheng-Hua H, Guasmi F, Ferchichi A. Fatty acids from Tunisian and Chinese pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seeds. Int J Food Sci
    Nutr. 2011 May;62(3):200-6. Epub 2010 Dec 1.
  • Caligiani A, Bonzanini F, Palla G, Cirlini M, Bruni R. Characterization of a potential nutraceutical ingredient: pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seed oil
    unsaponifiable fraction. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Sep;65(3):277-83.
  • Bouroshaki MT, Sadeghnia HR, Banihasan M, Yavari S. Protective effect of pomegranate seed oil on hexachlorobutadiene-induced nephrotoxicity in rat
    kidneys. Ren Fail. 2010 Jun;32(5):612-7.
  • Mirmiran P, Fazeli MR, Asghari G, Shafiee A, Azizi F. Effect of pomegranate seed oil on hyperlipidaemic subjects: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical
    trial. Br J Nutr. 2010 Aug;104(3):402-6. Epub 2010 Mar 25.
  • Grossmann ME, Mizuno NK, Schuster T, Cleary MP. Punicic acid is an omega-5 fatty acid capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation. Int J Oncol. 2010
  • Khan GN, Gorin MA, Rosenthal D, Pan Q, Bao LW, Wu ZF, Newman RA, Pawlus AD, Yang P, Lansky EP, Merajver SD. Pomegranate fruit extract impairs invasion and
    motility in human breast cancer. Integr Cancer Ther. 2009 Sep;8(3):242-53.
  • Boussetta T, Raad H, Lettéron P, Gougerot-Pocidalo MA, Marie JC, Driss F, El-Benna J. Punicic acid a conjugated linolenic acid inhibits TNFalpha-induced
    neutrophil hyperactivation and protects from experimental colon inflammation in rats. PLoS One. 2009 Jul 31;4(7):e6458.
    PMCID: PMC2714468.
  • Baumann L, Woolery-Lloyd H, Friedman A. "Natural" ingredients in cosmetic dermatology. J Drugs Dermatol. 2009 Jun;8(6 Suppl):s5-9. 
  • Afaq F, Zaid MA, Khan N, Dreher M, Mukhtar H. Protective effect of pomegranate-derived products on UVB-mediated damage in human reconstituted skin.
    Exp Dermatol. 2009 Jun;18(6):553-61. Epub 2009 Mar 6.
  • Baumann LS. Less-known botanical cosmeceuticals. Dermatol Ther. 2007 Sep-Oct;20(5):330-42. Review.  
  • Lansky EP, Newman RA. Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its potential for prevention and treatment of inflammation and cancer. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jan
    19;109(2):177-206. Epub 2006 Sep 10. Review.
  • Aslam MN, Lansky EP, Varani J. Pomegranate as a cosmeceutical source: pomegranate fractions promote proliferation and procollagen synthesis and inhibit
    matrix metalloproteinase-1 production in human skin cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Feb 20;103(3):311-8.
  • Mehta R, Lansky EP. Breast cancer chemopreventive properties of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extracts in a mouse mammary organ culture. Eur J Cancer
    Prev. 2004 Aug;13(4):345-8.
  • Lansky EP, Jiang W, Mo H, Bravo L, Froom P, Yu W, Harris NM, Neeman I, Campbell MJ. Possible synergistic prostate cancer suppression by anatomically
    discrete pomegranate fractions. Invest New Drugs. 2005 Jan;23(1):11-20.
  • Kohno H, Suzuki R, Yasui Y, Hosokawa M, Miyashita K, Tanaka T. Pomegranate seed oil rich in conjugated linolenic acid suppresses chemically induced colon
    carcinogenesis in rats. Cancer Sci. 2004 Jun;95(6):481-6.
  • Hora JJ, Maydew ER, Lansky EP, Dwivedi C. Chemopreventive effects of pomegranate seed oil on skin tumor development in CD1 mice. J Med Food. 2003
  • Schubert SY, Lansky EP, Neeman I. Antioxidant and eicosanoid enzyme inhibition properties of pomegranate seed oil and fermented juice flavonoids. J
    Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Jul;66(1):11-7.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hot ideas for Mobile apps

We're partnering with Enavox Corporation to develop some mobile apps for iPod/iPhone/android, and we need your help with ideas on what you’d like to have at your fingertips. These platforms offer some amazing possibilities, really limited only by our imagination. With features like GPS, Internet connection, camera, motion detection and more really neat things are possible when you put it all together.

Some cool apps currently available include the following:
  • Haircaster – Uses GPS to look up the weather forecast at your location, translate that to how your hair will react, and provides styling tips for the day.
  • OPI – Lets you browse the full line of OPI nail polish colors, sort by season, save favorites, and preview the color.
  • Lucky at Your Service – When you find a product you want, this app will find it locally, verify that it’s in stock, and have the store hold the item for you to pick up!
  • iStylist – virtual makeovers on your iPhone. Overlay a picture of yourself with new hairstyles, accessories, and makeup.
Here are a few of our top ideas so far:

1. Health & Beauty log – Love to analyze data and track down cause and effect? Start logging what you eat, what the weather is like, how you feel, and how you look. You’ll be amazed at how fast patterns emerge that can help you adjust your habits to look and feel better.

2. Ingredient database – We’ve talked a lot about some great and some nasty things that people are putting into skin care products. How about an app that allows you to snap a picture of a label while shopping, and the app recognizes the ingredients automatically and pulls details out of our extensive ingredient database, rates the products. Want a product that has a healthy ingredient or one that lacks a toxic one? Just type it in or snap a picture and we will find you the top products as well as where they are sold near you (based on GPS location)

3. Product picker – Too many options out there for skin care? Answer this set of questions about your skin type and current favorites to select top products we’re sure you’ll love. How about letting the app detect your location to take climate into account automatically?

4. Beauty/Skin care/Do it yourself tips – Tips about natural DIY hair, skin and body care. Pick the category and problem (e.g. brittle hair, or cyclic acne) and get tips!

5. Beautifier – We know certain features make a face more attractive – take a picture of your face and we will show you tricks to make you more attractive (e.g. how to use make up to make your face more symmetrical, etc).

6. Beauty for each Skin tone – Trying to match foundation/eye shadow/etc? Take a picture of the product and a picture of yourself and we will show you how it will look on you! We’ll also show you other good matches for your skin tone.

Sky’s the limit. Let us know if you like any of the above ideas and please, give us your wild, crazy and practical ideas!!! What would you like to see from hydrOtion?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Free Mini Face Cremes -- Limited Time!

We're so confident you'll love our new face cremes, you can try them now for free!

Like what you see? Tell your friends and like us on facebook for more exclusive offers, news and tips:) Happy Monday!

Monday, February 28, 2011

3 Tips for Oily Skin

So you have oily skin. Here are some tips that may help:

1. Gentle Cleansing - The biggest mistake people make is using very harsh cleansers for oily skin. The fact is that when you strip your skin of all its oils, it responds by producing even more oil. Opt for a very gentle oil or gel-based (rather than milk-based) cleanser. Oil-based cleansers are particularly good because while oil does not dissolve in water, it dissolves quite readily in oil-based compounds.

2. Moisturize and hydrate- Another common misinformation is that oily skin does not need to be moisturized. In fact, since water (and not oil) is what hydrates skin, oily skin can become very dehydrated. Using a light weight moisturizer can hydrate the skin and should be applied after cleansing. Make sure these moisturizers don't contain petrochemicals and other comedogenic products that can block pores and cause black heads. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin from within.

3. Exfoliate - use a gentle exfoliating agent or scrub as needed and focus on problem areas (which tend to be on the nose, chin and forehead). This also helps to clear the pores.

-hydrOtion Research Team

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Google Recipes is Awesome!

Google is just fantastic (no, they're not paying me to say this)! And here's a new awesome addition: Google Recipes.

It automatically searches and finds ONLY recipes based on the key words you enter. What's even better is you can limit the results by picking prep time, calories and additional ingredients common to the dish you entered. And as with everything Google, it's very user friendly.

1. Select a dish (or you can just put in an ingredient, like fish or even cilantro!) and press search.
2. Pick ingredients you want or don't want in the menu on the left.
3. Select your prep time (less than 15 minutes? sign me up!)
4. Select the number of calories per serving.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I stand with Planned Parenthood

Since its conception, hydrOtion has supported the well-being and advancement of women. This is why we donate to organizations such as Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and the Girl Effect. And this is why we stand with Planned Parenthood today. As you may have heard, the house has passed a bill that will cut funding to Title X companies such as planned parenthood (PP) and the bill is now headed to the senate.

I think most people oppose PP funding because they think all PP does is perform abortions. This could not be further from the truth. Here are some facts for you to consider before you dismiss this.

  • Only 3% of PP services are abortion related.
  • The great majority of what PP does is cancer screening, providing contraception, and testing and treatment of STDs. (see PP 2008 annual report).
  • PP provides more than 1.2 million people (teens and adults) with accurate education about sex and sexually transmitted diseases each year.
  • One in four women has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care at least once in their life. This includes pap smears, breast exams and STD testing.

Please stand with us today and support PP for the invaluable health care services and education they provide because knowledge and health are power. To see others who stand with Planned Parenthood, try this blog.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let Steve Jobs Inspire You

A week or so ago, I asked hydrotion's Facebook friends who they admired most: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Linus Torvalds. The unanimous answer (mine excluded) was Bill Gates. Of course, why wouldn't we admire Bill Gates? Not only has he been consistently one of the world's wealthiest people, by philanthropy through the Bill and Melinda Foundation he can be considered one of the most compassionate wealthy individuals in the world. Not to mention, similar to some 80% of US computer users, I am typing this blog on a computer with a Windows OS (but this is not a "are you a Mac or PC" question.)

While I admire Gates, I admire Jobs even more. There is no doubt that both men had what it takes to lead and revolutionize the world, but it seems Jobs had more obstacles on his way to overcome. I'm not just rooting for the underdog (which I tend to do) but I think watching him overcome these obstacles has taught us a lot about being successful and picking ourselves up after a fall. Much of these obstacles came to Jobs quite publicly and by surprise. After all, he was fired from his own company, Apple, a fall that would be nearly impossible to recover from. I can only imagine the ridicule he must have endured. I can imagine the laughter of the crowd: "Did you hear about Steve Jobs? He messed up being CEO of Apple, got fired and is now making cartoons! ha!" But it was Jobs who came back, first winning the hearts of many adults and children with Pixar's "Toy Story", and again taking his place again as CEO of Apple to put it back on track. I guess despite his insanity and genius, Jobs just seems more human.

So what inspires me about this man? Despite his mistakes, he has never been afraid to take chances, to think outside the box, and to do things his way. Perhaps even more importantly, he never gives up! That is what inspires me. If Jobs had quit trying, he would be known as the guy who dropped out of college to make Apple, only to get fired from it (or he wouldn't be known much at all). Not to mention, we wouldn't have ipods, iphones, ipads, ietc...
Not convinced? Let Jobs inspire you himself with the short video below.

Happy Birthday Mr. Jobs.
Thanks for the inspiration, and of course, thanks for my ipod!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

5 basic skin care steps

For Healthy skin, incorporate these steps into a routine:

Step 1. Cleanse.
  • Opt for the simplest and gentlest facial cleanser.
  • If you wear make up, use a gentle make up remover every night. No exceptions!
  • Don't over-cleanse. We recommend using a cleanser only once daily, preferably at night time to remove oils and pollution. In the morning, splashing warm water on the face should be sufficient to remove excess oil.
Step 2. Exfoliate.
  • Opt for a gentle exfoliating agent or scrub (ensure the product has very small exfoliating beads as large ones can damage and tear the skin).
  • As with cleansing, make sure you don't exfoliate too often. Pay attention to the type of product you are using. A very gentle scrub can be used daily but many are too harsh and should only once a week and more abrasive methods (such as a chemical peal) should be limited to once a month.
Step 3. Moisturize.
  • Everyone should moisturize to protect and rehydrate the skin. Even if you have oily skin, you need to hydrate your skin with a light water-based moisturizer.
  • Select a cream rather than a lotion since cremes usually contain higher amounts of emollients that seal in the moisture. This is particularly true if you have dry skin.
  • Select a non-comedogenic (pore-blocking) moisturizer by staying away from petrochemical based products.
Step 4. Nourish
Step 5. Protect
  • Avoid prolonged stress as well as exposure to sun, wind and pollution.
  • Make sure to protect against sun with SPF of 15 or higher as well as topical vitamin C.

-hydrOtion Research Team

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pamper Me Package

Our "Pamper me Package" is here and on sale until Feb 10.

The Package contains:

One Full Size (100ml) Super Vitamin Body Butter
Organic shea, cocoa and mango butters are the primary ingredients in this rich body butter. They heal dry and tired skin and nourish it with essential fatty acids. Coconut and safflower oils complement these butters by allowing them to blend into the skin, sealing in the moisture. Vitamins B3, B5, C and E protect the skin and give it the proper nutrients for a natural healthy glow.

We have had quite a few people test this body butter and we have heard nothing but the best even from the most critical of testers.

Two Heart Shaped Cocoa-Shea Soaps (1.5 oz each)
This is a very gentle but bubbly soap that cleanses the skin without causing dryness. This soap contains large amounts of shea butter, which does not fully saponify, therefore traces of shea butter are left on the skin following cleansing, providing conditioning and preventing dryness.

Two Red Beeswax Candles (5" long x 3/4" thick)
These natural candles are drip-free and burn brightly without releasing any toxic
chemicals and with a very subtle natural sweet honey scent.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In Defense of Valentine's Day

I caught the star packed movie Valentine's Day on HBO last night and it got me thinking about... well, Valentine's day! I'm a big fan of holidays and a huge fan of celebrating them. All of them. Because life is short and (almost) any reason to celebrate is a good one, even if it's not the most logical reason. To me, love is without a doubt the best reason to celebrate. Not just love between a couple, but also between family members and friends.

Let me start off by saying I KNOW how many people despise this holiday. My single friends hate it and my married friends dread it! So let me be the devil's advocate here. It's not valentine's day that is the problem, it's how we celebrate it. The yuppie culture of greed and envy has ruined many holidays, including this one. People have to put so much time and effort into buying the perfect gift or else be faced with "You got me a heart shaped Candy????? Kate's husband got her the latest Coach purse AND took her to a really nice restaurant! *tears*" or "Gran Turismo 5! Yes! This must mean you enjoy it when I play video games 5 hours a day!". Just like that, Valentine's day is ruined. Don't panic. Here's how to have a good Valentine's day.

Take out the money factor. If it has to be bought, it isn't love.

For couples:

Talk about it and see if you both agree that time is more important than money. Instead of buying gifts, spend the day together. Just the two of you (or, you and the kids, that can be equally/more romantic). My husband and I have been doing this for 9 years and it works great. Give the gifts money can't buy.
  • Groom each other -- Mammals groom each other all the time, somehow people think the manicurist is the right person to go to for grooming, but being groomed by a loved one is so much better. Brush her hair, rub his back, give her a bath, help him stretch, watch animal planet and learn!
  • Cook together -- Everyone loves food. Cook your favorite meals/snacks together, then put a big blanket in the middle of the living room and eat your food as a picnic.
  • Dance together -- light a couple of candles and turn off all the lights so there is very little light in the room. Put on some music and dance inside the house.
  • Cuddle in front of the TV together -- Self explanatory.

For my single friends:
  • Ignore it. Do what you do on St. Patrick's day if you're not Irish. If people ask what you're doing for Valentine's day, tell them you're not Irish!
  • Celebrate it. I'm not Irish but I always celebrate St. patty's day with a Smithwick's beer! Why not? So go grab yourself a couple of candles, some red wine, have a nice bath and then groom yourself. Or get a glass of wine and chocolate truffles and share it with someone else who isn't in a relationship. Call everyone you love and wish them a happy Valentine's day!
What are your good Non-commercial ideas for Valentine's day??

Monday, January 31, 2011

4 Quick Tips for Dry Skin

If you suffer from dry itchy skin, today's tips are for you!

1. Use a gentle, moisturizing cleanser. If you use bar soap, make sure the soap is supplemented with oils or uses butters (such as Shea butter) which do not fully saponify and leave a trace of emollient on your skin.

2. Moisturize immediately after showering/washing. When you moisturize within 3 minutes of bathing, you seal in the moisture and prevent it from evaporating.

3. Use a cream or body butter rather than a lotion. Creams and body butters contain much more oils and butters than do lotions (creams are about 50% emollient-based whereas lotions only have about 20%). While lotions may be sufficient for summer oily skin, they just aren't enough to do anything for dry winter skin.

4. Take supplements. Most people think the status of their skin has nothing to do with what they intake. This can't be further from the truth. Even if you eat healthy and exersize, supplement it with a once daily multivitamin. A daily supplement of fish oil (lots of omega-3 fatty acids) can also be great for dry skin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4 ways grapes promote health and youth

Grapes contain various types of polyphenols that promote health. The polyphenols in skin, juice and seeds of grapes include resveratrol, anthocyanins, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Grapes also contain high levels of vitamins K and C.

1. Healthy Brain - Polyphenols in grapes, particularly resveratrol, have been linked to prevention of brain neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Given the anti-oxidant and gene regulating actions of resveratrol, this is perhaps not surprising. Preventing inflammation and providing the brain with plenty of different types of anti-oxidants keeps it in tip top shape!

Healthy Heart -- The polyphenols in grapes also slow the oxidation of bad cholestrol (LDL - low density lipoprotein), decrease blot clots and reduce abnormal heart rhythms. In patients with hypertention (high blood pressure), these polyphenols reduce blood pressure. You may have heard of the French paradox, which refers to the fact that while French people tend to eat high amounts of animal fat, heart disease continues to be low in France, largely due to the polyphenols from commonly consumed wines.

3. Healthy Skin -- Eating grapes is also great for the skin, since the skin is exposed to a variety of environmental factors (sun, pollution, etc). Grapeseed oil also makes an excellent and nutritious emollient for the skin. It is not only moisturizing, but also provides the skin with vitamins, fatty acids, polyphenols and tannins. These promote the health and look of the skin and protect it from environmental damage.

4. Healthy body -- These polyphenols prevent damage caused by oxidative stress in the whole body and preserve many types of cells. Red or black grapes contain more polyphenols than green ones but all of them are great for snacking and incorporating into foods! So next time you are at the store, grab yourself and the family some grapes!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Confessions of a Fruit-aholic!

Hi. My name is B and I'm a fruit addict. It has been approximately 30 seconds since my last fruit intake. I am not here for help, but to simply share my fruit addiction with you!

Why? The answer is simple: fruits are the most delicious foods on the planet. Luckily, they are also easy to prepare (wash and eat usually suffices if you're on the go like me) and they contain vitamins and antioxidants that are great for your body (and skin). They also come in a variety of bright colors, sizes, shapes which makes them ideal for snack making!

This past weekend we had the pleasure of entertaining some guests so I thought I would share recipes (!) of some of the fruit snacks that went over well.

Chocolate covered strawberries:
The only thing better than fruit is the combination of fruit and chocolate!

Directions: Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in double boiler. Wash strawberries, dry, dip in chocolate and place on parchment paper. If desired, melt white chocolate and drizzle over the strawberries. Total prep time: 10 min.

The Porcupineapple:
I call this one the porcupinapple (It's made of pineapple and looks like a porcupine!) I learned this one from my aunt and modified it a bit and it is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser.

Directions: place chunks of any fruits and cheese on wooden kebab skewers and stick into the pineapple. Usually I do a lot of berries (blueberries, raspberries, black berries and strawberries) but it is winter and these items are not in season. Not to worry, plenty of other fruit are! Here I have used watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries as well as Colby jack and mozzarella cheese. Total Prep time: 15 minutes

Fruit hor dourves:

I love hor dourves, they are so easy to make, everyone loves them and there are NO rules! well, none that I follow anyway.

Place a thin layer of cheese (here it is fresh mozzarella but it can be any cheese), cream cheese or chocolate spread (Nutella) on a cracker or bread slice of choice (here I used Triscuits) and put some fruit slices on top. You can get really creative and artistic with this one, which I never actually have time to do.
Total Prep time: 10 minutes.

Fruit Salad:
If you make any of the above, you'll probably have some fruit left over. Throw it in a bowl and it's a whole new snack! No rules, as far as I am concerned, all fruits go together!
Total prep time: 5 minutes

Fruit Bowl:
I think there is a certain elegance to having a bowl of fruits on the table. Most people will not eat any, because it's too much trouble to peel an orange when you're at a party! But I always have the fruit bowl out so I can munch (yes, this sits on my table every day, remember, I am an addict!)
Total prep time: 5 minutes.

Look, in 45 minutes we made 5 delightful snacks! Actually, if you make them all at once it should take less than a half hour.

Do you love other fruit snacks I didn't talk about? Share them with me!!

Dr. B of hydrOtion

Monday, January 10, 2011

Petrolatum - Friend or Foe?

Just before our Christmas vacation to the wonderful snowy land that is Michigan, I dug out my heavy winter coat (which had been in a box for two years, thank you Florida). Before sending it to be dry cleaned, I looked inside the pockets and to my surprise there were two items, a $20 bill (I love finding money that I have forgotten about) and a tube of Vaseline Lip Therapy lip balm. I recall buying the lib balm at a gas station out of desperation on our moving trip down to FL. Living in Michigan for me meant having to deal with dry chapped lips for almost all of winter. I used to buy Burt's Bees lip balm but that is not always an option, so I settled for this balm, which claimed to "protect dry, chapped lips" with it's "advanced formula".

I probably didn't even read the ingredient list. As a scientist, when I read "Advanced Formula" I have certain expectations. These expectations are almost never met outside the laboratory so I have learned to lower my expectations as a normal civilian. Still, I was shocked to read the ingredient list. "Active Ingredient: White petrolatum USP (100%)". So this "advanced" formula contains ONE chemical: Petrolatum! I thought to myself: WHAT THE WHAT? how is the company even allowed to make such claims? Petrolatum is KNOWN to cause further drying and damage to the skin! Even more importantly, how could I, an educated person who cares about my health, ever purchase this item???? I almost threw it away in shame but after telling the story to a couple of friends, I decided I should use it to help clear up some misinformation about this mystery substance petrolatum.

Here I will give you only the facts, in bullet points, because frankly you don't have all day!

What is it?
  • Petrolatum is also known as white petrolatum, petroleum Jelly or soft paraffin.
  • As the name suggests, it is a petrochemical (derived from oil).
  • It was discovered in a US oil rig and refined by Robert Chesebrough, a chemist who later founded the Vaseline company.
  • Its molecular structure is a non-polar hydrocarbon, which renders it very hydrophobic (water repelling).
The Good:
  • Because of its hydrophobic nature, petrolatum does not get absorbed but forms a layer of film (a barrier) on the skin and does not allow most things to pass through.
  • This barrier is exactly why the FDA has approved petrolatum as a "skin protectant." Placing petrolatum on a cut can prevent bacteria and dirt from penetrating the wound and decreased the chance of infection (much like a band aid).
  • This barrier can also keep skin hydrated by preventing evaporation of the skin's natural moisture.
  • Petrolatum is also very stable (although it is flammable) and easy to integrate into skin care formulas.
  • It is CHEAP and profitable! The 10g tube of lip balm (100% petrolatum) sells for $2 while I can buy it in bulk for $6/kg, which means only 6 cents for the 10g tube.
The Bad:
  • The barrier formed on the skin by petrolatum can be a double edged sword. If it can prevent evaporation of moisture from the skin, it also prevents absorption of moisture. If it can keep bacteria out, it can also trap bacteria in, etc.
  • The barrier blocks your pores and prevents proper detoxification.
  • The barrier prevents absorption of essential nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants by the skin, leading to under-nourished and unhealthy skin. This is why long-term use of petrochemicals can actually cause breakouts and leads to dry, cracked and damaged skin.
  • It is simply a barrier, it does nothing to nourish or promote the health of your skin.
The Ugly:
  • Petrolatum has been proposed by various studies to be a carcinogen (cancer causing agent). As a scientist, I can tell you that just about EVERYTHING has been shown by a couple of studies to be a carcinogen! I am not defending petrolatum, but there is just not enough evidence to label it as a known carcinogen (though it wouldn't be the least bit surprising that rubbing petroleum-based compounds all over one's body would be hazardous!)
  • There is no general consensus on just HOW bad petrolatum is for you. For example, it has been banned for use in cosmetics in the European Union but the environmental working group gives petrolatum a non-toxic score of 2 (scale of 0-10, 10 being most toxic).
  • A more concerning fact to me is that petrolatum is often contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are KNOWN carcinogens (not much debate on this one, pretty much everyone agrees!). Sadly, the FDA has no rules regarding the purity of petrolatum so you never know if you are putting PAHs on your body or not!
Why care about petrolatum?
  • One of every 14 skin care products on the market contains petrolatum. So you probably DO use it, unless you carefully filter.
  • Surprisingly, 40 percent of all baby lotions and oils use petrolatum so if you have kids, pay attention!
  • Luckily, FDA restricts petrolatum in food to no more than 10 parts per million (0.001%) so at least you don't have to worry about it in food items (although you DO ingest lip balm).
The Verdict:
  • Don't use it! Petrolatum is NOT your friend! Do you know how many healthy alternatives there are to petrochemicals? Just about any natural oil or wax will have the benefits of petrolatum (and much much more) without the harm. I just can not think of any good reason people choose petroleum-based skin care. Probably the same reason I bought the Vaseline lip balm: no time to think about it and it claims to protect with its advanced formula. Well, now you know. So next time you're at the store and grab a lotion or lip balm and see "petrolatum" in the ingredient list, just put it back down and reach for something else.
These reasons are why you will NEVER find petrochemicals in any hydrOtion products. Instead, we use the most skin-compatible natural oils and butters that deliver nutrients while they soften your skin and lips.

--Dr. B of hydrOtion

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Looking back on 2010

I thought this would be a good opportunity to thank all of you for your support in 2010. What an amazing year as we got the company off the ground and passed our expected revenue with just four products!

Let's have a quick look back at 2010, shall we:

Most popular product: The Ultimate Eye Creme.

Best selling lib balm flavor: Chai!! I kid you not, Pineapple coconut came very close but apparently I am not the only Chai addict!!

Product most suggested for addition in 2011: Men's lip balm.

Organizations we decided to donate to: Association for Women in Science and The Girl Effect

We were so lucky to find 1260 Productions for all of our design needs (I love our logo, thank you!).

Also would like to thank my buddy, Dr. Smith of K.E. Smith Photography for taking photos of our wonderful models Kayte and Christina.

And of course, thanks to everyone who has spread the word about hydrOtion. We couldn't have done it without you!

I think this wraps it up! I look forward to stressing over all of ambitious plans we have for 2011!