What Is Avobenzone and Is It Safe In Sunscreen?

what is avobenzone

Avobenzone was introduced in the 1990s and is a common chemical sunscreen. Unlike other chemical sunscreens that just protect from the sunburn-causing UVB rays, avobenzone also protects from UVA rays, the rays that cause premature aging and skin cancer. This chemical is given a two rating by the EWG. So what’s wrong with avobenzone? It seems like a safe sunscreen, right?Sunscreen Ingredients UVA and UVB protection

What’s wrong with avobenzone?

Avobenzone, by itself, is relatively safe in terms of toxicity, but it breaks down quickly in the sun. Once exposed to the sun, avobenzone alone only offers about 30 minutes of protection.[i] Since UVA rays are the sneaky rays that do their damage deep within the layers of your skin, you wouldn’t even know it until many years later.

Why is avobenzone used in sunscreen?

So maybe you’re asking why they don’t they just use an ingredient that is better friends with the sunshine. We wish we knew! Because many chemical sunscreen companies still use avobenzone for UVA protection, they then have to add not-so-safe chemicals like octocrylene to make it work longer than 30 minutes.[ii] Octocrylene helps stabilize avobenzone, which is good, but it is a known endocrine disruptor that also releases free radicals.[iii] Not good. Skin sample tests showed there were more free radicals when using octocrylene than skin exposed to the sun with no sunscreen at all.[iv] And remember, free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), can damage skin cells and increase the risk for cancer and other health issues.[v]

Alternatives to avobenzone

Free radicals are neither free nor rad. Solving one problem by creating another one just doesn’t make sense. Luckily, zinc oxide, like we use in Goddess Garden sunscreens offers natural broad-spectrum sun protection from both burning rays and the rays that cause premature skin aging and skin cancer. Zinc doesn’t break down in the sun, and it doesn’t release free radicals. It is also reef safe, unlike octocrylene.

A sunscreen that is good for us and good for coral reefs? Now that is actually rad!

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[i] http://www.acne.org/blog/2010/07/06/more-on-avobenzone-and-octocrylene-our-sunscreen-ingredients/

[ii] http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700596/AVOBENZONE/

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443608/

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17015167

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/

Thyme to Try Something New!

thyme to try something new

There are a lot of benefits to having a routine. Once something is a habit, it’s easy to remember. A good exercise plan is a must, as are good skincare habits. And let’s face it, unexpected changes to your morning routine can disrupt the whole day. There’s certainly a time for autopilot, but there’s also a time to try something new and enjoy the benefits of switching things up!

As adults, we’re less inclined to change our routines. Why? Because there is a great fear of the unknown. A study even showed people have less anxiety about a known bad outcome than they do an unknown outcome, even if that outcome might be positive![i]

Trying something new takes courage, but there are advantages to being open to new experiences. You don’t get bored. You get to stretch your mind and challenge yourself. And here’s the best reason to try something new—you might even enjoy whatever it is you’re trying. Who  knows? Maybe your calling is calling!

We Challenge You to Say “Yes”!

We’re all busy—and it takes time and energy to try new things—but for one month, try saying “yes.” Pay attention to new opportunities and go for them! If you catch yourself making an excuse, stop and commit to doing it instead. Get proactive! Every day, do something that scares you. Go to a movie by yourself or volunteer for that project at work. Invite your neighbor over for coffee or sign up for a class. Remember, everything you love doing was new and scary once. Looking back, we bet you agree it was worth it!

Ease the Anxiety of Trying Something New with Essential Oils

knight with bird cloakFeeling anxious? Maybe it will help to hear those brave knights of yesteryear felt the same way. They used to get a bravery boost from Mother Nature by using thyme. This popular herb was sewn into knights’ clothing to give them courage in battle. It is still used in aromatherapy to relieve anxiety, tension and fatigue. It can also ease the discomfort of spring allergies and help you breathe easier—especially helpful when you need to take a deep breath and go for it! 

Essential Oil Blends for Bravery

Thyme essential oil is energizing. It will give you a lift while also providing the clarity and confidence to face a task, even if the outcome is uncertain. When trying new things, help prepare yourself beforehand by diffusing thyme. If you need a little more help, these oils blend well with thyme and add their own aspirations to help you move forward and enjoy the experience:

  • Sweet Basil – positivity & assertiveness
  • Blood Orange – joy & confidence
  • Sweet Fennel – confidence & openness

Bravery Blend #1

Bravery Blend #2

Diffuse or add to purified water and spray for a boost of courage and confidence. If you get an adrenaline rush after your task, consider it a healthy bonus! Adrenaline can increase alertness and awareness and can even improve memory and cognitive functioning.[ii]

Who can’t use more of that?

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[i] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796798000850

[ii] Teitelbaum, Jacob, and Bill Gottlieb. Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2012. Print.

Why We Care About Coral Reefs

So you’re not a scuba diver. Maybe reefs are miles away. Perhaps you get seasick just looking at the water. But you still need to care about the coral reefs! Why? While not everyone lives close enough to experience their beauty, the coral reefs’ other benefits extend to millions.

Protection and health depend on coral reefs

Barrier reefs are just that—a natural barrier that protects the shore line. Waves break apart on the coral reefs, reducing their impact on beaches and coastal cities. Simulated research even suggests that a sufficiently wide barrier reef within a meter or two of the surface could reduce run-up on the land from a tsunami by 50 percent.[x] That means if we lose reefs, a tsunami could have twice the impact in those areas!

Beyond the reefs’ physical ability to offer protection, coral reefs are called the medicine cabinets of the sea. They are important sources of new medicines being used to treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, heart disease, viruses and other diseases.[xi]

Dolphin by the coral reefDiversity keeps our options open

Once a living organism is gone, it’s gone forever. That’s why keeping all life alive keeps our options alive, too.[i] Suppose the sea grass that thrives near a reef disappears. What if that sea grass had contained the cure for some terrible disease? Stranger things have happened—penicillin, for example, comes from mold![ii]

Who knows what we might discover? Coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine species, and an abundance of plant life.[iii] That’s a lot of options, but reefs are disappearing twice as fast as rainforests![iv]

Coral reefs affect our wallets

Biodiversity also has a positive economic value. There are more types of fish in a two-acre area of coral than types of birds in all of North America.[v] This abundance of life allows other life to thrive—even beyond the water. Reefs provide food and resources for more than 500 million people in 94 countries and territories.[vi]

Coral reefs have an annual global economic value of $375 billion.[vii] Here in the U.S., commercial value of fisheries from coral reefs alone is over $100 million a year.[viii] Reefs are also a source of billions of dollars from tourism for the coastal communities they surround.[ix] Money changes hands rapidly, so even if you’ve never seen a reef, you likely benefit from by their existence in some fashion.

We need to act now to protect the coral reefs

Healthy coral and bleached coral reefsSeveral things are affecting the reefs and, while not all of them have an easy solution, one easy thing we can all do is switch to a reef-safe, biodegradable sunscreen like Goddess Garden’s. Chemical sunscreens are having a dramatic impact on coral reefs. A single ounce of chemical sunscreen product can contaminate 114 million gallons of ocean water. This can ultimately kill the coral reefs and all the life that depends on them. When you consider 14,000 tons of chemical sunscreen reach the reefs every year, you can see why we need to act now![xii]

What we’re doing to help the reefs

The state of Hawaii is blazing a trail, and we’re getting involved! Hawaiian senators Espero, English, Chang and others introduced a bill in January to ban reef-harming sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone from being used or sold in marine life conservation districts. The bill also requires anyone operating in a marine life district to inform their customers that the use of those chemicals are harmful to coral reefs and are prohibited from use.

At Goddess Garden, we have provided our testimony in favor of the bill, along with our support. And we have good news! The bill is making its way through the legislative process. It passed the Senate and crossed over to the House of Representatives. There, it was referred to three separate committees. In a unanimous vote, it passed the Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP) Committee. It also passed the Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH) Committee. Now it will move on to the Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC)/Finance and (FIN) Committee.

If it passes all three committees, it will move on to the floor of the House of Representatives. There, they can make edits and small changes. Those changes then go back to the Conference Committee to approve. If all goes well, it will go to Governor Ige for approval, and then become official. You can follow the bill’s progress here:

Oxybenzone Ban Bill Status

This is a long process, but all journeys begin with a small step—and in this case, the hope of an even smaller footprint!

Goddess Garden natural sunscreen on the boardwalk by the beach

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[i] https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED315280

[ii] https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/flemingpenicillin.html

[iii] http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/06/13/losing-our-coral-reefs/

[iv] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/08/070807-coral-loss.html

[v] http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/top-25-coral-reef-facts.php

[vi] http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/06/13/losing-our-coral-reefs/

[vii] http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/06/13/losing-our-coral-reefs/

[viii] http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/coral/side.html

[ix] http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/coral/side.html

[x] https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/cmk0601.pdf

[xi] http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=819&year=2017

[xii] http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/20/450276158/chemicals-in-sunscreen-are-harming-coral-reefs-says-new-study

 

Rethink Retinol with a Proven Natural Wrinkle Remedy!

No one wants wrinkles—least of all me! And I’m not a 20-something who can preach the dangers of each wrinkle remedy because I don’t have wrinkles to start with. I see the allure of these products, but all of us at Goddess Garden—no matter our age or gender—feel the time has come to take a stand against harsh, so-called “anti-aging” treatments. That’s why our founder, Nova Covington, created our Daily Facial Routine as a natural wrinkle remedy. Since the sun causes wrinkles and other signs of premature aging, we felt if you repaired the damage, you’d repair the wrinkles. And test results back this up!

Get rid of wrinkles

We want them gone, and Goddess Garden Sun Repair is a natural wrinkle remedy that really works! A 90-day independent evaluation had participants use Under the Sun Hydrating Vitamin Serum and Face the Day Daily SPF 30 Moisturizer together every day. Every single participant noted dramatic results in the depth of wrinkles! After 45 days, wrinkle depth was reduced by more than 10%. After 90 days, wrinkle depth was reduced by more than 23%.

How wrinkles are measured

Our own critical eyes are pretty accurate every morning in the mirror, but there is a more scientific way to measure wrinkles. For our evaluation, wrinkles were measured using a Visioscan®. A Visioscan® is a high-resolution video camera created specifically to study the surface of the skin. A special ring-shaped light evenly illuminates the skin, revealing the wrinkles and dryness that are symptoms of premature aging from sun damage. The images captured by the Visioscan® reveal the structure of the skin. Wrinkles show up as a dark contrast, and dryness and scaling show up as brighter spots.[i]

For our evaluation, each participant had a Visioscan® before they used our products, and the wrinkle depth was measured. Their skin was scanned and measured again after using our products together daily for 45 days. A final measurement was taken again at the end of the 90-day study, showing wrinkle depth improved by nearly a quarter after using our natural wrinkle remedy. Imagine what that would look like in the mirror! Plus, the results compound. There was a 10% wrinkle reduction after 45 days, and a 23% wrinkle reduction after 90 days. Think about what your skin would look like after a year!

Retinol-like results from natural ingredients

Many of us eat organic foods, and use organic soaps and lotions. We use essential oils instead of synthetic air fresheners. Then we see wrinkles and reach for retinol. I’ve heard people say, “At least it’s not plastic surgery!” That just shows results are key when it comes to facial care. But, like most things, nature really does it better. And nature is a lot more gentle than harsh chemicals like retinol. Maybe retinol isn’t the best wrinkle cream. Maybe it’s time to rethink retinol and be kind to your skin with a natural wrinkle remedy instead!

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[i] http://www.courage-khazaka.de/index.php/en/products/scientific/296-visoscan-usb-e

The Benefits of Gratitude

Everyone knows we love the sunshine, so we get it when the gray days of February turn your mood the same shade. While you can’t rush the spring, you can always color your days with a little gratitude! There are lots of benefits of gratitude. Being grateful for someone or something can even have a physical payoff for you.[i] Did you know feelings of gratitude can boost serotonin and dopamine?[ii] There’s always something to be grateful for—we just have to look!

 “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” -Author unknown

Frankinscense essential oilCultivate Gratitude—Make it Your Mantra

When winter starts to get you down, try starting your work day with a two-minute e-mail praising co-workers for a job well done. End the day on a gracious note—literally—by writing something you’re grateful for and placing it in a jar. Keep your gratitude jar handy for days when you need a little extra help!

Inspire Gratitude with Essential Oils

It’s hard to be grateful when you’re feeling uneasy or negative. You’re too busy trying to remedy the situation, even if you know gratitude is what you need to turn your gray skies blue. That’s where frankincense comes in. Frankincense is most known for bringing about feelings of positivity and peace. That truly is a gift—and it makes it easier to be grateful. Frankincense has long been treasured for its healing and soothing powers. Recent evidence has linked its aromatherapy benefit to pain management. Frankincense can calm the mind and slow the breath, making it ideal to aid in meditation. It can even boost creativity and induce feelings of joy all its own, and it makes it even easier to enjoy the benefits of gratitude!

Essential Oil Blends for Gratitude

We couldn’t be more thankful for frankincense. It’s the perfect oil for gathering gratitude, plus it blends beautifully with some of our other favorites.

Blend #1

Blend #2

Diffuse frankincense alone, or try either of the above blends to help you focus on the positive things in your life. Then, thank someone for it. And, of course, thank you for reading this blog and giving my own serotonin and dopamine a boost!

Frankincense essential oil

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[i] http://www.breakthroughealing.org/Documents/GratitudeStudy2003.pdf

[ii] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201211/the-grateful-brain

 

Clear the Clutter for Clarity!

Feeling stressed out or overwhelmed? Want to clear your mind? Start with your surroundings! Objects compete for your brain’s attention, so clear the clutter for clarity!

“Let it go!” This wise advice is often shared when someone dwells on something too long. And it’s ALWAYS right! It’s hard to get past what ifs, disappointments and anxiety if you keep thinking about them. And really, it’s never good to hang onto anything past its useful life—whether it’s emotions or physical items! While it’s not particularly easy to clear your clutter or your mind, clearing one actually helps the other, so cleaning your surroundings is a great place to start!

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute proved that everything we see competes for space in our brain, diminishing the ability to focus on any one thing. Too much junk on your desk could limit your ability to stay on task. Too much stuff scattered around your house could end up sapping your free time.[i] Clearing the clutter for clarity of thought is one of the premises of Feng Shui, a Chinese philosophy of harmonizing people with their surroundings. It is also one of the backbones of minimalism. And it’s easy to get started!

Make a New Mantra: Just Let Go

We all probably have more than we need. Why not learn to let it go and lift others at the same time? This month, set an empty box in a conspicuous place. Every day, place one thing you no longer need inside. At the end of the month, donate the box to a local shelter or charity. Your home will be lighter, but your heart will be full and your mind will be more clear.

Essential Oils for Cleansing and Clarity

If you need a little help to stay on track, essential oils can give you a mental boost and aid in the actual cleaning process. Lemon is a great one! It’s no surprise it’s found in cleaning products. It has proven antibacterial effects, making it an aromatic way to sanitize kitchen surfaces. With its purifying character, lemon can also help cleanse your emotional and intellectual wellbeing—lifting your spirits and helping you let go of negative energy and thoughts.

Refresh your mood and your kitchen by adding 5–10 drops of lemon essential oil per ounce of water and spray, or simply add to your favorite natural cleanser.

Lemon also blends well with many other essential oils. These are some of our favorites for cleansing and purifying—and are particularly helpful during cold and flu season!

If you need a little help to stay on track, essential oils can give you a mental boost and aid in the actual cleaning process. Lemon is a great one! It’s no surprise it’s found in cleaning products. It has proven antibacterial effects, making it an aromatic way to sanitize kitchen surfaces. With its purifying character, lemon can also help cleanse your emotional and intellectual wellbeing—lifting your spirits and helping you let go of negative energy and thoughts.

Essential Oils Blends

Diffuse either of these blends or add to your favorite natural cleanser:

Blend #1

Blend #2

Clear the clutter in your space and mind, and give the year a clean, fresh start!

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[i] McMains S, Kastner S. Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2011;31(2):587-597. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3766-10.2011.

Leaping Bunny – Take a Leap and Go Cruelty Free!

We‘re passionate about the Earth and everything on it! Of course, that means we care about animals, too. Our Director of Health and Wellness, Cletus, is even of the four-legged variety. Because of that, all of our products have always been cruelty free. Cletus wouldn’t have it any other way! And now, we have our Leaping Bunny certification.

Cletus-director-of-health-and-wellness-dog

Is animal testing required?

One of the great things about sunscreen is that there are two efficacy tests that are required, and neither involve animals. The broad-spectrum test is conducted on an acrylic plate, and the SPF test is done on people—Cletus approves!

None of us, however, approve of animal testing. It’s not simply about applying a product to an animal in the way it’s intended to be used on people. There are other voluntary animal tests that are pretty extreme.[i] The cruelty-free claim highlights this fact with its use of the word “cruel.” It doesn’t get more honest than that!

Every ingredient that currently exists has been tested on animals at some point. We feel further animal testing is just not necessary. We’re actually confused by it. These previous tests were tragic, but at the very minimum, we can review what we learned and stop repeating it! We can use established ingredients. If a test is needed, there are invitro alternatives, which are tests that are not conducted on living organisms, that can determine the safety of a product.[ii] And just to reiterate, animal tests are voluntary. They are NOT required by the FDA or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission!

Is “cruelty free” the same as a Leaping Bunny certification?

leaping bunny certificationThe simple answer is that it’s not that simple. In our case, our cruelty-free sunscreen did mean the same thing, but without the certification, consumers have no guarantee. As a small company on a mission to do the right thing, it’s hard to get all the certifications that back up our convictions at the same time. It takes time and money to do each one. We knew we couldn’t do everything at once, so we started with our organic certification, then we pursued our B Corp certification. In the meantime, we noted “cruelty-free” on our packaging as our promise to our customers that we were committed to doing what was right for the animals. The Leaping Bunny criteria have always been part of our operation, but we knew that our customers deserved the reassurance of the certification. And now we have that as well.

The Leaping Bunny certification is done by a third party, and serves as proof that a company is doing—or not doing when it comes to animal testing—what they claim. A company could claim they do not test their products on animals, but use ingredients in those products that were. They could also make the same claim, but contract with another company that tests on animals. The Leaping Bunny Program requires that no new animal testing be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or ingredient suppliers. It also bans the sale of products in countries that require animal testing. The Leaping Bunny logo then makes it easy for customers to identify animal-friendly products, and it makes it easy for these companies to reassure their fans.

Are you ready to take the leap?

As concerned consumers, you can show your support by choosing cruelty-free sunscreens and other products from companies that have the Leaping Bunny certification. You can also help us support legislation to end cosmetics testing on animals entirely! Thirty other countries have already banned this practice. It’s time for the U.S. to join them and help give the cosmetics industry a makeover!

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[i] ttp://www.humanesociety.org/issues/cosmetic_testing/tips/common_cosmetics_tests_animals.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

[ii] http://www.leapingbunny.org/content/myths-facts

Bears for Humanity – Delivering Charity and Joy

What’s better than getting a super-soft, super-adorable teddy bear? Knowing you’re supporting a charity, and donating a teddy bear to a needy child at the same time! We partnered with a company that is so sweet we can hardly bear it. It’s called Bears for Humanity, and the heart behind the company is as kind as the faces on their teddy bears! They really are doing things right. Here’s a little more about them:

  • For every teddy bear sold, they donate another bear to a child in need.
  • Their bears are made from certified-organic cotton and hemp, so they’re good for people and the planet!
  • The bears are hand sewn and built in the U.S.A.
  • They train employees through their local Welfare-to-Work program, which helps their community’s economy.

Did we mention the bears are adorable? Take a sneak peek at the bear we’re giving!

Get a Bear, Give a Bear—Free!

It’s better to give than to receive, so we want to give more this holiday season! We also want to help our customers do the same. That’s why we’re giving away a free bear with every purchase of $50 or more on GoddessGarden.com. Bears for Humanity will match it and provide a second bear for us to donate to the charity of our choice. Our goal is to donate 500 teddy bears to the Emergency Family Assistance Association, a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps community members whose needs for food, shelter and other basic necessities cannot be adequately met by other means. They also support their efforts toward financial stability or self-sufficiency.

Complete your holiday shopping, get a great gift and provide a bear to a child in need—didn’t we tell you this was a sweet partnership?

Help Us Meet Our Goal!

Just visit goddessgarden.com and start shopping! If your order totals more than $50, and is placed before noon (MT) on December 15th, we’ll automatically include your bear with your shipment. Can’t meet the $100 mark but still want a bear? That’s okay! You can get 10% orders equal or above $25 on the Bears for Humanity webpage. Use coupon code GoddessGarden10. Either way, we’ll give another bear to a needy child.

Bears for Humanity is giving us the honor of distributing the teddy bears in person. We can’t wait! We’ll try to post pictures, so be sure to check back with us.

Thanks for helping us keep the joy of giving in the holiday season, and helping us make a child’s day!

bears-for-humanity-FOOTER

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Four Skincare Tips for Fall and Winter

The leaves are crunching, the nights are crisp, and your skin seems crisp and crunchy, too! We welcome the changing seasons, but not the dry skin that goes with it. Chlorine, salt-water, increased activity and sunshine—all these things can take a toll on your skin throughout the summer. When the cold hits, it’s almost like your skin just gives up. It’s dry, itchy and ashy, but these skincare tips can help!

1. Serums: A slick idea, not an oil slick!

For many of us, the thought of putting oil on our skin—especially our face—goes against every oil-removing, anti-shine product we’ve ever purchased. But if you’re thinking oil-based serums will leave you looking like an oil slick, think again!

serum's effect on skin layersMost oil-based serums don’t have a greasy feel because they don’t contain the ingredients that keep moisture on the skin’s surface. By design, serums like our Under the Sun and Day Undone, aren’t meant to stay put. Instead, they’re intended to sink deep into the skin’s dermal layer. Since UVA rays damage the skin deep within the dermis layer, serums are one of the best ways to get to the source of the damage.[1][2]

Many natural oils enhance the absorption of other nutrients, allowing them to go exactly where they are needed. Because they they’re quickly absorbed, they leave no greasy, shiny residue resting visibly on the skin’s surface. Some oils are even recommended counter greasy skin!

2. Feed your skin.

Undoing the damage from the summer and adding in non-greasy moisture will do wonders! Just remember, it’s also important to choose skincare ingredients that are high in antioxidants and vitamins. It sounds like a diet plan, but it makes sense to feed your skin, too! You have to replenish the nutrients that UV rays and environmental factors can deplete. When applied topically, antioxidants sweep away the free radicals that can wreck your skin’s youthful appearance. They also give your skin the boost it needs to start repairing itself.

3. Gently exfoliate the skin.

The next step is to show off that new, radiant skin by sloughing off the old, dry skin you don’t need. Choose products with natural ingredients that gently exfoliate, without causing irritation or more damage. Dream Repair uses naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids to renew and brighten the skin, and is gentle enough to use every night, making it easy to remember to use regularly.

4. Stop the damage!

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again. The most important step to healthy, vibrant skin is obvious—stop doing damage! This means a daily sunscreen with SPF 30, like Face the Day is a must—even in the fall and winter![iii] Only when you stop the damage can the skin start to repair itself.

Fall into healthy skincare habits this season!

Four Skincare Tips For The Fall Infographic

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[ii] Diffey BL. Solar ultraviolet radiation effects on biological system. Phys Med Biol. 1991; 36(3): 299-328.

[ii] Kane AB, Kumar V. (1999). Environmental and Nutritional Pathology.In Cotran RS, Kumar V, Collins T. (Eds.), Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease- Sixth Edition (pp. 403-458). Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company.

[iii] http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

Don’t Take Pomegranates for Granted

Pomegranates—those odd fruits that look like they’re wearing a crown—were once revered. They were given such value in Egypt that they were actually required in a pharaoh’s residence.[i] Somewhere along the way, they fell out of favor, and until the early 2000s, pomegranates were largely just a fruit you’d sometimes see during the holidays. Things began to change after a series of studies were conducted on the health benefits of pomegranates. These obscure little orbs started to take back their regal status—with good reason!

Pomegranates Make a Comeback

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. They offer plenty of health benefits, whether consumed or used in skincare. In fact, pomegranate seed oil has demonstrated anti-carcinogenic activity.[ii] Several studies show the oil offers the potential to guard against some types of skin cancers![iii]

Pomegranate seeds contain a concentrated mix of vitamins, polyphenol and essential fatty acids. These are great for your overall health in addition to nourishing your skin.[iv] The oil promotes skin repair by stimulating natural cell production.[v] We use pomegranate seed oil in Goddess Garden Bright Eyes Firming Eye Cream, Day Undone Sun-Repair Serum and Dream Repair Sun-Repair Night Cream. We also snack on pomegranates pretty often, too!

Sun repair skincare products that use pomegranates

As a food, pomegranates are high in antioxidants, iron, folic acid and potassium. According to a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology, the potassium in pomegranate juice helped dialysis patients suffer fewer infections and less inflammation.[vi]

Another study showed pomegranate juice could potentially prevent prostate cancer cells from spreading to the bones.[vii] Pomegranates also fight plaque—both the dental variety[viii] and the kind that builds up between nerve cells in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.[ix]

Pomegranates Leave Their Mark

Those glittery, jewel-like berries are my all-time favorite fruit, so it’s good to see pomegranates make their mark on the world! Unfortunately, they can leave an actual mark on the world. The blossoms, juice and peel have all been used throughout history to dye fabrics. Their juice can be a real challenge to remove.

Some fruits, like bananas, seem to grow their own easy-open packaging. Pomegranates are the opposite. If you cut them, their juice goes everywhere, making their stain-causing prowess even more of a problem. If instead, you patiently chip away at the peel and remove each seed, you’ve earned yourself a new hobby. Thankfully, there is a fast, easy way to peel a pomegranate that won’t leave your kitchen or your clothing patterned with pink polka dots.

How to Peel a Pomegranate

What you’ll need:

  • A large bowl with water
  • A smaller bowl
  • A knife
  • A pomegranate

What to do:

Fill the large bowl with water, and place the pomegranate inside. Carefully cut the pomegranate into quarters while keeping it submerged. The water keeps the juice from splattering and dilutes it so the juice won’t stain your fingers.

Remove three of the pieces and set them aside. Take one quarter at a time, place in the water and push on the outside peel like you’re trying to turn the fruit inside out. This loosens the seeds and lets them fall out, while the water restrains the stains. Gentle peel away any remaining peel or pith.

The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and everything else will float. Simply skim the top of the bowl and toss it into the compost. You’re left with a bowl of no-mess, freshly washed pomegranate seeds, and all their health benefits. Enjoy!

how to open a pomegrante

how to open a pomegranate

how to open a pomegranate

pomegranate in hands

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[i] http://www.foodreference.com/html/a-pomegranate-history.html
[ii] Cleary. “Punicic Acid Is an ω-5 Fatty Acid Capable of Inhibiting Breast Cancer Proliferation.” International Journal of Oncology Int J Oncol 36.2 (2009): n. pag. Web.
[iii] Hora, Justin J., Emily R. Maydew, Ephraim P. Lansky, and Chandradhar Dwivedi. “Chemopreventive Effects of Pomegranate Seed Oil on Skin Tumor Development in CD 1 Mice.” Journal of Medicinal Food 6.3 (2003): 157-61. Web.
[iv] Melgarejo, P., D. M. Salazar, A. Amorós, and F. Artés. “Total Lipids Content and Fatty Acid Composition of Seed Oils from Six Pomegranate Cultivars.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture J. Sci. Food Agric. 69.2 (1995): 253-56. Web.
[v] Aslam, Muhammad Nadeem, Ephraim Philip Lansky, and James Varani. “Pomegranate as a Cosmeceutical Source: Pomegranate Fractions Promote Proliferation and Procollagen Synthesis and Inhibit Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 Production in Human Skin Cells.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 103.3 (2006): 311-18. Web.
[vi] http://www.medicaldaily.com/pomegranate-juices-can-ward-kidney-diseases-234796
[vii] http://www.medicaldaily.com/pomegranate-juice-components-could-stop-spread-cancer-235405
[viii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530267/
[ix] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201400163/abstract

Natural Alternatives to Retinol

natural alternative to retinol

We now know retinoids are harvested from animals or are synthetic copies of something our bodies can convert ourselves. Their side effects are known as the retinol uglies, which sound worse than the wrinkles we’re trying to fight in the first place. And the potential for long-term skin damage could have us constantly searching for more remedies. Maybe it’s time to search for alternatives to retinol instead!

What Is Retinol?

So if retinol isn’t really the best solution to get vitamin A, what is? That’s where carotenoids come in. Carotenoids are an alternative that our bodies naturally convert to usable retinoids. And there’s good news! They occur naturally in a number of soothing, gentle ingredients that won’t cause more problems for your skin later on.

Some Alternatives To Retinol

If you’re searching for alternatives to retinol, look for beta-carotene-rich ingredients such as mango butter[i], seaweed extract[ii], sunflower seed oil and chicory root. They are all safer, plant-based carotenoids, that won’t cause the red, burning, flaky side effects of retinol.[iii]

Their effectiveness made them key ingredients in our Daily Facial Routine. Goddess Garden Bright Eyes uses mango butter, seaweed extract and sunflower seed oil. Day Undone contains mango butter and sunflower seed oil. Both Face the Day and Dream Repair use chicory root, and Under the Sun offers a boost of sunflower oil.

More Alternatives to Retinol

While other natural ingredients don’t convert vitamin A into a usable retinoid, many mimic the benefits of retinol. In addition to the carotnoids listed above, if you’re looking for alternatives to retinol, you may want to make sure your skincare is rich with these ingredients:

Lycopene

Lycopene, found in Goddess Garden Under the Sun Hydrating Vitamin Serum, comes from tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. It reduces skin roughness, particularly when applied topically, and inhibits collagen breakdown to help keep skin firm, without the risk of retinoid dermatitis.[iv]

It’s also a powerful antioxidant—more powerful than Vitamin C and E![v]

Immortelle Oil

Immortelle oil is used in Goddess Garden Under the Sun Hydrating Vitamin Serum, Day Undone Softening Night Serum and Dream Repair Brightening Night Cream. It can boost the skin’s protective barrier, unlike retinol which can make you more susceptible to sun damage.[vi]

Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, Immortelle oil softens and strengthens the skin, and is said to promote collagen-production and smooth fine lines. Because of its rejuvenating effects, it could be used to improve the pigmentation of scars and damaged skin.[vii]

Black Elder

An ingredient in Goddess Garden Bright Eyes Firming Eye Cream, black elder is a strong antioxidant. It provides flavonoids such as quercetin and rutin. Quercetin’s effects on the skin are often seen as a natural alternative to retinol[viii]

. It is high in antioxidants, and can help ward off the appearance of skin aging[ix]

. Rutin is a strong antioxidant as well, and its anti-edema qualities help fight puffiness[x]

. The black elder is also the source of elderberries, which are often used to boost the immune system.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)

Studies show vitamin B3 dramatically reduces the appearance of dark spots. It has a long history of safe use in skincare, and offers wrinkle-reducing benefits like retinol, but without the risk of retinoid dermatitis.[xi]

Goddess Garden Dream Repair Brightening Night Cream is rich in vitamin B3.

Squalane

A naturally occurring oil in the skin’s own lipid barrier, squalene helps prevent moisture loss. Production of squalene slows after age 30, so it’s a helpful additive to skincare. It is also an antioxidant with purported antibacterial properties, and is used reduce the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, without causing photosensitivity.[xii]

People and animals alike produce squalene, and it’s commonly harvested from shark livers. For a vegan-friendly alternative, squalane, like we use in Goddess Garden Tinted Face the Day, provides the same benefit and is sourced from olives.

natural allies vs. harsh chemicals in skin care from the environmental working group

Sun Damage Repair = Wrinkle Repair

Retinol is most often used to counter wrinkles, roughness and dark spots—AKA sun damage. People use it because it works, at least for the short term, but there’s a lot of debate on whether or not it’s a good long-term solution, or if you should even use it at all.

We feel skincare shouldn’t be a source of worry lines. By preventing new damage with a daily SPF, avoiding inflammation and treating the skin to the gentle alternatives to retinol, you can visually go back in time, without the harsh side effects or the retinol uglies. Your skin will be with you forever—treat it with care!

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[i]

Wesley, Naissan. “Which Butter is Better?” Skin & Allergy News 43.8 (2012): 22. Web.
[ii]

http://eprints.ums.edu.my/663/
[iii]

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-92-chicory.aspx?activeingredientid=92&
[iv]

Goldfaden, Gary, and Robert Goldfaden. Topical Lycopene Improves Skin Cellular Function. LE Publications, Inc, 2012. Web
[v]

Andreassi, M., et al. “Antioxidant Activity of Topically Applied Lycopene.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 18.1 (2004): 52-5. Web
[vi]

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/skin-health/nutrient-index/vitamin-A
[vii]

Dweck, Anthony C. “The Internal and External Use of Medicinal Plants.” Clinics in Dermatology 27.2 (2009): 148-58. Web.
[viii]

Chondrogianni et al. Anti-ageing and rejuvenating effects of quercetin. Exp Gerontol 45:763-71 (2010).
[ix]

Dawidowicz, Andrzej L., Dorota Wianowska, and Barbara Baraniak. “The Antioxidant Properties of Alcoholic Extracts from Sambucus Nigra L. (Antioxidant Properties of Extracts).” LWT – Food Science and Technology 39.3 (2006): 308-15. Web.
[x]

http://www.raysahelian.com/rutin.html
[xi]

Rolfe, Heidi M. “A Review of Nicotinamide: Treatment of Skin Diseases and Potential Side Effects.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 13.4 (2014): 324-8. Web.
[xii]

Huang, Zih-Rou, Yin-Ku Lin, and Jia-You Fang. “Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Squalene and Related Compounds: Potential Uses in Cosmetic Dermatology.” Molecules 14.1 (2009): 540-54. Web.

 

Side Effects of Retinol

Retinol is the most sought after ingredient for treating aging skin, but side effects of retinol also place it on list after list of ingredients we should avoid. So why the disconnect?[.[i]

First, there’s a lot of pressure on women to look perfect at all times. Even those who shrug off the scrutiny can face a media storm. Take Alicia Keys‘ decision to forego makeup on the red carpet in 2016. The fact that this simple act got so much attention highlights the problem. It’s newsworthy when a woman—in the U.S., in 2016— is considered brave for showing her bare face. How’s that for pressure?

People are desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Enter retinol. Retinol, or retinoids, is one of the technical names for vitamin A. Some of its other derivatives and common names include Retin-A, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, retinaldehyde, tretinoin, isotretinoin and alitretinoin. Retinol is used for its ability to diminish the look of fine lines, wrinkles and roughness. Many people go to much further extremes, like plastic surgery, so for some, retinol is a wonder ingredient. To others, it just makes you wonder.

shy-863056_1280

What’s Wrong with Retinol?

You know the phrase if something seems too good to be true, it probably is? Retinol may diminish fine lines and wrinkles, but there’s a cost. I promise I didn’t make this up to be dramatic, but this quote from a blog post on the side effects of retinol sums it up:

“You, too, can avoid the flaky, gross shiz that appears on your face when you first start using a retinoid product.” -Lauren Sherman

Side effects of retinol are so pronounced, these little knowledge nuggets on the “retinol uglies” are commonplace. There’s even a term for conditions associated with using retinol: retinoid dermatitis. Symptoms include excessive inflammation, redness, flaking skin, burning, itching and increased sensitivity to the sun.[ii]

Why Is Retinol in Sunscreen and SPF Products?

Retin-A, the prescription-strength version of retinol, even comes with an FDA-mandated warning to avoid sunlight. That’s because vitamin A could trigger the growth of cancerous tumors when exposed to sunlight.[iii] Despite this, according to the EWG’s database, vitamin A shows up in nearly 16-percent of beach and sport sunscreens! Retinol has also made its way into 14-percent of all moisturizers with SPF and 10-percent of all SPF lip products.[iv] This is where we’re left wondering.

Side Effects of Retinol and Long-Term Damage

The skin’s protective inflammatory response produces red, irritated skin. With sunburns or damaged skin cells, this response eliminates the risk of cells becoming cancerous, and triggers the healing process. On healthy skin, inducing inflammation though skincare products like retinol could simply lead to more damage and even cell death.[v]

A Better Way to Vitamin A

Vitamin A has its place, but it’s not in the sun! Vitamin A should only be used at night. The type of vitamin A is also important. Vitamin A occurs in two categories: retinoids, which are preformed vitamin A, and carotenoids, which are provitamin A.

Retinoids are either synthetically prepared or are found in animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy. This predisposes them to be more irritating[vi]. Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, are a safer alternative sourced from plants. Carotenoids are naturally converted to retinoids in our own skin, making them much more gentle than synthetic retinoids or retinoids that have been metabolized to retinol by its animal source.[vii]

In simple terms, there are three options for vitamin A in skincare. You can get retinoids harvested from animals that have already metabolized the vitamin, you can use synthetic copies of converted retinoids, or you can opt for gentle carotenoids that your body can easily convert itself into usable retinoids. These offer similar results, without the nasty side effects, and are a much better way to vitamin A!

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[i] http://dermalogica.ch/your-skin/the-power-of-retinol/?lang=en
[ii] http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/skin-health/nutrient-index/vitamin-A
[iii] http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705545/RETINYL_PALMITATE_(VITAMIN_A_PALMITATE)/
[iv] http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/
[v] Rock, Kenneth L., and Hajime Kono. “The Inflammatory Response to Cell Death.” Annual Review of Pathology (2008): 99-126. PMC. Web 5 August 2016
[vi] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
[vii] Antille, Christophe, et al. “Topical β‐carotene is Converted to Retinyl Esters in Human Skin Ex Vivo and Mouse Skin in Vivo.” Experimental Dermatology 13.9 (2004): 558-61. Web.