Thursday, September 20, 2018

How to Determine Your Skin Type

Understanding your skin type is vital to choosing the right products and regimen for a glowing complexion. For example, if your skin is oily, applying too-heavy moisturizers can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. Conversely, dry skin can suffer if not moisturized properly. So how do you know if you have oily skin, dry skin, or somewhere in between? Keep reading to learn how to find your skin type.

What Determines My Skin Type? 

Your skin type is influenced by a number of factors, but genetics are the number one determinant of your skin type. For example, if your parents have oily skin, you’re likely to have oily skin as well. However, external influences can come into play. Climate, weather conditions, diet, medications, and hormones all play a role in how skin behaves. This is why some people actually experience a different skin type in the winter or the summer, or why your products can suddenly stop working when you go on vacation in a different climate.

The most common skin types are oily, combination, and dry. While everyone’s skin is unique, most people will fall into one of these categories.

To determine your skin type at home, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry with a soft towel. Do not apply any lotions, serums, or moisturizers. After two hours, take note of how your skin looks and feels. If your skin feels tight or parched, you have dry skin. Shine on the nose and forehead indicates combination skin, while shine all over the face signifies an oily skin type.

How to Care for Your Skin Type 

Now that you know your skin type, here’s how to care for your skin:

Oily Skin  
Oily skin is more prone to clogged pores and breakouts than other skin types, but it’s also the most resistant to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.  
Those with oily skin will want to exfoliate regularly to keep pores clean and acne-free. Steer clear of harsh cleansers and acne treatments, as these can signal oily skin to produce more oil.  
Dry Skin  
Dry skin feels tight and is more prone to fine lines and flaking. However, dry skin types rarely experience acne breakouts.  
It’s important to exfoliate dry skin several times per week to remove the layers of dull, dead skin. Exfoliation also allows nourishing serums and moisturizers to penetrate the skin more deeply. Make sure to wear a hydrating night cream each night, since the skin tends to lose moisture while we sleep.

Combination Skin  
Combination skin has an oily forehead and nose with dry cheeks.  
Exfoliation is also important for this skin type, as it will help to balance oil production throughout the face. Using a toner like witch hazel on your t-zone will also help to control sebum production. Use a heavier lotion on cheeks to keep them hydrated, and a lightweight gel moisturizer on the forehead and nose to prevent them from getting too shiny. 

Remember: skin types can change based on the season or other external factors. If your skin care regimen doesn’t seem to be working, test your skin type again and make adjustments to your routine according to your results.

What is your skin type? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

How to Protect Skin from Pollution

With the excitement of big city living comes sacrifices – more traffic, more expensive rent, and, or course, more pollution. Anyone who has experienced the difficult of breathing air pollution knows that smog can wreak havoc on your lungs. But did you know that pollution can also harm your skin?

Luckily, great skin doesn’t have to be one of the sacrifices that comes with living in the city. Keep reading to find out how pollution harms your skin, and what you can do to stop it.

How Pollution Damages Skin 

Cities are a breeding ground for pollution from factories, cars, cigarette smoke, and ozone. These microscopic bits of air pollution are actually small enough to penetrate pores and get into the skin. There, pollutants interact with our skin cells and UV rays to form free radicals, which damage our cellular DNA and impair our skin’s ability to repair itself.

Over time, this can cause all kinds of premature aging. In fact, air pollution has been linked increased pigmentation, decreased collagen production, plus dryness and inflammation.

Unfortunately, pollution isn’t just a problem for city-dwellers. Wind carries pollutants, so they can damage your skin even if you live in a less populated area.

How to Protect Skin from Pollution 

This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C bind with free radicals, neutralizing them and thus protecting your skin from harm. In general, eating more antioxidant-rich foods (think fruits and vegetables), will help to protect your skin from pollution. You can also protect your skin by incorporating these habits into your skincare routine:

Wear Sunscreen 

Many free radicals come from sun damage, so make sure you’re applying adequate SPF daily.

Apply Antioxidants 

In addition to SPF, you’ll also want to use a daytime moisturizer that’s rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants will protect your skin cell from free radical damage while preventing against the formation of new free radicals. Herbacin Day Cream is formulated with carnosine and vitamin E, both of which bind with free radicals to stop them from causing further damage.

Wash Your Face 

Nighttime is when our skin repairs itself, so you want to make sure that you remove all pollution before going to sleep at night. To make sure you get rid of all the skin-harming pollution, we actually recommend double-cleansing with a facial cleanser and an oil-based makeup remover. Pollution is lipophilic, which means that it can be dissolved with oil, so using an oil-based solution like Herbacin 2-Phase Makeup Remover will ensure that you thoroughly cleanse skin of all pollutants.

Avoid Cigarette Smoke 

We don’t need to tell you that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health and your skin. But even secondhand smoke can cause free radical damage to your skin, so try to avoid any situation where you’ll be exposed to secondhand smoke to preserve your skin.

Exfoliate Regularly 

Exfoliating once or twice per week helps to remove any toxic buildup on your skin from pollution. Plus, it’s key for removing dead, dull skin cells and unclogging pores. If you want great skin, exfoliation is a step you cannot skip!

How do you protect your skin from pollution? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Worst Foods for Your Skin

As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” In the case of skincare, what you put into your body is just as important as what you put onto your skin. If you’re suffering from acne, puffiness, or premature fine lines, your diet may be the culprit. Keep reading to learn the worst foods for skin.

Simple Carbohydrates

If you’re a carb addict, your diet could be aging your skin. Pasta, white bread, soda, juice, candy, and cookies are all considered simple carbohydrates, meaning that they quickly convert to glucose when consumed. Glucose clings to the wrinkle-reducing proteins collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are essential for keeping skin soft, supple, and smooth, so the last thing you want to do is harm these youth-giving molecules.
To keep your skin soft and smooth, swap simple carbs for complex carbs like whole grains and vegetables.


While there’s no scientific evidence directly linking dairy to acne, many skincare experts believe that dairy consumption can contribute to breakouts for some people. Dairy is full of growth hormones like testosterone, which boost inflammation and skin oil production.
If you have acne, you might want to try eliminating dairy from your diet to see how it affects your skin. Just keep in mind that dairy is an important source of calcium and vitamin D, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting these critical nutrients from other sources (think seeds, beans, spinach, kale, etc.).


Shellfish like shrimp, lobster, oysters, and scallops can also lead to acne breakouts. Shellfish contains high amounts of iodine, which inflames skin and clogs pores. Consuming iodine is healthy in moderation, but eating too much can cause acne. Other foods high in iodine include cheese, milk, kelp, fish sticks, and boiled eggs.


If you’ve ever had a bloated face after a late night fast food run, you’re already aware of the effects salt can have on your skin. Salt causes tissues to swell, making skin look puffy. It can also dehydrate the skin, leading to the appearance of fine lines.
Almost all restaurant and processed foods contain high amounts of salt, so the best way to reduce your intake is by cooking whole, healthy foods at home (and taking it easy with the salt shaker).


Your afternoon latte addiction may be to blame for tight, dry, itchy skin. Caffeine, the ingredient that gives coffee, tea and soda their pep, is a diuretic. Diuretics prevent your body from holding onto water, and as a result, skin becomes dehydrated. To compound the effect, caffeine also increases cortisol levels, which accelerate the aging process by thinning the skin.
A cup or two of coffee each day is fine, but avoid going overboard to keep skin hydrated and fresh.

Fried Food

Fried foods are usually prepared with vegetable oils. While vegetable oils may sound healthy, they’re actually loaded with trans fats. Trans fats are known to slow circulation, which leads to clogged pores. They also contribute to inflammation and encourage cyst formation. The result? Blackheads and breakouts. Thus, it’s a smart skin move to avoid deep fried foods whenever possible.
Since everyone responds differently to foods, record what you eat and how your skin looks in a journal. See if you can connect your intake with changes in your skin.
If you like this article, you might also like “The 9 Best Foods for Glowing Skin”.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How to Heal Chapped Lips

Cheilitis – also known as chapped lips – is a painful condition that happens when the skin on the lips dries out. In severe cases, lips may even crack or bleed.

Lips don’t have oil glands, so they’re naturally more dry than the rest of your face. They’re also vulnerable to chapping because they’re constantly exposed to the elements. Overexposure to sun, wind, heat, cold, or dry air can cause chapped lips, but they can also be caused by bad habits.

Follow these tips to heal and prevent chapped lips.

  • Choose your lip balm carefully. Since lip balm can sometimes make its way into your stomach, use a natural, beeswax-based lip balm instead of a petroleum-based balm. Beeswax naturally locks in moisture without harming the lips. 
  • Apply lip balm often. Most people need six to eight applications of lip balm throughout the day to keep their lips moisturized. Apply lip balm first thing in the morning, after meals (eating can wear away lip balm), and right before bed to protect the lips overnight. 
  • Keep lip balm on hand. Having trouble remembering to reapply lip balm? Keep a tube stashed in multiple places: your purse, work desk, car, bedside table, etc. This way, you’ll always have lip balm on hand when you need it. 
  • Use lip balm before applying lipstick to hydrate the lips and protect them from drying ingredients. Avoid matte and long-lasting formulas altogether, which can cling to chapped lips and further exacerbate the problem. 
  • Drink more water. Not drinking enough H2O throughout the day can dehydrate skin – and the lips are no exception! Aim for at least 2 liters of water consumption every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can further dehydrate dry lips. 
  • Use a humidifier. Climate control like heating and air conditioning can lower indoor humidity levels, which in turn can cause skin to dry out. If you crank the heat or the air (or you live in a dry climate), a humidifier will help to restore the air’s moisture to optimal levels for your skin. 
  • Don’t lick your lips. While licking your lips may provide relief in the short term, the habit can actually lead to your lips becoming more parched. As the saliva evaporates, it pulls moisture from the lips. When your lips feel dry, apply lip balm instead. 
  • Don’t pick. Peeling or biting flaky skin can disrupt healing and even lead to infection. Plus, it’s just painful! 
  • Avoid spicy and salty foods while recovering from chapped lips. These types of food can further irritate the mouth and delay the healing process. 
  • Switch your toothpaste. Believe it or not, synthetic flavoring in your toothpaste may be the cause of your chapped lips. Use an all-natural toothpaste without irritating synthetic ingredients to help speed your recovery.  

If none of these tips work, it may be time to see a doctor to make sure that your chapped lips aren’t a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your doctor can also prescribe a cortisone cream, which can help to heal extreme cases of chapped lips.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hyperpigmentation: What Causes It & How to Treat It

Melanin is a natural pigment that gives skin its color while protecting it from sun damage. When our skin over-produces melanin, however, it can cause unsightly dark spots. These dark spots, known as hyperpigmentation, are a source of frustration for many people.

Are you curious to learn what causes hyperpigmentation and how to treat it? Keep reading!

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation happens when melanin forms deposits in certain spots of the skin, making the affected area look darker than its surroundings. Hyperpigmentation can affect all ages, genders, and ethnicities. However, it is more common in women.

Hyperpigmentation is a broad category that refers to any excessive darkening of the skin from melanin overproduction. More specific types of hyperpigmentation include:

      Age or “liver” spots, which are caused by sun exposure. Age spots are usually found on skin that is frequently exposed to the sun, like the face, chest, and hands.
      Melasma, which appears as splotchy dark areas on the face. Melasma spots are typically much larger than age spots, and they are usually related to hormonal changes like pregnancy or birth control pills. Sun and heat (like from a sauna) can cause melasma to spread. 
      Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which crops up in response to pimples, bug bites, and other abrasions.
      Small spots of hyperpigmentation called freckles. Freckles are genetic in origin, but can get darker with sun exposure.

How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation

All types of hyperpigmentation are made worse by UV rays, so the number one rule of preventing hyperpigmentation is to wear sunscreen daily. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply for every two hours of sun exposure. Wear a hat and avoid direct sun exposure if at all possible.

To prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, resist the urge to pick at your skin. Cover cuts or scrapes with a bandage to allow the skin to heal without interference from the sun.

How to Treat Hyperpigmentation

As a general rule of thumb, new hyperpigmentation spots are more easy to treat than older ones. A dark spot from a pimple will usually clear up on its own, while an age spot that’s developed after years in the sun is more difficult to fade.

To treat existing hyperpigmentation, use a physical exfoliant like a scrub on the affected area. Exfoliants improve skin cell turnover while buffing away dead, dull skin. Follow exfoliation with a lotion or serum containing brightening ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, willow bark, or licorice root.

If these solutions fail to make a difference, try using a product that contains hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a powerful compound that slows the production of melanin to even out the skin tone. However, hydroquinone makes skin more sensitive to sunlight, so it’s important to take extra precautions to guard against UV rays when using this ingredient.

For serious cases of hyperpigmentation, visit your dermatologist. Your dermatologist may recommend chemical peels, laser treatments, or microneedling to renew skin cells and reveal a more even-toned complexion.

Fading hyperpigmentation can take several months. Without proper sun protection, hyperpigmentation can reemerge after treatment, so keep wearing that sunscreen!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Sunburned? Here’s What To Do Next

A bad sunburn can totally spoil your beach vacation or summer barbecue.  Even if you are using--and frequently re-applying--sunscreen, you can still suffer burns.  Fortunately, what you do AFTER the burn can affect how quickly your skin heals, so follow these tips to ease the sting and begin recovery.

When You're First Burned...

First, get out of the sun!   Seek shade or go indoors as soon as you notice symptoms.  Burns can take several hours to several days to manifest, so if you're looking even slightly pink, the damage is done and it's time to take cover.

Once indoors, take a lukewarm bath rather than a hot shower--less painful, and the milder temperature will soothe your skin.  Adding baking soda or milk to your bath will help relieve the sting.  Avoid using soap, which will further dry and irritate skin.  Repeat these baths as often as necessary until the pain subsides.

After bathing, apply aloe vera gel.  This product relieves discomfort while providing much-needed hydration.  It also seals the skin's top layer to prevent infection.  Chill your aloe in the fridge for extra cooling effect.

Take two ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and ease irritation.  Another option is to grind the pills, add enough water to make a paste, and apply directly to the burn.

Tips For Treating Sunburn

As your burn heals, follow these recommendations for speedy recovery:

--Drink plenty of water.  Exposure to sunlight can dehydrate you, so increased hydrating
    will help repair your skin.  Avoid alcohol, which causes further dehydration.

--Steer clear of products containing synthetic ingredients or fragrances, as these can
    irritate your skin in its compromised state.

--If your burn peels, don't touch it!  Hydrate the area with a heavy-duty moisturizer.

--Outdoors, protect burned areas as they heal with clothing that covers the affected
    skin.  Remain in the shade as much as possible.

--Apply cold compresses to ease pain.  Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply for
    cooling relief.

--If your face is burned, dial back your facial skincare routine, since many of its
    ingredients may be too harsh for damaged skin.  Avoid acne treatments, anti-
    aging products, exfoliants, and harsh toners until your skin heals.  Stick to a simple
    cream cleanser and fragrance-free moisturizer.

--If your burn results in serious symptoms like blistering or fever, seek medical

Though burns will generally heal within a week, they can result in long-lasting damage to skin. To help prevent premature aging and skin cancer, take steps to protect your skin this summer.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Are You Applying Your Skincare Products in the Right Order?

You probably already know that you should be using an anti-aging serum and an eye cream, but do you know which you should apply first?

The order in which you apply your skincare products really does matter. You could spend a fortune on lotions and serums, but if you don’t layer them in the correct order, you won’t see results. Even worse, using products in the wrong order could actually lead to irritation and breakouts.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to correctly layer skincare products. 

How to Layer Skincare Products

Step One: Remove Makeup

If you’re wearing makeup, the first step in your skincare routine will be to remove it. Use a makeup remover to gently dissolve and wipe away cosmetics.

Step Two: Cleanse

The next step is to wash away excess oil, dirt, and debris with a gentle cleanser. Cleansing preps the skin for the next steps in your skincare routine.

Step Three (1-2x Per Week): Exfoliate

Exfoliators should be used several times per week rather than daily. While exfoliation is an important part of a healthy skincare routine, most people find it too harsh to exfoliate every day.

Once or twice per week, use a physical or chemical exfoliant to buff away dead skin cells and remove build-up. If you use a physical exfoliant like a scrub, you can use it in place of your daily cleanser.

Step Four: Tone

Toning comes after cleansing. Toners remove anything that cleansing has left behind (like residue or stubborn makeup). They also restore the pH balance of the skin, which helps it to better absorb further products. Some toners also deliver antioxidants, vitamins, or moisture into the skin.

Step Five: Serums

Serums should be applied before moisturizers to maximize their results. During the day, use an antioxidant serum that contains vitamin C to protect skin from aging free radicals all day long. At night time, use an anti-aging serum to repair and rejuvenate skin.

If you use multiple serums, apply the product with the thinnest consistency first, then layer more syrupy serums on top. For example, watery essences go on before thicker serums. Pat serums into skin to improve their absorption.

Step Six: Eye Cream

Eye cream is an often forgotten part of a healthy skincare routine, but you shouldn’t skip it! Since the skin around the eyes is more delicate, it tends to show signs of aging before the rest of the face.

Gently tap an eye cream or gel around the eye area using your ring finger to hydrate and protect this sensitive area, both night and day.

Step Six: Moisturize

Moisturizers are designed to create a barrier to hold hydration in. However, they also prevent additional products from penetrating the skin. This is why moisturizers come last. Use a light moisturizer for daytime, and a thicker cream for night.

Step Seven: Protect

During the day time, you’ll want to apply sunscreen after moisturizer. It’s important to wear sunscreen every single day, even if the weather is cloudy. You can combine these last two steps by using a moisturizer with SPF.

Patience is Key

It’s important to wait between layers of serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens to give products a chance to absorb into the skin. Wait at least one minute before each layer to maximize your results.

And remember, consistency is the secret to getting great results with your skincare routine. It can take up to six weeks to see changes, so stick with it and your skin will reward you!