Thursday, December 27, 2018

How to Choose the Right Moisturizer for Your Skin Type

Choosing the right moisturizer for your skin type is a two-step process that first requires you to determine which skin type you actually have. Thankfully, everything you need to know about your skin type can be found in our skin type guide. Before you approach your dermatologist or start browsing the internet to buy the best moisturizers for your skin, we recommend for you to check out that guide first.

While the anatomy of our skin is the same from one person to the next, our skin can behave very differently. Skin types are determined by how much sebum, or natural oils, our sebaceous glands produce. The most common skin types are dry, combination, and oily. Dry skin does not produce enough natural oil, oily skin produces too much, and combination skin is somewhere in between. 

Since each skin type has different levels of natural hydration, they require different kinds of moisturizers to stay healthy. Keep reading to find out which moisturizer is right for your skin type! 

Moisturizers for Dry Skin 

Dry skin does not produce enough natural oils, and is thus prone to flakiness, itchiness, and fine lines. And while you cannot swap out your genetics, there have been breakthroughs in skin moisturizing technology that are proven to hydrate dry skin types. Our readers with dry skin should embrace the richest and most hydrating moisturizers that trap moisture in the skin.

Look for thick creams formulated with natural oils and butters that fortify your parched skin with extra hydration and nutrients. Our Night Cream’s rich texture soothes and nourishes dry skin with vitamin E, almond oil, avocado oil, and shea butter.

Moisturizers For Combination Skin 

Combination skin is defined as an oily T-zone with dry cheeks. Combination skin presents a challenge to find the right balance of moisture without encouraging acne. That’s why the best moisturizers for combination skins are water-based, so the product does not block pores.

Use a light gel moisturizer in the T-zone to hydrate the area without extra shine. However, a gel moisturizer might not provide enough hydration for the dry areas of your skin. Thus, if your cheeks feel dry or tight when using a gel moisturizer, swap it out for a lightweight day cream formula and apply to your cheeks only. Using two types of moisturizers may be the answer for balancing your skin’s delicate hydration levels while minimizing acne.

Moisturizers For Oily Skin 

It may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin does still require a moisturizer. In fact, the right moisturizer can actually reduce oily shine while helping to control acne. Look for oil-free moisturizers with descriptors like “non-acnegenic”, “non-comedogenic”, and “water-based”.

The best ingredient to look for in a moisturizer for oily skin is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a lightweight hydrator found naturally in our dermis. Applying a serum or lotion that contains hyaluronic acid will replenish this vital ingredient without encouraging excess sebum production or clogging pores.

How do you choose the proper moisturizer for your skin type? Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

5 Simple Tricks to Fix Dry Hands This Winter

The winter season is filled with wonders, but the family joy and holiday cheer is only half as fun when the dry and frigid weather leaves your hands feeling like sandpaper.

With the cold winter weather, your skin also undergoes some major changes and requires special care to keep it hydrated and healthy. Read on to discover five simple tricks to moisturize and soften dry, rough hands from the wrists to the fingertips.

1. The Every Hour Rule 

Make it a habit to apply hand moisturizer by the hour and after each hand wash and shower. The winter elements are ruthless, and the best way to battle them is to periodically nourish your hands.

It really is a whole lot easier than you think, and it becomes second nature after the first day! Keep a miniature bottle of hand moisturizer by your side at all times: in your car, in your purse, at your desk, and even on your nightstand. That way, you’ll always have lotion on hand when you need it. Remember to leave no patch behind, and to lather the lotion throughout your knuckles and cuticles, too!

2. Wear Gloves 

Wearing gloves give the glycerin and natural elements in our products more time to absorb in your skin which enhances the performance of the lotion. While it's not always possible to wear gloves throughout the day, you'll be grateful you did during the times you can, especially right after you apply your moisturizer.

3. Avoid Old Fashioned Soap 

Today's popular commercial soap cleansers are in fact quite detrimental to your skin. Just because it's convenient doesn't mean it's the healthiest for your hands. A great alternative to reaching out for a glob of chemical-infused soap is to carry a travel-size bottle of gentle hand cleanser. Pair this with lukewarm water and be sure to use lotion on your hands after washing to restore moisture. Most of the commercial soaps slow down the natural process of skin healing, and a gentle cleanser will become your best friend, followed by a shea butter hand and nail balm to coat on after washing.

4. Say Hello to the Humidifier 

Unless you live in the tropics, it's a challenge to make it through winter without indoor heating. You're literally in good hands if your home is heated with steam heat radiators, since the steam keeps your home’s humidity at a healthy level. However, most indoor heating systems suck the moisture from the air, which is the leading cause of skin irritation in the winter.

A simple humidifier prevents your indoor living environment from getting too dry and will keep your hands in a soft and moist condition. It's a small investment that brings you a big return for your skin.

5. Hydrate Sans Grease 

While the feeling of dry and dehydrated hands is awful, having a greasy film on your hands isn’t much better. That’s why it’s important to choose a hand moisturizer made with an intensive and soothing silicone agent like Kamille Hand Cream. This hand cream absorbs quickly, so your hands feel soft and smooth without any greasiness.

Don't wait until you experience cracking or flaky hands before practicing the above simple tricks. These are preventative methods to help you be preemptive about healthy hands, not solutions to cure skin damage.

So, what's your tried and tested secret to a happy holiday season with beautiful hands? Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

How to Transition Your Skincare Routine for Winter

Dropping temperatures and snow in the forecast mean it’s finally time to get our winter sweaters, coats, and boots out of storage. And just like how you update your wardrobe for winter, you should also update your skincare routine.

Changing seasons means changes in your skin’s behavior and needs. In the case of winter, skin needs some extra help to keep it healthy, hydrated, and glowing. Keep reading to find out how to transition your skincare routine for winter.

Switch Up Your Moisturizer 

Frigid temperatures, dry indoor heating, and gusty winds can leave your complexion dry, flakey, and irritated. With these kinds of conditions, your regular moisturizer just isn’t going to cut it.

During the winter, skin requires a daily moisturizer formulated with humectants. Humectants are special ingredients that keep skin hydrated by drawing moisture from the air into the skin. We use the effective humectant glycerin in our Day Cream. Glycerin also reinforces skin’s natural protective barrier, defending it against the irritation that’s so common during the cold winter months.

Cleanse Carefully 

Foaming cleansers are great for deep cleaning and degreasing skin during the summer. However, this type of cleanser can also strip the skin of its natural moisturizing oils. During the winter, skin produces less oil than usual. Thus, foaming cleansers are too harsh for use during the winter.

Swap out your foaming cleanser with a gentle gel-based cleanser. Using an oil-based makeup remover at night will also help to add moisture back into the skin while cleansing.

Cool It on the Hot Showers 

While a long, hot shower or bath may feel like exactly what your body needs when the temperatures hit below freezing, it’s just not good for your skin. Long exposure to hot water pulls the moisture from your skin, leaving it more parched than before.

Instead, stick to shorter showers and use warm water instead of scalding hot. When you step out of the shower, apply a nourishing body lotion like Herbacin Kamille Body Lotion with Argan Oil while skin is still damp to lock in hydration.

Invest in a Humidifier 

Colder temperatures mean running the furnace more often. However, indoor heating dries out the air in your home. Dry air pulls draws out of the skin, leaving it parched.

Counteract the effects of dry indoor heating by using a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture back into the air so skin can stay moisturized. We recommend running it at night to keep skin from getting dried out while you sleep. Aim for a humidity level of 40-50% for optimal skin hydration.

Start Early 

The best way to treat dry winter skin is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Thus, the sooner you can begin putting these tips into practice, the healthier your skin will be.

However, depending on where you live, winter might already be in full swing. If you haven’t been careful with your skincare routine, you may have already damaged your skin’s natural protective barrier. Symptoms of a compromised protective barrier include redness, irritation, stinging, and rashes.

If this is the case, treat your skin as gently as possible for a couple weeks. Avoid products with heavy duty active ingredients (like those in strong anti-aging or acne products). If your skin doesn’t recover on its own, it may be time to visit your dermatologist for a prescription to restore the skin barrier. 

How do you protect your skin during the winter? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Acne Myths, Busted!

There’s a lot of information about there about acne. Unfortunately, not all of it is accurate, and some if it is even harmful. In fact, following bad advice can actually make your breakouts worse. That’s why today on the blog we’re separating acne fact from acne fiction. Keep reading to learn the truth about breakouts and how to treat acne effectively.

Myth: Only Teenagers Get Acne 

It’s true that acne is linked to hormones. During adolescence, our hormone levels are at their peak, which is why acne is so common in teenagers.

Unfortunately, acne doesn’t just magically disappear on your 20th birthday. In fact, 40 to 55% of people between the ages of 20 and 40 experience acne breakouts, according to the International Dermal Institute. So if you’re over the age of 20 and still have acne, you’re certainly not alone!

Myth: Thoroughly Cleansing Your Face Will Get Rid of Acne 

Acne is caused by bacteria, so it makes sense that getting your skin squeaky clean will clear up breakouts, right?

Unfortunately, many people with acne actually overwash their face by using harsh cleansers and scrubbing too hard. This can actually make acne worse because it signals the skin to create more oil. As a result, skin breaks out even more!

Instead, use a gentle cleanser twice daily. If you wear makeup, make sure to remove it fully by using an oil-based makeup remover like our 2-Phase Makeup Remover, since makeup residue can cause overnight breakouts.

Myth: Moisturizers Make Acne Worse 

As we mentioned above, dry skin produces more acne-causing oil. While it might seem counterintuitive to moisturize your skin if you have an oily or acne skin type, it will actually help to hydrate your skin and regulate sebum production. Just be sure to use a lightweight moisturizer rather than a heavy cream to avoid clogging pores.

Myth: Tanning Cures Acne 

Sunlight can kill acne-causing bacteria and a tan can camouflage zits. However, tanning also worsens hyperpigmentation. Translation? If you get dark scars from your pimples, exposure to sunlight will only make these scars more noticeable.

Plus, tanning can lead to premature aging and skin cancer down the road. While that might seem like the least of your worries now, your future self will thank you for staying out of the sun.

Myth: Chocolate Causes Acne 

Chocoholics, rejoice! There’s no direct link between eating chocolate and acne breakouts.

However, foods that contain hormones, like milk and cheese, can make acne worse. So if you’re acne-prone, trying cutting dairy out of your diet to see if helps improve your breakouts.

Also, eating a healthy diet with plenty of lean protein and leafy vegetables will improve your skin from the inside-out. Not sure what to eat? Here’s our recommendations on foods for glowing skin – and which to avoid.

Myth: It’s Okay to Pop Pimples 

While there’s definitely something satisfying about popping a zit, doing so usually only makes things worse. Popping a zit can introduce more bacteria into the skin and lead to infection. Plus, the trauma of popping can make scarring much, much worse. The best thing you can do is to leave your zits alone and wait for them to heal on their own.

Do you have any acne myths that we haven’t included? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Glycation: How Sugar Causes Aging (And What You Can Do to Stop It)

You probably already know that eating too much sugar can lead to extra pounds and diabetes down the road. But did you know that having a sweet tooth could also cause premature aging? It’s true! Through a process called glycation, excess sugar intake can actually cause wrinkles. Keep reading to learn more about how sugar causes aging, and how you can delay aging by reducing glycation.

Glycation: What Is It? 

Our bodies break down the carbohydrates we eat into sugars which fuel the body. But when we eat too many carbs, the excess sugars react with proteins and fats to create harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation Endproducts, or AGEs.

AGEs damage proteins like collagen and elastin, which are responsible for keeping our skin looking youthful, firm, and smooth. Thus, AGEs’ effects on our skin can include fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, hyperpigmentation, sagging, and dullness. The more sugar you eat, the worse the effects.

The glycation process also accelerates with age. According to the British Journal of Dermatology, glycation increases in the skin after the age of 35 and gets worse as we get older.

Additionally, AGEs can also contribute to health conditions like nerve pain and atherosclerosis.

How to Reduce Glycation to Slow Aging 

Luckily, there’s a lot that we can do to reduce the production of AGEs and slow down the aging process. Just follow these simple lifestyle changes:

Make Healthy Food Choices 

Spikes of blood sugar can release AGEs. High-glycemic index foods like candy, refined carbohydrates (think white bread or pasta), and other sweets can raise blood sugar to dangerous levels.

Swap out these sugary foods for low-glycemic index foods like whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, and beans. These foods will not spike your blood sugar, which in turn will decrease the production of skin-aging AGEs.

Eat Smaller Meals More Often 

Another way to maintain your blood sugar at a steady level is to eat more frequently. Try to eat smaller meals every three to four hours rather than three big meals per day. Each meal should include some type of lean protein, a low-glycemic index carbohydrate, and a healthy fat.

Not only will these protect your skin from premature aging, but it will also help you to keep steady energy levels throughout the day. No more crashing after lunch!

Start Strength Training 

Muscles consume glucose as their primary energy source. As we age, we lose muscle mass, which could partly explain why glycation increases with age. Lifting weights regularly will help to counteract the natural loss of muscle mass, and glycation as a result.

Wear Sunscreen 

UV rays can drastically increase the production of AGEs, which is just another reason to avoid the sun! Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s not sunny outside.

Consume More Antioxidants 

Antioxidants – like those found in berries, spinach, green tea, and dark chocolate – can help to protect your skin from the effects of glycation.

You can also double up on your antioxidant intake by applying them topically. Look for moisturizers and serums that contain chamomile, avocado oil, or vitamin E, like Herbacin Night Cream.

Have you tried reducing your sugar intake? Did you see any positive changes in your skin? Let us know in the comments!

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.