Environmental toxins come in many forms: liquid, gas, solid, or a combination, and have a sneaky habit of making their way into things you use or are exposed to every day. Environmental toxins are substances that exist in or are introduced (usually as a result of human activity) into the environment that have a harmful effect on your health in both short and long term capacities.
Any of the vital natural resources we rely on as humans can become polluted, like water, soil, and air. Without realizing it, we are using and consuming these resources and the toxins they contain, which cause negative effects in our health over time. In cases of severe pollution, negative effects may become more noticeable faster than in cases where pollution is absorbed or ingested in smaller amounts over time.
Regardless, environmental toxins pose a threat to your health, but not just internally. Air pollution poses one of the largest risks to the health of your skin and can cause visible issues through exposure, whether it’s infrequent or repeated.
Keep reading to learn more about how air pollution harms your skin and what you can do about it.
Where Does Air Pollution Come From?
Air pollution originates almost entirely from man-made sources, though there are a few natural origins of air pollution. Natural sources are specific to certain parts of the world (though things like wildfires and natural gas releases can technically occur anywhere in the world) and you’re much more likely to be be exposed to air pollution through man-made sources.
Pollution naturally occurs as a result of wildfires, volcanic eruptions, natural gas pockets, and dust carried by wind. These occurrences are far more infrequent than synthetic pollutants, and are less of a risk or concern depending on what part of the world you live in. Of course, they are a big threat to those that are near and are at risk of being exposed to them, but they are less likely than the sure threats of certain synthetic human-produced pollutants.
Sources of man-made pollutants include, but are not limited to:
You can be exposed to air pollutants both indoors and outdoors. The severity of the pollution depends on your location and daily activities. People in rural areas are more likely to be exposed to a high volume of wood burning pollution and agricultural byproducts, whereas people living in cities and other urban environments are more likely to be exposed to a higher concentration of industrial and fossil fuel pollutants.
How Air Pollution Harms Your Skin
Air pollutants can cause varying degrees of damage to your skin depending on the specific toxins and compounds you’re exposed to, how often you’re exposed to them, and the effectiveness of any protective or regenerative measures you take to combat them.
Damage can range from premature aging, acne, inflammation, and irritation to chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. In severe cases, long-term exposure to pollutants can cause serious forms of skin cancer.
This is why it’s so important to take preventative measures and try to limit exposure. There is no avoiding it entirely, so doing what you can to counteract the effects of pollution and protect yourself are vital in maintaining your skin’s health in the long-term.
How to Protect Your Skin From Environmental Toxins
Making sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet is a great way to help combat air pollution damage to skin. A diet high in vitamins C & E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids can help fight free radicals that are harmful to your skin. Consider adding supplements to fill any gaps in your diet, and consult with your physician to get recommendations and learn the potential side effects of any
You can (and should) also apply antioxidants topically to aid in the fight. Vitamin C serums are perfect to help fight the oxidative properties of toxins in the air.
It’s also important to cleanse your skin at the end of each night to erase the pollution your body has encountered throughout the day. An almost-invisible layer of grime is present even if you haven’t worn makeup or other products in the last 24 hours. Regular exfoliation can also help gently remove layers of skin that have been exposed to physical and chemical pollutants.
You should also aim to replenish collagen in your skin, as toxins can break down your natural collagen and decrease elasticity and firmness over time. This happens as you age anyway, but toxins can contribute to premature aging. Preventing significant rapid loss of collagen due to repeated, unprotected exposure is the best countermeasure against air pollution’s damaging effects.
Lasers are one of many modern technologies that can be used to our benefit–but did you know they’re very effective when used for skin care? More and more people are seeking laser treatments to reveal youthful-looking, healthy skin and to erase the flaws right off their face. For laser newbies, it might sound scary or dangerous, but these procedures are perfectly safe and produce great results for those that want to slow or reverse signs of aging.
What is laser treatment?
Laser treatments use focused light to penetrate the skin, removing or repairing skin irregularities both on and under the surface. It varies in intensity based on the exact type of laser being used. Laser treatments are performed by trained professionals in medical spas, dermatology clinics, and plastic surgery clinics and should not be attempted by amateurs. While the lasers are perfectly safe if used in the correct application with safety measures, they can cause serious harm if not handled appropriately.
What kind of skin concerns do laser treatments address?
Laser treatments can help a whole host of skin issues! This goes way beyond anti-aging: because there are so many different kinds of laser treatments, there is an equally diverse number of skin concerns that they can be used to fight or repair.
Here’s a quick list of some of the things that laser treatments can help with:
- Uneven pigmentation or hyperpigmentation
- Spider veins
- Enlarged pores
- Acne scars
- Treatment-resistant melasma
- Surgical or injury scars
- Sun damage
- Hair removal
- Tattoo removal
- Fine lines
- Skin texture
- Loose skin
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good idea of the types of skin issues that could benefit from laser treatment. If you have a skin concern that isn’t on this list, talk to your dermatologist to see what type, if any, could be helpful in treating your specific condition.
Types of Laser Treatment
There are two main categories of laser treatments: ablative and non-ablative.
Ablative lasers work on the top layer of skin, using an intense light to remove a very thin layer and stimulate the skin underneath. This works well to remove flaws on the surface, like sun damage, texture issues, and deep scarring, as well as reduces moderate fine lines and wrinkles. This is a more aggressive, invasive type of lasering and is often used in resurfacing procedures.
A slightly more mild option is a non-ablative laser treatment. Non-ablative lasers work by heating up the skin at a deeper level than ablative lasers and therefore don’t harm the surface, making this a much less invasive option for certain skin issues. Heating up the subsurface skin tissue stimulates collagen production and can help with acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and mild wrinkles or fine lines.
Either of these treatments can also be fractionated. Fractionated ablative or non-ablative laser treats only an evenly distributed percentage of an area of skin instead of the whole area all at once. It quite literally only uses a fraction of the laser’s area. Fractionated lasers create targeted, precise, self-healing micro-holes in the skin to treat the area at the most effective level.
There are also other types of non-invasive lightwave treatments that will help your skin look better from the inside out. BroadBand light therapy can reverse visible signs of aging and acne by stimulating skin at a deep level, much like non-ablative laser treatment. Intense Pulsed Light therapy (abbreviated as IPL or colloquially known as photofacial) pulses intense light waves into the skin to reduce discoloration and repair sun damage.
Side effects of laser treatment
Before you schedule your first appointment for laser treatment, you should be aware of potential side effects. Laser treatments can induce some uncomfortable and unappealing side effects before you see the final results and may be shocking if you aren’t fully prepared before undergoing treatment.
Potential side effects include (but are not limited to):
- Itchy skin
- Eye injury
- Change in skin color
- Peeling or flaking
Some of these symptoms–like peeling and flaking–are perfectly normal and to be expected as part of the healing process after receiving laser skin treatment.
Others should be addressed with your dermatologist and/or primary physician right away. Things like infection or eye injury should always be taken seriously as soon as you notice symptoms, as delaying treatment can sometimes result in long-term complications.
Severity of symptoms will differ depending on which type of laser treatment you receive because of the varying levels of intensity of treatment. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours in mild cases to several weeks for more extreme treatments.
What’s the best laser treatment for anti-aging?
That depends! Everyone’s skin is different and what works well to tackle your aging concerns doesn’t necessarily work for someone else’s, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Both ablative and non-ablative lasers can treat common signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage, and texture at different levels of progression.
Ablative lasers treat more acute conditions and produce more dramatic change with fewer treatments. Non-ablative treatment may require more sessions to achieve the desired result but will cause less discomfort and milder, more temporary symptoms than ablative lasers.
A big factor to consider when determining which laser treatment is right for you is the recovery process. Treatments using ablative lasers may require more intense recovery measures and may be more disruptive to your everyday life than treatment with non-ablative lasers.
Potential recovery measures for laser treatment include making sure skin stays hydrated, using cold compresses to alleviate swelling, avoiding sun exposure, and diligently using sunscreen.
In the case of more intense ablative laser procedures, many patients opt to take a few days (or weeks) off of work. This is due in part to the dramatic appearance of the skin while undergoing the healing process and can also be beneficial to focus on following post-procedure orders to protect your investment in your skin and ensure best results.
AHAs and BHAs are types of hydroxy acids. You can find both acids in a variety of:
The purpose of both AHAs and BHAs is to exfoliate the skin. Depending on the concentration, a related product may remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, or it may remove the whole outermost layer.
Still, neither type of hydroxy acid is “better” than the other. Both are highly effective methods of deep exfoliation. The differences lie in their uses.
AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid.
AHAs are water -soluble acids made from sugary fruits. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. After use, you’ll likely notice that your skin is smoother to the touch.
On the other hand, BHAs are oil-soluble. Unlike AHAs, BHAs can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum.
Although AHAs are often marketed as safe for all skin types, you’ll want to take care if you have extremely dry and sensitive skin. You may need to gradually work up to daily use to avoid irritating your skin.
BHAs, on the other hand, are primarily used for acne and sun damage. These products go deep into your hair follicles to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. Because of these effects, BHAs are most suitable for combination to oily skin. Lower concentrations may be used to help calm sensitive skin. You may also have more success with BHAs if you wanted to reduce rosacea-related redness.
All AHAs yield significant exfoliation. Still, the effects and uses can slightly vary between types of acids. Your selected AHA should have a maximum concentration between 10 and 15 percent. Apply new products every other day until your skin gets used to them. This will also reduce the risk of side effects, such as irritation.
No matter which AHA you choose, the strong exfoliating effects make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Wear sunscreen every morning to prevent burns, age spots, and increased skin cancer risks.
Lactic acid is another common AHA. Unlike other AHAs made from fruits, lactic acid is made from lactose in milk. It’s also known for its significant exfoliation and anti-aging effects.
Tartaric is another type of AHA. It’s made from grape extracts, and may help alleviate signs of sun damage and acne.
Citric acid is made from citrus fruit extracts. Its main purpose is to neutralize the skin’s pH levels and to even out rough patches of skin. Citric acid makes a good serum or toner used before applying a moisturizer. It may even help work with sunscreen to provide maximum UV protection.
Malic acid is a type of AHA-BHA crossover. It’s made from apple acids.
Mandelic acid contains larger molecules derived from almond extracts. It can be combined with other AHAs to increase exfoliation. Used alone, the acid may improve texture and pore size.
Salicylic acid is the most common BHA. Concentrations can range between 0.5 and 5 percent, depending on the product at hand. It’s a well known as an acne treatment, but it can also help calm down general redness and inflammation.
Citric acid while primarily classified as an AHA, some formulations of citric acid are BHAs, too. Rather than even out your skin’s pH levels, this type of citric acid is primarily used to dry out excess sebum and clean out dead skin cells deep in your pores.
Don’t mix face acids
- Don’t use salicylic acid with any other acid at the same time. Extreme skin irritation may occur when mixed.
- Avoid salicylic acid with products that contain niacinamide.
- Don’t use glycolic acid or lactic acid in combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This will cause the ascorbic acid’s benefit to disappear even before it begins to work.
- Avoid using AHAs with retinol.
AHAs and BHAs, if these actives are used at too high of a concentration or too frequently, they can irritate your skin and compromise the skin barrier.
Dermatologists don't — and can't — argue there. In my opinion, [retinoids'] benefits are more about the skin's appearance," says Dr. Katta. "The compounds in retinoids can help boost collagen, but they're not necessary for healthy skin. The most important factor in maintaining healthy skin is about protection and promotion." Research shows that although retinoids thicken the skin overall, they thin the skin barrier, the built-in protective layer that guards against invading pathogens and environmental aggressors and locks in moisture.
How Does Retinyl Palmitate Form Vitamin A?
The different retinoids have slightly different functions and benefits. All the retinoids are converted into retinoic acid in the body. Retinoic acid is the main ingredient that has a direct biological effect on the skin. Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A and is responsible for most of the benefits to the body and skin.
Retinoic acid is available as a prescription treatment known as tretinoin or Retin – A. Tretinoin can cause skin irritation including excessive peeling, redness, and photosensitivity which limits its use.
EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which rates ingredients based on toxicity. Retinol can rank anywhere from six to nine out of 10, making it a "high concern" ingredient. For reference, lead and formaldehyde — two undisputed toxicants — earn 10s.
The overall product or ingredient score in Skin Deep is calculated from information drawn from the nearly 60 integrated toxicity, regulatory and study availability databases," Leiba explains. "Retinols get a high score in Skin Deep because government testing has shown that, on sun-exposed skin, these chemicals can increase the risk of skin lesions and other skin damage."
Again, there is no definitive evidence that topical retinoids lead to cancer or reproductive toxicity, but the evidence we do have is pretty much on par with that of parabens. (Read: Not agreed upon by professionals, requires more research.) So what's the difference between potentially-toxic parabens — largely shunned by both indie brands and drugstore giants as a precaution — and potentially-toxic retinoids?
The Best Alternatives to Retinol for Your Skin
1. Protect yourself from the sun
This one sounds like a no-brainer but a shocking 90 percent of skin aging is due to the sun. Protect yourself with SPF 30 sunscreen for the face and body. Re-applying often is the key to full protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a known human carcinogen. Don’t forget about your lips— pick up a natural lip balm with SPF if you don’t already own one.
2. Wash your face every night
Now that we are taking full advantage of the outdoors because of the warm weather, it is especially important to cleanse the day off your face. By now we know that sleeping with your makeup on is bad for your skin, but new experiments show that it can actually age the look of your skin as well. Wash the sweat, bacteria, and makeup off your face and go to bed with a clean face for fresh and healthy skin. Pro-tip: change your pillowcases often to ensure you are not resting your cheeks on built-up bacteria.
3. Drink LOTS of water
Your skin looks best when it’s fully hydrated— otherwise, skin can appear dull, and wrinkles could be more prominent. Although it is always important to load up on water, the risk of dehydration increases during the summer season. It’s best to always keep a bottle of water on hand to avoid these things that can happen to your body when dehydrated.
4. Exfoliate the dead skin away
Scrub the sunscreen and smell of adventure off your skin with an exfoliant. Once a week is enough— like with the skin on your face, you don’t want to overdo it. Top off your skin with our Elixir Mask for Body for guaranteed soft skin.
May is fast approaching and we are excited for a special day — Mother’s Day! It’s just one day of the year to show the moms in our lives some extra love and appreciation. Keep reading for some ideas on how to spend the day with your mom!
1. Spa weekend getaway
Treat mom to a weekend getaway for just the two of you. There are a million ways to indulge whether you’re going for mud masks or massages, the options are endless!
2. Breakfast in bed
Remember the days when our parents made breakfast before sending us off to school? Return the favor and make mom a breakfast to enjoy in bed. You’ll need: a tray, some fruits, homemade meal of your choice and a whole lot of love!
3. Go for a walk
You know what they say, “April showers bring May flowers”. Take some time out of your busy life to appreciate the newly blossoming flowers and fresh green grass that spring has brought with the #1 lady in your life. According to Huffington Post, taking walks in nature can help lift your mood and promote mental health!
Get started on your Mother’s Day shopping early! We recommend the Aiona Alive 4 Step All Skin Set for mom to pamper herself at home every day. Our four step regime includes a serum, cleanser, moisturizer and mask made with collagen and potent all-natural ingredients.
Valentine’s Day is today! While you are planning your meal for this special occasion, we have come up with this list of Valentine’s Day themed foods to eat that your skin will love.
1. Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Chocolate, and chocolate dipped strawberries are a Valentine’s Day essential. Strawberries also happen to be rich in vitamin C, which helps with collagen production. This sweet berry has many nutritional benefits that you need to know about. Dip them in dark chocolate and there’s a bonus. According to mensfitness.com, dark chocolate has properties that can actually protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Now you can indulge without (too much) guilt!
2. Raw Oysters
3. Grass Fed Beef Steak
Steak is definitely a staple for date night, and a likely meal for most Valentine’s Day meals. Like oysters, beef steaks contain a large amount of protein. An article on Prevention.com tells us that the grass fed variety in particular has a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which helps with inflammation. Be sure to include grass fed beef stake in your Valentine’s Day menu for many great health benefits.
Looking for the perfect gift for a loved one? We've got your covered. We're offering 15% off all our products! Also, receive a free gift when you purchase all skin sets.
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The Importance of Daily Cleansing
Washing your face in the morning and evening is vital for great skin. Regular cleansing ensures your pores are not clogged and allows for your skin to properly absorb anti-aging treatments. Get in the habit of regularly cleansing your face, but do not overdo it as it can dry out your skin and strip it of its natural oils.
Always consider the ingredients in a cleanser— generally, it is good to avoid alcohol and fragrance as they can dry and irritate your skin but they are not the only offenders. Our Step 0: E-Citrus Cleanser is made with 100% natural ingredients that are effective in moisturizing skin while deep cleaning. It is fragranced with essential oils and the cleaning power is strong enough to remove waterproof mascara! Suitable for all skin types as well.
Some of the benefits of the key ingredients in our E-Citrus Cleanser include (but are not limited to):
-Bladderwrack: reduces age spots, wrinkles, and inflammation
-Gold collagen: promotes smooth skin
- Hyaluronic acid: improves skin elasticity and retains moisture
A cleanser is the base of your regime— try our E-Citrus Cleanser today for clean, healthy skin.