How Environmental Toxins Play a Role in Your Skin Health

How Environmental Toxins Play a Role in Your Skin Health

 

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:

 

Cars, planes, and other fossil fuel-powered transportation
Agricultural practices involving pesticides, fertilizers, and harvesting dust
Manufacturing facilities, energy plants and other factories
Cleaning chemicals
Burning wood in homes or outdoors
VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in things like paint and construction materials
And more.

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.

The Dangers of Sunscreen: Why You Should Avoid These Ingredients

The Dangers of Sunscreen: Why You Should Avoid These Ingredients

There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation and converting it into heat, while physical sunscreens work by reflecting or blocking UV radiation. Both types are effective at protecting against UV damage, but chemical sunscreens have come under scrutiny in recent years for their potential health risks.

Chemical Sunscreen

These active ingredients in chemical sunscreen can be problematic for a number of reasons. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are both endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the body's hormone production. Octisalate, octocrylene and avobenzone are all photo-sensitizers, meaning they can increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. And finally, homosalate has been shown to disrupt the body's natural production of vitamin D.

Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can interfere with the body's hormone production. It's been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen in the body and can also act as The UV radiation before it can damage the skin.

Homosalate is a UV filter that absorbs UV radiation. It has been shown to disrupt the body's natural production of vitamin D and may also act as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can interfere with the body's hormone production.

The proposed concentration limit of 2.2 percent for oxybenzone and 1.4 percent for homosalate is based on the fact that these ingredients are not safe in the current amounts used.

 

U.S. sunscreen manufacturers are legally allowed to use these two chemicals at concentrations up to 6 and 15 percent, respectively, and hundreds of sunscreens manufactured in the U.S. use them at concentrations that far exceed the European Commission's recommendations. These ingredients are all systemically absorbed into the body after one use according to studies published by the FDA, (Matta 2019, Matta 2020), according to studies published by the FDA, which also found that they could be detected on the skin and in the blood weeks after no longer being used (Matta 2020). Previous studies detected many sunscreen ingredients in breast milk and urine samples (Schlumpf 2008, Schlumpf 2010). In addition, it's possible for sunscreen users to inhale ingredients in sunscreen sprays and ingest some of the ingredients they apply to their lips, so the ingredients must not be harmful to the lungs or internal organs.

Safe Alternatives- Physical sunscreen

Physical sunscreens work by reflecting or blocking UV radiation. They are typically made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are both effective at protecting against UV damage. However, physical sunscreens can be difficult to apply evenly and can leave a whitish cast on the skin. They also need to be reapplied more frequently than chemical sunscreens. But overall, physical sunscreens are considered to be more safe and effective than chemical sunscreens. So, if you're looking for a sunscreen that will protect you from UV damage without any potential health risks, a physical sunscreen is your best bet.

So, what's the bottom line? When it comes to sunscreen, be choosy about the ingredients and don't overdo it. Your health—and the health of the planet—will thank you.

 

The Truth About Natural Sunscreen Ingredients

The Truth About Natural Sunscreen Ingredients

Sunscreen is essential for protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. However, the claims made from some of these natural ingredients are proved to not be as effective as we thought.

UVA and UVB Rays

UVA and UVB are the two types of ultraviolet radiation that come from the sun. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing long-term damage such as wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays affect the surface of the skin, causing short-term damage such as sunburns. Both types of rays can lead to skin cancer.

 

The efficacy of natural ingredients- Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is one of the most common ingredients used in sunscreens. Even though zinc oxide is a chemical, sunscreens that contain zinc oxide are often referred to as natural, or physical. This means that the ingredient does not penetrate the skin but rather block the sun by sitting on top of skin.

Surprisingly, not all sunscreen ingredients protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide, however, does. “It’s a photostable, broad-spectrum sunscreen, so it has one of the broadest UVA coverages of all the sunscreen ingredients.

“Zinc oxide can be ‘micronized,’ meaning it’s processed into very small particles, so small that the preparation appears clear when applied on the skin.” Non-micronized formulations, she explains, are often less cosmetically elegant and are more opaque or white. So, if you’ve ever applied a sunscreen that left a white, powdery cast on your body, it most likely contained zinc oxide as a key ingredient.

Carrot seed oil

Carrot seed oil does have health benefits, but protection from the sun is not one of them. Carrot seed oil has an SPF of 38 but it does block the harmful UVA and UVB rays, and should not be used on it's own as a sunscreen.

Red raspberry seed oil

Red raspberry seed oil is a natural sunscreen with an SPF of around 28 to 50. However, it has not been proven to be effective against UVA rays. Because raspberry seed oil doesn’t offer UVA protection — which is responsible for 95 percent of UV rays — raspberry seed oil alone isn’t recommended as a sunscreen. Given its other beneficial characteristics, however, it can be used as a healing agent for other skin conditions.

Almond oil

Almond oil does have SPF, but it’s not very high. The SPF of almond oil is only 2 to 6. This means that you would need to apply a lot of almond oil to your skin to get the desired level of protection. Almond oil is also not water-resistant, so it’s not a good choice for activities like swimming or sweating.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has an SPF of around 4 to 6. The Mayo Clinic also mentions that coconut oil only blocks 20 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays compared to sunscreen’s 97 percent.

It’s imperative that a sunscreen provides either UV-absorbing or UV-blocking protection to be effective. There is not one scientific study proving coconut oil, or any other natural oil for that matter, provided any adequate UV-absorbing or UV-blocking protection. But as far as zinc oxide (the main ingredient for sun protection in these DIY recipes), mixing active cosmetics isn’t as simple as adding the recommended amount.

Shea butter

Shea butter has an SPF of around 6, also not enough protection against harmful UVA rays. However, shea butter is known for its high concentrations of fatty acids and vitamins, an ideal cosmetic ingredient for softening skin. Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

Bottom Line

There are many natural ingredients that can be effective for sunscreen. Some of the most popular include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and avobenzone. Each of these ingredients has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your needs. Zinc oxide is a physical barrier against the sun's rays, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin. It is also effective at blocking both UVA and UVB radiation. Titanium dioxide is another physical blocker that is less likely to cause irritation. It is not as effective as zinc oxide at blocking UVA radiation, but it is better at blocking UVB radiation. Avobenzone is a chemical blocker that protects against UVA and UVB radiation. However, it can be unstable in sunlight and can cause skin irritation. Ultimately, the best natural sunscreen ingredient will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

 

DIY Masks for the Perfect Summer Glow

DIY Masks for the Perfect Summer Glow

Winter tends to leave our skin awfully dry and dull. A great way to retain healthy, glowing skin is by making DIY masks. There are three masks listed below that will help you get the perfect summer glow.

Masks are a simple, effortless technique to nourish our skin. One of the main benefits of DIY masks is the assurance that the ingredients are natural and non-toxic. These masks contain less than 5 ingredients all of which can be found in your kitchen or at your local grocery store. Knowing all the ingredients that go on your skin is always best!

MASK #1

You need:

  • Pumpkin Puree: 1 cup
  • Unripe Papaya (no seeds): 1 cup
  • 1 Egg

Blend ingredients until the texture is smooth and creamy. Apply to your face with a brush or hands. Avoid lips and eyes. Leave your mask on for 10- 20 mins. Wipe this mask off with a damp cloth.

Tip: Do this mask before bed and wake up with glowing skin!

MASK #2

You need:

  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  • Honey: 1 tsp
  • Plain Yogurt: 1 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice: 1 tsp (optional)

Mix ingredients until the texture is smooth and creamy. Apply to your face with a brush or hands. Leave your mask on for 15- 20 mins. Rinse this mask off with warm water and apply your daily moisturizer afterward.

MASK #3

You need:

  • Chickpea Flour: 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric: ¼ tsp
  • Almond Oil: ¼ tsp
  • Plain Yogurt: 2 tbsp

Blend ingredients until the texture is smooth and creamy. Apply to cleansed face with a brush or hands. Leave your mask on for 30 mins. Rinse this mask off with warm water.

Show us your summer glow by using the #aionaaliveglow  

We would love to see how the masks worked on you