Sensitive Skin, Rosacea, Eczema, Psoriasis

Fact: 70% of women experience sensitive skin at one point in their lifetime…. burning, itching, dry, red and irritated skin. 

What Causes Skin to be Sensitive?

  • The outer layer of your skin (stratum corneum) is made of regular skin cells and lipids (fats). You probably already knew that this outer layer of your skin is protective. Keeps out bacteria and toxins.
  • A lesser known function is that this outer layer also works to lock moisture in.
  • People who have sensitive skin end up with a disrupted stratum corneum when exposed to environmental triggers.

Sensitive Skin Triggers

  • Underlying conditions (rosacea, eczema, psoriasis)
  • Genetics
  • Allergies
  • Environmental Stressors
  • Change in Climate or Pollution – loss of humidity
  • Sun Exposure
    • 81% of people with rosacea reported the sun caused flare-ups

These disruptions in the outer layer allow irritants to get into your skin, and moisture to escape. Once this barrier is compromised, you get a vicious cycle of moisture loss leading to further skin irritation, leading to more moisture loss…..you get the picture. You end up with redness, irritation, dryness, sensitivity, and inflammation.

70% of people living with rosacea said that the condition lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence. 

Do I have to live with sensitive skin?

NO!

Natural ingredients will calm the skin (chamomile, licorice), but you will want to use products that will REBUILD that lipid barrier. THAT is what will effectively treat sensitive skin once and for all.

Rodan and Fields has a skincare regimen called SOOTHE that does not just “soothe” or “calm” skin, but helps rebuild that lipid barrier. It is clinically proven to reduce the visible signs of redness and irritation.

product

Step 1 – Gentle Cream Wash: This cleanses without drying out your skin

Step 2 – Sensitive Skin Treatment: This contains peptides that protect against those environmental triggers, reduce bacteria, and shields against collagen damaging enzymes. We love collagen, right? That’s what keeps you looking young!  Skin protectants (dimethicone and allantoin) support skin’s surface while antioxidants and natural lipids relieve that dryness and reduce sensitivity. This also contains optical diffusers that immediately diminish redness.

Step 3 – Moisture Replenishing Cream: Moisturizers, humectants, skin conditioners, and protectants that moisturize without irritating skin. It replenishes your natural moisturizing factors, and has chamomile to calm skin.

Step 4 – SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen: Broad spectrum mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. This deflects the sun to keep your face cooler and decrease the appearance of redness. Even has a little licorice to calm skin.

study

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Additional Tips:

  • Avoid washing your face with hot water, avoid saunas and steam rooms (flushing)
  • Don’t use anything abrasive to scrub your face!
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after drying your face (pat dry)
  • Ingredients that help soothe dry skin: hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum.
  • Avoid products that contain fragrances, alcohols, and dyes (these can further dry out skin)
  • Avoid products that contain emulsifiers (these can irritate skin)
  • Avoid sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. These are harsh detergents commonly used in facial cleansers and soaps that break down the natural lipids in skin.
  • Hold off on anti-aging products that contain retinol or alpha-hydroxy-acids, as these can irritate your skin. Addressing sensitive skin really trumps addressing aging. Consider it a primary skin concern, and THEN once you have built up that lipid barrier, you can move on to tackling the signs of aging.
  • Choose a mineral sunscreen over a chemical UV filter (avoid avobenzone)

Want to give Soothe a try? You always have 60 days to try it risk free, and decide if it is working for you or not. Don’t just cover up the redness! Get rid of it and love your skin. Contact me at sarakthiel@gmail.com. $144 for all four products. 

Sources: Rodan & Fields Training Materials, Prevention.com, American Academy of Dermatology

O-M-Ghee

clarified-butter-ghee-TJ

People either know what ghee is, or they don’t. It’s got a decent presence in the paleo world, and I probably read about what it was a couple years ago. At that time, I couldn’t find it online for a decent price, and the only other option was to go to an Indian grocery store and get some, which seemed way inconvenient. About a year ago, I finally found some that was reasonably priced enough (yay Trader Joe’s!) and from that point forward I’ve always cooked with ghee instead of butter.

What is ghee?

It is a type of clarified butter. Clarified butter is the middle layer of melted butter (pure butterfat) without the water and milk solids. Looks more like oil, and most of the lactose/casein in butter is removed.

Ghee is the Hindi word for “fat”, traditionally used in Indian cooking. It is clarified butter WITH the milk solids…it has been cooked until the milk solids have been slightly browned. This is what gives it a nutty, caramel taste. Yes please!

  • It has a higher smoke point than almost any other oil (375-485F)…making it a really great fat for cooking.
  • It has a nuttier taste (aka it tastes delicious, put that shiz in your coffee…). Stronger butter flavor since the water has been evaporated.
  • Better tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant (because most of the lactose is removed)
  • Doesn’t need to be refrigerated – keep it in an airtight container, and it will stay good for about a year

You can make your own ghee (take some unsalted butter, boil it until the water evaporates off, strain off the solids in a cheesecloth and keep the liquid), but I just got my hands on some AWESOME ghee. Plus its grass-fed.

Benefits of grass-fed butter

  • CLA levels are 3-5x that of grain-fed cattle. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a fatty acid, (we mostly get CLA from consuming dairy). Having CLA in your fat stores has been linked with a lower risk of heart attacks.
  • It has more carotene + Vitamin A (which is why it is a deeper yellow color)
  • It has more vitamin K2 – which is linked with reducing, preventing, or even counteracting arterial plaque. 

Ok, so THIS is what I’m so excited about. Tin Star Foods has a “brown butter” which is grassfed, 100% lactose and casein free. They cook their ghee just a little bit longer, so those milk solids get super brown and the flavor is that much more intense!!! Hazelnut, caramel. Blend THAT up in your bulletproof coffee.
$25 for 16 oz

brownbutter

Sources/Links:

What is Ghee?

Mark’s Daily Apple – Coconut Ghee

Mark’s Daily Apple – Grass Fed Butter

Tin Star Foods

Product Spotlight: Retinol, Retin-A, Retinyl Palmitate

Retin-A (Accutane)retinol

Tretinoin (retinoic acid, Retin-A) is the carboxylic acid form of vitamin A. Accutane is a version of this. It irritates the skin, and increases cell turnover – so old cells die quickly and are replaced with new ones. The reason why it works so well for acne? New cells replace the cells of existing blemishes, and the rapid turnover of cells prevents new blemishes from forming.

This enhanced cell turnover is ALSO very effective in reversing sun damage and signs of aging. Retin-A users see a disappearance in fine lines, more even skin tone, improved texture, smaller pores, and it stimulates blood flow and collagen production. People notice improved skin tone and texture in the first 3 to 4 weeks, while dark spots fade around 6-8 weeks, wrinkles disappearing after 3-6 months. Sounds amazing, right? The downside is that many people can’t tolerate the side effects. Dryness, increased sensitivity to sunlight, redness, scaling, itching, burning.

Retinol & Retinyl Palmitate

Retinol is a milder, over the counter version of tretinoin. While the results may not be as dramatic as Retin-A, more people tolerate it well. Like tretinoin, retinol encourages skin cell turnover.

A very important point – this new skin is delicate and should not be exposed to the sun (which is why they are usually found in night creams). If you are using retinol during the day, just be sure to use a pretty solid sunscreen or avoid prolonged sun exposure, because retinol increases photo sensitivity. Plus, the sun will diminish the efficacy of retinol.

Retinyl palmitate is an even MORE mild version of retinol. It gets converted into retinol after being absorbed in the skin.

Using Vitamin A derivatives

These rapidly break down when exposed to the sun and air, so they should always come in pumps or tubes with caps. Once opened, these products slowly break down, and should be used within a couple of months.

Pregnant? Nursing?

Seems like doctors are 50/50 on this one. Some say it is fine (claiming the amount you absorb is probably minimal). Some say its fine for breastfeeding, not ok for pregnancy, others say to avoid it during both. Always best to just ask. The World Health Organization recommends a daily supplement not exceeding 10,000 IU retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate (3000 µg retinol) at any time during pregnancy.

Almost all topical retinoids are FDA pregnancy category C drugs (risk can’t be ruled out b/c data in humans are lacking…basically b/c it isn’t ethical to test on pregnant women). Let’s just say a LOT of stuff is pregnancy category C because really what pregnant woman is going to volunteer to be in a study?

Concerns probably rise from fetal retinoid syndrome (Accutane Embryopathy) – mental/physical birth defects resulting from mom using retinoids (specifically oral Accutane) during pregnancy. Defects range from growth delays to heart/skull/facial abnormalities. This study looked at 235 pregnant women exposed to topical retinoids, and there was no significant difference between them and women not exposed in terms of birth defects or spontaneous abortions. This book does not recommend topical retinoids during pregnancy or breastfeeding as it is unknown if topical retinoids pass to breastmilk. Best to always show the ingredient list to your OB, so you can feel good about the decision.

Sources:

http://www.medicinenet.com/tretinoin/article.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22174426

E-Book: Dermatological Treatments (Alberto Conde-Taboada)

Kombucha – Drinking Bacteria

Have you heard of Kombucha? It’s tea that’s been fermented by bacteria and yeast, turning it into a sweet/tart/ciderish carbonated drink with little strands of bacteria floating around. It originated from China around 2000 BC, where it has been called the “Immortal Health Elixir” while Russia called it the “Wonderdrink” boasting it helps headaches, GI illnesses, and regulates digestion.

You can get it at most any health food store, and some general grocery stores will also carry it. Cost? $3-4 each. I’m a fan of the Gingerade version. You can also make your own.

Kombucha-Kombucha

The drink has been studied a LOT since 1852 (mostly in Europe), but few health benefits have actually been proven by scientific studies. A 1951 Russian study found that daily consumption was correlated with an extremely high resistance to cancer, also supported by Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands.

A quick Google search shows that many sources claim it will help a WIDE range of issues: prevent/fight cancer, help regulate your gastrointestinal system, relieve joint pain, lower cholesterol, excrete toxins, improve diabetes, nervousness, aging, arthritis, and boost your immune system.

Older studies have confirmed claims about the drink having antibiotic properties (due to acetic acid produced during fermentation. This can inhibit fungal growth and has mild antibiotic activity at low pH against lactic acid bacteria)…against H.pylori, E.coli, staph aureus.

We do know that the bacteria and yeast make it a probiotic drink, which improves digestion. Probiotics can also help prevent colon cancer, and recurrences of inflammatory bowel disease. There’s also some evidence that consuming live bacteria can help boost your immune system

Besides having bacteria and yeast, it also contains some pretty good stuff. B vitamins, folic acid, amino acids, glucuronic acid, vitamin C.

  • B vitamins, folic acid are created by the fermentation process. The vitamins in fermented food/drinks are more bioavailable, and since probiotics improve digestion…you’ll absorb more nutrients.
  • High in glucuronic acid (~10mg): recent studies say this may help prevent cancer, as it is detoxifying. We know that a build up of toxins can lead to gout, arthritis, and kidney stones. Glucuronic acid binds toxin molecules, and increases excretion via the kidneys or intestines.
    • Glucuronic acid also creates glucosamines: These increase synovial hyaluronic acid production, which is helpful in preventing and treating arthritis. This helps preserve cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain. Connective tissue can bind more strongly, and there’s improved moisture/lubrication and flexibility of joints.

A few cases of health disorders have been reported: upset stomach, allergic reactions, renal insufficiency….usually happens from drinking a TON of it. They say you should drink lots of water to help eliminate toxins anyway.

Sources:

Tea, Kombucha, and health: a review

Good Old Wikipedia

Robot Anesthesia

Would you let your loved one be put to sleep and monitored while they were unconscious BY A MACHINE?!?!?

Oh hell no.

This is the article I’m referring to, that was just put out by the Washington Post.

Basically, Johnson & Johnson came out with this automatic sedation machine, called the Sedasys. They started working on it in 2000, and it was rejected (due to safety concerns) by the FDA in 2010. The FDA approved it in 2013, with the stipulation that there was a human (anesthesiologist or nurse) on call in case of emergencies, and that it would be limited to only being used on healthy patients for simple screenings like a colonoscopy/endoscopy.

Apparently now Canada is developing something more advanced…to “fully automate anesthesia” for brain and heart surgeries (even in pediatrics!). That’s scary.

Anesthesia IS an art. Believe me, it’s kind of like cooking. There might be a general recipe on how to put someone to sleep, but that does not apply to everyone!! If the patient is young, healthy, with no allergies…sure start with the “general” way you put someone to sleep. Now if you gave that same anesthetic “cocktail” to someone with heart failure, or a bad liver…that would be a poor decision. Even if you handed 3 anesthesia providers the same exact patient….I guarantee you they would all give a little bit of a different cocktail, based on their experience and training.

They say the machine keeps patients less sedated than a human would. That’s probably true. Surgeons LIKE patients that are in a deep plane of anesthesia. Um hello, that’s kind of the point. That’s why we came around…because the patient screaming and thrashing and moving was “distracting” to the surgeon. Sure, the really good surgeons can work with a “lighter” patient, but the ones who aren’t so good REQUIRE the patient to be still. I’ll be curious to see the feedback surgeons give on this machine.

I get it. Technology is advancing. I’m not going to argue that maybe (maybe) there will be a place for it somewhere…but it will not fully replace anesthesia providers. The goal is to cut costs; because YES anesthesia is expensive. By giving anesthesia via a machine, you eliminate the “human error” factor, but you also eliminate any human judgement. Critical thinking. I want that when I’m unconscious.

The Truth Behind Rodan & Fields

Alright, so the whole purpose of this post is to give you a REAL and honest review on what it’s like to be a Rodan & Fields consultant, based on my first 60 days. Friends have been curious, and want to know more, but obviously don’t want a fake sales pitch. So here’s the truth.

I’ll start out by divulging why I became a consultant to begin with. It is really simple. I loved the products, my mom loved the products…so I wanted to know what it would take for us both to benefit from a consultant’s discount. That’s it. Dream big, right? Ha!

 These were my concerns:

  • I didn’t want to do “parties.” I HATE speaking in front of a group, even if it is just in front of my friends/family. That was one of the highlights of graduating college – never having to do a presentation again. So if skincare parties were required, forget it…I’ll just keep being a customer.
    • Thankfully, you never have to carry inventory and you never have to throw a party. If that’s your thing – do it! I’m sure it is an awesome way to recruit customers and new consultants. You could host a “makeovers and mimosas” brunch, or a wine/cheese party. There are a ton of ideas out there. Just don’t ever expect me to invite you to one.
  • I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be losing money (duh)!
    • I did the math, and if I figured that if I have at least 4 regular customers (2 ordering every other month), I would “break even” every month, and get my skincare for free. Mom of course would still benefit from the consultant discount, and if I was successful enough, maybe she’d get some free stuff too.

 I made a deal with my husband. He would let me invest a little in starting up this new venture, and if in 60 days I regretted the decision, I would throw in the towel. The company even gives you a YEAR to sell back the products to them, if you find yourself buying a big inventory kit and you can’t sell/use the products (they refund you at 90%). Seemed like I had very little to lose in taking this chance!

 The most common questions I get:

  • How much effort does it take?
  • How much does it cost to get started?
  • Do you have to sell a certain amount every month?
  • How much money do you REALLY make?

 How much effort does it take?

samples

I will tell you, in the very beginning it does seem overwhelming. Especially if you are like me and don’t have a career in sales. I was very excited and wanted to learn about all the products, so I could make “on-the fly” recommendations if I needed to. The best part is, the company gives you EVERYTHING you need to get up to speed quickly, and the network of consultants above you will really set you up for success (makes sense, right? They directly benefit from you being successful!). They hook you up with cliff notes on the products, and tips on how to start off running. At this point, I’m really only “working on it” when I want to. Facebook post here and there, sending out samples when someone is interested in trying it out, etc. A few hours a week maybe.

 How much does it cost to get started?

Totally depends on what you want to invest. Business kits range from $45-$995. If you want to start as cheaply as possible, you can totally start for $45. That’s all they require, which gives you a “business portfolio.” That’s cheap, right?! The downside is, you don’t get any products, which sucks. You don’t need to have inventory (everything is sold online via your website), but it’s helpful to try as many products as you can – so you can tell people how great the tools are, what the eye cream is like, etc. The bigger the business kit, the more products you get (and the bigger the discount). The $995 kit is valued at like $1900. The major benefit in buying a bigger business kit…is that this is the ONLY chance you will have at getting 55% off all those products. Normally, consultants get around 25% off. When you first sign up, this is your big chance to save. I recommend getting the biggest one you can comfortably afford.

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Do you have to sell a certain amount every month?

  • No, you don’t have to sell a set dollar amount every month. In fact you don’t have to sell anything at all. You will be categorized as “inactive” but there’s not a penalty or anything. There’s no minimum to start earning a profit, that happens with your first sale.
  • If you want to receive commission on top of your profit, there is a set amount you need to sell to qualify for this. To get 10% commission, you need to sell over $100 that month. To get 15% commission, you need to sell over $600 that month. Once you start getting a few customers, you’ll hit that easily and consistently. The company even has ways for you to hit that $100 minimum (pay your $20 website cost and $80 in product – for you, for samples, for gifts, whatever).

 How much money do you REALLY make?

The policies and procedures state that we aren’t supposed to divulge actual dollar amounts. Makes sense because it will vary depending on how long you have been doing it, how hard you are working at it, etc.

 What I will tell you is that in 2 short months (and pretty minimal effort), I now have 10 regular customers. I’ve flownDebit (2) past my original goal of 4 customers, and yep – I’m no longer paying for my skincare! The amount you make every month gets loaded on a pre-paid VISA card, and after using it to get my own products, I use the rest as extra spending money, to buy things I’d normally feel a little guilty about buying for myself. Sometimes I even take my husband out to dinner.

  • Your profit will always be the difference between what the customer pays, and your wholesale price. This is between 20-30%
  • On top of your profit, if you are commissionable (selling that minimum of $100 or $600), you get another 10-15% from the company. You also make 2.5-5% commission on everything that consultants underneath you sell.

 The most common reasons people are hesitant…

I don’t know that many people, where do you get your customers?

  • Family and friends are a great place to start, I usually just talk about it like I would a great new restaurant that I tried last week. Facebook also sort of hands you a microphone, letting you reach out and share the products with a huge audience.
  • It’s also not always about how many people YOU know, but it’s who they know. This is totally built on referrals. Just like when you ask your BFF what kind of mascara she uses because you are over the one you are using. Same thing.
  • EVERYONE has skin, and EVERYONE is aging. I know that seems obvious, but that leaves you with a LOT of people you interact with everyday. You would be surprised.

I don’t want to be that annoying person on Facebook

  • Then don’t be. Seriously. Facebook has helped drive a lot of my friends to try out Rodan and Fields (and ultimately become regular customers), but you don’t have to be annoying about it. Social media allows you to get your message out to a LOT of people, and that’s powerful. I also am not interested in “convincing” anyone to buy new skincare products. I just LOVE it, it works, and I think people should consider trying it if they aren’t happy with what they have.

I don’t have time right now, my life is SO busy.

  • That’s the beauty of being your own boss. Work on it whenever you have time! The company AND the consultants above you want you to succeed, and make it easy by giving you all the tools to do it, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time being creative or coming up with the perfect messages. I will say the one thing that has helped me is being consistent. Just keep following up with potential customers once you have reached out to them. It could be a simple email or text that takes 2 minutes. Easy.

Look, I have a GREAT career. Yes, I will benefit financially by having consultants sign up underneath me, and sell product. However, I don’t believe in convincing you to become a consultant. That’s not smart. I want you to have a full, honest picture as to what it’s like, and the benefits that it could bring you and your family. That way, YOU can decide if you want to give it a shot.

Click here to scope out the business side a little more.

Click here to check out the products.

More questions? Email me at sarakthiel@gmail.com

Supplement Spotlight: Collagen

I first heard about collagen via an instagram post on an “adrenal cocktail” made with orange juice, coconut cream, himalayan salt, and collagen. I was immediately curious. Collagen? It’s not like I think my adrenals need help, but I just needed to know more about this whole collagen thing.SONY DSC

I’ve read about the health benefits of consuming bone broth (or stock). But really, that just seems like a huge pain to make. You basically throw all the animal bones in a crock pot and simmer for like 24 hours (until the bones crumble when you barely press them). After this period of time, you are left with all the minerals that have seeped out of the animal bones, sitting in some tasty broth. You are left with tons of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and things like glucosamine and chrondroitin (good for joints). Plus gelatin (which is cooked collagen). I’m sure I’ll try it someday, but for now I’m opting for convenience…getting that collagen in powder form.

What is collagen?

  • Protein (made from amino acids) found in our connective tissue, cartilage & bones that we slowly lose as we age – in fact, you lose 1% of your collagen per year after you turn 30. It gives our skin strength, elasticity, and structure. Losing collagen over time can affect our skin (hello, wrinkles!), hair, nails, and joints.

frontpanelsm_1Collagen hydrolysate is collagen with its amino acid bonds BROKEN, and then the product is made into a dry powder. This makes it dissolve easily (unlike gelatin) and it will easily mix into cold or hot drinks, without any taste at all. Not only does it dissolve easily, but it is also easily digested. It contains very easily digested amino acids (glycine, glutamic acid, proline, alanine). You can basically call it an anti-inflammatory protein powder.

This is great if you eat a lot of “muscle meat” like steaks (hello paleo peeps!). Muscle meats can leave you ingesting a lot of methionine and tryptophan, which are more inflammatory amino acids. Methionine raises our homocysteine levels, causing us to need more B6, B12, folate, and choline to neutralize everything. Methionine metabolism also uses up glycine, making it important for those of us who eat a lot of meat to also make sure we are getting enough glycine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid. Here’s a really good writeup on glycine, which is ~22% of what collagen is made of.

Collagen, or gelatin supplementation is useful because it is absorbed via your intestines, and accumulates in cartilage. This has been promising for people with arthritis, suggested by this study. Another study concluded that collagen hydrolysate may be helpful in reducing activity-related joint pain in athletes. It should also give you thicker hair and stronger nails, although I must admit if it works for joint pain, I’m sold!

What about collagen and your skin??? Collagen supplements will not get rid of your wrinkles. When collagen is ingested, it is broken down into those individual amino acids. Rubbing collagen on your face also won’t work because the molecules are too big to be absorbed. You can however stimulate your own skin to start making more collagen, by using a micro-roller, like this one. Basically you are inducing controlled damage to the outer layers of your skin, so that collagen renewal can be stimulated. The end result is a tightening/firming of the skin.

I’ve been putting a TBSP in my coffee, tea, and smoothies…averaging 2-3TBSP a day. I can’t say I’ve noticed any dramatic difference, however it has only been like 10 days since I’ve started taking it. Maybe a slight decrease in appetite/cravings….although it may be a placebo effect. I’ll have to give you all an update after some more time has passed.

More Information: The Healthy Home Economist, The Daily LipidCosmetic Medicine, MD