BEAUTY & WELLNESS
Curated collection of articles and recommendations for your beauty and wellness essentials.
By: Fola Onifade
Typically, we think of dry, chapped lips as a winter issue to be dealt with in the frigid months of the year. But, things have been different in 2020, and there’s a new potential irritant that may be causing your lips to dry out: face masks. Taking care of your lips is an overlooked part of our skin routines, but finding a good lip scrub will keep your puckers healthy and moist all year round, face mask or not.
What's a Lip Scrub and Why Do You Need It?
The absolute best way to prevent chapped lips is to hydrate and exfoliate. First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. And after you’ve checked that box, throw our Shea + Sugar Lip Polish into your cart before you check out so you can say goodbye to flaky skin and chapped lips forever!
But what’s a lip scrub anyway? Lip scrubs are a combination of emollients and exfoliants that together, moisturize and smooth out the skin on your lips. An emollient is a hydrating base that’s usually made from plant seed butters. Think shea butter or jojoba oil. Emollients check that hydration box we talked about, making your lips moist and supple.
Exfoliants wipe away dead skin and come in either a physical or chemical form. In lip scrubs, sugar is the most popular exfoliant because it is granular enough to remove dead skin particles, but gentle enough to be used on the body.
This product right here is a keeper. I use it this morning and my lips are extremely smooth, soft, and feel great. - Vanessa R.
Lipstick Lover or Not, Chapped Lips Are a No-No
Whether you’re a lipstick lover or a girl who just likes to throw some lip balm on and call it a day, you need to exfoliate! Even if you’ve never bought a tube of lipstick ever, dry and chapped lips cause the skin on your lips to flake and peel, making it difficult for your lip balm to penetrate your skin. Use an exfoliator to give your lips the best chance of absorbing as much moisture as possible.
Lipstick lovers, throw our Shea + Sugar Polish in your cart too! A popping red lip over some balm is not enough to smooth over dry skin or mask flakes. If you want to get the most out of your favorite lipstick colors, incorporate a lip scrub into your skincare routine. When skin flakes disappear and your lips are smooth, your lipstick will shine to its full potential. You can say goodbye to gaps in your lip color and stained teeth!
I love this lip polish. I use it in the shower after washing my face. So because of having to wear a face mask all the time and everywhere, this helps keep my lips moisturized. - Kiki C
Love Your Lips & They'll Love You Back
Our lips put up with a lot. Everyday, they’re exposed to our breath and our saliva, which contains an enzyme that breaks down skin. They also weather the beaming sun, cold temperatures, heat and wind. To have your lips looking and feeling their best, exfoliate them once a week, but be gentle! You don’t want to over exfoliate, and you’ll know if you do because your lips will feel raw and sensitive.
What are you waiting for? We see you picking at your lips over there. Stop that. Rub some goodness on your lips and watch them love you back!
By: Fola Onifade
What is Vitamin D?
When our immune system deteriorates, our skin barriers weaken which can lead to dryness and infection. Similarly, a lack of vitamin D can result in inflammation which can irritate inflammatory skin issues like acne or eczema.
The two main sources of this vitamin in our body come from our diet and our skin when its exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun (UVB). But according to Harvard Health, pigmentation can reduce the skin’s vitamin D production, putting those of us with darker skin at greater risk. So how can we make sure we’re getting enough of this important vitamin?
Vitamin D in Your Diet
To consume your daily recommended intake of vitamin D, pay attention to the foods you eat. The National Institute of Health suggests that the average non-deficient adult should consume 600 International Units (IU) every day. But doing this with food alone can be difficult.
Oily fish and shellfish are natural sources of Vitamin D, but according to Harvard Health you’d need to eat 5-oz of salmon or two 8-oz cans of tuna to get just 400 IU! One egg yolk has a small amount of vitamin D (20 IU), but because of their high levels of cholesterol, eggs are not a realistic source to meet our vitamin D intake. You can also eat certain foods like milk, orange juice, and cereal that have been fortified with vitamin D.
To get your full recommended intake, however, most nutritionists suggest taking a supplement like a daily multivitamin that carries up to 400 IU of your daily suggested vitamin D.
Vitamin D in Skin by Ame’s Hydrating Face Cream
While vitamin D can be found in prescription anti-inflammatory medication like Calcitrene, Dovonex, or Sorilux, the vitamin can also be found in beauty products like oils and moisturizers.
For example, the shea butter that serves as the base for our Hydrating Face Cream is rich with vitamin D. Because of this, our Hydrating Face Cream provides anti-inflammatory relief for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Vitamin D’s function in our immune system also makes the Hydrating Face Cream a helpful solution to acne and itchy or dry skin, which can sometimes be a result of our body’s internal health.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory and immune strengthening properties, the vitamin D found in the Hydrating Face Cream acts as an antioxidant that helps to fight against the free radicals that damage the skin, staving off premature aging. It also helps normalize skin cell turn over to reduce the build up of dead skin cells that can cause psoriasis.
By: Fola Onifade
One of the most common skin ailments are dark spots. But how do they even show up on our skin the first place?
Dark spots appear when there’s an overproduction of melanin in the skin and this can be caused by pimples, wounds, medications, skin care products, or hormonal changes. As Dr. Adeline Kikam states in this Instagram post, “Not all dark spots are created equal, and in turn, should not be treated equally.” Keep this in mind as you read through some proposed solutions to fighting dark spots and always make sure to consult a dermatologist.
Now that we know all the various reasons dark spots appear, let’s get into the different ways they can be treated.
First things first: Sunscreen
Prevention is the most effective form of treatment, and the best way to prevent dark spots is by using sunscreen consistently. Sun exposure can actually cause dark spots to get even darker, so using sunscreen can help block out most of the rays that would otherwise darken them. Apply sunscreen daily, and reapply every two hours if you’re in the sun.
Skin by Ame Natural Products
Hydrating Face Cream
How to: Massage daily into the skin after cleansing and toning.
Sweet Almond Oil
Natural Skin Lightening Products
Most skin lightening products inhibit the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which aids in the production of melanin. Before using over the counter skin lightening products, pay attention to the ingredients to check for irritants or things you may be allergic to. Additionally, some dark spots are harder to treat than others. If any of the treatments don’t deliver the desired results, you may want to consult a dermatologist.
How to: Before applying sunscreen, massage a few drops of Vitamin C daily into clean skin.
How to: Apply kojic acid at nighttime only to problem areas.
How to: Apply it once or twice a day after cleansing, toning, and exfoliating. You can use it alone or with your favorite serum or moisturizer. When using it during the day, follow up with sunscreen.
To prevent this, use hydroquinone sparingly on the target area and feather outwards towards the edges.
How to: Apply at night, and increase to twice a day as needed for maximum effects. Hydroquinone can cause sun sensitivity, so pair it with sunscreen during the day.
All the treatments we’ve listed above vary in range and strength. For the most powerful results, however, you may consider procedures like laser treatment, chemical peels, microdermabrasion or microneedling.
As always, we recommend a consultation with a dermatologist or skin care specialist before engaging in any treatment.
By: Fola Onifade
Healthy skin is about more than just the products you buy to put on your body, it's about the food you put into your body. In fact, healthy skin begins within, so paying attention to what we eat can help us achieve and maintain flourishing skin.
So what foods should we be eating and why? There are so many foods that provide all sorts of benefits, but today we'll focus on important nutrients that help our skin thrive, and the foods that are full of them.
Prevent Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to the production of collagen, a protein that helps to keep the skin thick and supple. These fats also help reduce inflammation that can lead to redness and acne.
Sunflower seeds are packed with Vitamin E, with one ounce, containing 41% of our recommended daily intake of the skin-boosting antioxidant. Vitamin E is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps manage the effects of photo damage. And it's key in keeping your skin barrier strong because it actively promotes cellular restoration. Sunflower seeds are also a great source of protein, making them an effective healthy snack to munch on.
Fight Free Radicals & Sun Damage
Green tea contains catechin, a powerful antioxidant compound that helps to prevent the skin from sun damage. Antioxidants are compounds that help fight off free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells. Green tea is also known for improving the skin's moisture, roughness, thickness and elasticity.
Red grapes are a source of reservatrol, a compound that can be found on the fruit's skin. Studies show that reservatrol may help reduce signs of aging by slowing down the production of harmful free radicals.
Target Dark Spots
Bell peppers help the body produce Vitamin A with its rich source of beta carotene. Vitamin A stimulates the immune system and acts as an antioxidant against skin cell damage. It helps regenerate skin tissue, encouraging new skin cell growth and lightening the appearance of dark spots caused by the overproduction of pigmentation.
Tomatoes are an excellent of source of Vitamin C which is known to benefit all skin types by fading hyperpigmentation, brightening, and supporting collagen production. Tomatoes are also filled with carotenoids like licopene that help maintain healthy skin and prevent wrinkles.
Treat oily skin
Sweet potatoes are also full of the carotenoid beta carotene, a nutrient that converts into vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A has been shown to help reduce oil production in the skin, and can be found in several acne medications. According to Healthline, half a cup of baked sweet potatoes has more than 6x our necessary daily value of Vitamin A.
By: Fola Onifade
By now, someone you know has mentioned the life-changing effects they’ve experienced from meditation. The results may sound interesting to you, but you might still be wondering: how do you even meditate? If you’ve got 100 things you could be doing, it can be difficult to rationalize spending precious moments sitting doing nothing.
There are a lot of reasons people choose to begin a meditation practice. For some, meditation benefits include less feelings of stress or better ability to focus. Maybe you've heard it helps with pain and anxiety, or your perhaps your friends share meditation quotes that inspire you.
Whatever the reason, meditation teaches us awareness and this important lesson has ripple effects throughout every facet of our lives. So, how do you do learn this magic trick / superpower thing?
Start With Sitting Still
Another approach you can take — especially if you’re in a place where you can’t easily access a quiet space — is tuning in to the sounds around you. Make note of what you hear and focus exclusively on those sounds to help ground yourself in the present.
Let Your Mind Do What It Does
Then let them gently float away, like a cloud drifting by in the sky. Some days will be better than others. Some days, your mind will be still and quiet, and other days you’ll struggle to rein it in.
Grow Awareness Each Time You Return
Remember that there’s no such thing as a “good” or “bad” meditation, there’s just awareness and non-awareness. Every time you notice your thoughts have drifted off, you sharpen your awareness. Like physical exercise, the more reps you get at this, the more power and control you gain over your mind.
Meditation won’t solve all your problems or transform you into a mind-bending guru. Most of the time, you won’t even notice its subtle benefits until you’re faced with a situation that you handle in a new way that may surprise you.
Resources to Build Your Practice
So give it a try today. If you can, find a comfortable place where you can relax. Start with 1 or 2 minutes and work your way up to 10. Practice doing nothing. No phone, no TV, no distractions, unless you're trying a guided meditation for assistance.
Check out some of the apps above that we recommend as you begin your mindfulness journey.
Remember to be patient and kind with yourself during this time. Wishing you peace as you and your mind getting reacquainted.
By: Fola Onifade
AHA. Collagen. Free radicals. You've read a ton of skincare blogs and you keep seeing the same few words popping up, but you have no idea what they mean. Bookmark this article so you can refer to the definition of these words until you're reading all any skincare blog like a pro.
Take our skincare quiz to see how well you know these terms!
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): A type of chemical exfoliant that loosens the bonds that hold skin cells together. This reveals new skin by allowing old skin cells to be easily swept away. Popular AHAs in your products: glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Antioxidant: Ingredients that can help neutralize free radicals (see below) which can, when imbalanced, cause damage such as premature aging of the skin.
Ascorbic acid: AKA vitamin C. An antioxidant typically found in anti-aging formulations like our Illumine Facial Serum to protect the skin. It can also be found in certain cosmetic products as a preservative.
Biocellulose: Biodegradable, bacteria-derived fiber frequently found in sheet-masks that allows the masks to retain moisture and a snug fit which helps drive active ingredients into the skin.
Ceramides: Naturally occurring in the skin’s oil, these fats hold together the cells of the outer layer of skin to strengthen the skin's protective barrier.
Chemical exfoliant: Chemical exfoliants are the gentler cousins of physical exfoliants. While physical exfoliants manually scrub off dead skin cells, chemical exfoliants break the bonds between those skin cells to make them easy to wash away
Collagen: The most abundant protein in the human body that makes our skin thick, strong and smooth. Collagen naturally breaks down over time, and UV rays and free radicals can speed up this process. Certain ingredients like retinol, peptides, and laser treatments can stimulate new collagen production. The best thing you can do to prevent the loss of collagen you currently have is to wear sunscreen.
Emollient: Moisturizing ingredients that can penetrate into the spaces between skin cells, which leaves the skin feeling softer and smoother.
Popular emollients: face oils such as our Rosehip Oil, our 100% Sweet Almond Oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil
Free radicals: Highly reactive molecules in the environment that are typically created through exposure to some kinds of radiation like UV rays. In high enough doses, free radicals can damage the skin. Antioxidants (see above) are thought to neutralize free radicals and prevent that damage.
Glycerin: A humectant (this means it pulls moisture from the atmosphere to hydrate skin) that is relatively inexpensive and is typically used in moisturizers and hydrating cleansers.
Glycolic Acid: An AHA (see above) often found in high-end cleansers, creams and peel. It’s derived from sugarcane and aids in exfoliation by dissolving the gluelike substance between skin cells.
Salicylic Acid: A BHA that removes excess oil and dead cells from the skin's surface. It's used in nonprescription cleansers, moisturizers, and treatments for acne-prone skin in concentrations of 0.5% — 2%.
Serum: (You learned this one last week!) A skin-care product like our Illumine Facial Serum that contains high concentrations of active ingredients and claims superior penetration of the skin's surface when applied.
Sulfates: Ingredients commonly found in cleansers and shampoos that create lather and remove dirt and oil. Sulfates can be too harsh for some people, creating dry or irritated skin by stripping the skin and hair of too many of its natural oils.
How'd you do on the quiz? Give it another go, now that you've learned all these new terms!
By: Fola Onifade
What's a serum, anyway?
You’ve likely seen your favorite beauty influencer or skincare brands talk about serums, but even if you're obsessed with all things skin, you may still be wondering what your serum actually does.
Serums, according to Dr. Abigail Waldman of Harvard Medical School, are “highly concentrated formulations that are designed to sink into the skin quickly, delivering intensive dose of ingredients that can address common skin complaints.”
In simpler terms: serums are light but powerful, easily absorbed liquids that you spread on your skin to target a host of skin care issues.
But why do we need them?
The most important thing that serums do for your skin is provide intense hydration. In order to do this, most experts recommend that you apply your serum right before you moisturize, and you can do this on a daily basis. So why do we need super hydrated skin?
Well-hydrated skin is the foundation for any skincare routine. Whether you're targeting wrinkles, brown spots, discoloration, or general dullness, serums provide the hydration your skin needs to tackle these issues.
Skin by Ame Pro Tip:
Add droplets of serum to your moisturizer, eye creams, night creams or masks to boost its efficacy.
OK, so how do I choose a serum?
For irritated/acne prone skin
Soothing serums, like our Illumine Facial Serum, are mild formulations made up of anti-inflammatory, often natural ingredients. These serums are great for most skin types, but they're also perfect for itchiness, redness or easily irritated skin. Some of the natural ingredients you’ll find in a soothing serum include aloe, green tea, or chamomile.
You’ll notice that we provided the ingredients in the different types of serums. And while you may not recognize all the scientific words in there, you want to get in the habit of reading and understanding labels so you can find the best formulation for your skincare needs.
Skin by Ame Pro Tip:
Serums can be potent. Always test on a small area before applying widely. And be mindful of combining acid-containing serums with other products that also include acids.
By: Fola Onifade
The CDC guidelines suggesting that people wear masks in public is the latest form of protection. However, it has also created new concerns regarding our skin.
For those who wear masks often or for long periods of time, the rubbing of fabric against the skin could lead to friction and irritation. Skin under the mask can also become damp from the moisture in our breath, making it susceptible to breakout. Similarly, sweat, dirt or makeup can build up in the fabric and may cause rashes or acne.
To take care of your skin while protecting yourself and others around you, keep in mind these simple rules for wearing a face mask.
Choose a breathable cotton face cover.
The fabric of your face mask can make a huge difference, and experts recommend a mask made of breathable fabric like cotton. You want it to be secure, but not too tight, and remember to touch the mask as little as possible. Check out the CDC's short video to learn how to make a simple, yet effective mask out of materials in your home.
Wash your face before and after wearing a mask.
During this time, you’ll want to hold off on using strong cleansers or exfoliators. Harsh facial cleansers can hurt the outer layer of your skin and increase the likelihood of an irritation from wearing a mask.
Instead, apply a gentle cleanser after you remove your mask. If you’re oily, look for a wash with salicylic acid to remove oil and dead cells. Use lukewarm to wash your face, since hot water can be abrasive to the skin.
Apply moisturizer containing key ingredients.
To prevent compromising your skin’s barrier from the constant rubbing of the mask, apply a moisturizer that includes the trifecta for fighting dryness and irritation: ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Ceramides are a natural skin component that replenish the skin barrier. Hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin by pulling moisture from the environment, and niacinamide (or vitamin B3) soothes the skin and reduces redness. SkinByAme's Raw Shea Butter, which has no additives, makes it the perfect cream to create a moisture barrier for ALL skin types.
If you’re experiencing irritation or inflammation, opt for healing and soothing protective ointments like CeraVe Healing Ointment.
Give your makeup some time off.
If you typically wear makeup on your entire face, it’s time to shift your application to only what’s above eye level. Dermatologists recommend limiting your use of heavy foundations and concealers to prevent clogged pores and breakouts caused by the increased humidity.
Taking care of your skin while wearing a mask will help prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses and infection. So, while these are strange times for everybody, the most important thing is to keep yourself and others safe.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. For the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources, visit the CDC website.
1.) Free Online Workouts
We love the sound of free. Whatever type of workout you’re into, from Instagram to YouTube to professional fitness pages, there's plenty of free content right now. For example, if you want to improve or begin a yoga practice, check out Core Power Yoga’s free live daily online classes.
Or, if you're looking for an HIIT workout, celebrity fitness trainer Massy Arias always provides quick, but powerful workouts via her Instagram, and now she’s adapted to share content that can be done literally on your carpet floor. Trust us, we tried (and struggled till the end).
You can check out this list of over 125 free at-home streaming workouts for more ideas for an indoor fitness session.
2.) Get Outdoors
While we do have to keep our social distance, that doesn’t mean we can’t step outside to soak up some vitamin D. Go for a stroll around your neighborhood and check out this brief guide on how to do a walking meditation.
Turn that stride into a jog if you’re feeling up to it and release all that pent up energy. Even if you don’t make it outside, pop open those windows and let some fresh air waft through your space. Hey, we gotta start somewhere.
3.) Clean Your Crib
While this might not get your heart rate up, it will keep your blood flow moving and your limbs active. Give that oven or refrigerator it’s overdue clean. Spruce up the living room and rearrange the furniture if you’re feeling inspired.
In a time like this, when the anxiety and stress of the pandemic could be hurting our motivation to exercise, keep in mind that the important thing is to keep your muscles active. It doesn’t have to be a workout that will have you gasping for air by the end.
If you want to step it up a notch, add some heat like jumping jacks, push ups, burpees or lunges at the top and bottom of the stairs.
This one is really easy, and possibly our favorite: put on a playlist, turn up the music and dance like you’re having the time of your life. Burning calories while shaking that derrière is our jam.
The key here is less about what you do and more about doing something. Find what gets your body moving and makes you feel good. That’s self care, sis.
Working on your fitness? Tag @skinbyame and let us be your witness!
At Skin by Ame, self care is the epitome of what we do, so we couldn’t think of a better time to share our simple at-home facial with you. In six easy steps, you can experience one of our favorite self care practices from the comfort of your home.
First, start with an oil-based cleanser to remove any makeup or dead skin cells. Next, use a water-based cleanser to get any remaining particles.
Step 3. Exfoliate
Now that you have a clean slate, the next critical step is to exfoliate and prep your skin to absorb moisture and nutrients from your masks. We recommend either of the phsyical exfoliants pictured below if your skin is dull or dry, and be careful not to scratch too hard on your skin.
Use a chemical exfoliant like Paula's Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant if you’re experiencing breakouts and oiliness and make sure to follow the instructions. Stay away from sugar scrubs which tend to overemphasize the pores, especially in the colder months.
Step 4. Steam
For this phase, we highly recommend you snag a facial steamer from Amazon, but if you’re in a pinch or want to go full DIY, you can simply fill an empty bowl with hot water (and maybe some orange slices) and cover your head with a towel. Allow the steam to open and penetrate your pores for 10 minutes.
If your skin is dull or dry, try a hydrating mask like our current favorite turmeric and cranberry mask from Kiehl's. Once you've removed your first mask, apply one of the sheet masks below to allow your skin to absorb healthy nutrients.
Step 6. Moisturize & Massage
Finally, finish off your facial with a moisturizer, like our Hydrating Face Cream, and a massage. We recommend starting with a serum or, you can choose to use our 100% Sweet Almond Oil as a sealant once you’ve applied a good moisturizer.
To massage, you can use our Jade Facial Roller, but your fingers will work just as well. Begin to massage your face by starting at the center of your chin and stroking up and outwards towards your cheekbones. Continue in this circular motion, massaging the center of your forehead and your nostrils. Don’t forget to give behind your ears a good rub.
While your mask is on (and during your self care sesh), give yourself permission to use this time mindfully. If you can, lie down, close your eyes and let the mask penetrate your skin. De-stress with some light reading or meditation. Self care isn’t just about the products, it’s about taking care of your whole body - from the outside in. Happy indulging!
Did you try our guide? Take a pic and tag @skinbyame to show us how you're using your favorite products!
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