Late Summer Fun – Don’t Forget the Sunscreen! And Some Home Remedies when you do.

Late summer and we are still going strong.  Last few weekends at the beach or hiking or kayaking.  It is easy when you are grabbing these waning days of summer to forget the sun protection or to assume that you no longer need to be diligent with sunscreen because you have “built a base tan” through the summer.  But the rule remains:  if you are going to be in the sun, apply (and re-apply often) a sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor of 30 or 35.

And if you do forget your sunscreen, here are some home remedies to calm the sting of sunburn pain:

  1. Use lotions that contain aloe Vera to soothe and moisturize skin. Some aloe products contain lidocaine, an anesthetic that can help relieve sunburn pain.
  2. Topical over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream may help relieve sunburn pain, itch, and swelling.
  3. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) to help relieve pain and inflammation.
  4. Apply cool, not cold, milk with a clean cloth to your skin. The milk will create a protein film that helps ease sunburn discomfort.
  5. Vitamin E, an antioxidant, can help decrease inflammation caused by sunburn. Use Vitamin E oil on the skin, or take a regular dose of the supplement.
  6. Apply freshly brewed tea after it has cooled to skin using a clean cloth. The tannic acid in black tea reportedly helps draw heat from sunburned skin, and also aids in restoring the pH balance.
  7. Cucumbers have natural antioxidant and analgesic properties. Chill cucumbers, then mash in a blender to create a paste, and apply to affected areas including the face.
  8. Place a cool compress on sunburned skin.
  9. Take a cool shower or bath. Add one cup of cider vinegar to a bath to help balance the pH (acid or alkalinity) of sunburned skin, and promote healing; or Soak in an oatmeal bath. This is especially helpful for itchy sunburned skin.
  10. The best remedy is PREVENTION. Always use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and avoid direct sun exposure.

REFERENCES: Best Natural Sunburn Treatment Remedies.



Have Your Fruit & Eat it Too!

This is my first blog, in a series of blogs for the summer focusing on fruits and how it will benefit your skin’s health. This week, I’ll be sharing about rules for eating fruits. Next week, blog will be on Eating fruits for healthy skin.

Rules for eating fruits.

I was born and raised in the Caribbean, where there are abundance of tropical fruits. I grew up eating fruits everyday and I love them. There isn’t a fruit that I dislike. I truly enjoy eating fruits for breakfast, as a snack or whenever I feel hungry. I just cannot resist them. I sometime make a big bowl of fruit salad and eat that all day. But for years I have been eating it in a way that does not allow me to receive the greatest benefit from them. In this blog, I’m going to share with you how to get all those benefits depending on when and how to eat it. At the end of this blog you’ll be a fruit lover if you were not one before!

Its a well know fact that eating fruits is a very important to our well being and health. There are, however, some guidelines on how, when and why to eat fruits, so that it will benefit our health. It is more than just washing, peeling and putting it in our mouth. There is a proper way to eat fruits, so that your entire body will get all the benefits and nutrients and you will have less digestive problems and endless energy.

Fruits have lots of nutrition. They are great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, antioxidant, natural sugars etc. These nutrients help guard against disease, lower high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and give us glowing healthy skin. However, eating fruit whenever you feel like may cause more health problems than it will benefit the body.

Rules for eating fruits:
(1) Fruits should be eaten alone or with other fruits on an empty. Why? When
eaten alone, the stomach can easily process all the nutrients, fiber and
simple sugars contained in the fruit. Eating fruits too close to a meal or
right after a large meal, will cause the fruit and meal to combine in the
stomach with other food and will cause the fruit to rut and ferment in the
stomach, causing problems like indigestion, burping, heartburn and many
digestive problems.
(2) Fruit should be eaten 1hr or 2hrs before a meal. Heavy meals like pasta
wait 3hrs or 4hrs before eating fruit. Burgers wait until the fruit is digested.
Salads require a shorter time.
(3) A big fruit salad (my favorite) should be eaten first thing in the morning on
an empty stomach or as a meal or a mid day snack. Always wait 1 to 2
hours after eating fruit before eating another meal. Give the fruit time to
process and go into your body.
(4) Never eat fruit close to bedtime. I’ve done this many times and spend
all night up watching the ceiling. The sugars in fruit will spike up your
energy and keep you up all night.
(5) Fruit can be eaten as a mid morning snack. Eating lots of fruits at a time
is always good. So have a big fruit salad. We need about 3 to 4 servings
of fruits per day.

These same rules apply to dry fruits. The only exception, is that dry fruits can be sweet and have high calories, so use caution and limit your portion.

Benefits of eating fruits:
(1) Fruit is the best source of natural sugars needed for energy.
(2) It has tons of vitamins
(3) It has tons of antioxidants
(4) It is easier to digest than grains.
(5) It is alkaline. Although it taste acidic, after digestion the end result is
(6) It has loads of pure water to hydrate your cells
(7) It is excellent for good skin health.

I end this blog with this quote I made up, “Let fruits be your medicine, and your medicine be fruits.” Go ahead and stop by the produce section and full your basket with delicious fruits and eat to your hearts desire. Just remember the rules.

This was written by Freida Francis. Esthetician at Blue Heron Wellness

Shining a Light On Sunscreen

If you’re wondering if Summer is here then you didn’t go outside today. It was hot and the sun was out in all its glory. And I was driving around for hours in the sun but I was protected, I had on both a physical and chemical sun screen.

This is the time of year everyone loves. The days are longer, its warmer, you get to shed those heavy winter clothing and bring out the summer gear. the un is out and there are lots of outdoor activity to participate in from picnic, hours at the pool, lazing on beach chairs etc. But this is the time of year that you have to remember to protect your skin with sun protection, clothing, umbrella, or anything that will shield you from direct sun rays.

The question is still being asked, “To wear or not to wear sunscreen” And this blog I’m going to give an Esthetics answer on sunscreen, when to apply it, how much and what type is best for your many outdoor activity.

Why use Sun protection?
(1) The ozone layer is depleting and your body needs protection from harmful
(2) Skin cancer rate is still rising and sunscreen can help to decrease the
development of skin cancer.
(3) Shielding your skin from sun rays will prevent brown spots aka age spots
and discoloration from appearing all over our body.
(4) It also help to reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness.
(5) It will slow down wrinkles and premature aging skin.

But is sun screen our only option? No, if you have allergic reactions to ingredients or want added protection from sun’s harmful rays, try doing the following:
(1) Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. They should be tightly woven
and dark colors like blue, red, yellow etc. Look for bright colored cover
ups. Avoid fabric like eyelet or where light can pass through, cause UV
rays can pass through to your skin.
(2) Wear broad brimmed hat. It will cover up your neck, ears, scalp and face.
Look for a large brimmed hat with 3 to 4 inches that extend around to
protect your face. Baseball caps, sun visors only shade some parts of the
face but not the neck, lower face or ears.
(3) Wear UV blocking sun glasses or look for wrap around or even large
shades that will protect the delicate eye area. Sun glasses can also help
reduce the risk of cataracts.
(4) Look for shaded spots. But be aware that the sunlight can still bounce off
reflective surfaces and get to you underneath a tree, umbrella or tent.
Now lets talk about sun screen. The goal of sun screen is to block ultraviolet light, those harmful rays from the sun. UV light causes skin cancer and premature aging skin. But we don’t want to block all the sunshine. No, I’m not contradicting myself. Direct sun is good for us to boost vitamin D and to improve our mood. But we only need 20 minutes each day of direct sun then apply sunscreen or stay indoors. More than 20 minutes of direct sunlight and our immune system suffers.
There are two types of sunscreen: Physical sunscreen and Chemical sunscreen. I use both when I know I’m going to be out most of the day. Especially during the day when the sun is hottest and strongest between 10am and 3pm.
What is physical sunscreen?
I like this one the most. It lasts much longer because they sit on top of the surface of the skin and physically block the UV rays. They are also called sunblock, mineral sunscreen or physical blocker. The main active ingredients are Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide. But be aware of Titanium Oxide, some people have problems with it clogging there pores. Physical sunscreen work by physically blocking and scattering ultraviolet radiation. They offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Its good for skin that is sensitvie. It doesn’t cause allergies or irritation because they don’t get into the absorbed into the skin. the formulation is quite thick and tends to leave a white cast on the skin. This is my only complaint with physical sunscreen. It is very hard to blend into darker skin and most times leaves our skin looking ashy. And I dislike ashy. I find it best to rub it vigorously between my palms until it is warm and smooth then I pat it on my face. Never rub it like you will apply your moisturizer. It just wouldn’t work. You need to apply about a teaspoon per area and you can be ready for a day in the sun.

What is Chemical Sunscreen?
As its name suggest, it contains synthetic chemical substances that absorbs the UV rays. They are colorless, odorless and feel lighter on your skin. There main active ingredients are: Aminobenzoic acid aka PABA, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone. The chemical sunscreen protects the skin at a cellular level and must interact with skin cells to be effective. Chemical sunscreen acts as a sponge; it absorbs into the skin while it converts the sun rays into less damaging forms of radiation. In order for it to be effective, you need to rub or apply it on the body and wait 20 minutes before sun exposure. They are resistant to sweat and water; therefore they are best for swimming, sweaty sports or a day at the beach or pool. Like physical sunscreen, its an effective broad band protection from both UVA and UVB. I like the chemical sunscreen for its ease in application on darker skin, it goes on clear and does not take a lot of elbow grease to apply. But when I use it, I either apply a physical sunscreen first or mix both chemical and physical sunscreen together.

Things to know:
(1) There is no such thing as a healthy tan. A tan is the skin’s response to the
sun’s damaging rays.
(2) Avoid or stay away from tanning parlors. There UV rays are much more
damaging and more intense than the natural sunlight. These tanning
devices can burn the epidermis and cause premature aging, thickening
of the epidermis, brown spots, dilated capillaries and increase the risk of skin cancer.

So to answer my earlier question, “To wear or not to wear sunscreen?” The answer is Yes. Regardless of your age, gender or race, never leave home without sun protection on a sunny day. And this is not only in the winter but all year round. If you’re still in doubt whether to wear sunscreen or you don’t know which one to use, then remember this quote from Dr. Oz, “Think white (zinc oxide), you’ll get it right.”

Written by Freida Francis
Esthetican at Blue Heron Wellness.

Caring for Itchy, Dry Winter Skin by Freida

After a long day, I usually get home and unwind by taking a long shower with hot water beating on my body especially my shoulders. The water massages my aching shoulders. After a few weeks of doing this “therapeutic massage,” I found my shoulders burning and my skin all over my body itching. The areas that were affected had an extra layer of dry cells. I was concerned because I always moisturize my skin. What was causing the itching and burning? Why was my skin barrier damaged? I always take long showers so that wasn’t strange. I tried coconut oils which are good and hydrating, but they didn’t work. My skin itched even more. I decided to mix my own body oils to lubricate my drying skin cells. I mixed together almond oil, castor oil, apricot oil and vegetable glycerin – all known oils for moisturizing the skin – and that mixture irritated my already-damaged skin barrier. One morning in my frustration, I grabbed my hydrating moisturizing mask (Skin Fitness Hydrating Mask) and applied it to my damaged areas. And I felt some relief immediately. I used it again for a few days until the skin barrier was repaired and hydrated again.

The cold low temperatures really do affect your skin and cause severe dryness and itching. On a cold night you may be tempted to take a long hot shower or soak in a hot soapy water for long periods. But this pleasure can cause serious dryness to the outermost layer, the epidermis, which is the key to the barrier. Taking long showers and baths can strip the outermost layers of its natural oils and rob the body of very important moisture. The outermost layer is made up of overlapping layers of dry cells. The epidermis plays an important role in keeping vital nutrients in and damaging substances and elements out.

Protecting the epidermis is important all year round, and especially in the winter. Here are several tips for protecting the skin barrier during this winter period:

(1) Shorten the bath time. Make it short and not too hot. Pat off the excess
water and apply moisturizers after.
(2) Hydrate the skin immediately after coming out of the shower. Leave some
water on the skin to block the moisture lost. Badger Balm’s Rose Body Oil (available at Blue Heron)
is great to apply at the end of your shower before you pat dry. It helps to seal in moisture.
(3) Drink lots of water. Although water doesn’t moisturize the skin, it keeps
the insides of our body hydrated.
(4) Use a humidifier.
(5) Use a body scrub one day a week to exfoliate the upper layer and remove the dead cells.
(6) Wear warm clothing when going outside. Avoid irritating wool fabrics.

Freida Frances is an Esthetician at Blue Heron Wellness. Click here to book an appointment with Freida.

Protecting Your Eyes From the Aging Effects of Winter

Our eyes are the window to our souls. Its important to take care of this area. Our eyes are surrounded by the most delicate area on the faces. The eyes are the first thing you see when you meet someone. Your eyes can make you seem tired, bored, happy etc. The eyes play a huge part in our body language and they speak a whole language.

The eyes play a huge part in our body language and they speak a whole language. They can tell how much sleep you got or didn’t get, how much alcohol you had, how you’re feeling or not feeling. Therefore its important to pay close attention to the area around our eyes and treat it with diligent care. The skin around the eye is very delicate and thin. It has few oil-producing pores and can be very impacted by the environmental effects of winter. It can cause the skin around the eyes to look dull, dry and dark.

The winter sun can also be damaging. Although not as bright as in the summer, it still has harmful UV rays. Especially when it snows, the impact of the UV rays can be as much as doubled as it is reflected by the snow. This can cause sunburn that ultimately ages the delicate skin around our eyes. UV rays are responsible for 90% of aging and can add years to our appearance.

There is a lot that we can do to manage the impact of winter on our eyes – keeping the tender skin supple and fresh:

(1) Keep the eye area moisturized. Skin that is moist may not wrinkle or crease as much. Use a moisturizer specially formulated for the eyes. Try our top selling eye cream, Tone n Tighten by Skin Fitness. It has all the ingredients that will keep the delicate area healthy and moist. It has shea butter that will moisturizer as well as repair and protect, hyaluronic acid which adds even more moisture by drawing water to the top layer making the eye are plumper, olive oil that will smoothen and moisturize etc. A perfect eye cream to fight the dryness during the winter months. Nugget: This cream can also be used on your parched dry lips.

(2) Wear sunglasses. These block the UV rays from your eyes and from the skin around the eyes.

(3) Bundle up. Yes, Mom was right! Wear scarves, large hats and coat with a hood. This will prevent the cold wind from destroying the delicate eye area. Coats with hoods and hat will block the wind from your face. The eye area is 10 times thinner than the rest of the face. So protect, protect.

With these practical measures, you can safely enjoy winter in all its beauty!

Freida Francis LE

Winter Skin Care Does Not End with Your Face! by Freida Francis

The past couple of days have been beastly cold. I have experienced my face becoming numb. All I kept thinking was, I’m glad I’m wearing moisturizer and makeup. At least its protecting my skin. I also thought of all the damage that our skin goes through, especially on our face, hands and neck.

Here are some tips to combat the damaging cold days with their low temperatures:

(1) Cleanse with hydrating cleanser twice daily

(2) Use a mild exfoliator to get rid of dead cells and dry spots that occurred from the dry and low moisture in air. If you like me experience dryness and dehydration on your hands, then use the same exfoliator on your hands. Try our Skin Fitness cranberry scrub on both your face and hands. Or come in and have a facial and request Ilike botanical AHA peel. Peels at this time of year can be very beneficial. This peel would hydrate while it exfoliate. It will relieve the skin of redness and irritation that occurs during the cold winter months. I love this peel. After you take it off your skin feels so smooth and hydrated, leaving your skin brighter and healthier.

(3) The next step would be to Hydratewith a hydrating mask. Yes, even on your hands. You need to put back the moisture that was lost while you were exposed to the low cold temperature. I highly recommend Skin Fitness Hydrant masque. Use it 2-3 times weekly, or as often as you feel you need it.

Cold temps will leave us all shivering but after the warmer weather returns, we will all be ready to shine through!

PS: This is the best time of year for a facial.

In the next blog I’ll talk about how to protect your delicate eyes during the winter.

Caring for Winter Skin by Freida Francis

Winter skin care takes a little bit of time and attention but the benefits are extraordinary. In a word, care for winter skin requires….HYDRATION. No matter what your skin type, all skin requires hydration especially in the winter. Cold, wind, and indoor heat wicks away moisture from your skin leaving dry skin parched, even flaky, and oily skin even oilier (I will cover caring for oily in a separate post). Your job is to replace that moisture from the inside and the outside.

Hydration starts with water, and plenty of it! Start your day with a full glass of warm – not hot – water before anything else. You can add a touch of lemon if you choose for its cleansing properties. Take your water with you throughout your day and remember to drink it. There are many ways to figure out how much water to drink but strive for at least 4-6 glasses daily.

Hydrate your skin directly twice daily with a proper moisurizer. And, again, this applies to every type of skin – the key is using the correct moisturizer. Oily skin benefits from one formulated for its unique needs. Ilike offers an apple & lemon moisturizer that is wonderful for many oily skin types. Dry skin, depending on condition, needs a bit of a richer blend. Also consider that moisturizers may not be an “all-year round” solution. You may need to use a formulation that responds to winter skin’s demanding challenges. Whatever product you use, make sure its right for your skin, and make sure to apply it morning and night.

Once or twice weekly, use a hydrating mask to ensure that you skin is getting what it needs. This is extremely important if you have truly dry skin or if you managing signs of skin’s aging. Again, the right product is key and you can always bring us your questions at Blue Heron. We would be glad to answer them.

And, of course, using a sunblock remains important in the winter months. The sun still bathes us in its rays and while their warmth feels great, remember moderation and sunblock for safety and to prevent pr-mature aging.

So, caring for your winter skin is not difficult it just requires a bit of your time and attention. I hope to see you at Blue Heron Wellness soon. Bring me your questions. I would love to discuss them with you.

Frieda Frances
Freida is a licenses esthetician and practices at Blue Heron Wellness offering skin care treatment.

Onto the Skin and Into the Body

Onto the Skin and into the Body
Have you ever considered the ingredients that are in your personal care products and how they affect your long term health? The average woman uses 12 different personal care products daily, exposing herself to 160 different chemicals. Men are exposed to about 80 chemicals.  This exposure takes place before we even leave our homes and become exposed to air pollution, UVA/UVB rays and other assailants. Educate yourself so that you can make informed choices as you make selections for your skin care products. Following is a list of the worst ingredient offenders lurking in our bathrooms.

Parabens are a synthetic preservative and antimicrobial agent used in most personal care products from shampoo to moisturizer.  Recent studies have proven that parabens mimic estrogen and can disrupt normal hormone function.  They have also turned up in biopsies performed on breast cancer patients.  A safer alternative to parabens is a product that uses certain essential oils to preserve the product.

Phthalates are plasticizers that stabilize scent.  They are found in most personal care products that contain the word “fragrance.”  Studies have linked the use of phthalates to the depression of normal thyroid function, birth defects effecting the development of genitals of young boys and the sperm counts of adult men.  Synthetic fragrance can contain any combination of chemicals sometimes exceeding 200 different ingredients!  Fragrance is also the most likely allergen in personal care products.  It is also important to note that fragrance is often used to mask the pungent smell of other chemicals being used in a product.  Fragrance may be avoided by using products scented with pure essential oils and floral waters.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a synthetic detergent and foaming agent connected to skin and eye irritation.  SLS has also been linked to the byproduct 1-4 dioxane, a suspected carcinogenic contaminant produced during the ethoxylation process.  It is best to avoid this ingredient and look for “eth” at the end of other ingredient names to detect the ethoxylation process.  If you are looking for a natural cleanser with foaming action, look for coconut derived ingredients that have the prefix “coca.”

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are emulsifiers and foaming agents that can produce skin dryness and allergic reactions.  When mixed with other chemicals commonly found in personal care products, they can become carcinogenic and have been linked to stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.

Diazolidinyl, Imidazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15 are often used as preservatives and have been found to release formaldehyde. They have been linked to contact dermatitis.

When shopping for your personal care products, look for short ingredient lists and essential oils (EOs).  The EOs are often used not only as fragrance, but as preservatives thus bypassing most of these worst offenders.