Archive for the ‘Natural Beauty Tips’ Category

Organic Facial Cleanser: The Ultimate Anti-Acne Facial

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Do you suffer from acne, severely oily skin, breakouts?  Is your skin breaking out this summer.  Maybe you need to try Organic Apoteke’s new Prana Facial.

Ideal for clarifying and detoxifying, the Prana Facial actively clears the skin. Our highly effective products works directly with the body to correct sebum imbalances and calm inflammation. Our unique massage technique stimulates circulation for deep healing.

Before Prana Facial Treatment

Before Prana Facial Treatment

After Prana Facial Treatment

After Prana Facial Treatment


Do you suffer from clogged pores, blemishes, or inflamed skin?

Then this facial is for you. Click here for more information and before and after pictures.

Duration: 50 minutes

  • Share/Bookmark

Natural Skin Care : The dangers of Phenoxyethanol

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Phenoxyethanol, glycol ether often derived from natural sources, is a popular antibacterial and preservative chemical, used by many so called natural and organic skin care brands. It  is also used in many vaccines and bug repellants.

A few beauty brands marketed as the greenest in the industry use phenoxyethanol as a preservative, suggesting that it is derived from grapefruit. Well, cocamide DEA is derived from coconut but this doesn’t make it any less toxic!

Chemically known as ethylene glycol phenyl ether or ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, phenoxyethanol is an ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with carcinogenic toxin 1,4-Dioxane.

According to Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, phenoxyethanol affected brain and nervous system in animals at moderate doses. In 1990 Journal of the American College of Toxicology reported that phenoxyethanol also acts as an endocrine disruptor that also caused damage to bladder and acute pulmonary edema in animals. Early 1980s studies also suggest that phenoxyethanol can cause DNA mutations – again, only in animals, as it was not tested on humans.

Phenoxyethanol is a scientifically proven irritant to human skin and eyes (Comparison of objective and sensory skin irritations of several cosmetic preservatives. Lee E, An S, Choi D, Moon S, Chang I. Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Mar;56(3):131-6.) and it is classified as irritant in European Union. Phenoxyethanol is also restricted for use in Japan.

No matter what the studies say, phenoxyethanol is deemed perfectly safe for use in cosmetics in the U.S. and UK in concentrations of up to 1 percent. This means, a 200 ml bottle of shampoo contains a teaspoon of phenoxyethanol!

The most surprising it that the Soil Association, the organic certification body in the UK permits the use of phenoxyethanol in products that it certifies organic. Please read the organic ingredients on products.

All Organic Apoteke products are free of phenoxyethanol and phenoxyethanol residues.

  • Share/Bookmark

Natural & Organic Skincare : Sunscreens exposed by the EWG

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays. FDA’s failure to finalize its 1978 sunscreen safety standards both epitomizes and perpetuates this state of confusion. EWG’s review of the latest research unearthed troubling facts that might tempt you to give up on sunscreens altogether. That’s not the right answer – despite the unknowns about their efficacy, public health agencies still recommend using sunscreens, just not as your first line of defense against the sun. At EWG we use sunscreens, but we look for shade, wear protective clothing and avoid the noontime sun before we smear on the cream. Here are the surprising facts:

1. There’s no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations say: “FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” (FDA 2007). The International Agency for Research on Cancer agrees. IARC recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation and writes that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun” (IARC 2001a). Read more.

2. There’s some evidence that sunscreens might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people.

Some researchers have detected an increased risk of melanoma among sunscreen users. No one knows the cause, but scientists speculate that sunscreen users stay out in the sun longer and absorb more radiation overall, or that free radicals released as sunscreen chemicals break down in sunlight may play a role. One other hunch: Inferior sunscreens with poor UVA protection that have dominated the market for 30 years may have led to this surprising outcome. All major public health agencies still advise using sunscreens, but they also stress the importance of shade, clothing and timing.

3. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they’re better.

In 2007 the FDA published draft regulations that would prohibit companies from labeling sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) higher than “SPF 50+.” The agency wrote that higher values were “inherently misleading,” given that “there is no assurance that the specific values themselves are in fact truthful…” (FDA 2007). Scientists are also worried that high-SPF products may tempt people to stay in the sun too long, suppressing sunburns (a late, key warning of overexposure) while upping the risks of other kinds of skin damage.

Flaunting FDA’s proposed regulation, companies substantially increased their high-SPF offerings in 2010. Nearly one in six products now lists SPF values higher than 50, compared to only one in eight the year before, according to EWG’s analysis of nearly 500 beach and sport sunscreens. Neutrogena, with six products labeled “SPF 100,” and Banana Boat, with four, stand out among the offenders.

4. Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that sunshine serves a critical function in the body that sunscreen appears to inhibit — production of vitamin D. The main source of vitamin D in the body is sunshine, and the compound is enormously important to health – it strengthens bones and the immune system, reduces the risk of various cancers (including breast, colon, kidney, and ovarian cancers) and regulates at least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body. (Mead 2008) Over the last two decades, vitamin D levels in the U.S. population have been decreasing steadily, creating a “growing epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency” (Ginde 2009a). Seven of every 10 U.S. children now have low levels. Those most likely to be deficient include children who are obese or who spend more than four hours daily in front of the TV, computer or video games (Kumar 2009).

Experts disagree on the solution. The American Medical Association has recommended 10 minutes of direct sun (without sunscreen) several times a week (AMA 2008), while the American Academy of Dermatology holds that “there is no scientifically validated, safe threshold level of UV exposure from the sun that allows for maximal vitamin D synthesis without increasing skin cancer risk” (AAD 2009). Vitamin D supplements are the alternative, but there is debate over the proper amount. The Institute of Medicine has launched new research to reassess the current guidelines. In the meantime, your doctor can test your vitamin D levels and give advice on sunshine versus supplements.

5. The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.

Recently available data from an FDA study indicate that a form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions (NTP 2009). This evidence is troubling because the sunscreen industry adds vitamin A to 41 percent of all sunscreens.

The industry puts vitamin A in its formulations because it is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging. That may be true for lotions and night creams used indoors, but FDA recently conducted a study of vitamin A’s photocarcinogenic properties, the possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight. Scientists have known for some time that vitamin A can spur excess skin growth (hyperplasia), and that in sunlight it can form free radicals that damage DNA (NTP 2000).

In FDA’s one-year study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent sooner in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream (at a concentration of 0.5%) than animals treated with a vitamin-free cream. Both groups were exposed to the equivalent of just nine minutes of maximum intensity sunlight each day.

It’s an ironic twist for an industry already battling studies on whether their products protect against skin cancer. The FDA data are preliminary, but if they hold up in the final assessment, the sunscreen industry has a big problem. In the meantime, EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens with vitamin A (look for “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol” on the label).

6. Free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts of sunscreen.

Both UV radiation and many common sunscreen ingredients generate free radicals that damage DNA and skin cells, accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer. An effective sunscreen prevents more damage than it causes, but sunscreens are far better at preventing sunburn than at limiting free radical damage. While typical SPF ratings for sunburn protection range from 15 to 50, equivalent “free radical protection factors” fall at only about 2. When consumers apply too little sunscreen or reapply it infrequently, behaviors that are more common than not, sunscreens can cause more free radical damage than UV rays on bare skin.

7. Pick your sunscreen: nanomaterials or potential hormone disruptors.

The ideal sunscreen would completely block the UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours and not form harmful ingredients when degraded by UV light. It would smell and feel pleasant so that people use it in the right amount and frequency.

Unsurprisingly, there is currently no sunscreen that meets all of these criteria. The major choice in the U.S. is between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone systems, and “mineral” sunscreens (zinc and titanium), which often contain micronized- or nano-scale particles of those minerals.

After reviewing the evidence, EWG determined that mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today’s choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. They offer UVA protection, which is sorely lacking in most of today’s sunscreen products. Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) is another good option, but it’s sold in very few formulations. Tinosorb S and M could be great solutions but are not yet available in the U.S. For consumers who don’t like mineral products, we recommend sunscreens with avobenzone (3 percent for the best UVA protection) and without the notorious hormone disruptors oxybenzone or 4-MBC. Scientists have called for parents to avoid using oxybenzone on children due to penetration and toxicity concerns.

8. Europe’s better sunscreens.

Sunscreen makers and users in Europe have more options than in the United States. In Europe, sunscreen makers can select from among 27 chemicals for their formulations, compared to 17 in the U.S. Companies selling in Europe can add any of seven UVA filters to their products, but have a choice of only three when they market in the U.S. European sunscreens could earn FDA’s proposed four-star top rating for UVA protection, while the best U.S. products would earn only three stars. Sunscreen chemicals approved in Europe but not by the FDA provide up to five times more UVA protection; U.S. companies have been waiting five years for FDA approval to use the same compounds. Last but not least, Europeans will find many sunscreens with strong (mandatory) UVA protection if proposed regulations in Europe are finalized. Under FDA’s current proposal, Americans will not.

9. The 33rd summer in a row without final U.S. sunscreen safety regulations.

In the United States, consumer protection has stalled because of the FDA’s 32-year effort to set enforceable guidelines for consumer protection. EWG has found a number of serious problems with existing products, including overstated claims about their perfomance and inadequate UVA protection. Many of these will be remedied when the FDA’s proposed sunscreen rule takes effect. But even after the rule is enacted, gaps will remain. FDA does not consider serious toxicity concerns such as hormone disruption when approving new sun filters, and the new rules would fail to measure sunscreen stability despite ample evidence that many products break down quickly in sunlight.

To read more, please link to EWG

  • Share/Bookmark

Natural and Organic Skin Care: Harmful ingredients in Sunscreens – Oxybenzone

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is highlighting a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) alleging risks associated with the sunsceen ingredient oxybenzone.

The organisation estimates that 97 percent of Americans it tested for the study were contaminated by the ingredient, which has been linked to allergies such as hormone disruption and cell damage.

The organisation also says that a companion study published just a few days earlier also links the chemical to low birth weight in baby girls, whose mothers are exposed to the chemical during pregnancy.

Oxybenzone is a chemical compound derived from benzophenone and is used in a wide spectrum of sunscreen products as a means of absorbing potentially dangerous UVA rays.

However, concerns brought about by earlier scientific studies have led authorities in the EU to regulate that any sunscreen product containing a more than 5 percent dose of oxybenzone should be labelled accordingly.

This is because studies have shown that the oxybenzone can penetrate the skin’s dermal layer, where it can increase production of free radicals, leading to the production of photocarinogen.

Currently there are no such regulations in place in the United States.

Currently over 900 sunscreen products use the chemical

Please use this link to view the list of products containing oxybenzone.

The group actually names key sunscreen brands, including Olay, L’oreal, Hawaiin Tropical, Coopertone and Banana Boat, which all contain the chemical.

“The Food and Drug Administration has failed miserably in its duty to protect the public from toxic chemicals like oxybenzone in personal care products,” the EWG said in a statement.

The statement also accused the FDA of delaying final sunscreen safety standards for nearly thirty years because of the interests of industry lobbyists.

Organic Apoteke products are free of oxybenzone.

  • Share/Bookmark

Natural Skin Care : Interview with Lauren Fornes

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Lauren Fornes

Lauren Fornes

Lauren Fornes is an esthetician and one of the most charming people we have met since bringing Organic Apoteke to the US in 2007. Lauren’s much loved blog Faceparlour is informative and smart, and is morphing into something new and exciting: The Skinny (a private sale site that offers luxury skin care at affordable prices).

We had a chat with Lauren as she gets ready to offer Organic Apoteke (from Nov 11th to the 18th).

What do you look for in a skin care products?
Right now I’m pregnant, so given that I look for a combination of safe and effective ingredients.

With winter coming up what type of product do you recommend?
Most people tend to have drier skin, so I recommend switching to more nourishing products. The easiest way to do this is usually with a cleanser. If you use a cleansing gel or a foaming cleanser, switch to a cleansing milk or cream. You could also consider switching to a richer moisturizer, if your skin feels tight immediately after application.

Are there any ingredients that you look for in your fall and winter skin care products?
In the fall and winter I like to feel cozy, so I am drawn to scents that are cozy like rose, and chamomile and mint. I find those charming in the winter.

Your first experience with Organic Apoteke was with our Buttermilk Cleanser, which you gave a very high score (the highest ever, I believe) what do you look for in a cleanser?
At the time I was rating products based on three criteria: safety, efficacy and sustainability. This product scored remarkably high in all three categories. Additionally, on the marketing side, it didn’t over-sell or over-promise, which is a common tendency is skin care.

Why did you give it (Buttermilk Cleanser) such a high rating?
It is not hard to create an effective cleanser. But many of the cleaning agents (surfactants and the like) are the same ingredients you use to clean your car or your dishes. Your skin is more sensitive. The ingredients may get absorbed into your bloodstream. It’s important to maintain the effectiveness but without the harshness. Your Buttermilk Cleanser was light and creamy, a very good natural, holistic alternative.

Is there any other Organic Apoteke product that just can’t live without?
I love the Sicilian Orange and Mandarin Body Cleanse Gel and Body Hydrate oil. They both live in my shower.

You’re pregnant, congratulations! How has this affected your approach to personal care products?
The moment I found out I was pregnant I cried with joy and panicked a little…it was one thing to expose myself toxic ingredients, but I couldn’t do that to this tiny person inside me. I went through the bathroom cabinet and got rid of all the junk, then headed to a local organic home store and bought all the safe and effective alternatives.

You recently started The Skinny.  What is it and how does it work?
You (and possibly your readers) are familiar with the sample sale craze (Gilt Groupe, Hautelook, etc). We’re similar, except we’re focused exclusively on luxury skin care at affordable prices (up to 70% off retail). You can join at www.shoptheskinny.com. As a member, you receive weekly emails announcing a new brand shopping event. This week we’re featuring Organic Apoteke, so I’m sure your readers will be excited!

How is going?
It is going really well. We’ve been written up by Daily Candy, Cooking Light Magazine. Plus, we’re getting amazing feedback from our members – that is the most encouraging part.

Organic Apoteke offers a full range of natural and organic facial skincare including organic facial cleansers and organic eye cream.

  • Share/Bookmark

Age and Ageing : The Solution

Friday, May 21st, 2010

You may have observed how frequently our concept of age needs readjustment. Just found a great paper by Hayslip and Panek (1993) who categorise age in a number of different ways.

Chronological Age:

The length of time since birth which forms the basis of many peoples views on how ‘young’ or ‘old’ they are. But this can be contrasted with biological age.

Biological Age:

This is the physical age of ones body. If a healthy diet and exercise is maintained, body organs and processes may appear to be those of a much younger chronological age. The opposite also applies.

Social Age:

This is defined by the habits, behaviours, interests and attitudes of a person. People in their sixties may share the attitudes and interests of their children and identify with people with chronological ages of 20 to 30.  Ever heard the expression ‘young at heart’. Act young, be young.

Psychological Age:

This refers to our adaptive behaviours and the way we cope with situations. If you do not become fixed in your attitudes and are able to change and adapt to different situations your psychological age may be that of an adventurous twenty something.

Trying to describe age is subjective. Hence the concept of functional age has come into favour. Functional age is obtained by measuring performance on the above four  ranges.  This is a useful way of thinking about age as it defines us in our actual ability rather than how long we have been alive.

Can you calculate your functional age? The good thing with this, is you can take steps to improve it. Lets share some ideas on how to improve functional age. Using great, natural or herbal skin care products definitely fits into that plan.

  • Share/Bookmark

Latest Research: DOES EXERCISING YOUR SKIN GUARANTEE RAPID WEIGHT LOSS?

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

WeightlossFor centuries we have known that exercise is essential for good health – it gets the heart pumping and increases circulation. We know this is fact because after a 5 mile run our cheeks are glowing red and our heart rate is up. Improved circulation ensures that all the cells in our body get the nutrients and oxygen they need.

Organic Apoteke has developed products that also get the blood flowing to your cheeks without the 5 mile run. In fact this occurs while you sit on your couch for 15 minutes.

Organic Apoteke’s  innovative products stimulate microcirculation ensuring your skin gets as much blood flowing as you would from:

  • a 5 mile run
  • a 75 minute workout, or
  • a 2 hour hike.

The research shows that the Organic Apoteke products do not help with weight loss, but do ensure gorgeous, glowing skin.

  • Share/Bookmark

Best Detox: Megs Makeup reviews Organic Apoteke’s Detox Face Mask

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
Megs Makeup reviews Organic Apoteke's Detox Face Mask

Megs Makeup reviews Organic Apoteke's Detox Face Mask

We all try to be healthy, try to avoid the nasties, but there are times when we all over indulge. The holidays are one such time. Thats okay, because there are great products that help you detox. We are all in need of those. Megs Makeup reviewed Organic Apoteke’s Detox Face Mask. See what they have to say here.

  • Share/Bookmark

Animal Testing : Cruelty Free Natural Skin Care

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
This cute little chap will be subjected to awful tests!

This cute little chap will be subjected to awful tests!

Researchers from Japan’s Josai University, have published exciting research about animal testing alternatives in Pharmacetical Research Journal November 2009 [PMID: 19904581]  GOOD NEWS!. Their conclusion:

Ingredient concentration in skin can be precisely predicted using a silicone membrane

The image is with thanks from Wikipedia where the Founder (Jimmy Wales) has put a personal ‘Appeal to Read’ about animal testing of cosmetics.

Talking of images…..With Copenhagen Climate Change Conference http://en.cop15.dk/ in its final stages…..Even the Google UK Doodle competition highlights the natural beauty of the Earth, by a 15-year old artist inspired by David Attenborough’s unique perspective of Nature.

Sophie Redford(15) inspired by David Attenborough depiction of the beauty of the natural world
Sophie Redford(15) inspired by the beauty of the natural world

I would love to read your views on animal testing. I can assure you that Organic Apoteke does NOT & has NEVER been involved in animal testing. We are therefore accredited as cruelty-free and Vegetarian Society approved.

Please feel to ask any questions.

Warm wishes for the Holidays!

  • Share/Bookmark

Herbal Skin Care : Useful Stocking Stuffers

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Gifts that people want

Gifts that people want

The holidays are upon us. This has been a strange year, although the festive lights and decorations were up in early November, the holiday spirit seems to have been delayed. 

Hence with less than 10 days to go, I have began my present picking in earnest. Hoping that the frost and freeze in the UK does not delay deliveries as most of my shopping is being done online , I proceed to make my list.

I want to give gifts that people actually need. For me, last minute shopping will not result in presenting my loved ones with senseless and useless objects and trinkets that find their way from the back shelf to the charity store in 6 months.

Here goes my list and rational behind them:

1. Everybody could do with a  detox in January after the holiday nibbles, have been cast aside. My number one stocking stuffer is the Organic Apoteke Detox Face Mask.  All the puddings, candy and buttery roasts have their toll on your skin. This product is the ideal solution. Incidently last Christmas this sold out, so it seems that many have been thinking along the same lines.

2. Blink & Outlier, 2 books by Malcolm Gladwell. Both are real easy reads, very well written and share information we all need to know.

3. Natural, Herbal Body Cream to heal and protect winter skin. I can’t seem to have enough of the stuff this winter. My skin feeling drier than ever. Ensure you choose creams that are natural, organic and free from all the nasties. When you are covering the largest surface area with something, it has to be the best of the best. Remember everything you put on your skin gets into your body. When you put something on a larger area of your skin, more gets in.

4. Massage Vouchers at Spas close to your loved ones homes. These are easy to buy. Locate a Spa within easy reach for the recipient, either call them or go online and purchase a voucher for whatever value you are comfortable with. We all need some TLC after the last year, massage definitely makes the grade in that department.

5. A session with a lifecoach, yoga, meditation or tai chi instructor. Give them something they may not have tried but are inclined to enjoy. You many just help change somebodies life.

  • Share/Bookmark