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Choosing a sunscreen can be overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider (SPF, formulation, application, etc.) that it’s easy to give up and just pick the first one you see. One of the most confusing elements of the process is deciding whether to buy a physical sunscreen or a chemical one.

If you’re uncertain whether you want to transition from a chemical sunscreen to a physical one, here are some points of difference to help you choose which type of sunscreen is best for you.

What isPhysical Sunscreen

  • Contains physical sun blockers; active mineral ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
  • Provides chemical-free broad spectrum coverage (protects against both UVA and UVB rays).
  • Remains on the surface of your skin.
  • Acts like tiny mirrors reflecting, refracting and absorbing rays.
  • Begins working as soon as you apply.
  • Less likely to cause irritation on your skin.
  • Is available in a range of SPF levels and can be very water-resistant.

What is Chemical Sunscreen

  • Contains organic (carbon-based) chemical compounds.
  • Provides broad spectrum coverage by combining multiple ingredients; zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are also used in some formulas.
  • Works by penetrating your skin’s surface.
  • Absorbs the sun’s rays into the ingredients like a sponge.
  • Requires approximately 20 minutes to fully sink into your skin.
  • Increased likelihood of skin irritation due to the combination of ingredients.
  • Is available in a range of SPF levels and can be very water-resistant.

Are you ready to try a chemical-free sunscreen? Look no further because jane iredale has seven physical sunscreens that have earned The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval: PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation SPF 20, Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder SPF 20, Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream SPF 25, Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen SPF 30, LipDrink Lip Balm SPF 15 and HandDrink Hand Cream SPF 15. Want to learn more about sunscreen? Click here to see important facts about SPF and sun exposure.

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Chemical peels can help your skin look younger and smoother, but chemical peel recovery can take time.

According to a 2018 study, chemical peels are the third most commonly performed non-invasive cosmetic procedure in the U.S., with over 1.3 million procedures performed in 2016. Nearly all peeling agents are safe and effective.

Still, no matter how good your chemical peel is, you’re likely to experience some side effects that will require post-peel treatment. Here, we examine how you can make your recovery easier and increase the likelihood that you’ll be happy with the results.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of your skin, usually on your face, but you can also perform it on your neck and hands.

The idea is to get rid of the old dead skin cells on the surface of the skin so that the newer, younger cells can emerge from underneath. The regenerated skin typically looks smoother, younger, and more radiant than the old skin did.

To achieve this updated look, you (or your dermatologist) apply a chemical solution to the skin that helps exfoliate it. That chemical solution causes trauma or injury to the skin’s layers, forcing them to peel away and reveal more youthful skin underneath.

There are three basic types of chemical peels:

Superficial or light peel

This peel uses alpha-hydroxy and other mild acids to penetrate the outer layer of skin and gently slough away old, dead skin cells. It helps to improve mild discoloration and rough skin and gives your appearance a nice pick-me-up.

Recovery takes between a few hours to a few days, depending on the chemicals used. The skin may appear red or be slightly irritated. You can repeat the procedure every 2-5 weeks.

Medium peel

This is a more aggressive peel and uses glycolic or trichloroacetic acid to penetrate the outer layer and part of the middle layer of the skin. It removes dead and damaged skin cells and can help improve the look of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, and moderate hyperpigmentation. It can also smooth rough skin.

Recovery takes between 7-14 days. Skin will be red and swollen for the first 48 hours or so. Blisters may form and break, and skin will crust and peel off within a couple of weeks. You can repeat the procedure if needed after a few months.

Deep peel

The most aggressive of the three, this peel uses trichloroacetic acid or phenol to penetrate the outer and middle layers of the skin even more deeply than a medium peel. It helps to remove moderate lines, age spots, freckles, and shallow scars and may help treat precancerous growths. This peel can produce a dramatic improvement, but recovery will take longer.

Expect 14-21 days for healing. The treated area will need to be bandaged and the skin soaked four to six times daily for the first 14 days. Patients must avoid all sun exposure for 3-6 months after this sort of peel. A repeat procedure is usually not recommended.

Why Is Chemical Peel Recovery Necessary?

Except for the very mild chemical peels, most produce some side effects on the skin. The most common include:

  • Redness: Since a peel removes some of the skin, it will likely be red and irritated.
  • Swelling: That removal of the upper and potentially middle layers of the skin can cause swelling as the immune system works to heal the “injury.”
  • Scabbing: As part of the normal healing process, the skin may scab over the “injured” areas for a time.
  • Scarring: Sometimes, a peel can cause scarring, typically on the lower part of the face.
  • Changes in skin color: Though not common, a chemical peel can cause the treated area of the skin to turn darker or lighter than usual. These changes are more common in people of color and can be permanent.
  • Infection: Usually after a medium or deep peel, your dermatologist will prescribe antibiotics to help you avoid an infection. With the removal of the dead skin cells, the skin becomes vulnerable to bacterial, fungal, or viral invaders.

7 Ways to Make Chemical Peel Recovery Easier

How you care for your skin after a peel can make a big difference in your results.

We suggest the following 7 steps to help your skin heal quickly and thoroughly.

Restorative Skin Balm Chemical Peel1. Stay Away from the Sun and the Heat

Your skin will be fragile after a peel, particularly if you get a medium or deep peel. If you expose those new, young cells to the sun, you risk permanent scarring and damage to the skin. Therefore you must take all the precautions necessary to avoid sun exposure until your skin is completely healed. That includes staying indoors, using hats and umbrellas, and applying sunscreen.

Extremely hot showers and excessive sweating can also rush the peeling process and may result in scarring. So it’s best to use only lukewarm (or cool) water and to take it easy with your workouts while your skin is healing.

2. Use Cold Compresses

If your skin is swollen after a peel, use cold compresses to ease the swelling and discomfort. A soft cloth immersed in cool water is best—avoid placing ice directly on the affected area. Soaking your skin in cool water can also help and is often advised after medium or deep peels.

We also recommend using our Rescue + Relief Spray as needed. It helps soothe redness and tame inflammation without you having to touch the sensitive areas, reducing your risk of infection. Ingredients like valerian and comfrey also produce calm while providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

If you store this spray in the refrigerator, it will feel cool and refreshing on your skin and will give you instant, hydrating relief.

3. Apply Skim Balms and Ointments

When your skin has gone through the trauma of a chemical peel, it typically needs more than just your normal moisturizer. Your dermatologist may recommend an ointment or cream that will help keep the skin moist while it heals. Moisture is critical to smooth healing and can help you avoid scabbing and scarring.

We recommend our Restorative Skin Balm as a healing balm post peel. It’s an all-natural, petroleum-free balm that contains vitamin E to aid in wound healing as well as beeswax to safeguard the moisture barrier. Seabukthorn oil and arnica provide antioxidants that help heal and regenerate skin.

Our customers love that this balm encourages faster restoration of healthy skin for a speedy recovery!

4. Don’t Pick!

Your skin may peel after a few days. No matter how tempted you are, it’s critical not to pick or pull at your peeling skin or scabs. If you do so, you could increase your risk of infection or scarring. Instead, simply apply moisture to those areas.

Calming Moisture Chemical Peel5. Moisturize More Than Usual

The best way to aid your skin in recovering from a peel or any cosmetic procedure is to step up your hydration. Rather than moisturizing only in the morning and before bed, you should moisturize every two hours, particularly if you had a medium or deep peel.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon to moisturize 10-20 times a day after a cosmetic procedure. For a light peel, it’s best to moisturize at least one extra time per day for a week.

Moisture helps the skin regenerate more evenly and will reduce your risk of hard scabs and scars. You can use the Restorative Skin Balm we mentioned above, or in between balm applications, use our Calming Moisture to smooth and camouflage the peeling areas. Make sure you’re using a moisturizing, creamy cleanser as well.

6. Hydrate Hydrate!

While you’re applying balm and moisturizer to the surface of your skin, it’s important to stay hydrated inside too. A chemical peel can be like a burn to the skin, and your skin will react by pulling moisture from the deeper layers to heal. You need to replenish that moisture from the inside out by drinking water throughout the day.

7. Wait Before Using Makeup

Though you can probably use makeup a day after a superficial peel without repercussions, for more serious peels it will be best to avoid makeup at least for the first few days. With a medium peel, you’ll want to wait 5-7 days, and with a deep peel, at least 14 days.

Applying makeup too soon can irritate your skin and may increase your risk of infection. Whenever you go back to using makeup, make sure your brushes have been cleaned and that you’re using newer products that are less likely to be contaminated with bacteria.

Talk to Us About Your Cosmetic Surgery Recovery

If you’ve gone through a cosmetic procedure like a chemical peel and you have questions, feel free to contact our skin care specialists. They can help recommend products that may speed up your healing as well as techniques to tame inflammation and swelling.

How do you speed recovery after a chemical peel?

Featured photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

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Do you suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity?

You may not know it if you do. That’s because this is a fairly new condition that scientists and doctors are currently exploring.

What you should know is that anyone can develop this condition, and it can have significant effects on your life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to recover.

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a syndrome triggered by exposure to chemicals, in which the individual has trouble processing or managing these chemicals when they come into contact with them. Also called environmental intolerance, it is a complex condition that manifests as a result of exposure to various contaminants at typically safe or nontoxic doses.

Researchers examined the condition in the scientific journal The American Family Physician back in 1998. They described MCS as a syndrome “in which multiple symptoms reportedly occur with low-level chemical exposure.” At that time, the condition was thought to be most commonly related to a single severe chemical exposure, such as which may occur with a chemical spill, or longer-term exposure to more toxic chemicals.

Today, however, researchers and doctors alike treat patients with MCS from chemicals found in everyday products like soaps, detergents, cosmetics, plastics, perfumes, paint, cigarette smoke, carpeting and furniture, and more.

What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Symptoms of MCS can vary, but typically include those like the following:

  • Headaches
  • Itching and skin rashes
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Burning or stinging eyes, nose, or throat
  • Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing
  • Digestive problems (nausea, gas, diarrhea)
  • Insomnia, trouble sleeping
  • Sinus problems (congestion, sinus pressure, nosebleeds)
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion

Can You Be Clinically Diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

So far, the scientific and medical communities are still debating whether MCS should be an official clinical condition. According to John Hopkins, many in the medical community feel the symptoms are physical manifestations of psychiatric illness rather than a primary medical illness.

Others, however, believe that MCS is a negative physical reaction to certain chemicals. In a 1999 letter to the editor, printed in the American Family Physician, Dr. Grace Ziem stated, “I am a physician practicing occupational medicine who cares for hundreds of patients with MCS.” She noted that out of 100 patients with MCS seen in her practice, 88 percent met the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (another potential symptom of MCS) and 49 percent met the criteria for fibromyalgia.

She went on to say that in her experience, MCS most often developed after repeated exposure to petrochemicals, combustion products, pesticides, solvents, chemicals used in the remodeling of buildings, adhesives, and more.

Could Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Be Related to Beauty Products?

Though most of the scientific literature to date has focused on occupational exposure (at work) to chemicals and how that may cause MCS, John Hopkins and other medical and scientific research centers acknowledge that exposure to chemicals in soaps, detergents, and cosmetics can also trigger symptoms in people with MCS.

Here at CV Skinlabs, we have long warned about the dangers of using beauty products with certain toxic chemicals like phthalates, formaldehyde, and 1,4-dioxane, among others. Exposure to these types of chemicals over and over again for years can’t be good for us. Though low levels may not cause problems, we’re talking about accumulating decades of exposure to chemicals that can be harmful and in some cases, even carcinogenic.

In the 1998 overview of MCS that was published in American Family Physician, researchers reviewed the data and noted what items patients were exposed to before experiencing symptoms of MCS. Among industrial chemicals such as those from diesel exhaust, asphalt pavement, and paint thinner were these personal-care and home products:

  • Aerosol air freshener
  • Aerosol deodorant
  • After-shave lotion
  • Colognes, perfumes
  • Dry cleaning fluid
  • Furniture polish
  • Hair spray
  • Insect repellant
  • Laundry detergent
  • Nail polish
  • Public restroom deodorizers
  • Shampoo

Indeed, personal- and home-care products were primary triggers of MCS symptoms, with patients doing their best to avoid these triggers after reacting to them.

How Does Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Develop?

Scientists are still researching this condition. From what they know so far, they believe that MCS can develop from:

  1. Allergy: Exposure to the chemical over and over again for long periods can trigger an allergic reaction. This is particularly common with fragrance ingredients.
  2. Toxicologic Effects: Could patients with MCS experience toxic effects even from low doses of certain chemicals? This is another theory, but one that lacks supporting evidence.
  3. Inflammation: Some scientists theorize that as individuals are exposed to certain chemicals time and time again, the body begins to react with inflammation. As the inflammation becomes chronic, it causes damage to tissues and organs, lowering the body’s resistance to those chemicals.
  4. Neurobiologic Sensitization: After being exposed so many times, patients may develop an increasing neurologic sensitivity to the chemical. In animal studies, subjects repeatedly exposed to seizure-inducing chemicals or electrical stimulation have been found to develop lower thresholds for seizure induction than those observed before exposure. The same thing could happen in humans with exposure to other chemicals.
  5. Psychiatric Illness: Some scientists have also noticed a correlation between patients with MCS and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. There is a possibility that the disease can be a manifestation of a mental illness.

How Do I Treat Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

There are no standard diagnostic criteria for MCS, so there is no standard treatment either. Some doctors have suggested the following steps:

  • Address any mental illness that may be present.
  • If you’re avoiding certain activities in your life because of MCS, it’s important to work with your doctor to gradually recover your normal life routine.
  • Avoid those chemicals that trigger symptoms, but try not to let that avoidance limit your life.

The truth is that it’s impossible to avoid exposure to chemicals in our modern world. They are all around us. We can, however, make healthier choices that limit how many chemicals are getting into our bodies. To do that, we recommend these tips:

  • Choose fragrance-free cosmetics and beauty products, as well as laundry detergent and other personal-care items.
  • Buy personal-care products from companies that are more conscientious about the ingredients they use. We highly suggest CV Skinlabs! Our ingredients are NOT linked to allergies and toxic effects. We are a truly non-toxic brand.
  • Avoid areas where people smoke.
  • Hang your dry-cleaning in the garage or somewhere outside of the home for a couple of days before bringing it in.
  • Use home-cleaning products with fewer toxic chemicals as often as you can. You can also make your own cleaners with vinegar, dish soap, and other gentler ingredients. (See our post, “Are These 5 Housecleaning Products Poisoning Your Home?”)
  • Check with your doctor to rule out other potential issues like fibromyalgia, infections, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle that includes a “clean” diet, regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, and connections with loved ones.

Do you have symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity?

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