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Beauty, Body, Health News, Health Prevention

How to Shop For Skin Care Products

March 27, 2013

With so much information out there on what NOT to put on our skin, there should be some simple rules when it comes to shopping for skin care, right? Well we went to our favorite skin care consultant for the answer.

What should we put on our skin? There’s a lot of talk about what to avoid when you’re buying skin care, but I actually prefer to look for what’s IN the products I’m buying. Still, when we know that the FDA only comes after skin care companies if there is a complaint, which means that more or less, any ingredient is OK, it definitely makes a “what to avoid” list desirable. While they are cracking down on certain claims, like anti-aging, no testing is required before putting a product on the market. That means it’s really up to you to. At least for now.

Generally, here’s how I shop:

– I start my search at natural skin care boutiques and natural foods markets, because many of them have policies about what they will carry. That usually eliminates some undesirable ingredients right there. Third party certifications like Ecocert and USDA Organic can also tell you more about what isn’t in a product, and these stores are most likely to carry certified products.

– If it contains artificial fragrance, or I can’t tell, I don’t buy it. I don’t wear them on my body, either. That’s a personal preference, but the research is out there, too.

– I buy from companies I trust. Does the brand seem authentic to you? Do you think they stand behind what they say? Or do their “natural” or other claims, such as fair trade, seem hollow? That may be all we have to go on for the time being.

– In general, I avoid or minimize my exposure to silicones (dimethicone is a common one). I think they’re less healthy for the body and the planet.

Below is a simple list of products to avoid, mostly derived from a wallet card for Pure Aesthetics, a green aesthetics school in Tucson, Arizona. You can get stricter than this, for sure (and most of the certifications do) but to clean up your products, this is a really good start.

Synthetic fragrances and colors

Sulfate surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate

Cocamidopropyl betaine and Coco betaine


Silicones – dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, etc.

PEG (polyethylene glycol), PPG (propylene glycol), butylene glycol




Diazolidinyl urea

Isopropyl myristate and Isopropyl palmitate


Polysorbate 20




-1BIO: The Skin Detective is a licensed esthetician who is now a skincare industry insider. Check our her blog at



EWG has a wallet card to help you shop:

I’m also a fan of the GoodGuide app. Just snap a pic of the product UPC for info:



skin care

skin care ingredients

green skin care


Beauty, Body, Health News, Health Prevention, Nourish, Nutrition Advice

Fitness Plateau? Check Your Plate

March 20, 2013
Photo by Jay Tamang
Photo by Jay Tamang

Photo by Jay Tamang

Sloan Hemmer (photo above) discusses the REAL reason you can’t seem to loose those last few pounds.

One of THE most common question/complaints I hear in my job as physical trainer is, “I can’t lose those last 5-10 pounds”.  Issues and frustrations you may be having with your fitness regimen most often, like 99.9% of the time, stem from your diet and not what you are or aren’t doing in the gym.

Here is the situation, you are dedicated, you workout and you workout hard.  You have been a good student and have stuck with it but you aren’t seeing the results you want. I can’t say it more profoundly than this, so I’ll put it in bold letters;) you are eating too much and possibly not eating the good stuff that will get you there.

Here are my tips for breaking fitness plateaus and dropping those last 5-10 pounds.

Eat Clean

This means drinking lots and lots of water, eating lean proteins, healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lots and lots of fruits and vegetables of all different colors with all different kinds of texture, eating complex carbohydrates, nuts and seeds. DITCH most of the processed foods with refined sugars and eliminate white carbohydrates. . OK, don’t panic, you can slowly reintroduce small portions of your favorites, once you’ve lost the weight.


I can’t impress upon you how important this is especially if you have specific weight loss and fitness goals.  If you like to write, get a pen and paper and write down every morsel that passes your lips along with how much you are exercising.  If you are on the go, there are several great apps; my favorite is My Fitness Pal.It is convenient, doesn’t take much time and has a lot of great tools to assist you.

Set Goals

This is crucial to your success! Write them down and revisit them on a daily basis. This isn’t a hobby-it’s your life. Step up. Create a vision board with your desired weight – don’t stop looking at it –until you see it on the scale. Set  short-term goals (week/months) and long-term goals (1 year or longer).

Change it up

When it comes to your fitness regimen you won’t make the gains you want to if you are constantly doing the same thing. Change is important and change keeps you from getting bored. You might actually discover something you love to do and just never knew it!  Try a class, go outside, buddy up or incorporate interval training!

Body, Health News, Health Prevention

Colon Cancer Risk Tied to Fast Food

December 18, 2012

42711932_63275a104aEat junk food? If you have a genetic susceptibility to colon cancer you may have an even greater risk than previously thought.

In a first of its kind study, researchers were able to find a link between certain foods and a higher colon cancer risk in people that were already more susceptible to getting it.

All of the people in the study had Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder that predisposes people to cancer at younger ages and that affects up to one in 660 people. In the US, most people who get colorectal cancer have this syndrome.

Researchers studied people who ate various food groups including one that was dominated by fruits, vegetables and whole grains; another that was high in meat and coffee; a third dietary group that resembled a Mediterranean diet – fish, leafy greens, pasta, sauces and wine; and a fourth group that was heavy on fried snacks, fast food and diet soda.

The result? Researchers determined that those in the high junk food group were twice as likely to develop colon tumors.

According to the CDC – Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.


Photo via Flickr: by ebruli

Body, Health Prevention

One Simple Choice to Burn 7,800 Calories

August 3, 2012

Be honest. How often do you find yourself waiting for the office elevator to go down/up three, two or even one stories? What if we told you that making a dedication to taking the stairs could help you lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health?

Each minute you take the stairs at a moderate intensity (no texting and stair walking please) you’ll burn about 5 calories if you’re 120-pounds and about 7 calories if you’re 150-pounds, Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, told the New York Times.

And small calories add up quick! Think about it — how many times do you leave or enter your office building each day? At six times and one-minute per exit/enter that’s about 30 calories a day (for a 120-pound person) or 150-calories each five day-work week and 7,800 calories a year, just for skipping the elevator! If you really want to earn a gold star, remember that running stairs multiplies the caloric burn and the cardiovascular benefit.

Do note that for those with knee problems going downstairs may be difficult: “The impact on knees and feet is relatively low, with the pressure equivalent to two times one’s body weight walking up stairs (compared with three to four times when running), Dr. Bryant told the New York Times. The pounding on the body going downstairs, however, equals six or seven times one’s body weight.” In that case, we’ll let you take the elevator down and the stairs up!

Photo: StephenCarlile