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Vitamin D and Sunscreen...you need both!

Vitamin D and Sunscreen...you need both!

I'm excited to introduce Lindsay Hoffmann to you all! She will be helping us maintain our space at Grant's in San Diego and also occasionally contributing to our social media efforts, blogging, newsletters, etc. Check out her very first blog post below. (I think it's pretty amazing!)

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The days are long, the air smells sweet, the sky is clear, and I have this urge to put a tiny umbrella into each and every beverage. After having moved to California a year ago, I thought maybe I’d be jaded with that blissful feeling of the warm sun on my face; I am happy to report that that feeling so far is lasting, no matter where you reside.

Of course, with that joy comes that little voice telling me to put on my hat and sunscreen because the sun is NOT just a source of happiness and vitamin D, but also a potential fireball of skin-damaging rays. Hence, my summer look is a lovechild between California dreamin’ and Lydia from Beetlejuice (it works, I think). We all know it's important to safely soak up some rays and get your vitamin D. However, too much of a good thing can leave your skin a painful shade of pink. It's important to get in tune with how much sun your skin can handle. Pair this knowledge with the right tools and we can get back to enjoying our poolside umbrella-drinks...safely.

I know it’s tempting to throw on a sundress and get outside ASAP, but if you think you might be in the sun long enough to burn, pause. Before you put ANYTHING on, lay on some sunscreen. This way you’ll be less likely to miss key spots while trying to avoid your clothes, and it ensures you’re applying before you’re even outside and vulnerable. Physical blockers instantly protect so there's no need to delay your adventures! Seek shade and cover up as best you can throughout the day (the bigger the hat, the better, in my opinion!).

But which products should you use? Check out EWG.org’s sunscreen database here to see their recommendations. When you’re shopping around, there are some ingredients commonly lurking in sunscreen to watch out for - oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that can be disruptive to hormone balance, and vitamin A, also labeled as retinol or retinyl palmitate. When used topically, vitamin A has been shown to quicken development of tumors and lesions... the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve, here! Look for mineral-based products using zinc-oxide, which offer full spectrum protection and peace of mind. As always, make sure to check the ingredients of all skincare products before purchasing.

San Diego-made Soul Spot is an easy read with just 5 simple ingredients and it's great for babies and surfers alike! 

Recently I’ve been loving Suntegrity, whose "5 In 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen hits all the marks with EWG (check it out!) and keeps my skin glowing. It even has a tint (there are four shades) so I still look sun-kissed. And when the sun actually does kiss me? I just love it right back.

 

6 Tips to Nip Winter Skin in the Bud

6 Tips to Nip Winter Skin in the Bud

As the weather turns cold and dry, your skin may need a little more love to keep dullness, dry patches, roseacea, eczema, and acne at bay.  If your skin is on the dry side, it can be tough to keep up with your skincare needs during these months.  Shifting your routine with the seasons will go a long way.

1.You may want to think about ditching your facial cleanser and adopting the oil cleansing method. The oil cleansing method is a great way to clean (oil dissolves oil!) and gently exfoliate (you use a washcloth to wipe away the oil). If you deal with acne, don’t let oil scare you! You might be surprised by how much your skin improves with this method. Pro tip for the blemish prone: apply a 1:4 apple cider vinegar:distilled water mixture after oil cleansing and before moisturizing!  

2. If you just can’t bring yourself to skip the suds, make sure you are using a gentle castile soap based cleanser instead of a detergent based one. Common ingredients to avoid: SLS, SLES, and Natural Plant Derived Cleansers. Detergents are harsh and strip the skin, contributing to all the skin ailments listed above. 

3. You may need to up your exfoliation game during the winter...in frequency, not harshness! Your exfoliant of choice should ALWAYS be gentle or you will create tiny scrapes that lead to acne. Check out this one that doubles as a mask.

4. After cleansing and exfoliating you will want to hydrate, tone, and readjust the ph of your skin with a hydrosol, aloe juice, or both. Don't skip this step! Your face oil or serum won’t absorb nearly as well without these penetration enhancers.

5. Run from any moisturizers that contain preservatives or emulsifiers due to water or aloe content and choose a moisturizer composed of only the cold pressed oils your skin is thirsty for! Know which oils are best for your skin type. Mature skin will do better with a richer oil like Moringa and hemp-based oils are best for acneic skin. If the skin around your eyes gets dry, you may want to layer a balm or butter on top of your face oil in that area. Your body butter may do the trick!

6. Still feel like your skin needs a bit more love? Facial steams and masks are quite luxurious and might be necessary now and again. Be sure to take the time to care of yourself!

We all know soft, glowing skin makes us feel fantastic, but sometimes we forget how enjoyable the process can be. Create space for a skincare ritual that makes you feel amazing inside and out!

Non Toxic Sleep and your Mattress

Non Toxic Sleep and your Mattress

Sleep is an integral piece of wellness. When you're asleep your body, especially your brain, repairs and detoxifies more efficiently and at a much faster rate than when you are awake. Disrupting this function by not getting adequate sleep leads to a myriad of health issues. Because this is such a crucial time for recovery and we spend 1/3 of our life sleeping, it is important to make sure our sleeping environment is a healthy one.

The room you sleep in should be cool, quiet, dark, and contain as few toxins as possible. 60-68 degrees is optimal. A simple window fan can cool your room, muffle outside noises, and bring in outside air (which is much cleaner than inside air). If your room isn’t pitch black you may want to look into getting blackout curtains or a sleeping mask. Outside light and even light from your alarm clock can effect melatonin production and circadian rhythm. It’s also wise to keep your cell phone and other devices at a distance while you sleep. When it’s time to invest in a new mattress, be sure to do your research. Most mattresses contain petroleum based chemicals, toxic foams, synthetic fabrics, and are treated with chemical fire retardants. These materials and chemicals have been linked to problems like allergies, asthma, hormone imbalance/reproductive issues, impaired fetal brain development, reduced IQ scores/behavioral problems in children, and even cancer.

Why are there such harmful chemicals in mattresses??? Manufacturers are free to choose cheap materials, maximizing profit without regard for consumer safety. Additionally, It is illegal to sell a mattress in the U.S. unless it passes flame retardant standards. Instead of choosing quality materials that are naturally flame-resistant, like wool, most manufacturers opt for cheaper materials that they douse with toxic flame retardants before delivering your mattress to your door. No thanks, right?

My husband was on board with purchasing a black out curtain, but when I first broached the subject of buying an organic mattress, he was nervous about the cost and objected. Keep in mind, this is the same man that wonders why we have to spend all our money on organic food when things get a little tight at the end of the month. I get it. It’s hard to spend more when we’ve grown accustomed to spending so little. That low price tag has a pretty big hidden cost though. It often means sacrificing our health in a major way. His objection was logical though. He felt that if we used organic sheets, our bodies would never touch those harmful chemicals. While this is true, the issue is that mattresses off-gas, releasing these chemicals onto our bodies and into the air we breathe. I reminded him how terrible our foam mattress smelled when we first got it and explained that while the smell dissipates over time, more flame retardants are released when the mattress gets old and the foam degrades.

When we finally agreed to purchase a non-toxic mattress, we looked far and wide to find a company with fair pricing and quality construction. If we were going to invest in our health, the mattress had to be safe AND comfortable. As we discussed above, a good night’s rest is hugely important and nobody sleeps well on a poorly constructed mattress. We waded through a sea of "natural" mattresses that didn't offer any information to back up their claim. Certified organic mattresses are third party tested to ensure their safety and we knew this was the direction we wanted to go in. After comparing our options we decided on Soaring Heart for our home and have also made their products available on our website.

Aside from having the highest of standards for safety and construction, we liked that we didn’t have to buy our mattress all at once. You can literally layer your bed together buying sheets, pillows, a mattress pad, and topper first, while saving up and deciding between a shikibuton, futon, or latex mattress. Buying an organic mattress is an investment. The upfront cost is nothing to sneeze at, but when you spread that amount over 10+ years, it becomes A LOT more reasonable. For our kids’ set-up, a shikibution was a more affordable solution than a mattress and has worked perfectly. Bed rolls are another great option! We bought pieces as we could afford them and tried not to worry when we couldn't. Worrying and sleep don't really mix.