Category Archives: Beauty Tips

Featured Question: Causes of Chapped Lips

Source: flickr.com user Cobalt

Source: flickr.com user Cobalt

We love when our readers and customers ask us their burning skin care and beauty questions! While our advice is never intended to replace the advice or professional opinion of a doctor, we are able to dig through our years of beauty experience to bring you great skin care tips and tricks.

Our latest featured question was asked via our Facebook by Pam M. Pam says, “For the last couple of months, I have had (and still have) the worst case of chapped lips I have ever had. I have tried raw coconut oil and every other thing I can think of (aloe gel fresh from the plant, raw cocoa butter, tea tree oil, etc.) along with my Raw Essentials daily routine. But my lips and the skin around them are dry, red and have only just finally healed in the corners from huge cracks.”

Well, Pam, it sounds like you have a very tricky case of chapped lips! Since you’ve already tried our go-to treatments (I thought coconut oil could cure anything!), I want to look at some of the rarer causes of chapped lips.

The following list includes “hidden” causes of chapped lips. The list may seem long and daunting, but the hope is that one or more of the possible causes listed here will trigger a realization. You may find that the on-again, off-again toothache you have is actually causing your cracked lips, or that your prescription medication is causing a reaction seen only on your lips.

Once again, I want to reiterate that our skin care advice is in no way intended to replace the advice or opinion of your doctor or dermatologist. If you suspect any of the following causes of chapped lips, call your doctor or dermatologist right away!

Now, without further ado, here’s a look at many of the hidden causes of chapped lips:

  • Allergic reaction. Many allergic reactions can cause chapping, but the most common allergies that can result in chapping include fig allergy, nickel allergy, cobalt allergy (which can stem from vitamin B12 supplements), sun sensitivity, and red dye allergy. Other allergic reactions could cause chapping, but these are the most common sources of allergy-related lip chapping.
  • Contact irritation. Contact irritation differs from allergic reaction, though the symptoms can be identical. Common sources of contact irritation on the lips include makeup and personal care ingredients like propyl gallate, phenyl salicylate (salol), sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate or guaiazulene. In addition, foods or food ingredients could be to blame; common food irritation culprits include citrus fruits and cinnamates, which are used to product cinnamon flavor in everything from candy to toothpaste.
  • Diseases. It’s obvious when a cold leads to chapped lips, but other diseases and health issues can cause chapping, too. Periodontal (gum) disease and tooth abscesses are very often to blame for chapped lips. A rare condition known as chelitis granulomatosa could be the source of your discomfort. Other diseases that can cause lip chapping include Down’s syndrome, thyroid disorders, psoriasis, lichen planus, chronically enlarged tonsils or adenoids, sleep apnea, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, as well as perleche and other yeast infections.
  • Prescription medication. Not many prescription meds have chapped lips as a side effects, but there are a few, namely propranolol and prochlorperazine. Other prescription meds can also cause dehydration, which could exacerbate the problem.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential to health, but too much of it can be a bad thing, especially for lips. If you take an oral supplement or apply vitamin A via Accutane, check to ensure that your body isn’t getting more than 25,000 IU a day.
  • Precancerous changes. Known medically as actinic chelitis, precancerous changes in the lips could show up as cracking, peeling, and chapping. If you spent a lot of time in the sun growing up or have other reasons to believe you could be at risk for precancerous changes, visit your doctor to undergo proper testing.
  • Stress and coping mechanisms. Stress itself doesn’t often lead to chapped lips, but it can. More often, stress coping mechanisms like lip-licking or chewing can lead to perpetually dry, cracked lips. You may even be doing these things in your sleep! If you feel that these things could be the cause of your chapped lips, try simply to be more aware of the issue (like with nail biting), or consider speaking with someone if your anxiety is too much to handle on your own.

As you can see, these possible causes of chapped lips reach far and wide. However, if you find that none of the traditional treatments for chapped lips are doing the job, it may be time to dig a little deeper and look at these more unusual causes of chapping.

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Featured Question: How to Pop a Pimple

ExtractorWe love when our readers and customers ask us their burning skin care and beauty questions! While our advice is never intended to replace the advice or professional opinion of a doctor, we are able to dig through our years of beauty experience to bring you great skin care tips and tricks.

Today’s featured question comes from Adrielle on Facebook. Adrielle asks, “Do those pimple popping tools really help us non-doctors safely?” We love this question because – let’s face it – everyone tries to pop their pimples, and sadly it can cause a lot of damage! Here are our thoughts on safely and effectively dealing with breakouts.

First off, if you’re unfamiliar with the “pimple popping tools” that Adrielle references, check out our post’s photo. You’ll see a small wand with two cup-shaped ends. This is a blackhead extractor. There are similar styles with loops instead of cups that are often used on whiteheads. These tools can be used safely and easily, but there is still a better way to treat acne breakouts that doesn’t require spending money on excess tools.

Rule number one of how to pop a pimple is to…NOT pop it! I know, not what you wanted to hear, right? The truth is, most pimples heal faster and better if you leave them alone. Shatter your magnifying mirror and get lower lighting if you have to; just ignore 99% of your pimples or use a basic clarifying product like our Clarifying Face Toner.

When it comes to that one pimple that you just have to pop (we all know the type) there are some basic skin care tricks you should follow to safely pop the pimple without damaging your skin. These steps should only be used in case of a pimple emergency — we’re talking the painful, inflamed whitehead that is threatening to become sentient.

  1. Wash your face in a very warm shower, and keep the bathroom door closed. This is to make the room super steamy, which helps the skin to “open up” and become extra supple.
  2. Dab a very small amount of tea tree oil onto the pimple to help kill surface bacteria.
  3. Rip a tissue in half (or use toilet paper) and wrap both your index fingers in the paper.
  4. Place both index fingers on either side of the pimple; not at the head of the pimple, but to the sides of it.
  5. Gently press your fingertips down and in toward the pimple. If it’s ready, the pimple should pop easily. If the pimple does not pop easily, leave it alone for a day or so! Don’t keep pressing.
  6. Release the pus but stop before you see blood. Drawing blood means you’re damaging the skin, and it will also cause an unsightly scab!
  7. Toss the tissue or toilet paper and walk away.

This process is best done at night in order to allow you to leave the newly popped pimple alone. Applying skin care products and makeup over a freshly popped pimple can seriously irritate skin and introduce bacteria into the wound, which can lead to an infection. If you must, you can apply another light layer of tea tree to the area a little while after dealing with the acne breakout. Some people prefer to apply a healing ointment instead to speed the process along.

Hopefully these acne tips will make your next pimple popping process a little easier and more effective. But remember, if you can help it, it’s always best to let the skin heal itself!

New Year, New You Skin Care Tips: Natural Ingredients

Source: flickr.com user MD Anderson

Source: flickr.com user MD Anderson

Today’s post is the fourth in our New Year, New You Skin Care Tips series! If you missed the first three, be sure to go back and check them out: Cleansing, Moisturizing, and Eye Skin Care.

At Raw Essentials, we believe the foundation of cleansing, moisturizing, and eye care is the only way to care for your skin. If you’re implementing these three basics, as well as protecting with an SPF, your skin should be healthful and beautiful. It’s as simple as that!

That’s why this week’s New Year, New You skin care tip isn’t about a particular product type; it’s about why using natural skin care is so important. Raw Essentials promises to use natural ingredients whenever possible, and to never use the “yucky stuff” – ingredients which are cheap to use, but wreak havoc on the skin.

Why is it so important to us to remain natural? It’s as simple as this: why would you want to nourish your skin, and therefore your body, with anything other that natural, real ingredients? Beautiful skin is healthy skin, and the only way to truly achieve healthy skin is by nourishing it.

On top of using natural ingredients, we also strive to use many raw skin care ingredients in our products. This means that the ingredients remain alive and active, allowing them to impart the greatest number of benefits to your skin. From skin care antioxidants to vitamins and minerals, your skin will be wrapped in health thanks to our raw ingredients.

Now, many people read our ingredients lists (which are all available on the site) and become spooked by words that seem unnatural. The fact is, Raw Essentials often uses naturally-derived ingredients that may sound odd to you. When an ingredient is naturally-derived, it comes from a completely natural source, but the result may have a name that sounds chemical or simply unfamiliar.

At Raw Essentials, we constantly strive to provide the purest, most natural raw beauty products possible. We truly believe this is the best way to achieve healthy, beautiful skin, and we hope that you see those results!

If you haven’t been able to try Raw Essentials yet, now is the perfect time! You have until the end of January to use code NEWYOU at checkout to receive $10 off any $60+ order, plus free shipping within the US. It’s the perfect way to try out a few Raw products at a discount, or stock up on your favorites!

New Year, New You Skin Care Tips: Eye Skin Care

This post is the third in our New Year, New You skin care tips series! If you missed the first two, be sure to go back and read up on Cleansing and Moisturizing to make sure you’re building your new year skin care regimen from the ground up.

When was the last time you used an eye cream or eye serum? Chances are, you had to think about that for a minute — most people don’t use an eye care product every day, and many people don’t use one at all!

You may feel that your face cream is enough, but did you know that you could actually be damaging your eye area by using a face cream in lieu of a real eye product? Face creams contain ingredients that may be perfect for the rest of your face, but may be way too harsh or active for the delicate eye area.

You see, the skin around the eyes is like thin tissue paper. It is delicate, fragile, and prone to damage. Once damaged, the eye area can begin to become overly dry and exhibit premature signs of aging. These signs include fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, bags, and puffiness.

However, with a good eye skin care product, you can both treat and prevent these signs of aging! Used early enough (before signs of aging really start to show), eye care products can keep the eye area moisturized and protected against the damage that would lead to signs of aging, thereby allowing the eye area to maintain its youthful appearance. Used after signs of aging appear, eye care products can turn back the hands of time by repairing skin and diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, darkness, and puffiness.

No matter when you start using an eye care product, it will help to prevent future damage from occurring. A day cream, like our All Day Eye Cream, is perfect for shielding against environmental aggressors, sun damage, water loss, and more. A good night eye product, like our Night Time Age Defying Eye Serum, will help to heal any damage that managed to bully its way past your eye cream while strengthening the skin from the inside out. Used together, you have a powerful duo that will truly help to keep your eye area looking bright and youthful.

As always, our Raw Essentials eye skin care products use only the best ingredients, including natural extracts, oils, and more. Being paraben-free means they won’t cause damage to your body, and the certified raw formulation helps you know that you’re truly nourishing and supporting your skin.

Now you know: if you’re not already caring for the eye area, now is the time to start! Don’t let your eyes lose their glow in 2014; use your eye area skin care products daily to maintain your youthful appearance.

Our New Year, New You sale is still going strong! Enter code NEWYOU at checkout to receive $10 off $60+, plus free shipping within the US. Click the photo below to shop now!

New Year, New You Skin Care Tips: Cleansing

Source: flickr.com user Cubosh

Source: flickr.com user Cubosh

To start the new year off right, we’re launching a great New Year, New You blog series! In it, we’ll detail some simple skin care tips designed to help you rejuvenate and revitalize your skin in 2014. Plus, while the series is running (through January 31), you can enter code NEWYOU at checkout to receive $10 off any $60+ purchase, plus qualify for free shipping within the US!

When it comes to skin care advice, the only place to begin is with skin care cleansing. Skin cleansing is the foundation of all good skin care regimens, and how you cleanse can make or break your entire skin care routine!

Skin cleansing should be done with care, and only with properly formulated products. Toss out that old bar of soap or the cheap gel face wash you’ve been using since you were 12, and follow our skin care tips and tricks for cleansing your skin right.

1) Choose a healthy, well-formulated cleanser. Whether your skin is normal, acne-prone, or anything in between, you should always choose a cleanser that’s designed to nourish skin while gently removing excess oil, debris, and makeup. Raw Essentials’ Refreshing Face Wash is an excellent example of this.

With a lightweight gel texture, nourishing botanicals, and a formulation free of yucky SLS, Refreshing Face Wash is the perfect choice for any skin type. It will gently yet thoroughly remove dirt, debris, excess oil, and makeup from the skin in order to leave it primed and ready for further skin care treatment.

2) Decide if you need a toner. Skin care toner formulas are created for skin that needs just a little extra help getting to that pure, “squeaky clean” state. It can be used by any skin type, but it’s especially beneficial for oily skin and acne prone skin types.

Raw Essentials’ Clarifying Face Toner is formulated with hydrators, nourishing natural oils, and botanical extracts to further cleanse the skin and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. This results in a tighter, more youthful appearance.

3) Exfoliate with care. Most people enjoy a good skin exfoliation session, especially if their skin tends to become rough, flaky, or dull-looking. However, too much exfoliation can mess with the skin’s natural oil production, so be sure to exfoliate only once or twice per week.

Our Radiant Face Scrub uses natural bamboo grains to remove dead, dull skin cells, allowing a smoother and more radiant complexion to shine through. The lightly foaming texture of the formulation feels nourishing and soothing to the skin, making it great for most skin types.

If you follow these simple skin care tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving beautiful skin in 2014. Don’t forget to check back in next week for another New Year, New You post, and be sure to use code NEWYOU on all $60+ orders placed in January!

Shop cleansers now >>

Carol Alt’s Top Five Worst Skin Care Ingredients

Source: flickr.com user Christian Guthier

Source: flickr.com user Christian Guthier

When Carol Alt and Phil Masiello first designed Raw Essentials, their goal was to create skin care products that were truly and genuinely natural. In this A Healthy You & Carol Alt segment, Carol and Phil explain how many “natural” skin care lines may be tricking consumers by formulating their products with harmful chemicals in addition to more natural ingredients. In addition, some certified organic skin care lines may simply be paying for their certification, all the while using harsh chemicals ingredients!

In the clip, Phil and Carol list five of the worst skin care ingredients. These ingredients should be avoided whenever possible, and if you think they’re necessary evils, take note of the natural skin care ingredients that can easily replace the chemicals!

Without further ado, here are Carol Alt’s Top Five Worst Skin Care Ingredients:

Urea – used as a preservative, urea is extremely toxic and has been shown to cause skin irritation and rashes. These side effects can range of mild to extreme depending on the amount used and a person’s sensitivity level. Urea can be easily replaced with a blend of tea tree oil, honeysuckle, salt, and other naturally sourced ingredients.

Parabens – also used as preservatives, skin care parabens are very cheap for skin care manufacturers, and are therefore widely used. However, like urea, parabens are toxic and have been linked to various diseases and ailments, including cancer. Parabens are also easily replaced with the same blend of natural preservatives mentioned above, but are still used due to cost effectiveness.

 

Propylene glycol – derived from petroleum, propylene glycol is a humectant that is known for drying out the skin. It does so by attracting water, both from the air and from the deeper layers of the skin. This results in a complexion that is very dehydrated by the very thing (skin care cream) that is supposed to be hydrating it!

Copolymers – popular in anti-aging skin care, copolymers are whiteners that are supposed to lighten and brighten the skin, including age and sun spots. However, they are very drying and work similarly to propylene glycol, resulting in dehydrated skin. This is especially troublesome for those using anti-aging products, as dehydrated skin is much more likely to show defined lines and wrinkles.

 

Sulfates – sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. No matter how you spell it, these ingredients are some of the worst in skin care. Originally used as an antifreeze, sulfates are excessively stripping to the skin and are known skin and eye irritants. In studies, sulfates were even shown to cause the sort of damage that could lead to partial or full blindness. Sulfates are used only for sudsing action, a superfluous norm in the skin care industry that could be easily achieved with a blend of sugars and coconut fat.

If you’re confused about how some skin care lines can get away with using these products and still advertise as being natural or organic, be sure to watch the skin care ingredient segment featuring Phil and Carol! Phil thoroughly explains the processes of the skin care industry, and what you can do to protect yourself from false advertising.

How to Treat Chapped Skin

Source: flickr.com user Doug Wheller

Source: flickr.com user Doug Wheller

Chapped skin is a skin condition caused by excessive dryness. Symptoms of chapped skin are stinging, a constant dry feeling, topical fissures, and cracks which may be minor or may even bleed. Chapped skin is an extremely uncomfortable condition, but it is very easy to comfort and treat chapped skin.

Skin is most likely to become chapped during winter when frequent hand washings, dry air, central heating, and harsh weather conditions are prevalent. If you feel that your skin is becoming chapped, your regular hand lotion may not cut it. Here’s a few skin care tips and tricks for how to treat chapped skin.

  • Layer your skin care moisturizers. As soon as you get out of the shower, apply our Body Oil from the neck down, paying close attention to problem areas like the hands and feet. After the oil sinks in, apply a body moisturizer to the entire body, or apply a heavy cream just to the hands and feet.
  • Always carry hand lotion. Re-apply your lotion after every hand washing, whether it feels like you need it or not! Your dry skin will come back unless you reapply faithfully.
  • Wash in tepid water. When it’s chilly out, it’s very tempting to bathe or wash hands in very hot water. This is the worst thing you can do for chapped skin! Use tepid water only, and always follow with moisturizer.
  • Until skin begins to heal and go back to normal, use soaps and cleansers only once per day, even on your face. Wash in the morning with water only, and end your day with a tepid shower to remove makeup and purify skin.
  • Use a night cream, and extend application to include your lips. For example, if you’re using our Night Time Firming and Nourishing Face Moisturizer, apply it to the entire face and neck area, saving only the eye area. (You should always use a dedicated eye cream for the eye area.) If lips are especially chapped, “seal” in the moisturizer with your lip balm of choice.

By following these simple tips for chapped skin, your skin will be back to normal in no time. Be sure to maintain your newly repaired skin by continuing an extra moisturizing regimen until winter weather begins to defrost!