Category Archives: ~ Live green Promote green Business/Political Action

Foods … they say are good for our skin

READ: 10 Foods That Can Help You Get Amazing Skin

Some skin experts, like New York City-based facialist Joanna Vargas, are incorporating them into treatments to help repair the damage caused by the sun and pollution. And even if your budget doesn’t call for a spa day, you can still enjoy these benefits at home.

READ: Can Chocolate Give You Youthful Skin?

To find out how we can detox this autumn for glowing, healthy looking skin, we investigated some of the best foods to eat this season and how they can be the post-summer treatment you need right now:



Dr. Stafford Broumand, associate clinical professor of plastic surgery at New York‘s Mount Sinai Medical Center, highly recommends pumpkin for your best skin ever. “Pumpkin has a high content of vitamin A and retinol is a derivative of vitamin A,” says Broumand. “Using this ingredient in its natural form delivers great benefits, such as exfoliation, repairing sun damage, post pigmentation, as well as improving texture and tone.” Create a face mask with pureed pumpkin, organic honey, a hint of lemon juice, and vitamin E oil for soothing results.



“Yams contain a compound called diosgenin, which is a natural plant-derived steroid that is thought to have both anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-aging properties,” explains Dr. Julia Tzu, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University. “In some laboratory studies, it has been found to increase cellular collagen production.”

Beet It
Beet It (Photo credit: B.D.’s world)


This root vegetable, which is at its most tender until October, features fiber, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. They may also be the secret to getting your glow on this fall. “Beets reverse dull skin by stimulating the lymphatic system, removing waste from our cells,” says Dr. Jayson Calton. “Beets can also brighten your skin because they increase the oxygen-carrying ability in the blood, adding brightness to the skin.” Calton recommends savoring beet juice or a roasted beet salad this season.


Cranberries (Photo credit: oschene)


Forget the canned versions. The tangy berry is best savored alone, especially if you’re looking to give your dull skin a much-needed boost. “I like cranberry for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, they are rich in nutrients,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. If snacking on bitter berries aren’t your thing, consider looking for skincare products that feature cranberry.


Pomegranate Fruits. Español: Una granada, frut...
Pomegranate Fruits. Español: Una granada, fruto del granado (Punica granatum). Eesti: Granaatõun. Français : La grenade, fruit du grenadier. Русский: Плод граната. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This fruit will improve your skin smoothness, elasticity, and overall look,” says health coach Lori Shemek. “Pomegranates can also help reduce acne, sun damage, and fine lines with its powerful antioxidants, which also reduces skin inflammation.” Add them to nearly any dish for an flavorful meal.


English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...
English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Русский: Яблоня со спелыми плодами. Украина. Latina: Malus domestica (Borkh., 1803) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Apples contain many bioactive compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Tzu. “Studies have even demonstrated anti-cancer properties of apples, including those of the skin.” Go apple picking this autumn for a fun workout and enjoy the fruits of your labor all season long.


Carrots Julienne.

As with other seasonal foods, carrots feature beta-carotene, which can help protect skin against damage caused by wrinkle-causing ultraviolet rays. “Make a mask out of carrots to help alleviate blackheads and dark spots,” suggests Calton. “Simply boil carrots until soft and then mash. Add in honey, olive oil, and lemon. Leave on the face for about 15 minutes and rise. It’s also great for wrinkles.”


Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain high levels of collagen boosting vitamin C,” says Shemek. “Eating this cruciferous veggie can not only give you skin that has better elasticity, but skin that feels younger and more youthful looking.” If the idea of eating these mini greens makes you uneasy, take note that the way you prepare them determines how tasty they will be.


Plums hanging
Plums hanging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Plum mixed with yogurt and honey in a mask will improve elasticity and correct any sun damage that we’ve suffered from summer,” Vargas says.



“Pears are full of fiber and that means a slower release of sugar into the blood,” says Shemek. “Sugar means wrinkles and sagging skin. Pears are also high in vitamin C, which is a critical nutrient for collagen growth necessary for wrinkle-free, firm skin.” … Beware of Skin Lotions Tainted with Mercury

a repost for those buying  gifts …

Beware of Skin Lotions Tainted With Mercury

Some skin lotions and antiseptic soaps claim to clean and lighten skin while removing freckles and wrinkles. Instead, these illegally imported cosmetic products make consumers ill from exposure to high levels of mercury.

The U.S. Government is warning consumers about these products after dozens of people in at least seven states were diagnosed with mercury poisoning. Victims include a woman in California who was hospitalized after using an unlabeled skin lotion for three years. Several members of her family also had high levels of mercury in their bodies, even though they didn’t use the lotion.

“Exposure to mercury can damage your kidneys and nervous system. It also interferes with brain development in unborn babies and very young children,” said Gloria Sánchez-Contreras, a spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration.

See the names and photos of some of the illegal products.

Immigrants Are at High Risk

The FDA has identified dozens of products that contain high levels of mercury, and has taken steps to deny shipments of these products into the United States. However, many of these lotions and soaps are brought into the country by mail or by international travelers. Once here, they often end up on store shelves that cater to immigrants, including Hispanics, Asians, Africans and people from the Middle East.

People who buy these products are not putting only their own health at risk, small children can also be exposed to mercury by breathing in the vapors of a skin lotion or by touching someone who has used the cream and then putting their fingers in their mouth. “That’s why it’s so important for consumers and sellers to know about the dangers of possible mercury poisoning associated with the use of or exposure to these skin products,” said Sánchez-Contreras.

“That’s why it’s so important for consumers and sellers to know about the dangers of possible mercury poisoning associated with the use of or exposure to these skin products,” said Sánchez-Contreras.

How to Avoid These Products

The FDA prohibits the use of mercury in skin lotions and cosmetic soaps manufactured abroad. To avoid skin lightening and anti-aging products tainted with mercury, stay away from products that:

  • Do not clearly list ingredients on the label.
  • Include the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury” in their labels.
  • Have labels written in other languages unless they also include a clear description in English.

What to Do If Exposed to Mercury

Be alert for signs of mercury poisoning, which include irritability, changes in vision and hearing, memory loss, depression and numbness in the hands, feet or mouth. If you suspect you have been using products tainted with mercury, stop using them immediately and do the following:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly as well as any other part of the body that might have come into contact with the product.
  • Contact your doctor or health clinic.
  • If you have questions call the National Capital Poison Center at 1 (800) 222-1222.

You can also report the adverse effects of any drug or product on the website or by calling (800) 332-1088.

See the names and photos of some of the illegal products.

first posted 4/11/2012

Skin Product Review … so many questions

My 5/28 post

Product Review … questions

I love products, mostly lotions, scrubs, lip balm, body wash and hair regimen products. I admit that there was a time when my skin turned on me and eczema ruled then allergies then some other stuff so, I spent some time under the lights as well as in the sun and makeup to even out my skin colour …because I needed it. I am sure you all know our skin changes due to the environment as well as hormones so reading about women choosing to change their skin colour was disturbing.

Whitening the skin is not new … and while I am definitely no expert, as a consumer of beauty products quite frankly I want to know and pass that information along as well.

However, a practice definitely needs to end as soon as possible.  I do not get whitening your skin and since when did lighten & brighten mean gaining youthful skin

I get emails from virtual stores and was interested in Dr. Brandt until I saw the descriptions of a product called,” light years away”! If you read Dr. Brandt’s description of light years it says whitening; so, because it bothered me , I emailed gilt to find out some information … below is the list and my request:

Light years away® whitening cream cleanser, Size: 15 g

Light years away® whitening essence, Size: 20 ml

Light years away® whitening renewal solution, Size: 5 ml

Light years away® brightening eye cream, Size: 15 g

Light years away® whitening cream, Size: 5 g

I have no idea if this product is labeled correctly but knowing how women are whitening their skin these days – here as well as in other countries … and in my opinion, it is an awful practice!

I think Gilt should avoid promoting it…

I get and understand controlling hyper-pigmentation as well as getting rid of dead cells but the product says whitening cream etc.

My question is, has anyone from Gilt tried it and is it a skin whitener ?

Let me know what you think, have you used it and can vouch for it being something other than a skin whitener?

What “Green” Means…organic, natural and sustainable

1)the certified organic label is regulated by the USDA and indicates the absence of most conventional fertilizers and chemicals.  A processed product(one that contains more than two ingredients)must have at least 95% organic material

2)The Demeter-certified Bio-dynamic designation means that farmers use practices emphasizing a holistic connection with nature.  The nonprofit has been certifying produce and wine since 1982 and bans harmful chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.

3)Fair Trade products like coffee and chocolate are certified by the Fair Trade Federation, an international group working to relieve poverty.  They ensure that producers receive a fair wage and that production practices promote long-term environmental sustainability and community  development.

4)Green Seal is an independent nonprofit that promotes the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products.  The seal accredited everything from hand soap to hotels.

5)Local generally refers to products grown within a 100-to-150 mile radius. Transporting goods locally uses fewer fossil fuels than shipping them from around the word. buy local

6)Natural means that the product contains no artificial colours or flavors ..not certified or regulated

7)Post-consumer recycled is material that has been sold, used and then recycled.  It is the gold standard for recycled products

8)Sustainable forestry paper products are certified by the forest stewardship council and come from forests that are managed for long-term productivity and biological diversity.

Rachel Mount

Deodorant Ingredients to Avoid

photo ~John Foxx/Getty DCL

by Megan Winkler

With ingredients that have been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, hormonal imbalance and neurological issues, I think it’s time we start looking a little more closely at what’s going into our deodorant. I’m pretty horrified at the information I dredged up on the topic. I know this isn’t a glamorous topic, but it’s an important one. So important, in fact, that I’m going to try a natural deodorant recipe out this week. But before I get to the recipe, let’s talk about what we’re applying to our armpits on a daily basis.


Yeah, we’ll start off with a big one. Aluminum—as in the metal—is used to block pores from releasing sweat. The problem is, aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and an increased chance of Alzheimer’s. Now to be fair, the Food and Drug Administration has never said it’s a carcinogen, but there is definitely a case for drawing a correlation between the two. It might be something to look out for.


Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are sometimes present in health and beauty products. There are two interesting bits of information that I’d like for us to consider with regards to this ingredient. The first is that the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study to see how many of us have parabens in our system. Of 100 subjects tested, 100 percent—each and every one of them—showed paraben presence in their urine. This research told scientists a lot about how easily chemicals enter our body via the skin. The other bit of information is that parabens have been linked to hormonal imbalance in early puberty. Food for thought.


The petroleum-based ingredient propylene glycol is present in many antiperspirants and deodorants. It’s the ingredient that gives deodorant a slick consistency so we can slather it on our skin. Bad news is that in large quantities it can do damage to the central nervous system, the heart and the liver. To be fair, this is like saying that broccoli in large doses is lethal, but no one would ever eat that much anyway, so it’s a moot point. The amount of propylene glycol used in the average stick of deodorant is probably completely safe, but it’s worth mentioning.


Phthalates help ingredients to dissolve, and because of this they are sometimes found in deodorant. Unfortunately, phthalates are also linked to birth defects and the disruption of hormone receptors in the body. Yuck!


After finding out that triclosan was classified as a pesticide by the FDA and as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, most companies that produce deodorants and antiperspirants have removed this ingredient from their formulas. It’s still a good idea to read the product label just to make sure triclosan isn’t hiding inside.


I did some research to see if I could talk about some great mainstream companies that have eliminated these ingredients from their products, but with the exception of Old Spice, none of the companies I investigated even go so far as to display the ingredients for their deodorants online.

There are a few all-natural deodorants on the market, but I found a couple of homemade recipes via Wellness Mama that are supposed to be amazing, assuming the above information doesn’t sit well with you either. Using coconut oil, baking soda, shea butter, and some optional arrowroot and essential oils, you can make your own quite easily. Simply melt the coconut oil and shea butter in a double boiler and add the other ingredients to create an all-natural alternative that really works. Another option is to combine coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch in a small glass jar. Neither recipe requires refrigeration, which is nice.