Beauty, Featured, Wellness

Sunscreen 101: The Basics of Sun Protection

June 24, 2019

Medical professionals and skin care experts alike can all agree that wearing sunscreen daily and year-round is non-negotiable. Not only is protecting yourself from the sun crucial for overall health, it’s also a major piece of the anti-aging puzzle. Here’s what you need to know.

TERMINOLOGY

The sunlight that reaches our skin made up of two types of harmful rays: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).

UVA

  • Think UVA = aging rays.
  • UVA rays penetrate the dermis, which is the second layer of skin under the epidermis.

UVB

  • Think UVB = burning rays.
  • UVB rays penetrate the epidermis, which is the uppermost layer of the skin.
Image credit: WebMD

SPF

SPF stands for sun protection factor, which indicates how much protection a product offers against UVB light. According to Medical News Today, “By law, a sunscreen product’s label must include a sun protection factor (SPF) number to indicate the level of protection from UVB rays, and state whether or not it has passed a broad-spectrum test against the sun’s ultraviolet (UVA) radiation.”

Broad-Spectrum

Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect the skin from both UVB and UVA rays.  Be sure to always purchase and use a broad spectrum sunscreen.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS? CHEMICAL vs. PHYSICAL

Physical

Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin.

Benefits of using a physical sunscreen:

  • Blocks both UVA and UVB rays. (Note: ALL physical sunscreens are broad spectrum)
  • Works immediately upon application.
  • Unlikely to irritate the skin, making it a more suitable option for sensitive skin types.
  • Unlikely to clog pores as it sits primarily on the surface of the skin.
  • Can limit rosacea flare-ups and irritation as it deflects heat from the skin.
  • Long shelf life.
  • Note: specific types of clothing can be a simple and effective way to physically protect your skin from sun exposure. For more specific information, read this article by The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Potential problems associated with physical sunscreen:

  • Can be rubbed off more easily than chemical sunscreen, especially when it comes in contact with water or sweat (requiring reapplication).
  • Often leaves white streaks on the skin requiring more effort to fully rub in.
  • Not always suitable for use under makeup because of its white cast and texture.
  • May be less protective if not properly applied to all areas of the skin.

Chemical

Chemical Sunscreens contain organic (carbon based) compounds, such as octisalate, oxybenzone, octinoxate and avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.

Benefits of using chemical sunscreens include:

  • Thinner formulations. Consistency makes application easier.
  • Limited streaking and white cast.
  • Less needed to cover large areas of the skin as it spreads easily.
  • Is more resistant to sweat or water compared to a physical sunscreen making it more appealing to those with active lifestyles.

Potential drawbacks of chemical sunscreen:

  • Efficacy starts 20 minutes after application to the skin requiring some planning. 
  • More likely to irritate the skin (higher SPF formulations tend to be more irritating)
  • Protection levels begin to drop when in direct UV light, necessitating more frequent reapplication.
  • Increased chance of redness in rosacea-prone skin.
  • Has the potential to clog the pores, and thus exacerbate acne.
  • Often can drip into the eyes causing stinging and irritation.
  • Some chemical sunscreens are not considered “reef safe” meaning they damage the oceanic ecosystem. States like Hawaii have banned the use of sunscreens that contain chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs and ocean biodiversity.

TIPS & TRICKS

Did you know most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen? It’s absolutely imperative that you apply enough and at the correct frequency.

Here are a few crucial pointers:  

  • Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin that’s exposed. Most adults need about 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to fully cover their body.
  • Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, neck, ears and scalp.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors.
  • Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • When outside, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after sweating or swimming, according to the directions on the bottle. 

In addition:

Eyes

  • Sunlight reflecting off water, snow or sand further increases exposure to UV radiation which can increase your risk of developing eye problems. Certain sunglasses can help protect your eyes. Be sure choose sunglasses labeled with a UVA/UVB rating of 100% to get the most UV protection.

PRODUCTS I USE DAILY

In conclusion:

It’s important to remember that all skin tones and types are subject to damage by UV radiation. So regardless of your ethnic background, please take care to protect your beautiful skin from the sun.

…and finally

You can use the most touted and efficacious anti-aging creams and potions on the market, but if you’re not using sun protection daily, you’re essentially throwing money down the drain. For the health (and beauty) of your skin, take sun protection seriously.

Featured, My life, Wellness

June Favorites 2019

June 22, 2019
June Favorites 2019

It’s been awhile…♥️

For the past few months, life has been a perfectly imperfect storm of hectic and crazy mixed with wonderful highs and devastating lows, but my goodness, I’m glad to be back here.

I thought I’d write the first post of a new series where I’ll be sharing all my favorite things with you every month!

This won’t be your typical ‘favorites’ post that you find on most blogs. I’m aiming to share more resources and information than products. The products I do share are things that are fun and simple (…and tangible. No $3,000 handbags on here) or have the ability to improve your life in some capacity. In addition, none of the brands I’ve mentioned below have sponsored or payed me to share their information. This is just me, talking to you about what I genuinely love.

I’m glad to be back and I hope you enjoy my June Favorites 2019! Please share what you are loving in the comment below.

Listening:

The Wabi Sabi Podcast by Candice Kumai

Candice Kumai is articulate and raw in the way she shares her experiences and masterful advice on everything from business and travel to beauty and dating. She started out as a model and the youngest contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef. She then paved her own path to success as an editor, content creator, chef and author of 6 best-selling books. (#GIRLBOSS) Candice’s words have provided me with peace and confidence to pause, reflect and ultimately believe in my own path. In a world full of external expectations, it’s refreshing to listen to those who’ve achieved success gracefully and unconventionally. 

Nutrition Rounds by Dr. Danielle Belardo, MD

Nutrition Rounds is a podcast for anyone interested in learning about plant-based nutrition through an evidence-based approach. Dr. Belardo interviews leading experts in medicine, nutrition and health-sciences and shares current data and information in tangible, approachable manner. 

I’m also still a diehard fan of This American Life and The Daily by The New York Times too. What podcasts are you loving? Comment below!

Music wise, Sara Bareilles’ newest album, ‘Admits The Chaos,’ has been on repeat. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Leon Bridges and Maren Morris’s acoustic album on iTunes.

Reading:

The Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Buettner

After reading The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner last year, I instantly picked up his second book, The Blue Zones of Happiness, where he explores regions of the world where people live the most happy, fulfilling lives. Hint: money and status have nothing to do with it. 

How Not To Die by Michael Greger, MD

This book comprehensively details the connection between nutrition and disease.  Written in a way that’s easy to understand for those new to the subject, but also substantive enough that those already familiar with health and nutrition will learn a great deal of new information.

Watching:

Frontline on PBS

Frontline is a flagship investigative journalism program that provides an in-depth and unflinching look into some of today’s most pressing issues and current events. This is exquisite broadcasting and my most cherished resource for staying up to date on current events.

Little Joys:

Moleskine Classic Notebook

I am slightly reluctant to admit that I’m still a pen and paper kind of girl, however, the thick, ivory pages in this notebook paired with inky, black pens is nothing short of magic in these tech-laden times.

Ella + Mila 7-free nail polish in shade ‘Honeymoon Bliss’

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect neutral shade of polish and this one ticks all my boxes. It’s not too pink yet not too nude. It’s somewhere in between and it makes for an elegant, eye-catching manicure. I’m also a big fan of the polish remover from this brand.

Klean Kanteen tumbler

I recently purchased this mug knowing full well I would use it every day. It’s durable, easy to wash and slips nicely into my work bag. There are multiple size offerings, lid options and colors and it’s a fantastically simple way to cutback on disposable coffee and tea cups.  

Savoring:

Writing

You guys, it’s been a YEAR. (More on that later, I promise.) I’m truly luxuriating in reintegrating creativity and writing back into my routine after a particularly brutal few months. Sitting here at my desk, with a pot of oolong brewing by my side, is easily my favorite place to be.

Nature

I live with chronic anxiety and getting outside everyday has become an integral part of how I stay well. I love going for long walks around my neighborhood sans technology (no headphones + smartphone on airplane mode just incase of an emergency). I use that time to reconnect with myself and process the day. Spending time alone with your own thoughts is so important!

Dessert, Featured, Food, Snacks

Chocolate Almond Coconut Bliss Balls

May 15, 2019

My Chocolate Almond Coconut Bliss Balls are the perfect blend of satiating macronutrients (healthy carbohydrates, plant-based protein and good fats) designed to keep you fueled and focused throughout day! These gooey, chocolatey gems make for a great lunchbox addition or afternoon pick-me-up. This recipe is both vegan and gluten free.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Place the walnuts in a high-speed blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts. Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until the mixture is thick and smooth. Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls with your hands. Roll the balls in shredded coconut. Place in a sealed container in the fridge until hardened before serving. Store extras in the fridge in an airtight container.

Notes: Shop container pictured.

Featured, Food, Sides, Snacks

Savory Baked Tofu with Sesame-Citrus Sauce

April 29, 2019
The Perfect Baked Tofu with Sesame-Citrus Dipping Sauce

This Savory Baked Tofu with Sesame-Citrus Sauce is simple, delicious and packed with flavor. The perfect party appetizer or lunchbox addition – these bite-sized gems are destined to delight with there subtle Japanese flavor profile.

Ingredients

Tofu:

  • 2 packages of extra firm tofu (14 oz)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Sesame-Citrus Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • Juice of 1/2 of a medium orange

Instructions

For the tofu:

  • In a medium storage container, whisk together tamari, rice vinegar, mirin and minced garlic. Set aside.
  • Carefully remove tofu from its packaging. Blot away any excess water using a clean kitchen towel. Cut tofu into desired shape and size.
  • Place tofu into the marinade and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Flip tofu and let it marinate on the other side for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with silpat baking mats or lightly oiled parchment paper.
  • Evenly arrange the marinated tofu on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, flip and bake for an additional 20 minutes. (Or until tofu has an even, golden-brown hue).

For the Sesame-Citrus Sauce:

  • Thoroughly whisk together all sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Pour gently into serving bowl of choice.

Enjoy!

Pantry staples: Tamari, Mirin and Rice Vinegar.

Note: The tofu recipe on its own makes for a flavorful hit of plant-based protein in a salad, sandwich or stir fry. The options are truly endless!