The Damage the Sun can Do Ultraviolet radiation is a documented serious human carcinogen. Really think about the name – sunlight is radiation, slowly but surely causing irreversible damage to our cells. It’s a slower kind of radiation poisoning but it’s still there. Sunburn and […]
I recently came across a fascinating twin study all about ageing and which genetic and environmental factors have the biggest impact on perceived age. I wanted to know which features skin make you look old, and whether or not we can control them. What I […]
It seems that recently Australia has been finally catching up with the rest of the world in the skin care game. As such, it shouldn’t have shocked me to walk into my local Mecca Maxima and see Mizon products. But I’m not going to lie, I squealed in excitement. I’ve wanted to try Korean skin care for ages but as I don’t speak or read Korean (unlike Japanese which is actually my major and therefore makes up half of my routine), I wasn’t too confident buying it online.
Mizon’s AHA 8% Peeling Serum seemed like the natural choice after my year long abstinence from actives as I repaired my dehydration. I needed gentle exfoliating and this serum delivers just that, and it’s free from fatty alcohols – woohoo! Its key exfoliating ingredient is 8% glycolic acid at a pH of 2 (making it super effective) which is perfect for every day or a few times a week. At $35 AUD buying it in person it was a bit (very) steep but I figured I could always order it again online for far cheaper (such as from here) if I really liked it (and spoiler alert: I do).
Clean + simple packaging, hilarious english
Anyone who’s ever used asian beauty products before knows about their funny english, presumably due to translation issues. I particularly like some of the sentences on the outer box here – I can’t figure them out! (I’m not poking fun at foreign people’s English – I’ve been studying languages for upwards of 9 years and trust me when I say I’m a lot worse than they are.) Good on them for promoting sunscreen use which is vital when using an AHA as it heightens sensitivity to the sun. The ingredients are also listed below.
The packing is really nice, with a fine pipette style dispenser and a chrome cap. The dropper button pops up as you twist off the cap, making it really leak proof. The plastic case is also tough and ideal for travel, but has a weight to it that makes the product feel expensive. You get a reasonably generous 50ml which I would guess is going to last me around 6 months of regular every other day use.
What’s on the inside
The product itself is a thin, clear gel serum with a light fresh fragrance (which I can’t quite put my finger on). However it disappears pretty quickly if that’s something that bothers you. There’s alcohol in the ingredients, which isn’t ideal for dehydrated skin but it dries down nicely and goes well under moisturiser, which is where it belongs in your routine. There’s a bit of internet contention about pH dependent products like exfoliants and whether you need to wait before applying moisturiser on top. I play it safe and go for about 10-15 minutes to make sure it’s working its best.
My feelings – would I buy it again?
I’d say Mizon’s AHA 8% Peeling Serum is my favourite AHA I’ve tried so far. In the few weeks I’ve been trying it out I’ve experienced very little irritation or flaking, a bit of purging (which is deeper acne coming to the surface) and a HUGE increase in glow and smoothness. It doesn’t sting on application like many other exfoliants I’ve tried though that could be due to the healthier condition of my skin at the moment. Overall, It’s a great addition to my routine and I’ll be repurchasing! I’d recommend this for beginners to asian beauty or AHA exfoliants, or for those who can’t use my other recommendation Derma E Overnight Peel due to fatty alcohol sensitivity. You can purchase it yourself from Amazon.
Next on my review list is The Ordinary’s 2% Retinol. Keep your eyes peeled for that!
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you again soon,
When you’re faced with lots of sunscreen options, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the different types and brands. But the first thing that really matters is the SPF. Let’s talk about what is the minimum SPF you should be reaching for next time […]
We have it easy here in the great down under in many ways; great public healthcare, high standards of living, and a wonderful (albeit skin cancer inducing) climate. But what we do lack is an affordable, wide range of skincare like the US and Europe […]
There’s been a disturbing trend in the natural health sphere for a while now and I think it’s time I talk about it. Natural health bloggers (see Wellness Mama and Pronounce Skincare, for example) have been spreading the word about their amazing homemade sunscreens. They make all sorts of claims about the dangers of store-bought sunscreens, which I’m not even going to touch today. If you don’t want to use ‘chemicals’ and ‘nasties’ on your body, thats your prerogative (I’d like to remind you however that everything is a chemical, so good luck avoiding them).
What I can’t do is stand idly by as they spread misinformation about the safety of making your own sunscreen at home. There are undeniably glaring holes in their knowledge and logic and its putting them, their families, and their followers at risk.
Let’s dispel the FALSEHOODS surrounding DIY sunscreen and discuss why you should never make it yourself.
SPF must be measured by scientists in clinical trials
Despite what a lot of these self professed ‘wellness’ advocates seem to think, SPF is a formal measurement that cannot be ‘figured out’. You can’t eyeball it, nor even come up with anything vaguely approximating the SPF without legitimate scientific trials and tests. There are so many factors that affect a formulation’s SPF and it’s not just the weight/weight percentage of sunscreen ingredient to cream. People need to stop throwing out the phrase “it’s about an SPF of 35-40” or “it’s definitely at least SPF 20 because it’s 20% zinc oxide”. There’s a reason sunscreen bottles say a specific number on them – because if it’s not specific, it’s no good.
Ingredients do not have the ‘natural SPF’ they claim
Oils like carrot seed oil are often touted – with no research – to contain ‘natural SPF’. This is not true, at least not to the extent they claim. They have very little SPF, no more than many other products do.
The study many of these so-called DIY formulators seem to be referencing on carrot seed oil actually claims that “PRODUCTS containing carrot seed oil have an SPF of 38-40”. This study was in reference to natural sunscreens with this ingredient, NOT the oil itself.
In another study it was found that carrot seed oil clocked in at a dismal SPF of 1.3. Goes to show how much research these people are doing, huh?
An SPF of 7 is not enough
Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that some of their ingredients have some SPF. Even if these so called ‘natural SPFs’ were accurate, those with very dark skins are estimated to have an inbuilt SPF of up to 13.4 as compared to those with light skin. This means that these ingredients (and the end products) probably offer you no more protection than someone with a deep skin tone has. And those people still get skin cancer!
Sunscreens of SPF 30+ are recommended to gain significant protection. And boy do these recipes not fit the bill. Over on Realize Beauty they tested the actual SPFs of some of these formulas, and they’re about as bad as you could expect from something made in your kitchen, ranging from 7-12.
No good sunscreen will let you tan but not burn
I don’t care what you have to say, there is no such thing as a safe tan unless it’s from a bottle. If you’re tanning, you’re getting UVA damage which causes DNA mutation and thus skin cancer and free radical damage. Claims that their sunscreens help them to tan slowly and safely are completely misguided. If you’re getting a high enough broad-spectrum protection to stop UV damage, you won’t be tanning either.
While the sunscreen might stop you from burning if it uses an ingredient like titanium dioxide that only blocks UVB and lets in UVA, this won’t give you the protection you need. UVA damage is just as bad and is thought to be the cause of many if not most skin cancers. So I’m sorry but no good store bought sunscreen will let you tan, and that theirs’ does is a testament to its inefficiency.
SPFs cannot be added together
Lots of these ‘recipes’ for sunscreen suggest that by putting lots of ingredients together with small amount of SPF, they are creating a high SPF end product. Even if somehow these ingredients actually have the SPF they claim they do (regardless or formulation, percentage and application method which makes a massive difference) it does *not* work out that you can add two things with SPF 10 together and get SPF 20. Think about it – if you mix together two sunscreens in a bowl, each with SPF 50, are you making SPF 100? No! You’ll have twice as much SPF 50!
Formulation is not as simple as mixing in a bowl
Without proper ways to disperse the oxides, these ingredients ‘ball up’ and create a mixture that leaves many microscopic patches of unprotected skin. Think about it, why would companies spend millions on formulation if they could just chuck some zinc oxide in a cream and go? People spend years of their life learning exactly what chemicals interact with one another and are safe and effective in certain concentrations.
The other ingredients play a vital role in the effectiveness and longevity of the formula and you’ve just got no assurance with a homemade sunscreen that it’ll even last over any amount of time. A favourite skin care enthusiast and cosmetic chemist of mine Michelle of Lab Muffin has produced a youtube video covering this topic from a cosmetic chemist’s perspective. She knows a lot more than me about formulation, so you should definitely go check it out!
But by far my favourite nugget of wisdom was from this commenter who suggests that “moving around means you get less sun exposure”. Misinformation is everywhere.
I hope this raised some questions for you that will make you question the legitimacy of what you see on the internet. It’s not black and white and some people online have not done their due diligence nor have your best interests at heart.
Thanks for reading and stay safe in the sun!
Mineral oil is the ingredient that gives us baby oil, Vaseline and more. It’s a highly occlusive ingredient that’s chemically inert, making it amazing as a final routine step. It’s derived from the refinement process of crude oil to make gasoline and other petroleum products. […]
If you haven’t heard yet, SPF is the measurement of how much UV protection sunscreen offers you. An SPF of 30, for example, only lets through to your skin 1 bit of UV for every 30 it blocks. That sounds great, right? This is roughly […]
As I mentioned in my Skin Care + Depression post, I think skin care is a great tool for self care. It’s fun, relaxing, and really offers tangible self improvement.
But unfortunately, a lot of the DIY at-home spa day guides out there on the internet are full of not-so-ideal recipes and advice that might end up hurting your skin. They suggest irritating ingredients or pointless products and I think that we can do better.
Do you want to know what’s bogus and what’s not? Let’s look at the commonly suggested recipes and tips for home treatments and discuss some better alternatives.
DON’T: Steam your face
Here’s something that might shock you – pores don’t open and close! So it’s unnecessary (and boring) to learn over a hot steaming bowl of water for 5+ minutes. On top of this, extreme heat can break capillaries leaving you with sometimes permanent visible red marks. Not very relaxing!
RATHER: Oil massage
A better way to prep your skin for a face mask is to gently massage with a carrier oil (my favourite is Jojoba). This will work to dissolve and dislodge sebaceous filaments that make your pores seem larger and darker. A gentle massage is super relaxing and will get your blood flowing! It’s a way better use of that 5 minutes!
DON’T: Scrub with salt, baking soda or sugar
Salt is very rough on a microscopic level and can have sharp, jagged edges. It’s also very drying! Baking soda causes pH imbalance which leads to skin conditions like acne and dehydration. If you really love the feeling of a physical exfoliant, sugar is ok for the body occasionally as it’s smoother and partially dissolves in water, but will likely also irritate the face.
RATHER: Use an AHA serum, lotion or mask
AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid not only loosen old skin cells, but they also deeply hydrate and increase collagen production. They can reverse freckles and hyper pigmentation too. My current favourite for beginners is Derma E Overnight Peel. For the body, something like AmLactin will do the trick.
DON’T: Put essential oil into face masks
I don’t think homemade masks are super effective at the best of times. I’d rather spend a few bucks on Freedman Avocado Oatmeal clay mask and guarantee a great experience. But ones with essential oil are especially problematic. I even wrote a whole post on why. You’ll risk allergic reactions and skin burns! Plus there are so many different ingredients which will actually have tangible, positive effects on your skin.
RATHER: Try ground oats/oat flour + honey
If you still want to DIY the face mask, I think a mixture of ground oats (or oat flour) and honey is the way to go. Honey is a natural humectant and has antimicrobial properties. Colloidal oatmeal – a fancy way of saying ‘ground up’ oatmeal – is anti-inflammatory and soothing. These two ingredients should be fine on all skin types, plus it still smells delicious (and tastes good if it gets in your mouth)!
DON’T: Place cucumbers on your eyes
Now there’s nothing about cucumbers that’s dangerous, thank goodness! But while cool cucumber slices are soothing and anti-inflammatory, they don’t offer any unique benefits when it comes to really reducing eye bags and puffiness.
RATHER: Cool some tea + coffee bags
Refrigerated (used) green tea or coffee bags are just as soothing as cucumbers, but also carry a powerful antioxidant punch and so help to prevent sun damage! If puffiness is your problem, the caffeine in tea or coffee will also immediately take the swelling down thanks to its natural circulatory stimulating effects.
DON’T: Use coconut oil on your body
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but coconut oil is comedogenic for a lot of people and is also the food of choice for skin-loving fungus malassezia. So if you suffer from body acne, it’s not the best choice.
RATHER: Slather yourself in baby oil
Baby oil is pretty much entirely made up of mineral oil, which not only is one of the least likely ingredients to cause a reaction, it’s super occlusive so it traps water in your skin, leaving you softer for longer! (I’ll be writing a post soon about the recent anti-mineral oil craze and why I think it’s over the top, so keep an eye out for that)
I hope this post gave you some ideas for better ways to take care of your skin while pampering yourself during a night in. Of course, there are no unbreakable rules. Skin care can just be for fun and to each their own, but I think why not do some good while you relax!
Have a lovely day and I’ll see you next time,
It’s a chilly winter morning. You reach over and pull apart the curtains and take a look outside only to see that it’s dark, grey and overcast. The weather report says there’ll be a storm, maybe even snow. “Great!” you think, “I won’t need sunscreen […]