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dark spots

Skin

How To Do A Skin "Detox" (7-Day Skin Fast)Featured

At VMV Hypoallergenics, we have received less than 0.1% reports of reactions in over 30 years, and almost all of those reactions were due to us not being able to make recommendations based on one’s patch test results, incorrect use of the product, a cross reaction with another product, or an underlying irritation that might have been chronic but not yet obvious. In these cases, a 7-Day Skin Fast normally (over 98% of the time) results in a clearing of the problem and the client’s ability to use the products without a reaction. This process — similar to an elimination diet for food, but for skin — has been so successful for our clients for decades that we created our Skin “Detox” Kit to allow anyone to easily do a Skin Fast at home, any time.

Why Should I Do A Skin Fast?

1. To get your skin back to baseline…
A Skin Fast helps skin return to its most natural, non-irritated state. This can have several benefits (more on these below), including giving your skin a seasonal “reset.” As with all the body’s organs, our skin changes over time. Observing your skin in its natural state now may show you new dryness, for example, that can help you adjust your skincare regimen appropriately.
2. To recover from a skin reaction…
Anyone, even someone who has never had problems using any product before, can develop a skin reaction. Reactions can include an allergic reaction, an irritation, hyperpigmentation (darkening), dryness, redness, itching, flaking, an acne breakout, or other symptoms. Anything applied on reacting skin can worsen the situation. A Skin Fast gives your skin a break from what might be causing the reaction (and other possible contaminants), allowing it to recover.
3. To help identify the cause of a reaction or a chronic skin problem…
Believe it or not, the cause of a reaction is not always (or even frequently!) the last product you applied. A product you’ve been using for a long time “without a problem” could actually have been causing an underlying irritation that was too subtle to notice, increasing your skin’s sensitivity over time until another product (even one you’re not actually allergic to) was the final straw — your skin couldn’t take any more and finally reacted. In food, a common way to help identify a sensitivity is an elimination diet. The Skin Fast works similarly, helping you (or your doctor) more accurately identify the trigger of your skin problem.
Note: While a Skin Fast can help identify a trigger, the most accurate way to identify which ingredients and other substances you are sensitive to is a patch test. If you have a history of sensitivity or stubborn skin problems, or a skin condition that is worsened by external stress, ask your doctor about a patch test (or photo-patch test, for hyperpigmentation).
4. To recover from treatments, clinical procedures, medications, or injuries…
Many treatments (like active ingredients), clinical procedures (lasers and peels), and medications (chemotherapy, certain neurological drugs or even ibuprofen) can make the skin temporarily more problematic. It can develop acne or become drier, more sensitive and/or more photo-sensitive (more prone to sunburn, redness or darkening due to sun or indoor light exposure). Doing a Skin Fast after a procedure, or keeping your skin in a Skin Fast throughout therapy or recovery, can help increase comfort and decrease the risk further vulnerability or injury.
Keeping skin in “detox” can also be helpful when skin is injured from a rash, flare-up, burn or other injury — it keeps the skin cared for very gently, so the skin is left unstressed and its cells can focus on rebuilding and healing.
5. To safely try new products after a patch test (or in general)…
If you have a history of acne, darkening, irritations or other skin problems, or if you’ve just had a patch test, a Skin “Detox” is a very safe way to try new products. With skin in its most non-irritated state and with new products introduced in a very slow, controlled manner, you reduce the risk of reactions and increase your chances of finding products that you can safely use.
For more on possible reasons for product reactions, and tips on how to avoid them, check out: Reactions: About, Allergic, Irritant, Sudden, Prevention, Using VMV & Other Products, etc..

How To Do A Skin “Detox” (7-Day Skin Fast)

Click through the slide show below for a step-by-step guide.
Questions? Or want us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results? Contact us here or send us a Private Message on Facebook.
 

Beauty, Featured, Healthy Living, Skin

5 Habits To "Spring Clean" For Healthy SkinFeatured

Skin care is never just about the skin’s surface. Your diet, stress levels, amount of sleep, and exercise all contribute to your skin’s clarity and health. As you spring clean your closet, take these 5 habits out to the trash to make room for vibrant, fresh, healthy skin:

Junk The Junk

There just is no redeeming factor to junk food (processed candy, chips, colas, juices, energy drinks, snacks). The body doesn’t know how to process several of the ingredients used to preserve, color, or flavor many of these products, and excesses get stored as fat or, as new research is showing, potentially harmful buildup in the brain. Skin-wise, colorants are common allergens that are known to cause rashes or acne around the mouth and chin, and in some severe cases, all over the body. The junk is addictive, too, so it’s best to get off it and stay off it.

Treat Perfection As Passé

Sugar, pasta, rice, bread, crackers: avoid the pristine uniformity of white options and look for healthy variants like whole wheat, wild, brown, coconut, and other more fibrous, less processed alternatives.
Check out the farm-fresh produce in the photo below: imperfectly perfect, just as nature intended. Choose organic produce as often as you can. And consider growing your own! If you have kids, window or garden growing is an excellent activity to do together that gets them outside (more healthy activity, less tech!) and teaches them not only about nature but about where their food comes from. If you don’t have kids, gardening is a soothing activity and many plants like kale, tomatoes, and several herbs are surprisingly easy to grow. Just don’t forget the sunscreen when working outside. In addition to UV rays from the sun, many plants are photo-allergens, meaning they react with light to cause skin darkening. You don’t want your skin to suffer as you get healthy: slather on your UV protection before you get down and dirty!
tomato-imperfect

Don’t Drink Your Nutrients: Chew ‘Em

Because you need so much fruit and veg to make a single serving, fresh, cold-pressed juices are wonderful to supplement your intake of fruits and vegetables…but sipping shouldn’t replace eating. Chewing through raw, whole fruits and vegetables gives you all the fiber and nutritious benefits that these miracle foods have to offer. Juicing, even at home, can mean getting more sugar and water than anything else. Add, don’t replace.

Stop De-Prioritizing Movement

Don’t make exercise an option, or something to do just a few times a week: make it a daily ritual. Enroll in a class that forces you to do 3 days of more intense work — spinning, aerobics, zumba, bootcamp, whatever you find fun. Do two days of hiking or walking with the kids, the dog or your partner. That leaves two more days of yoga, other classes, the treadmill or even stationary biking while watching your favorite TV shows. Aim for a minimum of 45 minutes no matter what you’re doing. Free apps like Sworkit help you customize workouts according to the time you have — no gym or equipment required. There are loads of free dance and zumba routines on YouTube, too. And if you have a crazy-busy week, try this Heart-Thumping 10-Minute Workout, this 10-Minute Pilates + Barre Workout, or the famous 7-Minute Workout.
Try to be less sedentary in general, too. At work, set an alarm to get up and walk around. Look for opportunities to move more: take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, and get off at a stop a few blocks from your normal station so you can walk the rest of the way.
Just getting started? Don’t let the trendiness of ultra-extreme workouts intimidate you. ANY movement is better than none. Especially if you’re not naturally active, prioritize the habit of daily exercise over the actual activity. Set an alarm to make sure you do something — anything…one minute of jumping jacks and some crunches, for example — at the same time every day. At the end of a week, try two minutes of any activity. By the third week, try five minutes (this is where Sworkit comes in handy…you can choose the time you have). Soon enough, you’ll find that getting started won’t be so hard: you’ll have set the habit your mind and body. Keep it up and you’ll start naturally looking for longer or harder exercise routines. The most important thing, however, is that you’ll have made exercise a DAILY habit.

Stop Thinking Sleep Is For The Weak 

Prioritize sleep. Your skin and body need it. Sleep helps with learning, stress management, depression, skin, lessening inflammation, even controlling hunger pangs and helping you choose wiser foods to eat.
Less stress, a leaner, stronger physique, and gorgeous, glowing skin…we don’t see the downside, do you?

Skin

Bright Lights, Big Problem: What Is Causing Your Hyperpigmentation?Featured

Treatment + Prevention = Clarity.

Because the melanocytes of darker skin produce more melanin, hyperpigmentation tends to be more common in deeper skin tones. But dark spots and blotches can occur in all skin phototypes. The top cause: exposure to sun and light, including indoor lights, TV/stage lights and computer screens…and even heat from cooking, fireplaces and saunas.
Skin traumas like pimples and rashes, or even lasers or peels (or highly irritating medications like hydroquinone), can result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Other culprits include photo-allergens, hormones and even certain medications which can be photo-sensitizers (read more about common causes here: “Shining The Light On What Causes Dark Spots & Blotches“).
Effective treatment needs active tyrosinase inhibitors to prevent melanin over-production, plus a daily sunscreen tested for indoor lights and heat (why an Armada Post-Procedure Barrier Cream 50+ comes with all Illuminants+ Creams), as well as proper prevention (why we minimize or omit allergens in our active products and recommend allergen and photo-allergen-free products for everything else you use, from hair, body and bath care to makeup).
If you’re doing everything right and still have stubborn melasma or other hyperpigmentations, see a dermatologist to rule out other possible conditions like diabetes or a thyroid or endocrine problem, and ask about a photopatch test, which could reveal surprising causes of your hyperpigmentation.

Featured, Skin

Combining Actives: Customize Your Skincare Regimen Like A ProFeatured

First, some basics.

IS MORE…MORE?

YES AND NO.
Combining different actives in one regimen can give you multiple benefits but you up the risk of irritation and you can definitely over-treat. If you’re going to combine, keep the following in mind:

  1. Hypoallergenic: Choose products with minimal or no allergens to up the safety factor.
  2. Sensitive Should Simplify: For sensitive skin, less is more, period. Use fewer products and choose gentle but multi-beneficial ones.
  3. Date wisely. If you’re going to increase the risk of irritation by adding actives, add what’s proven to be good and reliable. Sexy, sci-fi-sounding claims that seem too good to be true probably are — big talk and broken promises are never fun. Stick to what’s backed up by studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

DO I NEED A TONER? 

NOT NECESSARILY
WHY: Not all skin types should use a toner. Very dry skin and sensitive conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis do better with less cleansing overall.

CAN I USE MULTIPLE ACTIVES IF I HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN?

IT DEPENDS ON THE ACTIVES
WHY:  “Active ingredient” is often an alpha- or beta-hydroxy acid, another type of microscopic exfoliant (hastens the shedding of old cells), or a drug (like an antibiotic). While effective, too much of these good things can be too much for sensitive skin. There are excellent actives that are less irritating and some that are even anti-inflammatory such as virgin coconut oil (anti-aging, barrier repair, antimicrobial); monolaurin (anti-acne, antimicrobial), and green tea (antioxidant). As long as the rest of the ingredients in your products are free of allergens, combining anti-inflammatory actives may not only be ok but beneficial.

How to Combine Actives the Right Way

Think: Extra Slow, Extra Gentle. Protect.
1) GO SLOW. With any active product, start with once-a-week applications, then twice-a-week, very slowly increasing frequency to three times a week and so on until you achieve once- or twice-a-day usage, which should be no earlier than eight weeks after your first application.
Get to once- or twice-a-day usage of one active product before starting another. Do this for each new active product that you add. That’s eight weeks or more per new active product — for example, you would only be using three active products together by week 24, at the earliest.
2) BE GENTLE. It is crucial to use a pH-lowered cleanser (such as Id, Illuminants+, Re-Everything) to prevent irritations. Active treatments are more acidic, which the skin can easily adjust to (the skin’s natural pH is slightly acidic) but low-pH active treatments plus a high-pH cleanser can spell disaster.
3) PROTECT: Actives tend to make the skin more sensitive to sun and light. It is important to use an Armada Sun + Light Screen every day, indoors and outdoors, even if actives have not been applied on a given day.


4 MOST COMMON COMBOS

Can I combine Id and Illuminants+ for my acne and dark spots? What about a Pore Minimizer? Presenting our most popular “how-do-I-combine…” regimens at VMV Hypoallergenics: