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hypoallergenic skincare

Featured, Skin

Fall "Skin" Love In 4 StepsFeatured

As the leaves turn and fall, do your own shedding and renewal:

Our post-summer skinfest begins with a royal residue-ridding to wash away summer’s big sweat soirée and flush out the greasy flotsam that strikes fear in every pore. In other words: here’s how to transition your skincare from summer to fall.
Treat yourself to some serious skin love and it won’t be just the autumn leaves looking so fine this fall!

Ask VMV, Skin

World Traveler Skincare: Top 9 Travel Skincare TipsFeatured

Ever gotten off a plane thinking, I wonder if my epidermis is in baggage claim? Or put mentholated vaginal wash on a rash after desperately trying (and failing) to navigate a pharmacy in a foreign country? What about an epic breakout the night before a big meeting or your best friend’s beach wedding? Skincare can’t be suspended just because you’re not at home. We asked the most peripatetic people we knew…how do you keep skin happy when traveling? Holly Byerly, Senior Esthetician and Brand Educator for VMV Hypoallegenics put together these 9 top skincare and beauty tips to help keep your skin in ship shape throughout your journey.
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1. Passport. Phone. Regimen.

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Pack your essentials. “It’s important to maintain your routine. Travel with the products that work well for you instead of making do with hotel amenities or nothing at all. Even a week away from your regular skin care can make you regret it.” This means keeping up your daily sunscreen, too!
Holly packs SuperSkin Care Hydra Balance Smart Cleanser, Hydra Balance Cleansing Scrub and Hydra Balance Smart Moisturizer, plus Know-It-Oil, The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm and Armada Face Cover 30 sunscreen.

2. Pre-Flight: Go Lightly.

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Head to your flight with a clean and freshly hydrated face, free of foundation and powder.
If you feel too naked, opt for a few dabs of Skin-The-Buff Concealer, a Sheer Lip Tint and Ooh-La-Lash! Mascara.

3. Dress Code: Flexible-Smart-Comfortable.

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Dress so you can relax but not be disheveled. Being put together upon arrival helps you look peppier than you might actually feel. Light, wrinkle-free fabrics can help you sleep better and prevent lines in skin, which can get particularly deep as our extremities swell mid flight. Leggings are a great option — besides being super comfortable and easy to dress up or down, they prevent the edges of your pants from coming into contact with bathroom floors. Keep a sweater handy for temperature fluctuations. A dressier jacket in your hand carried luggage instantly makes you look more structured (and gives you more pockets!).

4. The Only 8 Makeup Items You’ll Ever Need For Travel

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I like to travel with as little as possible. With these mega-multitaskers, I can do just that!
#1 & 2: Skin-The-Bluff Concealers in No More Blues (the yellow is fundamental to camouflage tired undereyes!) and N1 (my shade).
#2: Antioxidant Powder Foundation. I like the flexibility: one product for light, medium or heavy coverage.
#3: (H)Eyebrow Eye + Brow Liner. Again, one product for brows and liner…even shadowing!
#4: Skin Bloom Blush in Bellini. I use this always-flattering-all-year shade not only as my cheek color, but also as an eyeshadow. It really wakes up tired skin and eyes!
#5: Two True Hues Eyeshadow Duo. This earthy duo works well with (H)Eyebrow & Bellini for, you guessed, it, multiple options (see a trend here?)
#6 & 7: Sheer Lip Tint in Bubblegum and Velvet Matte Lipstick in Light My Fire (because who can travel with just one lipstick??). I mix a bit of Boo-Boo Balm with Light My Fire for a less intense color in the daytime, and use it by itself for a more dramatic nighttime look.
#8: Ooh-La-Lash! Volumizing Mascara. This buildable, smear-proof formula is the traveler’s dream.

5. Soar! Not, SORE…

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Especially on flights longer than 6 hours, make sure your carry-on has a couple of basic hydration boosters. Mid-way through, take a moment to cleanse and rehydrate your skin. I suggest mini sizes of your SuperSkin Care Cleanser, Know-It-Oil, and Boo-Boo Balm for an in-flight skin quench.

6. Healthy Hydration

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Travel with an empty water bottle and refill frequently to make sure you drink plenty of water during your flight. This is especially true for kids who need even more hydration than we do.
Avoid sugary juices or sodas, coffee and alcohol — stick to water or soda water to keep your body and skin as hydrated as possible. This is important for the flight as well as post-flight recovery.

7. Bye-Bye, Boo-Boo’s!

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Nicks, cracking skin, dry insides of nostrils…if you have to pack ONE thing, it’s The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm.
KID TIP: Make kids “captains” of specific tasks (“you’re the water captain” or “you’re the Boo-Boo Balm captain”). This builds their self esteem, makes them feel like part of the adventure (instead of like extra luggage), keeps them focused and can be surprisingly helpful!

8. Post-Flight Skincare:

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When you have a moment to yourself, cleanse your skin and apply an easy-to-mix hydrating mask:
Pour equal parts Know-It-Oil and the SuperSkin Care Moisturizer for your skin type into a glass or bowl. Apply onto skin. Leave on for 20 minutes or overnight for a more intense skin treatment.

9. Jump start recovery:

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You’d be amazed at what 60 minutes can “dew.”
One facial or spa treatment can mean instant refreshment and recovery. Traveling to San Francisco? Call (415) 255 9510 to book a facial or spa treatment with Holly at Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics. Or call (212) 217 2762 to get your “dew” at our VMV Skin-Specialist Boutique in Soho if the big apple’s on your itinerary!
 
While we may not be able to control the weather, the lines or baggage handling, we can take command of our own smooth sailing!

Skin

Facial Shaving Products For Your Legs?Featured

Why do bumps happen?

If you happen to prefer shaving your legs — because it’s more convenient or faster or you just like it better — a common problem can be nasty red bumps. Not great on an area of the body that you’re showing off in summer shorts and minis. A surprising solution can be found in products associated with men’s-only shaving. Facial shaving can be such a problem that a multitude of specialized products exist to address everything from razor burn to, yup, bumps. But before you go raiding your guy’s medicine cabinet, make sure you’re dealing with shaving bumps.
Are these things pimples? As a general rule, no…but don’t rule out the possibility either. Laura, VMV Hypoallergenics CEO, told me of a “horrifying” experience with steroid acne on the legs. “It was the 80s and I’d been playing tennis with sauna pants (a real thing) because I wanted to be tougher, sweat more, and lose more weight. This genius idea of training with my legs encased in an airless, soggy sauna clogged the follicles on my legs. This led to a rash and some topical steroids, and then the worst, most disgusting, pus-filled, inflamed and painful acne all over my legs, from mid thigh to ankle.” Barring steroid acne from an unfortunate encounter with a 1980s torture outfit (in which case, see your dermatologist), your bumps could be “sweat acne” or pityrosporum folliculitis. In this case, the fungus pityrosporum which lives naturally and happily on our skins with other healthy microbes goes on overdrive because you happen to be sweating a lot more and this charming organism feeds on sweat. This is a relatively easy fix with Id Monolaurin Gel, an anti-fungal and helps control sweating. But true shaving bumps are actually “ingrown” hairs: coarse or curly hairs that loop under and grow back upwards to the skin’s surface.

What are shaving bumps, exactly?

Shaving bumps, ingrown hair (a rose by any other name), is a condition called pseudofolliculitis. Pseudo because it is not a true inflammation from bacteria or fungi. It can mimic such conditions (which is why it sometimes looks like acne) and inflammation can also occur. But the cause is physical, not fungal or bacterial.
If you have shaving bumps — raised, uniform bumps, normally without visible infected matter (pus) — on areas where you shave, men’s shaving products such as an anti-inflammatory shaving regimen like 1635 Gentle Men’s Therapeutic Shaving could be your solution. We’ve always said, we don’t formulate for a gender, we formulate for skin. Pseudofolliculitis can occur on any skin and 1635 has an entire regimen to help deal with it and other shaving issues.
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How to use facial shaving stuff to prevent bumps on the legs:

  • Two of the most important factors to a good, painless, bump-free shave are heat and water. Try the Pre-Shave Soft Scrub before shaving to make sure the area is cleansed but not stripped of important oils which some soaps (particularly hard ones) can do. This pre-shaving cleanser contains hydrophobic ingredients to lubricate the skin, lock-in moisture and soften the hair. Massaging it on the skin while in a hot shower takes care of the warming part. The fine scrubs help dislodge ingrown hair and remove dead skin and debris which can clog up your razor. This simple step can do wonders for preventing bumps, nicks and cuts.
  • The Pre-Shave Barber “Oil” ups the heat-and-water factor even more. This unique formulation traps in moisture, keeps the hair warm and makes for an easier shave (guys get a wet, hot towel in a barbershop for the same reason). This is also a great option for very precise shaving or shaping.
  • Choose from 3 options of shaving creams to best address your hair type: fine, coarse, or in-between.
  • End with one of 3 aftershave options. Each will help with inflammation, but the Aftershave Salve soothes very sensitive skin that tends to experience razor burn, and the Aftershave Solution is made specifically to help prevent various bumps, from clogged pores to shaving bumps. Pair it with Id Monolaurin Gel if you think you might also have sweat acne.

If your dermatologist diagnoses your bumps as pseudofolliculitis, you could also opt to not shave at all. Ask your doctor about other options such as laser hair removal.
As with most skin concerns (for most things health-related, for that matter), an accurate diagnosis is fundamental to achieving clarity. See a properly-boarded dermatologist.

Two other major pluses to using your man’s facial shaving products:

1. Because 1635 is made for hair and skin, your body skin gets treated to skin-enhancing, antioxidant goodness normally reserved for “fancier” areas like your face and neck, and…
2. Like the top photo shows, you can gift your guy with awesome shaving products that you can use, too!
 
 
Read more in Shaving Bumps: Pseudofolliculitis on Skintelligencenter.com.
Curious about safer, gentler waxing, check out: The “Wax” Of My Tears

Family Blog, Healthy Living, Skin

Skin Is In For Him, TooFeatured

Skin Is In For Him, Too

“We’re determined to give our kids healthy habits. We explain why each step is important, then repeat, repeat, repeat. We ask them if they’ve brushed their teeth, showered, put on sunscreen. We make a VERY BIG DEAL every time they take care of themselves. We say, you eat fruits and veggies for your body, you do something active for your heart, you read for your brain…you wash up and wear sunscreen to keep your skin healthy. Skincare is just part of staying healthy for us.”
Juan Pablo, VMV COO, and son

Ask VMV, Skin

Are Natural Ingredients Really Good For Sensitive Skin?

Yes and no. Yes because natural (or really, organic, which is a regulated term) means less processing. Less processing means less contaminants (like specific chemicals used in growing, storage, or extraction), additives (like flavors, colors, fragrance, or preservatives), or alterations (like bleaching or heating). Because many contaminants, additives, and alterations are common allergens, organic can mean less risk of an allergic reaction. No, natural ingredients are not necessarily good for sensitive skin because many natural extracts (although by no means all) are common allergens.

“But I was told to look for ‘hypoallergenic’ for my super sensitive skin…which means ‘natural,’ right?”

Natural does not mean hypoallergenic. In fact, the opposite is frequently true. Many natural ingredients are highly allergenic, such as fragrance oils, citrus, beeswax, fruit and flower extracts, tea tree oil, ylang, ylang, etc. The image above is a very small snapshot of many, many published studies on contact reactions and allergies to several natural ingredients.

Food and skin allergies should not be equated (because different cells are involved, you could be allergic to a food and still be able to use it as an ingredient in skincare, and vice versa — don’t experiment without your allergist’s guidance, however). But in both food and skin allergies, an ingredient’s level of “naturalness” isn’t necessarily what makes it allergenic. If you are allergic to strawberries, bee stings, dairy, mangoes, pollen, or dander, you should avoid them no matter how organic they are. In skincare and cosmetics, if your patch test shows that you are allergic to chrysanthemum, lavender, or citrus extracts, you should avoid them even if they are certified organic.

“But what if I’m committed to a completely natural, totally unprocessed lifestyle?”

This might be the goal, but it would be close to impossible to achieve. Almost anything in nature needs some type of processing to be used in skin care, so that they can be mixed and stabilized. Even if an ingredient is truly “raw,” it still probably underwent a little rudimentary processing. For example, virgin coconut oil needs to be pressed out from coconut meat. Strictly speaking, just the pressing is a type of processing. What you would need to know is what specific processing was done and how much of it was done. Our virgin coconut oil is certified organic from soil to tree, and is first-and-cold-pressed — meaning we basically just press the oil. Some other coconut oils are processed with heat which can alter some of the oil’s chemical makeup. Other coconut oils are processed with additives that can be allergens, which can leave traces in the oil and cause reactions (check out this helpful article in skintelligencenter.com for more on virgin coconut oils).

In other natural ingredients, processing can yield surprising results. For example, the distillation process to make essential oils — even organic, “raw” oils for massages or scents — can create chemicals that did not exist in the original plant. And even if they were somehow processed not to create these new chemicals, many natural oils are comedogens or allergens just as they are.
One other important consideration: whether or not an ingredient is natural has little to do with its efficacy. Studies that are “evidence-based” (double-blind, randomized trials with quantitative data) are the gold standard to prove efficacy, but they are relatively rare in cosmetics. Publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal or presentation in a medical conference is rarer still but adds even more scientific validity to the study. Unless a natural ingredient is proven to be effective, it may not yield the results you’re looking for. If the natural ingredient is also a photo-allergen (reacts with light to cause darkening) or is comedogenic, it could also be working against you by causing dark splotches or acne. Check out this article for how hypoallergenic can help all skin concerns.

As well, the term “natural” is not currently regulated so it is almost impossible to confirm how natural a product is, how natural its ingredients are, or how much processing was done to those ingredients. The term “organic” is regulated and requires certification. Organic is certainly the best choice for most things. But hypoallergenic (validated “hypoallergenic” — ask for proof) trumps organic every time when caring for sensitive skin.

“What if I just do not want to use anything with chemicals?”


 

This is an admirable goal and one that many people share. Invented chemicals like PVC are toxic and the earth doesn’t have ways to break them down. Highly processed foods are proven to be damaging on many levels, from obesity to toxins that accumulate in the body. But lessening processed foods and trying to use more biodegradable options is not the same as “avoiding chemicals altogether.”
The line between “natural” and chemical is difficult to draw. “Chemicals” can mean almost anything, including “natural” ingredients. Everything in nature has a chemical structure, is composed of chemical elements (see the periodic table) and has a chemical structure. The chemical structure for water is hydrogen and oxygen, and is shown above. Also shown above is the chemical structure of glyceryl laurate (monolaurin). Monolaurin is derived from coconut oil and is an excellent, very natural, non-allergenic, non-drying antimicrobial (so natural it’s found in breast milk).
 

“What if I’m allergic to chemicals?”

It’s more likely that you are allergic to common allergens. Allergens (substances more likely to cause an allergic reaction) are determined systematically in patch tests on thousands of people in different countries and are published regularly. The recent publications regularly include results on over 20,000 people in multiple countries in North America and Europe. We also regularly monitor published reports regarding allergic reactions from other countries such as Australia and Japan.
If you have a history of reactions, skin sensitivity, dark splotches, or acne, look for proven, validated hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic claims. Or, even better, ask your dermatologist for a patch test. It is the most effective way to accurate identify what exactly you might be sensitive to. If you’re in the USA and your dermatologist is a member of the American Contact Dermatitis Society, she can even enter your patch test results into the Contact Allergen Management System (CAMP) and give you a list not only of ingredients to avoid but actual products you can use.

Shop:

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

Learn More:

To read more about natural versus hypoallergenic, check out Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t).

For more on the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.