All posts in Skincare Ingredients

What I Think About The Recent News On Nano-particle Sized Zinc Oxide That May Cause Cancer


Lately, many readers have been asking me my thoughts on the recent report by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on the nano-particle sized Zinc Oxide that may cause cancer.

I first heard the news about a sunscreen and cosmetic ingredient that may cause cancer from the Chinese radio station while on my way home from work early last week. The Chinese station didn’t mention the name of the ingredient. Upon reaching home, I was actually shocked and disappointed to realize that it is the popular and potent sunscreen ingredient Zinc Oxide. And it is the nano-particle sized Zinc Oxide with very small particles that can absorb into the skin cells and may cause cancer as it has claimed.

Zinc oxide, one of the 17 FDA approved active sunscreen ingredients, is an excellent broad spectrum UV reflector that protects the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Other than Titanium Dioxide, Zinc oxide is considered the safest and most effective physical sunscreen ingredient available.

When used as an ingredient in sunscreen, Zinc Oxide, a mineral powder, is claimed to sit on the skin’s surface scattering and absorbing ultraviolet rays without being absorbed into the skin. It is non-irritating and non-allergenic, therefore it is claimed to be very suitable for sensitive skin.

As compared to the normal Zinc Oxide powder that gives an opaque white cast, the nano-particles Zinc Oxide appears transparent when applied to the skin. Because of its small particles, the nano size Zinc Oxide does not scatter light and therefore does not appear white. It is found to have superior UV blocking properties compared to its normal size particles. Therefore it is commonly used in sunscreen creams and lotions to protect against sunburn and other damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet light.

Many controversial researches have shown that these nano-sized particles Zinc Oxide may cause potential health risks. They are claimed to enter healthy human cells like the blood or the lungs and damage DNA. However, there are also reports show that particles of Zinc Oxide greater than 30nm, when applied to the skin, do not get absorbed into the body, do not enter the bloodstream, and are not a threat to human health.

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Moisturizer Should Not Contain Alcohol!


Many new moisturizers have been launched recently and some are specially created for Asian market that are suitable to be worn under hot and humid weather here. Well these moisturizers have common benefits – to hydrate the skin while providing an oil- and shine-free result. But unfortunately, in order to provide a long-lasting shine-free matte finish, some cosmetics companies have actually formulated these moisturizers with a harmful drying ingredient that can be bad for the skin.

Not to be surprise, many moisturizers contain similar ingredients. The first few ingredients on the ingredient list are somewhat identical for most brands. Water/Aqua is almost always appeared as the first ingredient and Glycerin as the second ingredient.

Lately I was actually disappointed to find out that a handful of “non-oily” moisturizers have contain a particular harmful and drying ingredient. What makes it worse is that it is often found to be listed among the top five ingredients on the list. It goes to say the amount used can be plentiful. The higher it appears on the list, the higher the amount will be. This is one of the worst ingredients I personally hate and avoid at all cost.

It is nevertheless the ALCOHOL!

What puzzled me is that why must these cosmetics companies include this harmful ingredient in their product formulation. They knew very well that alcohol is capable of drying up the skin in a long run, cause irritation for some people and generate free-radical damages too. Why why why!?

I believe these companies must be thinking in order to create a long-lasting oil- and shine-free result, alcohol is the best candidate! They probably do not bother the damage it will cause to the consumers’ skin, all they care is to provide the non-shiny result the consumers want and make them happy.

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Soothing Ingredients For Sensitive Skin


Are you having sensitive skin? And do you know what are the soothing ingredients that are great for your sensitive skin?

Soothing ingredients are often added to humectant and emollient products meant for sensitive skin. Many of these ingredients are added because they have the capability of reducing irritation to the skin.

Azulene, a hyrocarbon that is derived from the chamomile flower, is frequently added to products designed for sensitive skin. Bisobolol is also another active ingredient that is often added to cosmetics designed for sensitive skin too. And not forgetting aloe, the most common soothing ingredients used so far.

Below are other ingredients that are often added for their soothing properties :

- Allantoin
- Balm mint extract
- Calendula extract
- Camphor
- Chamomile extract
- Dipotassium glycyrrhizonate
- Mallow extract
- Licorice extract
- Zinc oxide
- Rice starch
- Stearyl glycyrrhitinate
- Cornstarch

Most of these ingredients may be added to moisturizers, hydrating creams, cleansers, masks, toners and other cosmetic preparations.


How To Choose Between AHA Or BHA For Your Skin Type?


In the history of cosmetics, no other ingredient or family of ingredients has had the impact or efficacy of Hydroxy Acids. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) are a family of naturally occurring mild acids. Most AHAs and BHA are present in fruits and vegetables.



AHAs and BHA have a very large number of applications in skin care and can help many conditions, including oily and acne-prone skin, sun damage, dryness and hyperpigmentation. There are several AHAs used in skin-care treatment and that include lactic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid and by far the best known AHA, glycolic acid. Salicylic acid and citric acid are also often included when discussing hydroxy acids, but they are actually Beta Hydroxy Acids.

Research shows that AHAs and BHA can also improve skin thickness and cell turnover, increase collagen content, reduce discolorations, and improve pore function by reducing the number of clogged pores.

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Powerful Ingredient For Aging Skin – Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)


The AHAs, also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, are derived from fruit and milk sugars. There are several AHAs used in skin-care treatment. These include lactic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid and glycolic acid. The AHA most commonly used is glycolic acid, which is widely added to over-the-counter skin creams and by estheticians and doctors to perform skin peels to reverse skin aging damage and pigmentation.



The benefits of AHAs

AHAs produce exfoliation by removing dead surface cells and stimulate the production of new collagen in the dermis, so they are a valuable component of most anti-aging skin care regimens. A recent study also showed that glycolic acid treatment of the skin increased the hyaluronic acid (HA) content of both epidermis and dermis, a very exciting finding since, as we know, the loss of HA is an important cause of dryness in aged skin.

AHAs, particularly glycolic and lactic acid, help aging or sun-damaged skin by making the surface smoother, lessening lines, wrinkles, roughness and splotchy hyperpigmentation. Long-term use improves barrier function, resulting in much better hydration, enhanced barrier function due to normal cell renewal, increased firmness and significantly healthier looking skin.

AHAs can also help other conditions including oily and acne-prone skin.

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What To Do If Skincare Products Cause Allergic Reaction And What Are The Ingredients To Avoid


Occasionally, many of us will experience some kind of allergic reaction from cosmetics which calmly disappear, never to return. Most of these reactions are mild, and many are actually sensitivities rather than true allergies. The most common reaction symptoms are burning or stinging. Some products, such as glycolic acid, also known as AHA, are supposed to cause a mild burning sensation. Most of the time these minor sensations quickly dissipate.

Red, rashy, swollen skin, however, is not normal. Severe burning and stinging are not normal.

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What Are Natural Moisturizing Factors? And What Are The Good Hydrators For A Beautiful Skin?


When skin is dehydrated, it is suffering from lack of water in the surface. Skin becomes dehydrated from too much sun, weather exposure, harsh cleansers and aging.

Humectants are water-binding agents that are water loving. They have a strong attraction to water. Many chemically bind water to them, holding many water molecules.

Natural humectants, lipids or hydrating agents found within the intercellular cement are known as natural moisturizing factors or NMFs. The NMFs in the skin help to preserve water or hydration within the epidermis, keeping the barrier function intact and keeping the skin soft and supple. Impaired barrier function can mean a lack of NMFs from missing lipids or other components and can cause dehydration, flaking, esthetic problems and increased skin sensitivity. It can also cause wrinkly and loss of firmness appearance to the skin surface.

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Skin Care Ingredients To Reduce Skin Inflammation

Inflammation a major cause of free radical formation, is BAD for skin. Free radicals lead the attack on lipids in the cell walls, which leads to water loss.

Free radicals are both a by-product of inflammation and a source of inflammation.

Countering inflammation is most important when you’re young, because this is when the inflammatory response is most active. Not only are your cells most vigilant at this time, but there are many years ahead of you during which the damage will accumulate.

Protecting yourself from the sun is the most obvious step in reducing inflammation. And you can also interfere with inflammation by shopping for these skin soothers below.


Skin soothers – ingredients to reduce skin inflammation

- Aloe vera                     - Licochalone 
- Arnica                          - Mallow  
- Allantoin                      - Niacinamide
Perilla leaf extract        - Arctium lappa (burdock root)
- Basil                            - Pycnogenol (a pine bark extract) 
Boswellia serrata          - Red algae
Calendula                    - Rose water          
Chamomile                   - Salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid or BHA)
Colloidal oatmeal          - Silymarin           
Cucumber                    - Sulfacetamide
Sulfur                          - Dexpanthenol (provitamin B5)
Evening primrose oil      - Thyme   
Tea tree oil                  - Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb)
Ginger                         - Trifolium pretense (red clover) 
- Zinc                            - Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice extract)


Avoid These Sunscreen Ingredients If You Have Sensitive Skin



To promote healthy skin and avoid aging changes, it is essential to wear sunscreen when you are exposed to the sun. But if you have sensitive skin, wearing sunscreen may at times causes further damage to the skin. It is especially if the product you are using contains ingredients that are not right for you.


If you have sunscreen sensitivity :
(If your skin burns, itches, or turns red in response to sunscreen, below are the ingredients you need to avoid)

- Avobenzone                                                

- Benzophenones (such as oxybenzone)

- Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane

- Isopropyldibenzoylmethane                        

- Methoxycinnamate (often found in waterproof sunscreens, can cause a reaction)

- Octyl methoxycinnamate                                  

- Methylbenzylidene camphor

- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)

- Para-amenobenzoic acid (PABA)

- Phenylbenzimidazole


The Power Of Pomegranate – Combat Free Radical With This Super Antioxidant Ingredient


Lately, studies have shown that pomegranate extract can reverse signs of aging, help people lose weight, prevent heart disease and reduce chances of cancer.

What so great about pomegranate?

Pomegranate contains a super antioxidant called ellagic acid, which is even more powerful than the antioxidants in green tea. Studies have shown that commercially prepared pomegranate juice has three times the antioxidant activity, ounce for ounce, of red wine or green tea.

Pomegranate also appears to be effective against viruses, destroying them on contact. And it is especially effective in protecting cells from free radical damage. 

The powerful antioxidants in pomegranate work by boosting the levels of glutathione, a natural antioxidant in the body that helps protect the DNA in cells from free radical damage. Glutathione is also essential in helping the body recycle hormones such as estrogen, which also protect the skin cells. 

Ellagic acid inhibits the formation of harmful enzymes that causes cells to grow out of control. It is also thought to strengthen the cell membrane, making it less susceptible to free radical damage and preventing water loss.

Pomegranate skin care benefits

In recent years, many cosmetic companies have started including pomegranate as the key ingredient in their skin care products. Not only promegranate is a potent antioxidant, it is also an excellent source of moisture, making it especially suitable for people suffering from dry skin.

It is said that creams and lotions that contain pomegranate have great impact on wrinkles. By properly moisturizing the skin, the chances of skin cracking and wrinkling are greatly reduce. Some studies have shown that pomegranate not only promotes the production of collagen and elastin, which give strength and support to the skin, it also helps to brighten or lighten the skin tone.

Research has shown that promegranate helps to reduce inflammation, making it an excellent remedy to cure acne. It is also control skin irritations like sun burn or eczema.


Pomegranate skin care products


Dr. Brandt Anti-oxidant Water Booster : Pomegranate

2.00 oz | 60ml | US$35

Dr. Brandt has joined his expertise with certified clinical nutritionists to take antioxidants one step further, in the form of a liquid supplement. A new, innovative and easy way to harness the power of green and white teas, anti-oxidant water booster will help to repair skin and slow future signs of aging from the inside out. Calorie-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free and made with 100% natural extracts, it’s an easy way to integrate powerful antioxidants to promote overall health. 

This flavor features pomegranate extract, a potent antioxidant. One full dropper is equivalent to 15 cups of green tea. Contains 60 servings.


Burt’s Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Lip Balm

0.15 oz | US$3.50

This replenishing and hydrating natural lip balm is infused with the antioxidant goodness of Pomegranate oil. It replenishes moisture and restores texture to reveal smooth, healthy lips, and coats them for a smooth, even-toned appearance.


Murad Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer SPF 15

2.0 oz | US$33

This lightweight, oil-free, hydrator that diffuses excess oil while delivering potent, broad-spectrum SPF 15 protection. Contains Murad’s powerful Energizing Pomegranate Complex with artemia to stimulate healthy cell function and pomegranate antioxidants to guard against environmental damage so skin stays healthy.


Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask (6 piece)

6 treatments | US$22.50

This antioxidant-rich mask uses ginkgo biloba and pomegranate extracts to neutralize age-accelerating free radicals while fruit enzymes and AHAs thoroughly exfoliate the entire complexion. These actions help to heal and prevent damage while releasing trapped impurities, leading to a clearer and healthier appearance. Finally, sodium PCA hydrates and softens the skin for a smooth, conditioned and supple texture, as well as a radiant tone.


Korres Pomegranate Balancing Moisturizing SPF 6

40 ml | US$29.50

A moisturising cream-gel based on vegetable emulsifiers, which are fully compatible with the epidermis. Carob tree and provitamin B5 combine an immediate moisturising effect with long-term hydration balancing activity. Zinc regulates the sebum secretion, while Pomegranate tightens the pores. The natural sunscreen Titanium dioxide, in combination with the Avocado extract, prevents premature skin aging.


Korres Pomegranate Make Up Removing Wipes – for oily and combination skin

25 wipes | US$12

Refreshing wipes that cleanse the skin and remove make-up efficiently from face and eyes. Pomegranate extract, rich in antioxidants, tightens the pores while toning and refreshing the skin.

Pomega5 Pomegranate Cleansing Bar

3.5oz | 100g | US$18

Made by hand and dried in the Mediterranean sun, Pomega5 Cleansing Bar draws on centuries of traditional soap-making practices. This natural facial cleanser is formulated using edible grade extra virgin olive oil, precious pomegranate seed oil, herbs, and biodynamic essential oils to cleanse and purify skin, keeping it nourished, clear and soft all day long.


Pomega5 Revitalizing Nourishing Toner

3.4 oz | US$36

Rich and nourishing fatty acids and essential oils, this pure, plant-based toning mist clarifies skin while providing lightweight moisture and restoring natural PH. Antioxidant pomegranate seed oil fights free radicals, hydrates and protects; astringent which hazel disinfects; and fresh cucumber and arnica calm stressed skin. Entirely alcohol-free, Pomega5 Revitalizing Nourishing Toner is based on distilled rosewater and infused with citrus essential oils for a delicate, uplifting scent you will fall in love with. Biodynamic and organic ingredients. Botanically preserved; contains no parabens, synthetic chemicals or fragrances. Not tested on animals. Made in France.