Since the time of Cleopatra, women have been trying to unlock the secrets to beauty. Here are a few questions that I get asked a lot, with answers that may surprise you.
Q: Does drinking eight glasses of water improve your skin?
A: No it does not. Although drinking eight glasses of water is definitely good for your digestion/elimination, it does nothing to hydrate your skin directly.
Q: Is eating chocolate bad for your skin?
A: Hallelujah no. In fact, having a piece of dark chocolate every day is actually good for you—as the cocoa contains high amounts of antioxidants. But remember, the more refined sugar you have in your diet in general, the more it can affect your hormones, which could cause breakouts.
Q: Do models really use hemorrhoid creams under their eyes to reduce puffiness?
A: That is, thankfully, an urban myth. Interestingly enough, those creams do often contain yeast extract which is a good source of Betaglucan, a very good antioxidant that also helps improve skin tone and texture, and is often found in high-end eye creams for that reason. That said, I would stick to the eye creams.
Q: I have a pimple, should I put toothpaste on it to get rid of it?
A: No, please don’t. Toothpaste will dry out the skin and cause irritation around that pimple, which leaves you with two problems instead of one. Acne preparations that have a low pH are good, but for a simple ‘take the redness down trick’, put some Visine/Clear Eyes on a Q-Tip and dab it on the area. The puffiness and redness will go right down and you can easily re-apply during the day. It’s great for sensitive skin, as these products have been tested and approved for use in the eye.
For some of us (lucky ones), it’s time to take a break from the winter and get some sun. Travelling now with kids means added craziness and complexity—but some things, such as which sunscreen to take and why, remain the same. I am often asked the questions: how do sunscreens work, and which ones should I use for myself and for my kids?
First, you need to understand SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Think of a timeline where 0 minutes equals no sun, and the end point (i.e. 10 minutes) is when you would start to burn without any sunscreen. With an SPF of 8, this becomes a multiplication of that original scale—so now 10 minutes times 8 equals 80 minutes where you could go out in the sun before burning. But if you are very fair skinned and usually burn in that 10 minutes, then with a SPF 8, you would start to burn at around 80 minutes. This is likely not enough protection for you. If that same person used SPF 40, this provides 400 minutes of sun protection, or just under 7 hours. Depending on your day, where you are, and what you are doing, this is probably okay. This also means that when you get beyond SPF 50, there is really not much of an added benefit based on the length of time for protection.
Also, re-application does not mean you can stop the clock and start at 0 again. If during your sun exposure you go swimming or are very active and sweating, re-application is necessary—but you are just continuing the timeline from where you left off. So the decision on what level SPF you will need really depends on how long you expect to be out in the sun (and it’s always best to err on the side of caution).
So which sunscreen to use? Personally, I don’t believe that sunscreens should be used on children under 6 months of age. Put clothing on them and keep them in the shade. Also, you don’t need separate sunscreens for the grown-ups and the kids. I always choose from the kids’ section for my whole family for the following reasons:
Here’s also one last emergency tip. If you are out with your toddler and have forgotten the sunscreen but have diaper rash cream on hand, check if it contains zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a natural physical sunblock. A 7% zinc oxide content is around an SPF 30. It’s great in a pinch.