Odylique Blog North America
News and views from Odylique
Once the days of acne are over, sufferers look forward to waking up to peachy-perfect skin, however this isn’t always the reality they’re hit with. Acne can often leave its mark in the form of a scar.
Acne scars range in variety, making some easier to treat than others. But, it’s important not to rush into any treatment you can find without careful consideration. Some scar treatments are extremely abrasive to acne-worn skin and have the potential to create more problems or heighten skin sensitivity. Usually people aren’t left with just one type of scar either, so some conventional treatments may be suitable for certain kinds of scars and not others.
Identifying Acne Scars
Ice Pick Scars
Ice pick scars are characteristically thin/narrow and deep. Because of their depth, they’re perhaps the most difficult to treat and to disguise. Ice pick scars tend to be a result of severe, inflamed, cystic acne.
Ice pick scars, along with rolling and boxcar scars, fall under the ‘atrophic’ scar category which means they’re sunken in the skin, as opposed to being a raised scar (hypertrophic).
Rolling scars appear as very shallow indentations on the skin and can make the surface of the skin appear uneven. They look like multiple scars, rolled into one uneven surface. They’re caused through underlying damage to the skin and a lack of collagen, which means as the skin ages, the appearance of them can worsen.
Boxcar scars are similar to rolling scars in that they are shallow indentations, however their edges are more defined and individual scars are easier to spot.
Keloid scars fit under the ‘hypertrophic’ category - hypertrophic scars are raised, bumpy and mimic the acne that caused them (without the red, inflamed appearance). They are a result of the body trying to heal, but is caused by the proliferation of cells and collagen.
Although hyperpigmentation technically isn’t classed as a scar, it’s very much like them! Hyperpigmentation marks lie flat on the skin – they’re neither raised nor depressed. They look like a discoloured, pigmented mark on the skin, left behind due to an overproduction on melanin, which unfortunately tends to occur more frequently on non-Caucasian skin.
The Dangers of Conventional Acne Scar Treatment
We understand that acne scars are difficult to deal with and can take a toll on your self esteem, so opting for more invasive methods of treatment can be taken as a last resort. If you are opting for a more conventional treatment route, it’s important to be informed of all the potential risks, so be sure to always do your research.
Chemical peels are a regularly touted option for those dealing with post-acne related scarring. Ironically, one of the potential side effects of chemical peels is…scarring! Along with a risk of infection, The Mayo Clinic reports that chemical peels can have a much more serious internal impact, with links to heart, liver and kidney damage.
Laser resurfacing is also popular, with an ablative laser used to remove layers of the skin and a nonablative laser used to stimulate collagen growth.
A part from being an expensive route involving multiple treatments, both types come with risks that could leave you with the similar issues - scars, acne, redness and changes in skin colour.
Treat Acne Scarring Naturally
When there is an injury to the skin, particularly with inflammatory acne, our bodies can respond by directing collagen to the area, but when too little collagen is produced and underlying layers of the skin are damaged, it can leave the area depressed, creating atrophic scarring.
On the other hand, the body can also respond by producing too much collagen, which leaves you with a raised, hypertrophic scar.
One of the first things to do whether you’re still dealing with acne or post-acne scarring is to switch to completely natural skincare. Acne prone skin deserves some TLC and the application of synthetic skincare often contains chemicals that can cause further damage to the skin – such as skin-sensitising benzoyl peroxide.
Buying certified organic skincare forgoes the synthetic ingredients found in conventional skincare. And if you’re buying Odylique, the ingredients selected for our formulations are done so for their skin-nurturing properties. Our plant oils and medicinal herbs contain the maximum vitamins and other antioxidants that can be readily absorbed and utilised by the skin for its care and beauty.
Essential oils can be utilised in so many ways and studies have revealed their powerful impact on the skin. Essential oils are very concentrated and most have to be applied along with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil), rather than neat on the skin. Mixing an essential oil with a carrier oil (usually no more than a few drops) helps even distribution and maximise absorbency.
Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin (but in small quantities)! A study was carried out to test the efficacy of lavender oil’s wound healing capabilities and the results were promising – with the lavender inducing collagen production – exactly what is needed when it comes to atopic scarring!
Most scars will improve with time, although depending on the severity of the scarring; the improvement may not be dramatic. For mild scarring and hyperpigmentation, however, time can allow your skin to heal and resurface completely, leaving you with gorgeous skin once again.
There are things you can do to speed up the healing process, though. Calendula has been found to promote skin regeneration and is ideal to use topically on acne scars. Rosehip oil is also a great addition to your skincare routine – it reduces inflammation and is rich in vitamin A, which can help improve the appearance of the skin. If you want to add rosehip to your skincare routine, try out Superfruit Concentrate, our long-lasting, nutrient-rich skin saviour!
Using a dermaroller (or micro-needling) can one method of treating atrophic scarring (such as ice pick scars). The idea behind it is to create small punctures in the skin to stimulate collagen production as the skin heals, which can help improve the appearance of and “fill in” the scarred skin.
Dermarolling can be carried out through a professional, or done at home – but there are precautions to take if you decide to do this yourself and the practice should never be undertaken when you still have active breakouts.
If you’re enduring acne at the moment and want to minimise the risk of being left with scars, the following guidelines should help:
1. Healthy Diet
Eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables is of course recommended and cutting out possible acne aggravators (many report dairy to be an issue) should also help.
But there are foods you can consume that could help prevent acne lesions resulting in scarring. For example, curcumin, which is a component of turmeric, has been shown to reduce wound-healing time. Avocados have also demonstrated their ability to increase collagen production, which is necessary in the healing of atrophic scars.
2. Don’t pick
We know, it’s hard to resist, but picking at your skin can cause further damage – think bacteria (meaning more spots) and prohibiting healing (scarring). The only time to squeeze a spot is if you have clean hands and the blemish has a white top (a whitehead)…but after that use a natural spot treatment and leave it alone.
3. Gentle skincare
What we put on our skin is very important, and if you have acne prone skin you probably already realise this. Many of us have tried an ineffective cosmetic product and been left with another breakout! Just as we explained above that natural skincare is important for scarred skin, natural acne treatments can be just as, if not more effective than conventional options, without disrupting the pH balance or causing other problems to overcome.
If you'd like any more advice on acne or scarring, please do email us at email@example.com or add your question as a comment below – we're here to help!
Mineral makeup, natural and organic makeup are often swept together in the same breath. But there are some important differences between the three.
This guide debunks all the myths to help you make an even more informed choice.
But first of all, let’s dish the dirt on conventional makeup and what led to the trend towards mineral makeup kicked off by the likes of Bare Escentuals over 30 years ago.
Regulation (or lack of!) in the cosmetic industry
Much of the beauty industry relies on chemicals that are pretty much unregulated, meaning the ingredients don’t adhere to strict ethical and safety standards.
The increasing body of research on common synthetic ingredients is quite revealing. In the table below, we’ve summarized the latest findings about ingredients specifically found in makeup:
Octinoxate, which can be found in lipsticks and nail polish, is used to make products “last longer”.
It’s also easily absorbed into the skin, which isn’t great news as it has been found to cause reproductive and endocrine disruption!
Siloxanes are often responsible for ‘oil-free’ claims and can help make cosmetics glide on and feel smooth on the skin, making them a popular choice for foundations.
Although the properties sound appealing, studies have pinpointed siloxanes as bio-accumulative and can interfere with human hormone function – which isn’t worth the supposed benefits, especially with cleaner alternatives available!
You won’t find ‘PFOA’ on an ingredients label because it isn’t added directly; it’s part of an ingredient called PTFE, which you can find out more about here. It’s important to know it isn’t natural and has been linked to some serious health conditions!
Not only is carbon black a synthetic ingredient produced from petroleum, it’s commonly used in the production of car tyres and photocopier toner.
It certainly doesn’t sound like it should have a place in your makeup collection, especially as it is an expected toxin and has links to cancer. However, you’ll find it used as a pigment in a range of synthetic cosmetics, such as mascaras and eyeliners.
Synthetic colours (known as ‘lakes’) are also widely used in cosmetics, but they are often contaminated with heavy metals – the production of them involves combining them with a metallic salt.
To avoid this, as a rule of thumb, don’t buy products with the phrase ‘lake’ in the ingredients. Also look out for phrasing that states a colour & a number afterwards, such as ‘Red 40’, ‘Orange 4’ or ‘Green 3’, which indicates lakes are present.
By replacing the colour part of makeup with something more natural, mineral makeup brands take a step towards cutting down your toxic load. But there’s more to makeup than just colour.
Fillers, mineral oil, silicones, parabens and other artificial preservatives are commonplace in mineral makeup.
More natural makeup has become common in the past ten years, as consumers have demanded cleaner products. But there are still pitfalls to natural makeup many of which are completely unknown.
The Hidden Pitfalls in Natural Makeup
Carmine (or cochineal) is classed as a natural ingredient; it’s used in lipsticks to achieve a vibrant red colour. However, the ingredient isn’t plant-based…or ethical, yet some natural companies still use it in their products.
The production of carmine isn’t so pretty and it’s not cruelty-free, either. It involves using crushed up insects to help create a specific red pigment. According to Peta, 70,000 insects are killed to produce one pound of dye.
You can, however, find other gorgeous shades of red naturally; they’re probably just not quite as bright as their synthetic counterparts. Take for example, our natural red lipstick in Cherry Tart – its beautiful pigment comes pretty close…without the bugs!
Sericin, much like carmine, it is thought of as a natural ingredient but is nevertheless unethical. It is believed to have a number of skin-nourishing properties and is used as a filler to give a smooth feel - but it comes at a cost.
Sericin is derived from silk, which involves a process involving boiling silkworms in their cocoons! Beauty doesn’t have to come at the price of another beings life – especially one so cruelly taken away!
Although still a natural ingredient, palm oil is an unsustainable one. According to Rainforest Rescue, palm oil plantations currently cover more than 27 million hectares of the Earth’s surface - plantations that have displaced rainforests, human settlements and animal habitats.
Be sure to purchase palm oil free products or products that only use certified sustainable, organic palm oil.
Bismuth oxychloride is often found cosmetics such as eyeshadows and bronzers to give an iridescent, shimmery finish.
Bismuth is a rare naturally occurring metal but is heavily refined to ensure its “safety” for use in cosmetics. Because of its rarity, it can also be extracted from metals like lead, tin and copper, which can leave the ingredient contaminated. To further purification, other chemicals can be added and used to treat it. In the end, the mineral will have been so heavily treated, calling it a natural ingredient is quite a stretch!
It’s also known to be a skin irritant and one to avoid, particularly for sensitive skin.
Heavy metals usually aren’t added to makeup, they often show up as by-products from the production of other ingredients (like bismuth oxychloride and lakes) - which is why you won’t find them listed on the ingredients label.
‘Heavy metal’ is an umbrella term for metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and antimony – so technically, they are natural/minerals! When found in the body, heavy metals can have serious effects on your health and is best to limit your exposure to them at all costs.
Talc is used in a wide range of cosmetics, particularly powders such as blush and baby powder.
Talc has come under fire in recent years when Johnson & Johnson were ordered to pay out $417m in compensation to a customer who claimed it had caused her ovarian cancer (this was just one complaint from many thousands of women).
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies talc as ‘possibly carcinogenic’…which isn’t good enough for us! At Odylique, we take the precautionary principle - if any research casts doubt over the safety of an ingredient to humans or the environment, we will not use it in our products.
Nanoparticles are defined as particles measuring less than 100 nanometres (which is one hundred millionths of a millimetre). Studies have revealed links from nanoparticles to brain dysfunction, neurotoxicity and to cancer. So quite understandably, a lot of controversy has surrounded their use.
Are nanoparticles used in Odylique products?
The Soil Association, an independent organic certification body, prohibits nanoparticles. The Soil Association defines nanoparticle as 200 nanometers (0.2 microns) as opposed to 100 nanometers which is the threshold used by some regulatory bodies, meaning particles under 200 nanometers will not be certified under their regulations. Soil Association certified products only contain ingredients approved by them and are guaranteed not to harm the body or the environment – i.e. they are pure, sustainably sourced, free of nanoparticles and absolutely no health hazard.
…That's the beauty of organic certification!
Products that are independently certified should display a logo on the packaging – but be careful to research which logos to look out for, not all of them are genuine.
If you want truly natural makeup – choose organic.
Due to the lack of regulation, labels can feature words like ‘natural’, ‘herbal’ and even ‘organic’ when the product can be almost entirely synthetic. This is part of what is known as ‘greenwashing’ (when companies present themselves as environmentally responsible/all natural; when in reality they’re far from it).
Cosmetic companies aren’t even required to list every ingredient on the label. You’ll find ingredients like ‘fragrance’ a general term for what could be a cocktail of unidentifiable chemicals lurking in your products.
It’s also worth noting that the phrase ‘natural’ can still mean pesticides are present (the frequency of occurrence of detectable pesticide residues is four times higher in non-organic crops!). This makes all the difference to the environment and your health, as pesticides have links to cancer and have been known to contaminate soil and water supplies.
Organic makeup is what you’d expect truly natural makeup to be – free from synthetic chemicals.
To ensure you’re buying genuinely organic/natural makeup, look for independent certification. Because there is no mandatory body that regulates cosmetics, companies can opt to have their products regulated through an independent body to give customers peace of mind and prove the claims they make about their products. At Odylique, our products are regulated through the Soil Association (which has the strictest standards in organic certification!) to certify all of our products, proving that they truly are all natural.
Organic crops yield even more benefits than natural ingredients alone. Studies have found organically sourced ingredients have up to 60% more antioxidants and 48% lower concentrations of toxic heavy metals.
With the extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, not only will your skin avoid looking drier and duller when you come to take off your makeup at the end of the day, but it’s likely to be in even better condition from nourishing plant oils and extracts.
…natural makeup enhances your beauty whether you’re wearing it or not!
Going organic doesn’t just mean health benefits; you’re actually benefitting the earth.
Conventional farming methods have a lot to answer for when it comes to environmental damage. According to the WWF ‘the amount of pesticides sprayed on fields has increased 26-fold over the past 50 years’. Pesticides and fertilizers commonly run-off from fields into water supplies, meaning their effect reaches beyond the pests they’re meant to target, but surrounding wildlife, marine life and you too.
It goes to show that your choice in makeup can have a much wider impact than you may have originally thought. Purchasing organic makeup, as well as other organic goods, acts as a vote for sustainable, organic farming to take place and helps put the brakes on conventional farming.
What about titanium dioxide?
Titanium dioxide is a natural substance, often used as an ingredient in makeup and sunscreen. There is some debate about its safety, particularly as it is permitted under organic beauty standards. However, research studies illustrate that titanium dioxide in its naturally occurring particle size is not the issue - it’s the nano-size version. And the nano-size is not allowed under organic standards.
Natural doesn’t have to mean natural
Sometimes the presumption around using natural makeup is that you must go for a minimal, barely-there look, but opting for natural ingredients doesn’t mean sacrificing being bold and adventurous if you don’t want to.
Take for example Linda Öhrström, the London-based makeup artist, beauty editor extraordinaire, who creates gorgeous, extravagant looks from natural makeup (see below).
(Image from Linda Öhrström)
Other things to look out for:
To ensure you’re buying really ethical makeup – look for these logos!
Another certification to look for, (which we have for several of our products), is Fairtrade.
Fairtrade certification encompasses a range of standards that protect the workers and farmers involved in growing and producing particular ingredients, like the shea butter used to produce our lipsticks, eye and lip pencils and concealers.
Not many Fairtrade ingredients are relevant for use in makeup, but it’s still good to look out for.
Our makeup is also cruelty-free, meaning no animals were harmed in the process of making our range. Animal testing has been banned in the US & EU for a couple of years now, but some large cosmetics houses sidestep the issue because they sell in China where cosmetic products must be tested on animals by law before they’re sold.
If you'd like any more advice on switching to organic makeup, please do email us – firstname.lastname@example.org, add your question as a comment below, or call 06175008271 – we're here to help!
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A flaky scalp can be unsightly, frustrating and hard to disguise - the only real solution is to find the source and banish the flakes at the root!
Our 7 simple steps reveal a natural and holistic approach to soft, flake-free hair you can be proud of.
1. Choose organic hair care.
In many cases, the problem is simply irritation from hair care ingredients.
Synthetic hair products tend to contain largely unregulated, irritating preservatives and detergents known to have a strong oil-stripping effect. This can break down the skin’s natural protective barrier, causing a dry, irritated and flaky scalp. This also allows the entry of microbes, which can potentially exacerbate the problem.
Sodium laurel sulfate, for example, is a known skin irritant and is used in hundreds of conventional shampoos (which is why it’s important to read the label)!
Switch from synthetic to organic products to help calm irritation, balance scalp flora and avoid unnecessary synthetic ingredients.
Genuine organic shampoos are based on gentle, sulfate free cleansing agents and are free from synthetic irritants.
Odylique shampoos are based on a high concentration of repairing and soothing organic aloe vera juice, which is rich in minerals and amino acids. Additional nutrients from coconut, chamomile, horsetail, nettle and rosemary also support a healthy scalp and strong hair growth.
Allow at least a few weeks for your scalp to calm and adjust to your new shampoo and (hopefully!) watch flakiness subside.
2. Clarifying Shampoo
Another effect synthetic hair products (like hairspray and shampoo) have is product build up.
‘Build-up’ is residue from products coating the hair and clogging the scalp, which can give the appearance of soft, white flakes.
To get rid of product build-up, our shampoos also act as clarifying shampoos, meaning they deeply cleanse away residual product. The cleansing aloe vera juice and essential oils help to oxygenate the scalp and hair and rid it of any residue, which in turn, will eliminate these types of flakes.
If you’ve always used synthetic shampoos, the likelihood is, is that they’ve disguised underlying damage, so cleansing your hair from them will likely reveal the true appearance of you hair. This could mean it looks a little less shiny and manageable than usual because it no longer has the plastic-like coating. This transition can be smoothed (literally) with natural botanicals, which can penetrate into the hair shaft to improve condition and resilience against further damage.
Persevere for at least a couple of weeks – this will give your hair time to adjust and benefit from the natural ingredients and once again be shiny and soft – naturally!
3. Nourish your dry scalp
A dry scalp can mean a flaky scalp. A number of environmental factors can contribute to a dry scalp, including diet, cosmetic use and stress.
A dry scalp can also be a natural outcome from chilly temperatures outside! Dry skin is more prevalent in the winter due to atmospheric changes withdrawing moisture from your skin.
To replenish moisture levels in the scalp, consider an overnight scalp treatment. We recommend our ultra-moisturizing Ultra Rich Balm, which is an organic concentrate of coconut and shea butters, olive and sea buckthorn fruit.
This can be massaged onto your scalp in the evening, to be left on overnight. Our Ultra Rich Balm can also be run through the ends of your hair, which can be prone to breaking - to protect and nourish throughout the day.
Be sure to wash it out in the morning with a natural shampoo, though! Repeat the process as often as you like – ideally about once per week.
4. Antifungal shampoo
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood causes of a flaky scalp is dandruff. Many presume that any flake is classed as dandruff, but that’s not the case.
Dandruff is thought to be caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Malassezia which feeds on the oils in produced by your scalp.
More recently, however, a study has shown that dandruff may not be due to the not yeasts, but an overgrowth of certain bacteria, which creates an imbalance in the natural scalp microflora. This is regardless of whether the scalp and hair are oily or dry. This may explain why conventional and often potent, antifungal treatments and shampoos don’t always solve the problem and may even upset the balance further.
Tea tree essential oil on the other hand, is skin-kind yet effective against both yeasts and bacteria, helping to reduce the overall microbial population. So if you suspect a microbial imbalance, our Tea Tree Shampoo could tick all the boxes with regular use.
5. Rule out eczema (and other skin conditions)!
A common characteristic of skin conditions like eczema is flaky skin and unfortunately, it can appear on your scalp. Of course, this doesn’t mean every flaky scalp is a result of eczema, but to rule it out completely, we recommend getting a diagnosis by a healthcare professional if you are concerned.
If you do have eczema, don’t panic – all of the advice outlined here can be used on eczema prone skin. In fact, we urge those with a skin condition to be open to try a natural approach and see the results for themselves!
If you have eczema of the scalp, itching, redness and scaly skin will most likely accompany it.
How can we help? Our Repair Lotion can be used as an overnight scalp treatment and has some fantastic customer reviews:
“This lotion is the only one that has cleared up my facial eczema”
“This cream is absolutely the best one I have used for dermatitis and eczema in nearly 35 years.”
“I come back to this cream again and again when my eczema flares up, it just works brilliantly. Thank you!”
To try it for yourself, it can also be applied as an overnight treatment. Rather than putting it through your hair like a hair mask, massage it close to the roots on the scalp only and wash it out in the morning. Do this 2-3 times per week for 2 weeks and assess your scalp from there!
Diet has a big impact on your health, including the health of your scalp and hair! Diet can contribute to many of the issues already outlined – dry skin, fungal infections and eczema.
Of course eating lots of fruits and veggies is a good place to start, but depending on the diagnosis, different foods can help supplement something you might be lacking in. For example, antifungal foods like coconut oil or garlic would be a great addition if you have a fungal infection. Or, if inflammation is causing an issue, a Mediterranean diet has shown beneficial effects.
We do recommend consulting a professional in this area, such as a nutritionist to get the best, personalized advice to target the cause of your scalp issue. Issues like candida overgrowth (which can contribute to a flaky scalp, as well as other symptoms) can involve a dietary overhaul that you might prefer some guidance with!
Online research can also reveal the benefits of specific foods also research online which foods are going to tackle specific issues – we have to say, eating your way to health is one of the more enticing ways to achieve results!
Taking probiotics is a great way to balance the bacteria in the gut, which can easily get out of sync. Diet, medication and stress are all factors that can interrupt gut health, but aren’t always factors we can control.
But what has gut health got to do with your flaky scalp?
A study revealed that the supplementation of Lactobacillus paracasei (a strain of bacteria that can be taken as a probiotic) significantly reduced the symptoms of dandruff after 56 days. Although the study had a positive outcome, the reason isn’t fully understood, but thought to be to do with having an impact on the skin barrier and skin immune system.
If you’re interested in trying the probiotic out for yourself, you can buy it
If you'd like any more advice, please do email us – email@example.com, add your question as a comment below - we're here to help!