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Family Blog Featured Skin

What Skincare Is Safe To Use While Pregnant & Nursing?

Q: I’m pregnant or am nursing. Can I still use my favorite VMV Hypoallergenics®products?

A: There are no conclusive studies that show that typical cosmetics can affect fetal or infant development. But it is understandable to be extra cautious. Every person (and baby!) is an individual so make sure to check with your obstetrician and pediatrician before following any of the following suggestions.

Best Practices:

• Most topically-applied products have a molecular size that is too large to penetrate the epidermis, much less the dermis. This makes it highly unlikely for most cosmetics to make it to your bloodstream, uterus, and fetus. Because cosmetics aren’t ingested, this makes it also unlikely for ingredients to make it to your breast milk.

• There are exceptions like topical steroids which can penetrate the dermis. If your dermatologist prescribes a topical steroids, make sure they know that you are pregnant or nursing and follow their instructions. Other products that are not recommended at all are those that contain retinoic acid and salicylic acid. This is especially true of oral medications.

• To be extra safe, at least until the 3rd trimester but ideally for the entire pregnancy, do not use skin care products with active ingredients that are not washed off quickly. Continue reading for our list of products to pause and products you can continue.

• Because hormones can cause skin to go a little nuts (dryness, acne, darkening, stretch marks, etc.) we suggest focusing on prevention: no allergens, irritants, or comedogens. We also suggest choosing formulations that are the least stressful on skin.

• When nursing, something to keep in mind regarding skincare is that, when feeding or carrying, baby’s skin comes into contact with whatever you use on your skin. If you notice redness or other irritations on baby’s skin, check your own products for allergens or irritants. The same can occur with airborne allergens like bleaches and fragrances.

Simple REGIMEN:

This simple regimen can help address some of the more common skin concerns during pregnancy and nursing. Many of them can be shared when baby is born, too!

PREVENTION:

STEP 1: CLEANSE

STEP 2: FOR BUMPS

STEP 3: MOISTURIZE + BARRIER REPAIR

STEP 4: PROTECT + PREVENT HYPERPIGMENTATION

Products to PAUSE:

Following the suggestion to not use skincare with active ingredients that are not washed off quickly, these are the specific VMV products that we would suggest pausing during pregnancy:

Products to PROCEED WITH:

These are the specific VMV products that we can suggest continuing during pregnancy — with the guidance of your OB-GYN at all times, of course:

Additional Information on
Pregnancy/Lactation and Active Ingredients

While there are no conclusive clinical studies showing that the typical active ingredients found in cosmetics, especially at the concentrations used in most cosmetics, can (positively or negatively) affect fetal development or breast milk when applied on the skin, research is always progressing. Your OB-GYN (obstetrician-gynecologist) and pediatrician would be your best resources regarding the latest studies available and how they apply to you and your baby in particular.Some information that we can share as accurate as of this writing:

• Barring exceptions that do penetrate the dermis such as topical steroids, there are no conclusive studies showing positive or negative effects on fetal development or milk content from topically applied products.

• Historically, the active ingredients that have caused the most concern when taken internally are retinoic acid and salicylic acid, not glycolic acid, kojic acid, or mandelic acid. Retinoic acid is teratogenic (it affects growing cells, which blastocysts are). However, the concentrations used in cosmetics are so small that it is still considered unlikely that enough of it can penetrate to cause any damage. Still, retinoic acid is, by far, the active ingredient that causes the most red flags for pregnant women and it probably should be avoided altogether regardless of the concentration.

• The percentage of actives in most cosmetics is usually very low. We use concentrations that are proven to be effective, but even these concentrations are quite controlled. Many of our active toners, for example, contain about 2.5% of the active ingredient in a 120mL solution. Even if the active ingredient could penetrate the bloodstream (unlikely due to the relatively large molecular size) and make it to the fetus (even more unlikely), the percentage of the active ingredient that would get this far during each individual application is minuscule. This is because the ingredient:
…is present in low concentrations;
…is further diluted in a solution of much greater volume; and
…is applied in small amounts on the skin (and, again, because the molecular size makes penetration past the dermis unlikely).

For example: 2.5% of an active ingredient mixed in a 120mL solution of a toner means 3g of the active in the solution. Let’s assume that the toner is finished in 30 days. To estimate, dividing 3g by 30 days results in around 0.1g of the active ingredient getting to the skin per application. Because of the molecular size of the active, much of this 0.1g cannot penetrate beyond the dermis into the bloodstream, and even less could therefore possibly make it to the fetus.

This is NOT a recommendation to use active ingredients during your pregnancy — as we stated at the start of this article, we follow the safer recommendation to discontinue the use of active ingredients during pregnancy and nursing. We follow this guideline as an extra precaution because while studies are inconclusive, research is always revealing new discoveries. Avoiding active ingredients that are not immediately washed off provides an added degree of safety.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF YOUR OB-GYN AND PEDIATRICIAN.

Data regarding the effects (positive or negative) of topical skin treatments on fetal or infant development at this point may be inconclusive; but for anything taken orally, you should be conscientious and always consult your doctor beforehand. You’ll be seeing your gynecologist soon and regularly, then your child’s pediatrician. These visits, more than anything, will help you best monitor your baby’s healthy development. This information should not be considered medical advice. Particularly if you have a medical condition, before you change anything in your skincare or other practices related to pregnancy or nursing, ask your doctor.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Featured Skin

“Skintimate” Problems: Skin Issues Related to Underwear, Sex & Other Things That Might Embarrass You (But Shouldn’t)

Skin problems can cause embarrassment. This can be especially true for skin problems affecting the “nether regions” — areas of the body that so many of us are taught to think of as shameful, not to be spoken of, or at least extremely private. Of course, they aren’t shameful and we should all know more about skin problems that appear on the genitals, or that are related to sex or our undergarments. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be shy about consulting a dermatologist to make sure that we get an accurate diagnosis and address the problem properly.

Darkening and other Skin Problems in the Groin, Stomach, and Bra Areas

Elastics, dyes, chemical processing (bleaching), scratchy fabrics, and preservatives in fabric can cause itching, rashes and, over time, darkening around the groin, scrotum, buttocks, bra area, and stomach. But it’s not just underwear that can cause these problems. Seats and lower back cushions with leather, rubber, vinyl, and other allergens can also be at fault.

While a rash, itching, or discomfort may bring you to your dermatologist, an asymptomatic condition called pigmented contact dermatitis (PCD) — a faint to mild and progressive darkening that is frequently considered “just part of aging” — might be missed. PCD can be seen around the groin, in between the buttocks, in the genital and scrotal areas, on the nipple and surrounding areola, under the breast, and/or on the stomach. It’s often missed as a type of contact dermatitis because it doesn’t start out as a rash or itching…it darkens gradually over time. While strong bleaches (some with steroids) can work to lighten the hyperpigmentation, the darkening will recur without proper prevention. Patch testing easily proves the (+) and relevant chemicals that cause the reactions.

In addition to getting a patch test so that you can practice more accurate prevention, good practices include choosing underwear that is made with elastic-free, organic (bleach and dye-free) cotton like those from Cottonique. Choose chairs with seats and lower-back surfaces that are not made of rubber or leather, or dyed. If this isn’t possible, place a barrier between you and the surface. Try a white (or, even better, uncolored) cotton towel.

Wash underwear and the barrier you use on your seat in Fawn & Launder or diluted Superwash. If you are sensitive to chlorine which is often present in tap water, rinse these items with distilled water.

Diapers

Anyone, of any age, who uses diapers can develop irritations and/or allergies on the areas of contact, especially because of the extended time of contact and in an enclosed, often humid environment. Many allergens and irritants go into the materials of diapers themselves, so try to look for unbleached options. Or consider cloth diapers or underwear with built-in pads. Pure organic virgin coconut oil (VCO) like Know-It-Oil is a great option as it cleans well without roughness, provides antimicrobial protection, and also moisturizes the area to help prevent diaper rash. Adding a purely mineral barrier might also help prevent irritations from chafing or contact with elastics.

Diseases That Can Involve the Genitals…

…include viral warts and herpes lesions (which are infectious and spread faster in ano-genital skin). Other more infectious diseases include chlamydia (the most common STI in the world), gonorrhea, syphillis, and HIV. Use a condom when having sex but get a patch test as you might be allergic to some materials commonly used in condoms. Note that not all these skin lesions are sexually transmitted. Toilet paper can cause skin problems and molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted via towels and sheets.

Don’t be shy: if you see or feel lesions in the genital areas, set a consultation with your dermatologist or gynecologist.

Genital Skincare

Irritations and abrasions on or around the anus and other genitals can be helped by Boo-Boo Balm.

Know-It-Oil can also be inserted to soothe and reduce inflammation: put some into a needless syringe. Store it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When the VCO is a cold “butter,” insert the syringe into the vagina or anus and push the plunger. The oil is quickly absorbed and does not tend to leak — if you’d like more precautions, do this before going to sleep and place a towel between you and the bed. Important: Consult your gynecologist. There are no studies on inserting VCO into the genitalia at this time. There seems to be some discussion in the medical community about whether VCO is preventive of yeast infections or has the potential to disrupt the native flora of the vagina (since it is antibacterial and antifungal) because VCO innately only treats non-commensal microbes. There are a number of well-respected hospitals (Sloan Kettering) and published doctors who do recommend using virgin coconut oil as a lube or moisturizer. But because your doctor knows your particular history best, check with them. If your doctor does give you the go-ahead, make sure that the oil you insert is pure, organic, cold-pressed VCO (not coconut oil with additives, grown with pesticides, or handled with less sanitary methods).

When using lube, look for for fragrance- and preservative-free options. VCO can also be used as a lube, but not with latex condoms as latex is broken down by oils (of any kind).

Sanitary napkins with fragrance, dyes, and preservatives are common causes of itching, irritations, and allergies. While harder to find, there are unscented and unbleached options. Feminine washes and douches are unnecessary and potentially harmful: risks include skin issues as well as offsetting the important and delicate balance of microbiota in the area.

Wash with a gentle, allergen-free liquid soap like Clark Wash instead. Pure organic virgin coconut oil like Know-It-Oil can be used for cleansing and/or barrier repair of chronically irritated and inflamed skin.

Hyperhidrosis (Sweating a LOT)

Excessive sweating that is visible and even drip from the skin may be a condition called hyperhidrosis (if it is accompanied by a bad odor, it might be bromhidrosis — see below). The sweating can be localized on the underarms, palms of the hands and soles of the feet, or generalized, affecting larger areas of the body or the whole body. All the typical things that trigger sweating (such as anxiety, heat, exercise, spicy food) worsen sweating but with hyperhidrosis, sweating can occur without triggers and even in the cold.

Hyperhidrosis can be caused by thyroid problems, menopause, diabetes, obesity; some cancers or neurological damage; or could be related to other underlying conditions. Your doctor can help you investigate the cause further. Even if unrelated to another health condition, hyperhidrosis can be frustrating. It can cause visible sweat stains and ruin fabrics. It can cause discomfort with simple social interactions like shaking hands. If severe, the sweating can cause keyboards and other electronic equipment to malfunction. And an unpleasant odor can develop.

Use a strong antiperspirant like Essence Skin-Saving Antiperspirant or Illuminants+ Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant on all affected areas. Botox® injections can stop the production of sweat in the area for several months. Consult your dermatologist for options.

Bromhidrosis (“Bad Smell”)

This perceived “bad smell” mostly occurs in the axillary or underarm area (if it is apocrine bromhidrosis). It can also be from other parts of the body (eccrine bromhidrosis). Apocrine and eccrine refer to the two types of (sweat) glands that we have.

Eccrine glands are most numerous on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet but are everywhere on the body. When the body’s temperature increases, they produce sweat that is normally odorless, more dilute, and watery. It can also begin to smell due to bacteria, some foods and medications, or alcohol.

Apocrine glands are located in the groin, breasts, and underarms and produce a thicker sweat that contains pheromones. Apocrine sweat begins without smell, with odor developing as bacteria break down the sweat.

All humans have a natural, healthy colonization of bacteria and other microorganisms that coexist in a complex, sophisticated, functional balance. Sometimes, when this balance is thrown off, one microorganism can begin to dominate and cause problems.

Odor is caused when bacteria break down sweat resulting in fatty acids and ammonia. In bromhidrosis, a higher level of bacteria break down the sweat in the apocrine areas (the most common type of bromhidrosis is in the armpits), resulting in a stronger or foul-smelling odor. If hyperhidrosis  is also a concern, it needs to be addressed as well for the bromhidrosis to be managed.

Management of bromhidrosis includes…

  • The same sweat control with Essence or Illuminants+ Antiperspirants mentioned in hyperhidrosis, above.
  • Practicing proper hygiene (wash the areas at least twice a day) with…
  • Unscented products such as Essence Superwash. While it may seem counterintuitive, a common cause of bromhidrosis is the scent of sweat interacting with perfumes in products.
  • Following antiperspirant with Id Monolaurin Gel or Kid Gloves for additional sweat control as well as antibacterial care. Id Gel and Kid Gloves can be reapplied throughout the day, too.
  • Removing hair regularly to help prevent the accumulation of bacteria and sweat on hair shafts (particularly armpit hair).

Depilation or Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a great option but — especially if you have brown skin — comes with the risk of hyperpigmentations. Make sure to see a specialist familiar with laser procedures on brown skin. Brown skin can include paler mixed skin as well. And note that laser hair removal might not not work for individuals with very light hair coloring. For this procedure, it’s clear that a specialist is important.

Waxing and sugaring are also worth considering, but hair growth will recur. Particularly when waxing (because of the heat and tearing), consider using an anti-inflammatory like Red Better Calm-The-Heck-Down Balm and ice afterwards.

Caring for Someone Who Needs to Spend Several Hours In Bed or Otherwise Not Moving Regularly

VCO is an excellent option for the daily washing of the perineal area, and can be applied at every diaper change to prevent rashes, sensitivity, and infection. This, plus regular massaging of the areas with VCO can also help prevent bed sores.

This information should not be considered medical advice. For skin problems, and certainly for those affecting sensitive areas of the body such as the genitals or that may be related to sexual activity, see your doctor.

Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Beauty Featured

Make Up For Past Mistakes

Forget the hot mess that hurt you. This gorgeous is actually good for you!

Tying It “Oil” Together: Our clinically-published, coconut-derived monolaurin is in all VMV Hypoallergenics products. Our blush, eyeshadows and lipsticks have our organic virgin coconut oil, too. Far more than a pretty face, this makeup gives you anti-microbial, anti-aging, skin-strengthening goodness in every swipe.

What Cheek!

BLfocus-GlossTango-LSVaVaVoom-BLBellini-ESRockstar-Sunlight-20160109

Skin Bloom Blush

No dyes or parabens (they cause dark spots and rashes).
No comedogens to prevent acne…instead, monolaurin actively treats it.

Eye Care.

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Two True Hues Eyeshadow Duo

The skin around the eyes is pretty thin. In addition to irritations, allergens can stress the skin and hasten aging.

Watch Your Mouth!

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Lip Gloss, Velvet Matte Lipstick

Chronically chapped lips are a sign of irritation. Photo-allergens can cause lip darkening. And get this, the right lip products (and toothpaste!) alone can be miraculously effective at clearing up acne, rashes or dark spots around the mouth, or on the chin or jawline.

Categories
Featured Skin Skinthusiasm

Refrigerate Your Skin Care?

Fan Tip: Chill Your Skin Care! 

Razor burn? Puffy eyes? Got a reaction that needs calming? Or a pimple that needs flattening? Want to tighten your pores…or just a fabulously cool feel when applying your skincare?

“Throw some of your favorite VMV Hypoallergenics products in the fridge, especially in the summer!” – skinthusiast Earl Chad Palacios Estenor‎

Fellow “skintellectual?” Avid “skinthusiast?” Share your tips with our “skinfatuated” community! Tag @VMVHypoallergenics on Facebook or Instagram, or @VMV on Twitter!

Click through the slideshow below to find out the surprising benefits to keeping skincare in the cold!

Categories
Featured Skin

Smooth Operator

smooooooth operator

BARE NECESSITIES

Incredibly lightweight yet packed with virgin coconut oil, coconut fatty acids, glycerin, and antioxidants, it’s hard to believe how intensely moisturizing and reparative this all-over lotion is.
The smoothest move you’ll ever make for parched skin.


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Try it after our hypoallergenic waxing service for instant softness and anti-inflammatory healing!

Categories
Featured Skin

Stubborn Skin Problems? You May Need An Investigative Dermatologist

Your skin may need further investigation.

Most dermatologists can handle the majority of skin concerns, and jumping from doctor to doctor isn’t the best idea. Usually, it takes a few visits for a doctor to get a full history and see how you’re responding to certain suggestions, procedures, or treatments.

But some specific skin conditions or chronic problems may require a more investigative diagnostician or a specialist.

  • Does your doctor take a full, detailed history, including past diagnoses and test results, other health conditions, vitamins, nutritional supplements and medications, nutrition and exercise, your work and hobbies, your favorite clothing and the materials you’re normally exposed to (such as laptop or phone cases, eyeglass frames, etc.)?
  • If you’ve had chronic sensitivity or hyperpigmentation, does your doctor recommend a patch test (for the former) or photo-patch test (for the latter)?
  • Does your doctor explain to you possible cross reactions or interactions between certain vitamins, food, beverages, or drugs that are known to cause acne, sensitivity or hyperpigmentations?
  • Is your doctor a specialist in contact dermatitis, with knowledge of various ingredients and substances, and how their chemistry might make them related to other ingredients and substances?
  • Does your doctor tend to explain her or his recommendations to you based on current studies?
  • Does your doctor do research or teach residents?
  • Has your doctor ruled out other possible health concerns that could be affecting your skin, such as PCOS, diabetes, thyroid issues, inflammatory conditions, etc.? Does he or she ask for other blood or hormone tests? Has she or he mentioned the possibility of referring you to another doctor to explore other health concerns? For an example, check out My Dermatologist Has X-Ray Vision.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a specific skin disease, are you seeing a physician who is known to be a specialist in the condition?
  • Is your doctor a dermatopathologist (someone who can read biopsies) as well as a dermatologist?
  • Does your doctor seem supportive of you seeking a second opinion, and/or working as part of a team with your other doctors to manage your health?

Again, most well-trained, properly boarded dermatologists can effectively manage the majority of skin concerns. But a subset of people may require more specialized care. Don’t hop around, but don’t give up, either.

Categories
Featured Skin

Sunscreen Isn’t Just For Summer (And Your Laptop Could Be Causing Your Dark Spots)

Sunscreen isn’t a summer thing.

It’s as daily a must as brushing your teeth: both help you look great and prevent serious damage!

You’re not out frolicking in the sun? It’s important to remember that sun damage is cumulative — every bit of exposure adds up. Your skin doesn’t “reset” when you’re back in the shade (and UVA is present on cloudy days). The little bit of sun you’re exposed to when walking from the arrival terminal to your car, or crossing the street for your morning latte, adds to whatever damage occurred while beach baking last year (it’s why a bad sunburn in childhood can increase the risk of melanoma…the risk doubles, on average, with more than five sunburns). Applying sunscreen every day ensures you’re protected from accidental exposure.

Categories
Featured Skin

Take A Walk On The Mild Side: Skin-Friendly Laundry!

Your laundry could be affecting your skin.

Clothing contact dermatitis can be caused by the elastics of your undergarments, dyes in clothing, as well as “mordants” (chemicals related to metal present in some fabrics to help colors bind better).

Check for skin abnormalities in symmetrical shapes or patterns where clothing normally touches skin: on the waistline, on the perimeter of the underarms, where bras come into most contact with your torso, on legs for reactions to jeans (which is a lot more common than you might think!) and on ankles or calves for reactions to sock elastics.

In laundry detergent, fabric softeners and drying sheets, some of the common culprits are fragrance and preservatives. If your skin is dark, red, itchy or dealing with stubborn acne that just won’t go away even after proper prevention and therapy, check where the skin issues occur. The underarms and neck are common problem sites, but “private parts” can itch from contact with underwear and the sides of the face can be affected by contact with your pillow when you sleep.

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Laundry soap so mild, you could bathe with it!

Fawn & Launder is a uniquely skin-safe, ultra-gentle laundry shampoo that is allergen-free…and it contains coconut-derived monolaurin plus skin-soothing antioxidants!
Use this skincare-as-laundry for the clothing and linens of: infants and children; those with extra-dry, sensitive, atopic, or hyperpigmented skin; or those with contact acne and/or clothing contact dermatitis.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to fawn as you launder (the closest thing to a hug in a laundry basket).

Categories
Press

Skin-The-Bluff Concealer – Nylon

For “quirks” in progress…check out our Skin-The-Bluff Concealer in yellow No More Blues (for veins and dark under-eye circles) and green Red Alert (for redness and breakouts) in Nylon magazine’s March issue! Pick up a copy today!

Can’t care while camouflaging? #candew!

 

Categories
Press

Armada Sport 50+ – XoVain.com

Armada Sport 50+ is in “I’m Finally Wearing Sunscreen in the Winter — and Indoors” on XoVain! “Even on cloudy days, 80% of UVA rays get through, so don’t be stubborn like I have been.” Thank you for including us and for spreading the word about the importance of daily, year-round sunscreen! Danielle Guercio shares, “standard windows only filter 75% of UVA rays…It’s high time that I address my inappropriate relationship with the sun and get on the SPF choo-choo…Even on cloudy days, 80% of UVA rays get through, so don’t be stubborn like I have been.” Thank you for including Armada and for spreading the importance of using sunscreen daily, indoors and outdoors, and all year round!