Krystal Caracol

Monday, November 07, 2016

"You Are What You Put In and On Your Body"

In August, I attended the Face & Body Expo for Northern California in San Jose, and among the numerous educational seminars was one that really resonated with me. The seminar was titled Glow From the Inside Out - How food & lifestyle choices are reflected in the skin, with speaker Ginger Hodulik, Vice President of research and development at DermaMed and also a Certified Nutrition Specialist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition. I made sure to take extensive notes because I knew this was a topic I wanted to share with you all.

We all remember learning in school that our skin, the epidermis, is the largest organ, weighing more than any other organ in the body, accounting for 15% of your total weight. One inch of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and 1,000+ nerve endings.

The epidermis is the outside protective layer, comprised of keratinocytes (epidermal cells that produce keratin), melanocytes (mature melanin-forming cells), and langerhans cells (antigen-presenting immune cells).

The dermis is the connective tissue/cushions from stress/strain, comprised of blood vessels (tubular structure carrying blood through the tissues), lymph vessels (thin walled, valved structures that carry lymph), hair follicles (the sheath of cells and connective tissue that surrounds the root of a hair), sebaceous glands (a small gland in the skin which secretes a lubricating oily matter (sebum) into the hair follicles to lubricate the skin and hair), and sweat glands (a small gland that secretes sweat, situated in the dermis of the skin) - all held together by fibrous protein substance called collagen, giving it strength and resilience.

The hypodermis is the innermost layer, where fat stores, fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibers), and macrophanges (a large phagocytic cell found in stationary form in the tissues or as a mobile white blood cell, especially at sites of infection).


One of the widest known skin damagers is the Sun, with long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer - unprotected exposure causes premature skin aging and wrinkling. Sun rays reduce Langerhans cells that protect the skin from infection, decreasing the skins ability to heal. Over time, the Sun causes liver spots, broken blood vessels, dilation of blood vessels, deep wrinkling, and coarseness. The Sun destroys collagen, the infrastructure of skin, leading to the accumulation of abnormal elastin - wrinkles. The most common effect from unprotected exposure to the Sun is skin cancer: "Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors." -

Think About it: If you do not apply sunscreen or shield your skin from the sun's harmful and deeply penetrating ultraviolet A rays, your skin's natural defense will begin to breakdown, leaving it vulnerable to long term and serious damage. This effects all skin types, from newborns to elderly, from the fairest to deepest in skin tones.

Toxins are notorious for damaging skin cells and causing wrinkling, such as environmental pollution, smoking, and harmful chemicals in skincare and cosmetic products. Products that list "fragrance" in their ingredients, may actually contain multiple chemicals that can be harmful and toxic for our skin. A good resource for checking how safe or unsafe your products may be is the Skin Deep Cosmetics database at

Nutrition provides the substrate needed to make new skin cells, collagen and elastin synthesis requires vitamin C, iron, and protein. Water helps transport nutrients to the cells, and free radical protection comes from antioxidants that neutralize inevitable toxic exposure - external and internal.

What are the nutrients that feed and support skin cells?
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Healthy fats and oil
  • Water
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics

Free radicals (FR) & antioxidants (A) and ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)
(FR) Unprocessed cocoa powder - 26,000
(FR) Acai Berry - 18,500
(A) Dark Chocolate (processed) - 13,120
(A) Prunes - 5,770
(A) Raisins - 2,830
(FR) Blueberries - 2,400
(A) Blackberries - 2,036
(A) Strawberries - 1,540
(A) Spinach, raw - 1,260
(A) Broccoli florets - 890
(A) Red grapes - 739

Antioxidant Rich Foods
  • Chocolate
  • Green tea
  • Legumes and beans (especially red)
  • Artichokes
  • Acai berry
  • All berries
  • Spices - oregano, cinnamon, turmeric
  • Russet potatoes
  • Apples
*for a complete list, Google search "ORAC Values"

Phytonutrients (phyto = plant)
  • Anthocyanins - purple/blue powerful antioxidants - healthy cell aging/memory/cancer prevention
  • Chlorophyll - green (lutein & zeaxanthin, folate, vitamins b & c) - collagen, uv protection, healthy eyes
  • Carotenoids - orange/yellow (beta-carotene) - uv protection, immunity, detoxification
  • Allyl Sulfides & Anthoxanthins - yellow/brown/tan - immunity, cancer, anti-inflammatory
  • Lycopene, Flavonoids, & Anthocyanins - red - cancer prevention, heart health, memory, skin's moisture barrier

Poor and inadequate nutrition leads to inflammation, try to balance good and bad fats. The body performs at its best with a 2:1 ratio. Omega 6 (O6) is pro-inflammatory, while Omega 3 (O3) is anti-inflammatory.

Healthy fats
  • Monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado, almonds)
  • Omega 3 (fish, fish oil, ALA flax)
  • Omega 6 (borage ooil, evening primrose oil, GLA antinflammatory)
  • Coconut oil (extra virgin, not hydrogenated)
  • Grape seed oil
  • Lecithin (soybeans, eggs, humectant)

Hydration is known worldwide to have numerous benefits, aside from survival. Staying hydrated helps to flush out toxins in the body and transport nutrients to the skin cells. Dehydrated skin is flaccid and wrinkled, if you are starting to look dull or tired, this might be a sign of dehydration.

Stress has a huge impact on our bodies, signaling the adrenal glands to release cortisol (a steroid hormone that increases blood sugar to suppress the immune system to aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates), and increased cortisol can lead to excess oil production (breakouts and acne) as well as breakdown of collagen. High sugar in the diet amplifies this inflammatory process, increasing blood flow to the face which can cause broken blood vessels.

Combat stress with:
  • exercise to balance stress hormones
  • relaxation - meditation and yoga
  • good dietary habits
  • plenty of vitamin d & b vitamins

You could say that the old phrase, "you are what you eat", should be updated to "you are what you put in and on your body". Topical cosmetics have just as much an impact on your health as the contents you consume orally. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

VIDEO: Empties & Reviews - Spring & Summer 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cozzette Infinite Eyeshadows | Review & Swatches

Cozzette is a brand that I have followed and admired over the years, but it wasn't until recently that I finally had the budget to splurge a little on some brushes and, on a beauty rush at The Makeup Show, I spontaneously purchased their newest line of Infinite Eyeshadows. These shadows initially grabbed my attention with their vibrant and alluring array of colors and textures - and then I touched them!! All of a sudden I found myself blurting out "okay, how much to buy all the shades here?!" *gasp* Thankfully, they were offering a discount at The Makeup Show, so I saved a good chunk of money on this colorful investment ;)

The Cozzette Infinite Eyeshadows are an impressive formula of smart ingredients with purpose and performance, excluding the common unsafe ingredients present in most eyeshadows. Jojoba oil is used as a binder in the formula, which is my BOF (Best Oil Forever!), because it is a natural ingredient that is good for the skin for hydrating and nourishing. The eyeshadow pans say "vegan" on the back label, however Cozzette does not market as being a "vegan brand", rather they identify with "cruelty free consciousness".

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ELF Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove | Review

Today I have a very quick review on the new ELF Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove ($10), it arrived over the weekend, I washed my makeup brushes that evening and completely fell in love with it!
"This convenient and portable silicone brush cleaner has multiple textures to clean both large and small brushes. Use the larger round texture to lather and wash larger brushes for deep cleaning. Use the wavy texture to cleanse and rinse the brushes along with helping straighten hairs. Use the smaller texture to cleanse and refine smaller brushes. There’s also a small and large brush slot to help straighten brush hairs and to hold brushes to dry after cleansing."

Monday, September 12, 2016

Chit Chat: I'm quitting L'Occitane Shower Oil!!

UPDATE 9/30/16
Wow, this has been a hell of a battle! Turns out, I didn't have Vaginitis like I thought, rather it is more directly called contact dermatitis; "Contact dermatitis of the vulva is a skin condition that is caused by exposure to allergens and irritants that produce vulvar and/or vaginal itching and burning when there is no infection. The skin of the vulva can be very sensitive and is subject to irritation from products such as laundry detergent, fabric softeners, body soaps, deodorized tampons or pads, and feminine hygiene products. Regular use of these products over a period of time causes irritation, burning and itching."

So this whole time that I've been treating it like an infection, and it hasn't completely cleared up, it's because it's truly an external skin allergic reaction - and the symptoms like itching, burning, redness, skin thickening, raw feeling from irritation, and dampness from irritated skin weeping are all similar reactions that I get when I use aggressive skincare products on my face - where I'm very sensitive to a lot of chemical ingredients in cosmetics.

I should have known better :(
I knew the Vagisil cream wasn't doing anything, and I had a feeling that what I was experiencing was not an internal infection.

Good news though! Baking soda baths help tremendously to eradicate this nagging issue I've been dealing with. So, a quick and easy fix, finally :)

This experience has completely opened my eyes to the fact that majority of cosmetics and personal care products have ingredients in them that I cannot tolerate. So, with this, expect to see more articles about ingredient awareness and safer products to use.

Here's a list of contact irritants that should be avoided [source]:

  • Laundry detergents containing enzymes
  • Fabric softeners and dryer sheets
  • Bath soaps, gels, lotions
  • Bubble bath, oils, bath salts, skin softeners
  • Feminine hygiene sprays, perfumes and powders, vaginal moisturizers and douches
  • Adult and baby wipes or towelettes
  • Deodorant tampons and pads, minipads
  • Contraceptive creams, jellies, foams, and sponges, K-Y® Jelly, Nonoxonyl-9
  • Condoms prepackaged with lubricant or spermicides
  • Colored, perfumed toilet paper
  • Synthetics such as nylon underwear or pantyhose

- - - - -

It's no secret that I have been using the L'Occitane Shower Oil religiously for the last 3 years, but this month I have officially decided to quit using it and I'm going back to basic bar soap. Why? Well, let me just fill you in on some horrific TMI (too much information) - and no, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed... this is real life and sometimes real life sucks so much that you must warn your friends in order to save them from this hell!

Too dramatic? Wait till you hear this story...

So, I'm well aware that you cannot use shower gels and soaps (and oils) in the delicate nether regions for pH balance reasons, so I always make it a point to avoid that area with products that have sulfates and fragrances and other potentially aggressive ingredients. I stick to the products that are meant for that area only.

Somehow, I managed to use too much shower oil, and I believe that the sudsy rinse off spread the product too far south - resulting in the most uncomfortable allergic/chemical reaction I've ever endured. I'm very serious when I say that the healing after birthing is much more tolerable than Vaginitis! 

For those who don't know, like I didn't know, Vaginitis is a bacterial imbalance that effects the vagina and/or labia - it is mostly an external issue. It can range from odorless and mild to permeating and severe. LUCKILY, I have a mild case (odorless and very irritating), and unfortunately it was a full on allergic reaction - very dry skin, irritably itchy sensation, and never-ending discomfort. I ended up sitting on ice packs just to numb away the pain.

After some research, I learned that vaginal allergic reactions are common and can be caused by products that include parabens, sodium sulfates, triclosan, and dioxane. This is the main reason why I'll be switching to natural soaps for body washing from now on, because even though I didn't actually apply the L'Occitane Shower Oil to the area, it still found a way to negatively effect it - and I don't EVER want to experience this issue again!

I'm doing much better now, still in the tail end of the healing process, but nowhere as uncomfortable as I was. I had to use an antifungal cream, such as miconazole or clotrimazole, to rebalance and rectify the issue. Moving forward, I'll only be using the shower oil to shave my legs from now on, and once this bottle is empty I'm not going to repurchase the L'Occitane Shower Oil.

CAUTION: Be aware of the ingredients in your body washing products!