A few words that come to mind when I think of ingredients like royal jelly and propolis: hydrating, moisturizing, nourishing, gentle, natural, clean, and antibacterial!

Let’s get into more detail about royal jelly and propolis, two natural ingredients that come to us straight from the hive.

ROYAL JELLY:

What is it?

Royal jelly is a white-yellowish, milky substance that consists of water, proteins, carbs, lipids, mineral salts and vitamins (including vitamins A, E, C, and B). It’s made by worker bees and is used to nourish honeybee larvae. Royal jelly is also consumed by the Queen Bee for her entire life, which is approximately seven years, as compared to the worker bees’ life cycle of approximately seven weeks!! Royal jelly, at one time, was reserved only for royalty because it was considered incredibly precious. Now, it is more widely available and is a choice ingredient in many clean skincare lines.

How does it benefit our skin?

Royal jelly is believed to be a multi-tasking ingredient with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Its antioxidants help to soothe the skin and to fight free radical damage (which contributes to premature aging). I find that it can be very hydrating and healing when used topically. Of course, if you have an allergy to bees, honey, or pollen, speak to your doctor before incorporating any products including royal jelly into your skincare regimen.

PROPOLIS:

What is it?

I think propolis is a fascinating natural ingredient. Bees harvest sap and resin from trees and add their own enzymes and beeswax to produce this powerful resin-like substance.  Bees then paint the propolis inside their homes – filling in crevices in honeycombs – in order to serve as protection for the hive. It is known for its ability to fight against bacteria and is packed with antioxidants.

How does it benefit our skin?

Propolis has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, is moisturizing without being heavy, has soothing properties and, like royal jelly, fights free radical damage because it is packed with antioxidants. I find that this is a very gentle ingredient and is therefore a wonderful option for my patients with sensitive skin.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE PRODUCTS IN THIS CATEGORY:

Farmacy Honey Savior Balm: This soothing balm is made with royal jelly and propolis. I find that it’s very soothing and hydrating without being greasy or heavy. I love to use it on my lips, cracked hands, cracked heels and I even apply a little bit on my daughter’s cheeks when her skin becomes red and irritated from snow or wind in winter. Recommending clean products is very important to me, so I love that this brand is certified clean at Sephora.

Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm: Another clean product, this cleansing balm is made with royal jelly peptides. The scent is heavenly, the texture is rich, and the best part – this product is specifically formulated with the health of our microbiome in mind. Many oil based cleansers offer a very deep clean, but can strip your skin of its moisture and leave your skin feeling dry and tight. This is the opposite of how your clean skin should feel. In contrast, this cleansing balm is made with hydrating Manuka honey, which has natural antibacterial properties. Therefore, it cleanses deeply, removing makeup, sunscreen and debris, but the added nourishing ingredients prevent it from stripping your skin of its healthy, natural moisture. I also love that this product is made with nourishing probiotics and prebiotics proven to protect and nurture your skin’s healthy, good bacteria.

Dr. Whitney

 

What are Sulfates? 

Sulfates are a type of surfactant, which is basically a detergent.  In other words, they help cleanse the skin of dirt and oil, and they are the reason that many liquid body washes and shampoos create a rich, foamy lather.

They’re also found in many moisturizers and sunscreens, because they help ingredients mix well together, instead of clumping or separating in the bottle.

Some sulfates are synthetic, meaning they are man-made.  Some come from petroleum, while others come from natural sources like palm oil or coconut oil.  No matter where they come from, they can all do some major harm to your skin, hair and scalp.

How do Sulfates Impact your Skin?

Sulfates, whether they are synthetic or natural, can be very irritating.  If used in high enough concentrations, they can damage the outer layers of your skin, resulting in itchy, cracked, dry or inflamed skin.  They very rarely create true allergies, but they are major causes of irritation.

In shampoos, sulfates can irritate the scalp and result in frizzy, dull hair.  They can even make your hair dye disappear quickly, making your trips to the salon more frequent.

What about your Microbiome? 

If you continue to cleanse with sulfate-containing products, this is also likely to damage your skin’s microbiome.  The healthy bacteria on your skin need a certain environment, or “terrain” to survive and thrive.  When you wash away and damage their terrain, these delicate bacteria die and unhealthy, hearty ones remain and take over – we do not want this to happen!

I tell my patients to avoid sulfates, and look for sulfate-free on the label.  Even if the sulfate comes from coconuts, PASS.  It’s just as likely to strip your skin of its healthy lipids, leaving you dry, inflamed and red.

Specifically, SLS and SLES are the 2 sulfates I recommend avoiding. There’s another one called ALS (Ammonium Laureth Sulfate) which is considerably more gentle, so your skin might be able to tolerate products using ALS in low concentrations. Patch test first, which is my rule of thumb when trying any new product!

My Bottom Line

I’ve cut sulfates out of my skincare and hair care and honestly, I’ve never looked back. I see such a difference in my skin and my hair – there’s no question in my mind that you don’t need sulfates in your life!

Dr. Whitney

 

I love bonding with my 7 year old daughter, Maclane, and planning special activities together. We might take a mommy and me yoga class, go out to lunch, or get a manicure together as a treat for a special occasion like a birthday or wedding!

I have been getting a lot of questions this week about the safety of child facials or “baby facials” after a photo of Harper Beckham receiving this type of facial was shared on social media.

First, Is a “Baby Facial” Safe?

Children naturally have lots of collagen and hyaluronic acid in their skin, so their skin is naturally more smooth and plump than adult skin. However, they are more prone to absorbing ingredients rubbed onto their skin than adults due to a number of factors including their high surface area-to-volume ratio and immature drug metabolism systems. This can present safety concerns depending upon the type of products and ingredients used during the facial.

Additionally, some facials can use products that make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Given that children spend more time playing outdoors and are not as diligent with sunscreen, this is something to consider when providing consent for a facial treatment. Furthermore, sun damage during childhood can have especially serious consequences when it comes to skin cancer risk down the road.

And – some facials involve extractions. If those extractions are too aggressive, it could bruise, break a blood vessel, or leave a permanent “ice pick” scar in the skin.

Finally, children are generally not as careful around steam and boiling water so depending on the facial, there could be a risk of being burned.

My Opinion on “Baby Facials”

From my clinical experience (and life experience), children can be very susceptible to comments made about their skin and appearance. A well-meaning practitioner might begin a treatment by pointing out an “area of concern” or identifying “problem areas” in the skin. I would hesitate to expose my daughter unnecessarily to these types of comments given the impact they could potentially have upon her emotional well-being and self-esteem.

In my opinion, if Mac really wanted to experience a “baby facial” specifically geared toward children which involves pampering and positivity and some natural, clean skincare products, I don’t think it can hurt. On the flip side, if she feels like we are treating an “issue”, addressing a “problem”, or if she thinks she “needs” this to be beautiful/healthy, then I would most likely believe that the risk outweighs the benefit.

 

@DrWhitneyBowe

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This site offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information for educational purposes only. The information on this website is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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