Homemade Skincare: Worth it or Waste?


As part of our 1 hour Cosmetic Consultation, we offer an analysis of client’s current skin care products.  Clients bring in their skin care products, ideally with an ingredient list and we asses if it contains ingredients that have been proven (by the scientific community) to help them achieve their goals. This is not a pitch for products we are selling, it is an honest review. We regularly recommend products that we do not retail, or send client home with instructions to continue with something they already have.  One thing that we almost never recommend? Continued use of “homemade” or home mixed skincare concoctions. Here is why;



Bacterial Growth is real problem.  Skin care products that are whipped up in your kitchen or bathroom, are exposed to so many more bacteria than products made in a thoroughly sterilized, monitored, and approved facility.  Many of the bacteria in your kitchen or bathroom have the potential to be quite dangerous. Re-using an empty bottle to store your home-made skin care in, increases the bacterial load and risk. In addition, access to ingredients that safely and effective prevent bacterial growth is not available, so these bacteria grow very quickly within the homemade products.



Essential Oils Cant Fix Every Problem

So many homemade products are based on recipes that utilize essential oils.  At SkinScience we do love our essential oils, just not necessarily in skin care.  Our staff utilize them to help remain centered, get an energy boost, or sometimes to help stay focus when blog writing!  Having said that, most oil molecules are entirely too large to penetrate into your skin.  This means very little benefit is achieved from topical application. Because these molecules sit on your skin, the benefits they offer are not nearly the same as the benefits of ingredients that are able to change the way your skin functions from the inside.  Even worse, there are many, many essential oils that when applied topically cause irritation and inflammation which have been proven to ACCELERATE aging.


Acne and oil never mix. Period. Oils as a hard rule are not bad.  There are skin types that need the skin barrier replenishment that oils offer. However, if you have acne, stay away. Any oil in any form on acne prone skin can create more clogged pores, which can lead to more breakouts.


Quality Control

Homemade products lack quality controls. When skin care products are made in a dedicated facility, they monitor every detail.  There are so many considerations that go into creating a product that is stable and safe.  Primary ingredients are maintained at specific temperatures before adding in active ingredients, ensuring they are not altered becoming useless, the ph. of the product needs to be maintained throughout, air quality is monitored, room humidity levels maintained and so on and so on….  Lastly, so many homemade products use ingredients that are NOT safe. Lemon juice for instance, is not safe for topical use. (Read this previous
blog post about Lemon Juice and why it is not safe to apply on your skin)


With all the Pinterest pages dedicated to DIY, we know it’s so tempting to carry the DIY enthusiasm into your skin care, but, please, leave the creation of skin care to the specialists! You will thank yourself in the long run!

Ouch! You Have a Sunburn, Now What?

So, you’ve got yourself into a pickle.  You tried to avoid it, but still ended up with a sun burn. So now what the heck to do about it?  We have a step by step plan to recover from your sunburn!


Re-Hydrate Your Body

Spending the day in the sun can really dehydrate you. Sunburns will only amplify that. If you are dehydrated, you will have a harder time recovering from your burn.  If you are concerned you are dehydrated, start with a rehydration supplement (Gatorade will do) and then keep up with drinking extra water for the next 24 hours.


Manage Discomfort

Start with an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory). An Aspirin or an Advil will go a long way in helping to reduce the painful, hot, inflammation from the inside out. Reduced inflammation often means faster healing. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine dosage and which one is the best for you.


Hydrate Topically

Our favorite is the Avene Thermal Spring Water, in the aerosol spray can. You can buy it at many large chain pharmacies (Shoppers Drug Mart if you are in YYC). The water is medically sterile, and bottled in France at the Avene spring, which is world renowned for its healing properties.


Aloe Vera It Up

If you have a plant, that’s obviously perfect. In Canada though, that is not always an option. Find an Aloe Vera gel at your pharmacy with as few ingredients as possible and apply it as needed.  Keep it in your refrigerator for extra soothing and cooling.


Things to Avoid

Hot water in the shower or bath (48-72 hours)

Saunas, steam rooms (4-7 days)

Heavy, thick creams that can trap the heat in your skin (48 hours)

Scrubs, loofas or anything abrasive (5-7 days, or until healed)

AHA’s, BHA’s and retin or retinol (5-14 days, or until healed)


Important to Remember

It takes hours for a sunburn to fully develop. Once you see the signs of a sunburn, its already happened! Take steps as soon as you can to prevent it from getting worse.


If you need to go outside again while you have a sunburn, find a Zinc based SPF. Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral that creates a physical barrier between UVA/UVB rays and your skin while simultaneously reducing inflammation. Chemical sunscreens will reflect or absorbs rays, a process which can create heat in the skin and be quite uncomfortable if you already have a burn! So, find some Zinc based sunblock!


If you have burned to the point of blisters, it is wise to seek medical attention from your family doctor to make sure that it doesn’t get infected.



Practice safe sun! Apply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours, keep yourself hydrated, and watch out for peak UVA/UVB hours. Enjoy your summer and know, we are always here to answer your questions about which sunscreen is right for you!




More Important Than Sunscreen

The dog days of summer are upon us.  The heat is high and the sun is strong!  You are armed with your SPF to prevent aging and sunburns, but what is even more important that sunscreen?

Planning your outside activities at the right time. In this blog, we are out to show that an ounce of sunscreen is just as important as an ounce of planning.


The Ultraviolet Index (or UV index) is a tool the World Health Organization endorses and sets guidelines for that helps sun-seekers understand how quickly they can be harmed (aka sunburned) while in the sun.  It is a scale from 1 – 12. The lower the number the lower the risk and less likelihood of getting burned.  The higher the number the higher the likelihood of burning and greater risk to skin and eyes.  It’s pretty straight forward.


A UV index rating is applied to a specific place on the globe. A specific area or city’s index rating is determined using several pieces of information; including elevation, forecasted ozone levels, forecasted cloud level and the ground level strength of ultraviolet radiation. Depending on the calculation model, there are sometimes other factors included as well.


Finding a UV index now a day is pretty easy.  Most major newspapers publish it on the weather page. Google offers a quick UV rating for your location. We love Apps for your smart phone! UVLens is a free app available in the Apple App Store, and it allows you to enter information about your skin tone and coloring to give an idea of how quickly you would burn in your current location.  (We are not paid endorsers of this app, we are just sharing a tool that we have found helpful!) It also allows you to check the UV index forecast for the near future, so that you can AVOID the sun when the UV index is at its peak. Because sometimes a little bit of avoidance is worth so much!


Don’t have your phone with you? Trust the shadows. A quick way to determine how quickly you will burn is to see how long or short your shadow is. The shorter your shadow is when standing outside, the higher your risk is. The longer or taller (than you) it is the less your risk is.


Whenever possible, avoid being outside during peak UV times. This usually is in the middle of the day. When you have to go out during peak hours, make sure you’ve got sunscreen AND a hat AND sunglasses. If the numbers are really high, clothing is helpful and knowing your shady areas in advance.


For sunscreen recommendations, sun safety tips, help getting rid of sun damage and more, call us! We will help you have the skin you’ve always wanted!








SPF Mistakes You Are Making

We see it everyday through the summer. Clients coming in with tans that make our icons from the 1980’s jealous. Everyday we also hear “I applied my sunscreen, I don’t know how I’m still tanned!”. Well, there are five mistakes that people make when applying sunscreen or sun block that lead to it being ineffective.  Remember, a tan is never safe. A tan is your bodies way of showing you damage is happening.
Here are the top five mistakes made when wearing sunscreeen and what to do about it!

Not applying enough.

The most common mistake made, is not applying enough. So often SPF is applied as an after thought quickly. A little bit is squeezed out and quickly slapped on then out the door! In order to be effective, enough SPF needs to be absorbed into then skin. Which means that it needs to be worked into the skin with your hands.  If you aren’t needing to work/massage the product into your skin for a few minutes, you aren’t applying enough. A good rule of thumb is that a medium sized person needs 1 fl ounce of sunscreen (think of a shot glass for reference) to effectively cover no bathing suit areas of the body. A taller, larger person will need more!

Not applying soon enough.

So many times we apply our sunscreen when we arrive at the beach (or patio, or lake etc). Sunscreen needs to be applied 30 min prior to sun exposure. This means that you should be applying BEFORE you get to your destination (or 30 min before you go out to garden or mow the lawn or walk the dog). Sunburns can happen in less than 30 minutes, and suntan (sun damage) most definitely can.

Not applying frequently enough.

With higher numbered SPFs, there is a misconception that you are safe for hours and hours.  Any sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2-3 hours in order to be effective. For maximum effectiveness, reapplication, every two hours is ideal. If you wait longer than three hours, your risk is notably increased. When you are in the water, you need to reapply every 45 min, AND use a water resistant product. If your sweating, reapply every 45 min as well.

Mis-using spray sunscreens.

Spray sunscreens are very popular right now. They are quick and convenient and they travel well. But some of these features make them easy to misuse. In order to reduce the chance you are getting sun damage because you are misusing a spray sunscreen, we recommend a double application technique. To do this apply your first application 30 min before sun exposure , remembering to apply lots, a quick spritz with the spray in NOT enough, skin needs to be visibly covered in the spray. You should need to wait a full minute to two for it to dry, if it’s dry right away you likely haven’t applied enough. Second, apply an ADDITIONAL layer of spray once you arrive at your destination, remembering to reapply every 2 hours.

Picking the wrong product.

So often when it comes to sunscreen we buy the wrong product. We tell clients daily. “The first rule of sunscreen is than you like it! The second rule of sunscreen is that you like it!”. Yes, corny, but it helps  clients remember that if you don’t like it, you won’t use it. The human brain has an amazing ability to “forget” things the subconscious knows it doesn’t enjoy. There are other things to keep in mind when deciding on a product. Things ,like is it Health Canada or FDA approved? Is it mineral or chemical?  Is it water resistant? Am I wearing it around my eyes or other sensitive areas?
For help picking the product that is right for you, give us a call!


Here is a list of some of our favourite sun protection products:
Color Science
SC Phys fusion
Aveeno Baby  – Look for this at large chain drugstores
Sheer Zinc
La Roche Posay Anthelios –  Look for this at large chain drugstores

SPF 105, Worth it or Waste of Money?

We have all been there, in the drug store, milling about in front of the rack of sunscreen, deciding between the SPF 30 and SPF 3 million.  The SPF 30 is one you’ve always used before, it has a nice texture….. but surely if the 30 is good, the bottle with the higher number MUST be better. Right?


No, not necessarily. As much as we would love to tell you that you should just get the bigger numbered bottle, it’s not that easy. Stick with us, and we will explain;


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.

An SPF in theory, is designed to multiply your body’s own natural sun protection by the number on the bottle.  If it’s a day with a high UV index, a person can start to burn in 7 minutes (yes, that quickly). An SPF of 30 will potentially extend that to just over 3 hours (7 x 30 = 210 minutes).  There are other variables to consider. Example: things like exposure to water and sweat will remove some of the SPF, reducing the length of time you are protected.


Health Canada and FDA approved sunscreens with and SPF of 30 will screen 97% of UVA and UBV rays you are exposed to for the 210 minutes we talk about above.

There were a few years there where everyone (many dermatologist included) where on the bigger is better bandwagon for sunscreens. It was an easy trap to get caught up in.  But then Health Canada noticed and interesting trend: people where burning.


Why were people getting sunburned while wearing SPF 105?  Many consumers know how SPF’s are designed to function, so using the same UV index as we used above, an SPF of 105 in theory should get you an additional 8 hours in the sun without needing to re-apply. The problem is here is twofold. Chemical sunscreens are not active in your skin for that many hours before they destabilize and stop working, and mineral sunblock which is not absorbed into the skin, is going to rub off, sweat off, shed off with natural skin cell turnover, etc etc. In short, they don’t last as many hours as the consumer thinks that they will.


What will an SPF 105 get you?

It will get you an additional 1%, as SPF of 50 or higher will screen 97-98% of UVA and UVB you are exposed to.


New Health Canada regulations were passed to protect consumers re SPF.  Health Canada determined that ultra-high SPF numbers, were misleading to people as ALL sunscreens should be re-applied every 2-3 hours to be effective. Health Canada put forth that SPFs of higher than 50 gave a false sense of security that resulted in more dangerous sun exposure. As such you will now see that there are SPFs of 50, and 50+, but no higher. You will also see that “Waterproof” labelling has been changed to the more accurate “Water Resistant”, as well as a few other minor changes that make SPF labeling more accurate. SkinScience is quite happy with these new guidelines! It makes for safer, more protected people!



The Golden Rules of Sunscreen

(pun intended!)


  • Pick a product you like! This is the absolute most important rule! If you don’t like it, you won’t wear it, SO YOU HAVE TO LIKE IT!!!! Oh, and make it at least an SPF 30.
  • Re-apply, every 2-3 hours. Sunscreens need 30 minutes from when they are applied to when they start working so re-application before the first application wears off is important!
  • Apply lots! At one time. You need to use enough product that you are working it in, not just skimming it across your skin. The biggest mistake made, is not applying enough.


When it comes down to it, if what you like is the highest number product, then go for it! But don’t break the bank on big numbers thinking they are better, because that is not always the case!


Want your sunscreen questions answered? Book your consultation (or follow up consultation) today and we will walk you through how it works, why it’s important and how to find the right product for you!