Caring for the Skin= 101. DUMP THE JUNK.

If your head is spinning with information on how to care for your skin, you're not alone. Let's be real. Wading through Skincare marketing is not for the faint of heart. My head spins with information and I have a dog in the race (albeit a lovely one, called Wisp. I sympathize with those who do not live and breathe a good ingredient list). So, Who and What to believe? Research any ingredient or product on the internet and see how many different answers come up.

I know, right?

Start by listening to your skin. It will never lie, exaggerate or steer you wrong. It knows what it needs.

I picked a facial cleanser at random from the internet. A well recognized brand. Off to a good start, it said, "Paraben free. Dermatologist tested. Phthalate-free. Not tested on Animals". It also had the following ingredients, which are not okay if skin health matters to you:

Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI)- named "Allergen of the Year". Banned in Europe (restricted in Canada, hopefully to be banned soon). AVOID this one at all costs. Contact dermatitis, rash, burning and even painful symptoms for those who are sensitive to it. Natural or Organic labels will not save you from this one, either.

Artificial Dyes, often reported as culprits for skin rashes, hives, eczema and asthma are Yellow # 5 (tartrazine) D&C Red 33, Red #40. The FDA has deemed them safe for use. No conclusive evidence yet, but my cheeks will tell you otherwise whenever I have used a red/plum based blush in the past.

Fragrance (Parfum)-Fragrance, including essential oils, are skin disruptors. Yes, I like my Bulgarian Lavender, too, but in a diffuser. Fragrance, regardless of it's natural or synthetic status is potentially sensitizing. You are not off the hook if you have never experienced skin sensitivity. Your skin barrier will let you know in a few years how naughty you were. Like too much sun-tanning.

This list is by no means, complete. They are dozens of ingredients that can trigger reactive skin. What's more, some of the really scary, long and hard to pronounce names, aren't scary at all. In fact, some are even beneficial for your skin or in keeping your product safe and stable. Confusing, I know.

Caring for your skin is actually pretty simple. Use only products that contain CLEAN ingredients. Avoid Sensitizing ingredients, Period. Look for bio-dynamic actives that will rescue, repair and maintain a strong skin barrier.

Finally, don't confuse CLEAN ingredients with "natural" ingredients. The two don't always mean the same thing. Saying something is Natural does not guarantee ingredient purity or skin desirability. Price of the product does not always indicate quality. I explored the ingredients of a $400 dollar moisturizer recently. Scary stuff.

Yes..it's a jungle out there. Get to know your ingredients and find credible sources of information. You owe it to that glowing complexion you are striving for.

Listen to your skin. Dump the Junk.