Body Care

  • Biodynamic Beauty Basics

    Happy motherWe check skin care labels for parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes and fragrances. But how often do we check the quality of the active ingredients themselves? If you choose products with biodynamically farmed botanicals you can rest assured they’re organic, grown in harmony with nature and of the highest potency.

    Why biodynamic ingredients are better

    The essence of biodynamic farming is based on the premise that healthy soil, sustainable planting and a connection with nature’s cycles will yield the best crops. Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolph Steiner developed this notion in the 1920s when he conceptualized the farm as part of a greater whole. Today, biodynamic farmers around the world believe that farms should be seen as holistic, self-sustaining ecosystems, following these principles:

    -Healthy, fertile soil is the foundation. Prepared with fermented herbs and minerals, the soil is kept vital with rotating crops and plant diversity.
    -Planting and harvesting is done in sync with the subtle rhythms of the sun, moon and planets. Seedlings planted during the part of the lunar cycle when tides are high receive more moisture to the roots and absorb more nutrients from the soil. And then when the moon is in a descending cycle, farmers revitalize and re-compost the soil.
    -Great consideration is given to sustaining local natural resources.
    -Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) plants and seeds are prohibited.
    -Certification of farms is rigorous; Demeter International ensures biodynamic standards are followed with farm visits and mandatory yearly renewals.Organic practices rule. There are no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Crop rotation and plant diversity keep disease at bay, and provide home to diverse bird and insect populations that naturally promote pest control.

    Biodynamic beauty

    Using these methods to produce powerful active botanical ingredients is the mission of several premier skin care lines found at Pharmaca. Weleda, for example, was founded by Rudolph Steiner, the very father of biodynamics, and the company now grows more than 300 healing plants and flowers on their farms throughout Europe. In their biodynamic Medicinal Plant Garden, Weleda farmers cultivate calendula flowers and carefully harvest them by hand. Known for its comforting, soothing and antibacterial properties, calendula is the perfect botanical to use on sensitive baby skin. Parents love the gentle moisture from Weleda’s Calendula Baby Oil and the irritation-free, no-tear ingredients in their Baby Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash.

    Eminence is a favorite of spa directors and holistic skin care practitioners, and their Bearberry Eye Repair Cream is a potent treatment. Hand-blended biodynamic ingredients include bearberry extract—a powerful antioxidant that prevents and repairs fine lines around the eyes—and collagen-boosting hops extract.

    Last but not least, Jurlique’s sources its pure, biodynamic flowers and herbs—including customer favorites rose and lavender—from its certified biodynamic Adelaide Hills herb farm in South Australia. Try their incredible smelling Rosewater Balancing Mist, combining skin-calming natural essential rose oil with super hydrating marshmallow root. For superior hydration, their Lavender Hand Cream is a rich moisturizer with natural lavender oil that promotes relaxation and calmness, perfect for stress-free travel.

  • Natural Eczema Relief

    PlayfulScience has yet to figure out the exact cause of eczema, a chronic skin condition, but those who experience it know there are variety of things that can set it off—causing red, inflamed, crusty or itchy patches. Children are especially prone; about 10-15 percent of babies will have symptoms. Heat and stress can trigger flare-ups, as can food allergies, soaps, detergents, perfumes and even rough fabrics like wool. If you or your little ones suffer from eczema, try these practices to help ease symptoms.

    Cleanse with shea butter or neem oil. Body washes or soaps can be very drying to sensitive skin; look for one with shea butter or neem oil that are rich in skin-saving fatty acids. Shea Moisture's Raw Shea Chamomile and Argan Oil Baby Eczema Soap cleanses babies and adults with super hydrating shea butter and argan oil, as well as soothing chamomile. Theraneem's Maximum Strength Neem Oil Cleansing Bar Soap combines neem, olive and coconut oils to calm and safely cleanse sensitive skin.

    Moisturize naturally, without synthetic chemicals. Keeping skin well hydrated locks in your skin’s own moisture in and can prevent dry patches from occurring. Moisturizing lotions or creams should be applied often during the day, but be sure they are free from potential irritants like fragrance, parabens or synthetic additives. For severely dry and inflamed skin, esthetician Renee Oleson in Portland says Avene’s Trixera+ Selectiose Emollient Cream is a customer favorite. Featuring mineral-rich thermal spring water and evening primrose oil, this soothing balm calms hyper-sensitive skin and has received a seal of acceptance by the National Eczema Association.

    For a lightweight, yet deeply hydrating, moisturizer, Alaffia’s EveryDay Shea Butter Unscented Body Lotion combines unrefined shea butter with soothing lemongrass. And for kids, parents love Babo Botanicals’ Oatmeal Calendula Moisturizing Baby Lotion, filled with gentle organic botanicals that calm and colloidal oatmeal that comforts dry skin, especially on the scalp.

    Ease the itch with herbs and minerals. Topical ointments can help soothe the itch, and prevent infections in scratched skin. Herbal remedies with burdock root and barberry like Derma E’s Psorzema Creme are great for reducing inflammation. Water can soothe itchiness too, and Avene’s Thermal Spring Water Spray's cooling mist is pH balanced and rich in trace elements and minerals. Or try a warm epsom salt bath—the magnesium in the salt helps reduce swelling (stick with just a teaspoon of salt in the water for babies, and be sure to moisturize afterwards). Hydrocortisone creams are a quick fix, but aren’t recommended for long-term use because they gradually thin the skin and make it more prone to infection.

    Add anti-inflammatory and immune-strengthing supplements to your diet. Supplements like fish oil and probiotics can help, says Dr. Lee Dennis, a naturopathic doctor in Portland, by adding important nutrients that reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system to keep it healthy. Fish oils, like Pharmaca’s Omega-3 Clinical Strength Fish Oil, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that researchers say can reduce leukotrienes, an inflammatory substance that plays a role in eczema. Probiotics are another good addition, as they can keep our immune system strong. Try Jarrow Formulas’ Jarro-Dophilus EPS Higher Potency capsules or Baby’s Jarro-Dophilus Powder, which deliver a blend of beneficial probiotic bacteria.

  • Healing Waters: 5 Ideas for Restorative Baths

    WaterLegsSometimes the simplest remedies—the ones that have worked for centuries—are the best. The ancient practice of “taking the waters,” what we now call hydrotherapy, works on two levels: The warm water provides a continuous heat source to our bodies, and gently massages as it circulates. And the addition of therapeutic salts, minerals and botanical oils assist in helping soak ailments away. Take advantage of the benefits of hydrotherapy with a few of our favorite add-ins.

    Repair sore muscles
    Weekend warriors (or really any of us who overwork our muscles) can appreciate the soothing properties of a warm soak. To release knots and ease sore muscles, try Kneipp’s Joint & Muscle Arnica Mineral Bath Salt, filled with thermal salts from a renowned underground sea in Germany, as well as arnica, pine and eucalyptus—essential oils known to reduce pain and inflammation. Another easy fix relies on Epsom salts: Add a cup or two of this magnesium-rich salt to bathwater for an easy do-it-yourself spa treatment for achiness.

    Relieve congestion
    Stuffy noses and clogged sinuses open up with eucalyptus oil and steam in a hot bath (or lukewarm if you have a fever). Pharmaca’s Bath Salts in Eucalyptus use eucalyptus essential oil, known for its anti-inflammatory and decongesting properties, and cineole, a component of eucalyptus oil, to reduce mucus production and loosen phlegm. For kids, try Alaffia’s Babies and Up Everyday Shea Butter Bubble Bath in Eucalyptus Mint for a soothing bubbly soak with eucalyptus and spearmint.

    Revive your spirit
    When exhaustion and stress overwhelm you, Boulder-based Esthetician Camille Capone recommends Little Moon’s Tired Old Ass Bath. Nerve-nourishing essential oils like rosemary, vetiver and eucalyptus, plus salts high in trace minerals and iron, rebalance your body and spirit. And if the name makes you laugh, that’s good, too!

    Relax your mind
    Lavender is one of the go-to essential oils that health practitioners use to induce calm, reduce anxiety and promote a sense of wellbeing. Ahava’s Lavender Bath Salt is Camille’s recommendation, as its highly mineralized Dead Sea salts smooth skin and natural lavender soothes the brain. To calm your mind before bedtime, or if you have trouble falling asleep, try Kneipp’s Deep Sleep Herbal Bath with Valerian and Hops, an aromatherapy treat that promotes drowsiness.

    Re-moisturize your skin
    Dry, flaky and rough skin gets a good dose of silky nourishment from the sweet almond oil found in Kneipp’s Good Health Almond Blossom Soft Skin Herbal Bath. And for a skin-hydrating botanical treatment, Camille recommends Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Nurturing Bath Essence, filled with pure rose extract and a blend of sweet almond, jojoba and avocado oils. The oils turn into a milky moisturizing bath and rose balances sensitive skin.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for recommendations about transforming your next bath into a healing, restorative experience.

  • Healthy Winter Skin Strategies

    Happy woman outside in winterAh, winter. Season of hot cocoa, warm scarves...and dry skin! But it's not just the skin on our face that can suffer during the season of indoor heat—our feet, hands and lips can also experience extra dryness. Here are a few tips for smoothing, hydrating, sloughing and softening every little part of you.

    First, let's start with the basic rules for staying hydrated during the winter: Drink plenty of water, run the humidifier often and up your intake of omega fatty acids through diet or supplementation. "I recommend fish oil year round, but particularly in the winter because of its healing properties," says Tammara Denninger, esthetician at our new Greenwood Village store. "And I make sure my fish oil has omega-7 in it, which is especially good at feeding and protecting skin."

    So how do we tackle individual dry skin problem areas?


    "People think during winter you don't need sunscreen," says Tammara, "but it's important year round." She recommends Sanitas' Solar Block SPF 30, filled with sun-blocking minerals and hyaluronic acid, which helps bind moisture to the skin. She adds that Solar Block is great for all skin types, from extra dry to skin that's prone to breakouts. And, of course, don't forget about a daily moisturizer that's good for your specific skin type.


    In the height of cold and flu season, it's good to wash your hands frequently. But using hot water—which we have a tendency to do when worried about germs—can strip natural moisture from our hands. Tammara recommends keeping water temperatures to warm, and applying a hydrating cream right afterwards. "I like keeping evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf on hand for extra moisture—hands, lips, heels, everything!" says Tammara. "It's really hydrating, healing and protecting during the winter."


    "I've been really hooked on Pacifica's Color Quench Lip Tint," says Tammara. "It provides a really natural color, but its base ingredient is coconut oil, so it's also really hydrating." And don't forget to apply sun protection to lips as well (try Supergoop's SPF 30+ Lip Balms), since winter sun can do serious damage to the delicate skin.


    Make sure you're exfoliating regularly with a foot file, then slather on a cream infused with shea butter, since that's especially good for the cracked and dry skin you sometimes find on heels and toes--find it in Nubian Heritage's Raw Shea Butter Body Butter.

    Get help nourishing your winter skin from a Pharmaca practitioner.

  • Treatment Masks: Fast Facial Fixes

    LongArmsEver feel like no matter what you do, your skin just won’t cooperate? Maybe a cleanser and moisturizer just aren’t enough to fight dryness, redness, breakouts or other skin problems. The good news is that there are a variety of masks that are formulated for specific skin problems. Here’s how to choose the right treatment.

    Maximize moisture
    Condition: Dryness

    Travel, winter weather, even hormonal changes can make skin feel parched and tight. Look for masks that use moisturizers known for their ability to draw water to the outer layer of skin. Hyaluronic acid, found naturally in our skin, is a good choice. It holds 1,000 times its weight in water, and when applied in a skin care product, boosts skin’s water content and binds moisture to the skin. Try Derma E’s Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid, which combines hyaluronic acid with jojoba oil, a natural botanical oil most similar to our skin’s own sebum.

    Condition: Blocked pores, acne

    Clay-based masks are a great solution for acne-prone or congested skin. They draw toxins out of your pores and work as an astringent to deeply clean, exfoliate and heal skin. John Masters’ Moroccan Clay Purifying Mask uses pure clay to absorb impurities, and aloe and lavender to soothe inflamed skin. DeVita’s Italian Tomato Leaf Mud Masque combines three types of natural clays and lycopene from tomato plants to deep clean pores and increase healthy circulation.

    Plump it up
    Condition: Wrinkles and fine lines

    Mature skin needs a mask that can moisturize as well as help restore skin’s elasticity and firmness. Nurturing products that boost collagen production are the way to go. Natural botanicals like kudzu root and beech tree root extracts help strengthen skin and stimulate collagen production to fill in fine lines. Jurlique’s Purely Age-Defying Firming Treatment Mask uses these natural plants extracts plus vitamin C to renew skin.

    No more flakes
    Condition: Rough, flaky skin

    Botanical enzymes are excellent exfoliators for uneven or rough skin. These enzymes work by breaking down the proteins in dead surface skin cells, revealing smooth, healthy skin. Sanitas’ Pumpkin Enzyme Mask uses fresh pumpkin to remove flakes and unclog pores, and moisture-magnet hyaluronic acid to rehydrate skin.

    Seeing red?
    Condition: irritation, redness

    Inflamed skin needs extra tenderness and calming agents. Look for botanical soothers like calendula and arnica, and cooling agents like aloe. MyChelle’s Pure Harmony Mask and Dr. Hauschka’s Soothing Mask are customer favorites for reducing redness and treating sensitive skin.

    Don't stop there

    If you love what a mask can do for your face, try a body mask, which can bring the same benefits to the rest of your skin. Smoothing, moisturizing and renewing body masks are a spa-like luxury worth trying. To help ease aches and warm the body, try SpaRitual’s Affirming Scrub Masque, which blends micro-algae with ginger root. For a total body detox, try SpaRitual’s Instinctual Clay Masque with red clay and deep sea mud that remineralize the skin and free it of impurities.

  • What is African Black Soap?

    We’re abuzz here at Pharmaca about this new soap that’s can help treat eczema, acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions. “I have had several co-workers approach me about this great new thing called African black soap,” says Tiana Ukleja, manager of Pharmaca’s beauty category.

    That’s when she started looking into Nubian Heritage, a brand that offered a broad range of skin care that incorporates African black soap along with other nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.

    Nubian Heritage’s recipe for African black soap calls for palm, tamarind extract and plantain peel (which is often switched out for cacao pods in places where plantains are not native). These ingredients are burned into ashes, which are then dissolved in warm water and heated alongside a base such as coconut oil. The remaining substance is cured for two weeks until it’s ready to be used. Variations on this recipe have been used for centuries in Africa.

    “It’s beneficial because it’s acne fighting, detoxifying and healing. It’s especially good for skin ailments like eczema and psorioasis,” Tiana says. “The ash helps pull out a lot of toxins.” She’s partial to Nubian Heritage’s African Black Soap Body Wash, especially because you can recognize everything on the ingredient list, she says.

    “My skin feels hydrated and clean, but without the soapy residue…and a little bit goes a long way!”

    Ask a practitioner about other great cleansing options!

  • Finding Natural Deodorants That Work

    Everyone wants to feel fresh and keep odors in check. What we don’t want are the potentially harmful ingredients found in many deodorants and anti-perspirants—ingredients like aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium, phthalates and triclosan. These ingredients work by killing bacteria with synthetic anti-microbials and plugging sweat glands, blocking natural toxin release. Unfortunately they’ve also been linked to Alzheimer's disease, hormone disruption and kidney disease.

    Natural deodorants, made from essential oils, botanicals and salts, are a safe and effective alternative. Unlike synthetic anti-perspirants and deodorants, they work by neutralizing odors while still allowing our body’s natural detoxification process to rid us of undesired proteins and fatty acids. Another benefit? Without aluminum-based compounds, these deodorants won’t form yellow stains on our clothing.

    Here, our expert estheticians tell us about some of their favorite products for keeping fresh and smelling great.

    Dr. Hauschka's Floral and Fresh Deodorants smell terrific and are very effective, says Cecily Cline, an esthetician at our store in Redmond, Wash. Botanical extracts of sage, witch hazel and neem make Dr. Hauschka’s deodorants particularly good for sensitive or irritated skin. Zinc ricinoleate, a natural salt, reduces odor without disturbing the skin's natural functions.

    Rubbing crystal rocks under our arms to stop odor? These deodorants have been a popular alternative to mass-consumer deodorants for many years. Kathleen Lamoureux, esthetician in our Berkeley store, says the Crystal Deodorant "Rock" contains natural mineral salts that form an invisible layer on skin that keeps bacteria from forming—perfect for purists who want a non-sticky, non-staining, residue-free solution. Crystal also makes user-friendly liquid spray and roll-on versions, as well as individually wrapped towelettes that are perfect for travel or after-gym use.

    Lafe’s Organic Roll-On Deodorant counts on organic hemp oil, aloe vera and mineral salts for its strong anti-bacterial and odor-reducing properties. Hemp oil is known for its anti-inflammatory actions and high concentration of essential fatty acids that nourish the skin, making this a deodorant that’s especially kind to your skin. Bonus: Lafe’s has been honored with Natural Solutions magazine’s Beauty with a Conscience Award twice!

    Tom’s of Maine found that hops (yep, the same ones in beer) have an antiseptic quality that slows and reduces the production of odor-causing bacteria. That’s why hops are a key ingredient in their deodorants, along with a variety of natural botanicals like lemongrass, fir, chamomile and coriander that create clean, outdoorsy scents. (Kathleen says they’re a customer favorite!)

    Blending pure essential oils that naturally invigorate, refresh and neutralize odors, Weleda’s Citrus Deodorant Spray is a zesty aromatherapy experience in a non-aerosol spray. Lemon peel, orange, bergamot, grapefruit and fennel oil extracts come together to keep you feeling uplifted (and smelling great) all day.

    Explore Pharmaca’s complete line of natural deodorants, with a wide variety of scents, ingredients and formulations, and find the right one for you!

  • Gluten-Free Skin and Body Care

    No wheat, barley or rye. Sometimes no oats. For those living with Celiac disease or wheat allergies, reading food labels in search of these ingredients is a way of life.

    Although a gluten-free diet helps manage both conditions, the causes of the two are different. Wheat allergies are one of the most-common food allergies—they generate an antibody in reaction to the proteins found in wheat, producing a variety of symptoms, from hives and rashes to abdominal pain or breathing trouble. For those with Celiac disease, on the other hand, the reaction comes from one particular protein in wheat, called gluten, which can result in an abnormal and often severe immune system reaction in the small intestines.

    But what about gluten in products besides food? Gluten is often added to skin care products in ingredients that thicken or provide a creamy texture. Wheat protein in shampoos, for example, strengthens and adds fullness to the hair. Although some researchers say the proteins in gluten are too large to be absorbed through the skin, many people with Celiac disease and gluten or wheat allergies choose to limit their exposure.

    “There definitely needs to be more clinical research on topical gluten reactions,” says Julie McGinnis, a dietician at our south Boulder location (who happens to be an expert in gluten-free living). She says that in her practice, she’s seen many individuals who experience skin problems like acne, rashes or inflammation when they use products that contain gluten or other wheat proteins. “It may be a reaction from ingested glutens, topical glutens or both. Switching to gluten-free skin and body products can often help,” she says. Many people with eczema and less severe wheat sensitivities say their skin reacts better to gluten-free body, hair and skin care products, too.

    But glutens or wheat proteins may be tricky to identify. A good place to start is looking for any ingredient with wheat, barley, malt, rye or oat included in the name. Some of the most common ingredients containing gluten can be found as triticum vulgare (wheat), hordeum vulgare (barley), secale cereale (rye), avena (oat), phytosphingosine (made from yeast), tocopherol and vitamin E (sometimes derived from wheat).

    Because of the number of ingredients that may be suspect, sometimes it’s simplest to just look for products that are already labeled “gluten-free.” Fortunately Pharmaca offers a wide variety of skin care products that come with the gluten-free label. Here’s a rundown of some gluten-free favorites from Staci Minovitz, esthetician at our Los Angeles store.

    Acure’s Sensitive Facial Cleanser Argan Oil + Probiotic. This creamy cleanser is rich in calming botanical extracts like chamomile and rosehips, and its omega fatty acids hydrate and protect the skin’s natural balance.

    Alaffia EveryDay Shea Butter Body Lotion is a luxurious body moisturizer that blends hand-crafted shea butter with soothing lemongrass and antioxidants red palm oil and shea leaf.

    Pre de Provence Soaps and Cleansing Bars are gluten-free, and the milk, shea butter and argan varieties are particularly kind to sensitive skin.

    Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoos and Conditioners are formulated without chemical preservatives, petrochemicals or sulfates. Good for all hair types, these are nourishing, lightweight and full of antioxidants and organic essential oils like tamanu seed, red raspberry, pumpkin seed and black cumin to keep your scalp healthy.

    Finally, a gluten-free no-brainer: If you’ve got Celiac or a wheat allergy, it’s especially important to look for gluten-free lip balms, since they’re so easily ingested. Recommended by both Staci and Julie, ZuZu Luxe Lip Glosses are vegan and blend jojoba seed oil, sea fennel extract and sunscreen to moisturize and protect. Suki Lip Repair Butter and Juice Beauty’s Lip Glosses also hydrate and treat lips with natural oils and (safe) soy-based vitamin E.

    Check with a Pharmaca esthetician for more selections and favorites, or check out our entire selection of gluten-free facial care, glute-free body care, gluten-free hair care and gluten-free oral care.

  • Your Body: A Well-Oiled Machine

    Want the dewy, glowy look of hydrated and nourished skin? Turn to these versatile oils, many of which can be used inside and out, to smooth, heal and repair skin--and keep it glowing for years to come.

    Sea Buckthorn Oil (Internal & External)

    Over the centuries many populations have used sea buckthorn for a variety of medicinal purposes, as it contains palmitoleic acid, an omega-7 fatty acid, along with potent antioxidants like carotenoids and phytosterols. (In Russia, sea buckthorn is clinically prescribed for inflammation, circulatory disorders and cellular regeneration, among other things.) "It's one of the hottest things right now," says Joan Shure, esthetician at our Pacific Palisades store. "And it can be beneficial topically for reducing stretch marks, too." Internally, try New Chapter's Supercritical Omega-7, or smooth on Weleda's Sea Buckthorn Body Oil externally.

    Fish Oil (Internal only)

    Experts agree that omega-3s are key to healthy, moisturized skin. They can help reduce inflammation (which can deprive the skin of nutrients), and are involved in the production of phospholipids and ceramides, which contribute to overall skin health and moisture. "The glow factor is really big with omegas," says Joan, adding that fish oil can help reduce wrinkles and boost elasticity. She likes fish oils from New Chapter and Nordic Naturals.

    Vitamin E Oil (Internal & External)

    You may not know it, but vitamin E is actually a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body. Maybe that's why it's so helpful in healing scars and other skin damage. And since our bodies can't produce it, we have to get it through diet or supplementation. Pharmaca's Vitamin E capsules can be taken both internally, or broken open to apply topically.

    Tea Tree Oil (External only)
    Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and a cleansing agent that rebalances oiliness on the skin. Tea tree is a member of an extensive botanical family that releases powerful essential oils, and has long been used by Australian aborigines for its healing properties. "It's a great spot treatment for blemishes," says Erin Alden Velez, esthetician at our Sonoma store. But because it works as an antibacterial, Erin says, it can dry out your skin if you use it all over. So make sure you hydrate afterwards! Try Pharmaca's Tea Tree Oil.

    Coconut Oil (Internal & External)
    This tropical fruit is filled with medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric, capric and caprylic, all of which serve special health functions. It's ultra-hydrating when applied topically, and its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties can help balance digestion--a key to good skin health--when taken internally. "You can use it in stir fries, bake with it, anywhere you'd use olive oil," says Joan. For topical use, Joan recommends applying it as a moisturizer right out of the shower, when your skin is still damp. Try Nature's Way's EFAGold Coconut Oil for either application.

    Argan oil (External only)
    Packed with essential fatty acids, this oil has long been valued in its native Morocco for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. Argan oil helps fight lines, repair imperfections, minimize scars and stretch marks, restore texture, elasticity and tone, and reduce inflammation. You can even massage Acure Organics Argan Oil into hair and scalp for balance and shine.

    Speak with a Pharmaca esthetician about other oils that can help keep your skin glowing.

  • Buyer's Guide: Lip Balms

    Navigating the world of personal care ingredients can be confusing—how do you know what’s really natural and non-toxic? We’re starting a new series on Project Wellness that focuses on common beauty and body care products, including which ingredients to look for, and which to stay away from.

    Tis the season for dry, chapped lips, so we’re focusing on that winter mainstay: lip balm. There are hundreds of lip balm remedies on the market today, and as with any product, there are some that work better and are safer than others. When shopping for a lip balm, look for products containing shea butter, beeswax, zinc or titanium oxide. Shea butter provides and locks in moisture; beeswax seals in moisture and is a natural antibacterial; and zinc and titanium oxide protect your lips from the harsh UV rays of the sun (even in winter, when sun reflects off of snow).

    Those are the good ones. Now, which to avoid? Don’t forget that some experts estimate that we eat as much as six pounds of lipstick and lip balm in our lifetimes. So read the labels and steer clear of lip balms containing petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance or menthol, camphor or phenol.

    Pharmaca carries a variety of lip balms that feature all the best ingredients, without the bad ones. Here are some of our most popular lip balms:

    And finally, don't forget our own best-selling brand of lip balm. So keep those smackers moisturized this winter with some of our favorite all-natural lip balms!

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