Tag Archives: prod-521927

  • Ayurvedic Beauty: Let Your Dosha Guide You

    Face of a young womanAyurveda is an ancient natural healing system that teaches us how to maintain optimal health by balancing our mind, body, spirit and environment. To help achieve this balance we need to understand the three doshas, or fundamental energies, that are found in all of us. One dosha is usually prominent in each of us, and keeping that dosha in balance lets us look and feel our best—while dosha imbalance leads to troublesome skin conditions. Here’s more about how our doshas work.

    Determine your dosha

    To help figure out which of the three is your strongest dosha, take this simple Dosha Quiz. You’ll find out if your mind-body type is mostly Vata (air), Pitta (fire) or Kapha (earth). Your dosha determines what energy rules your body, inside and out.

    In terms of your skin, these characteristics are typical for each dosha.

    Vata: Ruled by air. Skin: dry, thin, bruises easily, prone to premature aging

    Pitta: Ruled by fire. Skin: sensitive, reactive, prone to redness and inflammation

    Kapha: Ruled by Earth and water. Skin: oily, plump, soft, large pores, prone to pimples and blackheads


    Dosha do’s

    For your skin to look its best, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend caring for it in a way that balances the energy of your dosha. We asked Kathryn Fairbanks, esthetician and Ayurvedic expert in our Berkeley store, about the best ways to enhance natural beauty and prevent dosha imbalance.

    First off, Kathryn says, it’s important to understand that while our skin type is usually a reflection of our primary dosha, sometimes another dosha comes into play—so ask a practitioner to help guide you toward products that can help maintain balance between the two.


    These lively, restless souls need to keep skin nourished and moisturized, and take steps to treat premature wrinkles and lines. Cleansing skin without drying it out is key; Kathryn recommends Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Cleansing Oil for the job. Fruit stem cells brighten skin tone and resveratrol-rich grape seed oil balances skin’s natural moisture, and nutrient-dense and collagen-building products help strengthen Vata’s thin skin. Derma E’s Deep Wrinkle Reverse Moisturizer with Peptides Plus uses two powerful peptides to build collagen along with antioxidant green tea and vitamin C to keep further damage in check.


    Keeping cool is the goal for Pittas to avoid redness, inflammation or rashes. To treat reactive skin, Kathryn recommends oil-based vitamin C serums like Sanitas’ Vita C Serum. With a whopping 25 percent lipophilic (i.e. oil attracting) vitamin C concentration, this powerful antioxidant penetrates the skin to repair damage without irritation. Cooling mists and plant hydrosols used throughout the day will ease redness and calm Pitta skin, too. Try Jurlique’s Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist with soothing calendula and chamomile, or evanhealy’s Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol for sensitive skin.


    Detoxing is the key to healthy Kapha skin, flushing toxins that tend to accumulate in this dosha’s thick, oily skin. Evanhealy’s Lemongrass Facial Polish with Moroccan clay and natural astringent lemongrass is perfect for decongesting skin and deep cleaning pores, says Kathryn. Keep oiliness and blemishes in check with Astara’s Blue Flame Purifying Treatment that clarifies the skin with bacteria-fighting totara tree essence and tea tree oil. Evanhealy’s Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol is another good choice to spritz on after cleansing and throughout the day to balance and tone skin.

  • Vitamin C: Skin Care Superhero

    PrettySkinWhat can banish wrinkles, make dark spots disappear, save you from the sun, and keep skin healthy (and pretty)? It’s vitamin C to the rescue! Of course, vitamin C is good for us when we get it through food or supplements, but it works 20 times better on skin problems when applied topically. Here’s why it should be in your beauty arsenal.

    It attacks free radicals.

    Free radicals from pollution, smoke or ultraviolet light damage healthy cells and can even change their DNA, causing mutations and disease. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, neutralize these damaging free radicals. While vitamin C is naturally present in our skin, ultraviolet light from the sun significantly reduces the amount; you can boost its antioxidant benefits by applying vitamin C topically. Cowgirl’s Extreme C Serum is packed with vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants like vitamin D3, elderberry extract and sea buckthorn.

    It makes brown spots fade away.

    As we age, accumulated years of sun exposure can cause dark or brown spots, from skin-coloring melanin, to appear. Vitamin C significantly lightens these spots and prevents the formation of new ones, and is a safer alternative to the skin-lightening agent hydroquinone, which has been shown to have questionable side effects. Jurlique’s Purely Bright Spot Treatment blends natural vitamin C with kakadu plum and citrus unshui peel extracts to create a super skin lightener, brightener and spot remover.

    It diminishes wrinkles and lines.

    Vitamin C increases collagen production in our skin cells, so it can plump up skin and make it appear firmer and less wrinkled. Sanitas’ Vita C Serum has high levels of concentrated vitamin C, boosting collagen to fill in lines and wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

    It boosts sun protection.

    Although vitamin C doesn’t act as a sun block in itself, it does help protect the skin against UV damage from the sun. Vitamin C can reduce the number of sunburned cells and help extend the time before skin burns, especially in combination with vitamin E. Slather on Sanitas’ Vitamin C Lotion before applying sunscreen.

    Use it wisely.

    Reap all the benefits of vitamin C by following a few tips.

    • Get the right concentration. The amount of vitamin C in a product should be at least 10 percent; 15-20 percent is even better. The highest concentrations might cause mild dryness or redness on sensitive skin, so speak to an esthetician about what’s right for you.
    • Store it correctly. Vitamin C deteriorates easily in sunlight or heat, so be sure your container is dark or opaque, and keep it in a cool place.
    • Use it every day. Pure vitamin C doesn’t last long when exposed to air or light, so use it up! It works best when a light layer is applied to skin daily.
  • Your Skin: Three Anti-Aging Strategies

    Keep your skin fresh and glowing throughout the coming years! We spoke with Janet Nelson, esthetician at our Oakland store, about three powerful ways to keep aging skin on the DL.

    Essential fatty acids are key to healthy, moisturized skin, says Janet. One product in particular that’s great is Supercritical Omega-7 from New Chapter, which is good for hydrating the skin and the internal mucous membranes, which helps the entire body maintain a youthful feel.

    “I’m also a big fan of evening primrose oil, an essential fatty acid that’s great for dry skin—and psoriasis and eczema. It’s very hydrating, like all nutritional oils,” says Janet. (Try Evening Primrose Oil from Pharmaca or Barleans.)

    Finally, she recommends adding in Natural Factors’ BioSil. “It’s always nice to boost your collagen, but BioSil not only makes the skin look great—it also nourishes the hair and the nails.”

    Anti-aging serums have nourishing, protective properties that help fight the free radical damage that can speed the aging process. “They protect the skin through antioxidants like vitamin C or pomegranate,” says Janet. The more you can limit free radicals, the more you can keep the skin looking good.

    That’s why she turns to serums infused with a variety of vitamins and active botanicals. “Sanitas’ Vita C Serum is one of my favorites,” says Janet. She also likes the Desert Recovery Serum from Cowgirl. Both of these, she says, can be applied to clean skin and double as a moisturizer, since they’re also packed with essential fatty acids.

    A few things can help keep skin calm and glowy in the first place, says Janet, including hydration, maintaining low stress levels and regular exfoliation. “We have a new Lemongrass Facial Polish from evanhealy that’s amazing.” As a powder, you can add water—or one of evanhealy’s hydrosols for extra nourishment—until you get the right consistency. “You can feel it working as you’re massaging it into the skin.” Because it’s mild, it can be used 2-3 a week on normal skin. “When you put your serums over the top and mist with a hydrosol, you feel radiant.”

    “Of course, keeping a handle on the stress in one’s life makes the skin and the aging process even smoother,” says Janet. “So don’t forget your adaptogenic herbs!” And make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially in the summer months. She recommends raw coconut water as a wonderful way to get refreshed and rehydrated quickly.

    For more anti-aging strategies for your skin, speak with a Pharmaca esthetician today.

  • Our Beauty Favorites

    In honor of our winter Spa Day events, we talked to a few customers, practitioners and staff members about that one beauty, body or hair care item they just can't live without. Here are a few favorites.

    "I love MyChelle's Fabulous Eye Cream--it has plant stem cells and I have seen a decrease in my fine lines around my eyes. So now I use it all over my face!"
    -Kristine, Facebook fan
    I really like Sanitas' Vita C Serum. It really does help restore the skin's tone and eslasticity, and we've found it can even help with acne and hormonal breakouts. And a little bit goes a long way--all you need is a small amount and you can usually see a noticeable difference within a week or two.
    -Cecily, Pharmaca Esthetician
    "I am currently hooked on the John Masters Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner. I have super long hair and it keeps it from getting tangled. It smells really good and it keeps it smoother and shinier."
    -Lauren, Pharmaca team member 
    "I really love Juice Beauty's Cleansing Milk. It works great, smells great and it's a natural product that's hard to find. But I can always find it at Pharmaca!"
    -Jody, Facebook fan
    My favorite is the Andalou Naturals Kukui Cocoa Body Butter. It smells so good and has no nasty chemicals!"
    -Robin, Pharmaca naturopathic doctor
    "Burt's Bees Sensitive Night Cream. It's very moisturizing without being greasy for our dry Colorado winters. It doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, and it's not expensive!"
    -Deirdre, Facebook fan
    "The number one choice for me is Juice Beauty's Green Apple Peel. Customers use it and come back and tell me how much of a difference it made for them for acne, pigmentation, dryness, etc. It's like what you would get in a spa, but it's a natural, certified organic option that still does something for you!"
    -Mina, Pharmaca esthetician
    "I love the Peter Lamas Rice Protein Shampoo. My hair was really dry and kind of limp, and now it's super soft and shiny. It's also really helping with the dry winter scalp."
    -Diane, Pharmaca team member
    "Jurlique Hand Cream, especially in Rose, is the ultimate luxury. It's so moisturizing, and it's the only thing that keeps my hands soft and crack-free during Colorado winters. I gave it to all my female relatives for Christmas last year!"
    -Tiffany, Pharmaca team member
  • Balance Your Skin With Oils from Nature

    For most of us with oily, sensitive or acne-prone skin, oil has long been a no-no in our skin care regimens. Turns out that school of thought may have been wrong. Natural oils can actually help maintain our skin's all-important moisture balance, and keep us from drying out or feeling too oily.

    "Your skin's natural moisture factor is water and oil," says Leticia Domingo, esthetician at our Los Gatos store. "If either is lacking, the skin becomes imbalanced." Leticia says that imbalance can be especially problematic for people prone to acne, because too little moisture can make breakouts worse and impede the healing process. She adds that oil is an important vehicle for our skin to absorb water, and can be essential for boosting the efficacy of common water-based moisturizers.

    Several Pharmaca products are geared specifically for aiding in this process. Jurlique's Skin Balancing Face Oil, for instance, is filled with rich botanicals that not only feel good, but smell good. Primavera also carries a number of oil-based serums and capsules that can boost hydration levels.

    Here's how to use them: After cleansing, Leticia recommends warming a small amount (the size of a dime or nickel, depending on how much your skin can handle) in your palm, then patting on to the face. But, she says, don't go overboard. "Less is more! Don't slather it on."

    If you have too much oil, simply pat onto your neck or décolleté, where it can also be very beneficial. "The oil is basically going to assist your moisturizer in nourishing the skin," says Leticia, so you really want to use both.

    Start using the oil in the evening, to judge how your skin will react. In extremely dry situations, go ahead and use it in the morning, too. Once your skin's oil is back in balance, even acneic skin will begin to heal, and your skin will be softer and more radiant. This balance is also vital in an anti-aging regimen, where, as Leticia says, "the most important step is preventing dehydration."

    For extra-dry skin, look for rich oils from nut sources such as almond. For oilier skin, try a lighter version such as grapeseed or apricot kernel oil. Leticia also likes squalane, a plant-based oil that is engineered to mimic our skin's natural oil content. "In serums, squalane restores hydration and penetrates fast so it doesn't sit on the surface of the skin and oxidize," says Leticia. "Then the other active ingredients are pulled into the skin more quickly and deeply." Find squalane in Sanitas' Vita C Serum, and other treatment serums.

    Speak with a Pharmaca esthetician about how natural oils can help get your skin back in balance.

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