What Is Microdermabrasion and Do You Need It? | My Beauty Bunny

I’m sure you’ve heard of microdermabrasion – but have you tried it? If you aren’t familiar, let me introduce you to one of the best tools for glowing skin! In combination with your everyday routine, microdermabrasion can take your skincare ritual to new heights. This non-painful, no-downtime skin procedure is an excellent way to treat a wide range of skin issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Acne scars
  • Dull complexion
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Rough skin texture
  • Age/sun spots – hyperpigmentation
  • Fine lines

Of course, if you’re a “slap on some moisturizer and call it a day” kind of person, microdermabrasion might sound intimidating. I promise you, it’s actually a simple, gentle procedure. It’s the process of gently removing dead skin cells from the top layer of skin — essentially a deep manual exfoliation.

Microdermbrasion tools work by using crystals or diamond in combination with vacuum suction. The machines have heads (usually coarse, medium, and fine) that rub the skin, removing dead skin cells. The vacuum head then sucks up the skin cells and encourages new cell growth by stimulating blood flow. The end result is radiant, smooth, supple skin – like a baby’s bum!

Spas vs At Home Microdermabrasion Treatments

I usually get microdermabrasion treatments when I go for my monthly facial at Verabella in Beverly Hills. There I can get the treatment done by a professional aesthetician who is using professional grade tools. They know what they are doing, so there is no risk of scarring, skin irritation, etc. My skin always glows after a professional microdermabrasion session, and it helps prime the skin for treatments and extractions.

What does microdermabrasion cost? Multiple sessions at a spa can quickly add up, with procedures ranging from $75 to $300 per session (depending on where you live and the skill level of your aesthetician). Fortunately, for those of us who are on a budget, there are affordable microdermabrasion machines available so you can do it at home.

At home, you would need to make a one-time purchase for a machine, ranging from around $99 to $300 (plus the cost of buying replacement parts). This is an investment, but it makes microdermabrasion at home more cost-effective than visiting a spa every month.

You just want to be sure you ALWAYS start on the lowest setting, and watch instructional videos to be sure you know what you’re doing. You should stay away from the eye area, and don’t over-do treatments. There’s always a risk when you use at-home devices, but they are made for non-professionals, and as long as you follow the directions closely, you should be fine. These treatments should be done around once every two weeks. Giving yourself treatments more often can lead to damaged skin. Be sure to be mindful of the condition of your skin before administering treatment.

How To Use a Home Microdermabrasion Machine

I recently got a Trophy Skin MicrodermMD at-home microdermabrasion machine (Trophy Skin sent it to me to try out). It retails for $299, and if that’s too rich for your blood, there is also a Mini Microderm for $99, as well as a mid-range version for $199.

To use your machine, you’ll want to first wash your skin as you typically do. Just grab your favorite facial wash (preferably an oil-free product), wash your skin, rinse, and pat with a towel, being sure it is completely dry.

The microdermabrasion machines typically have multiple settings and sometimes different heads. The MicrodermMD has one head but several settings. It’s best to start with the finest tip or lowest setting, just so that you can get a feel of how to use the machine. Plug it in, choose your settings, and then apply the microderm tip to the skin. Simply hold the device the same way that you do when you’re writing, keep your skin taut with one hand and glide it in short, quick outward strokes.

The MicrodermMD has built in programs that tell you how long to spend on each part of the face. You can go over the same area a few times (as long as there’s no excessive redness or irritation), being sure to avoid the eyelids and practicing caution around the eye area in general. You’ll get better the more that you use the machine. It should not be painful, but you will probably see some temporary redness.

Once you’re finished with the machine, turn it off, clean the tip with soap and water, and perhaps a spritz of alcohol mixed with water (and throw away the wool filter). Before you throw it away, take a close look to see all the dead skin and gunk you just removed (yasssssss)! You can then rinse your face to remove any leftover dead skin, and apply a moisturizer.

If you’re going outdoors, use sunscreen, as your skin may be more sensitive after the procedure. It’s normal to experience redness and mild skin irritation after a treatment, so it’s best to plan at home treatments at least a week in advance. Never use the system on irritated skin, rashes, wounds or damaged skin.

I’ve used it on myself and my husband, and the results were amazing after just one treatment. The MicrodermMD comes with 100 filters, and has three treatment modes: auto, sensitive and manual. The higher suction settings can be used when you get used to the machine, and you can also use them on rough body skin. You can also use the MicrodermMD to perform extractions (pore extraction tip) as well as infusing your serums into your skin (infusion tip). The machine itself forms a case that holds all the attachments, so it’s fairly compact and travel-friendly too.

If you can’t afford regular spa treatments, doing your own microdermabrasion at home can be a cost-effective way to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy as long as you go slow and follow instructions! Adding this gentle, effective treatment to your regular skincare routine will definitely take your skincare ritual up a notch.

You can see my regularly updated list of cruelty free brands here!

What Is Collagen, Anyways? Complete Guide To Collagen In Skin Care

It’s no secret that collagen is the key to a youthful-looking complexion. This structural protein provides much-needed support and stability to keep the skin firm, plump and springy. Unfortunately, our bodies’ stores of collagen rapidly decline as we age. Read on to learn what collagen does for the skin and how you can protect it from damage.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the building block of many of our tissues and organs, including our bones, muscles, skin and even teeth. This structural protein gets its name from the Greek word “kolla”, meaning glue (a helpful hint for the role it plays in the body). Collagen is what binds our cells and tissues together, helping them retain their shape, elasticity and strength.

Collagen gets its name from the Greek word “kolla”, meaning glue.

The majority of collagen is found and produced in the dermis (the skin’s second layer). Here, fibroblasts synthesize strands of collagen which look like long braids or ropes. According to SELF: “Individual amino acids link up to form long chains, which bundle together to form thicker strands. Those strands then twist and coil around each other to form triple helices. Finally, those helices connect end to end and stack on top of each other to form clusters called fibrils.” These fibrils form a mesh-like network that gives the skin its underlying structure and support.

3 Types of Collagen

There are 28 types of collagen found in the body, but Type I, II and III are the most plentiful. These three types constitute up to 90 percent of the body’s total collagen supply. Here’s a breakdown of how they differ:

Type I

Type I is the most common type of collagen and provides structural support for our bones, organs and connective tissues (including the skin). It is incredibly elastic and can stretch considerably without breaking. In fact, an MIT study found that Type I collagen fibrils are five to ten times stronger than steel. 

Type II

Type II collagen is the building block of cartilage. Unlike Type I collagen which is neatly arranged, Type II forms more of a jumble. This arrangement gives cartilage its flexible, springy quality which allows it to easily compress and cushion our joints. 

Type III

Type III collagen is most concentrated in bone marrow and lymph tissues. Its narrow fibers are arranged in branches that provide support for specialized cells involved in blood cell generation. It is often found alongside Type I collagen in the skin and plays a key role in wound repair.

What Does Collagen Do For Skin

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin - and for good reason. This structural protein provides strength, support and elasticity to keep the skin firm, plump and youthful. Here’s a closer look at what collagen does for the skin.

Provides Support & Structure

Collagen fibers bind tissue together. With their strong, braid-like composition, they function much like sturdy columns that hold up and support the top layer of skin. When you’re young, these columns provide the stability and rigidity that keep your skin tight and lifted. This strong foundation keeps your skin’s youthful shape intact.

Keeps Skin Firm & Plump

Along with elastin and hyaluronic acid, collagen is found in the dermis, the middle layer of skin that gives it volume, density and bounce. Together, these materials form a tight, flexible network that keeps skin firm, plump and supple. When plentiful, collagen keeps the skin from sagging and prevents the folding and creasing that contributes to fine lines and wrinkles.

Improves Elasticity

That spring and bounce you see in youthful skin? Credit that to collagen. In addition to keeping your complexion firm and plump, collagen improves the skin’s flexibility and elasticity. This not only helps prevent the formation of wrinkles, it also reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. 

Why Do We Lose Collagen?

The skin contains an abundance of collagen when we’re young, but over time it starts to decline. Dr. Hooman Khorasani, Chief, Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery of Mount Sinai Health System tells us: “Our skin has a fine balance between collagen production and collagen breakdown. It can take up to 6 months for collagen to get synthesized in our body. As we get older, corticosteroids tend to halt the production of new collagen and accelerate the breakdown of new collagen.” 

Our skin has a fine balance between collagen production and collagen breakdown.

Exposure to environmental stressors accelerates this process. Unhealthy lifestyle habits (like smoking and high sugar intake) as well as stress, pollution and UV rays cause free radical damage that speeds up collagen depletion. By the time we hit our twenties, we lose roughly one percent of collagen every year. 

The Result: Visible Signs Of Aging

When we lose more collagen than we produce, the visible signs of aging quickly start to emerge. Weakened collagen cannot provide much-needed structural support and as collagen levels drop, our skin becomes thinner, starts to droop and develops fine lines and wrinkles.

As SHAPE explains, “When collagen is strong, your skin bounces right back. But if collagen is weak, repeated movements cause permanent creases. Skin doesn’t have enough collagen to fill in the groove, so you see a line even when you’re not squinting or furrowing, and it no longer has the same density to resist gravity.”

Ingredients That Stimulate Collagen Production

With collagen’s numerous benefits for the skin, it’s no wonder it’s an ingredient that has begun to pop up in skin care. However, collagen in skin care isn’t quite as simple as tacking it on to an ingredient list. Read on to learn why.

The Problem With Size

The biggest (pun intended) problem with collagen is its size. Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells The Zoe Report: “Pure collagen molecules are too large to actually be absorbed by the body as-is.” Due to their size, these beneficial proteins can’t penetrate the skin. Instead, skin care experts recommend using topical treatments that include ingredients like peptides, retinol and Vitamin C which stimulate and protect your skin’s natural collagen production.


To bypass the sizing issue, many topical treatments contain collagen peptides. These smaller chains of amino acids are more easily absorbed by the skin. When they reach the dermis, peptides provide the skin’s fibroblasts with the building blocks they need to produce new collagen. By applying peptides through skin care, we can actually trick the skin into making more of this essential protein.


Retinol is another topical  ingredient that stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin. According to SHAPE, “Both retinoic acid and retinol ‘turn on’ genes and cells involved in collagen production. They also help organize new and existing collagen.” You can reap the benefits of retinol - and skip its side effects - by opting for a botanical-based version like our Natural Retinol Alternative.

Vitamin C

Antioxidants like Vitamin C pull double duty and stimulate collagen production as well as protect it. Vitamin C not only activates the skin’s fibroblasts to produce new collagen, it also stabilizes the collagen you already have, helping skin stay firm, plump and youthful-looking for longer. Look for serums that pair this antioxidant with Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Research shows that these nutrients amplify Vitamin C’s effectiveness eight-fold!

Vitamin C not only activates the skin’s fibroblasts to produce new collagen, it also stabilizes the collagen you already have, helping skin stay firm, plump and youthful-looking for longer. 

Skin Care Products That Help With Collagen Loss

Now that you’re well-versed in the benefits of enhancing and protecting your skin’s collagen, it’s time to explore skin care products that help your skin look strong and youthful. Here are a few of our tried-and-true favorites to enhance and protect your skin.

Marine Flower Peptide Serum & Eye Cream

This skin care duo features our Smart Collagen+ Complex which combines botanical collagen, natural plant peptides and algae extracts. Together, these ingredients leave the skin looking strong and elastic. The Marine Flower Peptide Serum and Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream can be added to any skin care routine to deliver significantly smoother, plumper and more youthful-looking skin. 

Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System

This three-step peel and peptide system includes a Peptide Illuminating Complex derived from an antioxidant-rich mix of hibiscus seed peptides, gardenia stem cells and yellow plum extract. This blend of antioxidants, botanical peptides and stem cells minimizes the visible signs of aging and gives skin a firmer and smoother appearance.

Bamboo Firming Fluid

This silky concentrate is formulated with our Natural Retinol Alternative. This botanical-based complex mimics the effects of conventional retinol by appearing to lift and tighten the skin. Derived from chicory root and tara tree extract, it provides the same firming and smoothing results without the risk of irritation and downtime.

Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum

This antioxidant-rich serum combines potent Vitamin C with Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Together, these ingredients help the skin look firm and plump with the visible signs of aging reduced. Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar tells us: “We formulated the Vitamin C concentration to the optimal amount to be non-irritating and still provide powerful antioxidant benefits.”

Spa Treatments

You can also boost your skin’s collagen production with spa treatments. Here are a few of the most popular collagen regenerating treatments available.


Microneedling - or collagen induction therapy - is a tried-and-true methods to stimulate collagen production. This treatment creates thousands of microscopic punctures in the skin to induce wound-healing. These micro-injuries trigger the skin’s fibroblasts to synthesize new collagen and elastin. Stefanie Williams MD tells Get The Gloss: “Medical needling gives skin a gentle nudge to remind it to keep making fresh collagen. It’s a very natural regenerative treatment that helps the skin help itself.”

Medical needling gives skin a gentle nudge to remind it to keep making fresh collagen.

Laser Treatments

Fractionated lasers are another go-to. These work similar to microneedling in that they cause tiny, controlled injuries that trigger the creation of new collagen. In this case, rather than using medical needles, the skin care professional will use resurfacing lasers to stimulate collagen production. Dr. Zeichner tells Harper’s Bazaar: “Lasers work by punching microscopic holes in the skin, creating a controlled burn and taking advantage of the skin’s ability to heal itself after wounds.”

Microcurrent Therapy

If your skin is in the early stages of the aging process, microcurrent treatments can be beneficial. This type of treatment is best for skin that is showing the earliest signs of aging, as it conditions the skin’s fibroblasts to function optimally and continue to produce healthy, high quality collagen. In microcurrent therapy, two metal rods that conduct low-level electricity are drawn over the surface of the skin to stimulate and energize facial muscles.Are you ready to explore the benefits of collagen skin care? Schedule a consultation with a licensed esthetician at an Eminence Organics partner spa near you!

Intense Gaming Can Trigger Irregular Heartbeat, Fainting in Some Players

By Dennis Thompson

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Video games that guarantee heart-stopping action might come dangerously close to fulfilling that promise in some players.

A handful of video gamers have passed out when intense sessions caused their heartbeat to lapse into an irregular rhythm known as an arrhythmia, researchers report.

Three boys between the ages of 10 and 15 separately lost consciousness when the action in a war video game grew to a fever pitch, the research team noted in a letter published Sept. 19 in the .

"Heart rhythm recordings either at the time or subsequently revealed that they had suffered a life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance -- a form of ventricular tachycardia, in essence a near cardiac arrest," said senior researcher Dr. Christian Turner. He is a pediatric cardiologist with the Children's Hospital at Westmead in Australia.

Each of the boys were found to have rare and very serious underlying heart abnormalities, either due to the structure or the electrical function of their heart muscle, the researchers said.

This was a surprise for two of the boys, as they'd never been diagnosed with a heart problem, Turner said.

These cases show that video games can produce the same sort of adrenaline rush that can cause athletes and people under extreme duress to die when their hearts stop, said Dr. Ranjit Suri, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's in New York City.

"You hear it said that he got so angry he died suddenly, he got so frightened he died suddenly," Suri said. "It's in the same league. It's just that now we recognize gaming can produce that kind of rush."

People should not underestimate the danger posed by irregular heart rhythms that cause syncope, or loss of consciousness, Suri noted.

"The only difference between syncope and sudden death is that, in syncope, you wake up," Suri said. "In a sense, syncope is aborted sudden death -- aborted in the sense that the arrhythmia stops. The person passes out, the arrhythmia stops, and they live to tell the tale. Next time, you might not be that lucky."

This Might Be The reason Your Acne Won't Go Away

If you feel as if you’ve tried every acne treatment on the shelves, and nothing has worked, then it might be because you don’t have ‘traditional acne’. What you may have determined as acne, may actually be Malassezia folliculitis, which is more commonly known as fungal acne. And while it may look similar, it needs to be treated differently, as ordinary acne treatments could aggravate the breakout. For the 411 on fungal acne, we spoke to Founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, Dr. Dennis Gross, who told us everything from how to treat fungal acne to how to avoid it… 

What causes fungal acne? 

“’Fungal acne’ is actually called Malassezia folliculitis (or pityrosporum folliculitis). It’s an infection caused by excess yeast that aggravates your hair follicles. Yeast can feed on the oil found in your skin, making oilier skin and oilier skin areas more prone to developing an infection,” Dr. Dennis told us.

When we asked Dr. Gross what increases the likelihood of having fungal acne, he explained; “Oilier skin types may be more prone to fungal acne. Using oil-based products that throw your skin off balance could also increase your risk of developing fungal acne. There are also environmental factors like heat and humidity that will amp up the likelihood of an infection, as well as if you’re someone who sweats more.”

If you’re someone who has a tendency to get fungal skin conditions, like seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, then consider yourself a more likely candidate.

How do you distinguish between regular acne and fungal acne?

Dr. Gross states, “As mentioned above, fungal acne is really Malassezia folliculitis. It may look like hormonal or bacterial acne, but it refers specifically to excess yeast that’s built up in your hair follicles, causing breakout-like symptoms. It’s not actually ‘acne’ but an infection in your hair follicle. In terms of how to spot the difference on yourself, you’ll find classic acne on your face, generally in the T-zone, on the jawline and on the cheeks. You’ll find ‘fungal acne’ more on your chest and upper back and the spots will look more consistent in terms of size. Fungal acne will come with more of an itching feeling.” Large cysts, blackheads, and whiteheads are not fungal related, so if you’re experiencing any of these types of pimples or a combination of them, it is most likely not fungal acne.

“There may sometimes be overlap in ingredients that alleviate infections, but this will go case by case and the two should largely be addressed and treated differently. For example, as I mentioned above, sulfur is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so could be used to treat both conditions. However, there are also some treatments that may kill the wrong bacteria (the normal kind on your skin that may be helping to fight the yeast) making pityrosporum folliculitis worse.”

How to treat fungal acne like a derm 

“Treatments can vary from incorporating sulfur into your skincare routine (it is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial) to needing an anti-fungal oral medication prescribed, it all depends on the severity of your infection and the frequency of it. Salicylic acid is another helpful ingredient. You can also incorporate an oil-free moisturizer like the Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion, $60, into your routine to limit the oil that yeast can feed on.”

Products to treat Malassezia folliculitis:

Source: Bioderma

Bioderma Sebium H2O Micellar Water, $15: This micellar water contains anti-fungal powerhouse, sulfur, making it the perfect first step of your nighttime routine. Not only will it help the infection, but it’ll also help balance oil production while removing your makeup.

Source: Neutrogena

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, $8: If you’re prone to fungal acne on your chest or back, this product should be at the top your list. The formula contains 2% salicylic acid; a potent BHA that’ll exfoliate the skin and dissolve the glue that binds dead skin cells, which block your pores. It’ll also help lower oil production, and as it has anti-inflammatory properties it’ll soothe existing spots. Once you’ve massaged it onto damp skin, massage it in for one minute.

Source: Nizoral

Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $14: This anti-fungal shampoo is often prescribed to treat bad cases of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis as it kills the fungal growth. Apply a dime-sized amount to the area and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing. You can also use other anti-dandruff shampoos like Selsun Blue or those that contain ketoconazole.

Try BHAs: The Inkey List BHA serum, $11, is packed with salicylic acid, which will help exfoliate pores and fight fungal breakouts.

What to avoid if you have fungal acne…

“Avoid keeping sweaty workout clothes on post-workout and be mindful of settings (like a locker room) where you’re more likely to encounter yeast. You’ll also want to be sure to cleanse and stay dry when in more humid environments” explains Dr. Gross. If you’re prone to fungal acne, you may also want to decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, as the yeast bacteria thrive on sugar. Ultimately, if you’re unsure, go and see your doctor or derm, who will be able to help you decide and plan the best course of treatment.

For more info on how to soothe and calm other acne types, check out our ultimate skincare guide to acne.

Mushroom: Your New Favorite Skin Care Ingredient

Say hello to the new “it” ingredient for health, wellness and beauty: mushrooms. These adaptogenic ingredients have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and are currently making the rounds as skin care superstars. Celebrated for their ability to improve overall skin health and youthfulness, it’s no wonder they’re topping every beauty guru’s list. Read on to discover why mushrooms are about to become your favorite new skin care ingredient. 

What Is An Adaptogen?

To appreciate the beauty benefits of mushrooms, you must first have a handle on the function of adaptogens. In short, an adaptogen is a mushroom, plant or root that helps the body adapt (hence, the name) to changes in its emotional and physical state. These herbs and botanical extracts have deep roots in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, where they have been used over thousands of years for their ability to restore balance to the body and skin. It wasn’t until 1947 that the word “adaptogen” was coined by N.V. Lazarev, a Soviet pharmacologist who learned of their ability to regulate and normalize the body’s physiological response to stress.

Mushroom Benefits For Skin

Stress plays a significant role in skin health: It increases inflammation, contributes to premature aging and can trigger hormonal imbalance. As adaptogens, mushrooms help mitigate your skin’s response to stress; they identify where your body is imbalanced and coax it back to baseline. In skin care, they also assist in distributing active ingredients to where they’re needed most, helping your skin stay strong, hydrated and healthy. 

Here is a closer look at two of our favorite fungi: snow mushroom and reishi mushroom.

Snow Mushroom

Snow mushroom - or tremella fuciformis - is a tropical mushroom that is often found growing on hardwood logs after heavy rainfall. This gelatinous ’shroom has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and cuisine (snow fungus soup, anyone?) for its ability to provide deep and long-lasting hydration. In fact, Tang dynasty concubine Yang Guifei - one of China’s four great beauties - credited the snow mushroom with maintaining her flawless porcelain complexion.

Deeply HydratesToday, snow mushroom is used in skin care for its impressive hydrating properties. Known as a “super-humectant,” it functions similarly to (and even rivals) hyaluronic acid, the gold standard in skin hydration. Snow mushroom’s gelatinous structure, combined with its high levels of polysaccharides, helps it draw moisture deep into the skin. While this mushroom holds 500 times its weight in water (compared to hyaluronic acid’s 1000), its small particles can penetrate the skin more easily, providing more potent hydration. 

Here's a closer look at snow mushroom's amazing hydrating qualities:



Enhances Skin Strength & ElasticityIn addition to attracting moisture, snow mushroom excels at keeping it in place. Eminence Organics International Educator Brian Goodwin likens it to creating a rain cloud in your skin: It forms a naturally flexible film that traps in water and prevents it from escaping. This restores dry skin to its optimally hydrated state, enabling it to better carry out key functions that keep it strong, supple and elastic.

Aids In Natural Collagen ProductionSnow mushroom also aids in the natural production of collagen, a structural protein that gives skin density and volume. Its antioxidant properties neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and promote healthy skin cell renewal. This helps to maintain the skin’s existing stores of collagen and delays the visible signs of aging. As a result, skin remains plump and wrinkle-free for longer.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom is perhaps the best known adaptogen. This fan-shaped mushroom is incredibly rare and was once reserved for use by emperors and empresses. Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for its purported effects on longevity. The reishi mushroom has a bitter, woody taste and was traditionally steeped in tea or served as an extract. Today, it is harvested on tree stumps over several months before being included in health supplements, tea and coffee blends and now, skin care. 

Reishi’s superpowers come from its more than 400 bio-active compounds that boost overall health and immunity. Rachel Gargiulo, certified nutrition consultant, tells Well+Good: “Reishi mushrooms are great for stimulating the immune system and liver function, producing an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.” In skin care, the “king of mushrooms” is used for its regenerative, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Boosts Skin Cell TurnoverEfficient skin cell turnover is one of the precursors to a healthy and youthful complexion. Through this process, dead skin cells are shed and young, healthy cells rise to the skin’s surface. However, skin cell turnover slows with age: By fifty, it can take as long as 45-90 days for your skin to fully turnover, causing it to become drier, thinner and more pigmented. Enter, reishi mushroom. With its regenerative properties, this fungus boosts skin cell turnover rate, improving the skin’s overall texture and brightness.

Antioxidant & Anti-InflammatoryThis mushroom is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Environmental stress from pollution, blue light and UV rays exposes the skin to free radicals which damage its structural proteins, trigger inflammation and cause it to age prematurely. With its adaptogenic properties, reishi mushroom regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and minimizes inflammation. Its antioxidant capacity helps shield the skin from the drying and aging effects of free radical damage, keeping the complexion young and healthy-looking for longer.

Support Skin’s Moisture BarrierReishi mushroom contains a high concentration of polysaccharides, beneficial sugars that are responsible for the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water. By maintaining healthy hydration levels, this fungus supports the skin’s protective lipid barrier. A strong barrier is necessary for the skin to keep in essential moisture (making it soft and supple) and keep out potential irritants (which trigger inflammation and premature aging).

How To Add Mushrooms To Your Skin Care

Ready to add mushrooms to your skin care routine? You can experience the restorative powers of snow mushroom and reishi mushroom with Eminence Organics Pure Forest Collection. This luxe collection harnesses the power of potent ingredients sourced from nature to restore your skin’s glow and improve its overall appearance.

Purifying Essence

The Birch Water Purifying Essence is a lightweight essence that replenishes moisture, restores elasticity and minimizes redness due to dryness. Purifying birch water combats the drying effects of free radical damage while snow mushroom and reishi mushroom deeply hydrate for a supple and plump complexion. Together, these results-oriented ingredients improve barrier function, allowing your skin to better absorb and retain the benefits of subsequent products. 

To use, dispense a small amount of essence in your hands or on a cotton pad. Pat onto cleansed and toned skin. Leave on and follow with your favorite serum, oil or concentrate. 

Contouring & De-Puffing Mask

The Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque tightens and de-puffs skin to reveal a smooth, radiant looking complexion. Snow mushroom and reishi mushroom deliver intense hydration and minimize the look of puffiness and inflammation. Paracress extract tightens and firms skin for a youthful appearance, particularly along the jaw and neck.  

To use, mix a small of product in your hand with a few drops of water and apply evenly over the entire face and neck. Allow to dry for five to 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Use one to two times per week for tighter and smoother looking skin.

Replenishing Eye Cream

Dubbed “moisture cloud” for its unique, fluffy texture, the Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream deeply hydrates and revitalizes the eye area. Snow mushroom and reishi mushroom plump, hydrate and de-puff while botanical peptides from quinoa seed smooth roughness and minimize the look of undereye bags and puffiness. The result: A bright and youthful-looking eye area.

To use, apply to the entire eye area twice daily, patting gently with fingertips until fully absorbed. Leave on.

Experience the luxurious products in The Pure Forest Collection at your favorite Eminence Organics partner spa. 

What donor offspring seek when they do DNA testing - Harvard Health Blog

I wrote previously about parents who fear that their donor-conceived children might uncover long-held secrets through DNA testing. Many were unsettled by Dani Shapiro’s memoir Inheritance, which told of how a DNA test done for no particular reason dismantled a family story. Now let’s consider reasons why some people who know they were donor-conceived might pursue DNA testing.

Why might people who were donor-conceived seek DNA testing?

Donor-conceived adults who embark upon DNA testing may, like Shapiro, stumble upon information accidentally. Their experience with DNA testing is not explored in this post, which focuses on those whose choice to do testing followed one of these three paths:

  • They were told their conception story at a young age, but had limited information about their donor and his or her family.
  • They were only recently told of their donor conception, but grew up knowing something was different or left unspoken (the “unknown known”).
  • As adults, they were completely startled to learn that they were donor-conceived.

What might people hope to learn through DNA testing?

So what might these people seek — and hope to find — in DNA testing? Everyone is different and DNA testers have a wide range of reasons for swabbing their cheeks. Yet most have the desire to better understand their personal story. We all have origin stories that circle around our ancestry, ethnicity, and the circumstances of our conception and birth. Whether they grow up always knowing, or learn of donor conception as young adults, personal stories for the donor-conceived are complicated. Questions people hope to have answered include:

  • Why did he or she become a donor? Am I simply the product of a transaction, or were there other reasons that motivated someone to donate?
  • Who else am I related to? This question is especially compelling for sperm donor offspring, who may have large numbers of genetic half-siblings. This is less often true for those conceived from donated eggs, yet there are the donor’s children, her nieces and nephews, all those she donated to, and in some instances, children born through embryos donated to other families after the original recipient family was complete.
  • What is my ethnicity? What does it mean if the ethnicity in my DNA does not match the ethnic identity I was raised with? One woman I spoke with had grown up believing she was Irish on her mother’s side and Jewish (Ashkenazi) on her dad’s side. When the DNA test results came back indicating she is 100% Irish, she felt a sense of loss. She always felt proud to be half Jewish. Did this mean that she is not?
  • What abilities and vulnerabilities might I have inherited from the donor? For many, the high beam of this question directs itself to medical issues. This can go both ways: learning one’s actual medical history may relieve worries regarding illnesses in the family, or it may bring new medical concerns. Either way, those who are just learning they were donor-conceived as adults have relied on a family medical history that they now know to be only half complete.
  • Most people feel they came from two people. I came from three. What does this mean for my identity? People conceived with donated eggs are often, though not always, told of the donation from a young age. They grow up always knowing that they are gestationally, but not genetically, connected to their mothers. Part of their task as they mature is sorting out as best they can what it means to literally come from three people. (Sperm donor offspring, by contrast, must reconcile with the fact that they have no physical connection to their fathers.)

What does the future hold?

The world of commercially available DNA testing is still in its infancy. These days it is being heavily marketed in the media as a nifty gift, an interesting tool, a key that will unlock doors. Undoubtedly its uses, and its meaning for all of us, will unfold and evolve over time. The questions it raises and the “answers” it provides are surely more complex and multidimensional for the donor-conceived.

For more information

If you’d like further information and support, you may find these organizations helpful.

Donor Conception Network

Donor Sibling Registry

Related Information: Harvard Health Letter

Makeup and Beauty Blog Monday Poll, Vol. 594 - Makeup and Beauty Blog

So…what is the Monday Poll?

Excellent question! It isn’t, contrary to its name, an actual poll, like with little clicky buttons. It’s just a list of five more or less random questions I’ve been posting on this blog every Monday morning for the past quadrillion years (since 2007). I love reading your answers, and it helps me get my week off to a good start.

1. How well do you pull off slang?

Oh, boy. Ha ha ha! I can’t help but laugh at this question, because at one point in time I felt like I was “hip” (she says awkwardly!) to the slang here in the Bay Area, but now I just… I don’t think I can do it anymore. I just feel awkward when I try it, and sometimes, I swear, I don’t know what people are saying! You know it’s probably time to retire your slang habit when you do things like google, “Why do kids say Gucci.”

I mean, I will occasionally still throw a “hella” here and there, just because it’s part of my vocabulary DNA (Hey, man, what can I say? I grew up in the East Bay.), but I generally don’t use as much slang as I used to.

2. What’s your favorite red lipstick?

Most of the time, anything with a coral undertone and a matte finish.

Mmm… I love me some bright coral-reds. MAC has this one called Relentlessly Red, and it is perfection in a tube.

3. Do you think you could successfully handle being a member of a royal family?

HELL, NO, GIRL. I would be the one sister who’s the black sheep of the family because she’s always doing stuff she’s not supposed to and chillin’ with inappropriate company because I don’t like being told what to do.

And from my understanding based on the Disney princess movies and every single show I’ve seen about the British Royal Family, every public move is choreographed, and I would have a difficult time with that. I mean, maybe there’s a slight chance I’d get in line eventually… Slight chance.

4. What do you think of hair vitamins?

Hmm… I know they’re a thing now, but I’ve never tried them myself.

I will say this though: my hairstylist friend Alis says that she’s seen a huge difference in her clients who take the Viviscal hair vitamins. Also, from my personal experience, when I was taking prenatals consistently, my hair was thick and luscious and strong.

Note to self: start taking prenatals again.

5. Something you do when you need to be brave?

This is gonna sound silly, but it works for me. When I’m really scared but have to put a brave face on, I’ll sit in a quiet place (sometimes it’s my car), and I’ll say out loud to myself over and over again, things like, “You can totally do this. You’ve got this. You are so strong and brave.”

I’ll just repeat those mantras to myself over and over again, and I’m not talking one minute or two. I’m talking like 30 minutes. I’ll do this for a really, really, really long time, just repeat the same things over and over again.

And I’m also a firm believer in “fake it ’til you make it” in these situations. Like, if you need to be strong, act like you are strong, even if you don’t feel like it, and I swear, you’ll start to feel legitimately stronger after a while.

This dog is my spirit animal

This magnet makes me laugh (I saw it at Copperfield’s bookstore in Petaluma)! This color is totally a his-or-her color. It reminds me of the time I was making dinner, and it got suspiciously quiet in the living room where Connor was playing… When I looked over at her, she had red marker all over her lips, and when I asked her what she was doing, she said, very matter-of-factly, “I’m putting on red lipstick.”

Hey, wanna make a pact with me to wear red lips one day this week? Who’s in?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Question time! Here they are to copy/paste with your answers in a comment. Talk to ya soon!

1. How well do you pull off slang? 2. What’s your favorite red lipstick? 3. Do you think you could successfully handle being a member of a royal family? 4. What do you think of hair vitamins? 5. Something you do when you need to be brave?

P.P.S. Give yourself a big hug for me, will ya?

Extreme Exercise Might Dull the Brain, Study Says

By Steven Reinberg

THURSDAY, Sept. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Excessive exercise can tire out your brain to the point that you have trouble making decisions, a new study claims.

The findings show that despite the benefits of endurance sports, an excessive training load can have ill effects on your brain, French researchers said.

"Our findings draw attention to the fact that neural states matter: You don't make the same decisions when your brain is in a fatigued state," said study author Mathias Pessiglione of Hopital de la Pitie-Salpitriere in Paris.

For the study, the researchers had 37 male endurance athletes either continue normal training or increase training 40% a session over three weeks.

Functional MRIs showed the overloaded athletes had a slower response in the lateral prefrontal cortex.

Athletes who exerted themselves to the point of exhaustion showed reduced activity in an area of the brain important for making decisions. And they appeared more impulsive in tests that evaluated financial decision-making, going for immediate rewards instead of larger ones that would take more time to achieve, the researchers found.

The results are in the Sept. 26 .

"The lateral prefrontal region that was affected by sport-training overload was exactly the same that had been shown vulnerable to excessive cognitive work in our previous studies," Pessiglione said in a journal news release.

This area of the brain was a weak spot when it came to cognitive control -- the ability to process information and control behavior, he said.

Pessiglione's work suggests that mental and physical effort both need cognitive control.

It may be important to monitor fatigue levels to prevent bad decisions outside the athletic arena, in areas as varied as politics, law and finance, the researchers said.

At-Risk Men May Also Benefit From Mammograms

TUESDAY, Sept. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Mammography has saved hundreds of thousands of lives by detecting breast cancer early in women.

Could such regular X-ray screening also help men?

A new study argues there's potential benefit in regular mammograms for men who are at high risk of breast cancer.

Mammography accurately detected dozens of cases of breast cancer in nearly 1,900 men screened during a 12-year period, results show.

These men were at increased risk of breast cancer due to their genetics, race or ethnicity, prior radiation exposure, hormone imbalances or other medical factors, said lead researcher Dr. Yiming Gao, an assistant professor of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"Mammography screening has helped detect breast cancer early in women, and we have shown it can do the same for men," Gao said.

The study also found that men who already had breast cancer were 84 times more likely than others to get it again. And men with an immediate relative such as a sister or mother who had breast cancer had triple the risk.

Breast cancer is much rarer in men than women. About 2,670 breast cancers will be diagnosed in men this year, compared with 268,600 new cases diagnosed in women, said Robert Smith, vice president of cancer screening for the American Cancer Society.

But because men aren't regularly screened, male breast cancer tends to be diagnosed when it's reached a more advanced stage, Gao said.

"For this reason, men with breast cancer often do not do as well as women," she said. "More men die from breast cancer than from testicular cancer according to American Cancer Society estimates, although the latter is more common."

To see whether mammograms might help detect breast cancer in men, Gao and her team studied 1,869 male patients who had more than 2,000 X-ray screenings between 2005 and 2017.

The men sought testing either because they felt a lump in their breast or because a family member had recently been diagnosed with the disease.

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