Protect Sensitive/Blemished Skin with the Best Natural Sunscreen

I’ll start this post out by saying that I’m a huge fan of Botanic Organic skin care. Today I’m going to give Nancy Newsom (founder of Botanic Organic) the floor to share how best to protect troubled skin (acne, sensitive, blemished) during the sunny summer months with the best natural sunscreen. I met Nancy at a women’s entrepreneur event in San Francisco over a year ago, and after trying out a few sample products, I was hooked. We discussed my years of skin drama (and my eventual cure), the scarring that resulted, and the best ingredients to use for topical skin care to help keep my acne-prone skin looking its best. In fact, we’re working together to get my favorite products to you at a discount, but more on that at the bottom of this post.

Mineral Sunscreen (Natural Sunscreen)

One thing Nancy insisted on without giving me even an inch of leeway was the need for a daily facial sunscreen. The word “natural,” as in “natural sunscreen” is implied here, because BO products are among the cleanest you’ll find out there. I make that distinction, because some of the chemical sunscreens (even those designed for sensitive skin) are so questionable that you might actually be better off without them — wear a hat and call it a day. I haven’t done enough research on my own to draft a solid post about this topic, but here’s a quick reference from the Environmental Working Group that explains some of the risks of chemical sunscreen, including endocrine issues (something women with PCOS certainly don’t need). 

I’ve always hated putting sunscreen on my face. I hate that gross slick, that heavy feeling, that non-breathable gross glue that passes for natural sunscreen that you find on the shelves at Whole Foods (and I used to work there, so I’ve tried a LOT of them). Remember that stuff from the 80’s that was made in fluorescent colors trying to make slathering straight zinc oxide all over your face seem cool by making it pink or green or orange? I think it was called Zinc. Or Zinka. I can’t tell if this awesome picture I found is actually from the 80’s or if this is a new product that’s trying to be as “cool” as the one from the 80’s I’m thinking of.

best natural sunscreen

photo source linked

ANYWAY, you get the idea. But in the spirit of practicing sun safety as we approach what will likely be our warmest summer on record, I asked Nancy to write a guest post showcasing her “Toni-friendly” sunscreen options. Hilariously, she starts off right away with the ingredient I just complained about — zinc oxide. And I’m happy she did — I actually learned something about how and why it’s good for problem skin, and I bet you will too. 

Both of natural sunscreen products she shares are great — I use them without complaint, which is definitely saying something. In fact, I’ve already written a review about the Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer as part of my Summer Travel Skin Care strategy. It’s my favorite facial sunscreen of all time. 

Take it away, Nancy!

Zinc Oxide for Sun Care and Acne-Prone Skin

nancy newsom botanic organic best natural sunscreen

– Nancy Newsom, Founder and CEO of Botanic Organic

At Botanic Organic, we’re big fans of zinc oxide for skin care because of its ability to both protect and repair skin. Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound that can prevent sunlight and ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin and can also act as a barrier to protect skin from outside irritants. As a sunscreen, zinc oxide reflects ultraviolet rays away from the skin and provides protection against sun damage. It is particularly effective against long-wave UVA rays and appears to block out the harmful rays without actually penetrating the skin. (The two choices for sunscreen on the market are chemical barriers and physical barriers. Zinc Oxide is a physical (mineral) barrier and doesn’t pose the potential health risks mentioned in the EWG article linked above.) 

Sun Exposure for Acne-prone Skin

Why should acne sufferers be particularly careful about wearing a sunscreen? Tanning appears to cover up redness and dry up the surface of your skin, making some blemishes fade away temporarily. In reality, tanning causes skin irritation, especially if you stay out a bit too long and burn yourself. This adds to redness and leads to peeling, both of which may later aggravate the appearance of acne. Tanning also breaks down collagen. Collagen is one of your prime defenses against wrinkles because it keeps your skin elastic. When skin loses collagen, not only are you more likely to see wrinkles but your pores may appear larger as well.

Sun Exposure for Acne Scars

Those who are dealing with discoloration or scarring from acne may be tempted to sit in the sun to “even out” the dark marks or “camouflage” them with a tan. Unfortunately, sun is the last thing your scars need. Scar tissue is different from normal skin. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and much more prone to sunburn, especially if they are fresh. Prolonged sun exposure can also permanently darken a scar, especially in people with darker skin complexions. Therefore, scars should be protected from prolonged, direct sun exposure year round, not just during the warmer summer months. Using a sunblock on your face every single day is extremely important for this reason.

A sunblock containing zinc oxide may help to prevent scarring and hyper-pigmentation with moderate acne. Additionally, some potential scarring from severe acne might also be avoided with regular use. By reducing inflammation and encouraging proper collagen growth, the skin is able to repair itself and prevent future damage. Please remember that you may be at risk for increased sun sensitivity if you’re using an acne treatments. Products such as Accutane, Retin-A, and even over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide ointments recommend avoiding sun exposure due to an increased sensitivity.

 botanic organic best natural sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant … 

Sun blocking benefits aside, zinc oxide has mild astringent and antiseptic properties making it useful for acne and wound care. It is suggested that zinc for acne is effective because it can kill bacteria that causes red bumps during breakouts. By killing bacteria, the inflammation is reduced and pores can then be easily cleaned. It may also reduce overall inflammation and its antioxidant properties can help reduce skin damage during breakouts. Zinc oxide has been used for a number of dermatological conditions beyond acne, including infections, rosacea, pigmentary disorders (melasma), and basal cell carcinoma. [1]

High SPF zinc sunscreens can feel a bit thick and chalky for daily wear on face and neck. With this in mind Botanic Organic developed Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer. We designed this formula to encourage everyday use and included 11% zinc-oxide to provide a significant physical barrier to reflect UVA/UVB rays. Our customers who suffer from blemished skin find that it helps to control oiliness and acne without feeling heavy on the skin. Additionally, vitamin and antioxidant rich oils which are good for acne, provide organic nutrients to replenish skin and guard against environmental depletion. Green tea extract and sea buckthorn oil soothe redness and promote skin cell regeneration to aid in repairing UV damage. Shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils have the natural ability to absorb a spectrum of UV radiation and therefore provide an extra degree of sun protection.

Read other Botanic Organic product reviews

Simplify Your Skin Care: Double Cleansing with Botanic Organic

Summer Travel Skin Care Made Easy with Botanic Organic


BO + CWB = <3

Great news! Nancy and I are joining forces to offer you an exclusive discount on all of my favorite Botanic Organic products! As soon as the page is built, you’ll be able to go straight to the products I use to help keep my skin looking great, and try them out for yourself. They’re all natural, organic, pure, and gentle — so clean you can eat them. We’ve been talking about doing this together for quite a while, and I’m so happy it’s finally happening! Stay tuned!


Resources

1. Mrinal Gupta, et al., “Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review,” Dermatology Research and Practice, July 10, 2014; http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2014/709152/.

Summer Travel Skin Care Made Easy with Botanic Organic

Traveling can really mess up a daily skin care routine, can’t it? At least my kind of travel does: sleeping in the back of our camper van in the woods with no running water or amenities. Missing out on warm running water can put a minor crimp in my regimen — have you ever tried to rinse off something oily or soapy with freezing cold water? It’s a pain. But I’m excited to share that I’ve found a great travel skin care solution in an awesome product from Botanic Organic. In fact, I’m going to share two fantastic Botanic Organic products today — together I’m calling them Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

botanic organic coupon botanic organic giveaway travel skincare

Travel Skin Care: Summer Edition

Even if you aren’t the weekend warrior type like me, you might find that going through a whole skin care routine when you’re on the road can be a hassle. And you might also find that in the summertime, globbing greasy sunscreen all over your face is uncomfortable and annoying — especially when it’s hot or humid.

But here’s the problem: 

You still want your skin to be clean, healthy, and protected from the elements, even when you’re on the road — perhaps especially when you’re on the road — when stress, sleeping in a different bed, and other external challenges could cause a breakout.

So what are my choices here? Should I just deal with a greasy face to make sure it stays protected from the sun, possibly risking a few clogged pores in the process? Should I plan on bringing my whole bathroom cabinet of facial care with me on the road and hope that I feel like doing my standard nightly routine when I’m exhausted at the end of a day of travel? Certainly these aren’t my only choices. 

The solution: Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

Today’s product review is going to address both of these quandaries with two products from Botanic Organic, a beautiful little homespun company based right here in the San Francisco Bay. This is my second review of BO products (you can check out my first review here), and just like in the last post, I’ll be giving away the dynamic duo I’m touting at the end of this review. I’ll also be sharing a 20% off coupon with all of you, so don’t leave without that coupon code!

Traveling Cleanser Solution: Chamomile and Lavender Facial Cleansing Spraybotanic organic travel skincare

I decided to try this product after learning that the lemon oil in my favorite Botanic Organic cleanser could be leaving me vulnerable to hyperpigmentation on my already sun-damaged face. Apparently lemon oil is phototoxic, which means that I shouldn’t use it on my skin before a weekend out in the sun (which is basically every weekend this time of year). I didn’t stop using the oil cleanser (most everything I read said that if you don’t leave the product on your face, you aren’t at risk), but I wanted something I could use on sunny days without worrying about it.

I didn’t realize that the two products were so dramatically different until I tried the Chamomile and Lavender Spray for myself. When I used the spray, at first I felt like I was just using a toner, and I wasn’t sure that I was actually cleaning anything. Then I decided to wipe down my sprayed face with a clean cloth and I saw just how much of a day’s worth of climbing outside came off. The spray and all its healing ingredients left me feeling refreshed and clean. On big days outside, I usually do two or three passes of the spray with a wash cloth or cotton pads for good measure, and it works great.

The ingredient profile is chalk-full of healing, calming, cooling properties — great for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, or even sunburnt skin. In addition to the two oils named in the product, this cleansing spray also features calendula and aloe vera; both great for the indications I just listed.

Traveling Sunblock Solution: Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizerbotanic organic travel skincare

I’ve resisted wearing a daily sunblock for years, rationalizing that my mineral makeup was enough to protect my skin. While mineral makeup does provide a physical barrier to the sun, it doesn’t stay on all day, and it’s certainly not reliable enough to count on when temperatures rise. Plus I don’t wear make up when I’m out adventuring, so my quest has been to find facial sun protection that doesn’t drip into my eyes when I’m sweating on the side of a rock somewhere.

My resistance to a daily facial sunscreen has always been rooted in the grease factor and the gross factor. Basically every single one I’ve ever tried has either been too greasy or laden with all manner of gross chemicals that I didn’t want to put on my face (or both). When I told Nancy (founder of Botanic Organics) my issue, she insisted that I try the Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer and gave me a couple of sample bottles.

I love it.

I can wear it under my make up or I can skip the make up completely without having too much of a shine from it, which I’ve literally never experienced with another facial sunscreen. Nancy made sure to mention that while this product isn’t officially/legally called “sunscreen,”  it contains 11% zinc oxide which gives about an equivalent of 15 SPF protection. Plus there are additional oils in the product that provide a measure of sun protection, including shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils.

There are also a few ingredients in there that repair UV damage, which I need after years of outdoor softball, sunbathing, hiking, swimming, and now climbing. Admittedly, this is not a cheap product at $34 a bottle, but it’s worth it to have the perfect sunscreen after years of avoiding it entirely. And a little bit goes a long way, so a bottle should last at least a few months.

Mad Giveaway Time!

Not only am I giving away two sets of this awesome duo for traveling greatness, I’m also offering a coupon to every single human who reads this post! The coupon will expire Oct 1st, so if yo don’t win this raffle, I suggest you take advantage of this 20% discount while you can. (Must be a US Resident to win.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As if That Weren’t Enough?!

CWB has partnered with Botanic Organic to get those of you who won’t be lucky enough to win these free gifts a 20% off coupon for all your purchases at Botanic Organic through the end of September! (And even if you win, you can use it too!) If you want to see my review for two other fantastic products in this line of natural and organic skin care before you purchase, knock yourself out. Just don’t forget to use the code below before October 1st!

That’s a long time to stock up on these awesome products, so get started today to find out what you fancy so you’ll have time to get more!

Go! Now! Go!

botanic organic coupon, travel skincare


FTC DISCLOSURE: I do not have a partnership agreement with Botanic Organic, but I was given free samples of these products to try. I will not be compensated for purchases made using this coupon. All opinions are my own.

Simplify Your Skincare: Double Cleansing with Botanic Organic [GIVEAWAY]

How do you choose your skincare products?

In the sea of choices on the shelves at Ulta or even Walgreens, where do you begin? How do you know what will work for you, what could irritate, what could trigger a breakout, what could be too drying, too oily, what could be the magic elixir? This is a challenging question even for those with perfect skin. And if you have skin problems like I did growing up, then you’ve also seen the sea of products at the aesthetician’s office AND the dermatologist’s office. Could these expensive potions be the answer to your troubles? What about all the choices at a natural store like Whole Foods? Their Whole Body section displays hundreds of products you won’t find at any beauty supply or pharmacy. The possibilities are endless — and overwhelming!

Botanic Organic Skincare

A New Challenge

As someone who’s struggled with my skin for the larger part of my life, I can safely say I’ve tried just about everything at all of those places I mentioned in hopes of curing my acne. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on products and treatments, and in the end my solution was to heal my skin from the inside out

Once I cleared my acne, I had a whole new conundrum in the beauty aisle. What products should I choose to actually nourish my skin now that I can focus on something other than clearing the acne? Did I really have sensitive skin, or had it just been so inflamed for so long that I had to choose products to accommodate that? What will help with the scarring? With the sun spots? What will smooth out the few remaining rough patches and keep my skin supple and hydrated? 

I was back to square one with way too many choices, but I knew one thing for sure. I wanted my next skincare products to be super clean and organic with simple, nourishing ingredients. Most natural foods advocates live by this advice: “Don’t eat anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce.” In living by that rule for food and skincare, I take it one step further.

Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.

Our skin is our biggest organ. It protects us from the outside world, but it also absorbs what we slather onto it. When we expose our skin to lotions and potions, we’re inviting all of those ingredients to seep in. Doesn’t it make sense that we should want the best for our bodies and our skin? 

Simplify by Going Natural

My first step was to pare down to the bare minimum. For about a year, I used a gentle vitamin C foaming cleanser, raw honey, witch hazel, and coconut oil. It was a fine regimen, but I found that the honey got messy and sticky when I didn’t use it in the shower, and sometimes the coconut oil got a bit greasy, which made me want to skip it in the mornings, leaving my skin a bit tight from the cleanser. For a while I tried oil cleansing with the coconut oil. It works great for removing eye makeup, but I found myself using twice as many face towels (and I already use a lot!), and I just got tired of doing it after a while. I wasn’t dissatisfied with my skincare regimen, but I wasn’t raving about it either. Now I’m ready to rave.

Botanic Organic Skincare

Botanic Organic: So Clean You Could Eat It

These seemingly simple products found me more than I found them, it seems. I was invited to a San Francisco women’s entrepreneur event in February, and Nancy Newsom had a table there where she was peddling her thoughtfully packaged skincare wares. We got to talking, and when I mentioned my blog, she offered me a few free samples to try. A week into using them, I knew I’d found my new favorite skincare line and purchased full-sized products so I wouldn’t miss a day.

Nancy has created products that fit my needs perfectly, but it turns out, that’s by design. Here’s a quote from Nancy: 

Based on the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the organic compounds found in raw, plant-based ingredients create amazingly complex whole foods for skin. They are as beneficial in helping balance young, blemish prone skin as they are in nourishing and repairing mature, environmentally damaged skin.

Botanic Organic’s skin care philosophy is to calm the skin using anti-inflammatory, nutrient rich, plant-based ingredients that will gently coax your skin back into balance. With your skin back in balance, it can continue its natural process of self-healing. It’s pretty incredible to witness how the same ingredients can help seemingly very different skin conditions. 

Double Cleansing

The two products I’m sharing with you today are the Tangerine and Lemon Facial Cleansing Oil and the Honey & Licorice Daily Cleansing Grains. Using the double cleansing method with these two products has revolutionized my evening routine, and the effects on my skin are obvious not only to me but to the people who see me every day.

Botanic Organic Skincare

The cleansing grains double as an exfoliator/cleanser but are gentle enough to use every day — and they include the benefits of honey without the mess. Licorice is great for calming inflammation and evening out skin tone — something my skin surely needs after years of abuse and sun damage. You can also use the grains as a mask, which I do in my morning shower. I pour a little pile of grains into the palm of my hand, add a few drops of water, mix into a paste, and massage into my face. Instead of rinsing right away, I do my whole shower routine with the grains on my face, and then rinse them off before I get out. It’s a perfect system!

The one thing I’d change about the packaging would be to add some sort of plastic barrier to slow the grains down when you pour them into your hand. With the big opening, you run the risk of dumping out too much, and once it’s wet, you really should use it right away. 

The cleansing oil has really been a game changer for me though. It’s a fantastic makeup remover, but it also feels deeply nourishing when I massage it into my skin. When I’ve oil cleansed in the past with coconut oil or even olive oil, I’ve always felt a little grimy afterwards, but this rinses off cleanly while leaving enough moisture behind to still feel soft and hydrated. I love it. 

Botanic Organic Discount AND Giveaway!

In fact, I love these products so much I want to share the wealth! To receive a 20% discount on all your purchases through the end of April, sign up for my newsletter and get a coupon right in your inbox once you confirm your email! Everyone who’s already subscribed will receive an email with the coupon code TODAY, so be on the lookout!

Nancy at Botanic Organic has also agreed to raffle off 2 sets of these glorious products in their largest sizes (a $39 value)!! All you have to do is give us your first-born child. Just kidding! We just want you to spread the love through social media. Check out the Rafflecopter below to learn how to enter to win.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLE! FOR SOME REASON RAFFLECOPTER AND WORDPRESS AREN’T GETTING ALONG

Everyone who enters will also receive a coupon for 20% off on all your purchases at Botanic Organic through April 30, 2015 via email.

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