Peptides in products


Our dermis (the part below the epidermis, the top part of the skin) is made up of 80% moisture, elastin tissues and collagen fibers that provide a structural frame.  Collagen is about 70% of our dermal proteins . . . and about 20 different types of these fibers have been identified.  New formulations of skincare products utilizing new technologies make it possible for synthetic peptides (a portion of protein) to remain stable in our products so that they reach the “target” areas of the skin to do their job being the “messengers” they are.  Here’s a quick look at a couple products I use from NRSkin specifically the “Neuro Peptide Serum” and the “Age Defying Peptide Cream” . . .

High Performance Skin Care . . . NR SKIN

nrskin1When a new product line comes along that we fall in love with (rare!) we share!  The ingredient declarations had me at hello! NRSkin is a high performance skin care line that feeds your skin with good, quality ingredients that are proven and without parabens, propylene glycol, SLS’s, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances . . . and never tested on animals.  I go over some of my favorites in the below video.  This line is definitely worth looking into and incorporating!

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D . . . gasp!

sun1Gigi and I LOVE the sun!  We also know how aging it is.  We spend time in the sun and do wear sunscreen, obviously . . .  we mention it ALL THE TIME!  There is so much in the media now regarding vitamin D deficiency, everyone seems confused.  Like it or not, we need the sun and yes, it’s dangerous.  I’ve heard and known too many that have dealt with or died from melanoma, however, it’s an absolute necessity to a healthy life (healthy bones, reduced risk of diabetes and the flu virus, cancer prevention, etc.) . . . that’s just a simple fact. Google it all day long.  And what is so obvious to us . . . people that are in the sun too much look older than their years . . . people that avoid the sun completely look pasty and unhealthy . . . for the most part.  So, where’s the balance between vanity and good health? Become aware. I personally only wear sunscreen on my face, neck, and hands.  I let myself obtain vitamin D naturally . . . from the sun.  I can hear the gasps now!

You all know that between a vitamin D supplement, certain foods, and sunshine, your body can get/make the recommended daily amount of this vitamin, but it is in fact a hormone.  The problem is your diet won’t give you enough of it, many people like myself do not like “popping pills” for nutrients, and how much sun exposure is safe?

Two things to consider if you’re not completely sure about adequate sun protection and want to spend time in the sun to create vitamin D. One, there is a tropical fern extract (polypodium leucotomos) containing a natural mix of phytochemicals that has been shown to inhibit photoaging. Gigi and I have both used it in the brand name Heliocare (  I used it when I was in the Seychelles which is pretty much on the equator, and I DID NOT burn!  I also used sunscreen, but wasn’t good about reapplying.  Honestly, I was blown away because it appeared to have worked . . . no sunburn, no inflammation, hopefully minimal oxidative stress.  Another option that I now use regularly is the app . . . dMinder (  Most people are unaware that the best time to obtain vitamin D from the sun is at what’s called “solar noon”.  This app tracks when solar noon hits your area . . . and it isn’t always 12:00pm.  It monitors the UVI index, the angle of the sun, and the measured IU’s you are receiving.  So now that it’s spring where we live . . . I get my vitamin D naturally at solar noon then in the afternoon I cover up with some cute UPF/SPF clothing which is getting more popular and easy to find.

Dr. Hudacek gives you her opinion on how to obtain vitamin D in the video below . . .

Now get out there and enjoy the sun . . . it’s healthy if you’re smart about it!

A fun way to workout . . . partner pilates!

Exercising can and should be fun!  Grab your partner or BFF and work up a good sweat and get your blood flowing . . . yes, it does help your skin look great!


This is a good stretch . . .


This one is challenging . . . but fun!  Pushing your hands together and upward, lift your upper body . . .  then hold it!!!


Another challenging pose and killer on the upper body . . . hold it . . .


Then take out your frustrations on an object instead of your partner if they couldn’t handle it!!!



Dr. Hudacek and Toners


We speak to many women about their skincare routines and we have found that very few understand the need for a well formulated toner.  Toners aren’t just about removing left over makeup after cleansing.  The right formulation will add an extra layer of healthy nutrients and for some of us, no additional moisturizer is necessary.

The astringent, high in alcohol toners of days past are not what we are speaking about.  Those cause more problems than have benefits especially for those of us with oily skin.  I personally have found that I become even oilier when using these types of toners and my pH is totally out of whack. When you use the correct toner, your skin will literally “drink it in” and it will feel soft, soothed, and clean. And again, we have found that no one in the entire skincare industry formulates a toner as beautifully as Paula’s Choice (and no, we are not paid by this company, we are simply stating a fact!).  Every single skincare company out there should emulate her formulations as they are simply the best in terms of the ingredients and how they benefit your skin.  To apply a toner loaded with antioxidants, nutrients, skin soothing and repairing ingredients, and . . . very important . . . fragrance free (or minimal fragrance), will leave your skin absolutely refreshed, glowing, and healthy! We’ve included a link to should you wish to take a look at the offerings and benefits . . .

Dr. Hudacek shares her opinion on toners . . .

Buyer Beware


Just about every week, we get contacted by a new skincare company to do a product review.  Do you see a lot of them on this website?  No.  That’s because we will not endorse a company that makes false claims and use ingredients that are not scientifically proven.  We are always on the lookout for great ingredients and formulations that are not too polluted with a plethora of nasty chemicals.  Are there products out there that are totally botanical, organic, and efficacious . . .  no. At least not in the way we see the use of skincare products (efficacious would be the key word in that last sentence).  Do the product lines we love have some nasty chemicals     . . . yes.  To achieve great (healthy) skin, you need a combination of natural and non-toxic synthetics. That is really hard to find in the marketplace!  And, there is only so much a topical product can do. There is not a miracle cream, lotion or potion that will change the structure of your skin. If it “changes” your skin, it is considered a drug and has to go through the FDA (think retinoids and chemical sunscreen actives).

Many of the skincare companies that ask us to do reviews make claims that simply aren’t true. Whether it be by the all natural and oh so powerful “plant stem cells” or by the high tech approach of using “human stem cells” . . . (more on the stem cell topic in a future blog post) . . . the claims are ridiculous. Stimulating cell regeneration? Boosting gene activity? The use of stem cells is a hot topic these days.

*A side note . . . the only human stem cells approved by the FDA at this point are those from “cord blood”.  Companies using human stem cells in their topical products are making false claims. That’s not to say that some day this technology won’t evolve and produce evidence and results. Topically, that remains to be seen.  I spent a good amount of time on the phone with FDA (Biological, Drugs, and Food Safety & Applied Nutrition) prior to writing this blog.

Take a peek at what the FDA sent out to a large cosmetic company a couple years ago in making claims that were extremely misleading . . .

And more recently . . . (several companies are marketing the use of human stem cells)

The FDA doesn’t have the man power to police the entire cosmetic industry.  And the cosmetic industry is at the bottom of their list.  We know that they have “enforcement activity” going on and certain areas are under investigation as evidenced by these letters. And if people report negative side effects from the use of a product, the FDA will get involved.  Unfortunately, they won’t get involved if your “negative reaction” is simply less money in your bank account.  The claims and prices many companies are stating are ridiculous. And that is where you need to be aware.

Pick your Poison

Chemicals-in-MakeupWe know . . .  this sounds insane.  But for as hard as we try to live a clean and organic lifestyle . . . it’s simply not realistic to live a toxic free life anymore. Whether it be our skincare/personal care products, the environment, the sun’s UV radiation, the flame retardants in our furniture, our water supply, the food we eat . . . it’s sad, it’s scary and it’s reality.

This is also why Gigi and I obsess over ingredients in our products.  It gives us some kind of power in making decisions on what we put in and on our bodies. I can share with you a few of the top ingredients/products that we TRY to stay away from. Here is a quick reference . . .

PARABENS (used in just about everything), PHTHALATES (DEP, diethyl phthalate, used in fragrances), TRICLOSAN (used in hand sanitizers), SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate- gives shampoos/cleansers the lather i.e. a detergent),  hair dyes containing RESORCINOL/PPD (phenylenediamine), LEAD (acetate/compounds), and in nail polish . . . TOLUENE, FORMALDEHYDE AND FORMALDEHYDE RESIN, CAMPHOR, DBP (dibutyl phthalate)

There is the argument that SLS’s do their job . . .  clean!  Yes, however, there are other options out there which is why I prefer to stay away from them.  And when buying nail polish (BTW acetone isn’t great either), look for a company that says they are “3, 4, or 5 free”, meaning they have eliminated those toxic compounds.  BUT here’s another scary fact . . . some companies that SAY they removed those chemicals DIDN’T!!!

Perfumes are loaded with phthalates (DEP helps fragrance linger after application) which is why I recommend only spraying it on your clothes.  And that is also why is has no place in your skincare products!  Fragrance is among the top five allergens in the world for a majority of people.   Synthetic or natural, fragrance has no place in skincare products which Gigi and I preach constantly.  And did you know that fragrance houses not only make perfume but they also develop flavors for the food industry . . . hence the food we eat.  Chemically altered to make it more appealing.  THAT is why you should eat organic as much as possible.

Are we concerned with a paraben or two at the bottom of an ingredient declaration? Honestly, no. We feel it’s far worse NOT to have a preservative in a product. Irena James, Director of Product Development for YG Laboratories and an assistant instructor at the UCLA Extension Cosmetic Sciences Program, wrote a great article in Dermascope Magazine September 2014 about preservatives and why we need them.  You can Google it if you’re interested in reading the whole article.  It’s geared towards industry professionals but a great read.

The state of California is the leader in environmental issues.  Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californian’s about the chemicals in the products we purchase and updates their list annually. Here is the current Prop 65 list of toxic chemicals in case you’re interested . . . (and you will see titanium dioxide, airborne particles, listed which is also a concern in powdered mineral sunscreens . . .  hold your breath!)

Are we going to stop using perfume? Doubt it. Are we going to stop dying our hair?  I hope not! Are we going to stop using hand sanitizer at the gym after a workout?  Not a good idea. Are we going to stop driving our cars?  I doubt we will ever be 100% electric.  It’s impossible to live free and clear of it all, but at least you are aware and can choose.

Dr. Hudacek simplifies your AM/PM routine

Dr. Hudacek explains a three step process in your skincare routine for those of you who are overwhelmed with the plethora of products out there and/or those of you that just want to keep it simple.

A good morning routine (think PROTECTION) will consist of . . . cleansetoner/serum with antioxidants – SPF (can be a moisturizer)

A good evening routine (think TREATMENT) will consist of  . . .  cleanse – retinol/retinoid or AHA/BHA exfoliants – moisturize (many moisturizers without SPF will have other wonderful skin repairing and cell communicating ingredients)

Of course you can certainly incorporate many additional products into a daily routine and alternate them as necessary. This is just a simple 3 step process for those of you that want the basics.

Chemical Peel – part two

Terese Eastman of Skin Techniques in Petaluma ( applies the second half of Gigi’s chemical peel in a two part process.  Again, Terese is using the professional grade product line Lira.

After applying the lactic acid peel (part one), Terese will place a hyaluronic acid gel mask to calm and soothe the skin.  The final step in Gigi’s peel will be a retinol seal.  The retinol solution will target lines and wrinkles, sun damage, pigmentation, acne and related scars.  Peels are also wonderful at stimulating collagen production.

Once Gigi’s skin sloughs off, she will see a noticeable difference as far as tone and texture.  We highly recommend a peel at least once a year.

Chemical Peel – part one

Gigi shows us the process of a two part chemical peel performed by Terese Eastman of Skin Techniques in Petaluma (  Terese is using the professional grade product line Lira. After cleansing, Terese applies the Lira lactic peel which consists of lactic acid, mandelic acid, kojic acid, salicylic acid, peptides, green tea extract, edelweiss cell culture among other ingredients.   The benefits of these ingredients will include skin lightening and rejuvenating, rebuilding collagen, infusing the skin with antioxidants along with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Overall this peel will target pigmentation, sun damage and dehydration.