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GLOWTISTA the magazine



Can your diet change your skin?

9 Skincare Glossary 12 Rain or Shine

Why you should be wearing sunscreen every day

16 The Face: Lynn Gallagher 18 Facing It: An Acne Journey 20 Dirty Talk Are the ingredients in our cosmetics doing more harm than good?



3 Editor’s Letter 4 My Top 9 6 Inner Beauty

Cover photo by @tequila_35c via Twenty20

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rowing up, I never struggled with acne or other skin problems. I got a pimple every once in a while, but my skin was generally clear and acne-free. Then high school came. With every passing grade, my skin became worse, until my face looked like the before picture in a Proactiv ad by senior year. I tried every single product under the sun from every brand - natural remedies, chemical solutions, drugstore brands, high-end brands, antibiotics, expensive creams from the dermatologist - and yet, nothing worked. My skin only became more irritated and red with every product that promised “beautiful, clear skin”. The summer after my freshman year of college, I decided I couldn’t take it any longer. I was tired of waking up terrified to see what painful eruption popped up overnight. I was sick of being on the verge of tears every time I saw my makeup-free complexion in the mirror. After a lot of back and forth and hours of research, my dermatologist and I finally made the decision for me to begin a course of Isotretinoin (also known as Accutane). I’ll keep this brief, as there’s a similar story featured in this issue, but let’s just say that decision changed my life. Seven months of treatment later, I blossomed like a glowing, clear skin flower. Now almost 4 years later, I get the occasional pimple, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Throughout my course of Accutane, I learned a lot

Photo by Rachael Cortese


E D I T O R ’ Sletter

about how to take care of my skin. I read countless blogs, research journals, and watched YouTube videos about skincare routines and the proven ingredients to keep skin healthy and hydrated. I became a little bit obsessed, which leads me to my next point… In 2019, I launched my own skincare and lifestyle blog, Glowtista. (Name sound familiar?) Along with an accompanying Instagram account, I shared my tips and tricks for winning the battle against acne and my favorite product recommendations. Now in Winter 2020, I’m releasing the first edition of Glowtista: The Magazine. I hope the stories in this issue inspire you to find what works for your skin - whether it be clean eating, doing a deep dive into researching the ingredients behind the products you use, or wearing copious amounts of sunscreen daily. It’s 2020, taking care of your skin is one of the ultimate forms of hygiene and self care. It’s about time to get your glow on. Enjoy this issue!




MY TOP NINE 1. Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28.

If you haven’t already heard, you need to wear sunscreen EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This mineral-based sunscreen is broad-spectrum and provides protection against the sun’s damaging UV Rays. I love it for winter because it has hydrating oils like raspberry seed oil, french plum oil, and macadamia nut oil. It soothes the skin and doesn’t leave a filmy finish like most sunscreens. ($48,

sun protection is essential

2. Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm. If you struggle with dry skin during the

winter, cleansing oils and balms are your best option for retaining moisture during cleansing! Unlike harsh cleansers that strip the skin, this cleansing balm melts into the skin to remove makeup and dirt, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth after rinsing away. ($19,

3. Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream. This is a favorite for a reason. This

super-rich cream has soothing ingredients like calendula and chamomile in a thick beeswax base. Once the temperatures drop below freezing, this is the best cream to slather all over your hands, body, and face. I love putting it on before doing my makeup so my face stays moisturized throughout the day. Your winter skin will thank you! ($12,

4. Glossier Body Hero Set. If you’ve been

looking for a body wash and lotion duo that makes you literally feel smoother than a baby, look no further. The Daily Oil Wash is made with a blend of seven skin-loving oils that help soften the skin and maintain the skin’s moisture barrier. And the Daily Perfecting Cream absorbs quickly into the skin, with a blend of light-reflecting particles and tamarind fruit (which contains alpha-hydroxy acids) to give your skin a dewy glow. Not only does this duo have beautiful packaging, but it smells beautiful too - a blend of neroli and orange blossom are the base notes of the scent. ($35,


smells AMAZING

s e e t

itor d

’s f a

These are the products that are saving my skin this winter. I love having moisturized, glowing skin year-round - temperatures below freezing are no match for these all stars.


5. Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970. Ah, the cult classic of exfoliators. You

either love this product or you hate it, there’s no in-between. Even in the winter, I still like to exfoliate to get rid of dead skin cells - nothing worse than dull skin in the cold. This toner’s my favorite because it has both lactic and salicylic acid in it - both proven acids to help brighten and help with dark spots/hyperpigmentation. Get ready to glow! ($68,


expensive but worth it

6. Aquaphor Healing Ointment. I love

this classic product for so many reasons but mostly for my lips in the winter. It’s so great for any areas of cracked or dry skin elbows, heels, lips, nose, etc. You can apply it overnight to wake up with soft, healed skin. Truly a multipurpose balm. ($10,

7. Evian Facial Spray. Up the hydration

in the winter by keeping a facial spray with you at all times. Perfect for layering under moisturizer to aid absorption or a midday facial refresh. ($13,

so hydrating 8. Pai Rosehip Facial Oil. One of the

best products you can add to your routine in the winter is a facial oil. I particularly love rosehip oil because it has brightening properties and it smells really good. My favorite way to use it is by adding a few drops to moisturizer to seal it all in and keep the skin hydrated. ($48

9. Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab. Don’t

forget about your nails this winter! This easy to use, brush-on formula keeps cuticles and nails hydrated and soft thanks to Vitamin E. Plus the tiny tube is so easy to toss into a bag and take on the go. ($7,




Is the secret to glowing skin hiding

in the produce aisle?

Photo by @musiena via Twenty20



he old saying, “you are what you eat”

has long been referenced when it comes to a poor diet. When you eat better, you have more energy and feel great overall. But according to Dr. Stella Volpe, Ph.D., RD, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University, this trite saying could be applied to our skin health, too. When you think of places to buy skincare, does the grocery store make the list? While Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have a pretty curated beauty section, consider turning to the produce aisle as a baseline for where your beauty routine should begin. We spoke to Dr. Volpe to get the facts on what a diet for healthy skin should look like. “What you put in your body is more important than what you put on your body,” Dr. Volpe stresses. The vitamins and minerals we consume (or don’t consume) on a daily basis have a direct impact on our cells. Some vitamins, such as Vitamin C, “act as antioxidants that prevent cell damage,” Dr. Volpe says. When our diet is lacking in foods that provide us with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function, it can leave us with dull, lackluster skin and can cause acne or premature aging. So, should we be running to stock up on supplements? Not exactly. “Food first, unless you’re in a dire situation,” Dr. Volpe says. Supplements should only be used as a last resort, especially when most vitamins and minerals are readily absorbed through the foods we eat. Some of the best vitamins and minerals for our skin can be easily found in fruits and vegetables, Dr. Volpe says. “Look for fruits and veggies that are highly pigmented, like berries, and dark orange, green, and red produce.” Vitamin C is an antioxidant, but did you know it is also important in collagen function? Collagen is a protein responsible for skin elasticity. Eating foods like citrus fruits, pomegranate seeds and strawberries is a great way to increase your antioxidant and Vitamin C intake, Dr. Volpe says. Other vitamins and minerals to look out for are zinc, magnesium, and fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.

An important thing to note about fat-soluble vitamins is that they cannot be absorbed without fat. That’s why a lowfat diet should only be followed if recommended by a nutritionist or registered dietician. Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of healthy fats in your diet in order for your body to be able to absorb these vitamins. “Foods like walnuts, avocados, and olive oil are rich in healthy fats, and are easy to incorporate into your diet,” Dr. Volpe says. However, not all foods are created equal. There are certain foods or ingredients that might be doing more harm to your skin than good. “There is, in some cases, a correlation between people’s sugar intake and the amount of acne they get,” Dr. Volpe says. Naturally-occurring sugars, like those found in fruit, are okay, she says. Minimizing the amount of added sugar in your diet is great, not only for your skin but your overall health as well. In addition to added sugars, processed foods are something Dr. Volpe tells her patients to avoid. The less processed the food is, the better it will be for you a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is so important, she says. Another culprit to dull skin could be alcohol. Not only do many alcoholic beverages contain a ton of calories and added sugars, but they also wreak havoc on your body. Regular alcohol consumption affects your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep as well as your liver function. Ever notice your face getting red when you drink? That’s because drinking alcohol can lead to broken blood vessels, Dr. Volpe says. Dr. Volpe recommends starting a food diary for a week or two to keep track of what you eat and see where you can improve your diet. If you sense your vitamin and mineral levels are particularly low, a blood test can give you a better idea of where you stand to see what you need to add or take away. It is important to understand that everything is okay in moderation. “Food is so readily available in the US and we take it for granted,” Dr. Volpe says. Take advantage of your easy access to fresh produce and incorporate more skinhealthy foods into your diet for visible results. ¶

“What you put in your body is more important than what you put on your body”



1. PROPER HYDRATION: Making sure you get an adequate amount of fluids each day is important, Dr. Volpe says. Aim for the 8x8 mark, or eight eight-oz glasses each day. Not a huge water fan? Sip on liquids like unsweetened iced tea, black coffee (limit caffeinated beverages to 2 cups a day), or sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon.

2. MORE FRUITS & VEGGIES: This one’s a no-brainer. Try to get about five servings a day. Worried about how to make that happen? You can easily sneak them into your diet by making smoothies. Save money at the grocery store by buying frozen fruit in bulk and using them in your smoothies or toppings for oatmeal and yogurts!

3. FATS ARE GOOD: Increase the good fats in your diet. Healthy fats like omega3s can help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. Stock up on snacks like walnuts and almonds and cook with olive oil to reap the benefits! P.S. That also includes avocados, so you can stop feeling guilty about your avocado toast addiction.

ar e


t o a z y


s k a i :

ss a r

With so many ingredients and skincare buzzwords being thrown around in the beauty space on social media these days, it can become difficult for consumers to see through the noise and understand which ingredients produce what results on the skin. This comprehensive skincare glossary explains 26 commonly found skincare products and ingredients and their use. Photo by @paullynn via Twenty20



Commonly referred to as AHA, alpha hydroxy acid includes naturally occurring acids found in foods, such as glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane) and lactic acid (derived from milk and tomato juice). Used as a chemical exfoliant, alpha hydroxy acids help promote cell turnover by removing the top layer of dead skin cells, helping you get glowing, fresh skin, according to WebMD.



A natural, vegan alternative to retinol, bakuchiol is a plant extract derived from the babchi plant. It’s safe for sensitive skin and for use during pregnancy. “Bakuchiol has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antibacterial properties,” states Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

CANNABIDIOL Cannabidol, also known as CBD, is the non-intoxicating part of the marijuana or hemp plant. According to Paula’s Choice, studies have shown CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a suitable ingredient for acne-prone skin due to its ability to calm the skin. Be sure to check the ingredients of products that claim to use CBD – hemp seed oil is not the same as cannabidiol!

DIHYDROXYACETONE You might know dihydroxyacetone as DHA, or the ingredient commonly found in sunless tanners. Once applied to the skin, it reacts with dead skin cells on the surface to temporarily darken the skin, giving a sun-tanned look that lasts for a few days, according to Mayo Clinic. Be careful – this stuff will stain! Make sure to exfoliate a few hours before applying and to wash your hands after applying to prevent streakiness.

ESSENCE Considered a staple in Korean skincare routines, essences are applied to cleansed skin as a way to prepare the skin to effectively absorb any products that follow. Essences are a primer for the rest of your routine.

FERULIC ACID An antioxidant commonly found in the cell walls of plants like oats and rice and in the seeds of apples and oranges. Ferulic acid behaves like other antioxidants by slowing the ageing process as well as helping to protect against damaging free radicals. It works best in tandem with other antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, according to Vogue UK.



Glycolic acid is a form of alpha hydroxy acid that is used as a chemical exfoliant. “It’s a water-soluble acid and an ingredient that increases luminosity of the skin because it exfoliates the outermost dead layer of the skin, which is called the

Stratum Corneum, and improves the reflection of light on the skin,” according to Dr. Carmen Castilla of Tribeca Skin Center. It can help with hyperpigmentation and acne.

HYALURONIC ACID Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally occurs in the skin and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. It helps enhance moisture in the skin and make skin look instantly hydrated and radiant upon application, according to Paula Begoun of Paula’s Choice.

INTENSE PULSATED LIGHT IPL, or, Intense Pulsated Light, is a

form of light therapy used to treat wrinkles, spots (such as age spots, freckles, broken blood vessels), and unwanted hair. “Pigment cells in your skin absorb the light energy, which is converted into heat. The heat destroys the unwanted pigment to clear up freckles and other spots. Or, it destroys the hair follicle to prevent the hair from growing again,” according to Healthline.


Juvéderm is a cosmetic enhancement treatment commonly known as fillers. Based in hyaluronic acid, these fillers are known for their hydrating and plumping effect. It’s injected into the skin, most commonly in the cheeks, lips, and around the mouth. Ac-

Photo by @msmaverickmuse via Twenty20



cording to Healthline, it’s one of the most common surgical procedures done in the United States.


Korean beauty, commonly referred to as K-beauty, is a growing trend in American skincare. It includes skincare products that give you what is referred to in South Korea as the glass skin look – skin that is so dewy and hydrated it looks like glass. Essences, sheet masks, and double-cleansing are all a part of the k-beauty phenomenon.

LACTIC ACID Lactic acid is another form of alpha hydroxy acid, derived from fermented milk amongst other foods. Once applied to the skin, it “stimulate the exfoliation of surface skin cells by interfering with the bonding between these cells. This causes the sloughing off of dull, rough skin and promotes cellular renewal by increasing cell turnover rates in the upper layers of your skin (epidermis), so you have younger, plumper skin cells within the skin,” says Emma Hobson, Education Manager for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute.

chemical oxybenzone. The primary function of oxybenzone is to absorb ultraviolet light, but some research shows oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin. To avoid this ingredient, look for clean physical or mineral sunscreens that use ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to protect against the sun.


Peptides are the building blocks that make up proteins. One of the most important proteins in your skin is the peptides that form collagen, which make up about 80% of your dermis, according to Colorescience. Look for products that include this ingredient to help boost the production of collagen peptides for smooth, firm, radiant skin.

Two types of UV light have been proven to increase one’s risk for skin cancer. Exposure to these two types of lights, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), harms the skin. “Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB damages the DNA in skin cells, producing genetic defects, or mutations, that can lead to skin cancer as well as premature aging,” according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Protect yourself by wearing broad spectrum sunscreen daily.




Coenzyme Q10, often referred to as CoQ10, is an enzyme that helps generate energy in your cells. “It helps produce energy, neutralize free radicals, and keep cells in both skin and body health,” according to Perricone MD. Because of this, using CoQ10 in skincare products can help make skin appear younger.



to hydrate the skin and prep skin for the rest of the skincare routine. Toner is applied directly after cleansing, usually with a cotton pad, to wipe away any leftover debris and bacteria left behind.


Retinol is another name for vitamin A. Retinol is a tried and true treatment for acne, as well as aging. It can help increase cell turnover, simulate collagen and help fade hyperpigmentation. However, retinol might be harsh on sensitive skin and can increase sensitivity to the sun – so be sure to moisturize and apply SPF 30 or higher when using this product, according to Birchbox.



A common ingredient found in acne and redness-fighting products, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. According to Self Magazine, niacinamide is a great option for those with sensitive skin because it is anti-inflammatory and generally a low-risk ingredient in terms of causing breakouts. Niacinamide is usually applied topically but can also be taken orally.

A form of beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is a common ingredient for the treatment of acne. Once salicylic acid is applied to the skin, it “dissolves skin debris that clogs pores, [acts] as an anti-inflammatory and also helps red inflamed pimples and pustules go away faster,” explains Naissan O. Wesley, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles.




Unlike were tained toners

An acronym for “your mileage may vary,” this term is often used on Internet forums when discussing different skincare products. It’s


According to The Environmental Working Group, 56% of beach and sport sunscreens contain the

the toners of the 90s that too astringent and condrying alcohols, modern for the skin are formulated

ZINC OXIDE A common ingredient in physical sunscreens, zinc oxide particles “sit on the outermost layer of your skin, the stratum corneum, where they scatter, absorb, and reflect ultraviolet radiation, protecting your living skin below,” according to Badgerbalm. Whether you choose to use a physical or chemical sunscreen, remember to wear sunscreen every day to protect against skin cancer and aging!

According to board-certified dermatologist Patricia Wexler, vitamin C is a “potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals. Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C aids in your skin’s natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells.” When applied to the skin, vitamin C can help fade acne scars, dullness, and rough texture.

Marula oil is a lightweight, easily absorbed oil that has gained popularity in skincare products recently. It’s great for dry or aging skin due to its high content of amino acids and fatty acids. This all-natural product also is high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and prevent skin damage, according to Healthline.


based on the idea that everyone’s skin has different needs and reactions to different ingredients to warn readers to err on the side of caution when trying a new product.

WATER Not only is drinking water great for your health, it’s great for your skin too! Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day can help reduce inflammation and puffiness in the skin, speed healing, and may reduce itchiness in dry skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, according to Manna. Keep track of how much water you drink and see if you notice a difference in your complexion.

If you’ve ever seen this ingredient on the back of your moisturizer – don’t worry. Xanthan gum, a sugar derived from corn (and sometimes soy or wheat) is used as thickening agent in creams and other skincare products. It helps make the texture of your products better.


RAIN OR SHINE Did you remember to put on sunscreen this morning? The dark side of the sun might surprise you.

Photo by Luis Villasmil


“The sun’s ultraviolet rays are continuously penetrating the earth’s surface. People get sunburned on cloudy days, or when they’re skiing in the dead of winter”


hen was the last time you remembered wearing sunscreen? For most of us, the answer dates back to the summertime, or maybe you don’t even remember the last time you wore it. Despite the sunscreen industry’s best efforts to get you to lather it on, skin cancer is still on the rise. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It’s the most common type of cancer in the United States - but it’s also one of the most preventable.

ning, or even better, embrace your natural skin color.

The problem is, Americans just aren’t taking it seriously. Common misconceptions about skin cancer and sun protection make the average individual think they’re safe from the effects of the sun.

That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself from these harmful rays every single day.

“People associate sunburn with the sun, not ultraviolet radiation. But it [ultraviolet radiation] is happening constantly - even if it’s snowing, even if it’s cloudy. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are continuously penetrating the earth’s surface. People get sunburned on cloudy days, or when they’re skiing in the dead of winter,” says Dr. Cerrene Giordano, a dermatologist and Mohs-micrographic surgeon at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. The sun actually produces three types of ultraviolet rays that reach earth - UVA, UVB, and UVC. Ultraviolet A rays “are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass,” according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Yes, even through glass - which means staying inside all day isn’t exactly the best way to protect against sun damage. UVA rays are also responsible for early aging, wrinkling, eye damage, and yes, skin cancer. Ultraviolet B rays are what cause your skin to sunburn, and they are another major contributing factor to skin cancer and aging. Ultraviolet C rays are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and don’t generally reach the earth’s surface. The best way to protect yourself from all forms of damaging UV rays is by applying broad-spectrum sunscreen daily - more on that later. Another misconception that could be contributing to the rise in skin cancer is Americans’ obsession with a “healthy” glow. “The concept of tanning as associated with a healthy glow is completely false - your body creates a tan as a defense mechanism. Your body is developing more pigment to protect itself. When you tan, you’re literally increasing damage to your cells,” says Dr. Giordano. It’s not only outdoor tanning that causes cell damage. Tanning beds, which use UVA rays, cause damage too, and they aren’t any safer than outdoor tanning. In fact, “just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%),” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Another scary fact: “women who tan indoors before they turn 30 are 6 times more likely to get melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.” Not only does indoor tanning drastically increase your risk of developing skin cancer, but it makes your skin age more quickly. Avoid the damage altogether by sticking to sunless tan-

So how exactly does skin cancer develop? The answer lies within your cells. Like other cancers, skin cancer starts to develop when cells go bad within your DNA. In the case of skin cancer, the UV radiation serves as a stimulus for these cells to be damaged. Younger cells can repair themselves more efficiently, but the older the cells are, the more the damage from UV radiation makes it harder for them to repair. The cumulative effect of damage over time is what leads to the development of skin cancer, according to Dr. Giordano.

The common misconception of a sunny day causing sunburn or sun damage is the reason many Americans don’t think it’s necessary to wear sunscreen all the time. But the fact is, UV rays that cause skin cancer are always penetrating the earth’s surface. Even on a cloudy winter day, and even through your windows. Wearing sunscreen every day and staying out of the sun, especially while the rays are at their strongest, between 10 am and 2 pm, is the best way to avoid the harmful effects of cancer-causing UV radiation, according to Dr. Giordano. With the global sun care market expected to reach $24.9 billion by 2024 according to Transparency Market Research, it might be difficult for the average consumer to decide what sunscreen is best for them. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed a regulation on sunscreen in the United States - all sunscreens must be broad-spectrum, meaning they must have both UVA and UVB coverage. In addition, sunscreens are no longer permitted to be labeled as ‘waterproof’. Today, sunscreen labels will say ‘water-resistant’ as well as the amount of time before the product needs to be reapplied. One thing’s for sure when purchasing sunscreen you need adequate protection against the sun’s rays. “Anything is better than nothing,” Dr. Giordano says. An SPF of 30 is sufficient, but SPF of 50 and higher is even better. Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, measures the sunscreen’s level of protection against UVB rays. That’s why using a broad-spectrum sunscreen is so important - to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. While there are many different brands and forms of sunscreen on the market, the two main types of sunscreen are physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, then creating a chemical reaction when the UV rays hit your skin: converting the rays into heat, then releasing it from the body. The most common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. On the other hand, physical sunscreens serve as physical blockers that don’t allow for the penetration of UV radiation to the skin at all - instead, reflecting it from the skin’s surface. This is why they tend to be superior to chemical sunscreens, according to Dr. Giordano. The active ingredients in physical sunscreens are usually zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.


Whether you choose a chemical or physical sunscreen, it’s best to avoid sunscreens in spray form, which Dr. Giordano dislikes for multiple reasons. “Number one, even though it’s easy to apply, the application is inconsistent what if there’s wind? How much of it is actually getting on your skin vs. blowing away in the wind? You’re actually meant to spray the product into your hand and then rub it into your skin. And two, we don’t know yet what happens from inhaling the particles - it’s likely safe, but we don’t have the evidence to support that,” Dr. Giordano says. Besides sunscreen, there are more measures you can take to protect yourself from the sun. “People need to remember to wear broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeves, and UV protective clothing. Rent an umbrella, rent a space to get out of the sun,” says Dr. Giordano. These physical barriers can not only help protect against sun damage but also provide some shade and comfort when in the elements. Now that we know the basics of skin cancer preven-

“Maybe we are just getting better at finding skin cancer than ever before”

Photo by Drew Dau


tion (avoid tanning, daily application of sunscreen), it’s important to know how to detect skin cancer. Prevention is key, but early detection can help save lives. First on the agenda: see your dermatologist. Yearly screenings should suffice for the average individual, but for those who have a history of melanoma, you might need to be checked more frequently. If you don’t have access to a dermatologist, don’t worry just yet. Many dermatologists are advocating for self-exams - who knows your body better than you? By keeping an eye on any suspicious spots or moles that appear to be changing or unusual, you can help detect any potential skin cancer spots early on. Skin cancer is the only form of cancer you can see, after all. The most important piece of advice Dr. Giordano has is to pay attention to your own skin - and don’t be afraid to tell others if you notice anything unusual on your skin or theirs. “A lot of the lesions that ended up being skin cancer - happened from someone noticing and saying ‘hey, that doesn’t look that right,’” she says. While the statistics on the rise of skin cancer can be unsettling, there is somewhat of a silver lining, according to Dr. Giordano. “Although we are actually seeing a rise in skin cancer, I think that’s because of better awareness and better screenings happening that are instrumental in finding skin cancers early. Maybe we are just getting better at finding skin cancer than ever before.” ¶


A IS FOR ASYMMETRY: Does the spot have asymmetrical borders?

Ready for a self checkup? The ABCDE rule of skin cancer can help you examine your body’s spots for potential risks. If you notice anything new, changing, or unusual, make an appointment with your dermatologist ASAP, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

B IS FOR BORDER: Does the spot have a jagged or unusally shaped border?

C IS FOR COLOR: Has the spot changed color or gotten darker?

D IS FOR DIAMETER: Is the spot larger than the size of a pencil eraser?


E IS FOR EVOLUTION: Is the spot changing in any way? Is it bleeding, itching, or growing?



Lynn Gallagher.

Heyday is a facial and skincare shop that offers a personalized approach to skincare, dedicated to its clients’ personal needs and goals to create a routine that works best for them. We chatted with Lynn Gallagher, a skin therapist at the newly opened Rittenhouse location, about clean beauty, facials, and the newest trends in skincare treatments.

Tell me a little about your background. I’m from Philly and I graduated from Temple in 2015 - I just received my [esthetician] license this past year [2019]. I have a background in holistic beauty, and I’m trained in ayurvedic beauty which is a 5,000-year-old science that originated in India. I work with clean beauty brands and also practice gua sha which stems from traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve worked at Heyday since they opened this year [2019]. What inspired you to get your esthetician license? I have a background in yoga and meditation and l was looking to include more bodywork into my offerings, spotlight more women-owned brands, and wanted to do something more with people. So what exactly does an esthetician do? What does a typical day or facial session look like at Heyday? So, firstly, at Heyday, we are called ‘skin therapists’. We like to think of ourselves as a facial shop - taking the facial out of the spa experience to make it more accessible. We offer customized facials and see clients for either 30, 50, or 75-minute sessions. Each facial is custom-tailored to your skin’s needs - we like to look at your skin from a holistic perspective. So we take into account your lifestyle, including your stress levels and the amount of sleep you get each night. What is Heyday’s approach to skincare? What sort of brands can clients expect to see used during their facial? Currently we use 14+ brands, both growing brands, and well-established brands. All brands enter a sort of qualifying process: products that fall along the lines of more natural, biological-based beauty products. I like to think of it as where nature meets science. So we might use products that have chemical stabilizers, but only when it is necessary.

Can your clients purchase products used in their facial at the Heyday shop? Some of the products are professional-only products, but there is a crossover between products we use in facials and what we sell in the shop. The best way to know what will work for you is by scheduling a facial consultation with a skin therapist. So what’s your best advice for a beginner looking to start a skincare routine? Keep it simple! I believe that a good skincare routine is one that’s anywhere from three to four steps, but across the board, the most important way to approach skincare is to do whatever you can commit to. Cleansing first, toning, moisturizing, sun protection, and exfoliating at least once a week. What is one product you think everyone should be using in their routine? SPF - protection from the sun! From an aesthetics standpoint, 90% of skin aging occurs from the sun. Skin is the body’s largest organ, so it is susceptible to the most damage from the sun. Are there any products or ingredients you think people shouldn’t be using? I am not a cosmetic chemist, so I can’t speak on behalf of what is and is not safe. However, some of the things I like to avoid are nanoparticles, parabens, and sulfates. t’s important to remember that just because it’s something you can’t pronounce doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. That’s why you need to do your own research. People might say “oh I see it has some acids or sulfates in it” but they might be fine for your skin. Or they might have artificial fragrance as an ingredient that might be irritating to some. What do you mean by ‘doing your research’? How can the average and everyday consumer know what ingredients are bad or good? Skincare is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and unfortunately, there isn’t a standard across the board for what can be considered clean beauty. What I recommend is using the Environmental Working Group’s scale that tells you their metrics for clean beauty. You can search for tons of different products and ingredients. It will tell you more about the brand and how harsh or chemical-free it is according to their standards. What types of ingredients do you see in clean beauty brands? One thing I do look for - and it depends on the skin type - but in general, I look for botanical beauty or biological beauty. So something that’s Photos by Noah Dickinson @noahfest


active, from the earth, purer - that can be anything from aloe to chamomile to milk, things that you know you can eat, you should be able to put on the skin. I look for brands that have efficacy and transparency, they can speak to the mission of their company, and usually are small businesses that haven’t been paid off. I ask questions like are there ingredients ethically sourced, are they good for the environment, are they toxic to your body? Let’s talk about facials - what are some current trends you’re seeing in what clients are asking for? I’m noticing that people want more advanced therapies because we’re a results-driven society. They want chemical-based treatments. There are SO many trends in facials: sculpting, dermaplaning, bio-peels, and more. But I always say if it causes trauma to the face, it’s not for you. Facials should be customized for people’s skin so they can understand their skin’s needs. At Heyday, our clients can customize their facials by adding on LED light therapy, gua sha, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels. LED light therapy what’s that used for? It’s actually one of the only treatments that are actually FDA approved. It’s one of the most approachable forms of advanced therapies - it essentially

synthesizes the cells the same way the sun does. Blue light for acne, or red light for collagen. The blue light can help penetrate beneath the skin to kill the acne-causing bacteria. The red can help stimulate elastin in the skin, which can help speed up the healing process. It’s accessible to consumers outside of the spa or dermatologist office. If your skin has been compromised in any way, though, be careful with anything you’re using. When you are using anything at home that should be used in a professional setting - speak to your esthetician and/or your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you first. Speaking of doctors, how does the work of dermatologists and estheticians overlap? It’s not one or the other. There is an appropriate time for a dermatologist. You should see them at least once a year, especially to check for skin cancer. Something a little more specific, like acne, might require a trip to the dermatologist. Sometimes the dermatologist might not recommend the right products for the skin, and estheticians might recommend something a little gentler that works better. We both need each other. Closing question - how do you feel about cosmetic enhancement of the skin, like Botox or fillers? I think there are appropriate times for those procedures to happen. You can’t be dogmatic in the skincare industry - modalities are always changing. There are tons of procedures that have been around forever. Of course, it’s always to each their own. But if your skin is taken care of from a young age, it will be okay. Sleeping, eating well, drinking enough water when you’re young - then when you’re older that’s when you can use these enhancements as a last resort. If something is genetic, you are who you are. At the end of the day, you are still going to be you, Maybe you need to accept yourself the way you are. When is enough enough? ¶

“The most important way to approach skincare is to do whatever you can commit to”


“I wanted to hide it so badly. But makeup can only cover so much - the bumps are still there. You start to just feel gross about yourself all the time�

Facing It The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne in their lives. Acne is suffered by over 50 million Americans annually. So why are we hiding it? While acne has always been a common skin problem, with the prevalence of social media, the pressure to have flawless skin is more intense than ever. Researchers have found severe acne is commonly associated with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor self-image, decreased quality of life, and the feeling of being all alone in countless studies.

Photo by @Artfully79 via Twenty20



Lana C.* was 10 years old when she got her first pimple. “I remember getting my first pimple as young as third grade. I think it was when I first got glasses because I would sweat and then the sweat and dirt would get trapped under my glasses where they rested on my nose causing clogged pores which led to pimples,” she reflects. Lana, now 20 years old, is a current sophomore in college. She has pale, beautiful, almost doll-like skin, clear of not only pimples but seemingly pores or any type of blemish. It’s hard to imagine that someone with her complexion has ever seen a pimple on their face. But looks can be deceiving. “My acne started to become severe when I was a freshman in high school. It first started off with what seemed like a million little bumps that would appear on my forehead and sides of my cheeks which, as time went on, later turned into more large deep red bumps that left scarring,” Lana says. “It was so painful, both physically and mentally. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror when you feel so ugly. It starts to wear you down. I was tired of applying concealer every single day of my life, and feeling dirty and ugly for having acne,” she says. If you’ve ever had a huge pimple on your face you know the feeling of not wanting to go out in public. “It feels like everyone is staring at you. But it wasn’t just one or two pimples, it felt like there was anywhere from 10-20 big red bumps all over my face on any given day. I wanted to hide it so badly. But makeup can only cover so much - the bumps are still there. You start to just feel gross about yourself all the time,” Lana says. It doesn’t help that the beauty standard we are fed on social media and in the media in general would never show a pimple, let alone severe acne. “Of course social media and celebrities, TV, and movies affected the way I felt about my skin. That it was never good enough. No celebrity is ever shown with skin imperfections on social media, unless it’s a candid photo taken by paparazzi. The standard of beauty in the media is definitely having crystal clear skin and that was something I did not really have from early elementary school until my senior year of high school,” Lana expresses. “It’s hard not to feel like there’s something wrong with you when it feels like no one else has acne,” she says. And it doesn’t help that the majority of products at the

drugstore don’t do much for severe acne. “My friends who didn’t have pimples like mine would tell me to just wash my face, drink water, use this Neutrogena brand acne treatment. And none of it worked. You’re just so willing to take advice from someone with perfect skin because it’s all you can think about achieving,” she reflects. “When I first started getting acne I would search online for DIY face masks, basically any homemade concoction that I believed would magically cure my skin imperfections. I also remember using toothpaste to spot treat acne, which I now realize is so drying for your skin,” she says. It’s hard to feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when your efforts are futile. “I finally decided to go on Accutane in 12th grade when my acne started to affect the way I felt about how I looked and started making me feel worthless. My dermatologist suggested it for me since I had literally tried everything else there was,” she says. Isotretinoin is a vitamin A derivative used to treat severe acne, most commonly known as Accutane. It comes in the form of a pill that is usually taken for upwards of 5 months at varying doses. It essentially works by reducing sebum production so your pores can’t get clogged, leading to a reduction in acne. Common side effects are dry, peeling skin, joint pain, and increased sensitivity to the sun. Patients who are on Accutane must get their blood drawn monthly to make sure it isn’t lowering their white blood cell count. Female patients taking isotretinoin have to confirm they are using two separate forms of birth control while taking this pill because it can cause severe birth defects. All patients also must take a monthly online survey called iPledge making sure they understand the full effects of this medication before the prescription is approved for pickup at the pharmacy. The brand name Accutane drug for acne was taken off the market in 2009, due to multiple personal injury lawsuits claiming the drug caused extremely serious side effects: mental health problems, including depression, psychosis, and suicide, birth defects, and inflammatory bowel disease, according to WebMD. Research has found a link between isotretinoin and the parts of the brain that are associated with depression, and other studies have looked at whether taking isotretinoin can lead to mental health symptoms associated with vitamin A toxicity, including depression, according to Self Magazine. But for some people, like Lana, this controversial pill is as close to a miracle as a sufferer of severe acne can get. “The pills definitely affected me emotionally. I felt depressed for a while I was on them, but the outcome was 100% worth it,” she explains. “At the end of my treatment I remember looking in the mirror and not seeing a single pimple on my face and it was one of the best feelings in the world,” she exclaims. “It’s been three years since my treatment. I still get an occasional breakout. My acne is not completely gone forever. But it doesn’t come close to where it was before. Accutane changed my life. I do not regret going on Accutane at all. In fact, if my severe acne ever came back I would go on it again,” Lana says. There is currently no cure for acne. ¶

*Name changed for privacy 19

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DIRTY talk What if the products you use on a daily basis on your skin, in your shower, and to clean your home contained potentially carcinogenic and toxic ingredients? The chances that they do are high. Scared yet? Maybe you should be. Considering the skin is the body’s largest organ, it only makes sense that what we put on our skin would be absorbed into the body.


he European Union (EU) currently prohibits the use of over 1,300 ingredients in cosmetics, according to the European Commission. Take a guess as to how many ingredients the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans in the United States. 11. No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that’s less than 1% of the ingredients restricted or regulated by the European Union. It’s not just the European Union - a recent report conducted by the European Working Group (EWG) found that more than 40 nations have stricter cosmetic safety regulations than the U.S., including Canada, China, and the entire continent of Australia. Meanwhile, America’s beauty industry regulations haven’t been updated since 1938. Fun fact: the FDA does not approve beauty and skincare products before they hit store shelves, according to Lauren Sucher, a press officer for the FDA. Marketing buzzwords like “natural,” “pure,” “botanical” and “eco” are also not regulated, Sucher confirmed. Even worse, cosmetic products don’t necessarily have to list everything in the bottle on their label, thanks to the FP&L Act, which states “nothing ... shall be deemed to require that any trade secret be divulged”. Trade secrets can be anything from a specific ingredient to a blend of chemicals to create a synthetic fragrance. That means the beauty and personal care products you see stocked on the shelves in America

could include a concoction of carcinogenic ingredients, toxins, or endocrine disruptors, even if they are sold as “clean” beauty. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that have the ability to mimic the body’s hormones and can cause issues like immune and nervous systems dysfunction and interference with reproduction, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Common endocrine disruptors in cosmetics and personal care include parabens and synthetic fragrances, according to Elle. “If you think about the chronic conditions that the world is experiencing now – like fertility problems, thyroid conditions, diabetes, ADHD – these are all heavily impacted by hormones,” according to Carol Kwiatkowski, executive director of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), a nonprofit research foundation that focuses on reducing harmful chemicals in the environment. Triclosan - a known endocrine disruptor that the EWG says affects the thyroid and reproductive hormones was the main active ingredient in Colgate Total toothpaste until early 2019. The company claimed the benefits of triclosan outweighed the risks, even after the FDA banned the use of triclosan in soap products in 2016. And if that was not scary enough, a recent study conducted by Breast Cancer Prevention Partners found parabens in the biopsies of breast cancer tumors at similar levels to the concentration found in our cosmetics. A quick search of EWG’s database tells us that Cetaphil, a common fa-


cial cleanser recommended by many dermatologists for its gentle and effective properties, contains three different parabens. So what’s a conscious consumer to do? Many are making the decision to switch to “clean” beauty. “There isn’t a standard across the board for what can be considered clean beauty. So many of our clients say that they see companies promoting a product as clean beauty and the ingredients are anything but,” says Lynn Gallagher, a skin therapist at Heyday Skincare in Rittenhouse. Because the FDA does not regulate cosmetics at the same levels of the EU, it’s up to consumers to read the fine print and research products, ingredients and brands for safer, non-toxic ingredients. The FDA does not have regulations for the term “organic” in cosmetics and has not defined the term “natural” and has not established a regulatory definition for this term in cosmetic labeling. So if the clean beauty market is essentially fair game for anyone, brands can be deceptive. It’s not uncommon to see products with typical ‘clean beauty’ imagery - plants, leaves, and “natural” looking packaging, like wood or bamboo, and excessive use of the color green - that are full of toxic ingredients. “I try to look for brands that can speak to the efficacy of their products and have a high amount of transparency, they can speak to the mission of their company. A lot of times these are small businesses. Big companies might make a big payment, just one time, to get labels like certified organic, natural, and more,” Gallagher says. Brand deception puts a lot of pressure on the average, everyday consumer to not only understand how to read the back of a product label but to also understand what the chemicals mean. It’s important to remember that just because an ingredient is chemical or synthetic does not mean it’s bad for you. On the other hand, just because an ingredient is natural, or organic, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Not to mention the amount of fearmongering that comes with

Photo by @Artfully79 via Twenty20


the topic leaving the average consumer not sure what to believe Luckily for the consumer, many brands and retailers are catching on. Databases like the Environmental Working Group and the app Shop Dirty, Think Clean, provide resources for consumers to research ingredients and search products to see what they mean and how they fare on their safe scale rankings. Retailers like Credo Beauty, Follain, The Goop Shop, and Beautycounter are setting rigorous standards for the brands they sell as to what can and cannot be in their products The clean beauty movement has been becoming increasingly mainstream. In 2018, Kourtney Kardashian went to Capitol Hill with members of the Environmental Working Group for a briefing on cosmetics reform. Kardashian and the group spoke on their support of the Personal Care Products Safety Act, “a bipartisan bill that would require companies to disclose their ingredients to the FDA, register the facilities where their products are made, and permit the FDA to insist on warning labels where necessary,” according to Glamour. “Calls for ‘clean beauty’ to be defined with full transparency” was listed as one of the top beauty trends for 2020 by Harper’s Bazaar. The magazine expects to see a fight against misleading information in beauty and a demand for full transparency from brands. While it should not be left up to the consumer to lead the fight for nontoxic cosmetic products - you can do your part. Doing your research, being a part of the conversation, signing petitions, and refusing to buy products from dishonest brands with ambiguous ingredients are only some of the ways you can use your consumer buying power to make a difference. with ambiguous ingredients are only some of the ways you can use your consumer buying power to make a difference.¶


ph t h


a al t

A group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible often called plasticizers. They can also be used in solvents, which would explain why they could be found in products like shampoo, hair spray, and nail polish, and synthetic fragrances. They also might not always be listed on the ingredients list. Look for: DBP, DEHP, DEP, DMP

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According to Follain, synthetics fragrances can contain dozens of (but could contain any combination of 3000+) chemical ingredients to create the scent. Fragrance formulas are “trade secrets” and can, therefore, remain undisclosed. They can cause allergic reactions, migraines, and asthma attacks. Look for: fragrance, fragrance blend, perfume


coal tar

A byproduct of coal processing, coal tar is used as both a colorant and antidandruff agent, believed to be carcinogenic. Look for: Coal Tar Solution, P-phenylenediamine, Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene

An antimicrobial agent that can be found in soaps, toothpaste, hand sanitizer. According to the EWG, triclosan affects the thyroid and reproductive hormones. Look for: triclosan, microban


t o l u e n e

According to Follain, toluene is a volatile petrochemical derived from benzene, a known carcinogen, found in hair dye and nail polish. Some potential concerns are birth defects and neurotoxicity. Look for: Toluol, Benzene, Methylbenzene, Phenylmethane



Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a surfactant that can cause skin irritation or allergies. According to Beautycounter founder, Gregg Renfrew, “in the process of making SLS less harsh for the skin (ethoxylation), a carcinogenic byproduct emerges: 1,4-dioxane, which shows up on the label as SLES. Commonly found in products that lather: shampoos, cleansers, bubble bath, cleaning products. Look for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Nanoparticles are used to reduce the white or chalky appearance of mineral sunscnreens, according to Follain. A nanoparticle measures in the range of 1-100 nanometers (1 nanometer = 1 billionth of a meter). There is still little known about the effects of these particles, but there is potential for cell damage, and possible organ, reproductive and developmental toxicity, according to Follain. Look for: Nanoparticles don’s have to be disclosed in ingredients - ask the brand or look for ‘non-nano’.









Parabens are a type of preservative and a known hormone disruptor commonly found in hair products and cosmetic products. According to Elle Magazine, parabens mimic estrogen which can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumors, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. Look for: Butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben op


Formaldehyde functions as a preservative it’s also carcinogenic and can cause allergic reactions in the eyes and respiratory system, according to the EWG. You won’t see formaldehyde on an ingredients list - so you need to look for the ingredients that are known as formaldehyde releasers, which can be found in products like makeup, eyelash glue, hair straightening products, and more. Look for: DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15



f o r m e l d a h y d e

polyethylene glycol A petroleum-based product, polyethylene glycol (PEG) is used in products like moisturizers and creams as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture carriers. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, depending on the manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, known carcinogens. Look for: polyethylene glycol, PEG, PEG compunds

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Glowtista: The Magazine (Winter 2020)  

Glowtista is a research-based skincare and beauty magazine designed by Rachael Cortese, a graduating senior at Drexel University. The magazi...

Glowtista: The Magazine (Winter 2020)  

Glowtista is a research-based skincare and beauty magazine designed by Rachael Cortese, a graduating senior at Drexel University. The magazi...


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