Toxic Substances Control Act

Toxic Substances Control Act

toxic chemical

Ignorance is bliss. What we don’t know can’t hurt us, can it? Unfortunately, the ugly truth needs to be unveiled.

We assume the government is supervising ingredients in personal care products, but they are not regulating ingredients as diligently as they should be.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed by Congress in 1976 to regulate the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. The law was mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the public from “unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment”. However, when the law was passed, the existing chemicals were assumed to be safe for use.


The truth about the TSCA

Since 2015, only 250 of the 60,000 chemicals have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been banned. But the ban on asbestos was overturned in 1991. Asbestos is illegal in 50 countries, but not in the United States of America.  

Companies are required to notify the EPA of their intent to produce a new chemical, but no safety information is required to be listed. In contrast, the European Parliament created a “no data, no market” rule requiring chemical manufacturers to submit safety data for new and existing chemicals.


The danger to consumers

Hazardous chemicals are found everywhere. They are in our personal care products, toys, furniture, and in pesticides. Infants, pregnant women, and the elderly bear a higher risk from exposure to toxic chemicals.

In the US, companies can claim their chemical compounds confidential, but in Europe, the government makes this information available to the public. Consumers must realize that the government control on hazardous chemicals that lurk in our personal care products is lax.

We must learn to understand ingredients so that we do not have to rely on government or advertising to make the decision for us. Ingredient safety can be researched on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

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Posted in Health, Skincare

What Your Daughter Needs to Know before Wearing Makeup

What Your Daughter Needs to Know before Wearing Makeup

There are so many conversations that we need to have with our children as they enter their teenage years. Even though I have sons, I made it a point to discuss skin care with them in their tween years before the acne started. I made sure to dispel all the acne myths so they could separate fact from fiction. But I was lucky. My sons don’t wear makeup.


A study done in Brazil showed that 45% of women who used makeup religiously had skin disease related to the makeup they were wearing. 14% suffered from makeup-induced acne lesions, acne cosmetica.


Teen girls can suffer from social pressure at an early age to wear makeup, and some start as early as age 11. This is also the age where their hormones are changing rapidly. Many girls will use makeup to cover skin issues, unknowingly worsening the issues.


What can you do as a parent to help your teenage daughter make the best decisions for her skin?


  1. Talk openly with her about why she wants to wear makeup. Find out if the decision is about her self-esteem, peer pressure, or to cover up skin concerns. Once you find out her reasons, it may be easier for both of you to agree on an age where she could start using makeup.
  2. Next help your daughter choose a safe and effective skin care routine to take proper care of her skin before and after makeup use. Help her review the ingredients in the products so that she does not opt for home acne remedies or cheap drugstore brands that could aggravate skin issues.
  3. Discuss proper makeup removal to help your daughter understand how to properly remove eye makeup and cleanse her skin.
  4. Investigate the ingredients in her makeup to ensure that she is not applying harmful chemicals to her face. Some ingredients in makeup have been linked to skin sensitivity and reproductive issues.
  5. Last, but not least, your daughter should not share makeup with her friends. Liquid makeup like foundation can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.  
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Posted in Beauty Wake Up Call, Parenting, Skincare, Uncategorized

How Do You Layer Skin Care Products?

How Do You Layer Skin Care Products?


Skin care often requires multiple steps and multiple products. The process may seem daunting because most of us can’t figure which order to use the products. Once the confusion sets in, the process takes more time, and many of us will forego this important routine to save time.


You may be tempted to believe the order in which you apply your products doesn’t make a difference – but it does. What is the right way to orchestrate your skin care routine so that it requires the least amount of guesswork?


  1. Exfoliate. Skin needs to be prepped with exfoliation so that all the dead cells can be removed. The products are more effective this way. I recommend using a Clarisonic brush The Clarisonic brush oscillates differently than most brushes so that your pores are cleaned at a deeper level without causing friction to your skin. The Clarisonic brush head moves at a sonic frequency of over 300 movements per second to cleanse your skin six times more effectively than manual cleansing.
  2. The product that works the most effectively, such as a retinol, needs to be applied first.
  3. Next, you want to apply the products from the thinnest to the thickest. This rule of thumb can be used for most products, but if you have any concerns, you should check with your esthetician.  
  4. The last step should be to create a barrier. Typically, these products are the sunscreens for your daytime routine and moisturizers for your night routine.


These steps should allow your skin care routine to be quick and effective. In about a week, the process should become routine, ensuring that you will continue to spend a few minutes each day on skin care.

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Posted in Skincare

How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Skin?

How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Skin?

Air pollution

Most of us think of air pollution only being an issue for our respiratory health. But did you know that pollution in the air can affect your skin?  

The worst pollutants for skin

Air pollutants can include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), cigarette smoke and oxides.  These pollutants contribute to skin aging, including dryness, wrinkling, and dark spots. Additionally, air pollution has been associated with skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne.

Pollution creates damage to our skin by creating free radicals which are unpaired atoms with an odd number of electrons. Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules creating a chain reaction of damage to important cellular structures.

How to combat pollution

Luckily, antioxidants can interact with free radicals to stop cellular damage. The most common antioxidants utilized in skin care products to protect the impact of pollution to our skin are Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamins E and C are most commonly ingested, but they can also be used topically to provide skin protection since they are two of the primary antioxidants found in the skin and are easily absorbed.

Since everyone is susceptible to skin damage from air pollution, we must all be mindful of protecting our skin. Creating a physical barrier with sunscreen and moisturizer is effective before you head out to start your day.  At the end of the day, I recommend cleansing your face with a sulfate-free cleanser to wash away the toxins we are exposed to daily.

Need a sulfate-free cleanser? Check out Clearly Luminous Cleanser!

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Posted in Health, Skincare

Which Skin Care Products Are Right For You?

Which Skin Care Products Are Right For You?

The mirror can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. The mirror won’t lie. It reveals uneven skin tone and texture, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. It haunts you with the harsh reality of aging. Once you see these imperfections, they glare at you every time you see your reflection. You know it’s time to do something, but there are so many lies in marketing. How can you figure out what skin care products are right for you?

Here are some tips to help you decide:

Over the counter brands

These are big names such as L’Oréal, Revlon, etc. These products are loaded with chemicals and are endorsed by celebrities who make spectacular claims for a product that is relatively inexpensive. According to Business Insider, L’Oréal spent 2.2 billion dollars for marketing in 2015, whereas Revlon spent a “meager” 210 million in 2014.

Apparently, celebrity spokesmodels and television commercials aren’t cheap. With products priced ranging from $8 to $20 dollars, it is obvious that the majority of the product cost likely goes into advertising, not the actual product.

  • Pros- inexpensive and easily available
  • Cons- contains small amounts of active ingredients and contains many chemicals that can be harmful, such as parabens, sulfates and harsh preservatives

High-end department store brands

These products can contain great ingredients that are usually profiled at the front of the ingredient deck. Toward the end of the list, you will often find fragrance, artificial colors, and preservatives. Moisturizers like La Mer will cost $465 for a 3.4 oz. product!  With that price tag, you are better off investing in Botox or filler.

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and often contains chemicals, fragrance, artificial colors

Medical grade skin care

This category includes Obagi, SkinCeuticals, and Rodan + Fields. These products are effective but contain numerous chemicals. Some of the labels even contain warnings about serious allergic reactions and pregnancy warnings. Many of the brands do not list all the ingredients found in the product; they only list the active ingredients.  

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and contains numerous chemicals, fragrances, artificial colors, and harsh preservatives

Natural skin care

This type of product seems like a DIY skin care regimen in a nice package. Lush is a very popular brand in this realm which contains natural ingredients such as shea butter, papaya juice, and various other food products and plants. Amongst the safe synthetics listed in the ingredient deck are parabens and methylparabens – which are not safe enough in my opinion.  

  • Pros- contains natural ingredients
  • Cons- the ingredients are natural but are not effective enough for mature skin. The labels need to be read carefully because there is no guarantee that the ingredients are natural or safe. Depending on the choice of preservatives, the product may not stay fresh very long.

Decisions, decisions!

With all these options available, how can you make a decision? This was the exact problem that I faced. I wanted a product that utilized effective ingredients to reverse signs of aging in mature skin, but I wanted them to be chemical-free and safe, especially after I was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in my early thirties. I realized that labels that stated “natural” were misleading once I reviewed the ingredient deck.

That was why I created Avanti Rx using effective plant and mineral ingredients which are combined to create powerful results. The products are formulated to exfoliate and reduce blemishes, redness, dark spots, and wrinkles.

We are proud to be chemical free, cruelty free, non-GMO, and Vegan friendly. I wanted the product to be a reflection of my strict ingredients standards so that my clients didn’t have to worry about deciphering confusing labels.  Healthy skin care doesn’t have to be a luxury; it should be a necessity.  And you don’t have to be a celebrity to afford it.

Ready to check out what Avanti Rx has to offer? View our current products here.

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Posted in Aging

Six Makeup Tips to Improve Your Skin Health

Six Makeup Tips to Improve Your Skin Health

Most makeup fanatics love spending time at the MAC counter, and they love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube to create the best cat eyes, ombre lips, and perfecting contouring techniques.  However, makeup fanatics don’t usually like to spend as much time on the less exciting chores of makeup removal.

Here are some six of the most common questions I get asked and some of my personal tips:

Should I always remove my makeup? 

I can’t even believe that I get asked this question, but yes makeup should always be removed. It should be removed before bed, before the gym and even before cleansing.

What type of makeup remover should I use?

Most makeup removers consist of alcohol or oil.  Alcohol can over dry skin and oil can clog pores, which exacerbate breakouts for acne prone skin. If you opt for a makeup wipe, choose one that does not contain alcohol and is biodegradable. I use Micellar water since it does not contain alcohol, oil, or fragrance. It will remove makeup (except waterproof makeup) and prep your skin to be cleansed.

How should I remove makeup?  

Saturate a cotton face pad and wipe away your makeup.  For eye makeup let the product soak on your eye lid for a few seconds first and then wipe.  Do not harshly scrub your skin, especially in the delicate eye area.

What kind of cleanser should I use?  

Although a Sulfate-free cleanser will not excessively foam, it is better for your skin since as it won’t remove the skin’s natural moisture barrier. I personally like to cleanse my face with my Clarisonic device and Clearly Luminous Cleanser.   

Do I need to clean my makeup brushes?  

Absolutely! Makeup brushes harbor bacteria and could be the cause of your breakouts. Brushes should be cleaned weekly with a brush cleaner and Micellar water. I partially submerge my brushes in a cup with a mixture of dish soap and a few drops of alcohol to serve as a disinfectant. I soak for five minutes and leave them on a paper towel to dry overnight.

Can I keep my makeup forever?

Makeup, like most everything else, has an expiration date. Check the expiration date on your cosmetics and discard when it’s time. I check my makeup every six months to ensure that I am not putting applying expired product on my face.

Follow these tips to help maintain radiant, blemish-free skin. 

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Posted in Beauty Wake Up Call, Skincare

What You Should Know Before Getting Botox or Filler at a Day Spa

What You Should Know Before Getting Botox or Filler at a Day Spa


Day spas are a perfect retreat for the busy woman who needs a chance to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. It’s a one-stop shop for massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, and body treatments. As you enjoy the serene ambiance sipping champagne, one of the estheticians informs you that the spa is now offering Botox and other filler services. Your inner voice says, “This would be amazing since I am too busy to make another appointment with my doctor!”

Before you fully succumb to that multi-tasking inner voice, here are a few questions you need to ask of your day spa.

  1. Who is the doctor performing the procedure? It is important to know what kind of physician is performing the procedure. My recommendation is to make sure it is either a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or ENT Physician who focuses on cosmetic procedures. Surgeons typically have a better understanding of the facial anatomy and facial balance.  
  2. Where is the physician’s practice located? Many day spas have physicians who come from out of town to perform the procedures one or two times a month. Excellent physicians are often plenty busy in their own practices. So, they do not have the time or desire to travel long distances to work.
  3. Will a follow up appointment be scheduled? As a consumer, you must understand how post-procedure questions, concerns, or dissatisfaction with results will be handled.  
  4. Are the procedures performed in a medical environment with medically trained professionals? Make sure the injectables are purchased directly from the manufacturer and not a knock -off website. The staff would should be trained on occupational safety standards from OSHA, and sharps should be disposed of appropriately.  

The last thing to consider is that a physician who travels to perform your procedure may not be as invested in your outcome as a physician that you see regularly. The relationship and communication between physician and patient is of great importance, especially when it comes to your face!

Are you in the St. Augustine area? Come visit me at Avanti Med Spa

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Posted in Health, Skincare

Reviving Aging Skin: Focusing on The Outside

Reviving Aging Skin: Focusing on The Outside

Focusing on the Outside

Previously, we talked about fighting aging from the inside.  But once you have followed the hydration and nutritional tips, what else can you do to keep your skin looking youthful and flawless?

  1. Microdermabrasions are a great way to resurface the skin using crystals or a diamond tip.  Microdermabrasions can improve the texture and the skin tone. I recommend using Clearly Luminous Cleanser as part of your home regimen to keep your skin exfoliated and blemish-free.
  2. Facials are effective in smoothing and brightening skin. During a HydraFacial procedure, serums and peels can be part of the signature treatment tailored for your specific skincare needs.  
  3. Brown spots, also called sun or age spots, are a tell-tale sign of age. To help fade them, use Age Spot Remedy, an alternative to Hydroquinone, a chemical with some harmful side effects, for lightening the appearance of age spots. This product cant be used but  one to two times daily.
  4. Sun exposure is a huge factor in aging. Make sure you use an SPF 30-50 and reapply every two to three hours. If you are in the sun during the hottest part of the day, make sure you are wearing a wide-brimmed hat to further block harmful ultraviolet rays.
  5. When more conservative approaches fail, a Fraxel laser treatment can be considered to greatly diminish wrinkles and brown spots in an office procedure with little minimal to no downtime. The settings of the laser can be customized based on your skin coloring and the desired effect.  The physician is capable of providing a more aggressive treatment or a lighter treatment based on the desires of the patient.


Turning back the clock used to require aggressive surgery.  Luckily, we have many noninvasive options for facial rejuvenation that don’t require going under the knife.

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Posted in Aging, Beauty Wake Up Call, Skincare

Does Your Spouse Have Selective Hearing?

Does Your Spouse Have Selective Hearing?


I just love when my patients tell me they have “selective hearing” as if it is a real medical condition. Although the medical literature doesn’t recognize selective hearing as a condition, the Urban Dictionary defines it as the ability that humans have (mostly males) to selectively hear what serves their interests.


Patients will state that they “don’t have hearing loss” and that they can “hear what they want to hear”. Apparently, being deaf is a choice. They can turn it on and off like a light switch. People with “selective hearing” are in denial about the real problem – hearing loss.  


Twenty percent of adults (48 million) in the United States report some degree of hearing loss. At age 65, one in three adults with hearing loss are in the work force or in an educational setting. They have many excuses about why they can’t hear:


  • Women speak too softly
  • Their grand kids mumble
  • They can hear if you talk loud enough (you need to scream)
  • The TV is on too loud because no one speaks clearly anymore


Studies show that seniors are three times more likely to have a cosmetic procedure performed than seek treatment for hearing loss.  A hearing test is as popular as a colonoscopy when it comes to routine health checks.


Why are seniors in denial about their hearing loss?


  • They don’t think their hearing is bad enough to warrant hearing aids
  • It’s part of aging  and not life threatening, so it’s no big deal
  • They don’t want to look old
  • They lack trust in hearing aids because they know people who have had poor experiences.


Seniors don’t realize how much hearing loss adversely affects their quality of life.  It results in depression, isolation, anger, and cognitive decline. They avoid people they can’t hear and situations in which they can’t hear.


As an Otolaryngologist, wife, and mother, I find this denial concerning. Hearing loss needs to be identified and treated.  The stigma of hearing aids needs to be removed because they are helpful when fitted and adjusted properly. Modern hearing aids are small and discreet.  They are actually less noticeable than glasses!


If you know someone that who has “selective hearing”, urge them to see an Otolaryngologist and obtain a hearing test. The proper diagnosis and treatment plan, in addition to the right physician, can significantly improve their quality of life and yours.


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Posted in Health, Uncategorized

Revive Aging Skin from the Inside Out

Revive Aging Skin from the Inside Out

aging skin

Aging is a fact of life, but beauty and well-being is a choice.  As we age, our hormone levels can shift resulting in decreased estrogen levels. The result on the skin is thinning, sagging, dryness, and wrinkling.

Here are some suggestions to keep your skin looking radiant and youthful during the aging process:

  1. Hydrate inside and out: The older you get, the thirstier your skin gets. The skin’s oil glands aren’t as active as they were in your younger years.  In order to keep your skin hydrated, drink  at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day.  
  2. Eat up: Nutrition plays a major role in the condition of your skin. Among the most beneficial food elements for aging skin are antioxidants, which can help combat the effects of the loss of skin-plumping collagen. Antioxidants are found primarily in brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  An antioxidant supplement should also be considered, such as Vinali, which contains grape seed extract, Vitamin C and Acerola Cherry to protect against free radical damage, or Beauty Boost, which contains Dermaval, a proprietary blend of extracts from nine superfoods.
  3. Stay active: Exercise tones more than your muscles. It boosts circulation of oxygen-rich blood needed to help your skin look brighter and healthier.
  4. Bust stress: Stress is a proven primary factor in aging. It can dry out your skin, making it more sensitive and prone to wrinkling. Regular exercise is a great stress-buster, as are meditation;, adequate sleep (aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly), and – believe it or not – laughter. A great laugh boosts heart rate, stimulates blood circulation, and aids muscle reaction.

Reviving aging skin requires a multi-factorial approach and a commitment to health and well-being.  It is a commitment you won’t regret as the golden years approach.

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Posted in Aging, Skincare