The Organic Esthetician Blog

Environmental Medicine Week 2021

This past week I had the pleasure of participating in @dr.bryant and @drcorinadunlap Environmental Medicine Week 2021 over on Instagram. Environmental medicine is a new field of practice and research dedicated to a worldwide, comprehensive, and translational study of the effects of the environment on humans. Throughout the week, I created multiple posts speaking to the effects of our environment on our skin. As an esthetician, I focused on how our environment specifically affects the skin and how through our skin it can have effects on the body. I thought it would be fun to combine and expand on my four posts here.


Skincare & Our Environment

Since Environmental Medicine is the study of people and their environment, I thought we could start with how SKINCARE can affect the environment, by focusing on one category of skincare ingredients in particular: Fluorocarbons.


Fluorocarbons, a chemical where carbon is bound to fluorine, are potent greenhouse gasses that can form toxic compounds that accumulate in the environment.

In skin care, you’ll see these listed as Perfluorodecalin, Perfluoromethyl-cyclopentane, or other derivatives. As a skincare ingredient, they have a moisturizing effect, promote healing, and are known to increase the flow of oxygen to the skin. They often create a bubbling/foaming effect when applied topically and can be found in products promoting skin oxygenation, such as:

@biologique_recherche_usa Masque VIP O2

Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Glycerin, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Perfluorodecalin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Titanium Dioxide, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Chlorella Sorokiniana Extract, Rhizobian Gum, Saccharide Isomerate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glyceryl Stearate, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl Palmitate, Ceteareth-20, Sorbitan Isostearate, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, C14-22 Alcohols, Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, Poloxamer 188, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Citrate.

@sculplla H2 Caviplla Premier Caviar & O2 Multi Serum

Water, Methyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether, Glycerin, Caviar Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Decyl Glucoside, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Poly-L-Lactic Acid, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Plantago Asiatica Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Leaf/Stem Extract, Crataegus Oxycantha Fruit Extract, Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, Copper Tripeptide-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dextrin, Beta Glucan, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Boswellia Serrata Extract, Ginsenosides, Allantoin, Betaine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Adenosine, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sodium Polyacrylate, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/Vinyl-Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Peg-100 Stearate, Carbomer, Dimethicone, Tromethamine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Fragrance

@circcell ABO +|- SERUM

Water, Glycerin, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Dimethicone, Perfluorohexane, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene, Propanediol, Perfluorodecalin, Pullulan, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Nannochlorophloropsis Octulata Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Propyl Gallate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Tocopherol, Sea Salt Extract


Aqua/Water/Eau, Isobutane, Propane, Perfluorohexane, Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene, Dimethicone, Perfluorodecalin, Propanediol, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Tropaeolum Majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Adenosine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Stearic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Isododecane, Sodium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Linalool.

@glamglow BUBBLESHEET™ Oxygenating Deep Cleanse Mask

Water, Glycerin, Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Retinyl Palmitate, Allantoin, Arginine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ceramide Np, Sodium Pca, Sodium Chloride, Saccharide Isomerate, Polyquaternium-10, Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate, Potassium Cocoate, Hexylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Limonene, Citral, Sodium Citrate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol .

Also, can we all agree that propane should never be a skincare ingredient? Huh hem Kate Sommerville.

I’ve been known to do a lot of crazy things in the name of skincare. The results of this ingredient and its unique ability to carry more than 49% of its volume in pure oxygen are pretty amazing, but is it worth the cost to our planet? I’m going to have to say that’s a hard pass.


Aside from professional oxygen treatments or oxygenating at-home facial devices like high frequency and PEF, there are a handful of ways to increase your skin’s oxygenation without harming the environment.


Get outside and go for a hike to get your blood moving. Exercise is the easiest way to increase the health of your skin and your body. Another option is to try incorporating massage into your skincare routine. Exercise and facial massage both increase blood flow to your skin, known as vasodilation, which is rich with oxygen and nutrients that are crucial for keeping your skin healthy.


Greens, like Chlorophyll or Spirulina, are amazingly oxygenating both internally & topically. For an easy DIY Mask mix your favorite greens powder, mine is Anima Mundi Herbals Liver Vitality, with a little water & honey for an energizing mask that will leave your skin glowing and the environment unharmed. For more DIY face mask recipes, make sure to check out this post.



I spend a lot of time, here and on my YouTube channel, talking about how to combat the effects of aging. While a lot of my focus is on using fun facial gadgets topically and decreasing inflammation internally, one of the biggest age-inducing stressor is your environment.

Pollution is all around us and, unfortunately, in us. Tiny microparticles of pollution can be absorbed through the skin where it’s then absorbed into the bloodstream and redistributed throughout the body.

When combined with sunlight, pollution can double the damage of UV exposure. 

In Addition, these microparticles create inflammation and a host of other reactions in the skin, like:

  • Increases pigmentation and age spots

  • Reduce vitamin C and vitamin E levels in the skin. 

  • Breakdown collagen and elastin, creating fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Create an imbalance in the skin’s lipid barrier (increased lips peroxidation) leading to inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and exasperating existing conditions. 

So we can all agree, pollution and UV exposure is BAD. Here are some things you can do about it:

  • Limit your exposure, pay attention to your cities AQI (air quality index number which can be found in your Weather app on your iPhone), and skip hanging out outside when it’s unsafe. 

  • Get an air filter for indoor spaces. Those microparticles sneak inside too and a quality air filter can be really effective at ridding your home of them. I love mine so much, I made a video 😉

  • Double Cleanse every night! That first cleanse, with an oil-based cleanser, removes all the gunk from the surface of your skin allowing your regular cleanser the ability to deep clean your skin. 

  • Incorporate antioxidants into your routine, internally and topically. This category of ingredients fight against the damage caused by your environment. 

  • Wear sunscreen every day! No if’s and’s or buts about it! Physical SPF creates a barrier on your skin’s surface shielding you from not only UV exposure but, with the right formulation (check out Solara Suncare ) from pollution too. 


So far, we’ve talked about how certain skincare ingredients can harm the environment (hello oxygenating products) and how the environment (pollution and UV exposure) can harm our skin, but the ingredients in skincare can affect our bodies too. 

At this point, I think we’re all aware that certain skincare ingredients popular in mainstream products can be harmful. Maybe you’re not familiar with their exact names, but you know they exist. They used to be called, The Dirty Dozen. Unfortunately, as consumers became more familiar with these 12 ingredients, companies became sneakier with their formulations using derivatives and equally dirty alternatives in their place. 

Beauty Heroes, an eCommerce site dedicated to clean and organic personal care that also offers monthly subscription boxes (I just started getting them again and don’t know how I ever stopped?), created a really fantastic Pocket Guide that I highly recommend everyone checkout. They included it in January’s box and have a downloadable version on their site.

I could write a book on this subject, and others have, but instead, I want to focus on one category of these ingredients: Endocrine Disrupters.

Endocrine Disrupters

Your Endocrine System makes you the unique individual that you are. By overseeing the glands that make and secrete hormones, your endocrine system is responsible for how you sleep, how much you weigh, when you’re hungry, how you respond to stress, your sex drive, and your ability to procreate, just to name a few. 

Endocrine Disrupters are ingredients that when applied topically are absorbed into the body and interfere with this integral system. They change how and when hormones are secreted, changing the very thing that makes you YOU and can lead to something as simple as a breakout or abnormal period, to something as serious as cancer.


  • Parabens - this group of ingredients mimics estrogen which can lead to cell division and tumor growth

  • BPA - Bisphenol-A or BPA is a chemical that can leach from plastic packaging into the product it contains. BPA Is a xenoestrogen, a hormone-mimicking chemical.

  • Phthalates - often found in synthetic fragrance, phthalates specifically affect male reproduction by decreasing sperm count, and increasing testicular cell destruction and thyroid irregularities.

  • Pesticides - Specifically, neurotoxic organophosphate, which attacks the human nervous system. This isn’t an ingredient as much as it is ON ingredients. Another reason why opting for organic is so important. 

  • Chemical Sunscreens - Why they still exist is beyond me! I made a whole video & blog post on this topic. Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, and Homosalate all are endocrine disrupters. While Octocrylene is not, I’m mentioning it here because it is known to damage DNA and increases photosensitivity (so let’s all skip that one too). 


  • Exercise, diet, and sleep all play a big role in this. 

  • Shop BPA and Paraben free products.

  • Opt for organic whenever possible, from produce to personal care. 

  • Use physical SPF only. That’s Zinc and Titanium Dioxide. 

  • Skip products with “fragrance.” 

  • Work with a naturopathic doctor. Dr. Bryant helped me get back on track when I was feeling “off” and has a wealth of information on the subject. 



At this point, we’ve covered a handful of topics that might have left you a little bummed when thinking about the long-term health of not only your skin but your body too.  So we’ll finish this post light and focus on how you can easily combat environmental stressors through the addition of a few ingredients called antioxidants. 

Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body. Free radicals grab electrons from healthy pairs turning them into more free radicals and in doing so, have the ability to damage DNA, accelerating the aging process. 

Antioxidants come in a lot of different forms but I thought I’d highlight some of my favorites:

Vitamin C - In addition to its antioxidant functions, vitamin C regulates the synthesis of the structural protein collagen. It can also brighten the skin, protect against transepidermal water loss and UV damage. 

CoQ10 - this fat-soluble powerhouse increases the cellular energy need to perform all cellular functions, it increases wound healing, decreases fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to fighting free radicals. 

Astaxanthin - A marine-based antioxidant and the most powerful carotenoid, 5x more potent than beta-carotene and 6,000x more potent than Vitamin C. Most carotenoids can actually have a negative effect in super high concentrations, becoming pro-oxidants, but Astaxanthin does not.

Niacinamide - a precursor of important cofactors that serve as reduction-oxidation (redox) coenzymes in more than 40 cellular biochemical reactions, niacinamide is a wonder ingredient that does everything from fight breakouts (more effectively than prescription medications) to lock in skin moisture (better than Vaseline). 

Some of my current favorite antioxidant skincare products and their key actives:

@ayastouch Highly Natural Vitamin C Serum - vitamin C, vitamin E, adaptogenic herbs

Biophile bio-shroom rejuvenating serum - niacinamide

Fit Glow Beauty Night Essence - bakuchiol (vitamin A) + niacinamide

Maysama Green Rooibos Pressed Serum - green Rooibos, niacinamide, vitamin E

Solara Suncare Juice Boost - Vitamin C, CoQ10

RMS Beauty Beauty Oils - Buriti Oil (vitamin A), Kakadu Plum Oil (vitamin C)

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  This post does contain some affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you in advance for your support!

While I am a licensed esthetician, I am not a doctor. This site does not provide medical advice and is for information purposes only. Always consult with your physician if you have an existing medical condition or feel unsure about adding in a new product or modality.