Category Archives: sunscreen

Simply Zinc, Every Morning, CyberDERM Sun Whips

Skincare Tips from Maddy

Maddy Showing Off Her Sun Whip.

Maddy Showing Off Her Sun Whip.

If you haven’t heard, Maddy Mackenzie is our Sun Whip ambassador, uber athlete and sprint kayaking star.  This month we hear from her on her skincare tips and more.

About Madison Mackenzie:

Age: 20

From Chelsea Quebec with the passion, ambition, and determination to one day become the fastest female sprint kayaker in the world. As a member of the Senior National Team of Canada and a Elite athlete of the Quebec Provincial Team her eyes are set on gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Q & A with CyberDERM

Q: Take us through your day to day skincare routine as an athletic on the waters.

A: In the morning I use CyberDERM’s Every Morning Sun Whip before I head out to train. After my morning training I head to the gym in the afternoon which I then go back out to the waters for a second time. Since I train twice a day outside, I would reapply a SPF with the Simply Zinc Sun Whip to ensure I’m always fully protected throughout the duration of my day.

Q: Sunscreen seems to be a huge part of your skincare regimen, why so?

A: Absolutely! I take my skin protection very seriously. Lucy, a dear friend and a previous coach for my training was diagnosed with Melanoma. After her passing away, I won the Panera Games under Lucy’s name, she is someone incredibly inspiring and will always be close to my heart. Sunscreen is something that is crucial to apply and its part of leading a healthy lifestyle which is why it is a key product in my skincare routine.

Q: If you could tell your younger self or anyone out there in your generation one thing about skincare, what would it be?

 A: That a tan isn’t that important.

Q: Your skincare Faves:

A: Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25 and Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30

Q: Your skincare Ethos:

A:  Taking care of your body and skin is part of self love and self care.




What makes our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30 great.

We always talk about how great a sunscreen is in terms of protection.  However, with the advent of BB and CC creams, consumers have thrown out the challenge to brands to make their products good for people’s skin outside of what they do against UVB/UVA.  This is not to throw shade on our Every Morning Sun Whip, which as a mother loves her children- I love equally.  However- I thought I would highlight some of the other ways that our Simply Zinc actually benefits your skin aside from its impressive protective track record.

The Benefits of Zinc Oxide

Remember that other type of Zinc Oxide that we were lovingly smeared with as tender infants?  Zinc oxide made excellent, if not glamourous, ‘butt paste’ because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.  It also a known wound healer, which is why those who are zinc deficient can have slower healing times.  We often talk about zinc helping maintain a healthy skin barrier- however, on its own it’s not occlusive.  It’s also meant to be antiseptic and regulate sebum- making it acceptable for acneic skin.  With all of this in mind- it’s quite the miracle mineral.

The Benefits of Olive Oil

We get mixed reactions when we say our Simply Zinc has extracts of olive oil as our base for the formula.  Some automatically think this means the product will be too rich for them.  Others are excited by the prospect having heard so many good things about oils for the face.  Our extract of olive oil that we source from Milan actually comes in the form of white flakes and does not look like the olive oil you would purchase in a grocery store.  Our olive oil extract is an Eco-certified product that we use as our emulsifier, meaning it allows the oily phase to mix with the water phase of the formula.  It makes for a beautiful product since it’s 100% compatible to the skin and mimics our natural lipid structure. Like zinc oxide, it also forms a breathable barrier that promotes our own natural hydration mechanism. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and stable anti-oxidant, which is why we use this same emulsifier as the base for 4 out of 7 of our current products.  Our emulsifier happens to have its own beautiful and very interactive website so don’t take our word for it- click here to read all about its magical properties.

The Benefits of Tetrapeptides
There has been a lot of fancy talk about peptides and what they can do for the skin.  It goes part and parcel with what we hear about in terms of how important protein is for the healthy functioning of our body.  It’s odd- if you Google Image search for tetrapeptides, pictures of JLo come up.  She certainly does have beautiful pinch-able skin and perhaps at some point she was a devotee of peptides.  She is a great example of what they can do for you- they are essential in the collagen and elastin fibers that are prevalent in young skin.  Our form of peptides keep those essential fibers healthy and intact.  We included it in our Simply Zinc and our H20 Hydration so that people could get a daily dose of it, truly making them anti-aging products.  The image to the right provides some pretty concrete evidence as to its efficacy.  Imagine a sunscreen that helps improve the look of wrinkles at the same time- well, you don’t have to, it exists!
As you can see, we took great care in combining the elements that went into our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30.  From every perspective, it’s a product that is working to protect and improve your skin.  
Finally, a couple tips on using it:
  1. Your skin should be cleansed and well hydrated before applying.  Zinc Oxide does tend to bind with dead skin so make sure that you have an adequate exfoliation routine in place. 
  2. Some like to apply to slightly damp skin to help spread it. If you happen to use a setting anti-oxidant spray (we love jane iredale hydration sprays), apply your first spritz now.
  3. Emulsify the product by rubbing it in your palms before applying it to the face.  
  4. The product does take a full minute to absorb into your skin.  This is related to the high concentration of zinc oxide, which is a solid and relatively large particle.  Fortunately, while you are waiting, the product is still matte and completely transparent unlike other high zinc alternatives.
  5. Apply your usual make-up after as per your usual method.  Our products pair exceptionally well with high quality mineral make-ups like jane iredale since you are simply layering another mineral on top of another.  
  6. Enjoy and use it everyday!

Best regards,

winterblues, sad, seasonal affective disorder, vitamin d, sunscreen

The Controversy about Vitamin D and sunscreen

Let’s take a look at the controversy about getting enough Vitamin D (especially this winter) while still wearing sunscreen every day.  None of us want to get a case of #SAD, so use these tips to help boost your daily intake.

First consider why vitamin D is so important:

  • It’s primary purpose is to assist parathormone and other metabolic agents in regulating and maintaining normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
  • Calcium requires vitamin D for efficient transport from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.
  • Recent research suggests that vitamin D is important in the prevention of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, several forms of cancer, and some immune-system diseases. It has now replaced Vitamin C and E as being the “wonder” vitamin, if there is one.

There are two forms of vitamin D that are important in humans:

  • Vitamin D2 : Ergocalciferol contained in plants
  • Vitamin D3 : Cholecalciferol, manufactured in the skin from exposure to UV radiation and present in certain foods.

The controversy:

Recent studies find many individuals in Canada to be deficient in vitamin D. They wear sunscreen for protection in the summer and spend the long winter months wrapped from head to toe in warm clothing. This limits the production of vitamin D from the lower UV exposure. Some recommend to spend a limited time of 10 minutes in the sun without a sunscreen from time to time. At  CyberDERM and Laserderm (our sister medical clinic) we advocate stringent sunscreen protection all year round. The risk of UV exposure far outweigh any benefits from maintaining vitamin D production by the skin:

  • Most cases of skin cancer are potentially preventable, yet across the USA non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has tripled from 1 million cases in 1987 to 3.5 million in 2009.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that melanoma rates have been increasing by 3.1% per year since 1986, despite the use of sunscreens, since most sunscreens may not protect against the longer UVA rays.
  • 3% of Canadians will develop some form of skin cancer this year.
  • In North America over $6 billion is spent removing actinic and cancerous lesions.
  • UV radiation from sun exposure causes skin cancer, and photoaging and pre-mature aging.

How much vitamin D do you really need?

We prefer that you get your Vitamin D from diet and supplements. The RDA may not be high enough for most Canadians. Most experts agree that children and adults who stay out of the sun require 1000-2000 IU daily, but you can safely take 2-4 thousand IU per day, particularly in the winter months.

What you may not know about vitamin D:

Every Morning Sun Whip, Simply Zinc Sun Whip
Got to love Vitamin D while still protecting yourself from the Sun
  • Vitamin D in the body has to be processed by the liver and the kidneys into a usable form. Whether the source is dietary or from sun exposure, once vitamin D is processed, the metabolic effect is the same. That is why dietary vitamin D works. Your body does not know whether the vitamin D being used came from sun exposure and the skin or from your diet.
  • You can get vitamin D from a variety of sources. Foods such as salmon, sardines, shiitake mushrooms, and egg yolks naturally contain vitamin D. Some foods like milk, orange juice, yogurts, and cheeses are fortified to increase their vitamin D and calcium content. Finally, there are prescription and over-the-counter vitamin D supplements that come in capsules and liquids.

Get your Vitamin D from diet and select your sunscreen wisely:

As mentioned in previous blogs, using a truly broad spectrum for sunscreen is essential. Avoid the high SPF trap where most believe that the higher – the better. For adequate sunburn protection measured by the SPF number, most need a minimum of SPF 25-30. Ensure you get truly broad-spectrum protection from even long wave UVA, most high SPF sunscreens will not protect you adequately. Current research and the findings of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) confirm that zinc and titanium-based formulations are among the safest, most effective sunscreens on the market. Zinc gives complete UVA and UVB, while titanium affords complete UVB and partial UVA protection. Clear zinc products, such as CyberDERM’s Every Morning Sun Whip, provides the complete protection in an aesthetic invisible film.


What You Can and Can’t Do Beauty-Wise in the Summer Months?

Hopefully, this summer you will get some time off to relax and enjoy yourself.  Maybe you get to go on holiday to some exotic locale, or get a little R and R in your own backyard. Either way, you may also be thinking that now is your chance to do a little beauty maintenance while you have some downtime.   You were thinking about visiting a spa or your dermatologists/doctor’s office to scratch your “I’ve-been-meaning-to-do this” off of your list.  Great! The fact is that most of us will show a little more skin in the summer than normal, so it had better be pretty! 
Our Executive Director, Sara D., sat down with Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, a dermatologist who specializes in laser medicine, about what we can and can’t do in terms of beauty procedures during these hot summer days. 
Sara D.:  Let’s start with the absolute no-no’s for the summer.  What can’t I do and why?
Dr. Laughlin: Well in terms of procedures, unfortunately a lot of laser based-ones are not a good idea because of the possibility that you may have a tan, even a mild one.  Ideally, people are being vigilant about their sunscreen use, staying in the shade and wearing hats and UV protective clothing.  But I don’t kid myself- we can’t be perfect all the time and the fact is that you might get a little bit of colour in these sun filled months.  Any hint of a tan can raise the chance of complications with procedures like hair removal or IPL photo-facials that are meant to remove brown and red tones.  Those procedures focus on either the pigment in the hair that you are looking to get rid of or the pigment in the skin in the way of freckles or some ‘age spots’.  The laser will instead pick up the melanin in the skin in the way of your tan and get too hot.  That is how people get burns from these procedures that can lead to scarring or hyperpigmentation, i.e. browning.
Sara D.: That does not sound like fun.
Dr. Laughlin: No…At our clinic, we will turn people away if we think they have a hint of a tan and are looking to do one of those procedures.  It’s not worth the risk.  Even if the hyperpigmentation is temporary, it still takes a while to fade with the right skin care products.  I also warn people if they have appointments booked in the fall but we get an extended summer to be careful.  You have to be super vigilant about your sunscreen, keep the area out of the sun as much as possible and you can use an exfoliator with something like a 5% or higher concentration of glycolic acid. 
Sara D.: So a lot of light based procedures are out, what can I do then?
Dr. Laughlin: If you are someone who would like to try or does use Botox TM or fillers, then there is no issue.  Just make sure that you go to someone credentialed.  A physician can delegate it to other staff members of theirs but they need to be available and are ultimately responsible for your care. Ask them how long they have been injecting it. Ask to see a certificate of training from the company who makes the product.  Ask to see pictures of their past work.  Ask your friends for a referral.  Just remember to that it is still a medical procedure so if you are doing it at a kiosk in the mall, I would rethink that. 
Sara D.: What about things that you might do at a spa or medi-spa?
Dr. Laughlin: You can still do most of your facials.  I am against the idea of doing extractions, summer or not, because I think the chance of scarring or damaging the pore is too high.  Feel free to go for a ‘feel-good’ facial though.
Sara D.: What about people who have melasma?  I know for them the summer must be really hard to keep their melasma from getting darker?  What should they be doing?
Dr. Laughlin: You can do a microdermabrasion or even a mild chemical peel but remember that by removing the dead most outter-part of the skin, you are taking away its ability to protect itself from the sun.  People with melasma have already developed what I call a sun-abstinent lifestyle.  Like people who have had a run in with any form of skin cancer, they know that they cannot ‘mess’ around with sun protection.  Use the highest concentration of zinc that you can, it can still be aesthetic, i.e. not Caspar the ghost white.  Wear a big hat with big sunglasses.  You will look very old-school glamorous.  I also love UV protective clothing- Sulumbra or Coolbar have some really nice looking options. 
Keep your Nails Pretty minus the Nail Infections
Sara D.: Any other final things we can think about doing, maybe things that we would not normally think of?
Dr. Laughlin: Well, these might not be the sexiest of all topics but we have some pretty good options for treating toe nail fungus or resistant warts on your hands and feet.
Sara D.: I could see people wanting that- especially as this is the time for all the mani’s and pedi’s.
Dr. Laughlin: Unfortunately, sometimes it’s those mani’s and pedi’s that can give us the nail infections.  Typically, the nail looks yellow and flakey.  It used to be that people would have to take medication that was expensive and had side effects. There is now a laser that can treat it.  The same goes for what we call recalcitrant warts, i.e. the warts that will not go away after using the home-care kits or having your doctor freeze them off.  Ask your physician if you can get a referral to see someone with the right laser to treat those issues.  You’d be surprised how many people it bothers. 

Sara D.: Fair enough, thanks for answering all of our questions.  We’ll do our best to pass along any that may come up through our reader’s posts. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer, and write in with any other questions.

All the best,



The Pop Science of Wrinkles

I’m in no way a scientist but having grown up surrounded by doctors and having a little sister who is researching a cure for brain cancer (true story and I’m so proud!)- a fair amount of technical talk is discussed at the kitchen table.   Having said that, does anyone else ever wonder how we are meant to connect all the talk of mysterious free radicals, and anti-oxidants to the signs of aging that we actually see in the mirror.  I mean really- how do those pesky little free radicals kicking around my cells give me a wrinkle? I was really happy then when I found this article that played connect the dots for me.  

So for those who would like to ‘geek’ out with me- I’m going to attempt to explain how the signs below are related to the physiological processes that age us that we often hear about.  I promise to make it the Cliff Notes version and as easy to understand as possible.
Sign of Aging
Intrinsic Processes of Aging
Wrinkles/ Laxity of Skin
Free Radicals and Anti-oxidation
Dry, rough and dull
Cell Senescence
Genes and Mutations
Thinning of Skin
Free Radicals
Image of a Free Radical through an Electron Microscope
I don’t know how many of you remember high school chemistry but think back to molecules with electrons circling protons. Now imagine this molecule is actually oxygen and some incident occurs that makes one of the electrons go rogue or invites an unwelcome electron to join their group.  This oxygen molecule becomes like a roving gang, searching for its missing member, or trying to get rid of its new buddy.  Either way, it starts attacking and damaging innocent bystanders (i.e. our other cells) that it comes into contact.  Those cells could be our own DNA molecules or essential proteins or lipids in the different layers of skin. Our cells are used to generating a certain amount of free radicals naturally and we have certain mechanisms internally for neutralizing them.  As we age or are exposed to sun and pollution, we can start creating too many free radicals for our bodies to handle.  This over production can either tell the cell to hibernate or tell it to commit cellular suicide (for lack of a better word).  Now imagine that suicidal cell was one that made up your collagen or elastin fibers.  Those fibers are like the springs in a mattress.  Old creaky springs that are slowly disintegrating make for a lumpy mattress.  Now imagine that all of those horribly mixed metaphors are happening to your face and you’ll start eating your fruits and veggies and putting on your sunscreen every day.
Cell senescence
This is another tricky concept so bear with me.   Picture your DNA as a stick of dynamite.  Our DNA tells our cells a host of things to do, including when to begin the process of splitting into another cell (the process of mitosis).  Now picture this stick of dynamite has a long fuse attached to it.  That long fuse is what we would call your telomeres.  They are these little caps on the ends of your DNA and that just like a fuse on dynamite begin to shorten down.  As time elapses, that fuse is depleted to nothing and then BOOM! Your cell, or that stick of dynamite, explodes.  Well it does not actually explode (you can imagine that would be messy) but it certainly commits that cellular suicide we mentioned.  Those cells again can be important elastin and collagen fibers, which we need for pinch-able skin.  The trick is to find ways to keep those telomeres from shortening and increasing the life span of our skin cells.  We know that women typically have longer telomeres than men (i.e. which could explain our longer life spans) and that stress can actually increase the rate of telomere shortening.  All of which indicates there are things that we can do to keep our ticking time bombs ticking a little bit longer.  If you are interested or perhaps have a kid in need of a science project, check out this video that does a far better job explaining:  –     
Genes and Mutations
The whole science of our genes and mutations is still evolving so there are lots of unknowns in this field.  Basically, genes in aging cells that deal with cellular death may start getting a little bit more boisterous at the proverbial party.  Meanwhile, the genes that regulate good things like growth or collagen synthesis or that regulate important enzymes might start to become shrinking violets.  Mutations can potentially occur through damaging UV light or free radicals that tell portions of our DNA to improperly replicate or create odd breaks in the strands.  Chaos and a host of other bad things start to happen and the party gets shutdown by the cops before things get exciting.  I don’t know what the cops are in this metaphor or what can be considered exciting but you get the idea.
Ooph…science is tiring.  All in all, these are not easy concepts to wrap your mind around.  I suppose it is good enough to understand that in general we want to stem the tide of these processes of aging and not necessarily for vanity purposes.   The recipe of prevention is pretty much what has become common sense of a health lifestyle lexicon.  Easy enough to know, not always easy to do. In any case, I may have to retire my scientific visualizations- I’ll leave them to the ‘geeks’ of the world and stick to beauty.
All the best,


Healthy glowing skin


Designer purse…diamond earrings…radiant complexion!
With 2010 behind us, we reflect upon events and happenings of the past year and we ask ourselves “what can we do better this year”?

If you have been wishing for a healthy glowing skin, then what better time than now. Anyone can attain the skin they always wanted with the correct prescribed regime. If the winter environmental stresses are getting to your skin, then why not do something about it, by taking a few minutes out of your busy lifestyle to really care for yourself.

The new year brings new things, including fashion and beauty trends that keep you looking and feeling noval and this year’s forecast calls for glittery nails, tones of golden OMG-orange glamorous lips, extra long lashes and healthy glowing complexions. This is the time to start fresh and feel confident about healthy, beautiful skin. Dull, sallow complexions, dehydrated skin and hyperpigmentation are all common complaints. Protocols designed to flood the skin with hydration, antioxidants and vitamins are recommended for all skin types and conditions to leave the skin naturally healthy and glowing. Our line of cosmeceutical skin care is designed to do just that!
A perfect remedy for the winter blues and my personal favourite, is the PM Anti-Age rejuvenation moisturizer. What you might not know about our night treatment, is that it is fully loaded with anti-oxidants. It rejuvenates and improves the cellular viability and physiological process that ages us. The finest formulation of exotic ingredients from around the world, such as; renovage, EUK 123, gorgonian sea whip and tumeric.
Tumeric has actually been a well known skin care power house and offers many benefits to the skin. Because it is natural, it is used safely in many cosmetics and skin care remedies. The use of tumeric improves overall skin health and helps to protect the skin against disease and other skin conditions. It is a natural healer for skin conditions such as eczema, acne, dry skin and psoriasis. The use of tumeric in cosmetics and skin care products helps to naturally brighten the skin, slow the appearance of aging and restore youth, keeping the skin radiant from deep within. Continued use decreases the formation of deep creases and wrinkles.
Always complimentating your night rejuvenation with the AM Hydrating whip for prevention and protection during the day is your power system and my recipe for healthy glowing skin, helping me beat the winter blues!