The Whole View, Episode 491:  Skin Care FAQ Part 2

Welcome to episode 491 of The Whole View! This week, Stacy and Dr. Sarah break down their safer skin care FAQ, what to look for when shopping, and share their personal recommendations. 

If you enjoy the show, please review it on iTunes!

The Whole View, Episode 491:  Skin Care FAQ Part 2

Welcome to episode 491!

Skin Care FAQ: Shopping on a Budget

I want to switch to non-toxic personal care, but it’s out of my budget. Do you have any recommendations? (2:00)

Stacy recommends switching to things with the highest impact first:

  1. Scan everything you own and use with EWG skindeep app, so you know what is rated the highest/worst
  2. Replace the most dangerous (EWG red) with the highest impact first: 1) sprays and powders you breathe in 2) what you use most often on the largest parts of your body. 
  3. When you’re at a store, choose unscented versions – they are almost always cleaner for the same price.

She personally does 1:1 consults to help people work within their budget and find deals and products even if it’s not shopping with her. 

In fact, Stacy created a “natural or not” Target Clean Product Guide perfect to find affordable, accessible options.


Skin Care FAQ: Cleansing Oil vs. Cleansing Balm

What’s the difference between a cleansing oil and a cleansing balm? (8:00)

Anyone with dry skin is going to love a cleansing oil. It’s also fantastic at removing makeup since oil breaks down even the most stubborn eye makeup! 

The one Stacy uses she applies to her skin dry, massage in, and then add water. Most will “soap” or “milk” up at this point, allowing you to use it as a true face wash. 

The added benefit of a Cleansing Oil is that it supports your skin’s moisture barrier, which needs lipids. Plus, anti-aging benefits! After seeing the results, people get from this is Stacy’s most recommended product.

Stacy recommends a cleansing balm for people looking for a multi-purpose skincare item. It also can act like a petroleum jelly product and overnight hydrating mask. 

Balms have the texture of coconut oil in the winter; only they ideally don’t leave your skin greasy after applying. Proper balms will use jojoba or other skin-friendly oils to melt in. 

They also remove makeup wonderfully, but you’ll need to use an exfoliating wet microfiber cloth to remove it from the skin since there’s no true cleanser in the balm itself. However, the one we use has additional skin benefits.

Washes & Cleansers

Wash / Bar / or Foaming wash – will be a product that bubbles up. This is where you’ll find ingredients we want to avoid, surfactants like SLS and sulfates.  

You can find a wash without those ingredients, but they are often found here, so be on the lookout. Most people identify the feeling of “washing” their face with this product, but it’s good to try others!

Cleanser may sometimes refer to the same thing as wash, but usually is more of a thicker consistency, a lotion-like soap that would work that same way. 

Stacy finds these to be the least effective as there aren’t the benefits of lipids from a cleansing oil or balm. There are no bubbles to clean pores and no exfoliation. 

If you have very sensitive skin, you may prefer a cleanser, but a cleansing oil would provide more skin benefits.

Exfoliating Washes

Exfoliating wash is great for those with skin issues, especially acne and large or clogged pores, thick or dry, flaky skin, or something like KP on the body. 

An exfoliating wash helps move the irritant and grime from the surface so that products can better absorb. 

For those with sensitive or dry skin irritation, a “double wash” is recommended to first move the dry flaking skin out of pores and then get the benefits of cleansing oil. 

You do NOT want an abrasive exfoliant! Your skin doesn’t need to be hurting or feel stripped dry after use to be “clean.” If it does, you’ve likely damaged the pH or skin barrier in some way – not good!

Stacy recommends:

Beautycounter currently has a set of 4 “try them” face washes in a small set where you could experiment with them all to see what works for you,

Stacy uses the Charcoal Facial Bar in the shower and double wash with first the Cleansing Oil to remove makeup if I’m wearing it, then the Clear Pore Cleanser (an exfoliator).  

Friendly reminder: don’t forget to Tone, Treat, and Protect after!!

Skin Care FAQ: Nutrients & Digestion

I am trying to take better care of my skin and keep coming across phytic acid. I know from following Sarah that phytic acid can reduce the absorption of good nutrients. Should I be concerned when I put it on my face?? – Julie (17:25)

Because studies show Phytic acid is well-tolerated and effective for addressing hyperpigmentation and increasing overall skin luminosity, it’s often included in skincare.

Phytic acid is a unique natural substance found in plant seeds, and when referenced as having a potential anti-nutrient effect, it’s specific to digestion. 

There are very few products we apply topically for absorption (topical Vitamin C and Magnesium). We also synthesize Vitamin D through our skin, but we aren’t putting skincare with nutrient-dense skin foods on topically. 

To be absorbed through the skin it needs to pass through seven cell layers of the epidermis before entering the dermis. There, it enters the bloodstream or lymph and circulates to other body areas. Then our lymphatic system and kidneys detoxify anything unnecessary, which may pass through 7 layers of the epidermis. 

This is where contaminants become a potential toxin (phytic acid is not and is safe for topical use (green in EWG)). The goal with good skincare is to support the skin barrier so that it is not absorbing. Stacy and Dr. Sarah talked more about that in Ep 431: Troubleshooting Dry Winter Skin.

Phytic Acid in Digestion

Phytic aside has received attention due to how it impacts mineral absorption. Its impacts on iron, zinc, and calcium absorption could promote mineral deficiencies (Source), so it’s often called an “anti-nutrient.”

In addition, phytates limit the activity of digestive enzymes, meaning phytates can be as devastating to the gut barrier and gut microbiota by increasing gut permeability and feeding bacterial overgrowth.

It’s important to emphasize that excessive dietary phytate and phytic acid are the problems.


Skin Care FAQ: Aging & Menopause

What’s the best thing for aging and menopause? (34:40)

Check out the menopause show!

Stacy and Dr. Sarah also gave a lot of detail about lifestyle factors and nutrients you can focus on for skin health in our first Skincare FAQ show.

As we age, our sex hormones are reduced. Estrogen is sometimes called “the beauty hormone” because it is known to have a protective and favorable influence on skin health. 

Estrogen peaks in our mid-late twenties and then decline by half by age 50. It dramatically decreases even further after menopause. 

This completely not peer-reviewed study looked at 59 women aged 18 to 25 over 6 weeks, measuring their urine, and found that the ones deemed “most attractive” by societal standards had higher estrogen in their urine. 

This is why so many anti-aging skincare brands use ingredients to disrupt hormones and topically increase estrogen, which can cause many issues if not done under medical supervision. 

So, what can we use safely instead?

  • First, know that aging is natural! 
  • Enjoy self-care with quality, non-toxic, safer skincare that enhance how you feel about yourself
  • Skin health is influenced by collagen synthesis, aided by vitamin C. Check out the All Bright C Serum!
  • Hydraluronic acid can combat the natural dehydration of skin from reduced estrogen
  • Stacy’s 3rd favorite anti-aging ingredient is RetiNatural Complex, a natural alternative to Retinol. 

Skin Care FAQ: SPF

I’m sensitive to SPF, what can I do to protect my skin? (49:50)

Try a mineral-only brand. Most store bought “mineral products” also include a chemical filter. If it’s clear, or even light white when you put it on, it’s likely using a chemical filter to achieve that. And most people are allergic to chemical filters!

Look under all ingredients, not just “active ingredients” they may want your eye to find. Even if it says “physical sunscreen” or “mineral-based,” they can add chemical filters. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If it’s the mineral sunscreen, try to narrow down which one. For example, titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are two different ingredients. See if you can find an SPF with just one and troubleshoot a reaction. 

Listen to our safe sun shows! Stacy and Dr. Sarah did some great science on those, including from an aging perspective, why the sun is good for you, and what blue light does to your health.

Check out Stacy’s recent blog post on safer sunscreen!

Beautycounter’s is the ONLY sunscreen Stacy knows of that tests every batch for contaminants and heavy metals, is completely chemical-filter-free, yet goes on sheer without a white cast. She wears Dew Skin every day, and the boys all wear Countersun Sheer Defense daily.

Skin Care FAQ: Fragrance

Why is fragrance such a big deal? (55:20)

If it’s so bad, why is allowed? That’s exactly the point! Stacy talks more about the details of all the pending legislation. Still, ultimately nothing has been done, and companies continue to sell potentially toxic products with no oversight under the fragrance loophole.

This PubMed article addresses exposures and effects from fragrance.

peer-reviewed study in 2013 found that chemical emissions from residential dryer vents during the use of fragranced laundry caused air pollution.

Even Poison Control says Air Fresheners release Volatile Organic Compounds

Famously a CA school tested a bottle of Febreeze in 2009, and 89 airborne contaminants weren’t disclosed on the label.

So Stacy says NO fragrance EVER because you have NO idea what else you’re getting with it.

The only personal care law was updated last in 1938. We’ve had approximately a bajillion chemicals introduced since then, almost ALL of which haven’t been tested for safety before hitting your body.

Stacy and Dr. Sarah talk more about this in Ep 395: Personal Care Toxins.

Skin Care FAQ: Does Non-Toxic Fragrance Exist

I need help finding non-toxic things that smell good! (1:02:40)

Henry Rose perfume is EWG certified.

Rocky Mountain has hand sanitizer and bath bombs we love!

For cleaning products, add essential oils or get orange-based natural scent products.

Native is a part of this podcast because they make products that smell good and are safe.

Skin Care FAQ: Hair Care

What hair products do you use? (1:06:35)

Stacy uses Vegamour Shampoo & Conditioner, clarifying serum, dry shampoo, and Rahua detangling conditioner. Check here for more information!

Dr. Sarah uses Morrocco Methods International. She alternates between their shampoo and conditioner bars, and their originals. Her faves are Pine Shale, Sea Essence, and the Pearl Cleanser. She also uses their Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel.

Skin Care FAQ: Pregnancy Safe

Is [insert skincare item] safe for pregnancy? (1:13:40)

Ask a doctor/dermatologist/OBGYN! No company is testing on pregnant people, so the best thing to do is see how they’re researching and testing finished products against human health in general.

Check if the brand tests for safety. Stacy looks for heavy metals, hormone disruption, and contaminants. If they’re not testing and deferring to a supplier, that’s a red flag. was Stacy’s go-to when I was looking for safety info on pregnancy/breastfeeding.

EWG anything that’s not green!

Join Us On Patron

Hop over to to hear what Stacy and Dr. Sarah REALLY think and support this podcast. (1:17:00)

It allows Stacy and Dr. Sarah to continue to create the content ourselves. Thank you to all our Patreons who joined the newly launched Tier: The Whole Shebang: Allison Zeigler, August, Leslie Johnston, Olivia Luk, Sherry, Tessa, and Trevor.

In addition to the uncensored weekly follow-on show, where they share how they really feel about each week’s episode (this bonus audio is only available here). 

Stacy and Dr. Sarah will be doing a live Q&A where you can “Ask Us Anything,” an exclusive full-length ad-free video episode (on a topic that won’t be covered here), and that tier can access to vote on upcoming show topics. 

Whether you pledge $1 via a virtual high-five, want just the weekly follow-on show, or join for the whole $10 Shebang, we are very grateful for your support!

Final Thoughts

And as a reminder, if you’re feeling compelled to make a change, Stacy would love to help you! Reach out to her, and she’ll help you figure it out based on personal needs and budget. E-mail or shop to support your own well-being and the mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. 

Stacy is excited to head back to DC this year and advocate for us all!  

We invite you to subscribe to this channel and the and blogs and newsletters.

Thanks so much for listened and we will see you next week!

Want more info on our Real Life? Healthy recipes, parenting tips, and general lifestyle stuff goes out in our Real Everything newsletter, join here.

Never want to miss a post, sale, or deal? Join my Healthy Inside & Out e-mail list for more info on non-toxic living and safer skincare!


You Might Also Like