The Number One Cause of Skin Aging?

The sun. Whether it’s taking a stroll to the supermarket or a day out at the beach, our skin is constantly in contact with sun rays. That rosy glow is highly sought after by people all around the world, however, science warns us about the dangers of excessive exposure of sun on skin.

High-energy Ultraviolet rays (UV rays) are a form of ionizing radiation, meaning energy is powerful enough to remove an electron from an atom. This can damage the genome of cells, cause DNA to mutate, and cancer to develop. In simple terms, long term exposure under the sun can cause wrinkles and lines, contributing to the number one cause of skin aging and in the worst case scenario, skin cancer. 

What is UV and how does it harm us?

Sunlight consists of an array of rays in the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. A portion of rays emitted from the sun falls under the ultraviolet region, hence the short form, UV.

  •  Ultraviolet A (UVA, 320-400nm) has a longer wavelength and is more associated with skin aging and skin cancer.
  •   Ultraviolet B (UVB, 290-320nm) has a shorter wavelength and is more associated with sun burns in addition to skin aging and skin cancer.
  •   Ultraviolet C (UVC, 200-290nm) is the dangerous of all UV but generally filtered out by the ozone layer so it doesn’t have much of an effect.[5] It is therefore vital to ensure the sustainability of the ozone layer and to avoid using chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that could damage it.

It is important to note that you are not safe from UV rays on cloudy days! As long as there is visible light from the sun, UV rays remain as an invisible hazard. 

Fun fact:

  • UVA is able to penetrate almost anything that isn’t opaque.
  • Usually the shorter the wavelength, the higher the ionizing potential, and therefore the more dangerous it is.
  • UV rays from the sun consist of ~95% UVA and ~5% UVB, which significantly amplifies the detrimental effects of UVA over other UV types.

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 Due to the increase in global warming, UV rays are more prone, now than ever, to damaging our skin. To protect yourself against the sun’s harmful UV rays, it is important to put on some sunscreen… or carry an umbrella.

 The Albedo effect 

Why does it feel so hot? We’ve all felt the heat when wearing a black shirt during summer. It is commonly understood that white objects tend to reflect light while black objects tend to absorb light. Places like Los Angeles and California have utilized the principles of this effect and resorted to painting their roads white using CoolSeal “to reduce urban heat island effect”.[6]

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Nowadays, there is a larger wave of awareness and conversation regarding the dangers of solar radiation. Clothing choices and skin products have a large impact on how much radiation affects our skin.

Everything You Need to Know about Sunscreen

What’s SPF?

We’ve all seen the plethora of brightly colored sunscreen products lined up against supermarket shelves. But what do those numbers mean?

The number is a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating commonly seen on sunscreen which tells you the duration you can stay in the sun by wearing that sunscreen relative to the duration you can stay in the sun without that sunscreen.

For example, if you were to get a sunburn after 10mins without sunscreen, wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30, that means you can stay 30x longer or 300mins (5hrs) before getting a sunburn.

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The SPF rating doesn’t indicate the “superior-ness” of a sunscreen, but just the duration you can go before reapplication. It is important that one should generally reapply sunscreen after every 1-2hrs and especially after sweating and swimming. UVA is the primary cause of skin aging, so it’s crucial to ensure proper protection against the Sun.

Different Types of Sunscreen

There are two major types of sunscreens – physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.[8]

Physical Sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are also sometimes called mineral sunscreens derived from compounds which occur naturally in nature:

  1. titanium dioxide (TiO2)
  2. zinc oxide (ZnO)

Fun fact, the natural white color of both these compounds give the white sheen we see on our skin after applying sunscreen. Physical sunscreens are generally classed as more “organic” and “natural” and may be more suitable to those with sensitive skin. It works like a mirror that reflects and scatters the sun’s rays.

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Don’t trust physical sunscreens that don’t appear white, since that means the concentration of physical sunscreen ingredients isn’t high enough to protect you from the sun.

Chemical Sunscreens

These usually work by absorbing the sun’s rays and then dissipating it away as heat. Chemical sunscreens may be more suitable for athletes and swimmers as physical sunscreens would quickly be washed off by sweat or water.

 An unfortunate side-effect of absorbing the sun’s rays is the possible formation of radicals and unwanted by-products. Recent studies have shown that they have an adverse effect on marine biology which is significant enough for some regions to ban certain ingredients:

Common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens include:

Vitamin D

However, the sun is not all bad as its rays are actually the main source of Vitamin D for us. Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.

Furthermore, some sunlight, especially UVB, is required for the body to synthesize Vitamin D from cholecalciferol. Particularly in places where sunlight is limited, Vitamin D supplements should be taken to prevent Vitamin D deficiency that could result in rickets or osteoporosis.

Here’s some selections of Vitamin D supplements:

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Contrary to the ongoing trend of taking supplements, our advice is not to take them unless you actually have a deficiency, or when advised by a medical professional. Excessive consumption of water-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin C, B) will only lead to very expensive urine as it is easily flushed out of the body. Excessive consumption of fat-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin A, D, E, K) is more likely to lead to more harm than good as our bodies store fat-soluble substances more easily.

 1Source Final Notes

1Source is here to break down cosmetic myths and provide 100% transparency on the products you find on supermarket shelves. Our experts aim to debunk myths, marketing hypes and trends to educate the public such that you can make the best decisions for the health and safety of you and your loved ones. If you have skin issues, do consult your doctor or dermatologist as they have the authority to recommend a suitable sunscreen based on your medical history and/ or skin conditions to prevent them from worsening. In the issue of protecting our skin from the sun, it is best to use opaque, physical sun blockers like clothes, umbrellas, UV-shades.

Written by Cybel Lihn, edited by Heather Ng

Here’s a reference of sunscreens for babies and young children:

Here’s the reference for teens and adult: 

[1] Induction of bystander effects by UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation in human fibroblasts and the implication of reactive oxygen species. (Free Radic. Biol. Med., 68, 278–287. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.021)


[3] Sea Ice-Albedo Climate Feedback Mechanism. (J. Clim., 8(2), 240–247. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<0240:siacfm>;2)

[4] Sunscreens. (Am. J. Clin. Dermatol., 3(3), 185–191. doi:10.2165/00128071-200203030-00005)

[5] Induction of bystander effects by UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation in human fibroblasts and the implication of reactive oxygen species. (Free Radic. Biol. Med., 68, 278–287. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.12.021)


[7] Sea Ice-Albedo Climate Feedback Mechanism. (J. Clim., 8(2), 240–247. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<0240:siacfm>;2)

[8] Sunscreens. (Am. J. Clin. Dermatol., 3(3), 185–191. doi:10.2165/00128071-200203030-00005)

Aveeno vs CeraVe vs Cetaphil

There are three giants in the eczema industry that dominate the moisturizing lotion industry; Aveeno, Cerave and Cetaphil. All are highly regarded in the eczema communities and each has shown considerable results of recovery/containment of users’ sensitive skin. Though which one stands out? Which one has the edge over the others?

All basic skin care routines need a reliable moisturizer to enhance skin condition. How do we choose the right product for us? Most of the time, it comes from word of mouth or recommendations from previous users of the product. Do consumers actually know what is in these products? What are the ingredients to have and avoid?

There are many questions to ask of. Those in need of moisturizing lotions, like me, tend to research online looking for recommendations, but we do not actually pay attention to the ingredients and research behind a product. In most cases I have read online, they have had a negative reaction to a particular ingredient that they weren’t aware of. How can we become more knowledgeable in choosing the right product?


Let us have a look at how Aveeno, Cerave and Cetaphil stack against each other in terms of ingredient safety. I have chosen products that are similar in description, usage and their targeted audience. I have personally used these products before with mixed results.




Benzyl Alchol

They all have a similar Potential Risk Index scores and similar ingredients. However from the findings, each product has a different ingredient that is defined as ‘used sparingly’which has been highlighted in the table. For those with sensitive skin, this could be crucial in deciding what product is best for them. 1Source records recent findings and outlines the potential health concerns of the ingredient. It can be noted if that the product doesn’t work for a user, it may be related to the potential harmful ingredient that has been highlighted.

IngredientSafety & HazardsPotential Health Concerns
Chlorhexidine Digluconate (Aveeno)1113
Phenoxyethanol (CeraVe)4 1
Benzy Alcohol (Cetaphil)55

From our research we can see that Phenoxyethanol has the least amount of concerns when it comes to possible hazards and health concerns. The other two ingredients have considerable amount of concerns that need to be regarded. For example, Chlorhexidine Digluconate may cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled (H334). Benzy Alcohol can be harmful in contact with skin (H312).

Personal Reaction

I have used each of these products at some point in my life and had different results with each of them. To summarize, Cetaphil made my skin worse while Aveeno and Cerave did well in the beginning.

Others may not get the same reaction and result as I did; it is all trial and error. To fully understand the effects of the product, one should simply just test the product out for a certain period of time and record the results. Consulting a dermatologist is highly advisable to get a better insight. I wrote an article regarding other products I used throughout my life that I highly recommend visiting.

Are these the best products on the market? Everyone has a different success story with eczema. There is no specific cure and there is no product on the market that can guarantee exceptional results for all. You can use 1Source to view similar products but with safer ingredients. Simply type in your desired product and skin condition into our search engine. Here is an alternative product with a better Potential Risk Index rating.

We highly recommend trying out our platform to get a better understanding of the ingredients in a product. The more knowledgeable you become the better choices you make.

Are Insect Repellents Safe?

As the days get hotter and temperatures rising, mosquitoes are on the rise. The volume of mosquitoes increases and reaches its peak during the hot summer months. Sunlight is harmful to sensitive skin, but what about insect repellents? Insect repellents are known for causing skin rashes and irritation, but do we actually know why? What are the ingredients in these products that are causing such effects?


One of the most popular repellents in the United States is DEET (Diethyltoluamide), which is used by millions worldwide. DEET acts as a barrier between the skin and bugs once applied onto the skin. It doesn’t actually kill the bugs; instead it interferes with their receptors that attract them to humans. There are many safety hazards regarding DEET that can be found on our platform. The most notable regulatory reference we have is that it is an ingredient that is prohibited for use in cosmetic products in Canada.

Off! Insect Repellent

Deep Woods Off! Insect Repllent


An alternative to DEET is Picardidin which is derived from peppers. The repellent is safer for sensitive skin and it can last just as long as DEET. Picaridin has been reported to be less irritating than DEET and is considered to be safer for long term use for adults. It is only available in lower concentrations in the United States but is widely available in Europe and Australia. It is considered to be the first choice of repellent by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Advisory Committee for travelers six months to 12 years of age.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

Oil of lemon eucalyptus has shown to be the most effective of all plant-based repellents according to research. The oil has a beneficial active ingredient called para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD). A 2016 review of the ingredient shows that the active ingredient PMD may have comparable activity and duration to DEET while offering better protection against ticks. However the ingredient can still cause an allergic reaction to skin, so it must be trialed before applying in larger doses.

Recommended Products

So what insect repellent should you choose? 1Source has 59 different products in the system and ranks them in terms of ingredient safety rather than effectiveness. The brand ‘All Terrain’ ranks the best in our system. To view the results, click here.

All Terrain Natural Insect Repellent
All Terrain Natural Insect Repellent for Kids

Stay safe this summer. The more knowledgeable you are, the better choices you make.

Toxic Beauty

How much beauty products do women use per day? Do they know what is in these products and what is the beneficial ingredient?

There are many different types of beauty products in the market and the average woman uses around 12 different products every single day. How credible are these products and are they safe for long term usage? Just because they are on a shelf in a recognized store doesn’t mean that they are safe.

Hair Dye Controversy

We need to inform ourselves on the ingredients in products and what effects it has. A study by the International Journal of Cancer found a link between hair dye and cancer in December 2019. Women in the study who used permanent hair dye at least once in the 12-month period leading up to the study had a 9% higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who didn’t use hair dye at all. The results were more severe for African American women, as they had a 45% higher risk compared with women who did not use hair dye.

The study enrolled more than 50,000 women who were healthy but were sisters of women with breast cancer. Out of all the women studied, how many know what ingredients and chemicals are in the product and what is their effect on the body. This is where can help.

We provide a service to instantly review a product’s ingredients and chemicals. With our extensive research, we can highlight the ingredients functions and recent findings. Our aim is to resolve the pain of not understanding product ingredients and their effects on our health.

It is not easy to change or stop using a certain product. We all have our favorites with a satisfactory outcome. With hair dye for example, it is not easy to let the natural color of grey to come out. For skincare products, some don’t want to have the appearance of wrinkles. We should be embracing our changes rather than trying to mask them with toxins.

How can we reduce our toxic chemical exposure?

  • Find a safer alternative. We can provide you the information to choose a product with less potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals. For example, alternative hair products.

  • Do your research. Find out what ingredients and chemicals you don’t react well. You can use our platform to read our references and researches to educate yourself.

  • Don’t believe everything on the product. Companies haven’t taken great strides in making their products safer legitimately. Don’t assume that the changes they made were for the better.

  • Try more natural recipes. Using natural recipes will develop your understanding of the makings of a product. However, do not assume natural always mean safer, educate yourself before trying out any recipes.

Credit: Harvard Health

Benefits of Homemade Soap

Nowadays bottled body washes and shampoos are so common and obtainable, but are they really good for your skin? How much do you know about their ingredients? Are their ingredients visible to the end users?

I have had skin problems since I was young and am very allergic to fragrance, alcohol and parabans. Some of which have already been proven to cause dermatitis. My face in particular is very sensitive. It will have rash outbreaks and skin would peel whenever the weather is changing or ‘wrong’ products are used.

I have been trying various products over the years and finally made me realize that the products I applied onto my face are not being transparent with their ingredients to the public. I wondered why there are so many ingredients added to cleansing products. Are they actually good for my skin? To clear the doubt, I decided to attend soap making classes to make my own soaps. This gave me knowledge on using simple ingredients to make soaps with the least amount of chemicals added on.

Homemade Soap

A soap can be made from water, oil and Sodium Hydroxide. The formula is that simple. No preservatives, no SLS, no artificial fragrance and no extra chemicals. I started using my own handmade soaps since then, and introduced it to my husband, my family and friends, who also have long-term skin problems. My skin is more sustained from outbreaks, but poor air quality and heat can still affect me from time to time.

The ingredients I paid attention to:

Products which I avoid using on my face:

Homemade Breast Milk Soap

I even made my own soap for my baby girl, who had serious rashes over her entire body during her 2nd month of birth. Steroid creams were applied with immediate effect but it did not cure the rashes for the long term.

Since breastfeeding, I stocked up some milk for my soaps. The essential nutrients found in breast milk can not only help our baby’s growth but can also nourish our baby’s skin. My girl started using breast milk soap since and has had no severe skin problems since then.

Here is an interesting article on how to make your own homemade breast milk soap and more information regarding the benefits of using it:

I am grateful that what I learnt can benefit my loved ones. My aim is raise awareness and promote breast milk soap to the breastfeeding mothers whose babies also have encountered skin problem.


#homemade #soap #skincare #eczema #dermatitis