Why I Won't Be Spotlighting BCA Beauty Products

Shannon Smyth
breast_cancerFor months now I have been receiving pitches from beauty brands and PR firms far and wide about which beauty products will be donating some or all of their proceeds to breast cancer charities. Most beauty magazines and beauty blogs have already started posting about them. And sure last year I went to Estee Lauder's office in Manhattan for the BCRF kickoff (and it was a great experience.) And I was a part of Total Beauty's "Total Beauty Total Cure" last year as well. Here locally, I've even organized vendor fairs to raise money for the American Cancer Society (and proud to have raised $3K for them. Although I have since learned they are rated F in Charity Watch.) But this year I thought to myself...if I want to support a breast cancer charity and research, why do I have to buy lipstick to do so? Many of you may be familiar with the term "pink washing" which in a sense means that there is a feeling that brands are using this disease to promote their own products. Some brands give 10% of their profits, some give 100%, but the bottom line is the publicity and brand awareness of their own products...which in a sense means an exploitation of a disease that is killing so many women that it is not even funny. I live in the Pocono Mountains. This area is known to be a cancer cluster. I cannot even tell you how many people I have known who have died from cancer since I moved here. So many people in my own family have battled cancer of one kind or another. This may lead you to ask why I won't spotlight beauty products with the pink ribbon if it means money going to charity. The real, true answer? Because I think you should just donate 100% of your money to the charity directly. Sure, if you are already in the market for a new shower gel or lipstick, go ahead and buy one that will be donating to the cause, but if you really and truly want to make a difference, then pop online and make a direct donation to the cancer charity of your choice who have an A rating. Then there are no worries about how much of your money is going to help a woman battling this disease because A rated charites have lower administrative costs with more of the donation going towards research and supporting local chapters. And you know what? Cancer hits any time of year. Any day, any hour, any person, regardless of religion, creed, gender, age or social class. So please don't only donate to one cancer-specific charity in October. Donate any time of the year and to whichever cancer charity has your heart. That is all. Sorry for the rant, but I felt it needed to be said. Please share your thoughts.

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My Interview With Syd Curry

Shannon Smyth
Ha-so Andrea at Glamour thought I was an inspiration? I feel like I pale in comparison to the amazing Syd Curry. Syd Curry is an amazingly talented celebrity hair stylist who amassed some pretty impressive clientel, all while being an addict. There is nothing glamorous about being an addict, no, but how Syd pulled himself together after 30 years of addiction and has now achieved 20 months of sobriety and relaunched his career without missing a beat---now THAT is inspiring. Wanting to share his story so that he can inspire others to get clean--even more so.

In an exclusive interview, he granted me access to look at his career, hitting rock bottom and how determination can never keep a good man down.

Need a pick me up? Look no further than my interview with Syd Curry.

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My Spa baby

Shannon Smyth

I just got back from my ultrasound and wanted to show you my teenie tiny spa baby. It's still a little peanut at 8 weeks 4 days. Heartbeat was strong at 175 bpm and it was wiggling around. I'm told I need to take it easy (whatever that means when you have 3 active little kids) because there is a small bleed at the placenta.

Hopefully it's nothing to worry about. We'll know in another 10 weeks if this is a little spa girl or spa boy.

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Suncare: UVA and UVB protection

Shannon Smyth
Protecting your skin from UV rays is a daily task. I know several people who have had a Melanoma and Melanoma Cancer. When caught early, it can be taken care of; however, I did have a favorite family member pass away when I was 6 years old from Melanoma Cancer. My aunt was only in her early 20's when she died. So this is not something that can happen at an older age--but at any time in life. What's the difference between UVA and UVB and how do they affect our skin? #suncare #skincare #skincancer #melanoma So let's talk about what we can do to protect our skin from the sun's damaging rays. First, what are UVA and UVB rays and where and how do they affect us?

How UVA Affects Us:

Can pass through window glass. Is not affected by a change in altitude or weather. Is present all day and every day of the year. Penetrates deep into skin layers. Is 5% of the sun's rays. Is 20 times more abundant than UVB rays. Affects long-term skin damage.

How UVB Affects Us:

Cannot pass through window glass. Causes sunburn. Causes tanning. Helps the body with normal vitamin D production. Varies with the season. It is more intense in the summer than in the winter. Varies with weather conditions. Is more intense at midday than in the morning or late afternoon. Is more intense at high altitudes and near the equator. Is protected against by the SPF in sunscreens. Is related to more than 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer. SPF (sunscreen protection factor) is your key to protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The SPF # is what predicts how long your skin can be in the sun with a low risk of burning or damaging your skin. SPF 30 is best, while the higher SPF only provide minimally more protection. While water resistant sunscreens help maintain sunscreen on your skin through perspiring and water activity, it is only for a few hours and it is best to reapply sunscreen every two hours regardless. Should you get a sunburn, you will feel the effects within 2-6 hours of the burn. In more severe cases, sun poisoning can occur. I have had sun poisioning in the past, and it is not fun! While we're discussing using sunscreen in the spring and summer months, it is incredibly important to wear it year round. UVA and UVB rays are ever-present regardless of season. The intensity may vary, but you are still at risk for sun damage to your skin. As you age, dark spots will begin to emerge showing sun damage from years ago. I can certainly see the age spots on my face, but it is even more disturbing when I have my skin looked at under UV light when getting a facial and see just how extensive the damage is. Check out our post on sunscreens that won't detroy the coral reefs which includes our favorite sun protection products. If you're not convinced you need to always wear sunscreen, check out our Q&A with a Melanoma survivor. How do you protect your skin from the sun year round? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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