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What I learned in India - the culture and local beauty issues

Traveling on a third class train from New Delhi to Agra is something even my friends who live in India don't do.   I went to India because I needed to get away and what I got was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

What I saw in Delhi, Agra, Mumbai and in between was both inspiring and gut wrenching. It's been two months since I returned and I'm still thinking about what I learned.  I try to incorporate a different way of thinking as I am still in awe as to how the Hindus look at the world; and am strategizing on how I can tie my business to my love for this amazing culture.

To see the Taj Mahal was breathtaking - but experiencing this culture was beyond words. One of the tenets of Hinduism is to do no harm, and as I learned this includes not just physical but mental and emotional.  One of the worst 'crimes' is to break someones heart.  I spent a week listening and learning.  I learned more in one week than I have in the past three years combined.  To have conversations that don't contrast but rather compare the similarities between Hinduism and Catholicism was incredible and then to talk about why Mahatma Gandhi was so important.  When I asked if he was like Martin Luther King, I was told it was more than that - his impact had attributes that were similar to Abraham Lincoln, MLK and JFK.

When I toured Mumbai I wanted to see what the beauty routines were and I went to a number of department stores to see what options people had and to observe what they bought.  First, I was somewhat surprised with what little options they have for beauty and cosmetics.  Second, like the Far East, I found many believe having lighter skin is more desirable so there were a number of whiteners/lighteners.

Read more: The 3 Worst Reasons Not to Wear Sunscreen

However, when speaking to women who live there one of the main concerns is pollution and the effects on the skin.  In some cities, there is so much smog it is even tough to breath, this is from both automobile pollution as well as the burning of biomass (cow dung).  It was so bad in Delhi that my eyes burned and I couldn't wear my contacts.

Pollution that stays on your skin is problematic for many reasons:

1) it increases oxidation of the sebum which causes pimples, allergies and rashes;

2) the air generally lacks moisture which causes dehydration;

3) the lack of oxygen in your skin makes it look dull and sagging which leads to premature aging;

4) it increases the free radicals and effects of UV radiation, and

5) it decreases collagen and elastin production which results in wrinkles.

I asked Bill (our scientist) to take a preliminary look at the relationship between pollution/the environment and the skin.

Bill's conclusion was the prevention of the sun's UVA and UVB radiation by sunscreen is a proven effect.  As far as pollution, there are concerns about the free radical effects and there is data involving human subjects to support some evidence that antioxidants can work.  The Scalisi formulation does have properties that prevents UVB and UVA as well as anti-oxidants.

Read more: Birchbox asks Scalisi Skincare for Top Sun Protection Tips

I will definitely be exploring this further,  it may have been the women of India who pointed this out - but the effects of pollution effect everyone.  If one of the tenets of the Scalisi line is to make taking care of your skin fast and simple - we might as well try and see if we can help take care of counteracting the effects of pollution.

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