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Andreana Bitsis

Kate Eckman On Her Skincare Line, Health, and How Sun Awareness Changed Her Life

Like many people, I grew up loving the sun, the beach, and being outdoors. I craved that feeling of being warmed by the sun and having it bronze my fair skin. As a teen, I never thought basking in the sun and tanning my skin could be so destructive, so when I was younger, it was all about just being tan. For me, that meant not always wearing sunscreen– little did I know how stupid I was being.

There is a very unsexy side of sunbathing and tanning beds. And I can tell you firsthand that not caring for your skin is a big mistake. I hope that you can learn from my lesson rather than go through it yourself.

My countless hours in the sun, many of which were unprotected, caught up with me eventually. What’s crazy, too, is that I didn’t even realize it at first. I had this dry, red, scaly patch on my forehead. Even though the spot had been developing for years, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was just from touching my face or adjusting my hair. I kept it hidden under makeup and would just go about my day. Then, one year when I was home over Thanksgiving with my family and wearing no makeup, my brother– a physician– said, “What is that on your forehead?”

I remember him examining me like doctors do, and then he said very seriously, “I think you have skin cancer.” With a bit of attitude I said, “I don’t have skin cancer!”

I then went to my dermatologist the following week to find out for sure. They took a biopsy, and sure enough, I had skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma). I couldn’t believe it. I thought that only happened to people who were much older than me, and I definitely was not prepared to have my head sliced open and cancer taken out of my face.

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Andreana Bitsis

A week later, my dermatologist, Dr. Jaffe, performed Mohs surgery to remove the cancer. My forehead was cut open and an incision about the size of a quarter was made to remove the tumor. My doctor told me that it was imperative that I had it taken care of right away.

Dr. Jaffe said that the jury is out on whether my skin cancer was due to sun exposure at a young age, a burn, or just chronic sun exposure over a number of years that made me predisposed. He performs about 10 Mohs surgeries a day and told me that this specialized treatment offers the highest cure rate, but only if detected and treated early. His patients are normally in their mid-60s. I was 28.

The good news is that skin cancer is preventable and curable when caught early. Of course, we all want to be outside and enjoying ourselves, but you have to be smart about the exposure you get. So, let me be your lesson: Don’t wait until you have skin cancer before you protect yourself and wear sunblock. Do it now!

I don’t like the scar on my forehead for vanity reasons and because I get my picture taken and appear on TV for a living. Sometimes, photographers ask me if I got into an accident and bumped my head because I have so much scar tissue in the area where I had surgery. Other people tell me they can’t even see it. On the flip side, my scar represents what I went through and definitely keeps me in check. Every day when I look in the mirror, it’s a reminder to put on my sunscreen.

I don’t want to scare people. I want to inspire them. Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing in the sun and limiting your exposure to the sun isn’t scary. It’s smart. It’s responsible. I wasn’t smart or responsible in the sun growing up. I hope others can learn from my mistakes and be inspired to protect their skin, make regular appointments with their doctors, and stay healthy.

Even if just one person benefits from reading my story, it makes my headaches from nerve damage during surgery and my scar worth it. I wish I could have read a story like this when I was a teenager; it probably would have hit home a lot harder than just my mother saying, “Wear your sunscreen.”

To help prevent skin cancer, take the following precautions:

  • Wear chemical-free sunblock containing zinc and titanium every day.
  • Wear a hat and protective clothing.
  • Avoid being outside during peak sun hours.
  • Seek shade if possible.
  • Get an annual skin check by a dermatologist.
  • Remember not to be afraid to go to the doctor if you notice something changing on your skin or that a mole has grown or changed in color. The sooner you see a doctor, the less likely it will be bad news.

 

I realized the hard way how important it is to not only protect our skin, but also nourish it from the inside out. I’ve tried nearly every skin care product on the market, from drug store to high-brow brands. I discovered essential oils for skin care several years ago, and was amazed how luminous they made my skin look and feel. I love that every drop I apply to my face is all-natural with no harmful, chemical ingredients. I also love that essential oils have helped reverse the signs of aging and sun damage on my skin.

I have spent years researching, experimenting and creating my own face serums to address not only my own personal beauty needs, but the needs of everyone who wants a healthy, radiant complexion using all-natural ingredients.

Each of my pure oil blends is perfect for anyone who desires ultra-hydrated, ageless skin and a glowing, luminous complexion. I’m so happy to be able to offer luxurious anti-aging face oils made from a unique proprietary blend of 100% pure, rich, therapeutic-grade essential oils derived from flowers and botanicals. (When you use them your skin will look and feel nourished from the inside out!) These multitasking miracle workers address a myriad of skin concerns, while their beautiful aromas have been proven to calm and soothe your mind and spirit.

Through careful research and personal trial-and-error, below is a detailed explanation of why I chose these stand-out essential oils to use in my hand-crafted beauty blends. This is beneficial information for anyone interested in DIY skincare and leading a healthier life:

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Rose Oil

Used for skin care for thousands of years and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, rose essential oil is perfect for moisturizing dry or aging skin. It also has antiseptic and astringent properties to help treat acne-prone skin, as well as anti-inflammatory properties to soothe redness and inflammation. Rose oil can also help refine skin texture, regulating skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Rose oil vapor has also shown the ability to protect against oxidative stress, which is associated with depression. In a study among postpartum women, rose oil demonstrated its strength and effectiveness as a safe, all-natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatment. So, a little rose oil on the face not only improves your complexion, but also your mood and overall mental well-being. (Fun fact: it takes tens of thousands of rose blossoms to yield one ounce of rose essential oil. That makes it one of the most expensive essential oils, but because it is super concentrated, just one drop goes a long way.)

Neroli Oil

Neroli oil, also known as Orange Blossom oil, is great for oily, sensitive, and mature skin. It helps to smooth fine lines and tone sagging skin. This rejuvenating oil contains a natural chemical called citral, which helps regenerate cells and improve skin elasticity. This powerfully healing oil helps prevent and smooth stretch marks, scar tissue, acne and broken capillaries. Its antiseptic properties also balance oil production and shrink the appearance of pores without drying skin.

Jasmine Oil

Known as the “King of Oils,” jasmine essential oil is traditionally used to restore skin. Relaxing, uplifting and exotic, jasmine increases skin’s elasticity and helps balance moisture in the skin to naturally reduce dryness. Its natural antibacterial properties protect and aid skin’s immunity. Jasmine essential oil also heals blemishes and scars, and is fantastic for toning all skin types.

Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang’s rich, floral fragrance smells so good I want to eat it! Ylang Ylang helps control oil production and minimize breakouts. It also helps regenerate skin cells, smoothing fine lines and improving skin elasticity. An excellent essential oil for every skin type.

Bergamot Oil

The oil from the peel of the bergamot fruit can help remedy a myriad of difficult skin conditions from acne to dark spots, hyper pigmentation and eczema. Bergamot is a natural antibiotic and disinfectant, and helps control excess oil production in the skin. It is also an antiseptic, which encourages wound healing and skin regeneration. If you have old acne scars, eczema, psoriasis, or even cold sores, this oil can help the skin heal faster. Bergamot can help prevent new scars and fade old ones by regulating the distribution of skin’s natural pigment—melanin—while balancing skin tone. It’s enlivening citrus scent also helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Who is the ‘Ultimate Beauty Elixir’ for?

Everyone and anyone (Yes, men, too!) who wants healthy, beautiful, luminous skin. Applied morning and evening, my essential oil beauty blends are instantly absorbed to nourish and hydrate skin, leaving it toned and radiant without feeling greasy. Vital vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids help revive a lackluster complexion, increase elasticity, boost resilience, heal blemishes and rebalance the skin’s natural hydration system. Skin is protected from free radical damage and uplifted by vibrant, healing aromas of pure oils.

Process

My 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil blends are hand-crafted with purpose and passion, and enhanced by the power of Reiki intention that I consciously put into them, as I am a certified Reiki Master. Each bottle is carefully and personally blended with love and care by yours truly. In order to maintain our high standards, I oversee every aspect of the manufacturing process at my home facility in Edgewater, NJ. Our precious, exotic oils are tested to ensure they are not adulterated, and the actual blending area is treated as a sacred space.

Ingredients

100% pure, rich, therapeutic-grade essential oils derived from flowers and botanicals to nourish and soothe your skin from the inside out. That’s it, no chemicals, preservatives or anything else goes into our skin care. The following all natural carrier oils are used to blend with our 100% pure essential oils: Pure Coconut Oil, Pure Sesame Seed Oil, Pure Grape Seed Oil, Pure Sweet Almond Oil, Pure Wheat Germ Oil, Pure Sunflower Seed Oil, and Pure Olive Fruit Oil.

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