Meet Vanessa, Indonesia’s JUARA Ambassador – Metta Murdaya


Meet Vanessa, who has been a JUARA fan and advocate in Indonesia and loves spreading the word. When I was just in Indonesia this last month, I took a few minutes with her to share why people across the world like it, especially from where our line is inspired from. Different cultures, different climates, different seasons – but it looks like we all have some things in common, ladies!

If you are or have friends who are from a different country, what skincare products or treatments do you/they like? Do share, we love learning new things!

PS – We have a FREE SHIPPING on ALL ORDERS Special this Memorial Day Weekend. Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, 2010. Happy Shopping at JUARA!

Sun protection for babies: Need-to-know’s for new mothers – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

We all know that babies have sensitive skin.  As a new mother to a 4-month-old, I make sure I don’t get anything harsh, chemical or overly perfumed near my daughter’s skin.  In fact, my motto so far has been “less is more”.  Now that the sun is getting stronger and temperatures are rising, I slather sunscreen on my own face and body daily, but realized after a recent stroll with my daughter that I didn’t really know much about how to protect my baby skin from the sun.  Here are the most important need-to-know’s:

1)      Keep babies out of the sun whenever possible

Babies have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin (the body’s own defense against the UV rays) and therefore have to be kept out of the sun whenever possible, especially during peak times 10 AM to 4 PM.  This is even more imperative since babies should not use sunscreen before they are 6 months old.  Plus babies can’t regulate their body temperature the way adults can and can overheat much more easily and quickly – one more reason to keep them out of the sun.

2)      Use protective clothing and umbrellas

Look for clothing and hats with a built-in UPF of 30 or more.  A light, white cotton T-shirt is not enough to shield baby’s skin adequately from UV-rays.  Thicker fabric is more protective, but you also want to make sure that your baby won’t overheat under thick clothing.

3)      Sunscreen before 6 months

Sunscreen, especially chemical sunscreen is a big no-no for babies under 6 months.  However, if there is no way to stay out of the sun, sunscreen can be applied in small doses at 3-4 months, but it has to be baby-appropriate sunscreen (read below).  For example, your baby is mostly covered by clothing and stroller canopy, but the feet are still exposed.  In that case, it makes sense to apply a sunscreen to the exposed areas, as long you also keep an eye out for any skin irritation.  Avoid putting on too much sunscreen on the hands.  Babies will inevitably put their hands in their mouth and rub their eyes. 

4)      Choose the right sunscreen

Sunscreens that are safe for toddlers may not be safe yet for infants.  Look for sunscreens that rely solely on non-chemical sunscreens like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, and if you are not sure, speak to your pediatrician, dermatologist or pharmacist.  Chemical sunscreens may not only irritate baby’s delicate skin, they are also absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.  This is a problem for babies, since they have so much surface area, i.e. skin, relative to their body mass.  So relative to their weight, babies can absorb a lot more chemicals through their skin than adults can.  I consulted with my pharmacist in Germany to pick the right formula for my 4-month-old daughter.  Initially I was interested in La Roche Posay’s Anthelios  Dermo-Pediatrics SPF50+ but was advised against it.  Even though good for sensitive skin, Mexoryl (which is the sunscreen agent in all Anthelios products), is a chemical sunscreen and therefore not appropriate for baby skin.  My pharmacist recommended Eau Thermale Avene’s Sunscreen SPF50 instead, which literally looks like pure zinc paste on my daughter’s skin.  Another popular sunscreen for babies is “Blue Lizard Australian Sunscream Baby, SPF 30”.

5)      The Vitamin D connection

We all need some sun for the body to make Vitamin D for strong bones and for our immune system, but do babies get enough Vitamin D if they are kept out of the sun?  New research shows that infants that are exclusively breast-fed may not get enough Vitamin D.  This does not mean that you should expose your baby to the sun – the risks outweigh the benefits by far.  But rather, it is recommended to give baby a Vitamin D supplement of 400 I.U.  My pediatrician prescribed Enfamil’s Tri-Vi-Sol Drops with Vitamins A, C & D.  This should be continued until baby is able to drink at least 32 oz of Vitamin-D fortified infant formula per day.  Formula-fed babies seem to get adequate amounts through the fortified formula.

My question to my fellow moms:  Which baby sunscreen product and other sun protective items do you recommend?

UV Index and Your Skin – Jill Sung

Thanks, EPA! Click on me to read this monster table

We love our skin and we want to protect it, but what’s all this stuff about UV radiation, sun protection, SPF, UVA, UVB? So many words and abbreviations, so little time. Last time, we discussed UV radiation very briefly, and then skin type and why it is important to know your type. Okay, you say, I know my Fitzpatrick skin type, what do I do now? Remember that UV radiation’s effect on your skin depends not just on your skin type, but also on the amount of sun exposure you recently received and you will receive.

How Much UV is Really Out There?

The UV Index is a nifty number created by the EPA and National Weather Service that is calculated daily (1 day prior) which indicates the strength of solar UV radiation that reaches the Earth through the protective ozone layer on a scale of 1 (low) to 11+ (very high). And conveniently, you can find your location on a map or enter your zip code/city and state to get the UV index for your location. I just checked for New York (it’s cloudy and muggy today), and our it’s a UV Index of 6/High.  So there’s one jewel of information – EVEN CLOUDY DAYS HAVE LOTS OF UV!

Tips for Skin Health related to UV Index

  • Check the UV Index daily: links to downloadable apps and facebook or bookmark the website link for UV index
  • UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m (long shadow- less exposure; short shadow/mid-day – more exposure)
  • Water, Snow and Sand (sometimes even clouds)  reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn – sometimes doubling your UV radiation exposure!
  • High elevations = more UV exposure

So add this to your list of good habits! And let me know what other helpful tips you know or do to check and deal with your daily sun exposure. Next time…what to wear! My favorite…

Mother’s Day Contest Winner!

We at JUARA would like to offer a big congratulations to Donna Kraft and her mother Jewell Blanken for winning the JUARA Mother’s Day contest! We had customers fill out a survey to tell why their mothers are the best. We got a ton of beautiful stories–there are some incredible mothers out there! Donna’s mom was one of our very favorite entries to the contest, and we wanted to share it with you today. Check out what she has to say about her mother!

Donna Kraft with her mother Jewell Blanken

I have the greatest MOM in the world. I am the youngest of 4 daughters. So needless to say we have definitely kept her busy over the years. She just turned 72 in March, and doesnt let anything get in her way. My father just passed away in November 2009 and my oldest sister 1 year prior, in October 2008. Winning this would be a nice little pick me up for her.

My mom is always taking care of other people. She very rarely treats herself. She was the sole caregiver for my dad for many years while he was sick. This allowed him to stay at home and be with his family until the very end. She was always thinking about what would be best for him.

Donna, Jewell and their entire family

Donna, Jewell and their entire family

About 4 years ago she went through a surgery for a double knee replacement. Even this couldnt keep her down. She was up and going as soon as possible.

She still mows her own 1 acre yard, keeps a large garden and takes care of ALL of us. She still has me and my two older sisters, 6 grand children, and 3 great-grand children.

She is a wonderful woman and deserves the best!

Donna and her mother have each received a $50 gift certificate redeemable at the JUARA Online Boutique. Thanks to everybody for participating, and we hope you all had a fantastic Mother’s Day!

How did you celebrate this year?

Sun Protection: What NOT to rely on and why – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

One way to protec your skin from the sun…

We all know by now:  Sun can be dangerous to the health of our skin.  Sun exposure is the #1 culprit for premature aging and skin cancer.  While the days of sprawling your baby-oiled body in the mid-day sun are over, there are still many misconceptions about sun protection and about what works and what doesn’t.  Here are my top 5 of what you should not rely on for protection:

1) Clouds & Shades

Clouds and shades will not adequately protect you from the sun.  UV rays penetrate through even thicker clouds and reach our skin.  Your skin may not feel as hot on a cloudy day, but the rays are still damaging to the skin.  Sitting in the shade is better than sitting in the sun, but may only provide an SPF15, due to UV-rays reflecting off of surrounding surfaces (water, sand, buildings) and reaching our skin.

2) SPF

SPF only indicates the level of protection from UVB-rays.  We now know that UVA-rays are just as damaging to the skin.  The beauty and healthcare industry has yet to come up with a standardized system to rate UVA-protection in cosmetics.  Until then, look for key words like “broad-spectrum protection” and active ingredients like Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Ecamsule (Mexoryl), Bemotrizinol (Tinosorb S) and Bisoctrizole (Tinosorb M).

3) Clothing

While putting on a T-shirt is definitely far better than not having any protection, keep in mind that a simple white T-shirt only holds a sun protection factor equivalent to SPF6!  The darker and thicker the fabric, the higher the protection.  Alternatively, look for special sun protection clothing with an UPF (usually goes up to UPF50).  You can also buy a special laundry-aid like Sun Guard, which will wash an UPF30 into your garments.

4) Make-up with sun protection

With growing awareness about sun protection, makeup companies have been quick to add sun screen into their foundations and powders.  The problem is that most people will never apply enough foundation or powder to achieve the indicated protection level, because they would look like a clown.  Rather than think of makeup as the base of your protection, think of it as the icing on the cake.  Use your regular sunscreen and apply broad-spectrum makeup or powder for added protection.

5) Your body’s alarm system

Our bodies are amazing at telling us what we need.  Unfortunately, with sun exposure, your body will not sound the alarm bell as soon as your skin is being damaged.  By the time your body tells you, i.e. your skin feels hot and stingy or changes color, the damage has already been done.

What are your foolproof ways to stay protected in the sun?

Your Skin and UV Rays – Jill Sung

We’re always talking about how to protect yourself from UV damage, but never about the UV itself or why. So a brief overview! (We’ll delve deeper in days to come…so please stay tuned.)

UV Primer: What is it?

Any time the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays (invisible radiation) are able to reach the earth, there is a risk for excessive sun exposure, meaning radiation that can penetrate and change the structure of your skin cells. Exposure to UV rays appears to be THE most important environmental factor in the development of skin cancer and has also been associated with various forms of eye damage, such as cataracts .  UVA and UVB have been shown to increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

There are three types of UV rays: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC).

  • UVA: most abundant source of solar radiation at the earth’s surface, and penetrates beyond the top layer of your skin to cause damage to connective tissue
  • UVB:less abundant at the earth’s surface than UVA because a significant portion of UVB is absorbed by the ozone layer,  does not penetrate as deep into the skin as UVA does, but is still damaging
  • UVC: extremely hazardous to skin, but it is completely absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer so does not reach earth’s surface
Know Thyself : Skin Type

UV radiation’s effect on each person depends on a few factors:

  • skin type
  • time of year
  • amount of sun exposure you’ve recently received

Your skin tone and susceptibility to burning can be checked on the classification chart to the left.  (Incidentally, this chart is also used to determine how you’ll respond to facial treatments.) But why is this important?

Why Should I Know Myself?

When UV rays start penetrating your skin,  the skin’s melanocytes kick into high gear and start producing melanin (dark pigment that gives skin its color – tan or skin tone), which results in a tan. People with fair skin, however, tend to burn, because they have fewer melanocytes and produce less melanin.

Knowing your skin tone is probably most important to help you prevent SKIN CANCER.  Skin tone types I-III (in red) have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than  types IV-VI. That means you need to do more to protect yourself. But those with darker skin tones don’t get away with it that easily either, you might be able to wear a lower SPF sunscreen, but no one is immune to ultraviolet rays and the damage they cause. (according to American Cancer Society)

Ok, so that’s it for now. What’s your skin type?  Any questions before we move on to UV Index then how to protect yourself?

JUARA Mother’s Day Contest: WIN $50 FOR YOU AND YOUR MOM!

Entry deadline: Wed, May 12, 2010 – The week after Mother’s Day…

JUARA knows the important role mothers play in our lives. Tell us why your mom is the best, and you could win a $50 JUARA gift certificate for you AND your mom! Winners will be picked on the Friday AFTER Mother’s Day! (2 days after the deadline…)

Enter the contest by answering “Why My Mom is the Best Mom Ever!” at:

The winner’s answer will be posted on our website so the whole world can appreciate the special role mothers play in our lives!
Anyone can enter, so spread the word!


PS – There’s also a great Mother’s Day Special set featuring candlenut products AND a video preview of Yoshiko’s new baby girl Asami! Check that out here if you want a little sumethin’ sumthin’ special for yourself or your mother! View the set and video HERE.

Safe Travels… so you think…? -Metta Murdaya

Dengue Fever is transmitted through mosquitoes in areas of stagnant, clean pools of water in tropical areas.

You know how you hear of stories of “my friend’s friend went to India/Africa/Asia/ExoticLand and got this crazy mystery illness and [insert bodily harm/damage here]…” And at some point you think, “Well, that’s got to be an exaggeration that won’t happen to me…” till it happens to you – that unrecognizable or unbelievable disease that seemed so last century? Well, that’s what just happened to me – a victim of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. What is it? A virus transmitted from an infected mosquito that wreaks total havoc to your system.  Dengue’s bad enough, but this was the doozy kind, the complicated one where you see death rates possibly in the double digits… What I thought was a bad sunburn leading to dizziness and nausea turned out to be a much more serious condition after the Dr. said “Blood Test!” (yes, even JUARA Girl makes sunblock mistakes, knowing all the points from Yoshiko’s entry on sunblock.) What saved my proverbial a**? Catching it on the 2nd day of the fever and being rushed to the hospital to be hooked up to fluids at my mother’s insistence; had I been diagnosed a mere 2 days later, prognosis would have been much, much worse. Let’s just say we might be the JUARA Trio. So – 7 days in the hospital with IV needles up my arms, nausea, rashes, fever, and then some… and then the virus passed. In the process, I was treating a bad sunburn with Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner (oil-free, cooling hydration) daily. I was a lucky one and got discharged just today. Others who “didn’t do so well,” as my sister-in-law says, aren’t around to tell the tale. So what went wrong though? How the heck did I get it anyway, me, the supposed comfortable bi-global traveler? When your brother’s advice is “Don’t Die,” should I feel like I had overlooked something?

Let’s face it – bad things happen to good people. Or lots of things happen to good people, some of it just bad. Like overzealous UV rays that give sunburns and lower your immune system. Or mosquitoes that give you deadly viruses. Or the occasional typhoid that you get from a dirty cup (oh, that was so 2008…) Sometimes it’s really just a part of life, and so I realize the key is to KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG!!! A few interesting tips I am walking away with to be on my preventative well-being list, some mainstream, some more traditional Indonesian…

– Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and keep your electrolyte levels happy – your system functions better when hydrated. If you are in SE Asia, there are many new ‘electrolyte’ drink but a good standby that’s not a sugar bomb: Pocari Sweat; it’s like local Gatorade (but Japanese inspired.) Also, when buying bottled water, (I only saw this in China though where people were refilling used water bottles and selling as new…) make sure the seal hasn’t been broken and that your bottle of water is really, truly new/unopened.

– Use plenty of sunblock. REAPPLY FREQUENTLY. I made the mistake of going into the beach for only 2 hours with not enough sunblock in a haze of silliness, then played in the water and burned like a mad – since I was so dehydrated from wedding festivities the night before, which REALLY doesn’t help either. Bad sunburns reduce your immune system too and that is no joke. And that makes you more vulnerable to a whole other host of potential illnesses like typhoid, or cholera, or even good ol’ Montezuma’s revenge… (traveler’s diarrhea.)

– Drink red guava juice, the fleshy kind with the million seeds: Keeps your blood healthy, it’s more a traditional remedy but I’ve never drunk so much in the last 6 days, and it did help… It helped maintain energy levels from draining. On that note, eat a ton of fruit. The tropics has PLENTY of variety to keep you delightfully satiated. (Bird’s nest + ginseng is another price concoction but works wonders too.)

– Get enough sleep. Nuff said. The problem with a compromised immune system is that you don’t know it until something hits you that normally shouldn’t or wouldn’t – and when you’re traveling, there’s always so much excitement that sometimes our adrenaline keeps us going longer than it should, and with jet lag for many, the first few days are filled with a haze of odd sleep hours.

– Wear mosquito repellent if you think there are ANY mosquitoes around. Malaria is prevalent in areas where the water is dirty, and Dengue lies where the water is clean. (Stagnant pools of water like little ponds after a rain, or an unmaintained swimming pool…) So you’re screwed wherever you are in tropical zone, really. You can give people Dengue by being sick and around mosquitoes that might bite your infected self, then transmit to your pal or child nearby… This wasn’t so much an issue in the past but lately, if you’re traveling to tropical areas, the infection count has hit near epidemic proportions so it’s worth the precaution…

So, stick with those basics when traveling in tropical land (or at least Indonesia) and you’ll probably be OK. The slightest sign of what might even be a cold, check it out – because it just might be not your common cold in ye lively parts! Good luck and happy travels!

haemorrhagic fever

haemorrhagic fever

Top 5 reasons why your sunscreen might give you a false sense of security – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

Ah… summer… we’ve been waiting for you for so long.  T’is the season to go to the beach and enjoy, until you realize one day your skin is hot, red and damaged.  With store shelves filled with masses of high-SPF sunscreen bottles and sprays, how is it that people still end up with serious sun damage year after year?  Here are the top 5 reasons why your sunscreen may give you a false sense of security:

1)   Trusting a high SPF

SPF30 is better than SPF15 but it does NOT give you double the protection.  SPF15 filters out about 93 percent of the UVB rays; SPF30 filters about 97 percent of UVB rays. Once you go above SPF30, the added protection gets even more marginal.  Some dermatologists even suggest not going above an SPF30 because the added skin-irritating chemicals of a higher SPF outweigh the benefits of the added sun protection.

2)      Trusting that SPF is the end-all be-all

SPF only protects from UVB-rays so read labels carefully.  A sunscreen that sports an impressive SPF but contains no UVA-protection in the form of Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Ecamsule (Mexoryl) will not shield your skin from the rays that age your skin, and as we now know, also cause cancer.

3)      Not using enough sunscreen

You need about a 1-ounce shot glass full of sunscreen to properly protect the skin on your body.  If you buy a 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen, the bottle should be empty after 4 applications.  So that person who pours a dime-size into their palms and rubs it all over may feel protected, but really isn’t.

4)      Not re-applying often enough

Heat and humidity in the summer make us sweat more.  All of that perspiring  makes the sunscreen on our skin less effective.  Add to that a dip in the pool or ocean and drying your skin with a towel, and you probably have hardly any sunscreen left on your skin.  Doctors recommend reapplying every 2 hours or after being in the water.

5)      When enough is enough

Once you feel the heat and stinging in your skin, you’re already well on your way to a burn.  No amount of sunscreen can stop that process.  It’s time to just get out of the sun, period.

What are your favorite and most trusted tips and tricks to protect your skin from the sun?