combat balm
Photo: Gunnar Larson
1. Operation Sand Flea
When aesthetician Sara Damelio, founder of the skincare line Skincando, named her rich, anti-inflammatory moisturizer Combat-Ready Balm, she was alluding to the battle ordinary civilians wage against dry skin and sunburn. But when the wife of a soldier asked her to send a jar to Iraq to soothe her husband's sand-flea bites, and that soldier then asked for more "magic balm," and Damelio started sending care packages to the Middle East...suddenly the name took on new meaning. Today the not-for-profit Operation Sand Flea lets customers donate the balms (at 50 percent off retail price) to servicemen and servicewomen facing the ravages of 140-degree temperatures and, yes, sand fleas. Damelio and her team pack up the products (with thank-you notes) and pay for the shipping. So far they've sent almost 3,000 jars to Iraq and Afghanistan.

2. Beauty Bus Foundation
"We're giving patients a break from being sick," says Wendy Levine, cofounder of Beauty Bus Foundation, which sends beauty pros—free of charge—to provide services for homebound patients (and their primary caregivers). Levine and her cousin Alicia Liotta started the nonprofit almost two years ago, after Levine's sister Melissa died, at 28, of a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Liotta had set up at-home beauty treatments for Melissa and was amazed at the pleasure they gave her. Beauty Bus currently serves about 150 clients in the Los Angeles area.

3. IS Cancer Care
Cancer—and its treatment—can wreak havoc on patients' skin. Innovative Skincare runs its IS Cancer Care program through Washington Cancer Institute and Revlon/UCLA Breast Center to help women regain control of their complexions. Several times a year the company holds skincare seminars at which they give patients complimentary serums and creams. Every October the company also sponsors a "spa day" at both hospitals, bringing in aestheticians to provide facials, massages, and makeup applications.

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