Archive for the ‘Skin’ Category

Adios Adult Acne

May 3, 2011

I, unfortunately, am one of those women who has to suffer with adult acne.  It’s not enough that zits plagued my teen years, nope, I continue to endur the plague (I know it’s not, but it might as well be) into my 30s.  If you’re like me, then you’ve tried everything in the name of clear skin.  Here’s something new that’s been working for me.

Try switching up your skincare regime to include one product with salicylic acid and a second with benzoyl peroxide.  Doctors have recommended the two separately forever, but new research finds that when used together, two are definitely better than one.  The trick is to use the salicylic acid product first and then follow it up with the benzoyl peroxide.  Apparently, the first opens up pores which allows the second, which treats breakouts, to penetrate.

Seriously, what have you got to lose?

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Afternoon D-lite

July 29, 2010

Being summer and all, I’m sure you’re lathering on the sunscreen everytime you know you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time outside.   But the fact is, while that sunscreen is helping to preven skin cancer it’s also blocking our bodies from getting the amount of Vitamin D it needs.

Just how essential is Vitamin D?  Almost every tissue in your body (we’re talking skin, heart, brain, muscles and immune system) has receptors for it.  And a lack of Vitamin D affects bone growth and can lead to a loss in bone density, not to mention there are new studies that suggest it results in an elevated risk of certain cancers, heart disease and high blood pressure and various auto-immune disorders.

More and more people suffer from a lack of Vitamin D and a lot of it has to do with how well we protect ourselves from the sun.  That’s because our main source of it comes from the sun’s ultra-violet B rays.  Vitamin D can also be absorbed through food sources (like fortified milk and orange juice), but you’d have to consume massive amounts to get the amount the body needs.  There are also supplements you can take, but they can be dangerous because if you take too much, your body is unable to get rid of it.

So the best way to make sure you’re getting Vitamin D is to spend some unprotected time in the sun during these hot summer months.  In fact, one doctor tells the New York Times that if we get enough summer sun exposure, our bodies should be able to produce enough Vitamin D to get through the entire year! 

Now, I’m not condoning spending an entire day at the beach without sunscreen.  That would just be stupid.  Here’s what that same doctor mentioned above recommends:  wear minimal clothing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. two or three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes.  That means no sunscreen, except on your face, where you should always wear it.

So the next time someone tells you you should always wear sunscreen, don’t feel guilty and then share the info you just learned!

Sweat Fest

June 4, 2010

When I workout, I sweat…a lot (especially during the summer).  So I was pleased when I stumbled across an article that proclaimed fit people sweat more than the regular population.  At first I thought, “Finally, an answer!”  But then I realized this couldn’t possibly be true.  I mean, people carrying around more than a few extra pounds must sweat more than I do, right?  Turns out the answer to both questions is yes.

Sweat. Prespire. Glisten.

Let me explain.

Overweight and obese people do sweat more than most because the extra fat on their bodies acts as an insulator.  That means their bodies have to work harder to cool down, i.e. they sweat more and more often.

Fit people also sweat a lot and they’re likely to break a sweat first.  That’s because they’ve trained their bodies to operate more efficiently at higher temperatures.  Once they start heating up, they automatically start to regulate their body temps so that they can keep running and biking without missing a beat.  And it makes sense that the longer you workout, the more you’re going to sweat.

There are, of course, other factors that play into how much a person sweats besides activity level and weight.  There’s age, sex, genes, outdoor temperatures and humidity levels.

In all cases, while it may not be pretty, sweat is essential.  It’s how our body cools down.  Consider this: our brains malfunction if our internal temperatures go up a mere six degrees (to 110 degrees).

And here’s something else you should know.  If your clothes smell like ammonia after a sweat fest, it could mean you’re ingesting too much protein and not enough carbs.  That smell is the amino acids in the protein breaking down.  Solving the problem is as easy as working in some simple carbs (whole grains or fruit) into your diet.

How to know when it’s time to reapply sunscreen

June 3, 2010

Using sunscreen is a seemingly simple idea. 

The UVSunSense Wristband

You slather it on before heading out and then reapply when needed.  But what if it’s hot and you’re sweating.  How soon do you need to reapply?  Are you safe after spending some time in the water if you’re wearing waterproof sunscreen?  What about if it’s a cloudy day…does your sunscreen last longer since you aren’t being exposed to as many direct rays?  Not so simple anymore, is it?

Enter the sunscreen wristband.

Created by a nuclear physicist, the UVSunSense wristband claims to detect and measure the strength of dangerous UV rays and changes color to let you know when it’s time to reapply suntan lotion.

Here’s how it works.  You apply sunscreen to yourself and the bracelet (SPF 15 or higher).  It’ll turn bright purple as soon as you expose it to sunlight.  Wear it while you’re out in the sun and when it turns light pink, it means it’s time for another round of sunscreen. 

But beware if the bracelet turns a pale yellow.  That color is an indicator that you’ve reached your maximum daily limit of UV radiation and should spend the rest of the day in the shade.

You can purchase the bracelets at Amazon.com as well as Kmart, Costco and Walgreens.

If it does work the way it says it does, I think the funky bracelet tan line is a decent tradeoff for preventing skin cancer.

Don’t get burned by suntan lotions: list of the best

May 26, 2010

Cruise down the suntan lotion aisle at your local drugstore/pharmacy and the options are sure to overwhelm you.  But if you’re wondering which to take along on your inaugural summer trip to the beach this weekend, look no farther!

The Coppertone girl. She didn't make the list.

Consumer Reports recently tested 12 popular sprays and lotions and found 4 that provide the best protection.  Oddly enough, they’re all sprays.  They are: Up&Up Sport Continuous (Target), Walgreens Sport Continuous, Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous and Aveeno Continuous Protection.

The winning sun protectors were ranked on how well they protect against UVA and UVB rays, water resistance and price.

And like any survey, there are, of course, the worsts.  They are: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40, Avon Skin-So-Soft and Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free.

See the entire list from Consumer Reports here.

Vinegar Redux

April 8, 2010

So back in February I wrote about the supposed wonders of vinegar, especially the apple cider variety.  A couple of the home remedies I mentioned included drinking a tablespoon of it before meals and mixing it with water to make a toner to clear up acne.  I tried both.  Here’s what I found.

The pounds didn’t drop after a few weeks of drinking a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with water or vegetable juice.  Like I said earlier, I think the method is just another way to make you feel fuller before sitting down to a meal.  If this trick works for you, then great!  If not, you’re stuck sucking down vinegar everyday with no results.

I experienced much better results with the vinegar facial toner.  I use a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts green tea once a day (usually before bed).  My skin has cleared up dramatically.  Combined with a non-soap cleanser and an over-the-counter acne med to tame flare-ups, I’ve finally gotten the acne under control.  (It’s about time, I’m waay past being a teenager!)

I’ve also got a recipe for a great exfoliating mask that I use once a week that combines the powers of green tea, apple cider vinegar and honey…another miracle product hiding in your pantry.  But more about that later.

Facing Spring

March 11, 2010

With the end of winter in sight, it’s time to put your best face foward for spring.  Here’s a great all natural mask, that you can make at home, that will leave your skin smooth, hydrated and it might just help get rid of those pesky pimples.

What You’ll Need:

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (DON’T use any other kind!!)

2 tsp green tea (brew and let cool)

5 tsp sugar + an additional 2 tsp sugar

1 tsp honey

Mix the vinegar, tea and first 5 tsp of sugar together in a bowl.  Stir in honey until it’s paste-like.  Add the additional 2 tsp sugar.  Mixture should be very thick.  Using a cotton pad, smear the mask on your face and then use your fingertips to massage it in, about 2-5 minutes.  Rinse with warm water and follow up with your regular skin regimine.  The leftover mask can be stored in the fridge up to two weeks.

The Health Miracle in Your Pantry

February 2, 2010

This past weekend, I was browsing the web looking for home remedies to treat a cat with an irritated stomach.  One suggestion I happened across suggested diluted apple cider vinegar.  But the more I read, the more I was astonished to find this pantry item can supposedly be used to cure a wide variety of ills. 

The website I found suggested mixing 3 parts vinegar to four parts water to use as an astringent to fight acne.  Another, claimed that mixing one tablespoon of vinegar with a full glass of water and then drinking twice daily before meals would promote weightloss.  (I’m not convinced it’s the vinegar, but the water taking up space in your stomach.)  And yet another remedy said applying a water/vinegar solution to a bump would stave off a bruise.  (So that’s why my grandmother always poured vinegar my head when I bumped it!)

Now, I don’t claim any of these rememdies actually work, but they might be worth a try if you’ve exhausted all other (and likely more expensive options.)  Check them out for yourself here.

The cat, by the way, is feeling much better.