Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Similar to the widely popular AHA glycolic acid, lactic acid reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation while improving the skin's texture and promoting collagen production. But unlike glycolic acid, lactic acid typically doesn't cause allergic reactions or irritation.
You'll find it in: You can find lactic acid in a wide variety of skincare products today, especially because it's gentle enough for people with sensitive skin, rosacea or acne. Its ability to exfoliate puts lactic acid in many dry skin moisturizers, as it encourages the upper layer of skin cells to shed quicker, leaving the healthier cells behind. Plus it helps moisturizers prevent the skin's natural oils and water from escaping.
In addition, because lactic acid reduces the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation, it's used in many cleansers and anti-aging lotions. It's often found in acne products as well, as it's believed lactic acid reduces acne lesions if used appropriately. Alternately, too much exfoliation can cause more acne than you had to begin with, so just make sure to follow the directions on the product. To be on the safe side, start with a skincare product that contains a low concentration of AHA ingredients, only use it every other day at first and then work your way up to daily use.
Friday, October 31, 2008
*To relax, use lavender or classic vanilla.
*To rejuvenate, choose clary sage or ylang ylang.
*To energize, select a citrus scent like lemon balm or grapefruit.
*If you’re feeling under the weather, try peppermint or eucalyptus.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Turns out, they do a lot. Both are helpful in retaining moisture and thus reducing skin irritation. B vitamins are also great exfoliators, helping to clear dull skin and even out skin texture. Topical niacinamide is actually great for every skin type--it prevents pigmentation and minimizes dark spots. Those with sensitive skin will find that niacinamide helps keep irritants from harming delicate skin. Sun damage is repaired, and when used with an SPF product, niacinamide provides excellent all-around sun protection.
Although the effects of topical vitamin B aren't as intense or noticeable as other vitamins (such as vitamin A), most people notice significant improvement in the general look of their skin within four to eight weeks. People who are sensitive to other products can safely use vitamin B without worrying about uncomfortable redness or flaking. Skincare products created with vitamin B can also help to clear up blemishes--a plus if you're experiencing menopausal acne.
Many facial movements that cause wrinkling of the skin are subconscious. While concentrating, studying or even watching television, some people subconsciously draw their eyebrows together, creating a furrow between the brows. This type of frowning, which uses the Supercilii muscle, has the potential to create wrinkles or lines between the eyebrows, especially if done repetitively.
Squinting is another major culprit of frown lines with many factors causing squints. Bright sunlight, overhead office lights, or reflections off of pavement or water can all cause us to squint to protect our eyes from the glare. Also, if you have prescription glasses or contact lenses, be certain that your prescription is fresh; improperly focused lenses will not only strain your eyes, it will also cause you to squint in an effort to see!
Daily habits can lead to frown lines, as well; in particular, smoking. Often, smokers get smallish frown lines around their lips and deeper lines in the nasolabial fold due to the repetitively inhaling smoke from the cigarette. In addition, smoking releases vast quantities of free radicals in the body—guaranteed to damage both internal organs and the skin, as well as interfere with the production of collagen.
Use an anti-oxidant rich treatment in this area to help smooth and contour fine lines, as well as protect the skin from free-radical damage. Also, try patting a rich eye cream around the eye area twice a day to minimize the effects of squinting.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Over 250,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. When treated early, squamous cell carcinoma — which is mainly caused by sun exposure — may need minor surgery and has a good prognosis. But, if undiagnosed, it can actually lead to disfigurement. Interestingly, though, a recent study from Ohio State’s College of Medicine shows that black raspberry extract might actually slow the growth of this type of cancer.
The study. Researchers believe that squamous cell carcinoma may partly occur because of an inflammatory response, and black raspberries may reduce this response. To explore the role of black raspberries in squamous cell skin cancer, senior author VanBuskirk and her team exposed mice to UVB rays (which cause sunburn) three times a week for 25 weeks. Next, the mice received an application of either KY jelly containing a freeze-dried, ground-up compound of black raspberry extract or a gel without the berry powder. A third group served as a control.
Results: Mice treated with the extract actually showed a 50 percent decrease in their tumors. And these same mice, when compared with the control group, had smaller tumors. Inflammation was also reduced. These beneficial results might stem from anthacyanins — which provide black raspberries with their dark color.
Future of this research. Scientists hope that eventually, after further studies can help to strengthen this correlation, they may be able to utilize these berries to help sun-damaged skin.
With cosmetic surgery becoming a household topic, it’s spawned many a myth and rumor. Here are three common myths about "getting some work done."
1. It’s just for the rich
As the price of plastic surgery continues to drop you can get a big change with just some change from your pocketbook.
- Drop in prices: In the U.S., the average cost for breast augmentation, tummy tuck or nose reshaping is $5,000 to $8,000, according to plastic surgeon Jane Loftus, M.D., of Info Plastic Surgery.
- Financing options: Patients have a variety of payment alternatives, including installment plans from plastic surgeons and credit from finance companies.
- Medial tourism: Many Americans travel abroad in search of cheaper cosmetic surgery. According to the University of Delaware Daily, a facelift in South Africa costs $1,250 compared to $20,000 here in the U.S. Importantly, medical tourism isn’t considered safe, so consult with your doctor first.
2. It’s just for looks
Many cosmetic surgeries have little to do with enhancing one’s looks and more to do with health or achieving a normal appearance.
- Reconstructive surgery: In the last 10 years, reconstructive surgery has increased by 34 percent, writes Walter Erhardt, M.D., for the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery.
- Popular procedures: In 2005, the most common surgeries were actually reconstructive ones, including: "tumor removal, laceration repair, scar revision, hand surgery, breast reduction and maxillofacial surgery," he writes.
- Rhinoplasty: It isn’t about the perfect nose. In many instances, rhinoplasty is used to treat sleep apnea or sinus diseases.
- Patients: Reconstructive surgery helps a variety of patients: breast cancer survivors; those with birth defects, deformities and skin cancer; people who’ve lost a significant amount of weight; and patients in need of breast reduction.
3. It’s just for the ladies
While the market was once reserved for aging ladies, men now make up a significant base for plastic surgeons.
- Male stats: "Fourteen percent of Botox injections, 15 percent of all liposuction and eyelid surgeries, 20 percent of laser hair removal and 24 percent of nose jobs are carried out on men," writes Kate Grossman, M.D., medical director of About.
- Top five surgeries: For men, these include rhinoplasty, hair replacement, eyelid surgery, liposuction and breast reduction, notes Dr. Grossman, M.D.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Provide protection. It's said that the way your neck ages is about 20%genetics and 80% how you care for it. So, every time you head outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your neck and dècolletè (and all exposed areas) 20 to 30 minutes before leaving the house. Look for either a titanium dioxide & zinc oxide formula, or a sunscreen with avobenzone (a.k.a Parsol 1789), Helioplex, or Mexoryl.
Share your basic routine. If you’re treating your dècolletage differently than your face because you don’t want to waste your expensive products on such a large area, it’s time to consider the alternative (think dull, sagging, aging skin). Make your neck and dècolletè part of your morning and nightly skin care regimen by also using your cleanser, toner and moisturizer on these areas. You can also add a product specifically formulated for the neck and dècolletè areas.
Do damage control. If you're already noticing sun damage or aging skin, know that many treatment options are available. Because of their exfoliating properties, alpha hydroxy acids, particularly glycolic acid, are ideal for helping damaged skin. After exfoliating, follow with an anti-aging moisturizer that contains antioxidants.
Indulge. Look into other ways you can pamper your dècolletage. Some day spas offer special masks that target the neck and chest as well as massage therapy to help support your firm, taut and healthy skin. Also, try at-home treatments like massage oils with vitamins A or E and nourishing creams with anti-aging ingredients like retinol, beech extract or vitamin C.
Friday, October 10, 2008
So, how do we combat this? Try these tips for younger lips:
Protect and plump: Don't think your lips are somehow immune to sun exposure; they can suffer from sunburn, too. In fact, excessive exposure has been linked to lip cancer. So, shield your lips from the sun year-round by wearing a broad spectrum lip product.
Boost the good, battle the bad. Experts recommend products that contain vitamins and antioxidants, because they encourage new collagen development to keep lips full and soft. These ingredients also defend against free radicals, which damage skin cells. Look for ingredients like shea and cocoa butter, vitamin E and grapeseed oil.
Beauty lift: For an easy trick to create fuller lips, line slightly outside your natural lip with a lip pencil and color in your lips; then apply lipstick and lip gloss. The shine from the gloss reflects light and creates the illusion of fuller lips.
Peel away the lines: Particularly effective for the upper lip, chemical peels differ in type and intensity, providing women with a number of options. Light peels work on surface skincare problems, whereas deeper peels actually remove layers of skin that show damage from problems like acne, injuries, photodamage & hyperpigmentation.
Collagen and elastin are proteins found in the skin and are excellent water binders, helping to keep the skin supple and hydrated. Mainly found in the dermis, the layer of skin below the epidermis (the top layer of skin), the two work in tandem and help provide a foundation for the skin. Collagen cushions and supports the epidermis, preventing it from collapsing on the muscles and bones, while elastin allows the skin to stretch and flex smoothly.
With age, collagen and elastin production slows, causing a gradual depletion of existing collagen and elastin and a thinning of the skin. The result of this slowdown? Sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, the breakdown of collagen and elastin can be hastened by environmental damage, most notably: sun damage. Sun damage prematurely breaks down collagen and elastin fibers, causing changes to skin tone, texture and density, as well as leaving behind age spots. Other culprits that can break down collagen and elastin include: alcohol, smoking or tanning beds.
Help the body maintain stores of these crucial proteins by incorporating antioxidants into your skincare regimen, in particular, vitamin C. Research suggests that vitamin C may actually encourage the production of collagen in the skin, as well as fighting off free-radical damage. Also, vitamin A based skincare is another option. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, will improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as clarify the overall texture of the skin.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Our skin is made up of layers of dead skin cells that form a barrier around fresh cells, causing a dull complexion and clogged pores. AHAs are different from granular scrubs in that they actually dissolve the protein bond that connects the dead cells to healthy cells. Once the outer layer is removed, a brighter skin tone and improved texture is revealed. For instance, when using a glycolic acid for acne, the acid penetrates the pores and fights the bacteria that cause your breakouts. It also helps with inflammation and reduces the oil below the skin's surface.
In addition, as the AHAs exfoliate the skin, sun spots and blemishes fade, and topical treatments like moisturizers, acne creams and serums are better able to penetrate the skin.
Many factors contribute, such as: environment, stress, diet and lifestyle. When the skin doesn't get enough water or vital, cell-building nutrients, dehydration sets in, causing fat cells, normally contained deep within the dermal layer of the skin, to bulge out between the collagen and elastin fibers. The result of this breakdown?? Cellulite. A breakdown of the blood vessels is considered the start of cellular water loss and may even be the reason cellulite develops at all.
Hydrating the skin from the inside-out is one key component to preventing or even reversing the signs of cellulite and a great start is to strengthen blood vessels. In addition to staying hydrated and drinking enough water, consider supplementing your diet with certain nutrients that are particularly effective in the fight against cellulite, including: grape seed extract, glucosamine sulfate and gotu kola. Another whole-body wellness step, which will also assist with the appearance of cellulite, is to ensure your diet includes adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, or EFA's. Not produced naturally by the body, EFA's must be obtained through the diet.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Varicose veins are twisted, bulging veins that result from prolonged periods of standing. They are usually dark blue or purplish in color, and can actually hurt. Spider veins affect the smaller, more surface-level veins. They look like clusters of red, thread-like veins and can appear on the face in addition to the legs. While spider veins aren't dangerous, varicose veins can sometimes mean a serious medical condition, so they're definitely worth a visit to the doctor.
Both of these conditions can occur simply as we age, and our veins stretch and stop functioning quite like they used to. When the valve fails and blood pools in a vein, the veins can become enlarged and twisted, turn color and protrude from under the skin. Genetics, hormones and stress can also contribute, as well as pregnancy or jobs where you're on your feet much of the time.
Surgical methods are available to treat varicose veins, such as laser and light therapy, and minimally invasive procedures (Endovenous thermal ablation uses heat to seal off malfunctioning veins, thereby diverting blood flow to nearby healthy veins; micropuncture or micro-incision phlebectomy involves a doctor "hooking" and then removing diseased veins through very small incisions; and transilluminated power phlebectomy utilizes a fiberoptic light to highlight the vein segments which are then suctioned out through an incision).
Sclerotherapy is another method for treating varicose veins that is also useful on spider veins. The vein is injected with a hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulfate solution which causes the vein to collapse and fade from view. For best results, multiple treatments are typically recommended and side-effects may include bruising or tenderness at the injection site. With any vein treatment, consult a doctor or vascular specialist before undergoing any procedure.
How about topical treatments? While many products, usually containing vitamin K, are currently on the market, these treatments are only temporary solutions. They work by enabling the blood to clot in the vein, but the clot is only temporary and the spider veins will return.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Compared with alternatives like lasers and chemical peels, which must be administered in a doctor’s office, hydroquinone is a much more affordable option. Side effects are minor and can include itching and reddened skin.
1. Go lower-strength. Because adult skin isn’t as tough as a teen’s, try effective active ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, in lower solutions. For instance, instead of 2 percent salicylic acid, choose 1 percent. Rather than selecting a product with 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, go with 5 or 2.5 percent.
2. Try an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are great exfoliators that slough off dead skin cells, which along with sebum, dirt and bacteria, contribute to acne. To prevent this build-up, invest in an AHA moisturizer. It not only treats acne but also targets wrinkling and discoloration. In particular, look for glycolic acid.
3. Consider a prescription. If over-the-counter products haven’t been working, your dermatologist can prescribe retinoids, including Retin-A and Differin, which accelerate cell turnover and have been used for decades to treat acne.
4. Look carefully at labels. Make sure all your beauty products say they’re either oil-free, non-acnegenic or noncomedogenic. Cosmetics without these labels can clog pores and trigger acne.
5. Evaluate existing products. Are your skincare products still working? Take a look through your entire skincare stash (especially if you haven’t updated the routine since your younger days), because your once tried-and-true products might be ineffective. Or worse, they might contribute to your lackluster, blemished skin. Remember, just as your skin type can vary by season, it changes with age, too.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I did some research, and turns out that these exercises are more hype than help. Simply put, since sagging skin occurs mostly due to the loss of collagen, these exercises certainly won't create more collagen. And they can't undo sun damage that causes wrinkles either.
In fact, facial expressions are one of the major causes of lines and wrinkles in the first place. And while I'm not advocating that we all stop smiling and adopt netural facial expressions in the interest of preventing wrinkles, there is no need to encourage those wrinkles by using more facial expressions.
Think I'll skip the facial exercise DVD's and invest in a yoga routine instead.
Thanks for answering my question! What is primer exactly? I thought using moisturizer was enough.
A primer is usually silicone-based, and forms an invisible barrier between your skin and makeup. It can fill in large pores or fine lines, giving you a smoother finish. Its useful for oily skin types because it prevents their foundation and blush from fading, and good for dry skin types because it prevents their makeup from creasing. If you're worried about fine lines and wrinkles but have a fairly even skin tone, you can even use a primer on its own for a more natural look. And, you can also find primers to be used before applying other types of makeup, such as eyeshadows and liners.
Have any of you used a primer? I use them just in the summertime, when my makeup likes to melt off in the hundred degree heat, and it seems to keep me from looking like an oil slick :)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Don't expect immediate results, though. At first, after testing the retinoids on my chin for several nights, I noticed terrible flaking and peeling. I took a night off from the retinoids (you generally don't want to use them during the day, because they make you very sensitive to the sun), and I used a couple drops of jojoba oil--which, amazingly, took care of all the flaking. Its been a couple of months now, and my skin completely adjusted to the retinoids. No flaking or irritation at all. I just have to use a really hydrating lotion, and sometimes I use lotion mid-day as well.
Many people might be too sensitive to the retinoids, so if you find yourself in this boat, you might want to consider retinol instead (which is available over-the-counter, in a variety of anti-aging creams and serums). I might look into an eye cream with retinol at some point if I like the results on the rest of my face. I don't use the retinoids anywhere near my eye area, because my eyes are so easily irritated.
As hair ages, elasticity is lost, hair follicles shrink, growth slows and sebum and keratin production diminishes, resulting in brittle, lifeless hair. Protein and melanin loss lead to the characteristic gray or silver hair in both males and females. And after menopause, women may notice their hair thinning around the crown.
To keep your hair looking young, the key is to treat it with care. Avoid over-exposure to harsh chemical treatments, and limit your use of heat-styling tools. If you're going to blow-dry, make sure to use a protective spray beforehand. Use snag-free ponytail holders and smooth clip barrettes only. Also, a natural bristle brush will help to gently detangle and smooth the hair while massaging the scalp.
In the shower, look for shampoos and conditioners that contain shea butter, panthenol, hydrolyzed yeast extract or sweet almond oil, which will respect the hair's natural moisture balance. Wash hair every 2 or 3 days, rather than every day.
Finally, use a deep-conditioning hair mask weekly to replenish lost moisture and protect the cuticle.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
While in the 30's a good skincare regimen consisted of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing, the 40's are a time to start thinking anti-aging products. Some of the best ingredients to look for are alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids, both which stimulate collagen production.
Also, your skin type might change. I noticed that my skin, which used to be normal/combo, began to go more toward the dry side. If this happens, switch to a creamy cleanser (instead of a gel or foam) and a heavier night cream. Just make sure to choose oil-free formulas if you're still experiencing breakouts, which can easily happen due to fluctuating hormones.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
*Facial expressions. When we smile, laugh, frown or squint, we use facial muscles. So, naturally over the years, lines and wrinkles develop.
*Environmental enemies. Pollution, chemicals, automotive exhaust, wind and UVA/UVB sun rays attack skin. These environmental factors cause skin to break down, resulting in wrinkles.
*Collagen loss. Collagen is vital in structuring our skin, keeping it soft, smooth and plump. We have lots of collagen when we're young, but with age, collagen decreases and wrinkles form.
*Moisture loss. When skin loses moisture, it becomes drier, contributing to wrinkles. Imagine a wrinkly raisin - basically a dried-up grape!
*Smoking. Toxins in smoke are extremely harmful to skin. Smoke also causes eye irritation, making you squint and leading to wrinkles. If you smoke, do yourself - and your skin! - a favor by quitting.
This is where a great anti-aging product comes in. Look for the following ingredients to combat fine lines and wrinkles:
*Alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate dead skin cells and encourage new skin cells to grow.
*Ceramides protect and shield skin from environmental damage.
*Peptides are proteins that relax facial muscles to prevent new wrinkles from forming and fill in creases.
*Retinol is a type of vitamin A that helps replace damaged cells and encourages collagen growth.
*Antioxidants, including vitamin C, grape seed extract and green tea, defend the skin from free radical damage.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This electron “stealing” pattern wreaks havoc on living cells, damaging DNA and leaving your skin vulnerable to environmental stress. Pollution, car exhaust, smoking, ultraviolet rays, radiation and pesticides are all free radicals.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Then, extrinsic aging. This is where multiple factors come into play: UV rays, facial expressions, cigarette smoking, and overall lifestyle habits like how much sleep you get and how stressful your lifestyle is. This is where learning about how the skin ages, and what positive changes you can make to impact your lifestyle, can drastically change how your skin ages. Photoaging may be common, but that doesn't mean it has to be natural; sunscreen and smart sun sense can make a world of difference in avoiding sun spots and UV damage. And smokers as young as 20 may start to notice the effects of their daily cigarette breaks, so take care of yourself early on.
*Less harsh chemicals. Although technically speaking, everything in our beauty cabinet contains chemicals, some are harsher than others. An especially irritating chemical component is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), common in most beauty products. This is why so many natural products are now "sulfate-free," so check the labels.
*Less fragrances and artificial colorants. In reality, your lavender-scented body wash is only purple because of chemical dyes. And that strongly-scented body butter probably contains synthetic fragrances. Both can cause skin irritations, which is why many natural beauty products will be lightly colored with only a slight scent (oftentimes from essential oils).
*Fewer preservatives. While preservatives are necessary to prevent products from spoiling, some can be irritating to the skin, especially if your skin is already dry or you suffer from a condition like eczema. Parabens, which are found in most beauty products, have even been linked to breast cancer--although there haven't yet been any conclusive studies on the correlation.
When choosing between natural brands, make sure to do your homework; many brands now use the words "natural" or "organic" as selling points in order to charge more for their products. Be sure to read the labels and be sure that your product doesn't contain irritating ingredients; if you're looking for products free from sulfates or fragrances, for example, don't assume that a product will be free from these things just because its natural.