Exfoliative Dermatitis

What Is Exfoliative Dermatitis?

Exfoliative dermatitis is redness and peeling of the skin over large areas of the body. The term “exfoliative” refers to the exfoliation, or shedding, of the skin. Dermatitis means irritation or inflammation of the skin. The skin peeling may occur with pre-existing medical conditions or medications in some people. The cause is unknown in others.

Exfoliative dermatitis, sometimes called erythroderma, is serious but fairly uncommon. Complications can include infection, loss of nutrients, dehydration, and heart failure, rarely leading to death.

What Are the Causes of Exfoliative Dermatitis?

The root cause of exfoliative dermatitis is a disorder of the skin cells. The cells die and shed too quickly in a process called turning over. The rapid turnover of skin cells causes significant peeling and scaling of the skin. The peeling and scaling may also be known as sloughing.

Underlying Conditions

Many people who already suffer from chronic skin conditions, including autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema, can also develop exfoliative dermatitis.

Drug Reactions

Adverse reactions to a variety of drugs can also contribute to massive skin peeling. Drugs that may produce this condition include:

  • sulfa drugs
  • penicillin
  • barbituates
  • phenytoin (Dilantin) and other seizure medications
  • isoniazid
  • blood pressure medications
  • calcium channel blockers
  • topical medications (medications put on the skin)

However, almost any drug can cause exfoliative dermatitis.

Other Causes

Certain types of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma, may also accelerate the skin cell turnover rate. According to Merck Manuals, up to 25 percent of cases of exfoliative dermatitis are idiopathic. Idiopathic is when a disease or condition has no known cause.

Part 3 of 5: Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Exfoliative Dermatitis?

Skin and Nail Changes

Exfoliative dermatitis begins in most people with extreme reddening, which spreads over large portions of the body. This change in skin color is known as erythroderma. Erythroderma and exfoliative dermatitis are both names for this condition. Massive peeling of the skin follows the reddening and inflammation. The skin may be rough and scaly. The dryness and peeling of your skin can cause itching and pain. Your nails may also become thicker and more ridged.

Flu-Like Symptoms

People who have exfoliative dermatitis may also have flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills. This is because widespread skin peeling can affect your internal thermometer and cause heat loss from your damaged skin. Your body isn’t able to control its temperature well. Most people with exfoliative dermatitis also feel generally ill.

Complications from Skin Shedding

Those with this condition may also have a low blood volume. This is due to loss of fluid through the shed skin.

Skin shedding may start in small patches. Over time, it spreads to most of the body. Skin is made of mainly protein. It delivers nutrients to your other organs. The constant shedding of the skin can prevent your body from absorbing essential nutrients. You also lose protein and fluids from the sloughing. Dehydration and malnutrition are common complications.

Two important functions of your skin are providing a barrier to infections and other things in the environment, and protecting your inner organs. When your skin sheds significantly, it loses some of these abilities. This puts you at risk for serious infections and damage to underlying muscles and bones.

Severe Symptoms

Severe symptoms of exfoliative dermatitis can be life-threatening. Those who develop complications of infection, fluid and electrolyte abnormalities, and cardiac failure are most at risk of death. The most common causes of death in patients with exfoliative dermatitis are pneumonia, septicemia, and heart failure.

Part 4 of 5: Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Exfoliative Dermatitis?

You will probably receive treatment for exfoliative dermatitis in the hospital. Your doctor will work to correct any dehydration, low blood volume, heat loss, and electrolyte or nutritional deficiencies. Your doctor will give you IV fluids and nutrients to treat these complications.

Reducing inflammation and making you more comfortable are important goals of treatment. Supportive care includes warm baths, rest, and oral antihistamines. Your doctor may also prescribe medicated creams to moisten your dry, itchy skin.

Steroid medications treat severe or chronic inflammation and flaking of the skin. Some patients may benefit from phototherapy, treatments with psoralen, a photosensitizing agent, and ultraviolet A. Drugs that suppress the immune system can slow the rate of skin shedding, especially for people with chronic symptoms.

Infection can be a serious complication of this condition. Antibiotics can treat and prevent dangerous skin infections. Proper attention to wound care and dressings are also important to prevent infections.

Your doctors will also manage any underlying conditions. You will probably need to stop taking medications that could cause allergic skin reactions.

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

The outlook for exfoliative dermatitis varies for each patient. Drug allergies are the easiest to treat. Your skin usually clears up within several weeks after stopping the allergy-causing medication, along with appropriate treatment. Managing conditions such as cancer and psoriasis can speed healing too. People with no known cause for the disease may have flare-ups throughout their lives. People who have had exfoliative dermatitis may have long-lasting changes in the color of the affected skin. They may also have problems with hair loss or nail changes.

How to Grow Out Your Bangs Gracefully

It’s a pattern as regular as the tides: in spring, we commit to getting bangs…and by Fall, we’re officially over them. But it’s way easier to cut a fringe than it is to grow it out, as anyone who’s ever done it knows all too well. But you don’t have to suffer through awkward hair stages anymore—we’ve put together the ultimate guide to how to grow out your bangs quickly, easily and gracefully.

1. Get a trim—and commit to getting them regularly.
We know—it seems a little counter-intuitive to advise you to get haircuts as you’re trying to grow your bangs out. But trust us: getting your bangs trimmed regularly is not only a good way to keep your hair healthy, it helps blend your fringe into the rest of your hair far more easily.

2. Sweep them sideways.
The easiest bangs to grow out are side-swept bangs—not only do they blend into your hair beautifully, they’re also far less annoying than trying to cope with hair slowly growing down straight into your eyes. Part your hair to either the left or the right (depending on your preference), comb your bangs straight forward from the crown, then swoop them to one side like Zooey Deschanel has done here

It may also help to dampen them, then blow them out with a round brush to help “train” them into their new direction. It may help to comb a little bit of hairspray through them, too, especially if you have issues with cowlicks or flyaways.

3. Embrace accessories.
The hardest thing about growing out bangs is that your newly long hair gets in your eyes and drives you nuts—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Bobby pins and barrettes are great ways to keep your fringe pinned out of your face; we especially love these Scunci No Slip Grip Oval Bobby Pins ($2.99, drugstore.com) for their sleek, non-basic looks AND the way they grab—and hold—even the slipperiest bangs. Simply swoop your fringe to the side, add some pomade or hairspray to keep the hair in place, then slide in a pin to keep it in place.

You can also embrace our favorite classic accessory, the headband, to keep those bangs pushed up, up and away—like Kristen Bell is doing. Make sure the band you choose isn’t too tight—that way lies headaches—and stick with dark colors for a grown-up look. We love these ribbon-look headbands from Sweaty Bands ($15, sweatybands.com); not only are they the perfect width, they stay put like a dream.

You can also get into wearing scarves in your hair, which is always a gorgeous look. Use a rectangular scarf (or fold a square scarf into a long band) to push your bangs back, then adjust it so that the scarf sits about two inches back from your hairline, and tie it at the nape of your neck. Let the ends hang long for a retro-inspired look, or tuck them underneath for a sleeker style.

4. Use lightweight (but hardcore) styling products.
You don’t have to shellac your hair down to keep your fringe under control—being selective with your products will really help. Use a light pomade concentrated at the ends to give definition and hold without lacquering your locks to your forehead. We swear allegiance to R+Co Pomade Mousse ($29, neimanmarcus.com), which gives great hold to even fine hair without weighing it down or gluing it together.

If you have thicker hair, or you’re prone to flyaways, hairspray is a great bet. Spritz it through your bangs and comb them into place if you have a lot of short, recalcitrant ends, then finish with a final blast to seal everything in place. We love Kerastase Lacque Noire Hairspray ($37, kerastase-usa.com) because it never feels crunchy or hard in our hair—but does it ever keep it in place!

5. Embrace dry shampoo.
Not only does dry shampoo keep your hair grease-free, it also adds texture and hold—which is exactly what you want when you’re growing out a fringe. Spray a little dry shampoo through the lengths of your bangs, then style as normal; you’ll be amazed at how much more obedient they are!

6. Twist, tease and braid.
Pins and headbands aren’t your only fringe-styling options. Once they’ve gotten long enough, you can also braid your bangs to keep them out of your eyes, like Carey Mulligan did back when she was growing out her bangs-heavy pixie cut

You can also twist them to one side and hold them in place with a bobby pin. Another easy trick for styling growing-out bangs is to lightly tease them at the back to make all the hair stick together, then pin the hair to one side in a retro-inspired miniature pompadour. Simple, elegant and chic!

7. Be patient!
When you have bangs, it feels like they grow insanely fast—you have to trim them every other week to keep them in check. But when you’re trying to grow them out, it seems like it takes FOREVER for them to grow half an inch. Don’t despair! The no-bangs life is worth living; it just takes a few months for your hair to reach a noticeably longer point. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen…we promise. In three months, you’ll barely remember that you had bangs at all!

Your Ultimate Day Of Beauty

  • Your beauty-boosting day

We all know the classic definitions of a beautiful day. Some may say it’s spent at the beach. Others may say it’s spent in the sack. Some may say it must involve some sweat or a salmon dinner or a round of 18 at Pebble Beach. Others may say that the minimum requirements for a beautiful day should include the word pedicure. Any of those things may very well fit your criteria for a beautiful day. Now, however, we’re going to present you with a different kind of beautiful day—a day in which the things you do reflect on the core of improving your inner and outer beauty. A beautiful day doesn’t have to be a day in which you’re removed from reality; it can be a day in which you’re immersed in it. 

So what you’ll find here is a sample day with some of our favorite tips and tricks. After all, routines are good because they’re automatic—ensuring that you’ll integrate good habits into your daily life, rather than struggling to do so

  • Wake up before your alarm clock.

That’s after seven to eight hours of sleep.* This is the amount of time your body needs to recharge; plus, sleep is the major stimulant for your own growth hormone (there’s something special about it not being from a vial). Your own growth hormone helps keep skin taut and vibrant. After all, nobody looks that beautiful with bags under the eyes. When you wake up, take a few minutes for an inventory of the way your body feels—specifically the minor aches and pains that may distract you from the focus of your life. Perform a few light stretches. Take just a few minutes to get your blood going, think about your breathing, and prepare yourself for your day. While you meditate to the sensations of your body, dream about one big idea you want to pursue today.

*Give or take a few hours or minutes, depending on your particular schedule and lifestyle. The average wake-up time in America is 5:47 a.m., so we’re giving you an extra 13 minutes for your, uh, beauty sleep.

  • Perform your morning beauty routine.
  • In the shower, rinse your hair (you can shampoo whenever you want, but don’t feel compelled to shampoo more than three times weekly) and wash your body. Blot your hair dry or use the cool setting on your hair dryer, but avoid the scorched-earth approach: heat can damage the delicate cuticles. Use a brush with smooth or rounded teeth or bristles, which will massage the hair and scalp without damaging them (here’s how to find the right brush for your hair). Remember, hair is most fragile when wet.
  • Wash your face and use a moisturizer that has vitamins B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin E, and alpha-hydroxy acids. You can also include various small-molecule antioxidants such as ubiquinone and ferulic acid. Remember to read labels on everything. Use a moisturizer that has UV protection. You want to protect your face during the day and feed it with nutrients at night.
  • Use deodorant, not antiperspirant. We believe you don’t need to stop the natural body function of sweat; simply use a deodorant to mask any unpleasant smells. (Some clothes that require dry cleaning can be ruined by sweat, so you might want to use antiperspirants when wearing delicate clothes).

 

  • Have breakfast

 

It may include 100% whole grains, healthy fat, fresh fruit, or a little healthy protein—such as egg whites, which contain skin-nourishing biotin. Some of our favorite options include steel-cut Irish oatmeal, Total with 2% fat yogurt without added sugar but with fresh berries, or 100% whole grain cereal with low-fat or hemp milk. And don’t ever think about fast food at breakfast time, since we find that most breakfast fast food violates every good nutritional guideline. (Need ideas? Try these 10 breakfasts for healthy skin.)

 

Pop these pills

Your morning supplements should include: half of a multivitamin (with at least 500 IU of vitamin D, 600 mg of calcium, and 200 mg of magnesium), 600 mg of DHA (omega-3 fatty acids, either by itself or in 2 grams of fish/cod liver oil), and 162 mg of aspirin (if you’re over 40 years old and have checked with your doc). Take with a full glass of water. These will help you with heart health, and keep this in mind as well: What’s good for your heart and arteries is also good for your brain, sexual function, and skin (prevents wrinkles).

 

 

Sneak in a mini-workout

 

Whether you’re getting to work or getting your kids to school, we know you’ll be spending a little travel time during the day, stuck in your car or a bus, or, if possible, on your two legs. Take the opportunity to practice some stealth Kegel exercises (squeezing the muscles that control your urine flow; here’s how to do them). The more they’re developed, the better your sex life.

Or, if you’re in line for your favorite morning caffeine-infused beverage (you’re going with the green tea, right?), try something different from eavesdropping on the two customers in front of you. Instead, spend a minute focusing on proper posture. Back straight, butt in, chest out, shoulders back, head high, jaw aligned, making sure your top and bottom teeth aren’t touching each other. Focus. Focus. Feel good? We thought so. Practice good posture every day (sitting and standing), and you’ll be amazed at the changes in how you look and feel.

Practice your smile

 

Make a note to greet everyone you meet with or talk to with a hearty smile—a genuine one. Upbeat people excel. Upbeat people have good relationships. Upbeat people feel good.

Have a midmorning snack

Try nuts or green tea (the polyphenols can help thicken the epidermis). Besides helping you stay satisfied, they contain biotin, which helps you metabolize fat and carbs. Add an apple or carrot—nature’s teeth whiteners.

Lunch break

Two good choices: an oil and vinegar-dressed salad topped with veggies and salmon, which contains carotenoids that improve skin elasticity so you don’t wrinkle. Or have a soup (not cream-based), which can help slow the time it takes food to travel through your system—keeping you fuller longer and helping protect against weight gain. Even if you’re rushed, practice slow and deliberate eating.

For the other 30 minutes of your break, take a walk. Put UVA and UVB sunblock on your face and the backs of your hands before you go. A little sun on your arms and legs helps generate vitamin D.

Notice the green

Whether you’re at home or at work, take a moment and notice the greenery around you (you do have some plants around, don’t you?). The feeling of living things (other than the next-door neighbor or backstabbing cubicle mate) can be healing, comforting, and empowering (which is especially nice in times of stress). Plus, they add oxygen to the environment.

Have one glass of alcohol with dinner

Our favorite is red wine; the alcohol has tremendous cardiovascular benefits, and the resveratrol (from the grape skins that give the wine its color) helps cells live longer. Lean toward a meal with healthy fat, protein, and fiber, and use small plates to help control portion size. Cover half your plate with vegetables. Notice that you’re eating early enough that the rich pharmacy of chemicals and calories in your food will be digested and won’t interfere with your sleep (or deposit themselves on your thighs).

Relax—but not completely.

You’re just in time for your favorite shows or enjoying your hobby, but stay active. Put a stationary bike or elliptical cross-trainer or rowing machine or treadmill in front of the tube so you can pedal or do other physical activity during your favorite shows, or do the plank position during commercials. Be demanding of folks who are entertaining you; don’t fizz out in front of the tube unless the material really warrants your attention. (Try this Couch Potato Workout while you’re watching TV.)

Get ready for bed

Prepare yourself for bed with any cleanup duties. Brush your teeth for two minutes. Wash and exfoliate your face (wash with fragrance- and residue-free soap), and use a moisturizer with vitamins A and C (remember, you’re feeding your face at night, when the sun cannot denature all the restoring antioxidant vitamins). Make sure the lights are dim and the room is cool so you can gently slip into restorative sleep rather than attempting to abruptly “fall” asleep after sending out a few e-mail blasts while watching the late shows.

Have sex

Feel beautiful. Tell your partner what you need (and ask your partner the same). On alternate days (days, not weeks!), you can read a few pages of invigorating prose.

Drift into sleep

With a peaceful meditation, thank your higher power of choice for the beauty of the day. Remember what made you most grateful today. Please note that you have nearly eight hours before you have to awaken.

Healthy Cosmetics

Using Healthy Cosmetics

 

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Everyone want cosmetics to be age-defying, glow-enhancing, acne-fighting,sun-protective, skin-nourishing, hydrating, weightless, kiss-proof, long-wearing and natural, too.

All this stuff matters for women and men, but it really affects women. Women use an average of 12 personal care products a day. Men use about half that many.

FDA, Labeling, and Beauty Product Safety

Many people seek out beauty products that are formulated from healthy, nontoxic ingredients. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy for consumers to recognize which brands are actually healthy for their skin. This is because the labels that claim the products are “green,” “natural,” or “organic” have no defined meaning.

There really is no government regulatory agency responsible for regulating the manufacture of cosmetics.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some legal authority over cosmetics. However, cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to “premarket approval authority” (with the exception of color additives). In other words, the FDA isn’t checking to see whether that sunscreen is actually “100 percent organic.” In addition, the FDA cannot demand a recall of a dangerous product.

On the other hand, the FDA does have the power to take regulatory action against a manufacturer that is selling adultered or misbranded cosmetics on the market.

Part 3 of 8: Cosmetics and Health

Cosmetics and Your Health

The FDA does not have the power to monitor cosmetics as closely as it does food and drugs. It’s important that you, as a consumer, take a more active part in making healthy purchasing decisions. Be aware that some of the chemicals contained in the products meant for you apply to your face and body may be toxic.

Part 4 of 8: Prohibited Ingredients

Prohibited Ingredients

According to the FDA, the following ingredients are legally prohibited in cosmetics:

  • bithionol
  • chlorofluorocarbon propellants
  • chloroform
  • halogenated salicylanilides (di-, tri-, metabromsalan and tetrachlorosalicylanilide)
  • methelyelene chloride
  • vinyl chloride
  • zirconium-containing complexes
  • prohibited cattle materials

Part 5 of 8: Restricted Ingredients

Restricted Ingredients

According to the FDA, the following list of ingredients may be used, but are legally restricted:

  • hexachloropherene
  • mercury compounds
  • sunscreens used in cosmetics

Part 6 of 8: Other Restrictions

Other Restrictions

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating consumers about what is actually in the products on the market. The EWG covers sunscreen, skin care products, makeup, toothpaste, baby products, and more. The EWG offers the following list of common ingredients to avoid:

  • benzalkonium chloride
  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
  • coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (e.g., aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine)
  • DMDM hydantoin & bronopol
  • formaldehyde
  • fragrance
  • hydroquinone
  • methylisothiazolinone and  methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • oxybenzone
  • parabens (propyl, isopropyl, butyl, and isobutylparabels)
  • PEG/ceteareth/polyethylene compounds
  • petroleum distillates
  • phthalates
  • resorcinol
  • retinyl palmitate and retinol (vitamin A)
  • toluene
  • triclosan & triclocarban

Part 7 of 8: Understanding Make-Up

Understanding the “Make -Up” of Make Up

To help you make wise decisions, below are the four key categories of ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products. Many of the unsafe ingredients listed above belong to one or more of these categories.

Surfactants

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, these are found in all products that are used for washing. They break up oily solvents produced by skin. When the oils are broken up, they can be washed away with water. Surfactants are combined with additives like dyes, perfumes, and salts in products such as foundation, shower gel, shampoo, and body lotion. They thicken the products, allowing them to spread evenly, and help them cleanse and foam.

Conditioning Polymers

Conditioning polymers retain moisture on the skin or in the hair. Glycerin, a natural component of vegetable oils and animal fats, is produced synthetically for the cosmetics industry. It’s the oldest, cheapest, and most popular conditioning polymer.

In hair products, conditioning polymers attract water and soften hair while swelling the hair shaft. They also keep the product itself from drying out. They stabilize fragrances and keep the scent from seeping out through plastic bottles or tubes. In products such as shaving cream, they make the product feel smooth, slick, and non-sticky in your hand.

Preservatives

Preservatives are additives that have been of particular concern to consumers. They’re used to retard bacterial growth. They prolong a product’s shelf life and keep it from causing infections of the skin or eyes. The cosmetics industry is experimenting with so-called self-preserving cosmetics, in which plant oils or extracts act as natural preservatives. Studies show that some of these botanical preservatives also have deodorant, anti-inflammatory, or antioxidant properties. However, they can also irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions, and many have a strong odor that some people find unpleasant.

Fragrance

While not the primary portion of what makes up cosmetics, “fragrance” can often be the most harmful part of a beauty product. Fragrance often contains chemicals that might cause an allergic reaction. You may want to consider avoiding any product that includes the term “fragrance” in its list of ingredients.

Part 8 of 8: Packaging

Cosmetic Packaging Concerns

Choosing healthy makeup also means opting for packaging that’s safe for you and healthy for the earth. Airless packaging, for example, creates an environment in which many bacteria can’t reproduce. Jars with open mouths can become contaminated with bacteria. Pumps with one-way valves, however, keep air from entering the opened package and make contamination more difficult. Careful manufacturing processes keep the product sterile as it enters the bottle or jar.

I Admit It I’m Vain

I’m Vain – Guilty as charged! 

I think every women is vain to some degree. Face it, the face is the first mark of aging, as aging is an irreversible process.

I care what I look like and how my skin looks. Like millions of other women, when I was in my 20s and 30s, I didn’t really appreciate how beautiful my skin was then. When I was in my 20s, forty seemed ancient to me, and 65 was unthinkable!  I looked at my mother, and other older women, and thought that I would never have wrinkles. Being vain doesn’t mean having a big ego. It just means that I care what I look like to myself and others.

I’m not vain because I’m beautiful – but because I’m not beautiful! I’m pretty average looking. However, I feel that since I am average-looking and in my “senior years”, I need to do whatever I can to keep those looks from slipping away into old age. I know, I know – I have to accept being a senior citizen! I must graciously accept it! I’m working on this, but I’m not going to go down easy! While some signs of aging are inevitable, there’s a lot you can do to look your best at any age.

I was a very lucky teenager, as I had very few pimples and had very clear skin. My hair was thick and wavy, and I hardly had to curl it to look great.

Every since I was in my 20s, I’ve been conscience that I needed to take care of my skin. I have very fair skin, and I have always been very careful what I used on my face. I was always getting compliments on my skin!

Into my 40s, other people were always saying I looked younger than I was. Of course I loved hearing this!

Then came menopause in my 50s! My doctor had me on hormones for several years, and I didn’t really notice much change. But, since taken off of hormones. changes have occurred! I looked into my mirror one day, and guess what – my neck turned into an old ladies’ neck! I can’t believe it – I am starting to look like my mother!  Check out Menopause and Weight Gain.

Skin Care – I definitely realize that every time you frown, smile, squint, or use any other common facial expression, your muscles contract under your skin. When you do it over and over again, the result can be wrinkles. This can’t be avoided, but I do believe it is true that skin care products are essential to having good skin. Taking care of skin is important considering the destruction one goes through during the long aging process. Since I make my own anti-aging face cream, everyone is always asking me for advice on taking care of their skin.

First – I want to say! You cannot STOP Aging! You can only SLOW IT DOWN and minimize any existing lines that you already have on your face. So don’t believe any advertisements saying you can eliminate your “wrinkles” with their cream. One of the biggest mistakes middle age women make, is to use a heavy foundation or powder on their face. These products only make your face look dry and emphasize any lines that you now have. Throw those product away NOW!

Tanning – When I was a teenager, I actually tried to get sun tans with my fair skin. All I did was burn and peel! I finally realized, in my 20s, that this was impossible and bad for me. I started using sunscreen when outdoors. Sun plays a major role to deteriorate your skin. You need to protect your skin from the sun in order to prevent the aging of your skin. The sun is largely responsible for wrinkles, dry skin, blotchy pigmentation, thinning of skin, skin texture, skin dullness, and some other sun related diseases that can make your skin look older. When I’m gardening, I wear a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a hat – even on very hot days. I also put sunscreen on my face. I look pretty funny when gardening, but I am protecting myself.

I have never smoked! It seemed like every one I knew in my 20s and 30s, did smoke. I was the odd non-smoker. So, I was exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke. Some researchers believe that exposure to cigarette smoke (whether you smoke or not) is as damaging to skin as exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Today, many scientist have suggested that nicotine present in the cigarette has the same influence on elastin in the skin as sunlight. So, my friends and family exposed me to the effects of secondhand smoke.

About my hands – A lot of us take care of our faces, but forget about our aging hands. Next to your face, your hands are probably the most visible parts of your body. The earliest signs of aging will show on your hands. The skin on the back of your hands is extremely delicate. This skin is very, very thin, as there is almost no fat under it at all, which is why the veins are so visible. I’ve always worn rubber gloves when washing dishes and doing messy housework. I now have added the routine of exfoliating and moisturizing them every day. Read my article on Younger Looking Hands – Keeping Hands Beautiful As We Age.

What surprises me is that I let myself get overweight! According to the Body Mass Index (BMI) 30 pound overweight is obese! I’m trying my best to fix this, which is very hard! My husband and I bought an elliptical and a treadmill that we exercise on 30 minutes a day. I’m cutting back on my food intake and watching calories. This losing weight is so slow.  My body doesn’t want to let the pounds go!  Check out my Dieting Hints & Tips and Linda’s Diet Statement.


SO – AM I VAIN OR NOT?

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Smile

Improving Your Smile

A 2008 study found that the whiteness of a person’s smile played a role in the way others perceived them. Specifically, the study found that people with white teeth were perceived to be more attractive and smarter than people with darker teeth.

There’s no question that a little additional attention to your smile and oral hygiene can pay off.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by:

  • poor oral care habits
  • tooth infection
  • gum disease
  • mouth sores
  • infection or chronic inflammation of the nose or throat
  • smoking
  • dry mouth, which may be a side effect of some medications
  • certain foods, like garlic or onion

The best ways to combat bad breath is to stay hydrated, floss daily, and brush your teeth twice per day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!

If you wear dentures or other mouth appliances, clean them daily. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash and artificial saliva or a spray or gel for dry mouth.

If your breath suddenly takes on an unpleasant or unusual odor, it may be a sign of a serious disorder, such as diabetes or a bowel obstruction. If this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately. Chronic dry mouth that’s unrelated to medication use should also be investigated because it may indicate an autoimmune condition or other disorder.

Part 3 of 7: Healthy Gums

Healthy Gums

Proper brushing and flossing will keep your gums healthy. Periodontal, or gum, disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. This type of infection is caused by a buildup of plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth.

Gum disease is often painless, but it makes gums red and puffy and causes them to recede and bleed. The infection can progress over time leading to more serious symptoms. In fact, gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

The good news is that gum disease is almost always preventable. Regular check-ups with your dentist combined with good oral hygiene, which means brushing and flossing twice daily, can keep plaque at bay.

Part 4 of 7: Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Many over-the-counter (OTC) toothpastes, mouth rinses, and chewing gums claim to have a whitening effect. You can also speak with your dentist about prescription whitening treatments or in-office treatments.

Proper Dental Hygiene

The easiest thing to try at home is simply following proper dental hygiene. That means using fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. Many people can also benefit from mouth rinses.

You may be interested in trying a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that can help remove stains. However, whitening toothpastes cannot change the color of your teeth because they only remove stains on the surface.

Bleaching Agents

Dentin is the bony tissue forming the bulk of the tooth under the enamel. The thickness of the enamel layer changes throughout our lives and gets thinner as we age. The thinner the enamel, the more yellow your teeth appear as the dentin layer dominates the final shade.

If your dentin has a yellowish tint, you’ll need to use a peroxide-bleaching agent to lighten the coloring. This, in turn, can help make your teeth appear whiter.

Some bleaching agents are available over the counter, such as paint-on whiteners or whitening strips. These are relatively cheap and effective. Be sure to look for a product that is at least 6 percent bleaching agent.

OTC treatments may not be effective if you have:

  • isolated stains, such as a single discolored tooth
  • dark stains
  • crowns
  • dental implants or other restorations

You should consult a dentist to discuss your options. Dentists can prescribe bleaching kits for home use, or they can bleach your teeth in the office. This typically involves applying a bleaching agent to your teeth and then using a special light or laser to enhance the effect of the whitening agent.

The jury is still out on the safety of the bleaching process and whether the bleaching agent might be toxic if ingested. Long-term use of bleaches or abrasive toothpastes can increase sensitivity or gum irritation. If your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold, you may want to avoid whitening agents.

Bleaching During Pregnancy

While both home and prescription products can be considered safe at this time, you should not have a bleaching procedure during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recommends postponing all unnecessary dental work, including whitening procedures, until after birth to prevent exposing the fetus to potentially dangerous chemicals or medications.

Part 5 of 7: Teeth Straightening

Teeth Straightening

Straightening crooked teeth can also have an effect on your smile. Some adults are candidates for Invisalign, which uses transparent trays, or aligners, to straighten the teeth.

If you have bite problems or more complex orthodontic issues, you may need traditional braces. Brackets made of tooth-colored ceramic or polycarbonate are less noticeable than stainless steel brackets. Sometimes, the brackets can be mounted on the back surface of the teeth.

Part 6 of 7: Fixing Imperfections

Fixing Imperfections

A missing, chipped, or stained tooth can be replaced with a crown or dental implant, which is an artificial tooth permanently anchored into the bone of the jaw. Porcelain veneers are pricey, but they can transform your smile after just a couple of visits to your dentist. See a cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.

Part 7 of 7: Your Dentist

Speak with Your Dentist

If you’re interested in improving your smile, speak with your dentist. They can recommend treatments you may want to try. Your dentist can also help you understand what’s covered if you have insurance.