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.

Anti Aging Tips

Years of exposure to glossy magazine ads and slick television commercials for anti-aging serums have taught us that our faces tell our stories. They reveal damage from all those summers as a lifeguard or camp counselor, lines from a nasty breakup or two, and the perfect “11” of a furrowed brow.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Most of us fret about wrinkles as we reach middle age, yet carrying an extra dress size ages a person much more than a few wrinkles ever could. Managing weight is also a more realistic goal than getting rid of wrinkles.

Don’t Smoke

According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking can accelerate the skin’s aging process. The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to have wrinkling of the skin.

Quitting smoking improves your circulation, lowers your risk of developing varicose veins, reduces the likelihood of obesity, and makes exercise easier and more enjoyable. You’ll also have a better sense of taste and smell as you age, and the smell of smoke won’t cling to your hair and clothing.

Follow a Nutritious Diet

Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. It is also important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the one of the easiest, most effective ways to keep your skin looking healthy.

Stay Active

Participate in sports, dancing, or other activities you enjoy. Follow the federal government’s most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 should engage in two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, combined with strength-training exercises two days a week.

Avoid Sun Exposure

Use sunscreen on your face and exposed skin every day. Wear a hat and use sunglasses to protect your eyes, since some evidence links sun exposure to later formation of cataracts. Exposure to sun also increases your risk of wrinkles or “leathery” skin.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep is responsible for the development of  “dark circles under the eyes” and can result in other issues like weight gain and depression. Adequate sleep is important for skin cell rejuvenation.

Consider Facial Cosmetic Enhancements

You may think about having a facial rejuvenation procedure like Botox or pursuing a surgical option such as a facelift, brow lift, or neck lift. These procedures can tighten or remove sagging skin beneath the chin, at the jawline, or around the eyes or remove puffy fat pads beneath the eyes that give you a prematurely aged look. However, these enhancements can be obvious to the trained eye if the outcome is not as good as you expected. There are also potentially very serious risk associated with these procedures. Your money might be better spent on a gym membership and healthy foods.

How to Get Long Hair ASAP

Pixie cuts, bobs, and shoulder-length hair can all perfectly frame a face, but when it comes time to grow out strands for a new style, the wait can be a real drag. Forget marking days off the calendar until you’ve achieved a Rapunzel-inspired mane—we’ve got the 411 on how to get long hair. Read on for the fastest way to grow your tresses, sans extensions.

Adjust Your Diet
“A healthy diet that incorporates a mix of protein and nutrients can improve the condition of your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist and NYC salon owner Julien Farel. He explains that balanced eating keeps follicles strong and prevents the hair from breaking easily. Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, MD, a board-certified NYC cosmetic and medical dermatologist, advises to incorporate omega-3 oils. She says, “I recommend salmon or supplements. Nuts are a good source, too, especially almonds.”

…But Don’t Overdo It
Dr. Gerstner says it’s important to keep weight stable and not avoid yo-yo dieting, as hair can be affected by extreme regimen changes in addition to stress and hormone levels.

Get Smart About Styling
It’s a fact well-acknowledged that heat can be wildly damaging to hair, especially when it’s already compromised, so limiting the use of a flat iron or curling wand to three times a week is best, says Dr. Gerstner. She also advises limiting exposure to sunlight, as it can strip the hair, and blow drying, adding, “A weekly deep conditioner masque is a good idea to keep hair as healthy as possible.” According to Farel, many hair care products include the same stripping ingredients as detergents, so it’s vital to choose wisely.

Try Vitamins and Conditioning Ingredients
“Phytantriol, arginine and fish oil, and biotin aid in the production of enzymes and hormones, which can help stimulate hair growth,” says Farel, who suggests his “hero” product line, Julien Farel Restore. The cleanse/treat/condition routine is designed to push regenerating anti-aging ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, deeper into the follicle, scalp and hair, which helps prolong the hair’s growth phase.

In addition, Dr. Gerstner recommends the use of supplements like Viviscal, which includes biotin, vitamin C, and a special complex of shark powder known as AminoMar, to help aid hair growth and scalp stimulation.

Take it Easy
Because stress can affect hair, Dr. Gerstner recommends weekly deep-tissue massages to relax body and mind. “The adrenals pump out extra cortisol when we are stressed, which leads to acne, skin inflammation, and possible hair disorders,” she says.

And you can always afford to take some time off: “Your hair is a reflection of how you feel,” says Farel. “If you are healthy, or on vacation, your hair looks great, shiny, and is easy to style.” What will our bosses say to that?

Beauty Skin Care Healthy Bodies Overview

These days, what it means to have a beautiful body focuses on two themes, in roughly equal measure. The first is the importance of being healthy—or, at least, as healthy as you can be if you’re living with a disease or chronic condition. The second theme is the importance of accepting your unique body shape and size.

Shape and Size

Height

Most of us have a tough time, though, accepting what we perceive to be our flaws. Those who believe they’re too short look for miraculous growth formulas. But with the exception of human growth hormone administered to children of short stature under strict medical supervision, which can add 1.5 to 4 inches to a child’s adult height, the only way to increase height is to improve your posture or to wear platform shoes or high heels. People who think they’re too tall are less likely to look for a way to change their height, but they may unconsciously slouch or otherwise try to make themselves less conspicuous.

The truth of the matter is that there is no “right” height—or even a “healthy” height for that matter. And because you can’t really control your height, it’s best to do what you can to not worry about it. Sure, wear high heels if you want a couple of inches, and stick to vertical stripes to make you look longer, but don’t go crazy over it, because it’s out of your control.

Weight

On the other hand, if you’re unhappy with your weight, you can do something about it. It may take some willpower, hard work, commitment, and maybe some outside help, but losing weight is something we all can do. If you’re ready to lose weight, make sure you don’t get suckered in by any lose-weight-quick schemes; most of them are unhealthy and ineffective in the long run. Used tried-and-true methods like healthy dieting and exercise programs to shed pounds.

Weight loss has an extra benefit that goes above and beyond feeling good about fitting into a smaller size dress or shirt: even mild weight loss can prevent the onset of disease, ease symptoms for those already suffering, and even reverse the course of some chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, back pain, and sleep apnea.

Weight is a touchy subject: not everyone is going to agree on an ideal body size. There are, however, some useful measures to determine your own personal “healthy weight.” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests using the Body Mass Index (which estimates body fat) to determine whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height. Calculate your BMI by following these steps:

Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.

Divide by your height in inches.Divide by your height in inches a second time.

BMI isn’t always accurate; it may overestimate body fat for athletes and bodybuilders, and it may underestimate body fat in the elderly or others who have lost muscle. Also, children should be assessed on a different scale.

Cellulite

Cellulite is high on many women’s lists of unwelcome physical attributes. Women tend to have more cellulite than men because their bodies naturally have a higher percentage of fat relative to lean body mass. Cellulite is simply fat that appears near the surface of the skin. Exercise is the best way to minimize the appearance of cellulite because it bulks up lean muscle and decreases body fat, both near the surface of the skin and in the deeper layers of tissue. Don’t waste your money on “firming creams,” thigh-rolling procedures or devices, or any other means of attacking cellulite. They don’t work. Put the cash toward a pair of walking shoes instead.

Repeatedly gaining and losing weight will make cellulite appear worse, because this cycle weakens collagen fibers in connective tissue beneath the skin that acts as a girdle, of sorts, to keep fat from bulging. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated. Just as an athlete looks more ripped when he’s dehydrated, cellulite becomes more visible on us normal folks when we don’t drink enough water.

Varicose Veins

Fine, weblike spider veins or twisted, ropelike varicose veins often appear with age, usually in the legs. Veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing in the right direction. As these valves weaken, blood collects in the veins, causing them to balloon out to accommodate the backflow of blood. Formation of varicose and spider veins may also be related to heredity, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, or lack of physical activity. Spider veins can be treated by sclerotherapy, the injection of a substance that irritates the veins and causes them to form scars that are less visible than the threadlike red or blue veins. Superficial varicose veins (those close to the skin’s surface) that pose a cosmetic problem can be surgically stripped out of the leg.

Though rare, varicose veins may be painful and can be associated with serious health problems, such as deep vein thrombosis. Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a rash near your ankle, if the skin of your calf or ankle changes color or thickens, or if you have bleeding, swelling, throbbing, pain, warmth, or tenderness near a varicose vein.

Solving Skin Care & Beauty Problems

Solving Beauty Problems

Beauty isn’t always pretty. Sometimes we’re faced with an unexpected problem, such as thinning hair. Other times we battle a problem we’ve had for years, such as acne or excessive sweating.

Such problems tend to have an unfortunate association with poor hygiene and thus carry a social stigma that can cause people extreme embarrassment. If the condition is chronic, such embarrassment can lead to emotional problems.

Thinning Hair or Balding

The most common kind of baldness is called male pattern baldness. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s caused by a combination of genetic inheritance and the presence of specific male hormones. Usually you have a receding hairline and hair loss at the crown of the head. If your hair is thinning, cutting it more often won’t make it grow faster or thicker. If you’re really confident, embrace your baldness by shaving your head. Women who are self-conscious about their thinning hair can consider wearing a wig.

Some people find that minoxidil (Rogaine), an over-the-counter topical medication, will regrow a modest amount of hair. Hair transplant or replacement is the most expensive option for men and women with thinning hair. Modern hair transplantation uses micrografting to transfer hair follicles to bald or thinning areas.

Unwanted Body Hair

Unwanted body hair can be just as distressing as baldness, particularly for women who have hair on their chin or upper lip. Shaving such hair often yields cosmetically unsatisfying results. A hair removal product may produce a better result if it doesn’t cause too much skin irritation. Another option for light-skinned people is to bleach the hair to make it less noticeable. Those with bigger budgets can consider electrolysis or laser treatments. These treatments are permanent and effective but are expensive and time-consuming ways of keeping hair from growing back.

Excessive Sweating

Chronic excessive sweating of the palms, face, armpits, or feet is a nervous system disorder known as hyperhidrosis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, treatments for hyperhidrosis include:

  • Anticholinergic medications such as glycopyrrolate, oxybutynin, or benztropine may be useful in controlling perspiration, but they often have unacceptable side effects.
  • Use of an electrical current to disrupt sweat glands may help, but this therapy requires time-consuming daily treatments.
  • Injection of Botox into the armpits is very effective in reducing perspiration. This treatment may work on the palms and face as well, but the paralyzing effect of the drug limits its usefulness in these areas.
  • A surgical procedure can cure the condition by severing the nerves responsible for sending the signals that trigger excessive sweating. This procedure is also effective for those who blush inappropriately. However, the procedure carries several serious risks and must be performed under general anesthesia.

Acne

Most of us have had to deal with acne at some point in our lives. Acne is an inflammatory condition that occurs when glands in the hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and bacteria. It’s most common on the face, shoulders, back, and chest. According to Mayo Clinic, acne occurs more frequently among adolescents because hormonal changes during puberty affect the oil glands. However, it can affect a person of any age.

As with baldness, acne is primarily related to heredity and hormonal factors. It’s unrelated to poor hygiene practices. As anyone who has had it knows, acne can’t be treated or prevented simply by washing your face. Of course, if you wear makeup, make sure it’s an oil-free formulation.

Over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be effective in managing acne, but many people suffer with the condition far too long before consulting a dermatologist or family doctor. Prescription topical antibiotics and medications containing vitamin A (retinoids) are often highly effective. Severe, intractable acne may require treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane), an oral vitamin A preparation available by prescription. Patients who take this drug must be closely monitored for side effects, and women of childbearing age must ensure they don’t become pregnant while taking isotretinoin and for a short time afterward. The drug is known to cause birth defects. Treatment lasts about four months. The drug’s effects are dramatic, often clearing severe acne completely, and the change is usually permanent

8 Ways to Treat Sunburn at Home

Home Remedies for Sunburn

Summer’s here, and that means it’s time to head outside and soak up the sun. But along with the all those hours spent outdoors during the summer season, there usually comes one inevitable thing: sunburn. Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of household items you can use to cool the burning, itching, and peeling that come with damage from the sun.

Keep reading to learn about home remedies that can help heal and soothe your skin

Cool Water

Sunburn, basically, is inflammation of the skin. One of the easiest ways to treat inflammation is to cool down the affected area. An effective way to immediately help sunburn, even while you’re still outside, is to hop in the water, whether it’s an ocean, lake, or stream. Dipping in and out throughout the day can help keep sunburn from worsening. Be wary of pools, as chlorinated water can irritate the skin more. You should also avoid directly applying ice. Although it may look appealing when your skin is burning, it could actually cause even more damage to your extra-sensitive sunburned skin

Baking Soda & Oatmeal

Throwing a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda into a bathtub full of cool water and soaking for about 15 to 20 minutes helps minimize sun damage. Adding a cup of oats to the bath also soothes irritation and helps the skin retain its natural moisture.

Aloe Vera

If you don’t have an aloe vera plant in your house, you should get one. The gel inside this succulent plant has been used for centuries for all sorts of ailments, from upset stomachs to kidney infections. It’s also the sunburn relief most commonly found over the counter.

Breaking off a chunk of the plant and applying the gel directly to the skin provides immediate, soothing relief from the sting of minor sunburn. If you can’t get your hands on a plant, try a 100 percent aloe vera gel (not an aloe-based lotion or ointment). You can find these gels in most pharmacies

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea can be soothing to your spirit, but it can also soothe your sunburned skin. Brew the tea as you normally would and let it cool. When it’s ready, soak a washcloth in it and apply it to the affected area.

Vinegar

Opinions are mixed about using vinegar for sunburn relief. Some say adding two cups of vinegar to cool bath water can help take the sting out of burn, while others say the high acidity in vinegar only makes things worse. If you haven’t used the treatment before on smaller, lighter sunburns, it’s best not to try it for larger, more serious burns.

Wear Loose Clothing

As your skin is repairing itself, make sure to wear clothing that doesn’t stick to your skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s best to give it some room to breathe as it heals from a major traumatic episode like sunburn. Natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, make for the best post-sunburn coverings.

Drink Lots of Water

As your skin is battling the damage from the sun’s rays, it needs moisture that it lost during your time out in the sun. If you aren’t already drinking your eight glasses of water a day, a nasty sunburn should be reason enough to get you to start doing so.

Don’t Forget the Moisturizer

After the initial treatment, you skin will still need some tender loving care. One of the most important things you can do to prevent skin from peeling — or at least keep it to a minimum — is to regularly apply moisturizer to the affected areas. Use scent- and dye-free moisturizer (marketed for “sensitive skin”) to keep skin irritation to a minimum.

Get More Information

Stay hydrated, keep cool, and if the sunburn is too painful, you can take some ibuprofen. You should also make sure you stay covered up next time you go outside so your sunburn isn’t exposed to even more sun. Call a doctor if a sunburn causes you to have a fever or if you are showing signs of dehydration.

What You Need to Know About Tanning

What You Need to Know About Tanning

Until the advent of spray tanning and sunless tanning products, the phrase “healthy tan” was a bit of a contradiction. Tanning with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, whether it comes from the sun or from an indoor tanning bed, is dangerous. So why do more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons in the United States every day?

Understanding Ultraviolet Radiation

Many tanning myths stem from confusion about the effects of different types of UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation is part of the light spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. These wavelengths are invisible to the naked eye and include UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. While shorter UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, UVA (long-wave) and UVB (shortwave) penetrate the atmosphere.

UVA Rays

UVA rays account for the majority of UV radiation that reaches the earth, and most tanning beds primarily emit UVA rays. Though less intense than UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply. They reach the lower layers of the epidermis where they trigger cells called melanocytes to produce melanin. This brown pigment is what causes the skin to tan, and also protects the skin from burning. People with darker skin produce more melanin and often do not burn in the sun. However, just because a person does not burn easily does not mean they are protected from skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), UVA also damages skin cells called keratinocytes, which are located in the deepest layer of the epidermis. This can initiate the development of skin cancer.

UVB Rays

UVB rays are the primary cause of most sunburn or skin reddening. They are more intense during certain seasons or times of day. For example, UVB rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the spring, summer, and early fall months.  However, UVB rays can burn or damage the skin at any time of year.

For some time, there was conflicting information on the potentially dangerous effects of UVA and UVB rays — scientists once believed that only shorter UVB rays were of concern. However, new evidence shows that longer UVA rays can be just as damaging to the skin and eyes. By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, both UVA and UVB rays increase the risk for skin cancer, cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), and premature skin aging.

Part 3 of 5: Risks

Risks Associated with Tanning

UV radiation causes premature skin aging and increases your risk for burns. If you tan, however, that’s the least of your concerns.

Tanning indisputably increases the risk of skin cancers, including a rare but deadly form of cancer called melanoma. The incidence of melanomas diagnosed at a more advanced stage is on the rise, and researchers believe indoor tanning is to blame. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), use of tanning beds increases the risk for melanoma by 75 percent, and risk increases with each use. This number gets higher for those who begin using tanning beds before the age of 35, increasing the risk for melanoma to 87 percent.

These advanced cancers are lethal. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), melanomas account for 9,700 out of an estimated 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year. Survival rates are higher (approximately 91 percent) in cases where the cancer has not metastasized (spreads to other parts of the body); however, five-year survival rates for regional and distant metastases plummet to 62 and 16 percent, respectively.

Non-melanomas, including basal and squamous cell cancers, occur both on the skin’s surface and within the deepest layers of the epidermis. These cancers are more common, and typically appear in sun-exposed areas, such as the face, ears, and neck. Unlike melanomas, these cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Part 4 of 5: Myths

Myths about Tanning and Sun Exposure

Some people think only childhood sunburns are dangerous. If you had a few bad childhood sunburns, they argue, why bother to protect yourself now? The damage has been done. However, the danger of tanning is dose-related and cumulative — that is, the more UV radiation you’re exposed to over a period of time, the higher your cancer risk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely regulates the use of tanning beds.

Another argument is that using a tanning bed gives you a so-called base tan that allows you to avoid sunburn. But research indicates that any radiation is dangerous, whether its source is the UVA rays that tan the skin or the UVB rays that burn it.

Part 5 of 5: Sun Safety

Protecting Your Skin

So, what’s the final word on tanning? Don’t do it. Avoid tanning beds and lamps, and limit your sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UVB rays are most intense. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing when outdoors.

If you absolutely must have a deep glow, try a spray tan. The same chemical, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is used whether you get airbrushed in a salon or apply the spray at home. Because DHA is a color additive, the safety of the agent has been reviewed and approved by the FDA. DHA is also used in sunless tanning lotions, mousses, bronzers, and moisturizers. Whether you pay a lot of money for them at a department store cosmetics counter or buy them inexpensively at a drugstore, it is up to you.

What causes chapped lips 2 possible conditions

Chapped, or cracked, lips is the term commonly used to describe dry lips. Chapped lips can be caused by a number of factors, including the weather, excessive licking of the lips, and certain medications.

Chapped lips is a very common condition that only occurs occasionally for most people. However, some people may develop a more severe form of chapped lips called cheilitis. Cheilitis, which can be caused by an infection, is characterized by cracked skin at the corners of the lips.

You can usually treat your dry lips with simple treatment and preventive measures. If your lips continue to be severely dry and cracked, you should consider making an appointment with a dermatologist.

Symptoms of Chapped Lips

You may experience any of the following common symptoms on and/or around your lips if you have chapped lips:

  • dryness
  • flaking
  • scales
  • sores
  • swelling
  • cracks
  • bleeding

What Causes Chapped Lips?

Lips don’t contain oil glands like other parts of the skin. For this reason, the lips are more susceptible to drying out and becoming chapped (cracked). Lack of moisture can make the problem worse, whether it’s weather-induced or related to a lack of self-care. Lack of humidity in the air during the winter months is known to cause chapped lips. Frequent sun exposure in the summer can also worsen your condition.

Another common cause of chapped lips is habitual licking. Saliva from the tongue can further strip the lips of moisture, causing more dryness.

Risk Factors for Chapped Lips

People of all ages and genders can get chapped lips, particularly if they have dry skin.

Taking certain medications can also increase your risk of developing chapped lips. Medications and supplements that can cause chapped lips in some people include:

  • vitamin A
  • retinoids (Retin-A, Differin)
  • lithium (commonly used to treat bipolar disorder)
  • chemotherapy drugs

People who suffer from dehydration and malnutrition are also more likely to have chapped lips than other people. You should call a doctor if either of these are associated with your chapped lips — dehydration and malnutrition are both serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

Cheilitis

If the severe dryness and cracking doesn’t improve with self-care measures, you should see a dermatologist. Cheilitis is often to blame for severely chapped lips. This is a condition marked by cracked skin at the mouth corners, as well as several cracks on your lips.

If you have this condition, your lips may:

  • be dark pink or red in color
  • have a lumpy texture
  • develop ulcers
  • have white plaques on the surface

Cheilitis is often attributed to infections and inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. Dental trauma and excessive saliva production may also turn a regular case of chapped lips into cheilitis, as bacteria can enter through the cracks and cause an infection. Adults and children who have orthodontic braces, wear dentures, or use pacifiers are all susceptible to developing cheilitis.

A dermatologist can determine whether your dry lips are simply chapped or if you have cheilitis.

Dehydration and Malnutrition

Dry lips can also be caused by dehydration or malnutrition.

Dehydration causes symptoms such as lightheadedness, constipation, decreased urine production, dry mouth, and headache. In severe cases, a person suffering from dehydration may experience low blood pressure, fever, rapid breathing, or a rapid heartbeat.

Malnutrition is characterized by many of the same symptoms as dehydration, but can also cause muscle weakness, decaying teeth, a bloated stomach, and bone fragility. Malnutrition can be caused by vitamin deficiencies, so those on limited diets (for example, vegetarians) need to make sure that they are getting enough of the vitamins they need.

Alcoholics, in particular, are more susceptible to malnutrition due to vitamin deficiencies because excessive alcohol use can interfere with their body’s vitamin absorption. Older adults are also at higher risk for malnutrition because decreased appetite is common among seniors.

If you suspect that you are dehydrated or malnourished, see your doctor immediately.

How to Treat and Prevent Chapped Lips

Chapped lips can usually be treated at home. The first step is to make sure that your lips have enough moisture. This can be accomplished by:

  • applying lip balm throughout the day, as needed
  • drinking more water
  • using a humidifier in the home
  • avoiding cold weather conditions or wrapping your mouth with a scarf

Sun exposure can also cause chapped lips, especially as you age. Apply a lip balm that contains a minimum SPF of 15 before heading outdoors. The balm itself helps to moisturize the lips, while the sunscreen minimizes further drying effects.