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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Solution for Summer Hair Problems

Luckily, there are easy and natural ways to tame your tresses. Here are some of the most common hair problems you’re likely to encounter this season, and how to fix them.

Chlorine Damage

It’s not just an old wives’ tale — too much time in the pool really can change the color of your locks, especially if they’re very light, Jessica Wu, M.D., author of “Feed Your Face” tells The Huffington Post.

But it’s not due to the chlorine. Instead, it’s likely because of copper lurking in poolswhere the chemical balance isn’t quite right, according to WebMD. “The chlorine molecules get trapped in the hair and oxidize the metals found in trace amounts in the water,” Jessica J. Krant, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, writes to HuffPost in an email. “It’s the oxidized copper that is actually the cause of the green color.”

Chlorine can still damage hair, though. “The outer layers of the cuticle of the hair — which are like shingles on a roof — start to lift up,” says Wu. “When the outer layers lift up, then [chlorinated] water can get into the center of the hair and make your hair more brittle.” Swimmers may find their hair breaks more easily in the summer, especially if it’s dyed or straightened, she says.

Luckily, there are a few simple ways to prevent the damage. The easiest can be done anywhere — just rinse your hair under tap water before taking the plunge. “Plain water binds to the hair, making it harder for chlorine to get to it,” says Wu. A leave-in conditioner will have a similar effect, and can be a good pre-pool option as well. A weekly hair mask can help repair the damage and seal the cuticle, she says.

The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends wearing a swim cap and washing with shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for swimmers to replace lost moisture.

Grease

We’ve all had those summer days when a daily shower just doesn’t seem like enough. And yet we’ve also heard about how you don’t need to — and maybe shouldn’t — wash your hair all that often.

But during the summer, all bets are off. “I tell people you should wash more frequently in the summer,” says Wu, and not just because of all the chlorine and salt water. “Those of us with long hair, it touches our back, and the sunscreen on our back and shoulders can come off onto the hair making it dirtier, faster.” If you’re noticing an oilier-than-usual scalp, feel free to lather up.

Sun Damage

The same UV rays that damage your skin without proper protection can hurt your hair, too, says Wu. The sun breaks down the bonds that make the keratin of the hair strong, she explains, leading to weaker strands and fading color. Just like covering up your skin can help prevent sun damage, wearing a hat can help save your hair.

A number of hair products that boast UV protection may also work, as long as you’re thorough in your application, she says. “Work it through like you’re working in a conditioner so as many strands as possible are coated.”

To treat sun-dried hair, a moisturizing leave-in conditioner should do the trick, according to WebMD.

Sunburn

While you’re protecting your hair from the sun, don’t forget about your scalp. During skin exams, Wu notices “very striking” differences between the skin on patients’ hair parts and the skin on the rest of their scalps. If you often wear your hair in the same position, be sure to use sunscreen on the part, she says. And if you pull your hair back in the summer, apply sunscreen all the way up to your hairline — you may miss vulnerable skin that you’re not usually exposing.

“Using shampoos and products with antioxidant ingredients such as soy, green tea or vitamin C can sometimes be helpful” in protecting “that part of you that’s closest to the sun,” writes Krant, who is also the founder of Art of Dermatology in New York City. And if you do happen to do a little damage, cover up as soon as possible to avoid further sun, then use cool water in the shower and normal sunburn soothers like aloe, she says.

Frizz

Anyone with any wave or curl to her hair has spent her fair share of time fighting frizz. In the summer, thanks to the high temps and oppressive humidity, flyaway strands increase in size. “The generally smooth cuticle covering the shaft of healthy hair gets disrupted when the hair shaft absorbs moisture from the air, breaking some of the chemical bonds that keep the hair straight and roughing up the cuticle, taking away shine and smoothness,” writes Krant.

If you’re all too familiar, stay away from heavy products, says Wu, and look instead for an anti-frizz serum or spray. Krant recommends products with the moisturizer dimethicone — silicone-based products can also help smooth down the cuticle, according to Ladies Home Journal.

Split Ends

UV rays aren’t the only thing that can break summer strands. High temperatures can take their toll on the bonds that make hair strong as well, says Wu. While the temps won’t be quite as high as the heat of your blow dryer, writes Krant, the heat can still suck the moisture out of your locks and lead to breakage. To ease the brittleness, Wu suggests a heavier treatment like Moroccan oil.

Keep in mind, however, that according to Krant, once hair is outside the scalp, what’s done is done. “True damage can never really be reversed, only cosmetically improved until that part of the hair grows out and can be cut off,” she writes. Products can “temporarily ‘glue'” split ends back together, but “the best bet may be a little trim to freshen up,” she writes.

Tips to Hide a Cold Sore

Cold sores have a habit of breaking out when you have a cold, but they can be also caused by stress. That’s why you might discover a cold sore on your lip or around your mouth when you least want to deal with it.

Whether you’re going to a wedding or a big job interview, it’s hard to feel your best with a cold sore on your face. Using makeup such as concealer may help, but the timing can be tricky. “I wouldn’t recommend trying to cover a cold sore if it is not partially healed or scabbed over,” says Denise Gevaras, a professional makeup artist in Toms River, N.J. “Most cold sores will ooze in the beginning, and trying to put makeup on them will not only draw attention to them but can probably prevent them from healing properly.”

“It’s hard to conceal a cold sore when it has blistered and is still weeping,” agrees Danielle M. Miller, MD, a dermatologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “But you might be able to use a concealer safely when cold sores are in the healing stage. You also might be able to use an antiviral medication to prevent a cold sore from breaking out or to make it heal more quickly.”

Concealer to Hide a Cold Sore

Once your cold sore has begun healing, you can use makeup to lessen its appearance. “To cover a healing cold sore, I would recommend using a highly concentrated heavy concealer,” says Gevaras. “I have done this often in the past with clients having a breakout right before their wedding.”

Gevaras recommends these steps to best conceal a cold sore:

  • Use a concealer with a creamy texture, not a liquid. These concealers are usually sold in small jars, tubes, or compacts, and are very concentrated.
  • Only a small amount of a heavy concealer is needed — a little goes a very long way.
  • If you have a lot of redness, you may benefit from using concealer in two different shades: a yellow-based concealer to neutralize redness and a concealer that matches your skin tone.
  • Dab on the yellow concealer using a disposable makeup sponge. Start with a very small amount and build it up, if necessary, to avoid cakiness.
  • After the yellow concealer is applied, top it with a very light dusting of finishing powder. Pat it on lightly to avoid disturbing the concealer.
  • Next, gently dab on the concealer color that matches your skin tone and use a stipple motion to blend.
  • Apply another light dusting of finishing powder to set.

“Because cold sores are contagious, to avoid contaminating makeup products, use only disposable sponges and brushes, even if the cold sore is scabbed over,” warns Gevaras. “Never ‘double dip’ in the concealer or powder with the same makeup sponge or brush.”

Getting Rid of Cold Sores Sooner

While there is nothing you can do about an active, oozing cold sore, you might be able to shorten the life of the cold sore or even keep it from showing up.

“In many cases, symptoms of numbness and burning around your mouth or lip are early warning signs of a cold sore,” explains Dr. Miller. “Taking medication at this stage may suppress the blistering phase and shorten the duration of cold sores.”

If you commonly get cold sores or you have the early warning symptoms of a cold sore, ask your doctor if a prescription antiviral medication can help you.

Illegal Silicone Injections Can Be Deadly

The 30-year-old woman arrived at the Henry Ford Hospital emergency room in Detroit out of breath and coughing blood.

It didn’t take long for doctors to figure out why: The woman admitted to having been at a party at a hotel five days prior at which she — and others — received injections of liquid silicone to “enhance” the buttocks and various body parts.

The silicone was not the medical silicone that is sometimes used for implants, but the type easily procured at hardware stores like Home Depot. The fat solvent used to make the silicone had quickly traveled to her lungs and gotten stuck in the airways, resulting in “silicone embolism syndrome,” or clots, in this case, in the smaller vessels in her lungs.

The syndrome, admittedly rare, was first seen in transsexual men wanting to augment their breasts in the 1970s.

“There are two types of side effects [that can result from silicone injections],” said Dr. Angel Coz, the pulmonary and critical care specialist who treated the woman. “Lungs is one of them. The other goes to the brain. The mortality in lungs is close to 20 percent but in the brain it’s close to 100 percent.”

This woman, who was attempting to augment her buttocks, was one of the lucky ones. She survived after receiving steroids, said Coz, who is slated to present information on the case Monday at the American College of Chest Physicians’ annual meeting in Honolulu.

Others have died.

“We’ve been hearing about this,” said Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “There are ‘pumping parties,’ involving high-volume injections to fill up the face, lips, cheekbones, chin or breast. Often it’s buttock enhancement and often it’s not sterile.”

And these illicit procedures may be on the rise, thanks to a slow economy and pocketbooks that aren’t full enough to afford licensed plastic surgeons, said Roth, who is also chief of plastic surgery at the Albany Medical Center in New York.

“It’s really a white-coat deception,” Roth said. “Sometimes the person doing the injections claims to be a physician from another country and in some cases the patient knows very well it’s not a physician but, feeling they can’t afford to go to a legitimate board-certified plastic surgeon, they find a short cut.”

Two other, similar cases of patients developing complications after silicone injections are also being presented at the meeting this week.

One involved a 22-year-old woman who showed up at the UCLA Medical Center emergency room, also with shortness of breath. This quickly progressed to right ventricular failure of the heart and the patient died despite the physicians’ best efforts.

Most likely, the silicone and solvent had damaged the lungs, leading to collapse of the heart.

This patient had had injections in her buttocks from “a doctor in Mexico” earlier that day, a friend told doctors.

The researchers presenting the case said this is the first documented case of right ventricular failure from silicone injections.

The third case was a 23-year-old woman with the familiar symptoms, shortness of breath and cough, who had had several silicone injections in her buttocks.

She was diagnosed with silicone embolism syndrome but, after receiving oxygen and steroids and spending five days in the hospital, recovered and went home.

According to Roth, patients should “run away from these procedures.”

“You don’t do medical procedures in a hotel room or garage. This procedure is illegal,” he said. “Patients need to do their homework and check the credentials of the professional they’re considering for their cosmetic procedure.”

“This is something that is not done by doctors,” added Coz. “It’s completely out of the realm of what any physician would do.”

7 Best Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

Dry winter air can wreak havoc on your skin — leaving it dry, itchy, and irritated; but there are many simple ways to combat dry skin causes and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all winter long. Here are 7 ways to get started.

7 Best Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

1. Invest in a humidifier. Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.

2. Lower the thermostat. When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool, yet comfortable setting — 68°F to 72°F — to maintain healthy skin.

3. Skip hot showers. Although it may be tempting to warm up with a long, steamy shower, hot water dries out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils. Instead, take a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands — if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot.

4. Choose cleanser wisely. The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, steer clear of regular bar soaps, since they tend to contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, start washing with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap, so limit your lathering to necessary areas, such as your hands, armpits, genitals, and feet.

5. Modify your facial skin care regimen for the season. During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. Look for products that contain little or no alcohol — unless your skin is excessively oily. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face.

6. Moisturize frequently. Maintain healthy skin by moisturizing after washing up. “Blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin,” says Linda Stein Gold, MD, director of dermatology clinical research and division head of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, West Bloomfield, MI. “It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. And don’t forget your hands,” says Dr. Stein Gold. “Constant washing will cause the hands to take a beating. Apply hand cream after each washing, and wear waterproof gloves when washing dishes or cleaning around the house.”

7. Apply sunscreen — even in winter. It is still important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays on cold, dreary days in winter. Before going outside, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body.