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Monthly Archives: January 2017

7 Tips for Beautiful Summer Skin

Summer is a wonderful time of year, but the sun and heat can take a toll on your skin, hair, and body. That doesn’t mean you should stay indoors — with a little care and a few precautions, you can enjoy summer to its fullest.

1. Try a Self-Tanner

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are very damaging, especially UVA rays. They not only burn your skin and cause premature aging, but can also lead to skin cancer.

So, instead of lying for hours in the sun, get that sun kissed glow with a self-tanner. Many salons offer spray-on tan services, or you can purchase an inexpensive self-tanning lotion at your local drugstore. Gradual self-tanning moisturizers keep your skin smooth as they help you control just exactly how bronzed you become, and they are less prone to streaking. Just remember to exfoliate before you apply self-tanner to remove any dry skin that could pick up excess color and lead to an uneven appearance.

2. Slather on Sunscreen

Many dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that tests demonstrated SPF 30 products block out only 4 percent more rays — 97 percent compared to 93 percent for SPF 15. So know that you’re getting more protection with SPF 30, but not double the amount of SPF 15. In the past, broad-spectrum SPF sunscreens made skin look whitish because of the opaque nature of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which physically block UV rays, but with more refined, micronized formulations, you can get their sun protection benefits without the ghostly appearance.

More sunscreen smarts to follow include:

  • Check the sunscreen’s ingredients list; it should contain agents that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply sunscreen regularly, as it will wear off with prolonged swimming or sweating.
  • Even if it’s cloudy, ultraviolet rays can still reach your skin, so wear sunscreen even on sunless days.
  • Many makeup and skin care products contain an SPF agent, but don’t be fooled: Look for the SPF number and use extra sunscreen if it’s below 15.

3. Give ’Em Lip Service

Use a lip sunscreen with SPF agent even if you’re putting lipstick on, too.

4. Remember Hair Care

The beating sun will hit your hair hard, but there are a number of sprays containing SPF that you can put on after you wash your hair. This is a must if your tresses has been chemically treated.

Another tip: Don’t overwash your hair as this can remove the oils that naturally protect it.

5. Exfoliate Head to Toe

Expensive scrubs and salts feel wonderful, but if you’re on a budget, you can do just as good a job using an exfoliation mitt or glove and your regular body wash. Gentle exfoliation is essential if you’ve had any area waxed, particularly in the bikini area, as it can help prevent ingrown hairs.

6. Moisturize and Nourish With Oils

Elbows, feet, and ankles can get very dry, so try avocado oil to keep them healthy and smooth. Avocado oil not only moisturizes, but also has nourishing properties as it contains vitamin E.

7. Be Kind to Your Face

Chemical peels, creams, scrubs, and other products containing glycolic acids and retinoids should not be used if you spend a lot of time in the sun: These treatments can make your skin more sun sensitive and cause more damage to your skin. If you must use them, wear a hat and sunscreen to protect your face. Follow this advice as well if you’re taking certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, which also make you more prone to sunburn.

7 Ways to Reduce Wrinkles

Are you tired of waging a war against wrinkles? Scott Gerrish, MD, of Gerrish and Associates, PC, a non-surgical skin care specialist with offices in Virginia and Maryland states, “Don’t give up yet. There are steps you can take to lessen and even reverse one of the biggest signs of aging: wrinkles.”

7 Simple and Smart Skin Care Steps to Reduce Wrinkles

1.Avoid sun exposure. Try to wear white or light colors, and wear a hat when you’re outdoors. Also, don’t use tanning booths, which can be worse than the sun.

2.Wear sunscreen. For the best anti-aging protection, Dr. Gerrish strongly recommends, “Apply sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 (sun protection factor) thirty minutes before sun exposure to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Look for one with zinc or titanium oxide in the ingredient list.”

3.Avoid environmental pollutants. Ozone, smoke, and gasoline fumes are just a few of the pollutants that can age skin and cause premature wrinkles.

4.Start an anti-aging skin care program. June Breiner, MD, an internist in Maryland suggests, “Consult with a non-surgical skin care doctor. There are many products available that thicken your skin and reduce wrinkles.”

5.Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Smoking takes away oxygen and nutrients, and it also increases the number of free radicals in your body’s cells, a main cause of skin aging. “The amount of cigarette consumption and the number of years you have smoked are correlated with an increase in premature wrinkles,” states Dr. Breiner.

6.Wear sunglasses. Other than staying indoors and away from windows, sunglasses are the best way to protect the thin, sensitive skin around your eyes from UV radiation.

7.Sleep on your back, if possible. Sleeping with your face pressed against the pillow can cause sleep lines, which can turn into wrinkles. Satin pillow cases can also help in the anti-wrinkle fight.

Alternative Treatments for Skin Cancer

  1. What is complementary and alternative medicine?Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), is a group of different medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine.Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is medicine that is practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by health professionals who work with them, including physical therapists, psychologists, and registerednurses. Other terms for conventional medicine include allopathy; Western, mainstream, orthodox, and regular medicine; and biomedicine. Some conventional medical practitioners are also practitioners of CAM.

    This summary answers some frequently asked questions about the use of CAM therapies among the general public and about how CAM therapies are evaluated, and suggests sources for more information.

  2. What is integrative medicine?NCCAM defines integrative medicine as treatment that combines conventional medicine with CAM therapies that have been reported to be safe and effective after being studied in patients. In practice, many CAM therapies used in along with conventional medicine have not yet been well tested.
  3. Are complementary and alternative therapies widely used?Yes. Many CAM approaches are used by a large percentage of people in the general public and cancer patients.

    The 2007 National Health Interview Survey reported about 4 out of 10 adults used CAM therapy in the past 12 months, with the most commonly used treatments being natural products and deep breathing exercises.

    One meta-analysis compared CAM use in various countries. On average, over half of all cancer patients use CAM therapies.

    One large survey of cancer survivors reported on the use of complementary therapies. The therapies used most often were prayer and spiritual practice (61%), relaxation (44%), faith and spiritual healing (42%), and nutritional supplements and vitamins (40%). CAM therapies are used by 31-84% of children with cancer, both in and outside of clinical trials. CAM therapies have been used in the management of side effects caused by cancer or cancer treatment.

  4. How are CAM approaches evaluated?It is important that CAM therapies be evaluated with the same long and careful research process used to evaluate conventional treatments. TheNational Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) are sponsoring a number of clinical trials(research studies) at medical centers to evaluate CAM therapies for cancer. A listing of these trials is available at the OCCAM Clinical Trials Web page.

    Conventional cancer treatments have generally been studied for safety and effectiveness through a rigorous scientific process that includes clinical trials with large numbers of patients. Less is known about the safety and effectiveness of many CAM therapies. Research of CAM therapies has been slower for a number of reasons:

    • Time and funding issues.
    • Problems finding institutions and cancer researchers to work with on the studies.
    • Regulatory issues.

    Some CAM therapies have undergone careful evaluation. A small number of CAM therapies originally meant to be alternative treatments are finding a place in cancer treatment as complementary therapies that may help patients feel better and recover faster. One example is acupuncture. According to a panel of experts at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference in November 1997, acupuncture has been found to be effective in the management of chemotherapy -associated nausea andvomiting and in controlling pain associated with surgery. In contrast, some approaches, such as the use of laetrile, have been studied and found ineffective or possibly harmful.

  5. What is the NCI Best Case Series Program?

    The NCI Best Case Series Program, which was started in 1991, is one way CAM approaches that are being used in practice are being investigated. The program is overseen by NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). Health care professionals who offer alternative cancer therapies submit their patients’ medical records and related materials to OCCAM. OCCAM conducts a critical review of the materials and develops follow-up research strategies for approaches that warrant NCI-initiated research.

How to Get a Glows Skin

As you age, your skin becomes thinner and can begin to look tired. Environmental damage also can take the glow out of your complexion and leave you with dull skin. If you find yourself yearning for the dewiness of younger skin, there are ways to help restore the glow to your complexion.

Bad Habits Lead to Dull Skin

Your skin begins to age as early as your twenties. Skin starts to lose its elastic qualities and dead cells do not slough off as quickly, leaving you with dull, dry skin that has lost its glow. In addition to normal aging and your own genetics, factors that can cause your skin to appear dull include:

  • Sun exposure. Over time, too much sun exposure can damage your skin, causing it to appear rough, leathery, and blotchy. Sun exposure is more likely to lead to dull skin if you have a fair complexion.
  • Cigarette smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, the normal age-related changes in your skin happen even faster. People who smoke are more likely to develop a yellowish tint to their skin, and their skin often appears more leathery than that of nonsmokers.
  • Low humidity. If you’re exposed to low humidity year-round because of overheating in winter and air-conditioning in summer, your skin can be left feeling dry and itchy.
  • Stress. Being under stress can cause your skin to become drier and dull looking.
  • Product overuse. Using skin care products that dry your skin, which may include soaps, antiperspirants, and fragrances, can leave your skin looking lifeless.

How to Banish Dull Skin

There are many ways you can help achieve the appearance of younger skin, but the best way to avoid dullness is to prevent it. Follow these steps to prevent a drab complexion or regain your glow:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater every day, even if it’s not particularly sunny; another option is to use a daily moisturizer with SPF 15.
  • Avoid sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are the most intense — wear a stylish, wide-brimmed hat if you’re taking a walk during your lunch hour.
  • If you smoke, stop; this can help improve your skin tone no matter how long you’ve been smoking.
  • Use a humidifier in your home and drink water throughout the day to help keep your skin hydrated.
  • Use mild facial cleansers instead of harsh soaps (or any soap you might use on the rest of your body) when you bathe.
  • Switch from water-based makeup and powder formulas to creams, especially for foundation and blusher.
  • Take lukewarm, rather than hot, baths and showers — and fewer of them — to avoid drying out your skin.

Techniques to Rejuvenate Your Complexion

You can take more serious action to help restore the glow of younger skin by:

  • Moisturizing. Use more targeted creams and moisturizers to give your skin back its younger look. Try over-the-counter products with alpha hydroxy acids or see a dermatologist for a prescription for Renova (or Retin-A if your skin is oily) to encourage cell turnover, brighten your complexion, and make it appear fresher.
  • Talking to your doctor. Sometimes dry skin can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Treating a health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease can sometimes help combat dull skin.
  • Consulting a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. If a change in skin care products isn’t making enough impact, consider a medical approach to regaining the look of younger skin. Treatments include:
    • Chemical peel to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, helping to restore the skin’s glow and a more youthful appearance
    • Dermabrasion, a procedure to remove layers of dead skin and stimulate the deeper layer of skin (dermis) to rejuvenate, which will diminish the appearance of fine wrinkles
    • Laser resurfacing, a more aggressive procedure that uniformly removes a certain thickness of skin and exposes newer, fresher looking skin

If you’re concerned about dull skin, consider all the options for helping restore your glow. Often, a few changes in your skin care routine can leave you with a fresher, younger-looking appearance.