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As we age, it becomes more and more important to take care of our skin. Finding what works for you however, can sometimes be the hardest part to a great skincare regimen. I find that a great tip for keeping skin smooth and healthy is weekly exfoliation.

Exfoliating the skin takes away the build up of dead skin cells on your outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. As we grow older cell turnover slows down and excess skin can build up, leaving it dry and discolored. Exfoliating your skin twice at week at most, will leave it glowing and looking like new.

Exfoliation is simple and fast. There are two main types, mechanical and chemical. Mechanical or physical exfoliation is when you use scrubs or rough cloth to gently smooth away excess skin cells. This should always be performed in small circular motions all along the face and neck. Avoid using body scrubs on your face, they are too abrasive and will take off too many cells. Over exfoliating can happen if you exfoliate more than twice a week or use too harsh a scrub or cloth. You will notice if you have over exfoliated if your skin looks red and irritated and dry all over. I would suggest using a non-detergent or non-drying cleanser with a washcloth.

Chemical exfoliation does not involve scrubbing, but chemical solutions that work to break down old skin cells and rinse away. Both of these methods are effective and can be performed at home or by a professional. Overall a good skincare regimen consists of a great cleanser, an exfoliator and a moisturizer. Remember, only exfoliate once or twice a week to help facilitate cell turnover and improve circulation for your skin.  Simple weekly routines can make a world of difference!

References:

Please click here for my Huffington Post article on bathing and exfoliation.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nagarazoku/31662791/

Whether you’re grilling, baking or hair straightening, minor burns here and there are bound to happen. Luckily, if you have the right natural remedy they will not ruin your night. There are a great many natural remedies for burns on the market, the most reputable one being a plant that many of you are familiar with: Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera is an old household remedy used for years by indigenous cultures and medical practitioners. More commonly used to treat first degree burns, aloe gel from a plant or a store-bought tube can cool the affected burnt area and prevent any further skin damage. The gel compound in Aloe Vera works to repair the skin directly at the base of the burn. It contains a naturally occurring antiseptic that helps seal the wound and serves as a natural band-aid for your skin.

Used on old scars or fresh burns, Aloe Vera is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to healing the skin. Not only is it used topically, but I have even seen it in bottles at the store—you can drink it too! I have been using it for years because it is a great, natural way to heal your skin and keep it looking great. While it is used in many beauty products these days, you can just as easily purchase an Aloe Vera plant and apply it directly to your skin for healthier and faster results. In fact, I recommend purchasing the plant over a chemical product—plants do not come with fine print!

 

References:

http://www.naturalnews.com/001560.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/skin-care/burns

 

pure-jojoba.com

Who would have thought that our bodies already produced the best moisturizer on the market? When it comes to treating your body, natural cures are key. It is important for us to know exactly what we are putting onto our skin, as many skincare creams can contain toxic chemicals. This is why I am always look into all sorts of natural remedies for the skin, and one of the latest ones to be added to the ‘miracle’ list is hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring carbohydrate in the human body. Its function in the body is to bind with water and maintain cushioning for our joints and muscles. When bound with water in our bodies it has a texture similar to that of jello.  It occurs in every cell of  our body but 50% of it can be found in different layers of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is similar to collagen in this sense, as it plays an active role in skin maintenance. While collagen restores the skin after it is stretched, hyaluronic acid nourishes and hydrates it.

The greatest cure for keeping hyaluronic acid active in the body for healthier, radiant skin is by staying hydrated and of course, moisturizing. The skin, after all, is like a rubber band. Too much stretching causes wear and tear that would not normally happen if the rubber band were say, under water. The more water that you put into your body the more chances it has to bind with the hyaluronic acid and the more likely it will keep you wrinkle-free!

References:

http://www.hyalogic.com/main/about_hyaluronic_acid

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The skin is the largest organ of the body. Because it is so large and acts as somewhat of a shield to our bodies, it is very susceptible to the toxins brought about by our environment and our own use of perfumes, lotions, and antiseptic creams. Steroid creams in particular, used to treat dry skin, irritation, sunburns, boils and rashes, can have some pretty powerful side effects that can harm our body in the long run. A more homeopathic approach to treating skin irritation is by using a healing ointment extracted from a marigold-type flower called calendula.

Calendula is a flower native to the Mediterranean, and has been used as a healing agent since the sixteenth century. It contains powerful flavanoids along with natural pigments, organic acids, and carotenoids  that contain anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties to help treat the skin. Since calendula is a natural antibiotic, the first thing it does is kill germs and prevent infection. Secondly, it regenerates skin tissue by increasing blood-cell growth, which decreases your chances of developing scars. Calendula can come in the form of oils, lotions, or ointments, and can be found at health food stores, or by creating a batch at home using dried calendula flowers and olive oil.

Research has shown that calendula is an acceptable replacement for topical steroids, which over time can easily enter the bloodstream, cause skin discoloration, and potentially thin out the skin. Where children are concerned, calendula is especially helpful with diaper rashes and other activities that can cause skin chafing. Go for the safer alternative!

 

References:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/calendula-herbal-remedies.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendula

Creams, supplements, injections, and “magic” anti-aging formulas abound in the beauty industry. Many skin products boast the ability to reverse the tell tale signs of aging with extracts and other foreign ingredients, but the so-called “cure” for aging has yet to surface. This is mostly because it is nearly impossible to substitute damaged skin cells with healthy ones. As we age, our dying cells replicate faster than our body can regenerate healthy ones, and over time we come to experience wrinkles, sagging skin, and crow’s feet—some of the biggest drawbacks to getting older!

A truly remarkable addition to the beauty and skincare industry as of late however, is research done on plant stem cells. More specifically, plant stem cells derived from apples picked off of Uttwiler Spatlauber trees that once grew bountifully in Switzerland in the 18th century. Plant stem cells differ from human stem cells in that they can divide multiple times, which allows them to continuously regenerate entirely new plants. Essentially, they perform the same functions as human stem cells, only they are better able to restore skin damage caused by ultra violet rays, and stimulate cell growth.

Since using plant stem cells on the skin is more of a recent development, consumers can be a little bit weary of using products with plant stem cells listed on product labels. However, research so far has shown that using a product with plant stem cells on the skin reduced the lining of crow’s feet by eight percent after just two weeks, and up to fifteen percent after four. It might not be the “miracle” cure we are all hoping for, but those results sound pretty promising to me!

References:

http://www.insidecosmeceuticals.com/articles/2009/08/plant-stem-cells–a-cure-for-aging.aspx

 

 

 

There are thousands of people will jump at the chance to tell you their theory on the best way to reduce wrinkles, but a simple, old fashioned technique to keeping your skin looking young and taut is to practice daily facial exercises. You might think facial exercises entail stretching out the skin, and it might seem that way from pictures and videos on the internet, but practicing facial exercises actually helps lift and rejuvenate sagging skin if done properly.

In much the same way bodily exercise gets our blood pumping, facial exercises induce healthy blood flow in the skin. Because our facial muscles sit directly beneath the skin on our face, small, repetitive movements have a big impact. If done correctly and consistently, expanding and contracting certain muscles in the face can improve skin elasticity. Oils get naturally released from these exercises, ridding the skin of pent-up debris that has a tendency to build up in our oil glands.

Improving the look of your skin will not happen over night with these exercises, or even after a few days. Like sculpting the body, exercising facial muscles takes time and diligence. They are usually pretty simple, and the repetitions range from winking each eye softly to prevent crow’s feet or tilting your head back and pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth to prevent neck sagging. Performing these simple repetitions daily in the morning or before bed can definitely help your skin reclaim some of its elasticity, and prevent it from further sagging.

 

Check out the video below to see how it’s done!

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.shapeyourface.com/exercise_four.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/240958-facial-exercises-to-prevent-wrinkles/

 


If you can remember what the chicken pox was like, you can understand what shingles feels like. Shingles is commonly described as the “adult” version of chicken pox. Many of us get chicken pox when we are young, and the virus that causes it, varicella-zoster, sleeps at the roots of our nerves forever in some, awakening years later for others.

Shingles usually appears in people age 50 or older. It can be brought on by stress, a weak immune system, or disease. It is a viral infection that occurs in stages. First it starts out as a headache, sensitivity to light, or as flu-like symptoms. It later becomes an itching or tingling in one area of the body and turns into a rash. Shortly after these symptoms appear, blister clusters begin to form that fill with fluid and crust over with time, leaving scarring on rare occasions.

Every shingles case is different. Some only develop a mild rash, and others do not get a rash at all. Generally I find people are afraid that the rash will spread once they have identified it on their body, however, shingles tends to stay in one general area in specific patterns, because it lives in the sensory nerves. While you cannot catch shingles if you have had chicken pox, it is best to stay away from public places so you do not spread it to people who have not had chicken pox. These people are the most easily affected.

If you feel like you might have shingles, it is best to contact your doctor right away. The earlier you catch it, the better. Typically they will prescribe anti-viral medications, or over-the-counter pain medication. Applying cool, wet compresses to the affected areas also help, as well as possibly a starch bath, which has been known to help with agitated skin conditions. While there is no cure for shingles, there are many options available for treating the symptoms. Just make sure to try and catch it early!

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/shingles-topic-overview

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001861/

 

If you have ever felt that subtle tingling on the outer lip area of your mouth indicating an oncoming cold sore, you know they are no picnic. Often called fever blisters, cold sores appear as tiny but painful red blisters that dot the edge of the mouth at unsuspecting times, and evolve over a few days to more prominent, liquid-filled blisters that eventually leak clear fluid and flake off without a scar.

Cold sores are the physical manifestation of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are more commonly transmitted through saliva, usually through utensils, toothbrushes, drinks, or by kissing someone who is infected with the virus. However, cold sores can also be spread easily by merely touching the infected surface of another person. They also get worse by picking at them with dirty hands, so it is important not to agitate it and keep your hands clean.

Symptoms that you can expect when experiencing cold sores are fever, sore throat, swollen glands, or pain around the mouth, lips and neck. Usually aggravated by sun, stress, a weak immune system, cosmetic surgery, pregnancy, or food allergies, cold sores can also appear more frequently because of a high amount of an amino acid in the diet called arginine. Arginine naturally occurs in foods like nuts, chocolate, oats, whole or wheat flower, peanut butter and brown rice, and is essentially responsible for the replication of the HSV virus.

Though the HSV virus is incurable, to counter its recurrence it is important to consume foods rich in lysine, such as sprouts, papaya, beets, and most fruits and vegetables, as they prevent arginine from metabolizing in the body. Do your best to shy away from foods like beans, whole and wheat flour, gelatin, and lentils, as they contain a rich amount of arginine. Other than dietary changes, I would also suggest getting plenty of rest, staying out of the sun, and using a good home remedy on the lips, like apple cider. It is a mild acid that helps reduce pain, swelling, and itching—the most common and uncomfortable cold sore symptoms!

References:

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/cold-sores-topic-overview?page=2

http://www.herpes-coldsores.com/diet_and_nutrition_with_herpes.htm#LysineArginine

 

 

 

 

 

Rosacea is a skin disorder that affects over 16 million Americans, most of whom are not really aware they have it, let alone what to do about it. It involves redness of the face, small but visible blood vessels, and/or bumps and pimples that can have the same psychological effects on the sufferer as teenagers experience with acne, reducing their confidence and self-esteem and may even cause them to cancel social engagements.

Rosacea often creeps up on some people after the age of 30, and will sometimes affect more than just the face, including the scalp, eyes, neck, chest, and ears. Most doctors will typically alleviate the symptoms with topical antibiotics, as there is currently no known cure. If left untreated for long, the redness usually develops into bumps and pimples, and sometimes tissue on areas of the face like the nose can become excessive and cause it swell.

What I notice with a large number of my clients is that rosacea has a lot to do with an overgrowth of yeast or Candida in the body. This results from things like excess sugar, carbohydrate and alcohol intake, antibiotics intake, and Vitamin C and bioflavanoid deficiency. If yeast is not indicated in the individual, I find that Helicobacter Pylori infection in the stomach can be contributing to the skin disorder. The proper blood and stool tests can easily help diagnose these infections. Also if you regularly get aggressive chemical peels and laser treatments, those have the potential to contribute to rosacea as well.

While it is important to consult your doctor immediately if you are seeing any signs of rosacea on your skin, I suggest incorporating Vitamin C and bioflavanoids more in your diet by eating more vegetables and fruits, decreasing sugar, carbohydrate and alcohol intake, and possibly reducing any treatments that could weaken the immunity of your skin, like chemical peels. There is also a wide variety of online help, including a worldwide organization called the National Rosacea Society, which is the largest resource available for rosacea sufferers. You can visit their website for online help and more information at www.rosacea.org.

 

References:

www.rosacea.org

 

People smoke for many different reasons: to relax, to comfort themselves, to feel more energy, or just because it is something to do. Despite the thousands of deaths per year caused by smoking, millions of people continue to do it, often times understanding the risks associated with it because they are emotionally or physically unable to stop. Not only does it deteriorate you on the inside though—it can greatly affect your skin. The part of you that shows the most!

If you are looking for a way to have younger, healthier looking skin, smoking is not the way to go. The two major things that keep your skin looking healthier longer are its elasticity and the level of nutrients it contains. Smoking worsens both of these factors. It saps the nutrients from the skin by narrowing blood vessels, thereby reducing blood flow and nutrient transfer. Because skin cells are not given enough oxygen, they die off quicker. Nicotine as well as the other 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke also damages the protein fibers in your skin responsible for maintaining the skin’s youthful tautness, aging the skin at a much faster rate.

Aside from a host of other reasons to quit smoking, premature wrinkles and aging is one to worry about. Not only do the wrinkles appear early in life around the mouth from pursing the lips repeatedly, they also appear on the neck, the corners of your eyes, and inner arms. The body loses its ability to heal quickly, drying out and dehydrating the skin, resulting in premature sagging and age spots.

If you are already noticing premature wrinkles caused by smoking, it is not too late to seek help before they worsen. The sooner you quit smoking, the better!

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/smoking/AN00644