10 Winter Skin Care Tips

by Susan Davis

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

For many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: They get skin so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed).

“As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” Bonnie LaPlante, an esthetician with the Canyon Ranch resort in Lenox, Mass., tells WebMD. “It doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity. The skin gets dry.”

Sound familiar? Read on to get WebMD’s top 10 tips for boosting your winter skin care regimen, so that your skin stays moist and healthy through the winter months.

1. Seek a Specialist

If you go to your local drugstore, you’ll be hard put to find a salesperson who can give you good advice. That’s why going to an esthetician or dermatologist even once is a good investment. Such a specialist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care productsyou should be using.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck buying high-end products. “Inexpensive products work just as well as high-end ones,” says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. “In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing. What’s most important is how your skin responds to the product — and how you like its feel, not how much money you paid for it.”

2. Moisturize More

You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer.  But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine.  Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil-based.)

But choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for “nonclogging” oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. Shea oil — or butter — is controversial, because it can clog facial pores. And vegetable shortening, LaPlante says, is a really bad idea. “It would just sit on the skin,” she says. “And it would be really greasy.  “You can also look for lotions containing “humectants,” a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.

3. Slather on the Sunscreen

No, sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. Winter sun — combined with snow glare — can still damage your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they’re exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.

4. Give Your Hands a Hand

The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it’s harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.

5. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks

Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.

6. Hook Up the Humidifier

Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly.

7. Hydrate for Your Health, Not for Your Skin

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Drinking water helps your skin stay young looking. In fact, it’s a myth. Water is good for your overall health and “the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids. But the average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk,” Kenneth Bielinski, MD, a dermatologist in Oak Lawn, Ill., tells WebMD “It’s a very common misconception.  “LaPlante agrees. “I see clients at the spa who drink their 10 to 12 glasses of water a day and still have superdry skin. It just doesn’t do that much.”

8. Grease Up Your Feet

Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff. Try finding lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.

9. Pace the Peels

If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are “deeply hydrating,” rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face. And use them a little less often.

10. Ban Superhot Baths

Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. “You’re better off with just warm water,” LaPlante advises, “and staying in the water a shorter amount of time.”

A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy, Bielinski notes. So, too, can periodically reapplying your moisturizer. If those techniques don’t work, go see a dermatologist. “You may need a prescription lotion to combat the dry skin,” Bielinski says. “Or you may have a condition that isn’t simply dry skin and that requires different treatment.”

http://www.webmd.com/beauty/ten-winter-skin-care-tips

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Sunburns stings, now scientists know why!

Ever wonder why sunburn stings after being exposed by the Sun for many hours? Researchers from King’s College London have found the specific molecule that causes the stinging that comes from sunburn. By finding this molecule, this opens the door for finding ways to treat this pain not only for sunburns but for other conditions such as arthritis.

The molecule is a protein that they named CXCL5 and was found by experimenting on humans and mice. The scientists asked volunteers to expose small patches of their skin to UVB radiation which is most responsible for sunburn. The researchers would analyze the affected skin to find the proteins that are connected with the pain. They would do the same thing with mice and gave an antibody that neutralized CXCL5 to make sure that this protein was the cause of pain. They found that the CXL5 recruits inflammatory immune cells to damage tissue and trigger the sting.

Overall, this would help scientists understand how pain works and could lead to the expansion of better treatments.

What do you think of this discovery?

Click here to read the original article

Being skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy

There are so many TV shows lately exhibiting an obese person trying to lose weight in order to be healthy. This could be a reminder for some, but being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy either. A new study conducted by an international group of scientists led by Ruth Loos at the Medical Research Council in the UK, found that lean people can be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. After analyzing 75,000 people, they found that leaner people with a specific genetic variant were at higher risk despite their lower body fat.

Scientists advises everyone to  not only focus on the amount of fat, but the type of fat that they might have. The fat that is deposited under the skin doesn’t contribute a lot to the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes or heart problems. You need to look deeper into the body such as the liver to find the bad fat building up. In other words, skinny people may not have a lot of visible fat from the outside, but they could be collecting visceral fat (bad fat) deep inside their body.

What you think about this article? Is this something you already knew?

Courtesy of Time HealthLand–Read more here!

6 Foods to Slow Down Aging!

   “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige

In keeping with our healthy theme this month, we would like to feature some exciting news. Six foods that actually help to slow aging. Now that’s music to the ears of us all. We can actually eat to look younger and feel better. How old would you honestly say you were if you truly didnt know your age? Would you be one of the lucky who could confidently throw out a number much lower than reality, or would you say you feel as though you are living in a body much older than your years?

I have found myself cursing my body for hurting at times or for not performing the way it used to. But as I recall the vigorous activity and over active lifestyle it has been subject to, I realize that my complaining perhaps comes with a package of pain that is deserved. However, when I was introduced to these 6 delicious foods and the notion of a more kind and friendly moderate version of excercise to create a new, younger, healthier me, I forgot my woes and dove in.  

Food #1: FISH

Recent research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Finally, fish oil is great for your skin, preventing dryness and eczema, and promoting firmness and elasticity. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

Food #2: WHOLE GRAINS

Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose bread, pasta and cereals made from whole grains, and incorporate whole grains into your cooking. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Refined grains filter out the many nutrients intrinsic in natural whole grains, and therefore don’t provide the same benefits.

Food #3: CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This powerhouse family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. If you eat them raw or lightly cooked their protection properties are even more effective.

Food #4: NUTS

They are high in calories, but you don’t need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy. Plus, there are so many kinds of nuts to choose from: almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios and more.

Food #5: AVOCADO

Did you know that avocado is a fruit? It is chock full of monosaturated fat, which is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

Food #6: BERREIS!

Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also thought to be of assistance in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

So do yourself a favor and head to the store annd pick up a few of these super anti-aging and health focused items. To make it easier, we have attached a recipe to get your started on your new food endeavours!

Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with Scallion and Pickled Ginger

The pickled ginger, which comes in jars and can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket, adds a pleasantly unexpected sweet pungency to the salad. For a very special tuna salad, grill or broil 12 ounces of fresh tuna. Remove and discard the skin, break the meat up into small pieces, and use it as the base for the sandwich filler below. Tuna is a cold-water fish that has a high percentage of omega-3s. You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Yield: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can (12 ounces) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons eggless soy-based mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat or other whole-grain bread, toasted if you want
  • 8 dark green lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Add scallion, pickled ginger, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce if using, and mix together with fork.

2. Make four sandwiches with the bread, dividing the salad equally among them, and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper, if using.

Notes

Make-Ahead Tip: Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Suggestions: For a sharply flavored accompaniment, toss together Spicy Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinegar, or serve the tuna salad as is on a bed of dark leafy greens with bottled roasted red peppers as a garnish.
ENJOY!

Four Things Apples Can Do For You

Apples: we know them, we love them, but getting your fruit every day just got better for you. Leslie Barrie for Health magazine has some stunning suggestions for this unassuming fruit.

Radiance booster

Treat your skin to a refreshing at-home green-apple mask. The fruit helps replenish moisture, and its acids smooth fine lines, explains Karen Behnke, founding partner of Juice Beauty in San Rafael, California.

Her recipe: In a blender, puree 1 chopped green apple (skin included) with 1/2 cup sliced green grapes; add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup aloe vera, and continue blending until you have a thick paste. Apply to face, neck, and décolletage; wait 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Note: Before you apply, test on a small area of your face or neck to ensure that none of the ingredients react adversely with your skin.

Breathing aid

Think twice about peeling your next apple—the skin is jam-packed with an antioxidant called quercetin, which may protect your lungs from pollutants.

A study from St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London found that people who eat five or more apples a week have better lung function than those who don’t. So slip one into your lunch bag today.

Scalp rejuvenator

Say good-bye to pesky flakes with apple cider vinegar, which is believed to nix the bacteria that may contribute to dandruff, says Cal Orey, author of The Healing Powers of Vinegar.

Try this remedy: Massage a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar directly into washed scalp; leave on for 1 minute, then rinse.

Waistline shrinker

Substitute unsweetened applesauce for half the butter or oil in cake recipes, and you’ll get a naturally sweeter, moister dessert with much less fat, says Samantha Heller, RD, author of Get Smart: Samantha Heller’s Nutrition Prescription for Boosting Brain Power and Optimizing Total Body Health. The sauce is fat- and cholesterol-free, and 1 cup has almost as much filling fiber as 1 cup of brown rice.

Content courtesy of Health.com.

Happy Feet at Any Age

Whether you’re pounding the pavement in a pair of killer heels, propelling through a 5K, or pursuing a 5-year-old around the house, you probably take your feet for granted. But as you get older, your tootsies develop their own unique growing pains and need you to show them some love. Here’s how to sidestep the biggest foot-health issues—and enjoy pain-free feet for years to come.

In your thirties: Head off hormone hassles. Pregnancy can change your body right down to your toes. A hormone called relaxin (which loosens pelvic ligaments in the third trimester) can also affect ligaments in the feet, causing the arches to drop. Then foot muscles in the bottom of the feet spasm in an effort to maintain the arches, says podiatrist Megan Leahy, spokeswoman for the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association.

The result? The achy, throbbing pain of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue across the bottom of the foot. (Nonpregnant women can develop it, too, often from weight gain or wearing unsupportive shoes.)

A great stretch to treat—or prevent—this heel pain: Stand facing a wall, 3 feet away from it; step forward with your right foot, keeping your left heel on the floor. Lean forward, supporting yourself against the wall until you feel a stretch; hold for 90 seconds. Stretch on each side, 3 times a day. Dr. Leahy also suggests an arch support—as well as supportive shoes instead of flip-flops, ballerina flats, or Uggs.

Pick the right kicks. “Most women have flatter feet than they think and need a different shoe,” Dr. Leahy notes. Step out of the shower and look at your wet foot’s imprint on the bath mat. A flatter foot will leave a wider spot; a higher-arched one will show less contact along the inner arch. Those with low arches often need a stability shoe, while high arches often benefit from extra cushioning.

Whatever kind of arch you have, you’ll help prevent foot problems by tossing your running or walking shoes after 350 to 500 miles—about every 8 to 12 months if you log about 10 miles a week.

Watch for warts. Younger women tend to have better-hydrated skin, making them more prone to getting plantar warts on the bottoms of their feet. That’s because the virus that causes these nasties thrives in warm, moist places—i.e., sweaty feet or slick locker room floors. These warts often masquerade as calluses, but have teeny black dots. Try an over-the-counter wart remover with salicylic acid.

In your forties: Go low. Years of pointy shoes with cramped toe boxes or shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet in high heels can lead to bunions (a painful bump on the side of the big toe joint that drives the big toe inward), hammer toes (a claw-like toe deformity), and Morton’s neuromas (nerve swelling, often at the base of the third and fourth toes).

These conditions are also hereditary, so even if you’ve never tortured your feet, you may be prone. Adding insult to injury, the shock-absorbing fat pad on the bottom of your feet starts to get thinner, making heels even harder to tolerate.

The solution: kick off your 3-plus-inch heels for kitten or wedge heels, or flats with cushioning and support. Or wear sneakers or walking shoes to work, then change into a 2-inch heel, advises New York City podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera: “Commuter shoes—with rubber soles, shock absorption, and arch support can really save your feet.” Merrell and Geox make cute, comfy ones.

Buy right. Shop for shoes with wide and deep toe boxes—and in the right size! “Most women wear a full size-and-a-half too small,” Dr. Leahy says. Feet tend to grow longer and wider as you age, especially if you’ve been pregnant, which means you shouldn’t be in the same size shoe that you wore in college. Still crave stilettos? Try a gel pad  under your forefoot.

Fix funky fungus. As many as 40% of women over age 40 have fungal toenails. Besides looking yucky (fungal nails can be yellowed or brownish, and thick), the fungus—which also causes athlete’s foot—can lead to bacterial infections and pain.

Common culprits: shoes that don’t breathe or a penchant for pedicures. (If you leave the polish on for too long, nails don’t get any air.) Dr. Leahy advocates taking a three-week polish break twice a year. Also, try rubbing tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub into a buffed nail bed twice daily. If those moves don’t work, you may need prescription oral or topical antifungals.

In and after your fifties, heal your heels. Lizard-like heels can result from menopause-related hormonal changes, as well as backless shoes or flip-flops that bang the heel rather than hug it. To treat them: smooth on a moisturizing cream with urea, uric acid, or lactic acid. For extra softening, slather it on at night, avoiding between the toes, and slip on socks.

Loosen up. The irony is that as our body parts start to soften in our 50s, our joints—including the ones in our feet—stiffen up. Irvine, California–based podiatrist Sheryl Strich recommends these Pilates-based exercises once a day to help maintain flexibility:

1. Sit with your knees touching as your feet move together along the floor, tapping to the right, center, and left.

2. Bend and flex your toes; flex and unflex them in order to move your feet along the floor like they’re inchworms.

Remember, your feet take you everywhere–treat them well!

Article courtesy of Leslie Goldman for Health Magazine

“More Than Just a Mole” by Sara Altshul

Eight years ago, I had a free skin cancer screening at the company I worked for, even though my fair skin had no suspicious moles or splotches (despite my sun-baked youth). To my surprise, the dermatologist hovered her magnifying glass over the tiny, tear-shaped, pale-colored spot near my left nostril. “That’s just a birthmark. My brother has the same one in the same place,” I told her. She sent me off for another look anyway.

That dermatologist agreed with me. “It’s nothing,” he said. “But since you’re here, let’s take a biopsy.” I shivered, but I wasn’t worried—until his call to me a few days later telling me that my birthmark, in fact, was something. That something was a basal cell carcinoma, the most common and least dangerous skin cancer, usually caused by sun exposure.

I had it removed promptly. The surgery left a faint, 4-inch scar visible only to me along my smile line.

Recently, I noticed that the same spot looked different. I figured that my newish weight loss just changed the scar’s appearance. My sharp-as-a-tack 91-year-old mother-in-law noticed it too. “What’s that?” she asked. Next day, I made an appointment with a dermatologist.

Few over 50s get checked for skin cancer
Turns out, I’m in the minority of folks over 50 who’ve had a skin cancer screening in the last year: Only 16% of men and 13% of women get their skin checked, according to a new study funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Of all the cancers, skin cancer is the most common. More than 1 million cases are diagnosed annually. Of them, melanoma is the deadliest form; last year almost 70,000 new cases were diagnosed. When caught early, the five-year survival rate for people with melanoma is 99%, which plummets to 15% once cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Twenty-somethings and teens are particularly vulnerable: Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for people ages 25 to 29, and the second most common cancer in people ages 15 to 29. The American Cancer Society recommends an annual screening starting at age 20.

Choose a safe and effective sunscreen
You know the drill about wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun during its fiercest hours. But did you know that not all sunscreens are created equal? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that protects public health and the environment, 30% of sunscreens may be ineffective. What’s more, 42% of sunscreens on the market in 2009 contained oxybenzone, a known hormone disrupter. Last year, the EWG analyzed 1,796 name-brand sunscreens and found that 2 out of 5 of them don’t provide adequate protection, or contain ingredients with “significant safety concerns.” Of the 1,796 products, just 141 were listed as “recommended.” Find that list here.

Get some inside protection
Green tea can reverse the effects of sun damage to the skin and prevent skin cancer, says the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. According to studies, drinking green tea prevents skin tumors through a variety of complex mechanisms; bottom line, it contains powerful antioxidants that can reverse cellular DNA damage caused by sun exposure. Though we don’t yet know how many cups of green tea it takes to prevent cancer, the researchers say they believe that drinking green tea regularly, over time, reduces sun damage’s cancer-provoking effects on skin. Shoot for three cups a day, and ice it for a refreshing, healthy summer blast. Try Sweet Tea’s organic green tea flavors, including mint and honey and diet citrus, available at many supermarkets and health-food stores.

Turmeric, the bright yellow curry spice, contains the powerful antioxidant, curcumin, which suppresses inflammation. In a test-tube study published last month, a turmeric extract protected skin against sun damage. To reap turmeric’s anti-cancer benefits, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to food every day (it’s perfect in egg, rice, and beans), suggests Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD, a professor of cancer research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Aggarwal is among the world’s leading turmeric experts.

Back to me
I lost some sleep awaiting the results of my latest biopsy. I wasn’t afraid of the cancer itself; I knew there was practically no way a basal cell carcinoma could kill me. But I was afraid of the cosmetic damage, because BCCs can recur and become extensive, and sometimes require plastic surgery. Happily, I won’t be needing that surgery—the biopsy was benign. Still, the scare convinced me to firmly remain among that 13% of women over 50 who have skin checks every single year.

Courtesy of Health.com