Friday, February 24, 2012

Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients

Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients


These days you can't open a magazine or turn on the TV without seeing a smooth-faced middle-aged actress or model touting skin care products that can "reverse the clock" on aging skin. "Free radicals," "antioxidants" and "alpha-lipoic acid" have become buzzwords in the quest for eternally radiant skin.

What are these "miracle" ingredients and how do they work? Can they actually erase wrinkles, repair sun damage, or diminish age spots?

This guide is an introduction to some of the latest ingredients being used in skin care products that may benefit your skin. Use this information to sort through the various lotions, creams, and gels on the market. If you're still unsure which are right for you, ask your dermatologist or consult with a skin esthetician at your local salon or beauty counter.

Antioxidants for Sun Damage and Wrinkles

Antioxidants are natural substances made up of vitamins and minerals. They have the ability to fight "free radicals" -- unstable compounds that attack human cells and damage DNA. Damaged skin cells can lead to accelerated aging in the form of wrinkles, dry skin, dark circles under eyes, dull skin, and more.
Free radicals are in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, sunlight, and pollution -- basically, just about everywhere. Eating foods rich in antioxidants is one way to ward them off. Another is to apply them on the skin, where they can seep underneath to strengthen skin cells and keep them healthy.
The antioxidants most shown to repair damage and slow the aging process include:

Acai Oil

You may have heard all the buzz about the role that the antioxidant acai plays in a healthy diet. The new "superfruit" -- blue berries, native to Central and South America -- are filled with antioxidants, more than those found in other berries. Cold-pressing acai berries extracts the oil, which may fight aging by healing sun damage and smoothing wrinkles. Antioxidant levels in acai oil remain high, even after it's stored. While studies have yet to confirm the benefits of acai oil on the skin, it is being used in masks, creams, cleansers, exfoliating scrubs, body butters, and serums.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid has been called a "universal antioxidant" because it's both water- and fat-soluble. That makes it able to penetrate skin-cell membranes at all levels to protect them from free radicals, keeping the body and its skin strong. Promoted as a primary ingredient in many skin-care products, alpha-lipoic acid can erase fine lines and wrinkles, diminish pores, and give skin a healthy glow.


A 2002 study showed that caffeine applied to the skin of mice may fend off skin cancer, attacking tumors before they fully form and healing the skin. Since then, skin-care companies have worked furiously to add it to their products, and it is now available in lotions and creams.
Read the complete article:

How to Choose Skin Care Products

How to Choose Skin Care Products

Mon, 17 Dec 2007 16:01:29

The high absorption ability of the skin makes it necessary for individuals to choose personal skin care products with outmost care.

As a result, using personal care products containing one or probably more of the following ingredients is dangerous.

· Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum - Petroleum products coat the skin like plastic, clog the pores and create toxins, which can slow down cellular development and result in early aging.

· Parabens - It is widely used as a preservative in the cosmetic industry (including moisturizers) and is a carcinogen. It also has hormone-disrupting qualities and interferes with the body's endocrine system.

· Phenol carbolic acid - Found in many lotions and skin creams. It can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsion, coma and even death caused by respiratory failure.

· Propylene glycol - it is used as a moisturizer in cosmetics and as a carrier in fragrance oils. It can cause dermatitis, kidney or liver abnormalities, and may inhibit skin cell growth or cause skin irritation.

· Acrylamide - Which is found in many hand and face creams, is linked to different tumors.

· Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS) - also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) - Found in car washes, engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners and in over 90% of personal care products.

It breaks down the skin's moisture barrier, easily penetrates the skin, and allows other chemicals to easily penetrate as well.

Combined with other chemicals, SLS becomes a 'nitrosamine', a potent class of carcinogen. It can also cause hair loss. SLES is sometimes disguised with the labeling 'comes from coconut' or 'coconut-derived'.

· Toluene - Poison! Danger! Harmful or fatal if swallowed! Harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances.

Chronic exposure is linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect the developing fetus.

· Dioxane - Found in compounds known as PEG, Polysorbates, Laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. It is common in a wide range of personal care products and is considered a carcinogen.

*Contributed by Anne, RN and member. Advocates for Lymphedema

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What are the best foods for healthy skin?

What are the best foods for healthy skin?

from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

Research on the best foods for healthy skin is limited. Still, antioxidant-rich foods seem to have a protective effect for the skin.

Consider these skin-friendly foods:

  • Carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
  • Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish
  • Nuts

On the flip side, some foods seem to be associated with skin damage. For example, some research suggests that a diet high in processed or refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats promotes skin aging.

Remember, many of the best foods for healthy skin also promote good health overall. Rather than focusing on specific foods for healthy skin, concentrate on a healthy diet in general. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Include nuts, seeds and beans in your favorite meals. Opt for whole-grain breads and pasta. Limit sweets. Strive for variety as you're making healthy choices.

Mayo Clinic

Top Five Habits for Healthy Skin

Top Five Habits for Healthy Skin

Proactive skin care, from skin protection to proper shaving technique, will help you keep your skin youthful and healthy.

Your busy lifestyle leaves little time for pampering skin care. The result: Your skin isn't the baby-soft body glove with which you were born. With age, your skin gradually becomes thinner and finely wrinkled. Oil-producing (sebaceous) glands grow less active leaving your skin drier. The number of blood vessels in your skin decreases, your skin becomes more fragile, and you lose your youthful color and glow.

Good skin care — such as avoiding the sun, washing your skin gently and applying moisturizer regularly — can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. These simple skin-care habits will help you protect your skin to keep it healthy and glowing for years to come.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

The best way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. Ultraviolet light — the invisible but intense rays of the sun — damages your skin, causing deep wrinkles, dry, rough skin, liver spots, and more serious disorders, such as noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) skin tumors.

For the most complete sun protection, use all three of these methods:

  • Avoid the sun during high-intensity hours
  • The sun's rays are most damaging from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reduce the time you spend outdoors during these hours.
  • Wear protective clothing

Cover your skin with clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also, keep in mind that certain clothing styles and fabrics offer better protection from the sun than do others. For example, long-sleeved shirts offer better protection than short-sleeved shirts do. And tightly woven fabrics such as denim are better than loosely woven fabrics such as knits.

  • Use sunscreen

Apply sunscreen liberally 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water.

Don't Smoke

Smoking can accelerate the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles. Skin changes from smoking can be seen in young adults who have been smoking for as few as 10 years.

Smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin. This decreases blood flow, depleting the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health. All of these factors increase damage to the elastic fibers (elastin) and collagen which give your skin strength and elasticity.

In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — may contribute to wrinkles. It's also possible that repeated exposure to the heat from burning cigarettes may damage your facial skin over time.

Wash your skin gently

Cleaning is an essential part of caring for your skin. The key is to treat your skin gently.

  • Use warm water and limit bath time.
  • Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time to about 15 minutes or less, and use warm, rather than hot, water.
  • Avoid strong soaps.
  • Strong soaps — those most capable of stripping oil from your skin — can leave your skin dry. Instead, choose mild soaps with oils and fats added to them during the soap manufacturing process.
  • Avoid irritating additives.
  • If your skin is sensitive, avoid products containing perfumes or dyes. These can irritate your skin and may trigger an allergic response.
  • Remove eye makeup carefully.

Use a soft sponge, cotton cloth or cotton balls when removing eye makeup to avoid damaging the delicate tissue around your eyes. If you wear heavy, waterproof makeup, you may need to use an oil-based product such as petroleum jelly.

  • Pat dry.

After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on the skin. Immediately moisturize your skin with an oil or cream.

Moisturize regularly

Moisturizers help maintain your skin's natural moisture levels. They work by providing a seal over your skin — to keep water from escaping — or by slowly releasing water into your skin.

The moisturizer that's best for you and the frequency with which you need to moisturize depends on many factors, including your skin type, your age and whether you have specific conditions such as acne. A good way to test if you need a moisturizer is to wait 20 minutes after bathing. If your skin feels tight, you should apply a moisturizer.

Select a moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to help protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet rays. If you have sensitive skin, look for products free of heavy dyes, perfumes or other additives. If your skin is very dry, you may want to apply an oil, such as baby oil, while your skin is still moist. Oil has more staying power than moisturizers do and prevents the evaporation of water from the surface of your skin. If your skin is oily, you may want to skip moisturizing.

Shave Carefully

Shaving is a common and inexpensive way to remove unwanted hair. But shaving can cause skin irritations, especially if your skin is thin, dry or very sensitive.

For a smooth shave:

  • Press a warm wash cloth on your skin before shaving to soften the hair. Or shave after a warm bath or shower.
  • Don't shave dry skin, which can cause razor burn. Apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving to protect and lubricate your skin.
  • Use a clean, sharp razor. If using an electric razor, don't use the closest setting, which can irritate the skin.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it.
  • Rinse your skin afterwards with warm water.

If irritation does occur, apply a lotion that doesn't contain ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. Though alcohol and alcohol-based products may feel cooling, they don't really soothe irritated skin because the alcohol evaporates rapidly from the skin.

Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn't clear — but some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.

Manage Stress

Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.

Mayo Clinic Skin Care

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Practical Tips and Helpful hints for skin care

Practical Tips for Skin Care

The skin is the body's first line of defense. It protects the body from trauma and infection and aids in temperature regulation. Therefore it is essential to keep the skin healthy. Individuals who have had any impairment of the lymphatic system are especially at risk for developing an infection. Any small cut or abrasion can allow bacteria to enter the skin and the stagnant lymphatic fluid is a perfect milieu in which bacteria can grow.
Simple measures which will promote healthy skin:
1. Inspect the skin daily for any crack, cuts or dry areas. Check carefully areas with reduced sensation or where there are skin folds.
2. Clean skin daily with non-perfumed soap
3. Dry skin completely, especially the area between the toes
4. Keep skin supple. Use a Iow pH lotion as Eucerin to keep the skin moist and pliable.
5. Check fingernails and toenails for any signs of infection, cracks, fungus, or hangnails. Do not cut nails or cuticles. Use an emery board.
6. Call your doctor at the first signs of any infection, redness or temperature.
People who have lymphedema, diabetes or vascular disease are at risk for infections.
Helpful Hints on Skin care
1. To care for corns and calluses, do not use over the counter medications such as Dr. Scholl's corn pads as they contain acid. After the bath or shower, when the skin is softened, buff the skin to remove the dead skin and soften calluses.
2. Corns can develop between the 4th and 5th toes as the foot swells. Fungus can also develop, which can lead to infections. Changing to larger or wider shoes may alleviate the development of corns. Use lambs wool in between the toes to reduce friction.
3. When you trim your toe nails, round the edges to prevent ingrown toenails. Boil clippers for one minute and let cool for one hour before using.
4. Dry you feet very well after bathing, especially between the toes. Do not use alcohol on your feet. Use a Iow pH lotion.
5. If you are unable to cut your toe nails, see a Podiatrist regularly.
6. Use a mild, unscented lotion after bathing. (LYMPHODERM.)
7. Wash your elastic compression sleeves/stockings and stockinet for compression bandaging daily.
8. Use an electric razor to remove hair on affected areas to minimize risk of nicks and scratches
9. Avoid sunburn. Always protect your skin from being injured from the sun.

Lymphedema Skin Care Information

Because of the compromised condition of a lymphovenous limb, we are often susceptible to a large number of skin complications. These may include various skin growths such as skin tags, warts, dermatofibromas, lymphangiomas, rashes, fungal infections, superficial bacterial infections infections which include as impetigo, folliculitis, carbuncles, furuncles and boils and weeping sores.

With lymphedema, some types untreated skin conditions can lead to serious consequences including systemic infections (sepsis), gangrene, amputation and even death.

We should daily, before wrapping or bandaging,use skin lotion to help keep the skin soft and to prevent chapping or cracking from dryness. Our skin is the front line of defense against invasive bacterial or fungal infections.

Good skin health is critical to our overall good health

The information below is taken from a variety of sources and are all good helpful info on keeping our skin healthy.