Saturday, January 30, 2016

Antioxidant Sources

Antioxidants are an important component to a healthy body (and therefore healthy skin). Below are some of the antioxidant sources available today. Some in supplement form, others from food sources. Acquainting yourself with where you can find antioxidants for your diet is crucial to keeping your insides functioning on the highest of healthy levels.

Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals; free radicals contribute to the destruction of healthy cells. If you are eating a balanced diet with a high fruit and vegetable content, you are probably getting lots of antioxidants. But diets are not so balanced for many people. I’m not a big believer in taking pills, especially using supplements as a way of substituting for a poor diet. However, due to our modern lifestyles and busy schedules, supplementing is not only inevitable, but probably necessary. Here are some of the many supplement sources to add more antioxidants into your diet.

Alpha lipoic acid and protective are synonymous. A powerful antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid has the ability to actually help regenerate other antioxidants that have been wounded in the process of ridding the body of free radicals. Alpha lipoic acid can also be very helpful in regulating blood sugar levels. This is something that diabetics and people who suffer from hypo- or hyperglycemia may want to know about. I am interested in alpha lipoic acid not only for its antioxidant abilities but also for its benefits with inflammation; both of these factors have an effect on the health of your cells. And as with many of the supplements available in the anti-aging range, anything that increases the health of your body will naturally be reflected in healthier-looking skin.

Alpha lipoic acid in supplement form is fairly expensive. As an ingredient in skin care products, alpha lipoic acid is outrageously expensive. Even if these products did work wonders for your lines and wrinkles, unless you are well-off financially, you will never be able to afford to keep up this habit. You’ll just have to age with the rest of us and find less expensive ways to keep your skin looking clear, healthy, and if you must, young. I’m still not convinced putting alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, or any other anti-aging miracle ingredients topically on your skin is truly effective against aging. I prefer to eat my vitamins, whether in food or with supplements.

There is no RDA (recommended daily allowance) for alpha lipoic acid; recommendations vary from 10mg to 600mg daily. Doses over 100mg might have the effect of lowering blood sugar levels in some individuals, even non-diabetics. I am prone to hypoglycemia so I closely monitored how I felt when I first started experimenting with alpha lipoic acid. When I took 100-200mg per day, I had no adverse reaction in regard to my blood sugar levels.

Note: Alpha lipoic acid should not be confused with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 essential fatty acid. They are both beneficial for different reasons.

Also known as ubiquinone, Coenzyme Q10 (more commonly called CoQ10) has shown signs of rejuvenating brain cells in laboratory animals. There is no conclusive evidence yet to show there is an appreciable difference in the human brain, but tests are underway to bring new information to the forefront. What is known is CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant. It has been shown to help boost the power of vitamin E in the fatty part of cells. This is the part that can sustain the worst free radical damage. These fatty cells are concentrated in the brain, so taking CoQ10 may help to protect the all-important brain. There is no established dosage for Coenzyme Q10.

Grape seed extract enjoyed a bit of popularity a few years ago, but has since slipped behind so many of the up and coming antioxidants. Grape seed extract, however, is an excellent source of a complex of antioxidants called OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes). You can take capsules ranging anywhere from 250-1000mg daily. It is the OPCs in red wine that is thought to be good for certain health issues. Grape seed extract is the best all around source for OPCs, so don’t drink wine as your only source for this complex of antioxidants!

If vitamin C isn’t the best-known antioxidant, surely it is the bestknown vitamin. It started when we were kids, hearing how vitamin C helps to keep the common cold away. In fact Vitamin C and the Common Cold is the title of a wonderful book written by Dr. Linus Pauling. Among many other contributions (both social and scientific), Linus Pauling is perhaps best known by the general public for his research and advocacy of high-dosing vitamin C. This investigative pioneer began ground-breaking research into the value and disease-fighting ability of vitamin C, and lived to the ripe age of 93 (1901-1994). He truly was an example of his research and work in nutritional studies.

Now we know that vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It is helpful with brain function as well as repairing free radical damage. One of the more interesting benefits of vitamin C is its ability to improve the quality as well as the quantity of brain transmissions. Translation: it helps your brain function optimally.

Vitamin C helps with many other bodily functions. It helps in the production of collagen, which is the supporting structure of your skin. It is the collagen and elastin fibers that break down through sun exposure and the natural aging process, creating lines and wrinkles on our faces as well as flaccid or sagging skin. This antioxidant also helps with bruising as well as the healing of wounds and burns.

Vitamin C is water-soluble and not manufactured by the body. Therefore, we have to get this antioxidant through our food and/or supplementation. Vitamin C is found in numerous foods you are probably already eating. Because most of this vitamin leaves through the urine, you might consider taking it in supplement form as well.

Taking anywhere from 500 to 1000 milligrams daily is thought to be sufficient to help protect the brain. Even in large doses, vitamin C doesn’t seem to be toxic. Of course, too much of anything is not a good thing. You will know if you’ve taken too much vitamin C because you’ll get loose bowels or possibly diarrhea. Some people even use high-dosing of vitamin C in order to clean out their colon. If you experience diarrhea, whether you are inducing this type of evacuation or because you are sick, you must also increase your water intake to compensate for the loss of water through these eliminations.

Vitamin E, sometimes known by the name tocopherol, is an important vitamin if you are interested in your brain having maximum help to ward off free radical invasion. This antioxidant works on the fatty parts of the cells that comprise the brain. Research is increasing to see if vitamin E can help fend off such debilitating brain diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

You want to take natural vitamin E. How do you know if it’s natural? It will always have a “d” in front of the chemical name, such as d-alpha tocopherol. Tocotrienols are another form of vitamin E, and can be found alone or in the mixed tocopherol supplements. The mixed vitamin E supplements might contain d-alpha as well as d-beta, d-delta, and d-gamma tocopherols. The mixed forms of vitamin E are said to be the best for brain protection. In most of the literature I’ve read, it says taking 400 IUs (international units) of vitamin E is sufficient; taking more, especially over 800 IUs, can get you into trouble. Most notably, it has blood thinning abilities at these higher doses. I would stick with the lower 400 IUs per day, unless instructed otherwise by your health care practitioner.

The antioxidants you just read about are the most powerful, but certainly not the only ones available. Other antioxidants include:
  • bilberry, an herb
  • cysteine, an amino acid
  • ginkgo biloba, an herb
  • glutathione, a protein
  • green tea 
  • melatonin, a hormone
  • selenium, an enzyme
  • superoxide dismutase, an enzyme
  • vitamin A as well as beta carotene 
  • zinc, a mineral
However you get antioxidants into your body (through food or supplementation), do be sure you are getting these all-important free radical fighters in your daily diet.

For more information, see:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yonka for Men: FOAM GEL cleanser

From Yonka headquarters: 
FOAM GEL is a specially formulated cleanser that removes dirt, excess oil and impurities while preparing the skin for an irritation-free shave. Plant-derived emulsifiers gently cleanse and purify while a blend of botanicals and essential oils nourish, tone, and condition the skin. Its non-drying texture cleanses without stripping the skin, leaving the complexion with a fresh, comfortable finish. Perfect for all skin types.

Foam Gel cleanser is very popular with my male clients. This along with Barber Shave seem to keep the skin soft and make it easier for getting a clean, close shave. If youre not using a cleanser or are unhappy with the one you are currently using, give Foam Gel a try!
    Essential ingredients:
    • Copper, irissoothing, softening
    • Essential oil of limeastringent, anti-fatigue
    • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)deep-cleansing, balancing
    Directions for use:
    Use morning and evening:
    It’s best to clean your skin before shaving. As with any cleanser, you can use it in the shower or at your bathroom sink.
    • Apply Foam Gel to damp skin using the fingertips, work into a lather, avoid contact with the eyes
    • Splash-rinse with tepid water and pat skin dry
    • If you’re going to shavedo
    • Use spray toner (Lotion YK, Lotion PNG, or Lotion PS)
    • For deeper cleansing, use the Foam Scrub 2 to 3 times a week
    • Follow with Age Defense or Nutri Creme (both are Yonka for Men creams)
    • Finally use Undereye Gel for anti-puffiness/dark circles
    Whenever possible, use hands to apply or remove products. Washcloths harbor bacteria and can be harsh on the skin; using your hands allows you to feel your skin. And always use tepid or room temperature water on your face. Never hot, never cold. 

    For important information, see: 

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    Toothpaste & Chapped Lips?

    In the past week, I have developed cracks in the corners of my mouth. I looked these symptoms up and have found that this can be a riboflavin deficiency. I take a lot of vitamins every day, so this seems odd to me. The only other cause that I can think of is stress. Up until last week I was under a lot of stress. What do you think the cause is, and how should I treat this?

    Symptoms of stress can be anything from looking and feeling tired to more severe problems like the kind my client, Debbie, has described. Many times stress will have a delayed response in the body, so even though the stress may be over (the wedding, the divorce, the new job, the event) the symptoms of a depleted body may keep on coming. It’s as though your body takes the brunt of the stress for a certain period of time, then it crosses over the threshold of tolerance. That is when the symptoms really begin to show.

    Cracking at the corners of the mouth is thought to be a riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency. The B vitamins are known as the “stress vitamins.” When we are stressed out, vitamin B is easily depleted from our system. Because these vitamins are water-soluble, they are easily destroyed by alcohol, pollution, smoking, and stress, to name just a few causes.

    Although Debbie was on the right track for figuring out why she was experiencing cracking at the corners of her mouth, it wasn’t until another six months went by that she discovered the real culprit. After trial and error with vitamins and products put directly on her lips, Debbie returned to her dermatologist who said it could be toothpaste that was causing her troubles. Honestly, when Debbie first told me this I was skeptical, although I had recently read about toothpaste causing reactions like perioral dermatitis, a condition that I didn’t link to Debbie’s.
    Debbie called me and said that she didn’t want to jinx the results, but after switching toothpaste, her cracking problems cleared up within three days! Debbie’s problems began in October and it was now April. I asked her if she switched brands anywhere near the time she was getting cracked lips. Due to an important event (the one she was so stressed about in the email), she wanted to have bright, white teeth and started using a special toothpaste made for this right around the time she started having the problems.

    You really have to become your own private detective when it comes to figuring out why you have “all of a sudden” developed a skin condition—or a change in anything having to do with your body. I talk a lot about this in regard to sugar and breakouts. Without finding what the offending substance is, whether a food or in Debbie’s case, a product, your problems may persist. If Debbie’s doctor hadn’t suggested this seemingly unrelated product (toothpaste) as being the cause, she would have continued to use it and continued to have skin problems. Or at some point, Debbie might have gone off the toothpaste, and her lip problems would have cleared up, but she might not have connected the two events.

    Awareness is the key, along with being able to dissect your life in such a way as to figure out even the most mundane of activities or products used and how they may be affecting your health. I am happy to report Debbie’s cracking problems have completely gone away, and needless to say, she won’t be using teeth whitening toothpaste ever again!

    For more help with chapping, see:

  • Kiss Chapped Lips Goodbye!

  • More Help for Chapped Lips

  • - See more at: http://agelessbeautyblog.blogspot.com/search/label/chapped%20lips#sthash.m3998u7R.dpuf

    Sunday, January 24, 2016

    What is a toner and why use one?

    What is a toner? 

    Toner (also called freshener, astringent, clarifying lotion, etc.) is a water-based liquid designed to superficially hydrate and lower the pH of the skin. Almost all product lines have toners. Read further to find out why you want to use toner, how to use one, and what to watch out for.

    Why use a toner? 

    Toners are an important yet misunderstood step in your daily program. You may have heard they are the second step in cleansing: “Wipe your face with a cotton ball soaked in toner and look at all the dirt it picks up.” What that really means is you didn’t get your skin clean, so it’s back to Step 1: Cleansing for you. Cleansers cleanse, toners tone or prepare the skin. Toners are not cleansers. 

    Technically, toners reacidify the epidermis and prepare the skin for moisturizer. To reacidify means to replace the skin’s naturally low (acidic) pH, which is disrupted somewhat even with gentle cleansers. Epidermis is just another word for your outer, dead skin, the skin you can touch. So toners help replace the natural acidic state of your skin. Toners are primarily water, so they also superficially hydrate the outer skin. After cleansing and toning, you are ready for Step 3: Moisturizing, discussed in several blog posts.

    Some of you may be using toners thinking you are tightening or even shrinking your pores. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is physiologically impossible to shrink the pores. Toners that have alcohol or other drying agents in them cause your skin to swell slightly, giving you the feeling of tightening. But actually these drying agents (especially alcohol) will strip the skin and eventually cause dehydration—making your skin feel dry. Toners prepare the skin for moisturizing, they do not alter the structure of the skin.

    What a toner is not. A toner is not a product that should strip your skin. A toner is not a product that should contain alcohol (the bad kind).

    For more details, see:

    Friday, January 22, 2016

    Yonka’s HUILE CORPS—aromatic body oil—DISCONTINUED 4/2018

    From Yonka headquarters:  
    HUILE CORPS is a fast-penetrating oil that leaves the skin on the body with a feeling of well-being. It nourishes, hydrates, firms, and replenishes while its delicate aromas enliven the body and mind.

    Smooth, quickly absorbed, and naturally aromatic, this triple-action oil repairs the driest and most damaged skin. It firms the epidermis and invigorates blood and lymph circulation. Use daily on slightly wet skin after shower or bath.

    I love this body oil! It has that amazing “Yonka” aromatic and makes the dry, winter skin on your body feel completely hydrated without feeling oily. Body oils are best used when your skin is still wet from the shower or bath. Using body oils in the winter really help keep the alligator skin away.

    Essential ingredients:
    • Hazelnut, corn and sunflower cereal oils—silkens, nourishes, neutralizes free radicals
    • Petitgrain essential oil—shapes, detoxifies and tones, improves coloring, balancing
    • Everlasting essential oil—improves circulation, slimming effect
    • Lavender essential oil—calms, regenerates
    • Sage essential oil—detoxifies, firms
    • Rosemary essential oil—vitalizing
    • Vitamin E—antioxidant 
    Directions for use:
    Apply any time after a bath of shower, day or night:
    • Apply on slightly damp skin for best results
    • Massage in well
    • Gently pat skin to remove any excess before getting dressed
    Specific uses:
    • Stretch marks: Apply alone or mixed day and/or night with Huile Corps and Creme 55
    • Firming: Apply alone or mixed day and/or night with Huile Corps and Phyto 152
    • Dry skin: Apply alone or mixed day and/or night with Huile Corps and Lait Corps
    • Body contouring: Apply day and/or night with Huile Corps + Creme 55 (water retention) Huile Corps + Creme 155 (fat retention). Apply before exercise to affected areas to increase sedation
    • Heavy, tired legs: Apply in the morning with Huile Corps + Creme 55, in the evening with Phyto 152
    • Muscle aches & pains/exercise relief: Apply alone or mixed with Huile Corps + Creme 155
    • Sun damage: Apply alone or mixed with Huile Corps with Lait Apres Soleil or Lait Corps 
    For more information, see:

    Monday, January 18, 2016

    Crow’s Feet Q & A

    How can I get rid of or prevent crow’s feet?

    In a word, you can’t. Crow’s feet are the lines and wrinkles that form around the eyes from years of expressing, including laughing, crying, squinting, and rubbing the area. Throughout our lives the eye area gets a good deal of sun exposure, too. This will increase both the speed of formation and the depth of the lines around your eyes.

    You have no functioning oil glands directly under your eyes, so it stands to reason that this particular area remains dry (oil-dry) throughout your life, coupled with the fact that the eyes are the most expressive part of the face. This gives just about everyone a recipe for premature lines and wrinkles.

    Crow’s feet are not preventable—unless of course you don’t express and otherwise don’t disrupt the tissue. Obviously, this is not going to happen. Even young people have the beginnings of crow’s feet—they are a natural part of the evolution of our skin. You can’t really get rid of them nor can you prevent them from occurring.

    This is where Botox and other cosmetic procedures step in. And this is where I go my separate way. You get lines and wrinkles due to the natural aging process, like it or not. And my choice is to accept and move on. For others, moving on means reaching for cosmetic helpers that will help diminish or even eliminate the lines. I still contend the lines around your eyes cannot be completely eliminated, but Botox and some laser procedures can significantly lessen their appearance. I don’t subscribe to these procedures, but they are widely available.

    I am not sure if 26 is the magic number, but I have started to notice the beginnings of the dreaded crow’s feet (which is why I am stocking up on eye cream!). Is this normal? Am I aging prematurely? How can I make it stop?

    The aging process starts when it does. It is different for every individual, but at 26 you are probably going to start seeing something. Because the eyes are so expressive, it is usually the first place you will see lines starting to form. You can’t “make it stop,” but using eye cream every day will help to keep the skin under your eyes soft and therefore discourage lines from forming due to dehydration.

    The lines will form there, and every year they will get deeper. Now in my 50s, I am of course seeing the aging process take hold. Gray hair, deeper lines, but I don’t obsess or even pay too much attention to all that. I know intellectually those things are going to happen. So I choose to focus my attention on the things I can change like eating well, exercising, and in general continuing to learn how to relax through life.

    At 26 this may all sound like a bunch of “who cares,” but you can’t change the inevitable. You can, of course, use good products on your skin and stay away from direct sunlight on your face. But nature will take its course. Try to enjoy the process! (I’m sure you are rolling your eyes right about now!)

    It is doubtful you are aging prematurely, and yes, seeing some lines is normal. But how much sun exposure you’ve received thus far (and will continue to get) greatly influences how deep the lines get in your mid-20s. For instance, do you ever sit outside to eat lunch? What about driving with your sunroof open? These are really no different than lying on the beach. Sun is sun, and it is the number one cause of aging, both premature and normal aging.

    I would like to instill an air of confidence in younger readers. I encourage you to stop looking so hard in the mirror and live your life. You may see the wrinkles starting to form, but they aren’t going anywhere! They will be with you for the rest of your life. Enjoy your youth; you have the rest of your life to worry about aging.

    For other articles, see:
    Well, aging does happen, but focus on something you have control over!

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

    Dehydrated Skin Quick Tip

    Humidifiers add moisture to the air. If you have dehydrated skin, I recommend putting a humidifier in your bedroom and using it nightly—especially during the winter months. Your skin will be a “captive audience” for the six to eight hours you are asleep. It can make a big difference in the moisture level of your skin. Remember to keep the humidifier away from direct contact with your furniture. (It can warp the wood due to all the moisture.)

    For more information on keeping your skin hydrated, see:

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    Lysine for cold sores (and cats?)

    PLEASE—don’t touch your cold sore!
    If you have the herpes virus, you know how debilitating it can be. The trick to keeping the painful sores from appearing in the first place is to recognize the early warning signs and take care immediately.

    At the first sign of an outbreak (usually a nerve twinge or tingling at the spot your herpes manifests), (a) take your prescription medication if you have one (Zovirax or other prescription brands), or (b) take lysine (aka L-lysine), which is an amino acid that has been found to help with the herpes virus. Don’t wait for the sore (sometimes referred to as a cold sore) to make its presence known before you take something for it. If you act quickly, it can help prevent the long and arduous task of living with a herpes sore.

    The following has been reprinted by permission from The How To Herb Book, my most favorite herb book to date.

    L-lysine is an enzyme that has been found to help the cold sore virus, Herpes I and II. At the first sign or start of cold sore or canker, taking one 500 mg. tablet of lysine has been effective in preventing them from occurring. (Aloe vera also contains this enzyme.) Some people who have had trouble with cold sores and cankers all their lives have started taking one lysine tablet each day and have had no more problems with them.

    Excess arginine, an amino acid which is in large concentration in chocolate and nuts, is thought to be a contributing cause of cankers and cold sores. Lysine and arginine balance each other. When cankers or cold sores exist, arginine is in excess and extra lysine is needed to bring the body back in balance.

    L-lysine has immune system boosting benefits. One of my cats, Jax, recently caught an upper respiratory infection at a boarding facility. Poor guy, he was sniffing and sneezing for several days when I called the vet. Although I could have taken him in and had extensive (and expensive) tests, his vet recommended starting off with lysine. She said it would help boost his immune system and is something they give animals who have just come from the shelter and whose immune systems are definitely compromised. She said to start with lysine and give it a few days to make a difference, which it did. Jax had symptoms for about 4-5 days, but I do feel the lysine helped to ease his illness.

    I got capsules, not tablets. The caps are easy to open up to access the powder, then sprinkle into wet cat food. I could have used tablets, but I’d have to crush them up (with a hammer, I guess) to get a fine powder. Why bother? L-lysine capsules are easy to find and very easy to administer to a sick pet.

    Please don’t use the above as a prescription for your pet. I’m simply using this as an example of how l-lysine can be helpful for many different things—and beings.

    For more information, see:
    A website I looked at actually said chicken noodle soup could help the cat!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    YONKA SERUM (renamed NUTRI +)—repairing, nourishing facial oil

    YONKA SERUM is a nourishing, repairing, hydrating concentrate. It is a true oil vs. many of the hydrating concentrates in the Yonka line (like Optimizer Serum and Hydralia) that are not true oils or what I describe as “oily oils. Therefore, you will want to use caution when using this nutrient-rich product. Yonka Serum can be used in many ways, as you will see in the directions below.

    This is one of the very first products produced by Yonka back in the 1950s. It contains the “Yonka Quintessence5 essential oils that are employed by many Yonka products (listed under Essential Ingredients). The essential oils along with the cereal germ oils make this serum hydrating, nourishing, and regenerating. Interestingly, the essential oils in this product are the very ingredients that got Yonka Serum a poor review on Paula Begoun’s product review website, paulaschoice.com:

    Yon-Ka Serum is a corn oil–based serum for dry skin that is not recommended because it contains lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cypress [essential] oils. None of these can repair skin in any way, shape, or form. If anything, the irritation they cause can lower skin’s defenses and impede the healing process. The extract form of these plants would be preferred, especially for thyme because it has potent antioxidant ability.”

    I assume from the remark, “The extract form of these plants would be preferred, the fact that essential oils are extracts from plants and flowers has somehow escaped this reviewer’s understanding. I actually don’t know where to begin with my opinion of Paula Begoun’s critique and her comments about essential oils. Below you will find a link to a review I gave of Paula’s review of Yonka products.
    Please see *Note* at the bottom of this page.

    Here is the product description from Yonka headquarters: “Yonka Serum deeply repairs and nourishes lifeless and damaged complexions. A vitality booster that stimulates optimal energy flow by eliminating toxins, increases blood circulation and oxygenation of the tissues. Helps skin heal after specific in-depth resurfacing procedures. [aka: peels]
    Essential ingredients:
    • Corn, sunflower, soybean oils—regenerating, nourishing
    • Vitamin F—hydrating
    • Vitamin E—antioxidant
    • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)
      • Thymeantiseptic, antioxidant
      • Lavenderantiseptic, soothing
      • Cypressvasotonic, clarifying
      • Geraniumbalancing
      • Rosemarydetoxifying, anti-inflammatory
    Directions for use:

    No matter how you choose to use Yonka Serum, remember this is an oil, so don’t overdo it. Here are some recommendations:
    • Add 2-4 drops of Serum to your day and/or night cream for extra hydration
    • Yonka Serum may also be applied in a thin layer around eyes or mixed in with eye cream (one drop is enough)
    • Apply to closed wounds and scrapes to aid recovery and minimize scarring
    • Use on chapped lips
    • Serum can be added to hand creams for extra nourishment
    • If you are a skier, apply a thin layer of Yonka Serum to your entire face to help with the extreme exposure of cold and wind

    Yonka Serum is a favorite with many of my clients. If you feel the need for extra hydration, give this nourishing oil a try and fall in love.

    For more information, see:
    As I do before I post any of these articles, I was reading over this piece before it published. Sometimes I write posts weeks or months before they appear on this blog, which was the case with today’s article. I went onto Paula’s website to find the review, something that was available just a short while ago, and could not find anything pertaining to Yonka, Yonka products, Yonka-Parisnothing. All I got after my searches was “Sorry, no results were found. As I updated in my previous post listed above on my review of Begoun’s review of Yonka, I’m not sure why this is the case, but at this time Yonka products are not available to see on either of her sites. Perhaps this will change in the future. Regardless, the above review along with any others on my blogsite were taken verbatim from pages I found on her site in 2015.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    Teens, Accutane, and Diet

    My teenage daughter has had problem skin for several years. She has been treated by a local dermatologist with antibiotics and has been using special cleansers, but nothing is working. Now he wants to put her on Accutane, and after reading about the side effects of this medication I’m really opposed to it.

    The first question I would ask this woman is “how is your daughter’s diet?” What is bad in her diet? Other than raging hormones, chronic skin problems can surface due to poor dietary habits. My guess, especially since she is a teenager, is that she eats a lot of sweets. If you are sensitive to sugar and you continue to consume it, you will probably end up with (chronic) problems.

    Diet may have little to do with her skin problems. She may be predisposed genetically to having teenage acne. This is always a possibility. But in all of my years in practice, I find that even when there’s a genetic predisposition, diet plays a key role in problem and acne skin—whether it is happening to a teenager or an adult.
    I agree with this mother’s hesitation about putting her child on Accutane, especially because of all the possible side effects. Since she hasn’t responded favorably to previous attempts to clear her skin up, it indicates to me that she is probably continuing to feed the problem, which might be centered around sugar.

    Accutane may indeed help this young lady’s skin to finally and totally clear up. But before subjecting your body’s health to this or any drug, wouldn’t it be worth it to try a new dietary plan and see what effects changing food has on the state of your skin? You may end up saving your skin and avoiding all the potential side effects of taking Accutane.

    For information on a young person’s skin care routine, see:
    There are several articles about Accutane on this blog. Here are just a few:

    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    A Cautionary Calcium Story

    The following is a story taken straight from my client files. Even though it is not about skin care specifically, I think it provides important information that you will want to know.

    Robyn, like many people, is prone to the blues from time to time. She read a magazine article that said high doses of calcium could help curb depression. She was also concerned about calcium loss and osteoporosis. Robyn already drank a normal amount of milk (not excessive), but thought taking calcium supplements might help her on several levels (bone loss as well as occasional depression). So she purchased Caltrate®, an over the counter calcium supplement, and started taking about 4-5 tablets per day.

    Unbeknownst to Robyn, she couldn’t process this synthetic calcium quickly enough and it was beginning to collect in her kidneys, eventually (and painfully) creating kidney stones less than a year after starting to take the calcium supplements. Unfortunately this condition would prove to be hard to diagnosis at first.

    Robyn had to go through the painful process of having the stones removed surgically. To add insult to injury, literally, the surgeon found one of the stones had such a sharp edge to it, it had gotten stuck in the lining of her ureter. The surgery was successful, and after a lengthy recuperation, Robyn had a full recovery. She doesn’t, however, take calcium supplements anymore! She now relies on calcium-rich foods to supply her body with adequate natural calcium.

    As a side note, Robyn recently moved to a new city and says she no longer experiences even occasional depression. Environment really can adversely affect our lives—or enhance it.

    I wanted to tell you this story just in case you are taking a lot of calcium supplements. Although calcium is important to support healthy bones and shouldn’t be ignored as an important part of your daily intake of nutrients, be aware of any changes in your body and keep your physician apprised of any supplements you are taking or choosing to not take.

    Many vitamins, minerals, and other supplements get their turn at having notoriety and public acclaim. I would read up on any and all supplements you decide to take. Also remember that the body is a machine and works in a particular balance with everything it is given to work with, whether that be food or supplements or both.

    Cow’s milk, by the way, is acidic (acid-forming) on the pH scale. When your body has too much acid, it has to be stored somewhere, and sometimes stones form. Sometimes in the kidneys, sometimes the gall bladder; regardless where they form they can and do show up with an over acid system.

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    Friday, January 8, 2016

    Hair Removal Options: Tweezing

    Please first read Thoughts about Hair Removal Options for some important preliminary information.

    For women, tweezing is probably the most common method used to remove unwanted hair from the face, namely the eyebrows and chin. Using tweezers, the hair is grabbed and the entire shaft is pulled out. Because tweezing pulls out the whole hair shaft, it will take anywhere from two to four weeks for the hair to reappear.

    Good tweezers are a must if you use this technique. Otherwise you will tear up your skin. Tweezerman®, available at most stores where makeup is sold, makes the best tweezers around and is the brand I use in my salon. Tweezerman tweezers get the hair easily, and they hold up well compared to other brands. Most professionals, including myself, recommend buying tweezers that have a slant, not a flat or squared end.

    Never use tweezers with a sharp point. They can really cause serious damage to your skin and are unwise to use for a few reasons:
    • First, because the ends are so sharp, they tend to break the hair off before you have a chance to pull it out.
    • Then what will most likely happen is you will become frustrated and dig with these knife-like edges.
    • Finally, you will have a wound where you were tweezing and probably a hair still within the follicle. So nothing gained and a lot lost.
    Actually, even with quality tweezers, if you have the same inclination as a “picker” (a person who relentlessly picks at their blemishes), you could still cause damage. Because you refuse to be satisfied until you have gotten the stray hair, you will attempt, high-quality tweezers or not, to nab the hair, but you may just make a mess of your skin. Because tweezers can sometimes cut the hair off at the surface before you are able to fully pull it out, you may go in and try to get that darn hair. The result will most likely be a small tear in the skin, which leads to a tiny scab. This can make your skin look red and irritated for several days, at the very least. Restraint is a necessary factor for keeping the skin in the tweezed area looking healthy.

    Please note that trying to tweeze the coarse, dark chin hairs you may have can be an exercise in futility. They are very strong and firmly planted inside the hair follicle, and if you have ever tried to use tweezers to pull these stubborn hairs out, I’m sure you have found it to be somewhat of a disaster. This is where I see most of my clients tearing up their skin. Not only are these chin hairs coarse, dark, and stubborn, they can sometimes cause irritation, which equals redness and sensitivity.

    My best suggestion is to look into electrolysis or laser hair removal to get rid of these unwanted chin hairs. These particular techniques can be permanent and are performed by professionals who won’t leave the kind of marks you, the amateur, might leave on your skin from overzealous or ineffective tweezing.

    Shaping brows is somewhat of an art form. Ask anyone who didn’t have an “artist” shape their brows. If you aren’t artistically inclined, you might want to find a professional to do this work for you, especially if you are shaping your brows for the first time. As with any profession, you want a qualified individual to perform this job. Remember, you will be wearing your newly shaped eyebrows for a long time. In other words, if you or someone else does a bad job of shaping your brows, it is still you who has to face the world afterwards.

    A word of caution: Overtweezing is a common problem for the eyebrows. Although you may feel good about removing your unibrow, sometimes the hairs won’t all grow back. As we age, the eyebrows may become less dense than they were in our youth. So be careful with overambitious tweezing—otherwise you may be faced with having to paint on your brows.

    Another cautionary note: I have a client who said that plucking her chin hairs caused pigmentation spots. This was no doubt post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which means that the injured area caused a pigmentation reaction when exposed to ultraviolet (sun) light. Be aware that this can happen and be careful when you tweeze.

    In conclusion, tweezing is a quick and easy way to remove unwanted hair from your eyebrows, which is really the only place I would recommend using tweezers. For a stray chin hair here and there, no worries, but for anything more substantial, choose a different technique.

    HOT TIP: The best time to tweeze and shape your eyebrows is right after a shower. Your skin will be softened by the steam heat, and your eyebrow hair will be easier to remove.

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    Wednesday, January 6, 2016

    More Benefits from Chlorophyll: Q & A

    I used chlorophyll for about three months in an attempt to help my skin after taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen [the Pill], which made my skin really break out.

    Although I didn’t see as much of an improvement in my skin with the chlorophyll as I hoped I would, I did notice other benefits such as sweeter breath (even in the morning), and I was also very regular with the bathroom visits.

    I still keep chlorophyll in my fridge for occasional constipation, which isn’t really an issue for me, but it’s nice to know a healthy alternative is available.

    This woman was experiencing cysts due to the birth control pill, which can be very difficult to clear up, and they would certainly not be cured by taking chlorophyll. The Pill, because it is delivering hormones to your body, can cause problems with some women’s skin. Chlorophyll is not a match for serious hormone changes, but it did help her with other issues. Because chlorophyll helps to rid toxins and medications lingering in the body, it would be a good idea for her to continue using it. She may not see startling results, but internally her body will be better off.

    A good question. One of my out of town facial clients, Judy, is in remission for breast cancer. She is diligent about her health care and is knowledgeable about what she is putting in her body, including supplements. She posed a very good question one day during her facial. Judy asked me, since reading in my book that chlorophyll “accelerates tissue cell activity and normal regrowth of cells,” if she should take it based on her cancer history.

    After asking different health professionals about Judy’s question, I kept getting the same answer: there are few if any contraindications for the use of chlorophyll. For all intents and purposes, it should be good to take, especially if you are suffering from an illness. However, you must first and foremost consult with the people who are caring for you and who know the details of your condition. If you are pregnant or dealing with a health problem, like cancer or any number of concerns, you should always contact your doctor or health specialist and ask them about any supplements you are planning on taking—before you start taking them.

    I am thrilled with the results I am experiencing by adding chlorophyll to my diet. I never felt that I had a problem with elimination, but with all the other positive attributes you listed for this product, I thought I might as well give it a try.

    For the past month, I have been mixing one tablespoon of chlorophyll and one tablespoon of flax oil in a cup of warm water for taking my morning vitamins, which also now include primrose oil! In the evening I mix another batch of this green drink but without the flax oil.

    Where I have really noticed a difference in my health since using the chlorophyll is my sinuses. I had been experiencing sinus problems and allergies for many years; taking a Sudafed® product had become a daily occurrence, which I hated, knowing that my liver and who knows what else was probably taking a beating as a result.

    Anyway, although I don’t have any absolute proof, I think the chlorophyll has eliminated my sinus problems. The chlorophyll has really been the only change in my diet this past month. It has now been about two weeks since I have taken a Sudafed! This is BIG news for me, and I’ll definitely keep you updated!

    Give chlorophyll a try. It certainly cant hurt and most likely it will help youprobably in ways that you wont even see. Chlorophyll is alkaline, something that is very important to your body, your blood, and all of your cells. In short: alkalinity (inside your body) is good!

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