Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nutrition in Relation to Our Skin

It's the thing that keeps our insides in. It's the display window for much of what's happening inside of us. It's the largest organ of our body. It is our skin. It is also the organ that is most susceptible to damage from the elements, the sun and wind and cold and from environmental pollution, germs and poisons. Many symptoms of illness and disease are evidenced by the condition of our skin, such as measles and chicken pox. Pale or flushed skin tone shows that something inside is not right. Now, because it plays such an important role, it needs to be well cared for and nutrition has an important part to play in caring for our skin.

Nutrition is vital not only for caring for our skin, but also for its development, right from the innermost layer, the dermis. It [the dermis] consists mainly of elastin and collagen. At that stage, vitamin C is the nutrient that causes the manufacture of collagen. Over time, the collagen and elastin fibers become less flexible due to damage by free radicals. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and others help to reduce that damage.

Let's look now at a few common skin conditions and find out some of the nutrients that will effectively prevent or reduce those conditions.

Dry or rough skin.

Rough, dry skin can be prevented by vitamin A, both as part of your diet and also by using a skin cream that is rich in vitamin A on susceptible areas of your skin. Essential fats make up the membranes of our skin cells and a lack of these essential fatty acids is another cause of dry skin. We need to keep our skin well oiled from the inside by eating foods that contain these essential fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and seeds, especially flax seeds. Vital in maintaining healthy, supple skin, is our water intake. We need an average of 1.5 liters per day of good clean water. This is not only beneficial for the condition of our skin, but also for many other aspects of a healthy body.

Acne. (The teenager's nightmare)

Acne is caused by several conditions. Excess fat blocks the skin pores. A deficiency of Vitamin A causes skin cells to be over-gelatinized, bringing about a congestion of the skin. It also brings about a lowered ability to fight infection. The solution is to eat foods that are low in fats and sugar. Drink plenty of water. Eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. The supplements to add to your diet are Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Niacin.


This could be caused by an allergic reaction to some foods, especially dairy products or wheat, combined with a lack of essential fatty acids. Combat eczema by a diet low in saturated fat, but with a higher content of essential fats from seeds and their cold pressed oils. These are strong anti-inflammatory agents. Cut down on meat and dairy products. Replace meat with fish. Increase vegetable intake. Supplement with essential oils like flax, evening primrose and borage oil. Add Vitamins B6, biotin zinc, magnesium as well as the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.

Just looking at these few common conditions shows that good nutrition plays an important part in caring for your skin. So, to sum up, eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. If possible, stick to the organically grown types. Each day, try to eat nuts, seeds or their cold pressed oils. Last but not least, pure water is vital. Drink about 1.5 liters each day.

To quote the words from a local skin care product advertisement, "Love the Skin You're In".

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Nutrition

Beauty Consultant Reveals Secrets to Beautiful Skin

If you’re like many women you are confused about how to choose the proper skin care. Or maybe you have some knowledge of what is available but you are not sure what is a good choice for you. Cosmetics come in many forms and deciding which is good for you is often a matter of personal taste. However, in order to make a good decision here is some basic information that you should know.

Cleansers: Are used to cleanse the skin of impurities and restore it to its natural oil balance.

Types of Cleansers

Soap: Almost everyone uses it. If you have dry or oily skin be sure your soap is helping correct the problem. Medicated soaps are meant for acne and problem skin, hypoallergenic soaps are meant for sensitive skin and there are drying soaps for oily skin and oily soaps for dry skin. If you have problem skin it is best to see a dermatologist.

Liquid Cleansers: Are made for all types of skin. A good cleanser goes deep into the pores to loosen and lift excess oil and makeup.

Creams: Are used for dry skin

Pad Cleansers: Are thick wad of absorbent material and are good for touch ups throughout the day.

Grains: Are coarse cleansers that are used for oily skin

Refreshers: Are used to complete the cleansing process. They help tone; sooth and rehydrate the skin keep complexions clear and clean.

Types of Refreshers:

Astringents: Are meant for oily and normal skin types. They usually have alcohol as an ingredient that will stimulate the complexion and close the pores. This is not a product to use on dry skin.

Toners: Are mild refreshers and are meant for normal and dry skin.

Fresheners: Are recommended for dry, sensitive or problem skin.

Moisturizers: Replenishes moisture and nourishes the skin.

Types of Moisturizers:

Moisturizers for normal skin: Helps maintain the moisture in normal skin.

Moisturizers for dry skin: Helps restore skin’s natural moisture balance.

Oil Control Moisturizers: Help control excess oil and prevent blemishes

Emollients: Are rich creams suited for extra dry skin that replenishes the natural supply of the skin’s oil. This moisturizing cream forms a protective shield that minimizes moisture evaporation and allows increased hydration of dry areas.

Masks: Exfoliates dead surface cells as it hydrates and moisturizes the skin.

Types of Masks:

Facial Masks for normal to dry skin: Help relax facial muscles and remove dry flaky skin.

Facial Masks for oily skin: Refines skin’s texture and deep cleans to help control surface sebum.

Pore Packs: Are designed to eliminate blackheads and reduce blemishes. Mostly used for oily skin.

Foundation Protection: Foundation protects the skin by keeping moisture in and dirt out with the added benefit of a flawless finish. This is a step that some women skip because they don’t quit know how to apply it and are not getting the right look. A couple of suggestions: make sure you have the type that is compatible with your complexion, test the color on your jaw line and it should be the same color as your complexion and make sure you have exfoliated (if not the foundation will show up as flaky).

Types of Foundation:

Full Coverage: used for normal to dry skin for extra hydration.

Medium Coverage: used for normal to oily skin.

Whatever your skin type take care of it by keeping it clean. Cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning and every night. Irregular or improper cleansing causes skin problems and makeup that is left on the skin will dull the skin’s surface; while oil and dead skin cells will clog the pores and cause blackheads.

Sheila Dicks is a wardrobe and image consultant who teaches women how to look slimmer by dressing to suit their body type. Visit her at http://www.sheilasfashionsense.com to download a copy of her e-book Image Makeovers and get How to Build a Wardrobe free.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Skin Types


Skin Types

Provided by ISL Consulting Co.

When it comes to looking young, nothing may be important than taking care of your skin. A beautiful, healthy glow makes you appear radiant and youthful while a dull, dry, or flaky complexion can add years to your face. But before you spend money on skin products that promise great results, it is important to know what type of skin you have and what kind of care it needs.

What Is Skin?
Your skin is a living organ that constantly regenerates itself. The outer layer, called the epidermis, is as thin as a pencil line. It consists of a protective layer of skin cells that continually shed and give way to new cells. Below the epidermis are the dermis and hypodermis, two layers that produce the oil, collagen, and elastin that give your skin support, elasticity, and shine.

What Are The Different Types of Skin?
There are three basic skin types: oily, dry, and combination.

Dry Skin

Dry skin occurs when the dermis does not secrete enough oil, or sebum. The result is tight, drawn, flaky skin and a dull complexion. In more extreme cases, dry skin lacks elasticity and can be extremely sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold temperatures.

How to Take Care of It:

Wash your face once a day with a rich, creamy cleanser and warm water. Rinse with cold water and pat your skin dry. Use heavy, oil-based moisturizers and makeup. Avoid toners and makeup that contain alcohol as alcohol-based products have a drying effect on skin.

Oily Skin

Oily skin usually has a lot of shine to it and the pores are generally enlarged. It is more prone to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads than other skin types and is coarser in texture.

How to Take Care of It:

Oily skin tends to attract more dirt than dry skin, so wash your face several times a day with a light, non-greasy liquid cleanser soap and warm water. Rinse with cold water. Use toners and astringents containing alcohol to help dry the skin. Buy water-based moisturizers and make-up and use powder to minimize shine.


Cosmetic Surgery - FAQs


Cosmetic Surgery - FAQs

Provided by ehealthMD.com

Here are some frequently asked questions related to cosmetic surgery for the face.

Q: What does cosmetic surgery cost?

A: The cost of a procedure will depend upon local rates for the surgeon and the surgical facility. Facility costs include an anesthesiologist, nurses, medicines, and many other factors. A physician should discuss cost and payment with you before you commit to a procedure. Since most cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance, advance payment is usually required.

Q: Does health insurance cover cosmetic surgery for the face?

A: In most cases, procedures done for purely cosmetic reasons are not covered by health insurance. Costs may be covered if a procedure is done to for a medical reason, such as to treat precancerous lesions. Always check with the insurance carrier for exact terms of coverage.

Q: How long do the effects of lift surgery last?

A: The longevity of a lift procedure depends on many factors, such as heredity and life style. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and long exposure to the sun can all shorten the effectiveness of a lift. Some people have a repeat procedure in 5, 10, or 15 years. Other people never have a second procedure.

Q: How much scarring will be caused by surgery?

A: Classical cosmetic procedures (face, brow, and eyelid lifts) will leave scars, though these scars usually fade until they can barely be seen. Endoscopic surgery leaves smaller scars. However, not everyone is a good candidate for an endoscopic procedure.

Q: How long will I have to miss work?

A: Recovery time will vary according to the procedure. Superficial chemical peels and collagen or fat injections probably won't cause any loss of work. Deep chemical peels, dermabrasion, and classical face lifts may require two or three weeks of time at home.

Q: How can I hide scars, swelling, and redness until I return to normal?

A: Both men and women can make use of makeup techniques to disguise the temporary effects of cosmetic surgery.

Q: How do I find a cosmetic surgeon?

A: Professional organizations can provide a list of cosmetic surgeons practicing in an area, but word-of-mouth is sometimes best. Ask people who have had cosmetic surgery how they found their surgeon and whether they were happy with the results. Primary care physicians can also make recommendations. Check a surgeon's experience and credentials. Most public libraries carry the Directory of Medical Specialists, a reference that can be used to check the credentials of any referred physician.

Q: Can I tell beforehand how I will look after surgery?

A: Some practitioners have computer imaging programs that can show a person what the procedure might accomplish.

Last Reviewed: 2002 by Guy Slowik, M.D.


What Is Hair Loss?


What Is Hair Loss?

Provided by ehealthMD.com

Most people routinely lose between 70 and 150 hairs from their scalp each day, mainly through washing, brushing, and combing.

Scalp hair starts to thin when more hairs are lost through normal shedding than the scalp is able to renew. About 40% of the density of scalp hair has to be lost before thinning of the hair becomes noticeable.

Hair loss can be caused by:

Heredity. Most balding is caused by a genetic predisposition - in other words, it's part of a person's genetic makeup. This is called male pattern baldness, or hereditary balding or thinning. It is the most common cause of thinning hair.
Illness, certain physical conditions, or their treatments. This can include high fever, thyroid disease, childbirth, inadequate protein in the diet, iron deficiency, cancer treatments, the use of certain medications, and other causes.

Hair may be lost in two ways:

In patchy hair loss, well-defined areas of hair are lost while the remaining scalp retains a good covering of hair.
In generalized hair loss, there is a uniform thinning over the entire scalp with no areas of normal hair growth.

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. There are different classifications of alopecia:

Alopecia areata is a disease in which well-defined bald patches occur. It usually clears completely within 6 to 12 months without treatment.
Alopecia totalis is an uncommon condition in which all hair on the scalp is lost. The cause is unknown, and the baldness is usually permanent.
Alopecia universalis is a total loss of hair on all parts of the body.
Androgenetic alopecia is balding caused by heredity. It can affect both men and women, although women with this inherited tendency do not become totally bald. The condition can start in a person's teens, twenties, or thirties.
Nice To Know:

The story of Samson and Delilah illustrates how, in the popular imagination, strength and virility have long been associated with an exuberant growth of hair - Samson's source of strength was his hair, which Delilah had shaved in betrayal of him. Indeed, many societies have shaved the scalp as a form of punishment.

Today, however, more men are feeling comfortable with baldness. More celebrities and athletes are sporting bald heads, helping to dispel the myth that youth or masculinity are linked to a full head of hair.

The Structure Of Hair

Every hair grows within a hair follicle, which is a tiny tube of cells close to the surface of the skin. Each hair has a root and a shaft within this follicle.

If you pluck a hair and hold it up to the light, the root will appear as a bulbous white swelling at the deep end. The root lies between 2 and 4 millimeters (about a tenth of an inch) under the skin surface. Its purpose is to produce the actual hair, which is known technically as the hair shaft.

The hair shaft contains no living tissue. It consists of protein material twisted into a very fine rope-like arrangement. It is this part of the structure that we think of in everyday terms as "hair."

Each hair has:

A sebaceous gland, which provides fats and greases to the hair
An erector muscle, which is responsible for lifting the hair off the surface of the skin at times of stress or to conserve warmth

The hair root does not grow continuously, but rather in a cycle of stops and starts.

There is an initial period of active growth that lasts about three years.
As the period of growth ends, the deepest part of the hair follicle wastes away.
The hair root then enters a resting period of about 90 days, during which no further hair is produced by the resting root.
At the end of this phase, the hair falls out and a new hair is produced.

Human hairs are randomly distributed all over the scalp in terms of their growth pattern, so that at any one time, some hairs will be actively growing while others are resting. Only those hairs ending their resting phase are lost each day.

There is tremendous variation in the number of hairs that people shed each day, depending on the number of scalp hairs and the length of the growth cycle. As people age, their rate of new hair growth slows down, resulting in a gradual thinning.

Need To Know:

Q: What should I do if I think I'm losing more hair than normal?

A: If you notice you are shedding hair excessively after combing or brushing, or if your hair is becoming thinner, you should consult with your primary care provider or a dermatologist (a physician who specializes in treating skin and hair problems). A doctor can determine if disease is present and whether or not the hair loss will respond to medical treatment.

Facts About Hair And Hair Loss

The average human scalp has about 100,000 hairs.
Nearly two out of every three men develop some form of balding, while a higher percentage of men and women have some form of hair loss during their lives.
About 90% of a person's scalp hair is in a continual growth phase that lasts two to six years.
The other 10% of scalp hair is in a resting phase that lasts between two and three months.
Between 70 and 150 hairs are regularly lost from the scalp each day.
People with blond hair typically have more hair (average 140,000 hairs) than the average brunette (105,000 hairs) or redhead (90,000).
About 40% of the density of scalp hair has to be lost before thinning of the hair becomes noticeable.
Shaving hair does not stimulate hair growth.
Hair plucking does not stop hair growth.
Hair grows faster in warm weather than in cold.
Hair grows at an average rate of 1 centimenter (around half an inch) per month.

Last Reviewed: 2002 by Guy Slowik, M.D.


What Is Acne?


What Is Acne?

Provided by ehealthMD.com

Acne is a skin condition that occurs due to the overproduction of oil by the oil glands of the skin. The oil that normally lubricates the skin gets trapped in blocked oil ducts and results in what we know as pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads on the surface of skin. Sometimes it also includes deeper skin lesions that are called cysts.

Pimples are small skin swellings that sometimes contain pus.
Blackheads are dark formations on the skin due to an accumulated mixture of oil and cells in a blocked skin pore.
Whiteheads are small flesh-or white-colored bumps due to skin pore blockage.
Cysts are closed sacs beneath the skin or deeper that contain fluid or semisolid substances.

The areas of the skin that are most susceptible to acne are those areas that contain the largest number of oil glands. For example, it is estimated that there are 2,000 oil glands per square inch on the forehead alone. The face, chest, shoulders, and back are the areas with the highest population of oil glands.

Acne commonly occurs in people between their teenage years and their 20s. However, it is not restricted to this age. Older adults and children can also have acne.

Facts About Acne

In most people, acne will last for about three to four years and in 15% of the cases, acne can continue for eight-12 years.
In a smaller percentage (5%), acne will last beyond age 25 and can continue up to age 40.
In women particularly, acne may not occur until age 25.
In 70% of the cases, women will notice a flare-up in the acne condition prior their menstrual period, perhaps due to an increase of androgens. Androgens are steroid hormones responsible for the development and maintenance of male physical characteristics.
The more severe cases of acne tend to occur most often in men, because they produce more of the male hormones that stimulate acne formation.
Women with a lot of body or facial hair, and those who have irregular periods, may be at increased risk of acne. These women may want to have their hormone levels evaluated by a physician.

Last Reviewed: 2002 by Guy Slowik, M.D.


Contemplating Cosmetic Enhancements?


Contemplating Cosmetic Enhancements?

Provided by ISL Consulting Co.

As we get older, our face and body begins to show some of the natural signs of aging skin. These features, including wrinkles and loss of firmness, are generally not harmful and are not a result of a serious medical condition. However, many people are unhappy with their changing appearance and want to do something to try and eliminate these signs of aging skin. Following is a brief explanation of many cosmetic enhancement options that are currently available.

Chemical Peels
Also known as dermapeeling, chemical peels are solutions applied to the face by a dermatologist that causes the top layer of skin to peel off. New skin, usually less wrinkled and blemished than the old, forms to replace the old skin. Chemical peels range from light to deep, with different solutions used for each level.

Chemical peels are usually most effective on fine lines and wrinkles, particularly those around the eyes and mouth. They are less effective on features such as sagging jowls or deep lines. Dermatologists will often combine chemical peels along with other sloughing lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids. Chemical peels can also be effective on those with sun damage. For those with very damaged skin, chemical peels may be combined with another treatment, such as laser resurfacing.

Recovering from a chemical peel takes several days, with the healing time depending on the depth of the peel. Light peels heal in 3 to 5 days, medium or deep peels in 7 to 14 days.

Injection Treatments
When skin is slightly loose and sagging, or has wrinkles or pits, dermatologists can inject material into the face to give it more structure. The two most common injection treatments are:

Collagen - This protein is what gives young skin its firmness. Collagen derived from cattle (and sometimes from humans) can be injected into a wrinkle or pit to fill it out. It usually takes several treatments to achieve the desired effect. Collagen's effects are temporary, usually lasting 3 to 12 months. Collagen treatments are usually most effective on frown lines, lines around the nose, and on crow's feet.
Fat - Patients can have fat harvested from areas of the body such as the buttocks, and have it injected into gaunt parts of the face, such as the cheeks, around the nose, into the lips or the chin. Fat injection results last a year or longer in about half of patients.

The opposite of injection treatments, liposuction, is often used to remove small pads of fat from the chin, neck, face and other areas. Older patients may use liposuction in combination with surgery to remove both fat and skin from the jaw line and neck. Doctors usually insist patients lose weight naturally before resorting to liposuction.

Liposuction is usually performed in outpatient clinics. Fat is removed from the specified areas with a vacuum tube inserted through a small incision in the skin. Patients generally heal in 3 to 7 days.

Botulinum toxin is a powerful substance derived from the same agent that causes botulism food poisoning. When injected into tissues, however, the purified botulinum toxin does not cause botulism. Instead, it paralyzes a small section of the face, reducing the wrinkle lines which form from a patient's characteristic expressions, such as wrinkling the nose or squinting the eyes. Dermatologists often use botox in combination with other facial treatments which improve the surface of the skin, such as chemical peels. The results gained with botox injections last about 3 to 4 months. Side effects are rare but some patients have been known to develop a droopy eyelid.

Dermabrasion is akin to a tooth polishing, but performed on the face instead of the teeth. Dermatologists use a rotating brush to wear away the surface layer of skin, after which a new layer of skin grows. While the skin is healing (a process that takes about 10 days), the face looks sunburnt and is sore. Afterwards, the appearance of fine lines, acne, and other scars are reduced. Patients who receive dermabrasion must avoid sunlight for at least 3 months after treatment.

Dermabrasion is not right for all patients. Some patients may develop keloid scarring; others may develop light patches in the skin. Your dermatologist will evaluate your skin before deciding upon this treatment. A gentler form of dermabrasion, known as microdermabrasion, is sometimes used for patients with superficial skin problems.

Laser Treatment
Lasers can be used to wear away a layer of skin (similar to chemical peels or dermabrasion), to remove skin growths such as warts, or to reduce scars, birthmarks, moles, and even tattoos and unwanted hair. Lasers are used most often to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines and age spots. This process is known as laser skin resurfacing. Laser treatments are most often used to remove crow's feet, acne scars, and the signs of sun damage.

The laser works by applying light carbon dioxide radiation to a very specific area. By varying the intensity of the radiation and the duration of pulses, dermatologists can destroy selected areas of skin. Laser treatments are often superior to chemical peels and dermabrasion since this process has no bleeding, there is a reduced risk of infection and dermatologists can usually achieve very precise results.

Last Reviewed: June 16, 2003 by Jon Hinrichs, M.D.