Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

By now most of us know: pretty = healthy. If you want pretty skin, you need to make sure we have a fully stocked beauty arsenal. If you want a rock solid body, you better make sure you’re hitting the gym and not the vending machine. If you want shampoo commercial hair, you need to make sure the hot oil treatment is on hand. The same goes for our eyes. If you want to keep those peepers clear and gorgeous, you need to keep them healthy; the only question is, how do you know whether your giving them the care they need? It might surprise you to know that there may be a few things you’re doing that are actually hurting those pretty eyes, and here are some of them. Read on to learn what not to do if you want to keep your eyes healthy for a good long time.

Sleeping in Contacts

If you heard about the woman whose eye examination revealed 27 contact lenses in her eyes, you probably know that sleeping in contacts is not such a great idea. While there are two types of contacts that the FDA has approved for overnight wear, New York optometrist, Deeba Chaudri warns that even these can be risky.  According to a study by the American Academy of Ophthamology, the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is multiplied by 10 or 15 times in extended wear contact lens users, compared to those who wear contacts only during the day.

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Your mama always told you not to do it. The professionals concur. Says Chaudri, “Sometimes your eyes itch and you have to rub, but it’s best to keep the lid closed and only touch the outside of the eye.” Rubbing your eyes too hard can lead to inflammation and broken blood vessels, not to mention, eyes are a breeding ground of bacteria, so, “If you shake someone’s hand and then you rub your eyes, you’re transmitting those germs and there’s a good chance you can catch whatever cold he’s got.”

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

Get Annual Eye Exams

Even if your vision is 20/20, you should still see an eye doctor once a year. Chaudri says, “It’s about getting your overall eye health checked out: There are no pain receptors behind the eye, so if you have a broken blood vessel or a tumor back there, you would otherwise not know it until it starts to interfere with your vision, or worse.”

Staring At Devices

Looking at phones and computers is a tough habit to break, but focusing on anything for too long a time can cause eye strain and headaches. Chaudri advises following the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes looking at the screen, take a 20 second break, look into the distance, focus your eyes on something else, and make a conscientious effort to blink, you may have been staring for a long time without realizing it.

Applying Eyeliner to the Waterline

Even though the look may pop up in a few fashion magazines, applying liner to the inside of the lower lashes can come with a risk. According to Chaudri, “When you put liner inside your eye, you’re mixing it with your tears.” If you have contacts in, your lenses can get coated with makeup particles that prevent your eyes from getting ample amounts of oxygen. If you’re not wearing contacts, those makeup particles can bring infection causing germs into your eyes. Liquid liners are the worst offenders because the applicator tube can harbor bacteria. Soft pencils are safer because they are continually being worn down to expose a new tip.

What are you doing to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful? Let us know what healthy eye tips you swear by.

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

The original frozen dinners were literal recipes for disaster. Take the fact that they were first introduced  in the 1950’s when a nutritious dinner was defined by meatloaf and mashed potatoes with pie for desert. Add to that the fact that they catered to bachelors, whose main goals of eating were to fill their stomachs. Then, consider that the food had to be preserved, which adds a boatload of sodium to the equation. Put it all together, and you get a 1,040 calorie chicken pot pie, with 62 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 1,480 mgs of sodium, and 14 grams of sugar.

As you may have guessed, there has been an appropriate amount of backlash. With the increased knowledge of nutrition, it comes as no surprise that sooner or later someone was likely to come up with a slightly more balanced way of preparing dinner instantly. Here are some of the kindler, more gentler versions of the original enemy of the artery.

Chicken and Harissa Chickpeas

The ingredient list in this meal is so healthy, you might start feeling stronger just thinking about it.  This North African option blends chicken, broccoli, butternut squash, chickpeas, brown jasmine rice and kale, topped with harissa, a spicy paste consisting of garlic, hot chili peppers, coriander, and caraway seeds, known to blast away fat. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives the sauce its kick, is a proven appetite suppressant and metabolism booster, and the regular consumption of the caraway seed is associated with weight loss as well.

Quinoa Bowls

You may not know how to pronounce it, but you have probably seen quinoa popping up on restaurant menus and in health food stores quite a lot recently. Why are the bowls popular? They provide an easy way to combine flavors and spices with protein, healthy grains, and produce. The South American inspired quinoa bowl mixes meat free proteins, such as black beans, and red quinoa, for a meat free answer to high protein.

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

Thai Stir Fry

With all the new super foods on the market, tofu almost seems to get taken for granted. However, its still a very healthy option and can be the basis of a smart frozen dinner choice. Try an organic heat and eat, mixing tofu with a rainbow of veggies, including carrots, cabbage, broccoli, jalapeños, zucchini, and hot pepper for a low fat, high protein boost.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Ravioli in the microwave! How revolutionary! These protein and vitamin A filled ravs are stuffed with ricotta and butternut squash, and topped with kale, roasted tomatoes, and a sage garlic and lemon sauce. Wait til you tell your coworkers what was on the menu at your house last night!

Black Bean and Mango Bowl

This is an exotic combo for a frozen dinner. The entree is served on a bed of whole grain and sesame pilaf, comprised of brown rice oats rye, red wheat, barley, and sesame seeds. Top that with black beans, peppers, carrots and roasted onions, and you’ve got a bowl loaded with fiber and protein. Add some mango, ginger, and other seasonings, and you have preservatives that keeps the sodium content down for better heart health.

What is your best frozen dinner recipe? Let us know how you do health in front of the TV!

Guidelines For Female Mammography

Guidelines For Female Mammography

You’re a big girl now. You pick out your own clothes in the morning, you make your own lunch, you go to sleep when you want to, and you book your own doctor’s appointments – but that’s not to say you have no questions about them. If you’re nearing the age of 40, you’re probably wondering if you should be booking your first mammogram, and with the conflicting information from medical groups, you may wish that someone would make the decision for you. If you’re nearing 40 and are a little confused about the issue of when to get your first mammogram, here are some guidelines that may provide some clarity.

When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?

The best course of action in deciding whether or not to get a mammogram is to check with a doctor. He will take your age, family, and other things into account to determine whether a mammogram is something you need to have done sooner rather than later.

The Conflict

If you look at the advice from medical groups, you will find a lot of conflicting information. While the American Cancer Society has been urging women for years to start having mammograms at 40, it is now recommending women to starts at 45, or 40 if the patient prefers. The American College of  Obstetricians and Gynecologist are holding fast at 40, while the US Preventative Services Task Force are saying women can put mammograms off until 50.

Who’s Right?

Therese Bevers, MD says there are pros and cons to starting early and upsides and downsides to waiting a few years. Here are some of the things you may want to consider in determining when to get your first mammogram.

False positives

A false positive means that a mammogram shows something that looks suspicious, but turns out to be harmless. This is more likely to happen in younger women. Premenopausal women tend to have dense breasts which can make mammograms difficult to read, and getting called back for another mammogram can be very stressful.

Earlier testing also means more cancers can be found. Although that may seem like a good thing, some cancers grow so slowly that there unlikely to affect you, however, doctors may not be able to tell which ones will turn to be problematic, and which will not. This can result in women seeking and receiving cancer treatment they really don’t need.

Early Detection

The biggest upside of starting your mammographies at 40 is that you are less likely to die of breast cancer, which is why Beavers still urges women to start at 40 and get checked on a yearly basis.

Weighing the Pros And Cons

In trying to decide whether or not to start your breast examinations at 40, ask yourself how you would feel if you got a false positive. One survey found that one-third of women would be willing to deal with false positives if it meant avoiding breast cancer.

Also, consider how you would feel if you ended up receiving cancer treatment you didn’t need. One study showed that as many as ten women may be getting over diagnosed for each avoided death.

You also may want to take into account whether or not there is a family history of breast cancer. If breast cancer is common in your family, you may want to start having the checks even earlier than 40.

However, even if breast cancer is not a genetic concern for you, it is still important to have mammograms done. Cancer doctor Dennis Citrin, MB, Ph.D. says, “Eighty-five percent of all breast cancers are not related to a specific gene mutation,” and adds that women who get mammograms regularly are 20% less likely to die from breast cancer.

What do you think? Should you start getting mammograms at 40, or is it better to wait?

This Side Dish Is Great For Your Health

This Side Dish Is Great For Your Health

Sauerkraut. It may be thought of as cole slaw’s less appreciated distant cousin. Both are made from sliced cabbage, yet, it may be said that sauerkraut takes a more acquired taste. However, that’s not to say the sour side dish does not have its own cult following. Dyed in the wool New Yorkers couldn’t imagine their beloved Reuben sandwich without the distinctive taste of the fermented cabbage, and a baseball game just wouldn’t be the same without a tangy heap of the condiment topping traditional the hot dog. It may not surprise you to know, that there may be a reason for the less favorable comparison the less favorable comparison to cole slaw.
Although both dishes are vegetable based, cole slaw is smothered in processed mayonnaise, whereas coleslaw get its taste from more natural sources, which actually, makes it surprisingly good for you. Here are some of the reasons sauerkraut may be giving coleslaw a run for the money/

  • Sauerkraut is Packed With Vitamins

Sauerkraut is packed with vitamin C, a vital antioxidant that joins forces with vitamin K, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous to give sauerkraut its vitamin packed punch. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which helps the body defend itself from stress and damage from free radicals. Vitamin K is know to support healthy clotting of bloods, while fermentation makes minerals easier for the body to absorb.

  • Sauerkraut Is Good For Digestion

Sauerkraut is a probiotic, which means it contains beneficial bacteria that help to protect against toxins and less beneficial bacteria. In other words, probiotics fuel the good bacteria in the gut to improve digestive health, which can lessen bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation and even symptoms linked to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

  • Sauerkraut can Assist In Weight Loss

Fiber filled and low in calories, sauerkraut can make you feel full longer which makes it a perfect snack for in between meals and an excellent aid in weight control. Its tangy potent taste also stays around for a while to keep taste buds satisfied, and at only 15 calories in two thirds a cup, it would be hard to gain a significant amount of weight on a sauerkraut diet.

  • Sauerkraut Can Reduce Alzheimer’s

Studies show a link between gut health and brain health. In fact, a recent study done by Lund University in Sweden found that unhealthy flora in the intestines can speed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Additional research on mice showed that probiotics have a positive effect on the memory.

  • Sauerkraut is Heart Healthy

Researchers have found that sauerkraut reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels while boosting antioxidant levels that help to rid the body of oxidative agents that can damage the blood vessels and heart. The fiber in sauerkraut helps rid the walls of the arteries and blood vessels of cholesterol by forming a bond with the fats and cholesterol and removing them from the body, resulting in lower cholesterol absorption by the bloodstream.

What ways are you finding to include more sauerkraut in your diet? Let us know your best sauerkraut recipes!

vine vera banner ID Health Warning Signs With These Health Checks

ID Health Warning Signs With These Health Checks

You’ve got a significant other with significant needs, kids with busier schedules than most adults, a boss who has you on speed dial, and a mother who’s always, well being a mother. Sometimes you need to look out for number one. After all, when it comes to your health, no one’s going to be able to function if you can’t. If your hectic life has you too busy to see a doctor, you need to take matters into your own hands, Here are a few diagnostic tests that can help you make sure you can your machine running clean so you can make sure everyone else’s is.

Eye Check
When your checking your eyes, you want to see firm clear eyes with even lashes looking back at you. If you see redness or irritation on the surface of your inner eyelid, it could be Ectropion, which is an age related condition causing drooping of the lower lids and exposure of the inner eye. Ectropion can lead to damage of the cornea and should be treated.

Bumps on the eyelid and missing lashes could be cancerous. Look out for bumps that increase in size and grow thicker and darker.

Skin Check
Check your skin by running your fingertips and eyes over your skin, and have a family member check your back. Look for an even texture over individual body parts and consistency in skin’s appearance. If you see a new mole, or one that has changed color of shape, take note. Asymmetrical growths, growths with uneven coloring and borders, or growths larger than a pencil eraser should be examined for melanoma.

Small sandpapery patches of skin could indicate actinic keratosis. Be safe rather than sorry, and see a professional; ten percent of actinic keratosis develops into skin cancer.

If you see a shiny brown or pink bump with a rolled raised border that wasn’t there before, have it checked out. It could be basil cell carcinoma.

vine vera banner ID Health Warning Signs With These Health Checks

Balance Check
While checking your balance requires a bit of exertion, it may be worthwhile. Stand on a flat surface, folding your arms across your chest. Stand on your favored leg and raise the other foot on a few inches from the ground without resting it on the other leg. Time yourself to see how long you can maintain the position without losing your balance. Do the test one time with your eyes open, and one time with your eyes closed. If you can’t hold the position with your eyes closed, you may want to consider consulting a doctor. A study of 53 -year- old women and men found that those who could balance on one leg with their closed for over ten seconds had a lower risk of death in the 13 years after the study than those who could not.

Hair Check
While hair loss or thinning is normal, especially after 50, quick changes can indicate an underlying condition. If your hair loses density at a fast rate, over a rate of about three to six months, it may mean anemia, thyrhoid disease, or iron loss. Says dermatologist Chris Adigun, if you “notice more hair in your brush, in the shower drain, and on your pillow,” it may be a cause for concern.

Heart Check
A DIY heart check can be done by placing two fingers on the side of your windpipe. Count the beats for fifteen seconds and multiply that number by four. This should give you your beats per minute. A resting heartbeat of 60 to 100 is normal. If your heart rises at work, or when you think about work, it may mean that stress levels are high. High stress may lead to diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A rate exceeding more than 100 may mean a doctor’s appointment should be scheduled. Tachycardia, or rapid heart rate can be caused by anxiety, cardiac issues, to alcohol, among other factors.

Are you keeping tabs on your health? Let us know how your doing your DIY checkups and how they’re helping you!

woman about to take omega-3 pill

Reduce Inflammation With This Fatty Acid

You may have been hearing a lot about omega-3 fatty acids lately, and you may be wondering, what exactly are Omega-3 fatty acids? You’ve probably heard they were good for you; are they vitamins? Minerals? Animals? To clear up your confusion, or to add to it, omega -3 fatty acids are, well, fatty acids, which may not sound like something that’s good for you at all, but they are. That’s because they’re essential fatty acids, and we need them for normal metabolism. Now research shows that omega-3s have anti inflammatory properties that can help ward off a number of health concerns. What could this mean to the field of medicine? Take a look at what some experts are finding out about the inflammation- Omega-3 connection.

Omega 3 and Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been studied for their extensive health benefits, many of which stem from their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Since the reduction of inflammation has been associated with the risk for diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, it is suspected that omega-3s may have disease fighting benefits. Here are what investigations of the fatty acid has revealed so far in regard to disease prevention.

Heart Disease
Because omega-3 fatty acids can increase levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol, it is being investigated as having the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. Although omega -3s have not been shown to lower rates of heart attacks, directly, they have been associated with maintaining good heart health.

Arthritis
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus, may all be able to find a little comfort in increased omega-3 intake. Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory power of the fatty acid could reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness. A 2012 study showed that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis were able to decrease the dosage of anti-inflammatory medications they were taking by supplementing with omega-3s.

Cancer
The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer are still under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate that they may help reduce colorectal cancer, in particular, and also may help to increase tolerance to chemotherapy.

Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a condition at the root of diabetes, in which the cells in the body to not respond properly to the effects of insulin. Although further investigation on whether or not Omega-3s can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes is needed, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in some studies.

Getting Your Omega-3s
After reading all this powerful evidence, you may be wondering how you can get your daily dose of omega-3s. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce its own omega-3s, but they can be gotten in certain foods. Fish is the best source of omega-3. The World Health Organization recommends consuming two servings of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines per week.

For those concerned about intake of heavy metals, or to whom fish does not appeal, omega-3s can also be found in plant sources, including flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Add these to your cereal or smoothie to up omega-3 intake.

Are you getting your omega-3’s? Let us know what your sources are and how they’re helping you.

The Link Between Alcohol and Cardio Damage

Not for nothing is it known as the Demon Alcohol. Its effects seem so lovely at first, your wit increases ten fold, your cares melt away, you’re instantly sharper of thought, your inhibitions vanish, you become spontaneous, the life of the party. Then, within hours, the low comes. Your stomach is sick, your head is ringing, the alcoholic bile sours your mouth. The highs of alcohol can be glorious, but the after effects can be rather unpleasant, and not only in the short term. Repeated use of alcohol can have long lasting effects on several organs of the body, including the heart. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is one of the many diseases caused by alcohol abuse. Here is some information on the condition and its health implications.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a heart disease which thins and weakens the heart muscle, interfering with its ability to pump blood. This disrupts the major functions of the body, which can lead to heart failure and other health problems.

The condition is most common in men between the ages of 35 and 50. People with the disease usually have a five to 15-year history of heavy drinking, which is defined as alcohol consumption exceeding daily limits. In men, that means more than four drinks a day, or more than 14 drinks per week, while in women heavy drinking means more than three alcoholic beverages per day or more than seven drinks per week. While cardiomyopathy is not always symptomatic, when symptoms do occur, breakdown they commonly include shortness of breath, swelling of legs and feet, and shortness go breath.

Causes
The toxicity of alcohol damages the heart muscle, which makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. The heart begins to expand to hold the extra blood, in time becoming thinned and enlarged. Eventually, the strain causes the blood vessels and heart break down and cease to function properly.

Treatment
The first step to treating cardiomyopathy is to stop drinking completely. A doctor may be able to assist with withdrawal symptoms. He or she may suggest that you begin a low salt diet, take diuretics to help increase the removal of water and salt from your body, and limit for intake of fluid to ease pressure on the heart caused by fluid retention. Your doctor may prescribe ACE inhibitors or beta blockers to reduce blood pressure. If the heart is damaged severely, the doctor may suggest a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator to help it pump.

Long Term Outlook
The long term outlook for people suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy is dependent on how long alcohol was abused, and the severity of the abuse. These are the factors that will determine the extent of damage. The lesser the damage, the greater the chance of complete recovery. If the damage is irreversible, it can be hard for the heart and body to recover.

If the disease is caught in early stages, however, the condition is treatable and, in some cases the damage can be reversed. The possibility of recovery is largely dependent on the individual’s willingness to avoid alcohol and to adhere closely to the plan of treatment.

If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol, we urge you to seek help. The effects of alcohol can be detrimental and dangerous.

Maintaining A Healthy Diet On Vacation

Italy is a beautiful country, and you want to take in all the sites and visit the museums, but you have to admit, when it comes to the attractions, food is probably at the top of your list. You’ve heard about the midday Italian soprano; the heaping mounds of spaghetti, the Sicilian pizzas, the succulent meals and tangy cheeses, the rich sauces mopped up with huge hunks of garlic bread, the decadent tiramisu cakes, the thick espresso; you’re already imagining the pictures you’re going to post on Instagram. What you’re not looking forward to is getting back into your skinny jeans when you get home. Here are a few ways of enjoying your vacation without blowing your diet.

Resist the Urge
A study led by Linda H. Clemens of the Consumer Science and Education Department found that women splurge when they eat out and eat normal amounts of other meals during the day. This means they end up taking in many more calories and fat than they need. Clemens advises women to stop thinking of eating out as a special treat which gives us a license to overindulge. She explains, “Many of us grew up thinking of eating out as an event that didn’t happen too often.” However, these days, eating out is much more common. Clemens and other researchers found out that the more women ate out, the higher their total calories, fat, and sodium levels were.

Researchers speculate that there are three main factors contributing to this caloric overabundance from restaurant meals;

  • We choose higher fat and higher calorie menu selections.
  •  Restaurants serve large portions.
  •  We eat all of it.

Melanie Polk, RD, recommends exercising portion control. She says, “Some Americans are now ordering half sized portions, sharing entrees, taking home leftovers, and ordering appetizers as meals,” she says.

Order Meals Your Way
Another thing customers can do to lower their calorie and fat intake while dining out is asking restaurants to customize menu items. According to a National Restaurant Association report, this is happening at 80% of restaurants with meals averaging $25 per person or over and 70% of restaurants with meals averaging under $25 per person. Customer are interesting items prepared in ways other than those that are listed on the menu, are requesting a range of portion sizes, and many are asking to have food “doggy bagged.”

Everything in Moderation
You don’t have to deprive yourself of food, just try to keep it in moderation. Try to sample foods, rather than feast on them.

Walk
While eating is a big part of the vacation, so is walking. Get in some sightseeing, take a stroll after dinner, swim in the hotel pool, or wake up for an early morning hike to burn some of those mealtime calories.

Make Better Choices
Make healthful choices when you find something that appeals to you. Don’t deprive yourself and then resent it. Swap out small things, that you don’t mind sacrificing, such as condiments, sauces, and dressings. Choose Dijon mustard rather than mayonnaise, or marinara instead of white sauce.

How did you do on your vacation calorie count this year? Let us know how you made better choices and came home at the same weight you were when you left.

woman eating carrot cake

Tricks for Controlling Food Cravings

That hunk of chocolate cake. The fork sitting next to it just waiting for you to plunge it into the sweet moist layers, shoveling a huge, rich satisfying heap of chocolate goodness into your mouth, the sweet, decadent icing dissolving on your tongue, the serotonin rushing to your brain Oh, pure joy. Cravings can be hard to deal with, but so can excess calories. If you need some help dealing with temptations, here are a few suggestions.

Drink Water
It may be no match for chocolate cake, but you may find that a few minutes after drinking a large glass of water, your craving may disappear. Water also has health benefits and drinking it before a meal can help keep appetite to a minimum.

More Protein
A study of overweight teenage girls found that eating a breakfast high in protein reduced cravings significantly, and a study of overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of daily calorie intake resulted in a 60% reduction of cravings and a 50% reduction in desire for nighttime snacks.

Just Walk Away
One way to beat a craving is by distancing yourself from it. Taking a shower or brisk walk can help to shift your mind to something else, and chewing gum can also help to reduce appetite.

Plan Meals
Knowing what you’re going to eat will help to cut down on spontaneous eating. If you don’t have to think about your next meal, you’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.

couple prepping food in the kitchen

Don’t Wait to Eat
Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid hunger by eating regularly and keeping healthy snacks close.

Control Stress
Stress can bring on food cravings that lead to binge eating. Studies show that women under stress typically take in significantly more calories and have more cravings than women who are not experiencing stress. Stress can also increase blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly. Minimize stress by planning ahead, slowing down, and meditating.

Spinach Extract
Spinach extract is a supplement made from spinach leaves that helps to delay the digestion of fat that increases the levels of hormones responsible for reduction of hunger and appetite. Studies show that 3.7-5 grams of spinach extract taken with a meal may reduce cravings for several hours. One study showed that overweight women who took 5 grams of spinach extract daily were able to decrease cravings for food with a high level of sugar by 88-95%.

Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a type of meditation used to develop awareness about eating habits, hunger and physical sensations, which teaches you to distinguish between craving and real physical hunger. Mindful eating helps you to choose your response to food, rather than acting impulsively. Mindful eating involves being present during a meal, slowing down and chewing food thoroughly, and should be done without distractions such as TVs and smartphones. One study found that episodes of binge eating in individuals were reduced from 4 to 1.5 sessions per week over a 6 week period, and the severity of the binges was decreased, as well.

How do you fight your food cravings? Let us know what you do when the urge to indulge hits!

woman sitting on bathroom counter

Understanding Your Body’s Response To Hormones

Hormones, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. When you’re a teen, they hit you like a mac truck, wreaking havoc on your formerly clear skin and relatively easy going parents. Then, just when you thought you’d got them under control, the 40’s hit, hormone levels go down and you’re wishing for just a smidgeon of the estrogen you had in high school. Hormones can be a tricky thing, and sometimes they can seem to have a lot more control over your skin than you do, but there is a way to make peace. Read on for a little insight on hormone fluctuations, what to expect, and how to deal with them.

The Teen Years
When girls hit the ages of around 12 or 13, the introduction of hormones begins. The female body starts to produce estrogens and androgens in high quantities and the skin is impacted. Estrogen is responsible for the “female aesthetic”, causing breasts to develop and giving the hips their curves. In the skin, estrogen decreases the size of pores, giving it a smooth surface and builds elastin and collagen to give skin elasticity and maintain moisture. However, it is the male hormones which lead to the oiliness. Androgens, including testosterone, stimulate hair growth, enlarging pores and boosting sebum, the oily substance in the skin. The result? Acne.

The 20’s and 30’s
The twenties and thirties are definitely the best it gets as far as hormones are concerned. Estrogen peaks and the testosterone boosts sebum, giving skin radiant glow. The hormones are in balance.

The 30’s and 40’s
Of course, nothing gold can stay. After the estrogen effect peaks at around the age of 25, it begins to drop, slightly in the 30’s and more noticeably in the 40’s. Production of collagen and elastin decrease and the skin begins to lose elasticity, affecting the aging skin in a far greater capacity than sun damage. By the late 40’s women enter perimenopause, the purgatory between ovulation and menopause. Hormones cycles change and women may notice a resurgence of acne, an increase in facial hair, and thinning hair on the scalp.

50’s and Up
Most women have reached menopause by the age of 50. Estrogen and testosterone production declines, and with it, the skin manufactures less collagen and elastin. In fact, according to a study in the Venus Week, collagen production declines 2.1% every year in the 15 years following menopause, leading to a 30% decrease in collagen between the ages of 50 and 65. Hot flashes may occur and the skin will get drier, thinner, and more wrinkled.

Controlling Hormones
Because hormone fluctuations are often the result of excess weight and lack of exercise, a good dietary and exercise regimen is key in maintaining hormonal balance. However, underweight women are also at risk for hormonal imbalances. Experts advise aiming for a body mass index between 20 and 25.

Women in their 20s can control acne by using face cleanser including salicylic acid, while older women with decreased skin elasticity should use an exfoliant weekly and an antioxidant containing moisturizer. Retinoids can help with wrinkles, and all women should wear sun screen, as sun damage can intensify unwanted changes in the skin.

The first step to finding treatment is diagnosing the problem. Says Rebecca Booth, MD, “Women must first understand the effects of their hormones on the skin and overall health to seek lifestyle changes to navigate these natural fluctuations. With the power of knowledge, they can seek solutions to achieve the maximum flow of hormonal balance all month long and all life long.”

Are your hormones wreaking havoc on your skin? Let us know how you’re coping. We love to hear from you.

Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »