Overlay of scientific diagrams on woman's skin

Synthetic Skin for Daily Wear

Do you ever feel like you just want to trade in your aging skin for a fresh, youthful coat? Well, with the direction science is headed in, you might just be able to do that…well, kind of. On a small scale, at least. We’re talking small patches of synthetic skin you can get for those rough patches on your elbows, or maybe for the acne scars on your cheek, or…you get the idea. Let’s talk about this revolutionary new emerging technology, how it works, and how it can help you.

It’s Harder Than You Might Think
Right about now, you might be thinking “artificial skin can’t be that difficult, why did it take this long?” Well, the truth is that it’s not nearly that simple, and designing synthetic skin that actually works is, in fact, quite complicated. It needs to be able to act as a protective barrier while still being breathable, the synthetic skin can’t be toxic itself, and it has to have the same amazing strength, elasticity, flexibility, etc as normal skin. The scientists who created this synthetic skin took all this into consideration to create something that looks, feels, and acts like normal skin. They’ve already conducted human trials, too, and to a stellar success. Not only did participants see marked improvement in skin appearance, hydration, and function, but the underlying skin beneath the synthetic skin remained healthy and suffered no adverse effects, even through activities such as running and swimming.

It Has a Lot of Potential Uses
It’s not hard to think of at least one way artificial skin could be used; covering up areas where our natural skin is starting to lose its luster. But it goes way beyond just that. There’s a host of aesthetic applications, definitely, but consider the medical ones too; the highly adaptable artificial skin design these scientists came up with has the potential to help victims of burns and other surface injuries, and the chemistry of the skin is very malleable and can be adjusted according to specific need, further increasing its potential uses.

This synthetic skin hasn’t hit the market yet for medical or aesthetic uses, but it certainly is something to look forward to. Of course, don’t take this upcoming technology as an excuse to slack on your skincare; there’s only so much it can do! A proper skincare routine, with moisturizer, sunscreen, cleanser, etc, etc, is not going to become obsolete anytime soon, although they may have a powerful new emerging technology joining them quite soon.

Baked eggplant with tomato and garlic

Clean Eating Tips

One interesting approach to nutrition that’s rising in popularity recently is called simply “clean eating.” And certainly, if it could help keep you healthy both before and after your wedding day, it’s worth a try, right? Well, we’re here to examine and evaluate this trend to give you the information you need to make healthy choices, and to decide if clean eating is worth pursuing.

But What Is it, Exactly?
Of course, before we can go any further, we need to define what clean eating actually is. In essence, the basic tenets of clean eating are eating five to six times a day (three meals and two to three small snacks), choose organic, clean foods whenever possible, and drink at least two liters of water a day. There are other details, like including lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate in every meal, but the three pillars of eating five-six times a day, choosing organic food, and drinking two liters of water each day are the basis of this idea. This sounds great in theory, but let’s examine it piece by piece to be sure.

Woman drinking water

Two Liters of Water
This is one realm in which clean eating is a little closer to being on-point, although of course, the truth is more complicated. How much water you should drink actually depends on your weight, location, and activity level. The rule of thumb is that you need between half an ounce and a whole ounce of water per pound you weight, every day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink between 75-150 ounces of water per day. The hotter and more arid your climate, the closer to the upper end of the range you’ll be. Likewise, the more exercise you get, the closer to the top you’ll be.

Eating Five to Six Times a Day
The idea here is that eating more often and in smaller portions is both better for weight loss and healthier in general because you’re spreading out calorie intake throughout the day and keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Sadly, the science does not agree here. Studies actually indicate there is no significant impact whatsoever to the frequency of eating, and that, in fact, eating more often makes you want to eat more.

Avocado sandwich

Organic Foods
Similarly, the need for the foods to be organic (and, by extension, GMO-free) in clean eating is not borne out by actual scientific knowledge. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are largely a positive development, and allow crops to be fortified with necessary nutrients, more reliably protected from diseases, and be produced more cheaply. On the other hand, organic growing is volatile and has a huge chance of failure or of infested crops, because of the restrictions on pesticide use that organic growing entails. In short, while there are some legitimate concerns with the agricultural industry, organic food is not the answer and generally has no benefit to your health.

All that said, this one is pretty close to the mark. The majority of the other tenets of clean eating are highly questionable, though. Just eat a healthy, varied diet, with proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates, fruits, and lots of leafy greens and other vegetables, and you should be fine.

Woman measuring waist with tape measure

Pre-Wedding Weight Loss Tips

It’s easy to get caught up in all the glamor, perfectionism, and stress tied to a wedding ceremony, and it’s easy to fixate on how many eyes will be on you, how there will be no way to prevent them from seeing your “bad” side, etc, etc, etc.

Try not to focus on all that too much. There are better reasons to want to revamp your diet and exercise, like staying healthy and starting positive life habits now that can last the rest of your life, and make your marriage happier and healthier too.

So let’s talk about pre-wedding health ideas, including but not limited to weight loss.

Reconsider Your Diet
No, we don’t mean that kind of diet, but rather the literal meaning of the word “diet,” which is quite simply, what you eat. Strict diets are very rarely a good idea. Instead, just try to eat plenty of dark, leafy greens and some fruits, and make sure you get complex carbohydrates, not just simple ones. Lean protein is also desirable in moderation, and limit your high-fat, high-sodium, high-carb snacks. Don’t cut them out entirely, just indulge sparingly, maybe a small portion a couple times a day at most. And that bag of potato chips? Don’t take the whole bag with you to the bedroom to snack, pour a small amount into a bowl to regulate yourself.

Further, keep water handy all the time and sip whenever thirsty. Monitoring how much you drink isn’t actually necessary as long as you keep it close by at all times, meaning when you feel the need to take a sip, you can. That makes a huge difference in preventing dehydration.

Cardio

Start a Cardio Routine
It’s recommended you get 20 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day, or at least several times a week. We recommend aiming for 20 minutes a day for three days a week, with the eventual goal of reaching a half-hour of exercise five times a week (though it is worthy of note, cardio, unlike weight training, is safe to do seven days a week if you want to). Every week, add a day, or five minutes, or both, until you hit the target of 30 minutes five days a week.

The possibilities here are nearly endless. Jog around the block, use a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or other cardio machine, go for a bike ride, swim laps, take up a martial art, there’s so many ways to go about it. Pick the one that suits you best and stick with it!

Remember to Love Yourself
Last, but most definitely not least, don’t forget to love yourself. This is more important than anything else, to be perfectly honest, because if you love yourself and cultivate your inner beauty, it can take a huge load of stress away from the need for everything to be “perfect.” You WILL look great in that dress no matter your shape, size, or weight, and anyone who disagrees can shove it, so focus less on meeting a socially imposed standard of beauty and perfection, and focus instead on loving yourself. With your wedding day coming up, it’s important to realize that loving yourself is just as important as loving others, and while you and your spouse may love each other to death, loving yourself is equally necessary.

Woman swimming

Public Pool Safety

Summer is here! The temperature is going up, and we are heading to the pool! Trips to the public pool should be fun, so follow these tips this summer to ensure that nothing will ruin your weekend!

Be Aware of Health Standards
We hate to say it, but some pools have been fined or closed for violating health and safety standards. When choosing a public pool to belong to for the summer, ask when the facility was last inspected. Management is usually happy to show you that they are in compliance with all safety standards, and you will get peace of mind!

Stay Hydrated!
Staying hydrated is one of the most important summer tips. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be a big problem during the summer months, and extended sun exposure can cause you serious harm if you aren’t drinking enough water.

Woman applying sunscreen

Slather on the Sunscreen
This is a no brainer. A long day at the pool can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not properly protecting your skin. It is a good idea to put on your sunscreen before you leave the house, at least 15 minutes before you’ll be out in the sun. Also, give your sunscreen plenty of time to sink in, and make sure that you aren’t rubbing off your SPF with your clothing. It’s easy to lose track of time during a day in the sun, but it is important to reapply your sunscreen every few hours- even more often when you’re in the water! The instructions on the bottle will let you know exactly how often to reapply any particular brand. Keep your skin protected at the pool, and don’t let an angry sunburn follow you to work on Monday!

Know Your Surroundings
This is especially important if you have kids. Anytime you are around water, there is danger, regardless of how well you or your family members know how to swim. Public pools can be crowded, and though lifeguards are well trained, it is possible that they will miss a warning sign if there are a lot of people to watch. Make sure you know where you kids are at all times. If you, or anyone in your family, are not  strong swimmers, take a special note of what areas of the pool are safe to be in, and what areas to avoid (deep water, steep inclines, drains, etc). Also, make sure that these areas are properly roped off to decrease the chances of mistakenly entering an unsafe area.

 

Don’t Go Overboard
No, we don’t mean falling into the water. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun in the sun, but it is important to not go overboard, and limit your sun exposure. Too much sun during peak hours can cause serious burns, fatigue, dizziness, heat rash, and several other not so fun complications. Play it safe, and take breaks from the sun every so often so you can enjoy the pool all summer long!

Woman having a neck ache

Fighting Muscle Fatigue     

Summer is a great time to change up (or start) your workout routine. The weather is warmer and the days are longer, and people are getting out of the gym (and off the couch) and flocking to bike paths, fields, and tennis courts to get in their 60 active minutes. We all know how important it is to stay active. Working out a few times a week can help fight muscle fatigue, lose weight, and give you more energy. It’s important to fight lactic acid accumulation and avoid fatiguing your muscles so you can finish strong and stay fit. There are tons of supplements out there that are marketed for stopping muscle fatigue and building muscle faster, but there are a few simple and inexpensive ways you can defend your guns.

Stay Hydrated
This may seem too simple, but getting enough water is essentially for your muscles to function properly. In fact, muscle fatigue and cramping are actually a side effect of dehydration. Always be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Making a habit of drinking water throughout the day is going to prepare your body for you work out. Increasing your H2O intake can also give you more energy, help you skin, and help you stay focused!

Get Your Protein
Eating a protein rich meal after a workout is going to help you build muscle. Your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate after your workout ends, so it is important that you are ingesting enough calories at that point, otherwise you can actually lose muscle. Building strong muscles is going to help stop future muscle fatigue. Although protein is most commonly connected with eating meat, it is also high in fat. You can also get your protein boost with beans, nuts, and protein powders.

Add Resveratrol to Your Diet
Resveratrol is a substance found naturally in plants that can prevent muscle fatigue. You may have heard about exciting new studies that have added fighting muscle fatigue to resveratrol’s list of benefits. Muscle fatigue is most often caused by leading a sedentary lifestyle, and resveratrol can actually give you the benefits of exercise, even when eating a diet high in sugar and fat. Scientists have studied animals, and found out that those given resveratrol were able to counteract the muscle fatigue that can come with eating poorly and not exercising. This wonderful antioxidant is sold in supplement form, but it can be found in the skins of different types of berries. This is extra exciting because, as many of us know, resveratrol is found in red wine because it is fermented in grape skins, which have a high concentration of the substance.

Before you kick back with a glass of red and forget about working out, resveratrol is not a replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. That being said, drinking red wine can actually help you muscles- so raise a glass!

Woman's hands holding cup of green tea

Drinking Tea for Weight Loss

People have been drinking tea for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It is no secret that different kinds of teas have different benefits- there really is a tea for every situation! Tea can wake you up, help you sleep, jumpstart your metabolism, stave off hunger, help your body process fats, and much more!

Green Tea: Start Your Day Off Right!
Most people are familiar with some of the benefits of green tea. It is used in many different kinds of energy drinks because it is a natural source of caffeine. Because of this, it is a good alternative to coffee, and people often drink it in the morning to jumpstart their day. In addition to waking you up, green tea is the perfect start to your morning because it also helps boost metabolism! Many people already know that green tea can help with weight loss, and this is because it kickstarts your metabolism, and can increase your caloric burn throughout the day.

Mint Tea: The Afternoon Pick Me Up
It’s been a few hours since lunch, but you still have some work to do before it’s time to go home and have dinner. That 3.00 pm slump affects us all in varying degrees, but it can be difficult to resist reaching for a bag of chips or a cookie when the hunger and fatigue sets in. Mint tea is the perfect choice for this time of day because it helps to avoid hunger pangs, plus it can perk out up enough to make it to the end of the day!

Detox Teas
We’re sure you have seen the posts and videos about detox teas that are all over social media right now. There are tons of different kinds of detox teas ranging from single boxes of tea you can buy at a grocery store, to whole detox tea packages that you can order online. These teas are meant to be balancing, detoxifying, and to help you lose weight. Some weight loss cleanses involve replacing meals with juices and smoothies to detoxify your organs and drastically decrease the number of calories you are consuming. Cleansing with tea is a little easier to fit into your life, and simply requires adding a few cups of tea to a healthy diet. Detox teas can help you slim down because they regulate your appetite and help with digestion! Herbal detox teas are also great because they often contain different types of antioxidants that can prevent cell damage, act as anti-inflammatories, and relieve indigestion.

The simplest way that drinking tea daily can help you lose weight it the very fact that you are drinking tea, and not a sugary juice or soda. People consume a lot of empty calories in the form of a soda with lunch, or a morning Frappuccino, without even realizing it. Adding tea to your diet will cause you to consciously choose more natural beverages, and make it easier to stick to a healthy diet. Flavored herbal teas can satisfy your sweet tooth without relying on sugary drinks! Drink up!

Woman holding a glass of wine

A Little Glass of Wine Per Day

For a long time, red wine has been thought to be heart healthy. Wine Lovers rejoice whenever a new study comes out boasting of the many benefits drinking red (and sometimes white) wine can have for your heart, skin, bones, and state of mind. These studies even suggest that drinking a glass of wine a day is the key to many health issues. Do these supposed benefits actually do anything, or are we just looking for excuses to drink more wine? Maybe, but there are two main benefits to wine drinking that do seem to carry some weight.

Benefit: Resveratrol
One of the main benefits you hear about when it comes to drinking wine daily is the resveratrol in red grape skins. Because red wine is fermented in red grape skins you get a hefty dose of it with each glass. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, which help protect your cells from damage. If you have ever seen an add or read an article about skincare with vitamin E or vitamin C, you know all about the benefits of antioxidants for your skin. Molecules called free radicals can damage your skin cells, and antioxidant skin care helps to prevent this and heal your skin. For this reason, so many brands are coming out with skincare lines formulated with these vitamins to help brighten skin, prevent aging, and repair damage.

Free radicals don’t stop at the skin’s surface- they can cause the same kinds of damage inside your body, too! That’s why it’s important to eat (and drink!) things that are rich in antioxidants (and why every smoothie you buy will have the word “antioxidant” on the label). Luckily for all of the wine lovers out there, a glass of red wine per day can help prevent the kinds of cell damage that lead to heart disease and other health problems, such as osteoporosis. Resveratrol is linked to all kinds of health benefits, and we couldn’t be happier that drinking red wine gives you a dose of this highly sought after antioxidant!

Benefit: Decreased Chances of Depression
Though heavy alcohol consumption is not good for your brain’s chemistry, studies concluded that moderate wine drinking can actually decrease your chances of depression. One particular study warns that incidents of depression do increase with heavy alcohol consumption, but those who drank 2-7 glasses of wine seemed to be in the sweet spot. They had lower incidences of depression than both heavy drinker, and those who did not drink- so raise a glass to your health!

While not all claims about wine being healthy for you may be true, there are some benefits that do seem to have an effect on your health. The resveratrol in wine has a number of benefits ranging from heart disease prevention to bone health, and it is the main reason why wine is known has a heart healthy option.  Moderation is important with anything, so sticking to a little glass of wine a day is just right- cheers!

Woman applying sunscreen

SPF 30 vs SPF 50

When you shop for sunscreens, you’ve probably noticed products available with SPFs ranging from 15 to 100. You would think an SPF of 100 would be more effective than one of 15, but it’s not as simple as that. So, what exactly do all these numbers mean?

SPF refers to a sunscreen’s ability to block UVB rays, but not UVA rays. UVB rays cause sunburns while UVA rays are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. Both kinds of rays can contribute to skin cancer. The SPF rates measure the amount of time it would take for you to sunburn without sunscreen as opposed to the amount of time it would take you to burn with the sunscreen on. But Florida dermatologist. James M. Spencer, MD, explains, “SPF is not a consumer friendly number. It is logical for someone to think than an SPF of 30 is twice as good as an SPF of 15, but that’s not how it works.”

Spencer further explains that SPF 15 will block about 94% of UVB rays while an SPF 30 blocks 97% and an SPF 45 blocks about 98%. “After that it just gets silly,” says Spencer. Doctors like Farah Ahmed, general counsel for the cosmetics industry group Personal Care Products Council, tends to agree, but adds that high SPF products may protect better against long term skin damage and exposure related skin cancers. Generally, an SPF of 30 is recommended.

Dr. Steven Q Wang, MD and director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, points out ways in which using sunscreens with a higher SPF can even have negative effects. Since SPF protects against UVB rays only, and UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, individuals may not burn while using these sunscreens. However, this does not mean they are not susceptible to damage from UVA rays which cause premature aging. To these lengths, Europe and Australia have adopted UVA testing guidelines and measurement standards and capped the SPF of sunscreens at 50. The U.S. Food and Drug Association may follow suit.

Resveralife-spf-30-vs-spf-50-spf-50-spf50

Wang also points out that people who are wearing an SPF of 50 or higher, may adopt a false sense of security and may stay out in the sun longer. They may not make wise choices like seeking shade or wearing sun protective clothing. Sun damage can take place even if skin is not becoming tan or reddening.

No matter what produce you choose, water resistant sunscreen should be applied liberally a half hour before you go outdoors and should be reapplied every two hours or after you are swimming or sweating. Look for broad spectrum sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are less likely to wash off and effectively protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid avobenzone products which are not stable and oxybenzone, which is absorbed into your skin and has demonstrated to be a hormone disruptor.

So, what’s your number? Let us know in the comments section below!

Lady applying sunscreen while hiking in the canyons

Using "Natural" Sunscreens

With all the information available about the damaging effects of sun exposure, it seems as if sunscreens are no longer just an option, they are pretty much mandatory. But many of us dislike the chemicals sunscreens contain. Well, for those of us who feel that way, there are mineral sunscreen formulas on the market… but not all mineral sunscreens are safe. Read on to find out the best products for you in natural sunscreens.

Let’s start by looking at why we might want to avoid chemical sunscreens. They have been found to accumulate in body fat and breast milk and have been linked to hormonal disruptions like early onset puberty, low sperm count, breast cancer and allergic reactions. It is also said that they absorb UV rays, allowing them to penetrate into the skin where they can cause free radial formations that can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

For these reasons, natural sunscreens, or those that contain only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their natural ingredients, are more popular than ever. They work against both UVA and UVB rays and are effective immediately after application, unlike chemical sunscreens that can take 30 minutes before they start working.

However, health and beauty writer Liz Thompson warns us to beware, as certain mainstream brands simply add these minerals to their sun protection line up without actually reformulating to safe products. These products may still contain harmful chemicals.

Consumer Reports questions the effectiveness of natural sunscreens claiming that many products that use zinc oxide as its only active ingredient were getting feedback from customers that the products didn’t work as well as they claimed to. Further investigations yielded lotions with an SPF 50 only performing at an SPF of 8. CR goes on to say that they believe the natural sunscreens perform poorly because most mineral sunscreens contain particles which do not form a uniform film on the skin that is necessary for maximum sun protection. They go on to recommend using a mineral product which comes close to its SPF (since they claim none quite add up) or going with a chemical sunscreen choice.

resveralife-using-natural-sunscreen-organic-sunscreen

Organic sunscreens are another option. These products, likely to contain oxybenzone as their active ingredient, absorbs UV light, protecting your skin from UV damage. However, they come with their own drawbacks, including a higher risk of allergic reactions. Also, there is the possibility that the compound can be disruptive to hormones like estrogen. However, studies have proven that while oxybenzone does bind to estrogen, there was not enough evidence to suggest that the absorption affected hormone levels.

So, with all these pros and cons arising, what is one to do? Read the label. According to Dr. Josh Axe, here are a list of products you definitely want to avoid in your sunscreens

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octcrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Parabens

So, what’s your take on it? Mineral, chemical, organic? Hit us up in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!

Woman holding sunscreen

Save Your Skin From the Sun

Don’t leave your skin vulnerable to sun damage this summer! Follow these simple steps to keep your skin safe, so the only thing you have to worry about this summer is finding a good chair at the pool and an ice cold beverage.

Layer
Don’t expect your makeup to serve as your only protection! Use a moisturizer with SPF 30 as well as a foundation or tinted moisturizer with sun protection. Also, give your moisturizer some time to really sink into the skin before you move on to your primer- you don’t want to risk wiping off your protection when you move on to the next step of your routine!

Reapply
Most sunscreens will only protect your skin for a few hours- especially if you are at the pool or the beach! You should reapply your SPF a few times a day- or every 80 minutes if you are swimming or sweating. Read the label on the bottle to figure out exactly how often it is suggested to reapply for each brand of sunscreen or moisturizer. Don’t forget to throw a bottle of sunscreen, or a setting spray with SPF, in your bag before you leave the house to ensure your skin will be protected all day long!

Don’t Forget your Eyes!
Even if you use a moisturizer with SPF religiously, you may be neglecting some of your most sensitive skin- the areas around your eyes. Some kinds of sunscreen can sting your eyes, so try to find an eye cream or concealer formulated with SPF to protect those peepers!

Woman wearing sunglasses

Accessorize
Always getting those painful sunburns where your hair is parted? Try throwing on a cute, wide brim hat next time you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time. Oversized sunglasses are also a trendy way to protect your eyes from sun damage. Mix up your looks this summer with cool accessories, and protect your skin at the same time!

Don’t Stop at Your Face
While wearing sunscreen on your face every day is important, we tend to spend more time outside during the warmer months, so extending our sunscreen coverage is essential. Applying sunscreen to your ears, neck, chest, shoulders, and hands can do a lot to help protect your skin from sun damage. It doesn’t take long for the stronger summer sun to harm your skin, so adding these extra steps to your morning routine will help you remember to do this every day!

Limit Sun Exposure
We’ve all heard this tip, and no one likes to follow it, but whenever possible, it is best to limit your sun exposure during peak hours. Taking a lunch break inside while the sun is highest in the sky (and using this time to reapply your sunscreen) can help decrease your chances of getting burnt. We hate to say it, but less sun is always better for your skin’s health.
No need to skip out on all of the fun outdoor activities that summer brings, but don’t forget to protect your skin first!