Woman touching her neck

Problems Only People With Sensitive Skin Understand

“You’re too sensitive.” Whom among us has not heard or used this phrase once in their lives? “Too sensitive” is usually used to imply that someone is weak or overly emotional. But, really, what is wrong with being sensitive? Should there be shame in the expression of true feelings? ” No! ” comes the resounding reply. Since when are deep feelings a sign of inferiority? Quite the reverse! Sensitive people are just more emotionally attuned and compassionate.
The same is true of sensitive skin. You may have been told that your skin is “too sensitive” or overly sensitive. Well, know that there is nothing wrong with that. It just means your skin expresses its feelings more easily than other people’s. If you have sensitive skin, it doesn’t mean that your skin is inferior, it is simply discerning. For those of you whose skin is a little less susceptible to irritants, here are some things you may never have to deal with. Please be empathetic.

  1. Doing Patch Tests: Every time someone with sensitive skin is trying out a new product, it needs to be tested on the jawline and slowly spread out, provided no visible negative reactions occur.
  2. Being Unable to Purchase Products with Fragrance: Even though a product may say “for sensitive skin,” including fragrances will lend lie to that phrase. The unaware and sensitive skinned may be in for a nasty surprise.
  3. Not Being Able To Get a Casual Facial: Although, a pleasurable pampering for most of us, facials can be a surefire inflammation trap for the overly sensitive. Many dangers may lie behind every touch and every new product.
  4. Knowing That You’ve Woken Up With A New Breakout Before You See it: You don’t have to see it any more to know its there. You’ve put something on your face at some time and now you’re feeling the burn. You dread the mirror.
  5. Explaining Why Your Face is So Red: Just because your skin is sensitive, it doesn’t mean your feeling aren’t. You would think people would be a little more polite and keep the questions about the “sunburn” to themselves.
  6. Having to Avoid Getting Your Face Wet: Water? Et tu, Brute?
  7. All The Cool Kids Are Using A New Product: Everybody’s trying the new peel and why should you be left out? It’s just not fair.
  8. Unavoidable Red Cheeks: Even if your product does wonders for most of your face, your cheeks tell a different story.
  9. Not Being Able To Cover Redness with Foundation: It’s usually a no brainer. Your face breaks out, you reach for foundation. Not you. Foundation only irritates your face more.
  10. Buying Something New and Having to Throw It In the Bill: You shell out the 20 odd dollars for the new “sensitive skin” product, only to wake up realizing that your face looks and feels like its on fire.

It’s not fair. For those of you with sensitive skin, we feel your pain. If you have sensitive skin and think your voice has not been recognized, we would love to hear from you. You are not alone.

Woman measuring circumference of thighs

Causes Of Inner Thigh Skin Sag

Did she so it or didn’t she? Did Beyonce, the woman who only needs one name, photoshop her world famous legs to create the image of a thigh gap? We can all agree that Beyonce is flawless, so why is she so concerned with creating the illusion of thinner thighs?
A survey commissioned by REAL Magazine found that , of the body parts that cause the most dissatisfaction to women, 91% of women named their hips and thighs.
Inner thighs are a cause of consternation for many, mainly because inner thigh muscles can be very difficult to target with exercise. Overweight women may find loose skin forming in this area. Muscle targeting can be helpful, but it often does not completely solve the problem.

Identifying Loose Skin
If you have loose skin on your thighs, you probably don’t need any help identifying it, nor do you want to help anyone else identify it. However, for those of you who may be new to it, saggy thighs are often characterized by drooping skin that hangs lax from the muscle without tone. It is often wrinkly and may have cellulite and is common in those who have had a recent dramatic weight loss.

Causes
When obesity occurs, skin expands to accommodate the excess fat. When weight loss occurs, the added skin remains and will only increase the amount of weight lost. Sagging thighs can also develop from a general lack of physical activity or age. Excessive sun exposure can also break down collagen in the legs, causing the skin to sag.

Exercise
One option for tightening up skin is exercise, but, if you are targeting your thighs, you may want to concentrate your efforts on the thigh muscles. Running may work, as may standing leg lifts, squats, and side lunges. If you are familiar with pilates, the side split may also be helpful.

Creams And Lotions
Vitamin C, vitamin E, and alpha-hydroxy acids are known for their ability to firm skin. Coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter are known for their moisturizing properties. Using creams and lotions with these ingredients along with regular exercise may help to give your thighs a tighter appearance.

Non-Surgical Methods
Radio frequency is a nonsurgical option which has been compared to a microwave by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery(ASAPS). It heats the skin to a point at which firming occurs. Pulsed light treatments are another option and work in a similar way, converting light to heat.

Surgical Methods
If you are considering a surgical solution, a lower body lift will remove loose skin and fat tissue , and, according to the ASAPS allows the “remaining tissue to stretch and smooth around the lower body, especially the buttocks and thighs.” Thin scars may result, but can be hidden by clothes or covered with concealer.

If you are considering surgical or nonsurgical methods, remember to consult a dermatologist first, and, if none of these options float your boat, there’s always loose clothes and photoshop!

Woman sneezing into white napkin

Environmental Allergies and Dark Eye Circles

Are the dark circles under your eyes getting you down? Well, hear this! It seems that there is a whole army of people with dark circles under their eyes who wear these features as badges of honor. Dark circle mantras include,”Those dark circles under my eyes are not from being tired, they’re from being awesome.” Benicio Del Toro defends his dark circles by saying, “Before I was ever in high school, I had dark circles under my eyes. I have dark circles under my eyes, deal with it.”

But if you don’t feel ready to bin your concealer, here are some facts that may be helpful. Dark circles under the eyes can usually be attributed to exhaustion, age, or illness. But those dark circles can also be a product of environmental allergies and can be fought accordingly.

Seasonal Allergies
Allergies, like hay fever, cosmetic allergies, food allergies and allergies from the workplace are all likely to cause dark circles. The blood vessels under the eyes to swell and rub the thin skin of the eyes, resulting in a darker color. Blocked nasal passages can also contribute to the formation of dark circles as the veins connecting the nose and eyes become dilated and dark. In the winter season, pollen from certain flowers can cause allergies which create dark circles.

Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergens include dust, mildew, mold and smoke. Pet dander can also cause allergies which lead to dark circles. Environmental allergies can lead to congestion which accelerates blood flow to the nose. Because of the delicate texture of the skin under the eyes, the excess blood flow creates a purplish color and makes the blood vessels around the eyes larger, creating a drier hue. Add to that the fact that allergy sufferers suffer adrenal fatigue and don’t sleep properly.

Food Allergies
Although the way foods affect allergy sufferers differ from person to person, the most common culprits are peas, chocolate, citrus, mustard, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Foods with high sodium and potassium contact can also lead to dark circles.

Remedies for Dark Circles

  • Eye Cream: A topical cream containing ingredients like Vitamin A, cucumber extract or green tea extract can be effective on dark circles.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress on the eyes can reduce the appearance of dark circles by reducing inflammation, Place them on the eyes for about 15 minutes to affect a change.
  • Cucumber slices: Cucumbers are known to have natural bleaching properties and their pulp contains and solution that reduces skin swelling and restores texture. Apply cold slices to eyes for about 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Potato slices and moist chamomile tea bags can also be effective.
  • Medication: While seasonal allergies can usually be effectively treated with OTC meds, allergy sufferers are also known to be deficient in folic acid, B6 and B12. Multivitamins can help to restore levels of these vitamins to the system.
Woman playing golf

Round the Year Skincare for Golfers

Let’s review the facts.

Golfers spend a lot of time in the sun. The average time for a foursome to play 18 holes is four hours.It’s also recommended that if golfers play regularly if they are serious about improving their game.  In fact, as of 2011, golfers played an average of 58 rounds a year.  Do the math and that works out to a lot of time outside.

The majority of golf players are male.  Even though the popularity of the Ladies PGA tour grows every day, and we love you, Maria Sharapova,  77.5% of golfers in the U.S. are male.  And the average age of golfers in the U.S. is 54.  Now, ask yourself this, honestly, how many men do you know who are over 54 religiously apply sunblock?

Men over the age of 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation and the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are caucasian meant over 50. According to an article in Golf digest, dermatologists believe the odds of skin cancer are worse for golfers and it is likely that a higher percentage of golfers have skin cancer than the 20% reported for the US population.   According to Dr. Michael Kaminer, “Some golfers, it’s like they’re going out of their way to get skin cancer,” and he plays golf.

But just because you’re not in the average demographic for golfing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy golf, and just because you are not a female millennial, you do not get an excuse for being ignorant about skin health.  So, let’s agree that golfing and taking care of your skin is not mutually exclusive! So listen up golfers:  here are some round the year skincare tips for golfers.

Use Sunblock Every Time You Play
Make sure to go with at least SPF 30 and make sure it says “broad spectrum”  on the label.  This way you know you are getting both UVA and UVB protection.

Woman playing golf

Wear a Hat, Long Sleeves, Pants and Sunglasses
The Skin Cancer Foundation says to wear one that extends 3″ ALL THE WAY AROUND; that means, no baseball caps or visors.  (Something tells me this may be a problem.) Wearing pants and long sleeves are very helpful in keeping the sun off.  If you are really too hot for sleeves, Nike and Under Armour make sun sleeves.  Try to get them with at least a 30 UPF.  and don’t forget to rock the SGs.  Make sure you choose a pair that blocks 99-100% of the sun.  OK, so now that you’re bundled up, let’s go play some golf.  No, only kidding, but statistics show that most golfers are college educated, so use those brains!  Stay away from the sun.

Re-Apply Sunscreen Every Two Hours
Sweat, moisture and time can all effect the strength of sunscreen. Check around the 8th or 9th hole to see how long it has been since your last application.

Schedule an Early or Late Tee Time
Try to avoid putting between 10 and 4 when the sun is strongest.  Take advantage of twilight rates, or predawn hours.

Find Shade
Trees are not really the most common features on golf courts, so a golf cart may be a good idea. The cart’s awning will provide some sun relief. If you must walk the court, try and stand in the shadiest place possible when not teeing off.  You will be cooler as well.

Carefree woman lying on grass

What to Wear During a Heatwave

“It is times like these, that great heaven knows, that we wish we had, not so many clothes.”  So begins the 1980’s pop summer hit,  now cult classic, “Strip,” by Adam and the Ants.  Remember it or not, on hot days, it is definitely an appropriate mantra and a fashion dilemma.  Yes, it is all well and good for those of us who have he luxury of baring it all on a daily basis, but unfortunately, most of us have to maintain some modicum of propriety.  So what do we do? How should we dress on days in which we really don’t want to dress at all?

Shoes
Sure sandals and flip-flops are easy and great, but, let’s face it, our feet aren’t always our best assets and open shoes are often not the best office look.  Luckily, canvas espadrilles are a stylish alternative, as are backless mules and flip flops. And be aware, smart pedestrian, foot discomfort is more common in the hot weather, as sweat causes friction that can lead to blisters.  Invisible ballerina socks are good summertime investments and you may want to rub some Vaseline on the backs of your shoes.

Undies
Although some of us will chose to forego the undershirt in especially hot weather, keep in mind that in may be your best weapon against sweat patches.  Your best bet is a t-shirt rather than a sleeveless, which will not guard against armpit leakage and grey or pearl colors are the least likely to show through white material. Ladies who are concerned with concealing the errant bra strap may want to consider a clip in strap converter or multiway bra.

Woman wearing a pink top and shorts

Materials
Textured fabrics such as seersucker, linen and cotton are good summertime choices.  They only touch parts of your skin, allowing air to get in.  When buying cotton tees, aim for quality to avoid looking too casual.  Pair them with loose fitting skirts or baggy pants or culottes for a professional summer look.  If you feel you look too “beachy”  accessorize with killer shoes and purse.

Accessories
The only hat you want to wear is a straw one which will provide shade while allowing air to get through.  Most of our body heat escapes through our heads, so trendy as they might be, ski hats and baseball caps may be figuratively cool, but they are literally quite the opposite.  A blazer is a good move for covering up those sweat patches, but leave the lined ones at home.  Silk, satin and polyester, most commonly used for lining suit jackets, make it notoriously difficult for skin to breath.  A bandanna in the back pocket is a good idea for a quick rubdown and, if you really want to get a leg up on the rest of us, you can pick up a hand held fan.  Also, consider keeping a spritzer handy. Apply sunscreen regularly.  Wear light colors.  Look hot, keep cool.

Woman applying nail oil

Healing Cuticle Damage

There’s no doubt about! Nails are all the rage! With all the nail trends that have emerged and continue to emerge in the coming season, a stylish manicure is becoming as necessary a fashion accessory as a great pair of shoes. But bad habits, natural elements and even certain manicures can cause cuticle damage that can seriously put a damper on putting your best finger forward. Well, never fear, because here are a few tips on how to heal cuticle damage and get those nails in shape for the upcoming season.

Treatments for damaged cuticles vary from simple creams to surgical treatments depending on the severity of the damage. “If you’ve been biting your fingernails or yanked off a hang nail, taking care of the issue may not be any more difficult than treating a minor cut,” says health journalist Elizabeth Whitmore. She recommends simply putting hydrogen peroxide and a bandage over the affected area.

More serious cuticle damage can include infections, commonly known as paronychia. These can be caused by bacteria, fungus or yeast and manifest as soreness and occasionally puss-filled blisters. Treatment for these infections usually involve soaking of the affected area in warm water and taking antibiotics, but occasionally surgery is necessary. If you suspect your finger is infected, it is best to see a doctor for proper medical attention.

Another source of cuticle damage is dry skin which can result in cracked and peeling cuticles. “When skin dries out, your cuticles lose natural fats that help keep them soft”, notes Whitmore. Treatment for this kind of damage includes cuticle creams which have fats and oils to help replace those you’ve lost. Other tips for dry, cracked cuticles includes Beauty blogger Nicole Quinn’s recommendation of applying Neosporin to cracked cuticles, covering them with band-aids and leaving them on while sleeping for an overnight transformation. Bobbie Brown recommends soaking hands in warm olive oil for five minutes while massaging the oil into your fingernails.

Of course, the best way to solve the problem of damaged cuticles is to prevent them from happening in the first place. You can save yourself a whole lot of pain, time and money by following some simple cuticle care tips.  These include the following:

  • Wear gloves in cold weather and while washing dishes
  • Don’t bite or pick your nails
  • Moisturize
  • Avoid rough manicures
  • Use acetone free nail polish removers
  • Avoid cutting your cuticles

Maintaining a healthy diet can also make nails strong and resistant to damage. Vitamins A, B, C, E, zinc and calcium are all recommended for healthy nails. Foods rich in these vitamins include citrus fruits, dairy products, bananas, lean meats, and leafy green vegetables. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided as they can diminish the amount of vitamin A in the body. Cutex recommends their Quick and Gentle Nail Polish Remover Nourishing with Vitamin E.

If your nails are looking rough and peeling, it may be time to explore these options and start taking these steps for a healthier you, not to mention a beautiful manicured look.

Clean hands with French manicure

Dare To Go Bare

Nail polish is so attractive and there are so many trendy manicure options now, it’s hard to think of taking time off to let our nails go bare for a while. However, keeping polish on nails for a prolonged period of time can be doing our nails harm. Find out how your nails might be suffering the effects of being constantly polished and what you can do about it.

Many of us have heard of the benefits of leaving polish off to let nails ‘breathe’. The reality is, nails don’t actually need to breathe, as they receive nutrients and oxygen from the blood stream, not the air. However, leaving polish on can lead to keratin granulation. “These are white, rough patches on the nail that form when the polish is removed along with the superficial layers of nail cells,” explains certified dermatologist and nail specialist Dana Stern. Stern goes on to explain that these are caused by trauma to the nail matrix. The granulations do grow out over time but can result in permanent damage to the matrix that can lead to nail alteration.

Foot specialist Joy Rowland expands on this theory. “The danger with keeping your nail polish on too long is that the pigment in the nail polish can soak into the top few layers of the nail and dry it out,” says Rowland. When that happens, mildew, yeast, mold and bacteria can develop under the nail plate which can lead to long term problems. Rowland recommends leaving polish off and trying to keep feet dry to promote healing. She also recommends rubbing the nail beds with vitamin E.

Nail polish remover can also be dangerous to the nails. Dermatologists simplify the science behind this by comparing nails to tiles on a roof. “These tiles are made of protein, specifically keratin, just like our hair. These cells are very delicate and can become damaged with prolonged exposure to certain chemicals,” says Stern. One of these chemicals is acetone, commonly found in nail polish remover. Acetone can dry out the keratin cells that make up the nail plate causing them to separate, split, peel and break.

Obviously, it is a good idea to take breaks between manicures and let nails go bare. A few weeks with nail polish on, and then a few weeks with bare nails is the recommended procedure. Here are some other helpful hints for keeping nails healthy:

  • Always wear a protective base coat. This will keep nails from yellowing.
  • Take biotin and vitamins to keep nails healthy.
  • Use gloves while doing housework.
  • Keep nails trim and buff them lightly in one direction.
  • Don’t peel your nail polish. This will make the cells on your nails grow in a slanted direction and weaken them.
  • Rub oil into nails to seal in moisture.
  • Avoid overexposure to water and alcohol (which can be found in hand sanitizers).
Three panels of woman's aging process

A Decade of Changes

As we age, our skin changes drastically. Skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. When we eat well, it shows in the skin. The skin also betrays when we eat poorly. Our skin reflects when we are stressed, tired, happy, and angry. It’s no surprise that our skin will also change when we get older, even though they are definitely not always welcome changes.

What happens to your skin at 40?

What is your body doing?

Your estrogen levels are heading down. You may be experiencing a slower metabolism and more fatigue.

How does your skin reflect this?

The collagen that keeps your skin firm is starting to break down. Your skin is also losing hyaluronic acid, which helps maintain the skin’s elasticity, giving the skin that bouncy, youthful appearance.

What can you do?

  • Taking a low dose of estrogen can help keep your estrogen levels from dropping too drastically, so these changes won’t happen quite so suddenly. This can make them more manageable.
  • Adding a product with hyaluronic acid will help your skin maintain its elasticity and hydration.
  • Using a retinol will increase the cell turnover of your skin. This will keep your skin looking fresh and bright- just make sure you are using a good exfoliator because retinol will create dead skin cells to exfoliate away and uncover younger-looking skin.

Woman applying serum

What happens to your skin at 50? 

What is your body doing?

Most women experience menopause during their 50’s. This means their estrogen production has slowed or stopped.

How does your skin reflect this?

Your skin can lose up to 30% of its collagen in the first few years of menopause. Skin will lose a lot of its elasticity, and be much more prone to dryness. Wrinkles will deepen as your skin loses collagen.

What can you do?

  • Hormone therapy (if your doctor approves) can help your skin hold on to more of its collagen.
  • Keep using retinol creams and firming eye creams to slow the loosening of the skin, especially around the eyes.
  • Switch to a rich night cream to combat dryness.

What happens to your skin at 60? 

What is your body doing?

As you age, your body becomes more susceptible to illness. Your immune system isn’t as strong, and things like smoking and drinking start to have a more negative effect.

How does your skin reflect this?

Your skin is drying out and thinning, so it is much more sensitive to sun damage, heat rash, damage from smoking, and other environmental factors. Wrinkles can deepen, and collagen breaks down further.

What can you do?

  • Keep using your rich night creams and retinol.
  • Protect the skin around your eyes- it is your thinnest skin.
  • Be careful to wear sunscreen and shield your skin from the sun as much as possible.
  • Most importantly, don’t worry about it! If you care for your body and your skin, you will age beautifully.
Beautiful woman smiling at her partner

Maintaining a Healthy Smile

There are many components to looking great; as important as skincare may be, it’s not the only thing you need to keep on top of to look your very best. That said, making sure to take proper care of your pearly whites, and keep them just that: pearly white, can be difficult. So let’s go over the basics of smile maintenance, as it were, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Don’t Skimp on the Brushing…
…and make sure you do it properly. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day, but at least once daily is a bare minimum. When you brush, you want to make sure you brush down right to the gum-line, not just on the exposed surface of your teeth. Plaque can hide under the gum-line, in the tight space between your teeth and your gums. Brush the exposed enamel of your teeth, but after that, push the bristles down into your gum-line and push any plaque out with a flicking motion. Do this along every millimeter of your gums, and don’t forget the hard to reach areas in the back! Try to brush for at least two minutes.

Remember that Floss Is your Friend
Of course, brushing along isn’t enough. You need to floss regularly too. Every day is always a great idea, but you could scrape by with 2-3 times a week. If your gums bleed when you first start flossing after not doing it for ages, don’t worry, they’ll toughen up as you continue to floss. However, if they still bleed after a few weeks of consistent flossing, make an appointment with your dentist, you could have some kind of gum disease.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Seriously, don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Get your appointment over with sooner rather than later. Your dentist is trained to detect problems you won’t necessarily notice, even if your home care is fantastic. Further, if you’re trying to improve your home care, your hygienist can show you things like proper brushing and flossing technique, and give you other pointers. And the sooner you visit, the better your odds are of staying cavity-free.

Consider Whitening
If your teeth are yellowed or otherwise stained for whatever reason; be it poor dental hygiene in the past (regardless of whether you’ve worked on it since or not), drinking way too much coffee or tea, or for any other reason, you might consider dental whitening. There are simple, at-home things you can do, like getting a whitening toothpaste or, if you like DIY solutions, making a paste from 1 part baking soda and 1 part water, and using that to brush once a week (baking soda is a natural tooth whitener you can find in your kitchen or at the grocery store for a pittance). If your discoloration isn’t helped by using such methods for a month or two, then talk to your dentist about dental whitening procedures they provide. Discolored teeth are less pressing than a cavity, but it’s worth looking into whitening for the sake of achieving that pearly-white, confidence-filled smile.

Woman sleeping

Tips for Clearing Skin Overnight

We all want our skin to look its best, which is why it’s important to take good care of it. After all, it’s not just a blank canvas for makeup; skin is our body’s largest organ! Eating a healthy diet, which should include plenty of leafy green vegetables and healthy fats, staying well-hydrated, and getting a solid night’s sleep every night should be the base of your skincare routine.

Unfortunately, even the best skincare routines can’t keep every single breakout at bay. Hormonal acne, food sensitivities, environmental factors, and even stress can trigger a breakout. When dealing with blemishes, there are a few important things to remember. The last thing you want to do is make it worse and the following advice will help get your skin clear again.

Hands Off
It’s easy to look at a big, ugly pimple and think popping it will make things better, but it won’t. Your hands can introduce new bacteria to the breakout and make it worse. Even squeaky-clean hands can spread bacteria from an existing pimple to otherwise clear skin, creating new breakouts. Not to mention, the pressure and aggravation caused by picking at blemishes can cause damage to the skin and lead to scarring.

Cleanse
Properly cleansing your skin can help start the healing process. All you need is a gentle cleanser and warm water. When shopping for cleansers, look for ingredients that can treat blemishes without overdrying your skin. Salicylic acid in low percentages can be quite effective and ingredients like chamomile or aloe vera help calm inflamed skin. To wash your face: wet your skin with warm water and apply a dime-sized amount of cleanser with your (clean!) fingertips. Using gentle, circular motions, massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Woman moisturizing feet

Moisturize
While your skin is still damp is the perfect time to apply a moisturizer. Often, we think we need to dry our skin out to heal pimples, but well-hydrated skin will heal quicker and look better in the process. Those with acne-prone or oily skin should look for oil-free moisturizers. Normal and dry skin types can use richer formulas suited to their individual needs. All skin types can determine if their moisturizer is right for them by seeing how their skin feels within 5 minutes of application. If your skin feels dry, you need a more hydrating moisturizer. If it feels tacky or greasy, you need a lighter, or oil-free option.

Treat
Finally, applying a spot treatment can help clear your skin when time is of the essence. There are hundreds of over-the-counter treatments available; look for ingredients like sulfur or benzoyl peroxide to help dry up pimples. For a d.i.y. treatment, apply a small amount of raw honey to the affected area for about 15 minutes before rinsing off. Since honey is naturally anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, it can treat blemishes without being quite so harsh on the skin.

Following these tips will help you wake up in the morning with clearer skin. Remember that most of all, your body needs good nutrition, hydration, and sleep to heal breakouts and repair damage. Treat your body with t.l.c. and your skin will be clear again in no time!

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