Dry Skin

Woman applying hand cream

What Your Hands Say About Your Health

You use them every day for everything, but when was the last time that you actually took the time to care for your hands? If it’s been a while, you may be surprised at what you find, and even more surprised at what those findings can indicate. Below, find out some common occurrences regarding the appearance of your hands and your health.

Flaky, Peeling Skin
Fingertips that suddenly begin to peel or become flaky are often an indication of a vitamin B deficiency. Two B vitamins that are important for the health of your skin are biotin, B7, and niacin B3. You can up the amount of niacin and biotin by eating foods like fish, peanuts, avocados and mushrooms, and you can also add a supplement to your diet. “Taking a biotin supplement helps to promote healthy skin and nail growth; niacin helps protect and repair skin by preventing the formation of melanin, boosting collagen growth, and improving your skin’s natural moisture barrier,” says David Bank, M.D, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York City’s New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Discoloration Under Your Nail
If you notice a black or brown streak under your nail, seek medical attention immediately. According to David J. Leffell, M.D., Chief Section of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at Yale University School of Medicine a black or brown streak under the nail can be a sign of acral melanoma, a rare skin cancer that often occurs in people with darker skin tones. Although this nail discoloration may be an early sign of melanoma, this type of cancer only accounts for about one to three percent of all cases of melanoma.

Pale, White or Blue Fingertips
Fingertips that change in color from blue to white to red could be an indication of Raynaud’s syndrome. According to Bank, “this condition causes coldness of the fingers and toes and can be accompanied by pain, numbness and tingling.” Experts believe that Raynaud’s syndrome is caused by spasms of the blood vessels that narrow them and lead to decreased circulation. You may also notice that your ears or nose go numb when temperatures drop or when you are put under a significant amount of stress.

Woman scratching her arms.

Dry, Itchy Skin
Your hands are frequently dried out because they are in constant use. “Repeated hand washing, which can dry your hands, and then touching paper and other harsh material all day long, will doubly dry them out,” warns Bank. However, if your skin seems to remain dry and itchy or if you have rashes, you may have eczema. Check with your doctor to determine whether or not your skin is just dry or if you have eczema. Bank says to apply products containing vitamins A and E to your hands and cuticles at night. “Because we don’t wash our hands while we sleep, these products will have a good amount of time to penetrate into your skin,” says Bank.

Pale, White Nail Beds
Not to be confused with pale or white fingertips that may be a symptom of Raynaud’s syndrome, pale or white nail beds can be a sign that you are anemic. Anemia means that your body is not making enough healthy red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying adequate oxygen to your tissues. Generally, the treatment for anemia is quite simple and involves iron supplementation, but you should confirm this diagnosis with a doctor before taking additional iron.

It is useful to check your own body, if you find any of these signs or symptoms on your hands or nails, contact a medical professional. Paying attention to your body helps you to remain healthy and informed, and don’t forget to give your hands a little extra TLC every so often.

Sunscreen on woman's shoulder outdoors

Are You Wearing the Right Sun Protection?

You know you need to protect yourself from the sun and harmful UV rays. You know to apply sunscreen before you head outside and even to reapply often or after being in water. But is the sun protection you are using right for you? Check out Resveralife’s guide below on how to be sure you are wearing the most effective sun protection possible.

Little girl wearing a hat and sunglasses holding a sunscreen bottle in a beach.

Kids
You need to keep the entire family protected, especially your little ones. Children have more reactive, sensitive skin than adults, so the type of sun protection you choose for them should be suitable for sensitive skin types. Kids tend to tolerate physical sunscreens better than they do chemical sunscreens as chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients like PABA and oxybenzone which have been associated with irritation.

Woman wearing a hat applying sunscreen.

Acne Prone Skin
Acne is a common problem and many people believe that sunscreens tend to increase blemishes and breakouts. The first thing to check in your sun protection, like any other skin care product for acne prone skin, is that it is free from unnecessary preservatives and fragrances. Some sunscreens are available in gel formulas that may suit acne or oily prone skin better than a traditional liquid. Just as with children, the most frequently cited aggravating active ingredients in sun care products are PABAs and oxybenzone. Physical sunscreens tend to work well for people who suffer from acne. If you are opposed to the thick white cast these can leave, look for a chemical sunscreen with salicylates or ecamsule. Note that if you are on a prescription medication for acne, it is best to consult with your doctor because some of these medications increase sensitivity to the sun.

Woman applying sunscreen on her hands.

Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, look for a sunscreen that contains moisturizer or a moisturizer that contains sunscreen. Many cosmetic and skin care companies now make day creams with an SPF in them already. Sunscreens that contain moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin, oils and dimethicones (silicone) tend to be appropriate for dry skin. Formulations of sunscreens with added moisture are often marketed as creams, lotions or even ointments.

If you are already using a sunscreen that is perfect for your skin type and your needs, that is awesome. However, dermatologists and skin care experts warn that even if you have the perfect sunscreen, not wearing enough renders the protection virtually useless. As a general rule you should be applying an ounce of sunscreen every single time you plan on getting sun exposure. If you are just covering your face, use about the size of a silver dollar to ensure proper coverage. Sunscreen has a shelf life of one to two years, so if you have a bottle from last year it is probably safe to use. Remember that the most effective sunscreen is the one that you apply every day and that you use the proper amount of. If using a chemical sunscreen, apply the product 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow time for it to absorb. Once out in the sun, reapply your sunscreen (with a full ounce of product) every two hours or more often if you have been swimming.