Woman working out

Tips For Meeting Your Body Goals

If you are a follower of the latest celebrity news, you’ll have seen a lot of pretty incredible body transformations. You’ve probably seen Jennifer Hudson shrink a few sizes and Al Roker lose a good percentage of himself. You’ve seen Oprah go down, then up, then down, and Jessica Simpson go from a Renaissance painter’s dream to a biker’s fantasy. You bore witness to Cristina Aguilera’s triumphant return to hot pants. And of course, you’ve seen the “Revenge Body” of Khloe Khardashian whose astonishing slim down left her sisters wondering who was really ‘ the fairest one of all.’

Okay, so these are celebrities, and they do have access to personal trainers, dietitians, and Photoshop, but hey, you don’t get results without hard work and commitment. If they can achieve their body goals, so can you, and here are some pretty good tips on how you can do it.

1. Muscle Up
There are more ways to build muscle than weight-lifting. Resistance training can sculpt your body with lean muscle using your own body weight, resistance bands, and medicine balls. Begin with resistance training three times a week and try downing a protein shake or hard boiled egg within 45 minutes after your workout. Protein will help to keep the muscle on. Boot camp classes offer a variety of exercises and tools to help members reshape their bodies into lean muscle.

2. Stick to The Plan
Having a plan could make all the difference in actually achieving your goal. No one gets anywhere without a solid blueprint of how to get there. Arrange meetings with your friends for workout sessions or pencil visits to the gym on your daily planner. You’ll be more likely to commit if you have a realistic arrangement that will fit into your lifestyle.

3. Consider the Benefits
Of course losing weight and looking good are always motivating factors in pursuing a healthier lifestyle; however, it is also a good idea to think about other perks, such as increased flexibility and coordination, better health and a higher level of fitness. The more reasons you have to exercise, the more likely you are to stick to your plan.

4. Hydrate
A good workout equals a good sweat, and while a good sweat is a great accomplishment, it can also be responsible for the loss of fluids, nutrients, and minerals. Coconut water mixed with regular water is a great way to replace lost electrolytes and keep the body hydrated. A good way to determine the amount of water you should be getting daily is to take for weight and divide it in half. The number you get will be the number of ounces of water you should be getting every day.

5. Be Prepared When Cravings Hit
Cravings can be caused by thirst, exhaustion or lack of nutrients. Try to get a nap or drink some water rather than reaching for a bag of chips. Recognize that cravings may really be symptoms of something other than lack of food.

6. Pick Something You Enjoy Doing
Nothing is surer to dissuade you from sticking to your fitness goals than a boring exercise routine. If you like dancing, Zumba is a great way to get that calorie burn. If you love the outdoors, consider running or hiking. Sports and swimming are also valid options.

If you’ve got any tips for sticking to exercise goals, let us know how you did it, We welcome comments and suggestions.

women working out

Exercise Can Make You Happy

If you have ever watched “Legally Blonde,” you will definitely appreciate the wisdom of Elle Woods. You may remember this little gem from the trial scene, “I just don’t think Brooke could have done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” Can’t doubt the wisdom of that.

Anyway, if you need another reason to exercise, keeping happy is a proven result and, if the life of your significant other is at risk, maybe you should seriously consider starting an exercise routine. And, if you need more convincing, here are some ways exercise really does keep you happy.

1. Happy Chemicals
Never doubt a character played by Reese Witherspoon! Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in your brain responsible for feelings of pleasure. Studies show that as we age, our stores of dopamine decrease and, as a result, we tend to seek out dopamine releasing experiences. And what’s the best way to do that? Exercise. Dance, run, whatever it is that gets your dopamine buzz going, get moving!

2. It Relieves Stress
Regular exercise actually subjects your body to low level stress by increasing your heart rate setting off a series of hormonal changes. In response, your body becomes more adept at handling stress in general, leading to better mental and physical health and quality of life.

3. It Give You Energy
Of course there are days when working out seems like the least appealing option in the world, However, if you are a regular exerciser, you will attest to the fact that you will feel better after some invigorating physical activity. Try and make that extra effort to get yourself moving by focusing on how the results.

4. It Gives Your Confidence A Boost
Let’s face it; looking great equals feeling great and feeling great equals looking great. If you don’t like how you look, it can effect your career, your relationships and you self esteem. Transforming your body through exercise makes you feel more powerful and look beautiful; not only will you lose weight, but your posture will improve and your skin will glow.

5. It Helps Fight Insomnia
Sleeping pills have their benefits, but they can lose effectiveness over time and can hamper your a.m. activity. Exercise can help relieve insomnia and provide relief for people with sleeping disorders, while giving you the energy boost to leave your bed in the morning.

6. It Reduces Anxiety
Studies show that exercises offers relief from anxiety similar to the effects of therapy and meditation. Maybe old Elle was on to something!

We would love to hear your comments on how happy exercise has made you. Feel free to weigh in (pun intended).

Woman looking in mirror

Is There An Upside To Acne?

It is arguable that yearbooks may, in actuality, be a compilation of photos documenting case studies on acne. After all, how many teens can sincerely claim to have been lucky enough to have taken a yearbook photo on a breakout-free day or, for that matter, how many teens can actually claim to have attended high school on a breakout free day? Unfortunately, it seems that the graduation, intended to be a celebration of a coming of age, is more often a woeful testimonial to a less than perfect adolescence. Do any high schools offer photoshop on student’s yearbook photos? Please feel free to weigh in.

Anyway, if you are one of the unfortunate students whose yearbook was marred with acne, take heart. When reunion time comes around, you will exact revenge! New British research reveals that those afflicted with acne may have an edge when it comes to aging.

What’s Behind It?
Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes which protect DNA from damages. As we age, the telomeres gradually become shorter and eventually die. As a result, people with long table-mores remain biologically younger than their peers of the same age. A King’s College study of adolescent twins, one-quarter of whom were acne sufferers, found that the telomeres of the acne afflicted were notably longer. Yet another study examining skin samples showed that the gene cluster responsible for cell death was showed less activity in the acne prone.

New Findings
If these revelations do not seem completely new to you, it is not surprising. Dermatologists have noted correlations between slow aging and pimples for quite a while, however, the deficit of wrinkles was always thought to be related to the excess production of oil. The connection to longer telomeres is a newer revelation. Says lead researcher Dr. Simone Ribero, “Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of the mores which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against aging.” Adds co- author Dr. Veronique Bataille, Longer telomeres are likely to be the one factor explaining the protection against premature aging in individuals who previously suffered from acne.”

Moles
Other research from King’s College, reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology,shows that people with a lot of moles may also fare better in their later years. Maybe that explains the eternal youth of Cindy Crawford. Longer telomeres are also associated with stronger bones and less frailty in old age. In parting, all of you who are doomed to a damning yearbook pic, listen to the wise words of Dr. Veronique Bataille who assures that you are going to look, “fantastic in their 40’s and 50’s.” and, “It’s nice to know there’s a positive aspect to having acne.” Knock ’em dead at the reunion!

We’d love to hear from you on this. Do you have a reunion revenge story or know anything about the possibility of photoshopping a yearbook photo? Curious minds want to know.

woman with healthy skin in the fall

Tips For "Fall Proof" Skin

“To everything there is a season” and to every season there is a new skin regimen. In the summer, we sun proof, in the winter, we moisturize, and in the fall? What do we do in the fall? If you got questions, we got answers.

Fall is rough on the skin because it is a time of transition. Not only is the drying weather a problem, but new routines and busier schedules put our complexions under stress. Our skin is subject to imbalances such as, flakiness, and eczema breakouts and dryness. Here are some ways to prepare and keep your skin beautiful in this season of change.

1. Buy A Humidifier
One of the the reasons autumn is so dehydrating is drop in the humidity level. Dryness leads to inflammation, which is why rosacea and eczema are so prevalent in the fall months. The solution? Bring the humidity back with a humidifier. Use humidifiers to boost the moisture level in the home or office and increase hydration. It may also reduce redness and increase comfort levels.

2. Slather On The Oil
Nourish dry skin with some natural oil. Not only does oil help to maintain the skin’s elasticity, it decreases trans-epidermal water-loss. Worried about worsening acne? Don’t be. Lubricating skin loosens dry, pore- clogging sebum and helps to bring balance to acne prone skin. It is important that when choosing an oil, you aim for one with natural ingredients; mineral oil will not absorb as well. Your best options are olive, jojoba, and coconut oil.

3. Hydrate
Moisturize from the inside as well as the outside. Hydration includes the increased consumption of foods like moisture-rich fruits, leafy greens, and healthy fats. Soups and stews are great for you and great for the season. Avoid dehydrating dry meats, alcohol, starches, and caffeine.

4. Feel The Peel
Exfoliate! It gets rid of dead skin and clears pores allowing the skin to absorb oils and moisturizing elements to replenish skin and prevent dry skin patches form appearing. Peeling is also crucial for circulation and keeps skin looking young. While you may choose to use an intense scrub on your body, you may want to use a gentler product on the face.

5. Stimulate Circulation
Cold weather constricts the blood vessels making for dull looking skin. Strong blood flow transports waste from our skin cells while delivering oxygen, keeping skin healthy and bright. Use skincare with ingredients such as lemon, oil, Vitamin C, ginseng, and ginger. These will help to restore color, improve circulation and increase collagen for anti aging.

6. Nurture Your Skin
Pamper yourself with a facial. The pore extracting elements will help to purify skin and the massage portion with boost blood flow and brightness. Masking treatments can be tailored to your beauty needs and aid in stress relief.

If you have any fall skin tips, please share. We welcome your insight!

Family Playing On Sofa At Home

The Power Of Family And Anti-Aging

You come home after a long day. Your daughter has just broken her brother’s gaming console and she is threatening to smash his cell phone over his head. Your husband is asleep in your room, the dishes haven’t been done and the tv and air conditioning are both on. You collapse on the sofa, sure that your family is going to be responsible for your premature death and possible loss of sanity. But, according to some studies, the opposite is more likely.

Having More Children Keeps You Younger
According to a recent study done at Simon Fraser University, more children equals long telemores! Confused? Telemores are protective tips located at the end of DNA strands used in the replication of cells. The study found that the number of children a woman gives birth to is directly related to the length of the telemores, hence, the greater the length of the telemores, the greater the longevity of the cells. In short, the cells of women who bore multiple children age at a slower rate! Good news Mommies! The study leader, Pablo Nepomnashy believes that estrogen is responsible. He says, ” The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children, however, may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy.”

Marriage Keeps You Younger

Heart
More good reasons to get hitched! A recent study at NYU’s Langone Medical Center found that women and men who were married had a 5% decreased chance of getting cardiovascular disease than their single peers. Doctors speculate that the emotional support offered in marriage may lead to lower blood pressure.

Mind
Robin Simon, sociology professor at Wake Forest University, says that, “hundreds of studies document a robust relationship between marriage and improved mental health.” He goes on to point out that marrieds report being less depressed and are less likely to participate in substance abuse.

Longevity
Having a family seems to be a motivating factor in living a long life. Husbands especially, fare better in the life span department than bachelors. They have a smaller chance of death by suicide and, thanks to their wife’s  attentions, are more likely to get check- ups, stop drinking, and take medications.

Here’s One (or two) For The Singles
In case reading this article has made put you in mind of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and her descriptions of the “smug marrieds,” listen to this. Marriage isn’t all that glamorous. Married people are more likely to suffer from obesity that bachelors and bachelorettes. A study found that single people exercise more than married people and married men were 25% more likely to be overweight. Talk about, “letting yourself go!” So before you run to the altar and toss out the birth control, remember, people in bad marriages are more prone to bad heart and mental health than those in good marriages. As for the heart and mental health, exercise and eating right will keep your heart in shape and an active social life will keep you happy and balanced. Quality of life takes precedence over all.

The girl smiles, perfect with straight and healthy teeth

Secrets Behind Strong Healthy Teeth

According to a survey conducted by Match. com., 42% of singles said they would not date a virgin, 65% would not date someone who was over $5000 in the red in credit card debt, nearly half considered still living with mum and dad to be a deal breaker, and more than half considered the biggest dating “must have” to be good teeth. Of 5,500 people surveyed, 58% of men and 71% of women said that healthy teeth are a big factor in considering a mate. Yes, more than clothes, hair, nails, and tattoos, it seems singles are quite focused on the teeth. Why? Well, in a nutshell, many people associate good teeth with good hygiene and cleanliness and bad teeth with bad breath. Although, this may not always be the case, there seems to be no doubt that strong healthy teeth have their benefits. If you’ve been spending your nights on the couch and think it might have something to do with your campers, here are some secrets behind healthy teeth.

Brush Your Teeth Before You Eat
According to Dr. Chris van Tulleken, cleaning your teeth within an hour after you eat brushes of tooth enamel. He suggests brushing before breakfast and drinking water or chewing sugarless gum to clean debris, sugar and acid from your mouth after eating during the day.

Woman brushing teeth properly

Proper Brushing

  • Brush for two minutes two times a day
  • Work the brush from one corner of your mouth to the other and get all surfaces.
  • Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste and brush softly.
  • Don’t rinse. It will keep the fluoride in your mouth longer.

Avoid Acid And Snacks
When you eat, your mouth stays acidic for about 40 minutes. If you snack often, your mouth is likely to be 60% more acidic than normal and your chances of gum disease and tooth decay increase. Try sticking to regular meals and avoid too many drinks and snacks.

Use Cucumber Mouthwash
Drink water and eat vegetables with high fiber like cucumber, celery and carrots. They will help kill bacteria that cause bad breath.

Go See The Dentist
Safe to say that there can be few horror movies and nightmares that frighten us quite like a visit to the dentist. Here are a few suggestions for making your visit a bit more pleasant.Don’t arrive early. This will only give you extra time to dwell on the horror that awaits and change your mind.Let your dentist know you’re nervous. If you get lucky and he’s not too sadistic, he may go easy on you. You can also ask him to keep the visit as free from pain as possible. Bring some tunes or your tablet. Distractions can be useful!

Avoid Sugar
Try to avoid candy and cereal and avoid acidic foods. If you’re a tea drinker, remember, peppermint tea is better than red berry, which is high in acids.Maintaining good dental health can be tough, but you know what they say about teeth, “Ignore them and they’ll go away!” So with that in mind, as your mom might say,” Go clean your teeth and find yourself a date!”

Women walking in polluted air with a mask

Your Skin’s Reaction To Pollution

Pollution can be a tricky issue to deal with, because, unlike other factors in your life, such as sun exposure and diet, the effects of pollution will not be immediately visible on your skin.

Nevertheless, your skin reacts to pollution in a number of different ways, and it is important to understand this in order to protect your skin as much as you can.

What Is Pollution and Where Does it Come From?

Simply put, pollution is when contaminants are introduced into a natural environment, and this is something that happens on a daily basis.

Every day, an increasing amount of microscopic specks of smoke, acid, soot and more are released into the atmosphere.

Where do they come from?

So many different sources, including cars, power plants, fires and more.

factories releasing harmful smoke into the city

Air pollution is actually one of the most common types of pollution, with research showing that traffic pollution in particular may be the single most toxic substance for the skin.

As you can imagine, this is a greater problem in urban areas, and even rural areas that are nearby to them, as the wind carries and distributes pollutant particles.

Water pollution is another one that you need to be aware of. Again, this is caused by so many different things, from industrial waste to chemical run-offs to laundry detergents.

While there are other types of pollution out there, from noise and light pollution to thermal and radioactive pollution, it’s air and water pollution that you really need to focus on when it comes to your skin.

How Exactly Does Pollution Affect the Skin?

Pollution has been linked to a wide range of different health issues, from lung and heart diseases to diabetes and even to mental health. However, the effects that pollution has on the skin are only now being understood…

To begin with, pollutant particles are absolutely tiny, often up to 20 times smaller than the size of one of your pores.

As you can imagine, this means that once they settle on to the surface of your skin, it does not take long for them to work their way into your pores and infiltrate your skin’s different layers.

So, what do these particles do when they enter your skin?

They trigger inflammatory responses in a few different ways…

Firstly, they create free radicals, while depleting the body’s natural levels of antioxidants.

In a way, this is a two-pronged attack, because it is the antioxidants in the body that are key when it comes to fighting free radicals. With all of these extra free radicals, and a loss of antioxidants, your body, and your skin, are somewhat defenseless.

Free radicals not only accelerate the aging process, but they also severely damage the cells within the body, including the DNA within them, which then causes new cells to grow in a damaged way.

In fact, studies have shown that people who live in highly polluted areas age 10% faster than those who live in the countryside.

Another result of the inflammation caused by pollution is a stimulation of melanocytes, which are basically the cells responsible for your skin color. By over-stimulating these melanocytes, excess pigment is created, which results in what are known as age spots, or sun spots.

close-up of woman with sun spots

In some cases, environmental pollutants can be so harmful that they cause severe genotoxic stress, potentially leading to skin cancer.

The inflammation caused by pollution also expands the blood vessels in your skin, making them much more visible. This manifests as redness, and, in some cases, rosacea.

The collagen in your skin, which is basically your skin’s support system, giving it its firmness and smoothness, is also affected by pollution…

How?

Well, not only does pollution break down the collagen that is already in your skin, it also interferes with the production of new collagen. This then results in sagging skin, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. This is exacerbated by the fact that pollution starves the skin of oxygen, while drying up its natural oils, as dehydrated skin ages much faster than hydrated skin.

Another effect that pollution can have on the skin is hives. In fact, studies in Beijing, which is an extremely polluted city, have shown that there are direct correlations between spikes in air pollution and hospital visits for skin conditions, with hives being one of the main ones.

With pollution affecting so many different processes within the skin and body, everybody’s skin will react in its own way.

However, here are a few of the other skin issues that pollution can cause:

  • Breakouts, similar to acne
  • Skin allergies
  • Rashes
  • A dull complexion
  • Dry and dehydrated skin
  • Eczema

Protecting Your Skin From the Effects of Pollution

Now that you know about the damage that pollution can cause, you likely want to know about how you can protect your skin from this, while also reversing any damage that has already been caused.

Cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skin care routine when it comes to tackling pollution.

Why?

Because this will remove any environmental toxins from your skin, clearing away clogged particle matter.

For those who live in extremely polluted areas, a double cleanse may be worth considering, as this will ensure that all pollutants have been removed from your skin. While this may be the case, you do need to make sure that you are not overdoing it with the cleansing. Everybody’s skin reacts differently, so while some people may benefit from a double cleanse, others may find this too drying for their skin. 

Exfoliating a couple of times a week is also vital. While cleansing clears away the pollutants on the surface of your skin, exfoliating will enable you to get even deeper, clearing out any pollutants that have already worked their way into your pores.

Exfoliation will also help any subsequent skin care products that you apply to better penetrate your skin, meaning that they will be able to work so much more effectively.

When it comes to the free radicals that pollution causes, one of the best ways to protect yourself from this is by increasing your antioxidant intake.

Wondering what makes antioxidants so powerful?

Well, they are able to donate missing electrons to free radicals, therefore neutralizing them and preventing them from causing damage to the rest of your skin cells.

infographic on free radicals, antioxidants and normal molecules

Antioxidants can be consumed, as well as applied topically. When it comes to topical antioxidants, your best bets are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Squaline

You are likely to find these antioxidants, as well as many more, in numerous skin care products.

In terms of foods that contain antioxidants, try to increase your consumption of the following:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables of a wide range of colors
  • Green tea
  • Oily fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Coffee
  • Dark chocolate
  • Herbs and spices

However, keep in mind that in order to maximize the effects that antioxidants have, you need to be providing your body with a wide range of them. 

Why?

Because antioxidants work in conjunction with each other to heal and protect your skin, and single ingredients on their own will not have much of an impact in the end.

Another way to protect your skin from pollution is to strengthen your skin’s natural protective barrier.

This can be found on the outermost layer of your skin, and is not only important for keeping moisture locked in, but also for keeping environmental toxins out.

If you have a damaged skin barrier, then the effects of pollution will hit you so much harder.

So, how do you go about protecting and strengthening your natural protective barrier?

To begin with, you need to be moisturizing daily. Moisturizers are designed to form a thin film over the surface of the skin, therefore, in a way, creating their own barrier. Moisturizers will also keep your skin hydrated, which is essential for your natural protective barrier to thrive.

You should also be paying close attention to the ingredients in the skin care products that you use.

Why?

Because harsh ingredients will strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving your protective barrier vulnerable. Many ingredients can also have an alkalizing effect on your skin, meaning that they alter your skin’s delicate pH balance, disrupting all the natural processes that your skin goes through.

Your diet can also have an impact on your skin’s natural barrier. Ceramides, as well as essential fatty acids, both do so much to strengthen the barrier, and while these can both be consumed through your diet, obtaining enough to actually protect your skin from the damaging effects of pollution can be difficult.

So, what can you do about this?

Well, in addition to using skin care products that contain both of these ingredients, you could also consider taking oral supplements for both. These will be absorbed by the skin from within, and have been proven to have a significant effect in just a couple of months. 

Of course, sunscreen is also vital. While you may be focussing on fighting pollution rather than the sun, the sun’s UV rays will damage your skin’s barrier, making sunscreen essential.

For those who live in areas that are extremely polluted, it would be worthwhile listening in to your daily weather forecasts. On the days when meteorologists call for high amounts of smog or low air quality conditions, try to stay indoors as much as possible, and wear clothes that completely cover your skin when you have to head outdoors.

If you use air conditioning in your house, you should also make sure that the filters are kept clean, so that they do not end up trapping pollutants and blowing them into your home.

What About People Who Live in Rural Areas?

If you live in a rural area, you may think that your skin is safe from the effects of pollution, but this is not at all true…

As mentioned above, pollution particles are incredibly tiny, meaning that, even with a small gust of wind, they can spread further than you would imagine.

This means that nobody is safe from the effects of pollution, no matter where you live.

While you may not need to be quite as diligent when it comes to protecting your skin from pollution if you live in a rural area, you will still need to take at least a few of the steps mentioned above.

Don’t Forget About Indoor Pollutants

In addition to all of the pollutants outdoors, you need to also remember that indoor pollutants will also damage your skin.

Where do indoor pollutants come from?

A variety of different sources:

  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Particles from pressed wood products
  • Foam insulation

In addition to following the steps above to protect your skin from pollution, you should also be taking a few extra measures to reduce the damage that indoor pollutants can cause. These include improving the ventilation in your home by allowing more fresh air to flow through, while keeping the humidity relatively low.

Anti-Pollution Skin Care

With the effects that pollution has on the skin being more and more recognized, skin care companies are now investing heavily into researching ways in which they can create products that will protect the skin.

There are already a few of these products out there, with many containing high levels of niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, since this is quite effective at combatting pollution damage.

However, researchers are currently looking into ways in which they can create products that actually block this damage from occurring in the first place. One molecule that is able to do this has already been found, and is being registered as a cosmetic ingredient, meaning that this will soon make its way into skin care products in the next few years. 

Pollution is something that everybody has to deal with, no matter where in the world you may live. While pollution has been proven to have severely detrimental effects on the skin, in a number of different ways, there are, fortunately, steps that you can take to protect yourself from this, and you should really try to do this as much as possible.

Woman taking a pill

How Does The Pill Help Reduce Acne?

If you have acne, the struggle is real.  You’ve bailed on your plans with friends, foresworn chocolate, and fried food tried every product on the market, and even considered joining a heavy metal band so you have an excuse for painting your face.

  Acne is an unfortunate right of passage and, although it may seem like every time you zap that last zit, a new batch is on its way, you will survive it.  Hey,  Adam Levine and Julianne Hough  both admitted to having acne and look at them now!  Maybe having acne increases your chances of ending up on reality TV!  And if you are female, you have one advantage over Adam Levine: birth control!

Going on  “the pill”  can make a big difference in your skin. It regulates the hormones, which are especially important to devoting young women who’d may be adjusting to menstruation.

How Does It Work?
‘The pill’ contains estrogen and progestin.  These are the same hormones being made by your body.    When you take ‘the pill’ it can override your body’s signals to ovulate, or release an egg, thus the birth control part.  However, as an added bonus, the oil also lowers your body’s testosterone level, which reduces acne.

Will the Pill Work for You?
Not all acne is a result of a hormonal imbalance. Maybe it is all that greasy pizza or that wing of hair that falls over the side of your face causing that breakout.  If that’s the case, the pill may not work for you.  How can you tell?   According to celebrity esthetician Renee Rouley,”hormonal breakouts are oftentimes one bigger blemish-  a pustule or a cyst.  They happen mostly around the chin or jaw area.”

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, OB-GYN and senior medical contributor for Good Morning America says, “I would say that 90% of girls’ skin problems improve dramatically or completely resolve within six months of starting the pill.”  However, she does warn that sometimes the acne, depending on the way your body reacts to the pill, will get worse before it gets better. So give it a chance.   Rouleau suggests you wait 90 days before you make a decision on whether or not  to continue using it.

Considerations
Before deciding if birth control is the way for you to go, you may want to consider the following;

  • Convenience:  The pill is only available by prescription and needs to be taken at the same time every day.
  • Cost:  The pill can cost between $15 and $50 per month
  • There are three types of birth control approved by the FDA which is recommended for acne.  They are:]
  1. Orth-Tri Cyclen
  2. Estrostep
  3. Yaz

Studies have not shown a major difference among these in the way they treat acne.

Side Effects  of the Pill May Include
Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloating, weight gain, weight loss, headaches, breast tenderness and dizziness, and turning into a judge on a reality show.  Proceed with caution.

Woman relaxing in a suana

The Health Benefits of Hot and Dry Heat

You have just finished working out at the gym and you feel like crawling home.  It must have been somewhere between the 50th and 51st set of squats when your muscles just gave out.  Your legs feel like jello.    You decide that some relief is definitely in order if you have any chance of getting to your car and driving home without  requiring medical attention.  You spot the sauna. “This is just the thing,” you think.  I will sit in here, let my muscles relax  a little and I will feel like a new person!” Then you spot the steam room.  Could this be a better option?  You try and think.  What have you heard about them?  You can’t remember which one is which and think that in your condition it may just be a matter of which one is closer.  Well, just so you are prepared for when this happens to you, here’s the breakdown.

The basic difference between saunas and steam baths is that steam baths use moist heat, while saunas offer dry heat.  Both are hot baths which stimulate blood flow, easing pain and promoting healthy metabolism.

The Heat Factor
Saunas are a good deal hotter than steam rooms with the set temperature at somewhere between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and a humidity level between 5 and 30%  In other words, it’s a dry heat.  Steam rooms measure somewhere between 110 and 120 degrees but the 100% humidity will make it feel much higher.  Heat rises in both saunas and steam rooms, so the higher you sit, the hotter you will be. Wet and dry heat have a sedative effect which can provide relaxation to those suffering emotional disorder and pain relief to those suffering from a muscular injury.

The Bare Bones
Have you ever gotten on a slide in the hot weather as a child? Perhaps, then you understand why saunas are built of wood and not metal.  In addition, wood absorbs moisture, keeping surfaces cooler and pulling humidity from the air.  In steam rooms, high humidity would cause wood to deteriorate and are therefore made of tile or plastic.  They feature sloped ceilings which allow the water to run down the wall rather than drip on your head.

The Relaxation Factor
Both steam rooms and sauna reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. They improve circulation and cause occupants to perspire, opening the pores and cleansing the skin,  The humidity of the steam rooms may be more comfortable for people suffering from allergies and congestion, whereas those with conditions that may be aggravated by humidity, like arthritis, may opt for the sauna.

The Expectoration Factor
One advantage that a steam room may have over a sauna is the expectorant effect.  Wet heat opens the sinuses throat and lungs and can loosen and clear the mucus in your nose, chest, and throat.  However, it can also aggravate asthma, which would make a sauna a better choice for asthmatics.

The Myth
You may have heard that both of these baths may remove toxins from the body and help you lose weight.  There is no evidence to support that either removes any toxic chemicals from your body and any weight loss will be temporary, resulting from water weight lost from sweating, so hanging out in the sauna or steam room will not make you svelte, which is why you still have the gym.

So which way do you stagger?  To the dry or to the wet?  The choice is yours, just pick one soon!

The Connection Between A High Acid Diet and Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may have been plaguing humans since the beginning of time.  In 1901, archeologist E. Smith found a bladder stone from a 4500-5000-year-old mummy in El Amrah, Egypt.  The Hippocratic Oath, historically taken by newly trained physicians and initiated in the 4th century BC, mentions kidney stones. A painting from 1655 by Carel de Savoyen portrays Jan van Doot, a Dutch blacksmith and amateur kidney stone remover holding a knife and bladder stone after a successful extraction. Luckily, today’s surgeries are a lot less DIY.

Aminerals is a piece of material that forms when substances in the urine, like salt and minerals become highly concentrated.  Small ones can pass with little or no pain.  Larger ones can get stuck along the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine  and cause severe pain and bleeding. There care four types of kidney stones.  Each requires different dietary plans to follow in order to lessen their occurrence.  Uric acid stones are the product of a high acid content in the urine and require an alkaline diet to balance the high acidity level

Purine
 Red meat and shellfish contain a chemical compound called purines.  Purines are acidic in the body and lead to a lower urine pH, which means urine is more acidic, enabling the formation of uric acid stones.

 To prevent uric acid stones, it is suggested that suffered swap high purine foods for a diet high in fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  Sugar-sweetened foods and drinks contain phosphorous and high fructose corn syrup which can increase acidity in urine. Alcohol and crash diets should be avoided as well as rapid weight loss increases uric acid.

Proteins
You’ll want to limit your protein intake, as proteins are high in purine.  You can safely eat 6 oz of poultry, fish, beef, lamb , veal, and eggs,  Limit your intake of beans and peas to two servings per week.  Avoid organ meats like liver, anchovies, mackerel and lobster.  Try incorporating nut and nut butter into your diet as a vegetarian protein alternative.

Dairy
While dairy products tend to be acidic in the body, they provide a great source of calcium and should not be eliminated from your diet. In order to keep the acid level down, choose low-fat or fat-free options when eating milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Saturated fat decreases the elimination of acid and can worsen kidney stones.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are always a really good choice for a low acid diet.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, limit your intake of spinach, mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower to two servings per week.  They are a bit higher in purine.

Grains and Starches
Carbs are great for neutralizing acid.  Indulge in bread, pasta, cereal, rice potatoes and winter starch.  Limit your oats to 2/3 cup per day and wheat bran and wheat germ to 1/4 cups per day and be sure to read the ingredient list on products to check for these.  If they are  near the top of the list, chances are the food is pretty high in concentration of the ingredient. You’re best off skipping that one.

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