Woman with exfoliative keratolysis

Exfoliative Keratolysis

Exfoliative keratolysis is a common skin condition characterized by recurrent focal peeling that often affects the palms of hands, the surface of the fingers, and the soles of the feet. It manifests as air-filled blisters and skin flakes which will later slough off leaving skin dry and itchy. It can occur at the tip of the finger, resulting in a deeper crack which can lead to a numb sensation and make the finger feel hard.

Exfoliative keratolysis is prevalent in children and young adults. It is generally benign and painless though it can be made worse by constant exposure to detergents and soaps. The incidence of this condition is more common during summer months, and especially in individuals who tend to have sweaty hands. It usually resolves spontaneously with no long lasting damage, although extreme cases may result in bleeding as a direct effect of the cracking skin.

The first signs of exfoliative keratolysis are the air-filled blisters which usually appear on the palms and fingertips. These will eventually peel off or split and form skin tags. The peeling skin of the fingers and fingertips can lead to harder skin which can take a longer time before they resolve. As the blisters split, a new skin will be revealed. Though the skin will be tender, it will gradually develop into normal skin. However, the exfoliative keratolysis will recur after several weeks.

Although exfoliative keratolysis is generally harmless and painless, it is unattractive and can cause embarrassment on the part of those affected.

Exfoliative keratolysis involves the outer layer of the skin or the epidermis. The epidermis is composed of multiple layers of keratin, a protein essential to the strength and flexibility of the skin. These characteristics enable the keratin to serve as a water barrier. The breakdown in the keratin causes it to lose its strength, flexibility, and effectiveness as a water barrier which, in turn, causes the skin to exfoliate.  The cause of the breakdown in keratin is unknown although factors such as genetics and allergies are being looked into.

Excessive sweating can stimulate the breakdown in keratin which, in turn, exacerbates the peeling of the skin which is why exfoliative keratolysis is more common in summer months and among those with naturally sweaty hands. Soap and detergents will also trigger the exfoliation of the skin and stress is believed to trigger the incidence of the condition as well as aggravate symptoms.

Exfoliative keratolysis resolves spontaneously without lifelong damage, so treatment is not necessary. To prevent exfoliative keratolysis, it is recommended to avoid contact with irritants like soaps, detergents and solvents which will trigger the exfoliation of the skin. Extra care is also recommended during the seasons when breakouts are more likely to happen. One should also keep hands clean to prevent infection from setting in through the cracks resulting from the condition. Relief from dryness and other symptoms can be achieved through applying emollients containing urea and lactic acid. These are also effective in keep the skin from becoming infected.

Woman using aloe vera to sooth sunburn

Soothing Sunburned Backs and Shoulders

Sun protection is always important but the face, neck and shoulders are crucial areas. Skin is thin near the tops of our bodies which also tend to be closest to the sun and receive the most exposure. The face and neck are also the most susceptible to two of the most common forms of cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Furthermore, people with melanoma of the head and neck are almost twice as likely to die from the disease as patients with melanomas on other parts of their bodies. So what is the best way to keep these parts of our bodies safe?

Hats are a great line of defense. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you wear a hat with a brim that extends three inches or more all the way around to shade the face, neck, ears and even the tops of the shoulders.

Sunglasses are also essential. Solar UVR can cause or contribute to conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, ocular melanomas and other skin cancers. Five to ten percent of all skin cancers arise on the eyelids. The SCF recommends looking for glasses that cover the eyes, eyelids and as much of the surrounding area as possible. They should come with a tag that verifies that they block 99-100 percent of all UV radiation.

Many sportswear manufacturers also offer a variety of high UPF staples including hoods, scarves, wraps, sarongs and caps. These will offer protection to the head, neck and shoulder area. They are designed to keep you cool, dry and sun safe during outdoor activities. Choose high UPF swimsuits that cover more skin like one piece suits that might offer protection to shoulders.

Many people forget about sun protection in cold weather venues, but ice and snow reflect about 80% of the sun’s UV light, doubling the intensity of exposure. Also, snow and strong wind can wear away sunscreen and reduce its effectiveness. For optimum protection, go for hats made of high tech manmade materials that will keep you comfortable and sun protected. Wraparound sunglasses with UV protective cut glare will block most UVR.

Of course, sunscreen is always an important consideration for the face and neck area. “You might want to look for a sunscreen designed for the face since these products are formulated to suit the needs of different skin types,” explains Arielle Kauvar, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. Many facial sunscreens are oil free which gives them a lighter feel. They are less likely to clog pores of those with oily or acne prone skin. These sunscreens are also easier to use under makeup. Beware of facial sunscreens with a strong scent since those are more likely to cause skin irritations. Also, avoid sunscreens for the face with high SPF as the higher levels of active ingredients will feel heavier on the skin. Products with SPF of 30 should offer a perfect balance of feeling lightweight on the skin while still offering the recommended amount of sunscreen protection.

Woman hiding from the sun

Avoiding Phytodermatitis

Phytodermatitis… sounds scary doesn’t it? For those who aren’t familiar with this condition, it develops when certain plant compounds come into contact with the skin making the skin more sensitive to light. So how can we avoid phytodermatitis, how can it be identified, and how can it be treated? Read on to find out.

Phytodermatitis occurs in two steps. First the skin is exposed to a photosensitizing chemical called furocoumarins that are found in certain plants and fruits. The compounds are at their highest level in summer and spring, increasing the risks of exposure. Plants and fruits to be aware of are celery, parsley, citrus fruits, parsnips, figs, Queen Anne’s lace, bergamot and more.

Symptoms will become apparent after skin is then exposed to UV light from the sun. Within 12 to 36 hours a red, swollen rash will develop which is then replaced by discoloration that can last months or years. The key clue that you have phytodermatitis, and not another condition, is that the rash often appears in the shape of drip marks or hand prints. This is because it is apparent only on the skin that was affected by the toxins. It will also burn rather than itch.

Phytodermatitis is commonly contracted from fruit drippings, airborne particles or scratches from branches. People at risk include those who handle fruits and vegetables, bartenders, grocers, and farm workers. It can also affect people who frequently run, walk, hike or bike in wooded areas or other wild places where the plants that cause this condition grow. Sometimes children might contract it from playing in grasses that come from the same family as Queen Anne’s lace. It can also be contracted from some natural perfumes or essential oils that come from wild plants containing the compound that causes phytodermatitis.

You can avoid phytodermatitis by washing hands after coming into contact with any of the agents that might cause it. Wear long pants and sleeves when you’re in wild and wooded areas.  Also, avoid sun exposure after cutting or squeezing fruit. Avoid drinking soft drinks or fruit drinks while you are out in the sun and avoid wearing perfumes while sunbathing. Also, be sure to use a potent sunblock and limit sun exposure.

Making a campfire can also lead to cases of phytodermatitis. Use only firewood and never put wild plants into the fire. If wild parsnip or other plants that contain phytodermatitis causing chemicals are burned, they will disperse into the air and come into contact with exposed body parts. This can result in an outbreak once you come into contact with sunlight.

Most cases of phytodermatitis are mild and don’t require a trip to the doctor. The spots will fade over time. Treat the rash as you would a poison ivy rash, with cool compresses, hydrocortisone creams and oral antihistamines. In a severe case, treatment may involve steroid pills which would be prescribed by a doctor.

Woman buying cosmetics from a store

Changing Up your Skincare Products

You know how you can develop a tolerance to things like medications (painkillers are a common example), alcohol, and other substances? It turns out, you might actually be able to develop a tolerance to certain skin care products too. What we mean by this is that there is evidence suggesting that if you use certain skin care products for long enough (around a year) they can stop being as effective, in the same way that if you take a certain painkiller a lot for the same kind of pain, it will get less effective at blocking it out for you after awhile, or how the more you drink alcohol, the more you can drink at a time without the adverse effects being as effective (do note, this is only provided as an example, and we do not encourage irresponsible drinking by any means; try to keep it to one glass of antioxidant-rich red wine a night).

How does this happen? And what can be done about it? Let’s talk about that.

The Process
The process wherein your skin can develop a tolerance to certain ingredients involves the particular enzymes that the ingredient activates. You can’t develop a tolerance to all skin care ingredients, because this applies specifically to ones that are active in a certain way. Some skin care ingredients, like retinol, vitamin C, and others, cause enzymes to be released in the skin cells and attach themselves to a specific receptor, which then triggers the desired effect of the product. However, your cells only have so many receptors, and if you repeatedly flood them with enzymes, eventually they will all be taken up and bonded to an enzyme and unable to accept more for awhile, lessening the effect the product can have on your skin.

How to Fix It
The solution here is to vary the skin care products you use; to change them up on a regular basis. It’s recommended to use the same set of products no longer than 6 to 8 months, and then switch to another set of products which aims at producing similar effects, but with different formulations of ingredients, and/or with ingredients available in different forms (recall, for example, that all vitamins have several different “forms” which all act as the vitamin, but trigger slightly different reactions in cells). Conveniently enough, this span of time lines up relatively well with the change of seasons from summer to fall and then winter to spring. As such, try taking advantage of this convenient timing and do what’s already recommended anyway: a seasonal switch. Use slightly heavier, more moisturizing products in autumn and winter than you do in spring and summer, and kill two birds with one stone.

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 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!

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!

Healthy woman jogging outdoors

Immune System and Metabolism Boosters

“If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing!” We’ve all heard this saying, or something similar to it, at some point in our lives. And it’s very true. If we’re not healthy, being happy or even functional can be extremely difficult. That’s why it’s so important to take care of both our metabolisms and our immune systems. But being healthy is not that difficult if you follow these strategies that will ensure a healthier you.

Our immune system does a great job of fighting disease causing microorganisms. But it’s not always successful. So how can you intervene to make your immune system stronger? Although there is a lot that researchers still have not discovered about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response, healthy living strategies are a good way to give your immune system the upper hand. Here are some recommended lines of defense as offered by Harvard Medical School.

Don’t Smoke
Eat a healthy diet high in fruits vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats. Deficiencies of zinc, selium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E can lead to lowered immunity. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, you may want to start taking a multivitamin and mineral supplements.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Exercise regularly. Exercise can promote good circulation which allows cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Control Blood Pressure
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Get Regular Medical Checkups and Screenings
Metabolism has been defined as “all of the chemical reactions that take place in a living organism every day to keep it alive”. It is the process of converting calories into usable energy in the body. A strong metabolism is tied to a more svelte body and also benefits the immune system, lowers chances of disease, contributes to having more energy, brain functionality, longevity and much more. There are many signs that you may be in need of a boost to your metabolism including ongoing fatigue, cold body temperature, irregular periods, thinning hair, and more.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT)
This is a form of exercise that features intervals that may vary from all out effort to short period of rest. It is known to boost the metabolism better than steady workouts.

Lift Weights
This builds lean muscle mass which naturally uses more calories than body fat does.

Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Inflammatory foods can slow down the digestive processes. These include sugary drinks, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and low-quality dairy and animal products. Add metabolism power foods which help the body use and expend energy better. These include high protein snacks, green tea, garlic, spicy foods and apple cider vinegar.

Get Adequate Sleep
We don’t even need to stress how important sleep is in your everyday life!

Woman looking in the mirror

Pimple Classification and Treatment

Pimples are never a fun thing to have to deal with. Nobody likes having unsightly, sometimes painful blocked pores to deal with, especially when they catch you by surprise or linger way longer than they should. And to make matters worse, not all pimples are created equal, and as such some require different treatment than others, and some are more severe than others. So how do you tell the difference, and how do you know which ones you can take care of at home and which ones you need a dermatologist’s help with? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

What’s a Pimple?
You might not think we’d need to define what exactly a pimple is, but it’s important to clarify before we move on; it’s always a good habit to review a concept before examining it in further detail. The term “pimple” is a broad umbrella term that encompasses a variety of localized infections that all share the common trait of occurring within pores that have been blocked by some form of debris (anything from oil to makeup you forgot to take off can do it) and as such, ceased to function properly—pores need to be open to “respire” and do their job properly.

Blackheads and Whiteheads
The most common and, thankfully, least serious, and easiest to deal with pimples are blackheads and whiteheads. Both tend to be rather tiny. Blackheads are clogged pores that remain open, so the blockage is easily visible and has a blackish appearance. Whiteheads are similar but have closed up around the blockage and appear more whitish. Both can be treated with products that contain salicylic acid, and may benefit from light to moderate exfoliation. Give it a few weeks, resist the urge to pop (seriously, you don’t want the acne scars; don’t do it), and they’ll more than likely go away. If they don’t, though, feel free to talk to a dermatologist about other methods of treatment. It’s unlikely you’ll have to, though, as blackheads and whiteheads should respond to daily salicylic acid treatment (look for face washes, scrubs, and even moisturizers with this ingredient) and once to twice-weekly exfoliation.

Papules and Pustules
These are the “middle of the road” pimples, meaning it’s a coin flip whether you’ll be able to take care of them on your own or need to see the doctor. Pustules and papules are pimples that have grown so large the pore walls have broken. Papules are hard bumps in the skin, while pustules are a bit softer and visibly filled with pus. Again, resist the urge to pop. Try salicylic acid and exfoliation as described above, but seek immediate treatment by a dermatologist if this isn’t working after three or so weeks.

Nodules and Cysts
The worst, but fortunately, least common types of pimples are nodules and cysts. These are blocked pores which have gotten irritated and expanded outward and inward (they go deeper into your skin and are visibly much larger than any other pimple type). Nodules are hard, while cysts are softer to the touch and may be visibly reddened and irritated. If you have any nodules and/or cysts, don’t waste time with home treatment. Make an appointment with a dermatologist today.

Woman getting cleansing treatment

Clearing Clogged Pores

Clearing clogged pores is the goal of countless products you can find at any price point, but it’s important to understand how and why you should worry about your pores so you can figure out which products to choose. Clogged pores can cause blackheads and uneven texture, so paying attention to your pores is the key to clear skin. These days, we are pretty pore-obsessed. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the pore-related products out there, follow these easy steps to clear clogged pores!

Step One: Choose Your Products Wisely
Certain products are more prone to clogging pores than others. Look for products labeled “non-comedogenic” which means they won’t clog your pores. Using a primer that is non-comedogenic will help protect your skin. Your foundation, as well as other cream and powder products, can start to sink into your pores at they wear throughout the day. Having a protective layer of primer will shield from your pores from getting clogged with makeup! As an added bonus, primers will provide an even base that your foundation and concealer will glide over, making your skin look even and perfected.

Step Two: Don’t Skip Cleansing in the Morning
You wake up, look at the clock, and realize that you’re running late! Even though you may be short on time, don’t skip cleanser in the morning! Starting each day with a fresh face will help a lot when it comes to preventing clogged pores. Even swiping a cotton pad soaked with micellar water across your face is better than nothing! Even if you are using non-comedogenic products, you don’t want to layer your day cream, primer, and foundation on top of your night cream from the previous day. That, on top of any bacteria that collects on your skin during the night, will not do you skin any favors!

Resveralife-Clearing-Clogged-Pores-Cleansing

Step Three: Don’t Sleep with Makeup
Even with primer, makeup and dirt can still get into your pores. Leaving your makeup on all night can trap dirt in your pores and cause you to break out, so washing your face every night before you go to bed, or earlier when you are home for the night, it the best thing you can do for your skin. Leaving your makeup on for an extended period of time can cause breakouts, uneven texture, and redness so don’t skip this step!

Step Four: Don’t Wait to Wash Your Face After a Workout
It is never good to let sweat sit on your skin. Then the best thing to do for you skin is to rinse your face, and cleanse if you can, right after you are done working out. If you don’t want to worry about washing your face at the gym, through some cleansing makeup wipes in your gym bag. This way, you can remove sweat and makeup from your skin before it can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

Step 5: Exfoliate a Few Times a Week
The worst side effects of clogged pores are blackheads. They are hard to get rid of, and they can keep your skin from looking smooth. Exfoliating, either with a gritty cleanser or a chemical exfoliator, around 3 times a week can help prevent blackheads, and get rid of any dead skin that makes your skin look dull.

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