Woman looking in the mirror

How to Spot a Skin Infection

One of the main functions of your skin is to provide protection against harmful diseases, conditions and infections. Your skin is constantly being exposed to germs, and no matter how well you take care of it, sometimes these germs will end up causing disease. Skin infections are caused by a wide variety of germs, and infections can vary greatly in symptoms and severity. It is important to know how to spot and subsequently treat a skin infection because there are instances in which skin infections can spread beyond the skin and enter into the bloodstream. Below, find out more about skin infections and how you can spot and treat them.

Types of Skin Infections
As previously mentioned, skin infections are caused by a large range of germs and can be bacterial, fungal or viral in nature. Some common skin infections among each type include:

  • Bacterial – Bacterial skin infections include leprosy, impetigo, boils, cellulitis, staph infection, carbuncles and pilonidal cysts and abscesses. According to the New York Department of Health, the two most common causes of bacterial infections are staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus.
  • Fungal – Fungal skin infections include ringworm, athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, candidiasis (yeast infection) and sporotrichosis. The most common cause of fungal infections is yeast.
  • Viral – Viral skin infections include chickenpox, shingles and molluscum contagiosum. Viral skin infections are most frequently caused by one of three groups of viruses: herpes simplex virus, poxvirus and human papillomavirus.

Risk Factors for Skin Infections
There are several things that can increase your risk of contracting a skin infection. One of these is an already weakened immune system. Certain prescription medications can increase the chances of a skin infection. Skin that is already cracked or cut may allow bacteria to penetrate further into the skin, causing an infection and fungi flourish in warm, moist environments, so wearing sweaty clothing can increase your chance of a skin infection.

Skin Infection Symptoms
The symptoms you have will differ according to the cause of the skin infection, but there are some commonly experienced symptoms that can indicate a skin infection. The most frequent symptom among various types of skin infection is the presence of redness. Redness may be accompanied by swelling of the skin, as it is with cellulitis. Rashes are another very common symptom of skin infections. Certain skin infections have symptoms like blisters, sores and lesions as well as redness or irritation.

Dermatologist examining skin

Skin Infection Treatment
A doctor can properly diagnose a skin infection for you, which will sometimes involve collecting a culture of skin cells to determine what type of bacteria or fungus is present and causing the infection. Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment for your infection. Treatment will depend upon not only the cause, but also the severity of the skin infection. Some viral skin infections require no medication at all, and simply require time to clear up. Bacterial infections are often treated with the use of topical antibiotics, but in more severe cases, oral antibiotics may also be required. Your doctor may also suggest using medications that will reduce any discomfort you have, like the use of a topical anti-inflammatory.

Because skin infections can be caused by so many things, it is important to seek professional medical help if you think you may have one. Signs like redness, rashes or lesions are all indications that you should head to your doctor to find out how to treat your skin infection.

Woman getting a spa treatment

Destress for Healthy Skin

There are so many factors that contribute, whether positively or negatively, to the health of your skin and stress is one of them. Stress levels continue to rise with a seemingly endless to-do list, commitments and responsibilities. In fact, stress and its impact on your skin has given rise to a new field of skincare known as “psychodermatology.” Karen Mallin, PsyD and an instructor in the departments of psychiatry, behavioral science and dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, predicts that psychodermatology is going to become increasingly popular over the next few years.

“Psychodermatology is a field that addresses the impact of an individual’s emotion as it relates to the skin. The mind and skin are connected on many levels. A lot of nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wraps around the organs, so as emotions are played out neurologically, they can be expressed through the skin just as stress can be expressed through gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety or hypertension,” explains Mallin. Below, find a few ways to destress so both your brain and your skin can remain calm.

Woman exercising

Exercise
A quick way to relieve stress and boost your mood is to take a quick exercise break. Even a 10 minute walk around the block or spending a few minutes going up and down stairs will help you clear your head and minimize stress. Exercise also boosts your circulation, which increases blood flow to the skin. Try to take a walk each day during your lunch hour to fight stress and improve your skin.

Green tea

Drink Some Tea
Some people find tea to be not only a relaxing drink, but also an entirely relaxing experience. Green tea is an excellent drink for fighting stress and for keeping your skin healthy. The antioxidants in green tea provide protection from free radicals, which can cause additional harm to your skin.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy
Essential oils are another way that you can reduce stress levels while also providing benefits to your skin. Lavender essential oil promotes relaxation, but it can also stimulate the regeneration of skin cells and can fade the appearance of signs of aging like sun spots or scarring. Lemon essential oil is a stimulating scent that brings feelings of peace and positivity. Additionally, it is a natural astringent and antibacterial, meaning that it can be especially helpful if you struggle with breakouts or acne.

There are other ways that you can reduce stress such as meditation or engaging in a hobby or activity that you find particularly enjoyable. Taking some time out of every day to focus on eliminating stress not only has a positive impact on your mood, but it also significantly impacts the health of your skin.

Woman washing face

2 for 2: Wash & Exfoliate

If you have a chronically oily T-zone while other areas of your skin are dry, you probably have combination skin. Caring for combination skin requires a delicate balance between products that are strong enough to stop and control oil, while still being gentle enough to not cause irritation and further dryness to other areas of your face. Two of the most important steps in any skin care routine, but especially combination skin, are washing and exfoliating. Keep reading to learn what types of products you should be using and how to use these products on your combination skin.

Wash
Every good skin care routine begins with washing your face. When you have combination skin, it is important to use the correct cleansers to avoid aggravating dry spots or not properly removing oil. The key to washing combination skin is to use a gentle cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup in a mild way. Believe it or not, there is no single cleanser that works perfectly for each and every person that has combination skin, you will have to experiment a bit to find a formulation that works for your skin. If you have combination skin that leans towards the oilier side, check out gel-based or very mild foaming cleansers and if you have combination skin that is a bit drier, look for cleansing lotion.

Using the proper cleansing technique is also important in caring for combination skin. You want to begin with warm, not hot, water. Hot water will aggravate any dry areas of your skin because it strips moisture from your skin. Apply your chosen cleanser to your fingertips and wash your face using light pressure and circular motions. Aim to wash for about 30 seconds to one minute to allow the ingredients in your cleanser to fully penetrate your skin. Rinse your face completely using warm water, then pat dry with a clean washcloth. Although using a clean washcloth each and every time you wash your face can seem excessive, it keeps your washcloth from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Exfoliate
Exfoliation is critical for healthy skin because it removes dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin. Your skin is constantly undergoing a process known as desquamation, or cell turnover, and the final stage results in dead skin cells on your skin. In order to reveal the healthier and more radiant skin cells, you need to remove the dead skin cells. There are two types of exfoliation – chemical and physical – and for combination skin, you definitely want to use a chemical exfoliator.

Alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic and lactic acids, gently break up and dissolve the bonds that hold your dead skin cells together. When the acids break these bonds, the dead skin cells are sloughed away to reveal the newer and healthier skin cells your epidermis has been producing.

Caring for combination skin doesn’t have to be confusing and complicated. The main objective with combination skin is to keep it balanced. Consistent washing with a gentle cleanser and frequent exfoliation with mild exfoliants help keep your combination skin in balance and under control.

Woman making a heart shape with her fingers

Your Skin and Heart Health

What if you could predict your risk for cardiovascular diseases and conditions by the simple act of looking at your skin? While it might not be that easy, recent research suggests that there are links between the health of your skin and the health of your heart. Two major studies supporting this claim include one published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and one published in the Journals of Gerontology. Keep reading to learn about the studies and what they mean for your health.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Study
The skin/heart health study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology involved more than 61,000 adults. Adults that had the inflammatory skin condition eczema were 48 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, 35 percent more likely to deal with adult-onset diabetes and 29 percent more likely to have high cholesterol than other adults. All of these ailments are risk factors that contribute to heart disease and the numbers remained the same, even after other factors that play into cardiovascular diseases such as alcohol consumption and activity levels, were controlled.

Why do those who have eczema find themselves at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease? While the exact answer is unknown, the most probable answer is that those with eczema have such intense chronic inflammation that it shows up throughout the body as opposed to just superficially on the skin. “It may be that chronic inflammation from eczema directly increases cardiovascular risk,” says Jonathan Silverberg, M.D., Ph. D, and assistant professor of dermatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Silverberg notes that not all inflammation is a bad thing for your body, in face acute inflammation is the natural response your body has to harmful invaders, it is the constant deployment of natural killer cells and T cells that can interfere with vital functioning, including circulation. Additionally, Silverberg makes it clear that not everyone who suffers from eczema will have cardiovascular problems. You can help prevent both the health of your heart and skin by consuming antioxidant-rich produce, controlling stress levels and being sure to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

The Journals of Gerontology Study
Researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands in conjunction with scientists from Unilever observed 250 women who were separated into two groups by the researchers based on high and low cardiovascular disease risk. The scientist analyzed the skin of the faces and upper inner arms of the women and found that the women who appeared younger had lower blood pressure and heart disease risks. “We have found that the feature in the face that blood pressure was linked to was not skin wrinkles but likely what we term as ‘sag’ in the face. The exciting thing is further investigations will enable exact pinpointing of the feature in the face that signposts an individual’s blood pressure,” says Dr. David Gunn, senior scientist at Unilever.

You may not be able to determine your heart health and future cardiovascular disease risk by merely taking a peek in the mirror, but it seems that your skin may reflect more of your internal health than previously thought. You can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by engaging in a healthy, active lifestyle that includes low stress, adequate sleep and a nutritious diet. Not only will your heart thank you, but so will your skin.

Woman exfoliating her skin

Why Exfoliation is Important for Good Skin Care

Simply put, exfoliation is the removal of dry, dead skin cells that rest on the surface of your skin. There are two ways to exfoliate your skin:

  • Physical Exfoliation – Uses washcloths, facial brushes, dry brushes or scrubs that use exfoliating ingredients like sugar or salt.
  • Chemical Exfoliation – Works by dissolving the “glue” that binds skin cells and sloughing them from the skin. The most commonly used chemical exfoliants are alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, though retinol is also used in many anti-aging products because it stimulates cell turnover.

Why is Exfoliation Important for Healthy Skin?
Your cells naturally regenerate, but the process slows down considerably as you age. As these skin cells pile up on your face, you may notice that your face looks dull, feels rough and appears dry. Additionally, allowing these dead skin cells to accumulate can result in clogged pores which cause blemishes and acne.

Cleansing treatment

Without proper exfoliation, the ingredients in your skin care products are not able to penetrate the skin and be fully absorbed. Bottom line, your face products are less effective if you aren’t exfoliating and if you have dead skin cells accumulating on the surface of your face, you are inviting more skin care problems. Here are some of the greatest benefits to regularly exfoliating your skin:

  • Clear Breakouts and Acne – Skin that is acne-prone sheds more skin cells than any other type of skin, but these skin cells don’t fall away from the face. These skin cells stick to the surface of your skin and clog your pores and follicles which causes your skin to produce more oil that causes blackheads and other blemishes. Exfoliating your skin regularly reduces skin buildup and decreases the likelihood of blemishes forming.
  • Improves Skin Texture – When you exfoliate dead skin cells away, your skin’s natural renewal process is sped up which allows younger, healthier skin to take the place of the dry, dead cells. This will even out complexion taking it from dull to bright and rough to smooth.
  • Minimize the Appearance of Pores – Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin clogs your pores and can trap other dirt and debris in your pores which make your pores appear larger. Exfoliating your skin essentially decongests them and diminishes the appearance of your pores.
  • Reduce Visible Signs of Aging – Your skin becomes drier and less elastic during the aging process which results in visible signs of aging. As previously mentioned, regular exfoliation changes the rough texture of aging skin to a smooth texture. Exfoliating also reveals more luminous skin and can help to combat other signs of aging like discoloration from both age and sunspots.

Exfoliation is critical for healthy, youthful looking skin and it makes your skin care products more effective. You can exfoliate your entire body to see smoother, more even skin, but be careful that you don’t overdo it. Using harsh scrubs can cause damage, so it’s best to stick with gentle exfoliators. As a general rule, exfoliating two to three times each week is plenty to keep your skin free from dead skin cell debris, but some people that use very low concentrations of alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids may exfoliate every night. Start exfoliating today to reveal younger and healthier skin.

Woman getting a facial massage.

Anti-Aging Facial Treatments

The desire to look younger is nothing new, ancient cultures had many potions or elixirs designed to keep a youthful appearance. Breakthroughs in science have provided some incredible anti-aging skincare ingredients, but there is no magic product that will erase years from your face as soon as you apply it. A great skincare routine is a huge part of maintaining a young visage, but when you need a little extra help, there are anti-aging facial treatments available. Below, find out about three of the least invasive, yet effective, anti-aging facial treatments.

Facial Massage
You know if you want to keep your arms and legs looking long and lean you need to work the muscles and keep them toned, but you probably don’t think about your face that way. Ymedisour facial muscles require attention as well to maintain a younger looking face particularly because when your facial muscles are tense, they encourage wrinkles. Julia Baba, an esthetician at The Spa in Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel, advocates for facial massages saying they are an amazing anti-aging treatment that you can do daily at home and just one to two minutes per day can provide anti-aging results. The main rule when giving yourself a facial massage is to avoid pulling or tugging at your skin. Use different motions like tapping or softly pinching near your eyebrow area and always massage in an upward circular motion because as Baba says, “you want to work against gravity so that everything goes up.”

Woman getting laser treatment.

Energy Facial Treatments
Lasers are a popular and effective method of addressing signs of aging on your face, but they are also a significant investment and may require multiple treatments. Energy facial treatments are growing in popularity as are the number of medispas or cosmeceutical treatments. The energy facial you receive will be based upon the doctor or medispa you visit, but these treatments have one major thing in common: heat. Many treatments use ultrasound, radio-frequency rays or micro-currents to firm your skin. The idea behind energy facial treatments, which you could do on your lunch hour and return immediately to work, is that the heat used “tricks” your skin into believing it has been damaged so that your skin will remedy the problem with an increase in collagen production. Energy facial treatments are non-invasive and provide immediate results, though the results are temporary.

spa you visit, but these treatments have one major thing in common: heat. Many treatments use ultrasound, radio-frequency rays or micro-currents to firm your skin. The idea behind energy facial treatments, which you could do on your lunch hour and return immediately to work, is that the heat used “tricks” your skin into believing it has been damaged so that your skin will remedy the problem with an increase in collagen production. Energy facial treatments are non-invasive and provide immediate results, though the results are temporary.

Facial Fillers
Botox has been around for ages and it continues to be used frequently as a way to treat sagging skin and wrinkles. While women today want to eradicate wrinkles and look younger, many women are concerned that traditional plastic surgery or Botox will look “fake” and “plastic,” and they desire a treatment that reduces wrinkles and leaves them looking younger, but still natural. When done by a skilled cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon, fillers can have a dramatic effect while remaining more natural looking. Hyaluronic acid as a filler is gaining popularity not only because it fills in lines and wrinkles, but it can actually lift problem areas as well. Frederic Brandt, a dermatologist in Miami and New York, says that when done properly, one can expect a replenishment of youthful contours such as chins, jawlines, cheekbones and temples and lifting of the face. On certain areas, you can place the filler under the muscle, which will add volume but also give a more contoured and structural effect.” According to Brandt, these facial fillers can last up to two years, but proceed with caution when selecting a doctor. “The filler is only part of the equation. The technique in which it’s used is an equally or more important part of the treatment,” notes Brandt.

Prevention is key in the fight against aging, so protecting your skin as best as you can early on will result in less work as you age. Always wear an SPF not only on your face, but down your neck and chest too because these areas show signs of aging as much, if not more, than your face. Be consistent with proper skincare and add a facial massage to your nightly routine and when you need more serious help, look for anti-aging facial treatments like the above to give you a younger, yet natural looking face.

Portrait of smiling mature woman with white hair

Makeup Tips for Mature Skin

It is so easy to fall into a beauty rut, using the same cosmetic products decade after decade. However, your skin, as well as your features, change as you age, meaning that your makeup products and application techniques need to evolve too.

From foundation to lipstick, here are some guidelines when it comes to makeup for mature skin.

Start With Your Skin

The best-looking makeup begins with good skin, which is why this should always be your initial focus when evaluating cosmetics.

Before applying any makeup to your face, you need to ensure that your skin has been thoroughly cleansed. Exfoliating it will be a bonus, as this will clear away any dead skin cells and rough patches from the surface of your skin, giving you a blank canvas to work with when it comes to your makeup.

Immediately after exfoliating, you need to moisturize your skin.

This is even more important for mature skin…

Why?

Because one of the main skin issues that mature skin faces is a lack of moisture, as skin loses its ability to retain moisture as it ages. This can result in a rough and dry complexion, which will only end up being accentuated, rather than hidden, by your makeup.

A thick and rich moisturizer is best, and it should also contain plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and resveratrol

Another bonus to moisturizing before applying any makeup?

It will give your face a smooth and dewy finish, meaning that your makeup will just glide effortlessly on afterwards.

woman applying primer or moisturizer

Primer

Primers are not strictly essential, but do have quite a few benefits, especially when it comes to mature skin.

Here are a few of the reasons as to why you should be using a primer:

  • Hides visible pores
  • Smooths and softens the skin
  • Gives makeup a base to grip on to, meaning it lasts for longer 
  • Prevents foundation from oxidizing and changing color

When choosing a primer for mature skin, you want the formula to be a lightweight and moisturizing one, without containing any shimmer. As with any product you use, try to pick one that contains added antioxidants. If your skin is sensitive, look for a primer that contains soothing ingredients, such as niacinimide or green tea. 

Foundation

When it comes to choosing a foundation for mature skin, thick formulas, or loose powders, are a big no.

woman applying powder foundation

Why?

These products will only end up settling into any creases in your face as your skin moves, making any fine lines or wrinkles so much more visible.

Instead, go for a light liquid foundation, or a cream foundation.

Wondering what the main differences between the two are?

Well, a cream foundation is more opaque, meaning that it provides better coverage if you have age spots or broken capillaries. Using a cream foundation means that you will likely need to use less concealer on any of these blemishes.

Another bonus to using a cream foundation formula is that these will usually be more moisturizing, making them great for drier skin types.

On the other hand, a liquid foundation will tend to have a lighter texture, and, if you only have a few minor imperfections, a liquid foundation will likely do the job.

When it comes to actually applying your foundation…

Begin at the center of your face, and use a foundation brush to blend this outwards.

Wondering how to stop your foundation from settling into any lines or wrinkles?

This is often inevitable, no matter which foundation you choose. When this happens, all you need to do is blot the area with a Q-tip, before fixing it up with some powder.

Alternatively, if you are dealing with fine lines rather than deeper wrinkles, try pressing a finger gently against your skin, rocking it back and forth in a slight rolling motion. This will help to disperse the foundation that has settled into your lines.

Don’t like using foundation but still want a bit of coverage?

Try a CC cream instead. These are actually perfect for mature skin, because not only will they disguise any redness or imperfections, but they will also refine your skin’s texture.

Concealer

While some may strongly believe that a concealer should be applied before a foundation, it should really be the other way round.

Why?

Because your foundation will already cover up quite a few imperfections, so you will only need to use the concealer on areas that actually need the extra coverage

Want to know the best way to use a concealer to hide blemishes?

Simply dab a small amount onto your blemish, and then use the tip of a brush to blend this into your foundation, until you cannot see it any more.

In addition to using your concealer to cover up any blemishes, you can also apply it in a way that will help to give your face more of a lifted appearance.

How?

Use your concealer to draw a triangle on your cheek, with the base of the triangle underneath your eye, and the other two sides pointing down towards your cheek. Then, blend it in.

woman using concealer under her eyes

So, how do you actually go about choosing a concealer for mature skin?

Well, just like with your foundation, liquid or cream formulas are best. Liquid is usually preferred by those with mature skin, as its lightweight texture means that it is less likely to gather in wrinkles and creases during the day. If you opt for a cream, you may need to set it with a powder afterwards to ensure that it does not crease.

You will also likely need two different shades, one for underneath your eyes and one for your face.

Here are some tips on choosing the two shades:

  • For underneath the eyes, choose a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. However, do not go any lighter than this, otherwise you may end up with an obvious light circle around your eyes
  • For the face, your concealer needs to perfectly match the shade of your foundation

Blush

While a cream blush looks great on bare skin, a powder blush tends to be the better option if you are also wearing foundation. However, in order not to dry your skin out, you need to make sure that you opt for a powder that has a fine and light texture.

When it comes to color, do not be tempted by strong and harsh shades. As the face ages, it becomes more angular, and stronger shades of blush will only make this seem hollow.

Instead, go for a softer shade, such as apricot or rose, making sure that it complements your skin tone.

Woman applying makeup

When it comes to actually applying your blush…

Many tend to apply this on the apples of their cheeks, but this often only ends up drawing attention to sagging skin.

What should you do instead?

Apply your blush to the highest point of your cheekbones, using a large brush to lift this upwards, making sure that you do not apply any color too close to your nose.

Eyes

Did you know that your eyes change shape as you age?

Your eyelids become more hooded, while wrinkles around the eyes can also affect their shape.

So, what is the best way to deal with this when it comes to eye makeup?

A subtle wash of a light colored shadow is really all you need, with satin finishes in particular helping to brighten up the eyes. Matte and sparkly shadows do not work too well on mature eyes, as these tend to settle into the fine lines on eyelids, making them looked creased.

If you do decide to go for a shadow with some sparkle or shimmer for a special occasion, keep this away from the outer corners of your eyes, as it will only emphasize fine lines. Instead, keep the sparkle for your inner corners, the center of your eyelids, and your brow bones.

What about eye liner?

This is great to make your eyes really pop, but a liquid or gel formula can sometimes be too harsh on mature eyes, making an eye liner pencil your best option.

Do you find an eye liner pencil difficult to apply?

This is a common issue, but an easy solution is to just make sure that your eye liner pencil is soft, so that the color comes out smoothly and easily.

When applying your eye liner…

Make sure that you apply more to your top lash line than your bottom.

Why?

Because this helps to prevent your eye liner from dragging your eyes down. Eyeliner on your lower lash line will also make your eyes look much smaller, and will draw attention to any dark circles. Try to also ensure that the line you draw becomes thicker towards the outer edge, because this will give you a lift in an area where mature eyes tend to droop.

Do not forget about your eyebrows either…

Eyebrows naturally thin with age, and filling these in can really subtract decades from your appearance. Use either a light colored brow pencil or a shadow, as you want the color to look subtle and natural. Make sure that you blend this in well, following your eyebrow’s natural shape and ensuring that they do not look as though they have been drawn on. 

Just like with your eyebrows, your eyelashes will also naturally thin with age…

Mascara is great for this, but do not be afraid to experiment with individual false eyelashes, as these are perfect for filling in any gaps.

Giving your eyelashes a curl before applying your mascara can also make a huge difference, as this will instantly open up your eyes, making them appear bigger and brighter.

When applying mascara to mature eyes, you would be best off staying away from your lower lashes, and only applying it to your top lashes.

Why?

Because mascara on your lower lashes will only emphasize any dark circles or crow’s feet, whereas a deep, black mascara on your top lashes only will make your eyes look brighter and whiter.

Lips

Your lips will change quite a bit as you age, becoming much thinner, with wrinkles appearing around them. 

This means that you will want to use makeup in a way that plumps your lips out, so that they appear fuller and smoother.

How can you do this?

With a sheer, moisturizing lipstick. Neutral shades are usually best, as you want to enhance the shape and color of your lips without drawing too much attention to them. The most flattering shades for mature lips tend to be a color that is only slightly darker than your natural lip color.

senior woman applying lipstick

Try to avoid dark or bright lipsticks, as well as those with a satin finish.

Why?

Because these often only end up drawing attention to thinner lips, as well as to fine lines.

Don’t forget about lip liner either…

This can be used to give your lips a slight boost in volume, while also preventing your lipstick from bleeding into any wrinkles or lines. All you need to do is trace the lip liner around the outside of your lips, so that you have slightly over-lined them. However, make sure that the shade of lip liner you choose matches the shade of lipstick that you are going to be wearing with it, and try not to be too heavy-handed when applying the lip liner

Wondering whether or not you should be wearing lip gloss?

The answer is no. While there is no denying that lip gloss can really help to plump up your lips, it will also highlight every single fine line that is on your lips, so is best avoided.

In order to really look your best as you age, your makeup needs to evolve in the same way that your face and features do. From your eyes to your lips, make sure that you are constantly assessing each individual feature, so that you can determine exactly what they need in order to really shine.

Woman applying sunscreen

Protect Your Skin from UV Rays and Chemicals with Safer Sunscreen

Wearing sun protection everyday is crucial if you want to age gracefully and keep your skin healthy. However, you might be leery of using a sunblock every single day due to the potential damage they may cause. There are those who believe that sunscreen does more harm than good due to the chemicals it contains being absorbed into the skin. But, you may not have to choose between no sun protection and sunscreens that penetrate the skin. Researchers at Yale University have developed a sunscreen that remains on the surface of the skin, making sun protection safe and simple.

What are Sunscreens and How do They Work?
Sunscreens are products that combine various ingredients for the purpose of preventing UV rays from reaching your skin. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVB rays are primarily responsible for causing visible burns, while UVA rays cause deeper skin damage, leading to signs of premature aging such as wrinkly or saggy skin.

Sunscreens use SPF (sun protection factor) to indicate how well a sunscreen protects your skin against damage from UVB rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF serves as a guide for how long you can safely expose yourself to the sun after applying sunscreen. “Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours.”

Woman holding sunscreen bottle

What is “Safer” Sunscreen?
There is some general concern that sunscreens may actually do more harm than good. Some claim that the use of sunscreen creates a vitamin D deficiency, though many dermatologists do not believe this to be true. The other concern regarding sunscreen is that the chemicals within the sunscreen are absorbed into the skin thus entering the bloodstream and having deleterious effects. Nano particles that are designed to reflect or absorb cancer-causing UV rays may cause hormonal problems if they enter into the bloodstream, and some believe that this actually increases the risk of skin cancer. The dilemma becomes determining whether sunscreen protects against or encourages skin cancer.

Researchers at Yale University set out to address the problem chemical absorption and have created a sunblock that uses nano particles that are bio-adhesive. This means that rather than sink into your skin, sunblock remains on the surface of your skin. To make this possible, researchers at Yale developed nano particles with a surface that is rich in aldehyde groups. Aldehyde groups are what allow these nano particles to stick to the skin, not penetrate beneath it. Michael Girardi, co-author of this study, explained the motive for the research and the results stating, “commercial chemical sunblock is protective against the direct hazards of ultraviolet damage of DNA, but might not be against the indirect ones. In fact, the indirect damage was worse when we used the commercial sunblock.”

What are the Benefits of “Safer” Sunscreen?
If larger particles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used in sunblock, they do prevent the product from sinking into the skin. However, many people won’t use these sunblocks because they are a very opaque white color. With the new Yale sunblock, there are nano particles (which makes the sunscreen transparent) that merely stick to the skin’s surface as opposed to going deeper. Major benefits of this new sunblock are:

  1. Does not penetrate into the skin or enter the bloodstream
  2. Is waterproof
  3. Is transparent.

When you protect yourself from ultraviolet light, you maintain healthy, youthful skin. With this promising development from Yale University, you can wear your sunblock each day without worrying about any damage that the chemicals may do to your body. Add sunscreen to your daily routine and apply about 20 minutes before heading out the door. Use about one ounce (the size of a standard shot glass) of the product and if you are going to be in the sun constantly, reapply every two hours or after immersing yourself in water.

Skin care terms

Skin Care Terms Defined

With the number of skin care and beauty products available, it is super easy to get confused and bewildered by wording on the labels. Cosmetic products make claims that are nothing short of miraculous, and if you aren’t sure what the skin care terms mean, buying these products can lead to wasted money and headaches. Here, we’ve rounded up 15 of the most common skin care terms and defined them so you won’t feel lost or frustrated the next time you need skin care products.

Acne
Acne is the term used to describe a blemish or pimple on the skin. Acne can occur at any age and is most commonly found in people with oily skin types. Severe acne may cause cysts or abscesses.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Naturally occurring acids found primarily in cane sugar and citrus fruits. Types of AHAs include citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and pyruvic acid. Often used as exfoliating agents due to their ability to loosen skin cells on the surface of the skin. AHAs also help to retain moisture in the skin.

Antioxidant
Substances that fight free-radicals. Antioxidants counteract free-radicals by bonding to the damaging compounds into non-damaging compounds. They also may turn damaging compounds into cell-repairing compounds. Antioxidants are also an important factor in new collagen growth.

Barrier/Barrier Function
A paper-thin layer at the top of the skin that is responsible for protective functions. Barrier function refers to the skin’s ability to prevent penetration by microorganisms and chemicals that may cause damage or circulate into the bloodstream. This skin also reduces the amount of water lost.

Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)
More commonly referred to as salicylic acid, beta-hydroxy acids are used primarily to treat acne. BHAs have antimicrobial features and can penetrate into pores. Because BHAs can penetrate pores, it exfoliates both surface skin and the inside of pores.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen/Sun Protection
A sunscreen or sun protection product labeled as broad spectrum means that it contains active ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrated into deeper layers of the skin than UVB rays, making them more likely to cause premature aging. UVB rays are responsible for visible burns.

Comedogenic
A skin care product that includes one or more ingredients known to increase the accumulation of dead skin cells within follicles. This leads to the formation of blackheads and general acne flare-ups.

Dermatologically Tested
Products that have undergone clinical laboratory tests conducted of an independent or third-party dermatologist.

Exfoliants
Skin care products designed to break down the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

Free Radicals
Created when oxygen produces by-products during normal cellular metabolism. The reactive oxygen “steals” electrons from proteins, DNA and the membranes of cells resulting in damaged tissue.

Hypoallergenic
Describes products that were tested by third-party clinical laboratories and were shown to not create new allergic reactions.

Non-Acnegenic
Products that do not cause acne. Non-comedogenic refers to products that do not cause the pores to become clogged.

Sebum
Oil that is produced by glands in the middle layer of skin.

Sun Protection Factor
Numbers that refer to the effectiveness of a sunscreen to protect against UVB rays. To determine what SPF if appropriate, take the number of minutes it takes to burn without sunscreen and multiply it by the SPF factor. The result indicates the maximum amount of time for sun exposure before it must be reapplied.

Toxins
Substances that are irritating or poisonous and that lead to breakouts.

With these terms defined, your next trip to the beauty counter won’t be confusing or exasperating. You can pick your products with confidence that you know what they are and how they may affect your skin.

Woman eating an apple

Skin Benefits of Apples

You’ve heard it said that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and when it comes to your dermatologist this may have some truth. Apples contain tons of flavonoids, a diverse group of plant pigments with antioxidant properties, in addition to polyphenols and vitamins C and E. Learn how to use this delectable fruit for beautiful skin below.

Acne Treatment
One of the most buzzed about uses for apples in skincare is their ability to fight acne. Apples are full of water which is important because balanced hydration is a key component to clear skin. Additionally, apples are a source of dietary fiber and aid in healthy digestion, which also plays a role in healthy skin. Apples also contain vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your skin fight further damage from free radicals. Eating apples or drinking natural, pure apple juice can help provide these anti-acne benefits. You can also make your own face mask by mashing half of an apple, adding milk cream and letting the mixture sit on your skin for 15-20 minutes. Keep reading to learn how to use apples as a toner for clearer skin.

Hydrates the Skin
We already told you that apples have a high water content and they also have vitamin E, an ingredient that helps keep skin soft and hydrated. You can hydrate your skin with apples by eating them, or you can do another DIY facial treatment for maximum moisture benefits. Thinly slice half of an apple and place these slices on your face. Leave them on your face until the slices are dry (this is a great time to take a bath, grab a book or catch up on your favorite TV shows). Added bonus, this apple facial treatment adds hydration to your skin, and also balances the oils on your face.

Brightens the Complexion
If you want to achieve that goddess glow, apples are your friend thanks to their levels of collagen and elastin. These two ingredients are essential for skin that looks plump, young and radiant. An apple mask (see the one we mention above for skin hydration) can help provide a youthful glow, and simply incorporating this fruit into your diet helps to brighten and lighten your complexion as well.

Natural Toner
Apples help stimulate blood circulation and they help tighten your skin as well. To use apples as a toner, either use raw apple pulp or grab a high-quality, unfiltered bottle of apple cider vinegar. Look for bottles that specify that the apple cider vinegar is raw, unfiltered and that it “contains the mother.” Simply wet a cotton ball or cotton pad with the apple cider vinegar and sweep over your face and neck.

It is important to mention that no food is meant to be a cure-all for any condition, though there are certainly health and skin benefits contained within them. Keeping apples around your house encourages you to eat healthier and provides you with a staple for DIY facial treatments. When eating the apples, be sure to leave skins on because that is where much of the nutritional benefits are contained. Have fun enjoying this fall food that elevates your health while improving your skin.