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!

Doctor checking on patient's skin

Skin Appearances That Might Be Signs Of Cancer

Normally, when one thinks of nudist colonies, one thinks of images of nature, free love, lack of inhibitions and a return to innocence. What they may not think of is skin cancer. Cancer of the skin is the most common type of cancer. According to the American Cancer society, about 76,380 melanomas will be diagnosed in 2016.

There are two types of skin cancers: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form and is likely to spread other parts of the body. It begins in the deepest layer of the skin. Non-melanoma is less dangerous and can usually be surgically treated. It is found in the upper and middle layers of the skin.

Melanoma Signs
The first sign of melanoma is typically a growth on the skin or a change in a mole that you have had for a while. While normal moles tend to arrive at an early age and remain unchanged, it is quite a different story with melanoma. They are more likely to appear suddenly and change rapidly.

The ABCDE
The Melanoma Research Foundation suggests that you use the ABCDE method to classify and identify melanoma.

A- Asymmetrical Shape: While benign moles tend to be symmetrical, melanoma moles are usually shaped irregularly.
B- Border: Melanoma lesions tend to have unclear borders and blurred outlines, whereas non-malignant ones have smooth, well- defined borders.
C-Color: Melanoma lesions are often characterized by several unevenly distributed colors, usually blue, tan or black.
D- Diameter: Melanoma lesions often measure more the 6 millimeters in diameter.
E-Evolution: The most telling sign that your lesion is cancerous is its evolution, If you notice the mole changing in size and color, contact your dermatologist.

When You Should Worry About A Pre-existing Mole
Moles are common and are usually the result of a normal reaction to the sun. However, you may consider having a mole checked out if you experience:

  • Crusting, scabbing,bleeding
  • Itchiness of tenderness
  • Swelling or increasing size

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
The Uk National Health Service Reports that, “The main symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a lump or discolored patch on the skin that won’t heal.'”The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Although it is not known to spread to other areas of the body, basal cell carcinoma can result in disfigurement if it is not cared for properly. It can be identified by:

  • a pearly bump in which you can see blood cells
  • an irritated scaly patches on the back or chest
  • a bleeding open sore that becomes crusty
  • a white lesion resembling a scar
  • a pink mole with a light dent in the middle

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Usually caused by overexposure to the sun, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other areas of your skin, although widespread carcinoma is unlikely. Look out for:

  • Crusty, wart-like bumps
  • Scaly patches with a tendency to bleed
  • Open sores that bleed or form crusts
  • red nodules

So, if you want to take your clothes off in the sun, just remember to keep your sunblock on and if you notice any changes in your skin, please go see a dermatologist asap!

Women scratch the itch with hand

The Impact of Medicine On Your Skin

When Veronica Zenker was 13, she took two aspirin to relieve her headache. Within a few days, she was diagnosed with a disease called SJS, a condition in which the top layer of skin blister and peels off. America is a quick fix society. We tend to seek the most convenient and easiest solution to our problems, hence America’s love affair with prescription and OTC medicine. We believe in pills as a solution to all our problems. Got pain? Pop a pill. Depressed? Pop a pill. Nervous? Pop a pill. It’s much less time consuming than visiting a doctor and sometimes less expensive. In addition, most people trust OTC and prescription pills because they have been approved by doctors and subject to FDA regulations. However, those that take these medicines may not realize their potential for causing skin conditions like dryness, rashes and bruising.

Allergic Drug Reaction
Allergic drug reaction is usually caused by orally taken or injected drugs. In these cases, the body’s immune system develops a sensitivity to that drug. Sometimes the sensitivity occurs after only one dose, other times, it takes several exposures. After it occurs, the drug will trigger an allergic reaction, sometimes a rash, in the person the next time the person uses it.

Nonallergic Drug Reactions
Blood thinners, such as aspirin and ibuprofen may cause the blood to leak under the skin, resulting in bruises. In fact, many people who take an aspirin daily to lower their risk of hearing attack develop all over bodily bruises all due to the inability of the blood to clot properly. Overuse of blood thinners, like aspirin, ibuprofen or Aleve, can cause the even tiniest bumps to result in a bruise. These bruises are a signal that the entire body is at risk. Herbal and natural supplements, such as vitamin E, garlic. St. John’s Wort and gingko biloba are also blood thinners and may have the same effects. Lithium, an antidepressant, can cause severe acne. Other drugs can result in photosensitivity or extreme sensitivity to sunlight and ultraviolet light. Bactrim ,  a medication for the urinary tract is an example, as are some antipsychotics and artificial sweeteners. The rash, which resembles and acts like eczema, will not develop immediately after the drug is taken, but from later sun exposure.

Symptoms
Symptoms of drug -induced skin rashes may anything from slight redness and small bumps to peeling of the entire skin. Purple, red, blue and gray discoloration may result and sometimes painful rashes will appear in the mouth.
Allergic rashes may result in itchy hives, watery eyes and a runny nose, and can develop more significantly into symptoms including low blood pressure and wheezing.

Treatment
If you believe you have suffered the effects of a medication on your skin: Discontinue drug use. Most reactions go away when the drug is stopped. Use a corticosteroid cream and antihistamines to relieve itchiness. Severe cases may require hospitalization. Be cautious and consult a doctor if breakouts occur.

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.

Women getting her skin examined at the doctors.

Understanding the Two Types of Melanin

Hair dye.  How we love our hair dye.  Because of hair dye, we don’t have to hit the genetics lottery. Little girls born with  brown hair can grow up to be blondes and red heads. Blondes can grow up to be goth chics. From the bleach blond of Marilyn Monroe to the honey blonde of Beyonce, from the jet black of Nikki Sixx  to the sometimes blue of Katy Perry to the sometimes pink of, well Pink, we have to have our hair dye and are willing to take some extreme measures to make sure we have it.  For years, men and women would prefer to  damage, torture and strip their hair rather than have it be (gasp!!)  their natural color.  Even though many of us would rather trade their natural hair color for, well almost anything else,  melanin is the pigment that is responsible for it. Melanins are also responsible for our skin and eye color.  Most melanins are dark, from black to brown, but other melanins are reddish or yellowish.Animal melanins are divided into two groups, eumelanin (eu = good) and pheomelanin (pheo +cloudy or dusky)

Skin
In her book, “Skin: a natural story, Dr.Barbara Jablonski says,  “In Homo sapiens, skin colors make up an exquisite palette varying in almost imperceptible degrees from the palest ivories to the darks browns.”  pheomelanin is usually  found in large quantities  fair skinned redheads and is also, interestingly enough, found in freckles, lips, and nipples. (Julianne Moore must have a bunch.) Eumelanins are more common in humans, predominantly darker skinned people.  High concentration can be found in moles.  (Think Cindy Crawford) Because people with red hair are less capable of producing eumelanin, their skin is more susceptible to burns and aging.

Hair
Eumelanin is predominant in black and brunette hair.  There is brown eumelanin and black eumelanin.  Contrary to what you may presume, brown eumelanin without other pigments actually causes blonde hair.  pheomelanin is found in red hair. While people with dark hair may produce pheomelanin it is usually hidden by the dominant eumelanin. Blond and red and auburn streaks are usually the results of the pheomelanin showing through.  Grey hair contains only a few melanin granules, white hairs contain none.  The apparent whiteness is a result of the way they reflect light.

Eyes
Eye color is  dependent on the ratio of eumelanin and pheomelanin in the outer layer of the iris. People with darker colored eyes have more melanin in general, and more eumelanin than pheomelanin. People with light colored eyes(blue or green) have less melanin and more pheomelanin than eumelanin.  (Bet you’re thinking, “Why don’t we have yellow eyes?”)Hazel eyes are in between.  Eyes appear blue and green rather than red and yellow because of light scattering off proteins in the eye.

In conclusion, it seems that melanin has a whole lot to do with our appearance and making us who we are.  Of course, new technologies allow us to change our pigmentation at will, be it using hair dye, colored contact lenses or even photoshopped. Here’s hoping you love your blue/black/brown/pink/freckled/mocha/moled/orange/yellow hair/eyes and skin just the way it is!

Healthy, happy women.

Healthy pH For Your Body Part

“Hey, did I catch you off balance?”  “Were you balancing your books?” “Trying to get your life in balance?” Our government runs on a system of checks and balances and a balance of power. We need to balance work and life, good and bad, reward and punishment.  Our universe depends on balance, the positioning of planets and the forces of motion all depend on balance.  Our bodies depend on balance. If balance weren’t such big deal, why are we all doing yoga?

 In order to maintain equilibrium in our bodies, It is no surprise that balance is also important. Our bodies need to have a  healthy pH balance, that is the alkalinity in our body must be in balance with the acidity in our bodies.

Before we continue it should be noted that the kind of balance we talk about when we talk  about our bodies is not the kind of balance which requires an equal amount on each side, it is the balance of correct proportion.  Just as a beautiful face is not always perfectly symmetrical, a healthy body is not either.  The optimal pH balance for our bodies is a little bit on the alkaline side, with a  pH of 7.4 on a scale ranging from 1-14 and it is suggested that we eat a diet which puts the emphasis on alkaline foods as opposed to acidic food. But  it is not the acid content of the food that makes the difference, it is the way our different body parts respond to the acid.

Blood
When we talk about maintaining a 7.4 pH balance in our body, we really do not need to worry about our blood.  Our lungs and kidneys take care of keeping that number constant.  Rather, it is the body parts whose pH balance is less stable that  we need to worry about.

Cells
The pH levels of our cells tend to vary more than our blood and we need to make sure they stay slightly alkaline, so we need to watch our diet to make sure that they function at their best.  Alkaline diets provide magnesium, which is needed by our enzyme systems and preserve muscle mass while aging.

Urine
 The pH level of our urine is also worrisome,as it tends to vary as well.  To keep it stable, we need to avoid animal protein, grains, soda, beer, and sodium, which are hard for our kidneys to break down.  It is important that we get potassium and minerals from fruit to neutralize the acid.

Stomach
The stomach needs to remain slightly acidic in order to break down food.When you eat, your stomach releases  acid causing your stomach pH to drop to as low as 1 or 2. After the meal is digested, buffers in your stomach, such as mucous and bicarbonate, work to neutralize the acid, bringing your tummy back to a resting rate of 4-5. When levels of acid in our stomach are high, (which happens when we eat protein, especially red meat) our system seeks out alkaline nourishment in our digestive tract.  If it cannot find it, it will draw minerals from our bones. (This is an example of what happens when our bodies are not in balance.) It is why it is so important to eat a diet heavy in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium to make sure our system can find them when it needs to

Skin
The skin needs to be slightly acidic to support the acid mantle.  This is the skin’s barrier It blocks out germs, pollution, and toxins.  When skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and inflamed. It may stop fighting off enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles.  The ideal pH level for the skin is 5.5. If it is higher, it signals damage to the acid mantle which exposes your skin to bacteria and UV rays and may be a sign of excessive use of exfoliants and peeling products

If the pH of the skin is lower than 5.5, that probably nears you are overusing products designed to make skin less greasy.  If this is you, pay attention to scrubbing  and hydrating often.

Women in a locker room

Avoiding Locker Room Germs

So how’s this for a first world problem?  We are constantly being warned about dangers of obesity.  In fact, it seems we cannot put on the tv or  social media without seeing pictures of people on treadmills, eating green vegetables and  practically bursting with health. The message is obvious, exercise is important and we need to incorporate it into our lifestyles.

However, no matter how healthy we are, virus and bacteria horror stories seem to pop up almost as often.  Whether it be an outbreak in a food chain or a child on a slide at MacDonald’s, it seems evident that we must also place avoiding germs high on our list of priorities.

And therein lies our dilemma:  the gym locker room.  We’ve heard so many horror stories about what happens in this place.  There seems to be a disagreement about locker room etiquette.  From inappropriate bodily emissions to naked toenail cutting, the potential for picking up some kind of bacteria seems almost unavoidable.  So what options are there for the health obsessed germophobe?  Should we choose to be sick and skinny or disease free and fat?  Here are some things we can do to keep ourselves protected in this hotbed of germs.

Keep Your Jellies On
Because the shower and locker room  tend to be  warm and damp, they are great places to find to mold, algae and fungus.  These villains  find their way around the locker room mixing with sweat, skin cells, and urine.  (And don’t think that shower floor has never been urinated on)  Barefooted athletes in the gym locker are a prime target for Athlete’s Foot and other catchable infections.  Cover those feet!

Don’t Stuff Your Sweaty Clothes in Your Gym Bag
Jack Foley, ATC, director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at Lehigh University says,”If you’re tossing warm, damp gear in your gym bag after a workout, you’re allowing germs to have a free ride home in a perfect petrie dish. ” (Quite an  image, no?) A better idea is to bring a clean plastic bag with you for dirty clothes and wash them when you get home  and, while your doing that, try tossing in your gym bag every other time or two or use disinfectant wipes to clean it inside and out.

Don’t Drink from the Water Fountain
This seems like good advice in the locker room and not.  According to the cleaning business, Coverall, a water fountain can have 2.7 million bacteria per square inch per spigot.  BYOW. (Bring your own water.)

Wash Your Face and Hands
Letting sweat and grime fester on your face is not going to do anything to help your acne problem.  And,before you wash your face, wash your hands.   After touching the handlebars on the stationary bike in spin class, you don’t want to know what kind of germs and viruses are your hands may be carrying.  Your hands are the most common culprits for transferring bacteria between surfaces, so keep ’em clean!

Bring Your Own Towels
Ah!  The pleasure of drying off with a nice clean towel after a good hot shower.  Not so fast!   Some gym employees have a habit of using the same containers for dirty and clean towels which aids in the spread of E. coli and MRSA.  Bring two antimicrobial towels from home, one for wiping sweat, the other for post shower and you will be the coolest (and cleanest) kid at the gym.

Woman playing golf

Round the Year Skincare for Golfers

Let’s review the facts.

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

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

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

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

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

Woman playing golf

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

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

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

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

Woman sneezing into napkin outside

Natural Ways to Beat Allergies

Ugh, allergies! They’re such a pain not to mention that they can really put a damper on your lifestyle! But you know what can be just as bad or worse than allergies? Allergy medication! With side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, constipation, blurred vision, dry mouth or nose…who needs them? Isn’t there some way that you can fight allergies naturally? Well, sources say that there are natural ways that will help you avoid allergic reactions, and they may be more accessible than you think!

Probiotics
Tracey Beaulne of Naturopathic Family Medicine in Toronto says reaching for probiotics like acidophilus should be one of the first steps you take in correcting the root cause of allergic reactions. Taking a daily dose of the BB536 strain year round from food and following any course of antibiotics with acidophilus for double the length of time you were taking the medication, can influence the immune system to prevent allergic reactions while boosting digestion and immunity.

Butterbur
This is a herbaceous perennial plant with forms of hydrocarbons in its essential oils called sesquiterpenes. These are said to possess anti-inflammatory properties and can be just as effective as an antihistamine. The recommended dose is one tablet four times daily.

Vitamin C
According to Liz Bruckner at Reader’s Digest Best Health, adding vitamin C to your day prevents the formation of histamine, which is directly responsible for symptoms like excess mucus, tearing and runny nose. For best results, take it with bioflavonoids throughout the day and aim for 2000 mg daily.

Quercetin
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that can benefit your diet and minimize the occurrence of watery and itchy eyes, asthma and hay fever, and it is most commonly found in onions. “Quercetin has been proven effective for allergies…and has some promising research as an effective mast cell inhibitor for allergic conditions,” says Beaulne. Take it in conjunction with vitamin C in doses of about 2 grams a day.

Fish oils
Natasha Turner, Toronto naturopathic doctor recommends healthy types of oils, like fish oil, that have essential fatty acids. Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can have a beneficial impact on health and can help with the effects of hay fever. Take 2,000-6,000 mg daily for with meals for best results.

Adrenal Support
Supplements that support adrenal glands can be helpful in maintaining energy and reducing the effect of stress and allergies on the body. “I like supplements like TAD+ or Cortex as both contain adrenal glandular which are nutrients that support these glands as well as licorice, an herb that I love for stress adaption and immune function,” says Turner.

Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role in overall health and allergies are no exception. Recent studies show that following a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, can be effective in reducing allergy symptoms and also help children with asthma. In general, it is best to follow a hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet during allergy season. It’s also a good idea to keep a food diary and pinpoint foods which might have led to a flare up so you can avoid these foods in the future.