Gifts of time… The birthday present you didn’t ask for… Any way you put it, there are tell-tale signs that skin is aging. These include the development of wrinkles, discoloration, mottling or patchy skin, broken blood vessels (red spots), decreased radiance and loss of firmness. Below the surface, we also see loss of the deeper tissue (skin, fat and bone). To our eyes, it appears that everything’s moving down — the effect of gravity — or the dreaded word, “sagging”. Why do these changes occur? A lot of the damage, both on the surface, as well as deeper within, comes from sun exposure. Free radical damage occurs throughout our body with age and from various exposures, including the sun and other toxins (pollution, cigarette smoking, and other damaging environmental elements). Free radicals are unstable molecules that form from these toxic exposures. When they develop, free radicals set in place a series of reactions that ultimately lead to the breakdown of healthy tissues. In the skin, they destroy the structure and accelerate premature aging, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation – the changes that we see on the surface. They also accelerate the loss of the deeper tissues in the skin. Antioxidants help protect against free radicals by stabilizing them. There are ways to slow these changes so that we age gracefully. Protect your skin from the sun. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light speeds up the natural aging process of your skin, causing wrinkles and rough, blotchy skin. In fact, sun exposure is the No. 1 reason for signs of aging in the skin, including uneven pigmentation. Protect your skin — and prevent future wrinkles — by limiting the time you spend in the sun, never using tanning beds, and always wearing protective clothing and hats. Also, use sunscreen on exposed skin when outdoors, even in winter. Choose products with built-in sunscreen. When selecting skin care products, choose those with a built-in sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Also, be sure to select products that are broad spectrum, meaning they block both UVA and UVB rays.
Recently a case series was published describing five teenagers who had all experienced sudden onset of moderate to severe acne. On further questioning, the dermatologist learned that these teenagers had all independently started using whey protein as a supplement for body building prior to the acne. When these young men discontinued the whey protein supplement, their acne improved; for those who then restarted taking whey protein, their acne flared. Why would whey protein lead to acne? Whey protein in nutritional supplements is generally derived from cow’s milk. Whey makes up approximately 20% of the protein in milk (the other 80% is casein). Two larger well-designed studies have examined whether or not cow’s milk consumption is associated with acne in teenage girls and separately in teenage boys. (i.e. does drinking milk or eating cow-milk products cause acne?). Both studies showed a mild, but statistically significant, increase in acne in teenagers who drank more than two glasses of cow’s milk daily compared to teenagers who had less than one serving per week. Associations were slightly stronger for skim milk (compared to whole milk) consumption, which is interesting because there is a higher relative percentage of whey protein in skim milk. What does this mean?
Ingrown hairs are frustrating. Instead of a smooth shave, ingrown hairs look like skin-colored or pink bumps. Ingrown hairs occur when hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin. While they generally occur after shaving or waxing, they can occur anywhere–even without hair removal. Other causes include tight clothes that rub against the skin or keratosis pilaris. People with curly or course hair are more likely to get ingrown hairs. Unfortunately, ingrown hairs can lead to pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps) and folliculitis, which is inflammation around the hair follicle. The dreaded red bumps. There are factors that increase your risk of developing razor bumps. Increased pressure or friction during shaving damages the skin where the hair grows out–called the ostia of the hair follicle. You can see your ostia more prominently when you get goose bumps – take a look! With increased pressure from shaving, you can make micro-cuts in your skin, which then increase the tendency for the hair to become ingrown as it grows back.
Do you know the best way to shape your nails when manicuring to help protect them? Rounded or oval-shaped nails are more prone to ingrown nails and chipping. Instead, nails should be trimmed straight across with minimal curve at the edges (arc). Quick Tips: File nails in one direction to reduce shear forces, rather than using clippers or scissors. Soak nails in water prior to trimming to soften them and help minimize cracking during trimming. Using blades with blunt ends minimizes trauma to surrounding tissue. Avoid using orange sticks to clean under the nails, as over time this can lift nails off the nail bed, which can become permanent. Avoid aggressively cutting or pushing on the cuticles, which can lead to infection.