Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Skin Care Routine

Putting ‘You Look Tired’ to Rest


IRY CHANG is sick of people telling her she looks exhausted. She gets enough sleep, but the dark circles under her eyes still elicit stares and make her look much older than her 25 years.

“Anyone who has dark circles knows how it feels,” said Ms. Chang, who started, which posts articles and Web links about the latest remedies and clinical treatments for dark circles. “They’re quite annoying. When I look in the mirror, all I see is someone who looks very tired.”

Ms. Chang has occasionally used concealer on the discoloration. But now that dozens of beauty companies, including Clinique and Shiseido, make potions to treat dark circles and not just mask them, she hopes like so many others to be able to look refreshed without using makeup.

In recent years, the drumbeat against under-eye circles has grown louder.

“Dark circles around the eyes can be unsightly,” declares one advertisement for a Medik8 eye cream. An advertisement for Hylexin cream features a pale model with black stripes under her eyes, like a football player, for dramatic effect. And just in case you think you are overreacting, the ad reinforces the notion that dark circles are indeed a flagrant shortcoming.

“It has become one of our top imperatives now to address dark circles,” said Tom Mammone, the executive director of research and development for .

Roughly 53 percent of the 13,000 Clinique users surveyed by the company in 2006 cited under-eye circles and puffiness as their No. 1 beauty concern.

“We were really shocked,” said Dr. Mammone, who has a Ph.D in molecular and cellular biology. “We knew many of our people in distribution and sales suggested that it was a concern, but we didn’t really know until the survey that it is a major issue.”

Sephora now sells more than 50 products designed to specifically treat under-eye circles, said Stacy Baker, the chain’s editorial director.

Sales of anti-aging skin care treatments, which include products designed to get rid of dark circles, increased to $1.08 billion in 2006, up from $588 million annually in 2001, according to Mintel, a market research firm. No one specifically tracks the market for dark-circle remedies.

Taming dark circles is tricky.

“There are a lot of factors that contribute to quote-unquote dark circles,” said Dr. Diane Berson, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in Manhattan. “It’s a combination of heredity and genetics.”

Most people think dark circles are a telltale sign of tiredness, or the unsightly evidence of a binge involving one too many margaritas. That is true to a certain extent, as fatigue makes skin dull, and drinking alcohol dehydrates and thins the skin.

But the most likely culprit causing chronic dark circles, dermatologists say, is excess pigmentation in the skin. Dark circles are prevalent on all skin colors and types, but they especially trouble African-Americans, Southeast Asians and Southern Italians. Beach bunnies should note: sun exposure exacerbates dark circles.

Dilated blood vessels that sit close to the thin under-eye skin are another cause, doctors said. And airborne allergens, which cause blood to pool in the vessels under the skin, can worsen their appearance, said Dr. John A. Persing, a professor and the chief of plastic surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine. (Treatment for these sufferers may be as simple as an antihistamine pill.)

Aging, which causes skin to thin, can darken the eye area, as can certain medications such as birth control pills, which can dilate blood vessels.

The problem is that few, if any, of the creams on the market are formulated for people with excess pigmentation or dilated veins.

“Multiple creams are available, however it is unclear how effective they are,” Dr. Persing said.

For people who aren’t sure why they have dark circles, he recommends topical products that contain a plumping agent or alphahydroxy acids, which can thicken the skin, or vitamins C and K, which can inflame skin and add volume.

But considering the glut of products on the market with a variety of active ingredients, Dr. Persing said, “If there are that many of them available, that usually means they’re not terribly successful.”

Clinique uses whey protein in its All About Eyes Rich cream ($27.50), because it increases collagen production, said Dr. Mammone.

But in independent medical research, whey protein has not been proved to plump up skin. (Clinique is also experimenting with various peptides, or linked amino acids, to treat dark circles.)

Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment ($50) uses vitamin C, which minimizes melanin, and chestnut rose extract, which the company says thickens skin’s texture, said Blair Bloom, the company’s executive director of education and training.

For more than 12 years, a kind of laser surgery that resurfaces skin and destroys pigment cells was the only recourse for those bothered by under-eye discoloration. But it was painful and took weeks to heal. Even though newer laser technology tackles less surface at a time, ample recovery time is still needed.

So in the last three years, plumping up the area under the eyes with injections of off-label fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm has become a popular alternative for people who want little downtime.

So in the last three years, plumping up the area under the eyes with injections of off-label fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm has become a popular alternative for people who want little downtime.

How To Handle Your Dark Skin Spots

By CBAffiliate

Dark Skin Spots

As we age our skin goes through all sorts of changes. It begins to lose its elasticity. It loses the youthful dewy look that we enjoyed when we were young. It can also develop dark skin spots. If you have looked in the mirror and discovered these dark skin spots on your face you may be wondering what you can do to get rid of them. There are a number of things that women can do to minimize the appearance of dark skin spots on their face. Try them out and see if they make a difference in your appearance and, more importantly, how you feel about your skin.

Need help with dark spots on your skin?

We've reviewed some of the more popular skin lighteners on the market to try to get past the hype. Read our reviews to learn which ones worked and which ones did more harm than good.

Dark skin spots can be caused by a number of things. Age, acne scars or certain medications can be responsible for the discoloration on your face. It is important to discover the reason behind your dark skin spots so that you can properly treat the condition. Once you determine what is causing the spots you can think about your options for treatment.

There are a variety of skin lightening products available on the market that effectively treat dark skin spots. A topical cream may be the answer to this problem. Over time the skin lightening cream will go to work on the discoloration and begin to slowly fade the appearance of the spots. They slow the production of melanin, which is the cause of the dark skin spots. In the meantime you can experiment with makeup to minimize the appearance until they have been faded to a point where they are hardly noticeable anymore.

Once you begin to treat your skin lightening treatment you will discover that your skin will become more even in its tone. A more even skin tone will have the effect of giving you a more youthful appearance. It can decrease a woman’s confidence in her appearance when her skin is beginning to show the signs of age. Skin lightening for the treatment of dark skin spots can go a long way toward restoring the confidence and self esteem for an older woman.

Fair or not, women are judged on their appearance. As a woman ages she is judged more and more harshly. Taking care of dark skin spots will help a woman in her battle against aging and the effects it has on the appearance. Along with the treatment of dark skin spots a woman should pay careful attention to her daily skin care regimen. Sunscreen should always be worn whenever there will be exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. And a good moisturizer is very helpful to keeping the youthful appearance of dewy soft skin.

Choose a good skin lightening product. There is really no need to suffer through the embarrassment of dark skin spots on your face. Find a product that works for your particular condition and get rid of those spots starting today. It may take some time to fade them away, but you will be glad you did in the long run.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cellular Skin Changes Caused by UV Radiation

Sunlight has a profound effect on the skin causing premature skin aging, skin cancer, and a host of skin changes. Exposure to ultraviolet light, UVA or UVB, from sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging. Many skin changes that were commonly believed to be due to aging, such as easy bruising, are actually a result of prolonged exposure to UV radiation.

What is UV Radiation?
The sun gives off ultraviolet radiation that we divide into categories based on the wavelength.

  • UVC - 100 to 290 nm
  • UVB - 290 to 320 nm
  • UVA - 320 to 400 nm

UVC Radiation
UVC radiation is almost completely absorbed by the ozone layer and does not affect the skin. UVC radiation can be found in artificial sources such as mercury arc lamps and germicidal lamps.

UVB Radiation
UVB affects the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and is the primary agent responsible for sunburns. It is the most intense between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when the sunlight is brightest. It is also more intense in the summer months accounting for 70% of a person’s yearly UVB dose. UVB does not penetrate glass.

UVA Radiation
UVA was once thought to have a minor effect on skin damage, but now studies are showing that UVA is a major contributor to skin damage. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and works more efficiently. The intensity of UVA radiation is more constant than UVB without the variations during the day and throughout the year. UVA is also not filtered by glass.

Damaging Effects of UVA and UVB
Both UVA and UVB radiation can cause skin damage including wrinkles, lowered immunity against infection, aging skin disorders, and cancer. However, we still do not fully understand the process. Some of the possible mechanisms for UV skin damage are collagen breakdown, the formation of free radicals, interfering with DNA repair, and inhibiting the immune system.

Collagen Breakdown
In the dermis, UV radiation causes collagen to break down at a higher rate than with just chronologic aging. Sunlight damages collagen fibers and causes the accumulation of abnormal elastin. When this sun-induced elastin accumulates, enzymes called metalloproteinases are produced in large quantities. Normally, metalloproteinases remodel sun-injured skin by manufacturing and reforming collagen. However, this process does not always work well and some of the metalloproteinases actually break down collagen. This results in the formation of disorganized collagen fibers known as solar scars. When the skin repeats this imperfect rebuilding process over and over wrinkles develop.

Free Radicals
UV radiation is one of the major creators of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that have only one electron instead of two. Because electrons are found in pairs, the molecule must scavenge other molecules for another electron. When the second molecule looses its electron to the first molecule, it must then find another electron repeating the process. This process can damage cell function and alter genetic material. Free radical damage causes wrinkles by activating the metalloproteinases that break down collagen. They cause cancer by changing the genetic material, RNA and DNA, of the cell.

DNA Repair
UV radiation can affect enzymes that help repair damaged DNA. Studies are being conducted looking into the role a specific enzyme called T4 endonuclease 5 (T4N5) has in repairing DNA.

Immune System Effects
The body has a defense system to attack developing cancer cells. These immune system factors include white blood cells called T lymphocytes and specialized skin cells in the dermis called Langerhans cells. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, certain chemicals are released that suppress these immune factors.

Cell Death
The last line of defense of the immune system is a process called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a process of cell-suicide that kills severely damaged cells so they cannot become cancerous. This cell-suicide is seen when you peel after a sunburn. There are certain factors, including UV exposure, that prevent this cell death allowing cells to continue to divide and possibly become cancerous.

Texture Changes Caused by the Sun
UV exposure causes thickening and thinning of the skin. Thick skin is found in coarse wrinkles especially on the back of the neck that do not disappear when the skin is stretched. A condition called solar elastosis is seen as thickened, coarse wrinkling and yellow discoloration of the skin. A common effect of UV exposure is thinning of the skin causing fine wrinkles, easy bruising, and skin tearing.

Blood Vessel Changes Caused by the Sun
UV radiation causes the walls of blood vessels to become thinner leading to bruising with only minor trauma in sun-exposed areas. For example, most of the bruising that occurs on sun-damaged skin occurs on the backs of the hands and forearms not on the inside of the upper arm or even the inside of the forearm.

The sun also causes the appearance of telangiectasias, tiny blood vessels, in the skin especially on the face.

Pigment Changes Caused by the Sun
The most noticeable sun-induced pigment change is a freckle or solar lentigo. Light-skinned people tend to freckle more noticeably. A freckle is caused when the melanin-producing cell, or melanocyte, is damaged causing it to get bigger. Large freckles, also known as age spots or liver spots, can be seen on the backs of the hands, chest, shoulders, arms, and upper back. These are not actually age related but sun-damage related. UV exposure can also cause white spots especially on the legs, but also on the backs of the hands and arms, as melanocytes are destroyed.

Skin Bumps Caused by the Sun
UV radiation causes an increased number of moles in sun-exposed areas. Sun exposure also causes precancerous lesions called actinic keratoses that develop especially on the face, ears, and backs of the hands. The are small crusty bumps that can often be felt better than they can be seen. Actinic keratoses are felt to be premalignant lesions because 1 in 100 cases per year will develop into squamous cell carcinoma. UV exposure also causes seborrheic keratoses, which are warty looking lesions that appear to be “stuck on” the skin. In contrast to actinic keratoses, seborrheic keratoses do not become cancerous.

Skin Cancer Caused by the Sun
The ability of the sun to cause skin cancer is a well-known fact. The 3 main skin cancers are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer because it metastasizes more readily than the other skin cancers. It is believed that the amount of exposure of the skin to the sun before the age of 20 is actually the determining risk factor for melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer and tends to spread locally, not metastasize. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer, and it can metastasize although not as commonly as melanoma. The risk of getting basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma is determined by a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation and the person’s pigment protection.

Cleansing The Skin

Cleansing is quite essential to avoid acnes and other skin problems. Wash your skin often using a mild face wash and wipe off with a clean washcloth. It is quite important to get rid of any impurities such as dirt particles and makeup before going to sleep so that your skin can breathe properly at night. Use mild cleanser at least twice a day but make sure that it rinses away easily, does not cause skin irritation and do not wash away natural oils too.


German Shepherd Coat Colors And Patterns Vary Greatly

Genetics of German Shepherd Coat Colors

Concerning the GSD and German Shepherd coat colors, the breed standard from the SV specifically states: "The color of the GSD is in itself not important and has no effect on the character of the dog or on its fitness for work and should be a secondary consideration for that reason. The final color of a young dog can only be ascertained when the outer coat has developed."

Of all undesirable things to try to eliminate and to consider in a German Shepherd Dog, coat color should be at the bottom of the list. Good pigment should be sought after but many factors such as health and temperament, to name a few, should be much more important than coat color which should always be subordinate to structure, gait, type, and character and should never take precedence over the working ability of the dog. Eye color should be dark and nose pigment should be black as well.

Concerning the coat coat of the German Shepherd, the SV breed standard states the following: "The normal (stock) coated GSD should carry a thick undercoat and the outer coat should be as dense as possible, made up of straight hard close lying hairs. The hair on the head and ears, front of the legs, paws and toes is short. On the neck it is longer and thicker, on some males forming a slight ruff. The hair grows longer on the back of the legs as far down as the pastern and the stifle, and forms fairly thick trousers on the hindquarters. There is no hard or fast rule for the length of the hair, but short mole-type coats are faulty." "No good dog is a bad color" -- Max von Stephanitz (breed founder of the German Shepherd Dog) concerning German Shepherd coat colors

Ask just about anybody to describe a German Shepherd Dog and they will almost always mention the "saddle Back" markings. It is also just as possible for the GSD to be one solid color such as black (solid white is considered a conformation disqualification for showing by the AKC) or sable. Sable German Shepherd coat colors are easily identified by multi-colored individual hairs all over the body. Sable GSD's may also be masked by dark or black guard hairs.

German Shepherd coat color patterns may include any of the following: black & tan, black & red, black & cream, solid black, solid white, (considered a conformation disqualification), sable (also called agouti or wolf gray, in various colorations), black & silver, liver (rare - conformation fault) and blue (rare - considered a conformation fault).

Richer pigmentation is preferred, color wise. While I won't delve deeply into the science of genetics (feel free to do that on your own if interested), just know that the liver color comes as the result of matched recessives in the black series and the blue color happens as the result of matched recessives in the dilution series.

German Shepherd coat colors and inheritance in the GSD is very complex and controlled by several series of genes. Following is a very brief description and summary of the various gene series in the GSD responsible for color based on information from "The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History" and "Practical Genetics for Dog Breeders", both by Malcom Willis. Both of these books should be considered as required reading for any serious German Shepherd fan and even more importantly for breeders. Another suggested resource is "The German Shepherd Today" by Winifred Strickland and James "Jimmy" Moses.


The basic body color of the German Shepherd is controlled by the genes. The order of German Shepherd coat colors dominance is as follows: golden sable, grey sable, saddle marked black and tan, bicolor* black and tan (bicolor is where the dog only has tan on the legs and face, not on the body), and black.

Additionally, know that the black gene is recessive to all the other colors in GSD's.

Solid black German Shepherds bred to solid blacks German Shepherds will only produce blacks. The sable colors are dominant over the other colors and patterns in the German Shepherd breed.


This gene controls the black pigment formation on the GSD, not the hair color. The German Shepherd coat colors order of dominance is exactly as follows: Black pigment including nose, eyerims and pads; Carrier for liver color; Liver color - brown black colors, brown nose, eye rims and pads.

Note: most GSDs are considered black pigment including nose, eyerims and pads.


White coat color in the German Shepherd Dog is recessive to all other colors. In order to get a white coat color in the German Shepherd, both parents must carry the white gene (either be white themselves or be carriers.) The order of dominance is as follows: Melanin is produced. (Standard GSD's colors have this); Partial albinism (not seen); White coat with dark eyes and nose (not albino); Yellowish coat collar (proposed).


This controls the intensity of the non-black coloration. The order of dominance is as follows: Lightest tan (cream); Intermediate tan (tan); Darkest tan (red).

The intensity of the color series determines whether GSD's with color (i.e. not all- black or all-white recessives) will be black & cream,black & tan or black & red.

Coat Lengths in GSD's

Short-coated German Shepherd's maintain a short coat, which lies close to the body.

These dogs usually have less undercoat.

"Plush" Coated GSD's have a medium length coat with a thin, fluffy under coat.

These dogs do not have any feathering as in the long coated GSD's.

Long coated German Shepherd's have much longer fur around their ears, on the backs of their legs, chest and tail (feathering) than other German Shepherd's.


This controls how intense the black pigment will appear on your German Shepherd.

The order of dominance is as follows: Dense pigment; blue dilution.

Black pigment combined with blue dilution will produce a blue coated German Shepherd which looks as though it has a dusty or flour sheen.


This controls whether or not a mask appear on your German Shepherd.The order of dominance is as follows: a black mask on the face; dark coat with no mask; Brindle (rare, will be seen as striping on the legs); clear tan.

All these genes put together determine your own German Shepherd's coat colors.

Clinuvel gets green light Ethical approval granted for stage II testing of photo-receptive drug

Dylan Bushell-Embling

Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX: CUV) has received ethical approval to begin Phase II testing of its solar urticaria (SU) treatment.

SU is a severe but rare disease that effects less than one per cent of the population. An SU sufferer's skin becomes badly sunburned after limited contact with the sun.

More prolonged exposure can cause red welts to appear on the skin, and can cause fainting, nausea and headaches. Symptoms last up to 24 hours.

Clinuvel hopes its new photo-receptive drug, CUV1647, can prove an effective preventative treatment for SU sufferers.

CUV1647 is expected to have a number of applications in the treatment of human diseases caused by abnormal quantities of melanin in the skin.

The trial will be conducted at Hope Hospital in Manchester in the UK.

Help with Dark Spots on Skin

By CBAffiliate

Dark spots on skin can be a daily nightmare. Just imagine what it’s like to have a pimple. You know that uncomfortable feeling you get in your stomach when you look in the mirror? That sinking feeling that there is something smack dab in the open on your face that you know others will automatically start staring at when they meet you? Think about having that feeling each and every time you look in the mirror and you now know the very dilemma that many face who has to deal with dark skin spots.

Regardless of age, no one likes having a pimple, spot or any sort of blemish in the middle of his or her face. Unfortunately as we age, so does our skin. Some times a very unwanted thing occurs, we start to develop dark spots on our skin from the sun. The tough part is, unless you liked being cooped up indoors then you most likely have to see the sun on a daily basis.

Dark spots can occur on different parts of our body. Luckily, there are several things we can do to take care of our skin to hopefully prevent things from happening, but more than likely if you are reading this then you are probably already experiencing some sort of problem from sun exposure. Having dark spots on skin is one thing that you can remedy with a little help from cosmetic products.

Let’s face it we live in not only a world, but also a country that puts a lot of value on the way you look. Magazines, television and the media can be quite cruel in letting you know what they think is attractive. If you are overweight you go to the gym to help you get in shape, if your hair is long you go to a barber to get it cut. If your skin has some problems you go to dermatologist. But what if you don’t have the kind of money to go to a doctor to get corrective surgery?

Have no fear – there are skin lighteners on the market to help cover up these spots to help you live an active and normal life without having to be self conscious about the way you look. There is a solution out there. There is help out there to get you back to your normal life. And that is what its all about right? Being able to do things that everyone else does with out the feeling that people are watching you or passing judgments on you.

I think it is every one’s right to be able to go out in public without having to endure the awkwardness of stares. It should be your right to go for a walk without having to deal with the whispers of people passing by. Take care of dark spots on skin and end looks from others. Don’t put up with stares and the constant feeling that people are looking at you, take care of your problem now and start living again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Rid Of Dark Spots on Your Skin

By CBAffiliate

Need help getting rid of dark spots on your skin? People want a smooth, clear and even complexion. Naturally, nobody wants their skin to be synonymous with a Dalmatian…unless they are trying to set a new trend on that, which I very much doubt would work. Luckily, there are treatments available to help with dark spots on the skin.

The sad truth is, even with regular cleansing, some people still develop dark spots -- also called hyper-pigmentation by dermatologists. Hyper-pigmentation is characterized by pockets of discolored skin that remain even after pimples or skin bumps have disappeared. It can be caused by many internal or external factors. Among internal factors, it can be caused by certain illness such as Edison's disease and some hepatic problems. If someone is taking too much iron, for instance, it can cause darker areas on the skin. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause also can play a role in discolored skin. The deficit of certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamins A, E and B also can cause hyper-pigmentation.

Another common culprit is the increase in melanin that occurs after skin is inflamed or irritated, or too much exposure to the sun. People with darker skin tones such as South Asians and Latinos are more likely to face this kind of problem.

While persistent dark spots can be remedied at home, health experts advise people to first check with a dermatologist to make sure that the spot is harmless and can be left alone. After making sure it's benign, there are some simple ways to effectively eliminate dark spots in your skin. For some, simply applying creams and sun block might work. For others, they might require skin peelings. No matter what, it is best to consult with your dermatologists.

Need help with dark spots on your skin?

We've reviewed some of the more popular skin lighteners on the market to try to get past the hype. Read our reviews to learn which ones worked and which ones did more harm than good.

Here are simple tips on how to get rid of those persistent dark spots.

1. Use sunscreen daily with SPF 15 or higher. It is always wise to block the sun that darkens and harms the skin. This will also minimize your risk of acquiring skin cancer.

2. Do not pick your pimples or zits since it can result in permanent scarring.

3. Pick up a product that contains mild hydroquinone since it is the main ingredient in most skin bleaches. If you cannot tolerate hydroquinone, try other skin brighteners. Hydroquinone is usually used with glycolic acid and tretinoin.

Always remember that skin bleaching is not instant. It may take you three months to a year to fade the darkened skin depending on your skin tone. Moreover, try not to abuse your skin. If you have persistent skin problems like acne that leave scars, treat them immediately and stop the cycle.

Also remember that prevention is always better than cure.

Are you ready to get rid of the dark spots on your skin?

Did you know that some over-the-counter skin lighteners can actually darken certain skin? We've reviewed the popular dark spot skin creams and learned which ones worked and which ones didn't. Read our reviews to learn which ones actually do more harm than good.

Have Skin Treatments As Part of Your Travel Pouch

Have Skin Treatments as part of your Travel PouchRecommendations from Kaya Skin Clinic to have a great holiday season

As we get set to take off for the summer holidays, a lot of preparation is needed which includes pampering our skin. As any allergy or sores on our face can just ruin a well-planned holiday and also spoil it for the others too. It's been known that if you develop a skin problem then the travel plan should be post-poned. As a rash will most likely get worse in a long journey and its best to travel after the sore has healed.

Kaya Skin Clinic, the leading international chain of skincare clinics recommends ways to avoid developing skin issues during the holiday season. Dr. Bell Eapen, Dermatologist, Kaya Skin Clinic, said, "The key to a successful holiday is the 3 P's: preparation, planning and prevention. This also applies to your skin's requirements. As we are all aware that when we are traveling, our skin will be exposed to nature's elements like heat, sun, salt water and humidity. All these factors definitely will affect our skin and hair. Just carrying few essentials will do the trick and provide a natural effective way to keep your skin protected and clean during the holiday season."

Sun Protection

The best is to avoid the sun is not to step out from 10 am to 4 pm but we all know that is impossible when we are globe-trotting. The solution is always to layer oneself with a good sunscreen and select a sun block which has ingredients that act as antioxidants. These will help in renewing the skin and prevent cell damage.

Moisturizing Face Mist

When traveling in a compressed environment like an aircraft, the air is very dry similar to the summer air. Under both conditions, we suffer from dehydration. The answer is to hydrate our skin with a face mist. A mist should be alcohol free as this dries the skin further. An ideal face mist is one that contains floral waters, vegetable glycerin, and pure essential oils. This is must-have in anyone's bag as it will keep the skin refreshed, smooth and keep the excessive oil formation at bay.

A Cleaning Mantra

Exposure to pollution can create a coating of grime and grease on the surface of the skin. The best way to prevent any kind of breakouts, blocked pores and the formation of blackheads is to follow a daily cleansing regime The first step involves a cleanser: For most skin types, a non-foaming light lotion-based cleanser is the ideal choice. A foam-based cleanser has chemical agents which dry the skin. For an oily-based skin, a light gel-based cleanser is suitable. The toner is the second step following cleansing: The toner fights the effect of dust on our skin and helps to restore balance, control oil formation and keep the pores free from excess dirt and bacteria.

Daily Skin Moisturizing

Another way to re-hydrate the skin is to moisturize at least twice a day. A light, non-greasy moisturizer will help keep the skin nourished. Lotions that contain natural oils such as sweet almond, apricot kernel and jojoba moisturize the skin without clogging pores. One should keep away from those that are too weighty and have ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colours and fragrances. They can irritate the skin and block the pores, especially when used in warmer conditions.

Dr. Eapen, recommends, "That if we follow three easy steps as part of our daily skin regime i.e. use good cleanser, moisturize, and apply sunscreen. This will definitely help achieve a healthy skin and keep dark spots & pigmentation at bay."

Home Spa-Treatments

When we travel, we do not have the time to visit our favorite spa or facial clinic. We can follow simple home-grown remedies for a quick facial scrub or mask.

Here are some examples:

The tropical fruit the 'Pineapple': It can be by all skin types (normal-oily), an excellent skin cleanser and exfoliant. Another fruit is Papaya: Again for all skin types. This fruit gentlely removes all impurities and dead skin cells. This works beautifully on a skin that is exposed to chlorinated water after swimming. Coconut Milk: We all heard of the all-round qualities of the coconut and not surprising than to hear that it can also be used as skin cleanser to nourish the skin and as a conditioner for dry hair. The last but not the least, what if we get sun burnt, a nightmare we are all familiar with and the natures answer to us is the Aloe Vera Plant. When applied, it acts as soother and also great for cuts, burns and insect bites.

Traveling and Exhaustion

Traveling has its thrills but also comes with tiredness. To alleviate our weariness, we must not leave our homes without carrying pure therapeutic essential oils such as tea tree, lavender and peppermint. The tea tree oils are considered to remedial quality for mosquito bites, pimples, rashes and athlete's foot. Lavender oil helps us to relax, is soothing and heals all sorts of cuts and burns. At times with traveling comes, fatigue, nausea and jet lag. All this can be sorted by applying peppermint oil.

Eye Pillows

One of the most important accessories in ones travel bag is an eye pillow. Tired eyes and headaches can be avoided if we use an eye pillow that contains herbs and pure essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile. It soothes and rejuvenates those tired eyes and is the epitome of pampering.

We hope these suggestions will help you plan your holiday better and convince you to fill your beauty travel kit with these very important essentials that best suits your individual needs and skin type.

Holidays are well-earned, so let's not ruin it by not taking care of our skins and developing rashes that becomes an anguish

In-short, a Holiday Sore can be become a Holiday Woe. 2008 Al Bawaba (

Originally published by By Al-Bawaba Reporters.

Beware sun spots

By Claire Borley

WE Brits are obsessed with weather, largely thanks to summer after summer of torrential rain when we were hoping for sun.

But this obsession could have a deadly downside - we don't take the sun seriously.

At the merest hint of a ray we peel off, exposing our unprepared dermis to the elements.

Yet skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting 60,000 people in England and Wales every year and numbers are on the increase.

Skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun's harmful UV rays, and unbelievably more people die here from the condition than in Australia, where using sunscreen and staying in the shade is a matter or course.

Despite is fashion status a suntan isn't healthy and is in fact a sign of skin damage.


The results of sunbathing are skin that ages more quickly and an increased risk of cancer.

Regular health checks can be vital in spotting the signs for a variety of conditions and one area in particular we neglect more than any other is moles.

Changes to the shape and size of moles can be an indication of skin cancer, but changes may not always be visible to the eye.

Specialist screening company Screen4Life's has teamed up with Tesco to pilot on the spot mole screening in 28 of its in store pharmacies nationwide.

Both the Mayflower store and the Pitsea store in Basildon are offering the service which starts at £25 for up to three moles.

I went along to the Pitsea store to try out the new service.

Katie Butler is one of the company's trained nurse specialists who carry out the screening using its unique skin imaging technology which enables the medical team to see what is going on under the surface of the skin up to a depth of 2mm and detect the early signs of cancer.

Katie says: "The aim is to identify moles which show early signs of skin cancer by analysing characteristics beneath the surface of the mole - signs which may not be visible to the naked eye. We use patented technology developed at Cambridge University and clinically tested at Addenbrooke's."

An Australian herself, Katie is often amazed by the relaxed attitude us Brits have to sun burn.

She says: "Back home we have a saying - not prevention is better than cure but education is better than cure. From an early age we are taught how important it is to look after your skin and to respect the sun."

The hand held screening tool known as the SIA Scope analyses five things to assess whether a mole is safe or has the potential to develop into something untoward.

Its external view shows its size while at the same time its melanin count, collagen levels, dermal melanin and blood concentration are also recorded and measured against accepted levels.

Screening is safe, non-invasive and painless and the results are immediate. Screen4Life used the same technology to screen participants on the PGA golf tour recently.

Any concerns are then referred on to a specialist if needed.

Katie says: "There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma , and malignant melanoma.

Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because the cancer can spread to other organs in the body."

Should the results show the mole has unusual features that require further investigation, a report is sent to the customer's GP who will then obtain a referral to a specialist for assessment and diagnosis.

All patients also receive advice and Cancer Research UK leaflets on how to protect themselves in the sun.

The number of skin cancer cases has risen over the past ten years.

The increase is thought to be due to more people taking holidays in hot climates, and the growing popularity of the 'tanned look'.

The leading cause of skin cancer is always over-exposure to sunlight.

Risk factors for developing skin cancer include: having pale skin that does not tan easily, having red, or blonde, hair, having blue eyes, having a large number of moles, or having a large number of freckles.

Those that work outside or play a lot of outdoor sport can also be more susceptable.

Katie says: "This sort of screening service is seen as a must back home. Our records mean that each customer's report is held confidentially with its own unique reference number and can be recalled the next time they come for screening to ensure any changes are acted upon quickly.

"It is a case of spending a short time with us to ensure your long term health."

Customers can book a screening appointment by calling 0800 988 6653 or at the pharmacy counter in store.

How's is skin cancer prevented? The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid spending too much time in the sun.

You don't have to be sunbathing to get burned.

You can get too much sun while walking to the shops or when driving a car with the windows down. And although the sun is strongest in a cloudless sky, you can still get burned under light cloud cover.

The time of day and location are important too. The intensity of UV radiation increases during the middle of the day, between April to September, as you get nearer the equator and at higher altitudes.

How to protect yourself :

Stick to the shade between 11am and 3pm Cover up with clothes, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses

Apply a high-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF15 and three stars) regularly

Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating

Avoid using sun lamps or sunbeds Watch those moles Many moles aren't cancerous, but it's vital to keep an eye on any you have. Watch out for moles that change shape or colour, become bigger, itchy or inflamed, or that weep or bleed. If you notice any changes or are worried, get them checked.

Don't get burned on your next trip

by Erik McLaughlin

You are finally there...the perfect beach, the perfect companion and the perfect drink in your hand. This is what you've been working and waiting for. You've left the mobile phone off and are dedicated to not letting anything ruin your trip. Besides the calls from work though, sunburn can ruin a holiday pretty quick.

Basics: Your Skin and the Sun's Rays

You may remember from hazy days in high school biology that the skin has two main layers: epidermis (thin, outer layer) and the dermis (thicker, inner layer). The skin has many functions and one of them is protection from the sun. The amount of melanin in the skin can effect the skin's ability to protect against sunburn and damage from ultraviolet light, as most light skinned people can tell you. Being very light skinned, I get a "light pink" just going outside to get my mail.

This sun's ultraviolet light has three main types, UVA, UVB and UVC. People are exposed to much, much more UVA light than UVB, but it is actually UVB that is responsible for most sunlight induced erythema (sunburns). The UVC light is largely absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere. An interesting article that discusses the interplay of UVA and UVB and UVA's possible role in skin damage can be found here


The best way to avoid getting a sunburn is to protect yourself and there are several ways to do this. Sunscreens, clothing, sunglasses and avoidance of peak sun hours (10 am to 3 pm) are all common tools in the war on sunburn. Glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses protect the eye from most UVB rays. For those of you that are "into shades" you can read a bit more about things like light transmission and distortion.

Sun protection clothing is a very useful item and quality counts -- specifically the tightness of the weave in the garment. Material, proper, does not seem to be as important as this "weave tightness", as evidenced by Lycra. When stretched, Lycra blocks only 2% of UVR compared to 100% when lax. The term to know is UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) and is similar to SPF for sunscreen. This is the amount of UV rays that are able to pass through the clothing. A UPF rating of 50 means only 1/50 of the sun's UV rays pass through, offering substantial protection because only 2% of the suns rays get to your skin.

Sun Protection Factors (SPF)

The famous SPF rating of sunscreens is a commonly misunderstood factor that compares protection times of different strengths of sunscreen. This number is actually a ratio that uses the amount of time it takes to get a sunburn in a person wearing sunscreen versus one without protection.

For example, a person gets a sunburn in 10 minutes of sun exposure, without sunscreen. Wearing SPF 2 will protect their skin from sunburn for 20 minutes, or double their "unprotected" time it takes to burn. Wearing SPF 15 will give 150 minutes of protection or about 2 1/2 hours and SPF 50 offers 500 minutes of protection, or 8.3 hours. SPF merely gives an amount of time one is supposed to be protected from a sunburn. Interestingly, higher SPF values are associated with protection from UVB absorption. SPF 2 only blocks about 50% of UVB, while SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.


The method by which the sunscreen is applied is very important. Creams and lotions generally spread well and allow good skin penetration. Gels tend to wash or sweat off easily, and some contain alcohol which can sting the skin. Sticks make it hard to cover a large area of skin. Oils traditionally spread thin and some can cause acne. Ointments/waxes are generally left to extreme environments and help resist skin chap and frostbite. Aerosolized and sprays make an even coating difficult, allowing for unprotected patches.

The biggest problem with sunscreen is that it is not properly used. This means adequate application in the beginning and re-application -- frequently. Apply the sunscreen, liberally, to all exposed skin areas. Remember to get the neck, ears and backs of hands, too! Re-apply after swimming or water contact. Sunscreen goes on the skin first, then bug spray goes on top. Remember that use of DEET and sunscreen together decreases the sunscreen's protection by 34%. Try not to let the sunscreen run into your eyes, as this will cause some irritation, trust me.

Sunscreens are a major cause of skin irritation, also. Oxybenzone is a common link in these products and is commonly know as PABA (p-aminobenzoic acid). Up to 4% of the population are adversely affected by this compound. If you have a sensitivity to PABA, make sure to select a PABA-free lotion.

Sunburn Treatment

OK, it happens. Forgot the sunscreen, didn't re-apply, didn't use enough the first time, whatever. You now have a burn and it hurts. For immediate relief, cool water soaks or compresses help with pain. Topical anesthetics do work and the preferred ones include menthol or camphor. Aspirin and ibuprofen are very good at reducing pain and swelling/inflammation. Sun avoidance for 48 hours may also help speed healing time. Lastly, ensure adequate hydration. My personal "sunburn remedy" is a lot of water.

More severe sunburns can be associated with blistering of the skin, fevers/chills, and even vomiting. If your skin blisters, try not to beak them. If they do break, wash the area with soap and water and consider applying a thin layer of antibiotic cream.

Hopefully, most everybody associates sun exposure and burns with skin damage and even cancers, later in life. Even if this is not as catchy as the "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen" essay, hopefully this will help you remember to wear your sunscreen and avoid a few days of discomfort on your "perfect beach holiday".

For more information check out:

CDC Travel Health: Sunburn

The Sun And Your Skin

by Ramat Omaye Yakubu

As very important the sun is to life, so it could really be harmful to the skin, if you constantly expose your skin to the ultra violet radiation from the sun, which causes change in many vital skin structure.

The most noticeable sun-induced pigment change is a freckle or solar lentigo, light skinned people tend to freckle more noticeable, a freckle is caused when the melanin-producing cell, or melanocyte is damaged causing it to get bigger, large freckles also known as age spots or liver spots can be seen on the backs of the hands, chests, shoulders, arms and upper back, these are not usually age related but sun damage related.

Most of the bruising that occurs on the backs of the hands and fore arms, the sun also causes the appearance of tiny blood vessles in the skin expecially on the face.

The most exposed areas of the body i.e. the ears, neck and back of the hands, these places are more likely to get skin bumps, there are usually small crusty bumps that can be felt better than they can be seen.

The ability of the sun to also cause skin cancer is also a well known fact.

There are ways of protecting your skin from the harsh effects of the sun, i.e by using sun screened body cream or lotion especially those with Aleo Vera as aleo vera is a great way to help cool down the skin, once you’re in the sun.

Without protecting your skin, it can easily be damaged with wrinkles, age spots, actinic keratoses, dreadful skin cancer and other horrible side effects of the sun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is Micro Dermabrasion Good For Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when patches of skin become darker than the surrounding areas. I got my first sun spots (also known as age spots or liver spots) on my arms and chest when I was 23. I'm now 35. Sun spots are one of the most common forms of uneven skin tone and there's no hiding, they are ugly.

How Does Microdermabrasion Get Rid Of Hyper Pigmentation?

From what I understand, unevenly pigmented skin cells are stuck on the skin's surface which means skin resurfacing procedures can easily get to and remove them to uncover normally pigmented skin underneath. Of all these treatments for getting rid of uneven skin tone, microderm abrasion is, without a doubt, the least invasive procedure. What microbrasion does is peel off a very fine layer of skin by sandblasting it with a flow of aluminum oxide micro crystals.

You wouldn't think that would be enough to even out skin tone but it does help. In some cases, though, these cells are deeper in the skin and not so easily removed with microderm abrasions.

My darker sun spots, for example, saw an improvement but did not fade completely. If you have severe hyper pigmentation (and by that I mean darker patches) you may have to look at other treatments. Microdermabarasion also improves cell turnover which helps with the irregular pigmentation (so long as it's the superficial kind). The quicker old, unevenly pigmented cells are shed, the quicker they are replaced by new, normally-pigmented skin cells.

Many people try micro dermabrasion once and give up in disappointment. Because this exfoliation is so superficial you can expect to see results after 10-12 abrasions. I didn't have microderm abrasion specifically for my sun spots but for the stretch marks left from my pregnancy. However, I was pleasantly surprised with what it did for my spots after a full treatment.

Treatments For Hyperpigmentation Removal

I really thought I'd need laser to get rid of my sun spots but, fortunately, they were very small and faded away nicely with microdermabrasion. You, however, may have other, more serious forms of uneven skin tone so here's a short list of available treatments:

· Laser resurfacing - Normal laser skin resurfacing works by evaporating the first few layers of damaged skin to leave behind a fresh, evenly toned skin. Hydroquinone or mild chemical peels are often recommended before laser resurfacing for best results.

· Intense Pulsed Light - IPL is a type of laser that leaves no scars, can sometimes heal freckles or other mild sun spots without using peels or hydroquinone creams beforehand.

· Hydroquinone Creams - They bleach the skin by slowing down the production of melanin. Dark spots fade in a few weeks. They are usually used for hyper pigmentations which are not caused by hormonal changes.

· Hydroxy Acid Peels - They increase cell renewal rate and correct hyperpigmentation marks. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are water soluble acids and can help remove hyperpigmentation, while Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are lipid soluble acids and increase the rate of exfoliation but are not particularly known to remove hyperpigmentation.

· Physician Formulas - These are more expensive skin pigmentation treatments but are very effective (Kinerase, Retin A, Renova, Avita etc).

What Causes Hyper Pigmentation?

Age or liver spots are the most common form of uneven skin tone. "Solar lentigines" (the medical term for this form of uneven pigmentation) appear due to sun damage. Areas most prone to age spots are those frequently exposed to the sun, like your hands, neck and face. Liver spots are caused by excessive sun exposure and the lack of appropriate SPF protection.

Melasma or chloasma spots look almost identical with age spots but they are larger and are caused by hormonal changes. You can get them on your face (temples and forehead), chest or abdomen, depending on what causes hyper pigmentation. Melasma appears most often because of hormonal changes (pregnancy or birth control pills, for example) and disappears after child birth or once you stop the birth control treatment.

Freckles are also signs of uneven skin pigmentation and can appear anywhere on the body, especially on the face, cleavage and hands. Freckles are usually inherited from parents.

Some forms of skin hyperpigmentation may be the result of acne or other skin conditions that could leave colored marks on the skin after healing. Cosmetic surgery, burns or injuries can also cause hyperpigmentation.

Another cause of hyperpigmentation may be drug treatment with amiodarone, tetracycline, minocycline, bleomycin, cyclophosphamide, chloroquine and quinacrine. If you have a history of taking any of these drugs and have uneven skin tone, it would be best to see a dermatologist.