Saturday, July 19, 2008

Health Tip: Indoor Tanning, Healthy or Harmful?

Indoor tanning is a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry in the United States, with up to 28 million Americans tanning indoors each year.
Furthermore, tanning bed use in the US is increasing, especially among adolescents. [Eric F. Schneider] This is in spite of serious health concerns associated with exposure to the ultraviolet radiation (UV) from tanning salons. In 1994, a Swedish study found that women 18-30 years old who visited tanning parlors 10 or more times a year had seven times greater incidence of melanoma than women who did not use tanning salons. In another study, people exposed to just 10 full-body tanning salon sessions had a significant increase in skin repair proteins typically associated with sun damage, indicating that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from indoor tanning is as dangerous as UV from the sun. And, in 2002, a study from Dartmouth Medical School found that tanning device users had 2.5 times the risk of squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
The tanning industry justifies indoor tanning with two arguments. First, since melanoma is mainly caused by sunburn, "controlled" tanning helps prevent melanoma by building up the protective pigment melanin. Second, since UV exposure allows the skin to produce vitamin D, tanning helps prevent breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as other diseases. Sunlight and artificial sunlight such as that used in tanning salons emits three different types of radiation in the ultraviolet range-UVA, UVB and UVC. All of these are capable of producing damage to the skin in the process of creating a tan. Since past studies had shown UVB to be the most dangerous in regard to its potential for causing skin cancer, the tanning industry responded by lowering levels of UVB emitted by their equipment. Even those lower levels of UVB still can cause skin damage and cancer, however, and UVA radiation may pose more of a risk than was previously thought.
The Vitamin D argument is more difficult to refute. It is becoming more and more apparent that Vitamin D deficiency is a significant risk to our [Eric F.
Schneider] health with links to the development of heart disease, several types of cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and periodontal disease.
Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods, with the flesh of fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils being some of the best sources. Much of the Vitamin D that we consume is in "fortified" foods such as milk and orange juice or in vitamin supplements. Sunlight exposure is perhaps the most important way that we get adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight (or tanning lights) striking the skin triggers Vitamin D production in the body. Complete avoidance of the sun in someone with a marginal diet could easily result in Vitamin D deficiency and its associated health consequences. Furthermore, those living in northern latitudes, such as New England, are especially at risk since the UV rays responsible for producing Vitamin D are markedly reduced in the winter. The American Academy of Dermatology is adamant in its belief that it is better to get vitamin D from dietary sources than from sun exposure. The Academy's "Don't Seek the Sun"
campaign provides 9 reasons to get Vitamin D from the diet instead of from sun exposure. Despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight or to indoor tanning lights.
Around 10 minutes of natural sunlight exposure to most of the body is all that is required on a daily basis to produce a day's supply of Vitamin D. How this correlates with time in a tanning booth is uncertain since tanning lights generally deliver higher levels of UV radiation per minute of exposure.
Keep in mind that UV rays are UV rays whether they come from the sun or a tanning bed. Perhaps it gets back to what occurs "naturally", is beneficial and that which is excessive or artificial may be harmful. The almost unavoidable exposure to natural sunlight activates the normal (and essential) process of Vitamin D production in the body. Sun bathing or use of tanning booths for aesthetic purposes may be a time bomb for the development of premature skin aging and cancer later down the road. Recall that for years, the tobacco lobby used similar terms that the indoor tanning lobby is using now, such as "junk science" and "myths," to counter claims that cigarette smoking could cause lung cancer. Granted, epidemiologic evidence is less compelling than controlled clinical trials at proving the risks of external influences on our health.
But with the highly significant evidence now available linking indoor tanning to the development of skin cancer and other adverse effects on health, is it worth the risk that you may be being misled for the sake of profit?

Protect the skin from sun exposure and look younger

How to protect the skin from sun exposure and look younger than you are?
You can stop the clock of aging by adopting following guidelines into your daily life:
First avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10.00 AM to 3.00 PM, when the radiation of the sun is very high. People need to understand, that damage to the skin from the sun begins before the age of 18. Sunlight has a profound effect on the skin. Both UVA and UVB radiation will cause skin damage, especially wrinkles (which can be considered women’s worst enemy). Use sunscreen that has Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or greater and apply the cream half an hour before you go out in the sun.
I know that all women want to look more beautiful and the sun makes us feel good. But remember, that it is only for a very short time, that the sun makes us look younger. When the effect of the sun fades away, our freckles blow up and this time we try to find a way to clear off these black spots in our face.
Imagine that a woman at the age of 50, who has protected her skin from the sun and probably has the skin of a 35 year old. Fascinating, isn’t it?

It is very easy to look younger than you are. All you have to do: Just remember that the best protection against the wrinkles is to avoid sun exposure.

Friday, July 18, 2008

obagi skin care

Author: plasticsurgery

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Tips To Prevent Sun Damage To Your Skin

The extent of skin damage caused by tanning greatly depends on the skin type of the individuals. People with skin types I, II and III (who have a white skin) are at greater risk of skin damage due to excessive sun exposure when compared to people with skin types IV, V and VI (who have a brown or black skin).
While white skin burns easily, it tans with great difficulty to a light brown shade. However, moderately brown, dark brown and black skin rarely burns, although it gets heavily pigmented and tans to a dark brown shade owing to the deposition of melanin pigment under the skin.
Skin damage arising out of tanning includes premature skin aging, wrinkling, leathery appearance of the skin, hyper pigmentation and sunburns, which may later even lead to more serious diseases such as skin cancer.
In order to prevent skin diseases and to minimize skin damage, one must protect his skin from the harmful UV rays. Here are some tips to prevent sun damage to your skin:
1. Restricting outdoor activities between peak sunshine hours (i.e. between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.)
2. Wearing sun shielding protective gears such as broad-brimmed hats, long skirts or pants and long-sleeved blouses and shirts in addition to UV protection sunglasses and using umbrellas in order to minimize direct exposure to sunlight.
3. Applying an effective sunscreen lotion (having a high sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more) at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun. This will block both the UV-A as well as the UV-B radiations from penetrating your skin and causing any kind of damage. You must remember to apply a fresh coat of the sunscreen lotion every 1 1/2 to 2 hours for maximum protection.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


We are now starting a new series of articles on “Skin Care”. Let us understand in depth; the basic structure of our skin and its various functions.
Going ahead we will cover a wide range of topics such as characteristics of the skin, various skin types; how to take care of each type of skin, what should be the basic skin care routine, specific skin care regimes for each type of skin, skin care for different age groups, home-made cosmetic care for various types of skin and so on.
Skin is made of three layers, the outer epidermis, the middle dermis followed by hypodermis.
• Epidermis forms the outer layer.
• It is composed of dead cells.
• New cells are formed at the base of this layer.
• Newly formed cells then move up-wards to the surface and after certain time wear off.
• Melanin cells that give skin its dark color are also present in this layer.
• The dermis (middle layer) is the true skin.
• It is made up of elastic fibers that form a support system to the skin.
• Major ageing process of the skin takes place in this layer.
• The oil glands, sweat glands and major portion of hair follicles are located in the dermis.
• The sweat glands eliminate water-soluble cellular waste.
• Oil glands prevent dryness and chapping of skin.
• The hypodermis or fatty layer influences the quality of our skin.
• Excess fat and water retention stretches skin & excess loss in weight causes the skin to sag.
• Hypodermis acts as shock absorber to protect bones.
• Hypodermis gives the body its shape.
• Skin is a protective layer of the body that covers the internal organs.
• It eliminates water and toxic waste products from the body. Aggravated acne, dull complexion and swelling all over the body are results of poor elimination.
• The skin breathes to a small extent. It exhales Carbon-dioxide, eliminates unwanted gases.
• The skin maintains temperature of the body inside. It does not change with the outside temperature.
• The skin is lubricated with its own oily sebaceous material. Moisture level of skin is maintained by discharging perspiration.
• The skin allows certain substances to pass through its tissues.
• The nerve endings under the skin help us react to sensation. It helps us experience pleasure, heat, cold and pain.

Tested Beauty Tips For Women Over 50

Once you hit your 50s, your pursuit for a beautiful skin, a beautiful body and a beautiful sense of style should not at all come to an end. The recommended diet and exercise habit for a 50 year old is not much different from those of a 20 year old. In fact, the only difference is in the 50s, a healthy diet and regular exercise become more important than ever. The key to keeping your body properly functioning and in good shape, during the aging process, is to eat healthy and stay active.

Most adults, 50 years and above, are still capable of completing a few exercises. At this age, exercise could mean a daily walk for about an hour, and workouts with exercise videos at home. To ease the wrinkles on your face, there is help in the form of ‘Botox’ injections. Removal of fine lines and smoothing skin, especially around the eyes and mouth, is the magical effect of chemical peels. For ‘plumping’ up your skin and erasing lines, wrinkle fillers come to your aid.

A cream lipstick is a better option for women over 50 than a matte or gloss. In fact, a pinch these lipsticks can also serve as a blush. Lips become thinner with age, and lose definition and color. So, for aging skin, one of the great makeup tricks is - use a neutral lip liner to make lips appear plump, and a sheer lipstick to avoid ‘feathering’. A lip liner helps to define lips. A lip liner with its color close to the natural shade of your lips should be opted for; and the lips should be outlined before applying lip color. For different occasions, outfits, and moods, stash a few lipsticks of daring shades in your purse. You can look great if you use ‘correct’ makeup to accentuate your positive qualities.

Beauty tips for women over 50:

1. Don’t use heavy makeup and powders on dry skin.

2. Your skin may look matte and dry, if heavily powdered.

3. Just as the pigment in our hair turns it grey, the melanin in our skin changes too.

4. Don’t fall prey to the idea that you must have every new color that is in trend for a particular season.

5. Use a humidifier, moisturizing soaps and lotions.

6. Good nutrition is ideal for repairing damaged skin.

7. Drinking lots of water helps hydrate skin.

8. Use products with SPF 15 or higher, and both UVB and UVA protection.

Loss of youthful appearance, decreased skin tautness and the development of wrinkles are the telltale signs of aging skin. As we grow in age, the skin sags and becomes wrinkled. The skin ages for various reasons. Both intrinsic as well as environmental factors are responsible for skin aging. Increasing loss of flexibility due to degeneration of collagen and elastin within the epidermis naturally leads to aging skin. UVA and UVB light wavelengths from the sun also ‘contribute’ their bit in speeding up the ageing process of the skin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunburns and Sunscreens

In the last post on sun and it’s effects on our bodies as we play outdoors at Smith Mountain Lake, a Wikipedia quote was mentioned on the increase of melanoma (skin cancer) in Australia. The rest of that quote (below) is also very significant, as it indites sunscreens as contributors to those melanoma rates.
Before you read that though, read how Dr. Al Sears, MD summed it all up when he said that sunscreens effectively stop your skin from protecting itself with melanin and block nearly all of your production of cancer-protecting vitamin D. He also states that many chemicals in sunscreen are proven carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and chemicals that mimic estrogens in sunscreens cause hormonal disruption and promote tumor growth. The Wikipedia facts only give more credence to the obvious.
It was pointed out that the melanoma rate in Queensland had a steep rise before the rest of Australia experienced the same increase of melanoma numbers. They blamed the vigorous promotion of sunscreen which was first done in Queensland and sunscreen use was encouraged in the rest of Australia only with a certain delay. An effect that would stem from the ozone depletion can not obey the borderline of different areas of Australia, but sunscreen endorsement programs can. Another study from Norway points out that there had been no change of the ozone layer during the period 1957 to 1984; and yet the yearly incidence of melanoma in Norway had increased by 350% for men and by 440% for women. They conclude that in Norway the “Ozone depletion is not the cause of the increase in skin cancers”.
What then was the cause? Many scientists now believe it may in large part be chemicals that the supposedly protective sunscreens contain. While sunburn is prevented by sunscreen, there is not much evidence to support their protection from skin cancers, and in fact they contribute to malignant melanomas.
If sunscreen penetrates into the skin, it promotes the indirect DNA damages, which cause the most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. This form of skin cancer is rare, but it is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer-related deaths. If the sunscreen filter (chemical) is absorbed into the skin it only prevents the sunburn but it increases the amount of free radicals which in turn increases the risk for malignant melanoma. The harmful effect of photo-excited sunscreen filters on living tissue has been shown in many photobiological studies.
Are you seeing what I am seeing? Most sunscreens are more dangerous than protective. Clothes, hats, minimal sun tanning (which improves the skin’s natural defense by increasing the amount of melanin in the skin), and possibly the use of natural sunscreens, would be better ideas for protecting the skin than the highly touted, high SPF sunscreens.
If the chemically based sunscreens are potential cancer causers, are there any natural sunscreens that could help to protect against harmful UV rays? Possibly, according to those who study such things.
Avoid anything containing oxybenzone and octinoxate (proven dangers), and any of the other 15 sunscreen chemicals used in the U.S. and listed as active ingredients, but which have no studies for safety data. Look for natural sunscreens using minerals such as zinc and titanium instead. And do not depend on any sunscreen for prolonged exposure to the damaging rays of the sun.
If you would like to read more on sunscreen safety and find brands that are specifically recommended by those who have read the peer reviewed clinical studies on sunscreens, visit Skin Deep’s website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Effects of UV Radiation and Precautions

The harmful effects of UV Radiation and Precautions

The sun is the biggest source of energy and every living thing needs it. The ozone layer is also very important filter to keeping against the harmful effects of UV radiations. The rapid increase of the holes on the ozone layer creates problems such as penetrating of harmful UV radiation in to the earth. Now that we are now in summer days, I feel responsible for mentioning this: The harmful UV light and fortunately the ways to take precautions.

What are the damages of UV?
UV light is found as part of the radiation received by the Earth from the Sun. Most people know the effects of UV due to the painful feelings from sun burning. The harmful effects of UV radiation cause erythema (sunburn), tanning (browning of the skin through exposure to the sun’s rays) and bitterly immune system damage. These rays cannot be seen or felt, but penetrate the skin. Moreover, the chronic effects can be much more serious, life threatening and include premature aging of the skin, damage on eyes, and even skin cancer.
What should we do?
Melanin could prevent UV light. You all know that sunglasses are good at preventing sunlight from our eyes but we are not sure whether these glasses are healthful or not. If glasses are made of melanin, it could filter out all harmful energy light from the sun and even computers! Besides, if you like reading while sunbathing, melanin glasses improve your reading comfort, too. It also reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
One of the solutions is sunscreens: Sunscreens have protective chemicals that absorb and scatter ultraviolet rays in it. They could prevent UV-induced wrinkling. It is also known that daily using of sunscreen decreases the damages of UV.

Clever bikini reports UV light
Another solution is a little fantastic, but it is best to warn! A bikini (by Fiona Carswell) that reports the UV light immediately after you are under the sun. It appears normal when not in direct sunlight, the moment you feel sunlight in your skin, this bikini starts changing. Black spots appear some parts on this “clever” bikini. But some people could be worried about this because how do they dare to buy this?
UV radiation passes through your t-shirt
Clothing is one of them. Of course on hot days, nobody wants to wear long pants or denser weave fabrics. These tend to be hot and less comfortable to wear, but these also help prevent the UV light. On the contrary, cotton t-shirts or short pants are poor for protection. UV rays are energetic enough to reach the surface despite the ozone layer. Most of them reach the surface on a sunny day. Lots of them pass through the clouds, it is the risk of getting sunburn even you are at your home, yet UV radiation could incredibly pass through a thin T-Shirt.
To sum up the steps; Stay out of the sun during peak hours (10 am to 2 pm), wear long sleeves, hats and sunglasses, use sunscreen daily and avoid tanning salons. Finally, if you adapt these warnings, you could overcome summer days’ minimal damage.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunglasses can save vision

Sunglasses can literally save vision, helping prevent conditions that range from corneal abrasions to macular degeneration.
Most common eye injuries are preventable, says Dr. Erik van Kuijk, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. And summertime is prime time for eye-related injuries, including sun damage.
He says that long-term effects of sunlight include a close tie between ultraviolet light and cataract formation and possible macular degeneration.
His tips for sunglasses and eye safety include protecting the eyes from scratches and blunt trauma and reducing UV light and its subsequent danger to eye health. Caucasians are at higher risk for macular degeneration than darker-skinned populations, possible because they have less melanin in the retinal pigment epithelial cells to absorb some of the damaging UV light.
He says it's important to pay attention to the percentage of UV protection provided, rather than how dark the lenses are or how much they cost. Often, less expensive glasses provided equal or superior protection than some expensive brands.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Solar Power for Your Skin

It’s summertime and here in the Northeast we have peeled off the layers of winter clothing and are embracing the summer sun. The irony of having summer and summer vacation after months of longing for better weather in the winter is the reality that “Oh, my goodness, the sun will kill us!” We are told by The Media all of the time that the Sun is very dangerous and we should wear sunscreen at all times.
Do we really need the sun? Or, is it better to be sun screened up all of the time?
Yes. Of course we need the sun! Vitamin D is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, from ultraviolet B radiation. If we use sunscreen all of the time, the benefit of Vitamin D does not get produced by the body. Vitamin D is more bioavailable when it is produced by the body that is going to use it, it is fat-soluble and stays in the body for up to 40 days after it’s produced.
A way to make sure you get some sun and still protect your skin is to make sure you get some limited sun exposure without sunscreen every day. I’m not suggesting that anyone should go out and burn themselves, but in measured doses (10-15 minutes at a time in the summer) enjoy some natural Vitamin D synthesis.
A big part of the Vitamin D production in the skin has to do with the melanin, the body’s light filter. Concentration of melanin in the skin has to do with how well the UVB can penetrate and get made by the skin. People with more melanin will require more time in the sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D. The time required to produce an adequate amount of Vitamin D depends on how far they are from the equator and the season, determining the amount of sunlight.
Although it’s best to have the Vitamin D made in your skin, you can get it through nutritional sources. In fact, it seems that most processed food in the US is enriched with Vitamin D. Only fish is naturally rich in Vitamin D, you can get all you need with a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil (the idea of squishing fish livers for their precious oil makes me want to swoon) but fortified foods include many breakfast cereals, milk and soymilk. Many supplements abound fortified with Vitamin D, including Balance Complete™ by Young Living which is a super-food-based meal replacement that is both a powerful nutritive energizer and a cleanser. Offering the benefits of Ningxia wolfberry powder, Balance Complete is high in fiber, high in protein, and contains the good fats, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals needed for a nutritionally dynamic meal. Balance Complete also features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.
According to Wikipedia, diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency include:
• Rickets, a childhood disease which slows long bone growth
• Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder which occurs in adults,
• Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones and loss of calcium
A deficiency of Vitamin D has also been pointed to for many other chronic health problems, although research is less official and other factors may be present. These include:
• High blood pressure
• Depression
• Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
• Cancer
• Periodontal disease (Gum disease)
• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic pain syndrome
The problem of Vitamin D and The Sun is compounded and exacerbated by our culture of fear of the sun but in measured doses and with care we can help our body get the sun it deserves.