Saturday, October 25, 2008

Skin Facts and How to Improve Many Skin Conditions

Skin, being the largest organ of the human body, is very important to daily living. It not only covers and protects our insides, but it essentially holds everything together. It can also make sure we maintain the right temperature to survive, and gives us the sense of touch.

The skin is made up of three layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous. The epidermis is on the bodys surface, where new cells form and dead ones fall off. The process of skin cell rejuvenation can take anywhere from two weeks to a month, and the entire layer of the epidermis is in a constant state of flux: newer cells move up through the layers and during that process, the older cells rise to the surface and die.

Old skin cells are strong, and they act by covering your body and protecting it. Every minute of the day we lose 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells off the surface of our skin. The process of shedding cells in the epidermis is ongoing, and 95 percent of the cells in that layer are always at work to make new skin cells. The other 5 percent contains a substance called melanin, which gives skin its color.

The darker your skin, the more melanin you have. The cells that contain melanin also provide extra coverage to prevent burning from ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun. Despite having melanin, we still need to be sure and cover up with a sunscreen to protect from skin cancer and sunburn.

The second layer, or dermis, contains nerve endings, blood vessels, oil and sweat glands. It is also where collagen is made, which is important for elasticity and skin durability. The nerve endings in the dermis are responsible for understanding how things feel. The nerve sensors send messages to the brain when things feel too hot or cold, and they transmit messages of pain. The dermis is also filled with blood vessels that keep the skin healthy by supplying it with oxygen and nutrients.

The third and final layer of the skin is called the subcutaneous layer. This layer is mostly fat, and works to provide the body warmth and protection. This is the same layer where our hair follicles originate. These follicles act as roots for each hair as it grows up through the dermis. Hair follicles tend to grow over the entire body, and more than 10,000 follicles are located on the head alone.

You skin also works to keep your internal temperature from getting too hot or cold. Blood vessels, hair and sweat glands work together to keep the body at an optimal temperature, and to reduce risk of overheating.

Keeping skin in good health is just as important as any other organ or body part. Make sure skin stays clean with water and gentle soap, and clean wounds to keep them from becoming infected. Since we only have one skin, we need to always make sure it is healthy and clean, and see a doctor when abnormal growths appear.

About the Author

Mr Reygan has been involved with effective skin preparations products for over 11 years. To find out to get rid of Acne, melasma, age spots and freckles click here

Age Spots and Freckles

Lentigines (age spots) and ephelides (freckles) are usually dark, brown or black spots that show over time on sun exposed patches of the skin. These spots are normally on the back of the hands, face and legs. People who tan extensively may also have them on the shoulders, back, chest and several other patches of skin.

Markings such as lentigines are external accumulations of the skin pigment named melanin that have accumulated within the external layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.

Ephelides occur mostly in lighter skin types, particularly in individuals who get skin burns quickly when exposed to the sun. Lentigines typically appear later in life and can develop on all skin types.

Certain skin marks and age spots medically known as lentigos are often called “liver spots” or “age spots”. However, both of these terms are misnomers. While freckles do commonly show over time, they are not in and of themselves a sign of old age. Rather, they show up on the sun-exposed areas of those who have an inherited tendency to develop them.

When exaggeratedly exposed to ultraviolet rays, whether from a tanning bed, a sun lamp or years of going out without sunscreen, unprotected skin protects itself by producing an overabundance of melanin, resulting in uneven areas. Age spots or lentigos and seborrhoeic keratoses are brown patches that commonly appear on the back of the hands, face and the back. This pigment is accumulated as a type of response to injury, just like a scar is a response to a wound.

Even while this condition is harmless, it should not be confused with melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Lentigo affects both genders equally. Ethnically, the majority of cases happen in skin types I-II, but lentigo has been reported in all other types on rare occasions. The lighter complexion in Caucasians boosts one’s sun sensitivity and gives way for the increased danger of having the condition. Individuals that suffer from the inability to tan in natural sunlight are especially at risk and need to therefore tune into the daily practices that effect healthy skin. Genetic factors should also be considered; people with a family history of melanoma, or potential precursors to melanoma, are more prone to developing lentigos.

Lentigo-type freckles & Seborrheic Keratoses

Sometimes older people who have these lentigo-type freckles also have raised, brown, crusty blemishes named seborrheic keratoses. Seborrheic dermatoses are also benign (not malignant) blemishes of the skin. Although they are usually brown, they can vary in color and range anywhere from light tan to black. The unique characteristic of seborrheic keratoses is their waxy appearance. They look like they have either been pasted on the skin or can be physically similar to a drop of melted brown candle wax that dropped on the skin. Seborrheic keratoses can happen in the same areas as freckles, but since they are not made by sunlight, they can also be found on covered areas. When they first show, the growths commonly begin one at a time as tiny rough bumps. Eventually, they thicken and develop a rough, warty surface.

The biological components included in our state of the art natural products ensure the healing of scars, imperfections and a wide range of skin conditions, without producing allergic responses.

- Valerie DeVette

Friday, October 24, 2008

Age Spot Erasing Made Easy And Right From Your Own Kitchen

If you''re anything like most baby boomers, after graying hair, poor eyesight, weight gain and winkles, age spots rank fifth on your list of aging nuisances. But you can find comfort in erasing those age advertisers right from your own kitchen.

What Causes Age Spots

To protect your skin against excessive sun exposure, your skin makes cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes create the dark brown pigment called melanin. The melanin makes your skin look darker or suntanned.

But sometimes, your typical day in the sun causes an uneven jump in melanocytes. This awkward production creates irregular coloring or pigmentation of the skin.

The resulting solar lentigines, or what most people call liver spots or age spots, can appear brown, black or gray. Age spots pop up on the areas of the skin most readily exposed to the sun, like the chest, back, face and hands.

Even youngsters can get age spots with too much unprotected sun exposure.

How to Avoid Age Spots Completely

Preventing age spots proves the best way to completely avoid them. This includes:

1. Avoiding intense sunlight hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2. Wearing a hat and long sleeve shirt in the sun.

3. Applying sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplying it every two hours.


Additionally, note that the sun and excess chemicals don''t mix. For instance, most often in middle-aged women, might mistake irregular areas of reddish-brown pigmentation called poikiloderma for age spots.

Poikiloderma results from chronic sun exposure combined with sun-sensitive chemicals in cosmetics or perfume. Hence, poikiloderma most frequently appears on the side of the neck or on the cheeks.

Sunscreen Is More Potent Than You Thought

You may feel annoyed with the repeated advise of slathering yourself with sunscreen, but a study published in the October 14, 1993 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine gives you reason to appreciate your sunscreen an effective age spot eraser.

In the study, researchers found that among sunscreen users, those who rubbed on the most cream with the greatest regularity had the largest reduction in actinic keratoses.

Actinic keratoses (AKs) describe the rough, red, scaly patches, crusts or sores that measure anywhere from one-quarter to one-inch in diameter. Like most other age spots, you''ll find actinic keratoses on body areas most readily exposed to the sun.

How To Minimize the Appearance of Age Spots

Eat your age spots away Research studies also reveal the benefits of eating your nutrients to reduce the appearance of age spots. The water-soluble pigment found in most vegetables, fruits, grain, flowers, seeds, leaves and bark, called flavanoid provides numerous antioxidant properties.

In research studies, flavanoids even prevented cancer formation in animals.

Likewise, you''ll find age spot reducing properties in soy products. The protein extracts of soybean and soymilk contain several different estrogen-like substances called isoflavones. One study showed that soy isoflavones might lighten age spots.

Home Remedies

Erasing your age spots can begin right in your own kitchen. In Japan, the rice based drink, sake, serves as an age spot lightener when applied to the skin.

You can also use lemon juice to lighten age spots. Simply dab a cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply the liquid to the age spots twice daily- once in the morning and once in the evening. Warning: Lemon juice makes the skin photosensitive so ensure to protect your skin with sunscreen before enjoying the sunshine.

Pull a green papaya out of the fridge and use the fleshy side of the skin to reduce age spots. Just apply the papaya to the spots for 15-20 minutes daily and repeat until you attain the desire lightness.

Of course, since home remedies offer an inexpensive and gentle way to reduce age spots, they require time to see results- usually six to eight weeks.

What To Do Right Now To Stop Age Spots

Because age spots, poikiloderma and actinic keratoses can serve as warning signs for skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends scheduling a professional skin examination each year.

You can find out how to give yourself a skin examination by visting Use this information now before your forget, because before you know it, the sixth aging nuisance for baby boomers- memory loss-will creep in on you.

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Traits produced by melanin may signal the bearer's capacity to combat free radicals

Some animal species have developed conspicuous traits produced by melanin pigments (for instance, dark manes in lions, black stripes in some birds and fishes). These traits are used as signals during contests for resources and/or contribute to increase the mating opportunities. However, the efficiency of these traits as signals depends on the fact that they transmit honest information about the quality of the bearer. This would be only assured by the fact that producing or maintaining the signal inevitability implies a cost. Thus, only those individuals able to afford the cost would also be able to conveniently express the signal.

Signals produced by melanin pigments have challenged our understanding because they are apparently cost-free and strongly controlled by the genotype. Melanin pigments are not as limited in production as carotenoids, yellow-red pigments common in vertebrates and only obtained from certain food items. In fact, melanin is constructed from amino acids present in proteins of the organism. However, recent experimental studies have become to disentangle the cost at the basis of melanin-based signals.

A recent article by Ismael Galván at the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC) in Madrid and Carlos Alonso-Alvarez at IREC-CSIC, Spain, published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE proposes a novel hypothesis suggesting that these traits could indicate the ability of the bearer in fighting free radicals and oxidative damage. On the basis of medical bibliography, the researchers realized that tissue melanization is constrained in the presence of high enough levels of a key intracellular antioxidant named glutathione, which is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants present in virtually all animal cells.

The scientists hypothesized that low levels of this substance are also required to express melanin-based signals present in many animals. This implies that individuals able to express these signals should be also able to fight off an oxidative challenge, as a consequence of the low levels of the cited antioxidant. Only those animals with alternative antioxidant resources would be able to afford the cost of signaling. By chemically inhibiting the production of glutathione at the red blood cells, authors were able to significantly increase the size of a black stripe present in the feathers of the breast of great tits (a common garden bird). This stripe is a conspicuous trait playing a significant role during combats for territory, food or mates.

Furthermore, the reduction of glutathione levels also induced a mobilization of other antioxidant molecules to the blood plasma, supporting the cost, such as hypothesized by Alonso-Alvarez and colleagues.

Freckles: Causes, Prevention, Treatment of Freckles

Freckles are flat, irregular spots that develop randomly on the skin, particularly on the cheeks. They vary in color but are always darker than the normal skin around them. They are more prominent in persons of fair complexion.

Causes of development
There are many different causes of freckles but one main cause is repeated and prolonged exposure to sunlight. The exposure increases the production of pigment melanin that gets deposited in certain areas of the skin making them look darker but this does not happen to everyone because every person is not equally sensitive to sunlight. Generally, persons with fair complexion are more sensitive to sunlight than dark-skinned persons but this does not mean that all fair-skinned persons are very sensitive or all dark-skinned persons are completely immune to the effects of sunlight. Anyone can develop freckles depending on personal sensitivity whatever be the complexion. Nutritional imbalance and genetic factors may also cause uneven distribution of pigment melanin resulting in freckles.

Liver spots
Some elderly persons may develop darker spots, which are different to freckles but at times may be mistaken for freckles. They are called liver spots but have nothing to do with the liver. It is just a wrong name given to them. While liver spots are generally a function of old age, freckles are not.

Risk factors
Freckles have a great cosmetic value particularly when they are on the cheeks otherwise they are harmless and pose no danger to general health. At times, however, they might be mistaken for another skin disease. Therefore, one should have them checked and evaluated by the dermatologist to be sure of what the spots are.

Freckles are a fair indication of sensitivity of skin to sunburn and other skin diseases of more serious nature. Those with hereditary tendency should avoid prolonged and/or repeated exposure to direct sunrays. For those whose nature of job does not permit this precaution should use protective sunscreens to reduce the risk.

There are plenty of products available in the market for external use, which can reduce the pigmentation and lighten or even eliminate the freckles. There are products that can hide them temporarily but hiding the freckles is not the answer. They must be treated properly. It is always better to consult the dermatologist or skin-care expert before selecting or using a product to treat the skin.

Freckles can also be effectively and conveniently treated by internal use of homeopathic medicines. This is one of those conditions that can be easily treated in a few weeks. Some of the commonly used homeopathic medicines to treat freckles are graphite, kali-carb, lycopodium, muric-acid, natrum-carb, phosphorus, sepia, sulphur etc. but you must consult your homeopath to choose correct medicine, its dose and potency for you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Identify Your Acne Before You Get Treatment

Acne Vulgaris

The most common form of Acne is named Acne Vulgaris. This type of acne can be easily identified by looking at the characteristics of the lesions.

-Whiteheads: When a pore becomes completely blocked by trapping sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, you will notice a white appearance on the surface. Whiteheads normally will disappear fast than blackheads on your skin. You should resist the temptation to pop these pimples

-Blackheads: When are pore is only partially blocked, the trapped sebum, bacteria and dead skin will have slowly drained to the surface of your skin. The black color is caused by your skins pigment and melanin reacting with oxygen. Blackheads will normally take longer to disappear than whiteheads. You should also resist the temptation to pop these pimples too.

-Pustules: You can identify a pustule by a red circle with a white or yellow center. The pustule will look similar to a whitehead with the difference being inflammation. Pustules are commonly referred to as Zits.

-Papules: The papule is a red, inflamed and tender bump on the skin with no visible head. You should not attempt to squeeze this lesion as you may cause or exacerbate scarring.

-Severe Acne Vulgaris: The sever types of Acne Vulgaris include Nodules and Cysts and will be quite painful. You should consult your dermatologist for treating these types of acne.

Acne Rosacea

Acne Rosacea may look very similar to Acne Vulgaris and often causes confusion. Millions of people are affected by Acne Rosacea, and it mostly strikes people over the age of 30. It will start to appear as a reddish rash on the cheeks, forehead, nose and/or chin. You may also notice small bumps, skin blemishes or pimples in the area. Blackheads are not a symptom of Rosacea. You should consult your dermatologist if you suspect you have Rosacea, because treatment is often very different.

There are other very serious forms of Acne such as Acne Conglobata, Acne Fulminans, Gram-Negative Folliculitis and Pyoderma Faciale. These forms of Acne are very rare, but they can be disfiguring, painful and have psychological effects.

It is always recommended that you consult with your dermatologist to confirm the type of Acne you have and the best treatments available. The above information should only be used as a reference, and only a trained dermatologist can accurately diagnose your Acne.

Darren Hoffman provides an Acne Treatment Resource Website with information, treatment options and advice for people suffering from Acne.

Skin Pigmentation: Pigmented vs. Non-Pigmented

Posted by Alison

The pigmented vs. non-pigmented scale measures the likelihood of developing unwanted dark spots on the face or chest. Although the test will also take into account skin color and ethnicity, that is not as important as determining the tendency toward unwanted spots. That’s why people of all ethnicities can score as any of the sixteen Skin Types. That being said, in some cases, the majority of those with a particular Skin Type may come from certain ethnic backgrounds, while people from a very different ethnicity might be in the minority for that particular type.

Why do I place such emphasis on unwanted dark spots? Twenty-one percent of visits to the dermatologist are for their treatment. Over eighty thousand people annually buy over-the-counter (nonprescription) skin care products to reduce their dark spots. Various kinds of dark spots cause cosmetic concern. Birthmarks, moles, and scaling patches called seborrheic keratoses are outside of that scope.

Dark spots

Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy”, consists of light or dark brown or gray patches ranging form the size of a dime to large areas on the face or chest. Appearing in sun-exposed areas, it’s more common in pregnant women or those on estrogen therapy, whether birth control pills or hormone replacement. Melasma can be stressful, in severe cases, even disfiguring. More commonly seen in darker-skinned people, such as Asians, Latin-Americans, and African-Americans, melasma is difficult to cure but can be controlled with the right skin care products and procedures. Pigmented types with any combination of the other three factors can have mlasma.

Solar lentigos are caused by sun exposure and sunburns. They’re completely preventable with sun avoidance and sun protection. Popping up on factors, like excess sun, more than genes. They contribute to the appearance of aging as much or more than wrinkles, a view shared by Asians, who are often more concerned with dark spots than wrinkles.

Yet many people focus more on wrinkles, not recognizing how spots detract from skin’s youthfulness. On the first visit, a Wood’s light (black light) or a UVB camera is used to reveal facial dark spots before they are visible in ordinary light. Most people are shocked by what they see in the mirror. If you’re an Oily, Resistant, Pigmented, and Tight Skin Type (ORPT) with ample solar lentigos, follow the recommendations aimed at wrinkle prevention for Oily, Resistant, Pigmented, and Wrinkled (ORPW) as a preventive. The good news is that my recommendations for products and procedures can make a dramatic difference in the way your skin looks.

Freckles, also called ephelides, are associated with red hair and fair skin, while solar lentigos are not, although their appearance is similar. The gene believed to be responsible for freckles is the MC1R gene, which is closely associated with fair skin and red hair. While you can’t control your genes, you can control sun exposure. Freckles appear early in childhood, increase as a result of sunburn before the age of twenty, and partly disappear with age, while solar lentigos worsen with age. Because fair-skinned redheads, those most prone to freckles, frequently burn and cannot tan, they often end up avoiding the sun, resulting in less cumulative lifetime sun exposure than people with solar lentigos. However, these fair-skinned redheads are at a higher risk of melanoma, which increases with a history of frequent sunburns and sun exposure.

Unlike people with many solar lentigos, people with freckles can fall into the tight group if they’ve avoided sun exposure and followed good skin habits, such as eating an antioxidant-rich diet, not smoking, and using retinoids.

While people with a darker skin color are more likely to fall into the pigmented category, not all dark-skinned people are pigmented types, with pigment problems. Those with even skin tones and no spots will be Non-Pigmented Skin Types, even though they have darker-toned skin. On the other hand, light-skinned people who freckle and get melasma or solar lentigos may fall into the P category. The P/N scale measures the tendency to develop unwanted dark spots, not ethnicity.

Skin pigment-producing cells (called melanocytes) produce skin pigment (melanin), which creates skin color as well as all the forms of pigmentation. Skin pigment formation can be prevented by two main mechanisms. The first is to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which prevents the formation of melanin. Many topical cosmetic ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin, and licorice extract are tyrosinase inhibitors. The second method of preventing the production of skin color is to forestall the transfer of the color into the skin cells. Studies show that niacinamide and soy prevent that transfer, which is why they are in skin lightening products.

Pigmentation and Skin Cancer Risk

Pigmentation contributes to your risks of getting the various types of skin cancer. Melanoma skin cancers result when the pigment cells that produce color become cancerous. Though curable if caught early, this form of cancer can metastasize very rapidly, making early detection essential. Non-melanoma skin cancers are cancers of the skin cells themselves. There are two varieties. Basal cell cancers occur at the basal skin level between the dermis and epidermis. These can be easily removed but may scars. Squamous cells grow on the top layer of skin, and although they can metastasize, they are less deadly than melanoma. All should be checked for regularly and treated promptly.

When UV light hits the skin, it stimulates an increased production of skin pigment, which is what we call tanning. This is the skin’s major defense against further UV damage. In addition to tanning skin, ultraviolet light worsens melasma and causes sun spots (solar lentigos). UVB rays cause an immediate sunburn: UVA rays cause long-term damage. Many sunscreens do not block both types of UV light. Even broad-spectrum sunscreens do not block 100 percent of the sun. Sun avoidance is the most important method of preventing skin pigmentation.

Light-skinned people with high P scores are likely to have freckles and may also be at a risk for melanoma. Latin-American, Asians, and Italians are often on the cusp of the P/N scale.