Saturday, January 10, 2009

How do you fade freckles and age spots fast?

I am considering going to the dermatologist to get lasered to lighten my freckles. I am considering Obagi too…what regimine have you used to lighten blotches and freckles on face? How long did it take and are you happy with the results?

First off start using a good sunblock with a minimum rating of 15-30. Secondly, I had similar problems and tried most over the counter products with no results. I ended up going in and getting silk peel, followed by a laser treatment and am SO happy with the results. It removed all the brown spots and sun damage! Now I use Clinique products, and a good sunblock all the time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Is Skin Pigmentation?

Pigmentation of skin is a problem which is usually triggered by overexposure to the sun. So when you go tanning your skin in the sun, you could end up with a blotchy looking skin due to skin pigmentation. Our skin has tiny pigment producing cells, which are responsible for the kind of skin complexion that we have, and when these cells are subjected to extreme sunlight, they panic and their basic nature changes. The outcome could be that they go on producing extra melanoma on a permanent basis, which will mean darkening of the skin on a permanent basis.
If you’ve been dying to get a permanent tan on your skin, this theory will definitely make you a bit excited; however there is a downside to it. The main problem which prevents you from enjoying a uniform tan across your skin is that not all of the pigment producing cells may react in the same manner to the sun exposure. So while some of the cells may produce a lot of extra melanin, there will be other cells which will not react in the same manner and obviously your skin will look blotchy.
Also with over exposure to sun rays, some of these pigmentation cells may shut down working permanently, being unable to bear the stress. And the result of this is that, the area surrounding the cell turns white on a permanent basis and can never be tanned. These white patches are quite sordid to look at and this particular skin condition is called hypo-pigmentation. And what makes this scenario even more solemn is that these white patches are overly predisposed to turning into skin cancer cells.
To prevent pigmentation problem, the obvious solution lies in protecting your body skin from the harsh rays of the sun. So when you’re stepping out in the sun, don’t forget to carry your sun umbrella, and wear clothes which cover the maximum of your body skin. And for all body areas which cannot be concealed in the clothing and are likely to suffer sun damage, make liberal use of a strong sunscreen lotion.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunburn: Skin Cancer and Aging of the Skin

The experience of sunburn can be a very efficient (i.e. painful) reminder to heed adequate protection on future occasions. However more importantly, it should be a reminder of the long-term effects of sun exposure on our bodies and health ? which can include aging of the skin and skin cancer.
In order to more fully understand these consequences, let?s take a look at exactly what sunburn is, its symptoms and its effect on the body.
Sunburn results when the amount of exposure to the sun, or other ultraviolet light source (e.g. tanning lamps and welding arcs etc.), exceeds the ability of the body's protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin. Melanin content varies greatly, but in general darker skinned people have more melanin than lighter skinned. (Although fairer skinned people are generally more prone to getting sunburn than darker skinned people, this certainly does not exclude the latter from risk.)
Sunburn destroys cells in the outer layer of the skin, damaging tiny blood vessels underneath. Burns deeper into the skin?s layers also damage elastic fibers in the skin, which over time and with repeated sun overexposure, can result in the appearance of yellowish, wrinkled skin.
The damage to skin cells from UV exposure (either sunlight or tanning lamps etc.) can also include damage to their DNA. It?s this repeated DNA damage, which can lead to a cell becoming cancerous. With the incidence of skin cancer rising dangerously in many parts of the world, and with its ability to develop and establish itself in the body ?long? before external signs are detected, -- paying attention to this aspect of sun exposure and sunburn should certainly not be ignored if we are serious about preserving our health.
Now while it may be easier to ignore the effects of sunburn occurring at a cellular level, ignoring the external symptoms of sunburn in the days immediately following such exposure is entirely another matter.
While sunburn is usually not immediately obvious, skin discoloration (ranging from slightly pink to severely red or even purplish) will initially appear from 1 ? 24 hours after exposure. Although pain is usually worst 6 ? 48 hours afterward, the burn can continue to develop for 24 ? 72 hours after the incident. Where there is skin peeling, this generally occurs 3 ? 8 days after the burn occurs.
While minor sunburns typically cause nothing more than warm/hot skin, slight redness, and tenderness to the affected area, -- in more serious cases, extreme redness, swelling and blistering can occur. These blisters filled with fluid may itch and eventually break. This can then cause peeling of the skin, exposing an even tenderer layer of skin underneath.
Severe sunburn can cause very red, blistered skin but can also be accompanied by fever, chills, nausea (in some cases vomiting), and dehydration. In instances of extreme sunburn where the pain is debilitating, medical treatment may be required.
While the immediate effects of sunburn can certainly be painful and cause discomfort, the real deterrent to UV overexposure should be the potential damage to your long-term health ? including the risk of premature aging of the skin along with skin cancer.
Don?t let sunburn and sun overexposure kill your chances of enjoying youthful skin, and a healthy body. Remember, the easiest way to treat sunburn will always be to avoid it in the first place!
Angela Perin is author of the comprehensive new guide Your Personal Guide to Tanning - covering everything from your skin, uv light & sun-tanning, to sunburn, skin cancer, sunburn, sun protection and sunless tanning. Discover Safe Tan - The Ultimate Experience in Natural Sunless Tanning and download your free copy of this guide including bonus homemade recipes for sunburn relief, sunscreen and exfoliation!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5 Easy Skin Care Tips to Help Control Acne

Skin care is your first line of defense against acne and the effect it has on your skin. A myriad of medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed, can help with the blemishes and pimples associated with acne. However, a solid foundation of good skin care practices can be the difference between frequent blemish outbreaks and a more controlled and even skin appearance. Which do you prefer?

You may ask, How can I take better care of my skin when I have all of these blemishes to deal with? This is a commonly asked question and the reason why we developed these 5 easy skin care tips. They are intended to be an easy to follow routine, which will compliment any acne treatment regimen.

Following these 5 easy skin care tips will only take a few extra minutes each day and can make a dramatic difference in your skin appearance. And this is really what it's all about - improving your appearance and feeling better about yourself. Follow these tips and see if you don't notice the difference.

Gently Clean Your Face

Gentle is the key word here, as scrubbing the skin will only further irritate the acne. You should only use a gentle soap or skin cleaner made specifically for acne prone skin. Use a soft cloth to moisten the face and then apply the soap or cleaner gently to your skin, starting at the hairline and working your way down to your neck. Using your fingers, rather than a wash cloth, to work the soap around your face assures that you will not further irritate the acne.

Rinse your skin with plenty of water and pat dry with a soft towel. Again, do not scrub your face using the towel.

If you are prone to having oily skin, it may be necessary to apply an astringent to your skin. This should be done with care, as some astringents may irritate your acne. If you elect to use an astringent, it should only be applied to those areas of your face that are most oily. If you have concerns regarding the use of astringents, it's best to consult with your dermatologist.

Avoid Touching Your Blemishes

It can be very tempting, but don't give in to the urge to squeeze or pop pimples. What can seem like immediate gratification, can turn into something far worse. Breaking open a pustule or pimple invites bacterium to spread, causing even more pimples and blemishes. It can even result in permanent scarring.

A better solution is to just avoid touching your face altogether. Your hands tend to be dirty, oily and carry germs, which can all lead to the further spread of the acne. Just don't do it!

Apply Makeup Sparingly

Makeup has become a part of everyday grooming, but must be used carefully in combination with an acne skin condition. Of course, the best solution is to not wear makeup at all. But if you decide it is a necessity, make sure that the product you use is noncomedogenic, or will not clog your pores. And lastly, never use a makeup that has an oil base, it can severely exacerbate your acne.

Shave with Care

Shaving is a normal part of male grooming, but can be a painful experience for those suffering from acne. Deciding which shaving method - safety razor versus electric shaver - is right for you is more of a trial and error process. Try both and see which is more comfortable for you.

Regardless of which you choose, there are a few recommendations that will make the shaving experience more pleasant. Try to moisten the beard as much as possible before shaving. If using a safety razor, try using a sensitive skin shaving cream. Never use dull razor blades; it will just irritate your acne. And don't forget to change the blades on a regular basis.

Try to avoid shaving over blemishes; this can cause problems with spreading the bacteria that causes the acne. If you are experiencing a bad breakout, don't be afraid to miss a day or two of shaving. There is no sense in aggravating the situation even more.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

We all know that a suntan makes us look healthier and can temporarily hide your acne. However, your skin becomes accustomed to the sunlight, and the acne ultimately flairs up again. A greater risk to you is that some acne medications make your skin sensitive to sunlight. This can cause a severe skin reaction from even limited sun exposure.

And as most dermatologists warn, direct sunlight will also dry out your skin, making it more vulnerable to aging and skin cancer. It just isn't worth it! Be safe and apply a generous amount of sensitive-skin sunscreen to your face before heading out for a day in the sun.

Bill Wilson suffered from acne for years and learned by experience, ways to minimize the effects of this frustrating skin condition. Try his 5 easy skin care tips to help control acne outbreaks and give you a more radiant complexion. For more useful tips visit:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Melasma: Causes and Treatments

A common skin condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide, Melasma is more prevalent in women than in men. Melasma appears as irregularly shaped skin discoloration on the faces of affected individuals. The cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose and upper lip are most commonly involved. Individuals with light brown skin tones are amongst those most affected and while it is cosmetically disfiguring, it tends not to cause any other symptoms beyond the skin discoloration.
Chloasma or “mask of pregnancy” is the name for Melasma associated with pregnancy.
What Causes Melasma?
Melasma may be triggered by hormonal changes related to estrogen and/or progesterone as found during pregnancy or with the use of the birth control pill. A genetic susceptibility may be involved and while the exact cause is unknown, melanocytes - the skin’s pigment producing cells - are stimulated resulting in the production of excess melanin.
Exposure to UV rays may also stimulate melanocytes and contribute to Melasma. In fact, it’s thought that darker skinned individuals are affected more as they have more melanocytes than lighter skinned individuals.
Treatment of Melasma
Skin discoloration may resolve spontaneously if the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy or the use of birth control pills stop. However, Melasma may also remain for many years. While there’s no cure for Melasma, it can be managed by using a number of effective skin care ingredients that work in different ways. You’ll obtain the best results by combining agents that complement one another. Here’s an overview of ingredients to consider:
1. Sunscreens. Nothing is more important in the management of Melasma than the use of a well formulated UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen. UV rays can stimulate melanocytes within minutes so if you can’t avoid the sun (which should be your first choice), then wear a high SPF sunscreen daily, year round. UVA rays are prevalent all year round and can penetrate clouds and windows; don’t think you’re safe if you’re inside sitting by a window.
2. Bleaching creams. Technically not “bleaching creams”, these creams lighten skin by decreasing the activity of melanocytes at various stages. The result is decreased pigmentation. Bleaching creams incorporate a range of ingredients and are often combined together in formulations with other agents for maximum benefit.
Hydroquinone is still regarded as the gold standard for hyperpigmentation disorders. It is an effective inhibitor of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of melanin, the skin’s pigment. Though there are some safety concerns with its use, if used at recommended doses (4% or less) or under a physician’s guidance, it’s well tolerated and effective. Hydroquinone is often combined with other products such as prescription retinoids, over the counter retinol or alpha hydroxy acids. It may also be combined with other botanical skin lightening agents including arbutin, Rumex occidentalis, Gigawhite or kojic acid.
3. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid or mandelic acid exfoliate the skin’s top layer thereby removing pigmentation. Research has shown that they may also inhibit the production of melanin. AHAs are often added to bleaching agents to increase their penetration as well as remove pigmentation.
4. Vitamin C has demonstrated skin brightening properties at concentrations 5% or higher. Products incorporating Vitamin C make a useful adjunct to the treatment of Melasma.
5. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover and are often combined with hydroquinone to effectively attack skin discoloration. Retinoids can be continued indefinitely as it has many skin benefits beyond the management of Melasma. Studies have shown than retinoids can also stimulate collagen production, unclog pores, and increase skin thickness.
6. Chemical peels and laser treatments have been shown to deliver mixed results. If you choose this option, always work with a qualified professional, as there is the risk for skin injury.
Melasma won’t resolve quickly. Successful treatment may take months and you may have to try a number of products before finding a regimen that delivers. Once you’ve achieved your desired results, continue using sunscreen daily. And, other ingredients including alpha hydroxy acid, retinoids, botanical brighteners and Vitamin C may be continued as well for their skin benefits beyond skin lightening.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How to Choose an Over The Counter Acne Medication

There are literally hundreds of various treatments available to reduce acne. There is everything from all natural herbal remedies, to powerful chemical pharmaceuticals such as Accutane.

However, the most commonly used acne treatments in the United States are over the counter acne medications. They are generally inexpensive when compared to prescription medications, and some work very well.

Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used over the counter acne medication, and for good reason; Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most effective acne treatments available.

A 5% solution is usually all that is needed to treat acne, and it has almost no side effects for most people who use it. Unlike antibiotics and other prescription medications, Benzoyl peroxide can be used for months, even years at a time, and there are really no long term side effects (including a tolerance) that can be associated with it.

Furthermore, benzoyl peroxide has been compared to some of the prescription medications for acne, and it is nearly as effective as many acne antibiotics. Over all, benzoyl peroxide is the most successful over the counter acne medication.

However, there are others that can be very beneficial as well, including salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, and it works as an astringent to remove dead skin cells. By removing the dead cells, this helps eliminate clogged pores, as well as help the skin renew itself faster.

Since acne is caused by p.bacteria that builds up in sebum in the pores of the skin, it is very important for the sebum to have a way of draining out of the pores before it becomes infected. Once salicylic acid is used to eliminate the dead skin cells, then the sebum is much less likely to become trapped under the skin and infected.

Salicylic acid is often sold as a makeup remover, but it is most commonly used in acne treatment via stridex pads or oxy pads.

Sulfur is also used in some over the counter acne medications. Sulfur is one of the oldest acne treatments, and reacts with the skin in such a way that it makes it dry, and peel. This works on acne by drying out the Sebum, and therefore, stopping the bacterial growth.

Many soaps and facial cleansers have sulfur in them. Sulfur is effective in getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads. It doesn?t work well against the more inflamed cystic acne. One of the drawbacks is that it can increase skin cell adhesion to the skin, and therefore help cause more pimples in the future. It is best to use a gentle exfoliator when using sulfur to treat acne.

Sulfur also has a strong odor, and some people have skin that reacts harshly to sulfur, causing excessive redness and peeling.

Resorcinol is another over-the-counter chemical that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne. It works by breaking down hard skin. For acne, this means less clogged pores, and faster skin growth. Resorcinol is commonly used with sulfur to treat acne. It is also good for eczema and dandruff.

Because it is a strong chemical, don?t use resorcinol with other astringents or cleansers unless advised by a dermatologist to do so.

These are the most commonly used over the counter acne treatments. For anyone who is suffering from acne, these 4 over-the-counter treatments have a good chance of helping to reduce or eliminate acne.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Freckle Removal Tips For Girls

Very few orthodox doctors favor natural products for treating the pain and stiffness of arthritis and similar disabilities resulting from accidents. Not so, with Ramon B. Gustilo, MD, former Chair in Orthopedic Surgery at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.

World-famous for research in artificial joint replacement and fracture fixation, and co-inventing the most widely used hip replacement device, Dr. Gustilo treats arthritis patients with a natural, non-prescription material - Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II - so effective in treating rheumatoid and osteoarthritis that Dr. Gustilo will soon begin a double-blind study on its specific benefits. Collagen Type II is the most prevalent collagen found in the human body. As we age, the collagen in our joints, skin and hair begins to weaken. Dry hair and skin, brittle nails, and tender joints can be the result. Collagen Type II helps replenish and rebuild collagen weakened by age.

Rich in chondroitin sulfate and naturally-occurring Hyaluronic Acid (a joint and skin lubricant with proven youthifying benefits), Collagen Type II is linked to many success stories about its positive effects on both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Solid studies report that Hyaluronic Acid promotes greater agility, especially in knee osteoarthritis, and helps renew connective tissue and skin.

About Arthritis:

The most common causes of osteoarthritis are over-use, abuse and injury. As we age, insulating cartilage at the joints wears away, and bone rasps on bone. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the cartilage in joints throughout the body.

Hydrolyzed (Patented) Collagen Type II works in different ways on these two major types of arthritis. In osteoarthritis, it supplies critical building materials to restore health to cartilage in the joints and a rich amount of the naturally-occurring anti-inflammatory proteoglycans. In rheumatoid arthritis, it instructs the immune system to stop attacking cartilage and enables the body to rebuild damaged cartilage.

Worthy of Applause:

Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II, derived from 100% pure chicken sternum cartilage (part of the breastbone) is entirely safe. Benefits frequently include pain reduction and improved joint mobility.

A study by A.J. Bollet, MD, revealed that Collagen Type II cartilage helps with joint diseases by promoting protein and chondroitin sulfate synthesis, keys to cartilage building. Of the various types of cartilage tested, chicken breast sternum cartilage showed the highest level of Collagen Type II, anti-inflammatory proteoglycans.

Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II is extracted from chicken breast sternum cartilage only. This patented Collagen Type II is the most absorbable found anywhere, and includes the easiest to assimilate forms of chondroitin sulfate and Hyaluronic Acid.

All of the natural components of Collagen Type II combine to contribute effectiveness in treating abuse, or wear and tear, on the joints. Here are a few examples.

A man recovering from an auto accident could not move his head or walk without laboring. After a week on this product, the discomfort and stiffness had lessened dramatically. By the end of three weeks, he could move his head freely and walk with no problems. He was so elated that he demonstrated his condition to the owner of a grocery store chain. The owner was so impressed that he agreed to carry the product in his stores.

Another person was diagnosed with scoliosis, osteoarthritis of the spine, and degenerative disc disease. Her active life was over. Because of the constant pain, she had to go on disability at work. Within one month of using a patented Collagen Type II product, she was amazed at the improvement. Within four months, she was back to her active life.

After eight years in and out of a wheelchair, an arthritis patient is now free of the wheelchair and has returned to singing and dancing on stage; thanks to hydrolyzed Collagen Type II!

James Scheer, former editor of Let's Live magazine, author of many nutritional articles and books (including The Garlic Cure, The Magic of Chia, and Solved, the Riddle of Illness) has been the featured author in previous issues of Applied Health Journal