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Valuable products from the honeybee hive


Contributions of honeybees to mankind are so overwhelming that we often forget to recognize how valuable and important they actually are. We remember that hive products offer food and practical medical support but we may forget that the major contribution to the global ecology is the sustaining by pollination of most of the wild and cultivated flora. No other insect species furnishes any useful products as do the bees.

Let’s review the many products that we can harvest from the honeybee hive.

Honey — Concentrated from the sweet nectar collected from blossoms, composed of 82 percent sugars packed with minerals, vitamins and enzymes. It is prized for cooking, and a multitude of important medical properties such as antiseptic and burn treatment. We enjoy its sweet, natural floral essence but need to remember that it is not just for tea!

Propolis — Amorphous, resinous material gathered from plant buds and bark to strengthen the hive comb structure, varnish the inner surface of the hive, with its antiseptic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Widely used in topical and internal medications for its healing properties. Used in fine varnishes and in ancient embalming.

Royal Jelly — Special nutritious food produced by nurse bees to feed young larva, converting the ordinary worker larva to a fertile, female queen. Rich in lipids, amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, widely used as food supplement and in dermatological cosmetics.

Bees Wax — Secreted by young bees, molded into strong hexagonal shaped comb cells to furnish support for brood and honey storage. Honey sealed n wax comb provides long (3,000 years) shelf life. Unique properties provide wide usage for candles, waterproofing, dentistry, polishes, and many healthy products.

Compared to petroleum-based paraffin, beeswax candles burn longer, give less smoke, less dripping, and fill the room with fragrant floral essence.

Bee Venom — Toxic liquid injected during a bee sting. Several proteins and enzymes cause painful inflammation during defensive stinging. Used by dermatologists test for allergy sensitivity. Bee sting therapy treats the symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto immune conditions. For more information, visit American Apitherapy Society at

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Edible Cosmetics Redefine Inner Beauty

Eat your way to clearer skin, healthier hair, and brighter eyes.

Beauty lotions and potions are so 2011. The newest way to make your skin glow, clear up acne, and brighten your eyes isn’t with a little bottle of face cream but rather chocolate creme—as in the case of Borba’s slimming chews and Frutel’s new acne fighter both made out of, yes, chocolate. Apparently eating it doesn’t make you break out or gain weight! That is, if you buy into it.

While women have long ingested pills and vitamins in order to grow healthier hair, stronger nails, and glowing skin, this next generation of edible cosmetics sees your puny Flinstone vitamin and raises you with a range of delicious products that include vitamins, herbs, fruit extracts, and a host of other good-for-you compounds. But why should we eat our makeup when we could get the same vitamins in their natural form by eating whole, healthy foods?

Tanya Zuckerbrot, the official dietitian of the Miss America pageant and co-creator of the edible Beauty Booster, says succinctly, “Juices have a ton of calories. Who wants to sacrifice their behind for their face?” Did we mention the Beauty Booster is calorie- and sugar-free?

Long popular in Europe and Japan, the new industry is just catching on in America, thanks in no small part to celebrities seen carrying the products and their almost-as-famous doctors. Designer Norma Kamali even has her own line of specialty olive oils said to be based on her Spanish-Lebanese upbringing saying, “Olive oil was part of our lives and not just on the table. My mother knew it was good for so many things, so I was indoctrinated quite early.”

Designer olive oil is one thing, but gummy bears that give you “gorgeous skin and anti-aging power?” Edible cosmetics are available in a variety of forms, including candy chews, gummies, drinks, and concentrates that range in potency. But the real question is do they work? Doctors and nutritionists are, naturally, dubious.

“Good skin does not come from slickly marketed beauty drinks and foods, but from vegetables, whole foods, and plain water,” critics say. The FDA is staying out of it, as they don’t regulate cosmetics.

It might be a while before all the research gets sorted out. In the meantime if you’re going to eat a granola bar, would it hurt to try one that also “improves skin tone” like the Nimble Bar?

What do you think of this new category of “neutriceuticals”? Would try edible makeup? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!

By Charlotte Andersen

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Preemptive Skincare for Anti Aging Part 1 The Basics

Proper-Skin-CarePreemptive Skincare for Anti-Aging Part 1: The Basics

When it comes to anti-aging skincare options, it’s a veritable jungle out there. From cleansers to serums, finding the perfect products can be a rather tricky task. Thankfully, the process becomes easier when you know what each product does. Knowing a product’s purpose and function will go a long way in helping you select the right skincare regimen to meet your needs.
The start to any good skincare routine is all in taking it off, with a good cleanser. Skin cleansers are designed to remove dirt, pollutants, and oily residue from the surface of the skin without stripping away essential moisture. If a cleanser is too harsh or drying, it will lead to the appearance of dull, sallow, dry, thin-looking skin.
Facial exfoliators typically consist of grainy particles suspended in a gel base. These are designed to unclog the pores, remove blackheads, and scrub off dead skin and dirt. Physical exfoliators usually contain ground apricot kernels, sugar, ground shells, and even sand, while chemical exfoliants use acids to achieve the same results. Exfoliators are also believed to improve skin circulation and promote healthy skin cell turnover, which keeps the skin youthful looking.


The toner—perhaps one of the most misunderstood products in a skincare routine serves to restore the pH balance of the skin after cleansing. To explain further, the skin normally has a slightly acidic pH, which helps to guard it against any harsh environmental factors. However,the skin tends to become basic after cleansing, which leaves it vulnerable to environmental radicals. A toner immediately corrects the pH imbalance, restoring skin to its healthy acidic state. Toners also make the skin more receptive to anti-aging serums and moisturizers.


The main function of a facial serum is to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin in order to deliver concentrated skin nutrients. With smaller particles and a lighter texture than most moisturizers, skincare serums will go further and work harder than a typical moisturizer, which generally only reach the surface layers of the skin.


The function of the moisturizer in any skincare routine is to replace moisture in the skin that might have been stripped by the environment and from cleansing. Moisturizers promote healthy skin hydration levels along with a healthy skin texture. The anti-aging moisturizer does all of that, with the added benefits of reducing wrinkles, boosting radiance, and promoting healthy skin cell turnover.

With this knowledge of basic skincare product types, finding the products that you need will be a snap. Stay tuned for part 2, which is all about key skincare ingredients!




Beauty Blogger
In her 20’s from New York City


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The ABC’s of BB Creams

7The universe of BB creams—also known as beauty balms (or interestingly, blemish balms), is just starting to hit its stride.

The next step up from tinted moisturizers, BB creams are available from both prestige and mass brands, and all offer a unique twist on benefits and functional pay-off to entice consumers. Chief among these benefits are skin hydration and smoothing as well as brightening, makeup priming and skin protection from SPF; a sheer or light tint to help hide discoloration and redness, and antioxidants and other free-radical fighting elements.

In addition, many BB creams now feature light-diffusing properties to help soften the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles. Tall order for one cream! To get a better idea of just what consumers really think of all that BB creams do and deliver to the skin, we asked more than 400 women to share their thoughts, impressions and take-aways—here’s what they had to say for themselves: Awareness of beauty balms is high. Nearly 100 percent of women have heard of BB creams, 83 percent feel they understand how to use BB creams and 80 percent of women are using them. Of that group, nearly half are using their BB cream on a daily basis and 41 percent a few times a week. When she uses this product, most women are applying it just as they would their moisturizer—with their fingers (80 percent), with only a small percentage opting to use more advanced artistry techniques such as makeup sponges (15 percent) or a makeup brush (5 percent) and two-thirds would replace their favorite moisturizer with a BB cream. It appears consumers view BB creams as a functional, “work-horse” sort-of product, like a moisturizer or sunscreen rather than a finishing product, like foundation or powder, and these hybrid products are fitting seamlessly into her daily beauty regimen (a coveted spot for any product), adding value and benefits to her overall daily beauty experience.

Of the many benefits that beauty balms provide (and there are dozens), leading benefits for consumers include the multi-functional/all-in-one effect (75 percent), the lightweight feel (67 percent), the moisturizing properties (65 percent), the sheer color (56 percent) and the SPF (55 percent). Touted benefits that didn’t score as high were surprising including: added antioxidants (35 percent) and oil-free formulations (36 percent). Given that consumers with dry skin would naturally need a more hydrating formula and not be attracted to an oil-free beauty balm, the low appeal scores for an oil-free formula are perhaps not surprising.

But a lower appeal for added antioxidants seemed contrary to the kinds of benefits women most often demand from their moisturizers, and suggests when it comes to formulating new BB creams or balms, brands should more closely look at what they are promising in order to differentiate their offering from the pack in a way that she’s seeking. As far as BB cream performance goes, consumers are generally satisfied. Ninety-six percent agree BB creams make their skin feel smooth, hydrated (95 percent) and their skin look flawless (79 percent). Additionally, 85 percent of women agree BB creams layer well under foundation, and 81 percent agree they are ideal for all skin tones. However, where BB creams still need to improve is in the tints and colors provided. Only 79 percent feel the sheer tint of most BB creams work on all skin tones, and only 74 percent feel they offer enough coverage to forgo wearing foundation.

Her biggest frustration? Knowing which BB cream to pick; half of women feel it is hard to know the right beauty balm to choose, 31 percent feel they are too expensive and 30 percent feel they don’t offer enough coverage. In fact, when it comes to cost, most consumers feel prices on the lower end of the cost threshold are ideal, and a majority (59 percent) are only willing to pay between $10 and $20 for a beauty balm, and less than 20 percent are willing to pay more than $30. As BB creams continue to flourish, the next great skin care product—CC creams, only just now making their entrance into the U.S. beauty landscape—are already garnering significant consumer awareness. Nearly half of all women (47 percent) have heard of CC creams. It would seem multi-functional products are here to stay.

by Alisa Marie Beyer

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5 other ways to protect your skin

Stashing a bottle of sunscreen in your purse or beach bag is key to protecting your skin. So is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and washing your face every day. But there are several other serious skincare steps that you might be overlooking. Here are five essential ways to keep your skin healthy and safe that you might not think about — but should.

Check your medication.
Do you take any medications? (Yes, the occasional aspirin for headache and pain relief also counts.) If so, it may be making you extra sensitive to the sun, which could put your skin at risk. According to Reader’s Digest, the following medications can make you photosensitive:
  • NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Skin treatments with vitamin A
  • Antibiotics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Saint John’s Wort
  • Diuretics

Even if your medication didn’t make the list, talk to your pharmacist about whether your medication might be increasing your vulnerability to the sun. Be especially diligent with your sun care routine, and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 at a minimum every few hours. Also, check out these 10 lesser-known facts about smart sun protection.

  • Use antioxidants. Various vitamins can deliver vital nutrients to your skin and keep it healthy. One effective way to foster healthy skin is to fortify your skin’s outer protective barrier. Vitamin B3, for instance, helps to boost the production of ceramides and fatty acids, which are components of your skin’s barrier. Specifically, a brawny barrier helps skin retain moisture and keep irritants out, Leslie S. Baumann, M.D., director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, tells Prevention. When searching for skincare products with B3, look for the ingredient niacinamide.

Also, seek out formulas with vitamin C, which defuses skin-damaging free radicals. Other skin-protecting antioxidants include coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid. If you’re not sure what type of product you’d like, consider investing in a serum. Serums are usually highly concentrated and can sink deeper into the skin. Here’s more information on how various antioxidants can help your skin.

  • Beware harmful bacteria. According to Dr. Baumann on The Skin Guru, her Yahoo! Health blog, bathrooms are a breeding ground for cosmetic contamination — and in some surprising ways.

Do you keep your cream in the shower? Have acne and use a loofah? The humidity can harm your products and your skin. In fact, humidity fosters fungi growth and can even decrease a product’s effectiveness. Instead, keep your products in cool, dark locations. Using the same loofah when you have acenic skin can spread the acne to other spots of your body. Rather than cleansing with a reusable loofah, Dr. Baumann suggests using Pond’s Cleansing Towelettes.

Other ways to prevent contamination concerns? According to Dr. Baumann, avoid sharing makeup with others, don’t use your saliva to remove eye makeup (it can cause an eye infection) and wash beauty brushes once a month and makeup sponges once a week (be sure they’re thoroughly dry before using).

  • Know when products expire — and ditch them. You might be surprised to learn that both skincare and beauty products can spoil, and keeping them around any longer once they’ve expired can actually harm your skin. You may feel guilty about throwing away a half-used product, but beauty products that’ve gone bad can cause everything from eye infections and recurrent cold sores to skin irritations and allergic reactions. Check out ourcomprehensive guide to expiration dates on when to pitch products — and how to prolong their shelf life.
  • If you have a skin condition, be cautious at the spa. Do you have eczema, rosacea or psoriasis? Some spa treatments can worsen these skin conditions, according to dermatologist Susan Evans, M.D., on her blog, Healthy Skin, on WebMD. Before scheduling an appointment, Dr. Evans suggests asking the spa if they specialize in your skin condition.

If you have rosacea, avoid getting microdermabrasion or chemical peels, she says. Go to a dermatologist for these treatments instead. Also, avoid facials with “alcohol, eucalyptus, fragrance, menthol, peppermint or witch hazel,” she says, along with potentially triggering “hot towel treatments to the face, facial steaming, steam baths and saunas.”

If you have moderate to severe acne, avoid spa treatments, like facials, altogether. For instance, estheticians should never perform extractions on inflamed acne lesions like nodules, according to About’s acne guide Angela Palmer, M.D. If you’re using a retinoid formula, exfoliation is also prohibited. Overall, it’s best to make an appointment with a dermatologist. And if you’re thinking about having a spa treatment, consult the dermatologist about that, too.

In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to research any spa you’re thinking about attending and to inquire about the esthetician’s experience. Here are some general tips on selecting a spa.

Keeping skin healthy and safe means following a few important steps: checking your medication to see if it boosts your sun sensitivity, using antioxidants to fight free radicals, ensuring your skincare products are safe and still effective and taking precautions when visiting the spa.

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What is Hyper Pigmentation?

Hyper pigmentation refers to skin that has turned darker than normal where the change that has occurred is unrelated to sun exposure. Hyper pigmentation is caused due to excessive production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that is solely responsible for the color of the skin. Hyper pigmentation occurs due to the excessive secretion of melanocyte stimulating hormone that enhances the production of melanocytes. The melanocytes produce the pigment melanin. Hyper pigmentation affects the areas that are not exposed to light like the genital areas, armpits etc.

Hyper pigmentation may be caused by internal and external causes. Internal causes include hormonal imbalances such as pregnancy. An external cause for hyper pigmentation is sun exposure. Sots of brown may appear with sun exposure without the use of a sunblock.

There are a few types of hyperpigmentation that is based on the cause of the excess melanin and its appearance on the skin. These include melasma, age spots or liver spots, freckles, and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. It is also related with a number of diseases such as Addison’s disease and other sources of adrenal insufficiency, in which the hormones induce melanin synthesis.

Hyperpigmentation treatment

•Topical Whitening / Bleaching creams – Although Hydroquinone is one of the best-established topical agents for reducing skin pigmentation it is now a banned substance in most countries around the world. Their are excellent alternatives however, Arbutin, Kojic, Licorice, Vitamin C to name but a few. Most creams will take several weeks to produce results because even though the synthesis of new melanin is blocked quickly, the existing melanin takes a relatively long time to migrate out of the skin in the process of natural exfoliation.

•Hydroxy Acid Peels – They increase cell renewal rate and correct hyper pigmentation marks. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble acids and can help remove hyperpigmentation.

•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 laser that leaves no scares, can sometimes heals freckles or other mild sun spots without using peels or hydroquinone creams beforehand.

Skin hyperpigmentation is not a life threatening condition. Nevertheless, you should consult with your doctor to confirm that it is not melanoma, a form of skin cancer. In addition, you should see your doctor if you experience unexplained darkening or lightening or any skin sore or lesion that changes the color of the skin.

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Apple Stem Cells Offer Hope For Aging and Damaged Skin

As we age, the reduced turnover of our cells means we can lose control over how our skin ages. Epidermal stem cells needed to create healthy new skin are significantly reduced and function less efficiently. A discovery based on promising plant stem cell research may allow you to regain control.

Scientists have found that a novel extract derived from the stem cells of a rare apple tree cultivated for its extraordinary longevity shows tremendous ability to rejuvenate aging skin. By stimulating aging skin stem cells, this plant extract has been shown to lessen the appearance of unsightly wrinkles. Clinical trials show that this unique formulation increases the longevity of skin cells, resulting in skin that has a more youthful and radiant appearance.

Stem Cells
Cells in our bodies are programmed for specific functions. A skin cell, a brain cell, and a liver cell all contain the same DNA, or set of genes. However, each cell’s fate is determined by a set of epigenetic (able to change gene expression patterns) signals that come from inside it and from the surrounding cells as well. These signals are like command tags attached to the DNA that switch certain genes on or off.

This selective coding creates all of the different kinds of cells in our bodies, which are collectively known as differentiated (specialized) cells.

Although differentiated cells vary widely in purpose and appearance, they all have one thing in common: they all come with a built-in operational limit. After so many divisions, they lose their ability to divide and must be replaced. This is where stem cells come in.

Your body also produces other cells that contain no specific programming. These stem cells are “blank,” so your body can essentially “format” them any way it pleases. Two universal aspects shared by this type of cell are: (1) the ability to replenish itself through a process of self-renewal and (2) the capacity to produce a differentiated cell.

In animals and humans, two basic kinds of stem cells exist: embryonic and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the power to change into any differentiated cell type found anywhere in your body. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are generally more limited. They can only evolve into the specific type of cell found in the tissue where they are located. The primary function of these adult stem cells is maintenance and repair.

But certain adult stem cells found in nature retain the unlimited developmental potential that embryonic stem cells possess. These cells have become the main focus for an exciting new wave of regenerative medicine (repairing damaged or diseased tissues and organs using advanced techniques like stem cell therapy and tissue engineering).

The Role of Stem Cells in the Skin
The basal (innermost) layer of the skin’s epidermis comprises two basic types of cells: (1) the slowly dividing epidermal stem cells (that represent about 2-7% of the basal cell population) and (2) their rapidly dividing offspring that supply new cells to replace those that are lost or dying.1-3

The slow self-renewal process of epidermal stem cells, however, creates a problem. Because each epidermal stem cell only lasts for a certain number of divisions, and because each division runs the risk of lethal DNA mutation, the epidermal stem cell population can become depleted. When this happens, lost or dying skin cells begin to outnumber their replacements and the skin’s health and appearance start to decline.

So what can be done? Scientists turned to plants for the answer.

Planting a Seed of Hope
Plants also have stem cells. Like humans, plant stem cells depend on epigenetic control and signals from surrounding cells for their development. Unlike humans, however, each plant-derived adult stem cell possesses the ability to generate a whole new plant.4 Scientists have found a way to harness the power of plant stem cells by growing plant tissues in culture.

The technique is a relatively simple one. First, viable tissue is obtained from a source plant. This material is called an explant. Next, a small cut is made in the explant. New cells form on the surface of this cut in an attempt to heal the wound. This colorless mass of cells is called a callus. The slowly dividing cells of a callus are undifferentiated cells that lack the characteristics of normal plant cells. They are essentially unprogrammed and full of potential.

With this technology, it is theoretically possible to propagate any plant cell in a liquid culture, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities. This fact started scientists thinking—what would happen if an extract of genetically long-lived plant stem cell tissue was applied to human skin?

Comparing Apples to Apples
Today, apples are cultivated primarily to enhance their appearance and flavor. But before the rise of refrigeration, an apple’s ability to stay fresh for a long time was its most sought-after characteristic.

For this reason, a special variety of apple was cultivated in the middle of the 18th century that could be stored for a greatly extended period of time. In essence, it was the genetically modified, longer-living stem cells of this tannin-rich variety of apple, called the Uttwiler Spätlauber apple, which were responsible for its unique storage longevity.

In a certain isolated area of rural Switzerland, a few of these hardy apple trees still survive today. Scientists obtained an explant from the leaf of one of these trees to produce a special anti-aging stem cell extract.

The Amazing Results
In order to test the theory that this unique plant extract would produce anti-aging effects, scientists at Mibelle Biochemistry first obtained human stem cells from the blood of an umbilical cord. Their first in-house study on cell viability showed that, at a concentration of only 0.1%, an extract of Uttwiler Spätlauber stem cells stimulated the proliferation of human stem cells by an astounding 80%!

In a second experiment, these scientists irradiated the umbilical cord blood stem cells with UV light. Nearly 50% of the stem cells cultured in growth medium alone died, but the cells grown in the culture containing the special apple extract showed only a small decrease in the number of living cells.

Another in vitro experiment conducted by the scientists involved fibroblast cells. These are the most common of all cells in the connective tissue of the skin. They manufacture the collagen, glycosaminoglycans, reticular and elastic fibers, and glycoproteins that make up the extracellular matrix (connective tissues providing support to cells). Fibroblasts not only help provide a structural framework for the skin, they also play a critical role in wound healing.

In their experiment, the scientists treated fibroblast cells with hydrogen peroxide for two hours until the cells began to show classic signs of aging. In scientific terms, this means that several genes essential for cell proliferation and growth were significantly down-regulated. However, after incubating these cells for 144 hours in a 2% Uttwiler Spätlauber extract, this down-regulation of genes was effectively neutralized, and in some cases, it was actually reversed! In addition, the scientists noted that the expression of an important antioxidant enzyme called heme oxigenase 1 was also stimulated.

Finally, the scientists conducted a human study to determine the anti-wrinkle effectiveness of a special cream containing a 2% Uttwiler Spätlauber extract along with lecithin liposomes. This patent-pending cream (called PhytoCellTec™ Malus Domestica) was applied twice daily to the crow’s feet area of 20 participants. Wrinkle depth was reduced by an average of 8% after just two weeks, and by 15% after four weeks—thus reducing the signs of aging!

Courtesy of Gary Goldfaden, MD

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How to avoid Crow’s feet

You can minimize the development of wrinkles around your eyes by applying sunscreen (but remember, not too close to your eyes), and wearing protective eyewear (such as wrap-around sunglasses) or a hat. Some wrinkles are produced by the repeated movement of the skin through facial expressions, others occur as a result of sun damage.

The regular use of a quality moisturizer is the first basic step to reducing the look of existing lines. When selecting a product, remember that price is not a reflection of quality. Well hydrated skin appears noticeably smoother and even textured.

Continued regular use of a moisturizer in combination with daytime application of a sheer foundation will vastly improve your overall complexion. Implement a nighttime eye treatment just before bed to allow your skin to soak up the nourishing ingredients and help regenerate your skin’s appearance. Also, try incorporating daily sun protection with an SPF-rated moisturizer to reduce further photodamage to your skin.

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Skin Care Tips Content Developed By Skin Care Guide Dermatologists

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The largest Organ

Your skin is more than just your face, although that’s what most people pay the most attention to. Your skin is actually the largest organ in your body and weighs probably more than you think. Below are some interesting facts and tips that may surprise you about your skin.

To get more skin care tips and facts, click on Skin Care Tips and Facts:Your skin is your body’s largest organ! The skin of the average woman weighs three kilograms, while that of the average man weighs five kilograms.

What’s the secret to great skin? Not surprisingly, the state of our skin is affected by genes, nutrition, general health, emotional well-being and exercise. How you care for your skin also plays an important role in ensuring you look your best.

You’ve probably heard that skin is made up of skin cells. But did you know that you have approximately 19 million skin cells on every square inch of skin!

Eat your veggies! Eating a wide range of vegetables – particularly those high in vitamins C and E (such as spinach, carrots, red bell peppers and tomatoes) – will ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants, compounds that are believed to play an important role in maintaining the health of both your body and your skin.

We’re all thin-skinned, in certain areas! The thickness of our skin varies considerably, depending on its location and the role it plays: it’s thinnest on our eyelids and thickest on the palms of our hands and soles of our feet.

Not sure of your skin type? Try this simple test. About 15 minutes after washing your face and patting it dry, press lens-cleaning paper on different parts of your face. In those areas where you produce a lot of oil, the paper will stick or pick up oil. If it doesn’t stick anywhere, you have dry skin. If it only sticks on your forehead, nose and chin, you have normal or combination skin. If it sticks everywhere, you have oily skin.

Need to look after your skin? A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases and disorders of the skin. Your family physician may refer you to a dermatologist, who can help you select the treatment options that are best for your particular condition.


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Sensitive Skin

1. Is your skin easily damaged or irritated?
2. Is your skin dry, delicate and prone to irritant
or allergic reactions?
3. Does your skin have a reduced tolerance to cold,
heat, wind, temperature changes, or pollution?

If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, consider yourself a member of the “sensitive skin” club to which 56 per cent of Canadian women claim to belong. Of this group, more than 46 per cent also have dry skin.

What is sensitive skin?Generally if you have easily irritated or reactive skin, then you have ‘sensitive skin’. Most of the time sensitive skin relates to the face. Sensitive skin can be caused by a genetic predisposition or environmental factors. It appears as a redness, a swelling, itchy and dry irritation to the face. One of the major jobs of the skin is to waterproof. This is done to the epidermis or surface layer of the skin, producing a fat-protein sandwich that is always being replaced and is vital to prevent too much water loss from the skin.

Symptoms of sensitive skin include:
A tingling or tightening of the skin without visible signs
“Overreaction” to skin care or cosmetic products
Reactions to shaving, or other physical stress to the skin
Sensitive skin can also be a heads-up for other conditions, such as:Altered skin — due to shaving, waxing, medications or heat, cold, wind, and pollution. Also, laser or chemical peels or scar removal
Allergic skin – the sudden appearance of redness or swelling and itchiness
Atopic skin – dry skin that is itchy and produces eczema. Eczema is related to hayfever and asthma. (see Eczema Guide for more information)
Rosacea skin – blood vessels of the face enlarge resulting in a flushed sensation or a redness of the skin
What to do about your skin?Perfume or scented creams can be irritating.
Rinse well after using cleansing products, which should be mild and soap-free as they do not remove so much oil from the skin ( gives you more information about this kind of cleansers)
Use a moisturizer and sunscreen that is formulated for sensitive skin
Don’t over wash your face. Temperature of the water should be tepid; neither hot or cold
Don’t use exfoliants
Be aware of seasonal temperatures. The sudden dryness of winter can mean itchy, dry skin until the skin responds by increasing oil production to reduce the water loss
For breakouts use a cleanser with salicylic acid to help exfoliate pores. There are also moisturizers that contain salicylic acid
Be sensitive to stress

The causes and effects of stress on the body are not fully known, but for some people stress interferes with the body’s systems that repair and regulate the skin. Stress kills your natural antioxidant defenses, which help to prevent accelerated aging of the skin. Hormones can also trigger a histamine release within the skin causing it to erupt in bumpy redness, or breakout in hives.

Desensitize yourself

When choosing makeup, especially foundation and blush, buy oil-free products. Makeup that is water-based won’t clog pores. Look for oil-absorbing foundations that help keep oil off the face.

As for the rest of your body, check ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals in soaps, shampoos, body cleansers and creams, bath oils, bubble baths, etc.

* Put your best face forward Watch your alcohol intake, spicy foods and caffeine
* Try to avoid excessive temperature changes
* Use the right cleansers, moisturizers and cosmetics
* Manage stress as best you can

By Richard Thomas, MD, FRCPC