Author Archives: Michelle Leong

examination of scalp using UV technology

8 Pre-Treatments to Save Your Scalp

Scalp problems are extremely common, and come in so many different forms. No matter what scalp issues you may currently be battling, here are 8 pretreatments that are likely to be able to help.

1. Pretreatment for Scalp Acne

While scalp acne may not actually be noticeable unless you have short hair, it is still unpleasant to deal with, as it can be painful, annoying, and lead to hair loss.

Scalp acne can be caused by a number of different things:

  • Junk food
  • Hormones
  • An oily scalp
  • Hair products
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Constipation
  • Medications

The acne that forms on your scalp is exactly the same as acne that would form on your face, or other parts of your body, and can significantly vary in severity.

To treat scalp acne, use a medicated shampoo, as recommended in the section above for oily scalps.

Since your scalp acne is the same as any other type of acne, you can also use over-the-counter acne treatments to clear breakouts, although you are best off avoiding any products that contain benzoyl peroxide, as these can cause discoloration in your hair. 

Even if your acne is not being caused by the hair products you use, it would still be worth making sure that everything you apply to your hair is lightweight and free of petroleum. You should also make sure to wash any hair products out of your hair at the end of each day, as leaving these in will only lead to more breakouts.

2. Pretreatments for a Dry and Itchy Scalp

People usually think that a dry and itchy scalp is the same thing as dandruff, but this is not actually true

While both conditions can cause itching and flakiness, dandruff usually requires the use of a medicated shampoo to be treated, while dry scalp can be treated by rehydrating the scalp. 

So, what actually causes dry scalp?

woman scratching her dry and itchy scalp

This occurs when your skin is not receiving enough moisture, which can happen for a few different reasons:

  • Cold and dry air
  • Aging
  • Contact dermatitis

If you have a dry scalp, you will likely also notice other dry and itchy areas around your body.

If left untreated, dry scalp can lead to hair loss, so it is important that you take the steps necessary to rehydrate your scalp.

A scalp massage is a great way to begin, as this helps to lift away dirt and redistribute your natural oils around your scalp. Hair masks are also effective, as these remain on the head for quite some time, allowing the moisture to really penetrate into the scalp. Try using one that contains shea butter, as this will bring so much goodness to your scalp. 

In terms of shampoo, moisturizing shampoos are key, while medicated shampoos can also help.

Exfoliating your scalp could also help.

Wondering how to do this?

Dedicated products containing fruit enzymes or salicylic acid are the gentlest, as well as extremely effective. There are also many scalp scrubs out there, but be careful that these do not end up exacerbating your dryness.

3. Pretreatments for Allergic Contact Dermatitis

As mentioned above, contact dermatitis can lead to a dry and itchy scalp, and can also cause inflammation and redness.

What exactly is allergic contact dermatitis?

This is caused when certain chemicals irritate the skin. One common irritant is paraphenylenediamine, also known as PPD, which is often used in permanent hair dyes. Fragrances in shampoos and conditioners are another common cause.

While steroid gels and creams can help to decrease the inflammation and reduce the symptoms, the problems will never really go away until you identify the exact cause, and then eliminate it from your routine.

4. Pretreatments for Scalp Ringworm

While it may sound frightening, scalp ringworm is not actually a worm, and instead refers to a fungal infection, the same as athlete’s foot.

Wondering what this actually looks like?

It usually appears as scaly spots and hairless patches, often with black dots in them. These black dots are actually hairs that have broken off at scalp level.

Ringworm is surprisingly common…

But many people mistake it for bad dandruff, and therefore opt for the wrong treatments.

So, what are the right treatment options?

An anti-fungal shampoo is key, and should be taken alongside an oral antibiotic. If you share a home with other people, they should also start using the shampoo, as ringworm is easily contagious, and can also reinfect a person. You should also have any pets checked out, as ringworm can pass from humans to other animals, and vice versa.

But what actually causes ringworm in the first place?

It is spread through contact with infected people, animals and soil, and can be caught through sharing everything from pillowcases and hairbrushes to clothing.

5. Pretreatments for an Oily Scalp/Seborrhea

An oily scalp, also known as seborrhea, will soon leave you with greasy hair, while also contributing to outbreaks of dandruff, neither of which anyone wants to deal with. No matter how much you seem to wash your hair, you will never be able to really clear away this oil.

Do you know what actually causes an oily scalp?

woman with oily scalp

Well, your scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce oil, and these provide your scalp with an important layer of protection that helps to keep it hydrated.

However, for a number of different reasons, sebaceous glands can sometimes produce excess oil, resulting in an oily scalp.

This tends to affect men more than women…

Why?

Because male scalps naturally generate up to 50% more oil than female scalps.

So, what can you do about it?

The first step is a medicated shampoo, Look for one containing either salicylic acid, tar or selenium, because these ingredients will help to clear away excess oil while rebalancing your scalp’s natural oil production.

It can sometimes be helpful washing your hair twice, because all of the excess oil present in the first wash can prevent the medicated shampoo from properly lathering up, which you need in order to cleanse your scalp.

In addition to a medicated shampoo, you could also look into traditional remedies, such as apple cider vinegar. This can be used as a hair rinse to reduce oiliness. Tea tree oil is another effective one, and can be mixed into your regular shampoo.

6. Pretreatments for Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that results in dry, itchy and flaky skin. This is frustrating no matter where on your body it appears, but, when it is on your scalp, it can seem even harder to beat.

Psoriasis actually affects around 2% of the population, with around half of those people experiencing it on their scalp.

These are a few of the symptoms:

  • Red, scaly patches, especially along the hairline
  • Itchy and painful areas
  • Flaky skin

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can actually cure scalp psoriasis, but there are a few pretreatments that can help to prevent flare-ups from occurring.

To begin with, you should be using a shampoo that has been designed for scalp psoriasis. These will contain ingredients that will soothe the skin, while loosening any scaly patches so that they can be washed away.

There are two main types of psoriasis shampoos out there:

  • Tar Shampoos – the active ingredient in a tar shampoo is, as you may have guessed, coal tar, which is a by-product of coal. This helps to reduce inflammation and itching, while restoring the skin’s appearance. However, keep in mind that many tar shampoos have quite a distinctive smell to them
  • Medicated Shampoos – these can contain a variety of ingredients, from topical steroids to salicylic acid to algae 

Don’t forget…

A psoriasis shampoo is designed to treat your scalp, not wash your hair, so you need to ensure that you really massage it into your scalp well. Leave it in for up to ten minutes before washing it out.  

Another pretreatment for scalp psoriasis is…

The use of organic oils topically. Whether this may be argan, coconut or tea tree, these oils can really help to calm the skin and minimize itchiness. The effects of this tend to be boosted when paired with omega-3 fatty acid supplements, as this helps to treat the skin from within as well as externally.

7. Pretreatments for Dandruff /Seborrheic Dermatitis

Otherwise known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff affects up to 50% of the population at some point in their lives. This usually occurs between adolescence and the age of 50. 

Why?

Because this is when the sebaceous glands, which produce oil, are at their most active.

dandruff under a magnifying glass

So what actually causes dandruff?

Usually, dead skin cells are naturally shed by the body, but when this does not happen, they end up building up on the scalp. It does not take long for the scalp to become irritated by this, leading to inflammation and peeling. An overly oily or dry scalp can also cause dandruff, as can certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Before even thinking about pretreatments, you need to first go through all of the products that you currently use on your hair. Sensitivity to certain ingredients can irritate the scalp, leading to dandruff, so you need to stop using these immediately.

Here are a few of the things that you should be looking out for:

  • Hair dyes, especially those that contain paraphenylenediamine
  • Shampoos that contain harsh chemicals, such as sulfates
  • The use of too many styling products

Unfortunately, dandruff is a condition, not a disease, meaning that it cannot be cured. However, there are pretreatments that can help you to manage it.

Use an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains some of the following ingredients:

  • Selenium – reduces fungus and slows down the rate at which skin cells die off
  • Coal tar – slows the growth and shedding of skin cells
  • Zinc pyrithione – an antifungal drug, but gentle enough to be used everyday
  • Salicylic acid – removes scaliness from the scalp before it has the chance to flake off
  • Ketoconazole – kills the fungus that causes dandruff. Can be purchased over-the-counter, as well as in prescription-strength

Make sure that you are leaving your shampoo on for at least five minutes, so that the ingredients have enough time to properly penetrate the scalp.

You should also shampoo your hair more frequently, massaging your scalp for five minutes before stepping into the shower. This will help to loosen the skin, allowing it to be washed away.

An alternative remedy for treating dandruff is tea tree oil, which has natural antifungal properties. You need a shampoo that contains around a 5% concentration of tea tree oil, but do make sure that you are not allergic to the ingredient before you use it.

When it comes to treating dandruff internally, a diet that contains plenty of antioxidants, which are mostly found in fresh fruits and vegetables, is key.

If none of this seems to be working for you…

You may need a prescription-strength steroid lotion, or even oral medications, both of which only a doctor can prescribe to you.

8. Pretreatments for Scalp Cysts

Cysts occur on organs, and since the skin is your body’s largest organ, it only makes sense that you will experience cysts on your skin at some point in life.

They are extremely common, easy to identify, and, in most cases, are absolutely no cause for concern.

What do they look like?

They are usually about the size of a marble or a grape, and are small sacs of skin that are filled with fluid. Most people first feel them when they run a brush or comb over the cyst.

Since cysts are no cause for concern, they can be left where they are. However, if they are bothering you, or are at risk of infection, surgical removal may be necessary.

Nevertheless, a new growth on your skin is something that should still be looked at by your doctor. Even though chances are low, some scalp cysts can turn out to be cancerous, so it is best to get a professional opinion.

6 different women as they age

How Your Skin Changes Through the Decades

It is common knowledge that your skin changes as you age, but do you know why this is?

From your 20s to your 70s, this guide will take you through the many changes that your skin will experience as you progress through life, while explaining exactly how you need to care for it.

In Your 20s

young woman smiling

As you leave your teens and move on into your 20s, your face will start to take on more of a mature, womanly look.

Why?

Because this is when you begin to lose your “baby fat”, and while this happens quite gradually, you will start to notice your face taking on more of a defined shape as you continue through your 20s. However, this loss of fat does also mean that your skin will start to be more susceptible to wrinkles and fine lines, and you may even notice a couple of fine lines in certain areas of your face, especially as you progress through your 20s.

If you used to suffer from teenage acne, you may notice this start to decline, with some people experiencing dry skin as they reach their 20s.

Sound like a blessing?

It may be for some, but this does mean that you need to quickly become acquainted with how to care for dry skin, as this is completely different than caring for teenage, acne-prone skin.

Your 20s is also when your body’s natural antioxidant production begins to decline, meaning that you need to begin supplementing these topically, as well as ensuring that you are consuming plenty through your diet.

Although you still have plenty of growing up to do when you are in your 20s, and will make many mistakes, which you will learn from, along the way, you need to keep your lifestyle choices in check if you want to prolong the youthfulness of your skin.

Did you know that heavy smoking, as well as worshipping the sun, can add around 20 years to the natural age of your skin?

This means that you need to be limiting everything from sun exposure to smoking to stress to excessive alcohol intake, all while maintaining a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime.

When it comes to anti-aging skin care routines, many people decide to adopt one in their mid to late 20s, as this is the ideal time to begin including anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, into your skin care routine. You do not need to use this every day, and just once or twice a week should be sufficient.

In Your 30s

woman smiling outdoors

Your 30s are likely to be when you really begin to notice a few differences in your skin…

To begin with, this is when your production of collagen and elastin begin to decline.

Wondering why this is important?

Because collagen and elastin are the main structural proteins that give your skin its firmness, smoothness and elasticity, meaning that all of this will begin to decline from your 30s onwards.

If you have not yet started to use a retinol product, then now is the time to do so. Retinol and retinoids are forms of vitamin A, and have been proven to be the most effective anti-aging ingredient out there. In addition to doing several other wondrous things for your skin, retinol is able to increase your natural production of collagen and elastin.

This is also the time in life when sun damage has really started to accumulate, meaning that you may notice some dark sun spots appearing on your face, as well as your body.

dark spots on woman's cheeks

Dark spots, caused by sun overexposure, begin to show up in your 30s.

What can you do about this?

Well, to begin with, you need to increase the frequency at which you apply sunscreen, because sun exposure is only going to make these dark spots even worse, especially over time.

Did you know that up to 90% of premature facial aging is actually caused by the sun? This means that protecting your face from UV rays could really have a huge impact when it comes to the visible signs of aging that you experience. Studies have shown that those who use sunscreen are 24% less likely to show increased signs of aging, compared to those who do not wear sunscreen. 

Back to sun spots, here are a few other steps that you can take to clear them:

  • Use skin care products that contain plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and green tea, both of which have been proven to help heal sun damaged skin 
  • Use a chemical or enzymatic exfoliant to help slough off the dead skin cells that contain the extra pigment
  • Use a brightening product, such as one containing hydroquinone or kojic acid, the latter of which is a natural brightening ingredient

The 30s are often a decade when people try to make healthier changes in their life, and this could really benefit your skin in later stages. Try to stick to a healthy diet, while making other positive lifestyle choices.

In Your 40s

woman smiling on sofa

If you have not made the best lifestyle choices throughout your life, then your 40s is when this will really begin to be reflected in your skin. For those who smoke, you will start to notice the fine lines around your mouth deepening quite a bit, whereas those who have experienced quite a bit of stress will notice visible furrows in their forehead.

There is still time to change this, whether this means actually quitting smoking or learning a few stress management skills.

One of the reasons why your skin is no longer able to really hold up to all of this is because your cell turnover rate will really start to slow down in your 40s.

Wondering what cell turnover is?

This is the process at which your body naturally sheds its dead skin cells, replacing them with fresh, new ones. Since your body will now not be able to shed these dead skin cells at the rate it used to, these will end up settling on the surface of your skin, contributing to a dull, lacklustre complexion.

Fortunately, stimulating your natural cell turnover process to speed back up is not too difficult…

Want to know the secret?

Exfoliation! Not only does this clear away the dead skin cells sitting on your skin, but it also helps to speed up the rate at which new skin cells travel up to the top layer of your skin.

exfoliation

Something else that will help is the use of a night cream. While your body is asleep, your cells work to heal and regenerate, and this is the time when many new skin cells are created. A quality night cream will contain the necessary ingredients to boost this process.

Retinol is another ingredient that can help with cell turnover, and if you have not already started using a retinol product, now is the time to do so. Take it slow to begin with, and then gradually build this up so that you are using it two to three times a week. 

In your 40s, you will also begin to go through some hormonal changes, and, in terms of your skin, this will cause dryness, and will also make your skin thinner. However, for some women, this can bring about acne flare-ups, which may require the use of benzoyl peroxide treatments to clear.

In Your 50s

woman taking a selfie

Due to a dramatic decrease in estrogen levels, your 50s is when you are likely to go through menopause, and this will have quite the impact on your skin.

Here are a few of the changes that you can expect to experience:

  • Oily skin and adult acne, due to the decreased levels of estrogen no longer able to mask the testosterone in the body
  • Facial hair, caused by the same as above
  • Sagging skin, because one of the roles that estrogen played was to evenly distribute fat cells around the body. Without estrogen, the face, neck, hands and arms end up lacking in supportive fat, resulting in sagging skin with a loss of mobility
  • Thinner skin, as the lack of estrogen means that blood flow slows down, resulting in less nutrients and oxygen delivered to the epidermis, which is the outer layer of your skin
  • More prone to sun damage, due to a decrease in the amount of protective melanin that your skin produces 

Since your skin will be thinner, using rich and thick moisturizers is absolutely essential. Moisturizers are designed to form a thin film over the surface of the skin, meaning that they will help to make up for your thinning epidermis.

You should also pay attention to the ingredients in the other skin care products that you use, especially items such as your cleanser. Make sure that these do not contain any drying ingredients, as these will only end up thinning out your skin even more. You need to be using products that hydrate the skin, as this will help to give it a plumper and brighter appearance.

You will hopefully already be using a retinol product, and, if you are only using this three or four times a week, it is time to increase this to five or six times a week.

In Your 60s

woman smiling in her home

Your skin in your 60s will really reflect the amount of care that you have given it in its earlier years.

For those who have not been treating their sun spots, these will significantly worsen now, and new ones will appear extremely quickly. As always, exfoliation can really help with this, so make sure you keep this up.

Your skin will be lacking in quite a bit of structure by now, due to the decline in collagen and elastin, but there is one way that you can add some definition back to your face.

The secret here is…

Face yoga! While this may sound slightly wacky, many have experienced natural face lifts thanks to face yoga. There are a number of exercises out there to try, as well as video tutorials for those who would like some step-by-step guidance. 

You could also try using skin care products that contain stem cells and growth factors, as this will help your body in producing new skin cells, since your natural skin cell production rate will have declined quite a bit.

While it may sound all doom and gloom, there is a positive side to entering your 60s when it comes to your skin…

Your hormones will have been fluctuating quite a bit over the past 20 years or so, but they will now have finally calmed down. This means that your skin will become much more stable, making it easier to identify and deal with any issues. However, this could also mean that you end up becoming sensitive to skin care products that you have been fine with all your life, so do keep this in mind if you experience any skin irritation.  

In Your 70s

woman smiling on sofa

If you haven’t already, you will likely begin to notice some of your wrinkles developing into even deeper folds as you progress through your 70s. This is due to a further loss of elasticity and plumpness in your skin, since no more estrogen is being produced.

It is important to continue on with an anti-aging skin care routine, as this will contain ingredients to help make these folds less severe.

Keep your skin hydrated as much as possible. If you seem to be applying layer after layer of moisturizer to no avail, try giving your face a spritz with some rose water first, and then applying the moisturizer to your damp skin. This will mean that the extra moisture gets trapped into your skin, helping to plump it up.

Reading about all of these skin care changes can be quite frightening, but, while a part of your aging process is down to genetics, the majority of it is actually related to your lifestyle. From your diet to your commitment to sun protection, by taking care of your skin from an early age, you will be able to maintain a healthy, youthful complexion for far longer.

woman eating yogurt

How Your Diet Affects Your Skin

The food that you eat has a direct impact on the health and appearance of your skin, meaning that a change in diet may be all you need to improve your complexion. From the foods that you should avoid to the way in which different types of diets will affect your skin, this guide will help you to nourish your skin with the foods that you eat.

Soda, Candy and Baked Treats

From sugar-topped cupcakes to tall glasses of fizzy soda, these sweet treats have quickly become a large part of the average person’s diet.

You probably already know that these are no good for your health, but do you know how they affect your skin?

These foods contain simple carbohydrates, such as refined sugars, and these raise insulin levels, which then creates inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation then begins to break down your collagen and elastin, which are the two proteins that give your skin its strength and suppleness. 

The sugar itself also attaches to important proteins within the body, resulting in everything from sagging skin to a dull complexion.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, there’s more…

Sugar intake has been linked to acne breakouts, because the spike in insulin levels that they create also trigger an increase in oil production. There are several studies out there that show that those who consume a diet low in simple carbohydrates experience significantly less breakouts.

woman refusing cake from her friend

Salty Foods

Just like sugar, salt is another ingredient that has found its way into everyday meals and snacks, and while it may be great for intensifying the taste of certain foods, too much salt is really bad for your skin.

Wondering why?

Salt causes your skin to hold on to water, and not in a good way, meaning that you end up puffy and bloated rather than hydrated.

Even if you do not usually sprinkle extra salt over your meals, you should still check the ingredient lists of all of the foods that you buy, as you will likely be surprised at the amount of salt they contain.

Having a serious salt craving?

Try snacking on some raw nuts instead, as these will not only help to satisfy your cravings, but will also nourish your skin.

Dairy

Dairy products alter the way in which your body regulates testosterone and estrogen, two hormones that play a huge role in your complexion.

Dairy can also increase the levels of androgen within the blood, which then leads to excess oil production, resulting in breakouts.

However, this does not mean that you have to completely avoid dairy…

Moderation is key in this case, especially since dairy products are a great source of other nutrients. Try to stick to just one or two servings of dairy a day, and opt for raw dairy products, rather than processed, whenever possible.  

Is Caffeine Good or Bad?

There are two opposing schools of thought when it comes to whether or not caffeine is good for you, and there are studies to back both of these up.

On one hand, some believe that caffeine can cause dehydration, while also triggering the release of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that is definitely not good for your skin, as it can lead to breakouts, and a breakdown in collagen. 

However, there are also multiple studies out there to back up the many health benefits that caffeine can have. These include:

  • The possibility of reducing chronic age-related inflammation
  • Could potentially prevent skin cancer
  • Protects against Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Boosts the memory
  • Increases stamina during exercise

However, the key here is to remember that everything should be in moderation. Excessive caffeine consumption will most likely lead to negative effects for both your overall health as well as your skin.

Skin-Boosting Foods

While there are some foods out there that can pretty much immediately cause a negative reaction in your skin, there are others that will quickly help to boost its health.

Antioxidants are really important when it comes to your skin, especially as you age. These are compounds that are able to neutralize free radicals within the body, which would have otherwise caused a breakdown in collagen and elastin, resulting in accelerated skin aging. Studies have shown that those who have higher levels of antioxidants in their skin enjoy a much smoother skin texture. 

antioxidants working against free radicals

So, where do antioxidants come from?

Colorful fruits and vegetables are a huge source of many different antioxidants. Generally, the darker and deeper the color of the fruit, the more antioxidants it will contain.

However, if you want to get more specific, these are some of the most beneficial antioxidant-filled foods out there, along with their rough antioxidant count per serving:

  • Wild Blueberries – 13,427 antioxidants, or Farmed Blueberries – 9019 antioxidants
  • Goji Berries – 25,000 antioxidants
  • Black plums – 4873 antioxidants, or Prunes – 7291 antioxidants
  • Red grapes – 2016 antioxidants, or Raisins – 2490 antioxidants
  • Pecans – 17,000 antioxidants
  • Artichokes – 9400 antioxidants
  • Kidney Beans – 8400 antioxidants

In addition to consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, you should also be including a variety of nuts and seeds in your diet.

Why?

Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which do everything from regulating oil production to hydrating the skin to preventing wrinkles.

Fatty fish is another great source of these fatty acids, and these include varieties such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Fish is also high in protein, and since the building blocks of your skin are made from proteins, quality protein sources are important to maintain skin health. 

However, try to limit your intake of fish to two to three meals a week, as too much fish can also have negative health effects, due to the mercury and pollutants found in many of them.

Of course, there is still one extremely important part of your diet that has not yet been mentioned…

This is your fluid intake, because your skin cells, as well as the rest of your cells in your body, depend on water in order to survive and thrive.

Wondering how much water you should be drinking?

The general advice is eight glasses a day, but this could be more or less depending on everything from the climate you live in to the amount of exercise you do to your age and general health.

Need something a bit more flavorful than water?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Tea – black tea, as well as herbal teas, are just as hydrating as plain water
  • Fruit-infused water – try adding slices of fruit, such as citrus fruits and berries, to your water
  • Homemade fruit and vegetables juices – these still do need to be limited, as they can be high in sugar
  • Coconut water

fruit infused water

While some store-bought fruit juices can be good, the majority of these contain so much sugar. If you do tend to drink quite a lot of these, try diluting them with water, as this will help the juice to better hydrate your body.

How Your Skin Will React to Different Types of Diets

If you are already following a specific type of diet, or are thinking of doing so, it is important to understand how they can affect your skin:

  • A Vegetarian/Vegan Diet – Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly common, largely due to the health benefits that they bring. By excluding animal products from the diet, most vegetarians and vegans tend to eat more fresh produce and whole grains, resulting in a higher intake of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.

    However, the fat intake of your diet should still be monitored, as your skin needs healthy fats to thrive, so make sure you are including plenty of oils and seeds in your diet.
  • High Protein/Low Carb – Many carbs out there, such as white bread and pasta, really damage the skin, so cutting these out of your diet is always a good plan, especially when they are replaced with whole grains and healthier sources of carbs.

    However, a high protein diet also tends to include a large amount of meat, and this can lead to an increase in free radicals within the body, accelerating the aging process. 
  • Low Fat – There are so many people out there who try to limit their fat intake as much as possible, and while consuming less saturated fat is always a good thing, your skin does need good fats in order to thrive.

    Why?

    Good fats help your body to absorb antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, while strengthening your cell membranes. So, while you should continue limiting your intake of animal fats, do not avoid the fats found in nuts and oils, as these will do so much good for your complexion.
  • A Raw Diet – As you would imagine, those who follow a raw diet eat foods that have not been cooked, while some do eat cooked foods as long as the temperatures have not risen above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The main diet here would consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, sprouted grains and beans and, in some cases, raw eggs, meat, fish and unpasteurized dairy.

    While this diet does contain so many nutrients, since they have not been lost through the cooking process, it can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12, as well as an increased risk of foodborne illnesses due to the raw meats.

How to Eat Healthier

It is easy enough to read about how you should be improving your diet, but actually putting these intentions into action can be much more of a challenge.

To begin with, focus on the things that you should be eating, rather than the foods that you should not be eating. For example, when it comes to leafy greens, try to find some that you really enjoy. If you hate kale and cabbage, give spinach a try.

Begin by adding one extra fruit or vegetable serving into your diet each day, and slowly build this up. While fresh vegetables do often tend to be best, frozen vegetables can sometimes be quite beneficial too, as these are often frozen quickly after being harvested, meaning that they retain a large amount of nutrients.

If you tend to snack a lot throughout the day, try placing some healthy snacks, such as nuts or granola, around your home and office, and even in your car, so that you are less tempted to reach for junk food.

woman eating healthy granola bar in office

One effective way to cut back on snacking is by eating a breakfast that is high in protein, as this not only helps to keep you feeling full for longer, but will also slowly release energy throughout the day.

If you do not already plan out your meals for each week in advance, then this is something else that could really help you. All you need to do is set aside half an hour a week to plan your meals, before creating a shopping list. If you really wanted to go the extra mile, you could spend some time preparing a few ingredients in advance, such as chopping onions or mincing garlic, so that the hard work is already done when you need to cook a meal at the end of a long day.

For those who eat meat every day, you could consider having one meat-free day a week, as this will help to cut back on the unhealthy animal fats that you consume. Vegetables can make a great main course, and can be cooked in so many exciting ways, so try to spend more time experimenting with this.

It can often be much healthier, and more convenient, to stick to an unhealthy diet, but this will only have negative effects when it comes to your skin, as well as your overall health. If you have noticed that your complexion has been lacking lately, try paying some extra attention to your diet, as this could be an easy way to solve your skin problems.

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma
Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea
Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema
A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.