What Women Doctors Know About Skincare

Chemical Exfoliations

Chemical Exfoliations (Photo credit: FoundryParkInn)

via Oprah.com

By Jenny Bailly
Four women who have unlimited access to top dermatologists and plastic surgeons (because they aretop dermatologists and plastic surgeons) share their expertise.Find out what they’re doing for their own skin, what they wish they had done, what’s way too risky for them, which products they swear by, which much-touted treatment is expensive baloney (they don’t all agree). A report from the cutting (and jabbing and zapping) edge of skincare.

Haideh Hirmand, 42, Plastic surgeon, New York City

What she’s doing to her skin right now: “I do Botox every few months in my forehead, but not too often. I don’t have a lot of deep lines, and I don’t want to get rid of all my fine lines, but Botox gives me a brow lift effect. And I think it has prevented the lines in my forehead from getting really deep. I also do Restylane, one of the hyaluronic acid fillers, in my nasolabial folds (the lines from my nose to my mouth) and the lines around my lips. About once a year, I inject it in the hollows under my eyes as well—and that has given me the most dramatic results of anything else I’ve tried. I was starting to look tired all the time, and now I look, and actually feel, more rested.”What she might do to her skin one day: “More fillers. I’m starting to lose fullness in my face, so I’d consider doing a fat transfer or a hyaluronic acid filler other than Restylane, if something longer-lasting comes along. I’d also consider a surgical brow lift. And liposuction. I’m fit, but as I’ve started losing fat in my face and neck, I’ve been gaining it in my lower abdomen and hips. So I’d consider some conservative liposuction contouring in those areas. Before I did a full facelift, I’d try one of the nonablative tightening techniques, like Thermage or Titan. I don’t perform them in my practice, but I think they’re going to get more and more effective in the next few years.”

So no facelift ever? “I’d consider it if I thought I would still look appropriate for my age. I don’t think you can look like someone who’s 30 when you’re 60; you can only look like someone who wants to look 30.”

What she wishes she’d done earlier: “Used antioxidants and sunblock as religiously as I do now.”

What she’ll never do: “A permanent filler, like silicone. Your face is dynamic. It’s a big mistake to put something permanent in something that changes.”

The biggest misconception her patients have: “A lot of them think the fuller the better. The new filler technology has given us tools we never had in the past, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any lines or folds on your face. Especially because your skin thins as you age, if you overdo it with fillers, you can start to look like a blowfish.”

What she’s looking forward to:“I think the minimally invasive tightening technology will become much more effective. I’m also excited about better, long-lasting, absorbable suspension sutures for facelifts. Right now the verdict isn’t in on thread lifts. I believe eventually we’ll have a better, more advanced version of that technology, though.”

Susan Taylor, 48, Dermatologist, Philadelphia
What she’s doing to her skin right now: “Once every month or two, I give myself a light chemical peel, usually 30 percent salicylic acid. It helps keep my complexion radiant. When you have brown skin, you have to be careful about discoloration, but as long as you don’t overdo it, peels are very effective. A few years ago, I did a buffered 35 percent trichloroacetic acid peel, which is more intense. I was peeling for several days afterward, but I loved the result. My skin was so clear and smooth, and I think I even got a little skin tightening. I also have Botox injected in my frown lines; it not only smoothes them but gives a bit of an eye lifteffect.What she might try later: “Injectable fillers—when I need them. My patients love Restylane, which lasts six or seven months, and there’s never a problem with bumps or lumps. It’s better than collagen because there’s less risk of an allergic reaction.”

What she’ll never do: “A facelift. It’s just too invasive, and I don’t want to look fake or not like myself.”

Never, ever? “Ask me again when I’m 60.”

What else she’d never do: “Anything that hasn’t been around at least five years. Always ask your dermatologist how long a procedure has been performed.”

The most overhyped products: “Any that claim they can penetrate the muscles and have an effect comparable to Botox. That’s just ridiculous.”

The most overhyped procedure:“Thermage. The studies haven’t been compelling enough for me yet. I’m not convinced.”

Carolyn Chang, 39, Plastic surgeon, San Francisco

What she’s doing to her skin right now: “I’ve been using Botox for about five years; a treatment every four to six months helps soften the lines between my brows. I know some doctors will inject themselves, but I haven’t even tried. I can’t fathom sticking myself with a needle. My skin is starting to get a little dull, and the color is uneven, so I also do light, 30 percent glycolic peels several times a year and microdermabrasion. Both treatments brighten my skin, and I always have a nice glow afterward.”

What she’s considering for later: “I’d like to try IPL [intense pulsed light] laser treatments to help even out my skin tone. I’ve seen patients get amazing results. You usually have to do several treatments, but there’s no downtime. I think eventually I might do a brow lift, too. I’ve noticed my brow dropping already, and since I’m Asian and don’t have creases in my eyelids, it’s more noticeable. We can do brow lifts endoscopically now, so we just make three to five small incisions rather than cutting from ear to ear like they used to. The results are quite conservative, not that surprised-deer-in-headlights look. Whether I’ll ever have a facelift…I don’t know. Asian women do tend to age a little slower, so I probably wouldn’t even need to consider it until I’m in my 60s.”

What she’d never do: “A permanent filler, like silicone. I’d also never do anything more than a superficial chemical peel and wouldn’t try ablative laser resurfacing, like the CO2 laser. When you have darker skin, you have to be really careful with procedures that exfoliate too deeply because they can cause permanent pigmentary changes.”

Her most aging mistake: “Not wearing sunscreen until about five years ago. If I’d always worn it, I wouldn’t have brown spots and broken blood vessels now.”

The one thing she wishes her patients would realize: “That no cream, no matter how expensive, can lift your eyelids or tighten your jowls or completely remove the puffiness under your eyes. The only thing that will do that is surgery.”

The biggest breakthrough she’s seen in the past five years: “Definitely Botox. When we first started using it cosmetically a decade ago, everyone was getting that frozen look; now doctors are very selective about where they make their injections, and results look more natural. And Botox has a great safety profile.”

The most overhyped product: “Any cream that claims to be a wrinkle eraser.”

The most overhyped procedure:“I’m wary of any noninvasive procedure that promises significant skin tightening or facelift-like results. Thermage is pretty high on that list. When a sales rep came to our office once, he said about 30 percent of people don’t respond at all. For such an expensive treatment [around $2,500], I think that number is way too high.”

Leslie Baumann, 39, Dermatologist, Miami Beach
The four skincare products she’ll never part with:“Every morning I put on Purpose Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion with SPF 15, unless I’m going to be out in the sun; then I apply a sunscreen like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 45. I use Dove Energy Glow self-tanning lotion on my legs because I never ever get a tan and they look so pasty-white when I’m out playing golf or tennis. My favorite body moisturizer is Cetaphil. And I’ll never stop using Tazorac, a prescription retinoid, because it helps get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve been using a retinoid for 15 years. That and sunscreen are the two best things I’ve ever done for my skin.”The procedures she does regularly: “I’ve been getting Botox in my frown lines since I was 28. Even at that age, after years of reading and studying and concentrating, I had pretty deep furrows. At first I did it every four months; now I only need it every six. I really believe Botox helps prevent lines from getting deeper, or even forming in the first place. I also give myself an IPL [intense pulsed light] treatment every six months. I have very pale, sensitive skin and tend to get broken blood vessels. The IPL gets rid of them, and I’m not red or bruised afterward.”

What she might consider down the line: “I would use an injectable filler in my nasolabial folds if I needed it. Restylane and Juvéderm, which was just approved by the FDA in June, would be good ones for that area: They’re both hyaluronic acid fillers and help the skin retain water to plump up wrinkles. Sculptra is a great new innovation for women with heavier wrinkles. It’s a dermal stimulator, which means it actually stimulates your body to make more collagen. My patients love it. I would also do the Fraxel laser if I ever need more serious help with skin texture and discoloration—but I hope that if I keep up with the Tazorac and sunscreen, I won’t get to that point.”

What she’ll never do (again): “Lip injections. I let a resident inject Hylaform, the softest of the hyaluronic acid fillers, into my lips once, and I hated it. I see 30 patients a day, and for four months until it wore off, almost every one would say, ‘What happened to your lips?’ That’s also the last time I’ll ever let a resident learn anything on me.”

What she’s looking forward to:“Reloxin, which is similar to Botox and should be approved in the next year. Botox has been the only game in town since it was FDA approved to treat frown lines in 2002, and it’s gotten more expensive over the years: about $300 to $350 to treat one area. I’m hoping the competition will bring prices down.

National Lipstick Day!!! What is your go to shade?

 

It always amazes me the the funny –  National “____” Days or Months that the United States comes up with sometimes!  I looked into it and it actually takes Congress to have these Days or Months to come into to being!  That takes some real dedication, but then we wouldn’t have National Lipstick or Princess Day so who am I too judge!

Here are some of my go to shades, which are great for all skin tones:

Funny Face by Nars

For when I need a little perking up and a bold jot of color.  If you are fair skinned try applying with a light hand.  Blot the color down as a stain or add a clear gloss for some shine.

 

Shanghai Express by Nars or Ruby Woo by MAC

For those of you looking for an all purpose red.

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Voile de Rose

The perfect pink pout!

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Very berry, very sheer!

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Crazy For Coffee

A great brown!

Dolce Vita by Nars

A mauve for all occassions!


Chelsea Girls Lip Lacquer by Nars
A great nude!

 

8 Diet and Exercise Mistakes That Age You

From The Editors of Prevention

 

Eating too much sugar certainly isn’t wise for your waistline, but did you know that overindulging in dessert can add years to your face? And even if you do strenuous cardio workouts each week, you’ll be missing out on potential anti-aging body benefits if your schedule doesn’t include yoga, weight training, and rest.

 

“Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin,” explains Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami Beach dermatologist. The natural ingredients in whole foods such as romaine lettuce and strawberries help increase cell turnover, and boost production of collagen fibers to help keep skin smooth and firm. Conversely, foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

 

Even if your diet is wholesome, you could be making exercise mistakes that age you as well. For example, if you only do cardio at the expense of other types of exercise, like yoga and strength-training, you could be missing out on skin-protective benefits.

 

Find out if you’re making one of these 8 common aging diet and exercise mistakes, and get smart prevention strategies that can keep you slim and youthful for years to come.

 

The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains; they’re naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen. If you want to sweeten up your tea or oatmeal without making your skin look older, try all-natural stevia.

 

English: Stevia rebaudiana flowers

English: Stevia rebaudiana flowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s an easily digested herbal sweetener that doesn’t trigger glycation, according to board-certified dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, an adjunct professor of medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

 

Taking your work angst out on the Spinning bike or treadmill might make you feel better for a little while, but incorporating yoga into your fitness routine regularly may help you look younger and prevent breakouts while whittling away stress. Sounds like a winning workout to us! “Yoga moves like Child’s Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation–the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow,” says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC – area dermatologist. New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging. If you need another reason to om away your stress: High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. “Controlling stress keeps your skin calm,” says Annie Chiu, MD, a derm in LA.

 

Research suggests that green and black tea contain protective compounds–like EGCG and theaflavins–that help prevent skin cancers and the breakdown of collagen, the cause of wrinkles.

 

Following a regular strength-training routine that creates better, more supportive muscle tone will help you firm sagging skin from the neck down. “I am religious about strength-training, and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older,” says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. “It’s like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body,” says Dr. Farris.

 

“Hormones in traditionally produced dairy, poultry, and meat may contribute to acne,” says Katie Rodan, MD, a dermatologist in the San Francisco Bay area. She says that her patients who eat those less frequently–or at least choose grain-fed beef and poultry and organic dairy–often notice their skin looks better.

 

When your exercise routine is so intense that you’re tired all the time but can’t sleep at night, you’re setting yourself up for overuse injuries–not to mention dark circles and bags under your eyes from those sleepless nights. These symptoms could be a sign of overexhaustion, says Ryan Halvorson, personal trainer, IDEA Health and Fitness Association expert, and author. Other clues that you’re working out too much include extreme muscle soreness that persists for several days, unintended weight loss, an increased resting heart rate, interruptions in your menstrual cycle, or decreased appetite. “Plan your rest as well as you plan exercise,” says Polly de Mille, RN, a registered clinical exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. “If there is no balance between breakdown and recovery, then the muscle is in a state of chronic inflammation and what may start as a simple case of soreness after a hard workout can turn into an actual overuse injury.”

 

When your diet isn’t balanced, your skin, hair, and nails will suffer. Cutting calories can deprive your body of certain nutrients that promote healthy cell division, cell regeneration, and overall skin tone and texture, explains David E. Bank, MD, FAAD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. “The skin also requires essential fatty acids–which the body can’t produce on its own–to maintain hydration. A diet that’s too low in fat could cause dry skin, hair loss, and brittle nails.” Other key youth-boosting nutrients include vitamins A, C, and E. Being deficient in A can cause acne, dry hair, dry skin, and broken fingernails. Get your daily vitamin A fix by eating five baby carrots each day. A lack of vitamin C can affect collagen synthesis (the “glue” that binds our ligaments, bones, blood vessels, and skin), impair wound healing, and make you more likely to bruise. Incorporate vitamin C – rich foods in the form of citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, peppers, and leafy greens. Low levels of vitamin E can result in easy bruising and cause chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Get more vitamin E in your diet by eating almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, and fortified cereals.

 

Kimberly Snyder, a Los Angeles nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution, says she sees a big improvement in her clients’ skin and hair when they eat more alkaline-forming foods, such as parsley, almonds, kale, pears, lemons, and apples. “If your body is too acidic, which can happen when your diet is unbalanced, it leaches the alkaline minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, that allow us to have strong, healthy bones, teeth, and hair,” Snyder explains.

 

Skin Condition? How to determine what is causing it?

Skin Conditions

Also known as:  Cutaneous or Dermatologic disorders
Please see a medical professional!

A cutaneous condition is any medical condition that affects the integumentary system — comprised of the entire surface of the body and including skin, hair, nails, and related muscle and glands. The major function of this system is as a barrier against the external environment.   Conditions that irritate, clog or inflame your skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning and itching. Allergies, irritants, your genetic makeup and certain diseases and immune system problems can cause skin conditions.

A skin condition is caused by the following influences Internal, External, or a combination of both.

 

Here is a sample of questions to ask yourself:

Questions Internal External
Eaten anything new? X
New Medication? Vitamin or herbal supplement? X
Been ill?  X  X
Have I been drinking enough water? X
How much alcohol or caffeine do you drink? X
Any change in my hormones?(Puberty, Menopause, Pregnancy, or Menstruating) X
What is the weather like?  X
Have I been sweating?  X
Bitten by an insect? Or exposed to an irritant?  X
Do you wear make up? X
What kinds of skin care products do you use? X
How often do you cleanse your skin?Have I had any skin treatments, waxing, or dermatological procedures done recently? X
How often are you outside? X
Has a family member had the same problem?What do you have in common? X X

Disclaimer
While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

Delicious and Beautifying Summer Drink Recipes!

 

summer drinks

Via Kimberly Synder

During the summer, it’s especially important to stay hydrated for optimal health and beauty. Your body will crave more fluids as you are naturally perspiring more. Sometimes I feel like a camel in the summer, and just guzzle away many times more the amount of fluids than I do in the winter.

While pure water is always best, sometimes you want a little flavor in your refreshment. Unfortunately, many popular summer drinks are filled with sugar and chemicals that do you no favors in terms of your health or hydration. But there are many other good choices, and you can enjoy a refreshing summer beverage without all of the chemicals and sugar. Here are five of my favorites.

Cucumber Water

cucumber waterIf you follow the Beauty Detox program, you religiously start each morning with hot water with lemon, and perhaps drink more lemon water throughout the day. This is a different twist on our daily citrus-flavored water. Cucumber is a powerful beauty food, and this refreshing beverage infuses water with the flavor of cucumber. Cucumbers are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as folic acid. Best, the drink is super easy to make and really delicious!

  • 1 medium cucumber, cleaned and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 quarts of pure water

Combine cucumber and water in a large pitcher and allow to sit for one hour or longer. Serve cool.

Aqua Fresca

Aqua FrescaThis popular Mexican drink infuses water with your favorite fresh fruit.

  • 4 cups pure, cold water
  • 2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (I like berries or papaya)
  • Stevia to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  1. Place fruit and water in a blender and puree.
  2. Place a small sieve over a pitcher and pour mixture into it, straining the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids.
  3. Add lime juice and stevia.
  4. Garnish with lime wedges.

Iced Rooibos Mint Tea

iced mint teaRooibos tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, so it promotes youthfulness and great skin. Over a little ice with mint and lemon, it’s a refreshing and detoxifying summer beverage.

  • 6 Rooibos tea bags
  • One lemon, sliced
  • Several leaves of fresh mint
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 gallon of boiling water

Pour water over lemon, teabags and mint leaves and steep, stirring occasionally, until liquid cools. Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, and refrigerate. Serve cool or over a little bit of ice.

Basil Lemonade

 Basil LemonadeLemons are high in vitamin C and promote alkalinity and cleansing in the body. The basil adds a refreshing flavor to this sugar-free lemonade.

  • ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • Stevia to taste

Place basil in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle it by slightly crushing the leaves. Combine lemon juice and water and pour over basil leaves. Add stevia to taste. Chill, and serve over ice.

Cilantro and Jalapeno Limeade

Cilantro and Jalapeno LimeadeCilantro is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxification, while jalapeno can help rev up your metabolism. Lime is high in Vitamin C.

  • 4-1/2 cups of water
  • 1 cup organic cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups of fresh lime juice
  • Stevia to taste
  • Lime slices for garnish

Pour water over cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, and then cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in lime juice. Add stevia to taste. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices.

Summer Hydration Tips

Staying hydrated is essential, especially in the summer. Water helps flush toxins out of your body. Your best bet is to drink pure water at room temperature, especially after periods of activity. Other tips:

  • Drink 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after you eat so you don’t dilute your gastric juices necessary for food digestion.
  • Avoid electrolyte replacement beverages, soft drinks, and other sugary drinks filled with chemicals. Just avoid them all.
  • When you are active, be sure to take plenty of pure water with you.
  • Drink mostly water, and have special drinks like those listed above occasionally when you feel that you need something with some flavor. Coconut water is also a good option.
  • The Institute of Medicine suggests letting thirst be your guide to summer hydration. There’s no need to force beverages.
  • How can you tell if you are dehydrated? Along with thirst, urine color may be a good indicator you need more water. If your pee is amber colored, you get thy water glass to thine lips!
  • Alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated beverages dehydrate you, which is another reason water is best.

 

Essential Oil of the Month and The Most Expensive in the World: Eagle Wood/Agarwood!

Via Terra D’Aroma

Laos: the most expensive essential oil in the world, eagle wood

By Catherine 15 juin 2010

                                                                                                                                                                  

Names:  Eagle Wood, Oud, Agarwood, Heart Wood, Gahura, Jinko, Aloes Wood, Aoud, Kiara and more.

                                                                                                                                                                   

For a while I had contemplated going to Laos; then the project fell out because the contact person did not materialize. However, when I was staying in the Vietnamese plantations, Cuong mentioned Christopher, a Swiss who produces the most expensive essential oil in the world, namely eagle wood. I had never heard of this oil, so I wanted to know more and got in touch with Christopher, who agreed to meet me and explain about his job and this mysterious oil.

I chose to cross the border north of Vietnam, which made it possible to stop at Sapa, a place known for its magnificent landscapes an dits ethnic minorities. After two days I headed early for Dien Bien Phu, the town that lies closest to the Laos border, boarding a mini-van with some Vietnamese, four English and two Australian people. This was the beginning of a three day jopurney in most uncomfortable coaches and vans and trucks. I had time for a couple of hurs sleep in a small hotel and off we were at dawn. I had been warned that Laos is much less organized than Vietnam and that you need a lot of patience. I can only agree! After trudging in the mud for over a kilometer to reach the Laos border post, we had to wait for four hours until road workers had cleared a road that had slid off. When we finally hit the road again we realized that we were 45 minutes away from our destination.

So, after three days, I eventually reached Udomxai, the town with Christopher’s plantations. An old army jeep was waiting for me at the coad station. We had to drive another hour on a dirt road to reach the plantations of eaglewood. You have to know that this essential oil does not exist as such in the trees. It only appear when they are damaged, either by insects, or lightning, or by rubbing against another tree. To obtain a quality oil, you sometimes have to maintain the infection for several years. Then the tree will be cut and its wood distilled for several days. Parts of the tree are also used to make incense sticks or are burned at religious rituals. This oil is mainly sold to Middle East countries and is used as perfume. Over the last years its quality and return have gone down. Christopher told me that i twas doomed to disappear. To forestall this outcome, producers have started infecting trees themselves. They inject a natural mixture with plants and honey. Even so return is still falling steeply.

After visiting the plantations, I spent a few days in Vientiane to meet people. Then I went south, near the Vietnamese border, to visit Keo’s plantation, a Laotian who has worked in this field for over twenty years. There I could attend the maintenance of plantations. Weeds are removed so that eaglewood trees can grow in optimal conditions. I also attended the trimming and cleaning of wood before distilling. I was even fortunate enough to attend a transaction. Indeed Keo has his own plantations but he also buys wood from peasants in the nighbourhood. My anthropological training was intrigued by the micro-society that has developed around the eagle wood production. Keo and about ten workers live on the spot, share their meals and sleep a few yards away from where they clean the wood. Living conditions are much more precarious than in the Vietnamese plantations. There is less privacy and no running water. Workers wash in a stream near the distillery. This being said, this is current practice in Laos. During my various bus trips, I often saw men and women in saris washing along the road. This is indeed one of the first pictures I visualize when I think of Laos.

                                                                                                                                                                 

Essential oils are the oils from the plants they were extracted from in concentrated form. Essential oils have been used in skincare, folk and alternative medicine, aromatherapy, cosmetics, soaps, perfumes, foods and drinks for centuries.

One of the reasons for the relative rarity and high cost of  eagle wood is the depletion of the wild resource.  The odor of eagle wood is complex and pleasing, with few or no similar natural analogues. As a result, eagle wood and its essential oil gained great cultural and religious significance in ancient civilizations around the world, being mentioned throughout one of the world’s oldest written texts – the Sanskrit Vedas from India.  There are fifteen species in the genus Aquilaria and eight are known to produce eagle wood.  Formation occurs in the trunk and roots of trees that have been infected by a parasitic ascomycetous mold, Phaeoacremonium parasitica, a dematiaceous (dark-walled) fungus. As a response, the tree produces a resin high in volatile organic compounds that aids in suppressing or retarding the fungal growth, a process called tylosis. In natural forest only about 7% of the trees are infected by the fungus. A common method in artificial forestry is to inoculate all the trees with the fungus.

The three main uses for eagle wood are:  medicine, incense, and perfume.  First-grade wood is one of the most expensive natural products in the world, with prices of up to $13,000 per pound (thirteen thousand US dollars per 16 ounces!) for top quality wood. The essential oil from wild trees is likewise one of the most expensive oils in the world. The wholesale price for a relatively decent quality oil is around $1000 to $1400 per ounce.  Considered an oil gifted with deeply mystical properties, it has been more commonly employed as a spiritual tonic and cleanser. Like all essential oils, however, when used it produces positive curative effects. It owns warming, grounding and purifying qualities, and can induce deep states of relaxation, lift depression, and lighten insomnia. It supports respiratory complaints, including bronchial spasms, shortness of breath, and lung issues. is burned as sacred incense in temples, and used in numerous Ayurvedic, Tibetan, and Chinese herbal preparations. Buddhists use it for transmutation of ignorance. Tibetan monks use it to bring energy to calm the mind and spirit. The Sufis and Japanese Shaman use the oil in their esoteric ceremonies. It is said to enhance mental clarity, open the third eye and all of the upper chakras while calming the entire system.  It is said that prayers arise with the fragrant smoke of  eagle wood incense carry the prayer to the Creator.  It is considered by some to be a potent aphrodisiac oil.

Non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. Do not take the essential oil internally.

Essential Oil should not be applied directly to the skin but in carrier oils, putting the oils directly on the skin is too harsh due to their concentrated form. Add a few drops of eagle wood essential oil to the carrier oil.

If you are pregnant, receiving cancer treatment, or have a weakened immune system the use of essential oils is not recommended!

While essential oil will not go rancid, carrier oils can. Store your carrier oils in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Disclaimer

While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

Beauty Tip for Sun Burns!

via RealSimple

Ice Cube Tray as Sunburn Soother

Aloe vera plant

Aloe vera plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A clever way to repurpose an everyday item.

Freeze cubes of aloe vera for instant sunburn relief when you forget the SPF.

FORMULA Z/S

Every Shade In The Book

July 19th, 2012

Artist Angélica Dass sets out to catalog every skintone out there.

Angélica Dass

Imagine your skintone were assigned a number that could easily be translated across international divides with spot-on accuracy. Just think what that could do for the often arduous trial-and-error process of picking the right foundation shade alone!

That fantasy is close to becoming reality, thanks to a massive undertaking by Brazilian-born artist, Angélica Dass to record and catalog every human skintone possible.

First she takes a shot of the subject then creates an 11×11 pixel color swatch from the image and matches it to one of the alphanumerically coded hues in Pantone’s international database of shades. From there, that Pantone tone is used as the background of the portrait. The images are then arranged to form a mosaic-like tapestry of humanity for her project that is appropriately titled, “Humanae.” (See all the amazing colors here – from very dark to the lightest light!)

“The inspiration for this project comes from my family roots,” Dass tells YouBeauty, explaining that “as a granddaughter of a ‘black’ and a ‘native’ Brazilian and daughter of a ‘black’ father adopted by a ‘white’ family, I am a diverse mixture of pigments.”

“For me, this project is kind of like a game intended to subvert social codes,” says Dass, who studied fashion design in Rio de Janeiro, and earned a Master’s degree at in Fashion Journalism at Madrid’s Universidad Nacional de Educación a Disancia (UNED).

“No one who participated is a professional model. These are people who approached my project and decided to participate on their own,” explains Dass.

Raising funds is the next order of business to allow Dass to explore subjects in cities and countries outside of Spain, she says. “I know it’s ambitious, but I’m looking for support so I can catalog more people of different ages, nationalities, genders, social classes, and of course—colors.”

Perhaps the folks at Pantone may be interested in this one?

For more of the Humanae Art Project click here.

Awww! Acne! What is it? What can I do?

 

Acne vulgaris

Acne vulgaris (Photo credit: Adams999)

 

Acne:  What is it?

 

Acne is a skin condition that causes whiteheads (closed comedones), blackheads (open comdones), papules, pustules and  inflammed skin, such as cysts.

 

Acne occurs when pores become clogged. Pores are minute openings of the skin. Each pore opens to a follicle. A follicle contains a hair and an oil gland. The oil released by the gland helps remove old skin cells and keeps your skin soft. When glands produce too much oil, the pores can become congested with dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cell build up. The blockage is called a plug or comedone. If the congested pore is white, it is called a closed comedone or commonly known as a whitehead. If it is dark, it is called an open comedone or commonly known as a blackhead.  Acne that is deep in your skin can cause hard, painful cysts. This is called cystic acne.  See chart for Grades of Acne

Have Acne?  You’re Not Alone!!!

Acne is most common in teenagers, pregnant, menstruating, and menopausal women, but anyone can get acne, even babies. Three out of four teenagers have some acne. Hormonal changes may cause the skin to be more oily.  It commonly appears on the face, back, chest and shoulders, but it may also occur on the arms, legs, and buttocks.  It can run in families.

Types of Acne
0 – Mild congested pores a few open & closed comedones non-inflammatory rarely have pustules or papules, nodules, or cysts Esthetician & or Doctor
I – Mild occasional breakouts mostly open & closed comedones usually inflammatory a few papules or pustules Esthetician & or Doctor
II – Moderate always breaking out in a particular area(s) some open & closed comedones mostly inflammatory mostly papules or pustules Esthetician & or Doctor
III – Severe always breaking out all over your face some open & closed comedones inflammatory mostly papules or pustules a few cysts Esthetician  & or Doctor
IV – Severe – Nodulocystic cystic acne some open & closed comedones inflammatory, infection some

papules or pustules

cysts, some nodules Doctor

Causes of Acne:

  • Hormonal changes:
  1. puberty
  2. menopause
  3. menstrual periods
  4. pregnancy
  5. birth control pills
  6. stress
  • Greasy or oily cosmetic and hair products (even some body products, such as hand cream)
  • Certain drugs (such as steroids, testosterone, estrogen, and phenytoin)
  • High levels of humidity
  • Sweating
  • Yeast

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:  Research does not show that chocolate, nuts, and greasy foods cause acne. However, diets high in refined sugars may be related to acne.

 

 

 

Treatment

At Home

Steps you can take to help your acne:

  • Clean your skin gently with a mild, nondrying cleanser (no bar soaps) made for your skin type. Remove makeup with a makeup remove before using a cleanser. Wash twice a day, including after exercising or after excessive sweating. However, avoid scrubbing or repeated skin washing with acne treat your skin gently.  Scrubbing or harsh exfoliants can open up, infect and spread your acne.
  • Shampoo your hair daily with a gentle shampoo, especially if it is oily. Comb or pull your hair back to keep the hair out of your face, even when sleeping.

What NOT to do:

  • Try not to squeeze, scratch, pick, or rub the pimples. Although it might be tempting to do this, it can lead to skin infections and scarring.  Go to a Dermatologist or Esthetician for extractions.
  • Avoid wearing tight headbands, baseball caps, and other hats.  Dirt, oil, and bacteria accumulate on these items.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands or fingers. Wash your hands immediately after eating or any other dirty activity.
  • Avoid greasy cosmetics or creams, look for oil-free, water based, and non-comedogenic products (they have been tested and proven not to clog pores.)
  • Take off your makeup, never sleep with it on.

If these steps do not clear up the blemishes, try over-the-counter acne medications. You apply these to skin:  topical benzoyl peroxide, zinc, sulfur, retinol (vitamin A), or salicylic acid.  They work by killing bacteria, drying up skin oils, causing cell turn over, and by promoting sloughing of dead skin cells.  Some side effects are:  redness, peeling of the skin, a tendency to burn quicker when exposed to the sun and on rare occasions an allergic reaction.

A doctor can prescribe stronger prescription strength medications and discuss other treatment options with you.  Some side effects are a tendency to burn quicker when exposed to the sun, stinging, burning, redness, peeling, and on rare occasions an allergic reaction.

Antibiotics may help some people with acne:

  • Oral antibiotics (taken by mouth) such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, erythromycin, trimethoprim, and amoxicillin

For moderate to severe acne, you may need an oral antibiotics to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. Topical medications and oral antibiotics together may also be used. Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as an upset stomach, dizziness or skin discoloration. These drugs also increase your skin’s sun sensitivity and may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

 

  • Topical antibiotics (applied to the skin) such as clindamycin, erythromycin, or dapsone

Topical antibiotics work by killing skin bacteria.

Creams or gels applied to the skin may be prescribed:

  • Retinoic acid cream or gel [ vitamin A or Rentinols (Tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, others), adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage)]

They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing clogging the hair follicles.
Use with sunscreen during the day!

  • Prescription formulas of benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid
  • Topical azelaic acid

Use with sunscreen during the day!

For women whose acne is caused or made worse by hormones:

  • A pill called spironolactone may help
  • Birth control pills may help in some cases

Oral contraceptives (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Previfem, others), can improve acne in women. However, oral contraceptives may cause other side effects, such as headaches, breast tenderness, nausea and depression. The most serious potential complication is a slightly increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots.

Minor procedures or treatments may also be helpful:

  • A laser procedure called photodynamic therapy
  • Light Therapy
Laser- and light-based therapies reach the deeper layers of skin without harming the skin’s surface. Laser treatment is thought to damage the oil (sebaceous) glands, causing them to produce less oil.   The treatment may be uncomfortable and may cause temporary skin problems that mimic a severe sunburn.  Light therapy targets the bacteria that cause acne inflammation. These treatments can also improve skin texture and lessen the appearance of scars.
  • Your Doctor or Esthetician may also suggest chemical skin peeling, microdermabrasion (for mild acne), removal of scars by dermabrasion or laser, or removal, drainage, or injection of cysts with cortisone

 

Call your Doctor or a Dermatologist if:

  • At home treatments and haven’t helped after several months
  • Your acne is severe, see chart
  • Your acne is getting worse
  • You develop scars as your acne clears up

Disclaimer:

While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

The Gates Art Realized!

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005
Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude

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