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Friday, August 22, 2014

Skin Care Shortcuts Throughout The Day

Courtesy of Flickr user eflon

Arrive at your desk. Catch up on emails. Make your second cup of coffee. Wait impatiently as it brews. Attend the morning staff meeting. Finish a proposal. Present the idea to the client. Sit down long enough to realize that your stomach has been growling for 10 minutes. Squeeze in lunch before your big afternoon pitch.

Halfway through your day and a lot like your morning madness, you may not have been able to pencil in skincare on your afternoon to-do list. Afternoons can leave you feeling sluggish, and a lot of times, your skin takes the brunt of this. Here are some midday skincare shortcuts that will leave your skin and your confidence feeling replenished and ready to take on the afternoon! 

Fancy the Face
  • Pat a lightweight concealer underneath and around your eyes. This will diminish dark circles and lighten up your eyes.
  • Apply a bold lip color.Pinks, reds and maroons are a great way to bring a fresh color to your face.
  • Try to keep your hands off of your face as much as possible. The oil and bacteria from your fingertips can easily clog your pores and create blotchiness,as well as smudge your makeup. 
  • Use oil cleansing pads to dab away the extra oil that has likely collected on your face throughout the day, especially in your T-zone, which includes your forehead, nose and chin.
  • Keep drinking water. Water determines how your skin maintains plumpness and elasticity throughout the day. Drinking 64 fluid ounces of watereach day replenishes your skin and keeps it from looking dry, wrinkled and fatigued. 

Care for Your Hair
  • Use a dry shampoo and conditioner to give your hair a fresh, out-of-the-shower look. Most of these products are small enough to stow away in your bag until you need them.
  • Sprinkle baby powder or dry shampoo on your hair to eliminate greasy areas, especially around your part, the crown of your head and above the ears where oil tends to collect. Dry shampoo typically blends better with darker hair, while baby powder tends to blend better with lighter hair.
  • For instant volume right before you walk into your big meeting, flip your hair over and shake it with your hands. A quick blow dry while your hair is flipped will also work. This will help smooth your hair and give it a little extra body. 

Helping Hands
  • Keep a lemon handy. Rubbing a lemon on your nails and hands will not only clean them but it will also lighten your skin tone, creating healthier-looking hands.
  • Keep lotion in your bag. Moisturizing is vital to rejuvenating your hands. Shaking hands with someone is often the first thing we do, so make a good impression.
  • Groom your nails. A routine clipping and filing are healthy for your nails and keeps your nail beds strong. For more nail tips, read our blog post on the subject here.

Skin care serves a purpose far beyond simple aesthetics. Healthy habits throughout the day are necessary for rejuvenating and revitalizing skin. Try these skincare shortcuts and let us know what you think! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Early Morning Skin Care Shortcuts

Courtesy of Flickr user Carolyn Coles

Wake up. Brew coffee. Wait impatiently as it drips. Brush your teeth. Take out the dog. Wake up the kids. Cook breakfast. Search for the lost keys. Wait in the carpool line. Then pull into work to have your boss counting down the seconds before you’re late. {Repeat}

Although your morning may vary in its method of chaos, we are all busy and, many times, leave little room for taking care of ourselves, especially our skin. For those of you who relate all too well with this routine of morning madness, here are some “skincare shortcuts” that will help you to feel refreshed and your skin rejuvenated. 

Cripple the Pimples
  • To reduce inflammation, blot 1 percent over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream onto blemishes and reapply as needed.
    • It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use hydrocortisone cream on a pimple for more than six days. If it persists longer, see a dermatologist!
  • Apply Visine to blemishes. It reduces the redness the same way it works to reduce eye redness.
  • Cover an ice cube with a light towel that is dipped in lavender oil and hold it on the blemish for three minutes. The cold will decrease inflammation while the lavender oil will dehydrate the blemish and kill the bacteria. \
Puffy Eyes
  • Brew two green tea bags and let them cool before placing them on your eyes for 10 minutes in the morning. The caffeine in the tea will tighten the skin tissue and reduce swelling.
  • Apply 2nd Skin Circles gel pads for two minutes in the morning.
  • Elevate your head at night and let gravity drain the extra fluid underneath your eyes that can build up and cause swelling.
Kicking Crow’s Feet
  • Apply a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30 to reduce sun damage to the very susceptible thin skin underneath your eyes.
  • Choose facial products that contain retinol to wash your face. This vitamin A derivative will help moisten and repair deep lines in the skin.
  • Hold a damp washcloth underneath your eyes for a few minutes, then pat on a lightweight moisturizer to keep your skin nice and hydrated throughout the day.
  • Keep a pair of sunglasses handy and try not to underestimate the amount of squinting you do when you’re in the sun without protective eyewear. 
Reducing Rosy Redness
  • Apply a face mask that includes anti-inflammatory ingredients such as activated charcoal and castor oil.
  • Soak a washcloth in milk and ice cubes and press it onto blotchy red areas. The cold temperature, pH level and protein in the milk will relieve the blotchiness.
  • Break open an evening primrose oil capsule and gently rub it over red areas.  
Penciling in just a little bit of “me time” during your morning routine is a great means to feeling refreshed and having radiating skin. Test out a few of these skincare shortcuts and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Young, Fabulous Hair

Photo courtesy of flickr user Symic.

When trying to prevent aging, we often focus our attention on our skin, specifically the face. But why stop there? If your hair is changing as you age, the way you care for it should change, too. You can renew your hair by making even the smallest changes. Whether it is the products you are using or a change in your everyday styling routine, there is a way to keep your hair looking sleek, luscious and healthy.

Like the famous philosopher Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” In order to prevent your hair from becoming dull, you should first understand how it ages.

Let’s get down to the science of the matter.
The average human being has around 100,000 strands of hair, although it can vary for each person. Each piece of hair is made up of protein, called keratin, which is surrounded by an outer layer of overlapping sheets forming the cuticle. The fastest-growing cells in the body grow within the only living part of a strand of hair, the hair follicle in the skin. Changes in biochemical or hormonal, microscopic or environmental factors can cause hair to age.

Five Tips for Younger Looking Hair

1. Watch your diet.
We are what we eat! There are certain foods that are full of good fats that can help you maintain a healthy scalp and head of hair. Partaking in a nutritious diet of salmon, walnuts, oysters or sweet potatoes will be the start of a new look. Below are other foods that are great for long locks.
Lean meats
Ensuring that you’re eating enough lean protein can help prevent hair loss. Lean protein can be found in foods like:
  • Ground sirloin
  • Eggs
  • Edamame
  • Pork chops
  • Chicken tenderloins

Dark green vegetables
Foods containing vitamins A and C and the mineral iron, such as spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard, can help prevent hair loss.

Low-fat dairy
Yogurt, cottage cheese and other low-fat dairy foods contain calcium, which encourages hair growth.

2. Take your vitamins.
Not every shampoo is the same, which is why we strongly suggest using shampoos, conditioners and hair masks containing vitamins A, B, C and E. Along with vitamins, nutrients such as calcium and magnesium in shampoo can help repair hair damage. Make sure to pay attention to the ingredients label to guarantee that the formula does not contain sulfates. These cleansers have been known to strip hair of its natural oils.
3. Be easy on wet hair.
No matter the color, length or texture of your hair, it’s most sensitive when it’s wet. I don’t think this next statement will be a problem for the “tenderheaded” people of the group, but be CAREFUL when brushing your hair right after a shower. Rather than a brush, consider using a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair while still in the shower.

4. Put down the blowdryer.
Let me clarify this tip. I am not saying that you should never blow dry, straighten, curl or otherwise use heat on your hair again, but the temperature of the hot tool of choice could probably be dropped a bit. Try to prevent stubborn flyaways, frizziness and dryness by using an ionic (also known as negative ion) blow-dryer with 2,000 watts or more, or use a straightener with pure ceramic plates.

5. Release some pressure.
Have you ever gotten a headache from a ponytail holder that’s too tight? There is a reason for that. Loosen up your ponytail by using no-crease ponytail holders, stray away from tight braids and avoid products that make the hair stiff, such as extra hold hair sprays.

Need more tips on healthier and younger-looking hair? Leave a comment below and we will try to help you out! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ethnic Skin: Tips for the Summer Sun

We spend a lot of time talking about protecting your skin from the sun, but it’s easy to ignore some of these tips if you don’t have white skin that is prone to sunburn. You shouldn’t! One of the most important, yet least understood, parts of caring for ethnic skin is sun prevention. For years, many people have believed the myth that it is impossible for people with dark skin to get skin cancer. But the truth, according to, is just the opposite. Individuals with dark skin have more melanin and therefore ought to actually be MORE cautious when dealing with the sun. Otherwise, damage can easily be overlooked, leading to later detection and increased risk of cancer and other issues. It is very important to take great care of your skin in order to not only keep it looking beautiful, but also to avoid the more serious problem of skin cancer.

Now that summer is in full swing, let’s brush up on some sunscreen myths and facts for dark-skinned people and learn about new advances in technology that can benefit all of us.

Myth: Sunscreen is unnecessary
For some time, it was a common belief that African-Americans do not need to use sunscreen as much as Caucasians do. Do not fall for this! Interestingly, brown skin does have a built-in SPF of 13.4, while light skin has a built-in SPF of just .4. However, daily use of sunscreen is still necessary to fully protect yourself from sunspots, wrinkles and other sun damage.

Sunscreen: The basics and the “residue” issue
We recommend a sunscreen with SPF 30 or for daily use. Apply it daily at least 20 minutes before going outside. These are a few things to look out for when choosing your sunscreen:

  • Only use sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. It is commonly called “broad-spectrum”
  • While SPF 30 or above is recommended, SPF 15 is the absolute lowest that can reduce risk of skin cancer and early aging.
  • Don’t forget to REAPPLY. Sunscreens cannot advertise as sweat-proof or waterproof, but they can be resistant to both. Since sunblock doesn’t completely withstand water and sweat, you should reapply after 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.

The Residue
A common issue with sunscreen is the whitish-gray residue that the product can leave behind. While this has been a problem in the past, new technology has essentially eliminated the issue. Here are some tips for avoiding this annoying problem:

  • Use micronized formulas that have made sunscreen more cosmetically acceptable and less likely to leave residue.
  • Try quick-absorbing formulas that contain chemical ingredients that sink into your skin. Some of ingredients to look out for include Mexoryl SX, Helioplex, and AvoTriple. These are the chemicals that will keep you safe without the frustrating white film!
  • Clear zinc formula is a great alternative to regular sunblock, and it is much less visible when applied.

Enjoy the beautiful outdoors this summer, but don’t forget to use these tips to protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Truth About Tanning

Summer is quickly approaching, and odds are you’re breaking out your swimsuits and shorts for the first time. The first thing most people notice when they break out their summer clothes is that their skin is much lighter than it was when they packed those same clothes away months earlier.

Unfortunately, many people turn to tanning beds or even their own backyards to get a “base tan” before they officially kick off their summer activities. But is a base tan legitimate? And are you better off going to a tanning bed, laying outside, getting a spray tan or doing nothing at all? Here’s The Skinny on tanning.

Tanning Beds
No matter what you’ve heard, there is no such thing as a “safe” tanning bed. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services both list tanning beds as a “known human carcinogen,” right up there with cigarettes.  

According to the American Academy of Dermatology:
  • On an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons.
    • 35 percent of American adults, 59 percent of college students and 17 percent of teens have reported using a tanning bed in their lifetime.
  • Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
  • Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.
    • In a 2014 study, 13 percent of American adults, 43 percent of college students and 10 percent of teens admitted to using a tanning bed in the past year.
  • In 2010, the indoor tanning industry’s revenue was estimated to be $2.6 billion.
  • Indoor tanning equipment - which includes all artificial light sources, including beds, lamps, bulbs, booths, etc. -- emits UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, and in some cases might be stronger.
  • Studies have found a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.
  • A recent study estimates that exposure to indoor tanning devices causes more than 450,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 10,000 melanoma cases each year in the United States, Europe and Australia.
  • Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.
  • In a survey of adolescent tanning bed users, it was found that about 58 percent had burns due to frequent exposure to indoor tanning beds/lamps.
  • The FDA estimates that there are about 3,000 hospital emergency room cases a year due to indoor tanning bed and lamp exposure.
But what about Vitamin D?
Some people claim that indoor tanning can be beneficial in providing much-needed Vitamin D to the skin. While Vitamin D is important, indoor tanning beds should not be used to obtain vitamin D because UV radiation from indoor tanning is a risk factor for skin cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained by a eating a healthy diet and by taking oral supplements. Additionally, most people can get adequate amounts of Vitamin D just by walking outside for a few minutes per day.

Aren’t there some safe tanning beds that don’t emit UVA rays?
While some tanning beds do eliminate the UVA rays and only emit UVB, they are still dangerous. According to the FDA, UVB rays are most often associated with sunburns on the skin’s surface, while UVA rays can cause damage further below the surface. But exposure to any UV rays can cause skin cancer and damage to the skin.

Tanning Outside
I’ve heard claims that tanning outside is safer than tanning inside because it’s “natural.” That’s false. The danger in tanning at all is the UV rays. Tanning beds tend to work “faster” than just laying outside because they have a higher concentration of UV rays, but any contact with UV rays is damaging.

Every time your skin changes – whether it burns or tans – it’s a sign of damage. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer, but it can also cause signs of aging, like wrinkles. If you’re outside for any extended period of time, you should wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to protect yourself.

Spray Tanning
If you really want to add some color to your skin, spray tanning is the way to go. Spray tans contain a color additive called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which temporarily darkens the skin. Spray tans typically last seven to 10 days, or until the skin naturally sloughs off.

There has been a question about the safety of DHA, as prolonged exposure to the chemical or ingestion through the nose or mouth can be harmful. Still, if the products are used as directed, they are not dangerous. People working with spray tans or getting one should ensure they protect their eyes, nose, mouth and mucous membranes.

Even with the minimal risk posed by DHA, spray tanning is by far the safest option to achieve that brown glow.

Doing Nothing At All
Love your skin the way it is! People who avoid tanning altogether and who faithfully wear sunscreen every day will age more gracefully than people who tan or don’t protect their skin.

Have any questions about tanning or recognizing damage? Make an appointment at ADSCA today. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Myths and Truths of Pinterest Skin Care Tips

If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen or re-pinned some skin care advice. But how do you know where these claims are coming from? How do you know they are legitimate? The short answer is…you don’t. Here are a few common skin care pins.

CLAIM: Heal acne scars with a scrub made of honey and carrot seed oil.

This pin is on my myths board. Honey is a natural antiseptic, but it won’t heal scars. As pointed out in my blog post, scars are the result of a change in the skin, so they’re not easily camouflaged with home scrubs like this one.

CLAIM: Sleep on your back to help prevent wrinkles.

Sleeping on your stomach or side can be damaging to your posture. Also, when you spend an entire night with your face buried into a pillow, you may be “pressing in” wrinkles and crevices. Sleeping on your back can also help prevent fluid buildup in your facial tissue, kicking that “puffy morning look” to the curb.

CLAIM: Mix coffee grounds, raw sugar or sea salt and massage oil to use in the shower! The scrub can help redistribute fat cells and decrease cellulite formation. It will also shrink blood vessels and reduce varicose veins.

Nothing will cure cellulite, but caffeine and mud can take the swelling out of skin and constrict blood vessels - which decreases the appearance of lumpiness and gives the skin surface a smoother appearance when the light hits it.

CLAIM: Boil olive oil and honey, cool and comb through your hair. This is supposed to work like an at-home oil treatment and help your hair grow faster and make it super smooth.

The truth is that the massaging motion you use to get the oil into your hair is stimulating blood flow to the scalp, which can help your hair grow. Washing your hair with regular shampoo can do the same thing. The olive oil will help moisturize your hair, but it won’t do much for growth on its own.

CLAIM: Make your own natural makeup at home using ingredients like beets, arrowroot and coconut oil.

The at-home recipes in this pin won't work long-term, as the makeup won't hold its color. The best bet, if you're trying to go all natural, is to go for mineral agents with natural pigment. You can also go beyond the drug store brands and try something like Youngblood Cosmetics, which we sell at the ADSCA medi spa.

CLAIM: Use warm mustard oil to massage your feet and legs twice a day until spider veins are healed.

The mustard oil has a yellow color to it that may camouflage spider veins...but it won't get rid of them. It's not really any different than using makeup to cover a pimple and thinking it's been healed.

CLAIM: Mix baking soda with your favorite cleanser. Exfoliate several minutes for soft skin!

Baking soda doesn't really do anything spectacular on its own, but it does create a gritty substance that can help scrub dead skin cells off. It's an easy household product to use if you’re out of your regular scrub.

Got any more questions about pins you’ve seen? Comment here or on Facebook. For more great skin care advice, follow us on Pinterest