EMAIL • 901.759.2322

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Skinny: Skin Care During Chemotherapy

Photo credit: K Photography

“Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.” - Winston Churchill.

Chemotherapy can save your life, but it may also bring some unexpected changes to your body. Here’s The Skinny on how maintain healthy skin during and after chemotherapy.

If you or someone close to you is facing the harsh reality of battling cancer, it may seem like treatment plans and appointments come rushing at you. You may feel as though you just handed over complete control of your life to a group of people in white coats and gloves. They probably explained to you that the next big “C” word you hear is a necessary evil that has the potential to save your life — chemotherapy.

While it can save your life, chemotherapy can have devastating effects on your skin, hair and nails if you do not take proper care of them. Although you may not feel in complete control of your body, you can maintain control of your skin by adhering to a healthy skin care regimen before and after your treatments. For the best results, start your skin care regimen one week prior to beginning treatment. Below are some tips and tidbits for maintaining healthy skin during chemotherapy.

Cleanse
  • Wash your face. Make sure not to over-exfoliate, as your skin is likely to become very delicate from the treatment. Pat your face dry instead of rubbing or scrubbing, which may tear the skin.
  • When you wash your body, especially your face, use gentle soaps that are fragrance-free and alcohol-free to protect your sensitive skin.
  • Shower and bathe in lukewarm water. Avoid long, hot showers that can dry out your skin. 

Protect
Depending on the type of chemotherapy used, your skin may experience some color changes. Lighter skin tones tend to get red, while darker skin tones tend to get darker. Freckles and moles will also darken in color.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. You do not have to avoid the sun altogether, but it is in your best interest to apply sunscreen every two hours when you’re outside.
  • Fluorouracil (5-FV) treatment will make your skin tan very quickly, so be extra cautious while spending time outdoors.
  • Pay close attention to your fingernails and toenails to prevent them from becoming dry, brittle, cracked or ingrown.


Moisturize
It is vital for your skin to stay moisturized during your treatment period. Chemotherapy can leave your skin dry and flaky, which makes it especially susceptible to infection.
Use thick ointments or creams versus regular lotions to lock in more moisture for longer periods of time.

If your skin becomes itchy and irritated, you need to consult your doctor. Steroids or anesthetic medication may work better than weaker over-the-counter drugs.
Avoid pressure sores that can result from sitting or lying in one place for a long time by shifting your weight or changing positions frequently.

The key to healthy skin during chemotherapy is dedication. Make sure to set aside time each day to take care of your body. Try out these tips and tidbits, and let us know which ones worked for you. And, of course, never give up! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ethnic Skin: Choosing The Right Makeup


Photo courtesy of flickr user Philippe Put

If you’re a dark-skinned woman, do you spend countless hours scouring the makeup aisles in a vain attempt to find makeup that matches your skin? Are you sick of dull makeup colors that barely show up, or worse, leave your skin looking chalky? We understand your pain, and we have answers! Keep reading to find out how to avoid these annoyances and apply flawless makeup to your beautiful dark skin.

Face
Primer
First, cleanse and tone your skin. Then, if you have oily skin, apply a matte primer. If your skin tends to be drier, look for an allover moisturizing primer that will give you a good base to apply your make up seamlessly.

Foundation, Blush and Bronzer
Choosing the right shade of foundation can make or break your look. Picking a foundation that is too light is the main cause of the “chalky” look that so many dark-skinned women experience. We know finding the perfect shade is difficult, and sometimes it seems impossible, but trust us – going too dark is better than going too light (and don’t forget you can always mix the two). Keep in mind that yellow-based foundations mix best with dark skin tones. Remember: The goal is for foundation to basically disappear after application, so always test shades in natural light before you buy them. That way, they will match as closely as possible. After applying your foundation with a yellow base, you should move to a blush and bronzer that will accentuate your natural color. Brown or copper bronzer is best for naturally dark skin.  

Lips
For the lips, think natural. Browns, golds, neutrals and earth tones look best for daytime wear, while pinks and dark burgundy shades add glam for your nighttime look. If you want to catch some eyes but not grab too much attention, opt for a dab of lip gloss. This is great for a casual evening or some daytime fun! Although often misunderstood, using a dark liner is actually NOT the best way to accentuate your lips. You should highlight this area by adding a little pop with a liner that’s close to the same color as your gloss or lipstick.

Eyes
The eyes are often the most overlooked part of the makeup routine.

Eye Shadow
Although it’s the easiest to skip, a great eye shadow can complete your look if done properly. Shimmery, metallic eye shadows are best for dark skin. For a more dramatic look, try two complementary colors like gold and purple. Keep in mind that the darker your skin, the brighter the colors you can pull off. Contrast is everything when it comes to the eyes!
Eyeliner
For your liner, stick with a basic brown or black with black mascara. If you’re going for that bold look, try some false eyelashes and go crazy with colorful shadows!

To recap: Err on the dark side for your foundation, go natural on the lips and bright for the eyes. Have fun with your makeup and embrace your beautiful skin!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Skin Care Shortcuts for the busy BODY




Kick off those shoes. HALLELUJAH! You’re home! Make dinner. Do a load of laundry. Veg out in front of the TV to the family’s favorite show. Give the children a bath. Iron some clothes and make lunches for the next day. Shower. Brush your teeth. Hit the hay and prepare to do it all over again tomorrow.

For many, unwinding at night is just as time-consuming as your jam-packed daily routine.  The amount of stress and high demand your body receives in a day can leave your skin in great need of some T.L.C. Here are a few tips on how incorporate skin care into your nightly routine. Your skin will thank you in the morning!

Fancy the Face
  • Wash and exfoliate your face. Use a gentle cleanser to remove makeup and dead skin cells that have built up throughout the day. Exfoliate once a week for a deeper cleansing to remove bacteria from pores.
  • Use a facial mask at night while you finish up your last few emails or load the dishwasher. These usually only take 10 to 15 minutes and work well to moisturize your skin and reduce crow’s feet around the eyes.
  • Use oil products to relieve chapped and damaged skin on the face, hands and body. 

Lavish the Legs
  • Moisturize! Slather on lotion before getting into bed to keep your skin moist while you sleep, which will contribute to a radiant glow in the morning.
  • Use a shave gel instead of a cream when shaving your legs. Gels tend to lock in more moisture than shaving creams.
  • Use Osmotics Skin Rescue Nourishing Oil on your legs to give them a smoother texture and a healthy glow.

Finish with Feet
  • Soak your feet in warm water withEpsom salt. This is not only relaxing, it helps slough off dead skin cells that can build up if you’re on your feet all day.
  • Scrub the soles of your feet with a pumice rock after soaking them in warm water to exfoliate and rid your feet of dead skin cells.
  • Moisturize your feet with a lotion of your choice. We recommend Vaseline for deep cracks and intensive care purposes.

Finishing your day with a little dose of skincare self-pampering will not only aid in relaxation, it will also produce positive long-term effects for younger, more radiant skin. Try incorporating some of these into your nightly routine and let us know what you think!

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 cancer.gov, 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
Basics
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!