• Need Another Reason to Exercise? Do It For Healthy Skin!

    It’s hardly news that exercise is great for your heart, lungs, and mental outlook. Here’s another reason to get moving: Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.

    “We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

    If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.

    By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. ” Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver. “But by increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system,” Marmur tells WebMD. “You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.”

    Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. “And by decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement,” says Brian B. Adams, MD, associate professor and director of the Sports Dermatology Clinic at the University of Cincinnati. Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.

    Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct affect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

    The Healthy Skin Workout

    For all its many benefits, however, exercise can pose risks to your skin. Fortunately, protecting your skin is easy.

    “The main danger if you exercise outdoors is sun exposure,” says April Armstrong, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis. Sunburns increase skin cancer risk and rapidly age the skin, erasing any benefits your skin might get from exercise. The best advice is to avoid exercising outside during peak sun time, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    If you have to work out during peak sun time, however, wear sunscreen. “A lot of athletes are reluctant to put on sunscreen because it gets into their eyes when they sweat and stings,” says Marmur. “But new Ph-balanced sunscreens are now available that don’t sting.” If you have naturally oily skin or problems with acne, choose a gel or oil-free product or the latest innovation, powder laced with SPF protection.

    Don’t count of sunscreen alone to protect you, however. ” Sweating can remove the sunscreen that athletes put on and there is evidence that sweating actually increases the chance of burning,” Adams tells WebMD. “After athletes sweat, it takes 40% less ultraviolet rays to burn than when they are not sweating.” For added protection, wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible and a hat to shade your face, if possible.

    Another skin problem that can arise during activity is chafing, which can cause rashes. For people prone to acne, the irritation and increased perspiration caused by tight-fitting workout clothes may lead to a form of acne aptly called acne mechanica. “The two keys to prevention are to wear moisture-wicking clothing, such as bras and hats, to keep skin drier and cooler and to shower immediately after exercising,” says Adams. Wearing loose-fitting workout clothes can also help. Make sure your skin is clean before you work out to prevent clogged pores that lead to acne. Avoid wearing makeup when you exercise. After showering, apply a soothing skin moisturizer or powder to help prevent skin irritation.

    Rx for Exercise-Related Skin Problems

    Several other skin conditions can be exacerbated by physical activity, including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. That’s no reason not to exercise, dermatologists say. The benefits of exercise outweigh any temporary problems it can cause. And there are simple strategies to prevent flare-ups when you work out.

    For rosacea sufferers, increased body temperature and the skin flushing that accompany exercise can cause flare-ups. The best strategy, dermatologists say, is to exercise in a cool environment. “One of the best choices is swimming, since the water keeps skin cool even when you build up body temperature,” Marmur told WebMD. (Be sure to moisturize your skin afterward, however, since chlorine has a drying effect.) Brisk walking in an air-conditioned mall or waiting until the cool of the evening to jog outside are other good options. “If you do get flushed and overheated while exercising, apply cool compresses to problem areas of the skin immediately after your workout,” says Andrea Cambio, MD, a private practice dermatologist in Cape Coral, Fla.

    Eczema or psoriasis sufferers can also experience flare-ups after strenuous activity, usually caused by salt from perspiration. Marmur recommends spreading on a moisturizer before a workout to provide protection from sweat. Be especially careful to moisturize your arms and legs and areas with skin creases, such as underarms and groin. If possible, exercise in a cool environment to reduce perspiration and the need for showering after exercise. Washing too often can cause dryness and exacerbate eczema and psoriasis.

    “Physical activity can definitely pose a challenge, but we encourage all our patients with psoriasis and eczema to exercise to improve their overall health,” says Armstrong. Despite the occasionally temporary flare-ups, she adds, many patients see their conditions improve in the long term.

    Orinigally published on WebMD.com

  • Confessions of a Spray-Tan Newbie

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    Summer is almost here and it’s time to show some skin! Airbrush tans are suitable for all skin types and customizable for all skin tones. No chance of having tiger stripes here! Allure magazine compiled a list of the best tips for getting the most natural, long lasting spray tan. Happy SAFE tanning!

    Schedule smartly. Evening appointments are the most logical, since you can go after work, then scurry home and promptly seal yourself into your private chambers. After the session, you’re forbidden from getting wet for six to eight hours while your tan is developing, so you’ll have to wait until the morning to shower. Morning appointments, however, are “best if clients need to shower that evening,” says Natalie Cupid-Riley, the owner of Glow the Spray Bar in New York City. If you are getting spray-tanned for a special occasion, make the appointment for two days before, but consider “a trial a month in advance before a big event, like a wedding,” says Cupid-Riley.

    Prep your skin, part one. “Always exfoliate with a non-oil-based scrub before a spray tan,” advises bicoastal spray-tan pro (and bronzer to the Angels in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show ) Kristyn Pradas. “It is best to do this a day before your scheduled appointment, but the day of is fine, too.” Acceptable forms of exfoliation: scrubbing gently with a creamy formula, shaving the day before (“always use new razor blades to avoid a situation where your tan fades unevenly,” says Pradas), or waxing a few days before.

    Dress down. Pack some scrubby, loose-fitting clothes to wear home from your appointment. (Don’t breeze in wearing nothing but your dry-clean-only career-girl clothes, like I did.) No wiggling into leggings, tights, skinny jeans, or any formfitting clothes (you should even try not to put your bra back on), or your bronze will look like a remnant from your vacation to Streak City. For footwear, wear “sneakers with no socks, ballet flats, or any kind of slide-on,” says Cupid-Riley, who adds, “Prior to your session, anything is fine, just remember any clothing that indents your skin beforehand will indent your tan afterward.”

    Prepare your skin, part two. Wash your face at the salon before your appointment, and wipe your body down with a cleansing towelette. “You want to come in with clean, fresh skin, so no moisturizers, deodorants, sunscreens, makeup, or oils of any kind,” says Cupid-Riley. And since you won’t be showering—or washing your face—after, taking off all your makeup just makes good sense. (And check the weather, because if an unexpected rainstorm hits and you are not fully equipped with protective covering, you should reschedule the appointment.)

    Shower time! Once your eight hours are up, shower with “lukewarm to cool water, never hot. Wait until the water runs clear, then pat dry and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize,” says Cupid-Riley.

    Maintain. “The more hydrated your skin is, the longer the tan will last. I suggest moisturizing morning and evening with a pH-balanced formula,” says Pradas. She also recommends steering clear of retinols, anything with alcohol or witch hazel, scrubs, masks, strips, microdermabrasion, or “any products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, malic or lactic acids.” You should also avoid getting full-on manis or pedis, as they’ll break down the tan. Cupid-Riley says polish changes are OK, but “no scrubbing, bubbles, soaks, massages, or hot water.” (So no point.) Working out’s fine, but “it’s best to wait at least two days before exercising, as heavy sweating removes the color sooner. If workouts can be avoided, they should be,” she says. (I guess that’s why they say if you can’t tone it, tan it.)

  • Stop! 10 Ways You’re Using Your Clarisonic Totally Wrong

    Dermatologists, beauty editors, and celebrities alike swear by the Clarisonic cleansing brush! However, when Clarisonic cofounder Dr. Robb Akridge met with PopSugar writer Jessica Cruel she discovered something horriyfing…she’d been missing some crucial steps in her daily Clarisonic routine!

    Cleanse more effectively, check out her tips from Clarisonic cofounder Dr. Robb Akridge:

    1) You’re not using enough face wash. The first time you use your brush Dr. Robb recommends filling the entire inner circle with cleanser (about a quarter-sized amount). Then, you can adjust accordingly for your skin type.
    2) You’re not using enough water. Just like your toothbrush, you need to thoroughly soak your Clarisonic in water to get the ultimate pore-cleaning action.
    3) You’re sharing your brush head with your boyfriend. First of all — ew. Just no. Even though the Clarisonic doesn’t harbor bacteria, you would be swapping genetic material in an entirely new way. Just get him his own brush head. If he’s already done the deed, soak your brush head in rubbing alcohol for a few seconds.
    4) You don’t fine-tune your brush head. As an extra step you can remove the outer ring of the Clarisonic brush head and use the inner circle in that tight crevice around the nose. Just beware of extra splashing!
    5) You don’t clean it with shampoo. Dr. Robb recommends cleansing the Clarisonic after every use with a bit of shampoo to keep the bristles clear of residue and oil.
    6) You stopped using it because of a breakout. Transient acne is a potential side effect for first-time Clarisonic users. The stimulation of the skin can cause bacteria to rise to the surface in the form of a pimple. The solution: Scale back your use to once a day, but keep with it. Things should clear up after about two weeks of continual use.
    7) You don’t clean under the brush head. Once a month remove your brush head and cleanse the well below with soap and water to keep everything squeaky clean.
    8) You use your Clarisonic with an exfoliating cleanser. Double the exfoliation is not a good thing in this case. Avoid any cleansers with microbeads or rough particles.
    9) You don’t replace your brushes every three months. Dr. Robb says it isn’t the bacteria you need to get rid of, it’s more about the efficiency of the machine. Over time the bristles begin to clump together, so a replacement is required!
    10) You don’t restart the cycle for your neck and décolletage. Go ahead and push that button again to give your neck and collarbone a good antiaging scrub.

    Originally featured on PopSugar

  • The Quarter-Life Skin Crisis: Are We Aging Faster?

    Selfies have become part of life, documenting every single moment with close-ups that prove we were there. But all those reverse-angle phone cameras are unveiling a startling revelation to many, even twenty-somethings, their skin isn’t as young as they thought it was.

    Julie E. Russak , M.D. FAAD., board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, is seeing younger and younger patients in her office. “Women around 25-27 are noticing dullness, sunspots, and conditions like acne and eczema, no matter what they put on their faces. They’re surprised to see signs of aging this soon.”

    The biggest cause is the environment. “We’re aging faster than ever, and the biggest factors that have changed is pollution and radiation from the sun. Women are more aware of sun damage and are using SPF , but environmental pollution is something they don’t consider as much.”

    It’s more noticeable in young women in urban areas. “I have a lot of women who come to my office who say, “Before I came to New York, I never had these problems with acne, eczema, etc. They come from smaller markets from all over the country, and the second they move to New York, they have issues.”

    The skincare market has taken note, creating products to address the concerns of younger skin, since traditional anti-aging creams for mature skin can aggravate acne. Russak, a consulting dermatologist for SkinCeuticals, points to the company’s new Metacell Renewal B3 ($110,) a serum designed to address the concerns of photoaging. “For a long time, we didn’t have products to help the early signs of aging. This is a light — almost water-like —serum created for younger skin that addresses the signs of aging, such as dry patches, dullness, and redness , without aggravating acne.” The corrective moisturizer contains niacinimide, which calms inflammation in the skin.

    Other companies are also addressing these concerns too. Origins is releasing Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb ($39), a serum that combines natural extracts to help skin heal from environmental stressors and correct overall texture. It’s not unlikely that other companies will follow in short order: the market is wide open and receptive to new entries.

    In addition to pollutants and radiation damage, Dr. Russak says there’s another dangerous practice affecting women in this age group: heavy, poreless makeup. “Women are obsessed with taking selfies and having porcelain skin, which is obtained by primers which contain silicones. Silicones, no matter how small, block the pores of the skin. So, by layering makeup on top of these products, the skin is suffocated. Forgetting to take your makeup off when you get home late makes it even worse. The caked layers with pollutants remain on the skin, and the cumulative effect starts all over again the next morning.”

    Removing makeup at night is the best practice of all, regardless of age. “Washing everything off at night is key. Our skin regenerates at night, so allowing your skin to breathe and heal itself is one of the best things you can do for your skin.”

    Other than the serums and face washing, Dr. Russak advises the usual. “Diet, exercise, getting more sleep – they’re all important,” she advises. “Antioxidants are incredibly important for the skin, not just topically but internally as well through diet. You also want to make sure to constantly boost your metabolism by increasing antioxidants. This helps battle wrinkles and damage from the inside as well as the outside.”

    Dermatologists have plenty of procedures that can help with the penetration of these products for quick results, like the Clear & Brilliant laser and microneedling, both of which Dr. Russak says helps the products penetrate even more. “Also, the Tria is great for at-home maintenance, which helps creams and serums penetrate more deeply,” she says.

    Regardless of what method you use to correct any quarter-life skin concerns, be patient and be kind to your skin. “A lot of women overdo it,” cautions Dr. Russak. “They try all the peels and services, and they throw too much at the skin at once, which can cause irritation and damage. Your skin has to last you a lifetime, so be gentle with it. There are a lot of harsh chemicals that work well on certain conditions sparingly, but using too much will do more harm than good.”

    Originally featured on Yahoo Beauty by Kristin Booker

  • How to Scrub Your Body Like a Man

    Emerging from a harsh winter, men are shedding their clothing and, sometimes if they’re not careful, too much of their skin.

    “You get that fresh and clean feeling from a good body scrub,” said Raymonde Green, a marketing executive in Manhattan. Five mornings a week, he works out at the gym and showers there afterward, a process that involves “a quick scrub with a washcloth,” he said.

    Later on, things get more intense. “I’ll shower again at night and use a hard luffa with this Dove Men’s body and face wash,” Mr. Green said. “It gets a nice lather going.”

    He is not alone in his aggressive scrubbing regimen, but men should be careful about overdoing it, said Dr. David Colbert, a Manhattan-based dermatologist whose clients include the actor Kyle MacLachlan and the interior designer Nate Berkus.

    “Scrubbing is great for skin cell turnover,” Dr. Colbert said, “but I actually have to be careful when I recommend it. Yes, men have thicker skin than women — I mean that literally, not figuratively — and have more oil glands and sweat more, so they should scrub more. But take it easy there, Champ! This is not a competition of who can wipe their skin off.”

    Dr. Colbert recommends that men use a gentle exfoliant once a week. “A luffa or brush is O.K., but it’s a breeding ground for bacteria, so you have to replace it every couple of months,” he said. “I’d stay away from straight pumice stones. You can actually give yourself calluses. It’s just too easy to overdo it with pumice.”

    For he-men who may not know their own strength, there is the Clarisonic Smart Profile face and body brush, a battery-operated device with a long handle and a gently bristled oscillating head. “The machine runs at a certain speed — it’s easier to avoid trouble,” said Dr. Lauri Tadlock, a dermatologist in Bellevue, Wash., and a vice president at Clarisonic.

    Another great option is Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub, a mild gel cleanser with natural ingredients (utilizing diatomaceous earth, since plastic microbeads are an environmental hazard) polishes away dead skin cells

    Springtime is a prime season for men to rid themselves of dead skin. “You actually should never exfoliate during weather extremes,” Dr. Colbert said. “You’re taking a layer off your skin, and it leaves it vulnerable, whether in cold or heat.”

    Orginially featured in New York Times by Bee Shapiro

  • With ‘Text Neck’ Comes…Turkey Neck

    It’s been pretty widely documented that constantly looking down at your smart phone and favorite electronic devices can cause chronic pain to creep up your spine — the term “ Text Neck ” was coined last year when a study showed that craning the neck over a cell phone to text, tweet, or check Facebook can exert from 10 to 60 extra pounds of weight on the head of an adult.

    But there’s another aspect of Text Neck which has not yet been discussed — but which, to the youth and beauty minded, is even worse.

    Dermatologists and plastic surgeons around the country are citing an increase in patients looking to address sagging jowls and wrinkled necks, which they say is in part due to the high tech age. “With such thin skin on the neck, looking down at your phone constantly can cause collagen and elastin to break down and lead to deep wrinkles and sagging,” says Stephen S. Park , president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ( AAFPRS ).

    We’ll call it Text Turkey Neck.

    The effects of all that texting on your spine can lead to a whopping 60 pounds of extra pressure. Now just imagine how that added weight and movement can stretch your neck skin. (Photo courtesy of Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD)

    While holding and propping devices up to eye level is ideal, there are also other preventative measures you can take to strengthen neck skin’s resistance to repetitive movement. “Topical retinoid and retinol creams stimulate collagen and keep the skin elastic, and formulas with antioxidants fend off potential damage from other aggressors like UV light exposure, pollution and cigarette smoke, which can also lead to premature skin aging,” advises Joshua Zeichner , MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology.

    The trick is to remember to apply these anti-aging creams to your neck daily. Additionally, wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 on your face and neck every day will help protect against damaging sun rays that are the biggest culprit of aging to this delicate area of skin overall; and as a bonus, it will also help prevent skin cancer.

    If you’re seeking a more dramatic intervention, options have abounded in the doctor’s office this past year. “ Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to heat tissue under the surface of skin, triggering the natural production of collagen to lift and tighten loose necks,” says Doris Day, MD, RealSelf Dermatologist Advisor. Day also says injecting Botox in the chin can tighten the jawline in less severe cases. And all eyes are on the pending FDA approval of ATX-101 , an injectable that permanently reduces small pockets of fat, and has been clinically tested with success on sagging necks.

    Digital device addiction can also lead to chronic pain problems. Tilting your head forward loads an additional 10 pounds on the upper back and neck, which can result in a condition known as Forward Head Posture (FHP), where the normal healthy curve of the skeletal neck is straightened, says chiropractor Evelyn Haworth , DC. “FHP causes the jaw to clench, which can result in TMJ and headaches, and can lead to long term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis and pinched nerves,” she adds. Studies have also shown that FHP can result in up to a 50 percent reduction in endorphin production, the natural opiates that help you sleep, experience feelings of well-being, and reduce pain sensations in the body.

    It all sounds like doom and gloom — but better postural habits can prevent and heal damage you may have already done. “When sitting or standing, pretend there’s a spotlight on your upper chest, and shine that light up and forward,” says Haworth. Proper neck positions during sleep can also go a long way in helping. Slumbering on your back with a pillow that supports the curve of the neck is best, and side sleepers should think, “chin up” instead of curling the head forward, she advises.

    Another potential solution: Voice texting. By holding your phone up to your mouth to speak into it without tilting your head downward, you’ll avoid the movement that can cause wrinkles.

    A couple of gadgets exist to address postural neck issues. Prism glasses show a 90-degree downward view, so that you can look straight ahead and see device screens in your lap. And Haworth is the creator of the Kacelia Tru-Align , an at-home floor system that resets posture and spinal alignment to relieve pain by targeting key points along the body with the help of pads and gravity. And let’s not forget that last option — you can put down the device and look up at the world, and simply stand up straighter like mom always told you.

    Article featured by Grace Gold from Yahoo Health