• This Is What Happens to Your Skin on a Run

    The benefits of running seem to be endless: It can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, tone your body, help you slim down, boost your mood…should we go on? But have you ever returned from a sweaty, heart-thumping workout and wondered: What’s happening to my face while I’m working on my fitness? What effects does hitting the pavement have on my collagen, elastin, capillaries, and crow’s-feet? We asked the experts for answers.

    That red-in-the-face look is a normal part of exercise.

    We all want that sexy postrun glow (here’s what to keep in your gym bag), but let’s be honest: Sometimes we look more red and blotchy than cute and dewy. That’s normal and not a bit harmful, says Marc Glashofer, a skin-cancer surgeon in New Jersey. When you run, your blood vessels dilate to release heat, which results in red skin.

    For the most part, the red effect chills out as you cool down.

    One caveat: Dilated blood vessels can worsen chronic skin conditions like rosacea, says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a dermatologist in New York City. This isn’t to say that people with rosacea need to skip running altogether. Just keep a cold cloth by the treadmill to cool down, she suggests. If you’re running outside, a splash from a water bottle works just as well.

    In general, working out keeps chronic skin conditions at bay.

    It’s no secret that cardio calms us the heck down. Exercise decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which can be beneficial for chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne, Kanchanapoomi Levin says. Just skip wearing the one-size-too-small fitness clothes. Supersnug outfits can worsen preexisting skin conditions, she adds.

    A long jog equals a free spa treatment…kind of.

    A five-mile loop could just replace your next spa treatment—sort of. “Increasing your circulation with cardio delivers a greater amount of oxygen and nutrients to your skin, which helps repair it and increase collagen production,” says Kanchanapoomi Levin. Plus, enhanced blood flow helps skin cells regenerate, she adds—meaning cycling could actually be anti-aging. Shoot for cardio at 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, three to five times a week, she suggests.

    Overdoing it might piss off your skin.

    Some research shows that strenuous activity can worsen the health of your skin by causing more free-radical damage, which can age you, says Kanchanapoomi Levin. According to 2008 research findings published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine , superintense exercise can lead to detrimental effects on the skin if you’ve been working out near your maximum heart rate for extended periods of time (this is not including HIIT). Also, as your body produces extra free radicals, it also produces more of the counteracting antioxidant enzymes. “Regular and frequent exercise, coupled with a healthy diet loaded with greens and antioxidants, should be enough for a healthy person to fight off the excess free-radical production from exercise,” says Levin.

    There may be a little something to that whole “sweating out toxins” thing.

    Anyone who’s ever logged a sweaty run can tell you that (most of the time) it beats a glass of rosé on the couch. And according to the experts, it’s as good for your skin as it is for your psyche. “Enhanced blood flow can help skin cells regenerate and remove toxins more efficiently,” says Kanchanapoomi Levin.

    But wait, won’t sweat make me break out?

    First off, sweat is sterile, says Glashofer. “We need to sweat for thermoregulation—it cools us down,” he says. For the most part, our skin is totally OK when we sweat. (Exercise-induced urticaria is a rare condition in whiich you can break out in hives from an allergy to your own sweat.) Def don’t sport sweatproof makeup, either.

    Also, sweat isn’t usually going to cause a huge breakout.

    What’s more likely to give you pimples: sitting around in damp workout clothes. Sweat creates a warm, moist environment, says Levin. “Lingering sweat and dirt can clog pores, and oftentimes in my patients who work out regularly, I see a worsening of acne on the chest, back, or the forehead,” she says. It’s called acne mechanica, and friction between your skin and workout gear stimulates the production of excess oil, which in turn clogs your pores.

    Sidestep the issue by washing your makeup off prerun and rinsing off afterward.

    Acne-prone? A salicylic acid spray or cleanser or a benzoyl peroxide lotion after workouts can help, says Levin. Also, always look for breathable gear.

    Hitting the pavement can up your risk of skin cancer.

    Twenty-minute jogs here and two-hour half-marathons there add up. That’s part of the reason dermatologists might see outdoor athletes at a younger age, says Glashofer. While any kind of activity that puts you outdoors can raise your risk of skin cancer, some runners tend to skip sunblock to avoid the discomfort of it dripping into their eyes, Glashofer says. (It’s also easy to space on the fact that you need it.)

    You should apply sunscreen before you head outside. Pick up a water-resistant broad-spectrum product and reapply every 80 minutes, suggests Kanchanapoomi Levin. Physical blockers like zinc oxide won’t sting like chemical versions when used as sunscreens. And also, don’t forget your lips! A few faves: Elta UV Lip Balm Broad-spectrum SPF 31, Aeon Skin ProSport Non-Drip Sunscreen SPF 50+, and Neutrogena Sport Cool Dry.

    Article originally featured on Allure.com

  • Which Vitamins and Supplements Will Make Your Hair and Nails Grow Faster

    It seems every day we get a new claim about a vitamin doing this or supplement doing that, and no two segments of beauty see more of these claims than the hair and nail industries. We all crave stronger, shinier hair and seemingly indestructible nails that grow longer by the minute, so the question is simple: what vitamins help your hair grow and give you stronger nails?

    For the answers to our burning questions, we went straight to two of the industry’s top experts on hair and nails. Here’s what you need to know about which vitamins and supplements you should be taking for stronger nails and a serious head of hair.

    Beauty High: Why would you recommend vitamins and/or supplements to a hair client?
    Devin Toth, Senior Stylist and Director of Education for Ted Gibson Beauty: Usually we would recommend vitamins for hair growth, but to understand it you need to know that vitamins and supplements fall under three categories:

    • Vitamins that are always good for hair: These are vitamin A (needed by all your cells for growth), and B vitamins (B6, B9, B12, and B complex/Folic Acid, needed to help create iron so cells work properly).
    • Vitamins that prevent hair loss: vitamins C, E and zinc help repair damage to the body on a cellular level since they’re high in antioxidants. Besides repairing obvious damage you can see (cuts and bruises), they help repair the damage created by the digestive process of turning food into energy. Repairing damage from the inside out helps with overall body healthy and, by default, healthy hair growth.
    • Vitamins that are lost from a deficiency/poor diet: If your diet contains too much salt, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages, you’re probably poor in iron and magnesium, which can lead to hair loss. You can take iron quite easily, but magnesium is a bit tricky; it has to be absorbed with equal parts calcium and potassium. The great news is that magnesium doesn’t have be taken as a supplement. You can add more nuts to your diet as a great way to take in more. Also, if you take it right before you go to bed, magnesium is a great muscle relaxant, so it will help you sleep, which is great because hair grows fastest at night.

    Which supplements work best for which types of hair/hair issues?
    Biotin increases the density of your hair and it helps you produce more hair. Fish oil just makes hair really shiny and smooth by collapsing the cuticle to make it shinier from the inside out the way some conditioners coat from the outside. Even if you’re not into supplements, if you get more and better sleep, eat more nuts and vegetables and cut out processed and damaging foods, you should see an improvement in the condition of your hair growth. Really, anything that helps your cells work more efficiently will help the condition of your body, which will help the health of your hair.

    How long does it take to see results?
    Vitamins work immediately, which is why you take them. You’ll feel differently immediately, but you’ll see the effects in 2-3 months. Supplements are called supplements for a reason: they supplement the nutrients you should be taking in from your regular diet. If you supplement your vitamin intake and have an exemplary diet, you’ll look and feel stronger and your hair will respond in kind by growing stronger and healthier.

    Beauty High: What are the telltale signs that someone should be taking vitamins or supplements when it comes to their nails?
    Skyy Hadley, Celebrity manicurist and Owner of As U Wish Nail Spa: Ridges, dents and discoloration or an unusual nail shape can be a telltale sign that something is wrong with your nail health. Also, If your hands are regularly exposed to water, soap or harsh chemicals, your nails may become soft or brittle, and break or chip easily.

    What type of vitamins and supplements are most effective for nail growth and health? What do they do?
    Biotin, or vitamin B7, is crucial to maintain protein production and can help strengthen weak or brittle nails. Since your nails are made of protein, L-Lysine supplements can be taken to help build healthy proteins and help maintain healthy nails.

    How long does it take to see the effects of taking vitamins and/or supplements?
    These supplements begin to work on your growing nails, not your currently visible nails, so it could take a few months to see results. It all depends on how quickly your nails grow.

    Article originally featured on Stylecaster.com

  • 6 Sneaky Signs That Your Skin Is Aging Poorly

    There are plenty signs of aging we see all the time, like attending your baby cousins’ graduation, receiving an invite to a high school reunion, and watching your 401(k) mature. And when it comes to your complexion, most of us are on the lookout for the telltale signs: forehead furrows, crows feet, and undereye bags. But according the experts, there are a few lesser-known and more subtle signs of skin aging that are good to know about. Take what follows as a friendly info session, not a stern admonishment. The more you know about taking care of your skin, the better it will look.

    Sun spots in your 20s or 30s.

    “Sun spots in your late 20s or early 30s should be a wake-up call,” says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “If you are getting them that early, it means you’ve had significant amounts of sun exposure. While you can’t undo the past, you certainly can minimize the damage and slow down the skin’s aging process by using a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher and a morning antioxidant. Vitamin C can minimize free radical damage and protect collagen. In the evening, use a topical retinol product to stimulate new collagen production to keep the skin strong and supple.”

    Gaunt hands.

    “Loss of subcutaneous tissue, bone, and muscle results in a gaunt face and hands, plus the temples and lower eyelids can seem carved out. This process is so gradual that an individual may not perceive any differences initially. Unless your face is photographed periodically, the changes may go unnoticed,” says Patricia Ceballos, a dermatologist in New Rochelle, NY. Counteract your losses by fortifying skin with hyaluronic acid. “In the dermis of aged skin, natural hyaluronic acid is reduced which contributes to rough texture and loss of skin thickness,” she says. You could also consider fillers. “Hyaluronic acid binds 500 to 1000 times its weight in water, so it has enormous benefits when injected into atrophic skin of aged hands, rendering them plump and rejuvenated,” says Ceballos.

    The skin on your neck is patchy and irritable.

    “Uneven color on the sides of the neck and on the V of the chest is evidence of early photodamage,” says Annie Chiu, a dermatologist in North Redondo Beach, California. “If your skin is easily irritable, thats a sign of aging—healthy skin has a strong skin barrier that resists chronic inflammation.” Chiu suggests Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Serum for uneven skin tones on your neck. “The antioxidants fight UV mediated photodamage, which causes brown-red discoloration on the neck, and the vitamin C and phloretin have a brightening skin evening effect,” she says. La Roche Posay Ciclaplast Baum B5 Soothing Repair Balm may also help calm angry zones. “I often use this to soothe skin after in-office peels or laser treatments,” she says.

    Wrinkles along your cheeks and a loose jawline.

    “People develop wrinkles just from movement, so that’s not really a sign of aging poorly. But if fine lines and wrinkles appear in the middle of the cheeks or the jawline sags in the twenties or thirties, it is. The middle of the cheeks and the jawline show sun damage and wrinkles early on,” says Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist in New York City. To minimize, Nazarian uses ultherapy, a treatment that incorporates ultrasound technology to firm up and tighten skin. “Although multiple sessions are needed, with time, new collagen and elastin are formed to minimize wrinkles and bagging,” says Nazarian.

    Your skin is itchier than usual.

    “With aging, comes a loss of moisture. The cell membranes become more porous, contributing to dryness and the crepe-y look. Consequently, skin tends to become itchy and more sensitive. Pay attention to your skin—it might be trying to tell you something,” says Ceballos. Reminder: Our favorite moisturizers under $20 are at your fingertips.

    Your eyes are changing shape.

    “As we age, our bones start to recede inwards. It’s most prominent at the inner upper corner and the outer lower corner of the skull. As a result, the eyes go from being really rounded to slightly more horizontal,” says Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in West Islip, New York. “The best thing to do to is maintain the texture of your skin with products, like Neocutis Lumiere Bio-restorative Eye Cream and therapeutic treatments, such as Pelleve for skin tightening.”

    Article originally on Allure.com

  • Great Tips for Shaving Between Laser Hair Removal Treatments

    YOU DON’T LATHER UP.
    Dry shaving—ouch. Even though it saves time, it almost always causes little red bumps that last for days. “Shaving cream and gel were designed to help your razor glide gently across your skin without tugging or pulling,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. “Without them, you’re most certainly left with razor burn, cuts, skin damage, and irritation.” Desperate? Even using water is better than nothing at all

    YOU USE YOUR DISPOSABLE RAZOR FOR MORE THAN A WEEK.
    Yes, we’re serious—you need to toss it once a week if you’re shaving every single day. “Dull blades are more likely to cause razor bumps, irritation, nicks, and cuts, and old blades can harbor bacteria, which can lead to infections,” says Schlessinger. If you want a closer shave with the least amount of irritation, pay close attention to how many days your current razor has racked up. “A good rule of thumb is if you feel like it’s tugging at your hair or skin, toss it—it’s most definitely a ticking time bomb waiting to irritate,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City.

    YOU SHAVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF YOUR HAIR GROWTH.
    True, it might help you get a slightly closer shave, but it’ll also cause pain. Plus, the blunt-tipped end of the hairs can grow back into the skin rather than up and out. Holy ingrown hairs. “Especially for those with sensitive skin, it’s better to shave only in the same direction that your hair grows,” says Schlessinger. “If you’re prone to razor burn and ingrown hairs, apply a gel or serum like PFB Vanish [sold at SpaDerma!], which relieves irritations caused by hair-removal techniques like shaving.

    YOU DO IT AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.
    “You’re more likely to nick yourself, irritate your skin, or miss spots when you’re trying to shave too quickly,” says Engelman. “Instead, you want to carefully use smooth, even strokes to prevent any skin troubles.” If you do slice yourself—even slightly—you’ll probably bleed more than you’d expect, so the best thing to do is place pressure on the area until the bleeding stops. “If you’re running out the door and don’t have time, put a little astringent on it to halt blood flow and rub some antiperspirant on the area,” says Engelman.

    YOU APPLY TOO MUCH PRESSURE.
    When it comes to how hard you should be pressing the razor blade down on your skin, always remember less is more. “The harder you bear down, the more uneven the skin surface becomes, because you are essentially creating dimples where the blade falls,” says Engelman. Many multi-bladed razors shave below the skin, causing ingrown hairs and infections when you press too hard.

    YOU DON’T EXFOLIATE BEFOREHAND.
    To avoid razor bumps, you should use an exfoliator before whipping out that razor. That’s because it removes dead skin cells, allowing your razor to glide easier. “I always recommend First Aid Beauty Cleansing Body Polish [$28, amazon.com] to all my patients with shaving complaints,” says Engelman. “It not only exfoliates, but it also cleanses and helps moisturize the skin.”

    YOU SKIP MOISTURIZING AFTERWARD.
    “It’s best to moisturize your skin as soon as you step out of the shower,” says Schlessinger, since applying moisturizer while your skin is still damp helps lock everything in. If you skip this step, the top layers of your skin can quickly become dry and dehydrated from the combo of exfoliating and shaving. Engelman also recommends dabbing a hydrating body oil over the area to reduce inflammation and redness. Try Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil ($13, amazon.com).

    Originally featured on Prevention.com