Try This: 5-Minute Skin Detox Treatment

For glowing, soft, healthy skin, try this simple Eastern medicine technique. From Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confident Self, by acclaimed hair and makeup artist Eva Scrivo.

Dry brushing of the skin has been practiced in Eastern medicine for centuries as a form of exfoliation and to increase circulation and lymph drainage as well as to assist in the elimination of toxins through the skin. On a purely aesthetic level, dry brushing once a week will also give you glowing, soft, healthier skin.

To do this quickly and efficiently, you will need two natural-bristle body brushes that can comfortably fit in the palm of each hand. Before getting into the shower, vigorously brush your skin using sweeping strokes over your entire body. Since dry brushing helps to improve circulation, your strokes should be in the direction of the heart — upward on the legs and arms and downward from the neck and chest. Your skin will start to look pink, but because of the soft natural bristles, the sloughing is gentle and feels invigorating. Brush over the skin for a few minutes, then get into the shower or bath. The steam helps your skin to eliminate the toxins that the dry brushing has brought to the surface, while the water rinses off the dead skin cells.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eva Scrivo, author of Eva Scrivo on Beauty: The Tools, Techniques, and Insider Knowledge Every Woman Needs to Be Her Most Beautiful, Confidential Self (Copyright © 2011 by Eva Scrivo), is one of today’s most well known and respected names in beauty. She is a highly acclaimed hair and makeup artist, radio show host, television personality, and an entrepreneur who owns a successful salon in New York City.

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Chocolate Causes Breakouts and 19 Other Acne Myths Debunked

Don’t base your skincare regimen on false information. Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields take on 20 common myths about the causes and cures for acne and set the record straight. Here’s the truth about food, sun, age, Accutane, and more from their book, Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications.

  • Acne Is Your Fault
    False. Acne is not and never will be your fault. Acne is caused by a combination of factors. These include genetics, hormones, bacteria, overabundance of oil, the plugging of skin pores, your unique immune response to the p. acnes bacteria, stress, environmental factors, medications, excessive rubbing or irritation, cosmetics, and even traveling. It is not caused by how you wash your face (or with what) or by any of the foods you eat. Some people never break out; some never stop.
  • Acne Can Be Cured
    False. There is not yet a cure for acne. It’s a complicated condition. Even the prescription drug Accutane, the strongest oral medication for acne, does not provide a permanent cure. But you can help prevent and control mild to moderate acne blemishes once you start following our program.
  • If You Leave Your Acne Alone, You’ll Outgrow It
    False. Don’t wait. It’s so important to start treating breakouts early. Untreated, acne can get worse. For example, comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) can evolve into pustules and pimples. If it does get worse, it can leave scars — physically on your face and emotionally in your heart for a lifetime.
  • Acne Is Just a Little Problem. Don’t Overreact. Stop Worrying About It
    False. Almost everyone who has acne is embarrassed by it — if not mortified and depressed. Acne not only lowers self-esteem, it often affects social behavior. It’s hard to have a social life if you don’t want to leave the house. Acne can even affect job performance, especially if you feel inhibited about being seen and judged by your peers.
  • Spot Treatments Will Cure Acne
    False. Spot treatments may help dry up a newly visible pimple, but that pimple started forming weeks before you were aware of its existence. Instead of spot treatments, it’s wise to preventively treat all acne-prone skin on a daily basis so breakouts can’t get started in the first place. Think of treating acne as you think of brushing your teeth: Do it every day and prevent a problem.
  • Acne Is Caused by Eating Greasy Foods, Chocolate, or Caffeine
    False. Medical studies have found that diet — including chocolate, pizza, potato chips, and french fries — rarely affects acne.However, if certain foods consistently make you break out with acne, it’s common sense to try to avoid them. For example, for some who are supersensitive, eating foods with a high iodine content, such as shellfish, dried fish, and seaweed, may cause flare-ups, which may explain why the Japanese, who usually have a terrific, balanced, low-fat diet, still get acne. Some other studies theorize that the hormones in chicken, beef, and dairy products may precipitate early adolescent acne, but the jury’s still out on that subject. If you’re concerned, substitute other sources of protein and calcium for these products or try hormone-free, organic versions of them.
  • Sugar Causes Acne
    False. An article entitled “Acne Vulgaris: A Disease of Western Civilization” was published in the Archives of Dermatology in December 2002. The writers concluded that there’s an astonishing difference between Western and non-Western societies in terms of how much acne people get — a difference that can’t be due just to what’s in the gene pool. They blamed acne on excess consumption of sugar in Western countries. However, critics of this study noted that the authors looked only at a small, genetically distinct tribe of natives in Papua, New Guinea, to represent non-Western societies. This tribe has a much later onset of puberty than other societies around the world, which means their hormones associated with acne kick in later in life. It is therefore not a representative group.Finding out what causes acne onset will be a tremendous help in acne treatment all over the globe. But to blame acne on sugar alone disregards scientific research and clinical observation. It’s been our experience that eliminating all sugar or fat in a diet doesn’t eliminate acne. We do advocate a healthy diet filled with complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and low-fat protein. We believe refined sugars and excessive fat should be kept to a minimum to maintain a healthy body weight. Unfortunately, however, making changes in your diet alone will not stop acne. So don’t beat yourself up because you just had a chocolate brownie; it is not going to create pimples weeks down the road.
  • Drinking Tons of Water Will Flush the Acne Away
    False. Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day is healthy for your body. But not even the priciest designer-bottle spring water can flush away acne. There’s simply no proof that water can clean the skin from the inside out. Furthermore, while dehydration may temporarily make your skin look lifeless, it won’t lead to breakouts.
  • Sun Exposure Will Heal Your Acne
    False. Small amounts of sun exposure may appear to be helping your acne at first; the blue band of visible light helps to sterilize the p. acnes bacteria. Breakouts temporarily dry up and your new tan helps camouflage angry, red blemishes. But prolonged sun exposure eventually increases the plugging of your pores, producing blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples. Plus the very real danger of skin cancer, to say nothing of premature wrinkling, cannot be overstated. Exposing your skin to the sun without sunscreen will never be a good idea. Its risks outweigh its very minimal benefits.
  • Acne Is Seasonal
    False. Some people claim their acne is seasonal, worse, perhaps, in summer. While temperature and humidity may increase the oil production of your skin, for most there aren’t seasons for acne. It’s a year-round problem.
  • Sunscreen Causes Acne
    False. A good noncomedogenic sunscreen will not cause acne. However, a heavy, occlusive sunscreen will attract and hold on to heat in your follicles, flaring inflammation and causing numerous small red bumps to form. This reaction is not true acne but a condition called miliaria.Find an oil-free, noncomodegenic sunscreen formulated for acne-prone skin. The risk of skin cancer is simply too great to do without it. This is true for people of all ages and all races. Reapply it frequently if you are sweating in the heat or after you go swimming.

    Also remember that acne medicines, such as benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A, and salicylic acid, may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun exposure. This is even more reason never to leave the house without first applying sunscreen.

  • Acne Comes from Not Washing Your Face Enough
    False. Acne is not caused by dirt or uncleanliness. In fact, if you overwash your face or strip it with rubbing alcohol in an effort to feel clean, you can produce irritation. While face washing does remove surface oil, there is evidence that too frequent washing may stimulate oil production. Washing twice a day is more than enough to remove bacteria and aid in exfoliation.
  • Acne Is Caused by Oily Skin
    False. It is possible — and often common — to have both dry skin and acne. You can also have both oily skin and no acne. Pores will become plugged and acne will form whether your skin is dry or oily.
  • Using the Right Cosmetics Will Cure My Acne
    False. Some eager salespeople at the cosmetics counters may say anything to entice you into trying their line of new potions and creams. Buyer, beware!
  • If I Have Acne, I Can’t Use a Moisturizer
    False. Many people think that if they have acne, they can’t use moisturizers. Actually, noncomedogenic moisturizers, the kind that don’t cause clogged pores, are a must to hydrate parched, dry skin.
  • Acne Is Contagious
    False. Acne is a non-communicable disease. Even if you run your hands over the face of someone with the worst case of acne you’ve ever seen, you won’t get any pimples as a result. You can no more catch acne than you can catch cancer.
  • Accutane Is the Miracle Cure for Acne
    False. Accutane is the most successful drug used to treat acne, but it should be used only for severe cases, not mild ones. It works by shrinking oil glands for one to two (sometimes three) years, and it normalizes the cells lining the pore so plugging does not occur. A significant percentage of people who use Accutane need a second or third course of the drug, and most require topical skin treatments long term to keep their acne at bay. Accutane also has significant side effects, which require careful monitoring by your dermatologist.
  • Hair in Your Face or Hats on Your Head Cause Acne
    False. Hair and hats by themselves can’t cause acne. But using the wrong kinds of products on your hair or too much of them can exacerbate acne. We call this condition mousse abuse. Comedogenic, acne-triggering hair products, whether mousse, gel, pomade, or oil, can occlude (plug) pores near the hairline, creating fine blackheads and whiteheads. People who wear hats to hide their acne may inadvertently cause excess perspiration and irritation, triggering acne breakouts.
  • Blue Light Therapy Can Cure Acne
    False. Blue light therapy is an interesting approach to the treatment of acne, but it’s not a cure. Blue light is part of the rainbow of visible light (410 nanometers wavelength) emitted from a light source from a machine in a doctor’s office. It works by sterilizing the skin for a short period of time, removing acne bacteria and temporarily improving acne when used in conjunction with traditional topical acne medications. As more dermatologists use blue light therapy, we’ll get a better idea of how well it works or whether its expense and frequent visits will disappoint patients in the long run. Studies are ongoing, but it’s simply too soon to tell.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Katie Rodan, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kathy Fields, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco. Both have been profiled in Best Doctors in America, and their work has been featured in numerous national magazines and television shows. They are the authors of Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications (Copyright © 2004 by Rodan & Fields Inc.).

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Start-to-Finish Makeup Guide for Women with Acne

With the right tools and a handful of tricks of the trade, applying makeup needn’t be a chore for those with imperfect skin. Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields asked professional makeup artists for their best makeup trips for women with acne. Here are 14 tips from their book, Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications.

Following are some of the best tips about makeup application we’ve learned from professional makeup artists. The products listed are available at drugstores, department stores, or company websites. Remember, have fun with your makeup — let it be a life-enhancing experience, not an obsessive chore.

  • Always begin with a clean, dry face. The correct order for successful makeup application is medication, moisture, sunscreen, makeup. Try using dual function products, such as a moisturizing sunscreen, to lessen the number of products on your face. Remember, always let your medicated products dry completely before applying anything else.
  • Never use medicated cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur on the eye area, as they can be intensely irritating.
  • When in doubt, make sure your makeup is noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic. These terms indicate that the product has been tested and shown not to promote acne.
  • It’s often best to apply foundation and powder to skin that has been primed with some form of moisturizer. Otherwise, foundation and powder can cake and be uneven in appearance. For those with extremely oily skin, a mattifying lotion will help set makeup so it doesn’t streak.
  • It’s easy to smear mascara during application, which you then have to remove from the skin. If this happens often, particularly if you have long lashes, try applying your eye makeup and mascara before your other products. This way, if mascara smears by the side of your eyes or onto your cheeks, you won’t have to reapply your concealer or foundation. This is especially important when you’re using medicated products first.
  • Makeup varies in different lighting. For instance, if you work in an office with fluorescent lighting, it will look different from the way it does in your bathroom. For a more even and natural look, apply makeup in natural light. Sitting near a window and using a hand mirror works well.
  • More is not better, especially for those with severe acne. The temptation is to keep reapplying concealer or powder during the day, but this can often have the opposite effect, drawing attention to the pimples as well as adding potentially acnegenic ingredients to the area.
  • Makeup migrates into the pores. For those with acne, medicated makeups containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide allow this migration to benefit your complexion by healing and preventing acne.
  • Makeup also rubs off. To limit this, keep your hands away from your face whenever possible. We know this can be extremely difficult, but if you keep rubbing the makeup off, you’ll want to keep reapplying it, which sets up a vicious circle of overuse and irritation.
  • “If you have extremely oily skin that causes your makeup to streak after several hours, place a piece of cellophane tape over the streaks and pull it off,” suggests Melissa Greene, a makeup artist in Brooklyn, New York. “It sounds crazy, but it works. This will pull off the oil and leave your makeup intact. You can also try blotting papers, such as Proactiv Solution Oil Blotter Sheets or Lancôme Matte Finish Shine-Control Blotting Sheets.”
  • Don’t be afraid of color, but if you have a lot of acne, it’s best to highlight only one area of your face at a time. If you like dramatic eyes, go for subtle lips, and vice versa. Keep your cheeks neutral. And if your face tends toward redness, stay away from the red, pink, and purple families for shadows and blush, as they can appear to intensify it.
  • Makeup formulations are all different. Experiment until you find the best colors and textures for your skin. Note: Nearly all brands accept returns if a product causes irritation.
  • Never share makeup, especially mascara and eye shadows. This can cause infection and contamination.
  • Applying makeup is an acquired skill, one that is often crucial for women with acne. A makeup lesson from a professional makeup artist who understands acne can be illuminating and save you hundreds of dollars by steering you away from the products that might not work best for you. Being taught how to apply makeup properly will also help cut down the time it takes to put on makeup, an asset to anyone already overburdened with work, school, and family commitments.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Katie Rodan, M.D., is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kathy Fields, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco. Both have been profiled in Best Doctors in America, and their work has been featured in numerous national magazines and television shows. They are the authors of Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications (Copyright © 2004 by Rodan & Fields Inc.).

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8 Essential Foods for Gorgeous Skin

Acai is the new pomegranate, and goji berry is the new blueberry! Who can keep track of all of the “super skin foods” touted in magazines? And honestly, who needs to? Here, Dr. Ellen Marmur reveals the top eight everyday food elements, from antioxidants to zinc, that will help optimize your skin’s health.  From Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

As popular as the “super skin foods” topic may be in magazines, there’s not much sound scientific evidence behind all of it yet. Scientists are studying the effects of many foods and vitamins on the health of the skin, but strong studies are still pretty scarce. Even so, there are things you can eat that definitely benefit the skin in particular, and deficiencies of certain nutrients is damaging. A lack of protein can lead to poor wound healing and hair loss, and a fat deficiency can bring on dry skin and brittle hair and nails. A lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy (yes, even in this day and age!), which leads to spongy gums and bleeding hair follicles, among other awful skin conditions. So don’t be caught short of the nutrients your skin needs in your diet, but don’t make yourself crazy either. It’s really not too difficult to incorporate essential food elements into your daily meals.

Top Substances in Food That Optimize Skin Health
>>> Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is found in: Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes

Vitamin E is found in: Sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables

What they do for skin: These antioxidant vitamins fight oxidation damage in skin cells’ DNA. Because they are key elements in the structural proteins in the body, they are important to the integrity of the blood vessels and hair follicles. They’re required for the formation of collagen, and medical studies have found that they decrease wrinkling of the skin. Vitamin E reduces inflammation and helps wound healing. Vitamin C enhances the immune response.

>>> Vitamin A
It’s found in: Fish oil, salmon, carrots, dairy products, spinach, and broccoli

What it does for skin: Since it promotes normal keratinization (the turnover of skin cells), it helps with conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Without it, skin becomes extremely dry and dull. It’s important to note that if you use a synthetic retinoid (a derivative of vitamin A) on your skin, you may need to stop vitamin A supplementation, since too much of this vitamin can lead to hair loss and liver dysfunction.

>>> Protein
It’s found in: Meat, eggs, grains, sunflower seeds, dairy products, fish, legumes like beans and peas, and nuts such as walnuts and pecans

What it does for skin: Protein is a component of all the cells in the body and a building block of skin tissue. Proteins are broken down into amino acids, the building blocks of new proteins for the body’s constant reconstruction job. They are like Legos, coming in different shapes, sizes, and types that help construct collagen or create lubricating ceramide in the skin. It’s a perfect economy, with the amino acids being recycled into new proteins on a supply-and-demand basis.

>>> Zinc
It’s found in: Turkey, almonds, Brazil nuts, and wheat germ

What it does for skin: This anti-inflammatory mineral calms irritation in the epidermis and helps to heal acne and treat rosacea. It also facilitates cell regeneration.

>>> Biotin
It’s found in: Egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, bananas, lentils, cauliflower, and salmon

What it does for skin: This B vitamin strengthens skin, hair, and nails. (A deficiency is extremely rare because bacteria in your intestines make all the biotin you need.) A deficit can lead to hair loss or dermatitis (itchy, scaly skin). Some people swear by biotin supplements to strengthen brittle nails, but studies haven’t proven that it’s beneficial for anyone who’s not deficient in the vitamin.

>>> Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 is found in: Seeds, nuts, eggs, and sunflower and soybean oil (which are in lots of snack foods, such as crackers, cookies, and cereals)

Omega-3 is found in: Cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines, flaxseed oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds

What they do for skin: These essential fatty acids support skin health, improve nerve and vascular function, and act as antioxidants. Omega-3 has strong anti-inflammatory properties and may calm skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema and minimize redness. It also boosts immune system functioning. Some nutritional studies have shown that omega-3 may protect against squamous cell skin cancers and decrease sunburn response. Studies have shown that diets rich in the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid are associated with less skin dryness and thinning. But it’s important to note that these fatty acids must be balanced in the body. For example, too much omega-6 and linoleic acid can cause an inflammatory response in the body, while omega-3 minimizes it. Because of the prevalence of omega-6 in processed snack foods, it’s believed that we are getting an abundance of them and not enough omega-3. And studies have shown that too much omega-6 can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to dementia and depression. The key is balancing your intake of the two.

>>> Monounsaturated Fats
They’re found in: Olive oil, canola oil, and avocados

What they do for skin: These healthy fats help to maintain the water level in the epidermis and supply the ceramides and fats that keep the bricks and mortar of the skin healthy and intact. This translates into less itchy, healthy-looking, glowing skin.

>>> Antioxidants
They’re found in: Blueberries, green tea, red kidney beans, olive oil, artichokes, pomegranates, dark chocolate, and red wine

What they do for skin: These are indeed the superheroes of the nutrient family. We’ve heard a lot about how antioxidants extinguish the dangerous free radicals (the toxic oxygen molecules that can be by-products of cell renewal and are also generated by pollution and sun damage). The polyphenol antioxidants in green tea have also been shown to help prevent certain skin cancers and protect skin against sunburns. Antioxidants found in red wine and green tea are being studied for their possible cancer-fighting potential, but so far the results aren’t conclusive. There have been studies that strongly showed that the antioxidants in green tea (among them epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG) protect the DNA in skin cells from UV-induced damage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

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Antiaging Products Demystified: 4 Rules to Remember Before You Start Shopping

There are thousands of antiaging products filling our heads with promises, from pricey prestige brands to drugstore options that are more reasonably priced. How can you choose between them, and which ingredients actually might work? Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty, demystifies the cosmeceutical mystery with these four rules.

Some products state that they prevent and reverse the signs of aging. Others claim to firm, smooth, and lift the skin, and there are plenty that guarantee they stimulate collagen and diminish wrinkles. Anti-aging products do fill our heads with promises. (I completely expect to wake up looking like Gwyneth Paltrow after using one.) There are thousands to pick from, from pricey prestige brands to drugstore options that are more reasonably priced. How can you choose between them, and which ingredients actually might work?

Most of us feel baffled and frustrated, with way too many choices. (Remember my overwhelming shopping trip?) According to the American Academy of Dermatology in Schaumburg, Illinois, 94 percent of women are confused by their anti-aging options. So let’s demystify the cosmeceutical mystery. There are four rules to remember:

1. Prevent aging skin with what you already own: sunscreen.

Sun protection is the best anti-aging product you have and the best investment you can make. Ninety percent of cosmetic skin problems that occur with age (wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation) are caused by sun exposure, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Therefore sunscreen is the best honest-to-goodness miracle cream on the market. There is no point in buying a bunch of anti-aging products to repair damage if you don’t prevent it in the first place by wearing sunscreen every day. Most cosmeceutical ingredients try to mimic substances found in the body, such as antioxidants, peptides, growth factors, coenzymes, copper, and vitamins. So protecting what we already have naturally and maintaining optimal skin health with daily sun protection and moisturizer is worth a thousand anti-aging beauty solutions. In fact, I have a collection of sunscreens and I use them all differently — an oil-free, broad-spectrum SPF 15 for daily use; an SPF 30 when I know I’ll be outside more of the day; a body lotion with added sunscreen; and an even stronger broad-spectrum sunscreen spray for the beach. Because your skin type changes and the amount of sun exposure you receive does too, your sun protection needs to be compatible. Owning several formulations of sunscreen also reduces the excuses not to wear it, and sunscreens are a better investment than a bunch of cosmeceuticals. Think about it this way: every time you put on sunscreen, you’re preventing the signs of aging and therefore saving money on expensive products or cosmetic procedures to fix fine lines or sun spots.

2. Read product labels closely.

The label must list ingredients from the highest concentration to the lowest, so if the anti-aging element you’re looking for, be it niacinamide or vitamin C, is near the bottom, there’s not enough in the product to do anything. (Keep in mind; a high concentration of the chemical is one way to get it into the skin). Most often, a cosmeceutical acts primarily as a good moisturizer, which is wonderful, but it won’t have much more than superficial and temporary results. Most of the ingredients on the label — the water, moisturizers, binders, and preservatives that make up the vehicle — are inactive. Often an anti-aging product includes silicone to provide a smooth texture to the product and make the complexion look smoother too. It may also contain a little glycolic acid or lactic acid to exfoliate the skin and provide instant gratification. These elements don’t actually change anything below the surface of your skin. At least make sure that the antioxidant or peptide you’re buying is very near the top of the ingredients list. De- coding the label has limitations, however. Most of the time a product does not state the concentration or percentage of the ingredients (and it doesn’t have to). And too high a concentration of some ingredients, such as vitamin C, can be toxic to the skin. You also can’t tell from the label whether an ingredient, like an antioxidant, is stable or not.

3. Choose your anti-aging ingredients wisely.
Okay, let’s shift gears. Let’s pretend that all these cosmeceuticals work.

With so many new ingredients promising to fix so many problems, how should you decide among them? Do you need an antioxidant or a peptide? And what is a growth factor, anyway? Is a prescription retinoid safe, or should you try an over-the-counter version first? Step back, look at your skin, and consider what products you already own. A moisturizer? A sunscreen? A chemical exfoliant or a scrub? (Check to see if your moisturizer already contains an antioxidant or one of the ingredients I’ll discuss soon. You may have been using an anti-aging product for some time without even knowing it.) Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with a cosmeceutical. Are you in your twenties and looking for a preventive product? An antioxidant is a good bet. Do you want to fight wrinkles? Then something with retinoic acid will work. If brown spots and uneven skin tone are your problem, you can use retinoic acid or try a product with niacinamide. Narrow down what it is about your complexion you want to improve, and that will help narrow down your options.

Tending to your complexion is like caring for a garden, which needs a certain amount of water, nutrients, soil, and sunshine to grow and be healthy. If you overfeed or overwater it, the garden is destroyed. In the same way, putting too much of a good thing on your skin is not necessarily better or more effective. I’ve had patients come in with red, irritated skin and show me twenty different products that they use on it. How do all these ingredients react with one another? Are they overlapping the same kinds of chemicals, such as acids, over and over again? Try to pick one or two active ingredients — an antioxidant and a retinoid, for instance — and stick with them for at least three months (a fair amount of time to see if you get results). Switching from one ingredient to another within a span of a couple of weeks — a niacinamide product, then a kojic acid, then an azeleic acid to get rid of brown spots, for example — cancreate a cocktail of chemicals on your face that can be extremely irritating.

4. Research products, and learn the difference between miracles and marketing.
Do your homework on ingredients, and think logically about their claims. Frequently what is proclaimed to be a new chemical innovation turns out to be a derivative of something that already exists. For instance, an exciting ingredient (whose name was created and patented by a cosmetic company) claims to stimulate the production of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and increase the storage of moisture in the dermis. This chemical has a cool, sci-fi name and sounds like an amazing discovery, yet it’s simply a plant-derived form of xylose (a sugar molecule like the GAGs). Again, the manufacturer’s tests are proprietary, and most products containing the ingredient also include hyaluronic acid, a superior humectant. So it’s hard to say which one is responsible for any water retention results in the skin. A little sleuthing online can tell you what a hot new ingredient actually is and if the clinical studies behind it are for real.

Most of these ingredients aren’t really under the jurisdiction of a dermatologist. Traditional medical training has nothing to do with a popular antioxidant like CoffeeBerry, or an ingredient like rare, Japanese seaweed. As a doctor, I must form a medically educated opinion about whether these things provide substantial results or not. I read the claims and the literature available, put them through my dermatologic understanding of the body, and judge if it’s a reasonable hypothesis or not. So far three things have been proven to work as anti-agers: sunscreen, moisturizer (to maintain the health of the skin’s barrier), and retinoic acid.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

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Winter Makeup and Skin Care Tips and Tricks

Winter challenges your skin and makeup more than any other season. Here, what you need to know to give your skin the extra care and attention it needs, plus tips on beauty products for achieving the right winter look. From Riku Campo author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products

The change of seasons is always refreshing, but winter challenges the skin and makeup more than any of the other seasons. Cold temperatures, snowy weather, heated rooms, and excessive hot showers to warm you up (which, unfortunately, also dry your skin) all make your skin need extra care and attention.

The biggest problem is dry skin on the face, hands, and knees, and sometimes all over the body. The best advice is to moisturize. And moisturize.

Sometimes the dryness can turn into eczema. In that case you must turn to a dermatologist, who can help you choose the right skin care products. You can also use 0.1% hydracortisone once a week on the areas that are really dry, irritated, and itchy. Eczema is genetic and is most aggressive in winter.

The indoor heat along with the cold outdoor temperature makes your skin drier, no matter what your skin type is.

Dry skin: Use a facial serum or oil under a thicker-formula moisturizer.
Oily Skin:
Use an oil-free serum and oil-free moisturizer.
Combination skin:
Use oil-free products on the T‑zone and a thicker moisturizer on the cheeks, which get drier in the wintertime.

Sometimes those with oily skin should protect their skin with slightly creamier face products, especially against extremely cold temperatures and wind. Look for oil-based moisturizers (including almond, jojoba, or avocado oil) that don’t clog the pores. Sometimes you might get whiteheads (tiny white cysts containing lamellated keratin that a dermatologist or esthetician can take out with a tiny needle) around your eye area or on your cheeks.

If you have dry skin, you must avoid water as much as you can; take short showers, and wash your face with a cleansing milk. And everyone should drink more water (or hot green tea) in the wintertime.

Many times dry skin gets flakes on the eyelids and cheeks and around the lip area. The best way to get rid of them is to exfoliate the skin right after showering, when the skin is still soft. After that apply a thick layer of a cream-based hydration mask all over your face. Leave it on for five minutes, then press a tissue on your face and let it absorb the mask. Don’t scrub your face; just gently tap it with the tissue so you get all the extra mask off your face.

Do this in the evening, and by morning your skin will be much softer. You can use the same method on superdry lips: exfoliate your lips and the skin around them with an exfoliating cream or lip scrub (many cosmetic manufacturers make lip spa products with scrubs and various kind of balms and sealing creams).

You can also put a damp hand towel in a microwave for three minutes to heat it and then press it on your lips for a minute to soften the skin, then scrub the dead skin off gently with the towel.

Note: Scrubbing the lips with a toothbrush is really hard on them and can actually break the skin.

MAKEUP
Base
Slightly richer foundations are better than tinted moisturizers because there is more to cover on your skin in the winter (uneven areas on the nose, cheeks, and eyelids).

You must use SPF/UVA/UVB protection all year round. The sun that reflects from the snow is as strong as the sun that reflects from water. So choose a day cream with at least SPF 15, or a foundation with SPF. Skin is also paler in the winter, so you must use a wintertime base.

Powder is needed all over the face for oily skin. Those with combination and dry skin should use powder on the T‑area only to set the base. If your skin is dry and flaky, don’t use any base product, just a face oil and your protecting SPF 15 face cream (but you can still use mascara and tinted lip balm).

Eyes
Most cosmetic companies launch autumn/winter collections full of darker shades for eye and lip makeup colors; dark grays, plums, burgundies, deep Spanish reds, and dark chocolate browns. That is because the fall/winter fashion shows give the direction to the makeup world as well. But there are no rules for which colors to use on a seasonal basis. Most of the products are matte and simply look better in winter: more dramatic and deeper hues that go hand in hand with fall/winter fashions. But remember that what works on the runway does not always work in real life.

If you love pastels in winter, go for them. Keep in mind, though, that if your face is pale, pastel colors will create a washed-out look that is not flattering; light pastel eye and lip makeup looks better on tanned skin, which is why pastels are very popular in the summer. For a cool-tone winter look, wear deeper colors on your eyes and give your lips a matte fuchsia tone instead of light icy pink. Or use some color on your eyes and keep your lips pale (as in the photo: I gave the lashes a shocking blue wintry color!).

Mascara should be waterproof; rain, snow, and going from outdoor to indoor temperatures will make regular mascara run. You don’t always have to use black mascara; try brown, blue, or green. Water-resistant eye pencil is excellent; because it’s made of waxes, it will stay through the rain. Water-resistant liquid eyeliners are good but don’t necessarily stay well because of their flakiness. There are some special eye makeup sealing products that you can apply on top of the eyeliner to make it hold longer. But an umbrella will do a better job in the end. I have also used water-resistant mascara as eyeliner, and sometimes it stays better than most of the real waterproof liners.

Lips
Cracked lips are the number one problem in winter. If your lips are superdry, skip the lipstick and use tinted lip balm, which is available in many different colors. The pigmentation is not that high, but you will get smooth, healthy-looking lips with a beautiful sheen. Make sure the balm has SPF and UVA/UVB protection. Exfoliate your lips regularly throughout the cold months. That way you will get rid of the dry flakes on the surface of your lips.

If you want a more dramatic winter look, fair skin looks really good with well-lined red lips, darker skin with well-lined deep brown or deeper cool reds. More moisturizing, richer-formula lip glosses are welcome products in the winter when the temperature drops below 0° Celsius. But on a really cold day, skip the glosses and use tinted lip balms. They protect and moisturize your lips the best.

Blush
Blush is a key item to the winter makeup look. It really gives some color to your skin and wakes up your whole face. Use the powder formulas, which sit better than gel or cream blushes. The color of your blush is completely your own choice; again, if you have a cool-tone look, use pink; for a warm tone, it can be peach, warm sand, or terracotta. The only color I would leave out are bronzes. They really don’t look great in winter.

Hands and Nails
Keep your hands moisturized. You can even sleep with cotton gloves on after applying a thick layer of hand cream to your hands. In the morning your hands and cuticles will be soft and moisturized.

Darker nail colors look trendy in the winter. You can buy a lipstick to match with your nail color because cosmetic companies launch the looks that way. It will always give a very sophisticated, mature look.

I have oily skin in the summer, and in the winter it’s dry. How can I make my skin behave in a more balanced manner from season to season?
Ole Henriksen answers:
It’s not unusual for an oily/eruption-prone skin to become surface dry in the winter season. Two things cause this: the products used to normalize the oily skin, and the dry indoor heating plus outdoor freezing temperatures. A mistake that many people with oily skin make is to use products with too many drying agents in every product they use.

This is not necessary. It creates a dry surface mantle and potentially more oil flow below the skin surface, which can cause blemishes. Balance is the key here, using a blend of oil-free formulations with humectants such as algae, aloe vera, sorbitol, and glycerin, combined with cell-proliferating and purifying extracts such as sugar maple, sugarcane, lemon peel, and lactic acid, and finally reparative antioxidants such as vitamin C, superoxide dismutase, green tea, and African red tea. In addition, an antiblemish stick containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, bentonite, and kaolin is a must for this skin type. So the answer is to use products that contain the right blend of active ingredients and have a light texture.

Is Vaseline good for my lips in the winter?
Vaseline used on its own isn’t thick enough to stay on the lips for long periods, but if incorporated into a lip balm formulation it works well. For people who may not like the fact that Vaseline is a mineral oil extract, there are other extracts that work just as effectively at keeping lips soft and nourished, such as jojoba seed oil, mango seed butter, carnauba wax, and cranberry seed oil.

TIPS
Use a humidifier to add moisture to your indoor space if you have to use drying central heating. Put one in your bedroom, and you will notice the difference in your skin in the morning, especially when using face serum and night cream. Your skin will be softer and moister.

If you have very dry skin, use soap-free body wash instead of a soap bar when showering.

You can use a thicker-formula face cream (at least 60% oil) as your night cream. The same cream works as a deep-moisturizing face mask: just apply a thicker layer of the cream all over your face, except in the eye area. Keep it on the face for 10 to 15 minutes, and then press a tissue on the face to absorb the extra oils from the skin. Do this in the evening, and your skin will be moist, especially if you have the humidifier in your bedroom.

If you have sensitive skin, use a protective barrier moisturizer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riku Campo, author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products, lives in Los Angeles, where he has established himself as the makeup go-to guy for some of today’s most celebrated models and entertainers. For more information, visit www.rikucampo.com.

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5 Beauty Products You Love but Don’t Need

Despite all the advertisements to the contrary, skin truly needs the barest minimum. You may love your eye creams, toners, face masks, and other beauty products, says Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty, but they’re unnecessary luxuries.

They sure are fun to buy and lovely to use, and all the jars and bottles look pretty in your bathroom, but these cosmetic options are far from essential. If they’re not in your budget and you don’t have the time for a twenty-minute face mask or an added step in your nightly regimen, then skip them — and don’t feel guilty about it. When it comes to cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting, these three things won’t do anything more for your skin than your three essentials. If you want to treat yourself to a special skin care purchase or an at-home facial, go for it. I don’t blame you, and I do it too. But please don’t be tricked into thinking you need it.

Eye Cream
If you’re going to cancel one item from your shopping list, this is the one. It’s just as effective, and far more efficient, to multitask with your regular moisturizer and daytime SPF. Yes, it feels nice, but, no, it is not a necessity. In actuality, it’s simply redundant. The skin around your eyes is more delicate, but unless you are massaging a thick balm on the rest of your face, the moisturizer you use on your face and neck has the same formulation and many of the same ingredients that you get in any eye cream. The same moisturizing ingredients can treat the fine lines and dryness around your eyes just as well as they take care of the same issues anywhere else on your face.

What about puffiness or dark circles? I’ll tackle both those issues in chapter 8, “Skin SOS,” but suffice it to say that an eye cream isn’t going to eliminate them. Dark circles are due primarily to your anatomy, while puffiness is often a sign of water retention inside your body (often from lack of sleep). A cool compress or cold, damp chamomile tea bags will calm puffiness better than a special eye cream, although they are both temporary cures. If you are bothered by puffiness around your eyes, make sure your regular moisturizer contains anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, cucumber, or aloe vera (which would be found in an eye cream as well).

Toner
In a classic comedy bit, Jerry Seinfield speculates about why women need all those truckloads of cotton balls. How can they possibly use so many, and for what possible purpose? The answer: toner. How many cotton balls and bottles of astringent did we go through in high school and college, anyway? Toner is meant to remove residual makeup and oil from the skin. But since most cleansers these days do that just fine, toner is an unnecessary added step. Gentle, soothing alcohol-free toners (they usually contain moisturizing or anti-inflammatory substances like rosewater or cucumber) are totally superfluous if you use a moisturizer. (However, I do prefer them, even to makeup remover, to take off any extra bits of eye makeup or concealer because the consistency is so watery.) An alcohol-based astringent toner (similar to the antiseptic version we all remember as teenagers) usually contains ingredients such as witch hazel or salicylic acid to get rid of oil. For those who are addicted to washing their faces in the morning, a quick swipe of toner instead may be just the right remedy. These are great for combination skin conditions, to eliminate oil from one area of the face (rather than all over). For the most part, I, like Seinfeld, don’t have much use for cotton balls.

Face Masks
I relish the thought of giving myself an at-home facial, relaxing in front of the TV wearing some kind of blue or green face mask. The odds of this happening (with four kids, a crazy schedule, and a husband who would laugh himself silly) are slim to none. But so are the chances that a mask — whether it be one for moisturizing or a clay mask to “soak up” oil — can do something really transformative or long-lasting to my skin. Can a mask super-moisturize your face and seal the hydration in? Yes, but only until it’s rinsed off. Truthfully, masks are like ChapStick for your face — an occlusive film over the surface that provides a nice, temporary fix. For someone with sensitive or rosacea skin, a mask packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients (such as aloe vera, allantoin, and chamomile) and humectants will feel wonderful and soothe the skin, but only while it’s on the face. Again, it’s always important to read the label, especially if your skin is feeling sensitive. Fruit acids or menthol, which are commonly found in masks, could cause irritation.

Moisturizing Masks
If a mask has active ingredients, such as anti-inflammatories or antioxidants, they might be better absorbed into the skin because of the occlusive barrier of the mask. But that’s a big “if,” since those ingredients would have to be lipophilic (oil-loving and compatible with skin) and microscopic enough to penetrate pores in the first place. By the same principle of occlusion, I sometimes treat eczema on the body by applying a steroid cream, then putting plastic wrap over it to provide an occlusive barrier so the cream doesn’t evaporate or wipe off. This also provides a slight pressure that pushes the medication onto the skin. It’s similar to slathering on a rich foot cream and then covering the feet with cotton socks — although, unlike a medicine, the moisturizing effect wears off the minute you wash your skin.

Clay Masks
Clay masks don’t actually absorb or “soak up” oil, and they can’t really “purify” and “detoxify” your pores either. A mask with kaolin (a mineral-rich clay), sea mud, or even charcoal does provide a gentle way of exfoliating by coating the skin like an adhesive. When it dries and is rinsed off, the mask theoretically pulls off some dead cells, debris, and oil with it. It’s the same concept as rolling a lint brush over the surface of a sweater. Pore strips work the same way, and they’re terrific. Sometimes a clay mask contains active ingredients like sulfur, which is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, or tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. But a treatment like this won’t be more effective than a salicylic acid exfoliant and diligent nightly cleansing. A clay mask can reduce the oil you have right now, but unfortunately it’s just going to build up again in no time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin (Copyright © 2009 by Dr. Ellen Marmur), is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

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Home Beauty Remedies That Really Work

Thirteen favorite do-it-yourself beauty treatments that are both easy and inexpensive, from actress and Dancing with the Stars alumna Lisa Rinna, author of Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever

  • To lighten age spots, mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 2 ounces of plain yogurt together in a bowl. Yogurt contains a natural bleaching property. Rub the mixture into each spot, including sun-damaged cleavage. Do this several times before you need to attend a big event, and your skin will look even and gorgeous.
  • To make my absolute favorite face tightener and pore minimizer, beat 1 egg white to a froth. Apply the foamy liquid to your entire face, focusing on problem areas around the jaw, eyes, and forehead. Let it dry completely (about ten minutes), then gently rinse and pat dry.
  • To combat under-eye bags — there are many tried-and-true remedies for this problem — try placing cucumber slices, raw potato slices, moistened tea bags, or chilled spoons over each eye. Leave them on for ten minutes or so, then check your results. Repeat until bags disappear.
  • To reduce puffiness around the eyes: Preparation H is an old tried-and-true prescription for shrinking eye puffiness. It works, but some people find the ointment greasy and/or are put off by its smell (or just the idea of it). I am one of those people. Someone told me to try Tucks pads, and guess what? They work just as well as Preparation H and are odor and grease-free. You can use them on your neck, jaw line, or forehead — any place that needs quick tightening.
  • To make a fantastic moisturizing mask, mash up an avocado and apply it to your face. You’ll look scary while it’s on, but after removing it with warm water you’ll see that it works.
  • To make my excellent exfoliator, mix a few tablespoons of sugar with a few tablespoons of olive oil or water, if you have acne-prone skin. Gently massage the mixture all over your face. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make a gentle exfoliator, make a paste of baking soda and water and rub the mixture all over your skin. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make a clay mask – which is great for pulling toxins out of your skin — some facialists use (I kid you not) 100 percent clay kitty litter. (I told you I’d try anything!) It contains the same ingredients that are in the expensive clay masks. Make a paste of the clay by mixing it with water, and apply to your skin. Let it sit until it hardens, and then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • To make your own collagen booster, mash 1 cooked carrot with 1 avocado, then add 1/2 cup heavy cream and blend. Apply the cream to your face and neck and leave it on for fifteen minutes. Then rinse with cool water. The beta-carotene in the carrot, the vitamin E in the avocado, and the calcium in the heavy cream combine to boost collagen levels, lighten age spots, and improve overall skin tone. Do this once a week for a month and your face will glow.
  • To use oils to your advantage: coconut oil is a miracle moisturizer on dry hair, nails, feet, you name it. Olive oil is a legendary Mediterranean beauty secret for supple, soft skin — rub it on your skin, your feet, and your nails. To condition and repair damaged hair, combine 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and let it sit overnight. The next day, remove the rosemary, and massage the oil into your hair; let it soak in for ten to fifteen minutes, and rinse with warm water. Then shampoo to get rid of the oil residue. Sesame oil is another great all-over body moisturizer. Neutrogena makes a body oil that is super light and smells heavenly; apply it to damp skin after you shower for a smooth, subtle sheen that also accentuates muscle tone and enhances a tan. Right before I step onto the red carpet, I like to rub a little lavender oil on my arms and legs. It smells great, and it makes my skin soft and silky.
  • To make a lip exfoliator — you should try to exfoliate your lips once a week to get rid of dead skin and plump them up — mix a paste of honey and sugar and rub the mixture on your lips. Then use a toothbrush to slough off the dead skin.
  • To make an instant lip plumper, simply rub cinnamon on your lips. It’s that easy.
  • To make my ultra hand moisturizer, blend 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Use it every time you wash your hands and your hands will be silky smooth in no time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Rinna, author of Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever (Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Rinna), is an award-winning actress and television host, best known for her roles on Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place, as well as her co-hosting duties on Soap Talk, her appearances on Dancing with the Stars, and her red-carpet interviews on the TV Guide Network. She is the creator of a line of dance-themed exercise DVDs called Lisa Rinna Dance Body Beautiful, and she runs her own successful boutique, Belle Gray, with her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, with whom she has two daughters, Delilah and Amelia.

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Fish Oil, A Real Magic Bullet for Radiant Skin

Supplements can be controversial, but as Kat James, the author of The Truth About Beauty, found, fish oil is one nutrient you can count on for real results for healthy skin and hair.

OMEGA FATS AND BEAUTY: A LOVE STORY
My very first, leap-of-faith, life-saving supplement regimen included fish oil, which — combined with alpha-lipoic acid and milk thistle — not only healed my sick liver (food couldn’t do it, as I had already been eating the healthiest way I could) but also completely transformed my skin and my moods. This was back at the dawn of the nineties, more than a decade before fish oil became known to the general public. Today, there are hundreds of studies on omega-3 oils showing dramatic reductions in everything from anger and anxiety to depression, from risk of sudden heart attack to insulin resistance, and from joint inflammation to bone loss and much more.

On the beauty front, the skin, weight loss, and hair benefits of fish oil and omega-3s has now been confirmed in dozens of published studies, showing significant improvement in nearly all major skin diseases involving inflammation, including eczema, psoriasis, and even sunburn. More recent studies confirm that fish oil protects against UV radiation, reducing the skin’s responses to both UVA (blistering) and UVB (redness) radiation. The anti-aging and even damage reversing effect from fish oil was confirmed in a study published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

The effect on my own skin from fish oil was nothing short of amazing. Within a couple of months of starting this regimen, my skin literally “forgot” that it had been continually irritated, prone to horrible rashes on my eyes and chin, and unquenchably dry all my life. It forgot that it needed heavy-duty lotions in order not to crawl with discomfort after every bath and shower. The space between my brows, the crannies on the sides of my nose, and my legs all failed to attend to their constant scaling. Dryness and inflammation had “left the building” along with my need for body moisturizers. I almost forgot to remember these things as they ended, but I’ll never forget what it was like to take for granted that I would have those problems for the rest of my life and then learn I was wrong.

My hair was transformed dramatically from my fish oil regimen, too. It went from being super-brittle, coarse, and dull to being glossy and silky, enabling me to grow it out long (and have it actually grow downward instead of outward) for the first time since my childhood. Beyond the fact that hair is a biological appendage of the skin (which is why people with oily skin have oily hair, and people with dry skin have dry hair), there are other possible explanations for fish oil’s effects on the hair. Hair health is particularly vulnerable to hormone imbalances and compromised circulation (many hair loss remedies focus on that). Stress is another cause for changes in the hair (alopecia areata, or temporary, nonhereditary hair loss, is caused by stress or trauma). Because omega-3s and fish oil have been proven to increase circulation, reduce the impact of stress, and help balance hormone activity, they offer proven benefit in each of these important contributors to hair health.

FISH VS. FLAX OIL
Several studies have compared the actions of fish oil to plant-based omega-3 oils and have found that fish oil supplementation more effectively raises the body’s levels of EPA and DHA (the components responsible for most of the documented health benefits). Getting EPA and DHA from flax oil requires a conversion by the body, which many people do not efficiently make. Still, flax is better than not supplementing with omega-3s at all (so strict vegans might be able to get all their omega-3s from flax, but might also be biologically challenged in converting it to anti-inflammatory compounds). Molecularly distilled fish oils are the gold standard in supplementation recommended by more and more mainstream, as well as alternative, MDs. Avoid cheap drug store brands. Ironically, getting all your fish oil from fish could give you unwanted outcomes unless you are careful about avoiding mercury, as high mercury levels not only contribute to heart problems but are also known to cause hair loss.

I have taken fish oil for nearly two decades now, with few interruptions. And those interruptions are valuable reminders of what it was like to live in both the physical and emotional discomfort in my own skin. Fish oil is unquestionable proof that real “magic bullets” sometimes do exist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nationally renowned beauty and holistic health expert Kat James, author of The Truth About Beauty: Transform Your Looks And Your Life From The Inside Out (Copyright © 2007 by Kat James), transformed her body and skin beyond recognition after a twelve-year eating disorder and the resulting liver disease nearly took her life. Through her book, national health columns, public television special, lectures, and acclaimed Total Transformation® programs, she has helped millions to mastermind their own healing transformations using science and strategy rather than suffering or extreme measures. James came to know the inside of the beauty industry from her many years as one of the most quoted experts and cosmetics-company spokespersons of the 1990s, and now offers a rare new perspective on enlightened, holistic self-transformation. Her advice has appeared in nearly every major women’s and national health magazine, including Vogue and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as on the Today show. She is founder of www.informedbeauty.com and creator of Total Transformation® programs. Her clients have included celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker and world-class athletes.

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7 Easy, Natural Eye Treatments You Can Make at Home

You don’t need to spend a fortune on eye creams. You can make these masks and treatments using ingredients found right in your kitchen. From Return to Beauty by Narine Nikogosian

If we are fortunate enough to have our eyesight, we are able to enjoy all of the world’s magnificence and beauty. My son’s smile, the canyons I drive through after work, even my husband snoring on the sofa — I take in my life with my own beautiful eyes.

Happy, sad, worried, or frightened — these windows to the soul also tell others all they need to know about us. If your eyes are watery, this means there are vitamins missing from your diet. Also, the older we get, the drier our eyes can become. These problems can be fixed with adjustments in our lifestyle and diet.

We need to take good care of our eyes. Good eye vitamins are A, E, C, B, and B2. Foods that are rich in these vitamins include carrots, green beans, green onions, melons, tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, cabbage, wheat, walnuts, garlic, chicken, pinto beans, milk, and fish.

Avoiding the following habits will help your eyes maintain health: overworking, too much computer time, too much television time, smoking, alcohol, and not enough sleep.

EYE REMEDIES
TIRED EYES

To rejuvenate your eyes after a long day, fill a large bowl with water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Soak your face in the water, opening and closing your eyes several times. Soak clean cotton balls in green tea and swipe them over closed eyes.

PUMPKIN EYE MASK
Peel and seed a slice of pumpkin. Cook it in 2 cups of water until soft, then mash it and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Place inside clean gauze, then place over your eyes and relax for 20 minutes.

POTATO EYE MASK
Peel 1 small potato. Shred it, then place it in clean gauze. Cover your eyes with this and relax for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cold chamomile tea.

RED IRRITATED EYES
In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley and 1 cup of milk. Soak clean cotton balls in the mixture and swipe them over closed eyes.

REMEDIES FOR DARK CIRCLES
As well as changing those habits that help to create dark pigmentation under the eyes, try one or all of these recipes. (Sometimes darkness under our eyes or on our eyelids is genetic, but these recipes help lighten its appearance.)

Dark Eyelids
Place 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley on your eyelids and rest for 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Dark Under-Eye Circles
Place 2 teaspoons of organic cottage cheese on clean cotton balls. Pat gently under your eyes and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
OR
In a small saucepan, put 3 teaspoons of diced cucumber into 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon of honey. Allow to cool. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and pat gently under your eye area. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Narine Nikogosian, author of the Return to Beauty: Old-World Recipes for Great Radiant Skin book (Copyright © 2009 by Narine Nikogosian) and the Return to Beauty Vook, trained in nursing with a concentration in dermatology in her native Armenia and Russia before she came to the United States. She ran the successful Starface salon in Glendale, California, and later built a well-respected reputation as a talented aesthetician at Ole Henriksen Face/Body on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Her clients include many of Hollywood’s top stars, including Jessica Alba, Carmen Electra, Charlize Theron, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kiefer Sutherland.

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