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Anti-Aging Skincare

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  • Age Spots, Liver Spots, Sun Spots: Treatment

    Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010

    Solar lentigenes is the medical term for those pesky spots that we often refer to as liver spots, sun spots or age spots. These spots of darker skin may appear on anyone and are a common occurrence in most individuals by the time they reach 40.

    Age spots are generally flat and may range in color from deep yellow to gray, brown or black. They vary in size, but tend to be small and can be found on areas such as the face, arms, shoulders and hands – those areas most exposed to the sun. Although they may look like cancerous growths, age spots don't need treatment as they are harmless. However, if their appearance bothers you, they may be treated. Various ingredients are available to treat age spots, but your best bet is to prevent their development in the first place by limiting your sun exposure and using sunscreen.

    Who Develops Age Spots?

    Age spots develop as a result of melanin production due to sun exposure. Individuals with a fair complexion are more prone to age spots, but even those with darker skin may develop them. They are often accompanied by other signs of skin damage including thinning, translucent skin; deep wrinkles; dry, rough skin and fine red veins on the cheeks, nose and ears.

    Age Spots Treatment

    Age spots may be treated in a number of ways:

        * Topical Treatments. Often referred to as bleaching creams, products containing hydroquinonekojic acid, alpha hydroxy acidsor other botanical skin lighteners (link) can help to fade spots. Adding a prescription retinoid or non –prescription retinol as found in Green Creamcan hasten the process. As well, Vitamin Cin concentrations over 5% have been shown to lighten pigmentation. Our article on skin lightening provides useful tips and recommendations

        * Chemical Peels. By removing the top layer of skin and allowing new skin to form, age spots can be faded. Several treatments by a qualified skin care professional may be necessary to see results

        * Laser treatment. Works to destroy extra melanoncytes (pigment producing skin cells). While effective it can be expensive

        * Cryotherapy (freezing) involves the use of liquid nitrogen to destroy excess pigmentation. Skin appears lighter as the area heals, but this process does come with the slight risk of permanent scarring or discoloration. Take care if you scar easily

        * Dermabrasion. A process that involves removal of the skin's surface layer with a rapidly rotating brush. The result is a new layer of skin that grows in its place. Redness and temporary scab formation may accompany dermabrasion.

    All treatments should be supported by effective sun protection blocking against both UVA and UVB rays. Download our free sunscreen e-book to help you select an effective sunscreen.

    When To See A Doctor

    Although not cosmetically appealing, age spots tend to be harmless so medical attention generally isn't required. However, if your age spots are very dark or their appearance has changed, it may be a sign of skin cancer. Have your physician check it out if the spot:

        * Is Darkly pigmented or has an unusual color combination

        * Is Growing rapidly

        * Has an irregular border

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com
    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    0 Replies
  • Sunscreen In Winter: Really?!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    I've been taking a lot of flack of late about my tweets regarding the use of sunscreen every day. When we think of sunscreen, most individuals associate its use with preventing sunburn so its probably not surprising that I'm being called to task for suggesting its use year round. However, what many people don't realize is that the sun's rays (both UVA and UVB) are responsible for over 80% of skin aging. So when I advocate sunscreen use during the winter, I'm not suggesting you use it to prevent sunburn - that's not going to happen in the winter (at least not where I live). I'm recommending its use to keep skin looking young and healthy for years to come.

    Not All Rays Are Created Equally  

    In order to appreciate why sunscreen must be used year round, it's important to understand that the sun gives off 3 types of ultraviolet (UV) rays. They differ in several ways:

        * UVA rays - UVA rays measure 320 to 400 nanometers (longer than UVB rays) and penetrate deeper into our skin than UVB rays. They are prevalent year round (summer and winter) and can pass through windows and light clothing. You are exposed to them even on the darkiest, gloomiest day. Less likely to cause sunburns, UVA rays are more associated with Aging skin. Prolonged exposure leads to breakdown of collagen and elastin, which give skin its elasticity and strength. Long term unprotected exposure to UVA rays will lead to fine lines, wrinkles and saggy, leathery skin. They also contribute to some types of skin cancers, including melanoma.

        * UVB rays - UVB rays are short ultraviolet rays of 290-320 nanometers. Associated primarily with Burning, they are prevalent in summer, responsible for Vitamin D production and stimulate the production of melanin (skin's pigment) leading to both tanned skin and sunburn. They aren't around much in the winter, which is why you don't have to worry about sunburn. It's also the reason why most health care professionals recommend that you supplement with Vitamin D in the winter; there just aren't enough UVB rays to help with Vitamin D synthesis. Long term, unprotected exposure to UVB rays are linked with many types of skin cancers including basal and squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma.

        * UVC rays - UVC rays tend to burn off before they hit the Earth's atmosphere. We generally don't need to be concerned about them.

    So when I recommend sunscreen in the winter, it's to help protect against UVA rays. When it comes to wellness (and your skin is included too), prevention should be your first strategy. Managing your exposure to the sun - and sunscreen is one strategy to help you achieve this - should be the first step in your anti aging skin care regimen.

    Choose from our extensive selection of effective Anthelios sunscreensOmbrelle sunscreensand physical/natural sunscreens at PharmacyMix.

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com
    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    0 Replies
  • Can Cucumbers Help Your Puffy Eyes?

    Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010

    You've possibly heard about the use of cucumbers to relieve puffy eyes A common complaint amongst women (and men) from every walk of life, under eye puffiness may be caused by a range of factors including:

    - Allergies
    - Insufficient sleep
    - Dehydration
    - Excessive alcohol or salt
    - Underlying medical conditions.

    The first step to relieving puffy eyes is prevention. If they are a result of any of the above, try to address it. Eat a well balanced and healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Get enough exercise and sleep and try to manage stress, which can play a big role in how skin appears. Good skin care, including the use of a well formulated, UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen as found in Anthelios sunscreens or our extensive selection of natural sunscreens is a must to ensure that you minimize the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which form the skin's supporting network. Unprotected UV exposure can cause skin to loose its elasticity, thereby increasing the appearance of puffy eyes.

    Can Cucumbers Relieve Puffy Eyes?

    While cucumber slices are often advocated to help relieve the puffiness, there isn't a magical ingredient in cucumbers that helps. Puffiness is often caused by dilated blood vessels. This can lead to swelling, resulting in puffy eyes. The application of something cool (like cucumber slices) helps to constrict blood vessels and decrease the swelling. Cool compresses with cold tea bags, wet cotton balls, apple or potato slices will have a similar effect.

    Treaments For Puffy Eyes

    Topical treatments, which contain the following active ingredients can help:

    - Vitamin C to boost collagen production and fight free radical damage that can make the under eye area appear more youthful. Consider La Roche Posay Active C Eyes Redermic Eyes
    - Yeast cell derivative, which is a peptide that can boost collagen production has been shown to help puffy eyes. Preparation H(Canadian version).
    Hydrating ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate and glycerin as found in Hydraphase Eyescan minimize puffiness by rehydrating and smoothing the area.
    Read more about managing puffy eyes here.

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com
    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    3 Replies
  • Pomegranates And Your Skin

    Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    It's pomegranate season! (and I'm excited). Am I the only one who can't resist them? Glowing red orbs promising the delight of sweet, sour juicy delight - they definitely brighten up my dreary Pacific Northwest January.  

    For the past few weeks, every day (yes every day), I've been carefully peeling one, patiently setting the seeds aside before I can sit down and devour them one at a time. Yesterday, I even managed to enlist the help of my daughters, who for some reason found the careful collection process rather enjoyable. Hmmm... could be on to something there.

    In addition to the sweet, sour tangy flavor, I love the way that the seeds 'pop' in your mouth. And I'll bet anyone that all that fiber in the seeds is doing wonders for my digestive system.

    Pomegranates In Your Skin Cream  

    A recent 'it' ingredient in cosmetics, I recently discussed the benefits of pomegranate in a blog posting. Pomegranates or pomegranate extracts are being added to skin care products for its active ingredients which include:

    Ellagic acid, a potent antioxidant, which can help to prevent free radical damage
    Punicic acid, derived from pomegranate oil, is an anti inflammatory ingredient that can aid cell regeneration and proliferation
    Linoleic acid, also derived from pomegranate oil, possesses moisturizing properties.  

    There are women that do, but I'm not in the habit of applying food to my face. However, if I suddenly found it appealing, I might just start with pomegranates.

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com 

    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    1 Replies
  • Vanilla In Your Skin Care: Love or Hate?

    Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010

    When it comes to personal care products, there are as many varieties as there are people. And it makes sense, choosing a formulation or even a fragrance is a very personal matter.

    While scents come and go, one that always seems to stay in fashion (much like lavender, I think) is vanilla. From scented candles and room sprays to body lotions and washes, most lines carry something in vanilla. I have to admit that the first vanilla scented lotion I tried was a turn-off. Too sweet and smelling more like something I should be eating for dessert.

    But like with many things, patience is a virtue. I have made my way through many a vanilla scented product and I do have some favorites including John Masters Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Milk and the accompanying Body Wash. The combination of citrus and vanilla gives both products a subtle scent and lingers through the day.

    Are you a vanilla lover or hater?

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com 

    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    4 Replies
  • Does Water Qualify As An Organic Skin Care Ingredient?

    Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010

    When evaluating organic skin care products, does water count as an organic skin care ingredient? Considering that some skin care products contain as much as 70% water, (and I've never heard of an organic water - have you?) you may be paying for more than what you're getting.

    In a previous post I discussed my struggle with organic skin care And while the industry is moving forward in the right direction – organic products are often formulated with less synthetic and/or harmful ingredients, I'm still not convinced that slapping an organic label on a skin care product makes it necessarily any better. This becomes even more important when the product contains an ingredient (such as water) that can't be certified as organic by any organization.

    Organic Skin Care Certification  

    There are a number organic skin care certification labels that a manufacturer may use when marketing a product as being organic. Of course some manufacturers don't bother with certification as the labeling for organic skin care products isn't yet governed by any regulatory body. Some of the more well known organic certifications for personal care products include:

    USDA Organic: Applies to food as well as cosmetics. Product must contain 70% organic content. Water cannot be counted as organic. This is perhaps the most stringent organic certification exists, although it was developed for the food and not the personal care industry.  

    NSF – Applies to cosmetic manufacturers. NSF requires a minimum of 70% of all ingredients (excluding water) to be organic.  

    BDIH - Though called a natural body care standard, BDIH requires manufacturers to use organic content wherever possible. It defines "where possible" as being available in sufficient quantity and quality, and defines which plants fall into this category by default. It is possible for a product to have 0% organic content and still be BDIH certified so this isn't a good certification to look for.  

    Eco Cert - Requires 95% of all agricultural ingredients to be organic. 10% of total product by weight (including the weight of water) must be organic. Allows up to 5% synthetic content.  

    Note when reviewing standards that water is excluded from the ingredient list so please don't be fooled by a product claiming to be organic when it contains a lot of water. Water cannot be an organic skin care ingredient and you shouldn't be paying for it.

    Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com 

    For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


    1 Replies