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Posts Tagged ‘green tea’

Question:  Help!  I’ve got a painful sunburn.

Answer:   Despite our best intentions, sunburns  happen.  Its all to easy to forget to reapply  sunscreen  during the day and by the time  the sun goes down,  you’re red and achy.  To deal with the sunburn I suggest   assembling a little sunburn emergency kit in advance.  You need just five affordable and easy to find items:

1.  Aspirin

2.  A real live Aloe Vera plant

3.  A  jar of Shea butter

4. A box of  Quacker’s Oatmeal

5.  Green tea bags

Here’s the drill:   When you realize that you’re fried, take two aspirin.  This will reduce  the inflammation which is  the root of the pain and damge  to your skin.  Then fill a tub with lukewarm water and swish  a handful of oatmeal into the water.  Get in and soak for 20 minutes.  Oatmeal is one of the best  anti-inflammatory remedies we have and the water will draw out some of the heat.  Out of the tub, dry off gently and smooth on  some shea butter.  In the morning, cut open a leaf of  Aloe plant and spread the fresh gel onto your skin.  Be careful with commercial Aloe gels which may contain alcohol that can irritate your skin and increse dyhydration.

During the day make sure to eat plenty of fruit and drink water.  Cold water absorbs better than warm water and iced green tea will also provide much needed anti-oxidants to counteract the free radical storm of a sunburn.  To avoid further irritation use a 30-50SPF sunscreen  for sensitive skin.  These are physical sunscreens with zinc oxides rather  than chemical  protection which may be irritating to tender burned skin. If you’re going  outside, wear a broad brimmed hat for extra protection.

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I’ve been using the Clarisonic Opal for a week  and at first I was all thumbs.  I  had to read the instructions several times before I felt comfortable to try it.  It is not  like any other device that I had used and I’m especially anxious about using anything around my eyes.

The oval device  has a little nubbin that you fill with serum. This pale amber gel  had a number of interesting ingredients which had  some good science behind them.  These included world class antioxidants including green tea and resveratrol and marine peptides, vitamin C to brighten the skin and glycosaminoglycans ( what a mouthful)  for firmness.

The Clarisonic instructions were very specific to follow the rim of the eye socket  and not to use the device on the soft tissue  right below the eye.  As per directions  I put a few drops of serum on the infuser, turned on the moter and started to move the tip in little overlapping circles. After 30 seconds the machine turns off.

The procedure  should be done twice a day– in the morning and before going to bed.  According to instructions, I was to wash my face with the Clarisonic brush on my face, then use the Clarisonic device on the eyes.  It felt a little self-absored to dedicate so much time twice a day, but I am a sucker for a science project.

After a week, I felt that when I woke up in the morning, my eyes were clearly less puffy.  I looked fresher and more rested even if I had stayed up late. I’m so  pleased with these quick results after just one week, I’m going to continue for a month.  I would love to hear about you experiences with  the Clarisonic  Eye device.  Did your eyes look  less puffy?  Were dark circles reduced?

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This week the questions  concern  antioxidants.  They seem to be everywhere  and in every type of beauty product:

Question 1— Which is more important for anti-aging skin care- antioxidants or Retin A?

Answer — These two wrinkle fighters work in different ways.  Antioxidants  act to reverse  cellular damage caused by UV rays.   Retin A works  by  returning skin cell growth  to youthful levels, promotes exfoliation of old tired skin cells and encourages growth of new strong collagen.  Its not a matter of which is better– you really need them both, especially in the long  sunny summer days.  What’s really good news  that they are an excellent tag  team  for reversing skin aging.   Each offers unique benefits and they don’t interfere with each other.   At night top  your Retin A with an antioxidant rich moisturizer.  During the day, anti0xidants in a sunscreen  add extra protection.

Question 2– There are so  many antioxidants– which one should I choose?

Answer 2– Green tea, soy, alpha lipoic acid, coenzymeQ10, vitamin A, vitamin C, coffee berry, and idebone– how is a girl to choose?  You don’t have to.  We need different types of antioxidants to deal with different types of free radicals. It makes good sense to combine different types of  these age- fighters  in a skin care product, and you can use  different formulations  at night and in the morning.  Another way to get full  advantage of antioxidant benefits is to switch off products.  For example use  a night cream with  coffee berry on Monday, Wenesday and Friday and  another moisturizer with CoQ10 on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. That being said,  studies have shown that vitamin C and vitamin C are especially powerful and work even better when used together.

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This week Fashion Flash is hosted by Staness of Menopause Makeover, a great new addition to  our blogging carnival.  Staness looks at the wide range of physical, emototional, and personal changes that are part of the menopause package.  She offers support and advice from  bothexperts in the field and  women  who are dealing with menopause in real time.

After  you click through all our blogs, check out the special  beauty bonus in the April issue of Woman’s Health.  It has a wonderful article on the ten foods which are linked to beautiful skin and features two of my favorite experts–  Dr Ellen Marmur of Mount Sinai  Hospital who has been my dermatologist for my anti-aging  journey in No-Nonsense Beauty Blog and Kari Glassman is one of New Yorks best nutritionists.  Together they discuss  how and why the ten beauty foods work  to improve skin hair and nail health.                                                                                                                                          

These ten foods which include blueberries, dark chocolate,  green tea and yogurt are  all bursting with vitamins, fiber and anti-oxidants.  I  was especially  intrigued to read that  a splash of olive oil on a tomato helps the body absorb lycopene, a powerhouse of an antioxidant that protects the skin from sun damage. Awesome.

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Most doctors dismiss  the idea that moisturizers can prevent signs of aging–  and I believed them. But now new research may change their minds– and mine.  A new study  just published in the prestigious British Journal of Dermatology suggests that untreated dry skin does indeed lead to lines and wrinkles.  Even more interesting, the study found that consistant  use of moisturizers clearly prevented the development  of permanent wrinkling.

Here’s how it works:  Wrinkles develop overtime due to  repeated sun damage, hormonal changes and  repeated useage from facial expressions.  Every time we laugh, eat, shout, smile, talk or squint,  we  are straining the elastin and collagen fibers in the skin.  As the good ( and bad) times  go by, the skin gets quite a workout and temporary expressions become permanently etched in our faces.   Not to worry!  This new study  suggests that regular useage of moisturizers ” plasticize” the skin.  ( Their word, not mine) . This means that moisturizers, by keeping  the skin soft,  can help the skin resist mechanical damage.  In short,  moisturized skin resists  permanent creases from  temporary and repeated expressions.

So what’s  our take away here?  Very simply we should  start using moisturizers early and continue  using them faithfully.  But its  important   to pick a  product that  meets your needs.  If you skin tends  to break out, use an oil-freee formulation. During the day,  I’m a BIG fan of moisturizers with sunscreens.  At night use a moisturizer alone or over a treatment product like Retin A.  Turbo-powered anti-aging  ingredients  like alpha-hydroxy acids, soy extract, or green tea  will create a value-added moisturizer.  But whatever moisturizer you choose,  just use it regularly.

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I really enjoyed  this warm sunny weekend.  I applied my usual 30SPF  sunscreen in the morning and was off to enjoy the day.  By 3pm  my sunscreen was  long gone as I walked through the first sun-filled street fair of the season.  By Saturday night my face felt tight and burned.  In the past I would have run for a bottle of calamine lotion or aloe  gel to cool the burning sensation.  This  time I turned to a more organic and scientific remedy — a box of  Green Tea.   

There are  impressive well designed studies that show Green Tea  can protect skin cells from sunlight induced genetic damage.  I brewed up a strong cup of  Green Tea and patted  a cooled   tea bag to my face.  I don’t know if this Green Tea rinse actually  reversed  my sun damage, but  by morning  my skin felt cool and comfortable.

My terriffic dermatologist, Ellen Marmur has made me  very concious of skin cancer and melanoma risks.  Did you know that one in five people will get skin cancer in their lifetime?  She was on the Today  Show this morning taking about  doing a  skin check  on  yourself .  You can more information  on this topic  at Melanoma Monday.org.

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You  see antioxidants advertised  in practically everything from baby cereal to low-carb beer.  Some experts believe that  antioxidants can prevent cancer,  heart disease and aging.  Other scientists are  rather dubious about the health benefits of antioxidants.  As with  most things in life– the truth  lies somewhere in between.

Antioxidants    have the ability to subdue unstable molecules known as free- radicals.  These bad boys  are molecules that have lost an electron. Free radicals crash around cells interferring with routinue functions such as growth, repair and immunity. Things calm down when  antioxidants  provide the missing electron.

There is no shortage  of antioxidants in  our environment. The short list  of antioxidant- rich items  include   vitamins A, C and E, olive oil, salmon, green tea, red wine tumeric and sunflower seeds. We have lots of  laboratory studies that show anti0xidants can protect cells from free- radicals.  In real life  the results are not so clear.  While  we can  see that people whose diets are high in antioxidant rich food have a lower risk of cancer and heart disease, when we take  antioxidant supplements, the benefits are just not there.

But, and this is a very big but, one area where  antioxidants perform well is on the skin.  Antioxidants from green tea, soy oats  and tumeric  can protect the skin  from sun damage.  Antioxidants in skin care products have  products  have been shown to reduce  sunburn and DNA damage from sun exposure.  Antioxidant  rich sunscreens not only reduce  risk of skin cancer, it may protect against  sun-related aging.  Since about 90% of skin aging under age 60 is due to sun exposure, this is huge!   Moisturizers, sunscreens, and make-up  can all benefit from antioxidants.

On Friday I will be posting my Summer Beauty Tool Kit and not surprisingly, antioxidants will have a starring role.

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