Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin
Staying out of the sun and away from tanning beds is the easiest way to get great-looking skin. The suns UVB and UVA rays cause skin damage, which is prematurely aging, and skin cancer. Every day you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks UVB and UVA rays, with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply at least every two hours while outdoors. For a dewy glow, use skin-care products with 10 ingredients or less to reduce irritation, use moisturizer and feed your skin from within. Dark chocolate and antioxidant-rich foods such as cantaloupe, citrus fruits, blueberries and leafy greens improve the skin’s appearance.

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    You have two types of sweat glands all over your skin. They are both found in their highest concentration in your underarm.

    These glands do not generally begin to develop until humans hit puberty, which is why most people do not produce body odor until their around 11 or 12 years old.

    The eccrine glands cool you off when you are hot, excreting only water and salt - and having nothing to do with body odor.

    The apocrine glands, on the other hand, are what produce that terrible smell. These glands carry secretions of proteins and fats from inside your body, along with your sweat, to the surface of your skin. At the surface, these proteins and fats react with bacteria to produce an odor.

    Deodorants do not keep you from sweating. You apply deodorant to your underarms and go to play basketball. You sweat, but the deodorant counteracts the smell produced after the proteins and fats emitted from your cells migrate to the skin surface. Deodorant takes aim at the bacteria that like to hang around your armpits.

    Deodorants contain ingredients, such as triclosan, which make the skin in your underarm too acidic or salty to support the indigenous bacteria that are intended to thrive there. Without bacteria to feast on the fats and proteins delivered through your sweat, no smell results.

    Antiperspirants, on the other hand, cut down on body odor by keeping you from sweating in the first place. Without sweat, the bacteria in your underarms do not have anything to eat.

    Most antiperspirants also have some of the same ingredients as those found in deodorants, as a failsafe. However, their primary function is to keep you from perspiring. They accomplish this with ingredients such as zirconium and aluminum, which plug the sweat glands in your underarms. With antiperspirant, it is literally, no sweat.

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    A , Dermatology, answered
    Some common misconceptions about oily skin:
    • Using oil-control products will lead to an increase in oil production. False: The oil glands beneath the skin have no idea how dry or oily the surface is. Instead, they make more oil due to hormonal influences and an increase in blood flow (which occurs with heat and exercise).
    • Blotting facial oils helps to reduce the production of oil. False: The truth is they actually only temporarily blot off surface oil.
    • Oily skin is not a concern for those with rosacea. False: Even those with sensitive or rosacea-prone skin can be oily.
    • Prescription Accutane fully eliminates ("cures") oil production. False: This serious acne med may reduce oiliness but is only temporary.
    • You can't wear makeup while using oil-control products. False: Simply choose one labeled non-comedogenic.
    • Oil-control products cause unpleasant dryness and smell. False: Polymer-based oil-control will only soak up excessive oils and leave dry areas alone. Plus, there are products without fragrance or a "chemical" scent.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Some men may notice that their skin ages differently than women’s. This is due in part to the fact that men typically experience the onset of skin thinning as early as age 20, whereas women tend to maintain their skin thickness into their 40s or 50s. The best way to slow skin aging, should you wish to do so, is to be sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every time you go outside. According to a poll from the American Academy of Dermatology, while 65% of men used sunscreen when outdoors, only 5% use it every day. Consult a dermatologist for more information.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of

    Yes. You can actually eat right to beat wrinkles. You may have heard the old wives tale that consuming vitamin C can help fight a cold, but what about wrinkles?  

    A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of over 4,000 women between the ages of 40 and 70 showed that routine higher takes of vitamin C-rich foods was significantly associated with a decrease in the prevalence of wrinkled and dry skin due to aging. The study also found that higher intakes of linoleic acid reduced the chances of developing not only the same age-related dryness but also thinning of the skin. While citrus fruits, juices and tomatoes are the leading sources of vitamin C in the American diet, green leafy vegetables, soybean oil, flaxseeds, and walnuts are ringers for linoleic acid.

    Tip: Beautify your breakfast by topping your whole grain cereal with ground flaxseeds and chase your morning meal with a glass of OJ. Add spinach to your lunchtime green salad and sprinkle a spoonful of chopped walnuts to give it crunch. For a linoleic-rich salad dressing, combine balsamic vinegar and soybean oil to top it off.

    Eating berries for may help you keep a sharp mind. Even though women live longer than men, eating berries can help them live “smarter”. A study in the Annals of Neurology involving over 16,000 women showed that those who consumed a greater amount of blueberries (1/2 cup or more weekly) or strawberries (1 cup or more weekly) were associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline (thinking, remembering, and reasoning) as they aged. Researchers speculate that the mind-enhancing ingredient may be the phytochemical and antioxidant, anthocyanidin, which gives berries their robust color.

    Tip: Begin and end your day with berries. Add them to your morning cereal or yogurt and make them your evening dessert.

    Foods may help fight Alzheimer’s disease. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that eating omega-3 rich foods, such as fish, salad dressing, margarine, and nuts, may help lower a level of a protein in the blood that has been associated with increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Tip:  To get triple Alzheimer’s disease-fighting potential at lunch, toss together tuna fish, chopped nuts, and a light salad dressing and stuff into a whole wheat pita. 

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    While it seems like the main purpose of skin these days is to sell magazines and movie tickets, its primary purpose is, naturally, to protect your insides. More specifically, your skin performs four important jobs:
    1. Skin protects against infections. Infections from the outside world travel to our inside world in three ways-through our lungs, our intestines, and our skin. Since our skin has the most interface with the outside world, it has a protective quality to it in that the top layer of skin is a dead layer, which acts as a shield against outside invaders.

    2. Skin sends important signals to our brain. For example, if you burn yourself and it hurts, you're receiving the message to step away from the camp fire (that's good). If it's painless, it means you may have killed the part of the skin with pain fibers. (That's bad.) Not only wouldn't your brain get the message, but you also wouldn't be able to heal properly.

    3. Skin helps us develop. Of all the senses that we can be deprived of during development, the one that causes the most damage if it's missing is touch (we know this from baboon studies, but it also appears to be true in humans). Take this a step further, and we know the importance that touch can have therapeutically-such as from massage used as a healing mechanism, and even sexual touch for emotional well-being.

    4. Skin helps us heal. That's what scabs do-they provide a layer of protection and moisture to allow skin to fuse together over the wound. (Picking a scab interrupts and slows down that healing process because the healing cells are pulled off when you peel off the scab.)
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    If you've ever crashed a skateboard or peeled a hangnail, you probably know about nature's Band-Aid-the scab.

    A scab covers the wound almost immediately. A scab is formed when proteins from white blood cells that help coagulate blood come out of the blood stream to protect the wound-and actually accelerate the healing process.

    Pus can also form at the wound site, but that's not as positive of a sign as a scab.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    All that time in front of the mirror, in the shower, and at the nude beach has likely given you some pretty good insight into what type of skin you have. But there's more to skin intelligence than just knowing whether you're happier exposing it or concealing it. Take this test to determine your skin type.

    1. Does your skin look dull or flake like a snow globe?
    2. Does your skin look like a bathroom floor with a shiny, slippery texture?
    3. Does your skin feel itchy and taut like sausage casing?
    4. Do you have pores that are enlarged like craters, or clogged pores, or acne?
    5. Does your skin react to cosmetics containing alcohol, synthetics, fragrances, and artificial colors?
    6. Does your skin appear consistently moist, vibrant, and plumper than a squishy cantaloupe?
    7. Do your forehead, nose, or chin appear oilier than a fast-food kitchen, while the skin around your cheeks, eyes, and mouth is normal or dry?

    If you answered yes to 1 or 3, you have DRY skin.

    If you answered yes to 2 or 4, you have OILY skin.

    If you answered yes to 5, you have SENSITIVE skin.

    If you answered yes to 6, you have NORMAL skin.

    If you answered yes to 7, you have COMBINATION skin.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    Why does the sun cause skin to tan - or to burn? Exposure to sun causes an immediate release of stored melanin and stimulates those cells designed to protect you from too much sun, the melanocytes, to produce a protective pigment, melanin. But that process takes several days, by which time you have left the beach with Santa-suit-colored flesh. Tanning for tanning sake is a bad idea? Think of the sun as your skin's cancer-causing deep-fryer.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Thinner, duller, less vibrant is what you can expect from your skin as you age but you get to control how fast those changes occur in your skin:

    Skin that's in its natural 40sbecomes thinner. The skin becomes more translucent and capillaries show through. And those capillaries increase in number as a response to years of inflammation from sun damage. Signs of photoaging - such as wrinkles, age spots, and uneven pigmentation - may show up, especially if your parents or you weren't diligent about sun protection during childhood and in your 20s and 30s. Your skin will produce less oil naturally in your 40s, leading to increased dryness. Cell turnover also is slower, which can cause skin to appear dull.

    In your typical 50s, you may experience a deepening of facial lines and wrinkles due to the loss of subcutaneous fat, moisture loss, and accumulated sun damage. As skin elasticity declines, skin may start to sag, especially around the jaw line and eye area. If you are postmenopausal, the related drop in estrogen can make your skin thinner, dryer, and more easily irritated. Hydrating moisturizers will decrease water loss but can lead to unnecessary dependence on them (you'll feel like you always need them). Vitamin A creams increase the water content of the skin, and vitamin E can moisturize the skin in a more natural way. Regular exfoliation is a good start, decreasing the thickness of the dry, rough epidermis.

    If typical and natural, in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, cell turnover and skin healing are even slower, and your skin may be very dry, as well. Mature skin may need special care, starting with hydrating moisturizers and regular exfoliation to encourage cell turnover.

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    A answered
    Here are some foods that are important for healthy skin:
    • Kiwi: Kiwi provides tons of vitamin C. Vitamin C produces elastin and collagen, which give skin its elasticity. Collagen breaks down as people get older and causes wrinkles. Vitamin C counteracts this process.
    • Salmon: Salmon -- and other fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and trout -- will improve the overall condition and appearance of skin. That's all thanks to its array of nutrients.
    • Watermelon: This fruit, which is synonymous with summer, is loaded with water to hydrate skin. Plus it boasts vitamin C, which helps the skin's elasticity, and antioxidants that prevent signs of aging.
    • Yellow pepper: Want to fight wrinkles? Then eat vitamin C-rich peppers. They also contain vitamin E (which helps repair damaged skin), vitamin A (which keeps skin moist) and carotenoids (which decrease the skin's sensitivity to the sun).
    • Tomatoes: To protect your skin against sun damage, chomp on some tomatoes. They provide the bright red pigment that is naturally found in the skin, called lycopene. Lycopene, which is found in higher levels in cooked, processed tomatoes, protects against the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.
    • Oysters: Eat oysters to help wounds heal and prevent scarring. Oysters contain the important trace metal zinc, which promotes wound healing. Oysters can help prevent wounds from breaking down and keeps skin strong during healing. You can also get zinc from nuts, lobster, beans and crab.
    • Berries: Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries offer antioxidants, which help protect the skin from the sun's damaging effects. Eating these foods also may help prevent signs of aging skin, like dryness and wrinkles.
    • Cucumber: Beauty buffs know that cucumbers can be applied to the face to help relieve puffiness under the eyes. Eating them is beneficial, too. They help hydrate the skin because they're made mostly of water.
    • Pineapple: The tropical fruit contains bromelain, which is thought to fight inflammation. Lessening inflammation can improve skin's appearance and may relieve suffering from sunburn.
    • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges boast nutrients like vitamin C that help keep skin youthful looking.
    This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.
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