Tag Archives: skin

Skin Repair After Sun Damage

July 22, 2013 by

The damage is done. You have been told for years to wear a hat and sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and to stay out of direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. But, again, the sun wrapped you up in its relaxing warmth, and now you’re burnt to a crisp.

You can almost feel the crows feet forming around your eyes and the deep creases folding into your forehead. Is there anything you can do to lessen the damage? Justin G. Madson, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist at Midwest Dermatology Clinic, P.C., gives practical advice on remedies for both serious and mild sunburns.

If you have a serious sunburn, you need to see your doctor immediately. “Signs of serious sunburn are blistering, a rash, excessive itching immediately following sun exposure, fever, or an infection that results from scratching or an open blister,” says Dr. Madson.

“Excessive pain is also a sign that it is time to see a doctor, especially if it cannot be controlled by over-the-counter pain relievers. Your dermatologist can prescribe treatments for these symptoms, including prescription cortisone creams, antihistamines, and pain relievers.”

For milder burns, try a couple home remedies. “Sooth the area with a cold, wet cloth for 10-15 minutes. This takes the heat out of the skin,” says Dr. Madson. A cool bath and moisturizing lotion can also be helpful. However, “avoid lotions that contain petrolatum [i.e. Vaseline], as these ointments form a barrier that traps the heat within the sunburned skin.

“Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help with moderate pain,” says Dr. Madson. After trying some of these immediate remedies, it is a good idea to let your skin heal on its own. “Leave blisters alone. They are nature’s Band-Aids and protect newly healing skin from dirt and bacteria on the surface of the skin. The outer layers of your skin are there to protect what is underneath. Allow nature to shed the skin when it is no longer needed.”

If you are on vacation and cannot avoid the sun, “apply sunscreen SPF 30+ liberally to all areas of the skin and wear long-sleeve, sun-protective clothing. The sun’s damaging rays can penetrate clothing, so it’s necessary to double your efforts,” says Dr. Madson. “Make sure the fabric is a little loose. Tight fabric stretches, letting in more light. And try to plan vacation activities outside during morning, late afternoon, and evening hours when the harmful rays are not as strong.

“There is a long list of skin conditions caused by long-term sun exposure, the most serious of which is skin cancer. It’s a serious, invasive cancer that spreads to vital organs in the body if not diagnosed and treated early. And sun exposure, especially sunburn, is the leading cause,” says Dr. Madson.

Next time you cozy into the lawn chair on a sunny summer afternoon, remember this statistic from Dr. Madson: “Studies show that your risk of developing melanoma doubles after five sunburns in your lifetime. That’s why sun protection is so important.”

Surprising Fact: “We get more sun damage through the car window than previously thought. A new study found that 53 percent of skin cancers occur on the left side of the body as opposed to the middle or right side. That is attributed to the many miles we put behind the wheel and the increased sun exposure. Whether the window is rolled down or up, you are at risk—windshield glass only protects us from UVB rays. We get a steady dose of UVA while driving (or as a passenger). Reflective factors, such as snow or water, also increase dangers of ultraviolet light,” says Dr. Madson.

Tan Without Damaging Your Skin

May 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When Coco Chanel returned from a luxurious vacation in 1929, she declared “The 1929 girl must be tanned,” starting a beauty revolution that changed the sun-kissed look from being a sign of working-class status to chic, wealthy fashionista. Surprisingly, this trend has stuck around for nearly 85 years and has only grown as a desired beauty trait among women (not to mention its growth as a major cash-cow for the beauty industry).

The problem is more and more women are getting skin cancer while trying to achieve this look, even those in their early 20s who should barely have had time to damage their skin. With too much natural sun exposure, as well as tanning booth UV exposure, this beautiful look seems a little too dangerous. But as it’s the time of year again for swimsuits, women are lining up to get that perfect tan.

So how can we get the bronzed look without actually harming our skin?

If you’re attempting your own self-tanning experience, try Here Comes the Sun™ ($28), one of the many Philosophy skin care products available at Sephora in Village Pointe Shopping Center. According to Sephora’s website, “This self-tanner provides a sun-inspired golden glow within hours of application while an amino acid complex helps firm and tone for smooth, healthy-looking skin. The oil-free, streak-free formula is easy to apply for even, mistake-proof coverage. Skip the sun, and go for the glow.”

Cheaper options—like Jergens Natural Glow, L’Oreal Sublime Bronze, or Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg—usually range from $7-15 and are available at Walgreens, Target, or Walmart. But always read the product reviews first! While these products will save you money, they can sometimes spread unevenly or leave your hands, arms, knees, ankles, and feet looking too brown or awkwardly orange. A few minutes of online reading can be the difference between countless hours of frustrated scrubbing in the shower and a thrifty, beautiful glow.

If you don’t trust your own handiwork to get the desired effect, most local tanning salons have spray-on tanning available. Best of Omaha® winner Ashley Lynn’s Tanning, which has 11 locations in Omaha, is known for its “sunless tan” spray-on tanning.

A “sunless tan” at Ashley Lynn’s only takes a few minutes. Clients can go fully nude or wear swimsuits. Single sessions cost $30, but the tanning salon currently has a $39 special for three sessions.

“We use the VersaSpa spray tan booth,” says Dana Morinelli, director of marketing with Ashley Lynn’s. “There’s a clear treatment and a bronzer treatment. The bronzer is topical. [It] washes off so you can see it right away. Both are composed of skin-firming agents to give you long-lasting color.” Morinelli adds that the color in the clear treatment develops four to eight hours after the session, and both treatments usually last about five to seven days, depending on skin type and daily skin care routines.

Though the bronzer treatment isn’t recommended if you’re getting a quick spray-on tan during your lunch break before heading back to the office, Morinelli assures that the treatments are water-soluble, so clothes won’t be stained.

“If you’re looking for quick color with fewer sessions, then [sunless tan] is perfect. It’s completely cosmetic, and it gives you that immediate tan,” says Morinelli.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays many roles in our bodies. It regulates immune health, helps to build and maintain strong bones, and absorbs calcium and phosphorus into the blood stream. While vitamin D can be obtained naturally through food, like fish and eggs, or through exposure to sunlight, most people (especially women) don’t get enough of it, the result of which can be linked to poor skeletal health, cancer, depression, heart disease, and obesity.

You might be under the impression that spending more time in the sun is all it takes to combat this deficiency. But that’s not true. In fact, there are several variables dependent on how much vitamin D your body requires, as well as how well it absorbs sunlight.

According to David Rostollan, N.D., in his article “Vitamin D: How to Determine Your Optimal Dose” written for NaturalNews.com, “Healthy, young people can usually get the vitamin D they need from around 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day, depending on their location and time of year. Most adults in today’s modern world, however, do not even attempt to get this much sun exposure, much less achieve it.”

Dr. Rostollan adds that, even if adults did attempt more exposure, issues of location, age, and skin color can hinder proper sunlight absorption. “Because of the axial tilt of the earth, the further north one lives, the less the sun’s UVB rays will be able to activate vitamin D in the skin…If you’re around 35-40 years-old or above, you’re likely losing the ability to activate sufficient levels of vitamin D in your skin…[and] if you have a lot of pigment in your skin, this is going to shield you from the UVB radiation you need.” Being overweight and illnesses, like cancer, can also require higher vitamin D levels, as the vitamin is consumed much faster in larger or weakened bodies.

Don’t attempt to adjust your vitamin D levels on your own though. Taking vitamin D supplements can be harmful if you take too high a dose; and while sun exposure can’t make you overdose on vitamin D, too much time in the sun can put you at risk for skin cancer. As usual, you should only increase sun exposure or start taking a supplement after you have consulted with your physician.

Quit Aging Yourself

March 25, 2013 by

Every year, we spend tons of money to keep our faces looking youthful and tight. But what we don’t realize is that some of our bad beauty habits are actually making us look older than we are. Here are some seemingly “no-brainer” tips that will help you keep your face looking young and beautiful without spending a fortune on anti-aging products:

Find the Right Foundation.

Every woman has been guilty of those embarrassing foundation lines at some point in her life. What you might not know is that the appearance of those lines is usually a signal that you’re not using the right kind or color of foundation. Even worse, using the wrong foundation can speed up the process of aging of your skin. The best way to prevent both of these problems is to find the best foundation for your skin.

Before you even think about brands, you need to determine what kind of foundation works best with your skin type. Have dry skin? Look for “moisturizing” or “hydrating” foundations. Have oily skin? Look for “oil-free” or “matte” foundations. Have a combination of oily and dry skin? Look for “cream-to-powder” foundations. Or if that seems like too much of a hassle, look for mineral foundations, which go great with any skin type—especially sensitive skin.

After determining the right kind of foundation, you need to match the color to your skin tone. Despite what you might have heard about testing the color on your wrist, the best place to test a foundation color is actually on your jawline, as this is the area where foundation is most noticeable (Remember those lines?). Make sure you’re as close to natural light as possible—like outside or near a window—while testing colors since indoor lighting can make you choose to dark of a color. Whichever color blends or disappears into your skin tone during the test is the color you should get.

Don’t Overpluck Your Brows.

Some women prefer professional eyebrow threading or waxing. But for those of us that prefer to save cash and time, plucking is the way to go. The only problem with plucking is that, too often, we overpluck our brows, giving us an aged look. Actually, the fuller the brow, the more youthful you look. Now, “fuller” doesn’t mean you let your eyebrows go ungroomed—just don’t pluck them too thin.

Before plucking, wash your face, brush your brows up and out with a brow brush (a clean toothbrush works, too), and sit near a window with a good mirror. To determine your brow thickness, use an eye pencil and draw a line along the bottom edge of your brow, following the fullest, natural shape. Any hairs that fall below this line are okay to pluck. The general rule with plucking is to make sure your brow begins in line with the inner corner of your eye and ends in line diagonally with the bottom edge of your nose and the outer corner of your eye. You can use a ruler (or your tweezers, if they’re long enough) to check if everything is aligned. Any hairs outside of these measurements can be removed.

If your brows are naturally too-thin, or if you’ve overplucked and are trying to grow your brows back out, use powder or an eyebrow pencil to fill in the shape. Just make sure to match the powder or eyebrow pencil shade to your natural hair color so you don’t age yourself any further—or look like a cartoon villain.

Remove Makeup and Wash Your Face.

It’s hard to get in the habit of removing our makeup and washing our faces every night when we’re tired and just want to get in bed. But not removing your makeup or washing your face is one of the quickest ways to age your skin. Just think about the fact that the average woman today begins wearing makeup at age 12 and wears makeup into her 70s and 80s. That’s long-term damage.

If you don’t use all-natural makeup, there are tons of harsh chemicals in your makeup that can damage your skin. Not to mention your skin is exposed to dirt, pollution, and germs throughout the day. Imagine all of those things collecting on your pillows as you sleep. If you think that’s gross, then why are you leaving those things on your face? At night, the skin needs oxygen to repair the damage done throughout the day. With your pores clogged, your skin can’t go through its natural exfoliation.

Also, our eyes start showing age the earliest because the skin around them is the thinnest. Going to bed with your makeup on dries the skin around your eyes out and weakens the hairs in your eyebrows and eyelashes, causing them to thin and fall out. Remember—it’s a lot easier to remove your makeup and wash your face than it is to undo aging and regrow your eyebrows and eyelashes.

Eyebrow Threading

November 25, 2012 by

Maybe it’s the name that leaves people anxious about eyebrow threading, but that can be misleading. There are no needles involved—just you, a piece of knotted thread, and somebody wrapping the strand skillfully around unwanted eyebrow hairs.

And although eyebrow threading can be done with household items, don’t try this one at home. One wrong move could give you uneven eyebrows or using the wrong type of thread could draw blood by nicking the skin. With threading, Santi Sudha Yadlapalli says it’s all about knowledge. “If [the thread] is too thin, you may end up getting small cuts or bruises,” Yadlapalli says. “It has to be the right thread and the right technique.” That’s why a trained professional is necessary. Even though the technique is gaining popularity, you still won’t find many people in Omaha certified to perform the craft.

Yadlapalli of Santi’s Eyebrow Threading and Ayurvedic Spa at Oakview Mall was the first person to introduce the technique to Omaha. She learned the practice from cosmetology schooling in India, where she says the technique is widely used on facial hair. The benefits of threading eyebrows, she says, are noticeably more than for waxing. “It gives more precise shape than waxing,” she says. “It gives you more control.”

Threading could also give you more bang for your buck. Even though she’s an innovator to the area, Yadlapalli only charges $15 for eyebrow threading, which she can do in about five to seven minutes—around the same price as getting them waxed. The results of threading also tend to last longer because of the way the hair is removed. Yadlapalli says the results are because of the way the thread knots around each hair to pull it from the follicle, whereas some of the hair may break with waxing.

If you’ve been wary of removing unwanted facial hair due to sensitive skin, threading might be the option for you. Threading works on all types of skin, Yadlapalli says. “Everybody says this is less painful than waxing.” Plus, once clients start coming in regularly for the threading, she says they won’t feel the process at all.