Research Suggests New Strategy To Target Skin Diseases Like Psoriasis

Research at UT Southwestern has shown that targeting metabolism in growing cells holds promise for the treatment of skin diseases like psoriasis that are characterized by skin overgrowth resulting from excess cell division, known as hyperproliferation. A research team led by Dr. Richard Wang, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, demonstrated in mice that inhibit glucose transport may be a safe and effective treatment for these diseases. Actively dividing cells – like those underlying psoriasis – are more dependent on glucose for their growth. By inhibiting glucose transport in those cells, disease-associated skin overgrowth and inflammation were reduced. Their findings were recently published in Nature Medicine.

“This study provides a window for the treatment of various diseases by specifically targeting the metabolic requirements of hyperproliferative skin diseases,” Wang said. “It also broadens our understanding of changes in skin metabolism in response to physiological stressors. Most psoriasis therapies inhibit the immune cells that underlie the disease. They have been limited somewhat by side effects caused by broadly targeting the immune system.”

The study results, if proved effective in humans, may lead to development of new treatments for those with incurable skin conditions like psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than seven million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition manifests as patches of red skin with silvery scales typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of feet. Recent studies have shown that people with psoriasis are at an increased risk for other inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease/hypertension, diabetes, Crohn’s syndrome, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and obesity.

Psoriasis Disease Links

This trickle-down threat resulted in the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizing psoriasis under its umbrella of these four primary noncommunicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Affecting more than 125 million people worldwide, psoriasis has a direct causal linkage to several of these diseases. Although psoriasis alone rarely results in death, those with it run a greater risk of various co-occurring diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Glucose transport in skin cells called keratinocytes takes place through Glut1. In the study, investigators successfully decreased skin overgrowth in mouse models of psoriasis-like disease by inactivating the transporter protein Glut1, either genetically or with drug-based inhibitors. These experiments did not compromise the skin’s development or functionality.

Researchers also were able to decrease inflammation with topical application of a Glut1 inhibitor. This inhibitor also had a remarkable effect on psoriatic human skin grown in a dish, suppressing both inflammation and the expression of disease-associated genes. “Although I would still consider our findings preliminary, they have the potential to provide novel therapeutic approaches for inflammatory and neoplastic skin diseases,” Wang said.

Easing The Itch Of Poison Ivy And Poison Oak

Troublesome plants such as poison ivy and poison oak can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. The signature leaves of three of the poison ivy plants carry an oil called urushiol that can be an irritant if touched, broken or burned. Poison ivy’s less-common cousin, poison oak, can be identified by leaves that look like hairy oak fronds. While some people are not sensitive to the urushiol oil, others develop a red, itchy or painful rash, swelling or blisters where the irritant comes in contact with the skin. The reaction doesn’t happen right away though. It typically takes at least 24 hours to develop, happening faster each time you are exposed.

What many people don’t know is that poison ivy and poison oak can also become airborne and can be spread by burning piles of wood or brush that includes the leaves. “Sometimes people wake up days later and their eyes are puffy and swelled up so much that they can’t see but they don’t know why,” says Dr. Claire Hollins, a dermatologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Hollins has also heard of cases where people chop firewood in the summer and the urushiol oil from poison ivy on it is reactivated by burning that wood in the winter months.

Black dot dermatitis – a condition where black dots develop on parts of the skin sprinkled with the oil from the poison ivy plant – is less common, but usually comes from whacking weeds, brush or vines that include the plant. The best prevention is to avoid contact with poison ivy altogether by covering up and wearing long pants, socks and gardening gloves. If you suspect that you have come into contact with a poisonous plant wash your hands immediately with warm, soapy water and dry them on a disposable towel rather than cloth towel to avoid spreading the harmful oils.

If irritation does develop, it can be treated with over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointments. More serious cases may require a course of oral prednisone and stronger topical steroids from a dermatologist or primary care provider. Poison ivy is not typically passed from one person to another unless the oil is still present on clothing or skin. It is also not spread by scratching areas that itch, as the urushiol is not present in blister fluid. Hollins said Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology is conducting research to look for a vaccine for poison ivy, and researchers are currently testing an urushiol patch to see how effective it is.

The Language Of Skin Care Labels

When it comes to skin care product labels, people shouldn’t necessarily believe everything they read. “The language on the label is not always an accurate description of the product inside the bottle or its potential effects on your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Rajani Katta, MD, FAAD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Manufacturers may use certain language for marketing purposes, and the same terms may mean different things on different products – and that makes it difficult to determine what they mean for our skin.”

Patients may choose products labeled “for sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic” because they believe these products will be gentle on their skin and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Because these terms are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, there is no guarantee that these products won’t irritate the skin or cause a reaction. Also, be wary of the term “all-natural,” since products containing natural ingredients are not necessarily good for the skin. “Remember, poison ivy is ‘all-natural,’” Katta says. “And even if a natural ingredient is good for your skin, some products may combine that ingredient with additives or preservatives that could be harmful.”

Language related to fragrances also may be misleading. Under current labeling laws, manufacturers are permitted to use the term “fragrance-free” on products that include fragrance chemicals if those chemicals are used for another purpose – such as moisturizing – rather than changing the product’s scent. The term “unscented” may be used on products that use fragrances to mask a strong existing odor instead of creating a new scent. “Unfortunately, there isn’t any labeling language that guarantees a product is hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin,” Katta says. “However, there are steps you can take to avoid adverse reactions to new products, and a board-certified dermatologist can help you if you do experience a reaction.”

Patients with sensitive skin should test a small amount of a product on their forearm for a week to see if it causes a reaction, and make sure to follow all product directions. Patients who are experiencing skin inflammation should avoid new products altogether, since their skin’s protective barrier is already compromised, making it susceptible to further irritation. If a skin care product does cause an adverse reaction, it may not always be easy to identify the culprit.

“There’s a common misconception that allergic reactions happen instantaneously,” Katta says, “but they may take a couple of days to show up, and some people may develop an allergy to a skin care ingredient after using it for months or years. If you’re not sure what’s causing a reaction on your skin, visit a dermatologist, who can help determine the cause. Dermatologists also can help you navigate the confusing world of skin care product labels. If you’re not sure how to select the right products for your skin, visit your dermatologist. We can answer your questions about ingredients, and help you identify the products that will work best for your skin type and address your skin care concerns.”

New Treatment Option Shows Promise For Skin And Hair Conditions

Alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo are highly visible dermatologic conditions that can have a negative effect on patients’ quality of life and overall health. An emerging treatment option, however, could provide effective therapy for patients with these conditions. Board-certified dermatologist Brett King, MD, MPH, FAAD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., is at the forefront of research into new uses for a class of drugs known as Janus kinase inhibitors, or JAK inhibitors. Recent studies suggest that these medications can disrupt the immune response that fuels alopecia areata, which can cause patchy or total hair loss; atopic dermatitis, which causes severe itch and red rash; and vitiligo, which causes the skin to lose its color.

“While alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo may not seem alike on the surface, they are all fueled by the body’s immune system,” King says. “JAK inhibitors seem to address immune system dysfunction in all three diseases. I believe that this class of medicines is going to redefine how dermatologists approach these diseases and provide a revolutionary new therapy for patients.”

A relatively new class of drug, JAK inhibitors were approved about five years ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat rheumatoid arthritis and bone marrow disorders. After researchers at Columbia University in New York used these medications to successfully treat alopecia areata in mice, King used a JAK inhibitor off label in a human patient with the condition. After observing hair regrowth in this patient and others, he turned to patients with atopic dermatitis and vitiligo, who experienced significant improvement in their symptoms after taking JAK inhibitors.

While these results are promising, King says that JAK inhibitors are not currently FDA-approved for the treatment of alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis or vitiligo. The next step toward that end would be for pharmaceutical companies to conduct large-scale clinical trials, which are already in progress for atopic dermatitis and alopecia areata. “If JAK inhibitors are approved for dermatologic use, these medications would provide dermatologists with a powerful tool for treating multiple common diseases that have a profound negative impact on patients,” King says. “We need new and innovative treatments to help our patients, and for those with alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo, JAK inhibitors could be a life-changing therapy.”

What Is Croton Oil?

The earth is a magical place. When we think about the plethora of plants, seeds and natural components that it bares for free and how they have healing powers, it’s pretty remarkable that more people aren’t more holistically geared in how they live and treat illnesses. But not all plants or oils are created equal. Even some of the most popular remedies in traditional scenes have lost their appeal and luster in modern day healing. There are reasons for this.

Croton oil is an oil that used to be used for stomach issues, digestive interruptions and constipation. Due to its very acrid nature, it’s no longer used in such a matter as it would clean out a person’s intestines almost violently, leaving them grappling with diarrhea after an hour.

However, despite not being an oil that is readily suggested for what it used to be used for, it’s still used in very small doses for skin care purposes. It is the active ingredient in a phenol-based facial which is a peel that can be professionally administered. It helps to even the skin tone and eliminate the top layer of skin that is often uneven and suffering from various types of damage.

The amount of croton oil that the skin can safely handle is very specific for peeling, and then the necessary amount of healing after the facial, is required. Due to its incredibly strong and toxic compositional makeup, only a drop or two of oil should be used at a time. If you happen to have very sensitive skin, try using a tiny drop on the inside of your wrist and see if you have any sort of harsh or negative reactions to it.

Exfoliate Regularly

It is classified as an irritant of the skin, yet also an exfoliant. If you are familiar with the inner workings of skin care, then you know just how crucial it is to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. So much of the gunk that makes skin look old, weighs it down or causes imperfections, exists on the very top layer of the skin.

In order to get to the healthier, more even skin, you have to effectively buff off the dead skin cells and first layer of skin. It’s so important that you take extra precautions when dealing with an oil as potent and toxic as this one. This is not an oil you want to use too much of because it could end very badly.

The outer most layer of the skin is called epidermis. This is specifically what this oil targets when it is used sparingly in skin-care regimens. After the skin takes its time to heal after the initial exposure, it heals stronger with elastin fibers and renewed collagen at the forefront of the skin. This helps to eliminate the signs of aging as well as any scarring you may be suffering from.

Chemical peels are very serious so make sure you do the proper research if you consider doing a deeply invasive one with croton oil because your skin will need to heal immediately after. But once it does, the results are truly amazing.

You can purchase croton oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Ingredient Adds Wettability To Skin

Researchers from Binghamton University, State University of New York may have discovered the future of healthy skin. An anionic surfactant known as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) – an ingredient often found in cosmetic cleaners – may play a role in protecting our skin from chemicals and the effects of the environment. “Skin acts as the first line of defense to the outside world and the wettability plays an important role in contact inhibition of microorganisms,” says Guy German, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering. “We can alter the wettability of the human skin.”

The teams of researchers are led to believe that their discovery could not only have a big impact of controlling microorganisms finding their way into our skin, but also have an influence of our sensory area.

SLS

Also known as C12H25SO4Na, SLS can be frequently found in numerous hygienic, cosmetic, and cleaning products. The material is mostly used to remove everyday residue and stains. However, German and his team of researchers seem to have cracked the code to explore the changes in the mechanics and functionality of healthy skin tissue.

Basically, the wettability of the top layer of our skin can be controlled by continuous treatment of C12H25SO4Na at various pH levels. Then, the surfactants, which are amphiphilic chemicals, are able to both attract and repeal water simultaneously. In harmful environments, your skin will be able to have both a positive and negative charge that can repel water as necessary. In other environments with high alkaline, the process will attract more water. “We can change the surface wettability of skin, it’s quite neat,” says German. “We can actually flip these little molecules upside down.”

German and his team continue to utilize their resources to explore the various fluctuations this ingredient has to treat disordered skin from natural processes such as aging and infections. While we continue to use this common ingredient in our homes and sometimes use them to alter the wettability of hair, it seems that its potential extends onto our skin. This would mark the first time that anyone has been able to alter any kind of bacterial growth on the human skin.

Hydrophobic Skin

The next step of this discovery would be to translate the results of German’s research to everyday use. The hope of this innovative sulfate discovery is to exploit the results that have the potential to help improve drug delivery, deter bacterial growth on human skin, and even progress biointegrated electronics and sensor systems. “If you think about what that could  be good for, well, if you say you had an environment where you didn’t want droplets of water in contact with your skin, we are able to make your skin hydrophobic, which means the water wouldn’t spread itself,” says German.

This discovery means that we could potentially control the water coming into contact on our skin and avoid it at all costs. On the other hand, for those who use cosmetic products on an everyday basis, and may or may not have trouble with its usage, because of German’s discovery, you could allow the product to become hydrophilic to enhance spreading.

German and his team hope to put their discovery to practical use in the near future. Who knows, maybe the material could extend its use onto our leather shoes. It would be nice if they were hydrophobic on those cold, rainy days.

Stay Sun Safe This Summer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States.  One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer, and one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.  With summer here and as we spend greater time outdoors throughout the year, we place ourselves at risk for over-exposure and cumulative, toxic effects of the sun that can eventually promote the growth of skin cancers.

Common risk factors for developing skin cancer include blue, green or hazel eyes, many moles, history of severe sunburns, and a family history of skin cancer.  People of color can get sunburned, and the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage their skin leading to the development of skin cancer. Adopting a common-sense approach to prevention through lifestyle choices that include sun-protective measures and limiting time outdoors will reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Our lifestyle choices contribute greatly to our chances of getting skin cancer. The most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers is sun exposure. According to Tamar Zapolanski, M.D., FAAD, Dermatologist, Valley Medical Group – Park Ridge, “Repeated overexposure to the sun can lead to premature aging and skin cancers called basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.”

Slow The Signs Of Aging With Sun Protection

Environmental factors can damage the skin in multiple ways, from UVB rays causing sunburns and uneven pigmentation to UVA and infrared radiation penetrating more deeply into the skin to damage existing collagen and reduce collagen production, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Habitual UV exposure can cause blood vessels to become more prominent, causing skin redness while visible light and pollution can cause uneven skin tone, especially in darker skin types. “Although there have been some impressive strides in anti-aging treatments, no one product or procedure can completely reverse the long-term effects of poor skin care decisions, and protective measures are the cornerstone of good skin care,” says Arianne Shadi Kourosh, MD, MPH, FAAD, director of community health and co-director of the multiethnic skin clinic in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston

As we’ve just discussed, too much time in the sun can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summer offers plenty of opportunities to be out basking in the sun and enjoying the outdoors at the beach, park or in your own back yard. But with sun exposure being the largest factor for development of skin cancer later in life, it’s important to take some simple precautions to ensure you’re doing your best to protect your skin from sun damage. Each day in the sun adds to the risk of developing skin cancer.

Since both types of UV rays can damage the skin, Dr. Kourosh says, it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection, with an SPF of 30 or higher. She recommends sunscreens containing the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as a good source of broad-spectrum protection suitable for sensitive skin. She also says formulations containing antioxidants may provide some protection against uneven skin tone and aging caused by free radical damage from infrared light, visible light and pollution.

Sunscreen Tips

Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. “Sunscreen protects against harmful radiation from the sun by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin,” explains Dr. Zapolanski. They are available in many forms including creams, lotions, gels, ointments, wax sticks, sprays or in cosmetic products like make-up and lipstick.

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible. For road trips, gardening, and walking or hiking, consider a travel kit that contains a small bottle of sunscreen, wrap-around sunglasses (ANSI UV), and a hat – with a three-inch brim or greater all around. UV-protective clothing is also a great sun-protective option.

Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Sunburns cause long-lasting damage from UV rays.  Set a timer on your phone to avoid losing track of the time you spend in the sun.  If you do get burned, cool your skin with water or cool compresses, cover up, moisturize and replenish with fluids. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.

Avoid Tanning Beds

In addition to practicing sun protection, it’s important to avoid indoor tanning, which exposes users to harmful UV rays that can increase skin cancer risk and accelerate skin aging. Those who wish to look tan may want to consider a self-tanning product but should continue using sunscreen with it. “Whether you’re on a beach vacation or your daily commute, it’s crucial to protect yourself from exposure to harmful UV rays on a regular basis,” Kourosh says. “If you want healthy, younger-looking skin, it’s better to prevent now than try to correct later. If you have questions about sun protection, talk to a board-certified dermatologist.”

Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. The risk for skin cancer increases 75 percent for people who use a tanning bed before age 35. Tanning lamps give out UVA and UVB rays, which can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. “Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning beds not only can increase your risk of skin cancer but also can contribute to skin aging,” Kourosh said. “Moreover, other forms of radiation, such as heat and visible light, can negatively impact the skin, as can pollution, so protecting your skin from the environment can benefit both your health and appearance.”

Any time you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early. Regular dermatologic exams, and self-skin exams will help with early recognition of skin cancer.  When performing self-exams, use the ABCDE method of mole/spot skin; A = asymmetry, B = border – irregular; C = color – not uniform, D = diameter – greater than 6mm, E = evolving – change in size, shape or elevation.  “Whether you’re on a beach vacation or your daily commute, it’s crucial to protect yourself from exposure to harmful UV rays on a regular basis,” Kourosh added. “If you want healthy, younger-looking skin, it’s better to prevent now than try to correct later. If you have questions about sun protection, talk to a board-certified dermatologist.”

Skin Disease Awareness In The News

Indoor tanning even one time increases the risk for skin cancer greatly. For example, one study found the risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, to be 74 percent greater among indoor tanners than non-tanners. Despite this, we know very little about skin cancer screening behavior among indoor tanners. Skin cancer screening can detect tumors when they are smaller, which is associated with better survival than later detection.

Previous research has shown that those who take part in indoor tanning are at a higher risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers.  With that, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends those who take part in this activity be screened for skin cancer at regular intervals. Carolyn J. Heckman, Ph.D., a researcher in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey explored if indoor tanners are getting themselves checked and taking other preventative measures as well. The research was recently published in the online edition of JAMA Dermatology.

Indoor Tanning And Skin Cancer

The team analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey conducted with more than 30,000 U.S. adults. They looked at rates of skin cancer screening by a physician among people who had indoor tanned and those who had not. About 16.5 percent of the sample had indoor tanned, most of them more than a year ago. About 19.5 percent of non-indoor tanners had been screened for skin cancer, and a little more than 30 percent of indoor tanners had.

The team also explored which other sociodemographic, healthcare, as well as skin cancer risk and protective variables were associated with skin cancer screening and found many similar ones among the two groups – and some different ones. A key limitation is that data were collected at only one time-point, so they don’t know exactly when the screening occurred in relation to the indoor tanning.

The FDA recommends that indoor tanners be screened for skin cancer, but 70 percent of those who reported indoor tanning in this analysis have not done this. We need to develop ways to help providers and patients conduct this screening. For example, people with lower household incomes – less than $100,000 per year – were less likely to be screened, suggesting that making screening more accessible to this population might increase screening rates.

Men With Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer History Less Likely To Die Of Melanoma

Skin cancer survivors know firsthand that the disease is most treatable when detected early, so they’re more likely to be vigilant about skin exams. New research shows that such vigilance pays off. After studying more than 900 cases of melanoma reported through the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers found that men with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer were less likely to die of melanoma than those without an NMSC history. The research, led by Jiali Han, Ph.D., a professor and chair of epidemiology at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis, was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

“Our results highlight the impact of early detection on skin cancer survival,” says board-certified dermatologist Steven T. Chen, MD, MPH, FAAD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School in Boston and a co-author of the JAAD study. “Because people who have been diagnosed with skin cancer are more likely to see a dermatologist for regular skin exams, any future skin cancers they may develop are more likely to be caught early, when they’re most treatable.”

“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing one person every hour, so it’s great that NMSC survivors understand the importance of early detection,” says board-certified dermatologist Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “However, regular skin self-exams are a habit that everyone, regardless of medical history, should adopt. While the five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent, the five-year survival rates for regional and distant stage melanomas are only 63 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Men over 50 have an increased risk of developing melanoma, so we hope this PSA reminds them to keep a close eye on their skin, Furthermore, we encourage everyone, regardless of age, race or gender, to perform regular skin self-exams and see a board-certified dermatologist if they notice any new or suspicious spots, or any spots that are changing, itching or bleeding.”

Research Highlights Importance Of Melanoma Prevention, Early Detection

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can affect anyone. Everyone should take steps to reduce their risk and catch melanoma in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. Research presented by the American Academy of Dermatology emphasizes the importance of skin cancer prevention and detection. Researchers examined data collected from 118,085 individuals who received a free skin cancer screening. Approximately one-third of those surveyed indicated that they had recently observed a change in the size, shape or color of a mole – one of the major warning signs of melanoma.

“This result is encouraging, because it shows us that patients are keeping an eye out for suspicious spots on their skin, and that they know to see a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate those spots,” says board-certified dermatologist Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD, FAAD, a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Melanoma is most treatable when detected early, so the AAD recommends performing regular skin self-exams to look for new or suspicious spots. The AAD also recommends seeing a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate anything changing, itching or bleeding on the skin. Because unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, the AAD advises everyone to stay out of indoor tanning beds and protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Measuring Melanoma Risks

In compiling the survey data, researchers found that infrequent sunscreen use, high numbers of blistering childhood sunburns and chronic indoor tanning bed use were all associated with a recently changing mole. “These results indicate that although people know how to spot skin cancer, they aren’t taking action to prevent this disease from developing in the first place,” Dr. Tsao says. “While some individuals have a higher risk of developing melanoma than others, everyone increases their risk when they don’t protect their skin from harmful UV rays.”

The risk of developing melanoma is elevated among certain groups, including Caucasians, men over 50, people with a personal or family history of skin cancer, and those with many moles, atypical moles or large moles. Among the screening participants studied, however, the factors associated with a changing mole included not only a high mole count and a history of melanoma, but also being female and having skin of color. “While Caucasian men over 50 are at greatest risk for developing melanoma, skin cancer can affect anyone, so prevention and detection should be a priority for everyone,” Dr. Tsao says. “No matter your age, race or gender, it’s important to avoid harmful UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning beds, and to perform regular skin self-exams so you can detect this disease early, when it’s most treatable. If you notice any new, unusual or changing spots on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. If you’re in any of the groups that are predisposed to melanoma, including those with many moles and those with a family history of skin cancer, talk to your dermatologist about how often you should receive a skin exam.”

How Much Sun Is Good For Our Health?

Spanish researchers have estimated the duration of solar radiation exposure required in order to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D. While in spring and summer 10 to 20 minutes in the sun is enough, in the winter months almost two hours would be needed. For the vast majority of the population it is difficult to achieve the optimal values.

Every year, studies on the benefits of sunbathing in moderate doses are interspersed with those that confirm the risks of doing it excessively. Although ultraviolet solar radiation contributes to the development of sun erythema, cancer and aging of the skin, it also reduces blood pressure, synthesizes vitamin D and improves the treatment of several diseases. The Solar Radiation Research Group at the Polytechnic University of Valencia has analyzed the exposure time needed to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D without damaging our health. The results have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

As María Antonia Serrano, a scientist at the UPV and main author of the study, explains: “In Spain, despite being a country with many hours of sunlight, several articles have reported a high percentage of vitamin D deficiency among various strata of the Spanish population.” Vitamin D deficiency is linked in adults to a higher risk of suffering from various diseases. Since very few foods contain this vitamin, its synthesis in the skin as a result of sun exposure is the main natural source that exists.

Serrano and her colleagues estimated the time needed to obtain the recommended doses – equivalent to a daily intake of 1,000 international units of vitamin D – in an area such as the city of Valencia, which receives a large dose of UV radiation throughout the year.

Burning In 30 Minutes

The study analyzed ultraviolet solar irradiance around midday for four months of the year – one in each season – from 2003 to 2010. With these figures the time taken to cause erythema – reddening of the skin caused by burns – was calculated. The facts show that in July, an individual with skin type III – the most common among the population of Spain – must not spend more than 29 minutes in the sun if they wish to avoid erythema. However, in January, the same individual can remain in the sun for 150 minutes.

The minimum exposure time to obtain the recommended daily dose of vitamin D was obtained the same way. The problem can appear in winter due to low levels of UV radiation and because people cover most of their bodies. It was found that around midday in January, with 10 percent of the body exposed, around 130 minutes are needed to obtain the recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

As this time is shorter than the time taken to get erythema, there is no risk of sunburn. By contrast, in April and July, with 25 percent of the body exposed, around 10 minutes is sufficient to acquire the vitamin. And in October, for example, 30 minutes would be enough. “These calculations were made for skin type III, but the figures would change for those who are lighter or darker in complexion,” Serrano points out. “It is also essential to bear in mind that we have considered the usual percentage of the body exposed for the season. If more skin is exposed, exposure time can be reduced.”

Similarly, the time obtained for erythema to occur was calculated for average days. “It should be taken with caution. On extreme days, permissible exposure times would be much shorter,” she stresses.

Maintaining Vitamin D In Winter

The results show that, although there is sufficient radiation in countries like Spain, it is difficult to attain recommended doses of vitamin D in winter – from November to February at a northern mid-latitude, since the exposure time required is excessive – 130 minutes. “Radiation received also depends on posture, body shape and clothing. It should also be remembered that not all areas of the body synthesize vitamin D with the same efficiency,” Serrano added. “An individual’s age also plays an important role in synthesizing vitamin D from UV radiation, because the older one gets the less able one is able to produce vitamin D. Middle-aged adults have 66 percent of the potential that children have to do this. These results can help to adopt the right measures to make up for any deficiency, such as informing the medical profession about the utility of increasing vitamin D intake in the diet or through supplements.”

Key Benefits Of Hazelnut Oil

Hazelnut is not just a flavor you enjoy in your coffee or frozen beverage. It’s a nut that actually has tremendous benefits that can be applied to many areas of your body. A very impressive nut that has copious amounts of healthy fats, proteins and vitamins, this is a nut that goes much further than being a great snack or a tasty flavor enhancer. There are many ways that hazelnut oil can be used to improve your health, skin and hair. Here are a few key ways that the oil can be used.

Fighting Aging Signs

If you’ve been paying attention to the exploration and dissection of many oils and their various advantages then you know just how crucial vitamin E oil is to the skin. It’s often even referred to as the skin vitamin because of how impactful it is. Well, this nut doesn’t disappoint on that front because an entire cup of hazelnuts is roughly 86% of the daily requirement of the vitamin. It packs a big punch and as such helps to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging. If you are worried how your skin is beginning to appear, try adding a bit of hazelnut oil to your daily skin care products.

Oily Skin

Many people don’t understand why or how to properly use oils to help combat oily skin. They believe that oil should be kept away from skin that has the propensity to be naturally oily for fear that it will make it worse instead of improve it. Hazelnut oil is both incredibly hydrating and moisturizing while also helping to balance out the oils that naturally occur on the face. Oil isn’t going to make your skin more oily by default. In many cases, skin that suffers from an overproduction of oil is often lacking the proper moisture which is why excess oil is occurring.

Color-Treated Tresses

For those who regularly color their hair, it can be hard to find specific items that aren’t harsh and don’t strip the hair of its various coloring agents. Hazelnut oil is so soft and gentle that it won’t cause undue strain or damage to the color of your hair. In fact, its protein and fat content will help to protect the color and additionally condition it further. You can use a couple of drops in your shampoo regularly or use it in a deep conditioning mixture that you add to your hair once a week.

Heart Health

It’s not just beauty boosts that hazelnut oil provides. It can also do some important and necessary work within the body as well. Due to the unsaturated fat content within the nuts, consumption of this oil can help to boost healthy cholesterol levels while diminishing harmful cholesterol levels. Hazelnuts are also high in magnesium, which is a component that plays a major role in heart health. Magnesium helps to safeguard your heart from being overworked and overtaxed by ensuring it rest so that it isn’t under massive amounts of strain.

You can purchase hazelnut oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Avoid Sunscreen Mistakes With These Tips

With summer quickly approaching, sunscreen is a valuable tool for skin cancer prevention – but only if it’s used correctly.  When applying sunscreen, many people make mistakes that could compromise their protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which may increase their risk of skin cancer.

Some of those mistakes are highlighted in research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Researchers observed 2,187 people using sunscreen over the course of 93 hours. Only one-third – 33 percent – of people applied sunscreen to all exposed skin, and just 38 percent were wearing sun-protective clothing, hats or sunglasses. Additionally, use of the free sunscreen dispensers decreased significantly on cloudy days.

“These results highlight some of the ways people use sunscreen incorrectly,” says study author and board-certified dermatologist Ingrid Polcari, MD, FAAD, an assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. “To get the best possible sun protection, it’s important to wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, and to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, not just your face and arms. Everyone should apply sunscreen every time they go outside. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your skin.”

“Research has shown that women are more likely than men to use sunscreen, but it’s vital that men use it too,” says board-certified dermatologist Darrell S. Rigel, MD, FAAD, a clinical professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University. “Men over 50 have a higher risk than the general population of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and UV exposure is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, so it’s important for men of all ages to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen.”

Tips For Choosing A Sunscreen

Choose a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. While no sunscreen can filter out all of the sun’s UVB rays, SPF 30 sunscreens block 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Look for the words “broad spectrum.” This means the sunscreen will protect against both UVA rays – which cause premature skin aging – and UVB rays – which cause sunburn. Both types of UV rays can lead to skin cancer.

Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. Most sunscreen takes time to be absorbed for it to work. Reapply sunscreen every few hours and especially after swimming and toweling off. It wears off, even if the label says “waterproof.”

UVA light penetrates glass, so apply sunscreen before a car ride, even if you’re going garage to garage. For children between six months and two years, use a sunscreen that works as a physical blocker. Check the label. Older children can use the same sunscreen that adults use.

Regardless of sunscreen use, the best protection is to avoid the sun as much as possible by wearing wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, and staying in the shade whenever possible, he says.

Look for the words “water resistant.” No sunscreen is completely waterproof, but water-resistant sunscreens can provide protection for wet or sweaty skin for 40 or 80 minutes, as indicated on the label. All sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

For sensitive skin, choose a sunscreen with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Those with sensitive skin also should avoid sunscreens that contain fragrance, oils and para-aminobenzoic acid, also known as PABA. “The best type of sunscreen is one you’ll use,” Dr. Rigel says, “so find one you like and apply it to all exposed skin before heading outside.”

Spread On The Sunscreen

No matter what the color of your skin, UT Southwestern cancer experts recommend wearing sunscreen. “Anyone and everyone who is going to be outside for any period of time should be wearing sunscreen to protect against skin cancer,” adds Dr. Rajiv Nijhawan, a dermatologist with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “While skin cancer is less common in people of color, when it is found, it is often diagnosed at later stages and can be more serious.”

It’s also important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. “The SPF grading system only covers UVB light, but UVA light also causes skin cancer, including melanoma,” says Dr. Nijhawan, Assistant Professor of Dermatology. The words “broad spectrum” indicate that protection is provided for both UVB and UVA light.

Is Cyanobacteria The Future Of Sunscreen?

Sunscreens and moisturizers derived from biological sources such as cyanobacteria could represent a safer alternative to current, synthetically produced cosmetics, research published recently in the European Journal of Phycology suggests.

Using organic matter to develop sunscreens could lessen the risk of adverse side effects, such as contact sensitivity and estrogen mimicking, and help prevent potentially harmful chemicals from entering the environment, say lead author Peyman Derikvand of the University of Isfahan, Iran, and colleagues from Swansea and London.

The use of biological compounds has many potential advantages for the cosmetics industry, one of which is the organism’s ability to self-renew and reproduce, ensuring that supplies are sustainable. This is especially true for photosynthetic organisms that require only light energy, carbon dioxide and basic nutrients.

Natural Alternatives

One group of such organisms, cyanobacteria, could have great potential as a source of cosmetic products for sunscreens and moisturizers because some of its species live in extremely arid habitats and thus produce compounds that give them the ability to cope with both high UV radiation and extreme desiccation. These compounds include mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and scytonemin, which provide strong screening protection from longwave and shortwave UV radiation respectively. Such natural photoprotectants could be good candidates as alternatives to synthetic UV filters.

In addition, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) derived from cyanobacteria appear to be much more effective at retaining moisture than EPS from conventional moisture-preserving materials, such as urea, glycerin and propylene glycol, currently used in cosmetics.

Cyanobacteria have higher photosynthetic and growth rates than more complex plants, simple nutritional requirements, and the ability to grow under closed cultivation systems that do not compete with agriculture. However, economic and sustainable production of these bio-compounds at the large scales required by the cosmetic industry is a key challenge.

“As we move into an era where we are turning to nature to replace synthetic chemicals, industry is being driven to look to natural product alternatives,” says author Carole Llewellyn, Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Bioscience. “Cyanobacteria, tiny photosynthetic microbes, offer new potential. One suite of compounds are synthesized to protect against damaging ultraviolet and intense sunlight. These compounds offer many advantages over current synthetically derived sunscreens.”

“On-going research into the intensive cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms in photobioreactors is bringing new understanding in terms of design, operation and scale-up, and will steadily improve both the economics and feasibility of industrial production of cyanobacteria,” says Llewellyn.

Technical improvements coupled to market demand should see the increasing application of cyanobacterial metabolites in the cosmetics sector, the authors conclude.

What About The New DNA Sunscreen?

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed a coating made out of DNA that gets better at protecting skin from ultraviolet light the more you expose it to the sun, and it also keeps your skin hydrated.

“Ultraviolet (UV) light can actually damage DNA, and that’s not good for the skin,” says Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University. “We thought, let’s flip it. What happens instead if we actually used DNA as a sacrificial layer? So instead of damaging DNA within the skin, we damage a layer on top of the skin.”

German and a team of researchers developed thin and optically-transparent crystalline DNA films and irradiated them with UV light. They found that the more they exposed the film to UV light, the better the film got at absorbing it. “If you translate that, it means to me that if you use this as a topical cream or sunscreen, the longer that you stay out on the beach, the better it gets at being a sunscreen,” German said.

Slowing Water Evaporation

As an added bonus, the DNA coatings are also hygroscopic, meaning that skin coated with the DNA films can store and hold water much more than uncoated skin. When applied to human skin, they are capable of slowing water evaporation and keeping the tissue hydrated for extended periods of time.

German intends to see next if these materials might be good as a wound covering for hostile environments where you want to be able to see the wound healing without removing the dressing, you want to protect the wound from the sun, and you want to keep the wound in a moist environment that is known to promote faster wound healing rates.

“Not only do we think this might have applications for sunscreen and moisturizers directly, but if it’s optically transparent and prevents tissue damage from the sun and it’s good at keeping the skin hydrated, we think this might be potentially exploitable as a wound covering for extreme environments,” he said.

Could Seaweed Hold Key To Environmentally-Friendly Sunscreen?

A compound found in seaweed could protect human skin from the damaging impact of the sun without causing harm to marine ecosystems. The use of sunscreens is advocated to prevent sun damage, but most formulations contain synthetic UV radiation filters that can make their way in to water systems. Many of these are not ecocompatible and may harm fragile marine life including coral, fish and microorganisms.

Scientists at King’s College London extracted a mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA), known as palythine, from seaweed to test its ability to protect against UV radiation in human skin cells. MAAs are natural compounds produced in organisms that live in sunlight-rich, shallow-water environments.

Using human skin cells in a lab, researchers showed that even at very low concentrations MAA could effectively absorb harmful rays from the sun and protect the cells against UVR-induced damage. They also showed that palythine is a powerful antioxidant that could offer skin protection against oxidative stress, linked to cellular damage and photoaging.

The paper – published in the British Journal of Dermatology – represents a breakthrough that could help move towards the development of an ecocompatible, non-toxic, natural sunscreen that protects human skin without negative environmental effects. Further research is required in order to prove that the compound has the same properties outside of the lab environment. The European Chemicals Agency and The Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP), part of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), have expressed concern about the eco-toxic effects of eight out of the 16 commonly used sunscreen filters in Europe.

Marine-Derived Sunscreens

“MAAs, in addition to their environmental benefits, appear to be multifunctional photoprotective compounds,” says lead author Dr. Karl Lawrence from St John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s. “They work through the direct absorption of UVR photons, much like the synthetic filters. They also act as potent antioxidants, which is an important property as exposure to solar radiation induces high levels of oxidative stress and this is something not seen in synthetic filters.”

“There are significant concerns that conventional sun protection products are having a negative impact on the environment,” added Professor Antony Young, senior author of the paper and member of the EEAP. “Our data show that, with further research and development, marine-derived sunscreens may be a possible solution that could have a significant positive impact on the health of our marine habitats and wildlife, whilst still providing the essential sun protection that human skin requires to guard against damage that causes diseases such as skin cancer.”

Sapote Oil: A Hair And Skin Must Have

When it comes to fruit oils, they run the gamut as many fruits and their seeds have been successfully used as oils. Sapote is no different. This oil is derived via a natural process in parts of Mexico and Central America. Due to the high levels of vitamin A and C, as well as the calcium, proteins and other beneficial components, this oil is one of the best kept hair and skin secrets. Here’s exactly how this oil can be used effectively on both the skin and hair to maximum benefit.

Detangler

Certain types of hair can be more difficult to detangle and manage than others. When this is the case, it’s imperative to find a product or oil that has properties which will increase the successful management of the hair. Sapote oil is a natural hair softener and can help in the detangling process. It is a direct antidote for the ways in which the hair can link up and get easily tangled.

Hair Loss

One of the biggest hair concerns that one may experience in their lives is that of balding. To lose your hair prematurely, or at all, is something that is often very difficult to deal with for some. Thankfully, this oil can provide the cure to that very real and debilitating fear. This oil can be used as a hot oil scalp treatment which will then penetrate the scalp and hair follicles, making them stronger and stimulate the overall growth of the hair. This means that not only does it help to prevent your current hair from falling out but it also fortifies future strands to grow stronger and better.

Calms Dry Skin

Because this oil is so great at penetrating the skin and is quickly absorbed, it’s the perfect oil to use to moisturize your skin. It can be used on the entire body. It is not an oil that leaves residue or makes skin appear unnecessarily oily. One of the reasons people like to use this oil is because it doesn’t leave that slick sheen on the face that can look very strange.

Keeps Skin Healthy

Not only is this a great oil to have on hand for the daily moisturizing needs you may have, it’s also great for improving the skin. Due to all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are within, sapote oil it will leave your skin looking younger, more supple and smooth. If you are interested in a moisturizer that will have your face looking youthful and glowing, this is an oil that you should definitely try out.

What’s better than an oil that serves multiple purposes? That is definitely this oil. So if you are in need of something that will greatly improve your hair and face, look no further as sapote oil should be your next oil purchase.

You can purchase sapote oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

Key Tips To Prevent Bug Bites

Bug bites aren’t just little nuisances that cause itching and irritation. For those with very sensitive skin, they can be a real cause for concern as the bites can cause inflamed skin that grows into large welts, promotes itching, scarring, and even infections if you aren’t careful. Whether it is ticks, mosquitoes or bees, the presence of bugs and their proclivity to bite can be downright maddening sometimes. According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, the best way to prevent these bites, and ward off any insect-related diseases that may come with them, is to follow very specific steps.

Use Insect Repellent

The first tip is to use insect repellent. While this may sound obvious, not all insect repellents are created equal. Make sure you get the kind that has DEET in it – at least 30 percent, preferably more. Spray your outer clothing as well as your exposed skin. This is a tip that some people don’t use. While spraying your skin may prevent bugs for a time, also spraying your clothes ensures that the scent will stay put for hours.

If you’re the type of person that doesn’t like the scent of DEET, understand that most lotions and perfumes that smell good actually have a way of attracting bugs to you. Only certain scents are considered repelling to them. Keep this in mind. Would you rather smell alluring or be covered in bug bites after returning from a hike or a camping trip? The choice is yours.

Select The Right Clothing

Be mindful of the clothing you wear. This is sometimes hard in the summer, when bugs are more plentiful, because the hot weather makes it difficult to cover up. When you are traveling in areas that are known for mosquitoes or bugs in general, make sure to wear long pants and long sleeves whenever possible. This helps to not only cover the surface area of your body that is susceptible to bug bites, but it also allows for more space to spray insect repellent on, which will help to compound the effect of the spray to begin with. It’s especially crucial to be mindful of what you wear at night.

Sleep In A Bed Net

Get a bed net. This is generally best for when you are traveling, especially in places and countries that are known for their pesky mosquitoes and creepy crawlers – and for insect carrying diseases, such as Zika. It’s important to pick a bed net that has mesh already treated with a pyrethroid insecticide.

If even, despite your best efforts, you still end up getting bit, understand that it does happen. The good thing though is that most bug bites can be safely and effectively treated at home. You can clean the bite with certain essential oils, such as clove and tea tree, which have natural antibacterial properties. What’s great about cleaning bites or stings with these essential oils is that they also help to eliminate the need to itch. This can be one of the most annoying and troublesome aspects of being bit. Needing to scratch the bite can make it worse than if you clean it and allow it to heal on its own.

Key Benefits Of Argan Oil

Found in the gorgeous lands of Morocco, argan oil has been around for eons. It just so happens that despite its availability, it has only enjoyed much deserved popularity in recent years. There are a number of reasons why argan oil is a top-tier oil that has a plethora of benefits. Derived from a tree nut, this oil has impressive amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, omega 6 fatty acids, linoleic acid and trocopherol. This makes it a fantastic oil for both the skin and hair. Here are specific ways in which argan oil can be very effective.

Nighttime Moisturizer

It’s very imperative for the health of your skin to ensure it is properly moisturized. While many people clean their skin properly, they sometimes skimp on the moisturizing process. Especially if they happen to have oily skin, as some are under the false idea that hydrating and moisturizing your skin causes oily skin or makes it worse. It’s actually the complete opposite. Oily skin needs moisturizing just as much if not more! Argan oil is light and absorbs quickly, which makes it a great oil to use as a moisturizer at night. It won’t rub off on your sheets or clothes and a couple of drops go a long way. It’s imperative to properly moisturize no matter the skin type you may have.

Acne

If you struggle with acne you are one of the millions of people who deal with blemishes and the scars that they so often leave behind. The good news about argan oil is that it has been shown to help mitigate the levels of sebum oil that cause oily skin, which is the breeding ground for acne in the first place. Taking just a drop of oil on your fingertips and dabbing it onto problem areas will help to reduce the inflammation when acne flares up.

Stretch Marks

The dreaded marks that are typically seen on stomachs, hips, thighs and even arms can be prevented with the addition of argan oil as a body moisturizer. A couple of drops of the oil goes a long way and the vitamin A and vitamin E help to properly improve the elasticity of the skin. It’s important to properly exfoliate the skin when trying to improve the elasticity or lighten already present stretch marks. Add a bit of brown sugar to your oil and rub it into your trouble spots.

Leave In Conditioner

The same attributes that make argan oil so impressive and worthwhile on the skin also lend themselves to being great for the hair. Some research even suggests that argan oil can promote hair growth. A few drops of argan oil massaged into the scalp and the ends of the hair helps to manage flyaways and frizz – especially if you tend to use a lot of heat on your hair. This is a great oil to keep on hand as it acts as a heat protectant while also making the hair softer and more manageable.

You can purchase argan oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

The Amazing Abilities Of Cocoa Butter

You’ve probably ingested cocoa butter many times in your life even if you didn’t realize it. That’s because the butter itself, sometimes known as theobroma oil, comes from the cocoa bean. This bean is commonly used in many dishes and foods as it’s a great fat source often contributed to your favorite chocolate.

More commonly known as something that can be used on the skin, cocoa butter has amazing benefits. It has a healthy amount of fatty acids that assist in it being one of the best moisturizing options available. It’s also often preferred in many households because it is completely natural and organic. There are no unnecessary additives that you often see in the ingredients of other moisturizers and body creams. You can’t go wrong with cocoa butter because it is completely natural.

Dry Skin

One of the most common uses of cocoa butter is for any sort of dry skin issue. Because this butter is so rich in nutrients and elements that the skin needs, it makes for an excellent moisturizer. The saturated fats that are present within cocoa butter do an amazing job at healing dry skin that may even also peel. It’s a non-greasy way to make sure your skin is properly hydrated and will stay that way for hours on end. It even works for those who tend to have very sensitive skin and can’t use certain products because they are liable to break out.

Chapped Lips

Similarly, cocoa butter can be used to help heal chapped lips. During the winter, many people suffer from dry lips that crack or become irritated because of the weather. While this is not only uncomfortable and annoying, it’s also something that normal Chapstick can’t treat or combat properly. Due to the emollient properties within cocoa butter, it helps to add a protective layer over the lips by blocking out the cold temperatures from negatively affecting your lips. You can make your own protective, nutrient-rich Chapstick by mixing other essential oils like orange, grapefruit, vanilla or peppermint with some cocoa butter. Your lips will thank you for it.

Antioxidant

The power of cocoa butter is truly amazing and impressive as it can also help to ward off the signs of aging. The polyphenols within the butter are a known antioxidant which helps to fight off the degeneration of the skin. It assists with cell mutations that can sometimes cause wrinkles, age spots and other signs of aging relatively prematurely. This particular antioxidant can also improve the tone of your skin, making it more even. It can also improve skin elasticity, which will make it appear more supple and youthful. Hydrating your skin is tremendously important and cannot be overstated enough.

Shaving Cream

While cocoa butter can serve many functions, one of its coolest is as a shaving cream. There are so many gels and creams out there but, while most are expensive, they’re also not the best for your skin. With cocoa butter you can hydrate your skin while shaving your body hair. It lathers nicely and will easily dissolve completely under hot water. Leave your arms, legs, chest, and face completely smooth by using this as a shaving aid.

You can purchase cocoa butter online from several companies at amazon.com.

Pracaxi Seed Oil And The Skin

An oil that is indigenous to Brazil is one of the best kept skin secrets. Not only is it restorative and impressive, it is one of the most important, cost effective products that can be used on the skin. The pracaxi seed grows in various places throughout the northern part of Brazil and tends to be harvested during the first part of the calendar year. Due to the fact that it is so rich in behenic acid, it is incredibly beneficial for those lines and wrinkles on the face. Here are some other ways pracaxi seed oil is tremendously good for the skin.

Hyper-Pigmentation

There are several different issues that the skin can encounter. Unfortunately, sometimes a number of those issues happen all at once and you’re left trying to figure out which issue you should address first. Many people suffer from specific discoloration on the face, whether it be from acne scarring, hyper-pigmentation or just general skin unevenness. Thankfully, pracaxi oil has been known to easily align the skin back to a specific place that makes it look more even. Just a couple of drops of this oil added into your daily cleanser will do the trick. You can also add it to any type of face masks you may use to lighten your dark spots. Add a drop or two to the mask and you’re good to go.

Eczema

The anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which are inherent in this oil do a really good job at soothing and even healing eczema rashes and breakouts. Sometimes eczema can be worsened and ignited by a number of factors like stress and diet. When you experience a flare up of eczema try treating it with a bit of pracaxi oil. It has very powerful healing properties. Brazilians would use the bark of the stem on reptile bites from scorpions and snakes. Try using a bit of the oil mixed with coconut oil or jojoba oil and treat all of your troublesome eczema patches that are causing you grief.

Moisturizing

In order to ensure you keep your skin as healthy as it is meant to be, it’s important that it is moisturized on a daily basis. This goes for those who tend to have oily skin as well. Some people think that if they suffer from too much oil, they shouldn’t hydrate their skin for fear that it will only further worsen their issue. Many times oily skin is actually a sign of the lack of moisture your skin actually requires to flourish in its natural state.

The production of sebum oil is what happens to your skin when your skin is imbalanced. If you suffer from excess oil, you likely suffer from things like acne and bigger pores. Pracaxi seed oil can help this issue as it has deeply restorative moisturizing properties. Keeping your skin properly hydrated is of the utmost importance and having a great moisturizer on hand is essential.

You can purchase pracaxi oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

Why Cohune Oil Is The Next Big Thing

Hopefully we have successfully introduced you to a plethora of oils you had no idea even existed. One of our goals is to help you foster a healthy lifestyle by providing you with the necessary information to find out what could potentially work for you. Depending on what you are looking to treat or correct, the amount of oils available to you are really tremendous and almost never run out. Today we’ll be introducing you to one of the treasures of the Belize islands that has been found to be an amazing oil to have in your collection.

Cohune oil production is one of the biggest causes for economic growth on the islands of Belize. In many rural parts of Belize, those who work in the jobs of extracting the oil have been doing this type of work for years and years. It’s not a very easy job and does require a specific amount of manual labor. Certain communities have been able to see their villages and spaces thrive because of the work done to extract, bottle and sell this oil. For consumers, this oil provides many different benefits that are worth noting.

Mosquitoes hate the scent that this oil gives off. For this very reason, many islands and tropical places find that it’s a great way to repel those pesky nuisances. With the rise of mosquito-bred diseases, many people are more vigilant than ever when it comes to protecting themselves from those blood suckers. Using this oil in an oil lamp will help to keep the bugs at bay while you are enjoying your summer camping trips or picnics. If you’re adventurous, you can even use the oil to make candles that naturally give off the aroma of the cohune oil.

Cohune oil is also great for the skin. Due to its softening and hydrating qualities, it can be used to make soaps specifically for the face and body. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making the soap, you can easily buy the oil and just add some to your own cleanser or moisturizer. It provides an added element of nutrients that will have your skin looking wrinkle free and feeling incredibly supple and soft. This nut oil is even used in specific body butters to keep the skin well moisturized, which is incredibly important. Typically, keeping the skin properly moisturized can alleviate some skin concerns.

This oil has also been historically used as a means of seasoning certain dishes. Due to its very distinct taste, it can be added in food grade form to certain soups and dishes. Enjoying flavorful food is a part of many cultures and this oil contributes to the yummy tastiness of its region via this impressive and versatile oil. Order some to keep on hand for all the many ways it can be used.

You can purchase cohune oil online.

 

How To Prevent Hand Rashes In The Winter

One exceedingly tough thing about the winter months, besides shorter days and the stress of the holidays, is how the weather can badly compromise the skin of the hands. Sometimes the extra dryness in the air can lead to hands becoming irritated. Things such as washing dishes and constant hand washing can also contribute to this issue. What dermatologists have uncovered is that typically hand rashes occur because of something you touched, the environment, or something going on in your body.

“There are many reasons for hand rashes,” says Dr. Melissa Piliang, a board-certified dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “The most common cause is eczema, but some hand rashes may have an allergic cause. Sometimes, an allergy can develop after years of touching the same things daily without a problem, like your wedding ring, skin care products or foods such as fish, garlic or citrus fruits.” There are certain ways that you can prevent these type of rashes from occurring on your hands. Preventative measures are not always 100 percent foul proof but they do often provide healthy benefits that can prevent issues.

Protective Gloves

Always try to wear protective gloves when doing gardening or housework of any kind – as well as when you’re doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, or touching any type of chemical or relatively foreign entity. As mentioned above, just because you’ve been able to touch something without issue for a portion of time, does not mean that will always be the case. It does not mean that an ingredient within a specific cleaner or fertilizer won’t cause your skin to start reacting badly.

Wear gloves out in cold temperatures. Protecting your hands isn’t just for chores. The chilling winds can be absolutely disastrous on hands if you aren’t mindful. Opt for insulated gloves when you are outside in low temperatures.

Moisturizing Cleanser

Choose a mild moisturizing cleanser. You have to wash your hands to keep up with basic hygiene. In doing so, you should be mindful of what you’re using on your hands. Make sure that there aren’t any harsh or stripping chemicals in your hand soap. Also, make sure to opt for a rich hand cream that will make sure to replenish the oils that are stripped away in the washing process. You should apply the cream immediately after washing and drying your hands.

Don’t let your hands get in a position to be dry because that’s the perfect breeding ground for irritated skin to take place. “Thousands of things can cause a hand rash, yet most hand rashes look a lot alike to the untrained eye. If you get a hand rash, see a board-certified dermatologist to help identify the cause and prevent it from becoming painful or disabling,” suggests Dr. Piliang.

Ointments

While there are certain anti-itch and rash ointments and creams you can purchase over the counter at your local drug store, you’ll want to check with a doctor to properly diagnosis the problem. It’s also possible that you’ll need an ointment that you can only get via a prescription if the rash is really bad or becomes something that you can’t easily control in other ways. Take care of your hands during these cold and bitter months. Prevent the onslaught of hand rashes.

How Camellia Oil Transforms Your Skin And Hair

When it comes to beauty care regimens, there are thousands of products to choose from. Sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming when you just want to find something that’s effective, targets your specific need and improves your skin and hair tremendously. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of money in the skin and hair care industries, which sell overpriced products that only do half of what they claim – if that – you should go the more natural route. Not only is it much more effective, but it also is incredibly more affordable. Here is how the special Japanese camellia oil can completely change the state of your skin and hair.

Anti-Aging

One of the foremost quests in the skincare realm is how to successfully ward off the signs of aging. So many products claim they have found the fountain of youth, they have a product that will make your skin look years younger, and so on and so forth. While some of these products may work, the simplicity of organic Japanese camellia oil will turn tiny changes into huge ones. Because of the rich source of palmistic and omega-6 linoleic fatty acids, it is full of antioxidants that will keep your skin well moisturized and eliminate signs of aging, sunspots and wrinkles.

Easily Absorbed

Due to the composition of this impressive oil, it absorbs quickly and won’t leave your skin feeling greasy or looking shiny. While there are many different types of oils that can be used effectively for skin care purposes, not all of them are able to leave the skin feeling hydrated without looking oily. Camellia oil is so impressive because the bioactive compounds within it, namely the elastin and collagen, ensure that the cells are being rebuilt at an accelerated rate when it is used consistently. The oil is also filled to the brim with vitamin E which is known as the skin vitamin. This also helps its effectiveness.

Nourishes Hair

Depending on the type of hair you have, your struggles are probably just as varied. The great thing about this oil is that it works directly with your hair to correct whatever the issue is. Is your hair hard and brittle? Camellia oil does wonders by softening it and making it more easily manageable. Is it notoriously dry? Well this oil can give it the hydration plus the nutrients that it so desperately needs – all while repairing breakage, preventing dandruff and forming a barrier against free radicals and environmental pollutants. A few drops go a long way, which also means this option is very cost effective.

Relieves Rough Patches

Do you suffer from rough elbows or knees? Do you deal with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis? If this is you or someone you know, this oil is definitely right up your alley. It’s so impressive because it helps to properly moisturize the skin without leaving it greasy or wet. Camellia oil softens skin by penetrating deeply at the point of contact and restores the elasticity and bounce in problem areas. It can even repair stretch marks.

You can purchase camellia oil online from several companies at amazon.com.