Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Beauty Foods: The Cherry

One of the things I look forward to during the summertime is that stone fruits are back in season. Juicy plums, apricots, and peaches are everywhere and I couldn’t be happier. Another fruit in their family is the cherry. These fruits are not only delicious, but rank high in the anti-inflammatory kitchen. Cherries come in sweet and sour varieties, but the sour cherries have a shorter peak time.

1. Cherries are definitely a super-fruit, filled with antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help reduce heart disease and cancer.

2. Their potent anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout. To reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain, athletes have been known to consume tart cherries.

3. Cherries contribute to the quality of your beauty sleep. These fruits are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant and hormone that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

4. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which helps protects the cells. This in turn slows the aging process.

5. Cherries also give more power to your brain! They aid in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss by protecting brain cells against oxidative stress. So remember to eat cherries, and you’ll start remembering a lot more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anti-Aging Skin Care Shouldn’t Stop at Your Face

How to keep your chest, neck & décolleté from looking older than you are
(It's easier than you think!)

Just like your hands can give away your age, your neck, chest, and décolleté can do the same. So, it's no wonder cosmetics counters are packed with endless creams and treatments targeting these areas. The truth is that buying a separate neck, chest, or décolleté cream is a waste of your money. These “specialized” products are not any differently formulated, and they almost always are overpriced—plus, they are completely unnecessary because the product you use for your face will work beautifully too. 

The cut of your clothing often exposes your neck and chest to the sun, making them especially vulnerable to sun damage and the signs of aging, just like your face. Wrinkles, crepiness, or discolored skin all show up sooner on areas that haven't been shielded from the sun or routinely protected with sunscreen. This is especially true for the neck and chest because we tend to neglect those areas far more than our face.

That's why skin care really needs to start at your boobs!

Abundant research makes it absolutely clear that what it takes to keep skin anywhere on your body acting and looking young requires the same brilliant ingredients. Gentle cleansing, products loaded with antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients along with dedicated use of a well-formulated sunscreen work for your face, neck, chest, and décolleté.

The very same ingredients you use on your face simply need to be applied down your neck to your breasts. You don't have to open any other products. It's that easy.

What You Can Do:
  • Any skin-care routine you assemble for your face (cleansing, toning, exfoliating, etc.) needs to extend to your chest, neck, and décolleté. An extra dollop or two of your products will go a long way to helping. Think of it like this: If the skin on your face looks young and healthy, but the skin on your neck and chest is wrinkled and leathery, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
  • To see improvement and keep your skin looking healthy and young, you need to be as consistent in your routine with your neck, chest, and décolleté as you are with your face routine.
  • There is no need for separate products unless you are addressing specific skin-care concerns (dry skin, acne).
  • If all else fails, always protect your neck, chest, and décolleté with liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen. It's the best single step you can take to keep this area of your skin (and femininity) looking gorgeous for years to come.
  • Sun damage on the chest and décolleté is treatable: If you notice brown spots, start with a skin-lightening product that contains kojic acid, arbutine and vitamin C , and always use sunscreen that provides sufficient broad-spectrum protection to prevent further damage. At night, follow up with a well-formulated anti-aging treatment.
We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Skin is skin, and what works for your face absolutely will work for your neck, chest, and décolleté. Just like you don't need a separate eye cream, there's no need to buy extra products for signs of aging below the face. As long as you don't have any specific concerns (like acne, eczema, or rosacea), your facial moisturizer will keep your chest, neck, and décolleté looking healthy and young.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nearly Half of Men in U.S. Don't Use Suncreen, Study Finds

Nearly half, or 49%, of men in the U.S. admit to not using sunscreen in the past 12 months and 70% of men don't even know skin cancer's warning signs, a recent survey has revealed. 
"These results are especially concerning when we consider that men over age 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop and die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer," said Joshua Zeichner, a spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Reports show that 58% of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed this year will be men versus 42% in women."
The Skin Cancer Foundation conducted the survey, which also revealed that men typically do not follow recommended sunscreen usage guidelines. The vast majority of male sunscreen users, 79%, are not aware that the recommended amount of sunscreen to use per application is one ounce. A significant majority of men, 61%, mistakenly believe that one sunscreen application protects skin for at least four hours, even though the recommended reapplication is every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Only 32% of men consider themselves extremely or very knowledgeable about how to properly use sunscreen to get adequate protection. Additionally, nearly two-thirds, 64%, of men believe (or are unsure if) women need more sunscreen than they do, because of their misconception that female skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
In addition, the survey revealed that 85% of men are dangerously unaware that they are more likely to die of melanoma than women. Also noted, 70% of male respondents admit they don't know how to perform a skin cancer self-exam or what to look for. More than half, 57%, of respondents stated they are unlikely to see a medical professional for a skin exam. And only about one in four men, 26%, realize that the chest and back are the most common places on the body that men develop melanoma.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone adopt a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade between 10am and 4pm, covering up with clothing including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and wearing sunscreen every day. When asked, nearly a quarter of male respondents, 22%, said they would consider using sun protection in the future if they learned they were at high risk for skin cancer. Across the board, there is a need to simplify sun education messaging. According to the survey, less than one third, 29%, of male respondents feel confident, or very knowledgeable, about what to look for or how to choose sunscreens.  
For more information about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, visit

Good news from Sweetsation Therapy. We are soon to launch men's after shave daily moisturizer with natural built in sun protection. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Skin cream: killing you softly?

In the book, Slow Death by Rubber Duck Rick Smith turns himself into a human science experiment. He lathers himself with shampoos and shaving creams, all in the sweetly-scented spirit of chemical exposure. To phthalates, that is. A type of chemical commonly found in cosmetics as well as plastic toys and PVC. After three days, the amount of phthalate byproducts in Smith's blood spikes. One of the by-products has notably been linked to male reproductive problems.
Reproductive problems are not the only issue phthalates have been linked to. They have also been variously associated with DNA damage, birth defects and altered pregnancy outcomes.
The issues associated with phthalates (pronouced tha-layts) are not new and have lead many countries to ban their use in toys. How hazardous the quantities are in cosmetics however, remains hotly debated.
But, new studies suggest that phthalates from 'personal-care' product-use relate to diabetes prevalence, as well as to insulin resistance.

One recent study looked at over 1000 elderly women. While phthalates were detected in nearly all the participants, high levels of the phthalate metabolites were associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes, even after lifestyle and other health factors were taken into consideration.
"There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors," study author Monica Lind told WebMD. "Even at relatively low levels of phthalate metabolites in the blood, the risk of getting diabetes begins to rise."
Similarly, another study, just published, analysed the urine samples of 2350 women, aged between 20 and 80. After adjusting for sociodemographic, behavioral and dietary factors, the researchers found that women with more phthalates in their urine were more likely to have reported diabetes.
Those with the highest level of certain phthalates in their urine had double the risk of diabetes of those with the lowest levels. "This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes," said study leader Dr Tamarra James-Todd. "We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed."
As Dr James-Todd said, because we are exposed to phthalates in so many forms, it cannot conclusively be linked to cosmetic-use. But, we do pickle ourselves in the stuff. Considering that the average woman, and increasingly man, applies an estimated 200 chemicals to her skin each day, are the results of these studies really any big surprise?
No, says Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Senior Advisor to the National Toxics Network. "I think it's just another nail in the coffin of phthalates. It is certainly confirmation of studies that are already out there," she says. "Consumers are being exposed [because] it's difficult for the average consumer to understand what's in [the products] ... We shouldn't still be waiting for action by regulation moderators."
The moderators she speaks of are NICNAS, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.
While the European Union (EU) and the US have banned DEHP [diethylhexyl phthalate - a type phthalate] for use in cosmetics, Australia has not.
In regards to phthalates, NICNAS states that "Currently there are no restrictions in Australia on the use of DEHP in cosmetics and there is a potential for introduction and widespread use of cosmetic products containing DEHP." They do, however recommend that it be added to the list of substances considered dangerous to human health.
More recently, they have reviewed other forms of phthalates.
"The delegate has decided that body lotion preparations for human use containing more than 0.5 per cent diethylphthalate or dimethylphthalate be added to the existing prohibited uses in the respective Appendix C entries for diethylphthalate and dimethylphthalate. The delegate also decided an implementation date of within six months of the delegate's publication of final decisions (i.e. 1 September 2012)."
But, this is still higher than in the US and the EU, where the concentration of phthalates in many products cannot exceed 0.1 per cent, Lloyd-Smith says.
"Why is it different in Australia than US or EU?" she queries. "It has the footprint of an endocrine-disrupting chemical. We need to take action as soon as possible - and protect the future of generations to come."
In the meantime, she suggests women, and men, take matters into their own hands by minimizing their exposure through cosmetics.
Her advice
-  "Reduce ... the number of products you put on your skin and in your hair on a daily basis. Lipsticks in particular, as we tend to eat a lot [of what we put on our lips]."
-  Really look at a product before buying it. "Products have to give full labelling, so avoid all phthalates and seek out toxin-free cosmetics and shampoos."
- "When you see long scientific-sounding, chemical-based names [it's a red-light]."
- Do google searches for phthalate-free products or take a look at the Environmental Working Group's database of phthalate-free personal-care products.