AntiAgeing Savantess

Global Wellness, Skin Care and Aesthetics

Posts by AntiAgeing Savantess

Summer life tough on skin

I won’t ask you to give up summer

With summer going strong, skin rejuvenation seems far off focus. Tans and parties seem to take the front seat. For now, sun damage, discolorations and broken vessels must wait till fall to get attended (for their treatments are too aggressive in times of intense sun exposure). As disappointing as holding off on your favorite beauty solutions may be, we CAN improve skin quality during these happy but skin-taxing months!  Its true sunspots and redness make skin look old but NOTHING is as concerning as when you start to see your skin sag, eyes droop and skin crinkle.

Prevent skin sagging

It’s for this reason why summertime can be an ideal time to work on this loss of skin structure and strengthen the skin from within.  The “non-surgical lift and tuck” requires use of technologies that don’t sensitize melanocytes or cause risky inflammation, even if your agenda may include trips to the beach. It is for this reason that I feel that we should take advantage of the off-laser season and focus on rebuilding what may have been torn down over the years. By working with Radio Frequency or Ultrasound, we can stimulate collagen production,  induce dermal remodeling and improve skin health. If you choose to undergo these procedures you can recreate a more youthful, tightened and lifted version of yourself. Best yet, this is done all without surgery and enhances your skins propensity to age prematurely.

Skin skin in its place...non surgical lift

Below, I list some of my favorite skin tightening treatments. From head to toe, you can smooth out imperfections and contour your skin to a place where you now only imagine it was once!!

Thermal

Thermage is the pioneer is non invasive skin tightening with over a million treatments performed, it is the most trusted device of its kind!

Thermage

The Technology:

 Thermage uses Monopolar Radio Frequency for deep and safe volumetric dermal heating.

Best for:

Thermage Eyes Non surgical lifting

Thermage Jawline results

In my opinion, it has unsurpassed results for facial shaping, jaw defining and eyelid tightening. Thermage is also great for body skin rejuvenation, however is an expensive option.

Benefits:

  • Clinical Research: Like mentioned above, Thermage is the pioneer in non-invasive skin tightening and because of this has more studies backing up it’s science, safety and effectiveness than any other device of its kind.
  • CPT for Comfort: Thermage uses Comfort Pulse Technology which involves strategically coordinated bursts of cooling and vibration to improve comfort and safety . The CPT also allows Thermage to use higher and more effective doses of RF in the deep skin layers.
  • Single Treatment: Most can achieve substantial results after only a SINGLE TREATMENT. While most Radiofrequency treatments require several treatments to achieve similar results, most patients are satisfied after only one treatment of Thermage .  Thermage is famous for its “One Treatment Once a Year” to maintain skin health and firmness.
  • Non-Surgical Blepharoplasty: Only FDA approved treatment for tightening of eyelid.  It’s results are NOT as effective as a surgical blepharoplasty but, for those wild mild to moderate eyelid hooding and refuse to go under the knife, Thermage is a great option.

The Procedure:

Thermage procedure

After assessing where your skin would most benefit from strengthening, tightening and slight lifting, your practitioner will place a treatment guidance grid on those areas of your skin. The grid is used as a map for the doctor to assure delivering the correct dose of Radio Frequency energy to each square centimeter we desire to strengthen and plump. Throughout the treatment, coupling gel is placed on the skin surface to make sure the RF energy is delivered evenly and safely from the hand piece into the skin. The hand piece is moved in a sequential and strategic fashion along each square of the grid while delivering RF in one square, before moving on to the next.  Once the area is sufficiently heated, your practitioner will use the same hand piece to deliver RF to specific sites in order to  achieve a contouring and lifting effect. The treatment can take between 45 min – 90 min, depending on the size of the area to be treated.   Improvements post treatment can be appreciated as early as a day after treatment and can continue to improve up to 6 months after.

Drawbacks:

  • Slight Discomfort: Most pulses of RF are painless but in a few sensitive areas you might feel a sharp deep heating sensation. On a positive note, if you do feel any discomfort, it quickly dissipates as soon as the pulse is over.
  • Costly for Large Areas

The Cost:

Average cost 2000-3500 Euros per treatment.

Where?

Ulthera

Ulthera is an alternative treatment for single session skin tightening and remodeling. Ulthera is indicated  to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin on the brow, neck, and under the chin.

Ulthera

The Technology:

Ulthera uses Ultrasound to tighten skin and muscle by initiating healthy metabolic activity and reparative processes.

Best for:

I like it best for the neck and brow area.

Ulthera Neck

The Benefits:

  • See it than treat it approach”: It’s the only device of its kind that so accurately previews exactly at what depth going to treat in the skin. Using diagnostic US Ulthera can image and project on-screen where the SMAS muscle layer is.  The doctor can then use the data concerning the thickness of your skin and location of this muscle layer (SMAS) to make sure we treat at an adequate depth to tighten both skin and muscle.
  • More Similar to Surgical Lift: As mentioned above, the Ultrasound energy is focused on the SMAS muscle layer. The SMAS is an important target as it will create the tightening of the skin to the muscle and give results more similar to surgical correction of neck and face.
  • Neck and brow area: Again, with Ulthera, there are incredible lifting results seen for the neck and brow area. I prefer Ulthera for the neck area over Thermage (mentioned above) or Elixis Elite. (discussed below).

The Procedure:

ulthera procedure

Once skin is assessed and Ulthera device correctly calibrated for your treatment, another layer of ultrasound gel is placed on the skin. The hand piece is then passed section by section to the area you desire to improve, until the whole treatment zone is treated. Once the entire zone is treated, your Ulthera therapy is complete. The treatment time is usually between 60-90 minutes. The improvement appears gradually over 2-3 months and may take up to 6 months post treatment to appreciate full improvement. The skin will visually appear healthier and you will notice a shifting of the skin to a more youthful position.

Drawbacks:

  • Discomfort: Most patients need to take some sort of oral pain medication. The treatment is quite uncomfortable for many patients.  Additionally, sensitivity may persist days after treatment in some sensitive individuals. For this reason, I feel best for smaller areas of concern.

The Cost:

2000-3000 Euros per treatment

Where?

Elixis Elite

Exilis Elite uses volumetric heating of the deep skin layers to and produce long-term benefits to the skin. The heating stimulates the collagen and helps empty localized fat deposits. The final result is smoother, firmer and defined skin.

Exilis

The technology:

Elixis effectiveness is primarily based on a high frequency Monopolar RadioFrequency energy. Effective doses of RF are possible because of a sophisticated cooling system. This feature allows the doctor to measure and modify temperature and intensity as it aims to treat different areas of the body.

Best For:

Elixis can be performed on both the face and body, but, in my opinion, is best for the décolleté and body areas.  Elixis is very gentle for the thin skin of the décolleté and is much more affordable for those who want an effective treatment for body skin toning. I especially like Elixis for the saggy leg skin as it is a difficult and expensive to treat with other modalities.

exilis results

Exilis Results

The Benefits:

  • NO Pain: The procedure is painless and no medication or anesthesia is ever required. Using an Energy Flow Control System (EFC), Elixis assures homogenous treatment of the entire treatment zone. This avoids energy peaks which could put the patient at risk for over-treatment and side effects in certain areas.
  • Effect on Fat: Additionally Elixis Elite may have some effect on Fat, shrinking the  volume of the treatment zone as well. For this reason, your doctor may insist you do a bit of exercise post treatment to aid in the lymphatic systems removal of fat from your system!
  • Rapid Treatment: Each area can be treated in 15-20 minutes making treatment of several areas in the same session possible.

The Procedure:

Exilis Procedure

During treatment skin temperature is assessed to stay within range of therapeutic but safe heating profiles. The applicator will cool the skin externally while stimulate the deep skin layers from within. During an Exilis treatment, precisely controlled radio frequency energy heats the deep skin layers. This heat causes fat cells to shrink and contracts the skin tissue, stimulating new collagen production in the process. You may feel a deep but tolerable heating sensation during treatment. Patients usually.  start seeing the results after only a month post treatment. Like Thermage and Ulthera, patients may continue to improve months after the last treatment.

Downside:

  • Multiple Treatments: Exilis must be repeated 3-6 times over 2 months to obtain maximum results.

The Cost:

150-250 Euros per treatment. (remember 3-6 treatments most often necessary)

Where?

 

Some Additional Facts

  • All devices are considered “without downtime”: You can continue on with your normal life right after treatment. The only precautions are taken for the first 24 hours where we advise avoiding direct sunlight and intense exercise.
  • You may experience a flash improvement. This occurs immediately after the procedure and is due to either slight swelling or temporary contraction of the collagen fibers! You will love your fresh look post treatment but know that this may go away within a day of your treatment! I often tell patients to take advantage of this and plan a social event that evening!
  • Unlike laser, these treatments are colorblind!! They can be used on all skin types without any risk! In fact, the darker your natural skin type, the more likely you have high fibroblastic activity! This means you produce collagen faster and are more likely to get fantastic outcomes!
  • The degree which you improve from these skin-tightening wonders can vary based on your bodies own genetic potential to heal and regenerate collagen. This is affected by your genetics, diet and lifestyle.
  • You can help enhance your results by eating foods that encourage collagen production. Check out my post here “Eat Yourself Beautiful”.
  • There are also fantastic supplements, which supply primarily amino acid building blocks. Providing the right amino acids assures that our body has the supply it need to construct new collagen we have encouraged with the treatment.  Try Proglyme.
  • Finally, preparing the skin with treatments such as PRP or Fraxel can help initiate the health and circulation of skin prior to your skin tightening treatment.  This prepping process will help assure you get the most of your Skin Tightening procedure.  Since Fraxel is not recommended until after the summer months PRP would be an excellent option. For more on PRP check our my previous post “PRP and the Vampire Facelift
  • Finally for some recommendations on products which help encourage body skin health and tone please check “The Body Project: Skin Essentials”.  Vitamin C is a core ingredient which you should look for when choosing a collagen protective cream.  Those organic creams with natural plant anti-inflammatories can also protect your skin from stress and accelerated degradation of your skins natural collagen.
Thermage, Ulthera, Exilis Non Surgical Lifting

Keep skin naturally fit and tone!!

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Is the Jet-Set Life Aging you? Your Guide on Keeping it Glamorous.

traveling should be chic.... preserve the glamor by incorporating travel tips 

So everyone assumes the life of those who travel the globe to be tré chic. When done well, the average Jet-Setter DOES have the opportunity to regularly enjoy and assimilate cultures, foods, scents, and experience adventure not easily found in the comfort ones city. It is exciting BUT what you don’t take into consideration is the constant movement and lack of consistency can take a toll on health and, most definitely, your appearance. Living out of a suitcase means your whole nurturing environment gets tossed. Your diet, beauty, sleep and exercise routines are sacrificed.  Some, are genetically better equipped to handle such chaos, while most start, to look and feel worn out.

Consistent travel results in a drop in both energy and immunity. Also, our mood, digestion, weight, skin and hair rebel! So how to prevent these not-so-glamorous outcomes?

exhaustion not glamerous

Here are somethings I have learned and adapted into my own travel-heavy life. Frequent flyer or not, I hope you can find some of these helpful when you getting ready for some taxing travel.

PRE-FLIGHT TIPS

boost immunity pre flight

1.    Arm your immune system: Getting sick is quite easy when traveling by air. Not only is your immunity compromised by the stresses of traveling itself, but , the air conditions in flight make you much more susceptible to getting sick.  Cabin air has only about 10-15% humidity. Low humidity means germs can soar from one person to another much easier, without getting trapped in moisture. Additionally, because of the close proximity to your neighbor, bacteria,  viruses and other pathogens don’t have to travel far to infect you.  Dry air also results in a breakdown of  your bodies naturally protective mucous membranes. Your nose cannot as effectively trap and prevent pathogens from entering and, we are therefore, infected more easily to whatever is in the air. Because of this, we need all the help we can get to make sure we are best equipped to fight off whatever airplane bugs may come our way.

  • If your lifestyle is a little choppy…Get yourself hooked on a daily multivitamin.  Any deficiency in vitamin, mineral or antioxidants can mean depressed immunity. If you are too busy to watch your nutrient intake then a multivitamin can help complement an unbalanced diet.
    • How to pick a multivitamin? It’s not easy but according to the reported by CNN Health “Avoid the vitamins singled out by ConsumerLab.com, and stick with mainstream names such as Centrum Silver and One-A-Day Women’s, which were found to be free of impurities and accurately labeled. Also, check vitamin bottles for the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), NSF International (NSF), or ConsumerLab.com (CL) seals. The USP and NSF are nonprofit groups that verify whether companies offer contamination-free products and use good manufacturing practices. Not every brand has the seals — some don’t want to submit to testing–but those that do (Kirkland and Nature Made carry the USP seal, for instance) are reliable.”

      nature made vitamins

  • Take a probiotic. Studies show that probiotic can help improve absorption of nutrients necessary for healthy immune system. Probiotic also can help make sure we have an appropriate line of defense for those pathogens attempting entrance in the gut. Since probiotic help establish a balance of healthy bacteria in the lining of the intestines, the bad bacteria are unable to thrive in this environment.

Probiotic for immunity

  • Have a healthy breakfast and squeeze in a healthy dose of antioxidants and super-foods. These will reinforce your immune system and give you natural energy. Try a spinach and berry almond milk smoothie with a teaspoon of flax seeds. I mean to talk about super-foods in the future but, until then, check out the site SuperFoodsRX.

spinach berry almond smoothie

  • If you are not good at taking a multivitamin or are in too much of a rush to have a healthy breakfast, you need to think of a plan B. Below are some trusted supplements that can support your immune system.
    • Start taking AirBorne a day or two prior to your flight and continue to take it three times a day for 3 days. Airborne has a combination of essential vitamin, minerals and herbs for optimal immune function. I love the new chewable versions as you can take them any time any where with no excuses!Airborne chewable supplements for immunity
    • Put a few drops of Dr Brandt antioxidant water booster in your water bottle.  I do this daily as it assures me that, despite my crazy schedule, I am receiving a balanced supply of antioxidants in my system.  Antioxidants support healthy immune system and healthy skin.

Antioxidant water booster by Dr Brandt

2.      Prep your skin:  We need to boost health, hydration and vitality of skin prior to exposing it to less than ideal air conditions. Both the extreme dryness and the increased exposure to pathogens make airplane air a nightmare for those who want to maintain youthful and flawless skin. A preflight skin ritual can help protect the skin from both dehydration and breakouts. Below, I suggest a few ways you enhance your skins immunity to aggressive travel conditions.,

Oxygen Peel for Preflight DetoxEmerginC Detox Mask

Skin Ceuticals Vit B5

3.    Invest in chic but comfortable travel attire: Chic and Comfy can co-exist! The Europeans do this fantastically! How? Look for loose-fitting styles which can be layered to best adapt to temperature changes.

for chic and healthy airport fashion

Tight clothing can impede normal blood flow and aggravate an already challenged in-flight circulation.  Especially for those of you who fly on a weekly basis, you want to make sure your circulatory and lymphatic system are working optimally and avoid pooling in the lower extremities. This pooling can cause pain, damage vessels and potentially worsen varicose veins. Also, for the ladies, I suggest buying a pair of fold up ballet flats to bring in your purse when your heels get uncomfortable! I love these here by Fab Flipsters Pumps – Fold-Up Travel-Friendly Ballet Flats or check out the variety City Slips.

For Chic Healthy travel try Fab Flipsters

4.     Practice Yoga: Everyone is familiar with the aches and pains of sitting in a cramped airplane seat. Your neck shoulders hips and ankles hurt!! Exercise in general boosts immunity, but yoga, has additional benefits to muscles and joints conditioning. Yoga, therefore, is an ideal way to prepare your body for the conditions of air travel. The mornings of travel, I personally forego my morning jog, for a bit yoga. Even if I have a flight at dawn, I manage to practice a few asanas I know will increase my metabolism and releases shoulder and hip tension.

GREAT PRE FLIGHT EXERCISE

5.      Pack your own food:  Airport food is not only high in unhealthy fat and calories but is pumped with preservatives! I try to avoid eating in airports and airplanes at all costs. If I do eat something it’s when I stumble upon an organic ecologic market or somewhere I feel they consciously have raised their nutritional standards.  Most often, I survive on some healthy food I pre-packed for the trip; raw nuts, a few protein bars, some fruit and maybe a sandwich with organic almond butter. If necessary I compliment my hunger with some go-to airport food such as garden salads, simple pastas or fresh fruit juice.

Keep healthy traveling, snacks for the plane

6.       Avoid Caffeine : Try to avoid at least coffee the day of travel.  Again, the cabin air in flight is very dry, increasing likelihood of dehydration and symptoms of low blood volume (dizziness, nausea, headache).  Caffeine will further dehydrate you and make these symptoms more common. To feel your best, opt for herbal or non-caffeinated Green tea on the morning of your travel. To wake up, a fresh fruit smoothie or orange juice works wonders.

Green Energy Smoothie in place of coffee

Replace your coffee with a green energy smoothie

IN-FLIGHT TIPS

Once in flight, there are a few tips which can help make your trip as comfortable and less physically taxing as possible.

1. Avoid sitting cross-legged: Although there are no studies linking sitting cross-legged with increase incidence of health or aesthetic related risks… most experts agree avoiding it can spare you veins a lot of unnecessary stress. especially in the cases where you must sit for long periods of time, you don’t want to further compromise your circulation. Crossing your legs, while in-flight, makes it easier for blood to pool in your lower extremities, aggravating varicose veins, ankle swelling and putting you at risk for symptoms of low blood pressure.

Dont cross your legs on planes

Doing many things wrong here but on the bright side definitely NOT crossing legs! Bravo!

2. Choose an aisle seat: Not only does sitting in the aisle allow you to get up and stretch your legs more often, but it also can help protect you from additional UV exposure.  To-date airplanes are not mandated to use UV protective glass for their windows. Some newer airplanes DO carry such glass, but , it’s not easy to find out exactly which carry this feature.  At certain altitudes UV exposure can be magnified and, with regular exposure, more dangerous to both your skin and eyes. For this reason, it is my opinion to be better safe than sorry and sacrifice your bird’s eye view for the practical assurance of an aisle seat.

choosing the right seat is important to your health

3. Coat your lips: The precious eye and lip areas most often fall victim to the dry air as they are exposed to harsh in-flight atmosphere. The lips especially get effected because of the frequent contact to liquids followed by the dry air (this assuming you are all drinking LOTs of water).  Because of this, most passengers leave the airplane with pale, dry and cracked lips. How can we protect them?

protect your lips

protect your lips…they are worth it!

4.      Avoid Alcohol and Salt: Sorry wine and salted nut fans….this is a detrimental combo for those wishing to arrive to your destination feeling clear-headed and fresh.  Alcohol consumption will dehydrate you and the salt will just enhance this effect and furthermore contribute to edema, or swelling, of the hands and feet. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation cautions that travelers who consume these dehydrating beverages that they may be at increase their risk of contracting a respiratory infection. Again, these components will leave you feeling disoriented, weak, puffy and with and increase possibility of getting sick!

avoid feeling unhealthy while traveling

Feeling terrible on your trip! Next time avoid the salt and alcohol!

5.   Embrace your hand sanitizer. This is an extremely valuable tool as it can prevent  you from getting infected by any germs you may find laying around arm rests and seats. As I mentioned above, germs travel faster and further in dry cabin air. Also you are within a short radius of at least 6 potentially sick passengers. I know they can be quite drying to the skin but it might be workth giving it a go ATLEAST prior to your meals!  I love Soap and Glory’s Hand Sanitizer, simply for its’ smell and convenient size!

soap and glory hand sanitizer

POST-FLIGHT TIPS

1. Avoid Jet Lag: Adapt most efficiently to your time zone. Follow the Schedule of your current time zone. Don’t stress about the sleep you lost. The faster you embrace your surroundings, live in the present and accept your new bedtime, the faster you recover and the more rest you will acquire overall.  Remember to eat accordingly and use melatonin for sleep adjustment when back in your home town. For tips on how to cultivate the most refreshing sleep, check out my previous post on “Beauty Sleep, Your Inner Symphony and a Better World”

beat jet lag

2.   Start Post-Travel Skin Recovery: Vitalize and Refresh Jet-Stressed skin.

Now that you have arrived to your destination make sure you read into your skins’ needs. If you feel its very “dirty”, repeat the pre-flight detox regimen, if too dry, continue with the pre-flight hydrating products OR if just kind-of “off” or needs a SOS overhaul, try one of the following products : SKII Treatment Masks, Kiehls midnight recovery complex or LAB Age Rescue Face Lotion for Men.

SKII Treatment mask

love these… rescue a shady complexion in a flash!

It’s not easy but with some stricat habits and a bit of priming and prepping… you can comfortably continue this hectic yet rewarding lifestyle without it costing your health, sanity and youthful qualities!

glamorous travel

Cheers to those frequent flyer miles, seeing the world and keeping it Glamorous!

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EAT YOURSELF BEAUTIFUL: DETOX, TONE and PUMP

Now that we know what nutrients can help us protect, plump and burn us beautiful, we can continue to enhance our aesthetics by incorporating foods aimed at detoxing, toning and supporting healthy vessels. Below, I list some of the key nutrients and foods key in our mission to cultivate natural beauty through health.

detpx for beauty

DETOX NUTRIENTS
Why is detoxing or “gut purification” important? By incorporating detox foods we can purge the body of harmful substances which cause less than optimal function and appearance of the body.  These foods can mean better absorption of nutrients, more energy, a sharper mind and of course more beautiful hair, skin and overall physique. For more on some benefits, see my previous post where I talk about benefits of such practices ¨Pre Hoilday Detox¨

detox for healthy digestion

To appropriately support our bodies attempt to eliminate what is harmful and function well, we need to optimize liver, kidneys and gut function. To do this, we must both clean and stimulate these organs.  The foods listed below can help us do just this.

Chlorophyll: Assists in  the digestion and the elimination of toxic metals, herbicides, chemicals, metals and pesticides. Chlorophyll, also, helps promote flow of cleansing bile and enzymes which aid in digestion and liver function.

Best Sources: Blue green algae, wheatgrass, spirulina, spinach, chard, and arugula.

Chlorophyll for Detoxification

Vitamin C: As you may have noticed in my past posts, this super vitamin is essential to many bodily functions. It´s role in detoxification stems from it´s ability to transform toxins into digestible materials which can then be easily eliminated out of the body. Vitamin C also aids digestion, stimulating digestive enzymatic processes, and promotes faster metabolism of nutrients.

Best Sources: Lemons and Grapefruits are best for detoxification. Drinking water with these fruits can help support the detox function.

 lemons and grapefruit for detox

Catechins: A plant antioxidant known to increase liver function and prevent fat accumulation in liver. A fatty liver is consistent with damage and disease, so it´s prevention is valuable in maintaining liver health.

Best Source: Yes Again…..Green Tea. Green Tea is also light diuretic and vasodilator, assuring higher rate of filtration of lymphatic and circulatory fluids.

green tea smoothie detox

Turmeric:  This pungent Indian Spice has a protective function for the liver and the ability to regenerate damaged liver cells.  Tumeric like, chlorophyll can boost bile production and positively affect gallbladder function.

Best Ways to incorporate Tumeric into your life: Check out this website here from MindBodyGreen.

turmeric for detox

Variety of Raw or Juiced vegetables. The combination of these vegetable stimulate various enzymatic processes and help cleanse and purge the body of toxins accumulated.

Some Must-Add Varieties: Almost all fruits and veggies add value to digestive health but some have a bit more weight.

raw food detox

  • Avocados, Kale and Brussel sprouts:   These contain a rich source of Glutathione, a compound with strong detoxifying power, which helps breakdown carcinogens and fight free radicals. These foods actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload, and boosting its cleansing power
  • Walnuts: Contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia.
  • Watercress: Has the ability to improve elimination of carcinogens in urine, increase antioxidant levels and reduce the cancer related DNA damage.  Studies have shown watercress to be very helpful in smokers, helping excrete higher amounts of the dangerous carcinogens in the urine.
  • Artichokes: Contain cynarine which Increase bile production and improve digestion.
  • Cranberries: With natural antibacterial, antioxidant (hippuric acid), antiviral and  probiotic benefits, the cranberry has potent power for restoring digestive and urinary health. Organic juices are usually the best source.
  • Pears, Apples, Guava, Raisins : These fruits supply us with an important fiber known as Pectin. Pectin facilitates the elimination of harmful substances through the digestive tract. Pectin also promotes cellular turnover in the colon and helps prevent colon cancer.

Probiotics:  By supplying bacteria to the intestines we can aid in optimal digestion and detoxification processes.

Best Source: Organic Kefir

organic lactose free kefir

Note: Remember the best detox foods are organic varieties. Organic food is grown with the careful exemption of  harmful or unnecessary substances that may be linked to health hazards.

MUSCLE TONING NUTRIENTS

Tone muscles mean a faster metabolism, a better figure and less apparent cellulite.  These nutrients will help your body get the fuel it needs to build long, lean and healthy muscle.

eat for tone muscles

Omega 3 fatty acids: Once again this super nutrient commands recognition. Not only is it a super anti-ageing food, but, it supports muscle health and tone. Omega 3s increase blood flow to the muscles, keeping them well nourished while, at the same time, protecting them from breakdown.  Omega 3s also, with their anti-inflammatory properties, cut down on muscular recovery time after strenuous physical activities.

Best sources: Cold water fatty fish, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts or algae. Supplements are also an option. For more on best Omega 3 benefits check out my post here on ¨10 AntiAging Things you can do everyday.”

omega 3 sources

B Vitamins: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin), each essential for protein metabolism, energy production and nerve health. All of these processes are vital for muscle function and preservation.

Best Sources: Whole grains, eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and fortified cereals. Fellow vegetarians beware!! If you are not eating eggs, you might need to take a vitamin B12 supplement as its only found in animal products! Vitamin B12 is essential for nerve health and muscle contraction!

B vitamin sources

High Protein Foods: Our body needs protein sources to create muscle.

Best Sources: Egg whites, whey protein, white fish, chicken breasts, lean beef, tofu, or beans and lentils. Nutritionists recommend  2 servings of high-quality, lean protein a day, (each serving about a cup), to maintain muscular tone and health.

protein for muscle

Low or Non Fat Dairy: These dairy choices provide a type of protein called casein which because digested slower, supplies the body with energy and nutrition over a long time. Also the calcium content in dairy has great benefits to muscle. Calcium is essential for muscle contraction and growth. Also, helps prevent muscle cramping during workouts. This said, lean dairy is great muscle-building food pre and post-workout for those who want to maintain long lean physiques!

Best Sources: Try organic low-fat cottage cheese and non-lactose fat-free milk. For those who don’t consume dairy, the fortified dairy-free products, can also be a great source of calcium and lean protein.

low fat cottage cheese great protein source

Note: Of course, to build and maintain muscle, there are other choices your nutritionist may recommend. The above choices, are just some nutrients I have found most consistent and helpful in my own journey to keep fit and tone!

VASCULAR FITNESS FOODS

Studies have consistently proven that what we eat can help improve our circulatory health. By normalizing intravenous pressure and reinforcing the vascular structure, the right nutrients can make vessels more resistant to the induced stress and damage. The aesthetic result is a decreased tendency to form unsightly varicose and spider veins.  The following nutrients will provide you with the support your veins need to assure best circulatory health and flawless legs. For more on maintaining healthy leg circulation and preventing vascular lesions check out my previous post on here. For some insight on how to treat varicose and spider veins, check out another post I wrote on the subject here.

leg diet

Polyphenols:  A group of flavonoids, known for their ability to protect the vascular system by preventing oxidative stress. They do this by preventing the aggregation (clumping and sticking) of low-density lipoproteins (LDL aka bad cholesterol). They also act to improve overall circulation by stimulating the  vessels to vasodilate.

Best Sources: Pomegranates and Rosemary.

 pomegranates for vascular health

Quercetin-3-rutinoside or Rutin: An essential flavonoid with ability to improve venous circulation by decreasing capillary permeability and strengthening the walls of veins. Rutin is flavonoid, or plant pigment with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vaso-protective properties. Rutin works together with Vitamin C to strengthens the walls of you veins, leaving them healthier, more tone and with the ability to withstand higher pressures and stress.

Best Sources: Buckwheat, berries, citrus fruits, and green tea.

 

Buckwheat and berries for vein health 

Betacyanin: A plant pigment and potent antioxidant. Betacyanin is  especially helpful in protecting the vessels walls from being damaged by oxidative stress. In addition to reducing LDL cholesterol, it reduces levels of homocystein in the blood. Homocystein is an amino acid known to be quite harmful to blood vessel walls. For this reason keeping homocystein levels low with betacyanin sources, is considered protective for the vessels.

Best Source: Beets

Beets for vein health

Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins: These plant sourced pigments help support the structural integrity of the vessels and improve overall venous circulation. These are especially valued because of their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activities.  Additionally, they assist in healthy behavior of platelets, and repairing damaged vessels.

Best Source: Berries

 

berries for vascular health 

Bromelain and Other Fibrinolytic Compounds:These increase the fibrinolytic activity and therefore prevent fibrin deposits within the vessel walls. Fibrin deposits cause vessels to harden, increasing intravascular pressure and damage.

Best Sources: Cayenne pepper, Ginger and Pineapple.

Pineapple and cayenne pepper for vascular health

Asparagine: An amino acid that serves as a natural diuretic, helping remove fluid and preventing edema. Since edema can cause increased pressure on the venous circulation, preventing it means less stress on your valves and vessel walls. Less stress means less damage on the veins and decreased incidence of spider and varicose veins.

Best Source: Asparagus

Asparagus for vein health

So now that you have all the knowledge you need to Eat Yourself Beautiful, I encourage you not to wait! Make all your meals about nurturing your body to function optimally and reflect the ravishing nutrition you so carefully chose for it!

Cheers to delicious food and getting a bit closer to what nature intended us to portray…. our most raw form of beauty!

natural beauty

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EAT YOURSELF BEAUTIFUL:   Protect, Plump and Burn

eat yourself Beautiful

I believe core health stems from how we nourish it. Every meal can make a difference in your mood, immunity and overall well-being. I have discussed how what you eat can affect your mood in a previous post. Today, I how to encourage you to eat well for sake of your physical well-being. It does help that these same nutrients also highlight our aesthetic virtues! So, arm your image naturally and incorporate these key beauty foods daily!

I have broken up these beauty foods into two posts. This first post I will address the key Sun Protecting, Collagen Promoting and Fat Burning nutrients and their food sources.

In the next post, I will address the nutrients which best Detoxify, Promote Muscle and Vascular Health.

All the foods discussed will help balance, restore and vitalize the body. With these foods, we can function optimally and reveal our most beautiful selves!

Sun Protecting Nutrients

With summer imminent, we need all the help we can get to increase our defenses from harmful UV radiation.

  •  Lycopene: A carotenoid that serves to protect the skin from the long-term effects of radiation. Carotenoids are critical to the photosynthetic process and protect a plant or organism from damage by light and oxygen.

sun protecting watermelon

Best Sources: Cooked tomatoes (offer higher lycopene concentrations than raw option) and Watermelon. Studies show that cooking in olive oil greatly increases absorption and therefore benefits of carotenoids like lycopene (Asia Pacific J Clin Nurt 2005, Journal of British Dermatology).

  • Astaxanthin: Another super-carotenoid that attributes to the coloring of many marine and aquatic animals. Works as a internal sunscreen, protecting the skin from UV damage with added anti-aging benefits. Studies have shown 4-6 weeks of supplementation can help reverse signs of UV aging such as wrinkles and sun spots. (Experimental Derm 2009).

protect yourself from sundamage with salmon

Best Sources: Wild Salmon best, trout, shrimp and lobster also good sources.

  • Beta Carotene: Helps repair skin damaged from sun exposure.

carrots and sweet potatoes for skin health

Best Sources: You need about 30 mg daily, equivalent to 6 carrots or a sweet potato. Other sources include kale, spinach, mangos and apricots.

  • Antioxidants: Protect and reverse free radical damage caused by sun exposure. For some ideas on how topical antioxidants can help further protect the skin from sun effects, please refer to my previous ¨Skin Youth and Antioxidants” post here.

pomagranate and blueberries protect skin

Best Sources: Dark color fruits and veggies. Pomegranate and blueberries have especially high levels of antioxidants and reduce ability of UVB induced cancer cell formation.

  • Triterpenoids: 2007 study at Cornell University found this group of important chemical compounds which act as natural anti-inflammatory agent and prevent formation of skin cancer cells.

apple peels for skin health

Best Sources: Organic Red Apple, grape tomato and olive skins.

  • EGCG: A natural phytochemical that fights free radicals and decreased sun induced inflammation. An ideal anti-aging agent.

organic green tea protects skin

Best Sources: Green Tea.  A 2011 report in Journal of nutrition saw improvements in elasticity roughness, scaling and moisture content in those who consumed green tea regularly over 12 weeks. Other studies have shown that green tea can also help prevent non-melanoma skin cancer by limiting blood supply to abnormally behaving cells.

  • Quercetin– Another helpful chemical which helps protect skin form oxidizing sun effects.

black tea for skin health

Best Source: Black Tea

  • Selenium: Essential mineral which acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and is needed for skin repair. Selenuim is needed to make a potent antioxidant glutathione peroxidase which fights development of cancer and skin aging. Also helps decrease incidence of sunburn and promote even skin tone.

crimini mushrooms for skin health

Best Source: Crimini Mushrooms and Fish (especially Red Snapper).

  • Omega 3: A 2013 study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that regular supplementation of omega 3s, protected skin from UV induced immunosuppression. This ability is what assures skin maintains its defenses to cancer and illness. For more on Omega 3s see my post “10 anti-aging things you can do every day”.

fish and flaxseed for sun protection

Best Source: Cold water fish, flax seed and walnuts.

  • Melatonin:  Melatonin acts as an antioxidant in the skin and protects DNA from UV induced damage. Melatnonin is best know for its ability to regulate the sleep cycle. For more information on this check out my post on “Beauty Sleep” here.

melatonin from cherries good for sleep and skin health

Best Source: Montmorency Cherries. These tart cherries have surprisingly high levels of melatonin, making them an ideal for both pre bed-time snack and a part of your summertime skin diet.

Collagen Promoting Nutrients

Collagen, elastin and soft keratin attribute to the connective tissue base of skin. This base provides strength and structure to our skin. As normal aging occurs collagen production and restructuring processes slow down. Because of this, our skin becomes increasingly thin, less elastic and weaker. The result is increased incidence of wrinkles, sagging and greater propensity to accumulate broken blood vessels and sun spots. There are treatments to help awaken sleepy skin, but, without appropriate and adequate nutrition, collagen cannot be made! Protecting skin from sun-damage will also help slow collagen degeneration so incorporating sun-protecting habits will assure strong, healthy and plump skin.

  • Turmeric: This anti-aging nutrient serves as a potent antioxidant which resists collagen degradation by producing protective hyaluronic acid.

kidney beans increase hyaluronic acid in skin

Best Source: Red Kidney Beans. Two tablespoons of beans a day help maintain healthy hyaluronic acid levels!

  • White tea: A study published in 2009 reports that White tea, above all others, has the most protective properties on collagen and elastin. (Journal BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine). Its extremely high concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants should be enough to convince you to make White Tea your go-to collagen preserving beauty drink!!

collagen stimulating organic white tea

  • Sulfur, Taurine and Lipoid acid “Collagen Trio”: Supports healthy production and repair of collagen.

Garlic and collagen production

Source of Collagen Trio: Garlic!!

  • Vitamin C– This Vitamin is critical for the skins defense against free radicals and is necessary collagen production and repair! Many current studies are reiniterating the importance of this basic vitamin in the prevention of premature skin aging and in healthy restoration of damaged skin.  For information on topical products incorporating Vitamin C for skin protection, see my previous post here.

lychees help encourage collagen production

Best Sources: Hot peppers, guavas, sweet peppers, black currants, lychees and rose hip plant.

  • Genistein: An element essential in promoting collagen production while also protecting existing collagen by inhibiting certain enzymes responsible for its degredation.

organic soy products for collagen

Best Sources: Organic Soy Products.

  • Manuka Honey: A honey variety from new Zealand, promoting cellular renewal, anti-inflammatory effects and formation of stronger, more resistant collagen.

Manuka honey for collagen

  • Plant Steroids: Encourages collagen production.

avocado oil for collagen

Best Source: Avocado oil.

Fat Busting Nutrients

Who doesn’t need a little boost in fat metabolism? Keep these foods readily available, especially during pool time festivities!

  • Capaicin: Boost fat metabolism by increasing the body’s internal temperature and caloric needs. Studies show consistent appetite suppression and weight loss with regular consumption!

spices for metabolism

Best Sources: Cayenne and jalapeño peppers.

  • Sulfur and B complex Vitamin rich foods: Support function of metabolism stimulating adrenal gland.

Sulfur and B vitamin foods for weight loss

Best Sources: Garlic, apples strawberries blueberries and lemons.

  • Thermogengic foods– These foods require more calories during digestion than they provide when consumed.

Thermogenic food for fat metabolism

Best Sources: Broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.

  • Leptin reducing foods: Studies done in mice and other animals show that lower leptin levels are associated with faster metabolisms and more efficiently burn fat. (University of Wisconsin) We believe that leptin has similar effect in humans.

sashimi

Best Sources: Fish

  • High Fiber Fruits: Help your body burn fat by helping mobilize contents through the digestive tract faster. This favors the absorption of vital nutrients essential for optimal metabolism and fat oxidation! For more on the benefits of a high fiber diet check out my post on ¨10 Anti-Aging Things You Can Do Every Day¨

strawberries and blueberries for fat metabolism

Best Sources: Strawberries, blueberries

  • Citrus Foods:  The chemical properties of these fruits help decrease insulin levels and promote faster metabolism and weight loss.

kiwi and grapefruit fat burn

Best Sources: Lemons, kiwis and grapefruit.

  • High Protein, Calcium Products: Organic sources usually supply high quality amino acids and proteins which help suppress appetite. Rich supplies of calcium assure healthy blood levels and avoid triggered release of calcitrol. Keeping calcitrol low is smart since it encourages storage of fat. Calcitrol also lowers production of the stress related hormone cortisol. Cortisol encourages accumulation of dangerous visceral fat. For more on dangers of cortisol and visceral fat see my previous post “ Your Waistline and Health”.

tofu and arugula fat burning foods

Best Sources: Fat free organic dairy, Tofu, Leafy Greens and Legumes.

Fat metabolism super nutrients? Although I´m not prepared to talk about these supplements in this post, there is some interesting evidence supporting their fat metabolizing abilities!   Goji Berries, African Mango and Green Coffee Bean extract are gaining tremendous momentum in the weight loss and fat burning arena.  I may decide to revisit in future post but until then, feel free to investigate on your on your own and inquire at your nutritionists office about their potential benefits. 

So, I hope from this post you have learned what foods encourage you natural beauty by:

  • Improving your skins ability to protect and repair itself from sun,
  • Preserving youthful skin structure and collagen production and …
  • Revving-up your fat metabolism!

Check back next week for my next post where you I fill you in on the key beauty nutrients responsible for helping our body detoxify, promoting lean muscle and improving circulatory health! 

Cheers to promoting beauty with food and a colorful, spicy and refreshing summer diet!

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For those near their ideal weight , lumps and bumps could be frustrating ..especially after months of commitment to the gym and a healthy diet. Now with top notch technology you can get the results, you thought just wasn’t in your DNA. Below I give you the skinny on these body shaping wonder devices!  Say goodbye to love handles, pudgy bellies and saddlebags safely ,with the help of your trusted doctor!

Body Shaping Solutions

The below technologies are non-invasive (no needles, knives or probes used), effective and most importantly, when in experienced hands, safe!

The first 2 options are one time wonders, although can be repeated for further benefits. The last 2 are treatments which are a bit more affordable per session, but need to be repeated to get the appreciated results.

What’s HOT?       Liposonix by Solta Medical

Liposonix

The Technology:   High frequency Focused UltraSound energy is used to thermally induce fat cell destruction at a fixed depth within the fat.  This highly focused way to using the potent energy ultrasound (U/S) assures a controlled and selective way to  destroy the fats cells permanently. That said, Liposonix offers consistent results and allows the doctor the ability to shape and contour with high efficiency and ease.

how liposonix works

The Promise:    Thanks to its thermal effects, targets fat with the additional benefit of collagen stimulation and skin firming. Each treatment  is about an 1 hour long and yields a drop in 1 dress/pant size.  “The Custom Contouring™ capabilities of the Liposonix® System is deemed elite in that it allows fat elimination and contouring in ONE SINGLE SESSION. 

FDA:    Approved for non-invasive waist circumference reduction (i.e abdomen and flanks). In Europe have approval to additionally treat thigh circumference, hips, “saddle bags” and for buttock contouring (think tight round and smooth Buttock!).

The Procedure:   Doctor will mark the desired areas for contouring then target treatment by placing transducers over marked areas.  You will feel heat as the energy created by the US works to destroy fat cells.  Bruising and swelling are usually evident by the next day and may take a few weeks to resolve. Patients also say the treated area can be sensitive, “like recovering from intense workout”. Results become apparent after about 2 months with maximal improvement at 12 weeks. Additional treatments can be decided on for further contouring and fat loss. No additional life style modifications are needed to get a successful result…just don’t gain weight!!

The Price:  1500-3000 Euros

The Savants:  Try Clinica Diego de Leon in Madrid, Dr. Proebstle in Germany, Dr. Alexandrides in London, Dr. Chapas in New York or Dr Baumann in Miami. For a doctor near you check out physician locator on the website.

Whats Cool?     CoolSculpting by Zeltiq

Cool Sculpting

The Technology:    Cryolipolysis is procedure that uses a targeted cooling process to decrease temperature of the fat cells to the point they are no longer viable. This process destroys fat cells so the body can then use its natural healing processes to eliminate them.

The Promise:   Targets fat cells without effecting healthy skin cells. Studied and proven to be completely safe to all surrounding tissues, making it a gentle and organic approach to target fat.

cool sculpting before and after

FDA:   Cleared for the treatment of fat in the area of the flanks (love handles) and abdomen.

The Procedure:   After evaluating the area to be treated, your doctor will strategically place a gel pad and then the device panel on the marked skin. Each area  takes about 60 minutes to treat. Treatment time varies from 1-3 hours (depending on the amount of areas you need treated). Patients described the experience as an intense pulling of the skin accompanied by and intense cold feeling which they eventually grow accustomed to.  Post treatment, patients may complain of mild numbness, itching or stinging. Results can be seen after 2 months but may improve up to 6 months after treatment.

The Price: Depends on size of area to be treated but averages $1000 per area.

The Savants:  Try Dr Ribe in Barcelona,  Dr Mayoral in Miami, Dr Narurkar in San Francisco or Dr Braithwaite in Chicago. For more doctors in your area visit the Cool Sculpting Doctor finder.

What’s painless?        I-Lipo by Chromogenex

I Lipo

The Technology:    Uses low-level laser beams (650nm) to facilitate the release of a fat blasting enzyme called lipase. This enzyme works break down and release fat from cells so that it could be metabolized by the body and burned as energy. This procedure DOES NOT destroy the fat cells, but instead empties them so to shrink them in size.

The Promise:   Using a safe, painless procedure you can now shrink areas of concern in a way you would with diet and exercise but in targeted nature and with immediate results seen after a short treatment session. I Lipo maximizes workouts effectiveness by accelerating fat burning and sculpts your body in ways not possible without professional intervention.

I lipo before and after

FDA: Approved for waist circumference reduction.

The procedure: 8 treatments needed (2 treatments/week) Need to exercise 35-40 minutes post treatment to get results.

The price: Averages about 300 Euros/ $250 per treatment.

The Savants: Dr Leonard Grossman MD from New York, Jon Perlman in Beverly Hills or in London try London Harley Street Hethe Boutique Clinic. Check him out here Talking with Dr.Oz. For other doctors in your area check out the website here.

What’s got potential?      UltrashapeV3 by Syneron/Candela

UltraShape V3

The Technology:    Uses the acoustic properties of Ultrasonic energy to mechanically break down a specific volume of fat at a specific depth. The difference with this device, and others using ultrasound, is that the ultrasound energy is pulsed into the fat layer in a way which prevents it from causing any temperature increase (thermal effect). Its premise being that pulsed US without thermal effects is a more gentle and safer treatment. The new Ultrashape V3  uses a synergy of its pulsed focused ultrasound and a vacuum-assisted radio-frequency to causes immediate destruction to the fat cells by strictly mechanical means; preventing collateral damage to other tissues and side effects.

The Promise:    Helps selectively and permanently rid your body of localized fat deposits in multiple body locations. The treatment promises safe, and effective fat removal, with little- to -no discomfort.  The added radio-frequency allows additional skin tightening to treated area.

FDA:  UltraShape V3  approval is pending in the US and it is therefore NOT distributed in the USA.  You can seek treatment in Europe, Canada, Asia or Australia.

The Procedure:  Once your areas of concern are marked the device calibrated to your specific concerns, treatment head is positioned to deliver the first round of radio-frequency. This warms the skin slightly for some rejuvenating benefits and makes the fat more susceptible to the effects of the ultrasound portion of the treatment.  Ultrasound energy is then delivered according to device monitor to assure even and thorough treatment of the targeted fat. Unlike most localized fat treatments, UltraShape V3 is commonly described as quite painless procedure. The protocol usually consists of 3 treatment sessions spaced one month apart.  Each treatment lasts about 30 minutes and results are most often seen within a few weeks.  It  is common to lose 2cm of circumferential fat loss with each treatment. Check this video for more information on how UltraShapes works.

ultrashape V3 before and after

The Price:    Each session costs an average of $700 per treatment.

The Savants: Try Dr. Tufet in Barcelona, Dr. Khanna in Montreal or Dr Gary Cussel in Sydney.  For more doctors in your area contact Syneron or Candela.

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What’s right for you?

Whether you’re battling the bulge or just pressed for time and want to look perfect for an event… one of these devices might be right for you!  Remember, these work best when you are at, or close to, your ideal weight and furthermore won’t work if have an unhealthy lifestyle!   I truly believe these devices can offer supreme solutions for the appropriate and healthy patient! So if you have worked hard to get yourself healthy and fit, but, feel you deserve that extra little push to get that body you always dreamed of….Go for it!

Cheers going the extra mile to look and feel your best!! Take care, stay healthy and see your doctor for extra support!!

Get into your jeans!

Feels great to finally get into those jeans!

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Goodbye Cellulte

Now that we have addressed both skin and legs along our Body Project Journey, it’s seems quite appropriate to address another potential road-block in our pursuit to bare-it-all during the warm months….cellulite. Women of all ages and sizes are hassled with this skin nuisance and many partake in what seems a life time of discouraging battles to get rid of it.  Creams, treatments, wonder diets and supplements all take advantage of women’s determination banish cellulite…. But what can REALLY be done?

Cellulites’ pathophysiology is complex and no formula can ever fully reveal a universal plan to target its resolution.  Like most aesthetic and health concerns, the best actions are those which are premeditated with the understanding of the condition itself. With this post, I hope to give you the information you need to make the best decisions and, at the least, minimize the extent to which cellulite affects you. As most aesthetic specialists would certainly agree, cellulite has no cure and treatment can be difficult…. but solutions do exist! Below you will find a summary of the what, the why and the how to’s when it comes to understanding and treating your cellulite.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite is really the symptom of a series of structural and circulatory morphologies and processes.  Some of cellulites’ attributes are due to subobtimal health, others, as explained below, are gender specific or due to hormone. In Summary, as a result of what is happening in the skin, the fat, your superficial circulatory system and muscles….. you display this visual condition referred to as Cellulite.

For those men and lucky women unfamiliar cellulite, I have posted a picture of it below!  It is the wavy, orange peel or cottage cheese-like appearance of the skin. It is most often experienced in the buttock, thigh and hip area but can occur almost everywhere on the body.

What is cellulite?

The Attributing Factors : A briefing

  • Sex: Your gender plays a big role in your tendency to form cellulite.  About 90% of women suffer from cellulite, while only about 5 % of men.

Here are 3 good but unfair reasons women suffer more.

1.  The structure and organization of the adipose layer (also referred to as the subcutaneous fat layer -SQ) predisposes women to cellulite. This is the most important factor attributing to women’s tendency to develop cellulite. Due to lack of male hormones, the connective tissue in the SQ layer develops very differently in women than in men. Women’s adipose tissue is constrained within chambers due to the orientation of the fibrous septae (connective tissue bands within the SQ). This chamber organization forces expanding volumes of fat to push up through the skin and cause dimpling  or uneven skin surface we see as cellulite. Men’s connective tissue is organized in the SQ in a way that allows the fat to expand horizontally, without causing superficial skin irregularities.

why women get cellulite

2.  Women tend to deposit fat in the hips, thighs and buttock, while men tend to gain more evenly adding less stress to any specific body part.

3.  The thickness of our skin: In general, men have thicker skin than women, especially in the area of the buttock and            thighs. Thicker skin is more resistant to the fat pushing up on it and also hides any structural deficits happening below            its surface.

  • Hormones:  Hormones affect every system in the body, tissues within the fat and skin are not exempt from their powers.  Tissue elasticity around and within the fat layer,  peripheral circulation and water retention all play a big role in cellulites appearance.  Those who suffer from abnormally high or unbalanced hormones do not adapt well to the structural and circulatory implications incurred from the hormones themselves.  These individuals more often suffer from abnormal accumulation and swelling of adipose tissue, impaired skin and fat circulation and toxin accumulation. All of these implications contribute to cellulites worsening appearance.

cellulite formation

  • Diet: Your diet is VERY important in maintaining a healthy fat layer.  You want to eat in a way which assures best microcirculation of the skin and fat, minimizes the accumulation of toxins and exogenous estrogens which are all stored in fat, and prevents retention of liquids in the fat.
  • Skin Quality: The  better, thicker and younger skin you have the less apparent everything that is happening below it will be. Genetic, sun damage and overall health can affect the quality of your skin. Genetics and gender you cannot control, but proper care of your skin and general health can help minimize cellulites appearance.
  • Muscle Tone: Since the SQ fat sits directly over muscle, muscle tone can affect the health of your fat layer and the appearance of cellulite. If you have toned muscles, you are actively and routinely massaging the fat layer, encouraging improved circulation and drainage of fluids and toxins. Toned muscles also help encourage a stronger connective tissue network throughout the fat and increase fat metabolism. All these sequels result in a smoother, more compact and healthier fat layer and reduced cellulite.

THE SOLUTIONS!

             OBJECTIVE #1: Improve Skin Quality, Make Skin Thicker

  • HABIT:
  • PRODUCT:
    • Use Topical Cream with Retinoids. Retinoids, like vitamin A has been shown to increase healthy cellular turnover of the skin and density of the epidermis with long term use. Some research also shows improvement of dermal thickness (the dermis is the collagen rich skin layer). The result of consistant use of a trusted retinol containing product is a smoothing, plumping effect, leaving the skin healthier, more radient and minimizing imperfections. \. Try ROC body products, they are famous for their effective retinol products.  For more body cream reccomendations check out my previous post The Body Project Skin Essentials.

RoC body products for cellulite

  • TREATMENT:
    • Radiofrequency– Will stimulate new collagen and elastin in both dermis and SQ layer. This will plump skin, improve elasticity and improve fibrous band integrity in the SQ. By shortening and tightening of fbrous bands within the SQ, RF can additionally improve wavy appearance attributed to cellulite condition.Try Thermage Monopolar RF, strengthens, tightens and improve skin quality in just one treatment, $2500-3000 per treatment.

Thermage Body

             OBJECTIVE #2 : Improve Circulation and Stimulate Lymphatic Drainage

  • HABIT:
    • Watch your diet– Avoid Alcohol, Salt, Preservatives, Non-Organic Meat and Dairy. These will all swell the fat, challenge proper circulation and drainage, make fat accumulation easier and fat loss harder. Also, make sure to incorporate foods which stimulate healthy circulation, fat metabolism and toxin elimination. Check out this link for some cellulite fighting breakfast foods.
    • Swim– Swimming is one  the best exercises to combat cellulite. Not only is it ideal to tone muscles, but massages tissues in a way favoring proper circulation and health. Swimming alone for 6 months has shown a immense benefits without any other method implemented.  I can’t tell you how many AntiAging and Dermatology conferences I have sat in that consistantly reported the benefits of swimming and lymphatic massage one of the best remedies for cellulite!

    Swimming benefits

    • Drink water lots of water, skip high sugar and unnatural beverages as this will contribute to fat swelling and toxin accumulation associated with cellulite.
  • TREATMENTS:
    • Manual Lymphatic Massage– Light Massage, when performed accordingly, can help activate the lymphatic system, allowing faster and better removal of lymphatic fluid, toxins and debris out of SQ fat. For more massage benefits check out my previous post  “5 reasons Massage Therapy is AntiAging”
    • Endermology– Uses mechanical rollers to mobilize fat and stimulate tissue. Studies of biopsies have shown increase production of elastin and collagen density in both skin and connective tissue in fat layer resulting in some softening of superficial irregularities and fat reduction.
      • Try Vela Shape– Classic Endermology results are not very impressive, however. the VelaShape device enhances its efficacy by combining it with suction, Infrared (IR) light and Radiofrequency energy. The additional heat created by the light and RF, enhances microcirculation, improves skin quality and induces tightening. All these benefits thicken skin and optimizes circulation helping improve cellulite.

               OBJECTIVE #3 : Work On The SQ Fat Layer

  • HABIT:
    • Incorporate Weight Training and Toning Exercises– As mentioned above, by keeping muscles tone, we can assure healthier overlying SQ tissue and minimize the extent at which cellulite appears. As mentioned, swimming is great, but the addition of  multi-dimensional muscle toning sequences can provide excellerated benefits.
      • I love this series for an amazing leg toning workout,  I literally discovered yesterday! Check it out here. It’s from a great website called GymRa which allows you to be your own personal trainer.
body toning for cellulite

Let’s help manage cellulite by keeping mucles toned

  • PROUDUCTS:
    • Use Topical Skin Products containing Methylxanthines (e.g., caffeine, aminophylline, and theophylline). Methylxanthines are agents that stimulate lipolysis, or fat breakdown.  While studies have reported consistent decrease in thigh circumference with use of these products, there have been mixed results concerning their efficacy for cellulite. With this said, Dr. Oz says those products containing over 5% of the mentioned ingredients work!! I have to admit…I love and trust the Dr. Oz team, so might be worth giving it a go!

Vichy CelluDestock for Cellulite

  • PROCEDURES:
    • MesoTherapy– Involves use of micro-injections of biological agents to promoting breakdown of fat and hopefully appearance of cellulite. Doctors combine substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes in hopes to stimulate fat breakdown improve cellulite. The most common and most important ingredient studied in cellulite treatments is known as Phosphatidycholine.
      • Although this practice is widely accepted in Europe, it is NOT FDA approved due to lack of consistency in methods and consequently results. With so many other better developed procedures, I don’t feel worth the risk.
    • Subscision- A minor surgical treatment that uses a needle instrument to break irregular connective tissue bands within the SQ fat layer. By releasing these bands the fat is released into a more natural position and therefore less likely to bulge causing the classic dimpling and skin elevations associated with cellulite.
      • Note: Although subcision can offer substantial improvement of cellulite after only one session, the technique isn’t well documented and therefore success of treatment can be variable. Furthermore, you must be prepared for weeks to months of recuperation and the possibility of side effects such as skin pigmentation. Success of treatment is totally dependent on your doctor’s experience, only trust an expert!.Here a YouTube Video of the procedure being done.

Subcision

  • LASER/US ASSISTED TREATMENTS:

    NON-INVASIVE OPTIONS:

  • SmoothShapes SV: This device incorporates a 915nm laser and a vacuum component to help more specifically heat and treat fat.  Additionally, it uses a 650 LED light source to mobilize treated fat and fluids in the SQ into the lymphatic circulation. The rollers in the handpiece provide massage while the suction helps bring the fat into the handpiece for better treatment. A total of eight treatments are needed over a span of 2 months. Treatments are fast and low on pain. For those who are seeking professional, predictable and safe treatment of mild cellulite, SmoothShapes may be the right treatment for you! Average cost per treatment is $400.

SmoothShapes for Cellulite

     INVASIVE OPTIONS: Like liposuction, these modalities target fat reduction with added benefit of restructuring SQ layer. The laser or ultrasound is incorporated to soften or liquefy fat for easier removal.  A pen-like instrument helps deliver laser/US energy in to the fat layer while mechanically breaking collagen fibers within the SQ fat. The heat created tightens skin  by improving elasticity and thickness of the underlying connective tissue. These procedures are considered minimally invasive, but, DO require anesthesia and have down time. They offer impressive results after only one treatment. Treatment cost run about $5500 per session.

  • Cellulaze by CyanosureThis Lipo-sculpting device uses  1440 nm side laser fiber sub-dermally.  Works mechanically to smooth protruding fat pockets by subcising them and releasing the fibrous septae. The laser creates heat from within the fat layer, softening fat and stimulating dermal collagen remodeling and production.  Currently Cellulaze is considered the most effective the treatment for moderate to severe cellulite therapy.

Cellulaze

  • VaserSmooth– This is the newest ultrasound assisted liposuction device. The use of ultrasound to allows physicians to work quicker than ever and promise their patients less downtime and side effects than any other modality used for fat or cellulite.  Those experienced with the device are betting VaserSmooth takes over as the newest Cellulite superstar!

vaser smooth cellulite results

CONCLUSIONS AND MY BASIC GUIDE TO CELLULITE 

I hope with this little Cellulite Review you better understand the nature of this bikini season nightmare! Prior to investing costly quick fixes, I encourage you to take a couple of months and focus of the basics.

My formula is one which consists of the essential 4 points below. As always, I stress healthy practices which will bring to your life much more than aesthetic benefits! Remember if you focus on health, the beauty will come naturally! I guarantee if you stick to the plan for 3 months you will see significant improvement SANS expensive devices and treatments!

  • Avoid foods sources harboring exogenous estrogens and preservatives!– Eat organic and mostly vegan foods.  Diet sodas and sugary, fried and packaged foods must be eliminated.  Since your fat harbors all toxins and excess hormones, you will see a tremendous improvement just by cutting out harmful food sources! See toxin and fat relationship in my previous post “Your Waistline and Health”
  • SWIM!! If cellulite is a major concern for you, I will again highlight the benefits of swimming! Swimming at minimum 3 times a week can do wonders for your lymphatic system and overall connective tissue health!
  • Get Weekly or Bi-Monthly Lymphatic Massages. Again, massage is a preventative health method consistently overlooked!  As mentioned, healthy lymphatic circulation is required to help flush the fat of toxins and liquids which cause disfigurment and dysfunctional processes associated with Cellulite. The aesthetic benefits of lymphatic drainage alone may be temporary, but, in combination with improved diet and excercise, could be key in preserving cellulite free skin!
  • Make sure getting Daily Fiber and Purified Water quota. This will help flush out toxins, improve circulation and health. All this will assure maximum energy levels, enhance immunity, stabilized mood and physical sense of “lightness” we need to stick to our healthy diet and lifestyle plan!

If you have tried these tips and still feel need extra support from treatments and products go for it!!

Cheers to smooth, tight and toned lower bodies!!!

Lovely cellulite free legs

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Aging Elengantly

Want to age like a pro?

As much as I love youth promising products and treatments, the most important things we can do to promote quality longevity are simple lifestyle modifications. What we eat, how we act and think, are what will ultimately dictate our biological age. How you age is really up to you! Genetics aside, we have the power to incorporate life enhancing acts to ward off the illnesses most commonly associated with our physical, mental and health decline.

     1. *****Make sure getting your vitamins and antioxidants!!

Juicing2

These are your primary defenses against cancer causing free radicals and stress related aging and disease!

How-to-tip: Make Fruits and veggies your go-to food .

  • Try Juicing in the morning, snack on veggies and include a variety of colored foods in your diet! Find some recipes and      tips on this helpful site All About Juicing.
  • The stronger in color, the higher vitamin and antioxidant power!
  • If you don’t trust you are getting in enough  antioxidants, try a trusted supplement like the one below from MacroLifeNaturals… Try the MarcroGreens or Miracle Reds! In Spain, a brand called Salangei makes some fantastic antioxidants supplements in capsules, check out  their product Phytomatrix here!

antiox supplement Miriacle Reds

     2. ****Drink purified water!! 

purified water benefits

Municipal water has been reported with potentially toxic amounts of Cholrine and Flourine. These chemicals have been associated with health hazards and urinary tract cancers.  Other toxic substances commonly found in tap water include lead, pesticides, benzene and heavy metals.  Taking into account we need 8-10 glasses daily to stay healthy, we should be wary of the quality of the water we drink!

How-to-tip:  Pass on sugary, artificially flavored, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and drink filtered water.

  • Buy a filter! I have to be honest, after researching, it’s still unclear to me how to choose the best water purification system. There have been numerous reviews stating ” the reverse osmosis types using a thin film composite membrane” are best! Readers Digest recommends the Aquasana brand. If anyone has any insight or opinions to share I would love to hear from you!
  • If you’re interested in learning about the reverse osmosis filtration process and a thin film composite membrane, I found      this link here quite informative. http://espwaterproducts.com/about-reverse-osmosis.htm.
  • To give flavor kick to your filtered water try adding a bit of vitamin and antiox goodness with citrus fruits!

Choose water

Kleen Kanteen

  • Lastly, if you’re going to go for store-bottled water, beware that not all are created equal. Bottled water seems to be less often screened or controlled than we might think. Also, mineral contents vary and could mean different health implications. Do your research on your favorite brands!

     3. ****Meditate!!

meditate for health

Daily meditation has been cited to be more effective than any other relaxation technique to lower long-term anxiety, ultimately, improving mental function and preventing premature aging. According to a Study conducted by Dr R Keith Wallce, those who meditated for more than 5 years averaged 12 years younger biologically than non-meditating counterparts!

How-to-tip: See my instructions in my post on Beauty Sleep!! (Won’t hurt to pick up some tips on sleep, as proper rest is vital in combating stress and disease! (: )

  • Set aside 5-15 minutes a day to recharge and unwind.
  • If you find sitting quietly too stressing , try a walking meditation or listen to meditation guidance tapes.

      4. ****Squeeze in 30 minutes of daily cardio!!

take the stairs for health

Cardiovascular activity helps prevent heart disease (hence the name), decreases stress and improves metabolism! All of this helps cut your chances against developing the most common diseases related to decreased quality of life and premature disease.

How-to-tip: Cardiovascular exercise has mean any activity which raises your heart rate and makes you sweat a bit. The gym is a great place for motivation and wide variety of aerobic classes and “cardio machines”. Power walking sessions, jogging, bicycling, gardening and even certain types of house cleaning can also serve as great ways to activate the body, exercise the heart and increase metabolism.

  • If you need some motivation to get in your morning workout check out my previous post for some tips “ABCs for a Rejuvenated Morning”.
  • If you just can’t seem to make time during your hectic day, take the stairs and walk every chance you get.
  • Avoid couch potatoe -ing at all costs! I guarantee, a fresh walk will feel so much better or your mind and body than ingesting both extra calories and exogenous TV anxieties.

     5. **** Include Omega 3s in your diet!!

omega 3 brain power

Increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis have been shown in those consuming diets low in Omega 3s. Poor cognitive function, depression, fatigue, memory, attention deficit issues, inflammatory conditions and even Alzheimer’s can all be warded off with regular consumption.

How-to-tip: Try incorporating cold water fish, walnuts, flaxseed or eggs from hens fed on greens to your daily diet.

Flaxseed Smoothie

Get your Omega 3s! Add flaxseeds to your smoothie

Nordic Natural Omega 3

        6. ****Wear Sunglasses!!

sunglasses for eye health

Not only do large chic sunglasses give you a few points on the fashion scale…. They can also help protect your from wrinkles, cataracts and growths such as pinguecula or pterygiums! The amount you squint is directly proportional to the stress you are implementing on the ultra sensitive skin around the eyes…Sunglasses minimize the need to squint. A pair of groovy shades also works to protect the peri-orbital skin from UV exposure and associated increased risk for skin cancer and signs of aging.. Lastly, sunglasses help protect the eyes from the above eye diseases which could affect your sight. Cataract formation is many times genetic and, for many,considered a normal part of aging (50 % of those over 80 have signs of cataracts). We can, however, slow their insidious onset by protecting ourselves when outdoors with UV protective lenses. Studies have shown those who protect themselves in early life with sunglasses are less likely to develop cataracts and other disturbing eye growths.

      7. ****Add Fibrous foods to every meal!!

High Fiber Foods AntiAging diet

The benefits of a high fiber diet include: decreasing risk of heart disease, aiding in excretion of cholesterol, maintaining digestive health, preventing diverticular disease, helping manage healthy blood sugar levels and diabetes, removing cancer causing toxins from gut and helping you control hunger and fight obesity.

By maintaining digestive health, high fiber diets also help stabilize feelings over all wellbeing. Furthermore, the fact that those who eat diets high in fiber tend to be able to control their appetite and weight better, means less risk of eating foods containing unhealthy fats and sugar. Proper nutrition further protects you from heart disease and diabetes.

AntiAging gurus from around the globe have one unified message in mind…longevity is strongly linked to diets with high Fiber:Sugar-Ratio! More fiber and less sugar is the definite formula to wellness!

How-to-tip: To find out how much fiber you need and some high fiber food suggestions see Mayo Clinics site.

  • For more on Anti-Aging foods check out this slide show from the Dr. OZ website site.
  • If you can’t seem to get enough dietary fiber in your diet…..take a trusted supplementary source. I kinda like this list of supplements listed on Top10Supplements.com….sorry kinda cheesy site but really liked their choices (:

organic fiber supplement

     8. ****If you have to drive….don’t forget your seat belt!!

Wearing Seat Belt AntiAging

Wearing Your Seat Belt can Assure Quality Life

Ok so this may not be directly antiaging but its LIFE PROLONGING! The number one cause of non-disease related death is car accidents. This said, you can decrease your risk in three ways 1) DON’T DRIVE 2) IF YOU DRIVE, DRIVE A BIG CAR (increases your chances of survival but at the cost of the environment) 3) WEAR A SEATBELT.

use of alternative transport could be life prolonging

Embracing alternative transportation is AntiAging

How-to-tip: At the least, fasten your seatbelt.

  • If you can avoid driving, do it! Live in a community which is accessible on foot or with use of alternative transportation. Choose to live close to your work and children’s school.
  • I’m not going to lie…I hate seat belts (they trigger a sense of claustrophobia), furthermore don’t like driving! I limit my families necessity for use of automobiles by limiting our activities to the areas of the city where we can easily get to by tram, metro or on foot. This is a personal lifestyle choice which I understand may not be ideal for many, for this reason I stress the importance of the alternative! Wear SEAT BELTS please!

     9. ****Shave!!

shaving is antiaging

Great news girls!…Mens graceful aging secret’s out!… Apart from the fact that men have better structured collagen, more active fibroblast activity (those cells which make collagen and elastin), their smooth, wrinkle free skin is partially due to the fact THEY SHAVE!!! Shaving is an amazing way to stimulate healthy cellular turnover and keep skin looking and acting young! I’m not telling the ladies to start shaving to keep their faces looking youthful, but I am giving the act of shaving some props after over a decade of bad press from the laser hair removal advocates! What I do want to stress is before you go off and laser those legs is that there may be another reason, other than economical, to choose shaving! We may consider it an antiaging act! I’m not sure this should be in the top 10 but definitely something you could do everyday to keep skin looking youthful!

     10. ****Protect your skin from UV radiation!!

protect skin from UV radiation

UV radiation and smoking are probably the 2 factors most strongly linked to premature skin aging. UV radiation is also our strongest correlating factor to skin cancer. Those desiring a skin ageing prevention technique need to start with the basics of UV prevention. Since most sun damage is occurred prior to the age of 18, it is vital to educate our children and loved ones to take precautions.

How-to-tips:

  • Use antioxidant products daily. See my post on “The Power of Antioxidants
  • Wear Sunscreen with SPF 30+ with UVA and UVB Protection .If you read the above post on Antioxidants you will notice I tend to prefer those which offer physical UV radiation barriers over chemical.
  • Place tinted UV-protective film to your car’s side and  rear windows as well as to house and business windows. According to Skincancer.org, these can block up to 99% of harmful UV radiation while  letting in 80% of light.
  • Wear special UV protective clothing when outside. Look for the Ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), the higher the better. I love CabanaLife, Mott50 and Coolibar for kids.
Protect UV clothing Cabanalife

Protect yourself with UPF Clothing

  • Invest in a Laundry UPF additives. These will potentiate clothing’s ability to protect you from the sun. SunGuard is one example, using a sunscreen chemical called Tinosorb FD. One wash with SunGaurd gives you a new UPF of 30 for up to 20 washes thereafter.
SunGuard protective UV wash

Add to your laundry wash for extra UV protection

  • Choose dark, tightly woven and loose-fitting clothing to provide the best barrier for skin from the sun.

Hope you enjoyed my recommendations and hope you find a way to apply them to your daily life!! If you need help on making better choices, talk to your doctor, nutritionist, fitness expert or antiaging guru and get a customized consultation!

Cheers to staying healthy and maintaining your most youthful you!

7 Comments

leg vein care

After reading The Body Project Leg Veins Part I, I hope you have a better understanding of why spider veins and varicose veins might develop and how you might be able to prevent the extent at which they affect you. Here, in the second part of this series, I hope to enlighten you on the options available to treat these conditions. From Sclerotherapy to surgery there are effective solutions! Below, I hope to help to decifer which treatment modality may be right for you.

  1. Sclerotherapy:

sclerotherapy

  • What is it? Your specialist will inject small amount of saline (essentially salt water) or chemical detergent into the lumen of the vein. This will damage and collapse the superficial, aesthetically displeasing, vein. Over days to weeks, the body will dispose of the remaining debris from the damaged vein.
  • What kind of veins is it best for? Spider veins or small varicose veins
  • Treatment and aftercare? Your doctor will use a tiny needle to inject a small amount of the chosen product into each vein. It may burn a bit but is generally well tolerated.
    • Afterwards your doctor will compress the injected site with a cotton ball and place tape over it to hold it in place. You will be instructed to wear compression stockings for a few days. Once you take the stockings off, the bandages can be removed and, you should see a notable improvement. It may take an additional couple weeks to see complete resolution of any redness or bruising.

spider vein tx

  • How much does it cost? $250-350/ session. You will need 1-3 sessions spaced at about 6 weeks apart.
  • Additional considerations? Best to do in winter as the injection sites take a few weeks to heal and must be kept out of the sun.
  • Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy? For bigger veins your specially trained physician will use ultrasound – sound waves  – to guide the procedure for maximum accuracy and safety.
foam sclero pic

Foam Sclerotherapy Technique

  • Foam sclerotherapy?Is a technique where the sclerosant is mixed with air or gas in a syringe to make a foam. This foam is then injected into the veins and is more capable to making contact with the walls of the vein to cause consequent spasm and closure.  Some experts are now saying this is the gold standard for small to medium size varicose veins.

2.  Laser Therapy

laser leg veins

  •  What is it? Using a laser, specific for the chromophore hemoglobin (the portion of a red blood cell responsible for giving its color), we can heat the vein from within and damage the vessel permanently.
  • What kind of veins is it best for? Veins less than 3 mm in diameter and most commonly red spider veins, telangiectasias or telangectasic matting (collection of superficial micro blood vessels that often occurs as a result of injury or sclerotherapy).
  • Treatment and after-care? Your doctor or specialist cool the area to be treated and then will deliver laser pulses to several areas along a vein until it blanches or gives indication for successful treatment. Each pulse feels a bit like a rubber band snap. It’s a bit uncomfortable but is over quite quick.
    • No bandaging involved but your doctor might prescribe a soothing serum and support stockings. Once again sun exposure is to be avoided at all costs while the treatment area is healing.
  • How much does it cost? $150-$300 per session. Like sclerotherapy, you may need up to 3 sessions.
  • Additional considerations? There are a variety of different lasers that can be used. Depending on the color, size or the depth of the vein being treated, you doctor may decide to use one type over another. Some of the laser options available in doctors offices are 532nm KTP, 755nm Alexandrite or 1064nm Nd:Yag.
  • Laser Therapy is considered an acceptable option for spider veins and telangectasia BUT most agree sclerotherapy is best for those veins you can get a needle into. Laser therapy is a great option for those with facial telangectasias or those who just don’t like needles.  Like most laser treatments, you must avoid sun while skin is healing.

3.  IPL

IPL leg veins

  • What is it? IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light. Unlike a laser, which uses a specific wavelength to treat a target of a specific color (chromophore) and depth, IPL uses a light spectrum of many different wavelengths. This means:          1)  IPL, using many different wavelengths, can treat may different targets of varying depths and chromophores. Being less specific has advantages and disadvantages. Advantage being it can treat for skin quality, pigment problems and vascular issues in the same treatment! Disadvantage being we ar more at risk of affecting skin color when treating a vein; this puts darker skin types at risk for pigment changes and side effects.                                                                                               2) IPL is a much less powerful treatment than laser for any specific condition. For this reason you may need several treatments of IPL to get the same result as one treatment with laser.
  • What kind of veins is it best for?  Its best for telangiectasias, hemosiderin staining and residual redness after alternative vein therapy treatment. IPL is the gold standard for mild to moderate Rosacea.
  • Treatment and after-care? After applying a protective gel, your doctor will  place a cooled crystal tip of varying sizes over the area of concern. Several pulses may be delivered to each site until a visual darkening or resolution of the vascular defect is noted. No specific after care is called for however most often, a hydrating serum or reparative balm may be prescribed along with sunscreen.
  • How much does it cost? $200-$400. If you don’t improve after 1-2 treatments  you may need to consider a different treatment modality.
  • Additional considerations?  Extra care must be taken with darker skin individuals as IPL, since less specific for blood hemoglobin, can impose higher risk of pigmentation irregularities secondary to treatment.

4.  Invasive Options: Endovenous Ablation and Vein Stripping

     RadioFrequency (RF) or Laser Endovenous Ablation (EVLA)

  • Procedure: Your doctor will use ultrasound to guide him in the correct treatment of the varicose vein.. A needle will be inserted into the vein to help wire and catheter placement. Next a probe is inserted into the catheter tube in order to be treat the varicose walls from within with the RF or Laser. Both mechanisms will use heat to damage the inside of the vein. This damage will shut down the vein and cause the body to eliminate the damaged portions.
  • Envenous Ablation is considered a minimally invasive procedure. It is best indicated for medium to large size varicose veins and is considered a less risky treatment that Vein Stripping (see below).

EVLA varicose treatment

  • RF causes less heat than laser and therefore may be a gentler form of endovenous ablation to damage the varicose veins. New studies report less side effects with RF.
  • Both RF and laser endovenous ablation techniques use tiny incisions that heal without stitches and rather quickly.
  • These treatments can usually be done on as an outpatient basis but someone must drive you home after treatment to avoid agitation to treatment area.  Compression stockings are to be worn continuously for two weeks after endovenous ablation and  you are not allowed to get the area treated wet during this time.
  • Although one treatment takes care of most bothersome vasculature and relieves any associated discomfort, an additional treatment may be necessary to see complete aesthetic resolution of varicosities.
  • Those with spider veins, hemosiderin staining or telangectasic matting, will benefit from additional treatment of IPL and sclerotherapy.
  • Treatments average about $1200 a treatment session.

EVLA

     Vein Stripping:

  • Vein stripping is an older surgical technique in which your doctor will make incisions to remove unwanted portions of the vein.There are some doctors extremely experienced with this technique but stripping requires longer recovery and carries increased risk of side effects and DVTs.
  • For smaller varicose veins a procedure called hook phlebectomy can be used. Hook phlebectomy consists of the use of multiple small incisions to “hook and fish out” the vein using surgical hooks or forceps. The procedure is done under local or regional anesthesia, in an operating room or an office “procedure room.”
  • Larger veins require larger incisions made behind the knee or in the groin area. These incisions require several stitches and therefore are associated with increased risk of infection.  Anesthesia is always needed as well as an overnight stay.

vein stripping results

     VenaSeal

Last but not least, I’m happy to report a new exciting approach to varicose veins just on the horizon! Lucky for me I happen to have spent a lovely evening with Dr Proebstle of Mannheim Germany at a Solta Event Launching their new Total Tip for Thermage.  Dr Proebstle is a valued visionary and practitioner in the field of dermatology. This said, he often helps medical companies improve and test their newest and most innovative products. He shared with me his preliminary thoughts on VenoSeal varicose vein therapy. Here is what I found out!

VenaSeal new varicose vein treatment

newest treatment modality for varicose veins

  • The treatment involves injecting a glue type substance called Cyanoacrylate into the veins. This glue shuts off the lumen and causes a foreign body reaction forming fibrosis (a scar) in place of the damaged varicosity and therefore aesthetic resolution.
  •    This treatment protocol has been previously performed by vascular surgeons to safety treat congenital vein abnormalities, but, only recently, attempted for varicose vein treatments.
  •  The VenaSeal treatment is quick…most take only about 15 minutes.
  •  Requires no anesthesia or use of compression stockings, and normal activity can be resumed immediately after treatment.
  •   Currently this treatment is being studied in an international trial –eSCOPE (European Saphenous Closure System Observational Prospective) and is only available to those patients whose doctors are acting as trial investigators.
  •  It is NOT FDA approved but we are hoping commercial availability in Europe soon!

Check out this video here for more details http://www.venaseal.com/how-venaseal-works/

Which procedure is right for you?

  • All techniques are effective when conducted by experienced practitioners.
  • I often find that the best treatments are not device or procedure dependent but depend on the expertise of the doctors or specialist performing them.
  • You must get a consult from a several highly recommended providers. They will access your health and individual needs prior to recommending one procedure over another.

Will they return once treated?

For many, Yes. Unfortunately, if you have a strong family history of accumulating spider or varicose veins, others will form with time. However, if you take my tips from the first part of this series seriously, you can slow the rate at which they tend to sprout. Again, check out my tips here!

If these veins are an inevitable part of your future,  be aware of what you can do to make sure your lifestyle, diet and habits don’t contribute to the gravity of their presence. Also, once you have them, it’s a good idea to treat them early and prevent them from progressing into more than just aesthetic nuisances. Especially with varicose veins, the older they become the more likely to get larger, more painful, and complicated to treat!

Bottom line….get proactive, see a specialist and one step closer to replacing those leggings for summer dresses and boy shorts!

get nice legs

Cheers to silky smooth stems!!

2 Comments

summer ready legsBEAUTIFUL LEGS 101: Who is in?

  Talking about mini-skirts in my Body Project: Skin Essentials post, …..got me thinking about a few other conditions we must address prior to showcasing our summer-ready legs. One of these conditions is what I have found to haunt even the best cared for physiques….unsightly leg veins!

varicose vein

lets get a handle on how to prevent unsightly leg veins

The veins in our legs have an important and difficult job.  They push deoxygenated blood back up towards our hearts to be filtered and re-oxygenated.  The aesthetically bothersome leg veins are referred to as varicose and spider veins. These are the types of leg veins bring women into clinics seeking care. According to the women’s health organization they affect over 50% or all women and over 40% of all men.  They seem to creep up on us slowly and then get worse when we are not paying attention.  They also tend to shock us from time to time, appearing in places we thought we might be spared. They are not pretty, make us feel old and bring attention to our legs in ways we do not desire…they must go!  So what can we do about them?? I am breaking up this topic in 2 posts. Below I list the useful facts about this topic and important information to everyone on how to prevent them from appearing or getting worse.

**THE FACTS**

What are spider veins and varicose veins and why do they form?

Varicose veins are winding and twisting tubular or cord-like structures that appear on legs. Not only are these a bit unsightly but they can get quite painful when swollen. Varicose can vary in size, depth, elevation and range from flesh to purplish in color. Varicose veins are a result of something called venous insufficiency (VI). VI results because the valves within the veins responsible for keeping blood flowing upward against gravity,  get compromised (damaged or lose stiffness). The reason for this valvular compromise can be genetic, due to hormones, or associated with certain environmental factors such as diet, medications and activity. VI is also strongly associated with those who are overweight. Compromised valves have both health and aesthetic consequences; making it harder for these veins to do their job. When the valves get damaged, veins must compensate by getting wider, thicker and taking extra turns to make sure blood continues in the right direction and at the correct pace. This ultimately causes the vascular disfigurement we refer to “varicose veins”.

formation varicose vein

A spider vein, also known as a telangectasia,  can be a less concerning, but more common sign of a compromised or challenged superficial venous vascular system. They result for much of the same reasons as varicose veins but also as a result of an injury to the superficial skin and tissues.  Spider veins, look like varicose veins but are usually much smaller (less than 1mm in diameter), and most often not raised.

spider vein formation

Other Contributing Factors

As we age, our vessels, like our skin, lose elasticity and get weaker and more susceptible to damage. Older veins are unable to handle the pressure younger vessels are able to withstand and our valves break easier causing more blood pooling and further weakening and disfigurement of the veins.

As mentioned above genetics and hormones also help dictate which individuals suffer most often from varicose and spider veins.  Your genetics will dictate what type of valves you have and sometimes if you even have them at all!

Those who have family history of varicose veins are 50% more likely to suffer from them. Evidence of this lies in the fact that not even olympic athletes are not spared from developing spider and varicose veins.

Surges of estrogen and progesterone from pregnancy and supplementation can make us more susceptible to vein damage.

Some other environmental factors encouraging formation of varicose and spider veins: sun damage, excess weight, excess blood supply associated with pregnancy, constipation, injury or compromise to legs, hips or groin area, and prolonged standing or sitting.

Apart from the aesthetic, are there any medical concerns of which one should be aware of?

Yes, if your leg veins hurt when standing or walking or you notice a sore forming near one of the varicose veins, you should seek medical advice. The medical concerns that may arise as a result of varicose veins are:

  • Venous stasis: Chronic blood pooling in the low leg could result in a skin condition known as stasis dermatitis. Stasis Dermatitis occurs because of the mounting pressure within the varicose vein results in sub-optimal nutrition of the surrounding skin. The skin becomes dark, dry or scaly and is more susceptible to ulceration formation. Once an ulcer forms, it can take months of professional care to heal and has high probability for reoccurrence.
  • Superficial Phlebitis: Inflammation of the superficial vein may arise if a clot forms in a varicose or other superficial leg vein. If you notice your vein become warm, inflamed and tender…call your doctor immediately. Although superficial phlebitis is usually not usually associated with the dangers of a deep vein phlebitis, you should go and see your doctor so he can assure the low risk nature of your symptoms.  Most often the superficial phlebitis will resolve with elevation of the leg,  warm compresses, some aspirin and elastic support.
  • Thrombosis: Those with severe varicose veins may be at risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVTs. DVT risk is increased with valvular insufficiency of the deep venous vascular system. DVTs are life-threatening, as the clots formed can dislodge and head straight for vital structures such as the heart or lungs.   If you feel heavy pain, swelling and tenderness of your leg (most often your calf) which gets worse with upward bending of your foot…go to the emergency room immediately!

**PREVENTION**

Although the tendency to accrue leg veins is highly genetic and based on sensitivity to certain hormones, there are certain things we can do to help prevent them.

  • Exercise to help improve the overall health of the circulatory system, give optimal tissue nutrition and function.
keep legs fit and encourage vein health

Keeping legs fit promotes optimal vascular health

  • Maintaining healthy leg muscle tone, this will take some stress of the venous valves as the muscles will help stimulate blood flow in the right direction…..YOU NEED TO EXERCISE!
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding mid-section weight accumulation will limit pressure on the legs.
  • Avoiding extended hours on our feet and when sitting elevate legs to give lower venous vascular system a rejuvenating rest.
  • Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time, especially on airplanes. This constricts blood flow in the veins, making more work for the venous vascular system of the legs.
crossing legs puts stress on circulatory sytem of legs

Beware of sitting cross legged for extended periods

  • Practice inversions: Legs up wall pose, shoulder stands and head-stands are ways you can offer extra relief to the venous vascular system. I propose incorporating a 10 minute gentle relaxation/ inversion pose after you daily exercise. This will do wonders for your legs, metabolism and brain. Check out my post here “ABCs for a Rejuvenated Morning”.
inversions help vein health

Marilyn practicing Shoulder-Stand

  • Wear support stockings when necessary and whenever possible.  According to the Center of Vein Restoration “Gradient compression socks or stockings help improve the blood flow by compressing the veins and making the valves in the veins work more efficiently. This is done by delivering the highest level of compression at the ankle and gently decreasing this pressure up the leg.  Improving blood flow helps the wearer experience immediate relief from tired, aching legs”.
  • There are 3 kinds of compression stockings: Support pantyhose (no graduated, offer little support throughout the leg), gradient compression hose (offer more compression in the places most needed), and prescription strength compression hose (offer best and most pressure but need to be fitted and prescribed by professional). The last two can only be bought in drugstores and by medical supply companies…they are extremely effective but  often less fashionable ): Lucky for us a woman in southern california started a brand that are actually quite fun!….., check out her website and styles here
rejuvahealth compression stocking

Rejuva Health Fashionable compression stockings

  • Massage and Lymphatic drainage to improve health of overall tissue, lymphatic and vascular system. Warning: if you experience pain with pressure applied to affected area of legs, do not get a massage and get a medical consult! To learn more on Massage benefits check out my previous post here!

lymphatic drainage for leg health

  • Eat a diet high in fiber and low in salt. This will help prevent digestive constipation and water retention which can attribute to increase pressure on the venous vascular system.
  • Avoid using undergarments which squeeze hips, groin and low abdominal area; this could make more work for the leg veins to work against when trying to push blood through this area.  I always tell people to beware of those tummy and buttock shapers if not equally providing support for the legs. These are ok for a few hours for a special occasion but regular use of extra tight support in this low middle area might encourage the formation of spider or varicose veins…especially if you have a genetic tendency!
  • Wear comfortable shoes and avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Comfortable shoes cause less stress on our vascular system and therefore less trauma to our vessels and better circulation. Low heeled shoes can help tone our calve muscles, improve vein health and aid proper venous flow.
comfy feet for spider vein prevention

If you can’t live without heels, make sure they are comfortable!

  • Don’t Smoke. Smoke can inhibit optimal blood circulation and contribute to Vitamin C and Bioflavinoid deficiencies leading to poor elastin and collagen production and weakened vessels.
  • Take leg protecting supplements which include helpful ingredients such as Vitamin C and B, hesperidin, diosmin, Fish oil, Gingko, Bacopa and Grape Seed. These ingredients help strengthen vascular structure and promote circulatory health
    • Other supplements shown to improve venous insufficiency symptoms are Bilberry, Gotu kola, horse chestnut, butchers broom.
    • An example of a supplement which incorporates many of these ingredients is Swanson Time Release Leg Vein Essentials.

swanson leg vein essentials

  • Increase foods high in antioxidants to improve tissue health and circulation: blueberries, green tea, grapes, berries, pineapples, chillies, dark chocolate, garlic, turmeric, fish, ginger and olive oil.  For a list of foods which have shown promise in keeping veins healthy go to http://www.healwithfood.org/varicoseveins/foods.php

So I hope you got the background you needed to identify and understand what these leg nuisances are, why they form and what we can do to prevent them. For those of you who have already experienced an encounter with spider or varicose veins, check out my upcoming post “Leg Veins Part 2: The Solutions”. It should be out in a few days!!

Until then, I beg all shoe makers….please invent sexy, comfy, not-to-high heeled and fashionable shoes!! For the sake of conserving our young and beautiful legs!! We will be forever faithful!  Anyone got any leg friendly and fabulous shoe favs??? Please share!

inversion helps maintain leg health, Antiageingsavantess

Handstand in heels anyone…nice balance, don’t you think??

5 Comments

      get laser beautiful at home

Do you ever wish there was a bit more you could do for your aesthetic concerns from the comfort of your own home?

Medical grade aesthetic treatments are expensive, require downtime and are a bit of a hassle to organize into your life. For this reason, laser companies have made attempts to help create “mini, hand held devices” with less potent, but effective technologies, to be used for personal use at home.  These device offer smaller benefits to the skin than a treatment offered in a medical office, but with this also advantageously bring less risk of side effects. The idea is that with regular use, started in younger patients, they could offer protective and even palliative therapy to those who use them. They devices used alone or in combination with topical treatments, help skin maintain youthful properties and stimulate healthy behavior. With consistent use, they cultivate beautiful skin and hair that only more aggressive modalities were able to deliver.

Below, I have listed some of the best researched and physician supported mini devices. They offer solutions to tone and texture issues, collagen loss, sun damage, eye and lip wrinkling, hair loss, acne, sensitive skin and overall skin aging. To some, they may seem pricey, but when considering the cheapest physician mediated procedure starts around $150 Euros, you can quickly imagine how these devices will save you money and give you results you thought only your doctor could promise.

  1. For Tone and Texture: Keeping Skin Fresh

PMD at home microdermabrasion

PMD Personal Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is probably the most sought after device-mediated aesthetic treatment in both doctors’ offices and medical spas. Patients love it because it gives smoother clearer skin instantly. Microdermabrasion is an ideal treatment to help clear up blackheads, remove dead skin cells and absorb topical creams better. Physician’s love microderm prior to any medical laser or application of topical medicine, as it improves proximity to the target skin layer (the newer and deeper skin).  By helping assure healthy skin stays on surface, we are able to keep skin radiant and hydrated (as dead skin cells prevent optimal hydration potential). The more hydrated, the better protected and the less likely we are to form static fine lines and wrinkles.

PMD allows you to do mini sessions of microdermabrasion at home. This means with consistent use, you are getting the benefits of microdermabrasion at regular intervals and, therefore, keeping wrinkles, discolorations and dull appearance of the skin at bay.  With concurrent use of topical skin care, you can save yourself money, and time and make smooth, even-toned skin, your signature look.

Use once a week. Watch a video here

My Take: Microderm is a great treatment for the treatment of blackheads and prevention of sun spots and fine lines. It’s also an amazing way to prep skin for application of any cream or treatment.

Catch: As much as I love microdermabrasion, you must continually do it to maintain its results.  I find skin looks great for a time after treatment but if you are not doing anything to change the skin structure, you skin tends to go back to its only habits. Also, it’s not suitable for sensitive skin types, (this includes rosacea sufferers), as they may get additional irritation in response to treatment. Those who have active acne must also beware; they may spread the bacteria and suffer an additional acne flare after treatment.

Where? Online $179

     2.   For Collagen Stimulation for Aging Skin: Repairing and Strengthening Skin

SilknFace FX Antiaging at home

Silkn Face Fx AntiAging

This device uses a combination of fractional red light therapy and deep thermal heating to stimulate collagen and helping keep skin looking and action youthful.

Benefits of red light have been well documented for anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Red light can safely and easily penetrate to the deeper dermal skin layer where age related effects are most often inflicted.

The effect of deep thermal heating, increases the metabolism of fibroblasts and other connective tissue cells leading to increased collagen and elastin fiber. Heat increases blood flow to the skin, improving nutrition and waste elimination, restoring healthy function and decreasing age and disease related inflammation.

The cumulative result of regular use of low-grade red light and heat therapy results in skin plumping, reduced pore size, and a brighter, more even complexion.

Each session lasts about 15-20 min and looks like this.

My Take: I love the gentle and reparative nature of this device. I think ideal for those who have suffered effects of premature sun or smoking related aging.  You can appreciate the strengthening and plumping of the skin after only a few weeks. The skin is undeniably healthier in both color and overall appearance! I believe in combination with some nutritional support, Silkn Face could serve as a good way to restore health of weakened and damaged skin!

Catch: If you are expecting miraculous results you will be disappointed. This is a treatment you must use religiously (3x/week) for the first weeks to start noticing more healthy and smooth skin, The results will be subtle but visible.

Where? Online $299

     3.       For an Eye and Lip Wrinkle Reduction and Rejuvenation

JeNu

JeNu

JeNu is an ultrasound assisted skin care device for eye and lip area.

JeNu uses the beneficial properties of ultrasound (US) to enhance uptake of well documented micro sphered anti-aging agents into the commonly problematic areas of the eyes and lips. These agents include vitamins, peptides, antioxidants and Hyaluronic acid. Results have shown 12 fold increase absorption potential of these ingredients with the use of the JeNu Ultrasound device. Ultrasound works by creates a mechanical pressure waves which causes molecular components of the skin to vibrate and move. These vibrations alter the stratum corneum, (the outermost layer of the skin), making it more permeable to products applied topically.  It does this by removing obstacles such as lipids and create temporary micro-channels through which the above mentioned micro-sphered agents could move through.  These micro-channels essentially provide a path for these anti-ageing agents to reach deeper skin layers, where they could better work against common changes associated with skin aging.

Since Jenu uses safe, gentle doses of US, it is safe to use at home. After just two weeks we have seen, exponentially improved skin hydration and diminished appearance of wrinkles.  Treatment of the lips results in plumper, fuller and smoother lips. Patients claim up to 48% diminished appearance of fine lines.

JeNu can be used daily. You will notice changes even from the first application.

My take: I believe in JeNu’s principle, as I have seen effective no-needle meso therapy techniques using US for various skin conditions.  I believe US is an idea aesthetic modality as it quite safe in small doses for personal use. Since the skin around the eyes and mouth tend to age much quicker, I think it’s quite nice to have a device which helps us improve treatment of these areas at home.

Catch: Seems to be kind of a pain to do this treatment long-term. I would plan on doing intense treatment intervals a few times a year and take other measures to protect your eyes and lip area in between. Also this is not a good treatment for those who have medium to deep static wrinkles. In cases of more severe wrinkles, you may want to consider seeing  your dermatologist for more attention. For more information on preventing wrinkles see “Baby Botox and other Wrinkle Prevention Treatments”. Also,  see my post titled “ Lip talk” for more tips on lip care!

Where? Online $249

     4.       For the Treatment and  Prevention of Hair loss

Hair Max Laser Comb

Hair Max Comb

With aging, there are inevitable hormone and skin changes resulting in both medical and aesthetic concerns. As a result of these changes, skin’s function declines and so does the way it grows hair. Medications and Hair Restoration Therapies are commonly chosen by those patients who refuse to let aging hair patterns take place. Others try vitamin supplements and some over the counter products with some success. But what if there was something a bit more effective than that which is offered in your local drug store and less aggressive than Hair Restoration?  The Hair max comb seems to qualify as such a procedure that can be done safely and effectively from the comfort of your home.

Hair Max Comb is the only at home medical class II device that is approved by the FDA to treat hair loss and stimulate growth for men and woman.

The technology of the HairMax comb involves the use of visible light, from the red light spectrum, to treat hair loss and stimulate hair follicles. The light promotes healthier hair by 1) Improving circulation, nutrition and waste elimination (including elimination of DHT, a hormone which inhibits hair growth) and 2) Increasing cellular activity in the hair follicle and enhancing the microclimate in which hair growth thrives.

Clinical studies have shown 93 % of users report both improved growth and appearance of hair in after 4 months of use.

Use 3 times a week for a minimum of 3 months. Continued use brings best results!

My take: I love the safely profile of this device and the fact that it is free of side effects of medications and surgeries. Furthermore, the light therapy acts preventively by improving the overall health of the skin of the entire scalp!  A healthier scalp means we are insuring it works better to grow thicker and fuller hair in the future, something that other therapies cannot promise. Sounds like we may be able to do more than just pray our hair doesn’t fall out!  Successful and healthy aesthetic-preserving strategies do exist!! See my post “The Power of Hair” for more tips on keeping hair beautiful!

Catch: It’s a bit of a long, slow processes so you must commit as you would to a gym routine!

Where? Online,  Sephora $259

     5.       For Deep Cleansing/ Anti-imperfections/ Sensitive Skin Care

clarisonic brush healthy skin base

Clarisonic Cleansing System

Ever feel like your skin still feels dirty even after a few rounds of using your favorite cleanser? Chances are it still is! The impurities left on the surface may contribute to uneven tone and texture or even black heads and acne. The Clarisonic brush can make sure this doesn’t happen!

Clarisonic uses a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to gently, and 6X more efficiently, remove dirty residue off your skin. The sonic technology helps prep the skin so that your creams and serums are at their maximum effectiveness. Dermatologists agree that clean skin is the most logical first step toward healthier looking skin.

The sonic frequency induces micro-massage motions via the brushes and gentle releases dirt and contaminants from pores. The end result is healthier tissue and less inflammation associated with bacterial contamination and sub-clinical allergies. The skin will have less blackheads, be more even in tone, texture and color.

To use: Twice a day, with non-abrasive cleanser (without micro-beads for exfoliating) prior to applying serums and creams. Can be used on any body area. Treatment time is one minute per area. Clarisonic is waterproof so perfect for shower or tub use. Must be charged prior between uses.

My Take: This is a great device to have. It’s ideal for sensitive skin types as it’s gentle and may remove allergens and bacteria causing subclinical inflammation, reactivity and acne!

Where? Online $119-200 depending on size. There is even one made especially for the body $229

     6.       For Acne

At home Acne Claro

Claro

This device uses Intense Pulsed Light Technology (using benefits of heat and light) to quickly and effectively clear acne breakouts without the use of medications or harsh topical creams.

This FDA approved device can be used regularly to kill acne causing bacteria and decrease inflammation to calm angry acne.  The device delivers a 6 second pulse of the red, blue and green light concurrently with heat over the area of concern.  After just 2 pulses, users see improvement in terms of decreased redness, size of papule and associated pain. Portable, battery operated and chargeable this device is ideal for anyone suffering from acne, who wants a safe and fast way to treat reactive skin.

My take: For those suffering from acne, there is a huge comfort in having this device by your side. It helps you recover twice as fast and leaves less potential for picking and scar formation.  Also prevents you from running to your doctor for the occasional flare and puts the power to heal acne in your hands. Best of all, this is an “organic option” in comparison to corticosteroid shots and other strong medications your specialist may offer.

Catch: This is only good for those with a few occasional mild-moderate acne lesions. If you get dozens of papules all over your face, you need more support. Call your doctor to get your acne under control and then control occasional acne emergencies at home with healthy diet, hygiene and your Claro.

Where?  Online, Nordstroms, Best Buy $195

     7.       For Anti-Aging Rejuvenation

ReAura2

ReAura

Solta Medical and Philips have joined forces and developed ReAura. Solta is famed for its Fraxel technology, offering unsurpassed medical aesthetic care for everything from pre-cancers, to sunspots and acne scarring. They have now used the same technological basis to create a less aggressive, handheld system known as ReAura. ReAura works, much like its parent technology, to stimulate the body’s natural cell renewal process to rejuvenate skin. ReAura works deep; to replace old damaged skin, with healthy new ones. Treating Bi-weekly for 8 weeks you will be able to visually appreciate a change in your skin. Skin will become stronger, smoother, and more even in color. Fine lines and sun damage are also addressed as you continue to use the device. The idea is that ReAura is causing a controlled injury which when repaired leaves healthier tissue which looks and acts more like the skin of your youth. ReAura also comes with calming serum, containing anti-inflammatory properties such as chamomile, St. Johns, Wort and Edelweiss extracts. The serum helps relieve skin after treatment so you recover quickly and can continue on with your normal daily activities.

To be used twice a week for 8 weeks for maximal results. Can be used 2-3 times a year, depending on necessity and only when can limit sun exposure (as your skin will be more sensitive to the sun!).

My Take: My favorite at home device by far. Its technology and efficacy has major investigational backing by doctors and Solta Medical. With consistent use of ReAura, I believe you can keep your skin fresh and healthy and prevent signs of aging. It’s on my wish list….I hope to give you real-time experience soon!

The Catch: Quite expensive (but when you consider the results you are getting a steal!!) and can only be bought in Europe!! Sorry my US friends, you must take a holiday to the Europe to track one down!

Where? Online www.douglas.nl and www.spacenk.co.uk 799 Pounds

Closing Statements!

These are fantastic devices, if you want to get more out of your @home routine…now you know how. There are a few other devices that I love but didn’t mention above such as PaloVia Laser for eye wrinkle reduction $500, Baby Quasar MD for wrinkles $795 and Wellbox, at home endermologie, for Cellulite and Body Smoothing $1700. Make sure to send me you questions or inquires about any of the above devices or others not mentioned. We are getting far in this sector and devices are getting smarter.  At this years ASLMS (American Society of Laser Medicine), lead doctors and scientists took time to discuss these devices and their benefits for patients skin. This is impressive and means we are getting statistically significant results from these small wonders. The technological age has arrived… be sure not to  let your skin miss out on all the fun!!

For more on my laser adventures, follow me on my facebook page AntiAgeing Savantess or on Instagram and Twitter! I would love to share my journeys with you!

Cheers to Mini- Lasers and Devices and their Futuristic Skin Promises coming to life!

3 Comments
showing skin

Let’s get skin in shape for the warm weather!

With the cold and dry weather finally giving skin a break, it’s time to get ready to show some more skin!!

Body skin care is often overlooked. Our time, effort and money is most often funneled into taking care of our face… as it is the area of our body we see most often, and prize most. Because of this lack of care, it is most often a neglected body area that gives away our age. Time and time again, I see patients whose’ facial skin appears 10 years younger than the skin on their hands, chest or legs. It’s also because of this wrinkly stained and saggy skin that many women approaching their early 50s come in complaining of feeling old but not being able to afford the quite pricey and aggressive body corrective procedures.

Ladies, we need to start earlier and at home….with quality body skin care! I agree, this is easier said than done but spring time can be an ideal time to research and invest in a nice product or two. Recovery from winter skin will help prep skin for exhibition in the summer and also prioritize spring as a time for body enhancement!!

Even though nutrition, exercise and some TLC from your dermatologist or other aesthetic specialist may be in order… you can begin with the use of a functional product…. And then access if further attention is needed.

Good products for the body are hard to find….they tend to incorporate cheaper ingredients which don’t really do much more than just quench dry skin temporarily! Below, I list a few of my selected favorites. I have bunched them in two phases. The first involves “Polishing and Renew” and the second is “Repair Plump, and Nurturing”. For most, I recommend using one product from each category. You may want to start with a “Polish and Renew” product, then incorporate a “Repair, Plump and Nurture” as you see fit.

PHASE 1: Polish and Repair

– Out with the old and in with the new….let’s get fresh, healthy cells to the skin surface stimulating healthier activity and glow.

Option 1:  A Reboot for Dry, Flaky Aged Skin

Body retexturing treatment-SC

Skin Ceuticals Body Retexuring Treatment 200 ml

Exfoliiates and stimulates using only the most scientific ingredients. Skin will rapidly transform and appear more even, smooth and become soft to touch.  To be used one to two times daily until you achieve your desired result, then on a weekly basis for maintenance.

  • Key Ingredients include:17.7% hydroxyethyl urea/aminosulfonic acid compound (stimulates cellular renewal and restores normal cellular activity), 4% Niacinimide (a form of vitamin B3, calms via anti-inflammatory effects), Hyaluronic Acid (improves hydration capacity).  Leaves skin smoother, with improved tone and overall appearance.
  • Where? Doctors office, SkinCeuticals.com, $60

Option 2: A Luxurious Gentle Way to Revitalize Skin

La Prarie Cellular Body Exfolliator

La Prairie CELLULAR MINERAL BODY EXFOLIATOR200 ml

This product is a bit pricey but may serve as your go-to product when prepping for a special event. It leaves skin refined, silky and smooth. I know many that use this product prior to doing any skin bronzing. Its ultra-fine texture doesn’t leave any residue, its prefect for assuring polished skin surface.

  • Key Ingredients include: Mineral-rich gem powders, rosa centifola, smithsonite extract and La Prairie’s exclusive Cellular Complex.
  • Where? Department stores, Cosmetic Boutiques, Online. $125

Option 3: A Natural Detoxifying and Smoothing Gel For Younger Skin Types.

Jurlique

Jurlique Body Exfoliating Gel-300ml

This product offers the amazing experience of gentle exfoliation, detoxification and nutrient/antioxidant infusion, all in one! Skin is left soft, protected and visibly more radiant. Best applied after shower or bathing.

  • Ingredients include: Walnut Shell Powder (gently exfoliates), Witch Hazel, Rosemary, Tea Tree Oil, (balance skin), avocado oil, lactic acid and glycerin (soften skin), Green Tea Extract, Grape Seed Extracts, Grapefruit Extracts and Vitamin A, C, E(antioxidants and vitamins, protect and restore normal function) .
  • Where? Online, $40

Option 4: Organic Spa-Like Body Cutis Rejuvenation

NEOM luxury Organic Scrub

NEOM Real Luxury: Organic Body Scrub 332 g

This is a rich, pampering sugar based scrub, infused with nutrient rich oils. Leaves skin soft, enriched and radiant.  This product is great for those who want to enjoy their pampering experience and disconnect as they truly connect with the products essence.

  • Ingredients include: Along with an organic sugar base, many oils infused in this dreamy skin potion.  Of these oils, two of the most beneficial are its’ Safflower & Jojoba oil with added Vitamin E. Most of these oils serve to soften, balance and restore skin health. Pure essential oils, (Lavender, Jasmine & Brazilian Rosewood), give it its’ famed relaxing and luxurious scent.
  • Where? Online from UK site…but deliver almost everywhere for a price! 32 British Pounds

Option 5: Refreshing and Hydrating Way to Reinvigorate Skin

Clarin body exfoliator for new skin

Clarins Smoothing Body Scrub For a New Skin– 200ml

Using the polishing power of bamboo powder, an essential skin toners and effective detoxifiers, leaves skin feeling fresh, smooth and healthy.  Rich emollients are added to assure a hydrated skin base.

  • Ingredients include: Bamboo powders (natural silica micro beads exfoliate and renew) Moringa extract (pulls out skin impurities), Mimosa Tenuiflora (nurtures and repairs) and Cyamopsis and Shea (hydrate and protect).
  • Where? Online, Cosmetic Boutiques, Department Stores $36

PHASE 2: Repair Plump, Tone and Nurture

-Get active ingredients in to activate healthier cell activity, promote collagen production and improve overall elasticity and tone.

Option 1: Tightening and Smoothing Treatment

Strivectin TL tightening body cream

Strivectin TL Tightening Body Cream -200ml

This is a hydrating, non-greasy cream which works to stimulate thicker, healthier skin. Although skin visually improves after only one application, the full effect is seen using twice daily application for 8 weeks.

  • Ingredients include:  NIA-114™+ protein technology to enhance collagen formation and a multitude of vitamin and antioxidant derivatives, essential oils and caffeine.
  • Where? Online, DrugStore $59

Option 2: Firming and Skin Strengthening Treatment

body tightening concentrate SC

Body Tightening Concentrate SkinCeuticals– 150ml

This product uses well researched ingredients to reinforce skin weakened by sun and aging. As most of you have guessed….Skin Ceuticals is probably my favorite line of Non-Organic products. They are marvelous at investigating and using high concentrations of safe and efficacious ingredients. This product is relatively new and I was ecstatic to hear they have incorporated wonder-ingredients in a body line…. I have no doubt your skin will transform.

  • 2.5% tripeptide (stimulates natural moisurizing and favors collagen production), 5% yeast extract (smooths and plumps fine lines), 2% hydrolyzed rice protein (helps tighten and firm skin).
  • Where? Doctors’ offices, online $75

Option 3 : Organic Plumping, Smoothing and Wrinkle Prevention Treatment

Eminence Monoi Age Corrective NIght Body

Monoi Age Corrective Night Body Cream by Eminence – 147 ml

Perfect for those who want and Organic way to stimulate collagen production, improve smoothness and prevent wrinkle formation. To be used only at night.

  • Ingredients include: Argan Stem Cell Complex (Argan Stem Cells and Nutmeg Seed actively work to plump, smooth and tighten skin), Monoi oil (from Tahiti), Argan Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Grapeseed oil, Hyaluronic Acid (derived from mushroom plant). Oils serve to nurture, balance and provide antioxidant protection to the skin.
  • Where? Online, Cosmetic Boutiques, Spas $37

Option 4: Organic Nourishing and Refining Serum

One Love Organic body Serum

One Love Organics® Aromatic Body Serum –90 ml

This serum is based on organic essential oils. It also incorporates an aromatherapy element and is applied as a body spray.  The pumpkin seed oil acts as a natural exfoliant and therefore works to improve cellular turnover and improve overall skin health and appearance. Leaves skin refreshed, smooth and protected. Product options include choice of four natural scents: Lavender decreases tension, Rose enhances wellbeing, Neroli energizes and Chamomile relaxes and calms.

Ingredients include: Organic plant oils. All four  feature a base of pumpkin seed oil, which contains natural salicylic acid to refine skin texture. Sea buckthorn oil, is another star ingredient which is known as a anti-aging omega 7 acids.

Where? Online, Cosmetic Boutiques $39

Option 5: A Ultra Hydrating and Contouring Lotion

Mary Kay Timewise Body

Mary Kay TimeWise Body™ Targeted-Action® Toning Lotion– 236ml

This lotion introduced to me just recently is getting raving reviews. The skin smoothing results you see after just a couple of weeks. With continued use, up to 81% are claiming firmer skin and even more defined curves as a result of the use of this lotion!

  • Key Ingredients: Glycerin Moisturizer/Hydrator,  Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vitamin E derivitives, coffee extracts, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Pumpkin Fruit extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Acai Fruit Extract and Myrtle Leaf extract. These natural extracts help tone, soothe and protect the skin via antioxidant properties.
  • Where? Find your local Mary Kay Consultant at marykay.com $28

 

Conclusions

I hope from this list, you find at least a couple that fit your personal philosophy and budget!  I know with beauty care, things could get overwhelming; we must prioritize per season as to where to focus our attention. By investing consistently in small beauty protocols and by remembering to enforce with healthy diet and lifestyle, we can age at a more elegant pace. Aging well will ultimately avoid unnecessary consideration of pricey aesthetic procedures which may be drastic or even pose health risks.So let’s start with a few creams!

Some additional insight: Make sure to read instructions as some require twice daily use while others are only recommended at night. I many times recommend the exfoliating, or “peel like”, treatments at night, as they can irritate the skin and may cause concern if exposed to sunshine. I then suggest your vitamin rich, antioxidant creams in the morning, as they offer additional antioxidant protection from the environmental stressors which cause premature aging. For more on antioxidants click here! The exfoliators, once used consistently for a few weeks, can afterward be reserved for a weekly maintenance product (like before a sexy Saturday night out!).  If you’re exfoliating product doesn’t incorporate oils or other intense hydrators, I would then lather on a product using regenerating or nurturing oil. I love the Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil!!

Finally, remember to use sunscreen if going to be out in the sun for more than 10 minutes!! Protecting yourself from UV radiation is vital to keeping your skin youthful. I won’t discuss products in this post as I have topic on sun protection planned for May!  Until then, I wish you luck on your personal Body Project and hope you find joy in watching your skin transform from dull to brilliant this spring!

Cheers to warm nights, mini skirts and keeping it fresh!

Dry Legs Solutions

To make sure your notified about up and coming posts please follow me on Facebook…. @ AntiAgeingSavantess! I would love your support and to keep you up-to-date on my journey to stay healthy and youthful!!

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healthy habit sign

Although, my life vocation is centered on the creation of beauty… health is my foremost objective and I make sure it’s never sacrificed. In fact, my premise has always been that when we cultivate health, the beauty will follow. Beauty is identified by both its interior and posterior components. We are our best version, when we are healthy…we radiate a light which transmits as balance of the mind and body.  With this balance we are able to help and inspire others to be responsible and gentle with one another and ultimately create a more intelligent society. I truly believe health and intelligence breeds happiness, less hunger and violence, and greater advancements.

As a wife and mother, I wish to help my family achieve optimal health by serving as a good role model. This means living happy, health consciously, and helping them stay away from hazards that may get in the way of them doing the same. Hidden dangers lie in misconceptions about the food we eat and we often underestimate what we can do to keep ourselves healthy. I hope to help share data which has helped me make better choices for my family. Below I list some healthy tips I incorporate into my family’s life and I have hopes you too will incorporate into yours.

        1.       Eliminate Sugary Drinks and all Sodas

Consumption of sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic (reported JAMA 2012). Survey conducted show that we derive at least 50% of our daily sugar in take from sugary fruit drinks, soft drinks and sports drinks. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends your daily diet consists of no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar (100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons of sugar (150 calories) for men. Noting that just one regular soft drink contains 8-10 tsp (over 130 cal), you can see that these drinks put us at risk for not only obesity but all other related diseases. With one of three children in US overweight or obese, sugary drinks should be limited, if not completely eliminated from your family’s life!

high sugar drinks

With limited or no nutritional value, the health concerns out way their benefits!. CNN reported that scientific research has linked higher death from diabetes, heart disease and cancer in parts of the world where sugary drinks are most consumed. Although there are obviously other attributing factors to these scary incidences, the American Heart Association has linked each to elevated sugar intake.

What about diet drinks/sodas? We have recently been uncovering the mechanism these previously thought to be “healthier sodas” contribute to obesity. The artificial sweeteners, fructose or sugar alcohol used in diet sodas, tend to slow our metabolism and decrease our sensation of “satiety” or “feeling full”. One of the ways they do this is by altering the activity of the bacteria in out gut. According to a report in the Obesity Reviews, the bacteria begin to produce a short chain fatty acid that, when accumulated, increases hunger by blocking signals of satiety and causing a type of inflammation. This inflammation has been associated with tendency to develop insulin resistance, diabetes, increased risk of stroke and heart disease. Furthermore, the brain responds to non-caloric sweetness as it would real sugar and therefore triggers pancreatic insulin release. This insulin serves to deplete available blood glucose and induces a hunger response to replenish its stores.

It’s clear that those who consume high sugar drinks or sodas of any kind are at risk of increased risk for a multitude of health concerns. I propose to try keeping sugary drinks for special occasions and making water, herbal teas and freshly squeezed juices as your go-to drink option.

natural fruit drinkslight water drink with lemos

        2.       Forgo Using the Microwave

Scientific studies have been conducted from well-respected Swiss, German and Russian scientists on microwaved food.  Results have shown that microwaving food decreases it nutritional value and alters it to producing harmful, even cancer causing, substances.

Microwaving

Findings have included that microwaving causes the following changes:

  • To meat: May produce some nitrosdienthanolamines (known carcinogens believed to be linked to stomach and colon cancer) and decrease its nutritional value.
  • To thawed fruit: Converts glucosides and galactosides into carcinogens
  • To vegetables: Removes nutritional benefits from plant alkaloids and cause more difficult to digest.
  • To vitamins, minerals and healthy fats: Leads to structural degradation leading to decreased bioavailability.
  • To antioxidants: Removes potency more so than steaming or stir-frying (also reported in Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture 2003).
  • To garlic: Depletes it of cancer protecting ingredient.
  • Alters amino acids of proteins so to make them unusable for the body.

microwave effects 2

Other studies have shown unhealthy blood alterations, mental decline and nutritional deficiencies in those who exclusively cook in microwaves. As if all this is not enough, if you add the carcinogenic effects of heating in plastic, the impact of microwaving doubles in its gravity to our health!!

For the sake of our families health we need to limit our exposure to toxins and carcinogenic substances. In my house, we are not waiting for the American Medical Society to issue warnings against microwave use, nor are we waiting for a large scale study which can hurt the billion dollar industry. Being a medical practitioner myself, I know what it takes to get a study approved and done well. It takes a lot of money and dedicated scientists working over decades to evaluate the long term results. This said, I don’t foresee this ever being done and therefore our children will continue to suffer from strange disease processes resulting from cumulative effects of modern life and its technologies. What we can do is be aware and incorporate what we know in our guts to be true… most often the simpler and the closest to nature, the better!

Being raised with minimal use of microwaves, we had the opportunity to know the luxury of stove/oven cooked and raw food. Seeing that these methods of food preparation are actually healthier, why not give that to our children as well?

raw food

With cancer and immune system disease on the rise…let’s leave microwaving for emergencies and try to preserve the nutritional/health integrity of the carefully chosen food we eat.

        3.       Be Wary of Canned Foods

can food

A concerning percentage of canned food is contaminated with Bisphenol A or BPA.  To all you moms out there, BPA may hit a soft spot. BPA is known as the scary chemical we all look out for when choosing baby bottles and other items babies tend to put in their mouth. BPA is a common component of polycarbonate plastic and is used in many food packaging items, kitchen ware and yes…. baby bottles. It is released from these products over time and gets into the food we then feed our families with.

BPA is a chemical that has known health hazards and more so when exposed to children’s bodies. Even in acutely low doses, BPA, which can mimic effects of human estrogen, interferes with the human hormone system (officially stated in 2009 Endocrine Society). It also has shown to alter mammary gland development in animals and increases breast cell proliferation in human cells. Studies have shown when pregnant mice were exposed to BPA, it increased their offspring’s risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, there have been connections to regular consumption of BPA contaminated food with prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity and ADHD.  Because of such reports the EU, Canada and even China have prohibited its uses in baby bottle productions. France is also in the process of banning BPA in all food application products. Government involvement or not… is it not time we take precautions to protect our families from limit BPA exposure? Savvy moms now know to only buy “BPA-free” when selecting children’s plastic items.

But, are we overlooking other sources of BPA intoxication of which we should all be aware? As concerning as the BPA levels in plastic is, we are now more aware of it and companies are making strides to protect our children from contamination. Our real hidden threat of BPA is now in canned goods. It was just recently that scientists have analyzed and found significant levels of BPA in a range of popular canned goods. From corn to canned soup…. the epoxy-resin lining of these tinned foods are contaminating contents with this sneaky health hazard. Food manufacturers use this material due to its protective properties against bacterial contamination, but, is it worth the risk of the above mentioned issues? Again, until the FDA gets involved and bans use of such dangerous materials, it may be worth it to forgo canned foods all together. Seeing that canned foods often are high in sodium and use concerning preservatives….I feel it may be an all-around good omen to purge our cupboards of can-derived nutrition…don’t you?

Canned food and risks

For those of you who cannot live without your favorite canned food…. There are BPA free manufactures. Some examples are Eden Foods and Trader Joes. The website Tree Hugger or Organic Grace also has a list of safe varieties.

For more information on the danger of canned food check out this well written article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

  

      4.       Make Exercise A Regular Family Event

For adults, the health benefits of exercise are well published. There are a dozen reasons why exercise is important to your physical and mental well-being. But as most of you know, getting started on a fitness regimen can be difficult….especially if you have little free time to dedicate to your relationship and family. For this reason many give up their right to exercise to spend time with the ones they love.

But why not combine fun/family time with physical exercise? This option allows health benefits for the whole family and promotes bonding in your relationships!!This is the premise on which my family and I live! We make exercise a family event. My family and I spend hours on the weekends running together and biking. Exercising has provided us with many of our happiest moments!  I wish the same for you!

family exercise

Teach your children that physical activity is a normal part of their routine. Encourage rollerblading, bicycling, yoga, running, stretching and sports by participating in these activities with them.

Not especially sporty? Start with long walks and go from there!

Living in the cold? Bundle up and go for a walk or take on winter sports (let’s learn from the Europeans whom never let the cold stop them from getting outside!).

The benefits of exercise for children are irrefutable. The below offers you some insight on what exercise can do for your children.

exercise on brain power

  • Regular exercise can increase children’s ability to think, plan and do math (Journal of Health Psychology).
  •  MRI guided studies from the Health Science University in Augusta Georgia have shown exercise to increase executive function of children’s brain and improve overall social behavior. Improved executive function means improving self-control, reasoning and abstract thought.
  • Another study showed children who exercised 40 minutes every day for 3 months increased 3.8 points on scores of cognitive planning. It seems the more kids exercise the more intelligent they become!

Brain power aside, exercising together can help build lifelong healthy habits, create memories, get you and your family in the fresh air more often! It’s also an affordable activity and by stimulating healthy appetites, might get them to finally have a go on that quinoa dish or grilled fish you have been pushing on them. (:

Chris Carter PhD recently wrote a similar article, in the Huffington Post, on effect on exercise and brainpower, for those interested in an additional read check it out here.

    4.        Limit Toxins and Chemicals Exposure by Buying Safer Products.

This can be achieved by choosing your food and household products wisely. Below I offer you a few ways to achieve this and reason you should be a more intelligent consumer.

Food and Cosmetics: When choosing food or plant derived products, chose organic. Organic labeled products are those in which manufacturers have complied with strictly controlled procedures in their production. This means they have been produced without synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or preservatives. Foods labeled organic have been grown on land which has also been protected from such chemicals for at least three years. Animal products such as eggs or dairy must come from free range animals that eat only organic feed.

Why Organic?

La boquerilla Organic is Orgasmic

La Boquerilla Barcelona

•  Consumption of organic food can help decrease allergies. A study by the British Journal of Nutrition found decreased eczema and wheezing among 2 year olds who consumed organic dairy products.

Less exposure to organophosphate pesticides. A study from the University of Washington found lower levels in those preschoolers who ate organic vs. conventional food. Elevated levels of these pesticides are associated with mental health issues like depression and memory problems (BBC report in 2006).

warning of pesticides

Less resistance to antibiotics. Because organic farming prohibits non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock, meat, dairy and eggs we are less likely to acquire resistance to life-saving antibiotics.

organic farming 

For more info on the safety of meat and other foods click WebMD link and see here.

It’s totally understandable that organic food may be just too expensive for some households. It is for this reason The Environmental Working Group has created a Shopper’s Guide which dictates which produce carry most risk of contamination. We can then prioritize our organic shopping and buy the foods which carry the highest risk, with highest pesticide levels, or those which our family consumes the most, such as milk and eggs. The foods with lowest contamination are the ones you should buy from a local source. Buying local is a good option for those who can’t afford organic. Local farmers worry less about preservation, since not traveling long distances to get to the consumer.  This means fresher food and less use of harmful substances in cultivation.

Veggi Wash

You can also use food washes such as Environne and Veggi Wash to help remove contaminants from your food. There are also homemade recipes for food washes using vinegar and water click here for one example. You may also need a vegetable brush for some fruits and veggies with thicker skin. It is not recommended to use detergents to was your food, risks may outweigh benefits.

Vinegar produce wash

Household Products: Many products we use for cleaning and air-freshening have harmful effects to almost every bodily system. Cumulative effects of their exposure have raised concerns and are now thought to be correlated to increasing epidemics. Most concerning are the effects they may have on small children. Trends reported include an increase in learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, childhood cancers, ADHD, as well as decreasing IQs. Scientists believe pesticides to be one of many culprits in these growing issues related to our children’s health. For more on this please refer to this report published by The Pesticide Action Network :A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence.

chemically grown food cost more

It is up to use to protect ourselves and our children from these effects by limiting pesticide contamination.

Some tips when choosing Household Products:

non toxic cleaning

  • Read the label and avoid these ingredients: Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) (can be carcinogenic and easily penetrate skin), butyl cellosolve or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ammonia (can irritate respiratory pathways), Sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite (bleach which damage repiratory pathways and skin), chlorinated phenols (hazards to lungs and circulatory system), diethylene glycol (depress nervous system), formaldehyde found in deodorizers (respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen), petroleum solvents in floor cleaners, percholethylene in spot removers and many others.
  • Use sparingly any product with labels which include DANGER or POISON. Chances are they are affecting your families’ health with regular use.
  • Try cleaning using gentle non-toxic ingredients to clean your home. Examples of such are Baking Soda, Unscented Liquid Soap, Lemon, Borax – (sodium borate),White Vinegar, Washing Soda, Sal Soda, Isopropyl Alcohol in water and Cornstarch Citrus Solvent. For indications of use please refer to this website.

nontoxic cleaning

pesticide free

I hope that these tips have helped make you more aware of how you can contribute to making sure your family has the best chances of living a longer, healthier, more quality life.

I have about a dozen more tips up my sleeve… but I thought I might spare you from the information overload. (:  I plan to offer these in post soon to come ….stay tuned!!

As those of you who already have gotten to know me have figured out…I’m passionate about wellness! I hope you are enjoying my journey to keep you all your youngest, healthiest and most beautiful selves!

Cheers with Love from my family to Yours!

Heathly life habits

My husband and children heading out for family activity. Here you see daugter Valerija!

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With life, come wrinkles. They tell a story… how much we laughed, how much we cried and to what extent we experienced life.  I don’t disagree that a crinkle here and there can be charming. I do however, feel that they can begin to change our features to the extent we don’t recognize ourselves. Furthermore, as these groves deepen, they make us appear less happy, more annoyed and even angry. Studies have shown that the more often we are tense, the more we frown and the more we encourage the formation of deeper wrinkles. It is also for this reason most often the more permanent these lines become the more they may be a reflection of our internal discontent. Lets stop the cycle and have our fit bodies and our internal light match our reflection!! I hope to have offered you  a method to fit your lifestyle below!

wrinkle formation

First a bit of information: What is a wrinkle and how does it form?

A wrinkle is a line, crease or fold in the skin.

There are two types of wrinkles, static and dynamic.

Static wrinkles are wrinkles which you see on your face when you are at rest. You can see these wrinkles on faces of people when their faces are motionless (without facial expression or while sleeping). These wrinkles form as a result of loss of skins overall quality and because of repeated insult to certain facial expressions or lifestyle habits. As we age, the skin loses collagen proteins and elastin fibers. When young, skin is able to quickly resupply skin with these vital structural components, but as we age we lose capability of such regeneration. As a result, older skin loses volume, becomes less elastic and thinner.  Because of this wrinkles form easier, and we begin to slowly accumulate a greater quantity of static wrinkles.

static wrinkles

Advanced Static wrinkles.

Dynamic Wrinkles are the wrinkles which are exaggerated when skin making facial gestures or movements. Facial movements such as laughing, crying or when angry contribute to the formation of dynamic wrinkles. They are associated with the muscle movements of your face. In your youth, dynamic wrinkles are not as noticeable as the skin is very supple, (elastic with high hydration coefficient), and thick (more collagen).

dynamic wrinkles 2

Dynamic wrinkles

Some people don’t form wrinkles as easily because they overzealously take care of skin (by moisturizing and protecting) or genetically have better quality skin ( with more collagen, elastin and fibroblast  activity). Those who have very active fibroblasts, like men and those of darker color skin,  produce more collagen quicker.

Others, form wrinkles prematurely, (more easily and earlier than others), because of bad lifestyle choices. These can include those individuals who don’t protect skin from the environment, have poor diets low in protein and vitamin C or high in preservatives and other toxins.  Those who smoke are inevitably going to age prematurely as they suffer accelerated structural loss and poor microcirculation. Smoking inevitably results in early facial volume loss, skin thinning and wrinkling.

smoking effects on wrinkles

identical twins displaying aging effects of smoking! Guess which twin was a smoker

Despite your genetics, there are ways we can prevent premature formation of both static and dynamic wrinkles. As always, lifestyle modifications are key in preserving youthful function.  We can incorporate good nutrition, and the below guidlines, to assure a natural but elegant aging process.

Quick Guide to Basic Anti-Wrinkle Care

  • Replacing daily moisture loss with a good moisturizer.
  • Use sunscreen and antioxidants, See my previous post here on Antioxidants for some of trusted options.
  • Exfoliate regularly. Can incorporate daily or weekly treatments to help stimulate cellular turnover of dead skin cells and stimulate replacement with new healthier cells. New skin cells retain moisture better and make wrinkling less likely. Your exfoliators can be physical or chemical. Physicals use microbeeds to gently push off dead skin cells. Chemicals use alpha or beta hydroxyl acids or retinol based ingredients. See my post on Three Steps to Brighter Skin for product suggestions. Your doctor can also prescribe a stronger alternatives to these over-the-counter or drugstore options. Consult your doctor if you feel you may need a advanced strength protocol.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking may be your single most important risk factor to premature aging.
  • Avoiding use of straws when drinking beverages. This will facilitate wrinkle formation around lips.
  • Sleeping in positions which don’t fold the skin in a specific way causing lines. Example sleeping on your side will accelerate vertical wrinkles on chest.
  • Consciously trying not to make over dramatic facial expressions (especially those associated with anger or annoyance (: ) …This can help preserve the skin integrity and avoid intensity of wrinkles in corresponding anatomical areas. I know this may sound crazy and difficult but may help you remember not to lose your cool for silly reasons!
annoyed facial expressions lead to wrinkles

Avoid these faces…it will only bring on wrinkles sooner!!

But, what if you want to give yourself a little more edge in this wrinkle saga? By contributing a bit more time, effort and money, can we prevent to a greater degree these tell all signs of experience?

We can, by contributing a bit more time, effort and perhaps money, prevent to a greater degreee these tell all signs of experience. I hope to make you aware of some of the best options in anti-wrinkle methods below. As always, I will offer you a mix from the eastern and western medical practices and let you decide which one may be the right choice for you!

Advance Wrinkle Preventing Methods

These focus on preventing dynamic wrinkle formation…which ultimately results in less static wrinkles as well. Think about how if we limit folding a piece of cardboard to only a few times…..no permenant line will result. Its only if we continue to bend it the same way many times that a permenant crease will form. The aim is to limiting the number of times we fold or bend the skin in a certain way and therefore prevent certain wrinkles from appearing on our skin at rest.

       1. Baby Botox

I think by now, we all are aware of Botox and its uses to relax muscle motion and therefore minimize appearance of present wrinkles and prevent there formation.

For those that need reminding Botox is Botulinum toxin type A, a purified protein and neurotoxin produced by a bacteria bacterium Clostridium. When minute amounts are injected locally into muscles it blocks release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for activation of muscle contraction.

Botox is many times used to paralyze facial muscles so to completely inhibit dynamic wrinkle formation all together.  This is a great way to prevent wrinkle formation but cannot leave the face with unwanted frozen or unnatural look. Recently,  doctors have caught on to the demands of the public and developed and new philosophy or Botox application. This novice application, referred to as “Baby Botox”, consists of using small or “baby” doses of Botox to weaken but not eliminate the muscle movement. This muscular weakening prevents the aggressive facial movements which attribute to deep wrinkle formation. Those of you who were worried this method had something to do with Botoxing your baby can now relax!!! (:

Botox results

Baby Botox can be used earlier in younger patients to prevent formation of wrinkles and will also prevent necessity of using larger does in future.

  • Treatment details

Botox takes only about 10 min to apply but may take up to a week to appreciate the finally result. Your doctor or aesthetic practitioner will use tiny needles to inject small quantities of Botulin toxin A into the musculature around forehead. This is a virtually painless procedure which only rarely results in a slight bruise at the injection site. Once injected, you cannot lie down or massage area for 4 hours in order to prevent the injected toxin from moving out of the injected area.

Baby Botox

  • Other Considerations

Other aesthetic uses for Botox involve treatments of wrinkles around eyes, mouth, nose and neck. These are considered safe and effective uses, but, are considered “off –label”, since not approved by the FDA. There are also over 20 FDA approved medical uses for Botulinum toxin A, all of which will not be discussed in this post!

Botox is the trademarked brand name for Botulinum toxin A by Allergan. They are the first company to purify and get FDA approved for cosmetic use in treating glabellar wrinkles. Since then other brands have gotten approval for safe use. These alternative Botulinum toxin A brands include Azzalure, Bocouture, Dysport, and Xeomin. There are slight differences between brands but I will not cover this topic in present time. For more information, please click on the name of the product.

Use of Botox and its competitors, may come with risk and some side effects. By administering these products appropriately,and by using low doses, we are assuring extremely low incidence of such events. Pregnant women, those who have egg allergies or neuromuscular disorders are not candidates.

Like all aesthetic procedures, success is user dependent! Make sure you put your face in the hands of someone skilled and with an artistic eye!

 

   2.  Iovera by Myoscience

I was recently introduced to this innovative method of wrinkle relaxation. It is a toxin free alternative to preventing muscular movements which attribute to wrinkle formation. This is not only an ideal treatment for those wary of injecting any sort of nonorganic substance into the face but also for those who want to see immediate result of muscle relaxation.

Iovera Focused Cold Therapy

It creates intense focused cold, inducing frost formation between three probes to inactivate the activity capabilities of nerves responsible for stimulating muscle contraction. The Iovera device was originally devised by a small group of engineers who started a company called MyoScience with hopes to produce a muscle relaxing device using cold technology. With the help of their medical advisor and now director, Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon Dr. Palmer, they were able to redirect their efforts and come up with a nerve numbing superstar…. This tiny device, the size of a cordless house phone, helps doctors inject tiny probes into the skin to freeze nerves responsible for forehead muscle contraction. The treatment results is the temporarily inactivation of these nerves and therefore inability to form dynamic wrinkling in the cooresponding area. This innovative minimally invasive treatment, allows us to achieve almost immediate resolution of dynamic forehead wrinkles, toxin free!

  • Treatment Details

Doctor numbs the templar area of forehead with a bit of local anesthetic. Once area numbed cold therapy delivered via probes into several areas of temple, until sufficient inactivity seen in forehead muscles. The doctor will acess this by asking you to frown and lift eyebrows several times after delivering each cycle of the cold therapy. When you are satisfied with smoothness seen in forehead skin while making these facial expressions, your doctor will stop treatment and apply compression to treated area for about 10 minutes.  At the end of your session you should see complete treatment result….a dramatic wrinkle reduction and smoothness in the forehead area without the use of any toxins or forgein material!

iovera focused cold therapy before and after

Before and After your “Frotox” therapy!

Results last around 3 months.

  • Other Considerations

This is a new treatment NOT  yet FDA approved in the USA for aesthetic use. It IS US approved for use in the treatment of peripheral nerve pain. This means that patients suffering with chronic mucsculoskeletal pain may now have an alternative to the dangerous use of long-term medications.. In Europe and Canada, however, we DO have approval for cosmetic use and Iovera is quickly becoming the official new rage in the treatment of wrinkles. With luck, Iovera will be in a clinic near you shortly and you too will have a choice as to which wrinkle therapy best fits your lifestyle!

I love the idea of a wrinkle treatment sans the systemic risks associated with toxins….don’t you??

3. Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture

For those who want to forgo western medicine technology all together and go for a more natural approach for fighting wrinkle formation….acupuncture might be just what the doctor ordered. This risk-free treatment has been used in China for decades as a way of preventing wrinkle formation. Those concerned with western rejuvenation techniques should know there are gentle preventative treatments which show promise in fighting signs of aging. Recent studies presented in the Journal of Clinical Acupuncture showed that 90 % of clients who participated in cosmetic acupuncture showed overall skin quality and tone.

Acupuncture promotes circulation, healing and encourages collagen and elastin production; this improves tone and elasticity and therefore resistance to wrinkle formation. Also by inducing relaxation and stress reduction we prevent muscle overuse associated with wrinkle formation. The premise is that the outward beauty and youthful qualities of the skin reflect the inner peace and fitness of your nervous system which is gained by doing acupuncture.

  • Treatment Details

Cosmetic Acupuncture

During treatment the acupuncture practitioner will slowly and virtually painlessly insert sterile fine needles into the skin. This is done strategically to target certain energetic pathways, which have been proven to relieve certain ailments associated withstree, aging and wrinkle formation.

Results will not be as dramatic as western medical interventions for wrinkles but will last longer and have internal benefits associated with acupuncture as well. You will be less tense, more relaxed, sleep better and have an overall improved sense of well-being. Less stress will mean less frowns, worry lines and grimaces associated with discontent. As a result of treatment, you will be gentler with the facial expressions known to accelerate wrinkle formation. This along with improved overall health of facial skin will result in wrinkle prevention.

No risk, no downtime, healthy wrinkle prevention…..I’m in!

 

     4. Facial Yoga

Last but not least…an alternative for those who want to practice a wrinkle prevention mechanism which shares the no risk profile of cosmetic acupuncture, but without the use of needles at all! In fact, you can practice this daily in the comfort of your own home and at no additional cost!

Facial Yoga consists of a series of facial movements studied to encourage muscular tone and tissue health. Some of these movements are shown below.

facial yoga movementfacial yoga movementfacial yoga movement

“I’m teaching my students to consciously release muscles rather than paralyzing them, which is what Botox does,” says New York instructor Annelise Hagen.

By training muscles to remain relaxed and not tense up we can prevent them from getting hypertrophic because of overuse (reflecting expressions secondary to stress). The result over time is better toned muscles, healthier tissue and a more relaxed face which results in less wrinkle formation.

  • Practice Details

You can see a typical sequence for prevention and treatment of lateral eye wrinkles often referred to as “crows feet”, as described by Annelise Hagen on a You Tube video posted here.

For begginers it may be a good idea to attend a session taught by a well trainined instructor, buy a book or watch a few videos!

It would be great to practice this at a time of day when feeling a bit stressed and facial muscles a bit tense.

  • Other Consideration

This may be a great tool in prevention and overall tone maintenance but once wrinkles start setting in you may want to consider additional therapies.

For more information on improving overall skin quality, elasticity and tone, make sure to check in for future posts! More ideas on how to prevent skin wrinkling, sagging and youthfulness is soon to come! Thanks for following me on this exciting journel in aspiring to preserve youthful function and appearance! Remeber to follow me on my Facebook Page AntiAgeingSavantess! I hope to give you current updates on new products, treatments and lifestyle tips for ultimate health and beauty! Cheers!

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massage therapy benefits

                                                  5 Reasons why Massage Therapy is Anti-Aging

Massage has been used for centuries for both therapeutic and pampering purposes. Modern medicine has, however, changed our perception towards massage and created an illusion in which massage is seen as a luxury in which most cannot invest.

I mean to help change this perception and rather reform massage therapies fame! It is, and should be used as, a preventative medicine technique. Its preventative health benefits should be valued and its uses expanded to conjunctive therapies for many diseases.

Recent studies have shown proof, massage therapy can provide us with much more than just a temporary feel-good effect.

These studies show, using massage, we are increasing our overall psychological feeling of wellness. We are also, via its physiological benefits, preventing ailments that tend to occur as a result of aging. Massage Therapy should, therefore, be considered Anti-Aging.

Below are my top 5 reasons why Massage Therapy should be incorporated into our lives and used to help keep our bodies youthful.

healing massage

1.   Massage can decrease stress response and its health related issues.

I have spoken about the medical concerns stress brings about in previous posts. (See previous blogs, “Your Waistlines and Health” and “Beauty Sleep”). Stress is a detrimental age accelerator than costs you your looks, your health and your sanity. It must be controlled and massage can help.

Chronic stress causes, among other things, an increase in cortisol and insulin levels. Cortisol leaves our body tense, our heart rate and blood pressure high and puts pressure on our organs to work harder. This increase demand on all our body systems also puts us at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack. Chronic insulin release can lead to insensitivity in the bodies insulin receptors (eventually not responding to insulin as before), and therefore higher risk for diabetes.  The worst part of these stress effects is that the often feed off on another. Once the body starts to suffer from tension, increased heart rate and extreme variants in glucose levels, it goes into alert mode. Each sign of stress signals further physiological symptoms which also signal stress. This dangerous cycle is very tiresome for the body and it is in desperate need for a recharge, a way to relax and be comforted.

This is where Massage Therapy has its value. Studies reported in the Intensive and Critical Care Nursing Journal that during the five minute foot massage, critically ill patients experienced decrease heart rate, blood pressure and respirations. This evidence was used to make conclusions that massage induced relaxation resulted in physiological health benefits. Another long term study showed that massage programs can decrease blood pressure and cortisol stress hormone levels, improving cardiovascular health and decreasing anxiety and depression.

How does massage therapy decrease stress?

There are several mechanisms of action which massage therapy has shown its value.

  • Decrease cortisol and insulin levels while increasing calming serotonin and dopamine: see above.
  • Encourages oxytocin release: Oxytocin is a stress reducing, bonding hormone most famous for its role in birthing. It helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system to slow down heart rate and breathing, relax musculature and improve digestion.
  • Increases endorphin release: Endorphins are pain reducing neurotransmitters.  Anxiety created by stress can cause increase sensitivity to pain. Endorphins help stop transmission of pain signals.
  • Decrease Beta Brainwave activity: This leads to increase stimulated release of relaxing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine as well as decreased release of cortisol levels.
  • Stimulates Delta Brainwave activity: This type of brain activity is one which facilitates deep sleep induction….explaining the natural tendency to dose off during your session!

2.   Massage Therapy can help improve circulation.

The circulatory system is compromised of the cardiovascular system and lymphatic system.

Our cardiovascular system is responsible for circulating blood and therefore distributing oxygen and nutrients to all tissues. As we age the cardiovascular system declines due to buildup of plaque (vessels become smaller and blood flow impeded due to poor high cholesterol diets), reduced elasticity of vasculature (vessels loose ability to dilate and contract due to loss of collagen, elastin and plaque) and stress (receptors become less responsive due to over stimulation, resulting in high blood pressure and poor circulation to various tissues). Massage may not be able to control your cholesterol level but can help decrease stress on cardiovascular system and improve vessel health by improving overall tissue nutrition.  Seeing that cardiovascular disease is a strong risk factor for premature death, (heart disease is still number one cause of death in most developed countries), a natural way to help decrease influencing contributors should be put into practice.

Our lymphatic system plays an important role in waste removal and in aiding an efficient immune system response. The waste it removes includes excess fluid, pathogens, dead blood cells, toxins and cells implicated in cancer. It assists immune function by distributing immune cells throughout the body to help filter out and protect against harmful agents. An efficient lymphatic circulation mean rapid defense against infection and cleaner blood and tissues.  A person with poor lymphatic system circulation can suffer from a variety of discomforts including pain, pooling of the fluid in the extremities (arms and legs), cold hands and feet, fatigue and achiness. Massage can help improve lymphatic circulation system and prevent toxic waste accumulation causing these symptoms and improve overall health.

Lymphatic circulation

Lymphatic circulation

How does massage work to improve circulation? 

  • By creating strategic manipulation and pressure along the various tissues and along the extremities, it facilitates improved blood flow.
  • By Releasing points of the pressure, we cause fresh oxygenated and nutrient rich blood to perfuse congested areas.

massage point

  • By working along musculature we are helping disperse lactic acid and carbonic acid waste which builds up in muscles after activity and get it into lymphatic circulation. By removing waste out of muscle and into a mobilized lymphatic system, we are preventing pain and muscle fatigue they cause.
    • Massage has proven to be 3 to 4 times more efficient at recovering muscle than rest alone. Boxers are commonly massaged between rounds to help recharge muscles and combat fatigue.
    • Since lymphatic system runs quite superficially under the skin, specific massage techniques have well developed to encourage better flow and ultimately allowing the technician aid in more efficient removal of lymphatic fluid.
  • Improves removal of lymphatic fluid both helps improve removal of metabolic waste and reduce leg swelling and leg vein engorgement.  This also means improvement in the appearance of cellulite and aid in the prevention and treatment of engorged leg veins.

massage improves circulation leg health and cellulite

  • Improves lymph circulation puts less pressure on arterial blood pressure receptors and therefore keeps blood pressure low and avoiding unnecessary stress on cardiovascular system.
  • Skin related benefits include assistance in overall cellular function and increasing production of skin-nurturing sebum. Sebum is our bodies’ natural lubricant; it protects, cools, calms and maintains skins youthful properties.

3.     Massage Therapy can help us obtain heightened Immunity against illness and disease.

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and tumor formation. A strong immune system means we have optimal protection against getting sick.  We depend on the production and activity of a group cells called lymphocytes, (white blood cells), to initiate an immune response and prevent illness. These cells are produced in the bone marrow but many times need to mature and differentiate in a lymphatic organ called the thymus gland.   Once matured, they are release into circulation and, in larger concentrations, in the lymph fluid and nodes. Once in circulation they scavenge for signals of trouble and initiate a response to destroy pathogens and tumor cells.  The lymph nodes are widely distributed and connected by a network known as the lymphatic circulation. Within lymph nodes, are a tightly packed unit of lymphocytes and macrophages which fight off any circulating offenders collected in the lymph fluid.  It is for this reason we lymph nodes swell during sickness. The swelling is direclty coorelated with the disease fighting activity.

lymphnodes assesment

In a study conducted by Gail Ironson, M.D., HIV positive men responded to regular massage by increasing cellular immune profile, increasing blood serotonin levels, and improving overall effectiveness in fighting disease. Another report in the Journal of Complementary Medicine in 2010 reported an increase in these immune cells following massage therapy 3 times a week for 30 minutes in women with breast cancer. In addition to improved health and disease fighting ability, these patients also reported less depressed mood, anxiety and pain after their sessions.  Additionally, a report in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2010 showed that leg massage promoted and reinforced the immune system by increasing the secretion of peptides which aid in fighting bacteria.

How can massage improve immunity?

  • By Improving lymphatic circulation
    • As touched upon above, by improving the lymphatic circulatory system, we improve the immune response by filtering the blood better and getting more lymphocyte exposure to where these pathogens or tumor cells might be brewing.
  • By increasing immune systems cytotoxic capacity
    • Massage has shown to naturally improve the the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity by increasing the Natural Killer cells (a type of WBC or lymphocyte that has large role in our immune response and releases cytotoxic granules to fight viruses and tumor cells).
  • By decreasing circulating levels of cortisol and insulin and increasing serotonin and peptides.
    • Since both cortisol and insulin are linked with impaired immune function, massage can also help immunity by controlling levels of these stress hormones.
    • Serotonin releases and bacteria fighting peptides have been linked to improved immunity.

4.    Prevents Muscular Strain

Regular massage therapy can help prevent muscle tension, spasms and pains in joints as they are repeatedly overused, unconditioned and dedicated to keeping us in unnatural, uncomfortable positions. As we age we have less time to take care of ourselves and nurture our decreasingly elastic muscles and stiff joints.  It doesn’t help that we tend to gain weight, sit at desks hours on end and use our muscles in the same way for the same functions day in and out.

bad habits bad posturebad posture at work

With Time Magazine reporting 8 of 10 Americans complaining of debilitating back pain, we need all the help we can get to improve workplace efficiency and prevent and treat contributing factors. Both muscular strain and bad skeletal alignment (see below) can contribute to back pain. Any natural treatment which can help treat pain in general without the use of aggressive and dangerous medical interventions (medications, injections, surgery), needs to be considered. Massage therapy is an ideal preventative and alternative therapy for musculoskeletal issues.

A study published in Science Translational Medicine in 2012 reported a short 10 minutes massage helped reduce inflammation post workout quickly. This allowed athletes to recover in a much shorter time period and perform more efficiently in their next session.

sports recovery massage

How can massage therapy help combat muscular tension and pain?

  • Regular massage therapy relaxes these muscles and passively stretches and lengthens them. Massage is able to move our muscles in ways which help combat the tensing habits we commit them to in daily routine.
  •  By encouraging better blood perfusion to these tissues, we are nurturing healthier oxygen and nutrient exchange, improving its ability to regenerate and heal itself and reducing tension and pain.
  • By increase blood perfusion, lengthening and softening our muscles we are also protecting our selves from injury. The healthier our muscles are, the better they can accommodate sudden movements and twists. This protects muscles from strains, tears.
  • By increasing endorphins, dopamine and serotonin hormones release we can further promote muscular relaxation and health.
    • Endorphins, serotonin and dopamine serve to help calm nerves and decrease pain perception.
    • Can be seen as a natural alternative to reduce pain perception and stiffness. Since using pain medications can further damage your body and age you prematurely, alternative and natural pain management should be embraced whenever possible.

back pain points addressed by massage

  • Massage encourages joint health by stimulating synovial fluid, (which nourished and lubricates joints), and improving elasticity of the connective tissue and muscles that support them.
    • The more flexible the tissue and muscles around the joints, the less the tug and pulling on them, preserving their integrity and health.

massage for joint health

An additional note about massage therapy and pain relief: According to the Arthritis Foundation, massage therapy is becoming an increasingly popular alternative therapy to treat painful symptoms of arthritic disease. Doctors are realizing the efficiency and cost effectiveness to alleviate their patients of their chronic and debilitating disease related pain. Many massage therapists report that their arthritic clients find better and longer-lasting relief from massage than from pharmaceuticals.

Less pain, less medication means a longer quality life….what can be more anti-aging than that.

 

5.       Improves posture

Poor posture doesn’t just upset your grandmother; it causes some muscles to get shorter and tighter, while allowing others to virtually wither away.  Misalignment of your spine also puts added stress on your circulatory, digestive and nervous systems. As a result of poor posture, we also suffer increasing pain in various joints and along back, nerve related pain (due to pinching in spine or other constrained area), deformities which may be difficult to correct, improper digestion and limited breathing capacity (as chest and spine cave in on lungs).

How can massage help you correct this?

  • Again, massage therapy relaxes and loosens the muscles and teach you what it feels like to be in proper alignment. During a massage you can experience natural muscle movements and skeletal positions. After your massage, you will be more likely to seek out these healthier movements and positions with less discomfort, ultimately contributing to improved posture and its benefits.
  • The more relaxed our muscles feel the more liberated our joints feel and our journey to a better posture will be made easier.
  • The more space we will be able to create between our spinal vertebra and joints, the less risk for adding on to intervertebral stress and compression which can attribute to disc degeneration, nerve and vascular damage. This translates to less back pain, less sciatica and prevention of both muscular overuse and atrophy.
  • Regular massage can ultimately encourage a more balanced, elongated body.
aging spine

aging spine tendencies

improving posture

skeletal alignment decreases pain caused by tension

Proper posture is usually compromised further as we age. Your skeletal alignment is one of the defining factors of an aged person….an image of a 60+ person usually includes some sort of hunching or slouching position. This aging silhouette IS NOT inevitable!! We can prevent unnatural painful spinal curvatures by working on our skeletal alignment. Its true massage alone cannot correct bad posture but along with conscious correction, appropriate exercise and stretching, massage can help!

preserve alignment..massage can help

The Savants have spoken!! Massage Therapy IS Anti-Aging!!

Massage Therapy benefits include:

  • decreases stress related disease,
  • increases overall feelings of wellness,
  •  improves the way we combat illness,
  •  improves health and nutrition to every tissue of the body,
  • encourages toxin elimination,
  • decreases pain and
  • maintains youthful anatomical structure and function.

Are these not good enough reasons for you to incorporate to some extent massage therapy into your youth and health maintenance routine?

If you were looking for an excuse to get a massage, look no further…. you may have your ultimate defense right here! Conscious assured, massage therapy can prove to be a valuable tool to sustaining a long healthy life.

Cheers to being pampered, feeling good and most importantly leading a long healthy life!

create your happiness....use massage

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        happy snacking or breakfast         

I’m sure you have noticed….. your mood changes after eating.

One would expect happiness after feeding a famished belly, but many times, that is not the case. Instead, your diet can sometimes contribute to your tired, irritable or lazy demeanor, when what you really need is to feel energized and prepared for your day. Let’s face it, now a day; we need every bit of energy we can get! This modern life requires us to get through our tightly packed schedules motivated and with the right attitude. Later, we need to adjust to transition theses energetic days to relaxing nights, assuring a rejuvenating nights rest. Whether we have an important meeting, a life changing exam, a long list of draining tasks or just to spend time with family or friends, we always want to feel sharp minded, positive and with no excuses for not giving ourselves 100%.  With that said we should want to know how to feed ourselves to optimize our mood. I would want to know, for example,  if there was something I could do to help me be less anxious when I have to present in a meeting or to have optimal stamina before going to the gym or to be more relaxed when spending time with my mom….wouldn’t you?

I hope to help you understand how to use the power of food to set the mood for what could be your best day yet!

Our brain is ruled by Neurotransmitters

neurotransmitter

The central nervous system, composed of mostly our brain, controls not only the way our heart beats  and the way we breathe, but most other processes that our vital to life itself. In addition, the stability of the nervous system is key in regulating our mood, sense of well-being, energy and mental clarity.  It is for this reason that neurotransmitters (NTs) are so important to our overall health and mental state. These chemical messengers are released from one brain cell, or neuron, to another to initiate a chemical reaction causing nerve impulses which ultimately preside over how our bodily systems function, feel and act. In fact, NTs are the key players in regulating messages between over 100 billion neurons that make up and control our entire nervous system. Healthy brain function depends of a balance and regulation these NTs production and release.  Even small imbalances in the proportions of NTs can affect our mental health. Since the precursors of these NTs are primarily derived from food, (include vitamins, minerals and most importantly amino acids), what we eat can have an immense impact on their presence and activity. Depending on what we eat, and in what proportions, we can alter the prevalence of one neurotransmitters production and activity over another’s. Since different NTs have different actions we must strive to supply our body with the right dose of materials needed to produce healthy levels of each type. Our food choices can, therefore, attribute to how we physically and mentally maneuver through life.

Mood NTs

Although there are hundreds of neurotransmitters active in our bodies, for the purposes of this post, I will discuss only those which have the most influence on our mental state and their effect on our overall mood.

First off, it’s important to know that we have two major classes of neurotransmitters, inhibitory and excitatory. The inhibitory neurotransmitters are those that serve to calm and stabilize mood. While the excitatory help the body prepare for activity, mental acuity and stress.

Two important inhibitory NTs are Serotonin and GABA.

  • Serotonin is necessary to relax the mind, calm anxiety and nervousness, decrease sensations of pain and help prevent overeating.  Additionally, when Seratonin is balanced, you have a better immune and digestive function overall. We all know what sickness and bloating does to our mood…. Needless to say Seratonin helps balance our minds and our tummies, and does wonder for feelings of happiness.
  • GABA is known as our bodies “natural valium-like NT”, and is mainly responsible for keeping you calm in moments of stress.

The excitatory NTs are Norepinephrine and Epinephrine.  Appropriate levels of norepinephrine are required to wake up the nervous system and keep you energetic, focused and productive throughout the day.

  • Norepinephrine plays an important role in alertness, motivation and concentration. It also has a role in helping produce long term memories and keeping your metabolism in check.
    • Epinephrine most important role is in blood pressure and heart beat regulation, however, is also released in response to stress.
    • High levels of these excitatory NTs can in the short term give us the power we need to pull through an energetically demanding event BUT long term excess has health risks including damage to our circulatory system and kidneys.  Apart from stress, certain foods can promote chronic excitatory NT release, causing the associated physical damage and additionally inhibitory NT depletion (in failed attempt to compensate for excess excitatory NTs effects). Too much excitatory NTs cause anxiety, stress, and insomnia and contribute to alterations in mood.

Certain NTs can both be both inhibitory and excitatory depending on the receptors present. Dopamine and Acetylcholine are two such NTs.

  • Dopamine is important to mood stabilization, as it can calm the mind to focus and prevent depressed mood.  In elevated concentrations it is also capable of contributing to nervousness or anxiety.
  • Acetylcholine (Ach) is a NT necessary for memory retention, mental acuity and alertness. Deficiency in Ach is seen in Alzheimer patients. For more info about Ach and Alzheimers click here.

How can what we eat affect what neurotransmitters are prevalent in our systems?

Food, depending on it’s nutritional composition, offers our body different precursors for production and stimulated release of certain neurotransmitters. Nutritious foods are the best sources of these NTs and proteins are often our ideal source. Proteins and NTs share a common building block, known as amino acids. When ingested our body breaks down proteins into amino acids and if the appropriate supportive nutrients are present (vitamins, minerals etc.) in the appropriate nurturing environment, the NTs are produced. Amino acids themselves can serve as NTs, stimulating neuron receptors to the release of other NTs. Appropriate nutrition is essential to provide the body with the correct elements needed to produce the correct NTs in the correct proportions. The ratio of these NTs produced allow our body to maintain a healthy neutrality and balance irregularities produced by stress, hormones, illness or other. This complex balance can be thrown off if we have any nutritional deficiencies (vitamin, mineral or protein), ingest food which deplete certain NTs (such as sugar, alcohol, medications or  excess carbohydrates), or have chronic digestive or hormonal issues. Although this science is complex and can be affected by various factors, we can help contribute to the health of our mental state by providing our body with a nutritionally balanced diet and avoiding excess of those toxins which can throw NT balance into a disarray.

To eat in a way which we can precisely acquire certain energy levels or to balance our mood is not easy. We can, however, learn a few guidelines which can help us seek out certain nutrients, and avoid ingestion of interfering substances, to help assure we are the happiest, most easy going and sharpest selves.  

DAY TIME FOODS- Uplifting, Energizing, Mind-Sharpening Effect

Seek Out:

  • Tyrosine rich foods for energy
    • The amino acid tyrosine promotes production of the excitatory NTs…dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
    • Foods high in protein like eggs whites, soy products, meat, wheat germ beans, legumes and cheese. Almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds are also great sources and can be used as snacks.
    • Chicken is a great source of tyrosine and therefore excitatory NT precursor. Chicken additionally provides the brain with a source of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 additional supports the energy generating potential of the neurons.
    tyrosine rich groups

    tyrosine rich foods

    tyrosine rich food

    • Antioxidant rich foods to assure alertness and motivation
      • Dopamine is essential for alertness and motivation. Unfortunately it is easily oxidized and therefore must be protected by adding foods which have high antioxidant power
      • Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best dietary antioxidants and help maintain and increase your dopamine levels by fighting the harmful free radicals which threated its oxidation and destruction.
      • Watermelon (excellent source of super antioxidant B6), apples (contain quercetin well known for dopamine protective properties), bananas (shown to increase dopamine levels), beets (contain natural antidepressant betaine which also essential in dopamine production) and avocados are best dopamine protecting or enhancing properties.

      perfect mood antioxidantsavocado and bananas to set the mood

      • Choline for concentration and memory
        • Choline, a B complex vitamin, is the precursor to acetylcholine (Ach). Ach is a neurotransmitter essential to memory and whose deficiency is liked to Alzheimers.
        • Choline is found in high concentrations in cholesterol containing foods. I’m not saying go back to fried eggs and butter for breakfast but a whole boiled egg might pay off resulting in better concentration before a big exam.
egg yolk for the mind

a bit of cholesterol can sharpern the mind

        • Other sources of choline include beans, cauliflower, soy products, cheese, oats, wheat germ and whole grain.

**Diet tips:

To assure energy? For breakfast, try an egg white omelet with a half a cup of cottage cheese or a soy milk fruit smoothie with a teaspoon of wheat germ.  For an energizing lunch, try a nice chicken breast meal with sautéed veggies or bean salad.

flaxseed soy smoothieegg white omlete with antioxidants

For a brainy breakfast? Try a egg sandwich on whole wheat with slice of low fat cheese.

egg sandwich cheese wheat

food for your brain

High Sugar Processed Foods? Don’t do it! Although these options may seem like a perfect fix for an energy slump they are short lived and ultimately result in a brain and energy slump. These non-nutritional food sources supply our blood stream with lots of free glucose (sugar energy source), but this activates the pancreas to work into overdrive producing a compensatory insulin surge. Insulin causes cells to take in this free glucose for storage. Once glucose taken into cells, we are left with no free energy source in blood stream, causing us to suffer an energy crisis, commonly referred to as a “sugar crash.” Since out brain cells do not have a way to store glucose for use in such an energy crisis, our brain “starves” and we suffer symptoms of weakness, confusion and headaches.  My advice, skip these food choices and focus on the nutritionally rich sources, offering you vitamins, proteins, complex carbs and nurturing fats.

avoid high processed sugar food

avoid sugar and processed food

FOODS TO CORRECT YOUR MOOD: For a Stabilized, Content and Relaxed Mind

Seek out:

  • Tryptophan to decrease anxiety and increase sense of wellbeing
    • Tryptophan is the amino acid building block to serotonin, our happy and relaxing NT.
    • Bananas, turkey, egg yolk, hazelnuts, beans and cheese are great sources of tryptophan.
    • To benefit from tryptophan we must balance with a serving of a healthy carbohydrate. The problem lies in the same high protein foods rich in tryptophan may also be great sources of tyrosine, the energizing NT precursor. To make sure we benefit from tryptophan and are not affected by the presence of the tyrosine, we need the accompanying carbohydrate.
tryptophan balance

tryptophan balanced meal

How does the carbohydrate help tryptophan stimulate inhibitory or relaxing NTs and prevent tyrosine over stimulating the excitatory NTs??

  • The carbohydrate triggers insulin release to divert other amino acids from brain so tryptophan can gain access to the receptors it needs to, to get converted into serotonin. As I explained before serotonin is a inhibitory neurotransmitter which promotes balanced mood and a general state of well-being.
  • Getting a good source of tryptophan to brain can result in a natural, non-medicated way to help decrease anxiety, decrease pain leading to more rational behaviors and mood. 
  • Tryphtophan rich foods accompanied by a healthy carb snack can also set the mood for easy sleep induction! Melatonin, an important hormone in sleep the sleep/wake cycle regulation, is made from serotonin.  A lack of seratonin, may therefore, contribute to sleeping problems. Please see my post on Beauty Sleep here for more insight on ways to get restorative sleep.

**Diet Tip:

Dieters beware!! A strict no –carb diet will most definitely result in a very unhappy, and difficult to deal with, individual. By not supplying your body with normal trigger for insulin release (the carb), you are basically limiting production of serotonin. No wonder No Carb= No Fun!! The anxiety usually results in increased appetite and foul mood. Take a break and eat a whole grain toast with a slice of low fat cheese or a whole grain pita with some hummus!

perfect mood stabilizer meal

dieters escape from moodiness

  • L-glutamine to induce relaxation
    • L glutamine is an amino acid precursor for GABA, our relaxation NT.
    • Pork, beef, sesame and sunflower seeds are good sources of this.

**Diet tip:

Seeking a more hearty way on a cold day to relax? Try a beef or pork based dish accompanied with a sesame garnish and brown rice pasta.

pork, sesame brown rice pasta

fighting stress with a nutritious and satisfying meal

    • Selenium to decrease irritability and moodiness
      • Selenium is a mineral which works with vitamin E to assist in serotonin production. Also has shown to prevent toxicity from exposure to certain metals (by binding to them and producing nontoxic forms and preventing neurotoxicity)
      • Deficiency in Selenium contribute to irritability
      • Sources include tuna, tomatoes, eggs, and broccoli and sunflower seeds.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids to stabilize mood and sharpen mind
    • Omega 3s have shown to improve the communication between brain cells by improving the conductivity of the brain medium through which NTs must travel through.
    • Omega 3s increase levels of available serotonin.
    • Supplementation linked to better mood and memory.
    • Sources include cold water fish, such as cod and salmon, flax seed and olive oil.
salmon for omega 3
Salmon is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Phenylethylamine to lift spirt and calm mind
    • PEA is a small neurotransmitter and neuromodulator that’s actions include stimulating release of norepinephrine and dopamine.
    • Chocolate, especially dark organic types are good sources of this!!!! Although the normal metabolism of chocolate limits the concentration of active PEA available to brain, purer sources of cocoa do offer us some PEA benefits.
    organic dark chocolate

    organic dark chocolate

    • To avoid the high sugar effects of milk chocolate and to benefit from maximum availability of PEA try a bit of dark chocolate as your desert choice… studies have proven it can simulate better mood and soothe at the same time! Hurray!!

**Diet Tip:

Noticing you may be starting your day off on the wrong foot?  Try a tuna salad with tomatoes and eggs or have a grilled fish with sautéed broccoli in olive oil with sunflower seeds.  If you need a snack, try some mixed some nuts. Avoid foods with high glycemic index such as pasta, white breads and sugary foods.  For a sweet desert my choice would the obvious few squares of dark chocolate!! (:

tuna salad tomatoes and sunflower seeds

fix moodiness with a balanced fresh diet

  • Caffeine to elevate depressed mood
    • Caffeine stimulates neurons to release excitatory NTs
    • Although too much caffeine can stimulate depletion of certain neurotransmitters and cause other mood issues such as irritability or anxiety, a little can help stimulate the nervous system just enough to get you out of your blues.
    • Try a nice cup of green tea over coffee. Green tea is a vasodilator (improves circulation) and an antioxidant and therefore, has more benefits over coffee.
    organic green tea

    Clippers organic green tea….pure bliss!

    • If you choose to have coffee as your caffeine source, don’t surpass a 2 cup serving as it could bring about negative physical and mental symptoms.
    • Folic Acid (vitamin B9) to prevent depression
      • Studies show link between low folic acid levels and subsequent lower brain serotonin levels. This is hypothesized to be because of folic acids role in the production of a vital serotonin precursor know as S-adenosyl-methionine.
      • Low levels of folic acid are more commonly seen in depressed and psychiatric patients. Studies show patients supplemented with  200 mg of folic acid greatly improved feeling of overall wellness.
      • Good sources of folic acid found in papaya, oranges, grapefruits, avocado, asparagus, beets, spinach (or other green leafy veggies), soybeans, peanuts and turkey.

**Diet tip:

Feeling like you might need food remedy to help with depressed mood? Try starting the day with a cup of green tea and an papaya, orange and grapefruit salad. Lunch can include a turkey or avocado whole grain sandwich with spinach salad.

fruit salad papaya grapefruit

happy breakfast bowl

 

The Bottom Line/Summary

The proper release of these neurotransmitters,(NTs), is key in giving us the control we desire over our mood and rational mind. Since our diet supplies the body with the key elements for NT production and balance…we need to pay more attention to what we eat! By choosing wisely what eat, we have a better chance at predicting what our day might be like. Our meal plans may shape the days productivity level, your likability and overall effectiveness.

All this said, remember, food are not the only things that can affect NT levels and healthy balance. Stress can cause neurons to release excess excitatory NTs. Anything hindering digestion, (food allergies, inflammatory reactions, undigested food, lack of certain digestive enzymes etc.), can inhibit the way we absorb nutrients necessary to make certain NTs.  Digestion, is especially important for serotonin presence and activity in the body as approximately 90% is produced in your gut and must be reabsorbed across a healthy intestinal wall  in order for the body to be able to utilize it. An inflamed gut could limit absorption of serotonin and therefore contribute to depressed and anxious mood. Chronic excess of alcohol, drugs, toxins, metals and medications can also effect digestion and absorption of many NTs or alternately act directly on neuron receptors to inhibit their action. Appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals, are needed for both production and release of NTs. Hormone imbalances can cause NT imbalances by affecting both production and release.

foods that destablize mood

foods that destabilize mood… use coffee and chocolate in small doses and in emergencies only!!

NT balance may seem complex but if we in general lead a healthy life style and keep stress at bay, we should be able to take control of our energy levels and mood by simply controlling our diets!

If you feel persistently overly moody, irritable and nervous, you should see your doctor. Ask about testing your NT levels.  This test is easy, safe and most often covered by insurance. With luck, your doctor will attempt amino acid supplementation to balance your NT imbalance prior to using medications (which have their own dangerous side effects)!

My Ultimate Diet Tip? Next time think twice prior to reaching for that doughnut or greasy fast food item! These foods may seem necessary to relieve your distress but, remember, as much joy as it may bring you in that instant, its consumption will surely add on to your list of troubles. Along with the extra weight and health problems, these non-nutritious foods will leave you with additional anxieties, irritated and less prepared to make the right choices.  So do yourself and everyone around you a favor….reach for an apple, get a massage, go for a run or hug a friend!  You will thank yourself later!

kick out the junk

kick out the junk… and say hello to an improve you!

Cheers to feeling happy, relaxed and more productive!

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PRP and The Vampire Factor

I’m pretty excited to share with you another treatment that promises your skin a second chance at looking and behaving younger! For a recap on what happens to skin as we age, check our the introduction to my “Youth Injection” series here. The therapy I’m discussing in this post,  uses our bodies’ natural source of Plasma Rich Platelets (PRP). It’s natural, safe, quite simple to perform and best of all can help your skin recover from years of accumulative wear and tear! Sounds amazing right?

This innovative therapy is the latest buzz around the globe not because of its difficulty or controversial nature but because the SOURCE of its promises of immortality. PRPs value to skin health, youth and regenerative power seem quite in line with the desires of some of our most beloved fictional villains. It seems for the first time BLOOD may be a rich commodity for mankind and vampires a like.

blood red woman

Yes, PRP is a derivative of our own blood, for this reason PRP therapy is popularly referred to as “The Blood Facial”. A decade ago anything to do with blood may have caused many to squirm with a bit of uneasiness. This uneasiness has recently changed to something closer to genuine intrigue.  With all the current vampire craze (Twilight, Vampire diaries and such), most find these immortals dependence with blood quite fascinating. I mean. anything that can help them maintain their classic beauty, eternal youth,  and impressive physiques, century after century must be looked into..right? It is therefore no surprise, in this Vampire conditioned population, the beauty power of “The Blood Facial” be so excepted and sought after.

brad pit as vampire

The History

Studies have confirmed that blood contains growth factors and stem cells which have the ability to regenerate tissue. Use of PRP has been dated back since the 1970s. Fortunately, for those of you  who have been waiting  for an “organic rejuvenation method”,  the medical world has decided to apply these investigated benefits to clinical practice in aesthetics. PRP is now accepted worldwide as a clinically valid method of improving the health of various tissues and skin, contributing to restoration of its youthful function. Although popularized in the 1990s as a therapeutic treatment in orthopedic medicine (musculoskeletal injuries), it is today considered mainstream for its’ anti-aging skin benefits. Japan and Europe have been applying it to aesthetic practice since 2004 while doctors in the US embraced PRP therapy about 6 years ago, in 2009. As more and more doctors are becoming aware of the benefits and becoming skilled  in applying its technique, we can now seek out this cutting edge yet natural rejuvenation method from our favorite aesthetic professionals.

Why can PRP be referred to as natural or organic?

PRP is a treatment which uses the body’s own regenerative power to restore healthy tissue function. Specifically it uses regenerative power which lies in our very own blood and more specifically in our platelets. Aesthetically, doctors are using it promote healthy skin circulation, collagen production, decrease the appearance of wrinkles, scars and discolorations of the skin without any artificial or exogenous (made outside of body) substances. The treatment improves skin in terms of texture, color and thickness using only the components naturally found in your own blood.

blood needle

What is it about the Platelets?

Platelets are essential for normal hemostasis (control of bleeding and clot formation, the first phase of wound healing). Too few platelets mean risk of uncontrolled bleeding and prolonged healing to any minor injury. Too many in your overall circulatory system, means increased risk of blood clot formation and with this also an increased risk of blood clot causing stroke.

In PRP therapy, we not so much interested in the platelets function themselves, but their contents. Within the alpha granule portion of each platelet, lies its ability to enhance tissue repair and regeneration. By stimulating a process called degranulation, we can liberate the contents of these alpha granules and benefit from their rich components. These components include healing proteins, cytokines (cell messengers important for immune function) and growth factors. The release of these proteins and growth factors work to initiate processes to repair DNA, promote stem cell proliferation and their differentiation, resulting in advanced tissue repair and regeneration responses.

How is the procedure performed?

The treatment begins when your nurse or doctor removes a vial of blood from your arm and place in a tube with a gel that helps segregate the platelet rich portion. This is comparable to the removal of blood for a simple blood analysis. Immediately after the blood is placed in a special centrifuge machine which spins for approximately 9 minutes until the blood separates the cellular component (containing platelet poor plasma, Red and White Blood Cells) from the platelet rich plasma. Once separated the plasma portion rich in platelets is carefully removed with a syringe and activated by calcium chloride to release the growth factors and bioactive proteins. This activated plasma is then divided in to tiny syringes (like those used for Botox), ready to be injected into your skin.

seperating PRPPRP plasma

Your doctor will then inject the PRP into either specific areas of concern (along wrinkles, or an especially weakened or damaged area of skin) or in an even fashion over the entire area for general rejuvenation. PRP is can be used to rejuvenate entire face, chest, hands or several of these areas together.

method of blood facial

Topical anesthetic could be used to numb the area 20-40 min prior to the injections although, most, claim little discomfort.

Treatments are usually done 2-3 times, in eight week intervals. Some, start to take notice of visual improvements within a few weeks, however, we encourage waiting 2-3 months to appreciate full effect of a single treatment.

Benefits to skin?

By injecting these activated platelets under skin, we can achieve an accelerated skin rejuvenation which would have never been possible under normal circumstances. By using PRP, we can push skin into enhanced repair mode and stimulate renovation of the skin where it needs it the most. PRP works to activate the immune system to remove damaged cells and stimulates more collagen and elastin, ultimately creating thicker, firmer and healthier tissue.  It can also help improve microcirculation of the skin, repairing damaged blood vessels and assuring the skin better nutrition, oxygenation and toxin removal.

In general, the skin will visibly appear fuller and more youthful. You will be able to appreciate a softening of wrinkling, folds or scarring. Skin will improve in terms of overall color, tone, pore size, texture and you may even appreciate a subtle lifting effect.

Results will vary, depending on your age, overall health, extent of skin damage you have present, your nutrition and lifestyle factors (smoking and alcohol consumption). The more damaged your skin is , the more sessions that you may require to see full benefits. As with most treatments, if you are a heavy smokers, abuse alcohol or drugs you may see little benefit from PRP. Also if you have a chronic illnesses requiring you to take many medications PRP might not be appropriate an appropriate option. If you are interested in PRP and its benefits find someone who can evaluate your specific case! It’s an amazing antiaging tool but as with all procedures, is not for everyone!

PRP eyesPRP face

Some advantages of PRP in comparison to other treatments?

  • Use of platelets native to one’s own blood means the treatment is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and with extremely low incidence of side effects
  • Even when used alone adds natural fullness to face without necessity of more aggressive fillers or aesthetic treatments
  • Well established studies in area of sports medicine prove benefits of PRP to healing  and its ability to reduce need for surgical intervention .
  • Can be used to rejuvenate harder to treat and delicate areas such as skin around eyes, neck, chest and hands
  • Can be used to rejuvenate several problematic areas in one session.
  • Tolerability of procedure means little dependence on topical anesthesia.
  • Simple and quick treatment, usually an hour-long office visit is sufficient for entire preparation and procedure.
  • PRP can offer additional benefits in other areas of body, including use in scalp treatment to stimulate healthy hair growth.
  • Cost friendly procedure. Session prices range from $300-400 dollars per area (250-350 euros).
  • It is also frequently being used to  using it to improve out comes of other aesthetic procedures such as chemical peels, lasers and radiofrequency treatments and even pre-surgery to assure optimal healing
  • Most see results lasting for 18 months

PRP neck

Are there any disadvantages?

  • Involve needles or other invasive technique (dermaroller) to get into skin
  • May cause a bit more swelling than other aesthetic procedures such as Botox or fillers.
  • Takes 2-3 months to see full benefit of treatment
  • In cases of advanced aging or sun damage, PRP therapy will most probably not serve your aesthetic goals when used alone. Along with nutritional support, the use of lasers, dermal fillers or other advanced procedures will be recommended.
  • Those with autoimmune disorders, liver conditions or blood disorders are most likely not appropriate candidates for PRP.

Want to get more out of your PRP session?

For those who want to see a bit more benefit from their PRP session, the famed Beverly Hills RN, Sylvia Silvestri suggests an upgrade version called The Vampire FaceLift! Hollywood is going wild about the Vampire FaceLift results and everyone, including celeberties, are signing up without hesitation.  The fact that each guest at the OSCARS got a Vampire Facelift in their gift bags this year, says something about the value the treatment carries.

According to the Silvia Silvestri,  The Vampire Facelift reaps all the benefits of PRP, with the additional enhancement provided by those treatments which use Hyaluronic acid (HA products such as Restylane, Perlane and Juvaderm).

“The Vampire Facelift is a trademarked procedure that combines an HA and PRP. It is administered in a specific technique which requires that doctors and nurses be trained and certified before they can offer the procedure” explains Silvestre, the national trainer of the trademarked Vampire Facelift procedure.

Beverly Hills RN Sylvia Silvestre

The official Vampire FaceLift Trainer
http://www.beverlyhillsrn.com

What additional benefits do we see by adding Hyaluronic acid to the PRP?

“The HA serves as a scaffold structure for the PRP, and patients typically only need one treatment. PRP injected on its own without an HA sometimes requires more than one session,” explains Silvestri.

As explained in my previous post, The MesoLift Rejuvenation, HA is extremely hydrating, adds suppleness and additional structure to the skin, It also allows contouring power to the aesthetic practitioner, allowing additional fullness to be placed where needed and enhancing the rejuvenating power of the PRP.

Results are incredible to say the least. The only downfall? ….the cost. The Vampire Facelift costs $1000-1500 on average and therefore make the otherwise economical PRP treatment, a financial investment one must be prepared for..

To see a link of the procedure being done, I have attached the following you tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uzeLAU1dgf8. Its a part of a series called Dirty Little Beauty Secrets featuring the Vampire Facelift performed by Dr Barnes in Newport Beach, CA. I chose this video because its short, sweet and kinda fun!

For more information on the Vampire Facelift click here. For those of you who may be doctors, or other medically licensed professionals, and want to get trained to perform this amazing treatment, contact the official Vampire Facelift trainer, Silvestre directly at www.BeverlyHillsRN.com.

Bloods AntiAging promise: Benefiting from the “Vampire Factor”

PRP offers you a natural alternative to other injectable or laser rejuvenation procedures.  By using only components naturally found in your own blood (including the blood derived growth factors which I refer to as “Vampire factors”), it can stimulate the skin to behave and appear more youthful, accelerate healing of any damaged tissue and create and environment for graceful ageing. If you can get past the needles and the blood… you may have an ideal way to economically restore skin health. If you’re looking to optimize other aesthetic procedures by providing the skin with a healthy base for healing and renovation, PRP therapy might be the right option for you. Talk to your aesthetic practitioner and find out if they are trained in PRP and if they feel you could benefit. It seems we can learn a thing or two from our vampire friends; a little blood may not give us immortality but can certainly enhance our aesthetic reality.

twilight

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 beauty sleep man

Eventually, we all come to realize what are elders have been communicating to us for over generations…no beauty regimen can compensate for a healthy sleep routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is vital for adults to receive between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.  The scary fact is that chronic sleep deprivation takes a toll not only on the way we look but our overall wellbeing and function. Almost immediately, a week of sleep deprivation results in an impaired memory, decreased productivity, irrational thinking, mood swings and in general low energy levels. With time, lack of sleep translates to stress in the body, leading to weight gain, hair loss, bad skin and low immunity.  Health issues linked with chronic sleep deprivation include depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.

sleep deprivation

To make matters worse, once we realize the importance of sleep has on our livelihood and sanity we often let the pressure of sleeping cause us additional anxiety. This anxiety serves only to worsen our sleep impairment! There are ways we can take action and stop worrying about quality sleep. By implementing some rituals around bedtime, surrounding ourselves with soothing elements and avoiding what may contribute erroneous bodily signaling, we can encourage longer and more restful sleep.

Below I list the key players affecting sleep patterns.  I also list some suggestions as to what we can do to cultivate the right sleep formula for ultimate health and beauty.

Activity

Your level of activity, especially around bed time can greatly affect your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. We want to stay active throughout the day and start winding down as we approach bedtime. Here are some guidelines about which activities should be avoided and sought out as we approach nighttime.

  • Avoid stimulating activities 3 hours prior to bed.
    •  High intensity exercise close to bedtime such as boxing and running may give you more energy just when you need less.  Too close to bed time, these excersies may be translated by your body as strenuous and  result in increase alertness and body temperature,  making sleep induction more difficult.
    • Stressful work can negatively affect sleep. Unless you job involves singing, painting or playing with children, try to refrain from it prior to bedtime.
    • Difficult conversations with your friends, spouse, family or others late in the day can attribute to sleep difficulties. These are the type of issues that translate to stress and will keep you up thinking all night.
    • Violent shows or news reports also have shown to agitate the mind and increase physiological stress making sleep more difficult.
  • Seek out relaxing activities as your day is coming to an end.
    • Reading a book and taking a bath do wonders for your mental state.
    • Use a pre-bed beauty routine or self-massage signal to your body sleep time is near.
    • Yoga has shown to induce on-command relaxation due to its ability to slow breath (slows neurological centers in brain) and reducing muscular tension.  A few yoga poses with concentration on the breath prior to bedtime can be used to transition your hectic day to peaceful night. Click here for some yoga poses beneficial for insomnia.

    sleepyoga

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
    • This will naturally set your circadian rhythm by offering environmental signals for pro-relaxation hormone release and temperature adjustment.

Diet

Foods can stimulate or calm depending on which metabolites provide to the body.

  • Avoid stimulants after 3 pm.
    • Stimulants include sources of caffeine (coffee, green tea), chocolate, high sugar foods, some types of pain relievers and diet pills.
    •  Heavy, fatty meals are also to be avoided as they require lots of energy to help appropriately digest them and may cause discomfort as your body is trying to unwind.
    • Alcohol decreases the time you spend in deep restorative sleep phase called REM sleep. You will wake up more easily to any stimulus and will awaken feeling as if you are still in need of sleep.
  • Seek out sources of the amino acid tryptophan combined with a carbohydrate rich snack prior to bed. Tryptophan is the precursor needed for serotonin production, the sleep and happy hormone and neurotransmitter. The carbohydrate assures insulin release which diverts other amino acids from brain so that tryptophan can have priorities over the receptors which are responsible for serotonin production and release.  There are a number of foods which contain tryptophan.
    • My favorite tryptophan sources for sleep time are chick peas, bananas, oatmeal, eggs,  peanuts,  low fat milk, cottage cheese or greek yogurt, unsweetened soy and miso soup.
    • Healthy carbohydrate complements could include a slice of whole grain toast, a half a cup of rice, half of a baked potato, or half a cup of unsweetened whole grain cereal.
    • Beans are both a great source of tryptophan and a great carbohydrate but can cause gas in sensitive stomachs. Meats also have tryptophan but create digestive challenges which could create discomfort.
  • Seek other foods encourage sleep by offering a low but natural source of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates our internal sleep wake cycle (synchronizes are circadian rhythm) and when high stimulates sleep.
    • Cherries, tomatoes, olive oil and walnuts are ideal foods to incorporate in your late night snack.
  • Seek out sources of magnesium which promote muscle relaxation and switch the body to rest and repair mode.
    • Bananas and almonds are amazing sources of this and perfect to combine in a pre-bed snack.

foods helping sleep

Some examples of ideal dinner/late night snack for a good night sleep? Try slice toast with sliced hardboiled egg and tomato drizzled with olive oil.  Other suggestions include hummus spread on whole grain pita with some cherries for dessert or small bowel or Irish oatmeal with bananas and unsweetened soy milk….. Get creative, think healthy, light and satisfying!

Aromatherapy

Although aromatherapy cannot cure the cause of your sleep problems it can help calm the mind so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Aroma therapies use essential scents from natural plant sources to alter ones mood, cognitive function or health.lavander aromatheraphy

  • Seek out chamomile, sandelwood, valerian and lavender oil. These oils have been used for centuries as natural sleep remedies. Spray or dab on pillow prior to bed or put a few drops in your pre-bed bath! Some of my favorite products include Perfect Potions Pure Essential OilsValerian and Hops Sleep Well Herbal Bath and the Thymes Lavander Candle and Wash.
  • Avoid cyprus, rosemary, peppermint, grapefruit and lemon oil scents prior to bed…these are great to get your mind sharp and concentrated but can be stimulating and make it difficult to sleep.

Supplements

When it comes to treating sleep problems, lifestyle adjustments are always  to be attempted prior to seeking out the help of supplements. Lifestyle adjustments aim at treating the cause of your sleep insufficiencies, are free of side effects and are much healthier for you in general. Supplementation however, may be the right choice for you if lifestyle adjustments have failed or you have specific work or traveling schedules which may require additional support. These are a few that I find the safest and most effective.  

  • Melatonin, as mentioned above, is a hormone the body produces naturally to induce sleep.

melatonin concentration

    • Supplementation at .3-.5mm (low doses) may be a safe and effective way to induce sleep for those who suffer from short term insomnia. Melatonin is released from the pineal gland in the brain around 9 pm every night. As its concentration builds it causes one to feel sleepy and therefore induce restful activity and preparation for sleep.
    • Those with hectic irregular schedules, who fly across time zones or have been watching too much late night TV may need to reboot their circadian rhythm with the help of melatonin. Light exposure disrupts the release of natural melatonin and therefore may be a source of sleeping issues.
    •  Since long-term supplementation or high dose melatonin in the blood can cause health problems it’s always best to consult your doctor and try and address lifestyle habits which could be affecting sleep first.
  • L-theanine is an amino acid which is naturally found in low dosed in green tea. It promotes a calm, balanced mood.
    •  Suntheanine is a brand of a supplement which provides an effective dose of pure L-theanine for a deeper night sleep.Suntheanine
  • Valerian is an herbal supplement which when taken in doses of 200-8-00 mg prior to sleep can help provide you with a deeper quality sleep.
    • This is one of the oldest well studied sleep remedies with virtually no side effects when used correctly. The two downfalls are 1) it may take a week or two to gain the full  benefits supplementation and 2) in 10% of patients valerian may cause alertness (not relaxation) and therefore make sleep induction even more difficult! ….I suggest trying this out on a weekend!

Environmental Influences

  • Seek out an hour of morning sunlight to initiate onset of day time bodily functions.  Healthy exposure to daylight is imperative to create a healthy wake sleep cycle. Those who go to work before the sun comes out and arrive as it is already setting may be missing out on the correct dosage needed to naturally cue the bodies’ circadian rhythm.
  • For those who cannot change jobs or who work from home in a climate which offers little daylight…..full spectrum lights and sun alarms can be purchased to set healthy internal  sleep clocks.
  • Sun alarms can offer a natural easy way to set your internal wakeup and sleep rhythm and a gentle way to ease you out of bed in the morning.

  • Seek out and create sleep conductive environments. This translates to a dark, cool, quiet and comfortable room. Since we lose our ability to regulate extreme heat or cold during deep REM sleep we need to make sure the room is as close to ideal temperature for comfort and that we balance our clothes and bed dressing appropriately to balance temperature.
  • Avoid any source of light close to or during bedtime. This can inhibit pineal gland activation and therefore melatonin production resulting in inability to enter sleep.
    • Light exposure can include TV, computer or even bed clock exposure. Avoid these at all costs at least an hour prior to bedtime.

light and sleeping

The mind

Racing thoughts and uncontrollable obsessive thinking can keep us from sleeping. Women, especially have a hard time shutting down the brain prior to sleeping. This can result in a chronic sleep disturbance resulting in a compromise of both health and psychological wellbeing.

It’s very difficult to help yourself or anyone else suffering from this sleep neurosis. Figuring out what to do to stop worrying can be overwhelming. Life never ceases to test us and to give us new problems for which we feel we must endlessly ponder.  It’s up to us to learn to manage and calm our mind so it doesn’t negatively affect our health. Here are some tips for a calming the mind:

  • Keep a notebook by your bedside. Write down your list of things to do prior to bed. Also use to jot down additional concerns or worries and even some thought to make lists of solutions. If something keeping you up write it down to contemplate at a time during the day.
  • Make plans to talk to someone who can understand or at least sympathize. Again, if possible, best to make this a breakfast or lunch time appointment.
  • Try Acupuncture …it worked for me! Prior to moving to Europe I felt overwhelmed with uncertainness, excitement and guilt for leaving people I loved behind. Acupuncture helped calm my nervous system so I could channel my concerns and deal with them in a more organized way.

accuputure and sleep

  • Meditate prior to bed. Mediation is the ideal way to calm the mind and stop unhealthy thought processes which may interfere with sleep induction.
  •  How to meditate? Sit cross legged and comfortably on the floor in a quiet room. Turn off the phone and other source of distraction. Sit up straight, relax and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Focus on a specific point or close your eyes and attempt to visualize a place which calms you. Begin to count breaths 1-10 repeatedly until no thoughts intrude your mind. With time, the necessity to count will go away and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of giving your mind a break prior to bed time.  Set a timer form 5-10 minutes to make sure you are not thinking about the time you have left.

meditation in pjs

  • According to Harvard Medical School research,  practices like mediation and yoga activated disease fighting genes decreasing incidence of sickness, cancer and inflammation related pain. Other, studies have shown mediation has a direct link to higher immunity, increase fertility, emotional balance, lower blood pressure and calmness.

Other Factors

Increasing age is NOT considered a reason to sleep poorly. It is most often associated with underlying health problem, less than ideal lifestyle habits or stress management. Below are a few of the reasons why aging adults tend to suffer from sleeping issues. If you have tried to modify your lifestyle and still find it difficult to sleep, see your medical doctor to rule out some of these factors.

  • Hot flashes cause fluctuations in temperature and therefore can cause difficulty in both sleep induction and ability to stay asleep. Hot flashes are a symptom of  irregular hormone surges and are many times suffered by peri-menopausal women and other disorders interrupting hormone regulation.
  • Medications are the root cause of many types of sleep disorders. This should be one of the first things evaluated if a medicated person complaining of sleep disturbances.
  • Snoring is, according to the national sleep foundation, a primary cause of sleep problems in a large percentage of ageing and overweight adults. This is an especially alarming if it is a symptom of a disorder associated with high blood pressure and other health concerns called Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), OSA and Gasteroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also be major causes of sleep disruption.
  • Psychiatric illnesses are almost always related to sleep disturbances. Depression is the most common psychiatric illness affecting both our energy levels and sleep patterns.
  • Napping frequently during the day, may be a major cause in a person’s ability to get the restorative sleep they need at night. It can many times cause a vicious cycle where one who is not sleeping well during the night becomes exhausted during the day and, as a consequence, requires daytime naps, further attributing to their night time insomnia.

 

So….What to do for the occasional sleepless night??

  • IF you CAN’T sleep and you find yourself lying awake at night. The worst thing you CAN do is to continue lying there….this will just further increase sleep anxiety!
  •   I suggest…. get up, jot down any annoying thoughts, warm up a glass of milk with honey, drink it and put on some light music till you get tired. Alternatively, you could read a relaxing book with a soft light, try a few stretches or yoga moves.  Try and relax and not to stress about not sleeping…it will just make matters worse! Hopefully you will be falling into sleep mode shortly after a quick recharge!

reading and milk

When sleeping problems become frequent, it’s a sign that something in our life is unhealthy. Whether this may be a underlying disease process, poor diet, poor lifestyle (stress, smoking, alcohol abuse or other) or unhealthy relationship….we need to try and resolve it!

I hope that with this information I have inspired you to embark on a mission for better sleep! I know, I was inspired, at just the thought of writing this post! Born as an energetic type A personality, I have struggled with sleep issues for years.  Regular exercise, yoga and attempting to be as organized as possible have helped me achieve healthier sleep patterns.

As many of you can relate…the symphony of lifes hecticness (in my case three kids, a demanding job, and active lifestyle), requires the guidance of a good conductor to set the pace and keep the rhythm. By implementing good sleep habits, we are allowed to be the best conductors we can be! These habits enable us to make beautiful music every day, despite the noisy realities of life! The better equipped we are to maneuver life in a balanced harmonious way, the better environment we create for everyone around us to do the same. Sleep is one of the most essential ingredients needed to create this environmental harmony. It can, therefore, be said that the more of us who sleep well, the closer we may be to a smarter, better organized, less violent, healthier and happier world!

sleeping couple

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Fighting Skin Aging and Preserving Health

preserving beauty

There are a few key practices which are vital to maintaining skin youthful in both function and appearance: in summary they involve  protection, stimulation and nutrition.  For some genetically blessed, protection may the only action required to maintain skin looking fresh and radiant into their 60’s.

It is common knowledge that sunscreens play a key role in protecting skin from damaging UVA and UVB radiation and therefore from its caustic effects leading to both aesthetic and skin cancer concerns.  (I will touch on sunscreen varieties in future posts!) What most don’t know is that sunscreen protect us from only a small percentage of total solar radiation (roughly 7 %) and gives us no protections from all other environmental stressors such as pollution,  smoke,  chemical exposure, toxins  (make-up and other creams ). Although with a broad spectrum sunscreen, we are assuming protected from certain skin cancers,  without any additional support we are still susceptible, via the above aggressors, to free radical formation.  Infrared radiation (IR, composing over 50 % of solar radiation,  has shown to be strongly linked to free radical formation. Additionally, IR has the ability to penetrate even deeper than UV rays, making its effects especially concerning.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are the source of unpredictable cell behavior. They are formed when liberated from a damaged atom molecule. IR and other environmental stressors mentioned above,  disrupt electrical harmony of cells, forming free radicals. As we accumulate them we continually damage more cells, accelerate the aging of the tissues and ultimately causing health concerns.

“A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule with an uneven number of electrons,” explains Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD. “These free radicals are looking to steal electrons from your cells in order to complete themselves, and the result is damage to the cells in the form of inflammation, pigmentation, and even DNA damage.”

What can we do to protect ourselves from free radical formation?

For more global protection we need additional armor in the form of antioxidants.  Antioxidants give our skin the tools its needs to fight off free radical accumulation and therefore maintain healthy function and structure resulting in youthful skin appearance. By providing the electrons the free radicals are scavenging for, we prevent them from further damaging healthy cells and forming more free radicals. Antioxidants prevent premature aging and dangerous sequelae which can lead to irregular cell behavior linked to disease and cancer.

antioxidants

Antioxidants in diet is an undisputable requirement for overall wellness and health maintenance. Those who make conscious efforts to include antioxidant sources from fruits vegetables and nuts live longer quality lives with less risk of disease and cancer.  It’s a no brainer that regular consumption of berries, vibrant colored vegetables, omega fatty acid sources will also enhance your skins appearance but if you are not protecting your skin externally….you may be working against what positive work you have been doing internally. This is where the importance of a good skin product, high in antioxidants, comes to play.

So why not buy sunscreens which claim high antioxidant content and get the most out of a single product?

Although there are a few sunscreens which incorporate antioxidants, most don’t have high enough concentrations to do the work we need them to correctly.

In addition, even high quality antioxidants are unstable when exposed to direct light and air.  Antioxidants which are imbedded within sunscreens are many times partially oxidized and therefore less efficient at protecting skin.  Additionally, the sunscreen, if  has active chemical ingredients, produces free radical itself! This means that the antioxidants embedded in such sunscreens are utilized in neutralizing the free radical affects the sunscreen produces and therefore is not doing a great job at protecting the skin from anything else! Its for this reason your antioxidant should be applied first. Once absorbed you can put on your sunscreen. Again if you want to avoid free radical formation at all cost, it may be worth looking into a good physical sunscreen (no chemicals used, mostly mineral based, reflect UV rays and prevent absorption). Try ….Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, MD Solar Science 50SPF, and Color Science Mineral Powder Sunscreens SPF 30 and 50.

What should we look for when looking for an antioxidant product?

The most famed antioxidants include Vitamin A, C and E. Out of these Vitamin C has shown the strongest qualities for free radical sequestration.  L-ascorbic acid is pure Vitamin C. Other forms of vitamin C include ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate,  ascorbyl palmitate and magnesuem ascorbyl phosphate. Vitamin C is a super antiaging agent as it stimulates collagen and protects at the same time.  Vitamin A  is found in forms such as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate and retinol. Vitamin A is also useful for its ability to stimulate cellular turnover, preventing wrinkle, sun spots and in stronger forms cancer. Vitamin E is most often found as tocopheryl nicotinate and tocopheryl linoleate. Vitamin E is useful for not only its antioxidant properties but the fact it stabilizes vitamin C and gives your product a longer shelf life.

Other, less known, but powerful antioxidants include idebenone, ferulic acid, selenium, superoxide dismutase, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q 10 and Liprochroman 6. Other natural antioxidant sources include green tea, bamboo isoflavones (also act as a natural alternative to silicone), grapeseed, argan and jojoba oils, walnut seed, redwine, yucca, flaxseed and Hopextract.

Below I list 10 star antioxidant products and why you should love them! The first 5 use extensively medically proven ingredients, have strong clinical investigations supporting their claims, and raving customer reviews.  The last 5, are my top picks for naturally sourced antioxidants products.

CE Ferulic

1.      C E Ferulic  by Skin Ceuticals

  • Combination antioxidant treatment containing 15% L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C), 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), and 0.5% ferulic acid.
  • Results in visually changes skin in weeks.  I have recommended this to my own patients and am astounded that a topical product can result in so much improvement in terms of appearance and quality of skin.
  • Works to protect, stimulate collagen, improve tone and firmness and replenish lipids to prevent and diminish wrinkles.
  • Great for those over 30 who want protection and aesthetic enhancing treatment in one!
  • Once absorbed, this serum can’t be washed or rubbed off. It remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours, making it an excellent addition to sunscreen.
    • Price: $14

2.      Prevage  Anti-aging Daily Serum by Elizabeth Ardenelizabeth-arden-prevage-face-advancded-anti-aging-serum

  • An advanced anti-aging serum which includes Idebenone. Idebenone is said to have more antioxidant power than all most  other antioxidants. There is a bit of debate whether it prevails over Vitamin C.
  • Other active ingredients include the antioxidants Thiotaine, Bamboo isoflavones, Lipochroman 6 and a green tea blend.
  • Protects while reversing existing skin aging symptoms such as wrinkling, pigmentary issue, textural irregularities and overall skin tone.
    • $15

3.      Vitamin C+E Complex by Skin Medicavitamin-ce-complex

  • Incorporate both Vitamin C and E .
  • Silicone suspension used to prevent antioxidant oxidation and therefore improve efficacy of antioxidants ability to fight free radical formation by environmental stressors.
  • High percentage of active ingredients and gradual release formula make this an ideal product for those who want a gentle yet effective medical-grade anti-aging product.
  • $95

4.      Vivite Daily Antioxidant Facial Serum by Allerganvivite_daily_antioxidant_facial_serum_Lg

  • Uses mix of olive, pomegranate, green tea, chamomile, and licorice extracts to help protect and rejuvenate skin.
  • Also includes a bit of glycolic acid to control oil, smooth skin, and lighten skin discolorations.
  • Can be irritating for sensitive skin types
  • Great for oily skin types with tendency to have pigment irregularities.
  • Incorporates many natural antioxidant sources making it a nice balance of science meets nature!
    • $109

5.      RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum by Paulas Choicepaulas super antiox concentrate

  •  Incorporates antioxidants Vitamin C , coenzyme Q 10 , Vitamin E, Ferulic acid, green tea derivatives and others to  protect skin, support collagen stimulation and improve skin tone.
  • Customers rave about product smoothness, fast absorption and ability to combine with make-up and sunscreen.
  • Great for those who want an affordable skin base which protects, repairs and brightens skin.
  • Non-irritating, fragrance free
    • Average $25

…………..Now for my top five natural picks!

6.      Sundara (Beauty) Face Oil by Jiva ApohaJivo Apoha Sundara Face OIl

  • Uses Vitamin E, grape seed and jojoba oils antioxidant and nourishing properties to create natural antiaging skin base..
  • Grapeseed oil is rich in  OPC  (potent  antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes)
  • Infused with 100% essential oils such as Sandalwood and Jasmine, Lavender Rose and Chamomile to soothe tone and prevent irritation.
  • Easily absorbed, non-greasy formula that actually serves to balance natural oil production.
  • Jiva Apoha combines search for natural beauty with healing practices of Ayurveda.
  • Ideal product those searching for healthy and natural beauty antioxidant to protect, balance, replenish and heal skin.
  • I just love this product line! The philosophy, the pureness and the ingredients resonate with my idea of responsible consumerism and beauty through investment in health!
    • $105

7.      Eight Greens Youth Serum by Eminenceeight-greens-youth-serum-142

  • Bio-complex formula includes various vitamins and antioxidants including coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid.
  • Other antioxidants include Yucca extract, flaxseed and Hopextract
  •  Includes lavender oil to calm and prevent irritation.
  • Handmade, Paraben free, harsh chemical free and organic.
  • Great for those wanting natural gentle protection + more even skin tone
    • $42

8.      Vitamin Sea Serum by OSEA MALIBUVitamin Sea serum Osea

  • Antioxidant boost with an anti-aging blend of seven organic seaweed extracts that nourish and hydrate.
  • Contains Vitamins A, C, and E, walnut seed and green tea extracts
  • Perfect for those searching a protective skin base treatment that is 100% Organic and Vegan.
    • $68

9.       Sea Vitamin Anti-Aging Boost  by OseaSea_Vitamin_Boost OSEA

  • Similar benefits and properties to Vitamin Sea Serum with additional ability to repair cellular damage and prevent inflammation. Potent blend of Vitamin C, pomegranate and red wine antioxidant extracts. These protect from cellular damage and inflammation.
  • Other ingredients include pomegranate and red wine extracts and Gigartina Algae. Gigartina Algae is hand-harvested off the shores of Patagonia, and sun-dried at the OSEA seaweed farm on the southern tip of Argentina. This algae is known for its high vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme content and serves to regenerate, protect and soothe skin.
  • I don’t love the smell particularly and you need to combine with sunscreen cream which is  hydrating and easily absorbed.
  • Great for summer months or when traveling for additional protection against aggressive sun. Can be used as spray on the beach.
    • $32

10.  Vitamin C Anti-Aging Face Serum by John Masters Organicsjohn masters organi cvitamin C serum

  • Combines Vitamin C for prevention and rejuvenation with natural botanicals such as sea algae, nettle and rosebud to moisturize and nourish.
  • Protects skin, promote health and repair of damage.
  • Great  for people with younger skin who want economical and natural way to be proactive in keep skin healthy and youthful.
    • $30

Some final insight…….

Remember that as helpful as any one antioxidant product can be, the best you can do for yourself is armor yourself with as many as you can. A diet high in antioxidants is important for overall health, function and disease prevention. A good product should contain high concentrations of antioxidants (make sure they are at the beginning of the ingredient list ) and low in preservatives and harmful chemicals. Hydrate yourself and your skin with antioxidant infusions. There are supplements which contain antioxidants helping protect your immune system and skin health. If eating adequate amount of fruits and vegetable is difficult for you, you might want to invest in a trusted source. Lastly, just because something claims to have green tea or vitamins doesn’t mean it’s good for you. If you are not familiar with the manufacturer of a certain product, check for validity from a trusted health care provider.

Even with the help of antioxidants prolonged solar radiation can take a toll on skin health. Its always a good idea to wear protective clothing and a hat when spending all days outdoors.

KIDS PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

With antioxidants by your side you can finally unleash your genetic potential. Would it not be amazing to find out what your skin might age like in a closer to perfect world of ideal nutritional choices, with less toxins, pollution and solar radiation? I’m curious ….arent you??

POSSIBILITIES AND AGING

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baby lashesBabies seem to be blessed with long full lashes. They use them to charm us into doing practically whatever they want. Eyes are key when trying to gain someone’s trust and lustrous lashes make it easy to pay attention just long enough to convince our audience we are worthy of theirs. 

Eye lashes, like hair, tend to thin and lose volume as we age. Typical lash cycle lasts between 30 and 60 days. As lashes fall out, they replace themselves with new ones. Like skin and hair on our heads, lashes are sensitive to sun exposure, smoking, pollution, chemical exposure and diet. Keeping them thick, healthy and shiny may take a bit of consideration. Our diet, products we choose and the way we care for our lashes in general can affect how they grow and thrive despite our genetic and hormonal predisposition. Once you have assured you are eating a balanced diet, have no hormonal or health related disorders affecting your lash health or loss, it’s time to figure out what we can do.

So with a billion dollar lash product market out there….which products should we trust?

Can a product help make our lashes healthier, longer and fuller as they claim? From the grocery store to the doctor’s office we see dozens of lash products promising us all we need to revive the lashes we once had and really give our eyes the beautiful frames they deserve.
Below I have outlined for you the some of the best reviewed on the market. These are the products that I thought, had some of the best studied ingredients and therefore had clinical validity. Some are aimed at both stimulating new hair growth and optimizing growth potential while others are simply conditioners to help promotes healthier and more beautiful lashes.. I list their users claims, their key ingredients, price and some other valid considerations.

Here I list my top 10 lash enhancing products. I made sure to have a nice mix of medicial, aesthetic and natural products. Scroll down below and I give you a glossary of all the clinically valid ingredients used  in lash serums and how they can help restore or improve lash growth and health. With this information I give you the tools to decifer which lash product may be right for you!
M2 beatuy logo

M2 Lashes by M2 Beaute

  • Claim: Lustrous lashes without side effects. Use MDN, claimed to be safer prostaglandin derivative. Prolongs growth phase and delays their loss. Result is longer, fuller lashes in 6-8 weeks.
  • Ingredients :MDN**, Biotin, Hyaluronic acid, Prodew 300 moisture binder, Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycan (GAG)
  • Other/Buying info: Use prostaglandin analog**. Sold without prescription in Europe and Asia. Not sold in USA.
    • 120 Euros. 3 month supply.Clinics, Online

lattisse

Latisse by Allergan

  • Claim: Prescribed for treatment of hypertrichosis (intentional or unintentional lash pulling) or inadequate lashes. Thicker longer and darker lashes in 6-8 weeks.
  • Ingredient: Biomatoprost ** is the only listed active ingredient
  • Other/Buying info: Uses prostaglandin analog **. Sold in US only. Allergan dispenses Lumigen in Europe and Asia, identical in composition but prescribed mainly for glaucoma patients.
    • $120 .By prescription only.4 week supply. Dispensed in Physician offices.

neulash

NeuLash by Skin Research Laboratories

  • Claim: Transform dry brittle lashes. Improves overall health and condition of lashes. Creates optimal environment for growth
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Provitamin B5, biotin, Pumpkin seed extract amino acids biotin hyaluronic acid, New formula without Isopropyl cloprostenate (IPC).
  • Other/Buying info: Celebrity endorsements. Not much clinical support. Had problems because included IPC and never reported. Recently removed from formulation.
    • $95 Online. 6week supply

Rapid Lash

 RapidLash

  • Claim: Conditioning moisturizing and strengthening serum. Improves the overall appearance of eyelashes and eyebrows.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium Hyaluronate,Biotin, Panthenol, Glycosaminoglycans, Allantoin, Cucurbita, and Licorice extract. New formulations without Isopropyl cloprostenate!
  • Other/ buying info: Valid Ingredient list with good price. Little clinical validation behind claims but good consumer ratings
    • $50 Retailers, Websites

Jan Marini Lash

Marini Lash by Jan Marini

  • Claim: Conditions, prevents premature breakage, giving better volume and texture.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, biotin vitamin B12, copper, panthenol, folic acid white tea leaf and cinnamon bark extract.
  • Other/Buying info: Lots of clinical research but Low concentration of peptides.
    • $79 Doctors’ Offices, Website                     hydropeptide lash

Hydropeptide Lash    

  • Claim: Grow long thick full lashes. Beauty meets science philosophy.
  • Ingredients: Peptides, Sodium hyaluronate, folic acid, biotin, amino acids
  • Other/Buying Info: Money back guarantee. Can also use on eyebrows.
    • $98 Retailers, Online

MD lash factor

MD Lash Factor by Dr Susan Lin

  • Claim: Longer, denser lashes in 4 weeks using non prostaglandinformula.(53% increase)
  • Ingredients: Copper peptide technology, biotin, sodium lactate, sodium PCA
  • Other/Buying info: Created by physician using medically validated Cu peptide technology. Like products with prostaglandin ingredients, can cause skin and iris darkening.
    • $100-140. Cilnics, Online

maxolash

MaxoLash by Dermagevity Cosmeceuticals

  • Claims: Natural, non-irritating formula to promote healthier and fuller-looking brows.
  • Ingredients: Protein complex and vitamins hyaluronic acid, ProVitamin B5
  • Other/ Buying info: Unlike most lash enhancers, wear like mascara.
    • 100% Natural, No Parabens, No preservative, No irritation
    • $79 Online

Tarte lash

Tarte Multiple EYE Lash Enhancer by Tarte

  • Claim: A natural lash enhancer that increases the appearance of lashes.
  • Ingredients: Plant Peptides, protein emulsion, amino acids, and vitamin C.
  • Other/Buying info:  All natural but may cause irritation in some with sensitive skin
  •   $65  Sephora,Online

Loreal Lash

L’Oréal 24-Hour Lash-Boosting Power System

  • Claim: Lengthening day mascara and lash-boosting serum for night. Claim to have similar results to expensive treatment serums.
  • Ingredients: Fortifying amino acids, panthenol, ceramide and centella asiatica extract.
  • Other/Buying info: Economical conditioning and strengthening system. Won’t grow lashes but support health.
    • $20 Drugstores, Retailers, Online

All these are credible products. Which is right for you depends on your personal philosophy (pro or anti medicines, doctor vs spa dispensed ect.), where you live and your pocket-book. I personally have tried M2 Beaute on one eye (while leaving the other untreated) and was amazed at the results. I also love Jan Marini products and believe in the restoration properties of the copper peptide technology (MD Lash Factor).  And for those who just want to treat their lashes with a little extra love without breaking their pocket book….L’Oreals product seems like the obvious choice. Most products are applied once daily above the upper lash line. Click on the product name for more details. Below you have ingredient info to help you understand how each help you get the most of your lashes.

                                

                                         Lash Enhancing Ingredient Glossary: The Key Players

The Ones that Enhance Growth: Prostaglandin analogs, Polypeptides, Copper Peptides

  • Prostaglandin Analogs– Bimatoprost,  Isopropyl Cloprostenate and MDN. Prostaglandin derivatives which have been clinically studied and proven to increase eyelash growth. This effect found by accident by glaucoma patients who were prescribed this to treat their medical condition. Naturally we can produce prostaglandins only if we assure we have enough fatty acids, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Like all medications the drawback is risk of side effects. Although rare prostaglandin analogs can be linked to any of the following: discoloration of the eye lid skin or even iris (may change blue or green eyes to brown), an itchy or burning sensation affecting the eyes, dryness of the eyes or watery eyes, dizzy sensation or general feeling that something is in the eye.
  • Peptides– Increase eye lash growth by stimulating keratin (the protein of hair) production for longer thicker lashes. Also linked to promoting collagen production therefore supporting structure of hair follicles creating ideal new hair growth environment.
  • Copper peptides– Peptides with additional anti-inflammatory properties which promote wound healing and overall skin health. By inhibiting the production of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can prevent age related hair thinning and loss.  Also can enhance health of hair follicles so can grow healthier thicker hair. Precaution when combining with Vitamin C products as both can cause skin irritation, especially in combination.

Peptides are the preferred growth enhancers by purists who believe them to be a more natural way to stimulate growth without side effects of drug controlled ingredients such as those derived from prostaglandins. However, more clinical data has shown effectiveness of prostaglandin sources in stimulating hair growth.

Health and Beauty Enhancers:

        The following ingredients promote the ideal environment for best quality lashes to grow and reach their optimal growth potential. They may also contribute to repairing damaged lashes.

  • Allantoin– A plant-based ingredient to help sooth calm and protect lash skin.
  • Alphalfa extract– A great protein source that conditions and increases metabolism to promote lash skin healing.
  • L-Arginine– An amino acid (building block of protein) which has several added beneficial effects including waste elimination, creatinine production (muscle-building), and causing vasodilation of blood vessels or improved circulation. This benefit of improved circulation in theory is thought to help with tissue repair, circulatory related issues (heart and other vascular diseases) and in skin related issues and hair loss.
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)-Promotes faster hair growth and stronger, less brittle hair. Also helps prolong hair growth phase and delay shedding. Vitamin B7 is necessary for metabolism of amino acids (building blocks of protein). Without deficiency, hair loss is inevitable.
  • Calcium– Enzyme activator which linked to stronger hair follicles. Works with Copper to promote eyelash growth.
  • Centella Asiatica– Herb used in African, Indian and Chinese Medicine for improved circulation benefits. Thought to stimulate hair and nail growth. No clinical studies exist to support use for any condition.
  • Cinnamon Extract– Prevents hair breakage and reduces hair loss.  Stimulates skin and hair follicles to improve circulation and promote healthy hair growth.
  • Folic Acid– Aids in red blood cell production and therefore proper circulation and metabolic function of healthy cells. Folic acid has been linked as a key player in healthy hair growth and therefore in eyelash health and growth
  • Glycols– Used as vehicles to deliver active ingredients into the skin where can work.  Problem is that they leave skin greasy and make difficult to apply make up after. May also cause irritation to some sensitive skins
  • Hyaluronic acid– Promote hydration to eyelashes so that they are more resistant to breakage and environmental aggressors.
  • Hydrolyzed glycosaminglycan (GAG)- Moisture binder and ensures greater elasticity, flexibility and strength.
  • Licorice extract- Contains calming and brightening properties to shield against irritation and redness. Helps soothe and brighten the eye area.
  • Olive. Emu or Castor Oil– These oils condition hair to protect and nurture hair growth, health and shine.
  • Pathenol (ProVitamin B5)- Coats the lashes and brows and seal in moisture and nourishment for improved overall appearance Strengthen eyelashes allowing them to reach maximum growth potential. Promotes flexibility and durability. Soothes and calms the skin.
  • Protein complex – Since hair in general is made up of proteins (keratin to be specific). Supplementing with protein assures we have what we need to grow strong thick hair.
  • Pumpkin Seed Extract– Contains fatty oils with linoleic and oleic acid. Excellent source of vitamin A, B6 and C. Also contains zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron and a unique amino acid, cucurbitin which can help in balancing hormones. This function on hormone mediation has shown positive on hair growth.
  • Resveratrol– Potent polyphenol antioxidant found naturally in red wine (grapes), peanuts, pine trees and plants. Has anti- inflammatory properties which are beneficial to skin and hair health. Since premature hair loss linked to inflammatory injury to hair follicle, resveratrol has been shown to help prevent loss ad stimulate regrowth of injured follicles.
  • Sodium Hyaluronate– Moisturizing and protective skin agent derived from hyaluronic acid that because of its smaller size can penetrate skin easier and therefore ideal component of topical skin products.
  • Vitamin A– Another powerful antioxidant is responsible for new cell growth and generating keratin (the protein which hair is composed of).
  • Vitamin C and E – These can help increase circulation for ideal growth environment. Vitamin C and help form collagen to provide structure and support for eyelash growth. Vitamin E protects hair from free radicals (environmental stressors and is also vital in helping repair and heal damaged, dry and spit hair).
  • White tea leaf extract– Antioxidant promoting health skin environment. Promotes ideal hair structure and strength.

                                                   Some Conculsions

Although fake lashes and dramatic mascaras can mask unhealthy appearing lashes, their effects are temporary and many times appear unnatural. In addition they dont treat the source of the problem, are costly and may even damage your lashes further! Its important to be aware of what IS good for your lashes and how you can invest wisely in their beautification!

lady gaga eyes

I hope this guide helps empower you to start picking better products for your eyelash health. Remember if you are going to pick between a slower process of healing and restructuring, or just the instant flash superficial fix-up…..always invest in core health practices and the beauty will follow naturally!

M2 before and after

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YOUR WAIST, YOUR FAT and HEALTH DANGERS

abdominal fat

During mid-life women tend to gain 1 lb or .5 kg per.  Men too, find weight gain and more specifically a growing waist circumference almost inevitable approaching 40-year-old. This, more than just an aesthetic concern of not fitting into your favorite jeans, is a major health concern. Hormones, stress, genetics all play a role, but they should not be used as an excuse to embrace a life of increased health risks. You owe it to yourselves and to your families, to put up a fight. By educating yourself you can be proactive and take the right measures to getting fit and healthy. A healthy waistline will allow you to be the positive support and role model for those you want to enjoy life with.

Most concerning about being overweight, is not the weight in general (which is still associated with increase cardiovascular disease and diabetes) but where you accumulate the fat. The shift in fat stores to your abdomen and waist most probably translates to the biggest life risk factor to your health and longevity.

Although many tend to point blame at hormones and genetics when it comes to unexplained weight gain, there are other factors we need to be aware of so we can change our bodies tendencies. It’s the way our body ages and the way we let our environment (stress, diet and lifestyle) influence our health, that becomes key to a quality long life.

The Scary Fat: Visceral Fat

The fat most likely contributing to an increased waist line is one called visceral fat. This fat, unlike the subcutaneous fat  you can pinch and found just underneath your skin, contributes to most of our health related risks. Visceral fat is the fat underneath your muscles and found around organs. It is a “metabolically active fat” that’s directly linked to health concerns such as immunological diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and colon and breast cancer. It is one of the few independent factors that put you at risk for premature death. By metabolically active we mean that it works as a gland which produces hormones like other organs. An example of it’s’ activity is its production of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a hormone which inhibits leptin, another hormone which is normally released after a meal to make us feel full. It is therefore visceral fats fault that those who have a thickened waist tend to feel the less full after eating a meal, eat more and continue to put on weight. Adiponectin also makes cells less responsive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone which controls how we use glucose (sugar) for energy. Normally the pancreas releases insulin in response to increase glucose associated with a carbohydrate meal. Insulin maintains healthy blood glucose levels by bringing glucose into cells. Cellular responsiveness to insulin is important because if impaired cells don’t help decrease blood glucose as they should, we call this insulin resistance. Insulin resistance ultimately means we are often put in a state of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Hyperglycemia is terrible for the body as it means damage to organs such as the kidneys, increased glucose storage as fat and increased risk for diabetes. As a result our bodies also make more cholesterol, control blood pressure worse (leading to high blood pressure), have increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Visceral fat activity also negatively affects how our immune system functions by pumping out excess levels of cytokines, especially two known as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6. These cytokines are bad news in excess as they promote chronic inflammation and also further cellular resistance to insulin. This puts our body in more risk of a hyperactive immune system and autoimmune diseases and once again issues related to diabetes.

In addition, visceral fat cells also produces biochemicals which could contribute to increased blood pressure, problems with blood clotting and increased cholesterol.

Visceral fat activity therefore can be blamed for a variety of hormonal, biochemical and immune disruptions which throw our body into a chaotic cycle of imbalances resulting in mismanagement of vital systems needed to keep our metabolism, weight and overall health in check. The less we have of it, the better overall we are going to feel, look and function.

viseral fat diagram

The Measurements that put us at risk: When should we worry?

A waist measurement of 40 inches (102 cm)  for men or 35 inches (88 cm) for women equals abdominal obesity. New England Journal of Medicine reported when your waist is over 120 cm (men) or 100cm (women) you are twice as likely as those below 80 cm (men) or 65 cm (women) for premature death.

Ideal waist measurements correlating to quality and healthy lives have been reported below American Heart Association standards ( 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men).

Even if you are above or even at the ideal waist circumference limits there are enough reasons for you to be conscious of the consequences related to correlated health concerns. Get educated as to why this may be happening and start the process of slimming down and taking control of your health.

So what are the contributing factors to increased visceral fat?

Visceral fat is accumulated due to a combination of factors including environmental, genetic  and hormonal influences.  Below I outline some of the biggest contributors to dangerous belly fact.

Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenal glands above the kidneys.  Cortisol affects almost every system in the body but its main functions include increasing blood sugar (by breaking down glycogen to glucose in liver), aiding  in fat, protein, carbohydrate metabolism and suppressing the immune system. Most of these functions aim to help the body focus effort on those processes which will help the body have fast energy and also prepare itself for some stressful event. In regards to our waistline concerns, cortisol is one of our main villains. When chronically elevated, cortisol is responsible for relocating fat cells into visceral cavities of the abdomen.

This brings me to explain how cortisol levels get increased to begin with.

  • Increased Stress–>Increased Cortisol

When you are confronted with stress, your body’s initial response is “fight or flight.”   Its signals your body to release the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine to deal with the stressful situation most effectively. It helps us get the energy our body feels it needs quickly and reverts the body from utilizing the energy inefficiently in things like digestion and reproduction. If the stressful situation is long term and you begin to feel distressed and defeated, the hypothalamus in the brain becomes involved, eventually leading to the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Along with cortisol we experience increase appetite and increase insulin levels so that we not only intake more calories but we get them stored to prepare for what the body perceives as a “dramatic event” which may require extra physical efforts. Cortisol then stimulates additional glucose production from glycogen stores in the liver. In addition, chronic cortisol increased inhibits normal metabolism of fat. The results of this all means excess un-utilized calories stored as fat, decreased fat burning and inevitable weight gain.

Cortisol’s influence increases appetite by making us less sensitive to a hormone called leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, this results in eating more. Again, the excess calories are stored as fat around the abdomen.

  • Estrogen Excess/Depletion:

The Estrogen Saga; How levels affects how we produce and store fat!

Estrogen is in  balance with other hormones in the body such as progesterone in women and testosterone in men. A balanced hormonal level helps to maintain our metabolic functions. When these hormones are present in unbalanced proportions, disorders and diseases can occur.

Natural Estrogen, when in correct levels and appropriately counter-balanced with other hormones, is vital to, especially women’s health. The issue occurs when we are exposed to, or ingest exogenous sources of estrogens which throw our body into disarray and in a state of estrogen excess. Exogenous estrogens are everywhere.They’re in the air, car emissions, detergents, paints, nail polishes, lotions, soaps, plastics, food and water. Most notable sources of estrogen chemicals are petroleum based products, pollutants, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and plastics (found in our air, on our food, cleaning supplies, toys and storage containers for food and water).  Exposure to these estrogenic chemicals are virtually unavoidable and they are the source of many health mysteries. They when ingested mimic our natural estrogen and have been linked to a variety of problems such a slowed fat metabolism, increased abdominal fat deposition, allergies, low immunity, fatigue and mood swings.

If progesterone and testosterone hormone levels are not where they should be, and our diet doesn’t include certain nutrients, we are unable to offset this estrogen excess. As a result we are  we are thrown into a metabolic disarray and the problems listed above.

Most often as we age an additional problem contributes to this already concerning issue. Progesterone and androgen hormones which normally help balance estrogen, are converted into renegade estrogen.  This puts many peri-menopausal women into a paradoxyl estrogen excess just as they start to produce less natural estrogen. Losses of androgen hormone levels in men also result in accumulation of abdominal fat and its related health issues. These concerns are the focus of anti-aging medicine doctors and their commitment to treatment through bio-identical hormone replacement (discussed below)!

Some signs you may be in estrogen excess? Symptoms of excess may include: craving of carbs and sweets, fat selectively deposited in the center of your body, low energy, headaches, digestion issues, water retention, lack of clear thinking, depressed mood. The “thickening” of women’s bodies and the “softening” of men’s bodies are often related to excess estrogen.

To avoid estrogen excess we must avoid sources of exogenous estrogens. This means avoiding toxins and chemicals at all costs. It also means eating smartly to avoid processed, hormone pumped and toxic foods. See diet consideration in the Diet section outlined below!

The estrogen saga thickens: What about those of you in Menopause? Unlike pre-menopausal concerns relating to estrogen excess, the problems associated with first 10 years of menopause are actually related to an estrogen decrease. Natural estrogen production has found to have many protective qualities to women. One of them have to do with preventing visceral fat accumulation. Women have an enzyme that when activated by high fat diet, slows the way we metabolize and burn fat. This enzyme is more active in the abdominal visceral fat. Estrogen suppresses the enzymes activity and therefore women in menopause have a greater tendency to suffer from the enzymes overactivity when exposed to high fat diets. Its is for this reason why women tend to accumulate more fat around their waists and more so after menopause. The mechanism of action seems to be related to the enzymes effect on Vitamin A metabolism. When the enzyme is present and active, it promotes Vitamin A metabolism to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid production has shown to be directly linked to visceral fat development. This enzyme has been identified as Aldh1a. And studies in mice have shown that those without it dont produce retinoic acid and therefore didn’t have ability to produce visceral fat. At least one function for this enzyme is the production of a powerful hormone, which then drives up the formation of visceral fat cells. The source of this hormone is vitamin A. A study in the Journal of Diabetes published that this enzyme was more present in obese womens visceral fat than in lean women. In summary, although genetics, gender and hormone levels all play a role in visceral fat formation, your can limit activation of Aldh1a by avoiding high fat foods.  Women can also see their doctor and discuss custom bio-identical hormone therapy to balance estrogen and other hormones which may affect the way you develop and burn fat.  Doctors and researchers are also now putting efforts in finding medications who can block the enzyme Aldh1a, in hopes to prevent retinoic acid effects on producing visceral fat.

  • Poor Diet Habits

In general, we need to eat in order to our bodies natural circadian rhythm which is dictates by our adrenals system cortisol release.  Adrenal health is vital for a healthy metabolism and in otherwise healthy individuals should dictate how, what and when we eat. There are two ways to do this. First eat when cortisol levels are naturally high and second making sure to eat well consistently throughout the day to avoid the body not signally a “starvation mode” which is perceived as stress to the adrenal system and therefore outputs cortisol.   Cortisol is naturally highest in the morning and therefore eating the most in the morning naturally follows the body’s natural tendencies to create more natural energy. Snacking correctly maintains healthy blood sugar and helps moderate the natural downward slope of cortisol through the day. Low carb snack at 3 pm helps avert an energy slump and eating light and early dinners helps us maintain the natural low quantities of cortisol our body sends out in the evening. Keeping with this natural cortisol output puts our body at easy and our metabolism in check.  Avoiding hunger also makes sure not to stress our body into releasing cortisol when not necessary and therefore prevents fat cells deposition into the visceral area.

The Solutions!!!

Ok so now you know the culprits. Let’s go over some of the ways we can decrease stress, cortisol, balance estrogen, improve your diet, implement lifestyle practices and get your doctor involved!!!

  • Decrease Stress

As seen above cultivating low stress lifestyle is key to limiting the bodies stress response and high cortisol levels. Stress and cortisol promote visceral fat storage. Making time for activities and practices to help you deal with stress are extremely important for you and your family’s life.  Some studies have specifically been linked to help control cortisols’ influence on our health. Supplements shown to decrease cortisol levels include magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids and black tea. Activities such as music therapy, massage therapy, laughing and dancing have also shown to positively affect cortisol levels. Make time for whatever you feel helps you manage your life. Walks, meditation, shiatsu, tai chi, yoga, tea breaks with your best friend are to be made mandatory if they help you remain calm and balanced when dealing with life.

meditation and relaxation

  • Diet Modifications/ Toxin Avoidance

Diet is essential when living in a world of chemicals, toxins and impure foods. We need to be picky about the food we ingest and the products we buy. You may not realize the health benefits “eating organic” or using eco-friendly cleaning products may bring you, but the cumulative detrimental effects creep up on you in the form of unexplained weight gain, low energy and diseases.  Be mindful when deciding what to feed yourself and your family…. you will be happier healthier and live longer for certain!

Our objective is to avoid accumulation of estrogen and limit its effects on our fat deposition, metabolism and side effects. The solution to excess estrogen requires the means to counterattack estrogen and its excess in a natural and safe way. To effectively defend the body against excess estrogen, one should increase the intake of estrogen inhibiting compounds, and decrease the intake of estrogen promoting compounds in the diet.

  1. Avoid toxins, hormones which lead to estrogen excess….Simply Choose Organic! The key is to avoid estrogen excess is to avoid foods high in estrogenic compounds. Anything that is processed increases the concentration of food estrogenic component. Non organic meat, processes soy, licorice, pesticides found on non organic fruits and vegetables,  non organic meats and dairy, plastic derivatives in found in packed food and water, diets high in animal fat and excessive consumption of omega 6 oils such as canola, corn and safflower can all lead to estrogen excess and therefore more deposit of visceral fat.
  2. Incorporate estrogen inhibiting compounds: Eating more plant-based food such as leafy greens can help combat excess estrogen. Plant compounds from the flavonoid and indole family can help the liver metabolize estrogen and therefore prevent its negative effects. These estrogen inhibitors work not only to inhibit estrogen production but lower receptor sensitivity and shift estrogen metabolism to more beneficial metabolites.Flavonoids and indoles, are also potent antioxidants and have anti-cancerous properties.

•Estrogen inhibitors can also be found in any of the following:  passiflora, chamomile, bee products, citrus fruits, onion, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage). It is for this reason it is pertinent to healthy fat metabolism to include these sources in your diet.

cruciferous vegtables

•Other foods which help limit the effect of estrogen excess on the body are omega 3 fatty acids which can be found in flax seeds, hemp seeds and fatty fish.

3. Balance the effects of estrogen excess by eating food which encourage progesterone production.      Progesterone will help balance estrogens. Good fats like avocados, olives, nuts and seeds are great simulators for healthy progesterone levels.

good oils avocado nut olive

             4. Incorporate detoxifying spices like curry and ginger can help clear the body of excess estrogen.

Additional diet considerations for Post Menopause:  In addition to the pre-menopause tips, women after menopause have an additional concern once natural estrogen levels start to drop. It becomes exceedingly important to avoid high fat diets.

Diet low in saturated fats and high in nutritional foods such as vegetables, grains, good oils and lean proteins can help keep metabolism in check and avoid high fat food binges. As mentioned above drastic diets that keep calories to minimum do not work! We need to avoid being hungry at all costs! Starvation mode, slows metabolism and paradoxically signals a stress response and causing it to store fat rather than to burn it for energy.   Eating smartly is the key. Find a way to enjoy eating for health. If you can’t figure it out, there is no better investment than seeing a nutritional specialist. Remember the is no price for a quality healthy life…. There is no better time than the present to invest in your health.

  • Whole Body Workout

Exercise is a great way to combat visceral fat. Studies from Duke University Medical Center and University of Pennsylvania showed how cardiovascular and weight training can combat abdominal fat. Walking or jogging 12 miles/week helped subjects lose up to 9 % of visceral fat in 6 months and that weight training twice a week can reduce body fat by an additional 4%.  What was not seen was visceral fat loss by doing abdominal specific excercise. A whole body work out effort is necessary to effectively address abdominal/visceral fat concerns.

healthy life pic

BHRT is a method of alternative medicine which uses hormones, which are bio-identical to the ones our body naturally makes, to compensate and balance the body of certain hormones which decline with age. The aim is to treat symptoms related to aging and help restore patients health found in youthful years.  By implementing BHRT doctors have been able to give patients those hormone ratios needed for ideal bodily function.  Declining estrogen, DHEA, and testosterone have all been linked to increased body weight, waist circumference, and an overall decreased metabolic profile. Those doctors who have been certified in the practice of BHRT can measure patients specific hormonal profiles and supplement with the bio-identical hormones to improve energy, weight, mental and physical function, and the defenses to help minimize the effects of stress and cortisol.  SInce these hormones are indistinguishable from the ones our body naturally makes, they unlike other forms of hormone replacement, implicate no risks of health concerns. If you are over 35 and feel that your body and energy level are changing beyond the control of exercise and diet, I suggest you seek out an anti-aging physician who can run tests and offer you council on BHRT.

In short, our best anti-aging tool when it comes to overall health come down to a fey key practices. Don’t smoke, avoid excess alcohol intake, exercise, RELAX, watch your diet carefully and DON’T GAIN WEIGHT!!! Again if you feel you can’t manage it alone there are people who can help.

active for life

Also, for those who have mothers, aunts, fathers and loved one’s who just are too easily accepting of their new body and waist…..PASS ON THE POST!!! We love them too much not to help them see it’s more than just an increase dress or pants size they need to worry about!

fitness for life

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