Colder weather can translate into skin that feels dry, irritated, and flaky. While moisturizers and serums can help, eating the right foods do wonders. We talked to celeb skin guru Sonia Dakar to find out what we should be eating to hydrate the skin from the inside out. Sonia is an expert in the area, having just partnered with Paleta to create the perfect meal plan for glowing skin! Keep watching to find out what to start incorporating in your diet for moisture-rich skin.
You accidentally walk into the corner of your coffee table and the next day there's a huge bruise on your leg. Or maybe bruises show up and you don't even remember hurting yourself. Bruising with the slightest bump doesn't mean you have a serious health problem, especially if your bruises tend to be small and don't show up often.
A bruise develops when small blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture. Blood leaks into tissues under the skin and causes the oh-so-attractive black and blue color. They can also become bumpy, which is called hematoma, which happens when blood collects and pools under the skin. As bruises heal (usually within two-four weeks) they often turn all colors of the rainbow, including purplish-black, reddish-blue, or yellowish-green. Sometimes the area of the bruise even spreads down the body in the direction of gravity. A bruise on a leg usually will take longer to heal than a bruise on the face or arms.
A tendency to bruise easily sometimes runs in the family, so you might have inherited this trait from one of your parents. Women bruise more easily than men, especially from minor injuries on the thighs, upper arms, and butt. The amount of fat covering your body may also play a part — if you don't have much, there's less cushioning protection, so bruises will appear with the slightest knock. If you notice more bruises now than you did several years ago, it could be due to all those hours spent outside without sunblock, as sun-damaged skin causes blood vessels to break more easily.
Sudden unexplained bruises, bruising that happens frequently, or bruises that don't go away after a month, could be a sign of a health issue, such as an infection or a vitamin deficiency of B12, C, or folic acid, so if you're concerned about it, it's best to make an appointment with your doctor.
Winter outdoor workouts may require a lot of strategic layering, but Summer runs aren't all just fun in the sun either. Protect yourself from harmful rays by making sure you've layered up with this sun-protecting checklist for your next long outdoor workout.
- Sweat-wicking hat: For searing Summer days, you need a lightweight hat or visor that offers lots of shade without getting in your way. The Nike Featherlight tennis hat ($22) is adjustable and breathable so you won't overheat while you work out.
- Effective sunscreen: Whether you're out on a long run or bike ride, sunscreen that stays put while you sweat is important. If your outdoor workout is going to last longer than 30 minutes, make sure you apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before you make your way out the door. If your workout is going to be long, carry a sunscreen stick like the Environmental Working Group-approved TerraSport Face Stick SPF 28 ($10) and reapply every 1-2 hours. Learn more about how to pick a safe sunscreen here.
- Sport sunglasses: Your regular pair of sunglasses may block UV rays just as well, but if your workout is on the longer side you may want to invest in a pair of sport-specific sunglasses. These have details that you'll appreciate as you sweat through a hot-weather workout: nonslip nose pads, durable construction, and comfortable frames. Of course, look for lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays; these Oakley Twentysix.2 sunglasses ($130) offer everything you need in sport sunglasses and have a stylish side too.
- UPF clothing: If you're fair-skinned or spending lots of time in high elevation or on the water, opting for UPF-rated workout clothes is a good idea. These clothes are rated based on how well they protect you from UV radiation; while all clothes provide some UV protection, clothes with a rating of UPF 15 or higher are constructed specifically to ensure they block many of these rays. Learn more about choosing UPF clothing here.
You brought back some gorgeous photos from your two-hour hike and uh-oh — looks like you also brought back some poison ivy. When you accidentally brush up against this plant, the uroshiol oil rubs onto your skin and can instantly create redness, raised bumps, blisters, and an insatiable itch. First and foremost, get out of the clothes you were wearing on the hike and wash the oil off your skin using soap and cold water to prevent the rash from spreading. Don't use warm water, because it'll open your pores and make the itchy, bubbly rash worse.
Topical creams like Calamine lotion and hydrocortisone can keep the itchiness at bay, but when it comes to poison ivy, the quicker it heals, the better. Reach for this remedy — pure tea tree oil. It's all-natural, not that expensive, and easy to find at most health food stores. Thoroughly wash and dry the affected areas. Sprinkle a few drops of the tea tree oil directly on the rash, and use a Q-tip or cotton ball to spread it around. Apply a few times a day, and you should see the blisters disappearing and the rash clearing up.
Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antifungal, and drying properties, which is why it's so effective against the dreaded poison ivy. This natural remedy can also be used to treat acne, minor cuts and scrapes, athlete's foot, and yeast infections, so it's great to keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet.
With the recent release of the 2013 Sunscreen Guide from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), you might be confused as to how to choose the right sunscreen and whether or not the bottle you own now is safe and effective. Buying sunscreen shouldn't cause you to break out in a cold sweat, so here are a few simple yet important things to look for when it comes to sunscreen.
The number on your bottle stands for sun protection factor, and believe it or not, a higher number doesn't equal more protection. The EWG recommends purchasing sunscreens with SPFs higher than 15 but no greater than 50. Studies show that sunscreens with an SPF higher than 50 don't offer greater protection, and many doctors argue that a higher number makes many people think a sunscreen lasts longer than one with a lower SPF, causing them to reapply less often, so they're more at risk for burns.
UVB rays are responsible for burning as well as tanning your skin and are the main culprit responsible for skin cancer. And while UVA rays won't cause a sunburn, they penetrate your skin more deeply, leading to signs of aging including wrinkles, saggy and leathery skin, and sun spots. It's important to protect yourself from both types of UV rays, so look for bottles that say "broad spectrum" or "broad spectrum UVA/UVB."
If your sunshiny adventures include water or sweating a lot, then definitely choose a sunscreen that's water-resistant. Know that these aren't waterproof — they'll only protect you about 40 to 80 minutes in the water, so you'll need to reapply each time you take a dip.
Keep reading to learn which chemicals to avoid and to see a list of the safest, most effective sunscreens.
Probably not something you want to think about when it's hot out, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of melanoma cases in both men and women has risen two percent every year from 2000 to 2009. Wearing sunscreen is an effective way to protect yourself, and aside from remembering to apply it, you also need to make sure the bottle you use is safe. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently released its 2013 Sunscreen Guide; in order to make the list, a sunscreen must be free of oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, must be broad spectrum (protect against both UVA and UVB rays), and not have an SPF above 50, be in the form of a spray, or combined with bug repellent.
What's wrong with oxybenzone? Although it does a great job of absorbing ultraviolet rays, some studies show that it can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. The EWG and toxicology experts believe this chemical can disrupt hormones, damage cells, and potentially lead to skin cancer. Other experts disagree, like the American Academy of Dermatology since oxybenzone has been FDA-approved since 1978 for use in children older than 6 months.
Keep reading to find out what else you need to consider when buying sunscreen, and for a list of the safest sunscreens on the market.
If you're wary about smothering your skin with DEET to ward off mosquitoes, you probably end up with a few too many bug bites. The itchiness can drive you nuts, especially if you're hot or trying to sleep. Although scratching the affected area might offer immediate relief, it'll only cause more inflammation, which makes it itch even more, but worse, if you scratch the bite until it bleeds, opening the skin with your dirty fingernails can put you at risk for an infection. If you're a magnet for mosquito bites, here are some healthy ways to relieve that annoying itch.
Many of these are folk remedies used in the holistic community with little to no scientific evidence to back them up, but then again, many people swear these work. Instead of just suffering, it may be worth giving them a try.
- Alcohol: While pounding a few beers can help you forget about your itchy skin, that's not the type of alcohol I'm talking about. Grab rubbing alcohol or an alcohol wipe from a first aid kit and clean the infected area as soon as you notice you're bitten, and it can help prevent severe itchiness. No alcohol? Simple soap and water works well, too.
- Lemon or lime juice: Naturally anti-itch, antibacterial, and antimicrobial, a little bit of fresh-squeezed juice on the affected area can reduce itchiness and prevent infection. Use this remedy indoors since direct sun exposure can cause your skin to blister.
- Ice: To reduce swelling and numb the itch away, an ice pack does the trick. If you have too many bites to count, go for a cold shower or a dip in a chilly lake.
- Baking soda and witch hazel: For an inexpensive anti-itch remedy, make a thick paste with these two ingredients and apply it to your bites for 15 minutes. Baking soda contains an alkaline compound that may help neutralize the pH of your skin, which can help ease inflammation. If you don't have witch hazel, use water instead.
- Tea tree oil: A natural anti-inflammatory that can help with acne or poison ivy, this essential oil can also help reduce swelling and prevent infection if you can't help but scratch.
- Toothpaste: If you don't mind little white spots all over your skin, apply dabs of peppermint toothpaste for quick itch relief.
Keep reading for more home remedies.
Are you unusually sleepy and have trouble remembering simple things like what you walked into the kitchen for? If you're getting enough of both beauty sleep and exercise, then you might want to take a closer look at what's going into your meals. Are you getting enough omega-3s? Women should aim to get 1.1 grams (1,100 mg) a day. Seafood is an excellent source, so vegetarians and vegans who don't eat fish may be particularly prone to an omega-3 deficiency. Those whose diets are too high in omega-6s — foods such as corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil — are also at risk. Symptoms include:
- Poor memory
- Immune weakness
- Dry skin, eczema, or hair loss
- Heart problems
- Reproductive problems
- Mood swings or depression
- Poor circulation
If you're experiencing these symptoms and think it may be caused by a lack of omega-3s in your diet, then talk to your doctor. Increasing your consumption of omega-3 eggs, canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, soybeans, chia seeds, and cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, cod, and anchovies can relieve these symptoms. If you don't eat enough of these foods, then you may want to take fish oil capsules. Aside from preventing omega-3 deficiency, getting enough omega-3s can also reduce inflammation, decrease joint pain, fight obesity, reduce exercise-induced asthma, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.