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Category Archives: Beauty

Tips to Get a Natural Look With Makeup

With today’s on-the-go lifestyle, many women want face makeup tips to help them achieve a natural look that’s easy and fast, yet with enough polish to make it perfect for any business or personal daytime occasion. Natural face makeup is all about the colors you choose and where you put them.

Makeup Tips for the Natural Look

As Helga Surratt, President of about Faces Day Spa & Salon of Towson, Md., says, “Applying makeup for a natural look is easy with practice.” Follow these face makeup tips for a flawless finish to your makeup application:

  • Start with a clean and moisturized face. This is your canvas.
  • Use concealer for coverage. “To hide imperfections without adding color, use a concealer that has a yellow undertone,” Surratt says. Your concealer should be one shade lighter than your foundation or tinted moisturizer. Dot the concealer wherever you have a spot to cover and carefully blend it in with the rest of your skin using a makeup sponge.
  • Choose the best base makeup for you. For the sheerest and most natural look, use a tinted moisturizer after your concealer and gently blend with a makeup sponge under your jaw line. If you want to use a foundation for additional coverage, use a thin layer and carefully blend it under your jaw line.
  • Mineral makeup is great for a natural look and is easy to apply with a brush.
  • Experiment to find the right texture for a natural look. Mix your favorite liquid or cream foundation makeup with a dab of skin cream or moisturizerfor a lighter, moister finish.
  • For eye makeup, stick to neutral tones. Try taupe, beige, or a light dusting of a dark pink for eye shadow and brown or gray for mascara. “For the most natural look, skip the eyeliner,” Surratt suggests. If you do use it, choose a brown or gray color rather than black.
  • Go light on your lips. “Select nude or sheer pink shades that enhance your natural lip color, and forgo any lip liner,” says Pam Messy of Mary Kay Cosmetics in Owings Mills, Md.
  • Blend. Blending is the secret to using blush. Choose a cream formula or a loose powder applied with a makeup brush. Both are easy to work with. Apply the blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend down. In summer months, you can use a hint of bronzer to add more color to your face. “For the most natural look, use a blush that is closest to the color of your own cheeks after a light workout,” Messy says.

More Makeup Tips for Perfectly Natural Makeup

A few more expert tips will have you putting your best face forward:

  • Sheer, pale colors are great for creating a natural look with makeup. Select blush, eye shadow, and lipstick colors that are right for your skin tone: nudes, light pinks, or beiges are good choices. Surratt says: “Experiment with different colors, keeping in mind that you want to look as though you have no makeup on.
  • Always check your face makeup in natural light.
  • Use quality face makeup brushes for a more natural application, and have the right brush for the right cosmetic, such as a big, fluffy round brush for blusher, an almond-shaped flat brush for eye shadow, and a fine-tipped brush for cake eyeliner.

You can have natural, gorgeous-looking face makeup. With practice, people will think you aren’t even wearing any makeup!

Tips to Use an Eyelash Curler

Eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara are standard tools in any makeup kit. But makeup pros know that using an eyelash curler can further enhance your eyes by making them look wider and brighter. Inexpensive and easy to use, an eyelash curler is also safe if used properly. Read on for information about types of eyelash curlers and step-by-step instructions.

Eyelash Curler Options

There are two types of eyelash curlers — the conventional clamp-down kind and the newer heated eyelash curler. “Although manual or heated curlers can be used to curl the lashes, the effects are only temporary, from day to day,” notes lash stylist Twanna Smith, owner of Glam Eyelash and Brow Bar Salon in Duluth, GA.

Traditional eyelash curler.

This curler is metal and has the same kind of handles you’d find on a pair of scissors. The handles open and close a clamp that, when squeezed tight for a few seconds, produces the curl. The curling end has a rubber pad to protect delicate eyelashes from the metal clamp. The curler works by crimping your lashes up toward your brow, making them look longer and more pronounced. “Look for an eyelash curler that’s curved, not straight,” advises Candice Torres of Younique. “The curved base conforms well to the natural shape of the eye and can get closer to your lash line without pinching.” Be sure to choose a model with a good-sized pad to press against your lashes as well as a natural shaped handle, which will be easier to hold, she suggests. To avoid possible infection, you’ll want to replace the pad on the curler every two months. An eyelash curler typically costs between $5 and $25, depending on the brand and the store. Consider buying a replacement pack of the rubber pads at the same time.

Heated eyelash curlers.

Heated eyelash curlers are another option. Some use a small heated brush rather than a clamp to curl the eyelashes. You run the heated brush from the base of the lashes to the tip, working from the center of the eye out to the edges. Heated eyelash curlers cost from $10 to $20.

Step-by-Step Advice From the Pros

If you have one of the newer, heated curlers, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you prefer the traditional, inexpensive model, follow these tips to get the best curl.

Start with clean lashes.

For the best results, make sure to remove any old mascara from your eyelashes before you curl them. Old mascara can clog your curler or cause your lashes to clump, Torres explains, so it’s important to remove it. Use a gentle, oil-free eye makeup remover; any oil on the lashes would cause your new application of mascara to smudge. “The mascara will go on so much easier when your lashes are curled and more easily accessible,” Torres says. “I have naturally stick-straight lashes, so it’s hard to reach every little hair unless I curl them first.”

Next, do your eyelid makeup.

“Put your eyeshadow and liner on first, then curl your lashes and add your favorite mascara,” Torres says.

Clamp with care.

“Open the eyelash curler — and your eyes — and place your upper lashes between the padded base and the top,” Torres says. “Wiggle the eyelash curler into place, trying to get as close to your upper lash line/eyelid without pinching the skin. Don’t be scared — just go slowly if it’s your first time. “Close the clamp with the handle and gently squeeze in place for 10 to 15 seconds.”

To avoid a sharp bend and to create a natural curled look, gently release the curler and move it up the lash, away from the lid, by one or two millimeters, and again clamp the lashes for five to 10 seconds. Gently release the curler and repeat the process one or two more times, moving the curler up the lashes, closer to the end of the lashes each time.

You can repeat the process if you feel that your eyelashes are not sufficiently curled. Once you’re satisfied, add mascara. “In order to maintain the most curl, try to find a formula that’s not too wet or heavy,” Torres says.

You might need a little practice — to learn how to maneuver eyelashes through the clamp, how to comfortably clamp down, and how to use mascara to maintain that curl. But in very little time, you’ll create beautiful, long lashes with almost no effort.

Take Care of Your Lashes

You might have the best curler and mascara on the market, but it won’t help you if you don’t care for your lashes.

“The main problem with lashes is people tend to unconsciously fiddle with them, which can lead to shedding,” cautions dermatologist Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, associate clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology. ” Side sleepers may also repeatedly crush their lashes, which can lead to lash loss over time.”

Dr. Donofrio recommends talking to your dermatologist if your lashes seem sparse — you may be able to use a prescription or over-the-counter serum to spur lusher lash growth. Or, when a curler isn’t enough, eyelash extensions may be option, Smith suggests. These individual lashes, applied along your own lash line, can last for up to six weeks with the right care.

7 Tips for Beautiful Summer Skin

Summer is a wonderful time of year, but the sun and heat can take a toll on your skin, hair, and body. That doesn’t mean you should stay indoors — with a little care and a few precautions, you can enjoy summer to its fullest.

1. Try a Self-Tanner

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are very damaging, especially UVA rays. They not only burn your skin and cause premature aging, but can also lead to skin cancer.

So, instead of lying for hours in the sun, get that sun kissed glow with a self-tanner. Many salons offer spray-on tan services, or you can purchase an inexpensive self-tanning lotion at your local drugstore. Gradual self-tanning moisturizers keep your skin smooth as they help you control just exactly how bronzed you become, and they are less prone to streaking. Just remember to exfoliate before you apply self-tanner to remove any dry skin that could pick up excess color and lead to an uneven appearance.

2. Slather on Sunscreen

Many dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that tests demonstrated SPF 30 products block out only 4 percent more rays — 97 percent compared to 93 percent for SPF 15. So know that you’re getting more protection with SPF 30, but not double the amount of SPF 15. In the past, broad-spectrum SPF sunscreens made skin look whitish because of the opaque nature of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which physically block UV rays, but with more refined, micronized formulations, you can get their sun protection benefits without the ghostly appearance.

More sunscreen smarts to follow include:

  • Check the sunscreen’s ingredients list; it should contain agents that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply sunscreen regularly, as it will wear off with prolonged swimming or sweating.
  • Even if it’s cloudy, ultraviolet rays can still reach your skin, so wear sunscreen even on sunless days.
  • Many makeup and skin care products contain an SPF agent, but don’t be fooled: Look for the SPF number and use extra sunscreen if it’s below 15.

3. Give ’Em Lip Service

Use a lip sunscreen with SPF agent even if you’re putting lipstick on, too.

4. Remember Hair Care

The beating sun will hit your hair hard, but there are a number of sprays containing SPF that you can put on after you wash your hair. This is a must if your tresses has been chemically treated.

Another tip: Don’t overwash your hair as this can remove the oils that naturally protect it.

5. Exfoliate Head to Toe

Expensive scrubs and salts feel wonderful, but if you’re on a budget, you can do just as good a job using an exfoliation mitt or glove and your regular body wash. Gentle exfoliation is essential if you’ve had any area waxed, particularly in the bikini area, as it can help prevent ingrown hairs.

6. Moisturize and Nourish With Oils

Elbows, feet, and ankles can get very dry, so try avocado oil to keep them healthy and smooth. Avocado oil not only moisturizes, but also has nourishing properties as it contains vitamin E.

7. Be Kind to Your Face

Chemical peels, creams, scrubs, and other products containing glycolic acids and retinoids should not be used if you spend a lot of time in the sun: These treatments can make your skin more sun sensitive and cause more damage to your skin. If you must use them, wear a hat and sunscreen to protect your face. Follow this advice as well if you’re taking certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline, which also make you more prone to sunburn.

9 Tips to Reduce Wrinkles

Are you tired of waging a war against wrinkles? Scott Gerrish, MD, of Gerrish and Associates, PC, a non-surgical skin care specialist with offices in Virginia and Maryland states, “Don’t give up yet. There are steps you can take to lessen and even reverse one of the biggest signs of aging: wrinkles.”

9 Simple and Smart Skin Care Steps to Reduce Wrinkles

1.Avoid sun exposure. Try to wear white or light colors, and wear a hat when you’re outdoors. Also, don’t use tanning booths, which can be worse than the sun.

2.Wear sunscreen. For the best anti-aging protection, Dr. Gerrish strongly recommends, “Apply sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 (sun protection factor) thirty minutes before sun exposure to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Look for one with zinc or titanium oxide in the ingredient list.”

3.Avoid environmental pollutants. Ozone, smoke, and gasoline fumes are just a few of the pollutants that can age skin and cause premature wrinkles.

4.Start an anti-aging skin care program. June Breiner, MD, an internist in Maryland suggests, “Consult with a non-surgical skin care doctor. There are many products available that thicken your skin and reduce wrinkles.”

5.Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Smoking takes away oxygen and nutrients, and it also increases the number of free radicals in your body’s cells, a main cause of skin aging. “The amount of cigarette consumption and the number of years you have smoked are correlated with an increase in premature wrinkles,” states Dr. Breiner.

6.Wear sunglasses. Other than staying indoors and away from windows, sunglasses are the best way to protect the thin, sensitive skin around your eyes from UV radiation.

7.Sleep on your back, if possible. Sleeping with your face pressed against the pillow can cause sleep lines, which can turn into wrinkles. Satin pillow cases can also help in the anti-wrinkle fight.

8.Use moisturizer. A good moisturizer will keep skin hydrated and soften wrinkles.

9.Exercise regularly. “It gets your cardiovascular system going, which is great for getting needed nutrients and oxygen to your skin,” Breiner explains. “You should get cardiovascular exercise for your heart and skin health, and weight strengthening exercises for muscle underlying your skin.”

Vein Surgery For Younger-Looking Legs

If you have varicose veins or spider veins in your legs, you’re not alone. It is estimated that more than half of American women and one-third of American men have leg vein problems.

These issues can make you feel insecure about exposing your legs, since they can make your legs appear unsightly and older. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments that can remove or improve the appearance of leg vein problems.

Treatment Options for Leg Vein Problems

In most cases, leg vein conditions are not dangerous, so most people choose to treat varicose and spider veins for cosmetic reasons. But in some cases leg vein problems need to be treated, possibly with vein surgery, because they can lead to blood clots, sores, skin ulcers, or painful irritation in the legs.

Whether your want to treat your leg veins for cosmetic or medical reasons, your treatment options include:

  • Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for leg vein problems. In this procedure, a doctor injects a solution into the vein that causes it to collapse; this stops the flow of blood and causes the vein to fade. Sclerotherapy can be performed without anesthesia in a doctor’s office, and you can return to your normal activities immediately after the treatment. You may need multiple treatments to achieve desired results. Side effects of sclerotherapy may include pain, redness, sores, or bruising around the injection site; spots, brown lines, or tiny red blood vessels around the treated vein; and bulges of clotted blood in the treated vein. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), each session of sclerotherapy costs on average about $350.
  • Laser surgery. Laser surgery can be used to treat spider veins that are 3 millimeters in size or less. This procedure involves targeting lasers at spider veins so they will slowly fade and disappear. Laser vein surgery is non-invasive, and you will be able to return to your normal routine immediately. But it can take two to five treatments to completely remove spider veins, and the heat from the laser can be painful. Possible side effects include temporary redness or swelling around the treated area, temporary discoloration on skin that may last one to two months, and burns from the laser. According to the ASPS, laser vein surgery costs an average of $400 per session.
  • Endovenous leg vein treatment. Endovenous radiofrequency and laser treatment involves placing a small tube into a larger varicose vein and sending radiofrequency or laser energy into the vein, causing it to shrink. Like sclerotherapy and laser surgery, endovenous treatments can usually be performed in the doctor’s office and you can return to your normal activities immediately. In some cases, endovenous treatment can lead to slight bruising. An endovenous treatment generally costs $2,000 to $3,000 and may be covered by insurance if deemed medically necessary.
  • Vein surgery. In some cases of severe varicose veins, a surgery known as surgical ligation and stripping may be necessary. This procedure requires anesthesia and has to be performed in an operating room. Your surgeon will tie affected veins closed and completely remove them from your leg. The risks of vein surgery include reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, blood clots, wound infection, scarring, nerve damage, and pain that may last up to four weeks after surgery. Vein surgery is significantly more expensive than non-surgical treatments, but may be covered by medical insurance if your leg veins are affecting your health.

If you’re concerned about varicose or spider veins in your legs, talk with your doctor. He or she can take X-rays and ultrasound images of your veins to further diagnose your condition, and refer you to a doctor who specializes in vein diseases, if necessary.

6 Steps to Younger-Looking Skin

If you haven’t been protecting your skin, it can start to give away clues about your age. Fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear, along with brown spots and rough skin patches caused by sun exposure. Your skin might be producing less collagen, and dead skin cells don’t flake off imperceptibly anymore. If this sounds like your skin, it’s time to turn to anti-aging products and treatments to slow down, reduce, or even reverse the signs of aging and regain younger-looking skin.

Any skin that’s been regularly exposed to the elements can be expected to show its age and needs special care to maintain its youthful look, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, CEO and medical director of Elite MD, Inc. Advanced Dermatology, Laser, and Plastic Surgery Institute in Danville, Calif.

Your Anti-Aging Action Plan

At-home and doctor’s office procedures can have a visible impact on your complexion, giving you back younger-looking skin.

  1. Protect your skin. The first rule of thumb: Prevent the damage. “The best thing to do to protect your skin is prevention,” Dr. Badreshia-Bansal says. The sun is enemy number one, so you need to wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher whenever you’re outside. You also should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Protect your face and neck with wide-brimmed hats, your eyes with sunglasses with UV coating. Dryness is enemy number two, making lines seem more noticeable, so choose a moisturizer made for your skin type and use it regularly to keep skin supple.
  2. Apply a vitamin A cream. Prescription-strength, vitamin A–based topical gels or creams known as retinoids can reduce wrinkles and produce younger-looking skin. “It helps to build collagen, which can prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, and to lighten dark spots,” Badreshia-Bansal says. “We also use it to treat acne, and it can help prevent precancerous growths.” Prescription retinoids include Retin-A and Renova (tretinoin), Differin (adapalene), and Avage (tazarotene).
  3. Bleach your brown spots. You can try lightening brown spots (also called age spots) with a bleaching cream that contains hydroquinone. “Hydroquinone helps inhibit an important enzyme in pigment synthesis,” Badreshia-Bansal explains.
  4. Pick up a pentapeptide anti-wrinkle cream. These anti-aging creams stimulate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin and are found in some drugstore or beauty counter products. “You’re helping to build back the support structure that’s been lost through aging and sun damage,” Badreshia-Bansal says.
  5. Peel to reveal fresher skin. Dermatologists use various methods to remove the top layer of skin and expose new skin. These procedures can help tighten the skin and diminish fine lines and brown spots. “By exfoliating that top layer, you’re allowing the moisturizers and other products we use to penetrate deeper and work better,” Badreshia-Bansal says. Procedures include:
    • Chemical peel solutions to loosen and slough away the top layer of skin
    • Laser skin resurfacing to vaporize the surface skin
    • Microdermabrasion that sprays tiny particles to strip away topmost skin cells
    • Plasma skin regeneration using a stream of ionized nitrogen gas to heat the skin and cause the top layer of cells to flake away
  6. Consider Botox. Injections of botulinum toxin have become tremendously popular as an anti-aging therapy. The injections relax the muscles under the skin and can eliminate deep lines and wrinkles around the face. Botox treatments also can help prevent new wrinkles from appearing.

You have many options available to create younger-looking skin. Factors including cost and the recovery time associated with procedures like peels will help you decide on your best course of action.

5 Common Culprits in Skin Damage

Your skin is affected by everything from the sun to irritating laundry detergent and cigarette smoke.

And it can show — with anything from redness to wrinkles, and in some cases even skin cancer. But before you resign yourself to the effects of your environment on your skin, consider the five most common culprits of skin damage and find out what steps you can take to avoid them.

1. Sun exposure. The sun is the biggest cause of skin damage, says Faramarz Samie, MD, PhD, director of Mohs Surgery and vice chair of the department of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. The ultraviolet rays of the sun break down the various components of the skin such as collagen and elastin that help keep your skin looking smooth. These rays also affect melanocytes, which can lead to changes in your skin’s pigmentation. What’s more: The aging effects of the sun eventually show on your skin as wrinkles, age spots (patches of brown spots), and possibly skin cancer.

To avoid skin damage that can be caused by the sun, dermatologists advise staying out of the sun during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest, wearing protective clothing such as a hat, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen — one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays — with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours for maximum protection.

2. Free radicals. One of the ways the sun damages your skin is through production of harmful substances called free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules with a single electron. In short, doctors think that ultraviolet light from the sun can lead to damaged DNA and skin damage, Dr. Samie says. Free radicals may even play a role in the development of skin cancer. They are also the result of exposure to tobacco products or other environmental factors. Some skin care products contain antioxidants such as vitamins C and E that can help lessen the effects that free radicals have on your skin. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants (especially berries, broccoli, carrots, and spinach), can also promote healthy skin.

3. Smoking cigarettes. Overall, the skin of a smoker isn’t as healthy and doesn’t heal as well as a nonsmoker’s skin. It also has a tendency to wrinkle easily. That’s because smoking cigarettes causes your blood vessels to constrict, or become more narrow, and that lowers the amount of nutrients and oxygen that reach the skin and keep it healthy. As a result, the skin loses elasticity, meaning it can’t snap back into shape as easily. This lack of nutrients also makes it harder for skin to heal when you have a wound, and can lead to skin ulcers. In women, smoking leads to lower estrogen levels, which dries out the skin.

Cigarettes can also cause the skin on your face to become dry, more prone to wrinkles and stretch marks, and appear dull and gray, according to Smokefree.gov, a website created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Wrinkles can appear in smokers as young as in the early thirties, but quitting can help you avoid premature aging.

If you have trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about the best smoking cessation option for you. Nicotine gum, inhalers, lozenges, nasal spray, and patches can all help you quit, along with prescription medications such as bupropion, varenicline, nortriptyline, and clonidine.

4. Irritants. Certain chemicals in cleaning products and laundry detergent can cause red, irritated skin and allergies in people who are susceptible, Samie says. For example, ammonia and bleach have a tendency to irritate skin. These chemicals may cause contact dermatitis, which causes scaling, irritation, and sometimes even a chemical burn. People with sensitive skin may experience more skin irritation than others. There are also over 3,000 substances in our environment that can cause allergies.

The easiest way to protect your skin from irritants is to avoid contact, either by wearing gloves when you clean or wash dishes or by switching to less irritating products. Also, moisturizing your skin can help. Some people may need an antihistamine or steroids for treatment.

5. Smiles and frowns. As you age, your skin loses elasticity, which means it loses the ability to snap back into place after you make facial expressions the way it did when you were younger, Samie says. As a result, your skin is more likely to show wrinkles even when you’re not frowning or laughing.

While there’s no need to avoid showing expression on your face, you can try to combat wrinkles by preventing skin damage from the sun by using sunscreen. You might also consider using over-the-counter or prescription wrinkle creams or other topical medications to smooth out the skin. Also, there are many procedures available to reduce wrinkles, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and injectable fillers such as collagen.

Dry Skin Brushing for a Body Detox

Dry skin brushing tones the skin, reduces the appearance of cellulite, opens pores to release toxins, gets rid of dead skin cells, and aids in the circulation of blood, Piper says.

Beyond healthy skin, “dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which is also known as the broom of the body,” explains Jovanka Ciares, a holistic wellness coach and nutrition consultant practicing in New York City. “One of the lymphatic system’s primary functions is to clean toxins and debris out of your blood and help your body run more efficiently. It also helps your body absorb nutrients better, eliminate residues from the outer skin layers, help redistribute fat deposits, and push toxic matter into the colon” — a claim that has not been substantiated by research.

How to Dry Skin Brush

You’ll need a dry natural bristle brush or loofah for dry skin brushing. Make sure you are dry, too. There’s no single way to do it, but you’ll always want to brush toward the heart, says Piper. She uses this technique:

  1. Before using the brush, use your fingertips to pump 3 times on the terminus, which is the indentation between the collarbone and the neck, to start the flow of lymph. Then use your fingertips to pump in your armpits 3 times, then 3 times where your ribcage meets in the center of your body, and 3 times in your groin area.
  2. Step Two: Brush down the neck into the terminus and from each breast outward toward the armpits (avoid the nipples). Brush the arms upward toward the heart.
  3. Step Three: Brush the abdominal area above the navel diagonally up and out toward the armpits.
  4. Step Four: Brush the abdominal area below the navel down toward the groin.
  5. Step Five: Brush the legs up toward the groin. Your palms and the soles of your feet can be brushed in small circles.

When to Do Dry Skin Brushing

To get all the benefits of dry skin brushing, Piper suggests doing it twice daily — in the morning and again in the evening. If you can only do it once a day, do it at night; this will kick-start the lymph system and help your body detox while you’re sleeping, she advises.

On a personal note, Piper says she finds dry brushing “quite calming, especially when I do it before bed,” and “the softness of my skin is very soothing and motivating to continue doing it.”

Dry skin brushing is also a skin and beauty regimen that might benefit the millions who spend hours in front of a computer screen. Stiffness in the shoulders, lower back, and hip area are very common among people who work in offices, says Ciares, and “dry skin brushing once a day for a few weeks will help you increase oxygenated blood flow in those areas and feel energized.”

Dry Skin Brushing: Evaluating the Claims

“I am a big proponent of exfoliation in all its forms, dry brushing included,” says Alicia Zalka, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Connecticut. “By helping the skin’s built-in mechanism of cell renewal, the act of sloughing spent cells by brushing enhances the process. This is particularly helpful on lower legs, feet, and upper arms and elbows, where dry, dull skin can linger.”

Dennis Gross, MD, a dermatologist and dermatological surgeon practicing in New York City, is less enthusiastic, however. “For exfoliation purposes, one must be careful not to over-exfoliate, and my preference is for chemical exfoliation over mechanical exfoliation, which can be too harsh on the skin.”

So can dry skin brushing detox your body? “The bottom line is that dry skin brushing can improve circulation,” says Dr. Gross. “One could theorize that increased circulation can eliminate toxins, but that is a stretch. Skin does not regularly suffer from a lack of circulation.”

Although Dr. Zalka does not believe that dry skin brushing can eliminate cellulite, she says it could temporarily improve the look of it. If you want to try dry skin brushing, “make sure the brush is cleaned or replaced regularly,” she advises. “Start gently and see how your skin tolerates it. Always apply oil or moisturizing cream to follow, or else the skin could be irritated. Do not do it if you suffer a skin condition such as psoriasis, eczema, or impetigo.”

There are claims on the Internet that dry skin brushing can prevent breast cancer. The American Cancer Society, however, says it has “no opinion” on the technique. “We have no credible evidence or research that concludes this treatment reduces the risk of breast cancer,” says Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the cancer society.

In fact, there are no studies of any kind to support any of the various health claims about dry skin brushing, so it’s important to take the possibility of benefits like detox with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you want to make your outer layer shine, dry skin brushing may be worth a try though. Just make sure you use a gentle touch.

5 Daily Skin Habits to Start Now

You may spoil your skin silly with facials, fancy products, and a skin care regimen that would make your dermatologist proud. But there are a few important (and surprisingly simple) steps that can make a huge difference in having healthy, glowing skin.Incorporate these five best skin care habits into your routine and you’ll have smoother, clearer skin in no time.

1. Wear sunblock 365 days of the year

In rain or shine, winter or summer, whether you have ivory white skin or a dark complexion, your skin is always susceptible to sun damage. “You’re consistently exposed to the sun’s rays during daylight hours, even when you don’t realize it,” warns Jeanine Downie, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey. “You should be wearing an SPF 30 every day, not only to protect against skin cancer but to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and uneven skin tone.” In addition, it’s essential that you reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you’re out and about — one morning slathering of SPF 100 won’t last you until sundown!

2. Refrigerate your eye cream

You can get more bang from your eye cream simply by storing it in the icebox. “The cold constricts the blood vessels, immediately reducing puffiness,” explains Manhattan-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D. “It’s best to apply cold eye cream in the morning; at night, the product can migrate into your eyes and create swelling and irritation.” Look for creams containing caffeine, which will further decrease any swelling. To combat fine lines and wrinkles, products that contain peptidesor retinol will do the trick.

3. Add antioxidants to your skin care and your diet

Here’s a two-point plan to rid your skin of environmental pollutants: Attack the problem from the inside and out. Use topical products containing vitamin A (in the form of retinol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and coffeeberry directly on your skin, and eat brightly colored fruits, vegetables, and other good-for-you foods like blueberries, pomegranates, and olive oil. “Both will help to combat free radical damage, reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and inflammation,” says Jessica Wu, M.D., a Los Angeles–based dermatologist and the author of Feed Your Face. She also recommends eating a balanced breakfast that combines protein, fiber, and healthy fats to regulate blood sugar throughout the day. Studies have shown that when blood sugar rises too quickly, it can cause acne, wrinkles, and rashes.

4. Lightly exfoliate regularly

While you might think anti-aging creams and high-end moisturizers are the key to youthful skin,experts agree that exfoliation is one of the best ways to achieve and maintain a gorgeous complexion. “A good exfoliating agent will slough off the dull top layers, minimizing wrinkles, acne, and dry spots to reveal new, healthy,glowing skin,” explains Fusco. Of course, if you have a sensitive or acne-prone complexion, you don’t want to use a harsh scrub too often. Instead, try a cleanser that contains smooth microbeads just two or three times a week. An even gentler solution for every day: Use a textured cleansing pad, which will very lightly scrub the skin without irritation.

5. Exercise often

Sure, you know you should be hitting the gym, not only for a toned physique but because it’s better for your overall health. Well, here’s another reason to work up a sweat: Exercise tightens the skin on your entire body. “Strength training and cardio boost circulation and improve muscle tone, which results in younger-looking, toned skin,” Downie says. “Not only that, but it also reduces wrinkle-causing,skin-damaging stress.” Just make sure to wash your face post-workout. What good is a hot body if you’ve got clogged pores all over your T-zone?

Abuse as Child May Lower Skin Cancer Immunity

Among basal cell carcinoma (BCC)patients who dealt with a severely stressful life event in the previous year, those who had experienced childhood emotional abuse were more likely to have poorer immune responses to the disease, researchers found.

In a study of 91 patients with a previous basal cell lesion, those who had been emotionally maltreated by their parents, and who had experienced a recent severe life event, had an interaction between those two factors that predicted the local immune response to their tumors, reported Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, of the Ohio State University Medical College in Columbus, and co-authors in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Kiecolt-Glaser and colleagues reported that the BCC patients who been mistreated early in life by a mother or father, and had suffered an extremely stressful life event within the past year, had poorer immune responses to their BCC tumors.

At the same time, emotional maltreatment was unrelated to BCC responses among those who had not experienced a stressful life event, the researchers added.

Kiecolt-Glaser noted that stressful events and the negative emotions generated by them, especially early in life, can dysregulate immunity enough to produce clinically significant changes, such as impaired responses to vaccines, slowed wound healing, promotion of inflammation, and dampened markers in both innate and adaptive immune function.

They explained further that childhood maltreatment has been associated with elevated inflammation and higher antibody titers to the herpes simplex virus type 1, and to multiple diseases including cancer. The immune system plays a prominent role in BCC tumor appearance and progression.

The team studied 48 men and 43 women, ages 23 to 92, who had a previous BCC tumor, collecting information about early parent-child experiences, recent severe life events, depression. They also looked at messenger RNA (mRNA) coding for immune markers associated with BCC tumor progression and regression.

The participants was interviewed using the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire (CECA.Q). A 1-unit increase or decrease in maltreatment reflects a unit increase on the 1-5 point CECA scale. The neglect subscale in these patients was highly correlated with the antipathy subscale for both parents.

The mean number of months before a BCC lesion was biopsied, measured by the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS), was 5.5. Among the group, 19 percent had more than one LEDS events and 4 percent had ≥2 events.

“Compared with those who had healthy parent-child relationships, those with adverse parent-child relationships are more likely to have emotional difficulties when they encounter subsequent stressors,” the investigators wrote.

In fact, 33 percent of the study cohort reported a history of major depression.

In their population, maternal or paternal emotional maltreatment as children were more likely to have poorer immune responses.

There was a similar interaction between paternal maltreatment and severe life events in predicting mRNA z score in the adjusted model, with a 1-unit increase in a emotional abuse by a father significantly associated with a 0.063-point decrease in mRNA z score, indicating a dampened immune response to BCC.

“This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that troubled early parental experiences, in combination with a severe life event in the past year, predict local immune responses to a BCC tumor,” the authors wrote, pointing out that the consequences of early parental experiences extend well beyond childhood,” and their findings could have implications for other cancers.