March 28, 2013

Rethink the Ink

Within the past ten years the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) constructed a survey of five hundred individuals between the ages of 18-50, 24% reported having a tattoo.  Of these individuals, 16% had gotten their first tattoo by the age of eighteen.  Today, however, 17% of them have considered getting their tattoo removed, but none have actually gone through with it. 

Whether the reason for garnishing your skin with ink is impulsiveness or personal expression, tattoos over time can become regretful.  Those with unwanted ink can testify that the meanings behind their tattoos may become no longer significant. Not to mention the price and pain associated with getting a tattoo removed. That once vibrant tulip located on your hip, the initials of your high school boyfriend on your wrist, or the tattoo of your favorite quote from spring break that takes up your entire rib cage are all constant reminders of how permanent tattoos really are.

 For it being such a popular fad, many of us know very little about tattoos.  The risks associated with getting one are both dangerous and painful.  If you have never gone under the needle before here are a few threats linked to getting inked:

Allergic Reactions – Tattoo dyes, especially blue, red, green, and yellow, can cause allergic skin reactions resulting in an itchy rash around the area of the tattoo.

Bloodborne Diseases – The equipment used to create your tattoo can be contaminated with infected blood from the previous client, making you susceptible to disease.  These diseases include tetanus, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Skin Infection – Small bumps called granulomas sometimes form around the ink of the tattoo that can develop into keloids, or raised areas of overgrown scar tissue.  Tattoos have also been known to cause redness, swelling, and even pus-like drainage of the site.

Cancer Risk - Several chemists have identified low levels of carcinogens in tattoo ink. In the tattoo removal process the pigment is scorched with heat, triggering chemical reactions to generate carcinogenic products absorbed by the body.

A new FDA warning was just released warning people not to be tricked into getting the “safe” and temporary alternative, a henna tattoo.  Permanent tattoo ink is injected into the skin, whereas henna tattoo ink is applied to the skin’s surface. The most popular henna “black ink” often contains a coal-tar hair dye containing p-phenylenediamine (PPD). This ingredient can cause dangerous skin reactions.  By law the ingredient PPD, because of the severity of it’s harmful factors, is not even permitted in cosmetics.   Serious and long-term reactions have been reported which include redness, blistering of the site, raised lesions, loss of pigmentation, sensitivity to sunlight, and permanent scarring. Reactions can appear immediately or take weeks to show.

So if you feel the risks aren’t enough to deter you, think about how unattractive tattoos look on more “mature” skin. It’s not always pretty!

March 25, 2013

Tools to Tame your Locks

We have come a long way from hot rollers and velcro-based curlers. In todays hair care isles you will find items that sound like they were NASA’s brainchild. The terminology is confusing, but what’s worse is finding the right tool for you – that is where we can help! This is your go-to guide to take the turmoil out of the terminology and turn your mane into a head of hair any girl would envy.

First, lets start with the terms:

Ceramic – the heat source in your tool is made with ceramic instead of metal. Ceramic will regulate itself and will prevent over-heating (decrease in heat = decrease in damage). Ceramic will also make your hair smoother, shinier, and seal in the moisture.

Ionic – negative ions are used to shrink water droplets and neutralize static-causing positive ions. This cuts the drying time and prevents frizz.

Nano – water molecules are broken down into tiny particles. This allows more moisture to seep into your hair and decreases frizz.

Tourmaline – this is a stone that releases negative ions and far-infrared (aka long wavelength) heat. It knocks out static producing positive ions, reduces drying time, and closes hair cuticles leaving your hair silky smooth.

So what are the best tools for your hair?

Curly Girls – go for tools that say ceramic, ionic, or nano. These properties will smooth the hair and drop the drying time. Ionic dryers will save you time and ceramic or tourmaline curling irons can give your hair a more defined look.
-                Dryer: Chi Rocket Professional
-                Curling iron: Amika Curler

Stick Straight – tools with any of the properties are great for your hair. Try tourmaline to reduce drying time lessening the damage done by heat.
-                Dryer: Revlon Tourmaline Ionic 1875 Watt Dryer
-                Straightening iron: Sedu Icon Prive

Limp/Fine Hair – try using a round ceramic brush to give your hair volume and dryers with different heat settings are important for your thin delicate strands.  Preventing your hair from overheating will help deter breakage and maximize its growing potential. Using a dryer with multiple properties will help prevent static.
-                Dryer: Conair Infinity Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Hair Styler 223X
-                Brush: Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Mega

Girl-on-the-go –No need to subject yourself to damaging effects of a hotel wall-mounted dryer. Different ceramic dryers and flat irons now come travel-size!
-                Dryer: Andis 1875 Ceramic Folding Dryer with retractable cord.
-                Straightening Iron: Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium

Bonus: To dry hair in even less time try a brush with synthetic and bore bristle combo. Bore bristles are gentle on the hair and synthetic bristles will dry hair faster!

March 21, 2013

Is Your Bowel Linked to Your Skin?

Ever wonder if your skin rash or pimples could be related to your diet? More specifically could the gluten in your diet be triggering your symptoms?  Everyday more and more benefits of gluten-free diets are being discovered.   
Gluten-free diets are most commonly used to manage celiac disease, which causes the immune system to trigger a reaction in the gut to gluten, a protein which is found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and triticale.  But what if you have never been diagnosed with celiac disease?  In a recent study published in Journal Watch General Medicine, patients without celiac disease but symptoms of celiac sensitivity, experienced relief from their symptoms after adopting a wheat-free diet.  
Therefore, whether you have celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or neither, experimenting with a gluten-free diet has several potential benefits. Patients in our clinic with eczema, acne, and peri-oral dermatitis have seen benefits with glow gluten or gluten free diets! Luckily, with the growing popularity, many grocery stores have now made these products more accessible to consumers by adding gluten-free aisles. 
As with any diet change, it is important that you maintain a balanced diet, especially when you are excluding foods you are used to eating. It is also important to continue eating a balance of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and other nutrients. 
If you have itchy skin, acne, or rashes that do not improve with standard regimens, call Dr. Lily to discuss your diet.   

March 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning Edition: Is Your Medicine Cabinet Up to Code?

The name “medicine cabinet” is unfit for what should be held in this very important space of your home. Believe it or not, medicines are not the best items to keep here. Not only is it open to anyone including kids and snooping houseguests, the medicines that are here may be altered by the temperature and moisture. Many topical creams and ointments need to be kept in a cool dark area. Oral medications also require non-humid, cool environments, where as some even need refrigeration.

This area is also a place for medicines to sit and spoil. We often forget about how fast medications expire. Skin creams with retinol, hydroquinone, and acne medications often not only become ineffective, they can cause rashes or skin irritation if expired. The best rule of thumb is ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ Just be sure you are disposing the medicine in an FDA approved manner. See, ‘How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.’

Even if you don’t keep medicines in your medicine cabinet you should always keep it clean! Most people simply wipe the mirror in the front of the cabinet! Do yourself a favor tonight (in light of spring) and give your medicine cabinet a deep clean.
1) Remove everything
2) Throw out the old medicines and cosmetics, check expirations
3) Wipe clean
1)  Organize your favorite products and replace anything you had to purge!
2)  Keep topical antibiotics, skin creams, sunscreen, all within a tight cap and in a locked drawer or linen closet.

Good timeline for products:
-       3-5 years: Eye and lip pencils, hair styling products
-       2-3 years: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, perfume, foundation, lipstick, lip-gloss
-       2 years: Bar soap, shaving cream, deodorant
-       1 year: Nail polish, bath oil
-       3-4 months: Mascara and liquid eyeliner
*Anti-aging, acne treatment, and sunscreen shelf life depends on expiration dates on the bottle.

Take the first steps to your Spring-cleaning efforts and give your medicine cabinet a check-up!