Tag Archives: body

Skin and Fingernail Problems Can Indicate Disease

19 Sep

Skin and fingernail health reveal more of what’s going on inside of you than you may realize.  Many diseases such as lupus, cancer, kidney disease, hepatitis, and others can show up as discolorations and irregularities on your skin and fingernails.

Skin Health
One of the symptoms of lupus is a red butterfly rash across the nose and cheeks.  Rosacea is also indicated by a red rash around the nose and onto the cheeks.  A condition that involves the palms of the hands called tripe palm is usually linked to cancer.  The skin with tripe palm is thick and within the folds the color is velvety-white.  Tuberous scelrosis is a rare genetic disease that manifests on the  several parts of the body.  On the lower back, it will show-up as flesh colored orange peel skin; on the face there will be acne like bumps that are red or brown, and on the trunk of the body there are spots with oval at one end and pointy on the other.

Nail Health
Melanoma may be indicated when dark brown streaks show up under the nails.  Very pale nails can indicate anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, or malnutrition.  Liver disease can show up with very white nails with dark rims.  Yellow nails are usually a symptom of fungus.  But they could also indicate thyroid disease, lung issues, diabetes, or psoriasis.  Early signs of inflammatory arthritis can show up on the fingernails as ripples or pits along with nail discoloration and a reddish/brown color under the nail.

Check Out:

Web Md (http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/slideshow-what-your-nails-say-about-your-health) and

Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00055 / http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-rash/SN00016)

for their slide shows on different skin and nail conditions that are indicative of diseases.

Reference:

Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nails/WO00055

Web MD  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/slideshow-what-your-nails-say-about-your-health

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The Low Down On Mosquitoes…

25 Jul

Forget getting bit by Edward or Bill… the blood suckers that are more likely to feed on you are the more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes that reside on Earth.   And there are approximately 150 different species in the US.   Mosquitoes don’t take our blood as their food; it is actually the ladies who do the biting.   The female mosquito hunts out blood to make their eggs fertile and to nourish the eggs once they have been laid.  Mosquitoes, like many other insects, get their food from plant and flower nectars.   

But why do these needle-nosed insects seem to be more attracted to some and not to others?  Is it really because of how sweet your blood is?  Well, not really.   Mosquitoes use a variety of senses to search out their prey.   First, the amount of carbon dioxide we omit will attract the female, the more you put out, the more likely you are to get bit.  So this means that larger people and pregnant women (because they produce more CO2 then normal) are quicker targets.  Once the mosquito has found its host, there are still other factors that play into the decision on whether or not she will take your blood.   Scientists still can’t be exactly sure as to the reasons why, but studies have shown that higher levels of folic acid can make you more appealing to the mosquito.    Also, certain smells from perfumes, lotions, and soaps can attract/detract them as well.   Being more active also seems to make you more attractive to the insect; it’s the combination of sweat, along with the heavier breathing, which means you are putting out more CO2 than if you were just lounging around.

There are some preventative steps you can take before going out in this summer to minimize your bites.  First, try to wear long sleeves, pants, and have socks and shoes on.   Of course the fashion and the temperature can make wearing a lot of clothing just not possible or comfortable.   There are some great essential oils that work to deter mosquitoes, and many not only work well, but smell good too.   My personal favorite is using essential oil from lemon grass.  Lemongrass is what is found in citronella.   A little of this oil goes a long way, just rub down any clothes and skin.   Eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil can also work.   The CDC (Center for Disease Control) also recognizes that Oils of Lemon Eucalyptus are “bio-pesticide repellents”, which are derived from natural materials,” also works well and is the most common found in natural repellents.  Just be sure that the source of the Lemon Eucalyptus is from a natural source and not its synthetic counterpart (p-Mentane-3,8-diol).

Making your outdoor space less inviting to the mosquitoes will help them leave you alone too.  Be sure to not have any stagnant water.  Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs, so water that has been sitting, allows the insect to complete its life cycle.  Plants like basil, catnip, and lemon geraniums deter them.  Also, yellow lights are much less appealing than white light. [1]

Now, even if you have done all you can, there are times that the little buggers will be persistent and you can still be bit.   Her are a few suggestions on how to help stop the itch and heal the reaction you are having to the mosquito’s saliva.   First, as hard as it may be, avoid scratching the bite.  The bacteria under your fingernails can actually infect the bite.  To help heal the itch, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the affected area to help calm it.   Also, tee tree is known to have antibacterial properties and is not as harsh as rubbing alcohol.  Calendula is also a skin soother and anti inflammatory and can calm the infected area. [2]


[1]  “The Hazards of Deet,” Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia. Online: http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/spring03hazards.html

Other Reference:

“FAQ’s on Mosquitoes,” Rutgers University.  Online: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/mosfaq.htm

“Are You A Mosquito Magnet,” WebMD.  Online: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/are-you-mosquito-magnet?page=3

Take the Burn out of Sunburn: A List of Remedies

1 Jun

Here are some suggestions to help heal a sunburn. While we encourage you to take precautions when out in the sun to avoid damaging the skin, sometimes things just happen.

Be aware that when you’re out in the sun and notice your skin becoming mildly red and think it’s not big deal, it may be more severe than first glance.  The severity of a sunburn may not be visible for another 12 to 24 hours after exposure.  The first thing to do when you have the first hint of a sunburn is to protect the area.  Here’s the thing: It’s too late at this point to apply sunscreen.  You need to get out of the sun completely or at the least cover-up.  The pain for a sunburn peaks about 6 hours after and can continue up to  48 hours.

Once out of the sun:

  • Showers and Compresses
    Keep the area cool by applying a cold compress or frequently taking cool showers or baths.  There are suggestions below for herbal compresses that can be applied to the sunburn.
  • Lavender
    Lavender essential oil helps heal and soothe sunburn. Make sure it’s true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, officinalis, or vera) and not Spike Lavender or Lavandin that you use.  On a mild burn or small patch you can use the lavender directly (neat).  For other burns, dilute lavender (10 -15 drops) with water in a spray bottle and spray on the burn.  You can also make a cool compress from the diluted lavender or put some drops in a tepid bath.  Lavender and Aloe Vera (from a plant) can be mixed together with a little cool water and applied by spray or on a cool compress.  If using a spray bottle be careful to avoid spraying into your eyes.

  • Vinegar
    White or apple cider vinegar diluted with water is highly recommended by many people for sunburn relief.  Try putting some in a clean spray bottle and spraying the area frequently.  Be careful not to spray the vinegar in your eyes.  Two cup of vinegar can also be added to a tepid bath.
  • Teas
    Chamomile, black, or green tea can also help relieve sunburn.  Brew several bags to make a strong tea.  Brew the teas individually or combine chamomile with either black or green tea.  Allow the tea to cool and make a compress, or add it to a cool bath.  Be aware that tea stains fabrics.
  • Milk
    Whole milk and water in equal parts can help relieve sunburn discomfort.  Apply by soaking a small towel and applying to the area.  You can also add milk to a tepid bath. The protein in milk creates a soothing film.  You want to dilute the milk because when undiluted it hardens and cracks as it dries, which will irritate the burn.

  • Moisturizers
    Apply a sunburn friendly moisturizer to the area (aloe vera, calendula cream). 

    • Avoid moisturizes that have alcohol, benzocaine, lanocaine, or other anesthetics.  Alcohol will dry out the skin. Anesthetics haven’t shown to help a sunburn, but have shown to irritate the skin.  Best to stay away from anything that has chemicals in them.
    • According to the Mayo Clinic, benzocaine has been linked to a rare but deadly condition where the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases.  Do not use benzocaine on children under that age of two without medical supervision because children of this age group have been the most affected.
    •  Aloe Vera is often recommended, but before buying an aloe vera product for sunburn read the label.  Many aloe vera products have alcohol and other chemicals in them that could irritate the sunburn.  Buy an aloe vera plant and use the gel directly from the leaf.
    • Also avoid using petroleum products (Vaseline) and butters such as cocoa butter; they hold in the heat.
  • Anti-inflammatories
    Take an anti-inflammatory (aspirin or ibuprofen) for pain and to decrease inflammation.  There are also some good natural pain relief products. End Pain is the name of one.  Besides helping the pain, it also helps in the healing process. It can be found at natural grocery stores.  Do not give aspirin to children or teenagers because of the potential for Reye’s Syndrome.
  • Hydration
    Sunburns can cause headaches and dehydration.  Headaches are often the body’s sign that you aren’t hydrated.  So, rehydrate the body by drinking water.  Avoid alcoholic and carbonated beverages.  You can also lie down in a cool, dark room to help with the headache.
  • Vitamin C
    Increase your intake of vitamin C.  Vitamin C helps to heal skin damage and wounds.  Some foods high in vitamin C are melons, oranges, grapefruit, berries, and kiwi.

  • Calendula
    Calendula cream heals, moisturizes, and will help soothe a sunburn.  You can buy it at health food or natural grocery stores.  You can also try brewing a tea with calendula herbs; cool it and apply with a compress or put it in a tepid bath.
  • Peeling
    Peeling is part of the natural process of sunburn healing.  Continue to apply sunburn sensitive moisturizer to the burn area.
  • Blisters
    Don’t mess with any blisters that form by trying to break them open.  Allow them to heal on their own or seek medical attention. Keep the area clean and apply calendula cream to the blisters and/or cool compresses.

When to Seek Medical Help

  • If you have any of these symptoms or combination: Fever, Chills, Nausea, Rapid Breathing, Rapid Pulse, Dizziness, Dehydration, Severe Headache, Shock, Severe Blistering, and Itchy Bumps. These can be signs of sun poisoning.
  • Sunburn area becomes infected.
  • The sunburn does not heal within a week or so.
  • Eyes hurt and are sensitive to light
  • If you feel unwell anytime during the healing process, seek medical attention.

FYI:  Someone on our staff  sought to relieve a severe sunburn burn that had itchy bumps by going swimming in a  pool. The chlorine in the water turned the bumps into second-degree burns.  Talk about pain……

Prevention is the best cure….  Read our blog on Skin Cancer to see how to protect yourself in the sun.

Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:

YumScrubhttp://bit.ly/1jKksLG

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References:

Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D, “Sunburn Treatment: What Works,” Mayo Clinic. Online: www.mayoclinic.com/health/sunburntreatment/AN01423

“Sunburn: Home Treatment,” WebMd. Online: http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/tc/sunburn-home-treatment

Siamak Nabili, MD, MPH , Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, “Sunburn and Sun Poisoning,” Medicine Net.com. Online: http://www.medicinenet.com/sunburn_and_sun_poisoning/article.htm

“Vitamin C,” Medline Plus. Online: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm

 

Another Reason to Exercise: Helps the Skin

16 May

It’s been pounded into our heads that without exercise we will be prone to a host of physical and emotional ailments.  Well, here’s another reason to exercise; it’s beneficial for the skin. Exercising helps by keeping wrinkles at bay and tones the skin through increased collagen production.  Exercise also helps remove toxins; this is especially good for acne or pimple prone skin.  Some doctors say exercise also helps with androgenic hair loss and with cellulite.

How Exercise Helps

By increasing blood circulation and by releasing toxins exercise helps the skin.  Increased blood circulation brings more oxygenated blood and nutrients to the skin while also helping to eliminate toxins.   The nutrients responsible for making collagen-producing cells (fibroblasts) increase as we exercise.  This is important because as we age these fibroblasts work less, making skin more wrinkle prone and dehydrated.

Our skin is one of the ways that the body releases toxins.  Release of toxins helps with skin renewal.  When we perspire through exercise we are helping the body to release pollutants taken in from our environment, chemicals in grooming products, certain foods, drinking, smoking, etc.  This is especially helpful for those who have skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or rosacea. 

Exercise also helps to reduce stress (unless you are an exercise junkie then it could have the opposite effect).  When our stress levels come down, our adrenal glands work less and don’t produce the testosterone-related hormones that are the cause for acne, pimple breakouts, wrinkles, furrows, and sallow skin.  You can probably relate to how stress can cause a breakout by recalling a time when under stress  you got pimples.  It was the increase in these stress hormones (DHEA and DHT) that was the culprit. 

What Exercises

There haven’t been any studies on specific exercises that improve skin.  However, aerobic workouts increase blood circulation to the skin and remove toxins.  Depending on your mental approach to aerobic exercise, they could also reduce stress.  You could also increase stress and hormone levels if stress is part of the work-out picture, such as hating working out or competing in such a way that the exercising is filled with tension.

Meditating, Yoga, and Pilates can reduce tension.  There are some styles of yoga that are also very aerobic.

The important thing is to get the blood flowing through aerobics, firm and tone, then zen-out for a bit.

Don’t Forget…

Hydrate before, during, and after exercising.

Work-out with no make-up, especially if you are prone to blemishes.

Thoroughly cleanse the skin after working out.

Acne or blemish prone? Look at your exercise routine (or lack of) and see if you are incorporating tension-relieving elements to it.

And:  Get your bikes out, put on your helmet and pedal to work.  May 16th through the 20th is bike to work week.  This an annual event sponsored by League of American Bicyclist.  You will be helping the environment and helping yourself. More info at http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/

Reference:

WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems…/exercise-your-body-your-skin

Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/…/improve-your-skin-exercise

copyright: Abhijit Chandra, LLC – 2011

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