Much has been said about summer sun, Vitamin D absorption, and sunscreen use
Vitamin D performs many important functions in the body, from helping keep our bones strong to enhancing immune function and reducing inflammation. For many of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere or who spend much of our time indoors, we may suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is believed to be responsible for everything from depression to asthma to osteoporosis. Luckily, our doctor can order a simple blood test to check our Vitamin D levels.
If we’re found to be deficient in Vitamin D, we can increase our exposure to the sun by about 20 minutes/day. We can also take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Of course, it’s best to get one’s Vitamin D from whole foods. Some foods rich in Vitamin D include Shitake mushrooms, oily fish, eggs and fortified milks and grains.
But shouldn’t we wear a sunscreen when we’re out in the sun? We’ve been told to always use a sunscreen if we’re spending significant time outdoors. Using sunscreen can help lower the risk of skin cancer, and that’s a good thing. A recent study has also demonstrated that, depending upon the application, the body can still enough sun to produce Vitamin D, which is also a good thing.
This is particularly significant when we consider that children who get sunburned are at higher risk for developing skin cancer later in life. The type of sunscreen one uses is also important. There are two types of sunscreen – chemical and physical. An example of a chemical sunscreen is one that contains Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or Helioplex. An example of a physical sunscreen is one containing Zinc and/or Titanium Oxide.
Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens have been known to cause allergic reactions and other adverse affects in and on the skin. They can be less stable than physical sunscreens, as well. Zinc oxide is a safe and effective physical sunscreen that works by blocking the sun’s rays from reacting with skin. It sits on the skin and is not absorbed, unlike chemical sunscreen ingredients, which are. Talk to a Dermatologist about the best sunscreen and SPF level for your skin type based on your health history and personal preferences.
So do use a sunscreen if you are going to be exposed to the sun. You can also wear hats and protective clothing if your skin is sensitive to a sunscreen’s ingredients. Finally, eating a well-rounded diet and taking a Vitamin D3 supplement will help you to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, regardless of your sunning habits.
Here’s proof that what’s old is new again. Multi-purpose body oils have been on the scene for the past few years, and their popularity hasn’t diminished. From Dry Oils and Face Oils to Massage Oils and Cleansing oils, there’s no denying that an ancient practice is here to stay.
History is full of stories of ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians who used oils like castor, sesame, olive, and sweet almond to keep skin supple and beautiful. They were an integral part of their skincare rituals and some were even precursors to modern formulations like Pond’s Cold Cream.
Some might still believe that oil-based skincare is only good for dry skin, but that’s not so. The vast variety of plant-based oils available today promise benefits to all skin types, from dry to oily to problem skin. How can these oils provide benefits to the skin? I’ll begin with a few major carrier oils:
Dry or mature skin can benefit from olive, coconut, almond and sesame oils. Their fatty acids provide effective moisturization. Coconut oil may clog pores in some individuals, so test them with small amounts to find the one that works best.
Normal and combination skin can benefit from avocado, hemp seed, meadowfoam seed, argan, and babassu oils. These oils can penetrate the skin quickly and nourish skin with oleic and linoleic fatty acids and Vitamins C and E. Argan oil has been used in Morocco for centuries.
Oily skin can benefit from jojoba, pomegranate, flax seed and baobab oils. They help maintain the skin’s acid mantle and help prevent cell membrane breakdown. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax that closely resembles our skin’s own sebum.
Other oils that have come on the scene can treat specific skin problems. Rosehip oil is rich with antioxidants and can help restore moisture to stressed, tired skin. Black cumin oil is anti-inflammatory and can help with skin conditions like acne. Tamanu oil from Madagascar has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oils can be good for the hair, as well. While the keratin structure of hair is different from living skin tissue, many problems with frizzy, dry, or flyaway hair can be remedied with just a few drops of a nourishing oil like olive, coconut, castor, or argan oil. You can also find oil combinations that lend various properties to a product. The secret is in experimenting to find what works best for your particular hair type.
There are many ways to use the new multi-purpose oils, which is what makes them so handy to have around. They can be used as gentle cleansers, for makeup removal, and to hair wet or dry. Our own Dry Oil with Lavender and Bergamot oils works as a multi-purpose oil – good for massage, to condition dry strands, or as an after-shower oil. A little goes a long way, saving busy consumers times and money. By trying them out, you’re bound to find one that you love. Find out for yourself why body oils can be good for all skin types.
We’ve often heard that “you are what you eat.” When it comes to your skin, the same is true. While many “fad” diets were developed to help people lose weight, little consideration is given to the impact that they have on the skin. The best diet consists of health-promoting foods that keep our skin healthy, too.
Our bodies function optimally at a very narrow pH – 7.3-7.5, which is slightly alkaline. Our diets can often create an acidic environment which can contribute to disease states in the body. The same can be said for our skin. Normal skin has an “acid mantle” somewhere near a pH of 5. Our skin produces sebum which creates a barrier. This prevents drying and protects the skin from harmful bacteria, while supporting beneficial bacteria. When this natural barrier is stripped away by harsh products, it creates an imbalance that can contribute to skin problems.
Our diets may also contribute to skin imbalance by creating an imbalance in the body. Our modern diets are often low in fiber and fresh vegetables, which can make our bodies work harder to digest food and can lead to kidney and gallstones. We often don’t drink enough water, which is needed for proper muscle, kidney and skin function. It also allows the body to flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Fresh fruits and vegetables also have a high water content. The following foods can contribute to a healthy body and glowing skin:
1) Foods high in antioxidants like berries, spices, dark leafy greens, and green tea, help reduce free-radical damage on the skin as well as in the body.
2) Foods rich in Vitamins C (orange, pineapple, papaya) help to maintain skin integrity and promote healing.
3) Foods high in beta-carotene (squash, sweet potato, kale) can help protect against sun damage.
4) Foods irhc in Vitamine E (nuts, wheat germ, leafy greens, cold-pressed oils, fish oil) can help protect the body’s lipid-bearing membranes (including skin).
5) Drinking adequate fluids (purified water or herb tea) help prevent dehydration, which can cause skin drying and helps maintain the body’s normal functioning.
6) Foods high in fiber (wheat germ, beans, dark leafy greens) can help the body remove toxins from the body, while supporting beneficial gut bacteria.
By taking the time to find the right diet and skincare regimen, we can go a long way towards maintaining optimal health, inside and out.
A clean and orderly home is something that most of us want for ourselves and our family. This is no less true for the smallest room in the house – our bathrooms. The average time spent in the bathroom daily is about 30 minutes. Usually the smallest room in the house, it is sometimes neglected when it comes to style and décor. After all, bathrooms serve a utilitarian purpose, don’t they?
Our Medicine Cabinets
The same thing can be said for our medicine cabinets. We may maintain an immaculate home, but our medicine cabinets often become cluttered by items that have long since expired. When it comes to prescription and over the counter medications, it can mean that those medications won’t work as effectively as they should. The same can be said for more natural products like essential oils or saline nasal sprays. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration does not require that non-drug products use expiration dates, many include them. Once past an expiration date, a product’s volatile oils and/or active ingredients may not be as effective. If you can’t remember when you purchased a product or if it smells or looks “off”, the safest thing to do is to toss it.
The same principal applies to personal care products like creams, lotions, balms, cosmetics, etc. Most products lose their potency after 36 months, but there are other considerations, especially if products are marketed as “natural”. These generally don’t stay potent for more than 24 months. Most cosmetics should be tossed after 6 months due to the danger of contamination. If you like to recycle containers, it’s best to stick with glass or aluminum jars. Plastic containers are difficult to sterilize. Otherwise, most can be taken to your local recycling center. For more information, visit the Natural Society’s Guide to Plastic Recycling
Expired Drugs and Proper Disposal
When it comes to prescription and over the counter drugs, proper disposal is important. Drugs should not merely be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash, for environmental and safety reasons. The Drug Enforcement Administration, in an effort to help reduce the danger of illegal use of prescription drugs, began National Drug Take Back Day. Held in October, information is provided to local law enforcement agencies that can help residents dispose of their medications safely. There are also MedReturn Drug collection locations across the country where you can take your expired drugs for safe disposal. You can find more information at http://medreturn.com.
Create a Clean-out Schedule
Cleaning out your medicine cabinet should be performed twice a year. You can attach this task to specific times of the year like Daylight Savings, July 4th or New Year’s Day can make it easier to remember. Remembering to do it when you check the batteries in your smoke detectors is another option. People who are ready to take control of all that they can by developing systems that make tasks easier can be difficult for some. However, if you are able to do so, you’ll find that you have more time to enjoy friends and family, and that small tasks will not turn into big ones later on.
Credit: Deidre Dolan Nesline, Founder of DeClutter by Deidre
DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people and their families who struggle with de-cluttering their homes so that they can enjoy a more stress-free life. To learn more visit their website at declutterbydeirdre.com