June 15, 2008

Summer Skin Savers

Even though the calendar still says Spring it appears that Summer is in full swing here in the south. We spend more time outside working in the garden, swimming in the pool and socializing than any other time of the year. It's time to talk about protection... skin protection that is. The harmful UV rays of the sun can make spending time outside a real pain! I've gathered some helpful hints to make your Summer safe.

The sun is our friend but we need to screen out some of those powerful rays. Dermatologists generally recommend a sunblock product with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreens should be applied 15-20 minutes before sun exposure to allow a protective film to develop, then reapplied after water contact and sweating. Some sunblocks can lose effectiveness after two hours, so reapply frequently. Wearing a hat and sunglasses will help to protect you even further. Limit your sun exposure especially if you are fair skinned or burn/freckle easily.

The top 5 sunscreen brands recommended by Dermatologists are:

  1. Neutrogena - Contains Helioplex™, shown to deliver very high, very broad and photo-stable UV protection, providing a high level of UVA protection.
  2. Coppertone - One of the best known suncare products offers numerous variations of suncreen options.
  3. Anthelios - A L'Oreal exclusive contains Ecamsule (Mexoryl XL) shown to reduce the skin damage associated with UV exposure.
  4. Blue Lizard - An Australian brand now made in Tennessee that uses a unique formulation including a micronized Zinc Oxide that allows the protectant to form an even barrier against UV rays.
  5. SolBar - Comes in an SPF 50 with broad spectrum protective ingredients to help extend the amount of time you can safely stay in the sun.
Unfortunately even when we try to avoid it sunburns happen. Try these steps to help alleviate the pain and suffering:
  1. Soothe your skin using a washcloth soaked in cold skim milk. The coolness takes out the initial fire, and the milk creates a protein film that will helps ease discomfort. You can also try cool wet compresses or Witch Hazel for 20 minutes 3 to 4 times a day to relieve pain and itching.
  2. Protect the burned skin from the sun. (nothing feels worse than more sun on your already damaged skin - ouch!)
  3. Apply a good moisturizer, such as Hydrating Body Milk, 3 times a day to reduce dryness and peeling.
  4. Hydrate! Drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic and carbonated beverages.
  5. To relieve pain and reduce inflammation, take aspirin, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen), or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
  6. Soak in a cool tub with oatmeal (Aveeno makes a good one) added to help relieve itching and soothe the burn.
Note: If your skin blisters, you run a fever or you feel dizzy, faint or very dehydrated contact your doctor for additional treatment. Don't fool yourself - a sunburn is a burn and may require medical treatment.

Stay safe - Have fun!

June 2, 2008

Step Right Up!

If you're like me, the last thing you think about in your beauty regimen are your feet. I admit it - I'm guilty of tootsie abuse. I stand on my feet many hours a day and wear ruts in the workroom floor. I go barefoot in the summer time and fall into bed too tired to moisturize my poor peds after my evening shower. It's criminal, I tell you! If you're ready to stop the cycle of abuse there are a few simple things you can do even once a week to make amends and get those toes in top shape.

1. The first thing you have to do is schedule about 30 minutes without interruption. Yeah, I know, but you deserve at least half an hour to yourself. I do this at night so the moisturizer has time to soak in really well and it's relaxing. Assemble your pedicure accoutrements:
Towel, plastic tub or bathtub, foot soak, exfoliating scrub (Peppermint Buffing Creme) or pumice stone, moisturizer for feet, nail clippers, emery board, cuticle stick and spa socks or white cotton socks. Nail polish is a plus if you have time to let it dry well.

2. Pour comfortably warm water into a plastic tub big enough to fit both feet up to your ankles. You can also just shallowly fill the bathtub and sit on the side. Add some Epsom salts, oatmeal (the old-fashioned kind) or any variety of botanicals you have on hand like rose petals or mint leaves. Use your imagination or use a product specifically made to soak your feet like our Cooling Peppermint Foot Soak. Lean back and soak your feet for about 10-15 minutes. Yes - I said to sit down in one place for one quarter of an hour! Read, watch TV or just meditate, it will be over before you know it.

3. Rinse feet with warm water and drain the tub. Massage damp feet with your scrub product or a pumice stone, concentrating on extra rough areas. I usually do this for about 5 minutes per foot for a thorough treatment. Rinse feet again and dry well.

4. Now is the time to push back your cuticles and clip or file nails as necessary. If you're going to polish your nails use a light moisturizer, our Peppermint Foot Cream is a good one, and wait until it dries before you start. Give polish plenty of time to dry before going to bed or putting on shoes. If you're not using polish, I suggest a heavy duty product like PM Foot Repair to help seal in moisture. Then slip on a pair of light cotton socks and you're done. You'll wake up to soft, pretty feet ready for those new sexy sandals.

Take care of your feet. After all, they do get you where you're going.