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Vitamin C helps skin health

Vitamin C is a Skin Defender

Though a wide array of nutrients work to keep us and our skin healthy, Vitamin C is a skin defender loved by all. Here’s how it helps, and how to put it to work for you.

Mother Nature has given us so many natural ways to support our health, and keep our skin looking and feeling good. One of the amazing nutrients we’ve been gifted is Vitamin C, a.k.a. ascorbic acid. 

WHAT MAKES VITAMIN C SO IMPORTANT? 

This handy natural nutrient is what our bodies use to: 

  • make collagen (a protein that helps cells heal, and also makes our skin look plumper and be more pliable, so lines are less noticeable);
  • reduce the effects of free radicals from pollution, UV light and cigarette smoke;
  • repair and maintain cartilage, bones and teeth.

It also can help to lighten and brighten the complexion, reducing the appearance of age spots and evening out skin tone.

VITAMIN C IN YOUR DIET 

Nutrition is a building block of good self-care. And obviously Vitamin C is a critical piece! Fortunately, it’s also in many of our most-popular fruits and veggies.

Start by making sure you’re getting the recommended levels of Vitamin C. (It can be challenging, and time consuming, to keep track of nutrition, so sometimes tracking our meals and snacks with one of the many apps available can help.)  

  • 75mg/day for most women (15mg more if you’re pregnant)
  • 90mg/day for most men. 
  • And if you’re a smoker, you need even more: 35mg more than non-smokers.

Best sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits (like oranges), red or green peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes and potatoes. 

VITAMIN C IS A SKIN DEFENDER

Vitamin C can also help you from the outside, in. One reason that vitamin C in skincare products is helpful to your complexion is that it brings the benefits right to the skin’s surface. And since the skin’s outermost layer doesn’t have any blood vessels to carry nutrients to it, serums or other products can help close that gap.  

Skincare products that incorporate Vitamin C can help skin look more plump, and have a nice glow, quite quickly after applying. Over time you may even find dark spots begin to be less noticeable, too. 

As with most self-care practices, balance is key. Too little vitamin C can leave your body less able to do the work it needs to keep you healthy, and make you tired, slower to heal, have puffy gums and more. Too much is no good either, often leading to stomach problems or, in topical skincare products, skin irritation. When in doubt, follow your physician’s recommendations.

It’s easy to see how Vitamin C is a skin defender for us all!  Yet exploring the ways that this and other ingredients affect your skin is a smart practice. We each have a unique make up, and getting to know how the variations in your environment, stress, nutrition, and type, impact you is the best path to your best skin, and overall health. 

healthy scalp care

A Healthier Scalp for Healthier Hair

Good looking hair starts from within, so start here to learn more about nurturing a healthier scalp for healthier hair.

The hair products and tools we use to manage our tresses can create quite a bit of stress for our scalps—the skin that, along with our hair, protects our heads. As we clean and condition our hair, change its color, secure the latest styles with heat, sprays or lotions, our scalps are largely hidden, so any effects are often “out of sight, out of mind” – at least until we feel discomfort there! 

It’s so easy to forget the impact our hair care can have on our scalp, and the follicles within. But the scalp is an important part of maintaining a healthy mane. Here’s what you need to know about scalp care:

Why does having a healthier scalp matter?

A healthy scalp is an important contributor to healthy hair. You see, just below the scalp surface is where your hair growth begins, one hair per follicle (or shaft). Along the walls of each follicle are glands that produce oily “sebum” that help condition the hair, and lift up dead skin from inside the shaft. 

It’s important that hair follicles remain clean and open so there’s good blood flow and the hair, follicles and scalp thrive: nurture a healthier scalp for healthier hair!

If your scalp is coated with too much oil, dead skin, or unhealthy bacteria, that can make it harder for your hair to stay healthy, and can even cause it to thin or fall out. Like most elements of good health, the goal is to maintain good balance: clean, hydrated, moisturized.

How do you know whether your scalp is healthy?

The short answer is that It should feel good — no dryness, flakes, redness, pain or irritation. When it’s healthy, the skin on your scalp shouldn’t really feel like anything. 

But if any of these sound familiar, your scalp may need some care:

  • FLAKING is sometimes due to dandruff—most often seen as visible white or yellowish flakes. Dandruff can stem from a simple build-up of oil on the scalp that makes it hard to shed skin cells (instead they flake off in tiny patches). Or, it can also be due to a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or similar. And of course, just like with any skin, a sunburned scalp will eventually peel and flake!
  • DRY OR ITCHY SKIN can also cause flakes, but they tend to be lighter and almost powdery. Your scalp could be dried out from a cold, arid environment or not staying hydrated enough overall. Or, you could be having an allergic reaction to something you’re using on your hair.
  • HAIR LOSS happens when hair follicles shrink, causing the growing hairs to become thinner—and eventually to stop growing at all. Hair loss is sometimes associated with a medical situation like chemotherapy or medications. It can also be triggered by too much stress on the hair follicles from pulling or twisting the hair too vigorously. Sometimes dietary changes, hormonal changes, or stress, can throw your body off balance. 

How can you help your scalp stay healthier?

Good nutrition, staying hydrated, and stress management will all give your body, scalp, and hair roots the best chance of good health. On top of these, there are some hair-specific tips to help your scalp stay healthy:

  • Use fewer products overall. Many hair products are designed to last—which means they don’t always respond well to a quick wash and rinse. Instead they build up around your hair follicles and cause trouble. Dry shampoo, sticky sprays, and heavy oils are top offenders, so try to use as little as you can in your day-to-day styling.

TIP: Unless your scalp is feeling itching, or your hair is visibly oily, there’s no need to wash your hair daily. Every 2-3 days is often enough. 

  • Free your hair to flow naturally. Choose a hair style that holds its beauty with less pulling, twisting, spraying and heating. Find a stylist who will enhance your hair’s natural gifts and let your hair be itself!
  • Choose products that suit your hair type.  Fine hair is better off with lighter products that won’t build up; coarse or very long hair may benefit from shampoos or conditioners that offer more moisture and protection. A lightweight scalp oil massaged in before washing can help those with dry scalp. And if any conditioner is not designed to be leave-in, be sure to rinse it off.
  • Avoid products with artificial ingredients and perfumes. There are many beauty products available commercially that reputable studies have shown can cause irritation, and even be toxic. Your best choice is to use products with fewer, and all-natural, ingredients known to be safe for humans. 
  • Eat a good balance of healthy nutrients. Just as its important to eat well to keep our skin looking its best, good nutrition from a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins, will support your scalp’s health too.

Our hair is our natural beauty accessory, showing off our personal style and framing our faces to draw attention to our eyes, lips and expressions. Follow these tips and begin the journey to a healthier scalp for healthier hair! Tap here to read more about hair care.

Serums and your skin

Are Serums Good for Your Skin?

Are serums good for your skin? For every skin? Here we take a look at facial serums…

We’re excited that we are all paying closer attention to how our skin feels, as well as how it looks—no more layering up in thick, sticky or stinging lotions and potions! And more and more, we also want skincare solutions that help our natural good looks to shine bright.

This is one of the reasons that serums have grown in popularity. But what are facial serums, and are they really that good for your skin? Here’s a closer look!

What are facial serums?

A serum is a liquid that contains a high concentration of beneficial ingredients, designed so that your skin can absorb them quickly. 

When you start looking, you’ll find a variety of serum types available, each designed to provide certain benefits through their primary ingredients. Vitamins (and their derivatives, like retinol), fatty acids, collagen, and a variety of antioxidants are the most common agents.

Because they’re so concentrated, just a few drops of serum go a long way—the tiny molecules in them make each drop very rich in benefits. 

Usually they’re best applied right after you cleanse your face, before you smooth on your moisturizer’s protective barrier. The combination often makes your skin look plumper, and help makeup go on more smoothly.

Are serums good for your skin?

Yes! Many reputable studies have shown value in serums’ ability to deliver a helpful punch of ingredients that can minimize common skin concerns, from wrinkles, to dryness, to blotchiness and more. 

While they come in many types (and price ranges), the quality of the serum is heavily dependent on the quality of the ingredients. According to Dr. Abigail Waldman, a dermatology instructor at Harvard Medical School, “How well they work depends on the…ingredients, the formulation, and. the stability of the compound.”

Are all serums good for all skin types?

Much like anything you put on your skin (or ingest!), not every product is for everyone. Finding the right serum for you is more about matching the benefits you want, vs the skin type you have. Here are a few tips for finding the right serum for you:

  1. Decide on the skin benefit you’re looking to achieve: 
  • Minimizing fine lines? Consider retinol and/or collagen solutions. 
  • Brightening? Vitamin C, vitamin E and fatty acids like glycolic acid. 
  • Nurturing dry skin? Vitamin C is helpful here too, as are botanical oils, like rice bran and camellia.

Remember that your skin changes, too. Stress, diet, exercise, environmental conditions, hormones are just some of the many factors that can affect your skin cells—and that can change the type of serum you need.

  1. Test it on your skin: No matter how many positive reviews a product has, remember that your skin is unique. It’s important that whenever you try something new, you test it on a small area of your skin first—like the inside of your elbow, or your neck just below your ear—and wait 24-48 hours before applying it to your whole face. If your skin becomes red, itchy or has anything but a positive response, that’s not the one for you! 
  1. Follow directions: You’ll also want to carefully follow the directions for when, how much, and how often to apply it. It’s certainly possible to get too much of a good thing.

The nourishing ingredients in serums can be a wonderful addition to your skincare routine, bringing out the best in your natural glow. Monitoring how your skin feels, as well as how it looks, can help you choose the right serum for your skin’s needs. Our Daily Glow Serum is one to look at for dry or stressed skin.

How to Keep Tattooed Skin Healthy

Tattoos are more popular than ever right now, with up to 40% of people under 35 having at least one (and 36% of those 36-54)—and a similar number then wondering how to keep tattooed skin healthy.

One important tip we’ve heard from many reputable artists is that you’ll get the best results when your skin is healthy to begin with! 

So, moisturize regularly for a few weeks before your tattoo. In the days before your appointment, be sure to drink plenty of water (and avoid drinking dehydrating alcoholic and caffeinated beverages). Arrive at your appointment with a clean skin surface. And of course, choose a reputable artist with a good reputation, and clean studio and equipment. 

Here are more things to know about keeping your tattooed skin healthy: 

The main concerns to ask your artist and doctor about (Before):

  • Allergies—this would be to ingredients in the inks. Some reds appear to be the most likely to cause a reaction, but if you are allergy prone, the risks are higher no matter which colors you use. 
    • As tattooing has increased in popularity, one of the developing areas of inquiry is what actually IS in tattoo ink. Believe it or not, there are few regulations or guidelines about what is or can be included—and sometimes even the manufacturers are unsure. 
    • What they do know is that tattoo ink ends up in a variety of different glands and organs; it doesn’t just stay put in the skin cells (which, of course, constantly shed anyway—your whole skin surface is replaced roughly every month—constantly pushing new cells to the surface).
  • Infections from bacteria or a virus—either from some getting under your skin during the tattooing, or while your skin is healing. (If your wound becomes red, hot, inflamed, has pus, or you have a fever… these should prompt a call to your doctor.)
  • Hepatitis B, C or HIV—which can occur if the equipment is not cleaned properly and residual blood from an infected person is transferred to your blood during the tattooing process. 
    • You may not know it, but because their work puts them (and you) in contact with blood and potential blood borne pathogens, tattoo artists must be certified by OSHA. This gives them guidelines for how to keep their equipment and studios clean, and you, protected!
  • Keloids—not harmful, but these are bumps that can develop around th tattoo site, caused by scar tissue.

How to Keep Tattooed Skin Healthy (During & After)

To help maintain skin health at the tattoo site, you’ll want to give it similar care to any open wound… plus a few extra steps over a longer period:

  • Keep the area clean—wash with antibacterial soap for the first 2 weeks, then your regular gentle soap. Pat dry, and keep covered until it’s fully healed. This will also help prevent you from scratching the scabs off, which can increase chances of infection!
  • Moisturize the area—once the wound has closed, keep the skin conditioned by moisturizing twice a day—keep the care up for 6 months, at least. Choose something that’s completely fragrance free. An ointment or thick cream are your best choices.
  • Use a high SPF sunscreen, always—and not just because of the protection from cancer-causing rays; the inks in your tattoo can be prone to fading in UV light., so it’s good for your art too!   
  • Natural, nourishing oils—consider applying a light coating of a natural oil each night, like Vitamin E oil (which may help scars be less apparent) or Tea Tree Oil (not just a good moisturizer, but also a plus because of its antibacterial properties).

Hopefully you will have started a healthy skin ritual like our Joy to the Skin Collection even before your tattooing, but if not, now is the ideal time to begin one! Caring for your skin will not only help your body’s protective organ withstand infections, it will help your fine art show at its best for years to come. 

Ayurveda Skincare

What is Ayurvedic Skincare?

If you’ve started to explore natural approaches to caring for your skin, you’ll probably have come across this term and may be wondering “what is ayurvedic skincare?”—and how might it apply to you… This intro will get you started!

Mark Twain once said that the finest clothing ever made is a person’s own skin. We couldn’t agree more! 

Your skin, the largest organ in your body, plays a surprising number of roles in your body. Its primary function is to act as a barrier. But besides protecting your body from harmful things in the outside world, the skin also helps the body maintain the right internal temperature and allows us to sense the world through nerve endings. 

It goes without saying that taking care of your skin is essential to your overall well-being. If you take good care of your skin, it can help take care of you. A good skincare routine leads to great, healthy skin. If you’ve ever looked into natural skincare approaches, or the science of eastern medicine, you may have come across a practice known as Ayurveda

Ayurvedic skincare is one of the oldest and most practiced skincare routines. But what exactly is Ayurvedic skincare? And how can it help you maintain healthy, naturally glowing skin inside and out?

What Is Ayurvedic Skincare? 

Based on ancient Indian medicine, Ayurvedic skincare emphasizes the use of herbs and other natural ingredients to treat and nourish the skin. The Ayurvedic system underscores the philosophy that true beauty comes from within

It’s the internal foundation of wellness that helps you look better on the outside. 

Ayurveda entails nourishing your mind, body, and soul. Eventually, practicing Ayurveda will help you become in tune with your body’s needs and take better care of yourself. You can use Ayurvedic principles to shape and tone your skin and body. When you apply Ayurvedic principles to your skincare routine, it’s known as the Ayurvedic skincare routine. 

How It Works 

Ayurveda sets a pretty high standard for the concept of natural skincare. The typical Ayurvedic skincare routine uses food-grade ingredients only. In other words, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. 

The Ayurvedic skincare routine can include herbal formulations designed to nourish the skin based on your unique combination of the three doshas, or Prakruti. What are these? 

Doshas are one of three life forces that make up the constitution of the body and mind. Ayurveda believes that every person has a dominant dosha. Identifying yours can help guide you to an optimal path for health, lifestyle—and your skincare routine. Together it forms a personalized approach to health. 

The three doshas are: 

•    Vata (wind). Vata dominant individuals have sensitive skin that’s dry or rougher in texture. 
•    Pitta (fire). If you are a Pitta, your skin tends to be freckly and prone to acne and sunburn. 
•    Kapha (water and earth). People who fall under the Kapha skin type tend to have thick, naturally oily skin. 

According to Ayurveda, every individual has a unique proportion of each dosha, usually with one being more dominant. Your unique combination of the three doshas (Prakruti) affects the health and appearance of your skin. 

So, Ayurvedic skincare is an approach to living that starts with caring for your unique needs. It’s also a skincare routine built around the herbs, extracts, flowers, minerals, and essential oils that best nourish your skin’s harmony with nature and Prakruti. A good skincare routine from Srida Herbals can give you a healthy, happy start to a naturally healthier glow. 

5 Things to Avoid If You Have Dry Skin

5 Things to Avoid if You Have Dry Skin

Often dry skin is caused, or made worse, by factors we’re unaware of, but that are actually under our control—so to help your skin feel more soothed, here are 5 things to avoid if YOU have dry skin. 

Dry skin isn’t always the easiest to maintain, but it’s also not something to fear! With just a little extra care you can help your dry skin feel good and be healthy and at ease all year. 

Skin is called “dry” when it doesn’t hold moisture—it might feel tight quickly after washing (and even after moisturizing). If your skin is severely dry it can crack, peel, and/or become red and itchy. 

Staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water is the first step in caring for your dry skin. While fruits and vegetables contain water too (along with plenty of skin nurturing vitamins and minerals), you need more. Most nutrition experts recommend adults take in eight 8oz glasses of water throughout the day. 

Once you have that habit in place, here are some of the top things to avoid if you have dry skin.

CAFFEINE

Caffeine has a diuretic effect—meaning when you drink it you lose hydration. And the more of it you have, the less effective your body is likely to be in flushing out toxins. It also has an aging effect: caffeine reduces collagen in your skin cells

Note that you’ll want to check on more than your coffee and tea, since many OTC headache medicines contain caffeine too!

A cup of coffee could run anywhere from 70-200+ mg… tea 32-42mg… colas 32-70mg and energy waters 50-125mg. But you’ll find 65mg in Excedrin — so check the label! 

AVOID HARSH TREATMENT IF YOU HAVE DRY SKIN

What do we mean by harsh treatment? Anything that scruffs the surface of your skin.

  • Exfoliating vigorously or often (so either say goodbye to scrub brushes and wash cloths, or use very gently and only occasionally). 
  • Using hot water vs warm and staying in the shower or bath for more than 10 minutes can damage the surface of your skin.
  • And for the same reason, avoid rubbing your skin with a towel if you have dry skin.

FRAGRANCES AND/OR DEODORANTS

Fragrances and deodorants are all around us. You’ll find them in what we put on our bodies, in laundry and household cleaners, air fresheners, and many more. They may smell nice, but they can also dry the skin, and cause irritation, especially if yours is prone to allergies or sensitivity. 

And while you’re scanning the labels of your favorite lotions and creams, you’ll also want to look out for products labeled “unscented.” These often indicate that they contain additives that neutralize or hide odors. Instead, choose those marked fragrance-free. 

DRY AIR

As the weather cools, most of us love to get cozy; we may crank up our heaters and cuddle close to the fire. All of which pulls moisture from the air in our homes, and, in turn, makes it more difficult for our skin to hold moisture, too. You can combat both with a humidifier in your bedroom. Another option, if you have a flat top wood-burning stove or radiator, is leaving a saucepan of water on top, open to evaporate into your room air. Just be careful to keep an eye on the water level though, so you don’t burn the pot or cause a fire hazard!.

PARABENS 

Parabens are preservatives that are very common in a wide range of products you’ll find in stores. They’re designed to help products last longer on the shelf. But they can cause irritation, and some have been shown to be hormone disruptors and even increase cancer risks. Look for ingredients with “paraben” in the name, and make a different choice. As with fragrances and other additives, our preference and recommendation at Srida Herbals is to go natural!

As you gradually adjust your environment for these 5 things to avoid if you have dry skin, you may find it easier to manage common discomforts like itchiness. Moisturize regularly with a natural product designed for dry skin, especially while your skin is still a little damp, and use a gentle cleanser—like our Daily Melt Cleanser. These steps will go far to help you love your beautiful skin!

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Skin irritants in your home

Stop the Itch: Skin Irritants in Your Home

If you have days where you wish you could stop the itch from skin irritants in your home, and the visible or invisible rashes they cause, you’re not alone. Contact dermatitis—where your skin reacts to a substance either due to an allergy or an irritant, is extremely common. In fact, nearly everyone faces this issue at some point in their lives. 

Worse, chronic conditions like atopic dermatitis (a.k.a. eczema), have been steadily rising for decades. Imagine trying to sleep or concentrate when you have what feels like dozens of mosquito bites on top of a sunburn, and you’ll get a sense of what eczema can feel like. Not fun. 

And today, 10% of American residents report experiencing eczema in some form—and 1 in 4 developed it as an adult!

What’s to blame for all this irritation and itching?

Results of many studies, over many years, tell us that much of the blame goes to environmental factors. High on the list: chemicals in our home and workplaces, and irritants and allergens overall.

Interestingly, children born outside the U.S. have a 50% lower risk of developing atopic dermatitis; and that risk actually increases after they’ve lived in the U.S. for 10 years*. One of the main differences may be that many other countries have stricter regulations on a wide array of residential, commercial and industrial toxins.

We’re immersed in a chemical soup, so finding ways to avoid as many of the triggers bothering our skin as possible, can really help!

What are the skin irritants in your home to check for and avoid? 

In many cases, particular allergies or reactions can develop because of repeated use, or are associated with a particular person’s sensitivities. There are also products that are just downright dangerous and you must take extra care when using them. You likely know some of the main ones: bleach, ammonia, drain cleaners, paint and varnish or acids (including those in batteries). 

But there are likely to be many other substances known to be common skin irritants in your home — many you may NOT think of. Here’s a sampling: 

  • Soap—while most natural soaps are okay, even some fragrance-free soaps can cause problems, particularly if you wash your hands very frequently. Soap strips skin of oils it’s supposed to have, gradually causing the skin to crack and bleed 
  • Ethyl Alcohol—the active ingredient in many hand sanitizers.
  • Plants, like poinsettias and peppers, as well as the more infamous poison ivy and oak.
  • Bodily fluids like urine and saliva.
  • Isothiazolinone—an antibacterial found in many types of baby wipes and other personal care products.
  • Formaldehyde—a common ingredient in disinfectants and glues.
  • Hair dyes—and dyes used to color laundry and other detergents.
  • Rubber—from the insoles on your shoes to the mousepad under your wrist or the keychain in your hand.
  • Nail polish remover.
  • Perfume and scented soaps, deodorant, hair sprays etc.
  • Metals (e.g., nickel–commonly used in fashion or costume jewelry) 
  • Moisturizers.
  • Fabric softeners.
  • Dust mites—or, to be more precise, their droppings.

What’s your next step to stop the itch?

Because the cumulative effect of multiple chemicals can contribute to worse effects for your skin, do what you can to eliminate unnecessary chemicals like these from your home and personal care routine. (Of course, we recommend choosing natural and organic solutions, like those from Srida Herbals to care for your skin and hair!)

For more detailed information on how to stop the itch and manage skin irritants in your home:

  • In the U.S., The National Eczema Association provides helpful information on dermatitis. 
  • Also, the U.K.’s National Eczema Society has a handy PDF summing up many of the most common household irritants that trigger eczema, along with ways to counter them. 

*Silverberg JI, Simpson EL, Durkin HG, Joks R. Prevalence of allergic disease in foreign-born American children. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(6):554-560.

Sun Protection for your Skin

Tips for Protecting Your Skin, Safely

Spending time in the sun is one of the best ways to harness vitamin D. In fact, doctors recommend exposing your skin to direct sun rays so they can activate your natural ability to create vitamin D. The catch? Direct exposure also leaves you at risk of skin problems such as premature aging, sunburns, and in the worst cases, can increase the risk of skin cancer

So, how can we protect our skin while also enjoying the benefits that come with sunlight exposure?

Using Sunscreen

Slathering on sunscreen is one of the most common options for protecting your skin. There is no reason why you shouldn’t grab a hat and go out in the sun as long as you’ve applied a protective sunscreen layer on your skin. Sunscreen protects your skin against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which are responsible for sunburns, age spots, skin cancer, wrinkling, and other long-term effects on your skin.

Lathering up on sunscreen protects your skin from these rays, allowing you to spend time in the sun safely. How does this happen? There are two types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreen works by absorbing UV rays before they penetrate the skin and damage your skin cells. The active ingredients of this chemical filter form a protective film that acts as a barrier, absorbing the rays and converting them into heat before releasing them away from the skin. Common active ingredients include aminobenzoic acid, avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. 

There have been a few concerns raised in the media about oxybenzone, but research shows “no conclusive evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans,” according to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing

Mineral sunscreen are essentially physical blockers that sit atop your skin and reflect UV rays away from the skin. Unlike chemical sunscreen, they don’t penetrate the skin. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are common active ingredients. These tend to be thicker, and not always the best choice for oily or acne-prone skin.

Using Sun Protective Clothing

Sun protective clothing offers extra protection for people who are more sensitive to the sun, such as those with fair skin, children, and people who are on medication, as some drugs can increase sun sensitivity. Such apparel comes with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings indicating its effectiveness against both UVA and UVB rays.  

Sun Protection For Hair 

While most people will rarely go out in the sun without their favorite sunscreen, research shows that excessive exposure to UV rays can be hard on your hair too, fading or drying out your hair and causing breakage. Proper sun safety means protecting yourself from head to toe by investing in sunscreen for your scalp and hair in addition to your go-to-sunscreen and facial Sun Protection Factor (SPF). 

Spray or powder sunscreen will protect your scalp from sunburn, while formulated sunscreen designed for hair and scalp will offer total protection for both. You can also invest in a good hat for a much needed physical barrier.

Sun Protection for Eyes

UV radiation also poses serious damage to your eye health and is associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration (which causes vision loss), corneal sunburn, and conjunctival cancer. That said, you can still enjoy the great outdoors by investing in proper eye protection. Some simple strategies to protect your eyes include:

  • Wearing sunglasses and/or shades that block 99% to 100% of UV rays
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat with no holes
  • Using prescription glasses or contact lenses with UV filters

What to Look for When Buying Sun Protective Gear

  • When choosing sunscreen, go for a brand that has a high SPF rating: at least 30. Always remember to apply liberally to increase its effectiveness, and reapply every two hours. 
  • Also, consider using a broad-spectrum brand as this will offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you have very sensitive skin or are shopping for your kids, consider choosing mineral sunscreen as its ingredients are milder.
  • For sun-protective clothing, look for a high UPF rating as this indicates better protection against UV radiation.
  • Sunglasses that offer 100% protection against UV rays are also best, while wide hats made of tightly woven fabric will offer increased protection for your eyes, hair, and scalp.

Your skin plays a vital role by protecting all your internal organs. Taking simple measures to protect yourself from the sun before heading out can help prevent cancer, sunburns, and lots of other skin problems. Do you have more questions on skin care that we can help with?  Contact us!

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Check skin for signs of damage and cancer

How to Check Your Skin for Signs of Cancer and Skin Damage

1 in 5 Americans are likely to develop skin cancer by age 70. A simple skin check routine can help you have a good outcome. Read on to learn more about how and when you should check your skin for signs of damage or cancer.

The skin may seem like a relatively thin layer, but did you know that this largest organ in your body makes up roughly 16% of your weight? With somewhere around 1.6 trillion skin cells (depending on your size), distributed across three layers, it’s your important first line of defense against the elements—including the damaging effects of the sun. 

And the sun can do real damage. Each year, millions of people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. The most common types are basal and squamous skin cancers; Melanoma, though less common, is considered more dangerous than the others.

Sadly, more than 2 people die from skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. The good news is that skin cancers are also highly treatable—when recognized in the early stages. “When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.” – SkinCancer.org

This is why we always emphasize learning the right way to check your skin for signs of cancer—and encourage you to make it a regular practice!

How Should I Check My Skin for Signs of Damage and Cancer?

Checking your skin for signs of damage or cancer does not require any expertise or medical tests. The best way to do a skin self-exam is by examining your skin in a well-lit room. Use a hand-held mirror to look at those areas that are hard to see, or have your spouse, family member, or friend check you.

The easiest time to carry out a skin checkup is after taking a shower or a bath. If you are checking your skin for the first time, go carefully and slowly; aim to learn the pattern of moles, freckles, blemishes, or any other noticeable marks on your skin. You might even make notes or take photos so you can check for changes over time, particularly if you see any areas that might be of concern. 

The American Cancer Society does not provide guidelines on how often to check your skin. You should, however, do frequent checks if you are exposed to any risk factors associated with skin cancer such as regular increased sun exposure or a history of skin cancer in your family.

How to Check Your Skin Using a Mirror

The steps below will help you examine almost every inch of your skin while using a hand mirror (which will help you get a closer look, especially at harder-to-see spots):

  1. Place the mirror in front of you and check your face, ears, neck, chest, and belly.
  2. Next, check your arms, including the underarm, the part between your fingers, and the tops and palms of your hands.
  3. While sitting down, examine the fronts of your thighs, toes and skin between them, calves, genital area, tops and bottoms of your feet, and toenails.
  4. You might want to hold onto something for balance while you use the mirror to check your buttocks, backs of your thighs, lower and upper back, and the back of your ears and neck.
  5. Lastly, check your scalp by parting the hair using a comb or hair dryer

What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer can occur on any part of your body, but areas most-often exposed to the sun are at highest risk. Having a blemish or a mole on your skin does not mean that your skin is damaged or has cancer. These signs, however, suggest a visit to the dermatologist:

  • A wart-like growth
  • Any new or irregular spot on the skin
  • Any mole that is slowly changing in size or color
  • A scaly red patch that may be bleeding
  • Any bleeding sore or any sore that does not heal after several weeks

What Are the Major Ways of Preventing Skin Damage and Cancer?

The major causes of skin cancer and skin damage are too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from either the sun or tanning beds. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), you can protect yourself by:

  • Staying in the shade
  • Wearing clothes that cover most of your skin
  • Wearing a hat that will shield your face, ears, and neck
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Wearing sunglasses that protect both UVA and UVB rays
  • Avoiding tanning beds, booths, sunbeds, and sunlamps.

Prevention of any disease is always better than cure. Now that you know how to check your skin for signs of damage and cancer, you can give yourself an edge by checking it often. All the different types of skin cancer are easily treated or controlled at their early stages. So, if you notice any signs that resemble skin cancer, don’t wait; seek medical attention.

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