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A Skin Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

Did you know the expression ‘you are what you eat’ is true to a certain extent? While it’s well known that your overall health can be impacted by diet, your outward appearance, skin in particular, is greatly affected by everything you put into your body as well. With Thanksgiving dinner being less than a week away, you are probably already cooking up ideas for your family’s menu. If you’re hosting this year’s Thanksgiving feast, take a second look at your grocery list before heading off to the super market. If you want to keep your skin looking healthy and naturally glowing throughout the holidays, fill yourself with food and nutrients your skin, and body, will love.

Evidence from a study at the University of Nottingham that was released last year shows eating nutrient rich fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene gives skin a healthy golden glow. The study also showed people found this healthy glow to be more attractive than a tan obtained from UV rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables. It is also an antioxidant that helps reduce damaging compounds produced by daily stress. Beta carotene is not only good for immune system and reproductive health, but it’s the key to healthy glowing skin.

Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board certified dermatologist with a private dermatology practice in Sonoma County, is a huge advocate of eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables to keep skin looking great. According to Dr. Bailey, not only are fresh fruits and veggies good for a glowing appearance, but by eating these more than dairy, carbohydrates and junk food, other skin problems such as acne can improve as well. Dr. Bailey also recommends purchasing fresh and organic when able because fresh and organically grown produce contains more nutrients. “Eating your fruits and veggies really fresh is key, because beta carotene is fragile and gets lost when the fruits or veggies are processed or stored,” writes Dr. Bailey in her blog post Skip The Tan & Eat Your Veggies For Beautiful Skin Color. Dr. Bailey suggests eating beta carotene foods with a little fat or oil to absorb the beta carotene better.

According to Dr. Bailey, foods high in Beta Carotene include:

Yellow/orange vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash

Dark green and/or leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, turnips and their green leaves, beet leaves, mustard and dandelion greens, watercress, cilantro, chicory, endive, escarole

Yellow/orange fruits: apricots, cantaloupes, papayas, mangoes, nectarines, peaches

Also: summer squash, asparagus, peas, sour cherries, prune plums

To add a little healthy ‘color’ to your Thanksgiving meal, try some new healthy recipes that are spin-offs of classic holiday dishes. Create most of the recipe with fresh ingredients that will make your skin radiant. While it may not be realistic to forgo some of your favorite less than healthy dishes, try substituting or adding a few of these fresh options and eating smaller portions of processed foods.

Skin Healthy Dishes:

Acorn squash with apples

Maple roasted sweet potatoes

Quinoa salad with roasted sweet potatoes, kale, dried cranberries and red onion

Orzo super salad

Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts

Sweet carrots

Skin Healthy Deserts:

Almond and cherry upside-down cake

Healthy pumpkin pie (also see recipe for fresh pumpkin puree)

If you give any of these a try be sure to let us know how it was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: Californiacondor

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx

Take These Steps to Treat Dry Itchy Skin

Dry itchy skin may be a sign that you need an improved moisturizing routine. Keep skin looking smooth, moisturized and itch-free during the winter months by practicing these simple steps from Jaime Davis, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and trusted Coolibar medical advisor.

1) Evaluate the soap you use. Use cleansers such as Dove, Cetaphil or Vanicream that won’t dry out the skin. Any soap can say moisturizing, so look for labels that say “for sensitive skin” or “non-drying”.

2) Humidify the home. Moisture evaporates out of the skin and dry air pulls out even more.  A humidifier with help prevent moisture from leaving the skin.

3) Use a cream rather than a lotion. Cream is thicker than lotion. In fact, it’s so thick you can stand a spoon in it. Lotion is runny and fine to use in summer, but in the winter cream holds-in moisture better. Apply cream right out of shower all over when skin is still wet. Then gently pat dry with a towel.

4) Reapply moisturizer after washing hands. It’s the same concept as lathering-on cream after showering. Apply it while the hands are damp and pat dry to retain moisture.  

In severe cases of painful dry skin, medical attention from a dermatologist may be required. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition where the skin goes from dry to inflamed, cracked, red and peeling. If you have eczema, you can try an over-the-counter 1% Hydrocortisone cream, an anti-inflammatory, in addition to your moisturizer. This is a good start for general eczema. You can find creams with aloe or without, but keep in mind simple is better.  Try using the over-the-counter cream twice a day for a week. If it doesn’t work, seek a dermatologist. For severe cases, especially cracked and weepy skin, visit a dermatologist sooner rather than later to get treatment recommendations.

Another skin condition called Psoriasis produces dry, scaly, inflamed areas on the skin such as the elbows and knees. While this condition is not caused by winter dryness, it can become worse during dry months. Using a moisturizer and/or cortisone might be helpful, but if all else fails, a dermatologist can emit UV light medically in doses. UV is an anti-inflammatory, so it calms itchy red skin. The UV is dosed carefully so patients get the therapeutic benefits without side-effects. Using a tanning bed for treatment is not recommended as they contain a different wave length of light that’s not therapeutic and can cause skin damage.

These dry skin conditions happen everywhere, not just in cold regions.  Use proper moisturizing agents and seek medical attention if conditions persist.

Browse moisturizing creams carried by Coolibar.

Resources: Dr. Jaime Davis, Uptown Dermatology & Skin Spa, KSTP Interview Dry Skin & UV

Photo credit: Phrawr

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx

Dermatologists, More than Pimple Popping M.D.s

Dermatologists are medical doctors who specialize in treating skin, hair and nails. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), at any given time, one out of every three people in the United States suffers from a skin disease.  Many skin conditions cannot be cured or relieved with over-the-counter treatments. For skin conditions that are out of your control or you’re not sure what to do about, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Depending on your specific skin problem, you may even wish to search for a dermatologist online and find a doctor that specializes in specific areas, such as cosmetic procedures, skin cancer or skin of color.

Dermatologists are way more than “pimple popping M.D.s”, which according to the popular ‘90s sitcom Seinfeld is all the profession is good for. They save and improve lives every day by helping people get control of their problematic skin, hair and nail conditions.

Seinfeld Clip “Pimple Popping M.D.s”

Still not sure if you should seek medical attention? Here are some of the top reasons to see a dermatologist.

Acne. For acne that is not responding to an over-the-counter skin treatment, a dermatologist can determine which kind of prescription skin treatment would be most effective for your acne and lifestyle.

Eczema. Many people suffer from eczema, a chronic condition characterized by irritation, itchiness, and flaky patches of skin. A dermatologist can help find ways to manage this condition and, if necessary, will prescribe medications.

Skin cancer. An annual full body skin exam performed by a dermatologist is especially important if you are in a high-risk group (fair skin, had bad sunburns, especially blistering sunburns, skin that burns or freckles rather than tans, 50-plus moles or atypical moles). In addition to regular screenings, you should see a dermatologist if you notice a change in the shape, size or coloring of any of your moles. A dermatologist can remove some or all of the suspicious tissue, then examine it under a microscope for cancerous cells. Skin cancer does not discriminate. All ages and races are susceptible to skin cancer.

Wrinkles, dark spots and scars. If you are concerned about minimizing skin damage or caring for aging skin, a dermatologist can suggest products or lifestyle changes that reduce your exposure to damaging elements. They can also perform cosmetic procedures to reduce visible signs of aging and scars.

For almost any condition that affects your appearance (skin, hair and nails) you can seek a dermatologist for advice and treatment. For a complete list of the conditions dermatologists treat, please visit the AAD website.

Take care of your skin, your largest organ. Remember, everyone needs sun protection, but those with skin conditions may be even more sensitive to the sun. When talking with your dermatologist, ask him or her about photosensitivity (a negative skin reaction to UV rays) and get sun protection recommendations.  Using sun protective clothing, wide-brim hats, sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly can reduce visible signs of aging and help prevent skin cancer.

Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx Videos

Medications and Sun Sensitivity (Video)

Hi, this is Dr. Davis for Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing.  I wanted to talk to you today about conditions of the skin that can make you more sensitive to the sun.  You might be surprised to hear that some of the things dermatologists prescribe to help improve your skin can actually make you more vulnerable to sunburns, such as medications for acne, tetracycline, doxycycycline while great for calming down other conditions; you might notice that you sunburn a lot easier when you’re taking those things.  When you are prescribed a medication by your doctor, and if you have any questions, certainly ask about sun sensitivity potential.  It might be something that is easily forgotten we don’t necessarily think about that, but in the summer especially when a doctor prescribes certain medications, for blood pressure… acne…it is something to be mindful of.  We’ve had people who started new medications, went out to a ball game and got a sunburn unexpectedly where they normally wouldn’t have, so it can make a big difference.  So, don’t forget to ask about sun sensitivity.

The other thing is there are certain medical conditions that can make you skin just intrinsically more sensitive.

Lupus – is actually triggered by sun exposure, ultraviolet light exposure, if your genetically prone to it

Vitiligo – which is a condition where you lose pigment in certain areas, those areas don’t have the ability to tan, they cannot protect themselves, so you have to do that for your skin.

…and there are several others, but just be sure that you ask those questions to your doctor.

What consequences could this medicine have?

What should I do if I have Lupus? And the basic things we’ve talked about in terms of sun protection are essential for those conditions.

Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx

Dermatologist Plea: Use Sun Protection Year Round

Now that fall has arrived, your skin care regimen may change, but please leave sun protection in the mix. UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays are present year-round, whether cloudy or sunny.  By forgoing sun protection in the fall and winter, you may be exposing your skin to sun damage, which accumulates slowly over-time causing age spots, wrinkles or worse. Take it from Dr. Cynthia Bailey who has been practicing dermatology in California for over 24 years. Never tuck your sun protection away, even for a day.

Expert advice from Dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D.

You know that you should protect your skin from the summer sun, but what about the rest of the year? And what about the morning and late afternoon, do you know if that sun will cause wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer? You’ve noticed that the sun feels weaker in the non-summer months and in the morning and afternoon, can it still damage your skin if you don’t sun protect?

I see a lot of patients in my dermatology practice with tanned and wrinkled skin who tell me that because they walk or swim in the morning or during the non-summer months that they don’t need sunscreen or sun protective clothing.  They think that because the sun feels weaker they’re safe. Yes, the sunburn ray called UVB is less intense then, but the sun still damages your skin and the tan and wrinkles are the evidence.

The reason the sun is harmful is that UVA rays are out in full intensity; they’re out all day, all year, and at the same intensity as mid-day in the summer!  This means that from sunup to sundown, January or July you’re getting the same hit of UVA. Plus, UVA penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB causing significant and irreversible damage to the deeper parts, and this causes wrinkles.  As if that’s not enough, your sunscreen SPF value tells you nothing about how well your product blocks UVA.  In fact many products don’t do a good job blocking the UVA rays, which is one of the big criticisms of sunscreens.

I’m writing this post in September and I hope that it will help you plan great sun protection for your skin as we move into fall and winter.  Don’t slack off on your sun protection just because the sunburn ray is less intense and the sun feels less damaging. You need to take UVA seriously, which means you need really good protection from UVA.

UVA is bad news! It penetrates skin more deeply than the sunburn ray UVB and the havoc it wreaks on your skin is caused by free radicals.  These free radicals cause a damage that leads to skin thinning (atrophy), which is what causes most of the wrinkles and skin fragility that we erroneously associate with aging (extrinsic aging of the skin as opposed in intrinsic aging).  Thin, fragile skin tears and bruises easily as you get older and we can’t reverse it.  UVA is also linked to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.  To reiterate, UVA damage is not reversible which means prevention is really important.

Even on brisk fall days, the sun's UV rays are present.

What’s my advice for the best year round UVA sun protection for your skin?

1.  Keep the sun off your skin with sun protective clothing and a full brim hat

Try to cover as much of your skin as possible and when it’s not really hot outside this is easy to do.  Remember, when you depend on sunscreen alone you need a ‘thick and sticky coat’ every 2 hours, and that’s hard to keep up with.  Plus, a sunscreen’s protection isn’t perfect and neither is your application of it.  My preference is that you wear sun protective clothing for the best sun protection.  Ideally you want to wear clothes that protects your full arms and chest too.  These are areas where people get a lot of unfortunate skin thinning from sun damage because they wear short sleeved v-neck shirts.  During hot weather or outdoor athletic activities wear functional garments like swim shirts and tights, ventilated sun protective shirts etc.  Don’t skimp on yourself, create a wardrobe that really protects your skin. 

2.  Wear broad spectrum sunscreen everyday on all the skin that’s left uncovered

This includes your face, neck, ears and the back of your hands.  Make sure your sunscreen product blocks UVA well.  In my opinion, this means using a product with 5% or more micronized zinc oxide. Sunscreen formulation is still tricky though which is why I stick with a small group of products that I’ve seen work over and over for my patients and my family.  Sunscreen product failure is all too common with other sunscreens, you need a product that you can trust especially with UVA because the UV ray doesn’t cause a quick sunburn and it may take weeks to figure out that your product is letting UVA through.  I also don’t recommend that you rely on a facial moisturizer for UVA protection because most don’t do a good job at that.  Remember the SPF tells you only about UVB protection, not about UVA protection.  Be deliberate about your daily application of sunscreen, use only a broad spectrum product so that you have the UVA protection you need to keep your skin healthy and strong.

3.  Add high concentration antioxidant skin care products to your facial skin care routine and apply them everyday

Scientific studies have shown that applying highly concentrated antioxidants to your skin really does reduce UV damage.  The best are the green tea polyphenols, vitamin C and E.  There is no regulation on these products though meaning any skin cream or serum can make grand claims about containing antioxidants yet include only a minute ‘fairy dusting’ concentration that doesn’t do anything.  A recent study of sunscreen products with added antioxidants showed that the incidental amounts added to those products did not provide free radical protection and had no antioxidant power when tested in the laboratory.  With the right products though I’ve seen my patients get real results (fewer precancerous lesions for me to treat during their checkups).  These products are the two Replenix Creams and the C/R/S vitamin C serum that I sell from my web store. 

4.  Don’t forget to seek the shade to sun protect your skin

As the weather gets colder it’s so tempting to want to sit in the direct sun, but only do that with sun protective clothing and sunscreen on.  Keep your skin out of the sun as much as possible.  Remember that UV rays bounce off pavement, sand, rocks, buildings etc.  If you’re getting a tan you’re exposed.

5.  Don’t listen to people who tell you to get non-summer, morning or afternoon sun to prevent vitamin D deficiency

Remember, UVA doesn’t make vitamin D in your skin so resist that false advice to get year round sun exposure for your vitamin D production.  Most places in the world only have enough UVB rays during the summer to make meaningful vitamin D in your skin.  Even then, I don’t recommend using your skin as a vitamin D factory because it gives doctors like me job security.  Vitamin D is pretty complex and I always recommending talking to your personal doctor for advice.  To read more about my opinion on vitamin D and the sun click here to read my article Are You Really Getting Vitamin D From The Sun Or Just Nuking Your DNA?

Reference: Ex vivo evaluation of radical sun protection factor in popular sunscreens with antioxidants, Steven Q. Wang, MD et. al., Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2011;65:525-30

More from Dr. Bailey at http://www.drbaileyskincare.com/blog/.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx

Discuss Sun Protection with Your Dermatologist

Edmund Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Attention Dermatology Patients!

You may have seen your local dermatologist to discuss any number of skin conditions.  Or perhaps, you’re planning your first visit to a dermatologist soon.  Either way, our medical expert Dr. Lee, encourages you to address UV protection at your next appointment.

Board certified Dermatologist Edmund Lee, M.D., Ph.D. of Mount Sinai North Shore Medical Group has been practicing dermatology for 11 years outside of New York City and works with a large number of patients that have skin conditions caused or affected by the sun. According to Dr. Lee everyone should protect their skin from UV, and he eagerly shares his experience with us.

The patients I see on a daily basis live a very active outdoor lifestyle. Golfing, boating, tennis, soccer, among many other activities, are part of daily life here.  As a result, sun damage and its consequences are a large part of my Dermatology practice.  My advice to my patients includes a discussion about the use of sunscreens and also UPF clothing to help protect them when they are outdoors.

Sunscreens are very useful, but lately have come under some scrutiny for safety.  While I have no problem recommending a variety of SPF products, I do have some patients who are wary of any SPF products.

On the other hand, I always recommend UPF clothing. I tell my patients that UV rays can penetrate clothing which they find hard to believe.  So, I have a photo of a patient who indeed got burnt right through his tee shirt last summer!  A picture is worth a thousand words.

To get the UPF word out in my community, I’ve held a Sun Protection Fair in my office for the past 4 years on a weekend in May or June.  No patients are scheduled that day.  Instead, I have the halls filled with UPF clothing and hats from large and small companies.  Since the first Fair, several of my patients have become advocates for UPF clothes.  The sailors and golfers are the best friends I have in persuading others to try these clothes.

I keep UPF clothes after the fairs to continue to demonstrate UPF clothing all summer long—including apparel from Coolibar!

Take it from our expert and discuss UV protection with your dermatologist.  They will have insight into appropriate recommendations for your individual sun protection needs.   Your skin is your largest and most visible organ, protect it for a long and healthy life.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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