Facts About SPF

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I think its safe to say that nearly all skin care experts agree that wearing sunscreen is one of the best things that you can do for the long term health and appearance of your skin.

Here are a few quick facts about sunscreen:

UVA/UVB

When choosing a sunscreen it is very important to choose one that is labelled as being broad spectrum because the ideal sunscreen must protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

UVB rays can be considered the more dangerous rays because these are the ones that can cause skin cancer. UVA rays are the rays that penetrate deep into the skin and can cause premature aging of the skin.

It is very important to wear sunscreen each and every day no matter how cloudy it is because as long as it is daylight the suns rays can affect your skin.

 

SPF

SPF literally stands for sun protection factor. Most experts recommend wearing an SPF of 30 or higher because an SPF of 30 blocks out about 95 percent of the cancer causing UVB rays and an SPF of 50 blocks out about 98 percent of the UVB rays and an SPF higher than 50 is usually not worth it because it won’t provide much more protection.

The More the Better:

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with sunscreen (other than not wearing it all) is that they do not put enough of it on. Most experts agree that you need to apply a filled shot glass amount of sunscreen to adequately protect your entire body and in my opinion you should apply a thick quarter sized amount to your face enough to cover your entire face including the eye area and even on (not in) your ears as well. And try to use an SPF lip balm for your lips as well.

Physical vs. Chemical:

A physical sunscreen contains either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide or a combination of both these as its active ingredients. A physical sunscreen works kind of like a mask in the sense that once you put on a physical sunscreen it will immediately shield your face from the harmful rays.

A chemical sunscreen contains active ingredients such as Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octycrylene, etc. As its name implies a chemical sunscreen causes a chemical reaction on the skin in order to protect the skin from the harmful UVA/UVB rays.

The logical question is which type is better?

From a safety and effectiveness perspective the clear answer is physical sunscreens simply because Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are more natural and well-studied ingredients whereas chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that have not been studied as widely and so as of now we do not know their true effects and safety. This is something that the FDA is currently studying and hopefully the results of this additional research will be released sooner rather than later.

In terms of effectiveness, most experts in the U.S. recommend physical sunscreens over chemical ones because while both types of sunscreens provide adequate protection from the cancer causing UVB rays the physical sunscreens have an advantage when it comes to the skin aging UVA rays.

The problem with chemical sunscreens in the United States is that they most often contain Avobenzone which is currently the only FDA accepted UVA filter in chemical sunscreens. The other active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are usually only UVB filters. Avobenzone is a decent UVA filter but the problem with Avobenzone is that it degrades very quickly when you are exposed to sunlight which may make you more susceptible to UVA skin damage.

European and Asian chemical sunscreens contain chemical protectors that are stronger and more stable. And these filters definitely make these chemical sunscreens more competitive than the ones we have in the U.S. Hopefully the FDA will approve some of these filters for use in the U.S. as well.

When it comes to ease of use anyone who has used both options will likely agree that chemical sunscreens are simply much easier to apply and they are much more cosmetically elegant.

The problem with physical sunscreens is that they are often very thick and dry and very difficult to apply on the face especially for those of us with dark skin. I notice that everytime I use a physical sunscreen on my darker skin tone it completely messes up my skin tone (my skin usually looks purple) and alternatively for people with light colored skin physical sunscreen can make them look excessively pale.

Chemical sunscreens usually go on very clearly without any residue. However, some sport chemical sunscreens can be excessively greasy but overall chemical sunscreens do not alter the appearance of your skin tone. The one drawback of chemical sunscreens is that they can be very irritating to those with sensitive skin.

Ultimately, I think that the best answer to this question is that the best type of sunscreen is the one that you are more likely to wear each and every day. This is a sunscreen that you are willing to put on each and every day no matter how busy and tired you may be.

Finally, many people only associate sunscreen with summer time. However, UVA and UVB rays affect us at varying levels during each and every season and so as we approach the colder and darker months we must continue using sunscreen on all exposed skin each and every day, rain or shine.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

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Favorite Skin Care Youtuber

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you are anything like me and you are interested in learning more about skin care the internet anf Youtube in particular can be a great resource.

However, the problem with simply relying on any particular Youtuber is that the overwhelming majority of these famous Youtube skin care gurus and influencers are not experts. They may have experience but most of them do not have any degree or certification

This is what makes Dr. Andrea Dray such an incredibly important and reliable asset for anyone who is looking to learn more about skin care. Dr. Dray is a borard certified and practicing dermatologist who also happens to have a Youtube channel simply named Dr. Dray.

I just recently discovered her channel and I have already learned so much. She posts a new video almost every day so she already has hundreds of skin care videos on a wide range of different skin care topics and concerns.

Here are just a few of the things that I have learned from her channel so far:

  • First and foremost, sunscreen is absolutely essential and you definitely have to put it on each and every day even if you are inside. Because even when you are inside the UVA rays which are the rays that lead to premature aging of the skin can actually pass through the windows.
  • One more thing about sunscreen is that you have to re-apply it at least two to three times a day because it loses its effectiveness i.e. the active chemicals break down when you’re exposed to the sun.
  • In almoat every video Dr. Dray emphasizes sunscreen so be sure to watch her videos for more info all about the different types of sunscreen, etc.
  • When choosing skincare products, especially those for thre face, try to choose fragrance free options because in the long term fragrance can be verry irritating to your skin.
  • Even if you don’t have sensitive skin its still good to opt for products that are created for sensitive skin because they tend to be more gentle and contain fewer irritants.
  • Vitamin C serums and collagen supplements are very trendy these days but Dr. Dray does not reccommend these products simply because she feels there is no scientific evidence showing that that these do anything for the skin.
  • Eye creams are not really neccassary. Your regular face moisturizer should be fine for the eye area as well assuming that it is fragrance free.
  • Less is more when it comes to skin care. The fewer products you use the less likely you are to have any adverse reactions.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial which makes it great for acne. However, its very drying and its best to use lower concentrations which can be just as effective.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is a topical antiniotic but you can use it consistently without ever becoming immune to it.

So far, these are just a few things that i have learned from Dr. Dray. If you are interested in learning about skin care from a very reliable source make sure to check out her Youtube channel!

 

With Love,

Yasmin

Instagram Making you Sad? Here are Three Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I have always read and heard stories about how social media, Instagram in particular, can make you feel sad, depressed, or just less satisfied about your own life after you spend time scrolling through carefully curated and edited images of other people living their “best lives”. However, I never thought it would affect me until it finally did.

Ideally, the best thing to do would be to just stop using social media. However, if you are like me and you just can’t give it up completely here are three tips that might help:

Unfollow:

I know this one is pretty obvious but one of the most effective things you can do is to unfollow accounts that, in any shape or form, make you feel less about yourself or your situation. I know that this is much easier said than done because you might feel that you love these accounts and you may think you will miss them.

But you really need to think about how each and every person/account that you follow impacts you and for your own well-being unfollow the ones that have a negative effect.

From personal experience I can tell you that once I unfollowed certain people I did miss them for a few days but since I no longer saw them on my feed I quickly forgot about them.

Curate:

Your social media feed is what you make out of it. Many people only focus on the negative effects of social media. But the reality is that there are many inspirational, motivational and educational accounts out there on a wide range of topics and its up to you to find ones that interest you.

For example, I have three pet birds and I follow quite a few bird related accounts and most of these accounts post pictures and videos of their adorable pet birds and these always brighten my mood. But more importantly some of these accounts are very educational and informative and they have definitely helped me take better care of my birds.

Find Your Triggers:

This tip definitely relates to the first tip because its really important to take time to consciously think about how social media effects you. Aside from unfollowing certain people, its also important to think about other triggers as well.

For example, a few weeks ago it was the holiday of Eid (I like to describe Eid as the Muslim version of Christmas) and basically this year my family didn’t do much to celebrate.

But of course, when I went on to Instagram I saw all of these people doing all of these fun and amazing things and this really put me in a bad mood. In that moment, I completely lost perspective of all that I should be grateful for.

When it comes to social media everyone has different triggers. There are certain times of the day, month, or year that you may be feeling more vulnerable and it is very important to first figure out when these are for you and then alter your social media use during these times.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

5 Foods for Healthier Hair

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

Usually when we discuss hair care there is a lot of emphasis on shampoos, hair oils and serums and a wide range of other topical products are mentioned along with their pros and cons.

Their is a lot less emphasis on what we eat and how it can benefit our hair. Interestingly, research shows that overtime a healthy and nutrient rich diet may help lead to thicker and shinier hair.

The following are a few options to consider:

Broccoli:

Usually, when we think of Vitamin C we think of Oranges but interestingly broccoli is also packed with Vitamin C and it is also rich in Vitamin A. The Vitamin C in broccoli helps promote hair follicle growth and the Vitamin A helps control scalp sebum production to ensure shiny and healthy hair.

Eggs:

Eggs are high in biotin which is a B vitamin that is associated with stronger and thicker hair. Many people swear by Biotin supplements but eggs are a more natural option for those that are wary of supplements. Also, eggs can definitely help if you feel that you are suffering from low levels of biotin. One egg has 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of biotin and it is important to eat the whole egg because most of the biotin is in the yolk. Although eggs are high in cholesterol most people can safely eat one egg a day but its always good to consult with your doctor first.

Green Beans:

The secret behind the hair benefits of green beans is a mineral called silica. Silica works with Keratin, a natural protein found in hair, to make hair stronger and more resistant to damage.  One particular research study found that the type of silica found in green beans was much more absorbable than the silica found in other produce options.

Peas:

Peas are rich in protein and they contain 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron. Protein, the building block of all cells, is perhaps one of the most important nutrients for healthy and shiny hair. One cup of peas has about 8 grams of protein. Additionally, the combo of iron and protein in peas helps prevent the thinning and breakage of hair.

Yoghurt:

With the exception of Greek yoghurt, many different types of Yoghurt are fortified with Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a important nutrient that helps to stimulate and strengthen hair follicles. Are you experiencing abnormal hair loss? One possible reason may be low levels of Vitamin D. One study showed that among women between the ages of 18 to 45 who faced hair loss they were three to four times more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency.

Its also important to mention that abnormal hair loss can have many different causes and you should definitely discuss this with a doctor.

Having a healthy diet that includes the above options is most likely not going to produce dramatic results overnight however, over time you are definitely likely to see benefits not only in your hair but hopefully in your overall well-being as well!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

4 Things You Can Do to Make This Year a Bit Better

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and Happy New Year!

Many people use this time of the year to reflect on their current life situation and they often look towards what they can do to improve their lives.

Here are four tips that can hopefully make 2019 a happy and healthy year for you:

Laugh a Little:

Without a doubt, for many people life is filled with stress and anxiety. However, laughter has powerful health benefits. Laughter enables our brain to produce mood boosting endorphins and it can stimulate blood circulation to our hearts, lungs, and muscles. In addition to all of the above benefits laughter can help improve memory and lower stress.

Perhaps one way to add more laughter to our lives is to change our perspective and view the more “embarrassing” moments of our lives as comical moments worthy of laughter rather than anguish.

For example, a few summers ago I was attending my younger brothers’ elementary school graduation and I was wearing a beautiful summer dress and as I was walking out of the building many people were staring at me and I thought it was because the dress was so pretty. However, I later discovered that people were likely staring because my dress had a huge tear in the middle and my belly was unintentionally showing!

Immediately afterwards I was extremely horrified and embarrassed but nowadays I laugh every time I remember that incident.

Alternatively, my favorite way to get a good laugh is to spend 20 minutes or so a day watching my favorite comedy sitcom.

View the Cup as Half Full:

With all that is going on in our modern world it is easy to become pessimistic and have a more negative outlook on life. However, time after time, research has shown that people that are the more happy and healthy, view the world from an optimistic perspective. For example, research shows that adults who have a positive attitude toward aging live longer than those with a more negative outlook.

I know that becoming more optimistic is much easier said than done. However, as with any other skill practice makes perfect. The next time something doesn’t go as planned or if something bad happens try to change your perspective and try to view the situation from a more positive angle.

Embrace the Small Moments of Joy:

Many people, myself included, only focus on the larger more obvious moments of joy in our lives. Such epic moments of joy may include weddings, graduations, births, ceremonies, major holidays etc. As much as we should be looking forward to these larger moments of joy, the reality is that such moments are often few and limited and they represent only a small proportion of our lives. Such smaller moments of joy may include a smile, a sweet or loving text message, a hug from a loved one, eating a favorite meal or dessert, wearing comfy clothes and relaxing after a long day, etc.

In order to add more joy into our own lives we should recognize and embrace these small moments of joy as well as the more epic moments.

Learn Without Much Effort:

Throughout the day many of us spend time doing tasks that don’t require much thinking. Such tasks include driving, riding the bus or train, bathing, putting on makeup, and maybe even cooking or preparing a meal.

A very simple way to gain some knowledge without much effort is to listen to a podcast or watch a TEDTalk while doing these other tasks. Listening to a podcast or TED Talk can be a fun and easy way to learn a little bit each day.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!

With Love,

Yasmin

Eat These Three Nutrients for Stronger Bones

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

As many of you already know our bones play a very important role in our body by providing structure, protecting our organs, anchoring our muscles and storing calcium.

After age 30 our bones gradually start to weaken. Maintaining good bone health is especially important for women because as we age women are much more likely to get osteoporosis which is when our bones become very thin and brittle and much more likely to fracture.

This issue is near and dear to me because my lovely grandmother has osteoporosis and her doctor has warned her that even a small fall can be life threatening for her.

While my grandmothers osteoporosis will likely never be cured there are three important nutrients that, along with physical activity, can help you maintain strong and healthy bones.

Calcium

By now we have all heard of the importance of calcium for our bones. The fact that is that calcium is a mineral that is stored in our bones and calcium helps make our bones thick and strong.

The following foods are high in calcium:

  • Plain low fat yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Almonds

Magnesium:

Just like calcium, magnesium is stored in our bones to keep them strong. Magnesium also controls the parathyroid hormone which helps control the calcium levels in our body. Unfortunately, some research shows that around 50 percent of Americans do not get enough magnesium.

Luckily, the following foods are a great source of magnesium:

  • Edamame
  • Black beans
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Avocadoes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas

Vitamin D

By now we wall know the importance of calcium in regards to bone health. The problem is that our body only absorbs about 30 percent of all of the calcium that we intake. This is why Vitamin D is so important. Vitamin D is the nutrient that helps our blood absorb the calcium that we consume.

Without a doubt, one of the best sources of Vitamin D is the sun. However, the following are the foods that contain Vitamin D:

  • Eggs
  • Maitake Mushrooms
  • Fortified soy milk (there are also other options such as fortified orange juice)
  • Tuna
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Beef liver
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Soybeans

While there may not be a guaranteed way to prevent osteoporosis hopefully these tips will help keep your bones healthy and strong for many years to come.

With Love,

Yasmin

Flower Power: 5 Edible and Healthy Flowers

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

Normally, when I think of flowers I think of these incredibly beautiful yet delicate living objects.

Although I love smelling flowers I would never ever consider eating a flower, that is until I came across some very interesting research about the health benefits of certain kinds of flowers.

Since safety is always first please be extra careful before trying anything new to prevent allergies or any other potentially serious complications.

If you do decide to eat any of the flowers listed in this post please make sure that the flowers come from a safe source. Avoid flowers that have grown by the road because pollution from the cars may tamper the safety of the flowers.

Also, avoid flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides. Make sure to completely avoid flowers such as foxglove, potato and sweet pea flowers because these flowers are toxic to human beings.

The good news is that there a number of flowers that are edible and healthy! Here is just a short list of only a few such flowers:

Roses:

Roses not only smell great but they are also packed with a wide range of health benefits. Rose petals are especially rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The base of the rose (also known as the rose hip) has been used throughout history to help with problems such as arthritis and a number of digestive issues such as indigestion, constipation, and urinary problems.

Marigolds:

Marigolds are light orange colored flowers. There are actually a number of different species of marigolds. However, the Calendula species of marigolds are especially popular for their health benefits. Calendula marigolds can help with a wide range of skin issues such as rashes, allergies, eczema and dermatitis. Calendula marigolds also help with muscle cramps, muscular injuries or sprains, eye inflammation and itchiness caused by conjunctivitis. These also help with fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, candida ear infections, and even ringworm.

Nasturtiums:

These flowers are packed with antibacterial properties and they contain Vitamins A, C, and D. Thanks to their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Nasturtiums can be used to soothe sore throat and as a first aide ointment for wounds.

Dandelion:

This soft yellow flower can be eaten raw or it can be used as an ingredient for jams and syrups.. Many people love to add these flowers to their salads for a pop of color. Dandelions are super healthy. These flowers are often added to herbal teas to act as a diuretic. Dandelions help with inflammation and liver cleansing and they are a source of prebiotics. Some even claim that dandelions can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Saffron:

Since safety is always first pregnant woman should avoid saffron because it is believed that saffron stimulates the uterus and it can potentially cause a miscarriage.

Saffron is a rich source of a number of different minerals including calcium, iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Saffron also contains folic acid, niacin, and vitamins A and C.

Finally, as a side note, saffron is especially near and dear to me because with the help of the United States, people in my parents homeland, Afghanistan, have started growing and selling saffron instead of opium. For those who don’t know unfortunately Afghanistan for many years was the worlds largest producer of opium however, thanks to this initiative opium is gradually being replaced by saffron.  Click here if you would like to read more about this.

With Love,

Yasmin