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

 

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

5 Simple Tips to Make Your Life a Bit Better

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

Spring is officially here and in a number of cultures around the world the coming of spring is celebrated as an opportunity for new beginnings.

In the spirit of Spring, or new beginnings, here are a few random tips to help make your life a bit better:

Prioritize Social Connections:

Countless research studies have shown that having strong and meaningful social connections with friends and family is one of the secrets to a long and healthy life. Of course, this is referring to in person face to face connections.

As cliché as this is, its important to remember that it is not about quantity rather it is about quality. Having just one person that you are close enough to is more than enough. Whenever possible try to prioritize your social connections with those nearest and dearest to you because life is simply so unpredictable.

Just recently a friend of mine lost her cousin whom she loved like a brother due to a tragic traffic accident. A week before this tragic incident my friend and this cousin of hers had planned to go to lunch together but my friend cancelled last minute because she felt that she was too busy. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way and we simply don’t have time to socialize but her tragic story reminded me that we really should reevaluate our priorities every once in a while.

Volunteer:

Research has shown that volunteering for a cause that you care about has health benefits for yourself as well. The results of one recent study showed that those who volunteered were as healthy as non-volunteers who were five years younger than them. You can volunteer at your local library, hospital, animal shelter, nursing home or anywhere else you would like. If you have a computer you can even volunteer virtually visit volunteermatch.org for a wide range of opportunities.

Consider a Clinical Trial:

As many of you already know, clinical trials are basically like scientific experiments to test the effectiveness of a particular medication or method of treatment. Of course, in order for clinical trial to be conducted people need to volunteer to participate in the clinical trial. Currently, in the United States there are about 61,000 open clinical trials but very few people actually participate in these trials. By participating in these trials you will definitely be doing something that is for the greater good. However, there is also a chance that you will also reap the benefits of whatever treatment or medication that they are testing in the trial.

Just Say No:

Honestly, this is probably one of the most difficult things for many people, including myself, to say. Many of us have difficulty saying “No” and as a result we tend to take on much more than we can handle. Of course, taking on too many things at once can lead to heightened levels of stress and overtime excessive stress can lead to a wide range of other health concerns such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, etc. I truly believe that saying “No” not only has health benefits for you but also for the other person because realistically if we have too much on our plates its impossible for us to give our full time and attention to any task.

Best Rest:

Sometimes life gets so busy and hectic that we forget to take a moment to truly relax. Also, another issue is that some people spend their downtime doing tasks that are not truly relaxing for them. If you feel that this is the case for you, be sure to take some time to find what are some of the most relaxing things for you and be sure to incorporate those activities into your days.

With Love,

Yasmin

7 Tips to Alleviate Dry Eyes

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

A few weeks ago I noticed that I had developed red squiggly lines in the whites of my eyes. As the days passed I noticed that I was getting more and more of these red squiggly lines.

I became a little concerned and I scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. Side note: I hadn’t been to an eye doctor in about 20 years.

The eye doctor performed a full medical eye exam and fortunately overall my eyes were in good health but the major problem was that I had a moderate case of dry eye.

After coming home and doing some research about dry eyes I learned that dry eyes are a very common eye concern among individuals of all ages including children. However, it is especially common among older adults.

Basically dry eyes occur when your tears are not able to properly lubricate your eyes. This can either occur if your eyes don’t produce enough tears or if they produce poor quality tears. Human tears contain water, lubricating oils, mucus and antibodies.

Symptoms:

Dry eyes usually affect both eyes and the following are some symptoms:

  • Itchy or burning feeling in your eyes
  • Mucus in or around your eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Feeling like something (like sand) is in your eye
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Poor night vision
  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Blurry vision and fatigue

Remedies:

Warm Compress:

Simply dipping a clean washcloth in warm water, wringing out the excess water and placing it on your eyes for around ten minutes a day can really help with irritation that comes with dry eyes.

The only problem with this method is that after a minute or so the heat will evaporate from the washcloth and it won’t be as warm. In order for a warm compress to gradually reduce dry eye irritation there must be a consistently warm washcloth on the eyes.

One solution is to simply continue to dip the washcloth in warm water whenever it cools off. A slightly more costly but convenient solution is to purchase an eye mask (they usually go for around $20) and just microwave it and place it on your eyes and it will keep a consistently warm temperature.

Baby Shampoo:

Unfortunately, one common side effect of dry eyes is crusty eye lashes. In my case, it looked like I had dandruff on my eyelashes, also some people may notice particle buildup near the edges of their eyes. Over time this can lead to further inflammation so it is important to clean the eyelids and the surrounding skin. My eye doctor recommended using baby shampoo. Simply put some baby shampoo on your fingertips and massage your closed eyes especially near the base of your eye lashes.

Blink More:

One of the easiest possible remedies for dry eyes is to simply blink more. However, when we are staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time it is very easy to forget to blink. Some people swear by sticking notes with blink reminders on their laptops or computers.

Consume More Omega 3’s:

Research has shown that Omega 3’s can relieve many of the symptoms of dry eye by helping the oil glands in your eyes to work properly so that your eyes regain their natural moisture. Sardines, salmon, tuna, and mackerel all contain omega 3 fatty acids. Some other options include walnuts, flaxseed, and a variety of different vegetable oils such as canola and soybean oil.

Stay Hydrated:

This tip is also pretty obvious but what some of us may not realize is that staying hydrated can also help your eyes stay moist. The necessary water intake varies for every person but in general eight to ten glasses is a good goal to aim for. Certain water rich foods such as cucumber, oranges, and watermelon can also go a long way in helping you stay hydrated.

Wind Shield Your Eyes:

Particularly windy and dry weather can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly. If the weather is especially windy it might be helpful to wear wrap around sunglasses to give your eyes extra protection. Also, when you are at home make sure to protect your eyes from hair blow dryers, air conditioners, and fans which can all be drying to your eyes.

Use Eye Drops with Caution:

Before going to my eye doctor I had no idea that I had dry eyes. I purchased redness relieving eye drops but unfortunately these did not help much and they made the pain much worse. After doing more research on eye drops I have learned that it is best to avoid redness reducing eye drops as much as possible because these eye drops only temporarily reduce redness and in the long term the more you use these redness relieving eye drops the more your eyes will become dependent on them.

These eye drops work by temporarily relaxing the blood vessels in our eyes to hide the redness for a short period of time. Basically the more we use these redness relieving eye drops the more dependent our blood vessels will get and the more often we will need to use these eye drops.

Now, when it comes to dry eyes, not all eye drops are bad. My eye doctor recommended that I use Refresh Celluvisc eye drops which are very lubricating eye drops that help to keep the surface of the eye moist. Many people also recommend artificial tears for dry eyes. When using these types of eye drops always try to go for the preservative free eye drops to avoid any irritation and other harmful side effects of the preservatives.

Since dry eyes are amongst the most common eye concerns for many people I hope that this post will be of benefit.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Feeling Lazy? Here are Five Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

If you are anything like me, the shorter, darker, and cooler days of winter might make you feel a little less energetic and a little more prone to laziness.

Here are a few tips to help boost your energy levels and conquer winter:

Color Therapy:

During this time of the year our lack of energy may be due to the winter blues. Research shows us that one way to boost your mood is to wear bright and vibrant colors. Sometimes during these dark and cloudy days a little burst of color might just help to lift your spirits.

Rise and Shine:

It turns out that there is wisdom behind the cliché saying rise and shine. Experts recommend either stepping outside or simply facing a window soon after waking up. This flood of natural light can help energize you and exposure to sunlight has been shown to set our internal clock, regulate hormones, and put you in a better mood.

Go Outside:

During the cold winter months many of us spend almost the entire day indoors. However, once in a while it is a good idea to bundle up and go outside. But you don’t have to stay outside too long. Research shows that just a quick walk around the block can ease our tiredness and help us feel much better. If it is dark outside make sure to be extra safe and carry a little flashlight with you or just use the one on your phone if your phone has one.

Cool Shower:

I feel slightly hypocritical because out of all of these tips this one is the hardest for me to implement. During the winter you should take soothing warm showers. However, experts recommend that right before getting out you should give yourself a 30 second rinse in cold water.

Research shows that once you get over the initial shock you will feel more energized as the blood flow increases to help your body conserve heat. One study even showed that doing this can even help your brain release endorphins and this can even have an antidepressant effect.

Don’t Forget about Water:

Normally, drinking plenty of water is most often emphasized during the warmer summer months. However, it is possible to become, at least, mildly dehydrated during the winter and this can lead to lethargy and changes in mood. The simple solution is to carry a bottle with you and continue to sip throughout the day.

I hope that you find these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

Here’s How Your Smartphone Can Save Your Life

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re al doing well!

I think that it is safe to say that nowadays most people carry their smartphone with them wherever they go. Although our smartphones can often be a source of distraction for us, most of them have a potentially life saving feature called Medical ID.

As its name implies, Medical ID is an especially helpful feature to have if someone is in an emergency situation. During an emergency, Medical ID, which is available on both Apple and Android phones can help first responders identify the patient, find the contact info for the family or loved ones of the patient, and especially help them learn a bit about the medical history of the patient.

The good news is that Medical ID is a free smartphone app. If you have an iPhone, the Medical ID app is called Health and it is the app with a pink heart on a white background. If you have an android phone, the Medical ID app is the one with a red star on a white background.

Regardless of what type of smartphone you have the Medical ID app will ask you to fill in your basic medical information about yourself such as your name, age, height and weight. It also asks if you have any allergies and if you are currently taking any medications.

I know that for many people, taking the time to find this app and fill in the information may sound trivial and unimportant. However, the reality is that we never know if or when an emergency may occur. As the saying goes: “its better to be safe than sorry”. I really hope that this post will convince at least some of my dear readers to take the time to find and fill out their Medical ID app.

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