Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunscreen Myths Put to Rest

You do not need sunscreen in winter or on a cloudy day

False. You need sunscreen EVERYDAY. The ozone layer and clouds help screen us from some UV rays but at least 80% of the rays still hit the earth and even if you don’t feel the heat of the sun, UVA rays are still present. Not to mention that whatever UV rays that hit the earth get reflected off surfaces and yes, onto our skin.

This is especially true if you live in the city. UV rays reflect off buildings, windows, cars etc and if you aren’t protected by sunscreen or sunblock, you are just soaking up the rays and generating free radicals within your body. During winter or on cloudy days you can use sunscreen with a lower SPF with a minimum of SPF15 but try not to compromise on your UVA blockers.

You do not need sunscreen if you stay indoors

False. Even if you do not get the sun’s rays UVA rays can still penetrate into our homes. Also, UV rays get generated from lights and television screens and computer monitors so do not abandon your sunscreen even if you are planning to stay indoors the whole day.

I can’t wear sunscreen because I will break out

False. Try to look for a sunscreen with physical blockers like Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide or natural sunscreens. It is common for people to be allergic or to break out from chemical sunscreens but physical blockers will have a lower risk of breaking out sensitive skin. This is not to say that physical blockers will 100% be safe for the skin. I discussed what are chemical and physical sunscreens in a previous post.

The higher the SPF the better the sunscreen

False. SPF is a measure of sun protection and an accepted measure of how the sunscreen performs against blocking UVB rays. However there is no general accepted measure of UVA blocking. Japan uses the PA rating for rating UVA blocks which we are familiar with these days. So, in the tropics try to get a sunscreen with at least SPF30 and PA+++ for better sun protection.

I should stock up on a sunscreen I like during a sale

False. Sunscreens have a shelf life of between 2.5-3 years from the date of manufacture. After that the ingredients may not be as effective anymore and you may in fact be doing your skin a disservice by using old sunscreen because the blockers may no longer be doing their job effectively. Always buy sunscreen that is as close to its manufacturing date as possible. This also means that unless you can get fresh stock at a warehouse sale, that is no place to shop for your sunscreens!

The headline:Antioxidants make better sun protection.

The reality:Antioxidants such as green tea and dark-red fruits may be able to mitigate only a little of the damage that sunscreens miss. For example, green tea offers some UV protection, but studies have mostly looked at 100 percent green tea applied topically, not how well it works incorporated into a cream. The bottom line: "Antioxidants make great supplements to sunscreen," says Dr. Draelos. "But until the FDA puts them on the list of sunscreen actives, don't expect them to replace broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens."

The headline:You shouldn't wear sunscreen because it filters out good-for-you vitamin D.

The reality:This suggestion makes dermatologists absolutely crazy; many believe it's a notion perpetuated primarily by the indoor-tanning industry, which stands to profit from people using tanning machines to boost their vitamin D. Here are the facts: Sunscreenscanlower vitamin D production, but you can easily make up for this loss with food sources (salmon, fortified milk, etc.), vitamins, or even the most trivial amounts of sunlight, according to dermatologists. "It's still much safer to get your vitamin D from a pill than to stay in the sun without protection," says Dr. Leffell. How much D do you need to reap its benefits? Many experts think current vitamin D recommendations are set too low, so definitely check with your doctor for dosing advice.

The headline:Sunscreens won't prevent skin cancer (and may even cause it).
The reality:Some researchers blame sunscreens for encouraging the notion that it's OK to stay in the sun for prolonged periods, provided you're slathered in SPF. They also point to steadily rising skin-cancer rates as proof of sunscreen's relatively poor performance. But dermatologists say it's people's behavior, not their sun protection, that's behind those alarming statistics. "Sunscreens can prevent skin cancer, but they need to be part of an overall protection program," says David J. Leffell, M.D., professor of dermatology and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. "You also need to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., wear protective clothing, and seek shade whenever possible."

The adverse effects of smoking on your beauty

Smoking is considered to be one of the most controllable causes of disease and death today, and in a continuous effort to encourage smokers to quit, the American Cancer Society-sponsored Great American Smokeout will take place on November 20th .

This is a day in which those who smoke are encouraged to quit for 24 hours in hopes that they will quit permanently.

While it is widely known and accepted that smoking is a contributor to heart and lung disease, to name a few, the adverse effects of smoking and what it does to the skin are less well-known and often ignored.

Dr. Jennifer Linder says, the fact is that smoking is a contributor to many dermatologic conditions and complications, such as poor wound healing, collagen degradation, skin discoloration, the formation of abnormal skin growths, deep wrinkling and premature skin aging.

Linder adds, restriction of oxygen flow to the skin cells is also common, as well as oral cancers of the lips, mouth and gums. It is imperative that we have an understanding of all of the adverse consequences of smoking, including its direct effect on the skin.

Ironically, most people start smoking as teenagers because they think it will make them appear older and more mature.According to Linder, this thought process is not far from the truth: Smoking actually does make you look older by aging your skin prematurely.

She says, the connection between skin aging and cigarette smoking is now so apparent that warning labels such as "smoking makes your skin age" can be seen on cigarette packages in Europe and in other parts of the world.

Linder also says oxygen is imperative for skin cell health.

The vessels within the skin are responsible for transporting oxygen to the skin cells.

One cigarette actually causes vasoconstriction, meaning the vessels to contract and become tighter, for up to 90 minutes.

In addition, the carbon monoxide that is in cigarettes actually bonds with oxygen and keeps it from getting to the skin cells.

The body realizes that there is not enough oxygen being supplied to the skin cells and begins producing more blood vessels.

Linder says, this is the reason why those with a condition known as "smoker's skin" have more visible blood vessels.

Skin discoloration is also common with this condition.

A grey or yellow tone will be present, rather than the pink color of healthy, oxygenated skin.

Linder says evidence shows that smoking also induces something called metallo-proteinase activity, which is a function in our skin specifically responsible for the breakdown of collagen.

Collagen production is important for retaining the elasticity in our skin, and as we age, this production decreases.

This accelerated degradation of collagen caused by smoking, combined with the repeated pursing of the lips and squinting of the eyes when inhaling a cigarette, ultimately increases the depth, size and severity of facial wrinkling and is often more evident on the faces of female smokers.

Other signs according to Dr. Linder, slow wound healing is another serious and sometimes deadly effect of smoking.

It is recommended that anyone who smokes should discontinue this practice before undergoing any type of surgery, whether elective or mandatory.

The increased vasoconstriction and decreased collagen production associated with smoking are significant concerns, as the main determining factor of the strength of an operative incision is mature collagen.

Linder says smoking also increases the formation of numerous types of neoplasms. Neoplasms are abnormal growths of tissue whose cells proliferate, or grow, more rapidly than normal. The end result is a distinct mass which is foreign to normal tissue. Neoplasms can either be benign or malignant.

Besides the many devastating effects smoking has on the skin, it is also important to consider the other unsightly cutaneous effects of smoking, such as yellow fingers and fingernails, increased wrinkle depth and severity, as well as a dull, sallow appearance to the skin.

It is also important to note that smoking for only five years causes enough damage to the skin to cause "smoker's skin," which may appear many years later.

Kaali Mehndi - an alarming report from the U.S

To say "black henna" products are a blatant not to mention disgusting example of henna at its most adulterated is a vast understatement. Originally used because women were unable to buy natural henna for body art (black henna hair color was only at hand at times due to the import markets created in Europe, Australia, etc., which depleted domestic supply), denatured black henna created its unhealthy niche amoung some. This inturn led to numerous, well known, adverse health conditions to be reported amoung women in the Old World. Due to a lack of understanding concerning the dangers of using these products and an illigal neglect of providing proper ingredient labels, many people in the US now have become injured or effected by black henna.

What If There Isn't Any PPD in the Black Henna Product?

A number of products now sport the claim that their is no PPD in their product. Since many of these products are imported "as is" with no spot checking, such claims must be taken with a grain of salt. What if the claim is true however? Does this mean the black henna product is safe, non-toxic and legal (in the US)? The answer is of course a resounding
no. People have reportedly suffered the exact same skin reactions from black powders later tested and found not to have traces of PPD. Why? The reason is there are a whole host of other synthetic dyes and oxidizing chemicals which are not safe and not disclosed in these black henna products. In addition, many of these products are comprised of only 50% henna, with chemicals and fillers being the other half. Some of these include silver nitrate, carmine, titanium dioxide, ethyl cellulose, barium peroxide, tartaric acid, pyrogallol, etc. Carmine is extremly hazardous and can cause swelling and other PPD mimicking symptoms. The silver nitrate also causes chemical burns which may not show for days. The FDA states products called henna or that use henna on the lable may not have such adulterations. Thus they are not to be sold in the US.

Why Henna Has Such Problems Today

The reason henna has so many problems today is complicated. Greed is of course at the root of the problem but there are many other contributing factors. In the US, the main problem comes with the companies selling henna for body art. Many do not take into consideration the henna they are buying in bulk has not been tested for Lawsone levels or simple things like lead and/or bacteria which can cause people to become extremly ill. This is because henna purchased by the ton is extremly cheap and many times does not catch the eye of the FDA in bulk. Questions to ask youself and/or anyone selling henna is, what kind of quality control is done? Is each batch of henna received lab tested for adulterants? Are whole leaves ground here in the US or where they were exported from? What are the product standards in the country where it is exported from? India and Pakistan are major exporters but also frequently have contamination problems. Does the box and company conform to FDA standards? Does the company understand how the
FDA views henna and its uses? Has the company had complaints lodged against them?

The reason why it is important not to buy adulterated henna products is because of the time most Mehndi designs are left on the skin or color on the hair. This can span from 1 hour to overnight. Many of the advser chemicals used to adulterate henna are ones traditionally used in hair color. These chemicals are never intended to be left on the skin but instead the dead shaft of the hair. Unlike safer bodypaints and non-toxic pen ink, these chemicals can enter the blood and be circulated about your body causing all sorts of health problems. This is likely one of the main reasons the FDA states henna should only be sold in a pure state, if henna is mentioned on the label..

Adverse Reactions to Herbal Therapy in Dermatology

The use of herbal therapy by dermatology patients is on the rise. Because of their convenient availability, many patients with chronic dermatological diseases have attempted to take more control over their health by using herbal remedies along with or instead of conventional treatments. Some patients have lost hope; standard treatments have failed to be effective for them. As a result, they seek newer therapies in an attempt to find a "cure" for their problems.There are many herbal remedies that have scientific merit; they may be of clinical benefit and provide safe, effective and reliable alternatives to conventional medicine. However, herbal products cannot be patented. They are intended for the self-treatment of a self-diagnosed, selflimiting condition. Although there are numerous herbal therapies that are relevant to the specialty of dermatology, many of these have not been studied in proper randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials. Most herbal treatments have evidence that is based on sparse anecdotal reports and word of mouth.

Many of these therapies are considered "natural" and therefore harmless. However, because of the poor regulations that exist in monitoring these drugs, adverse reactions do occur. Herbal therapy, therefore, should be avoided in pregnancy, infants and children because of the uncertainty of adverse reactions that could occur. There is little incentive for pharmaceutical companies to investigate or standardize these preparations because it is unlikely patents would be applicable.

Because of the assumed safety of natural products, many patients believe these products have "fewer" side-effects. Herbal therapies should be regarded as drugs. Since drugs have side-effects, such events can be seen with herbals. Drug interactions although infrequent, can also occur with herbal therapies and conventional medications.

The most common dermatologic reaction from herbal therapies is allergic contact dermatitis. Herbs that are known for causing this condition include: aloe, arnica, bromelain, calendula, chamomile, goldenseal, tea tree oil and yarrow. However, more serious events have occurred including erythroderma and Stevens-Johnson syndrome from combination herbal preparations. Serious systemic adverse events have been reported with herbal therapies for the treatment of dermatological diseases as well. Most are hepatotoxic effects and some have been fatal although this is rare.Herbals that are recommended for topical use should not be ingested and vice-versa. Drug interactions that most commonly occur are due to immunomodulatory reactions, however effects on anticonvulsants and anticoagulants can occur.


We are a culture in love with lipstick – a love that for many women starts early. A 2004 survey of cosmetics use by 5,856 U.S. girls aged 7 to 19 found that 63 percent of the girls aged 10 and younger reported using lipstick. When we lick our lips, eat and drink while wearing lipstick, or kiss someone who is wearing lipstick, we can ingest the lipstick’s ingredients. Glamour magazine’s June 2002 “Beauty Quickie Tip” repeats a commonly quoted statistic, “Women inadvertently (but harmlessly) eat about 4 lbs of lipstick” in a lifetime. Unfortunately, the latest science shows that no level of lead is “harmless.”



Lead, a proven neurotoxin linked to learning and behavioral disorders, is one of the most studied heavy metals. Exposure to lead can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, impulsiveness, reduced school performance, increased aggression, seizures and brain damage, anemia, and, after long exposure, damage to the kidneys. Lead has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in both men and women, hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities and delays in the onset of puberty in girls. Pregnant women and young children exposed to lead are particularly vulnerable. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain, where it interferes with normal where it interferes with normal development. Increased blood levels of lead early in life can result in decreased attention span, reading disabilities and failure to graduate from high school.

The troubling story of lead is almost 3,000 years old. Greek physicians and Roman architects were describing the symptoms of lead poisoning – blindness, convulsions, brain damage, kidney disease and cancer – in 100 B.C. One hundred years ago, lead poisoning in children was linked to the use of lead‐based paints. By 1909, this new science had resulted in laws in France, Austria and Belgium banning paint made with white lead. As the science got stronger, the League of Nations and more countries – including Greece, Great Britain, Tunisia, Spain, Sweden and Cuba – also banned lead. The United States did not. A U.S. trade group, the Lead Industry Association (LIA), responded to the science by mounting the White Lead Promotion Campaign ʺto offset the stigma attached to lead because of attacks made upon it by consumer organizations.ʺ In 1943, the first studies came out showing that lead could create health problems for children at much lower levels of exposure than tose linked to poisoning symptoms. The science began to mount that some behavioral disorders, attention deficit and learning disabilities were coming from household exposure to lead paint and from air pollution caused bylead in gasoline. But lead manufacturers disputed these studies. Having admitted that lead was a poison in 1920, the industry argued that the levels of exposure from lead chips in a home or the fumes from the lead additives in gasoline wer too small to be dangerous. The industry‐motivated obfuscation of the science delayed U.S. government action on lead until the 1970s. In the three decades since the laws phasing out lead in paint and gasoline were passed, blood lead levels in the United States have declined dramatically, according to biomonitoring studies. But that good news is tempered by the bad news that the last 30 years of research have also demonstrated that lead can cause oher health problems and can have effects at much lower levels of exposure than previously considered harmful. The most recent studies conclude that there is no safe level of lead. No amount of exposure is without harm. Miscarriage, reduced fertility in both men and women, hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities and delays in when puberty begins for girls have all been linked to lead exposure. At puberty, boys’ developing testes appear to be especially vulnerable to lead’s impact. Given that lead does not break down in the body but accumulates over time, small amounts of lead can add up to harm. For inner‐city communities where children and adults have higher levels of lead from old paint in buildings and old water pipes, the lead in lipstick is unnecessarily adding to levels of harm that are already too high.

What Risks Are Involved in Tattooing?

The following are the primary complications that can result from tattooing:

  • Infection. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus ("staph") bacteria*. Tattoos received at facilities not regulated by your state or at facilities that use unsterile equipment (or re-use ink) may prevent you from being accepted as a blood or plasma donor for twelve months.
  • Removal problems. Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible.
  • Allergic reactions. Although FDA has received reports of numerous adverse ractions associated with certain shades of ink in permanent makeup, marketed by a particular manufacturer, reports of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments have been rare. However, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.
  • Granulomas.These are nodules that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.
  • Keloid formation. If you are prone to developing keloids -- scars that grow beyond normal boundaries -- you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo. Keloids may form any time you injure or traumatize your skin. Micropigmentation: State of the Art, a book written by Charles Zwerling, M.D., Annette Walker, R.N., and Norman Goldstein, M.D., states that keloids occur more frequently as a consequence of tattoo removal.
  • MRI complications. There have been reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to occur only rarely and apparently without lasting effects.

There also have been reports of tattoo pigments interfering with the quality of the image. This seems to occur mainly when a person with permanent eyeliner undergoes MRI of the eyes. Mascara may produce a similar effect. The difference is that mascara is easily removable.

The cause of these complications is uncertain. Some have theorized that they result from an interaction with the metallic components of some pigments.

However, the risks of avoiding an MRI when your doctor has recommended one are likely to be much greater than the risks of complications from an interaction between the MRI and tattoo or permanent makeup. Instead of avoiding an MRI, individuals who have tattoos or permanent makeup should inform the radiologist or technician of this fact in order to take appropriate precautions and avoid complications.

A Common Problem: Dissatisfaction

A common problem that may develop with tattoos is the desire to remove them. Removing tattoos and permanent makeup can be very difficult.

Although tattoos may be satisfactory at first, they sometimes fade. Also, if the tattooist injects the pigments too deeply into the skin, the pigments may migrate beyond the original sites, resulting in a blurred appearance.

Another cause of dissatisfaction is that the human body changes over time, and styles change with the season. The permanent makeup that may have looked flattering when first injected may later clash with changing skin tones and facial or body contours. People who plan to have facial cosmetic surgery are advised that the appearance of their permanent makeup may become distorted. The tattoo that seemed stylish at first may become dated and embarrassing. And changing tattoos or permanent makeup is not as easy as changing your mind.

Consult your healthcare provider about the best removal techniques for you.

What About Temporary Tattoos?

Temporary tattoos, such as those applied to the skin with a moistened wad of cotton, fade several days after application. Most contain color additives approved for cosmetic use on the skin. However, the agency has issued an import alert for certain foreign-made temporary tattoos.

The temporary tattoos subject to the import alert are not allowed into the United States because they don't carry the FDA-mandated ingredient labels or they contain colors not permitted by FDA for use in cosmetics applied to the skin. FDA has received reports of allergic reactions to temporary tattoos.

In a similar action, FDA has issued an import alert for henna intended for use on the skin. Henna is approved only for use as a hair dye, not for direct application to the skin. Also, henna typically produces a reddish brown tint, raising questions about what ingredients are added to produce the varieties of colors labeled as "henna," such as "black henna" and "blue henna." FDA has also received reports of allergic reactions to products applied to the skin that contain henna.

Hepatitis C Testing Recommended For Anyone With A Tattoo, Tattoo and Body Piercing

Hepatitis C Testing Recommended For Anyone With A Tattoo, Tattoo and Body Piercing

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Tattoos May Cause Adverse Reactions, Tattoo and Body Piercing

Tattoos May Cause Adverse Reactions, Tattoo and Body Piercing

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Beyond Botox

Beyond Botox

Face-Lift In A Jar?

Face-Lift In A Jar?

Special Report: Skin Cancer

Special Report: Skin Cancer

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bizarre Beauty Treatments

Intresting read .....

CareFair.com - Bizarre Beauty Treatments

Health threat from beauty parlours

Please click on this link & read on....

Beauty quacks can harm your skin

The beauty business in India is growing rapidly as lots of men and women are visiting salons and parlours to keep up with trends.

While need of such beauty treatments is debatable, the cause for concern is for those using these beauty aids from parlours manned by persons who have little or no knowledge of cosmetology.

Cosmetology and skincare are specialised fields where the person, who handles dangerous and harmful substances, must be well-trained and educated in the subject. Many believe that their job is akin to that of a skilled doctor, since both deal with the body.

In western countries, cosmetologists are trained at various institutions and centres, and cannot operate beauty salons without the necessary diplomas or licences. In India, however, anyone with a little experience in handling cosmetics becomes a beautician. Substances used for application on the skin or hair are often unlabelled and manufactured at the parlor itself. Safety and efficacy are often not given importance.

Emboldened by the lack of regulation and quality standards for the cosmetology industry, beauticians have also started using advanced treatments like dermabrasion, laser treatment of skin conditions, and advanced electrolysis for a variety of skin conditions, using hi-tech instruments which are capable of damage if not handled with care. Many mishaps take place but since the topic of beauty involves personal matters, not many are brought to light by those affected.

Yatin Deshpande, founder of the Cosmetology Industry Standards Council of India (CISCI) who has trained and worked in London, states that there are over 20,000 hair and beauty salons, skincare clinics and spas opened in upmarket localities, shopping malls, residential premises, and even in some slums of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. "Business is booming and untrained salon owners are happily fleecing unsuspecting clients by providing faulty treatments. Skin rashes, inflammation and burn injuries are the most common side-effects. These can leave lasting effects, both emotional and physical, says Deshpande.

Adding to the complexities, many companies are supplying a variety of spurious concoctions at wholesale rates to these salons and parlours. When confronted with reactions occurring from such products, even experienced dermatologists are often nonplussed, as the exact nature of the toxic substance is unknown, leading to the further aggravation of a delicate situation.

There is a serious case made out for giving teeth to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act to regulate the mushrooming beauty trade in the country. This has to be done before a catastrophe occurs at the hands of quacks who are out to dupe the unsuspecting consumer.