AHAs and the Sun

shutterstock_149502233 At Alpha Hydrox we want to help you to make good, well-informed decisions about skin care products and how to use them.  We have recently found that there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and whether or not they increase sensitivity to the sun. We thought we would take this opportunity to clarify the information.

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AHAs are natural exfoliates.  They are derived from natural ingredients like sour milk, grapes and sugar cane.  When used in skin care products, these natural fruit acids loosen the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of skin.  If you are not using AHAs as part of your skin care routine the top layer of cells is fairly thick.  This thick layer of dead cells is the body’s natural way of providing protection from the sun.

When you begin using an AHA treatment product, it gradually exfoliates the layer of dead cells from the skin’s surface.  AHAs allow newer, fresher, healthier cells to come to emerge.  That’s a good thing. The newer, healthier cells are what makes your skin look younger and more radiant. Skin feels softer and smoother.  Fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots are less noticeable. As unwanted cells are removed, however, so is your natural protection from the sun.

sheer silk AHAs do not make you more sensitive to the sun.  They simply remove the layer of dead cells.  There are ingredients that do make you more sensitive.  For example, retinoids, also known as retinol or Retin-A can cause significant sun sensitivity.  Many people will stop using retinoids in the summer for that very reason.  Although, sun exposure any time of year is equally  damaging.

 

If you are using an alpha hydroxy acids as part of your daily skin care routine you must wear a sunscreen to replace what is lost from the dead cells.  Some people think that if you are using AHAs at night, you do not need to wear a sunscreen during the day.  At Alpha Hydrox, we suggest that you wear a sunscreen every day year round. We all know that the sun can damage skin and accelerates the aging process. Why take chances when wearing a sunscreen is so easy?  You can still enjoy feeling the sun on your face.

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Let’s Face It

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For most people in their early to mid twenties, skin care is not of big concern, although it should be! It is difficult to worry about taking care of your skin. In particular, if you have good skin at this age, it’s easy to neglect a good skin care regiment. This raises the important question, if you have good skin, when should a person start using skin care products to avoid the signs of aging later?

It is never too early to take the necessary steps toward maintaining the good skin that you have now to preserve it later on! Ask anyone from older generations if they wished they had taken better care of their skin at a younger age, and they will probably say yes. If they had started using skin shutterstock_101538550care products earlier on, they would not be faced with issues such as skin cancer and sunspots today.

If you want to maintain the good skin that you have today, then you need to take the necessary precautions now, such as using skin care treatments. Making little adjustments now, like always wearing sunscreen, will make a big difference down  the road! Things such as wearing a hat   outside to protect your face from the damaging UV rays from the sun and always removing  makeup before you go to bed are key factors to maintaining flawless, radiant skin throughout your life!

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Under My Skin

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shutterstock_184661720When it comes to beauty, trends seem to focus on the outer appearance. From spring fashion tips to makeup must haves, we are surrounded by outer beauty themes.  That is why we would like to suggest a changing the focus on health and beauty. Rather than highlighting outer beauty concepts, let’s consider ways to nurture inner beauty. We are going to dive under the skin and concentrate on the things we do not see, like the importance of breathing. Hopefully, focusing on inner beauty will lead to a healthier and happier you, from the inside out!

There seems to be a major focus on being skinny these days. Instead of focusing on losing the pounds, why not focus on becoming fit? Strength training for example, is a great way to stay in shape and has a positive impact on your mental and emotional health. Strengthen your core to achieve more than just a six-pack and your body will thank you later. In addition, maintaining adequate strength and flexibility supports simple daily activities like getting in and out of bed. Having a strong core leads to better posture and less back pain which contribute to feeling beautiful.

Inner beauty also includes taking the time to take care of yourself. Annual doctor appointments are important and allow your inner beauty to shine through. Make yourself a priority and remember to schedule those pesky annual exams.

Good health and a sense of inner beauty can be as simple as remembering to breathe. Breathing may sound like an easy thing to do and an automatic function.  The truth is breathing affects virtually every part of shutterstock_167632622the body. It helps to reduce stress and calm the mind. So, breathing properly is very important.

You can also be healthier from the inside out by simply enjoying nutritious food. Having a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables affects your physicality and helps you  to stay healthy. A healthy diet not only fuels your body but it also gives you the nutrition you need to feel your best.

So, lets change the conversation on beauty trends, and focus more on inner beauty! Beauty is more than just skin deep! What does inner beauty mean to you?

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Posted in Beauty, breathing, Culture, happiness, Health, healthy food, inner beauty, Natural, outer beauty, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts on Aging Gracefully

shutterstock_61408123We have all heard the phrase, ‘aging gracefully’. But what does that really mean?  Truth be told, it is different for everyone.  Men age differently than women.  Health, lifestyle and financial resources are often factors.  For many, aging gracefully means focusing is on appearance.  Do I have wrinkles?  Is my skin sagging?  Am I overweight?  These questions are often a result a youth culture and mixed messages from the media. These questions, however, do not really reflect the essence of ‘aging gracefully’.

After reading a variety of articles, blogs, forums and quotes on aging gracefully, the answer seems run much deeper than simply deciding whether or not to have plastic surgery.  Here are some of the thoughts and phrases on aging gracefully that were expressed over and over again by women of a certain age.

  • I am not going to pretend I’m younger or apologize for my age.  I’m going to celebrate it!
  • Aging gracefully is being authentic.1
  • I know myself better and I know how strong I am.  That’s aging gracefully
  • Aging gracefully is a result of living gracefully.
  • I know the joy of feeling comfortable and confident.
  • Aging gracefully is trying new things, traveling to distant places, letting go of anger and forgiving others.

Blogger Grandma Briefs writes, “When it comes to aging gracefully, forget the face creams and hair color and exercises. The physical manifestations of what others see as we rack up the years.  Instead, I prefer to focus on a different kind of trait that others see…..attitude.”shutterstock_140839714

Thoughts on aging gracefully, were somewhat different among younger women. Their comments were often a bit negative maybe even a little backhanded.

  • Aging gracefully is looking old, but embracing it.
  • Growing old with a smile on your face and hiding all the aches and pains.
  • Aging gracefully means being the best you can be, preferably, naturally.
  • Showing signs of aging, but still moving forward in life is aging gracefully.

Huffington Post blogger Janie Emaus writes of her mother, “I hope that younger women will look at me the way I look at my 80-year-old mother. I’d like for them to notice the laugh lines around my eyes and know that my life was filled with humor and that every wrinkle on my hand tells a story that only I can tell.”

Sue Ann Cooper is the founder The Red Hat Society, an organization dedicated to a playful, joyful life for women over 50.  She encourages women to not make a split-second judgment on appearance.  “Many women have had incredible lives and careers and still have a great sense of humor and a lot of intellect, and the culture, will write them off: “Oh, she’s an old lady and she’s overweight.”shutterstock_19551583 (1)So where do you find yourself on the spectrum of ‘aging gracefully’?  

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer in most parts of the country.  As a woman of a certain age, how will you spend the summer?  Will you don a bathing suit?  Will you worry that the sun will make your wrinkles and age spots more noticeable?  Or will you wear a hat, go for a hike and end a summer day with a dip in the pool as you dream of your next adventure?

 

 

 

Posted in aging, Attitude, Beauty, Culture, hands, Health, Natural, Skin care, summer, Travel, women, wrinkles, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Face Food: Food for Beautiful Skin!

shutterstock_98434157There is more to skin care and beautiful skin than the lotions and potions applied religiously in the morning and at night.  Having beautiful skin is not just about what you put ON your body it is also about what you put IN your body.  Treating blemishes and fighting wrinkles may not be enough to help you have the glowing complexion you would like.  Many of the nutrients you need to be healthy on the inside also keep you beautiful on the outside.  The best part is that they are readily available and you can pick them up on your next shopping trip to the grocery store!

Here are the top 5 foods you should eat if you want beautiful skin and good health.

1. Tomatoes.  Tomatoes contain Lycopene, a phytochemical, an active compound found in   plants. It makes them red.  It also is important for skin because it helps to eliminate       skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Tomatoes are the best source of the anti-aging antioxidant Lycopene. The Lycopene in tomatoes is more easily absorbed by your body when it is cooked so have a little extra marinara sauce or tomato bisque.shutterstock_77453923

2.  Spinach.  Dark leafy vegetables like spinach reduces the likelihood of cancer cell growth. The folates in dark leafy greens help repair and maintain DNA improving your cell’s ability to renew and regenerate. These veggies are also full of water that penetrates cell membranes and helps to keep you and your skin hydrated. This makes your skin look plumper and less wrinkled.

3.  Sweet Potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C which helps to smooth wrinkles. Vitamin C is also essential to collagen production.  The more collagen you have the less noticeable creases and lines will appear. Collagen helps to keep skin firm. Sweet potatoes are also packed with beta-carotene. Like Lycopene, beta carotene is an antioxidant that fights aging.  Of course beta-carotene is found in carrots and Kiwi is rich in Vitamin C so if you don’t like sweet potatoes look for other foods rich in these two important nutrients.

4. Salmon.  Or just about any fish you like rich with Omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acids in fish help to reduce inflammation and help to keep cells strong. Strong cells are able to hold moisture keeping your skin hydrated. Flax seeds are also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids if you shutterstock_175525007are looking for a vegetarian option. Flax seeds reduce inflammation and attract water to skin cells to plump them up reducing the appearance of wrinkles.  Tuna and Salmon have an extra benefit. They contain selenium, a nutrient that helps preserve elastin, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight.  Cooked or raw, add a little more fish to your diet.

5. Nuts. Almonds and Walnut in particular have lots of vitamin E, an effective sun shield.  Just 20 nuts a day can reduce the possibility of sunburn. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light that generate free radicals that can cause cell damage. Sun protection is key to having great skin. shutterstock_136862411

Lots of foods offer an extra dose of ‘sunscreen’.  Tomatoes and nuts are two already mentioned.   In addition, dark chocolate, carrots, tuna, and green tea all have properties that contribute to reducing your risk of damage during sun exposure.  That doesn’t mean, however, you can go without wearing sunscreen!  Nutrition is just an added bonus.  Apply sunscreen daily to avoid the risk of sun damage. So, to be beautiful on the outside, start with the inside!  The next time you’re at the grocery store, make one or two healthier food choices.  It’s a win-win for you and your skin!

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10 Skin Care Essentials

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It can be a bit overwhelming with all the skin care rituals out there, some of which are not even needed. To make life easier, here are 10 daily skin care essentials from Discovery fit & Health to know about!

1. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize! It comes as no surprise how important moisturizing is, especially during the winter months! To keep skin looking healthy and hydrated, remember to moisturize.

2. Cleansing may seem like a no brainer when it comes to skin care, but it cannot be emphasized enough. In order to maintain a healthy glow, cleansing is vital. Remember to look for a gentle, soap-free cleanser!

3. Exfoliants are also important for maintaining healthy skin. Exfoliants are great for removing dead skin cells from your face! You can find great natural AHAs in our Alpha-Hydrox product line!

4.  Eliminate those pesky Bad Habits! We all have one or two bad habits and they can get in the way of improving your skin care. Smoking for example, can lead to premature aging of the skin as well as adding extra wrinkles around the eyes. Don’t let bad habits stand in the way of affecting your skin care.

5. Dab on that sunscreen, rain or shine! It is no secret that the sun is harmful to your skin. That is why it is so important to include sunscreen in your daily regimen.

6. H20 is essential to your skin care. Water not only hydrates your body, resulting in  shutterstock_175132964    nourished skin, but also clears away built-up toxins found in skin cells.

7. Get some Zzz! Getting enough sleep is an important ritual to maintain. Sleep is skins time to rejuvenate and especially relax.

8. Maintaining a nutritious diet is not only important for your body and physic, but your skin as well. Balancing antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients will help in keeping your skin young and healthy.

9. Along with diet comes exercise. Besides being important for good health, exercise aids in removing toxins from the body, fights acne, and boosts collagen. So take a brisk walk and your skin will thank you!

shutterstock_17453136510. Relax! Remembering to take time to rest and relax is essential to healthy skin care. Ultimately, acne will result from high levels of stress, as well as decreasing skins ability to regenerate itself.

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Moisturize From The Inside Out!

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Drinking water is an easy, inexpensive way to keep you skin healthy and hydrated. Topical moisturizers are important but they do not provide enough hydration to keep your skin moist and supple. Skin is an organ and just like any other part of the body, your skin is made up of cells. The cells of the human body are mostly water.  A newborn baby’s cells may be as much as 75% water!  With age, the amount of water in the human body decreases but water is still the primary content in the cells of the human body.  Without water, our organs and that includes skin, will not function at their best.

When skin is not adequately hydrated it loses thickness, can become more sensitive and offers less body protection. Dry skin feels tight and your skin tone may look flaky and dull. The drier your skin, the less resilient and more prone to wrinkling it becomes.  Chronic dehydration can age your skin very quickly and can cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear deeper.  Proper hydration is an important part of keeping skin looking firm and supple. Drinking plenty of water helps to reduce the signs of aging and keeps skin soft and elastic.

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Water also helps the body to utilize essential nutrients, eliminate toxins and maintain a healthy pH balance. Anything that makes you sweat a lot, such as exercise or being out in the sun, causes you to lose fluids. Dehydration can also occur when you have been sick.  All these may mean you need to increase the amount of water you are drinking.  Coffee and alcohol do not count as fluids since they act as diuretics and reduce hydration.   Water aids the natural repair process, helping the body to heal faster when damaged. In the case of severe sunburn, be sure to drink a lot of water!

So how much water is enough to keep our bodies and skin looking and feeling their best?  It may be more than you might think.  Women should drink at least nine cups of plain water every day and men should drink 13! This is important because no matter how much water you are drinking, the water will reach your other organs first before it reaches your skin.

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To have beautiful, healthy skin, try moisturizing from the inside out!  We all know that beauty is more than skin deep.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts and in this case, that means a lot of water and a well hydrated body.  It’s easy, inexpensive and you can start today!  Let’s drink (a glass of water) to your health!

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