Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Be Nice to More Than Just Bunnies

I just love seeing all the cruelty-free personal care products out there. It really warms my heart knowing so many new companies are going for the PETA "Be Nice to Bunnies" or their BNB label. Safety testing on animals is not only cruel but also needless. Allowing for animal ingredients in products is barbaric, disgusting, and useless. Collagen from a different species of animal will not produce more collagen in a woman's aging face. The alternatives to animal testing are quicker, smarter, cheaper, and more efficient saving taxpayers enormous amounts of money as well as animals lives. In vitro, genomic, human population volunteers, donated human cadavers and computer modeling can all substitute for defenseless creatures not even within the same species as the testing results are created.
Let's talk about the body's largest organ. Our skin is one of two methods for ingestion. Covered with trillions of pores it allows for gas exchange and absorption. Whatever you place on your skin will enter your body. Detergents used to wash your clothing, deodorant, skin creams, medications, etc. If we care about what we eat, we should care about what we put on our skin because that too ultimately will be ingested. In all actuality, we should not only be able to pronounce but eat our skin care products.
While purchasing new products, do you include concern for yourself as well as the animals? You should. Most personal care products that we use everyday and have for years are actually very harmful to your body. I do not intend to overwhelm you with hard-to-pronounce laboratory derivatives. Instead, I will list the most dangerous and most common ingredients that you should stay away from. This goes for everyone in your family, men and women and children.
Emulsifiers - disguised as the following: emulsifying wax, polysorbate, stearate, steareth, cetearyl and ceteareth. They are added to your product to bind the oil and water based ingredients so you don't have to constantly shake your product prior to use. The problem with emulsifiers: these are left behind once the oil is absorbed into the skin and the water has evaporated. Emulsifiers can destroy the protective outer layer of your epidermis.
Parabens - are preservatives aimed to prolong the shelf life of your product. Such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben. Parabens are considered endocrine disruptors and cause your hormones to become unbalanced. They have also been linked to breast cancer.
1,4 dioxane - the byproduct of emulsifiers. Labeled with the EPA as a known carcinogen you won't find it on the back of your product as is. Look for:
• Polyethylene 
• Polyethylene glycol, also PEG 
• Polyoxyethylene 
• Any word ending with "oxynol" 
• Any word ending with "eth" like ceteareth

Petrochemicals - derived from crude oil such as petroleum, paraffin, and mineral oil. Forms a barrier on the skin and does not allow it to breath.
Ureas - preservatives that have the potential to release a small amount of formaldehyde & one of the primary causes of contact dermatitis.
Phthalates - synthetic chemicals used to stabilize fragrance and make plastic more pliable. Endocrine disruptors that may mimic hormones. Avoid the word "fragrance" on the label unless it states it's from essential oils.
Sulfates - such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth are harsh detergents produced from petroleum used to give products their lather.
Synthetic Color - usually made from coal tar. They are heavy metal salts, which deposit toxins in the bloodstream. A known carcinogen they are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a color and number.
Had enough yet? There are more offenders, I just don't want to overwhelm. The average consumer will not remember each of these ingredients. What is the easiest way to make sure you're getting the most natural skin care product out there? Read the labels and make sure you can pronounce and understand what each ingredient is. And better yet ask yourself, "Can I eat this product?" I know that sounds pretty crazy. Remember what you put on your skin is ingested and enters your cells and bloodstream. If these toxins are entering your bloodstream then they will travel to every organ in your body. What you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your body because essentially it's the same thing just two different routes.
Very popular, affordable, and common skin care products contain at least one if not all of the above ingredients. If you are ready to clean up your act and detox you must stop using them and pay just a few more dollars on the natural, good-for-you products. Below are natural products that received the Kristen Award:
Best deodorant: I'm a shweata so it's hard for me to find a natural deodorant that stops my sweating and keeps me smelling fresh. It's a tie between Crystal roll-on and Alba.
Best face wash: Avalon's products are well known for excellent skin care. I give an A+ to their Coenzyme Q10 face wash, the gel not the milk. Something about cleaning milks that weird me out and just don't feel like they're doing the job.
Best body wash: Has to go to Jason especially their Rosewater body wash. Sudsy without the sulfates.
Best shave cream: Kiss My Face has everything: the lather, the scents without the razor burn.
Best shampoo/conditioner: I really like Aveda's hair products. They work well and smell divine. I usually buy online because they offer great deals and free shipping.
Best skin cream - It's a tie between Avalon (I like their Vitamin C creams) and Alba. Alba too has a fantastic face "scrub" that uses fruit enzymes instead of the harsher ingredients like walnuts and apricot seeds. These tear your skin at the microscopic level and can lead to irritation and redness.
Best makeup - think mineral in this department. Bare Escentuals is a very reputable award-winning company and Honey Bee Naturals is new to the scene with affordable and chic makeup.
These are my favs however there are a lot more companies with natural skin care products out there. And the best part is that more keep popping up each month. They're easy to find just do some research. It's a fine time we live in where au naturel is trendy, beautiful, and sexy. Remember you are what you ingest and don't eliminate. This holds true not only for eating but also for what you put on your skin. Please don't neglect your own health when it comes to buying anti-cruel products. It's moral and just however, the most important animal to be nice to is you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Understanding Skin Layers

In thisarticle, we discuss some of the functions of the skin's layers. Once you understand how the different layers of the skin work, you can determine how to treat the skin conditions related to each layer, particularly those related to wrinkles and aging.
Stratum Corneum
The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of skin, the last of the epidermal layers. This layer of skin is made up of dead, smooth skin cells that shed approximately every couple of weeks and are then renewed. The main function of the stratum corneum is to work as the skin's outer barrier, keeping water out and shaping the appearance of the skin by adding strength and elasticity. This layer is strong, able to absorb and release energy, and elastic, so it can hold its shape and resist any forced change.
The stratum corneum is made up of a keratin protein filament network and lipids, forming five connected layers that interact with one another. When this functional network is disrupted, as happens when we age, we see an increase in dry skin, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, or other skin conditions.
The epidermis is the most superficial of the skin's layers. It is composed of the five layers, including the stratum corneum. The bottom, or basal layer, produces the keratin by which dead skin cells are replaced on the upper layers. It takes two weeks for the new cells to move to the top layer of skin. Melanin is found in the basal epidermal layer.
The second layer is the stratum spinosum or the prickly layer. It is held together by prickly cells and is where protein (keratin) is synthesized. The next layer is the granular layer where melanocytes, precursors to keratin, are found. The stratum lucidum is the fourth layer, which is very thin. It is found almost exclusively in the palms of the hand and soles of the feet.
The dermis is the skin that lies below the epidermal layers. It is comprised of two layers: the papillary and the reticular layers. The papillary layer is composed of connective tissue, collagen, and elastin. The reticular layer contains thick connective tissue and collagen fibers. Collagen fibers are very strong and give the skin its durability and toughness. Elastin fibers keep the skin flexible and pliable. The dermis also contains hair follicles, sweat and sebaceous glands, blood vessels and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are an integral part of the skin's structure. They produce collagen and deposit it where it is needed for growth and additional strength in the dermis. Loss of dermis can cause the epidermis to atrophy, leaving the skin thinner and more wrinkled.
Subcutaneous Tissue
Hypodermis The subcutaneous layer is located just below the dermis. It is a layer of fat also known as subcutaneous tissue or the hypodermis. It is made up of loose connective and adipose tissue. The hypodermis aids in metabolism and insulates the skin. Inflammation in the hypodermis can cause skin dimpling or cellulitis.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Secondary Revenue Streams for Medical Professionals

Can physicians and medical professionals develop additional revenue streams beyond the standard fees for services? Sure - there are quite a few possibilities for improving overall monthly income for doctors - some easier than others. One way of creating additional revenue is by developing a 2nd tier of service; a VIP type system - with no waiting, handy phone consultations or communication via email available. Another possibility is adding secondary services that can be done easily in a medical office, (perhaps those that you have been referring out). Easier yet - making available merchandise that you often recommend your patients go out and buy. It's this third option that requires the least amount of work and can bring in additional revenue with little or no additional expenses.
Offering your patients the products that you often suggest they go out and purchase after leaving your office is not only a great way for you to create a secondary revenue stream but it is also very convenient for your patients. As long as the prices are similar to what they would find out in the world - why not? This saves them the time of going out to look for a new remedy and saves you the time of trying to explain exactly what it is that you are recommending. In a way, you're telling your patients that you value them and that you have already done the leg work for them by stocking products that will benefit them.
Setting up a little "store" within your office or waiting room can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Many waiting rooms use a nice book shelf or small wooden table or desk to show off as little as 5 products, while others go so far as to purchase fancy glass display cases for 30 or more different products. It's up to you, and is usually dictated by how much space you have available for the merchandise.
Now - imagine that you could go one step further and offer them products that nobody else has available. If the product is good, and does its job - then you will have a customer for life. After all, if a patient cannot purchase Dr.X's skin cleanser anywhere else but at Dr.X's office - then another office visit also becomes another purchase of the product. So - how do you get a product like this - with your name or the name of your practice on it? The answer is: private labeling.
This is common practice in hundreds of industries, from pet food to hot sauce to peanut butter. Often times a single manufacturer will produce the same product for a dozen competitors - with everything the same except the packaging. Just take some time to walk down the aisles of a grocery store and you will see thousands of examples of private labeling.
But private labeling for physicians and medical professionals - is that really practical? Sure, not only is it practical, but it is really quite easy. Depending on your specialty, you need to find a private label manufacturer, contact them and get the ball rolling. Usually they can have products complete with packaging available for you within a few weeks. You will need to decide on how many different products you want to carry and it helps to have a few ideas about labels and names - but most private labeling companies have sales reps that can help you with all of these decisions. They are professionals that know your industry well and can offer advice that will get you going in the right direction.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making Your Own Natural Skin Moisturizer - The Easy Way

With so many synthetic chemicals around us nowadays, it becomes increasingly difficult to find safe, all natural skin care and hair care. Since the chemicals are added to the skin care to improve the appearance and the qualities of the product, they may also have a long term effects on our bodies. One way to eliminate these chemicals from coming into contact with our skin is by making your own skin care.
First of all, it is not all that difficult to make a natural skin care, in this example, making your own natural skin moisturizer. By using herbs and natural vegetable oil and a few more basic ingredients you can whip it up in your kitchen in a short time. In this article I am going to share with you a recipe to make your own natural hand and body salve. It is moisturizing as well as protective to you skin especially hands and feet, where it tend to be dry in the winter months.
To make the body salve, you will need:
50 ml of any botanical oils, preferably those with good anti oxidant and moisturizing properties, such as Jojoba oil, Apricot oil, Almond oil, or Avocado oil. It is also a good idea to add plant butters such as Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter since they will help to soften dry, cracked skin.
3 to 4 tbsp of your favorite herbs. Good herbs that has moizturizing properties to skin are Marigold, patchouli, Rose Petals, Frankincsense Gum and Oakmoss.
1 tbsp Beeswax Pellets
1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
Essential Oils of your choice
A Glass Jar or Tin Jar with lids
The first step is to gently heat the oils, in stainless steel pot or pyrex, on low heat until warm, taking care not to burn, and the add the herbs and stir well. Then cover it and let it infuse for 1-2 days, in a dark place.
The next day, strain the oil from herbs. If you lose some oils in the process, simply add more oils to make up to 50 ml. The next step is to add 1 tbsp Beeswax pellets into the oil, and then heat up the mixture in a double boiler. Once all the wax has melted, stir gently and add 1 tsp of Vitamin E oil ( 1 vitamin E capsule will work as well). This is the time to also add some essential oils of your choice, up to 20 drops. Some good essential oils to try are Rose, Jasmine, or Lavender. Stir well, then pour into tin container or glass container and let it set. It will form a smooth, firm salve. Cover tightly and store in a cool dark place. Your natural body salve is ready to use.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Homemade Facial Masks And What Ingredients Are Most Effective For Helping Your Skin

Taking good care of your skin doesn't really require that you spend a lot of money. Unless you probably have a seriously bad skin problem, skin care can come across as cheap, too. You just have to be diligent enough to stick to a daily regimen. It also pays to watch your diet so you don't eat foods that can trigger skin issues. That means you have to observe a healthy lifestyle, balancing diet and exercise properly. You may noticed that healthy people usually sport healthy, glowing skin as well. They don't even need to spend a bundle on skin care products for that!
Now when it comes to a regular skin care regimen, you will find that homemade products are sometimes the best ones. Take for example homemade facial masks. They are pretty easy to make and the effects are amazing. Your skin comes off feeling taut and smooth and sporting a youthful glow. Even better, you get to save a lot. Instead of wasting your money on expensive spa treatments and such, try to make your own skin care solutions. You just need to know the right ingredients to use for your skin type.
First off, keep in mind that oatmeal will always be a basic ingredient when it comes to facial masks. A yogurt facial mask is one of the best routines you can follow in caring for your skin. Adding oatmeal to your homemade yogurt facial mask will help soften and smoothen your skin. It also helps reduce wrinkles and redness and works with all skin types. One tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal is good enough to create a rich, healthy facial mask. Mix it with plain yogurt with live cultures and add in a dash of warm honey before stirring. Let the mask sit for about ten to fifteen minutes, rinse, and moisturize thereafter.
Another great ingredient to use on your homemade facial mask is pumpkin. Pumpkin contains antioxidants which can really refresh the outer layers of your skin. It's also really easy to make. Just blend half a cup of fresh pumpkin pulp into a puree and put in a bowl. Add two eggs and put in two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. If your skin is really dry, also add a teaspoon of honey. Mix well, apply the mask, and let it stand for around twenty minutes. Don't forget to moisturize after you've rinsed all the gook off later. You will definitely see the wonderful effects the masks will have on your skin!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wart Removal Myths and Misbeliefs

Wart is a common skin disorder caused by a virus called Human papillomavirus. They appear as small projections all over the body. Today, medical science have well developed to explain the pathophysiology of warts and to cure all kind of wart disorders using advanced treatment methods. However, some of us have wrong beliefs and assumptions regarding wart formation and its treatment.
Interestingly many of us believe that the projections in the body occur due to the action of creatures like toads, reptiles, spiders, insects etc. Like the same, there are many misconceptions regarding the treatment of warts. People all around the world do a lot of unscientific processes and procedures to get rid of warts. Some of these procedures are very dangerous and makes the condition worse. Some of the major fallacies regarding the wart removal are:
Wart removal using horsehair
We all know that Human papillomavirus cause warts, and the warts will not disappear until we destroy these viruses. Many people all around the globe believes that a thread tied in the base of the wart can cure the disease. For this procedure, people use different materials like threads, horse hair, women's hair etc to tie the warts. In fact, a wart is nothing but the unusual growth of skin itself and appears as small projections and it consist of nerves and blood vessels same as the other body parts.
Tying the base of a wart using thread or hair will block the blood vessels of the wart that supplies nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. Finally, after few days, the tissues die naturally. However, this miracle does not happen always. The effectiveness of this procedure is very slow and the wart does not cure completely. The base of the wart may still have thousands of Viruses. The presence of a single virus can produce another wart in the same spot.
Dissection/removal of the wart
Dissecting the wart is the worse method of treatment that bears heavy pain and delivers zero result. The removal of wart may be successful if we dissect the wart in its first stage of growth. At the first stage, the wart growth is limited to the superficial skin layers, so cutting the wart from the base may be successful. In later stage, when a wart increases in size, it spreads into the deeper layers of skin and dissection of the wart at this phase is of no use. Cutting big warts may enhance spreading of wart viruses to adjacent tissues. In case of blood vessel damage, huge blood loss and abscess may occur with heavy pain.
Burning the wart
Many people believe that burning wart is the best way to get rid of the disease. They think that the viruses die while burning the wart tissues. However, this is not true, as this procedure cannot guarantee 100% virus destruction. Just one virus left in the spot is enough to produce more warts. Human papillomavirus die only in extreme temperatures. In LASER therapy, medical practitioner burns the warts using high temperature developed with the help of strong beam of lights at sterilized settings. Burning the wart in home environment with unsterile traditional methods may damage the surrounding tissues and the protective layer of skin named stratum corneum, which acts as the first layer of defense against pathogens. The pathogens are able to invade our body through the burned skin walls and may cause severe infections.
Today, a number of effective wart removal methods are available in medical sciences, which prevents the recurrence of warts by destructing the virus completely.