Monday, August 29, 2011

Help for Sensitive Skin

Help for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is a problem familiar to many, even millions of people. It usually means they have an allergic reaction to mostly products. I get quite a few questions from our customers each day. Some I like to answer through my blog, so others can get information who have similar concerns. Below is one of these questions that I'd like to share with you:

I have sensitive skin in that anything with perfumes in it irritates me. Also dust. God knows what else irritates me!
I am starting to get really dull skin and a few lines but I am not
sure if I should be using a sensitive skin range or an aging skin
care range. Can you please assist?? My skin feels terrible and I
really want to look after it.

thanks so much,

Sharon's skin problem is similar to what we hear at Cleure from many of our customers. One of her concerns is whether to look for 'sensitive skin' products or 'anti-aging skin care'. For years and clever marketing, companies have divided products into skin types. For example, we've been told if you have oily skin, use certain types of products, if you have dry skin use another, and still others for anti-aging. This means more products for you to buy, and more profits for the brands.

Truth be told, the skin is an organ, just like any other organ in our body, and it's the largest one. We should begin to look at our skin not by types, but whether it's healthy or unhealthy.

Healthy skin rebounds with health and radiance when exposed to occasional challenges. Unhealthy skin continuously looks dull and breaks out in rashes, blemishes, uneven color, etc. According to American Academy of Dermatology, all unhealthy skin, which may include acne, rosacea, burning and stinging, and allergies and irritants (contact dermatitis), have inflammation in common.

The question becomes how to keep your face healthy, when it is radiant and beautiful, OR how to bring about health, if it is unhealthy?

Skin Care for Sensitive Skin

All skin is delicate and should be treated with TLC (tender loving care), and especially as we reach our twenties and of course as baby boomers. Dermatologist agree that there are certain factors that effect our skin health:

  • Management of stress - this can be good or bad stress, but nevertheless, if we don't balance stress with rest and relaxation, it shows on our skin.

  • Diet and nutrition - what we eat also reflects in our skin. Foods high in sugar, simple carbohydrates like white bread, and excessive alcoholic drinks are all on the unhealthy list. On the other hand, organic vegetables, fruits, balanced with minimum amount of red meat free of antibiotics and fat, chicken, fish, whole grain breads and cereals, along with plenty of water contribute to a healthy glow.

  • Exercise - It's important to get your blood circulating, (which means getting oxygen and nutrients to your tissues) and give your heart a good workout. This could simply include a daily 20 - 30 minute walk, or a harder workout based on your current age and physical stamina.

  • Skin care products = what goes on, goes in - it certainly does. You absorb ingredients right through the skin. This is why skin patches are used to deliver tobacco cessation, pain relief and other drugs to the body. Most commercial brands (even expensive ones) contain many irritating ingredients that can affect our skin health, and eventually weaken any skin's ability to bounce back to health.

  • Sensitive Skin Chemicals to Avoid

    Since the skin is very delicate, long term use, or 'assault' by certain ingredients eventually harms the skin. If you continue to introduce these ingredients to your skin, it sets off a chain reaction, including inflammation which can lead to unhealthy skin and you in general:

  • You may notice your eyes watering or itchy skin.

  • Your immune system registers these symptoms as an attack by harmful agents and sends particular cells to fight the problem. This may worsen your symptoms by causing inflammation.

  • If the problem continues, the stress on the immune system may translate to other symptoms related to general health, such as fatigue.

  • Your skin problem may worsen to include rashes and acne, making it impossible to use products you have used for years (which probably were part of the cause).

  • Below is a partial list of some of the main culprits of ingredients to avoid whether you have sensitive skin now or want to prevent it.

  • Salicylic acid allergy - it's not uncommon to learn that you may be salicylate acid sensitive. Salicylates are used in many products including Aspirin, skin care, sports creams and mouthwash, among others. Reasons for sensitivity to salicylic acid could be the many products you have used that contain 'natural herbs or plant extracts'. Just because something is natural or organic does not mean it's good for you. Salicylate sensitivity can eventually lead to other symptoms such as chronic headaches, itchy skin, and rashes.

  • Perfume and fragrance - these also contain salicylates and other toxic ingredients that may be highly irritating.

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate - also known as SLS, is an industrial detergent that may dry your skin and cause allergies. Most well-known dental brands contain SLS toothpaste. Studies have shown this ingredient may also cause outbreak of canker sores.

  • Parabens - are used as preservatives. They were found in breast cancer tissue in some studies and may be irritating.

  • Treatment for Sensitive Skin
    Most treatment for skin conditions such as acne, rosacea or dermatitis from a dermatologist may include some form of antibiotic, either taken orally or in a product to use on the skin, or steroid creams or injections. Most of these types of treatments are temporary and may have side effects, if administered for long periods of time. If this makes common sense to you, follow the suggestions given in this blog, such as living a healthy, balanced lifestyle and using non-irritating skin and personal care products routinely.

    How to Choose Sensitive Skin Products
    Choosing the right sensitive skin products is not an easy thing to do. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate personal care and skin care products. Companies are on their own to add any ingredient they want to their products, even some without appearing on their label. As a result you are at the mercy of the pretty package, marketing words on the label and the sexy model, who may not even use the brand, to help you buy.

    To say the least, it can be confusing. This is what motivated me to develop Cleure sensitive skin care products, which started with our sodium lauryl sulfate free toothpaste, since I am a dentist. Due to customer demands and years of research, our brand has grown to moisturizer for sensitive skin, hypoallergenic shampoo, and other high quality skin and personal care products.

    In conclusion, you have to take control and choose very wisely which products to use. Take inventory of your life, make sure you manage stress properly, eat right and use the best products for sensitive skin for healthy, beautiful complexion at any age. And do be patient, because it doesn't happen overnight. Stick with the right products, and eventually it pays off.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Sensitive Teeth Causes & Treatment

    A common problem experienced by many is known as "sensitive teeth". This uncomfortable sensation may be triggered by hot, cold, sweet, sour foods or drinks. It can make tasting your favorite ice cream, a refreshing cold drink or even breathing cold air become unbearable.

    Cause of Sensitive Teeth

    The most obvious causes of sensitive teeth are tooth decay and a fractured tooth or filling. Your dentist can easily diagnose this and give you treatment for it. If your dentist has ruled these sensitive teeth causes out, then exposed root surface could be the culprit, among others listed below, of sensitivity.

    The outer layer of each tooth is called "enamel". This is a very strong substance and protects the tooth crown from sensitivity.

    The root of each tooth is covered by a layer called "cementum". This layer is normally covered by your gum tissue.

    Dentin is a softer layer located underneath enamel and cementum. Once dentin is exposed from wear of enamel or cementum, when hot or cold reaches this layer, you may feel sensitivity.

    When you eat hot and cold or acidic or sticky foods, small tubes in dentin allow these sensations to reach the nerves inside the tooth, causing hypersensitivity.

    The following are some of the factors that can lead to sensitive teeth:

  • Bleaching your teeth with over-the-counter products that are high in peroxide.

  • Grinding your teeth or clenching may wear down or fracture enamel and expose dentin.

  • Brushing too hard will eventually wear down enamel and cementum and even cause receding gums.

  • Abrasive toothpaste can also be a culprit to sensitive teeth.

  • Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

    Proper oral hygiene using a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste for sensitive teeth is the key to healthy teeth and gums. Treatment for sensitive teeth will vary depending on the cause.

    Your dentist may recommend placing a desensitizing 'bond' over the worn cementum or enamel. This may have to be repeated at regular intervals as it wears off.

    You may also be recommended to use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

    There are several toothpaste brands available for sensitive teeth. The most common active ingredient used is "potassium nitrate".

    Sensitive teeth toothpaste is not meant to repair the problem or even permanently reverse the sensitivity. Ingredients such as potassium nitrate can help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. However, this is a temporary band aid. Understanding the cause can prevent further damage.

    You should be aware of this and other ingredients used in these types of toothpaste.
    Other ingredients in toothpaste, including those for sensitive teeth may include sodium lauryl sulfate, saccharine, peroxide and FD&C coloring. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an industrial detergent and may be problematic. Studies have reported this ingredient could cause outbreaks of canker sores in the mouth.

    A safe, non-abrasive toothpaste without SLS and other harsh ingredients is preferred. Mild toothpaste with xylitol and a soft toothbrush will help decrease sensitivity to your teeth.

    Your dentist can also 'seal' the worn cementum or enamel with a plastic tooth colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth surface.

    Concentrated fluoride gel or rinse used at home is very beneficial for relief of sensitivity. The gel or rinse can be used daily or few times per week, depending of the level of sensitivity.

    Root canal treatment is the last resort if a tooth is extremely sensitive and nothing seems to help.

    Why Natural Products Don't Work

    According to the Natural Products Insider, it's not uncommon for natural product industry manufacturers to get fined for false advertising by the FTC. When it comes to the word 'natural' on labels, false claims and hype are what sell products.

    So how do you know if you are buying natural, and a better question is, should you care if it's natural? It makes sense that if a product is truly natural, it would have to be refrigerated with a shelf life of a week or two. How can labels that claim to be natural, sit on shelves for more than 2 years, with many not even having an expiration date?

    Unsupported and Unsubstantiated

    The saying goes, 'If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is'. Whether it's referring to health, skin care, or beauty products, there is no miracle fountain of youth. And remember, a label of 'natural' is no guarantee of safety or if it's good for you.

    Drugs have their origin in plants. It stands to reason that these same plants used in a potpourri fashion may have side affects on a person. For example, tea tree oil has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. Why then, should you use it in your skin care, hair care, toothpaste and other personal care products that contain this popular plant? Most people don't realize that what is rubbed onto the skin is absorbed into the body and blood stream.

    Plants also contain salicylic acid, which many are finding out is an allergen. This is a natural chemical that plants produce. Salicylic acid is an ingredient found in aspirin for its anti-inflammatory properties. Aspirin allergy is not uncommon.

    What's the Solution?
    Safe, science based chemicals, free if irritating ingredients makes more practical sense than 'natural' plants that may even contain pesticides, herbicides and harsh preservatives to increase shelf life, that do not even need to be listed on the label.

    As wise consumers, we should demand out with false 'natural' claims and in with simple, safe, and effective formulas that are science backed and toxic free.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Eczema Prevention and Treatment

    Eczema Prevention and Treatment
    Eczema, a general term for skin inflammation, can affect people of any age, race or gender. This dry, reddened skin that itches or burns normally appears on the face, the neck, or the insides of elbows, knees and ankles. Eczema often result in blisters and lesions or dry and scaly skin, but the appearance varies from person to person.
    Doctors have not been able to pinpoint an exact cause of this itchy skin condition, but they have concluded that it is a defect of the skin that impairs its function as a barrier. This may be a result of abnormalities in certain proteins, such as filaggrin, that assist in maintaining the barrier of normal skin. Eczema often occurs if you have a family history of the condition or other allergies and some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat.
    Some common types of eczema may be prevented by following these simple recommendations.
    1. Avoid over bathing

    It is important to keep your skin clean, but over bathing can strip your skin of its natural moisture. Limit the amount of time spent in the bath and make sure water temperature is medium, not hot.
    2. Apply moisturizer frequently

    Consider purchasing Cleure's trio pack of moisturizers, which includes day cream, night cream and body lotion. No matter what, make sure your moisturizer of choice is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, salicylate free and paraben free.
    3. Use a mild soap and a gentle facial cleasner

    Use a hypoallergenic soap and a facial cleanser that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate. Consider a cleanser that includes special emollients, which refresh and condition your skin without a greasy residue.
    4. Limit or avoid contact with irritants

    Irritants include anything that will upset your skin, such as perfume and detergents. Sensitive skin and hypoallergenic detergents should be used at all times. Likewise, if you wear makeup, be sure that it is not only hypoallergenic but also Salicylate Free.
    5. Try various stress management techniques

    If stress is a trigger of your eczema, be sure to engage in stress management techniques. Some great stress management techniques include exercise, yoga, acupuncture and meditation.
    6. Avoid foods that cause an allergic reaction

    Common food allergens are a frequent tipper for the most common kind of eczema, atopic eczema. Steer clear of eggs, milk, soybeans, salicylate, fish, and gluten if you notice a correlation.
    7. Use a humidifier in both winter and summer.

    The moisture that humidifiers add to the air combats the effects of dry air. Combating the effects of dry air can help lower the chances that eczema will appear.
    The bottom line of these recommendations is practice good skin hygiene even when you are not having symptoms. If eczema does arise, speak with your doctor about the right treatment for you. A specific treatment will be prescribed for you based on your age, the type of eczema and the severity of the condition. Some possible treatment options you doctor may recommend are as follows:
    1. Keep skin well hydrated at all times

    Drink a lot of water, apply a sodium lauryl sulfate free moisturizer, and Emu oil, which is non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and salicylate free.
    2. Apply emollient creams after a bath in order to seal in moisture

    Emollient creams help moisture and refresh the skin, which will help ease the symptoms of eczema.
    3. Use corticosteroid creams to reduce inflammation

    Corticosteroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, betametasone, fluticasone and mometasone, may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the inflammatory reaction. Make sure these creams are free of sodium lauryl sulfate, which increases the permeability of the skin barrier and causes irritation. Another ingredient to avoid is salicylic acid, which may cause skin sensitivity.
    4.Take an oral antihistamine

    If itching is severe, oral antihistamines may be prescribed to ease the pain. Oral antihistamines are best taken around half an hour before bed to help guarantee a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by the urge to scratch.
    5. Apply a topical cream

    Two topical creams, tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, have been approved by FDA for treatment. You should limit the use of these creams, especially if you have a compromised immune system.
    About the Author: Dr. Flora Stay has practiced dentistry for over 25 years. She is also a published author, a professor at the USC School of Dentistry and a leading authority on health and wellness. Dr. Stay founded Cleure, a premier manufacturer of fluoride free and SLS free toothpaste and dental health products, as well as personal care products for salicylic acid allergy and sensitive skin care products.