5 Foods That Are Better To Put ON Your Body Rather Than IN Your Body

Is Coconut Oil really the best ingredient out there? Read on to learn the answer

Fads come and go, some take social media by storm and seem like they’re here to stay, and fiction becomes fact by virtue of repetition. We see the same information over and over, and somewhere along the way we accept it without questioning the source. Anyone with a following is accepted as a credentialed expert and source. Sometimes there’s some truth to some parts of the story which makes it even more difficult to know how much of that source to trust. You’ll see what I mean as you read my top 5 ingredients I would rather have you apply to your skin than put in your body:

Coconut oil

This is among the newest of the fads to hit the scene. I’ve seen article after article and blog upon blog touting the multitude of benefits to brain, heart, immune system, and every other organ of the body including the skin. I wondered how it was possible that this common ingredient that’s been around forever and which I remember from my childhood as being tasty but my dad telling me it’s full of fat and not entirely healthy for you could somehow be a panacea overlooked for so long. I scoured the medical literature and found it contains medium chain fatty acids, and as with most plants it has antioxidants- all good in helping protect the brain and other organs avoid disease and destruction. But it also contains a good amount of saturated fat which is not good in the quantities that I’ve seen being promoted. For most people a little goes a long way.  The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement pointing out that 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated fat. Compare that with butter which is 63% saturated fat and beef fat which is low in comparison at 50%. Pork fat looks downright edible at 39%. They are not fans of saturated fat saying it raises the bad LDL cholesterol and increases clogging of the arteries.

So now you know not to put too much of it in your body but how about on your body? That’s another area where it’s been overblown but still has benefits. All that fat makes it an easy DIY hydrator for the hair and body if you need something fast and easy or should you unexpectedly run out of your hair conditioner or body cream. If you use it in your hair, make sure to add shampoo and create a lather before trying to rinse out the coconut oil, or you’ll be left with a greasy heavy mop of hair that will take days to wash out, proving the point that oil and water truly don’t mix. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties also have some benefit against the bacteria that causes acne so if you break out but have dry skin it may be worth a try as spot treatment but be warned that it is occlusive which means it can block pores and that can make acne worse. It may also be allergenic which means you need to watch out for allergic reactions to it. I do like coconut oil as a go to for hydration and the smell works well as a relaxing aromatherapy.

Honey

As a food, it’s sugar. Ok a little better than simple sugar, but still sugar. Having lost 50 lbs myself, part of my success came from teaching myself to enjoy the natural flavors from foods without adding extra sweeteners, including too much honey. It’s amazing how we get used to sugary flavors and how that sabotages our weight and health.

When it comes to honey and the skin, the story has a much sweeter ending. Honey is one of my most favorite ingredients for healing and barrier repair and it’s one of the few times the word natural means something when it comes to skin care ingredients. There are thousands of published studies in the medical literature on the benefits of medical grade honey for use in healing chronic ulcers of the skin in diabetics and in patients who are immunocompromised. It creates a breathable barrier that behaves as a layer of healthy skin would, has antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties and is readily available. I would caution against using it in an area where there are bees or flies as it may also attract them and cause greater problems than what you were trying to treat with the honey!

Three of my favorite uses for honey:

  • Dab on a pimple that has been irritated or picked at. I know you would never do that, so tell a friend.
  • Add to DIY home scrubs and masks to help thicken them while adding skin benefits
  • Apply over a burn with aloe and over the counter cortisone to help reduce pain, inflammation and risk of infection while also speeding up healing and lowering the risk of scarring

Crisco

It may be good cooking oil but otherwise not great for those trying to lose weight or optimize health. It’s one of the old school offers my professors used to tell patients to use for the treatment of dry skin if they had skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Add it to the list of saturated fats good to put on the skin in a pinch if you need hydration, not in the arteries or on the hips.

Coarse Brown Sugar

This is sugar, sugar leads to inflammation, and inflammation ages you. There you have it. Now that you have all this sugar and no plans to eat it, mix it with coconut oil and honey and you have a great scrub!

Salt

A little salt is good, too much leads to dehydration of the skin and body and is not good. That’s why you would die of dehydration if you got stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. If you work out a lot or do hot yoga or hot workouts you may be sweating and peeing out all your natural salt so you may be one of the few who need to add it to the diet, but for the rest of us we get more than enough, I would even say often too much, from the foods we eat so don’t add more. Instead, follow instructions above for coarse brown sugar and make a nice scrub or mask for your skin. Especially good if you have oily skin or large pores.

Bottom Line

For all of these items, each has it’s place and moderation is key. I would not advise putting coconut oil all over the face of oily skin with acne nor would I use a coarse scrub on dry irritated skin. Listen to your skin, pay attention to detail and know that common sense should always rule the day.

Five Rules to Live by for Beautiful Healthy Skin

Making a New Year’s resolution is the perfect set up for starting the new year off wrong. You can promise to eat better, lose weight, be nicer to yourself or any of the other fabulous resolutions that are perfectly reasonable, as long as we’re doing them “next year.” In the end, if you don’t give yourself the proper tools to reach that goal it is all but impossible to get there. It’s like trying to cross a river without building a bridge.

 

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Surround yourself with people who cheer you on towards your goals and celebrate with you along the way!

 

One Step At a Time

It’s good to think big and set goals. The best way to make sure you get there is to take baby steps. The resolution: to have beautiful healthy skin that ages successfully. The 5 key steps to get there apply to life, with an extra bonus of my adaptation to make it great for your skin since your skin is a powerful reflection of your overall health and well-being – having skin that looks beautiful is a great sign that your skin is healthy and has a lower risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Putting your best face forward can take a little effort but it’s worth it and gets easier when you see the results when you look in the mirror.

  1. Always be thankful

    This is true in life and true for your skin. Look in the mirror and allow yourself to see your best features: is it your eyes? Your bone structure? Your lips? Whatever your best features may be, being thankful for your unique beauty is a great way to start your new year off beautifully. Another important goal is to be thankful for your natural skin tone and to go with your own glow. This means being sun smart: use sunscreen every day all year round, reapply it every 2 hours when you’re out, wear a hat and sun protective clothing when possible and stay in shade when you can.  It will make this year’s’ resolution for beautiful healthy skin a reality and will add value for years to come. Fact is, 90% of wrinkles and the signs of aging we see in the skin come from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Simply protecting against damage will serve you well for decades to come.

  2. Love is not what you say, Love is what you do

    Loving your skin means following a daily routine of great skin care. It starts with cleansing as the first step. This is often overlooked but it is very important to wash off makeup, pollution and buildup of oils from the day. The next step is regular exfoliation –  how often depends on your skin type, could be twice a week or once every two weeks, see what your skin needs. You can exfolliate with a chemical like glycolic or salicylic acid or you can use a physical scrub but be gentle and listen to your skin. If your skin stings or burns when you apply cream or lotion after exfolliating it’s a sign that  you’ve over-done it so go a little gentler next time and see how it works for you. Next step is to use serums containing such as growth factors, peptides and antioxidants to help your skin regenerate and rejuvenate and of course sunscreen and moisturizers to round out the set of recommendations. One simple guide to order of application of skin care products is thickness: apply the lighter products first such as serums or lotions and the richer products last such as moisturizers.

  3. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on

    Every day I hear patients lamenting their years of tanning and other lifestyle choices that accelerated the aging of their skin. The line they consistently use is “one day my face just fell apart.” The changes can show as blotchy uneven skin, wrinkles and sagging. The good news is that no matter what your previous exposure to sun has been, what you do today can help undo at least some of the damage of the past. Simply stopping tanning will go a long way to avoiding future damage and will allow your skin to reverse some of the changes that have occurred. A visit to your dermatologist will also help as we have outstanding non-surgical approaches to turn back the clock leaving you restored and beautiful.

  4. Don’t let others steal your peace

    The holidays can be very stressful. You can be pulled in so many directions, there may be travel woes from traffic and delays, and of course the obligation to spend time with family members who have strong views that may differ from yours. The compounding of stress upon stress can lead to a flare of anything you’re prone to from acne to eczema to psoriasis or rosacea. Plan ahead by acknowledging the facts, allowing yourself time for you every day. Create an emergency skin care bag with your dermatologist to help you handle flares and be sure to maintain your regular skincare routine when you travel. Your body likes routine, it is called homeostasis. As much as you can, keep to your regular sleep cycles and avoid excess salt and alcohol. It’s totally worth it to have radiant beautiful skin.

  5. Be Patient

    Things will get better. You didn’t get here overnight – you don’t need to fix things overnight. We live in a time of instant results, quick fixes and apps that make everyone look picture perfect, at least in pictures, but they set an unrealistic expectation of what it takes to reach those goals. True and lasting changes, improvement in collagen and restoring you back to a more youthful appearance in a natural way takes time and is best done in baby steps. This will leave you looking your best not just today and this year, but for years to come. This also means sticking with any new product you try for a minimum of 6 weeks. The time is worth it, trust me.

Bottom line

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Cheers to the coming New Year!

Each point was meant to inspire you in many ways for the coming year. There are no shortcuts, but you have the whole year to follow them for a great year and beautiful, healthy, happy years to follow.

 

Beautiful Skin and the Traveler

“Doing nothing gets you nowhere” 

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This picture was taken when I traveled to Dubai last month. Work truly is pleasure!

 

I’ve always loved to travel and if you follow any of my posts on instagram, twitter or facebook you’ll know I travel a lot for work to lecture and serve on advisory boards. My love of travel goes way back to my childhood when as a little girl, my parents would pack up the three kids and take us away on family trips for work or fun as often as my dad could manage around his busy doctor schedule. The airport itself was as exciting as any destination we reached and we dressed up for the plane as if we were going to a party. Travel by car or train was just as exciting and the idea of an adventure always got my heart racing with excitment – the feeling has never worn off. It may have something to do with the fact that I still live in the same city and even in the same building where I was born and raised so I have the comfort and security of knowing where home is and that makes a new place, hotel and scene intriguing. Or maybe it’s just me.

As I sit here now, on a plane on my way home from a great dermatology meeting in Dubai, I can still feel the excitement of going to the airport, the thrill of the plane making its way down the runway, the exhilaration of takeoff, the soothing hum and rhythm of the cabin as it cradles it’s precious passengers and carries us miles above the earth giving us heavenly views of clouds and the land and sea below, taking me to or from a place I’ve heard so much about and have been looking forward to exploring. I love the work when I get there, I always learn as much as I teach, and I always leave myself time to walk and explore, and of course post pictures on my social media so I can share the experience and look back on the memories later myself too.

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Everyone needs their beauty rest!

Adjusting to Time Zones

The one thing about travel that can be the most challenging is dealing with the havoc it wreaks on the skin. Totally not acceptable. Sounds superficial, I know, I’m used to it and I know better. I know it’s more than just skin deep and when I see tired travel-worn skin I know there’s way more going on below the surface and adjustments that need to be made to stay healthy in mind, body and skin in order to make the entire trip more productive and fun.

When I travel to different time zones, I do my best to transition to that time zone during the flight by planning my nap and awake times and adjusting the light to help me acclimate even before I arrive. I try to pick flights that optimize the process. It takes a little planning but makes all the difference in minimizing jet lag and getting the most out of the trip. This way I hit the ground running and can be the most productive when I work.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is key. This means more water, less salt and less alcohol. I said it was important, I didn’t say it was fun. I also said less, not none. The longer the trip the more important this is. I’ve seen people whose feet and ankles swell to 3 or more times their size, and that can take days to resolve. Wearing compression socks can help along with leg elevation when possible, walking during the flight or stopping to walk if you’re in a car, and also doing flex and point foot exercise when sitting. And of course, I repeat, more water, less alcohol, less salt.

Packing for Your Skin

Preparing your skin for travel starts even before you leave the house. If you’re a last minute packer, I recommend making a skin-travel kit that’s always ready to go. Most of us notice our skin gets dry when we travel and if you’re prone to eczema or psoriasis this can trigger a flare. It’s especially important to have a great moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking water won’t make the outer layers less dry so you need to moisturize and hydrate the skin directly. If you have oily skin and break out, the stress of traveling can trigger a flare leaving you both oily and dehydrated at the same time. It’s not always easy to pack all your acne medications when you travel but it is important to maintain your routine to minimize any breakouts when you least want one.

Essentials

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The one thing you need to coordinate and organize ahead of time is a travel skin-care kit so you can avoid any skin catastrophes that might ruin your trip.

Carry-on (travel size):

  • Hand cream: can also be used on the body as needed
  • Pre-moistened cleansing cloths: test the brand ahead of time and look for one with cloths that are softer rather than abrasive on the skin
  • Sunscreen: a good tinted sunscreen can double as a foundation for travel purposes
  • Lip balm
  • Tissue
  • Nail file
  • Hair tie- scrunchy: they may be out of vogue for public use, but are perfect to keep your hair off your face on a long flight or car ride without pulling or stressing your hair
  • Antiperspirant
  • Airplane socks: a travel luxury, yet totally necessary. You can buy them at any drug store and enjoy warm, soft feet on the plane.
  • Eye cover and ear plugs: nothing says beautiful skin better than a good nights’ sleep, or a nap on the plane in this case (the baby screaming behind me was barely audible once my earplugs were in). Tip: noise cancelling headphones are good but may not be as comfortable for sleeping.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Avene water spray

Suitcase:

It’s very helpful to have an emergency travel kit. This should include:

  • Cortisone cream: this will save you in a pinch if you get a pimple, bug bite or any irritation of the skin that leaves it red and itchy. When you travel, you come into contact with so many different materials your skin isn’t used to and this can be an issue for those with sensitive skin.
  • Zeasorb powder- this is great for shoes and the body for those who sweat when they travel. It is absorbent and will keep you dry and comfortable and will help prevent your feet and shoes from getting stinky, which will make you much more popular with your fellow travelers.
  • Benadryl: great to help you sleep and also good if you tend to have eczema or allergies that flare when you travel. Be careful not to take if you’re the driver. In other words, don’t “operate heavy machinery” after taking.
  • Ibuprofen or Aspirin: depending on what your stomach tolerates.
  • Cleanser, moisturizer, serum, prescriptions products from your dermatologist: it’s important to maintain your regular routine as much as possible.

Hotel:

Never count on the hotel soap or moisturizer to keep your skin healthy when away from home. Depending on the length of your trip you can pack a separate set of products for your trip or use the travel size from your carry on. I’m a master of packing so I take carry-on for almost every trip. When I do check in a bag, I go all out even adding my absolute favorite products and perfume – it almost makes it worth checking a bag. Almost.

Sign Off

We are almost into descent and time for me to sign off.  I had a great trip, so happy I planned ahead and made the most of the time. A little, simple planning made all the difference. I’m ready to get back to the office and see my patients, which is my greatest joy and passion.

Update on Injectables: What To Consider

No one really wants to look old. We talk about aging gracefully and accepting the process, which is great on paper, but looking old doesn’t mean you’re aging gracefully, and having a few lines and wrinkles doesn’t mean you look old. Since the first Hyaluronic Acid (HA) soft tissue filler was FDA approved in the US in 2004 we have had 10 new products approved in the US and literally hundreds available around the world to help you look soft, smooth and contoured. It’s been a game changer for those who want to enter the rejuvenation market without undergoing surgery, but there’s a lot to know before you get started.

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