Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2006-but still of interest to ALL Women

May 24, 2006 Let's Embrace the Skin We're In! No matter where you live, you’re probably experiencing warmer weather, longer days, and more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. And, you may be looking forward to special “summer time” events which for me include lawn parties, time by lovely San Francisco Bay, family picnics, and long walks in my favorite garden. This season also means that the time has come to shed the layers of clothing we’ve been wearing and to show more skin. While for some this is a welcomed relief, for others, it is a reason for concern. Let’s be honest. Once we reach a certain age, our skin simply isn’t as toned or smooth as it used to be. This doesn’t mean our skin can never again have its youthful glow, it just means that we may need to take advantage of a few skin care secrets. Today I’d like to share some “insider information” you can put to use, starting today, to help ensure that your skin is at its best and that you have the confidence to wear sleeveless tops, bathing suits, capri pants and all of the wonderful summer fashions you enjoy. Do you have wrinkle worries? Several years ago a colleague shared with me a secret nutrient that can help you get rid of the appearance of wrinkles. I’m such an avid fan of this unique product that I have my 85-year-old mother using it and her skin is almost ageless and absolutely gorgeous. It’s called Squalane (pronounced squa-LON) and when you apply it topically, you put back into your skin the nutrients it needs to regenerate and look naturally younger and healthier. Squalane is also an antioxidant, so it gives you extra protection against skin-damaging free radicals. And you’ll feel its soothing effect instantly because it actually lubricates the skin, rather than just “sitting on top” like so many moisturizers with synthetic ingredients. One of the main reasons I love Squalane is because it’s the same ingredient found in sebum, a compound found naturally in your skin that keeps it soft, moist, and young. It’s also found in nature – notably in shark liver oil. In fact, the very best source comes from deep-sea sharks that live in the clean, non-polluted waters of Tasmania. For years I’ve recommended Squalane from a company called Oceana. Not only do they use Squalane from the waters of Tasmania, but their product contains 99.5% pure deep-water squalane, along with a delightful touch of natural lavender oil. The feedback I’ve heard from women using this product has been phenomenal! Many women have told me that the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles have faded and that their skin looks and feels smoother and softer. Others have said that it soothes their dry, irritated skin and has worked when other products have failed. And, perhaps most encouraging, are the notes I get from women who simply say that with help from Squalane, they feel more radiant and more beautiful than they have in years! Most women use Squalane on their faces, hands, and neck. And, especially during the summer months, many also use it on their arms and legs. Are you agonizing over age spots? As we age, many women notice the appearance of age spots, also referred to as sun spots. Years of sun exposure can cause these red or brown patches of skin on your face, neck, hands, arms, or almost any other part of your body. Because so many women are bothered by them, especially during this time of year, I searched the market to find just the right product for our skin. While doing so, I came across a lot of information about glycoalkaloids. These plant compounds work by slipping into the rough, scaly skin patches and triggering the release of enzymes, thus starting the exfoliation process. As you know, skin exfoliation is a naturally occurring physiological process that involves the sloughing of old skin cells to reveal new skin cells. Sometimes, however, this process needs a bit of assistance, especially when we reach a certain age and our skin becomes drier than it used to be. So I was thrilled to find a product that contained the right amount of glycoalkaloids, one that would naturally diminish the appearance of sun spots and age spots, while doing no damage to the most sensitive skin. The answer was found in a product called Skin Advantage. This exclusive formula contains unique glycoalkaloids from a particularly potent species of Australian plants. You apply a very small amount of this gel to the rough, dry patches on your skin and within a few weeks, you should notice a remarkable difference. I also suggest to women concerned about age spots that they eat a diet high in beta carotene, which scavenges the free radicals that cause age spots. Foods high in beta carotene include spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, mangoes, persimmons, cantaloupe, apricots, carrots, kale, and cabbage. And, if you want to get a little adventurous, try a little seaweed! One heaping teaspoon of the seaweed spirulina per day will give you 10,000 IU of vitamin A. Research has shown that daily intake of vitamin A removed all age spots from subjects over a 12- to 16-month period. Lastly, I recommend taking 400–1,600 IU of vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol per day. If you have hypertension or are taking insulin, start at 100 IU. Vitamin E is useful for a wide variety of skin complaints, including age spots. A safe way to enjoy the summer sun One of the best ways to guard your skin from the harmful effects of sun rays is to use sunscreen every day. For the best protection, I urge you to generously apply sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher 20–30 minutes before going outside, and reapply frequently. My favorite sunscreen is a product called Epicuren Sunscreen. With its SPF20 rating, not only does it provide excellent protection from UVA and UVB rays, but it does so without the harsh chemicals usually found in most other sunscreens. For this reason, I feel safe using it all over my body, even on my face. In fact, this is the only sunscreen I use on my face because it doesn’t cause me any facial irritation at all, I can't say the same for other brands I have tested. Epicuren is mineral- and vitamin-based, rather than chemical-based. And like most commercial products, it works by reflecting and absorbing the sun’s rays, acting to shield the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. What makes this product unique is its active ingredient, which is a micronized zinc-oxide. “Micronized” means that the zinc-oxide has been broken down into very tiny particles, which helps ensure that your body steadily absorbs and benefits from as much of the product as possible. This fine light cream blends well and doesn’t have the chalky white appearance of other zinc-based sunscreens. In fact, it blends so well that it is invisible on the skin, won’t harm your clothing, and has a pleasant, natural scent. And, unlike many similar products, Epicuren gives you an hour’s worth of protection even after you’ve been in the water, so you don’t need to re-apply it right away. As an added benefit, Epicuren actually soothes and moisturizes dry, rough skin, which makes it a “must have” during these summer months. A Healthy Lifestyle is Key As with almost everything else, a healthy lifestyle will help give your skin the youthful, summertime glow you desire. So, as you enjoy the months ahead, please remember to: * Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas). Reduce or eliminate red meats. Instead, I encourage you to eat fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and tuna. I also recommend that you try vegetarian Gardenburgers or Boca Burgers. Lastly, please avoid potato chips, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, sugar, soft drinks, fruit juices, fried or fatty foods, and salt, all of which can be enemies to our skin, as well as to our overall health. * Exercise. The warmer weather provides enhanced opportunities for exercise. Try adding a walk or a bicycle ride into your daily routine. I promise you’ll feel the benefits and your body will thank you. * Take the right supplements. For starters, make sure you’re taking an ample multi-vitamin. I recommend that you consider my product, Daily Answer Multinutrient for Women. Developed specifically for women, this new formula carefully combines 40 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, botanicals, and essential fatty acids in the potency's and forms you need to look and feel terrific. If not Daily Answer, please search the market for a quality multi that provides you with all of the support you need. I also suggest that your supplement program provide you with 400–1,600 IU of vitamin E daily. Lastly, add 1–3 tablespoons of cold-pressed flax seed oil to your diet every day. * Enjoy relaxation techniques. I cannot stress enough the importance of internal peace and the effect it has on your health. For some it may be prayer or yoga, for others it may be visualizations or deep breathing exercises that give you the spiritual fulfillment you need. As my subscribers know, I write about these various techniques and how best to implement them in The Lark Letter. I encourage you to find a method that works for you so that your mind, body and spirit are all healthy and happily connected. Together, let’s enjoy the summer months and embrace the skin we’re in! Yours in vibrant health, Susan M. Lark, M.D. P.S. Don’t forget to drink lots of water during these warmer months. Eight glasses of purified or spring water a day is ideal. And contrary to popular belief, tea or clear fruit juice is not a substitute for plain water.

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