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Sensitive skin has become one of those “catch all” phrases that describes a variety of things but does not carry a clear definition. Millions of people have sensitive skin but what does that mean exactly? Do they react badly to skin care protects? Are they especially affected by exposure to the sun? Do certain types of fabrics cause problems?

It’s easy to understand why the term “sensitive skin” may carry different meanings for different people. For example: if someone is complaining about sensitive skin to their esthetician, do they mean they are allergic to certain products or perhaps their skin simply reacts to certain ingredients more intensely than most people do. With so much variation in how a person may define their “sensitive” skin, it is important to understand how they are defining the term, sensitive.

Acne or Rosacea: Skin that is especially sensitive to products may react by producing acne or inflaming an existing rosacea condition. Excessive oils in products can easily clog the pores for people with this type of sensitivity. Instead of using products specially designed for “sensitive skin”, search for the underlying problem such as oily skin or inflamed skin.

Burning and Stinging: Some people apply a skin care product and immediately (or even after a few minutes) begin to experience a “burning or stinging” sensation on the face. This is not necessarily the same as an allergic reaction. Usually the cause of this sensation cannot be pinned down and remains unknown. Some ingredients have been known to cause this reaction more frequently including: lactic acid, azaelic acid, benzoic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin c and AHA’s.
A dermatologist may perform a test (once again, not an allergy test) to determine which ingredient the skin in reacting to so a patient can avoid products that will invoke a reaction. Currently there is no substantive research to determine why the skin will responds this way or a treatment that will work for everyone when it occurs. Usually removal of the product will reduce the sensation and it will go away on its own after a few minutes to several hours (depending on the original application amount).

Contact Dermatitis (Allergies): Finally, the issue most people refer to when they talk about sensitive skin. This refers to a specific allergy to a product, material or ingredient that causes an adverse reaction. An allergen is a reaction to a specific ingredient which your body is producing anti-bodies to combat the reaction. This is not the same as an irritant which will cause a reaction when applied to the skin (such as bleach on skin) but your body is not actively fighting as an allergy.

Trying to Determine the Cause: When a dermatologist is searching for the cause of an allergic reaction, they will need to rely heavily on a patient’s history to narrow down possible suspects. Remember, doctors need complete disclosure of any product usage to obtain accurate results. When you withhold critical information for one reason or another, it prolongs the process and could lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary additional tests to find an unknown cause.

Avoiding the Problem: If you are shopping for new products or want to undergo any skin care treatment, make sure to inform your esthetician of any adverse reactions you’ve had prior to your appointment. This will prevent complications when specialized products are used. Remember that many spa products use higher concentrations of ingredients to obtain more dramatic results so telling your esthetician in advance can prevent a severe reaction.

Conclusion: Searching for products geared towards “sensitive skin” can be a waste of time and money if you don’t know to root of your problem. Determining a true allergy versus and irritation can help resolve a lot of mystery and ensure you have proper treatment should an allergic reaction occur. Remember that not all skin reactions require medical attention but if you have any concerns or contact with potentially dangerous materials, contact your primary care physician immediately. A referral to a skin care specialist may be necessary for especially sensitive care cases or concerns.

Learn more great skin care tips online at http://www.bellaninainstitute.com.

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Have you ever stopped to look at your feet? Feet are one of those areas of the body that are overworked and underappreciated. Whether you sit at a desk or walk around all day, your feet are suffering constant abuse. In the middle of winter you may not care about how your feet look but when summer rolls around you may wish you had spent just a little time preparing your feet for to be showcased in those fabulous new strappy sandals.

Examine your feet carefully:
Does the skin around your toes appear dry and flaky?
Is your heel covered with dry and course skin?
Are there calluses lining the pad of your foot?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you are one of the millions of people with dry skin. Dry skin is a chronic skin type that can come and go and may only affect certain areas of the body (such as the feet or hands). Dry skin is mostly just irritating but can lead to problems such as cracks or infections if left untreated. During the winter dry skin increases due to changes in the environment and increased use of interior heaters which remove necessary moisture from the air.

So what may have caused your cracked heels and dry toes?

Many things can influence your feet such as wearing properly fitted shoes, age, psoriasis, diabetes, athlete’s foot, exposure to outside elements and lifestyle. Your feet develop thicker skin due to constant use (and abuse) but this skin can still be easily damaged. Taking the time to repair this damage will not only make your feet look better but feel better too.

What to do:

A pumice stone is a wonderful investment when trying to combat extremely dry or tough skin. This will help remove build up of dead layers of skin and allow healthy new skin to develop.

Apply a foot cream designed to soften those rough spots. Apply this at night and wear socks to bed to help seal in the moisture and give your feet time to repair while you sleep. Avoid lotions as most contain alcohol which will cause more dryness and may irritate the damaged areas (especially cracked skin).

Examine your shoes and invest in a new pair if you notice any tightness or rubbing against the skin. Improperly fitting shoes can lead to much more significant problems than dry skin in the long run!

Final Thoughts

You may not think your feet need care but remember that taking care of your body is important and neglecting any area will lead to trouble down the line. Most foot care treatments require five minutes or less a day to apply and can be done at night to avoid disrupting your day. Be ready to break out the sandals this summer and have fabulous looking feet that will be the envy of all the toes at the beach!

Lotions, lotions everywhere but which one should you choose?

Have you ever stood before an aisle with over a hundred different types of skin lotions and felt that gnawing sense of being in over your head? Just like people are not the same, lotions are not the same either. A body lotion that is meant for your legs and arms has no business being spread across your face and a lotion meant for your eyes won’t have the results you want for dry hands.

Take the time to learn about why different lotions are available and which type to use for your skin. Remember that knowledge is the first step towards becoming a smarter consumer and one step further on the road to better skin care.

Body Lotion

As the name suggests, body lotion is meant to be applied to the larger areas of your body such as your arms, legs, stomach and chest. This area is generally covered by clothes and protected from the harsher elements of nature and sun (this of course changes in warmer months) and does not show signs of aging as quickly as the face, hands or neck.

Although there are many different brands and types of body lotion available, most have similar ingredients and characteristics. A general body lotion (not targeting any one specific skin type) will have more water than specialized lotions and can be used all over the main part of the body on a daily basis.

Facial Cremes

Unlike body lotions which offer the same benefits no matter where it is applied on the body, facial cremes are designed to target very specific problems and skin care issues. Since the skin on your face is thinner, it is more prone to premature aging and other skin issues.

Facial cremes are typically designed for a skin type and concern. If you had oily skin you would want an oil free moisturizer to hydrate the skin without adding excessive oils. If you had naturally dry skin you would want a thicker lotion with added oils designed to rehydrate those cells.

Mature skin that has developed fine lines and wrinkles or sagging tissue requires specialized ingredients designed to penetrate the outer layers and stimulate collagen production and restore elasticity. Although this will take time and dedication, a good skin care routine can help to minimize these issues.

Eye Creme

Even more specific is eye creme. This is usually a light-weight formula that should be applied very delicately. The tissue around the eye is very thin and delicate.  In addition, there are no oil glands directly beneath the eyes so greater moisturization helps keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay.  Select eye cremes with anti-oxidant protection to help with free radical damage from the sun.

Conclusion

Take the time to learn about conscientious skin cares and choose your products wisely. They will not do any good sitting in the cupboard when you realize they are not the best match for you so make an investment in the products that will keep you looking your best!

Nothing sounds better than a sweet, sugary treat to end your day. Don’t break out the ice cream to soothe your mind, break out some sweet bath and body treats instead!

There is no better way to heal the body and calm the mind than a nice hot soak in the tub. It’s a chance to sit back, relax and allow your mind to wander. Busy moms looking for a little R & R, business women needing to slow down for a break and stressed out college students cramming for an exam can all agree that time to step away from the daily grind can be a wonderful thing.

Sugar is one of those wonderful and natural remedies for the skin. Acting as an exfoliate sugar can restore balance to the bodies natural oils and clear blemishes without clogging the pores. Sugar also contains glycolic acid, a popular ingredient is many skin care products, will condition the skin and protect it from toxins.

Start your trip towards sugary bliss and healthier skin with the soothing comfort and sweet scents of a Sugar Sweet Body Wash. This is a smooth lather that will cleanse the skin and leave it feeling luxuriously soft.

Try a Sugarbutter Body Scrub to exfoliate the skin and leave it feeling healthy and refresh. Remember that the removal of dead skin cells is essential if you want to keep your skin smooth, supple and looking radiant. By removing dead cells, you will be encouraging new and healthy skin to develop.

Complete your journey with a Sugar Smoothie Body Crème that will seal in the moisture and leave your skin feeling smoother, longer. Cleaning and exfoliating the skin provides some of the greatest benefits possible but it also robs the skin of essential oils and moisture. After thoroughly drying your body it is important to apply a moisturizer to replenish the skin cells.

Begin or end your day on a sweet note and try the benefits of sugar body and bath essentials. Your body and mind will thank you!