Archives for category: Skin Damage

Everyone at some point in their life will have chapped lips. Whether it is a mild annoyance or a serious interference on your everyday life, chapped lips should never just be ignored.

What causes chapped lips?

Chapped lips can occur for many reasons. Common causes include:

  • Dry/Cold weather: During the winter especially, staying inside and relying on forced air can dry out the skin, especially the lips and lead to cracking skin.
  • Medications: certain medications, such as those containing retinoids, high doses of vitamin a or certain chemotherapy medications can lead to dry skin, especially in the lips.
  • Dehydration: a lack of hydration affects all areas of your body, including the delicate skin on your lips.
  • Frequently licking your lips: it may sound counter-intuitive but frequently licking your lips can actually remove moisture and cause your lips to feel drier and begin to crack. Side note: bacteria from your mouth can enter these tiny cracks and cause infections – this can lead to serious medical problems that require medication.

How can they be fixed?

The good news is many over-the-counter remedies will work to smooth your lips and restore proper hydration. Here are some simple tips to remember:

  • Your lips need to be protected just like the rest of your skin. Choose a lip balm with SPF to prevent any damage from UV rays.
  • Avoid flavored lips balms which encourage licking as these will remove the balm and cause your lips to dry out further.
  • Lips balms with aloe vera and vitamin e may help to reduce redness and irritation.
  • Reapply frequently as lip balm gets removed by daily activities such as talking and eating.

One product that really works is Vibran C .  

When to seek medical attention

Persistent dry lips which do not respond to at-home treatment options should be looked at by a medical professional. Remember that your skin is an indicator of overall health and you should not ignore persistent skin issues, even if they seem inconsequential.

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Summer means warmer weather and bare skin. If you shave your legs regularly, it is important to know how to properly care for your skin and keep it looking silky and smooth.

Did you know that every time you shave, you’re removing essential moisture from the skin? Skin relies on good oils to stay smooth and prevent dryness patches, flaking and cracking. When your skin is properly hydrated it will look healthier and more vibrant. Although the skin on your legs is thicker, it does not mean that you can use a standard body lotion following shaving to restore lost oils.

Not all lotions are created equal. In fact, many lotions contain ingredients can contain ingredients that will irritate sensitive skin. Shaving can lead to small nicks and cuts (sometimes so tiny you can’t even see them) that can especially sensitive to any skin care products used. You also want to avoid using any products such as aftershave lotion which is designed for the face, not the body.

So what can you use?

Baby oil is a great way to gently hydrate your legs. It is much thicker than a standard moisturizer so you will want to properly rub a small amount of oil onto your legs and then blot the excess away with a towel to prevent damaging sheets or clothes that touch your legs. Allow it to air dry before getting dressed or going to bed. Don’t use too much or it will not absorb.

Go with the growth

Do not rub any products onto your skin from bottom to top. Hair grows downward so start at your thighs and move down to the feet to prevent any irritation.

Helpful Hint:

Shaving at night before bed is ideal. This way, you can apply oil on the skin and allow it to absorb fully overnight without irritating the skin.

Want to learn more about keeping your skin looking its best? Visit us online at www.bellaninainstute.com

It’s summertime and the sun is finally starting to show. Now comes the time to choose a sunscreen that will protect your skin from those harmful UV rays we hear about all the time. Before grabbing the sunscreen next to the breath mints at checkout however, take some time to learn which sun blocker is going to give you the most bang for your buck.

So, what is an “SPF” anyway?

Sun Protection Factor rates how long the sunscreen is going to remain effective on your skin after application. If you want to work out the math, multiply the SPF by how long it takes your skin to suffer from a burn after being exposed to the sun with no protection at all.

For example: If you normally burn after 10 minutes with no protection, an SPF 15 will provide you with approximately 150 minutes of protection. Now here’s the rub: the effectiveness of a sunscreen can be lessened depending on the activity.

So, what do you need?

A summer tan may be stylish but remember that every time you go into the sun without adequate protection you are increasing your odds of developing serious skin conditions down the line. Not to mention more immediate effects such as burned skin, dryness and irritation. Your skin is a sensitive system that relies on being properly protected in order to function optimally. If you don’t want to develop rough, wrinkled skin that looks like leather, pay attention to the SPF your choosing.

An SPF of at least 15 is recommended but research shows that kicking that up to an SPF 30 will provide significantly more protection during the day. Also, you can’t just apply once and forget it. Sunscreen should be applied at least every 2 hours (maybe more if you are swimming or sweating).

Types of Sunscreens Available

There are two types of sunscreens available: chemical and physical.

Chemical sunscreens will absorb the UV rays but carry the risk on increasing the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers.

Physical sunscreens contain active ingredients that will reflect the harmful rays away from the skin.

What Ingredients to Look For

Search for ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, red petrolatum, or talc. These are commonly used in physical sunscreens and work well to protect the skin without adverse side effects.

Great Choices This Summer:

Warmer weather means t-shirts, shorts and sandal season is just around the corner. As you start to dig through our summer wardrobe and make sure everything still fits, you may notice that your skin is not looking so hot. No, we don’t mean pale skin from being covered all winter (although we have a solution for that as well).

Winter skin is a common occurrence because during the colder months we tend to cover much of our bodies and therefore fall out of our good skin care habits. As the sun comes out though and the time has come to slip into a pair of shorts however you may notice that your legs are not looking so great. So what can you do to get back to fighting shape?

1) Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
We can’t emphasize the importance of exfoliation enough when it comes to good skin care. Sure, you may shower every day but that is not enough. Even if you are using a loofah which promises to exfoliate your skin every time you shower…it’s not enough. Exfoliation means using a cleanser that has been specially designed to penetrate those dead skin cells and remove them without causing damage to healthy skin below.

Look for a good cleanser with micro beads to really help your skin to look fresh and ready for summer. A body cleanser will typically use a rougher texture than a facial exfoli-cleanser so shop carefully. Exfoliating cleanser help aid in healthy skin production by removing those built up layers of dead skin. Failing to exfoliate at least 2-3 times per week leads to dryness, flaking and eventually…wrinkles.

2) Moisturize Daily!
Skin thrives on being properly hydrated. If you have dry skin naturally it is even more important to moisturize in the morning and before going to bed. If you have oily skin and are prone to break outs, search for an oil-free moisturizer that will seal in good oils without adding anymore.

3) Cover Up!
Yeah, we know you want to get that fabulous summer tan but don’t lay out in the sun “baking” for hours on end. Not only is that exposing the skin to those harmful UV rays we have all heard about, but it is drying your skin out even more and causing irreparable cellular damage.
A good SPF 30 will protect the skin and keep it looking great all summer. Try a combo moisturizer and SPF to do double the good. If you are really looking for a healthy summer “glow”, try a sunless tanner.

4) Change the products to match the season!
Winter meant heavy moisturizers to combat dry and chapped skin. As summer rolls in it is time to swap out your products for lighter products. A light weight and non greasy moisturizer will feel more comfortable as the temperatures start to rise. Remember, in the summer you will sweat more and (if you’re outdoorsy) be more exposed to dirt, grime and other environmental elements. Your pores will retain much of this build up so don’t increase it more with thick moisturizers.
Bonus Tip – Wash your skin daily to avoid build up and summer acne!

5) Develop a routine and stick with it!
Daily skin care is like a daily workout. At first it may be difficult to get into the habit but eventually you will wonder how you ever went without it. We recommend pairing your daily skin routine with something that you do daily already. Taking the time to wash your face with a good exfoliator right after brushing your teeth (for example) would get it out of the way and eventually just become something you do automatically.
Don’t think of skin care as something that is nice to do but not really necessary. As we age the skin requires just as much maintenance as any other area of the body. Taking care of it now will prevent future problems and keep it looking smoother, younger and healthier as you get older.

6) Do your homework!
A fancy bottle or a name brand does not ensure high quality products. If you are battling a specific skin issue especially, take the time to research the product ingredients and the company. Over the counter moisturizers and cleansers seem like a good deal but not when they are more water than anything else! Investing in high quality products will be more effective and have longer lasting results.
Check with a local esthetician or dermatologist for questions about your specific skin care needs. Remember that a commitment to great skin means taking the time to choose the right products and use them as directed.

Look great this summer with younger, smoother looking skin. Remember these six steps and your skin is sure to look fabulous all year round!

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.

Getting a fabulous tan this year may be healthier than you think. Instead of booking a trip to the Caribbean, try heading out the local grocery store and stocking up on carrots, sweet potatoes and mangoes. Doctors have encouraged improving our diets for years but with great skin as an added bonus, who can resist?

So what is research telling us now? Studies are showing that people who eat more fruits and veggies (rich in carotenoids) have healthier looking skin. Carotenoids are vital in reproduction and immune responses. They are commonly found in red and yellow vegetables such as red or yellow peppers, spinach, apricots and melons. As an added incentive, these fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants which offer protection against the damaging effects of the sun.
Your skin looks its best when it is healthy and working properly. This means that skin cell production is nourished by nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants. When new skin cells develop, they are affected by the diet we maintain. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits will increase the carotenoids in our bodies and give the skin a healthier more yellow or golden tone.
Interestingly enough, when participants in these studies were asked to choose which skin looked better, tanned or cartenoid rich, participants consistently chose those with lovely tans from their veggies and not the suns rays.
So here is a great reason to listen to your doctor and protect your skin from the sun this year. If you are still craving that “sun glow” and veggies just aren’t enough, try a sunless tanner to get all the benefits without any of the UV damage.
Happy tannins (and eating)!

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!