Archive for January, 2015

Cholera – An Infectious Disease

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

 

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.

The disease is most common in places with poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine. Common locations include parts of Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. If you are traveling to one of those areas, knowing the following cholera facts can help protect you and your family.

Cholera Causes

Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, is usually found in food or water contaminated by feces from a person with the infection. Common sources include:

  • Municipal water supplies
  • Ice made from municipal water
  • Foods and drinks sold by street vendors
  • Vegetables grown with water containing human wastes
  • Raw or undercooked fish and seafood caught in waters polluted with sewage

When a person consumes the contaminated food or water, the bacteria release a toxin in the intestines that produces severe diarrhea.

It is not likely you will catch cholera just from casual contact with an infected person.

Cholera Symptoms

Symptoms of cholera can begin as soon as a few hours or as long as five days after infection. Often, symptoms are mild. But sometimes they are very serious. About one in 20 people infected have severe watery diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, which can quickly lead to dehydration. Although many infected people may have minimal or no symptoms, they can still contribute to spread of the infection.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity (the ability to return to original position quickly if pinched)
  • Dry mucous membranes, including the inside of the mouth, throat, nose, and eyelids
  • Low blood pressure
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps

If not treated, dehydration can lead to shock and death in a matter of hours.

Cholera Treatment and Prevention

Although there is a vaccine against cholera, the CDC and World Health Organization don’t normally recommend it, because it may not protect up to half of the people who receive it and it lasts only a few months. However, you can protect yourself and your family by using only water that has been boiled, water that has been chemically disinfected, or bottled water. Be sure to use the bottled, boiled, or chemically disinfected water for the following purposes:

  • Drinking
  • Preparing food or drinks
  • Making ice
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Washing your face and hands
  • Washing dishes and utensils that you use to eat or prepare food
  • Washing fruits and vegetables

To disinfect your own water, boil it for one minute (or 3 minutes at higher elevations) or filter it and use a commercial chemical disinfectant. You should also avoid raw foods, including the following:

  • Unpeeled fruits and vegetables
  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products
  • Raw or undercooked meat or shellfish
  • Fish caught in tropical reefs, which may be contaminated

If you develop severe, watery diarrhea and vomiting — particularly after eating raw shellfish or traveling to a country where cholera is epidemic -seek medical help immediately. Cholera is highly treatable, but because dehydration can happen quickly, it’s important to get cholera treatment right away.

Hydration is the mainstay of treatment for cholera. Depending on how severe the diarrhea is, treatment will consist of oral or intravenous solutions to replace lost fluids. Antibiotics, which kill the bacteria, are not part of emergency treatment for mild cases.  But they can reduce the duration of diarrhea by half and also reduce the excretion of the bacteria, thus helping to prevent the spread of the disease.

25 Top Heart-Healthy Foods

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

1. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids.

Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.

Flaxseed (ground)

Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens.

Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods — yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.

Oatmeal

Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber.

Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.

Black or Kidney Beans

B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.

Give soup or salad a nutrient boost — stir in some beans.

Almonds

Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.

Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.

Walnuts

Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.

Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.

Red wine

Catechins and reservatrol (flavonoids).

Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve “good” HDL cholesterol.

Tuna

Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin.

Here’s lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep “Salad Spritzer” – a light dressing — in your office fridge.

Tofu

Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.

Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.

Brown rice

B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber.

Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).

Soy milk

Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens.

Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.

Blueberries

Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber.

Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too — for trail mixes, muffins, salads!

Carrots

Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber.

Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.

Spinach

Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber.

Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.

Broccoli

Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber.

Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).

Sweet potato

Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber.

Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.

Red bell peppers

Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.

Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.

Asparagus

Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber.

Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. It’s a pretty side dish.

Oranges

Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.

Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.

Tomatoes

Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.

For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.

Acorn squash

Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber.

Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.

Cantaloupe

Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.

A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!

Papaya

Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.

Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.

Dark chocolate

Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids).

A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.

Tea

Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids).

Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.

How are Ear Infections Treated?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

How Are Ear Infections Treated?

Most mild ear infections clear up without intervention. Some of the following methods are effective in relieving the symptoms of a mild ear infection:

  • applying a warm cloth to the affected ear
  • taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • using over-the-counter or prescription ear drops to relieve pain
  • taking over-the-counter decongestants such as pseudoephedrine.

If your symptoms get worse or do not improve, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she may prescribe antibiotics if your ear infection is chronic or does not appear to be improving. If a child under the age of 2 presents with ear infection symptoms, a doctor will likely give him or her antibiotics as well. It is important to finish your entire course of antibiotics if they are prescribed.

Surgery may be an option if your ear infection is not eliminated with the usual medical treatments or if you have many ear infections over a short period of time. Most often, tubes are placed in the ears to allow fluid to drain out. In cases that involve enlarged adenoids, surgical removal of the adenoids may be necessary.

What Can Be Expected in the Long Term?

Ear infections usually clear up without intervention, but they may recur. The following rare but serious complications may follow an ear infection:

  • hearing loss
  • speech or language delay in children
  • mastoiditis (an infection of the mastoid bone in the skull)
  • meningitis (a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • a ruptured ear drum

How Can Ear Infections Be Prevented?

The following practices have been proven to reduce the risk of ear infection:

  • washing your hands often
  • avoiding overly crowded areas
  • forgoing pacifiers with infants and small children
  • breast-feeding infants
  • avoiding secondhand smoke
  • keeping immunizations up-to-date

Ear Infections

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

 

An ear infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear—the sections of your ear just behind the eardrum. Ear infections can be painful because of inflammation and fluid build up in the middle ear.

Ear infections can be chronic or acute. Acute ear infections are painful but short in duration.Chronic ear infections do not clear up, or they recur many times. Chronic ear infections can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ear.

What Causes an Ear Infection?

Ear infections occur when one of your Eustachian tubes becomes swollen or blocked and fluid builds up in your middle ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. The causes of Eustachian tube blockage include:

  • allergies
  • colds
  • sinus infections
  • excess mucus
  • tobacco smoking
  • infected or swollen adenoids (tissue near your tonsils that trap harmful bacteria and viruses)

Risk Factors for Ear Infections

Ear infections occur most commonly in young children because they have short and narrow Eustachian tubes. Infants who are bottle-fed also have a higher incidence of ear infections than their breastfed counterparts. Other factors that increase the risk of developing an ear infection are:

  • altitude changes
  • climate changes
  • exposure to cigarette smoke
  • pacifier use
  • recent illness or ear infection

What Are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?

A few of the common symptoms of ear infections include:

  • mild pain or discomfort inside the ear
  • a feeling of pressure inside the ear that persists
  • fussiness in young infants
  • pus-like ear drainage
  • hearing loss

These symptoms might persist or come and go. Symptoms may occur in one or both ears. Chronic ear infection symptoms may be less noticeable than those of acute ear infections.

Children younger than six months who have a fever or ear infection symptoms should see a doctor. Always seek medical attention if your child has a fever higher than 102 degrees or severe ear pain.

How Are Ear Infections Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your ears with an instrument called an otoscope that has a light and magnifying lens. Examination may reveal:

  • redness, air bubbles, or pus-like fluid inside the middle ear
  • fluid draining from the middle ear
  • a perforation in the eardrum
  • a bulging or collapsed eardrum

If your infection is advanced, your doctor may take a sample of the fluid inside your ear and test it to determine whether certain types of antibiotic resistant bacteria are present. He or she may also order a computed tomography (CT) scan of your head to determine if the infection has spread beyond the middle ear. Finally, you may need a hearing test, especially if you are suffering from chronic ear infections.

How to Care for Rough, Dry Feet

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

1. Rough, dry feet is ONLY due to carelessness and negligence. It is also very easy to transform into healthy feet. Within a matter of two weeks, you can have healthy feet if you promise to care for it everyday.

2. Use can try moisturizing your feet with natural concoctions such as: Banana and honey mixture, cold milk, mayonnaise, etc.

3 . The same effect can be brought about by purchasing the perfect moisturizer.There is no drawback to picking an artificial moisturizer to a natural moisturizer when it comes to feet. Invest your money on Body Shop body butter products, Milk & Toner moisturizer by Nivea, Jergens Musk moisturizer, or plain old baby oil or best results.

4 . Do not scrub feet more than required. Clean feet regularly but don’t treat it to harsh chemicals and bases.

Tips : Try to follow the steps everyday to have results within 5 days.

Home Remedies to Remove Age Spots

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
1. Use lemon juice :  Lemon juice contains citric acid, which can help to bleach age spots. Simply dab a little fresh lemon juice directly onto the sun spot and leave to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing off. Do this twice a day and you should start to see results in a month or two.
  • Lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight (and could make the age spot worse) so never leave lemon juice on your skin if you’re going outside.
  • If you have very sensitive skin, the lemon juice might be irritating on your skin, so try diluting it to half strength with water or rosewater before applying.
2.Use buttermilk :  Buttermilk contains lactic acid, which bleaches the skin in the same way as the citric acid in lemon juice. Apply a little buttermilk directly onto your age spots and leave for 15 minutes to half an hour before rinsing off. Do this twice a day.
  • If you tend to have very oily skin, it’s a good idea to mix the buttermilk with a little lemon juice before applying, as this will prevent your skin from becoming greasy.
  • For added benefit, mix a little tomato juice in with the buttermilk, as tomato also contains bleaching properties which can help to reduce age spots
3. Use honey and yogurt : A combination of honey and yogurt is believed to be beneficial when it comes to reducing age spots.

  • Simply mix equal parts of honey and plain yogurt together and apply directly onto the age spots.
  • Leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off. Do this twice a day.

4. Use apple cider vinegar :  Apple cider vinegar is an important ingredient in many home remedies, including one for age spots! Apply a little apple cider vinegar directly onto the age spots and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing off.

  • Only use this treatment once a day, as apple cider vinegar can be drying on the skin. You should start to see an improvement in the appearance of the age spots after about six weeks.
  • For added benefit, mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part onion juice (which you can extract by pushing chopped onion through a strainer) and apply this to the age spots instead.
5. Use aloe vera : Aloe vera is commonly used to treat a number of skin ailments, including age spots. Simply rub a little fresh aloe vera gel (taken directly from the plant) onto the affected area and leave to soak in.

  • As aloe vera is very gentle, there is no need to rinse it off. However, you may want to rinse it off if it starts to feel sticky.
  • If you don’t have access to the gel from an aloe vera plant, you can bu fresh aloe vera juice at the market or health food store. This works just as well.
6.Use castor oil :  Castor oil is known for its skin healing properties and has proven effective in the treatment of age spots. Apply a little castor oil directly onto the age spots and massage into the skin for a minute or two until absorbed.
  • Do this once in the morning and once in the evening, and you should start to see an improvement in about a month.
  • If you suffer from dry skin, you can mix a little coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil in with the castor oil for added moisturization.
7.Use sandalwood :  Sandalwood is believed to contain effective anti-aging properties, and is often used to reduce the appearance of age spots.
  • Mix a pinch of sandalwood powder with a couple of drops each of rose water , glycerin and lemon juice. Apply this paste onto the age spots and leave to dry for 20 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
  • Alternatively, you could massage a drop of pure sandalwood essential oil directly onto the age spots.

4 foods to beat cold and flu symptoms

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

1. Liquids: water, juice, decafinated tea


Cold and flu bugs thrive in dried-out throats and nasal passages, but drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can help keep your mucous membranes moist so they’re better able to trap viruses. Then you can either blow them out your nose or swallow them so they’re destroyed by your stomach acids before they have a chance to make you sick. Not only can this help  prevent colds , but it’s just as useful if you’re already sick.

If you have a  sore throat sip your water hot with a bit of honey (to coat your throat) and lemon (to shrink swollen throat tissues and help kill off virus cells), or add honey and lemon to tea.

Aim for: At least eight glasses of water or other fluids each day, and more if you have a fever.

Helpful hint:
 When choosing fruit juice, choose unsweetened varieties that do not have added sugars. To get the most vitamin C from your juice, grab some frozen juice concentrate from the freezer section and drink it within a week of mixing it up.

2. Chicken soup

For starters, hot chicken  soup raises the temperature in your nose and throat, creating an inhospitable environment for viruses that prefer cooler, drier climes. Next, just like a hot, steamy shower, hot, steamy soup thins out mucus so you can more easily blow it out.

Aim for: There’s no prescribed “dosage” for chicken soup, so just enjoy a steaming bowlful when you’re feeling sniffly and sneezy.

Helpful hint: Vegetarians don’t have to miss out. In the Nebraska study, vegetable soup was just as effective for slowing neutrophil activity as soups.

3. Garlic

Those pungent cloves contain allicin, a potent antimicrobial that can fend off bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Aim for: 
If you can stand it, chew a clove every 3 to 4 hours. You can also cut the clove into pieces and swallow them like pills. Or simply add them to your chicken soup, along with some onions. But chop garlic first and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to the soup. This will allow its therapeutic compounds to form.

Helpful hint: It’s totally wacky, but one way to get children to consume garlic if they won’t eat it raw is to crush two cloves in a garlic press and put one in each of their socks. As they run around, the garlic will be absorbed through their skin.

4. Spices and spicy condiments

According to Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), cinnamon, coriander, and ginger promote sweating and are often used to help break a fever. You may also be able to unclog your stuffy nose by generously spicing up some dishes with cayenne, horseradish, or (for lovers of sushi) wasabi. Each of these condiments can shrink the blood vessels in your nose and throat to temporarily relieve congestion.

Aim for: As much of the spicy hot stuff as you can comfortably stand.

Helpful hint:
 Try this Ayurvedic fever reducer: In a cup (250 mL) of hot water, mix 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) each of powdered coriander and cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) of powdered ginger. Let it steep for 10 minutes, then drink.

Some of the most common reasons people get a sore throat

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

 

Cold or Flu?

Most sore throats are caused by viral infections, such as a cold or flu. Often you’ll have other symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, a mild fever, and fatigue.

It can be hard to tell the difference between a cold and flu, but the flu tends to cause worse symptoms, like high fever and muscle aches.

If your sore throat is from a virus, antibiotics won’t help. Instead, gargle with warm salt water and use over-the-counter treatments like lozenges and sprays.

The Dreaded Strep

Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria. Symptoms can include throat pain, white patches on your tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, and fever. When you have strep throat, you usually don’t have a runny nose or cough.

Anyone can get strep throat, but children between the ages of 5 and 15 tend to get it most often. In adults, only 10% of sore throats are caused by strep, says Linder.

To find out if you have it, your doctor may swab the back of your throat to do a rapid strep test.

Something You Ate?

When acid from your stomach comes up through your esophagus — the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach — your throat can get sore and irritated. Known as acid reflux, this is one of the most overlooked causes of sore throats.

People with acid reflux may also have a dry cough, trouble swallowing, and feel like they have a lump in their throat.

If you have acid reflux, your doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes, like switching to a low-fat, high protein diet, and limiting alcohol and coffee. Over-the-counter medication may help, or your doctor may prescribe you something.

Allergies: Sore Throat Surprise

A runny nose can lead to post-nasal drip, when mucus runs down the back of your throat.

If you think allergies are the cause of your sore throat, sneezing, and runny nose, try an over-the-counter allergy medication. If that doesn’t bring relief, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.

When to Call Your Doctor

1. You have a sore throat isn’t better after 3 days.
2. You’ve had a fever higher than 100.4 F for more than 2 days.
3. You have asthma, heart disease, HIV, diabetes, or are pregnant. You may be at a higher risk of complications from infections from a sore throat.

Eczema

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

 

Eczema is a general term that describes several different conditions in which skin is inflamed, red, scaly, and itchy. Eczema is a common skin condition, and atopic dermatitis (also called atopic eczema) is one of the most common forms of eczema.Eczema can occur in adults or children. The condition is not contagious.

What Causes Atopic Eczema?

The cause of atopic eczema is not known, but the condition often affects people with a family history of allergies. Many individuals with eczema also have hay fever and/or asthma or have family members with those conditions.

Some factors can trigger a flare-up of eczema or make eczema worse, but they do not cause the condition. Eczema triggers include stress, skin irritants (including soaps, skin care products, or some fabrics), allergens, and climate/environment.

What Are the Symptoms of Atopic Eczema?

The appearance of eczema can vary from person to person. In adults, eczema occurs most frequently on the hands and elbows, and in “bending” areas such as the inside of the elbows and back of the knees. In young children, eczema is often seen on the elbows, knees, face, neck, and scalp. Signs and symptoms of atopic eczema include:

  • Itchiness
  • Skin redness
  • Dry, scaly, or crusted skin that might become thick and leathery from long-term scratching
  • Formation of small, fluid-filled blisters that might ooze when scratched
  • Infection of the areas where the skin has been broken

How Is Atopic Eczema Diagnosed?

Atopic eczema usually is diagnosed with an analysis of a person’s history of symptoms and with an exam of the skin. A doctor might test an area of scaly or crusted skin to rule out other skin diseases or infections.

How Is Atopic Eczema Treated?

Atopic eczema can be treated with medications, including over-the-counter creams and ointments containing the steroid hydrocortisone (for example, Cortizone-10, Cort-Aid, Dermarest Eczema, Neosporin Eczema). These products may help control the itching, swelling, and redness associated with eczema. Prescription-strength cortisone creams, as well as cortisone pills and shots, are also used for more severe cases of eczema

Can Atopic Eczema Be Prevented?

Currently, there is no effective strategy for preventing atopic eczema, but the symptoms of the condition can improve. To improve the signs of eczema:

  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid scratchy materials (for example, wool) and chemicals such as harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents
  • Moisturize frequently
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity
  • Avoid situations that cause sweating and overheating

The Disadvantages of Fasting

Monday, January 19th, 2015

 

People choose to fast for a variety of reasons, whether they are related to health, weight loss, finances or religion. Fasting can range from juice-only fasts to fasts that exclude all food and fluid, such as dry fasting. While fasts could occasionally have some health benefits, they could also be very dangerous. Fasting has negative impacts in the short and long term, and has detrimental effects for many people, including those who want to lose weight. Ultimately, the effects of abstaining from food vary largely based on the individual who is fasting.

Weight Management

Fasting can actually be detrimental for weight management, according to registered dietitians on MayoClinic.com. After a period of fasting, research shows people tend to crave starchier foods, with higher calorie content. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Extreme hunger also causes you to pack on more calories than are healthy for the body to consume in one sitting. Ultimately, fasting can reverse the intended effects of a weight management plan.

Short-Term Side Effects

There are many short-term side effects of fasting. These include headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms. People who are fasting may experience an impaired ability to conduct certain tasks, such as operate machinery or drive a vehicle. Fasting could also cause flareups of certain conditions such as gout or gallstones. Fasting could impair the body’s ability to absorb certain medications or even alter drug interactions in the body.

Long-Term Side Effects

Fasting has detrimental impacts in the long term as well. Not only can fasting damage the immune system, it can also negatively affect many of the body’s organs, including the liver and kidneys. Fasting could interfere with vital bodily function. Abstaining from eating could also be potentially dangerous in individuals who are already malnourished, for example, cancer patients. It’s even possible for fasting to result in death when the body’s stored energy is entirely depleted.

Dry Fasting

While there are many methods of fasting, dry fasting — or avoiding all fluid and food intake — is particularly dangerous. Dry fasting can quickly lead to dehydration and death in just a matter of days. The American Cancer Society reports the health impact of dry fasting varies largely based on the individual and context. Factors such as heat, heavy exertion and compromised health can make dry fasting lethal in just a matter of hours.

Laryngitis

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

What is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx – the tube-like structure at the entrance of your windpipe(trachea). The Adam’s apple represents where the larynx sticks out at the front of the throat.

The larynx contains two membranes – vocal cords – which vibrate as air passes between them. When someone develops laryngitis, these membranes become inflamed, and because they can no longer vibrate properly it causes hoarseness or loss of voice.

As well as loss of voice and hoarseness, laryngitis can also cause a  sore throat, mild fever and headache.

Are there different types of laryngitis?

There are two main types of laryngitis:

  • Acute laryngitis, where symptoms do not last longer than three weeks.
  • Chronic laryngitis, where symptoms persist for longer than three weeks.

What causes laryngitis?

Acute laryngitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection, such as a cold or flu .

Another type of acute laryngitis is mechanical laryngitis. This can be caused by:

  • Overusing or misusing your voice
  • Excessive, singing, speaking or shouting
  • Persistent coughing and throat clearing
  • A throat injury

Chronic laryngitis can be caused by:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease ( GORD ) – a condition where acid leaks back up into the throat.
  • An allergic reaction to dust, fumes, chemicals and toxins.

How is laryngitis diagnosed?

Most people who have laryngitis get well by themselves without the need for treatment.

A visit to a GP is usually only necessary in cases of chronic laryngitis (where symptoms have lasted for more than three weeks), where a patient has difficulty breathing, or in cases where there is a high fever and  swollen glands . In such cases a  GP  might take a throat swab to check for fungal or bacterial infection.

In cases where no diagnosis can be made, a patient may be referred to an  ear , nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

How is laryngitis treated?

Acute laryngitis: Many cases of laryngitis are suitable for self-care at home. Resting the voice is particularly important. Other treatments may include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Taking  paracetamol  or  ibuprofen  might ease some of the other symptoms, such as  sore throat , headache and fever.
  • Many people find inhaling steam – such as from a hot bath or shower, or a cool mist humidifier – helps them feel better.
  • Avoid  smoking or breathing in other people’s smoke.

Chronic laryngitis: Smokers should  stop smoking . People who drink excessively should reduce their consumption as alcohol contains a number of impurities that can irritate the larynx.

There are a number of other ways that chronic laryngitis may be treated. For instance:

  • If laryngitis is caused by  GORD, additional treatment may be needed to control acid reflux from the stomach.
  • If the symptoms are due to an allergic reaction, identifying and avoiding the specific substance that you are allergic to is one option. Antihistamines can be used to help control an allergic response.
  • If symptoms are due to misusing or overusing your voice, a patient may be referred for vocal therapy which can help you make changes to avoid damaging your larynx.

Earache: Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Causes of Earache

Just as the pain from earache affects people in different ways, there are a variety of causes of earache. Some of them affect the ear itself, others are from conditions affecting areas close to the ears.
Common reasons for earache include:

  • Fluid building up deep inside the eardrum. Known as  glue ear, this affects children more than adults
  • Infection of the ear canal outside the eardrum (otitis externa)
  • A boil or infected  hair follicle in the ear canal
  • Eczema in the ear canal ( seborrhoeic dermatitis)
  • Injury in the ear canal from objects poked inside, such as cotton buds or sharp objects
  • Blockages in the ear from plugs of  earwax or objects pushed in which have become stuck
  • Throat infections (including  tonsillitis) and colds
  • Jaw pain, known as temperomandibular  joint pain
  • Dental abscess in the  mouth or other  tooth pain, such as  wisdom teeth problems
  • Trigeminal neuralgia or facial  nerve pain

Symptoms of earache

As well as ear pain, earache from an ear infection can be especially troublesome for children and babies. Symptoms include:

  • Babies may appear hot and irritable
  • Children may pull, tug or rub an ear
  • A high temperature - over 38C
  • Poor feeding in babies; loss of appetite in children
  • Sleep problems and restlessness at night
  • Coughing and runny nose
  • Not hearing as well as normal
  • Balance problems

Seek urgent medical advice if your child develops a stiff neck, appears very tired, responds poorly or cannot be consoled.

How is an ear infection diagnosed?

When your doctor suspects an ear infection he or she will look in the ear using an instrument called an otoscope. A healthy eardrum is pinkish grey in colour and transparent. If an ear infection is present the eardrum may be inflamed,swollen or red. Further tests may be needed depending on what the doctor sees.

Earache treatment

Earache is usually treatable and unlikely to lead to long-term problems.

Treatment may include over-the-counter age appropriate painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and fever.

Holding a cold flannel to the painful ear for around 20 minutes is one self-help tip the NHS offers for earache. However, if an ear infection is suspected, avoid getting the inside of the ear wet.

A pharmacist may be able to recommend over-the-counter eardrops for earache. Olive oil may also help loosen earwax.

Don’t use eardrops or olive oil if the eardrum has burst.

If a child has long-term earache or repeated ear infections small tubes called grommets may be recommended by a doctor to help keep the ear free of fluid and infection.

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for ear infections, although some research suggests antibiotics may not always be an effective treatment.

Benefits of Aloe Vera for your Face

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

 

Aloe vera apart from clearing blemishes off your face, takes care of other skin problems too. Here are a few to mention…
Aloe vera is probably one of the best skin care ingredients that not only helps heal blemish marks but also makes your skin super soft and smooth. It is known to be one of the healthiest skin care ingredients that hydrates your skin from within.

Heals wrinkles and fine lines

Aloe vera is known to heal wrinkles and fine lines off your skin. Regular application of aloe vera will soften the lines and eventually help it disappear.

Repairs cracked feet

During the colder months, you are bound to develop cracked heels. To treat this problem, apply a few drops of aloe vera on your heels and massage it gently. Remember not to rub it in too hard.

Heals chapped lips

Constant exposure to pollution eventually makes your lips look chapped. Before you go off to bed at night, apply a generous amount of aloe vera on your lips to make it soft and smooth.

Homemade cures for puffy eyes

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Potato

 


Potato is extremely beneficial for puffy eyes. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps cure irritation around the eyes. Grate a potato, place the pulp into a poultice. Keep this on your eyelids for about 15 minutes. This must be done almost every day without fail.

Cucumbers

 


Cucumbers are cooling agents and their astringent properties are meant to cure puffy eyes. Rest a slice of cucumber on each eye and relax for 5-10 minutes.

Green tea

 


Green tea is known to be a soothing agent for puffy eyes. It reduces swelling of the eyes. Dip 2 bags of your choice of tea in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Let it cool until the bags are comfortably warm. Close your eyes and place a tea bag over each eyes.

Beer: 5 Benefits and 5 Disadvantages

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

 

Beer is one of the oldest and probably the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. It is sometimes even referred to as “liquid bread”. Brewer’s yeast, one of the beer’s main components, is known to be a rich source of nutrients and this means that beer may have some health benefits. But on the other hand, beer contains alcohol, which is known to cause some serious negative effects on our health.

Beer’s benefits : 

1. Source of vitamins, minerals and flavonoids – Beer is rich in many vitamins of the B group and in minerals such as magnesium. Barley and hops used in the production of beer are rich in flavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant effects.

2. Coronary heart disease (CHD)There is quit - e strong evidence that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption has cardio-protective properties. Many research studies demonstrate a lower coronary heart disease incidence among moderate beer drinkers. Moderate drinkers are at lower risk of CHD-related mortality than both heavy drinkers and abstainers. Vitamin B6 in beer also seems to prevent the alcohol-induced rise in blood homocysteine, a probable heart disease risk factor.

3.Cholesterol -  Moderate alcohol drinking affects many processes in the body, one of which is the significant increase in HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol. There is supporting evidence for beer’s cardio-protective effect and for its help in altering the ratio of beneficial HDL cholesterol to the LDL cholesterol.

4.Kidney stones -  Beer consumption may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Finnish researches found that there was a 40% lower risk of kidney stones in beer drinkers.

5.X-Rays radioprotection -  Japanese researchers found that beer helps reduce chromosomal damage from radiation exposure.

 
Some of the negative effects from regular beer drinking :

1. “Beer belly” - Heavy beer drinking may promote abdominal obesity in men, so called “beer belly”.

2.Heartburn –  Beer contains powerful stimulants of gastric acid secretion and may provoke gastroesophageal reflux and cause heartburn.

3.Blood pressure –  Daily beer consumption (approximately 40 g of alcohol) may increase blood pressure.

4.Intoxication & Dehydration -  Alcohol is a dehydrating agent and downer that reduces activity of the central nervous system. High amounts of alcohol can turn into dehydration, intoxication, and hangover.

5.Impairment of driving related skills - Even small amounts of alcohol can have adverse effects on attention and motor skills. Many serious accidents are alcohol related.

Types of Skin Rashes

Friday, January 9th, 2015

A skin rash is an area of skin that has become swollen or irritated. Skin rashes can include skin bumps or sores, scaly or red skin, and itchy or burning skin. Skin rashes can be caused by many medical conditions. Some skin rashes occur right away, while others take some time to develop. The location, appearance, and color of a skin rash are all important to help your doctor make the right diagnosis and start the right treatment.

Chickenpox: A Skin Rash Made Up of Blisters

The virus known as varicella zoster, more commonly called chickenpox, creates a skin rash of itchy blisters on the face that spreads down to cover the chest and back. It’s typically accompanied by fever and sore throat. Even though a vaccine is available, chickenpox is still common in children under age 12. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms, including fever with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and the itch with creams and cold compresses.

Rubella: Red Spots All Over the Skin

Another viral skin rash that affects children and young adults is rubella, or German measles. Rubella causes a rash of red skin spots that spreads like chickenpox from the face down. The skin rash can be itchy. Other symptoms include sore throat, fever, swollen glands, headache, and runny nose. There is a vaccine for rubella, but about 10 percent of young adults are still susceptible. Rubella can be very dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause birth defects. Treatment is similar to that for chickenpox.

Hives: Sudden, Itchy Skin Bumps

Urticaria, also known as hives, is a skin rash that comes on suddenly and causes pale, itchy, or pink swellings on your skin, and burns or stings. This skin condition can occur anywhere on the skin. Up to 20 percent of people may experience hives at least once in their lifetime. Hives may last for a few days or a few weeks and may be caused by an allergic reaction to a food or medication. The most common treatment is to avoid the cause and treat the symptoms with an antihistamine medication.

Skin Rashes Caused by Medication

A drug-induced skin rash can be from an allergic reaction to a drug, a side effect of a drug, or from sensitivity to sunlight caused by a drug. A drug rash can occur right away after taking the drug, or up to several hours later. Types of drug rashes include hive or skin bump eruptions, purple or red skin discoloration, or scaly and thickened areas of skin. This skin condition can occur anywhere on the skin or even inside the mouth. Treatment is to stop taking the drug and manage the symptoms with antihistamines or steroids. In rare cases, drug-induced rashes can be serious or even fatal, so check with your doctor.

Prickly Heat: A Skin Rash That Stings

Prickly heat, or heat rash, causes red skin that stings and itches. Small skin bumps may form as well. Heat rash is caused when sweat gets blocked in your pores. This is a common rash in babies, but can occur at any age. This skin condition tends to form where skin rubs against skin, such as in skin folds of the neck, breasts, groin, and underarms. The best treatment is to cool off, dry off, and reduce friction.

Intertrigo: A Skin Rash in Body Folds

Intertrigo is a skin condition that occurs in skin folds, under the breasts, on the inner thighs, under armpits, or under belly folds. Chaffing causes a rash of red skin or brown skin that gets infected with yeast or bacteria and becomes raw. The skin rash may ooze and itch. This rash is more common in people who are overweight and in people with diabetes. Treatment involves keeping the areas dry, treating infections, and using steroid creams.

Rosacea: A Red Rash on the Face

Rosacea is a common skin condition that occurs on the face of adults. Symptoms ofrosacea include redness of the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Small blood vessels may be seen on the surface of the red skin, along with skin bumps and pimples, though this is not related to acne breakouts. Rosacea only affects the face. The cause is unknown and there is no cure, although treatment with antibiotics can minimize symptoms.

Eczema: Red, Itchy Skin

Another word for eczema is dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. Eczema causes your skin to be dry and itchy. Scratching makes your skin red and inflamed. Eczema is not contagious, and common causes include detergents, soaps, wool, and synthetic fibers. Eczema is common in babies and children, but can be seen at any age. The best treatment is avoiding substances that your skin is sensitive to.

Contact Dermatitis: A Skin Rash Caused by Irritation or Allergy

Contact dermatitis can be caused by any allergy-causing substance or irritating substance that touches your skin. Irritating substances are more common and include solvents, acid, and detergents. Allergic contact dermatitis is commonly seen with poison ivy, cosmetics, and medications that are applied to the skin. The skin rash of contact dermatitis can appear as red skin, skin bumps, blisters, scales, crusts, or sores. Itching is common. Treatment of contact dermatitis includes washing the skin and using anti-itch lotions and steroids.

Impetigo: A Skin Rash Caused by Bacteria

Impetigo is a rash caused by a skin infection, usually traced to one of two bacteria, group Astreptococcus or Staphylococcus aureus. This skin rash appears as brown, crusty sores or blisters around the nose or mouth area. The rash is very itchy and very contagious. Scratching the rash and then touching other areas of the body, or other people, will cause it to spread. Treatment of impetigo is with antibiotic creams or lotions, and for more severe cases, with oral antibiotics.

Anti-Aging Diet

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

WHOLE GRAINS

Benefits : When you replace the white rice, white-flour breads and cakes, and other refined grains in your diet with whole grains, you immediately reap a benefit. “Refined grains can raise insulin levels, which in turn causes inflammation that damages the skin,” says Dr. Friedman. Also, whole grains are a good source of selenium — a mineral that helps protect against injury from UV rays. Beyond the beauty-related payoffs, a 2009 Australian and Dutch study found that higher concentrations of selenium in the blood were associated with about a 60% lower incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.

What to put on your plate : Grains rich in selenium include brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and whole wheat. Limiting yourself to the recommended three to five servings a day will net you a helpful serving of the mineral without packing on the calories that can add up quickly with high-carb foods.

COLORFUL PRODUCE

Benefits : The yellow, orange, and red pigments found in fruits and vegetables (as well as some herbs and spices) are carotenoids, antioxidants that destroy free radicals (and are most likely the reason people with high concentrations of carotenoids in their skin are less furrowed than those with low levels). You’re probably familiar with one carotenoid, beta-carotene. In addition to staunching free radicals, beta-carotene may help fight aging by increasing production of collagen and GAGs (glycosaminoglycans), which help your skin hold on to water. Lycopene is another carotenoid attracting attention. In a study published last year, researchers found that women who incorporated about two ounces of lycopene-rich tomato paste into their diets every day for 12 weeks sustained less skin damage when exposed to UV light than a control group that ate none.

What to put on your plate : Load up on cooked tomato sauces and tomato paste, your best sources of lycopene. Orange-tinted vegetables and fruits — carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, orange squash, and sweet potatoes — are all good sources of beta-carotene. So are such dark-green vegetables as spinach, kale, chard, and collard greens. (These also supply lutein, another important carotenoid.) For a soupçon more, add a few pinches of parsley, sage, rosemary, or coriander to your food. To increase your absorption of carotenoids, toss vegetables with avocado: One study found that eating salads combined with five ounces of avocado (one small to medium) increases the absorption of another carotenoid, alpha-carotene (7.2 times), as well as beta-carotene (15.3 times), and lutein (5.1 times).

13 Things You Do That Seriously Damage Your Hair

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

1. Not using your hair dryer the right way – “Use a nozzle or diffuser when blow-drying and hold the blow dryer away from the hair — otherwise the dryer can get too close and burn hair very quickly. “If you don’t have a nozzle, make sure to hold the blow dryer at least 5 inches away from the hair.” And be sure to clean out the filter in the back of your dryer from time to time. Too much debris can weaken the air flow, meaning you’ll spend more time exposing your hair to damaging heat.

2. Putting down the dryer too soon – It’s fine to run out the door with damp hair if you want a messy undone effect. But keep in mind that wet hair can still bend and take on a new shape — even frizz. If you want a smooth, stay-in-place look, use your dryer until hair is fully dry, then set with a cool blast — or in a pinch, by sticking your head in the freezer for about 20 seconds.

3. Prepping your hair the wrong way – “One of the major mistakes that women make when using hot tools is to spray the section with hairspray before putting the hot tool on it. “Hairspray contains alcohol, and when you apply heat over a layer of hairspray, it dries the hair out even more and can create static as well as causing your curls to drop.” Stick to alcohol-free products (look on the ingredients list for names that end in -ol) designed to prep hair for heat-styling.

4. Wearing updos all the time – “Wearing your hair up every day strains the hair at the root and can actually cause hair loss. “Let your hair down — it looks sexy and lets your scalp breathe!”

5. Braiding hair too tight – Gently tucking damp hair into loose braids creates effortless, wavy texture. But pulling hair into very tight braids while hair is wet — and thus more prone to breakage — can lead to damage. If you want to create a really precise and tight braided style, wait until hair is fully dry.

6. Over-relying on highlights – Highlights shouldn’t be used to camouflage grays or to completely change your hair color — you’ll end up with dry, over-processed hair. “Highlights should be used to accent your color, give movement, and add dimension” . “To cover gray, a single-process color is the better option and there are new ammonia-free that deliver 100% gray coverage with minimal stress to the hair.”

7. Towel-drying your curls – “Lot of curly girls use towels to dry their hair, but the strands tend to catch on the cloth and cause split ends. “It’s always better to use a microfiber towel or a even T-shirt.” The fabric is less abrasive so it won’t rough up your hair as much.

8. Using heating tools too early – “For those in a rush, a common mistake is using a flat iron or curling iron before the hair is completely dry, which breaks the hair and requires you to flat-iron the same strand over and over again, causing more damage,”. “It is important to completely dry the hair before using any heat tool, since that will smooth and seal the cuticle and facilitate easier styling.”

9. Sleeping on regular pillowcases – Evenif you feel silly sleeping on a full bed of satin sheets, a silk or satin pillowcase is much gentler on hair. Cotton pillowcases can cause friction and lead to damage and frizz. If a silk pillowcase feels too posh, try wrapping hair in a silk or satin scarf.

10. Styling damp hair – It can be tempting to save time by pulling hair into a ponytail or updo while it’s still wet, but an elastic band is wet hair’s worst enemy. “This stresses the hair and can cause breakage, especially with chemically processed hair that is already stressed,”. If you have to put pieces aside, “Use a clip and loosely pull hair back.”

11. Skipping the conditioner – “Conditioner is essential to maintaining the health of your hair. It is similar to not using moisturizer on your face, which results in flaky, dry skin.” If your conditioner seems to be weighing you down, look for a light formula, concentrate on the ends, and rinse thoroughly so the conditioner doesn’t leave a heavy residue.

12. Overdoing it with the styling products – A styling paste or pomade can create a cool structured look, but too much weighs hair down and leaves it greasy. You might have to wash more often than you should to get it all out. Start with a small amount of product, warm it with your fingers, and smooth it into your hair — you can always add more if you need extra hold.

13. Using the wrong products – To keep hair healthy and moisturized, pick a shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates, the detergents that can dry hair out. And avoid over-shampooing. Focus on the scalp where natural oils collect, and don’t lather a second time unless your hair is truly filthy.

23 Ways to Reduce Wrinkles

Monday, January 5th, 2015

1.Avoid the sun – It’s the No. 1 cause of wrinkles, with dozens of studies documenting the impact. In one study that looked at identical twins, New York plastic surgeon Darrick Antell, MD, found sun exposure was even more important than heredity. Siblings who limited sun time had fewer wrinkles and looked younger overall than their sun-worshiping twins.

2.Wear sunscreen – If you must go out in the sun, the American Academy of Dermatology says, wear sunscreen! It will protect you from skin cancer, and help prevent wrinkles at the same time.

3. Don’t smoke – Some of the research is still controversial, but more and more studies are confirming that cigarette smoke ages skin — mostly by releasing an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin, important components of the skin. Sibling studies done at the Twin Research Unit at St. Thomas Hospital in London found the brother or sister who smoked tended to have skin that was more wrinkled and up to 40% thinner than the non-smoker.

4. Get adequate sleep – Yale dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, says that when you don’t get enough sleep, the body produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Get enough rest, Perricone says, and you’ll produce more HGH (human growth hormone), which helps skin remain thick, more “elastic,” and less likely to wrinkle.

5. Sleep on your back – The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cautions that sleeping in certain positions night after night leads to “sleep lines — wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin and don’t disappear once you’re up. Sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow. To reduce wrinkle formation, the AAD says, sleep on your back.

6. Don’t squint – get reading glasses! The AAD says any repetitive facial movement — like squinting — overworks facial muscles, forming a groove beneath the skin’s surface. This groove eventually becomes a wrinkle. Also important: Wear sunglasses. It will protect skin around the eyes from sun damage — and further keep you from squinting.

7. Eat more fish – particularly salmon. Not only is salmon (along with other cold-water fish) a great source of protein — one of the building blocks of great skin — it’s also an awesome source of an essential fatty acid known as omega-3. Perricone tells WebMD that essential fatty acids help nourish skin and keep it plump and youthful, helping to reduce wrinkles.

8. Eat more soy – So far, most of the proof has come from animal studies, but research does show certain properties of soy may help protect or heal some of the sun’s photoaging damage. In one recent human study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers reported that a soy-based supplement (other ingredients included fish protein and extracts from white tea, grapeseed, and tomato, as well as several vitamins) improved skin’s structure and firmness after just six months of use.

9. Trade coffee for cocoa – In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2006, researchers found cocoa containing high levels of two dietary flavanols (epicatchin and catechin) protected skin from sun damage, improved circulation to skin cells, affected hydration, and made the skin look and feel smoother.

10. Eat more fruits and vegetables – The key, says Kraus, are their antioxidant compounds. These compounds fight damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells), which in turn helps skin look younger and more radiant, and protects against some effects of photoaging.

11. Use moisturizer – “Women, especially, are so concerned with antiaging products they often overlook the power of a simple moisturizer. Skin that is moist simply looks better, so lines and creases are far less noticeable,” says Ashinoff.

12. Don’t over-wash your face – According to dermatologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center, tap water strips skin of its natural barrier oils and moisture that protect against wrinkles. Wash them off too often, and you wash away protection. Moreover, unless your soap contains moisturizers, you should use a cleanser instead.

Topical Treatments That Reduce Wrinkles

Studies show the following ingredients can reduce wrinkles. Most are found in a variety of skin-care treatments, both prescription and over-the-counter.

13. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) – These natural fruit acids lift away the top layer of dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eyes. New evidence shows that in higher concentrations, AHAs may help stimulate collagen production.

14. Retinoids (including Retin A) – The only FDA-approved topical treatment for wrinkles is tretinoin, known commercially as Retin A. Ashinoff says this prescription cream reduces fine lines and large wrinkles, and repairs sun damage. Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A found in many over-the-counter products. Studies show that in a stabilized formula, in high concentrations, it may be as effective as Retin A, without the side effects, such as skin burning and sensitivity.

15. Topical vitamin C – Studies at Tulane University, among others, have found it can increase collagen production, protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays, correct pigmentation problems, and improve inflammatory skin conditions. The key, however, may be the type of vitamin C used. To date, most of the research points to the L-ascorbic acid form as the most potent for wrinkle relief.

16. Idebenone – This chemical cousin to the nutrient coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)is a super-powerful antioxidant. In one study published recently in the Journal of Dermatology, doctors found that with just 6 weeks of topical use, there was a 26% reduction in skin roughness and dryness, a 37% increase in hydration, a 29% decrease in lines and wrinkles, and a 33% overall improvement in sun-damaged skin. Other studies have found similar results.

17. Growth factors – Part of the body’s natural wound-healing response, these compounds, when applied topically, may reduce sun damage and decrease lines and wrinkles, while rejuvenating collagen production, studies have shown.

18. Pentapeptides – The results of a study supported by the National Institutes of Health suggested pentapeptides can increase collagen production in sun-damaged skin. Several subsequent studies (including one presented at a recent national dermatology conference) showed that when topically applied, pentapeptides stimulated collagen production and diminished lines and wrinkles.
Medical/Spa Treatments That Reduce Wrinkles

19. Botox – An injection of this purified version of the Botulinum toxin A relaxes the muscle just underneath the wrinkle, allowing the skin on top to lie smooth and crease-free.

20. Wrinkle fillers – Doctors fill wrinkles with a variety of substances, including collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other synthetic compounds. Popular treatments include Restylane, Juvederm, and ArteFill, among others.

21. Laser/light resurfacing – Here, energy from a light source — either a laser or a pulsed diode light — removes the top layer of skin, causing a slight but unnoticeable skin “wounding.” This kicks the skin’s natural collagen-production system into high gear, resulting in smoother, more wrinkle-free skin.

22. Chemical peels – In this treatment, one of a variety of different chemicals is used to “burn” away the top layer of skin, creating damage that causes the body to respond by making more collagen. You end up with younger-looking, smoother skin.

23. Dermabrasion – A vacuum suction device used in tandem with a mild chemical crystal, dermabrasion helps remove the top layer of skin cells and bring new, more evenly textured skin to the surface. In the process, fine lines and wrinkles seem to disappear.