6 Beauty Supplements You Haven’t Heard Of

beauty supplements

Beauty Supplements

There is a present plenitude of beauty supplements these days and with scores of recommendations it becomes difficult to tell the signal from the noise.  Fear not, there are indeed supplements that can take years off your appearance, but more importantly the supplements that make you look more vibrant are also those that make you more vigorous.  If you want to feel healthier and fitter, read on.

beauty supplements

For sun protection

Try: Fern Extract

Aside from regularly using sunscreen, you can protect yourself from harmful UV rays by taking a potent antioxidant supplement such as Heliocare. Research from the University of Miami School of Medicine indicates that the fern extract in these pills significantly reduced UVA-related DNA damage that leads to wrinkling and brown spots by up to 80%. For best results, pop one each day starting a week before you plan on fun in the sun. “This allows the antioxidants to build up in your system for maximum protection,” says Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami Beach-based dermatologist and sunburn specialist.

beauty supplements

To stop nail breakage

Try: Biotin

A daily 2.5 mg dose of the B vitamin biotin in good for swimmers or in the summer months when you’re in the water more often. “This supplement helps prevent breakage from too much exposure to salt and chlorine,” says Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spas. Research shows that a daily dose of the nutrient increases nail thickness by 25%, making nails less apt to split and tear.

beauty supplements

To reverse skin damage

Try: Idebenone

It may be hard to pronounce, but idebenone (eh-DE-be-known) spells younger-looking skin. The antioxidant is small enough to penetrate deep into skin to repair damaged cells, says David McDaniel, MD, an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Taken daily, Idebenone defends your skin’s health from the inside out.  I started taking it, but not for my skin.  Apparently it’s a potent catalyst of mitochondrial energy production.  Who doesn’t need more energy?

beauty supplements

For healthier skin, hair & nails

Try: Primrose & Black Currant Oil

“Consider supplementing with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fat that helps promote healthy skin, hair, and nails and is very hard to come by in the diet,” says Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. “The best sources of GLA are evening primrose oil and black currant oil; take 500 mg of either twice a day and expect to use them for 6 to 8 weeks before you see results.”  GLA is the central component of skin lipids, without it your skin will be wan and saggy.

beauty supplements

For stronger nails

Try: Flax Seed

Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for nail health,” says Weil. “Eat a few more weekly servings of omega-rich flaxseed, walnuts, and oily, cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or take daily supplements with 2 to 3 g of fish oil to get a combined 1 g of EPA and DHA.”  I love throwing flaxseed in my juice or oatmeal.  There are many creative ways to incorporate legumes with good omega fatty acids.

beauty supplements

For firm, smooth skin

Try: Imedeen Prime Renewal

The idea that a biomarine-based complex can shore up aging skin may sound a little fishy, but the evidence is impressive, says Baumann. Postmenopausal women taking the supplement (which is recommended for those age 50 and up) saw significant improvement in skin firmness and smoothness in a 6-month study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition—and the results were seen on the face, d’colletage, and hands. Likewise, in a similar 12-week study on women taking a sister supplement (Imedeen Time Perfection, suggested for women 35 to 50), skin’s moisture content increased by 30%. Other changes include a visible reduction in fine lines, a fading of sunspots, and an overall brighter complexion.

The contents of the Imedeen capsules—which contain a proprietary protein derived from a deep-sea fish and high concentrations of antioxidants such as vitamin C and lycopene—work in part by increasing production of collagen and elastin, as well as hyaluronic acid, the body’s natural moisturizer, says Imedeen’s Lars Lindmark, PhD. Take the Imedeen supplement suggested for your age, advises Baumann, who uses Time Perfection herself and recommends it to patients. Although a 90-day supply of Prime Renewal ($265) is significantly more expensive than Time Perfection ($195; both at imedeen.us), the dosage supplies twice the amount of the biomarine complex.

What People Say Works for Psoriasis

cures for psoriasis

People living with Psoriasis have reported that some of the most effective treatments for their skin include simple interventions like sunlight, salt water, and avoiding stresses.
itchy psoriasis cream
This is according to a new study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.

Psoriasis is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders in the United States, affecting an estimated seven million Americans and 125 million worldwide. The condition is characterized by patches of itchy, scaly skin. In its mild form, psoriasis may be just a nuisance, but severe cases can be both painful,  disfiguring and debilitating.

Finding the right treatment can be difficult, so CureTogether asked people living with Psoriasis to rate the effectiveness of 34 different patient-reported treatments.

Participants in the study said they found that phototherapy, cortisone injections, swimming in the ocean, and sunlight were among the most effective, in addition to avoiding stress and triggers and the medications Dovonex and T-Gel. Conversely some common treatments such as oatmeal baths, Epsom salts, and Vitamin D, were among the least effective, according to the study.

Most Effective Rated Treatments for Psoriasis
1. UVB Phototherapy
2. Cortisone injection
3. Salt water/ocean
4. Sunlight
5. Topical corticosteroids
6. Avoid triggers
7. Avoid stress
8. Dovonex
9. UVA Phototherapy
10. T-Gel

Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Psoriasis, in which 275 people living with the condition shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the Psoriasis study.

This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether presents its findings just as they are — patient-reported data — to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Psoriasis. Thank you!



Seven Best-Practice Rules for Skin Cleansing

skin cleansingSurely everything that could possibly be said about skin cleansing has already been posted somewhere on the Internet, right? We don’t really think so. In fact, we have come up with seven new rules for fighting acne and other skin problems and bringing out natural skin tones with skin cleansing, starting with one rule you might be surprised to see on a site that offers skin products.

1. If you’re spending more on your cleanser than you are on moisturizers and sunscreen, you’re spending too much on cleaners.

We don’t recommend especially pricey skin care products, preferring to go with skin treatment systems that offer the best value. But if you buy skin cleansers, toners, exfoliants, sunscreen, and other products separately, skin cleanser should be the least expensive item in your shopping basket. Why? All those great ingredients for treating your skin, like alpha-hydroxy acids or salicylic acid or healing herb essences in cleansers don’t actually stay on your face long enough to do your skin any good. You quickly wash the product down the drain. When it comes to cleansers, simple and inexpensive is usually best.

2. Different skin types require different cleansers.

If you have active acne, you really ought to get your cleanser as part of a complete skin care package. It will be less expensive, and it will be coordinated with other products you need. But if you are buying your cleanser off the shelf in between breakouts, here are some suggestions tailored to specific skin types:

If you have dry (sometimes flaky) to normal skin, try Neutrogena Extra Gentle Clean. It’s non-drying, it’s fragrance-free, and it truly is “noncomedogenic,” meaning it won’t clog pores to start another round of zits.
If you prefer a cleansing bar, Cetaphil is a standby. Basis Sensitive Skin Bar is a good choice if you tend to break out when you have allergies or after you eat certain foods. Just remember, use the beauty bar to make a lather of soap you apply to your face. Don’t rub the soap directly on your skin. That would clog pores.
Need a cleanser for “just a little” breakout? L’Oreal Paris Go 360 Clean Anti-Breakout Facial Cleanser and RoC MMmulti Correxion Exfoliating Cleanser both contain just a little salicylic acid. This won’t really make a difference on your acne, but it will definitely lift any makeup and dead skin over areas of your face that aren’t affected by acne yet. You’ll have better skin tone, even if you need a more comprehensive approach to treating a full-fledged breakout.

3. Getting rid of makeup and cleansing your skin aren’t the same thing.

If you ever appear on TV, which is now all high-definition, bringing out every tiny facial flaw for the big screen, you’ve probably been slathered with thick makeup to mask imperfections. Or if you are just starting out using makeup, maybe you’ve used a little too much, too. Don’t worry. It’s not that hard to get it all off. And even if you aren’t putting on the thick layers of makeup required for appearances on TV, even little bits of makeup need to be removed every night.

Be especially gentle removing makeup from around the eyes. Be careful to blot up cosmetics where they tend to accumulate, such as in and above the eyebrows and in the creases around the nose and mouth. And unless you have especially dry, sensitive skin, use toner and little squares of cotton to get every last bit of makeup off your face.

When you have done all this, however, you are not finished. You still need to go through your regular cleansing routine to prevent acne breakouts. Removing makeup just removes the added risk of breakouts that can occur at any age when products are put on thick.

4. Wash your hands before you wash your face.

Fingers don’t really get your skin clean, and trying to cleanse your face with dirty fingers can make acne problems even worse. Wash your hands and inspect your nails, taking care of any obvious deposits beneath your nails, before you touch your face. After you do this, it’s OK to use your fingertips to apply cleanser to your face, but it’s even better to use a clean, soft washcloth (which you use only once before it is laundered) or cotton swabs to apply cleanser to your skin, splashing it away with warm water.

5. Try sonic skin care.

A great way to get rid of dirt, grime, and dead skin on your face is using a sonic cleanser, such as Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System. It vibrates dead skin away, and it creates microscopic channels in the skin that are large enough to let the individual molecules of cleansers and nourishing serums into the skin, but too small to let viruses, bacteria, or dust particles into the skin. Just be sure to change the brush head every 60 to 90 days.

6. Make skin cleansing a twice-a-day habit.

Keep acne away by cleansing your skin twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before you go to bed. In the morning, cleanser you face and use toner (if you need it) and sunscreen before putting on makeup. In the evening, absolutely every evening, cleanser your fact to remove any products you put on during your morning cleanse to ensure that pores aren’t clogged overnight. Always make sure that you are the only person who uses your wash cloths and towels, and change bath linens regularly.

7. Bring out natural skin tone by exfoliation.

Exfoliation is the process of removing plugs of sebum from your pores and dead skin from your face. It’s not something you need to do twice a day, but it is something you need to do two or three times a week to keep your skin from looking dull. Even if you cleanse your skin well, its natural tones won’t come through that dull layer of dead skin cells unless you exfoliate on a regular basis.

If you don’t have sensitive skin, and especially if you have recently recovered from sunburn, you will probably do best with a very gentle scrub, such as Avène Gentle Exfoliating Scrub. If your skin is sensitive, you may do better with cleansing pads impregnated with alpha-hydroxy acids or salicylic acid.

After you loosen up all that dead skin, get rid of it with a toner. A toner is applied to the skin once and wiped away once—that’s it. If you have blocked pores, tone with Stridex Maximum Strength Pads. If you have oily skin, try La Roche-Posay Effaclar K. And if your skin is currently in great condition, try Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion or L’Oréal Pure Zone Continuous Action to keep your skin tones rich and deep and your pores open but not enlarged.


So that’s all of them, do you have any skin cleansing tips and tricks?

stretch mark cream

Stretch Mark Creams and Treatments

stretch mark creams kigelia africana
What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are a type of skin scarring associated with pregnancy, obesity, puberty, and short-term weight gain from bodybuilding and other physical activities.  Stretch marks form when the dermis – the middle layer of the skin that maintains shape and elasticity – is stretched more than it can tolerate. This causes connective tissue  in the skin to break, disrupting collagen production and causing dark marks.  Stretch marks do fade over time but much slower than typical scars. stretch mark creams.

While generally considered harmless stretch marks can be a serious concern when they effect the happiness and self-esteem of an individual.  Stretch marks may be treatable with stretch mark creams, laser therapy and microdermabrasion.  If you do seek treatment for stretch marks, know that treatments are only partially effective and won’t remove the stretch marks completely.

How do stretch mark creams and treatments compare?

The following treatments are among those available to help improve the appearance of stretch marks. None has been proved to be more consistently successful than the others, so the best approach is to start with the cheaper solutions first.

  • Stretch Mark Creams. Research shows evidence that that retinol creams may improve the appearance of recent stretch marks, specifically those that are less than a few months old and still red or pink in tone. If you are pregnant or nursing, your doctor may suggest avoiding or delaying treatment with topical retinol creams.   When retinol  does work it helps by stimulating the production of collagen, thus restoring the natural appearance of the skin.  Retinol can irritate skin and increase sensitivity to the sun.  Retinol isn’t effective on older stretch marks.
    Clinical research suggests kigelia africana can improve stretch marks and age spots. Kigelia africana works by supporting elastin, melanin and collagen production and increasing the rate of natural healing processes.  Kigelia africana can be used on stretch marks of all ages.
  • Laser treatment. Laser treatments use high intensity light to stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and melanin production in directed areas. Your doctor can help you determine which type of laser technology is appropriate for you, depending on the age and location of your stretch marks and your skin color.
  • Microdermabrasion. This type of treatment involves a hand-held device that blows tiny crystals onto your skin. These crystals gently abrade, or “polish,” the skin’s surface. Then, a vacuum tube removes the crystals and sloughed skin cells. Microdermabrasion gently removes the skin’s topmost layer, prompting the growth of new, more-elastic skin. This therapy is an option for older stretch marks.

Consult your physician or skincare specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment.  Important considerations include:

  • How old are the stretch marks
  • Convenience — treatments differ in length duration and commitment
  • Cost — stretch marks are considered cosmetic and not covered by insurance
  • Your expectations — most treatments are, at best, only partially effective

Natural Eczema Creams

natural eczema cream and probioticsDiet and Lifestyle

Before we talk about natural eczema creams and topicals, it seems appropriate to start by noting that all the creams in the world won’t make a different unless more preponderant underlying issues are addressed first, specifically dietary and lifestyle factors that are contributing or even causing the immune dysfunction that leads to eczema.

So, just as you would supplement a diet with vitamins it makes sense to address any underlying factors contributing to eczema.

Eczema isn’t easy to treat and there are a variety of potential causes but there are some simple steps that everybody can take and are proven to help.

In my family, my sister suffered from eczema off and on for a long time before she was finally able to get rid of it.  She was given anti-bionics and steroids as a child and this led to problems with her gut flora (good bacteria) which were being expressed in her skin and digestion.  When we heard about the GAPS diet we decided to give it a try and both saw major improvement in our energy levels and mood but more importantly her condition started to dramatically improve.

The GAPS diet is a protocol in “Gut and Psychology” and is essentially an intense nutritional and dietary regiment designed to support the gut lining.  It does this by encouraging the use of foods that heal, support and soothe digestion like bone broth while boosting beneficial gut bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.

You can learn more about the GAPS diet here.  But even if you don’t want to follow any diet, probiotics are a cheap and simple way to make sure you gut is in working order. You can take them in pill form or just include more fermented foods in your diet, like yoghurt.

For example, one double-blind study examined the use of borage oil (500 mg a day) or placebo in 160 adults with moderate eczema. After 24 weeks, the overall effectiveness was not significantly better with borage oil compared with the placebo.

Natural Eczema Creams

Natural eczema creams and gels are made from herbal ingredients such as kigelia Africana, witch hazel, licorice and chamomile which have shown evidence of reducing eczema symptoms.  The supervening is a list of results from clinical studies:

  • A double-blind study published in the UK compared hydrocortisone 0.5% cream and placebo cream to a cream of kigelia extract.  After 14 days kigelia extract was demonstrated to be superior to both placebo and hydrocortisone.
  • A German study involving 72 people with moderate to severe eczema compared witch hazel extract to 0.5% cortisone cream and placebo.  After two weeks witch hazel proved to be slightly more effective than placebo but inferior to cortisone. This study was double-blind.
  • A double-blind study compared placebo against 1% and 2% concentrations of licorice cream for eczema patients.  Within two weeks both the 1% and 2% creams showed dramatic improvement over the placebo cream and the 2% was even more effective than the 1% in reducing irritation, swelling and itching.
  • Another study compared 0.5% cortisone cream and placebo to chamomile cream.  After two weeks the chamomile was slightly more effective than cortisone in reducing symptoms but substantially more effective than the placebo.  The study was not double-blind so it cannot be considered clinical evidence but inspires promise nevertheless.

Important reminder: consult your physician or skin specialist before using any topical treatment.  Some herbs such as chamomile are known to elicit an allergic reaction.

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