Category: Beauty Tips
This new-to-the-scene snack food features all the buzzwords that make it sound like the ultimate healthy snack: It’s a superfood! And gluten-free! There’s protein and fiber! The problem: They’re basically corn chips with a little quinoa thrown in, says Kelly Schmidt, a nutritionist and blogger at Paleo Infused Nutrition.
And the quinoa itself has been so highly processed that it’s lost the nutritional boost that made it healthy in the first place. Need proof? Just compare the stats of one cup of cooked quinoa (8g protein, 5g fiber) to one serving of quinoa chips (1g protein, less than 1g fiber)—and then listen to your stomach make noise because it’s still going to be hungry.
Nutritionists always say popcorn is a healthy snack, and it is, so long as it’s made right. “The microwaveable kind has cancer-causing chemicals in them,” explains Palanisamy. One is called PFOA, which the EPA says is likely a cancerous carcinogen that’s found in the plastic of the bag. The other is in the butter flavor, and it’s known as diactyl, an organic compound that’s been linked with breathing issues and lung disease, thus making “popcorn lung” a real—and serious—health concern.
Fat-Free Cheese or Greek Yogurt
The obsession with low- and no-fat products we had in the ’90s still lingers, but reaching for them isn’t better than grabbing the full-fat kind. Researchers found that people who ate full-fat dairy tend to have lower body weight, less weight gain, and a lower risk of obesity compared to those who continued the fad.
They think it’s likely because when you remove fat from dairy, you also strip away beneficial fatty acids that can help you feel full, so you end up eating more in the long run. Plus, a lot of people opt for flavored yogurt, which has tons of sugar that, once again, put your blood sugar on a crazy roller coaster ride.
These salty bites may sound like a smart snack since they’re lower in fat and calories than potato chips, but they actually won’t do your waistline any favors. “They don’t contain any nutrients,” says Palanisamy. “They’re basically all carbs and loaded with sodium,” so they’ll put your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride, spiking your levels sky-high only to make you hungry as soon as it drops back down.
Chips made with sweet potato, beets, or parsnip—those ought to be healthy, what with vegetables being the primary ingredient and all. But Palanisamy says they’re pretty high in fat—around 9g per serving—and it’s not the good kind. The oils used range from canola to sunflower or safflower, all of which contain omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation that’s been linked with autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer, insulin resistance, and weight gain. Plus, the whole reason you’re eating them—because you want those good-for-you nutrients from the veggies—is a farce. Palanisamy says the chips have been stripped of those benefits, and they provide no protein and little-to-no fiber.
These have the perpetual stigma of being a smart, low-cal “diet food,” and sure, they’re not the worst idea in the world. “Rice cakes can make a good snack for people who are transitioning toward a gluten-free diet if it’s a smart health decision for them to do so,” says Schmidt. But since they’re high in carbs, they’re high on the glycemic index, and a recent study found a potential link between high-glycemic foods and lung cancer. Not to mention high-glycemic foods tend to cause your blood sugar to spike, then crash, which makes you hungry all over again shortly after you snack.
The breakfast staple usually plays a major role in taming mid-afternoon hunger because it’s fast, convenient, and you can eat it straight from the bag. But therein lies the danger—it’s super easy to eat a reasonable portion, and then some more, and more after that.
Then you’ve blown over 200 calories on an unsatisfying snack, because most of the time it’s made from refined grains that aren’t rich in nutrients, says Palanisamy. Another problem: Boxes tout being “high in fiber,” but it’s usually insoluble fiber that’s been shown to cause irritation in the gut, bloating, and other GI issues, he adds. Healthier, soluble fiber is what you find in foods like barley or beans.
Sadly, “popping” chips instead of baking or frying them doesn’t make much of a nutritional difference, says Palanisamy. Yes, they slash the fat content in half compared to regular potato chips, but they don’t offer any micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and their paltry fiber and protein quotas (1g of each)—not to mention calorie count—is comparable to what you find in a serving of the regular stuff.
Seems like a genius idea: Grab a bag and you have a pre-portioned, calorie-conscious snack at your convenience for those times you’re craving dessert. But you’re better off grabbing a more caloric snack that has tons of nutrients to actually keep you full. “When you’re eating a small 100-calorie bag of cookies or crackers, you’re not really getting what you want,” says Schmidt. And that makes you much more likely to reach for another, and another, and another.
Moisturizing and sleeping on a satin pillowcase will help you feel pampered when you wake up.
Before you go to bed at night try one of these simple, at-home beauty tips. You’ll wake up feeling pampered, refreshed and rejuvenated and, yes, even prettier.
Beauty Tip: Braid wet hair for nice waves. It’s an old school bedtime beauty tip for a reason. It works!
Beauty Tip: Try an overnight treatment. Use Frownies Facial Patches to reduce movement during sleep so you’re less likely to crease skin, says dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D.
Beauty Tip: Moisturize. Everywhere. Moisturize your elbows…your knees…your toes. Everywhere.
Beauty Tip: Protect your blowout. Flip hair upside-down, pull into a high pony and secure with a terry hair tie.
Beauty Tip: Swipe on nourishing essential oils. “When you wake up, you’ll look like you’ve had a facial,” says Chanel makeup artist Rachel Goodwin.
Beauty Tip: Wear primer over skin care products. Yes, at night! “It allows them to sink in,” says makeup artist Mally Roncal.
Beauty Tip: Change your pillowcase. Sleep on a satin pillowcase for smoother hair.
Changes in thickness, dryness, and texture can indicate thyroid or other problems.
Taking care of your skin is probably second nature by now. You know to slather on SPF each morning and scan for new and changing moles to keep your skin happy and healthy. But despite understanding how to combat wrinkles and ward off disease, there’s a fair share that you might not know about your body’s largest organ. Read on for seven interesting facts about your skin.
1. Your skin’s appearance and texture can give you clues about the rest of your health.
Sometimes, changes in your skin can signal changes in your health as a whole. For example, according to Brooke Jackson, MD, Director of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago, “The hormones that the thyroid produces are directly responsible for the natural fats that protect the skin, as well as hair and cell growth and hair pigmentation.”
She explains that in a person with hyperthryroidism (when the thyroid overproduces thyroid hormone), the epidermis––the outer layer of skin––may thicken and skin may be soft. With hypothyroidism (when the thyroid under-produces thyroid hormone), on the other hand, symptoms include very dry skin and thickened skin on the palms and soles. Another way your skin can tip you off to health issues: Acanthosis nigricans, a condition in which skin around the neck darkens and changes in texture, is often associated with diabetes, according to D’Anne Kleinsmith, MD, dermatologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI.
2. Everyone has the same pigment in their skin that’s responsible for color.
Melanin, explains Josie Tenore, MD, SM, is a coloring pigment that is present in all people’s skin—regardless of race. “The difference in skin tone between people of different races—and between people of the same race––lies in how much of this pigment is present, and its distribution within the skin.”
More specifically, everyone—no matter how dark or pale they are––has the same number of melanocytes, which are the cells that make melanin, explains Arnold Oppenheim, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “It’s their product, melanosomes—which contain the melanin––that differ. Some people have denser and larger ones, which make their skin darker.” Also, the denser and closer together they are, “the more protection the skin is afforded from skin cancer,” he says.
3. As we age, our skin sheds cells more slowly.
Ever wonder why children have such naturally rosy and dewy skin? While skin of all ages produces new cells which eventually move to the surface and shed off, young people’s skin does this more often, according to Dr. Tenore. “In kids, this happens every two to three weeks, which gives them that vibrant, shiny skin. But as we age, this process becomes slower. More dead cells stay on the surface, resulting in that dull, dehydrated look.”
She adds that exposure to direct sunlight slows down the sloughing off process even further because UV light decreases cellular turnover. Depending on your skin type—your dermatologist can identify yours––daily exfoliation or a topical antioxidant serum that contains retinoids, vitamins and peptides can help encourage cell turnover, according to Francesca Fusco, MD, a New York City dermatologist.
If you’ve ever bought a personal care product because you thought it was natural, hypoallergenic, or wouldn’t cause your toddler to cry in the bath, you’ve probably wasted your money.
I use the Garnier Fructis Body Boost Fortifying Shampoo. The bottle says that it’s for “fine or flat hair” and “weightlessly boosts for all-day volume.”
Cosmetics expert Paula Begoun says that’s false information: “Body Boost Fortifying Shampoo has lots of window-dressing wording that looks good on the label but does nothing for your hair.”
Oh, and my hair isn’t fine or flat. It’s thick and full. Despite the product’s claims, I use it because I love its citrus scent and, as Begoun puts it, “the shampoo does a great job of cleansing all hair and scalp types with minimal risk of buildup.”
So why does Garnier market it otherwise? In short, because they can – which is exactly why you should never buy a personal care product based on a promise on its packaging.
Unlike medications, these products are not approved by the FDA. It’s shocking, I know – we apply them to a vital organ (our skin) on a daily basis – but it’s true.
As the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics puts it… The FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors has regulatory jurisdiction over cosmetics and personal care products. Most people assume the FDA regulates these products in the same way it does food and drugs to assure safety. In fact, cosmetics are one of the least regulated consumer products on the market today.
In other words, the FDA does not police cosmetic products or their ingredients. The only thing it really has any say in is certain parts of cosmetic products’ labels.
Hundreds of lotions aren’t effective protection against UV rays — and they also may not be safe.
Shopping for sunscreen? The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) newly released 2011 sunscreen guide can help you make smart decisions.
This research and advocacy group recommends a mere 20 percent of the 600-plus beach and sport sunscreens it evaluated. To score high marks in the rankings, a product must be effective — adequately protect skin from both UVA (which causes premature aging, skin cancer, and other skin damage) and UVB (which causes sunburn) rays. It must also be safe, meaning free of potentially harmful chemicals.
EWG’s Sunscreens to Avoid: The 2011 products to avoid list contains some popular brands.
Aveeno Active Naturals Hydrosport Sunblock Spray, SPF 85
Aveeno Sunblock Spray, Continuous Protection, SPF 70
Banana Boat Kids UltraMist Sunscreen, SPF 110
Banana Boat Kids UltraMist Sunscreen, SPF 85
Banana Boat Sport Performance Active Max Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Banana Boat Ultra Defense UltraMist Sunscreen Continuous Clear Spray, SPF 85
CVSExtreme Sport Clear Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
CVS Sheer Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70
Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunblock Lotion, Body Mist, SPF 70
Neutrogena Spectrum+ Sunblock Spray, SPF 100
Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray, SPF 100+
Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray, SPF 70
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock Lotion, SPF 100+
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock Lotion, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunblock Spray, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray, SPF 85+
Walgreens Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen, SPF 70
How did EWG come up with this list? Each of the products to avoid meets all of these criteria:
• SPF values above 50-plus. Higher SPF products are not necessarily best. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration says these numbers can be misleading. There’s a concern that high SPF products may give people a false sense of security and encourage people to stay out in the sun for too long without reapplying sunscreen. It’s also important to note that the SPF is based solely on UVB protection.
• Sunscreen sprays. They can fill the air with tiny particles that may not be safe to breathe in, according to EWG.
• Contains oxybenzone and vitamin A. Oxybenzone is a concern because it penetrates the skin, is associated with allergic reactions, and is a potential hormone disruptor. Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A that may not be safe when exposed to sunlight. EWG recommends choosing products with one of these ingredients instead: zinc, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, or Mexoryl SX.
Which products does EWG recommend? Here’s a list of its best beach and sport sunscreens.
Unfortunately, some of the safest and most effective sunscreens on store shelves can be expensive so it’s worthwhile to shop around for deals. Here are the most affordable products that performed well in EWG’s ratings.
Health boost: Improve blood flow by 21%
A good laugh can be good for your heart. One recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that those who chuckled while watching a comedy increased the dilation of blood vessels by one-fifth for up to 24 hours; when they watched a serious documentary, the arteries actually constricted by 18%. (Constricted blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure.)
“When you’re happy, your body releases feel-good neurochemicals, which can have numerous favorable effects on the body,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.
2. Brush and floss
Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400%
Take good care of your smile and you’ll have more than just white teeth to show for it. New research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, shows that people with the chronic gum disease periodontitis have a fourfold risk of developing a type of head or neck cancer (which makes up about 5% of all malignancies in the United States), especially in the mouth and throat. The risk was increased even among patients who never used tobacco. Gum disease occurs when the bacteria that live in plaque infect the gums, so brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup.
3. Brew a pot of tea
Health boost: Cut stroke risk by 21%
Sipping tea may help protect you from a life-threatening stroke, according to a study from UCLA School of Medicine. Researchers there examined data from nine studies detailing almost 4,400 strokes among 195,000 people and found that those who drank at least three cups a day had one-fifth the risk of stroke, compared with those who drank less than one cup. It doesn’t matter if you prefer green or black tea—both are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, whose powerful antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and amino acid theanine may protect vessels and arteries.
4. Pen a thank-you note
Health boost: Feel 20% happier
Students who wrote letters expressing gratitude to someone special were happier and more satisfied with their lives, researchers at Kent State University found. Other research has shown that expressive writing may improve immune, lung, and liver function; reduce blood pressure; and provide a greater sense of well-being.
But be sincere: “It has to be a heartfelt sentiment showing significant appreciation,” says researcher Steven Toepfer, PhD, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies. Dashing off a quick e-mail or texting a pal might not have the same effect, adds Toepfer, who says taking the time to put pen to paper allowed students to reflect: “Through the process of writing, they had time to think about the links they established between themselves and others and to count their blessings a bit, which made them feel more grateful.”
5. Hide your TV remote
Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly
When switching TV stations, put down the remote, get up, and do it manually. An Australian study found that people who did the greatest amount of light activity during otherwise sedentary behavior, such as watching TV, had 16% smaller waist circumferences than those who were inclined to stay put. Even the simple act of getting up and walking around for a minute or so was enough to make a difference, regardless of whether they had a regular workout schedule.
They also had lower body mass indexes and triglyceride and glucose levels, all of which are associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. More ways to break up an otherwise inactive day: Stand up every time the phone rings at your desk; take the long way back to your desk after a bathroom break; do some stretches before reading a new e-mail.
6. Doodle during work meetings
Health boost: Improve memory by 29%
People who doodled while listening to a recorded message had nearly one-third better recall of the details than those who didn’t draw, according to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology. “Doodling acts as a buffer against daydreaming,” explains researcher Jackie Andrade, PhD, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth in England. “It provides just enough distraction to stop you from drifting off, but you can still focus on what is being said.”
7. Keep your doctor on speed dial
Health boost: Slash medical mistakes up to 25%
Don’t assume that no news is good news when you’ve had a checkup: Physicians fail to inform 1 out of every 14 patients whose abnormal test results are clinically significant, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine; among some doctors, the number of no-calls was as high as 1 in 4. Delayed diagnoses can be linked to thousands of serious injuries and health crises—and even deaths—each year.
“If you are subjecting your vein to a needle, you have a right to know what the test is for and why it matters,” says Katz. Talk with your doctor about when you’ll hear about results, and if she finds something that requires treatment, when you might expect to hear from her again. You can always follow up with her after that date.
Putting eye cream in the fridge makes it work better — and provides a refreshing side, too.
1. Keep your eye-cream in the fridge for quick under-eye depuffing. The cold constricts blood vessels to help swelling go down- and it feels extra refreshing.
2. An at-home gloss treatment dramatically amps up shine and refreshes your highlights, giving your face a happy boost.
3. Define your eyebrows. A pair of full, arched brows works like an instant eye lift. Pluck errant hairs and fill in sparse areas with a fine-tipped brow pencil.
4. Apply a firming body cream. Toned, taut skin is the age-defying holy grail as Demi Moore.
5. Have your stylist snip you some layers. Hair that moves lifts your features and just looks fun and free.
6. Take a brisk 30 minute walk whenever you can sneak one in. You’ll jump start your metabolism and circulation and it’ll give you a nice rosy glow.
7. Short nails, painted sheer and pink give off a young, fun vibe and make your hands look effortlessly flawless. Try: Essie’s Ballet Slippers, $8.
Apply sunscreen to the neck, chest, and hands, where aging skin is most telling.
Fabulous hair, a great plastic surgeon, personal trainers, stylists, and chefs who make house calls—when it comes to maintaining a youthful appearance, it’s true, celebs have it easier than the rest of us. But, never fear, our panel of experts revealed a surprising number of ways to defy your age, and none of them require red carpet access.
The Cosmetic Dermatologist
Who: Heidi Waldorf, MD, associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital’s department of dermatology in New York.
Top Secret: Diligently apply sun protection. (You knew that was coming.) “Most women miss the jawline, neck, chest, and hands, and they’re all very telling of aging skin,” says Waldorf. Beyond that, if you’re not planning to get pregnant, use topical retinoids a few times a week. You can get them in OTC products or in higher concentrations from a dermatologist. “Studies show they help aged skin look more normal microscopically,” Waldorf says.
Next Best Tips: Once you hit 40, regular, gentle exfoliation helps keep the complexion lustrous. Of all the anti-aging products on drugstore shelves, Waldorf recommends RoC Deep Retinol Correxion Wrinkle Serum and SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, which she calls, “chicken soup for the skin.”
The Image Consultant
Who: Kelly Machbitz, certified image consultant in Tampa, Florida, and author of All About Face.
Top Secret: Soften the eyeliner. “Women tend to go too heavy, which drags the eyes down and makes them look older,” says Machbitz Instead of black, try a slate or grey. “Then, with your pencil or brush, just dot along the rim where your lashes are, and lightly connect the dots without drawing a harsh line straight across.”
Next Best Tips: Lose the dark-outline lip trick. “You can create a much fresher look by using a nude lip liner to define the shape, and then filling in with a clear or subtle gloss,” says Machbitz. And when it comes to choosing the right foundation it’s worth a one-time splurge at the makeup counter to have a specialist help you pick the right foundation so it looks like you’re not wearing anything. Before buying, let the product dry on your skin (the color can darken) and check it outside in the daylight. Once you have the perfect shade, you can always match it with a less pricey product.
The Dating Coach
Who: Rachel Canis, professional matchmaker and president of Best Foot Forward, a Chicago dating service.
Top Secret: Downplay. “Make sure you’re not going into dead-on cougar attire,” says Canis. “I’m talking about wearing really tight clothes that show it all. I don’t care how great your body is. After a certain age, it looks like you’re trying too hard, and you just come off older.” Then again, she says, “dressing super corporate can age you too.” Young women have a sense of feeling comfortable with themselves, which is why Canis recommends mixing in some softer fabrics. “Try a structured piece with a flowy piece, or a tight tank top with a fuller jacket,” she says. “I always seem to meet people when I’m wearing a cocktail dress and a pair of funky flip-flops.”
Next Best Tips: Err on the side of less makeup, versus more. Peachy colors and a little shimmer are all you need for a young and dewy appeal, says Canis. Also trendy can be tricky. “The short, sculpted hairdos are great in your twenties, but when you’re older, they frumpify you. And at a certain age, you really don’t want to be doing green nails.”
The Photo Director
Who: Katherine Schad, director of photography at O, the Oprah Magazine.
Top Secret: If you’re posing for a photo, “black and white film is more forgiving than color,” says Schad. “And shoot outdoors—an interior flash can be glaring if the photographer isn’t a pro.” The key to projecting “young”, she says, is being relaxed. One tried-and-true trick: Look away from the camera and then turn back so the “click” will capture your spontaneous energy.
Next Best Tips: Schad, who often shoots real women for her magazine’s makeovers, re-dresses her subjects in a classic look with a fun little twist: “Maybe a cute black dress with a pair of great red shoes, or jeans and a crisp, white shirt, with an unusual appliquéd jacket,” she explains. As for hair? Overly-fussy updos are a little dated, she adds. When in doubt, get a blowout.
The “Real Age” Doctor
Who: Micheal Roizen, MD, author of RealAge: Are you as young as you can be? and coauthor, with Mehmet Oz, MD, of You: Staying Young.
Top Secret: Above and beyond everything else, the No. 1 key to looking younger is a healthy attitude, says Roizen, who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “And the trick to that is re-focusing on how fortunate you are. Instead of griping, that jerk cut me off, you want to be thinking, At least I’m not as obnoxious as he is—or, in as much of a hurry.”
Next Best Tips: Number 2 on the list (take Roizen’s test to determine your “real age”) is avoiding cigarettes, including second-hand smoke, which is “amazingly detrimental to your skin and health.” Number three is exercise. To get maximum youth benefit for minimum sweat, find 30 minutes each day to walk, and every week do the following: a half-hour of resistance training plus three 21-minute bouts of cardio in which you go as fast as you can for the 10th and 21st minute. Not only will these interval blasts boost your metabolism, says Roizen, “but they’ll increase the size of your hippocampus, which will keep you remembering long into the future.”
Jessica Simpson goes back to basics for Marie Claire’s May issue, gracing the cover with zero makeup or Photoshop retouching. Why would anyone expose themselves to that kind of scrutiny, you might ask? For Simpson, it’s all in the name of real beauty.
Following the launch of her VH1 TV show, “The Price of Beauty,” Simpson, who has been frequently pummeled in the press for her weight issues, is now launching a new initiative with Operation Smile called A Beautiful Me to empower women everywhere to appreciate their own beauty.
Though it sounds like the singer has developed quite the thick skin since the “mom jeans” debacle in January 2009 — “I don’t have anything to prove anymore. What other people think of me is not my business” — the 29-year-old is not completely immune to the pressure in Hollywood to maintain a size zero figure.