Friday, February 19, 2010

Magic Ingredients For Younger Looking Skin

Açai Berry
You know about anti-oxidants, right? You should—they fight the skin damage cause by sun, pollution, and other environmental factors. And the extract of this berry contains one with serious potential.

One study found that its antioxidant ability was "by far the highest of any fruit or vegetable to date," when ingested orally. In terms of its potency in a cream, dermatologists are hopeful, but say more study is needed.

The stuff people pop for jet lag could have benefits when slathered on the skin. Melatonin is another antioxidant and possible way to boost collagen. And it's a team player: many studies show that when used with other antioxidants, it helps them penetrate the skin better. So far, it doesn't seem to make you drowsy, but it can irritate dry or sensitive skin.

Skin doctors are excited about this, a protein that kicks off collagen production to heal wounds. They're thinking that because aging skin is damaged skin, activin might also reduce wrinkles. Avon, the only company using the ingredient now, checked out hundreds of ways to create Activin and discovered a combination of Asian plants they named activinol. According to the company's studies, the plant compound delivered up to a 25 percent improvement in fine wrinkles.

Serpin B3 Inhibitor
Need another reason to stay out of the sun? UV exposure can produce a protein in skin cells called serpin B3, which causes dryness and roughness. But Shiseido has patented a synthetic amino acid, Skingenecell 1P that suppresses it, which makes skin softer. Dermatologists are excited about the ingredient, and have found that products containing it are much more effective than traditional moisturizers.

This jazzily named ingredient is like a milder version of Botox, but in a cream, according to the people who make it. Here's how they put it together: Botox interrupts the release of a neurochemical that makes muscles contract (and wrinkles form). Argireline, the active ingredient in many skin creams that claim to work like Botox, does something similar. Snap-8 is chemically like argireline but about 30 percent more effective, according to the makers. Doctors say While Snap-8 creams won't give you all the benefits of Botox, but still give it the thumbs up: products containing the ingredient do seem to have a gradual relaxing effect.

This protein in skin helps connect and anchor cells, but its production drops as the years go by. The logic: if a product can restore the body's tensin, skin will look firmer and younger. Chanel worked with scientists from Harvard to identify a plant compound that they say stimulates our stores of tensin. Outside dermatologists say more study is needed to see whether the compound will have the same effect on skin that it does on cells in a lab.

Genomic Technology
This one isn't an ingredient, it's a whole strategy. Young skin contains proteins (including activin, serpin B3, and tensin) that decrease over time. By identifying the genes responsible for creating these proteins, scientists can formulate ingredients to keep the good stuff flowing. We're still in the beginning stages of utilizing genomic technology, but dermatologists agree: It is the future of skin care.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Aging Makeup Mistakes

Heavy makeup is a one-way ticket to looking older than you actually are. Choose a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer,and after you apply it, press a damp makeup sponge into areas where you have wrinkles to soak up any excess. While the less-is-more maxim may seem counterintuitive, the more skin you can see, the better. As long as it is well-hydrated, fresh skin looks much more youthful than an obviously covered complexion.

Foundation that's paler than your natural skin tone exaggerates fine lines. Even if you have ivory skin, you need to go a little bit warmer as you get older. Switch to a hue that's one or two shades darker and has luminescent particles. A light-reflective formula makes the skin look like it's glowing.

The skin under the eyes gets thinner as we age, making thick cover-up look like concrete. Keep it light and apply it with a brush. The brush distributes the color more evenly. And put it only on dark areas, not under the entire eye.

Powder is fine for reducing shine on the nose and the chin, but on other parts of the face it exaggerates wrinkles and can make skin look too dry. One unbreakable rule applies: Avoid the eye area completely.

It draws attention to sagging skin. Instead, apply color on the highest point on your cheekbones, not too close to the nose, and lift it upward with a brush that's large enough to cover the whole cheekbone. Skip the drama queen shades, too: Colors like wine and cinnamon will only make you look gaunt if you're thin and clownish if you're not.A neutral rose color flatters all skin tones and really brightens things up.

Your natural lip line can begin to fade as you age, which makes lipstick more prone to bleeding and feathering. Tracing it with one of the new clear lip liners can help the color stay put.

Bright colors, dark shades, and anything metallic or iridescent are too heavy for thinning lips. Instead, choose a neutral rose shade. And consider switching from a lipstick to a sheer gloss—it will give you more fullness.

It highlights crow's-feet. And dark circles. And it just generally looks bad. Coat your top lashes with the blackest black mascara you can find—it will make the whites of your eyes look clearer and whiter. It's also best to avoid superthick formulas that don't separate easily. Lashes get dryer as we age, making mascara more likely to clump and fall onto your face. And don't forget your curler. Curling your lashes is the easiest thing you can do to make your eyes look bigger—and therefore younger.

All that does is make your eyes look smaller and draw attention to dark circles.Unless you have really big eyes. Stick to the upper lids—and make the line thicker toward the outer corners, where eyes have a tendency to droop as we age.

A little shimmer is flattering and keeps eye makeup from looking too stark, but at the outer corners, it magnifies every fine line. Restrict sparkle and shimmer to the inner corners, the centers of the lids, and just on the brow bones.

Hair Damage Turnaround

Turn Down the Heat
Good news: You don't have to completely swear off blow-drying. Just do it right. "Your hair will be much better off if you start blow-drying when it isn't dripping wet," says Boston dermatologist Ranella Hirsch. Blot, don't rub, wet hair with a microfibre which is less damaging than the classic terry-cloth turban. Use a heat-protective spray or serum.

Shampoo Smartly
Hairstylists love to say you can reduce the times you shampoo to three times a week. But if you have fine and/or oily hair, you don't have to walk around looking dirty. Shampoo daily, but thoroughly drench your hair with water before you lather up.Then concentrate on just the hair two inches closest to the scalp, since that's where sebum collects. And rinse really, really well under the coldest water you can stand. (Bonus: This will smooth the cuticle so frayed ends are less obvious.) Stock your shower with products that have the words "anti-breakage, "strengthening," or "renewal" on the label to thicken hair and seal split ends.

Color Sparingly
Semipermanent or permanent dyes—and not just the blonde kind—contain some peroxide, which will break down the waxy protective layer of hair, says . So just give your ends a rest. Apply dye only to the roots and then comb it through the ends in just the last few minutes. Then keep your hair looking fresh longer by using a shampoo and conditioner formulated for dyed hair.

Blow-Dry Gently
Stretching your hair with a brush while you incinerate it with a blow-dryer is not so hot for your hair's health. But you can fight frizz less harshly. A good-quality blow-dryer, dries so quickly that there really isn't time for the hair to overheat. Ditch the big round brush for one with smooth, synthetic bristles. And at least try two things: Don't yank too hard on the hair and keep the nozzle as far away as possible. Two inches would be acceptable .

Straighten Extremely Gently
Repeat after me and your hair will thank you: I will not overexpose my hair to the flatiron. Read the manufacturers' instructions and don't exceed the maximum suggested time. (It's typically about five seconds.) Using a flatiron only once a week and swearing off all but irons with ceramic plates, , helps further. Fans of chemical straightening should consider switching to a keratin treatment, which adds a smooth coating to each strand but doesn't mess with the cortex. (Liquid Keratin 30 Day Straight is a good at-home version.) Just steer clear of anything called "Brazilian straightening"; the treatment may contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Mend Your Ends
If you have the time and money to hit the salon every four weeks, great. Eveyone else? Just get a good deep conditioner. The ingredients aren't that different from those in your daily conditioner, but they're much more concentrated and they leave behind a smoothing film that won't wash off for days. Deep conditioning overnight once a week if the damage is severe—just make sure you place a towel over your pillow.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Slim Down Strategies

1)Weigh yourself daily

Why It Works: Weekly weigh-ins are a staple of many popular weight loss programs, but some studies show that daily weighing can be key to lasting weight loss. When researchers at the University of Minnesota monitored the scale habits of 1,800 dieting adults, they found that those who stepped on every day lost an average of 12 pounds over 2 years (weekly scale watchers lost only 6) and were less likely to regain lost weight. Step on the scale first thing every morning, when you weigh the least. Expect small day-to-day fluctuations because of bloating or dehydration, but if your weight creeps up by 2% (that's just 3 pounds if you weigh 150), it's time to skip dessert.

2)Keep TV viewing under 2 hours a day

Why It Works: TV junkies miss out on calorie-burning activities like backyard tag with the kids; instead, they become sitting ducks for junk-food ads. One study found that adults who watch more than 2 hours of TV per day take in 7% more calories and consume more sugary snacks than those who watch less than an hour a day. Wean yourself off the tube by introducing other activities into your life. Eliminate the temptation to watch between-show filler by recording your must-see programs so you can fast-forward through the ads. Or subscribe to a mail-order DVD service like Netflix, and make a movie the only thing you watch all day.

3) Eat 4 g of fiber at every meal

Why It Works: A high-fiber diet can lower your caloric intake without making you feel deprived. In a Tufts University study, women who ate 13 g of fiber or less per day were five times as likely to be overweight as those who ate more fiber. Experts see a number of mechanisms through which fiber promotes weight loss: It may slow down eating because it requires more chewing, speed the passage of food through the digestive tract, and boost satiety hormones. To get 25 g of fiber a day, make sure you eat six meals or snacks, each of which contains about 4 g of fiber. For to-go snacks, buy a piece of fruit; it's handier than vegetables, so it's an easy way to up your fiber intake. One large apple has just as much fiber (5 g) as a cup of raw broccoli.

4) Sleep at least 7 hours a night

Why It Works: A University of Chicago study found that people deprived of Zzzs had lower levels of the hormones that control appetite. "The research suggested that short sleep durations could be a risk factor for obesity," says James Gangwisch, Ph.D., an epidemiologist from Columbia University Medical Center. Sure enough, his follow-up study of 9,588 Americans found that women who slept 4 hours or less per night were 234% more likely to be obese. The key number for most people is 7 hours or more a night, he says, so set an early bedtime and stick to it.

5) Drink 8 glasses of water per day

Why It Works: Water is not just a thirst quencher--it may also speed the body's metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of cold water increased their subjects' metabolic rate by 30%, and the effect persisted for 90 minutes. One-third of the boost came from the body's efforts to warm the water, but the rest was due to the work the body did to absorb it. "When drinking water, no calories are ingested but calories are used, unlike when drinking sodas, where additional calories are ingested and possibly stored," explains the lead researcher, Michael Boschmann, M.D., of University Medicine Berlin. Increasing water consumption to 8 glasses per day may help you lose about 8 pounds in a year, he says, so try drinking a glass before meals and snacks and before consuming sweetened drinks or juices.

6) Stick to an 8-hour workday

Why It Works: A University of Helsinki study of 7,000 adults found that those who'd packed on pounds in the previous year were more likely to have logged overtime hours. Lack of time for diet and exercise is most likely the cause, but it's also possible that work stress has a direct effect on weight gain through changes in hormones like cortisol. Set firm limits on your workday so that when you're done, you still have the oomph to take a bike ride and cook a healthy dinner. To help you stay productive enough to finish on time, set an hourly alarm; when it goes off, deal with your most pressing duties.
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