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Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Household Health and Beauty: The Magic of Vinegar

Vinegar is some seriously powerful stuff, and most people have it in their own homes. A few weeks ago, The New York Times printed a report about a highly effective cervical cancer screening method whose secret is vinegar. The procedure, developed by experts at Johns Hopkins in the 1990s, was endorsed last year by the World Health Organization. In this procedure, vinegar is brushed on the cervix and precancerous cells turn white. Quicker, easier, less expensive, and more accessible than the traditional Pap smear, the vinegar treatment is simply amazing!

p2But vinegar isn’t just useful in gynecologists’ offices–you can also use it right in your own home! And no, I don’t mean in only in the kitchen. Vinegar is a fabulous ingredient to use for BEAUTY and WELLNESS too. Here are a few vinegar tips:

  • Add apple cider vinegar to your bath and soak for 15 minutes to help with itchy skin or aching muscles.
  • Use vinegar as a facial toner or astringent. Mix together equal parts vinegar and warm water and apply to a clean face.
  • Mix equal parts vinegar and hand cream to soften dry, chapped winter hands.
  • Make nail polish last longer by soaking fingertips for one minute in 2 tsp. vinegar mixed with 1/2 cup warm water before applying polish.
  • To condition hair and improve cleanliness and shine, rinse hair with 1 tbsp vinegar after you shampoo.
  • Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes nightly to cure toenail fungus.  You will know the fungus is gone when  your cuticles grow back.  Cuticle growth only occurs after the nail fungus is gone.  Magical!
  • Mix equal amounts of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and warm water (cold water will cause dizziness!) and apply one dropperful into each ear after swimming to prevent swimmers’ ear.  NOTE:  Do NOT do this if you have previously broken your ear drum, think you might have broken your eardrum, have had a recent upper respiratory infection, have sudden hearing loss, or note liquid draining from you ear.  In those situations, or in any other situation of concern, be sure to see an Otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) first to be certain that this treatment is safe for you to use.

The Best 4 Places to Live for Fabulous Skin and Great Hair

According to an article in TotalBeauty.com, where you live can affect how you look!  The authors suggest that hair typically looks best in locations with low humidity, minimal pollution, little rainfall, reduced wind speed, soft water and a high concentration of hair salons!  They also note that skin typically looks best in cities with minimal pollution, reduced sunshine, sparse tanning salons, moderate humidity, low number of smokers and little stress.  Here are their top ten lists by category:

For Best SkinHand-colored Map of the USA
1. Anchorage, Alaska – no pollution, only 41% of days are sunny, moderate humidity and low rates of skin cancer
2. Bismark, North Dakota
3. Honolulu, Hawaii – pollution free, few tanning salons, moderate humidity, consistent weather
4. Flagstaff, Arizona
5. Billings, Montana
6. New York – minimal tanning salons, 58% of days are sunny, average humidity, low skin cancer rates
7. San Antonio, Texas
8. Washington, D.C.
9. San Francisco, California – little sunshine, sparse tanning beds, consistent weather, lowest smoking rates
10. Cheyenne, Wyoming

For Best Hair
1. Santa Barbara, California
2. Honolulu, Hawaii – clear air, soft water, lots of salons, consistent weather
3. San Diego, California
4. Anchorage, Alaska – lack of pollution, minimal wind, soft water
5. San Francisco, California – most consistent weather, soft water, minimal wind, high concentration of salons
6. New York – perfect water for hair, most salons per zip code in the country
7. Miami, Florida
8. Los Angeles, California
9. Denver, Colorado
10. Boston, Massachusetts

Based on the data from TotalBeauty.com, you should live in Anchorage, Honolulu, New York or San Francisco, if you, your skin and hair want the external, environmental factors in your favor.   But don’t forget….beauty is an external reflection of internal health and wellness too!  Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, control your stress, stimulate your mind, surround yourself with positive relationships….and when all else fails, you’ve got BeautyScoop, injectables and plastic surgery to offer a helping hand!

Lash Extensions: Q & A

1. What kinds of lash extensions are available? There are a few different lash enhancement options available, each with their own risks and benefits.

Strip Lashes-

They can be made from synthetic or human hair. They are useful when used as a temporary solution and for very short term wear. There is an unnatural heavy feeling on the lids. These are placed against the upper lash line as close to your natural lashes as possible. Applying a strip of lashes can be a daunting task. It requires a great deal of practice and patience. Even well applied lash strips can cause embarrassing situations as the temporary adhesive used to apply the lash strip can come loose due to heat and perspiration.

From a “lash health” perspective there are a few concerns. There is an increased risk of allergic reaction since there is a direct contact of the adhesive with the skin. Long term use of lash strips can occlude the lash line and block the hair follicle resulting in increased potential for permanent lash baldness. There is also an increased risk of infection. Care must be taken when removing the lash strips as to not pull out natural lashes while removing.

“Clusters” or “Flare” type Lashes-Lash Extensions

These types of lashes have a slightly more natural look since they are bundles of three to eight blunt tipped lashes held together by a little knot. They are typically placed on top, in between, or underneath the natural lash line.

Similarly to strip lashes, flares or clusters are attached using an adhesive which comes in contact with skin, and they pose the same risks of allergic reactions, damage to the hair follicle, and risk of infection. If a temporary adhesive is used, they can come off due to heat and perspiration. Many salons offer these types of “lash extensions” with a stronger more permanent adhesive. This type of eyelash extension can cause permanent damage to the hair follicle with repeated use. Since they are placed on top or under the natural lashes, they are attached to a few or your own natural hairs. When it is time for your natural to shed (all of our natural lashes are at a different growth stage), the cluster will also remove other lashes that are still intact. This can result in bald patches in your lash line. Everyone’s threshold for lash regrowth is different. Repeated injury to the lash line can cause permanent damage.  Because of the method of application, they can also be quite uncomfortable and cause pain. You still feel the “knot” of the cluster as well as the pain associated with the cluster pulling the hairs from the root.

Semi Permanent Eyelash Extensions-

Semi permanent eyelash extensions are made to mimic natural lashes. They are placed one by one to your natural eyelashes. A single extension is bonded to a single natural lash. These types of lash extensions are the least damaging to your natural eyelashes. They are light, natural looking and natural feeling. A medical grade adhesive is used to bond each lash individually. The adhesive does not come in contact with skin and is only placed on the eyelash.

2. What are the risks of extensions?

Risks of wearing extensions vary with the type of extension used. Strips, clusters, and flares carry an increased risk of allergic reaction and infection due to the contact with skin and potential for the occlusion of the follicle. There is also a risk for permanent damage to the follicle from lashes being pulled from the root prematurely.

Poorly applied semi permanent eyelash extensions can also carry the same risks as flares and clusters. Technique is very important. The stylist must be precise with application, not connect the extension to your skin, and be sure t only apply a single extension to a single eyelash as well as choosing appropriate size and thickness of the extension. It is important that your natural lash can support the weight of the extension and not place stress on the natural eyelash follicle.

3. Which treatment do you recommend and why?

I prefer and recommend semi permanent lash extensions. While they are the most expensive option, they carry the least risk and are the most natural looking and feeling. They also involve the least amount of maintenance. I do not offer any other type of lash enhancement due to the risks involved. Properly applied and maintained eyelash extensions do not damage your natural lashes.

I also love the ability to contour the lashes to enhance our most noticed feature- our eyes. Semi permanent lash extensions can make you feel younger, fresher, and more polished.

4. What is the maintenance required?

Since our natural lashes shed at different rates, touch-up appointments are necessary to attach an extension to the new growth. The majority of my clients come in every three to four weeks for a one-hour maintenance visit. They are actually quite simple to take care of and every client loves the ability to wake up feeling beautiful without the hassles (and clumpiness) of mascara.

5. Beauty Scoop is called the edible beauty accessory. Do you believe that it can help your eyelashes and your overall beauty?

I definitely believe Beauty Scoop can help your eyelashes and overall beauty. Nurturing and nourishing your beauty from within and promoting hair growth can positively affect overall “lash health.”

Facial Gymnastics

Body muscles have to be exercised. We all know that.  And most of us even belong to a gym.  It should come as no surprise that the fifty or so muscles in the face need some regular toning too.  Simply put, facial work-outs have the same effect on your face as crunches have on your abs.  And they’re free!  No gym membership, no personal trainer, no sign-up lists, and no limited hours.  Just you, a few spare moments (two, to be exact) and the bathroom mirror.  It’s really quite easy—but it sure does take an iron will.

The principle is that you identify the specific muscle and work it, first by itself and later with your fingers to create resistance.  The problem is that some muscle areas are difficult to work, and the movements may be exceptionally subtle.  Ideally, an expert should supervise your technique, but (due to popular request) here are some beginner exercises for the determined:

Eye Muscles – (Smile Lines/Crow’s Feet)

Young Woman Touching Forehead, Eyes Closed
Keeping the eyelids closed, cross your eyes, i.e., look inward toward your nose.  Then squint your eyelids and hold for a few seconds.  Finally, open your eyes very widely and stare at a fixed point some distance away.  HINT:  when you squint, don’t scrunch up your entire face – just the eye area.  To relax, quickly blink the eyelids several times, then gently close.

Cheek/Chewing Muscles

These muscles shape the lower face.  First, open your mouth widely, lowering the bottom jaw as far as possible, then place your index finger firmly across the bottom row of teeth.  Next, try to close the mouth and clench the teeth together.  CAUTION: don’t actually bite your finger; just bring the teeth down to it and hold while feeling the pressure in the chin. To relax, bend the head slightly forward, open the mouth a little, and slowly move the head from left to right (as if in the manner of saying no.)

Brow

The first one is simple. Lift the eyebrows, open the eyes widely and stare at a fixed point.  For the second exercise, smooth the forehead by placing the left hand palm side down on the scalp with the fifth (pinky) finger parallel to the front hairline.  With the right hand, place the index finger over the center portion of the right eyebrow, and the third finger over the center portion of the left eyebrow, and “fix” them in place.  Raise the eyebrows against this “fixed” position and use your finger to prevent upward movement of the eyebrows.  That’s it.  To relax, place the fingertips on the muscles of the forehead and apply light pressure.  Shake the head gently from side to side.

Mouth and Chin

To improve the tone of the mouth and chin, open the lips while clenching the teeth, then pull the sides of the mouth sideways with your index fingers to make the bottom teeth fully visible.  Press upward with the index fingers and try to pull the corners of the mouth down against the resistance of the fingers.  Hold for a few seconds.  To relax, close your mouth lightly and go “brrr”, vibrating your lips like you are shivering.

Remember, facial exercises are an adjunct, not a replacement to facial surgery in the same way that liposuction and exercise go hand-in-hand.

Learn more:

Why Your Face is Now Part of Your Workout – The New York Times – August 25, 2015