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Eczema Triggers and Treatments

Most of us either know someone with eczema, but what is it? What makes it worse? And how can it be managed?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) or more commonly known as Eczema, is a skin condition that results from disruption of the skin barrier, allowing water to leave the skin and allergens to penetrate. This can lead to chronically inflamed, dry, scaly skin and in more severe cases, skin that crusts, cracks, and/or bleeds. In addition, those with eczema commonly have a disbalance of normal bacteria on their skin, which can lead to over-proliferation of staph bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.

There are several factors that can trigger eczema flares. For some people, the dry, indoor air during winter can ignite a flare. For others, the effects of warmer weather such as sweating, outdoor allergens, and increased sun exposure can provoke episodes of itching, rashes, and discomfort to the skin. Fragrances, drying alcohols, harsh chemicals and rough fabrics are other examples of triggers. 

The impact of dealing with eczema on the quality of life can be quite significant, not only for the patient, but also for the caretaker, and the healthcare system. According to the National Eczema Association, when compared to those without eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD), people with AD have increased healthcare utilization (or the use and measurement of services by healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate care). That includes more outpatient doctor visits, more visits to urgent/emergency care, and more hospitalizations. 

Navigating treatment and management of eczema can feel daunting, but if one’s routine centers on these 4 principles, I have found that patients are better equipped in keeping eczema flares to a minimum.

  1. Seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist. 

Working with a dermatologist will confirm the diagnosis (there are rashes that are eczema mimickers) and help determine whether your eczema can be managed with creams and behavioral modification, or whether a combination approach prescribed by your physician that could include oral medication, light treatment, or biologic injectables are more appropriate for you. You can use the Vaseline x Hued Find A Dermatologist tool to find the right dermatologist for you.

  1. Find (and avoid) your triggers.

This tip challenges one to think outside of the box when considering potential triggers for eczema. Food allergies are often associated with eczema and its flares. While studies have shown this to be true in 5% of cases, the other 95% are attributed to one, or several, of the triggers outlined above. Be sure to avoid doing things that exacerbate dry skin, such as applying alcohols, hydrogen peroxide, or other harsh chemicals. While avoidance of triggers is unlikely to cure eczema, it can help minimize flare-ups. 

  1. Baths provide hydration for dry, parched skin. 

If limited to less than 10 minutes, baths are actually hydrating for dry, eczema-prone skin. Bathing adds water to the skin, and moisturizing immediately after bathing locks in that moisture.

  1. Thick moisturizers are your friend. 

A lesser-known fact is lotions have a higher water content than creams and ointments, which can lead to drying of the skin. For this reason, I recommend thick, rich moisturizers with hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter, due to their thicker water-in oil formulation. This is why I love Vaseline’s NEW Intensive Care Sensitive Skin Relief Lotion. Co-created with dermatologists, this formula uses colloidal oatmeal and ultra-hydrating lipids to provide long-lasting and soothing moisture – 88% more moisture compared to untreated skin – from the first use. As part of the full newly reformulated Intensive Care lotion collection redeveloped to prevent dryness and provide skin with 48 hours of moisturization, each dermatologist tested formula contains a special blend of humectants to draw water into the skin, including ultra-hydrating lipids, and micro-droplets of Vaseline® Original Healing Jelly to combat dry skin and provide up to 90% more moisture.  

Now you are equipped with the knowledge on eczema triggers, how to avoid them, and recommendations for treatment and management. You are officially ready to face the winter season!

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Types of Hyperpigmentation, Symptoms, and Who it Affects

Have you ever noticed spots or patches on skin that are a different shade than other areas? Often times we reference this as hyperpigmentation, which can be used to describe an area of the skin that is darker than the surrounding skin. This can be due to something benign, like a mole, or something malignant, like skin cancer. Benign skin conditions can include moles, birthmarks, skin infections, drug induced rashes/spots, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can result from trauma, an old acne spot, melasma and more. Malignant skin conditions can include melanoma and pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma.

What does this mean for you? If something hyperpigmented on your skin is worsening, I would advise you to see a board-certified dermatologist. Furthermore, I would practice good skin care, which includes daily sunscreen use, especially on the face, neck, chest, and hands. These are common areas where patients come in seeking laser and cosmetic help for sun damage. Many people think that patients with darker skin types do not need daily sunscreen. However, that’s not the case – we all do! 

We know that the sun eats up our collagen, which you can see in the searchable “truck driver skin” reference. We also know that many of us do not wear enough sunscreen in our day-to-day. As a dermatologist I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing sunscreen daily but remember – wearing sunscreen does NOT mean that your skin will not tan or darken when in the sun. Using extra protection like wearing a hat and seeking shade when outdoors, particularly if you are worried about hyperpigmentation, is key. These practices are also necessary post procedures, such as after surgery or laser treatments. If you have a benign skin condition that appears hyperpigmented, regardless of the location, you want to ensure that there is minimal contact with the sun as it will only darken the area.

Typically, hyperpigmentation in and of itself is NOT symptomatic. However, if it is due to a skin infection, it may be itchy or painful. If the cause is pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer), it can bleed, enlarge, and crust. Just because something is not symptomatic, does not necessarily mean it cannot be concerning, so always check with your dermatologist. If you’re in need of finding a provider, utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a medical expert who understands the care that your skin needs.

Next up, let’s address another common concern I encounter with my patients daily. One is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, an old rash, post-surgical scars, or any other procedure that created temporary inflammation. For these patients, I review good skin care and treatment options using medications that help even out the skin tone. These can come with side effects, so it is prudent to inform your dermatologist of what medications you have tried as well as the concentrations of each. Those steps are advised to ensure efforts are not duplicated and can be treated most efficiently. Many times, patients are eager to start laser treatment to lighten spots quickly. We have many laser options available, but one must remember that being aggressive with laser treatment, (which causes inflammation), can exacerbate the hyperpigmentation. Our skin is the extremely delicate and takes time to heal, so it’s always worth remembering that results will are not immediate. Due to the sensitivity of our skin, I often use a synergistic approach using all the tools we have available, like medications, lasers, and comprehensive skin care, to optimize our time and effort.

Hyperpigmentation can affect anyone, regardless of skin color. Have you ever seen someone with a scratch that healed and left a brown spot? That is hyperpigmentation. Or an acne lesion that has gone away but left a brown spot?  This is another example of hyperpigmentation. Being in the sun will darken the pigment in the skin, so be aware of that! For additional ways to receive Vitamin D beyond that sunshine, try out foods and supplements fortified with the necessary Vitamin D. In the meantime, when you are outside, make sure you spend time in the sun safely.

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Best Practices on Skin Care for Babies

As a Board-certified Pediatric Dermatologist, I am frequently asked the top recommended ways to care for a baby’s skin. This is absolutely one of my favorite questions to answer, especially with September being Baby Safety Month! Caring for baby skin requires incredibly gentle care, while their skin is maturing. Most people do not know that there are developmental and structural changes that occur within the skin as a baby grows. It takes anywhere from 1 to 4 years for a newborn baby’s skin to fully develop after birth. During this time, it is especially important to choose the safest and most gentle products formulated for babies. Let’s take a deeper dive and uncover the leading recommendations on how to best care for your baby’s skin.

Bathing

Bathing requires the use of a gentle body wash along with tepid water. You never want to accidentally burn the skin of a young baby during bath time from the faucet water. You want to first check with parts of your body that are more sensitive to heat, such as your inner wrist or elbow. It’s also important not to keep babies in the bath for very long. Usually a 3-to-5-minute bath is sufficient in most cases. Young babies are particularly at risk for hypothermia (or low temperatures) if left in water for too long. An additional best practice is to avoid harsh soaps due to their alkaline pH, which wreaks havoc on the skin. An overall great gentle bath wash that meets those needs is the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Tip-to-Toe Fragrance-Free Wash!

Moisturization

Moisturization is extremely important to replenish lost water and natural oils needed by our skin during the bathing process. I recommend that following a short bath, apply a gentle moisturizer that contains safe ingredients. Ingredients to avoid in your baby’s moisturizer include: parabens, fragrances, dyes, lanolin, formaldehyde, and other sensitizing agents. If your baby has sensitive or eczema prone skin, reach for a cream or ointment-based moisturizer over a lotion. This skin type will likely require more support. My absolute favorite is Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly. It comes in a large size that is affordable.

Diaper Care

The diaper region is a very tricky area to care for as nearly any healthy baby skin can develop a diaper rash. This region often has prolonged contact time to urine and feces that is harsh on newborn skin. The contact on the immature skin from these harsh elements will change the local pH and result in the possible breakdown of the skin, leading to the beginning of a diaper rash (appearing as pink to bright red skin). To minimize the risk of this, the first, and most important step is to do frequent diaper changes throughout the day and night. As any parent or caregiver knows this could be a difficult feat. Diapers with a wetness indicator strip can be very helpful here. This will prompt parents and caregivers to quickly change a wet diaper and avoid prolonged irritation of the skin. If a diaper rash is severe, I often recommend temporarily discontinuing diaper wipes and switching to a soft cotton swab with water to gently cleanse the area when needed. After that step, applying a barrier cream is a must! If you see small red bumps (especially those with white pus-filled tops), scaling, peeling, raw broken, or swollen skin, it’s time to visit your baby’s pediatrician or pediatric dermatologist. If that arises, your baby’s diaper rash could have potential complications, such as a yeast infection, and require prescription medications as a cure.

Eczema/ Sensitive Skin

For babies with sensitive, allergic prone skin, I recommend products with the base ingredient of petroleum which helps provide the occlusion and reinforcement for a proper skin barrier function. My absolute favorite is Vaseline Healing Jelly Baby, which is triple-purified and helpful for protecting chafed red skin. It is my favorite because it is also hypo-allergenic and contains no irritants. The Vaseline mini travel size or Healing Jelly Stick are great for travel and for to-go the diaper bag. Waterproofing your baby’s skin with the best occlusive agent out there is also easy to do as you can find them at your local drug store or online.

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What is Psoriasis? Causes, Frequency and Treatment for Patients

To the untrained eye, Psoriasis may resemble other skin conditions, such as eczema, Seborrheic Dermatitis, or even certain skin cancers. Although numerous skin conditions may cause dryness, itchiness, and skin patches, Psoriasis is a condition that has its own characteristics, causes, and treatments. Let’s break down what exactly is Psoriasis, how we can differentiate it from other skin conditions, and how we can treat Psoriasis with budget-friendly products.

Psoriasis, which comes from the Greek meaning ‘itchy condition,’ is an immune-mediated skin condition that occasionally causes itchy skin. People with Psoriasis have overactive immune systems that speed up the production and overgrowth of skin cells. The overproduction ultimately results in a build-up of skin cells on the face, body, and scalp. This is how the characteristic signs of skin patches and bumps are formed.

Although the exact mechanism behind this immune overstimulation is yet to be identified, we do know the key features of Psoriasis. This skin condition is genetic and can occur in both males and females. Stress, smoking, hormonal changes, and allergies can all trigger acute flares of Psoriasis. Symptoms usually start to develop in the late teens, between the ages of 15 – 20, but Psoriasis can arise at any age. Psoriasis is not confined to one skin type, tone, or texture, and people of all skin colors can be diagnosed with Psoriasis.

Now that we know the basics of Psoriasis, let’s take a look at how skin changes may manifest. There are 5 types of Psoriasis and as mentioned, changes can arise on the face, body, or scalp. The most common type is known as Plaque Psoriasis, which creates inflamed red patches and plaques. These plaques are usually covered with scales and mostly appear on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp. Other types of Psoriasis may appear anywhere on the body, even on the nails, feet, and eyelids.

Skin patches, plaques, and scales may vary in color and shape, and may manifest uniquely on different skin tones. For example, people with darker skin tones most commonly have dark brown or purplish-gray patches, while lighter skin tones usually have pink or red patches.

Similar plaque colors, raised skin texture, appearance of skin bumps, and crusty patches are reasons why Psoriasis and skin cancer are sometimes confounded. As subtypes exist in both Psoriasis and skin cancer, making the correct diagnosis between these two skin conditions is paramount.

This brings us to the next point. How can medical professionals diagnose Psoriasis? Along with conducting a thorough assessment of a patient’s family history, Board Certified Dermatologists also examine the skin, scalp, and nails for characteristic changes, signs, or noticeable patchiness. If the results are inconclusive, a small skin sample, known as a biopsy, will be taken for further investigation –- under a microscope.

Let’s say the results came back as positive for Psoriasis. What do we do now? Although the diagnosis may seem overwhelming to most, the good news is many types of Psoriasis can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications and ointments after treating the more severe stage with your dermatologist.

This skin condition can improve with skin products and ointments that hydrate and moisturize the skin. Emollients help trap the moisture inside the skin and they reduce the appearance of dry scales and patches. For example, the Vaseline Clinical Care Dry Hands Rescue is a great option for treating dry and rough skin on the hands and fingers. For larger skin areas, you can go for the Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Moisture Jelly Cream, which moisturizes extremely dry skin and protects the skin barrier. Along with hydrating skin products, reducing everyday stress, and maintaining a well-balanced diet can work to in minimizing acute flares of Psoriasis.

But as with any other skin condition, your optimal treatment regimen may be unique and different from most. It’s always best to consult with your Dermatologist and to create a treatment plan that works best for your specific skin condition and skincare needs. If you’re in need of finding a dermatologist, utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a provider who understands the care that your skin needs.

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Eye Health: Contact Lens Safety

Contact lenses are an alternative to traditional glasses that is less invasive than correction surgery. Studies estimate about 45 million people in the US wear contact lenses, and two-thirds of those are women. Contact lenses are a great alternative for those needing to improve their vision for physical activities and sports. Research also shows that contact lenses can help boost self-esteem in teens and children. 

However, contact lenses can lead to eye infections and blindness when care protocols are not followed. According to research, 40%-90% of contact wearers do not continuously pursue cleaning and care instructions. Proper care included disinfecting lenses, changing pairs in the designated time frame, adequate remoisturizing, and wear time. Below are recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology on how to properly care for your contact lenses.

Properly care for Lenses:

  • Keep appointments with your doctor to ensure your contact prescription is accurate and your eyes are not experiencing an infection.
  • Do not wash contact lenses in water or put contact lenses in mouth to use saliva to wet.
  • If your eye becomes red and itchy it may be a sign that contacts are old and getting worn and you should speak to a doctor.
  •  Keep contact lenses case clean by rinsing with contact solution and leave it open to dry. Be sure to also replace your case every 3 months.

Eye health is important and it essential to ensure your contact lenses are not causing your eyes any pain. Remember to speak to a doctor about how to wear your contacts and followup if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort.

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STOP! Do Not Eat That

Tabitha Brown, actress and media personality, have never been shy to speak about her health complication and allergies and how they lead her to a vegan lifestyle. Recently, Tabitha posted a video encouraging people to be vigilant with companies and food product ingredients. Research estimates that 32 million Americans have food allergies, 8% (1 in 13) of that total impacting children. Research also suggests that about 40% of children with allergies are allergic to more than one food.

Individuals need to be aware of the items they are consuming, and it is equally essential for those creating products to be transparent about their products. I have had some experiences of being out to eat with someone with allergies and dietary restrictions and being served items they have asked not to be served. Some occasions were mistakes, but many also thought that “it is not that bad” or that their dietary restrictions were a choice.

Certain food items such as dairy products can cause inflammation to some consumers resulting in unpleasant gut health and diarrhea. When someone eliminates a food item that causes harm and is abruptly consumed, it can cause serious health issues. Asking for substitutes or \modifications is not a trend. It is how they navigate the world. Below are a few ways to advocate for yourself if you have an allergy and how to make yourself away if you are a food provider.

How do I know if I have an allergy?

An appointment can be made independently or referred to see an allergy specialist. During an appointment, the physician can conduct patch tests on skin with different allergy-causing foods, trees, and bug bites and get an immediate result. 

When should I see a specialist?

If you notice you are experiencing discomfort or having a reaction after eating certain foods or going outside, it may be time to speak to a professional. Sometimes we can see the patterns, and keeping a record of any changes or reactions you notice is reasonable.

What do I do next?

You found out you have an allergy, but what now? If it is food, go through your kitchen and discard any items that can cause a reaction, and if it’s environmental, speak to a professional about any medications that can stop a reaction. Talk to family and friends about your allergies and research what items can be consumed and substitutes you can use.

How do I be inclusive of others’ dietary restrictions?

Do your research and make sure items are correctly labeled. Make sure you know the true definition of dairy-free before putting that label on your products. Study how certain dishes can be substituted and, if applicable, create an area for dishes that can be made separate from the rest of the meals. Lastly, understand allergies are common even if not diagnosed yet, so respect someone’s body when they tell you what they can and cannot have.

Prioritizing your health is not an inconvenience to anyone and should not be treated as such by anyone. Unfortunately, allergies impact a large percentage of our community, and we hope others will take them more seriously when working with the general public. 

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How to Spot Skin Cancer In Every Skin Tone

As a dermatologist, I preach the importance of sun protection to every patient and have done so for years. While it is true that skin cancer in darker skin tones is not as common as it is in those with fair skin, it is also true that when it does occur in darker skin tones, it’s often more deadly for individuals with darker skin tones – this was the case for Reggae legend Bob Marley, who died of a melanoma. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (https://www.skincancer.org/), skin cancer accounts for 2-4% of all cancers affecting African American, Hispanic, and Asian populations. However, skin cancers within these demographic groups tend to be more deadly because of delayed diagnosis and sometimes more aggressive nature.

Skin cancers are named for the level within the skin in which they develop, and the three most common types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Malignant Melanoma (MM). 

While anyone can develop skin cancer, you are at an increased risk if you: 

  • Spend significant time outdoors (i.e., sports, work, driving)
  • Are actively sun tanning – whether outdoors or in a tanning salon 
  • Have a first-degree relative who has had a form of skin cancer (i.e., melanoma)
  • Experienced a thermal injury (i.e., burn, radiation treatment) 
  • Are immunosuppressed due to medication, organ transplants, certain diseases such as lupus
  • Have HPV
  • Smoke

Early diagnosis leads to a better prognosis and an improved survival rate. Here are some tips to spot potential skin cancer:  

#1) CHECK YOURSELF REGULARLY 

While skin cancer is thought to occur only on sun-exposed skin, it can and does occur on skin where the sun doesn’t usually hit. For example, malignant Melanoma occurs more commonly on the hands and feet of African-Americans, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma often occurs in the groin. Unlike many cancers, skin cancers generally do not cause pain. 

Examine yourself in the mirror and take note of any growths or spots. Consider taking a photo to know if change occurs over time. Make sure you check every crack and crevice of your body. When seeing specialists make sure to: 

  • Ask your Dermatologist to perform a skin cancer screening exam
  • Ask your hair stylist to check your scalp periodically
  • Ask your GYN to check down below during your annual exam
  • Ask your dentist to check your oral cavity, including under your tongue
  • Ask your ophthalmologist to check the back of the eye with a dilated exam

#2) IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING 

Make sure you bring your concerns to your doctor if: 

  • Any of your spots or moles are changing or behaving differently (growing, changing color, changing shape, bleeding, or not healing within a reasonable amount of time).  
  • Know your body. For example, a bug bite, a scratch, or a pimple should probably heal in a week or two weeks. If it has been a month or two months, or if it has healed but has started to bleed for no reason, that is not normal. That is an indication that it should be looked at.
  • You have a new spot that was never present before

#3) SEE A BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST FOR DIAGNOSIS 

Utilize Vaseline x HUED’s directory of dermatologists and practitioners to meet with a provider who understands the care that skin color needs. 

To diagnose skin cancer, a biopsy is performed by your dermatologist. A biopsy is an in-office procedure done with local anesthesia (the same procedure that a dentist would use for a filling). A biopsy procedure is when a small sample is taken and sent to a dermatopathology lab, in which results are typically available within 5-10 days.

While keeping these steps in mind for detection, it’s equally important to take care of your skin daily because prevention is key! Remember to always be SUN SAAVY with these tips:

  • Wear a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen every day (SPF 30 or greater) 
  • Put on enough sunscreen (a glass full) to cover your arms, legs, and face
  • Reapply every 2-3 hours
  • Wear a hat/visor
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Avoid prolonged direct sun exposure 

Brooke A Jackson, MD 

Medical Director Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates

@DrBrookeDerm 

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Back to School and Back to the Basics:

Summer is starting to wind down for all those headed back to the classrooms, so returning to school is quickly approaching. In recent years, school has created an interesting mix of anticipation and hesitation in our global pandemic. We are still navigating our Covid-19 pandemic, and now we are dealing with the potential for a rise in Monkeypox. 

This does not only impact students and children while in class, but it makes the probability of taking these illnesses home to family higher. In addition, according to Skin Sight, children are in close proximity to each other and still have developing immune systems, which is why illnesses spread quicker within children. Below is a list of techniques and products to help keep your child and students safe during this academic school year.

  1. Wash your hands!

The Center for Disease and Control Prevention also outlines washing your hands properly. One main takeaway is after lathering with soap and water, scrub your hands for 20 seconds before rinsing your hands. Also, note that hand sanitizer is not the same as washing with soap and water; washing your hands should be done whenever possible.

  1. Limit Touching 

This is easier said than done since children learn through touching and exploring the world around them. Encourage them to wash their hands before touching their face and to gently correct at home if kids are excessively putting their hands or items in their mouths. Practicing at home can be very helpful before the school year begins. 

  1. Healthy Habits 

The outbreak of Covid-19 and Monkeypox has sparked so much conversation about being healthy and avoiding illness. Part of that conversation is also having healthy habits like a balanced meal and adequate sleep. Creating a routine that upholds both the caregiver’s and child’s needs can benefit the household’s overall needs.

  1. Keep up with medical appointments. 

It is essential to ensure that your child is up to date on their medical appointments and any vaccinations they may need. This will help keep them protected; if they become sick, having a pediatrician will help them get the necessary medication and help.

We hope this back-to-school season will be full of growth and accomplishments. But, most importantly, we hope this advice helps maintain continued health.

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Calming Stress With Colors

Since 2016 there has been a rise in adults using coloring books for stress regulation and calming the mind. Nielsen Bookscan covers around 85% of the US print book market, and in one year, from 2014 to 201,5, US sales shot up from 1 million to 12 million coloring books in the last year. Since then,n the rate of book sales has continued to rise, and coloring books have been implemented in more adult therapy sessions and wellness activities.

In the book Body Keeps the Score, the amygdala is described as a group of cells in the middle of the brain next to the hippocampus that processes emotion and is used in memory functioning. According to research, when the amygdala is triggered, it starts the flight or fight process, and if the amygdala is damaged, that response can be triggered due to trauma. This not only impacts the mind itself but also significantly affects our bodies.

According to Harvard Health, pivotal moments can pinpoint the start of a stress response. Some of the important body changes are below:

  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Shallow breathing 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Stomach ache 
  • Increase blood pressure 
  • Extreme fatigue 

When the amygdala is activated in situations that require hypervigilance, such as looking to see if one is being followed, that is helpful. Your body is looking to focus on keeping you safe, but when the amygdala is damaged and constantly triggered, that tires the body and becomes exhausting. This is why activities such as coloring can help regulate and calm the body by making the amygdala slow down. Coloring also helps with sleep and decreases body aches and heart racing.

Try coloring throughout the day or before bed to destress and help calm the flight and fight responses. Be sure also to seek a professional counselor or therapist if you need more assistance to deescalate your stress.

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#NewSet How to protect your hands at the Nail shop

Monthly manicure maintenance is growing in popularity. According to the Artificial Nails Market Research Report, by 2023, the rise could result in a market value of 2.23 Billion. Nail design historically goes back to 5,000 BC archeologists discovered an Egyptian mummy with ‘henna-tinted fingertips. Nail art allows self-expression and creativity.

But. Should we be worried about the health implications that our nail art and artificial nails could bring in the future? 

Recent studies have been unpacking the newfound concern with the modern-day manicure. With polishes popping up such as Gel and SNS that offer long-lasting wear that is more durable, it may cost our skin.

Using a UV light on nails with gel and sns allows the liquid and dip powder to cure and dry quicker and more even. However, using UV light every 2-3 weeks has severe health consequences for the delicate skin around the nail. It is estimated that an individual may sit 6-10 minutes under the UV emitting lamps, which are known to cause skin cancer. 

Studies are ongoing. One study stated that they could not clearly say UV lights cause skin cancer during manicures. However, research also tells us that prolonged UV light on the skin, such as tanning, can increase our risk of developing skin cancers such as melanoma. So, can we achieve these beautifully manicured looks without damaging our skin? 

The answer is still debated, but knowing the risks and taking precautions can help ease anxiety and keep our hands looking healthy.

Risks with UV light manicures:

  • Premature skin aging: Excessive exposure to UV light can age your skin prematurely.
  • Weakened nails: Gel manicures, in particular, although long-lasting, can weaken our natural nails, especially with added impact of UV light.
  • Skin cancer: Using UV light for extended periods risks skin cancers and melanoma.

Below are tips that can help in decreasing risks and exposure:

  • Special Occasions: Using gel manicures, acrylics, or anything that uses UV light for a special occasion. Many of these polishes or powders can be worn for three weeks up to a month, so wearing them for that time can help.
  • Gloves: There have been different gloves created for manicures. They expose the tip of the nail protecting the rest of the hand from the UV light.
  • Creams: Some salons offer creams that can help protect skin from the light. If your salon does not provide these services, try purchasing your own to carry.
  • Stretching Styles: Who doesn’t love a fresh set? Sometimes though, that means more risk of exposure when wearing for the 3- 1 month mark is more beneficial.

We love to see the individual and community ways we express beauty and art! However, we hope that as we navigate these moments of expressing ourselves, we also remember our safety and health.

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What You Need to know about Sarcomas

Sarcoma is the name of group cancers that arise from tumors within the bones and tissues, such as muscles and fat. According to Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, sarcoma lumps start out as tiny lumps that cannot be felt and then grow and move throughout the body. They impact children and adolescents primarily compared to adults, and one of the most significant indicators of sarcoma is lumps without any injury.

At this time, research has not shown what causes sarcoma cancer, but scientists have been able to find some risk factors that are listed below:

Risk factors presented by the American Cancer Society are below:

  • Family History: Family history of sarcoma or other medical syndromes such as familial retinoblastoma and neurofibromatosis type 1 can increase the risk. 
  • Radiation Treatment: The radiation from cancer treatment can put an individual at risk for developing sarcomas in the body.
  • Lack of Lymph System Drainage:  Radiation can damage our lymph nodes which carry out our immune system cells throughout our body.
  • Harsh Chemicals: Industrial chemicals and herbicides have been linked to causing other forms of cancer and being a risk for Sarcoma.

Signs of Sarcoma look like this:

  • Lumps under the skin that appear without known injury.
  • Pain in the bone 
  • Unexplained broken bones.
  • Blood in stool and vomit

Sarcoma can be treated through chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, and effective treatment can be determined depending on the spread of the tumors. First, however, it is essential to be aware of your bone health and to immediately speak to a healthcare provider if anything changes.

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The Health Impact of Plastic

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, we produce 300 million tons of plastic each year, which is equal to the weight of the human population. More than half of the plastic is made in single-use products such as water bottles. Over 90% of plastic ends up in landfills each year and breaks down into microplastics which are toxic to the environment and our health.

In a week, the average person consumes 5 grams of microplastics, equivalent to filling a soup spoon. According to the Plastic Health Coalition, plastics have been linked to numerous health issues such as hormone-related cancers and infertility. In addition, plastics are harmful to our body and the environment, yet they are continuously being created and used in our foods and beverages.

Plastics also take years to become biodegradable. According to Life Out of Plastic (LOOP), a plastic water bottle can take 500 years to biodegrade, and a plastic bag can take 400 years. If this is how long it takes plastics to break down on earth, think of its impact on our bodies. Below are tips to help reduce plastic usage and how to implement more eco-friendly products. 

Tips to reduce plastic usage:

  1. Avoid single-use items, specifically water bottles. Instead, try a reusable water bottle that does not have a high percentage of plastic. 
  2. Makeup has plastics! Use makeup that is microplastic-free for both the health of your skin and the environment.
  3. Use cloth bags for grocery shopping. Many grocery stores are moving beyond giving plastic bags, which is time we do.
  4. Try using glass containers! Even if that plastic container says it is dishwasher and microwave safe, it does not mean those microplastics are not seeping into your food.

These small choices every day can help both our help and the planet’s overall health. We need to improve our community health, especially with our environment.

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Site content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment 

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