Which Sunscreen Should I Use?

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With summer right around the corner, men and women alike are heading to the beach to get that summer tan. As you are packing your beach bag, there is one important thing that everyone needs to pack: sunscreen. But with sunscreen SPFs ranging from 4 to 100, which do we one should we get?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your sunscreen needs to have 3 things:

  • Broad-spectrum protection to protect against UVA and UVB rays
  • Sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher
  • Water resistance

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is unnecessary to get a sunscreen SPF above 50. This is because a sunscreen with an sun protection factor of 50 is already blocking 98% of UVA & UVB rays; therefore, any SPF higher is not making a significant impact on your level of protection. They recommend getting a sunscreen with SPF ranging between 30 and 50.

Remember that while sunscreen will help protect your skin from sunburn, early aging, and skin cancer, no sunscreen will protect you fully. Dermatologists recommend taking the following extra precautions:

  • Seek shade when the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10am and 2pm.
  • Use extra precaution when near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the sun’s rays increasing your chance of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Regardless of gender, race, or age, everyone should be using sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and every 2 hours you are outside.
  • Make sure to use lip balm with SPF as lips can get skin cancer as well.
  • Babies under 6 months of age should avoid the sun as often as possible. If in the sun, they should wear protective clothing.

Is Your Nail Polish Causing You Harm?

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Women and little girls alike love to paint their nails. They paint their nails red at Christmas time to spread the holiday cheer. Their toes get painted when it’s time to go to the beach. The color they choose helps bring them confidence, while showing a glimmer of their personality and taste. But what is in the nail polish you are wearing? It turns out the chemical composition isn’t nearly as pretty as the color it makes.

Researchers at Duke University and Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 49% of nail polishes on the market contain triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). TPHP, primarily used as a flame retardant or plasticizer, has been seen to enter the human body via nail polish. In the body, TPHP has been found to cause harmful changes to hormone and reproductive systems as well as interference with metabolism and fat production.

One study found that wearing gloves may help minimize the absorption of TPHP. However, EWG also released the chart below indicating which nail polish brands to avoid due to their TPHP levels. Also, make sure to check the label of your nail polishes as companies often modify their ingredients.

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Beauty is NOT Pain

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Beauty is pain. This is a phrase we have all heard thousands of times ever since we were little. We have been told that beauty is something that is earned and often achieved at a cost. Girls and women have been told to “suck it up” and “deal with it,” when experiencing pain from the treatments and procedures associated with creating the perfect and beautiful woman. We hear it when our high heels start to give us blisters, when getting our eyebrows waxed, or when we accidentally burn ourselves straightening our hair.

However, when you tell little girls that beauty is pain, they are going to be under the impression that they are not beautiful unless they manipulate their body into a way that society deems beautiful. However, that is not true! Beauty is natural. Beauty is happiness. Beauty is confidence. Most importantly, beauty is NOT acquired by painful procedures, treatments, or clothing. Women, remember, you are beautiful just the way you are!

How Do I Reduce My Risk of Cancer?

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In honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to dedicate this post to how to reduce your risk of cancer. In a way, this is the million dollar question. Scientists and doctors have been researching for decades cancer: how it develops, how to treat it, and how to prevent. Below is what we have seen so far:

  1. Adopt an Mediterranean Diet: This diet focuses on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. It limits red meat and butter, instead choosing lean protein sources, such as fish & chicken, and olive oil, as a healthy fat. Women who adopt this diet have been seen to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
  2. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Research has shown that the more you drink, the greater your risk of developing cancer. It is best to limit your alcohol as much as possible, consuming no more than 1 drink/day for women & 2 drinks/day for men.
  3. Stop Smoking: Smoking in general is terrible for your health, so it is a no-brainer that it will lead to all sorts of cancer. If you need more information, read https://smokefree.gov/quitting-smoking/reasons-quit/health-effects.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity increases your risk for developing all cancers. For postmenopausal women, this effect is intensified, if the weight was gained after menopause.
  5. Exercise: Physical activity will help you keep a healthy weight. The Department of Health recommends at least 150 minutes/wk of moderate-intensity workouts OR 75 minutes/wk of vigorous workouts. 
  6. Breastfeed Your Babies: Research has shown that breastfeeding your baby can help prevent the development of breast cancer. It is also extremely beneficial for your infant as well. 

For more information:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/breast-cancer-prevention/art-20044676

http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/cancer/cancer-control-month

 

The Benefits of Losing 10%

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Just 10%. That doesn’t sound like that much. Eating just 10% of a pizza is less than 1 slice and I know we all can eat more than that! In the same way, losing 10% of your body weight, if you are overweight, isn’t that hard. Not only that, but scientists have discovered losing 10% of your body weight can have significant effects on your overall health head to toe.

Healthy Body

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, losing 5-10% of your body weight in 6 months allows you to decrease:

  • “Bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Development of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and atherosclerosis, and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Chance of having a heart attack or stroke
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Risk of developing type 2 diabetes, by normalizing sugar regulation and insulin levels
  • Development of gallbladder, prostate, kidney, breast, and colon cancer
  • Waist Measurements

Healthy Mind

Losing just 10% of your weight will allow you to increase your energy, motivation, and confidence. It has once been said that, “success builds success.”

Healthy Habits

By learning how to lose weight in a healthy manner, you will be able to develop new healthy habits, such as exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, and cooking healthy meals.

How to Control Your Stress

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Within the past month alone, 75% Americans have felt stressed and overwhelmed. Science has shown that overtime stress can significantly impact your health in a negative way by causing:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Problems sleeping
  • Depression
  • Chest pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Stomach problems
  • Overeating
  • Cravings
  • Weight Changes

So how is a little bit of extra stress leading to all of that?

The answer is a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol levels are increased during a stress response as a way of preparing the body for a potentially harmful situation, such as a chance encounter with a lion. You are preparing for your fight-or-flight moment. Your pupils are dilating, your heart rate is increasing, and your muscles are burning as much glucose as possible. Cortisol is preparing you for your lion encounter, but the problem is that 99% of the time your stress isn’t caused by a lion or harmful situation. It is the product of overworking and taking on too much.

This is where the problem sets in. Your stress is not a quick fix, so it builds leading to major health problems. It also starts to affect your weight. You start craving comfort foods, your metabolism slows down, your appetite spikes starting first thing in the morning, and your body stops recognizing leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. All of this combined over time causes you to gain weight, especially in your abdomen.

But there is hope! You can take control by knowing the symptoms of stress and working to manage your stressors. Try:

  • Exercising to help relieve built up stress and tension in a healthy way.
  • Taking a walk when you get overwhelmed at work or at home.
  • Talking to your support group.
  • Getting a good night’s rest.
  • Removing stress eating! Listen to your body’s hunger cues and choose healthy foods, instead of those tempting comfort foods.

The Truth About Weight Loss

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When we talk about losing weight, the first thing we do is come up with our goal weight. However, weight loss is so much more than a magical number that will finally make you happy and fit in your skinny jeans. It is gaining a life you couldn’t have before. It is taking control of your health and learning to love yourself.

Below is the article that inspired this post. It is an amazingly told first hand encounter of someone that finally achieved her goal weight, but learned the truth about weight loss along the way.

The “After” Myth