Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Types of Soap

The manufacture and sale of soap is a multi-million industry and the cosmetics companies are constantly working hard to find new ways to convince us that they have produced a soap that surpasses all others. Unfortu­nately, their claims are based more on advertising hype than on scientific truth and the only result is increased confusion.

Ordinary soap is often dismissed as harmful and useless by beauticians who want to sell you something much more esoteric and expensive. This just isn't so. The purpose of any dermatological cleansing. (The sort of term favored by beauticians for a process most of us know as 'washing') is to remove dirt and grease. Ordinary soap, when used with water, does this very effectively.

Soap consists of two basic ingredients: fats and lye (an alkaline solution). The fats work particularly well as cleansers. The one unfortunate effect associated with soaps is that by removing natural oils from the skin they car) have a drying effect. I do feel, however, that this effect is over­emphasized by beauty experts. You are not likely to get too much of a drying effect from using soap as long as you use a moisturizing cream afterwards.

In their attempts to corner profitable sections of the soap buying market manufacturers produce many different 'special' soaps:

Transparent soaps
These are more difficult to make than­ ordinary soaps and consequently cost more but I have not been able to find any evidence to suggest that they are more effective or safer than any other type.

Super fatted soaps
Super fatted soaps these are sold for people with very dry skin. Again, I don't know of any evidence that these are worth buying.

Triple or hard-milled soaps
Triple or hard-milled soaps are ones that have been processed to a very hard consistency. I can't see why you should buy those either.

Perfumed soaps
Perfumed soaps many manufacturers add extra ingredients to their soaps. Some add perfumes and, indeed, some design soaps to fit into their range of products, incorporating the same perfume as the colognes and deodorants. I can't see any point in buying a perfumed soap because you should always rinse it off thoroughly and added perfume is merely a potential source of skin irritation.

Medicated soaps
Medicated soaps are equally unnecessary. The usual additives to medicated soaps are antiseptics or disinfectants but I don't believe these serve any useful purpose. I do believe, -however, that they can sometimes cause some skin irritation.

pH soaps
Since it is known that the skin is normally slightly acid whereas most soaps are slightly alkaline there are now soaps designed to help maintain the skin's natural acidic balance. I think that attempts to preserve the pH of the skin with soap are entirely worthless.

Moisturizing soaps
I don't think there is any point in buying soaps that contain a moisturizer either. You cannot wash your skin and put a moisturizer on at the same time.

Liquid soaps
Liquid soaps these are very popular with some sections of the soap industry but I don't know of any reason why you should spend your money on liquid soap rather than on an ordinary bar of soap. Liquid soap is simply likely to cost you more, because of its packaging.

Now for some positive advice. I believe that the best soap to buy is the cheapest, simplest non-scented soap that suits you. A soap that contains few added and unnecessary ingredients is less likely to cause allergy problems than one that is stuffed to the wrapper with perfumes and soon. Use water that is warm rather than hot and smooth the soap on quite gently in widening, circular movements. Then rinse off all of the lather, preferably using running water.

When you have washed, use your ordinary moisturizing cream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things to know about Shampoo

There are hundreds of different types of shampoo available and a good deal of nonsense is written about their various qualities.

First and foremost, a shampoo is designed to get hair clean. To do this the single most important ingredient of nearly all shampoos is a detergent to help loosen dirt and oil from the hair - if you try to remove them with water alone they will cling to the individual hairs and defy all your efforts.

When using a shampoo it is important to wet your hair first of all, and to rinse it thoroughly afterwards. It is best to wash hair under running water because it is easier to remove all the shampoo that way. If you wash your hair once a week, or less frequently than that, you might need two applications of shampoo. If you are washing it more than once a week, you only need one application.

Regardless of the many claims by manufacturers the best shampoo for you is the cheapest one that does not cause an allergy reaction and that doesn't contain any unwanted perfume. If you suffer from dandruff, however, then you do need a special anti-dandruff shampoo.

I don't think there is ever any point in paying extra for shampoos that contain beer, special herbs, vitamins etc. Certainly it is not sensible to buy a shampoo that contains a conditioner because to try and condition your hair at the same time as you are washing it is like trying to put your make-up on at the same time as you are washing your face! When you have washed your hair you need to be able to wash out all traces of the shampoo that you have used, before you apply conditioner.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Perfume and Your Health

Individual perfumes often contain a hundred or more ingredients, each of which adds something special to the overall effect. For example, there will be ingredients that provide what are technically known as head or top notes, which have an immediate, rather volatile effect; solid, middle of the range odours, and less volatile, more persistent odours known as the base or lower notes. There are also fixatives - the three main ones used are ambergris, civet and musk - to slow the rate of evaporation and to maintain the quality and character of the fragrance.

Perfumes do not very often produce skin problems but occasionally people find that they are allergic to one particular type of perfume. It is impossible to find out all of the constituents of all the perfumes available (manufacturers are naturally secretive) so if you do develop a rash with a particular type of perfume, try to find another perfume that you like, and that doesn't upset your skin. If you have sensitive skin and find a perfume that suits you, stick with it or at least with that .particular manufacturer.

One last warning: perfumes can cause blotchy sun­ tanning so, if you're going to sunbathe, it is sensible not to put on any perfume.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Things to know about Nourishing Creams

There are dozens of products on the market which will, according to the manufacturer's claims, nourish your skin. These products contain such varied ingredients asprotein, vitamins, collagen, hormones and just about anything else that sounds efficacious, are said to feed the skin and to add 'specially formulated foods' to the skin's natural diet.

Collagen is probably one of the commonest ingredients, but an awful lot of nonsense is talked about this substance. It is perfectly true that collagen is a normal constituent of good, healthy skin and that without collagen the skin looks wrinkled and aged, but putting replacement collagen into a skin cream isn't likely to do much good at all. The problem is that however much collagen a cream contains there isn't evidence to prove that it will be absorbed by your skin. The same is true of elastin, avocado and all the other ingredients so much loved by those who prepare nourishing creams.

The bald truth is that the inner layers of the skin derive their nourishment from their blood supply, and the cells on the outer surface of the skin are dead. The skin does not absorb food from special creams. If you could absorb substances into your skin, then you'd be full of soap! Nourishing creams are a waste of money. The only thing they nourish is the manufacturers' bank balances.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nail Problems and Your Beauty

Here are some of the commonest disorders affecting the nails:

Chronic paronychia is a condition which can be fairly easily diagnosed because the nail folds, the areas where the nails meet the skin, are usually painful, red and swollen. This problem can be caused by the careless use of manicure scissors or a nail file, by over-enthusiastic thumb sucking or by too frequent immersion in water. It is a condition that commonly affects dishwashers, barmaids, kitchen hands and housewives.

Paronychia can usually be prevented by keeping the hands as dry as possible, by using cotton-lined rubber gloves, by making sure that wet hands are always dried carefully and thoroughly and by being careful when grooming the nails with scissors or files.

Hangnails are common too. These little slits along the side of the nails are caused by too much washing and not enough drying, and also by injuries sustained during a manicure. Take care of your hands and hangnails will usually get better by themselves. There isn't any treatment available, but do resist the temptation to pull off any slivers of skin which you find sticking up by the side of a nail. Cut such slivers off neatly with a pair of sharp nail scissors.

Paronychia and hangnails are two problems which most commonly affect the finger nails. There are also two problems which most commonly affect the toe nails:

Ingrowing nails these are very painful and physically limiting. The best way to avoid the problem is to ensure that your toe nails are cut regularly, but not too short. It is important to cut them straight across so that the corners do not grow into the flesh of the toes. Treating the problem usually involves a doctor or chiropodist although, if there isn't any infection, you may be able to deal with it yourself. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

Onychogryphosis is the other problem that affects toe nails more often than finger nails. In this condition the toe nails grow to a tremendous size and definitely need the skilled attention of a chiropodist.

Finally, I must mention that some nail problems can be caused by general health disorders. For example, iron deficiency anemia can result in spoon-shaped nails while in a number of chest conditions the whole shape of the nails can be disturbed. Strange spots and markings that appear on nails can often mark physical or mental problems that took place months before. It takes about six months for a finger nail to grow to its full length (toe nails take about twice as long). Injury, disease and an inadequate diet can all interfere with the production of nail cells and lines, ridges and black or white markings can all be souvenirs of otherwise forgotten illnesses.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Myth about Your Skin Types

A lot of nonsense is talked about skin types. Some beauty experts will tell you that you've got one sort of skin on your cheeks, another sort on your forehead and so on and so on. There is talk about dry skin, greasy skin and combination skin.

The truth is that your skin is alive and always changing in texture and form. Its state at anyone time depends on a number of factors: your age, the amount of time you've spent in the sun, what you've been putting on it and how you've been looking after it. And because your skin responds to changes in the environment, different areas of skin will need looking after in different ways. . . the skin on your feet may well be dry, whereas the skin on your face is greasy.

Look after your skin by cleaning it carefully and moist­urizing well. Look for individual problem areas and treat them accordingly. But don't be tempted into believing that you have one particular skin type.

Data Recovery

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How to Manicure Your Nails

In addition to looking after your nails in these basic ways it is a good idea to give yourself a weekly manicure, following these notes:

1 When cutting and shaping your nails don't take too much off the sides. If you do you will weaken them and they will be more likely to break. Use smooth, even strokes with the coarse side of an emery board or with a steel nail file, and file the nail in one direction only so that you will be less likely to develop rough edges. Finish with the finer side of the board or file.

2 Give your nails a good healthy scrub with a tough brush. You are not likely to damage healthy nails that way and you will get rid of unwanted dirt and dead skin.

3 Look after your cuticles. Don't be too rough on them but, if they are edging forwards, gently push them back with a towel or cotton bud. Do not attack them with anything sharp such as a nail file or scissors because if you do you1l probably produce problems. Use a little moisturizing cream to keep your cuticles looking soft and healthy.

4 Give your toe nails a manicure too, being particularly careful to cut the nails straight across; if you shape the sides you will encourage ingrowing toe nails.

5 I don't think there is any point at all in buying a special nail conditioner of any kind.

Nail Care

Modern kitchen chemicals (detergents, washing powders, bleaches etc.) are often very powerful and cause a high percentage of nail problems. Washing dishes, clothes and small children means that the average woman's nails are probably soaked more than a dozen times every day. Perhaps more important, they're usually dried properly only once or twice a day: the kitchen towel is probably damp, bald or missing when the telephone rings or the front door bell goes.

The simplest, most effective way to avoid nail damage is to wear rubber gloves. It is important that the gloves are large enough and that, if they don't contain cotton liners, you wear cotton gloves underneath (otherwise you can develop skin problems caused by the rubber). But it is important they should not be worn for more than twenty minutes or so a t a time bee a use they can ca use sweating and irritation.

I know that quite a lot of people argue that they cannot do certain household chores while wearing rubber gloves, but if you buy good, comfortable rubber gloves then you ought to be able to do most chores while wearing them, After all surgeons wear rubber gloves all the time.

If you can't wear gloves, the answer for some chores is a long-handled kitchen mop. Use one of these to help keep your hands out of the water and you will soon notice the benefit. I think long-handled kitchen mops and rubber gloves should be available on prescription!

On those occasions when neither long-handled mops nor rubber gloves are practical, make sure that you rinse your hands thoroughly, dry them very carefully (particularly between the fingers and around the nails) and then generously apply a good simple moisturizing cream.

There are other chores that can damage the nails, of course. And there are other ways to protect yourself. If you use the telephone a great deal, use a pencil to operate the dial; if you do a lot of heavy work or gardening wear protective gloves. You may find that gardening gloves wear out frequently but, if they do, just think how much damage you would have done to your hands if you hadn't been wearing gloves.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Skin Moles

They are usually brown or black, but sometimes can be pink. They can be smooth or irregular, flat or raised above the general level of the skin, and some are hairy.

Most skin moles first appear during childhood (they are not present at birth) and one eminent dermatologist has claimed that the average white adult has between fifteen and twenty skin moles spread over his or her body; they can appear absolutely anywhere.

The majority of skin moles are entirely harmless but very, very occasionally one will become cancerous. For this reason any mole which suddenly appears later in life, which changes in size or color or shape, or which bleeds for any reason whatsoever should be examined by a doctor without delay. Although knocking moles or cutting them accidentally doesn't necessarily make them dangerous, you should never try to remove a mole yourself. If it is cancerous you will almost certainly make things worse. If it is harmless then it will very probably bleed anyway. Harmless or otherwise, you will end up needing to call for medical help.

How Do Moisturizers Effect the Skin?

Normal skin contains a good deal of water, which makes skin look plump, fresh and healthy. Skin that has lost its natural moisture looks dry, wrinkled and cracked and feels extremely uncomfortable.

Because it is so important to retain moisture levels, your skin produces constant supplies of natural oil to seal off the skin surface and prevent the evaporation of those precious water supplies. Unfortunately, however, most of us remove that natural oil when we wash. The oil disappears, together with the surface dirt and the dead skin cells. And when the natural oil has gone, the skin is left in a very vulnerable state. Water is almost inevitably lost and the skin becomes dry and cracked.

That's why moisturizers are so important. They enable us to replace those missing natural oils and to help keep the skin moist and fresh looking. Moisturizing creams do their job not by adding moisture to the skin (as their name rather suggests) but by preventing the loss of moisture that is already there.

Moisturizers work in much the same way that waxed paper helps keep bread fresh - not by adding anything but by preserving what is already there.

Most moisturizing creams contain a mixture of oil and water. The thickness and texture of the cream depends on just how much of each substance it contains:

Vanishing creams are at one end of the scale. These contain a relatively large amount of water and a small amount of oil, and they more or less disappear when rubbed on to the skin.

Cold creams are at the other end of the scale. They contain a high proportion of oil, and tend to be much stickier and thicker. If you want to buy the most efficient protective moisturizer available, you should probably choose something like a petroleum jelly that is more or less all oil.

Although the basic constituents of a good moisturizing cream are very simple, most manufacturers do their best to make their cream sound special, complicated and unusual. I really don't know of any reason why you should look for a moisturizing cream made with one particular type of oil, however exotic. Unless it produces an allergy reaction when applied to your skin or smells particularly horrid, one oil will do much the same job as another.

You can buy moisturizing creams with added vitamins, placenta extract, honey, seaweed and heaven knows what else. Again, I don't think these constituents will make any difference at all to the efficiency of the product, although they will undoubtedly make a big difference to its price.

Finally, there are moisturizing creams that contain 'humectants'. Humectants (and that includes substances such as glycerine) absorb moisture from around them. The theory is that the humectant will work by attracting moisture from the atmosphere. It is, therefore, a genuine 'moisturizing' cream in that it is actually bringing moisture in to the skin. That's the theory anyway. In practice, if there is not enough moisture in the atmosphere, the humectant will still have to attract water from somewhere. In the absence of moisture in the atmosphere it will draw its water' supplies from the skin - thereby doing harm rather than good.

My own feeling is that you should buy several very large pots of the cheapest moisturizing cream that you find acceptable, and keep those pots in various places around the house so you can use them often without going into the bathroom or bedroom.

Always apply a moisturizing cream after you have washed (if you put the cream on while your skin is still slightly damp your skin will retain that extra moisture) and keep a jar near to the kitchen sink so that when you've been washing up you can apply some cream. Use a moisturizing cream all over your body after a bath or a shower - don't forget your knees, feet, elbows, arms and thighs.

The added bonus from using a moisturizing cream regularly is that you will obtain some protection from the world around you. Very few of us live far away from factory chimneys these days, and the air we breathe in is often very polluted. You've only got to look at old buildings to see the harm that acid in the atmosphere can do. Just imagine the harm that air is doing to your skin. A moisturizing cream will provide some protection. It will also provide some protection against the sun: sunshine dries and ages the skin but the regular use of a good cream can delay the process.

Finally, if you suffer from dry skin, eczema, pruritis (itching), psoriasis or just about any other long-term skin problem, the regular use of a plain moisturizing cream will help to minimize your symptoms.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Natural Herbal Cosmetics Guide

Natural herbal cosmetics have become extremely popular in the last few years. There are now dozens of firms manufacturing and selling 'natural' cosmetics and many thousands of enthusiasts are making their own cosmetics at home, either with ingredients they, have bough t or with ingredients they have picked in the wild.

To a certain extent I can sympathize with this enthusiasm. Natural herbal cosmetics are sometimes cheaper than the ones made by huge, international companies which have massive advertising and marketing bills to meet. And there is something rather attractive about being 'able to get back to nature and make your own cosmetics. But a couple of warnings are needed:

1 Do not imagine that just because a cosmetic is 'herbal' or 'natural' it cannot produce an allergy reaction. It can.

2 Do be on the watch for confidence tricksters. There are just as many tricksters selling 'herbal' products as there are selling chemical products. You shouldn't automatically believe everything you read simply because there are pretty pictures of flowers and plants on the accompanying brochure or label.

3 Remember that herbal products don't usually contain preservatives. This means that they can't be kept for long periods. They should be bought (or made) in small quantities and then either used or thrown away. If you keep such cosmetics for long periods of time there is a real risk of infection.

Things to know about Greasy Hair

It is the sebum - a fatty secretion produced by the glands on to the scalp - which makes hair greasy and if these glands are irritated in any way they increase their production of oil. So, if you have a tendency to oily, greasy hair don't wear your hair in a style that needs combing or brushing too often, don't wear a hat unless you have to, don't use really hot water on your scalp and keep out of the sun as much as possible. Greasy hair is easier to manage if it is kept short.

If you wash your hair too often when you have greasy hair you will simply encourage the production of more grease. If you don't wash it very often at all you will forever be embarrassed by greasy hair. So you need to compromise. The best solution is to wash it every two or three days. Don't use water that is too hot or scrub at your scalp too much. Rubbing your scalp hard will simply stimulate the glands to produce more and more grease.

When buying your shampoo look for one that is cheap and free of additives. It is particularly important to avoid one containing a conditioner because your hair already has all the grease it can cope with. If you need a conditioner for split ends, apply it to the split ends and keep it away from the body of your hair.

Problems Around Eyes

There are three main problems which occur around the eyes:

1 Allergy reactions around the eyes are usually caused by cosmetics. The initial symptoms include redness, itching and some swelling of the eyelids and the surrounding tissues. The sight and the eyeball are usually unaffected and this fact alone makes it fairly easy to differentiate between an allergy reaction and an eye infection.

When an allergy reaction develops, the most important thing to do is to remove any make-up and keep the skin free of all cosmetics for a few days. Any product that has been used on or around the eyelids and lashes should be considered suspect - even if it has been used for quite a long time without any apparent problems. It is probably safer to throwaway any product which might have been respon­sible for the reaction, and sensible to avoid any similar product in the future.

2 Infections which involve the eyes cause redness, but there is usually also some grittiness and stickiness and the eye­lids may be stuck together first thing in the morning. The conjunctiva, or white of the eye, may be reddened too.

When symptoms of an eye infection develop it is vital that the sufferer does not share towels or face cloths with other members of the family, since infections of this type are very easily spread.

Eye infections need medical treatment and tend to clear up fairly quickly with antibiotic drops or ointment. Short­-term relief can usually be obtained by bathing the eyes in a weak salt solution and by wearing dark glasses to protect them from the light.

3 Wrinkles are the other common problem to affect the area around the eyes. Changes in the upper and lower eyelids occur relatively early on in the ageing process and an individual who has relatively few wrinkles elsewhere may have quite a number around the eyes, simply because the skin there is exceptionally thin.

Much of the time and effort spent on trying to avoid the development of wrinkles around the eyes (or to get rid of those already there) is wasted. There are only two things that can be done about wrinkles. You can buy masking creams which will cover them up - the bigger the wrinkles the thicker the cream you will need. And don't be misled by advertising - when you remove the cream the wrinkles will still be there underneath. Or you can resort to plastic surgery.

Eye Make-Up Tips

Eye-liner is used to outline the eyelids, mascara to empha­size and sometimes lengthen the eyelashes, eye-shadow to add color and shade to the eyelids, and eyebrow pencils to darken, lengthen or change the shape of the eyebrows.

If you are going to avoid problems while using one or more of these products:

1 Never borrow or lend eye cosmetics. Infections are very easily passed from person to person in this way.

2 Be careful if you buy cheap eye cosmetics or use eye products made at home. These may be infected, may not contain preservatives, and may contain quite dangerous ingredients, such as lead. I would suggest that you only buy the eye make-up of a reputable manufacturer. Eyes are sensitive and too precious to take risks with.

3 Visit your doctor if you see any signs of an allergy or infection developing. Don't waste money on commercial products designed to clear up eye problems. If you have an eye problem you need to see your doctor - and quickly.

4 Never, ever put drops in your eyes, unless prescribed by your doctor.

5 Don't put eye make-up on while traveling. It's too easy to poke a brush or pencil into your eye.

6 It is possible to buy eyelash dyes that last for several weeks. I don't know of any evidence to suggest that these products could be dangerous, but they do" worry me. If you happened to be allergic to any of the constituents then you would be in trouble, because you can't simply remove them. I would avoid such products.

7 If you wear contact lenses, you need to be particularly careful. Lash extending particles incorporated in. some mascaras can get behind a lens and cause great distress. Take care, and use a soluble mascara.

Vadeonibus | maxsuma | Vision Art