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It's Your Skin

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Don't Get Hyper over Dark Pigmentation

Posted on 10 July, 2018 at 17:45 Comments comments (232)
Also known as Melasma, Chloasma, Post Traumatic Hyper-pigmentation, Freckles and Liver Spots (Lentigines) these types of dark pigmentation are all different. Some are easier to treat, control and live with than others. What they have in common: all are flat and cannot be felt to the touch. That's it. How they differ: this is why I LOVE the skin and its many conditions- you have to think like Sherlock Holmes. Also, the skin tells us things about what is going on inside our bodies and when you know the correlation, you can figure out how to either eliminate or control that condition. The skin is a SMART organ. 
Melasma and Chloasma are both hormonally related conditions. Most often found on the face they are also nicknamed the "mask of pregnancy" because it shows up when many women are pregnant. It can also occur from birth control or other hormonal changes and therefore should be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist or other  like an endocrinologist who understands the root causes. 
Very common is PTHP or POST Traumatic Hyper-pigmentation can occur anywhere on the body. Many people with acne confuse this type of MOST possibly temporary condition with scaring which is permanent. 
It also occurs more commonly in people with darker skin types following anything from a bruise, a scrape to a cut or greater. It is part of the natural healing process for the skin to produce more color as the new replacement cells are developing. It can become permanent if you expose the healing area to sun or strong UV light but it can also be avoided if precautions to protect from sunlight/UV light are taken. Keeping your skin moist and hydrated also helps because maintaining a balance in the natural moistuizing barrier helps skin perfom its most important function- protecting us. Additionally, it can be avoided if a skin lightener along with an effective hydration barrier (Aquaphor Healing Ointment) is applied AFTER the wound has healed and in the first weeks of healing. At this time you have the chance of stopping the skins messaging of the number of melanocytes needed vs. what the skin believes it needs for future protection. 
Freckles and Liver spots (a.k.a. Solar Lentigines or Lentigo (singular)) are other types of pigmentation. They run in caucasion families. Freckles appear in childhood. They are usually confined to the face, arms and upper trunk. Freckels increase in number and darken in color in response to sun exposure. They lighten in color without sun exposure. They often fade completely in the winter. 
It is called a "lIver spot" becaue it is the color of liver. It has nothing to do with your liver but it does have everything to dowith sun exposure. They occur on the sun-exposed skin of Caucasion people. They increase in size and number with advancing age. Roughly 75% of white people over the age of 60 have one or more lesions.  
Another argument for sun protection as all of these are enhanced by sun exposure. 
I choose to follow these rules: Wear your sunscreen, wear protective clothing, wear a hat and sun glasses that not only shield your eyes but your face too. Just like when I work out, I prefer to look good when it matters most. Although today you can pretty much find attractive options for ANY where and any time you want to look good and PROTECT YOURSELF. 

The Eyes Have It! Rosacea? Really?

Posted on 9 July, 2018 at 18:17 Comments comments (178)
So I thought I'd write about conditions that you might see (no pun intended) around your eyes. The first that comes to mind is rosacea. As you may already know, the word rosacea means red. We used to use the diagnosis acne rosacea but that was changed well over 10 years ago. When rosacea was diagnosed, we'd look for the characteristics of everything from a red glow in the cheeks to the red, bulbus nose likened always to W.C. Fields or Karl Maulden. These were two actors that you won't know unless your parents or grandparents introduced you to them. 
Acne- like blemishes could also be seen and different from acne vulgaris, these lesions would be painful and never express like typical acne. The skin would also be very hot and uncomfortable. OH! the eyes. Peri-orbital rosacea is a condition we sometimes see alone. Meaning you can JUST have rosacea in the upper cheeks and around the eye area. Surprisingly, it also involves the eyes themselves. Your skin can be flaring slightly and they can be red and irritated and you wonder why? Rosacea it is. The painful, red raised lesions generally form on the upper cheeks in the viscinity of the eyes. 
The easiest thing is to calm with something cold. Sometimes, even though rosacea is often tied to diet the following recommendation has nothing to do with that. However, you could if you wanted to take it by mouth and I've recommended Phillips Milk of Magnesia as a mask as well. The Mint flavor I prefer. It is more aesthetically pleasing to the scent. Of course, if this condition persists- and it may come and go- especially if you don't change a few things about your diet or stress coping skills, you should consult a dermatologist. Some actually specialize in rosacea so you may seek one in your community who does. 
Coming from Northern European (Scots/Irish) decent, I have expereinced this untoward skin condition a few times. I have to say that learning a few coping skills, watching your diet for spicy foods, hot (temperatures) in foods and climates and yes, alcohol consumption are really effective toward curtailing this condition.But as with any condition, if you try a few things and it seems to worsen, see a dermatologist as you may need a booster anti-biotic that you would take by mouth.  Any questions? 

Age Old Concerns Related to Conditions of Aging

Posted on 11 June, 2014 at 16:29 Comments comments (96)
Geriatric Aesthetics© addresses many items related to the term Aesthetics as it is understood in today's practice. It should first be recognized that the centuries old origin and meaning of the word 'Aesthetic' is specifically related to the 'philosophy of Beauty'. And the word is of French derivation. 

The term Geriatrics was originally coined to represent the medical care of the older adult population in their 80's. We are stretching its original definition to create an umbrella term for older adults 60 and above. It is a term like pediatrics only specific to the conditions of aging which start long before people reach their 80's. The goal is to identify and address these earlier so they can be managed and people can live more easily WITH them as they age. 

With regard to Geriatric Aesthetics© we must not only consider the external appearance of physical features  but also the mental image perceived in relation to behaviors, capabilities or lack there of. Unless one has mastered the ability of not taking anything personally, the way we perceive ourselves and the way others define the way we look to them directly correlate. In that connection we derive our self-worth. And low self-worth directly correlates to poor physical health and well-being. 

In the specialty of Geriatric Aesthetics© we must take into consideration the total person. Whether male or female, mental, physical and spiritual~ the whole person is what matters. 

As we "look" at any individual including ourselves, we learn to take into account their physical likenesses and differences from us or if implied by accident, illness or misperceived image as in Body dismophic disorder our own self-perception must be healthy and whole. 

In Geriatric Aesthetics you will learn more about the psychology of Appearance and how the way we feel about the way we look affects and effects our ability to THRIVE. You will learn ways to conquer old thoughts of not being enough and replacing them with beliefs that lift up and ensure the inner strength needed for a healthy body, mind and soul. Although this is not a course based in spirituality alone, if you do not include the spirit in learning you cannot serve anyone fully. 

More topics include the physical conditions of aging and the mental health conditions of aging. 
Be the FIRST SeniorSelect™ Provider in your area and start making a huge difference in your own practice and the future of your field. 

Eczema is More than Skin Deep

Posted on 25 August, 2013 at 11:56 Comments comments (83)
Coming from an eczema survivor. 

If you have eczema and have done "everything" you know to do: You've seen a dermatologist or twenty dermatologists, changed your skin care, changed your living environment, gotten rid of pets, changed your diet, seen an allergist.  Is there anything you haven't done? 
Have you considered "changing you mind'? All of the above in concert with one another or independent of each may help "control" your condition for a time. As long as you believe that they are helping they can and they will.But, are you confronting the dis-ease of your disease. The fear that comes from knowing it is going to come back. This is reinforced by experience. Have you found (and this is true for many illnesses) that after a while the treatment doesn't help any longer? 
Have you ever wondered, Why doesn't anything work for me?

A new way of thinking that actually stems from a very old way of thinking may be just the key you are looking for. Everyone's has heard of "the power of positive thinking". But, have you heard of "positive psychology or acceptance based therapy"?  I was watching Joel Osteen today and he was saying, from the bible, that "Words have creative power" and "Nothing happens until you speak it."  That is positive or negative.

The other day I was listening to Dr. Mark Waldman and he said that in their research they have found that the brain can be retrained to to be positive. The right frontal lobe of the brain contains the primitive fear based thoughts for our protection, the left frontal lobe recognizes things in the present moment and is what makes us want to move forward. But, if the right lobe senses something "threatening could Happen" we are STOPPED in moving forward. He spoke about acceptance based therapy where you allow yourself to feel the negative. Once it is recognized for what it is then you can make a different choice in how you will proceed. 
That's what happens when a therapy that once worked brilliantly suddenly stops working. Our right lobe fears losing the disease we are living with. Losing the familiar that we are getting "something of value" by having. You have to ask yourself, "What am I getting from my condition?" First of all, let me point out the obvious. If in that statement the words "my condition" made sense to you then you are owning that condition, it is yours. The first question is, "Is this something I want to own?" There are simple keys everywhere that can open the doors to our healthy self. See yourself and your skin as "clear", "Healthy", "strong", "valuable" and it WILL be. 

Do you work out for your muscles and your heart to be stronger. When you work out do you think I will look better and feel better? More than likely. And that's what get's you back to the gym or out running or whatever you do. It's the same with changing your skin condition. The thoughts that go with eczema are feeling unworthy or inadequate. Most people with eczema are givers and much more comfortable giving than receiving. Guess what that indicates that we want to keep the world at a distance, want to stay covered up. Ironically, just what the condition allows us to do. The only way to change that is to change your mind. Start believing and more importantly START SAYING," I have value, I have something of value to say and to share" "I deserve to receive good things".
One last thing that might help is that receiving from someone is like giving a gift. If you know how good you feel when someone accepts a gift from you imagine the gift you are giving them by graciously receiving openly all gifts from friends, family or others. This will take practice. So why not start today. Say "thank you" out loud one hundred times every morning. You will soon be putting behind those words things like for my family, my intelligence, for my hair and even for my skin condition. Once you begin to accept it, it will begin to dissipate and fade, your treatments will work and one day like me you will learn how to live with eczema and it won't even be there for the world to see. 


Is It Acne or Are You Picking on Yourself

Posted on 11 July, 2013 at 16:56 Comments comments (82)
One of the most challenging skin conditions is called "acne excoriee". It is more than a disease of the skin it is a DIS-EASE that is exhibited through behaviors involving the skin. It represents a dis-ease with your self and your life.
Those who suffer with this condition may or may not have true acne but find they want to "get to the root of the problem", "empty", "release" or "clean-out" the "dirt" and they carry a profoundly personal sense of feeling "gross", "unclean" or a host of other low self-image and self-worth descriptors. They will spend up to 2 hours in a trancelike state. Unconscious of the picking and subconsciously aware of statements like, "You didn't do that well enough today." or You should have done so much better." etc. And then feeling deeply guilty after the damage has been done and covering or "masking" with heavy make-up.  The core of this condition is shame based. Shame is defined as a feeling of inadequacy mixed with the fear that some defect may be exposed to others. In this case it is ironically NOT the skin condition which creates the feeling of shame it is something much deeper. A core belief that was ingrained somewhere along your path and the person carrying it believes it  MUST BE TAKEN OUT some how. Only they don't know that it is shame, they think it is imperfect/unhealthy skin.
The condition usually starts as a teenager when acne is present/or not and can follow a person through their lives. Some people actually see it throughout generations in a family. The Grandmother, mother and now daughter all admit to the behavior or some related behavior like an eating disorder. 
Treatment can range from healthy skin CARE coaching like I do to anti-depressant medications prescribed by a psychiatrist. Sometimes both are required depending on the severity and willingness or more likely unwillingness of the person to want to change their behavior. 
Anyone with this condition needs:1) a professional who understands the condition- not all do- even dermatologists have said on "it's just acne" when in fact the patient knew much differently 2) a professional who knows skin and psychology 3) good skin care practices 4) Behavioral and psychological "Tools" to change their behavior (KEY: Tools that work for them specifically.)
Each of us is unique in how we perceive things in our world. One thing to keep in mind is there is no judgement. The condition is a learned coping skill. There are other choices and when you are ready you will find your teacher. And you will STOP picking on YOURSELF. 

This WebMD piece helped someone recently perhaps it will help you or someone you care about who has this condition. 
http://www.webmd.com/video/stop-picking-acne<http://www.webmd.com/video/stop-picking-acne

Natural vs. Synthetic Cosmetic Products

Posted on 25 June, 2013 at 11:04 Comments comments (77)
The question that is commonly asked by consumers and professionals is, "Which is better?" Are natural products more effective than synthetic products when it comes to skin care? The fact is there are few studies that compare and contrast the two chemistries in light of this particular question. In fact, some companies  are currently interested in studying this exact question. 
The term "natural" may be divided into at least 3 marketing categories: Authentically Natural, Natural-like and Faux Natural. 
Authentic Naturals are made from ingredients that have been grown in just the right soil, most include no insecticides and the crops are moved with each planting so the soil stays pure. They are distilled appropriately and packaged in dark bottles so that the ingredients are not compromised in any possible way. They have a limited shelf life because no preservatives other than natural ingredients to preserve are used in their manufacturing process. These products are also costly since they are highly specialized and limited in supply and demand. Used for centuries by people all over the world who do not have access to manufactured products there are many claims of healing and relief of many ailments. However, from a clinical perspective for people with allergies and sensitivities to nature and raised on synthetic products, these may be more likely to cause asthma, eczema or other rashes. However, some people who are highly sensitive to chemical ingredients may fare well with naturals. 
Natural-like products are more common and more available. These are products which boast the benefits of the  "Natural Ingredients" contained in the formula. But they are blended with synthetic ingredients to give bulk and preserve those same natural ingredients. Often the proclaimed ingredients are in fact minimal in the formulation. 
Faux Natural products use artificial color and fragrance and the bottle may even be shaped like the fruit or flower it is fashioned after. These are chemically manufactured and convincingly FUN! 

Which ever you choose to use, If you have a history of sensitivities, ALWAYS TEST the product in a small area, the size of a quarter,  inside your  arm and above the elbow before applying to a larger area or your face. 

Ask Alison: It's Not Vanity, It's Your Identity

Posted on 19 June, 2013 at 10:46 Comments comments (98)
 Vanity is a term that we often think of when we meet someone who seems to be consumed with their own appearance. It is not a term we think positively about as the bible has taught since the mid 1400's that it is a sin and with or without the influence of the Bible, we learn growing up that it is generally not something that is an admired trait. 

Yet we've been taught to think in some appropriately measured way about how we look to others and to ourselves everyday in order to be accepted in our community. In part, we have learned to value our self worth on how others react to how we look not only aesthetically but also in our capabilities and behaviors. 
When we lose our appearance through loss of appearance or loss of capability in relation to a disease or an injury or aging we are struck by a sense of confusion that tells us we should not focus on these losses as that is vanity yet we know we are not who we once were. We have lost characteristics that defined us as the individual we have always known. And for those around us these apparent differences are also difficult at first to understand. Those around us must also learn to live with the changes and say good bye to the familiar with which they also felt comfortable.
The Chinese say, that Crises Equals Opportunity. Changes are a constant in life and yet we struggle with change as we must grieve over the loss of what we once knew and felt safe in that knowing.  The obviousness of this type of loss presents a particular opportunity. It opens the pathway to understanding that perhaps it is not vanity at all but your "identity" that has been lost. 


Ask Alison About Your Skin

Posted on 17 June, 2013 at 12:15 Comments comments (87)
Skin Care is like exercise. In order to be fit and healthy you must EXERCISE healthy habits that your skin in particular responds to positively. All of us have skin yet all of our skin is different. Heredity, general health, environment, personal behaviors (smoking, drinking, exercise or sports), sleep patterns and how we handle stress all influence the state of our skin at any time. 

The good news is that factors that effect our skin, short of hereditary factors, can be controlled. 
In this BLOG, I will help you answer questions that may clear up mysteries about your skin, hair, nails and other appearance concerns. So ask away and let's see how many people will be benefitted by your questions.

To start: The reason you may search and search for the right answer and not find it anywhere is because you may not know what is reasonable to expect. It's much like looking at a Super Model on the cover of a magazine and wanting her ready for the beach body, or lustrous hair or perfect skin. First, we know that if it were possible, it wouldn't happen overnight and we even realize that, for instance, if we want "their" hair style, it's dependent on whether our and their hair has the same natural characteristics. These are the things we need to explore to be HAPPY with ourselves. What is the best YOU can expect of the wonderful gifts that you have to work with? 
As the song says, Everything is beautiful in its own way. 

Now, let's find YOURS! 


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