These Medicaments Make Your Skin Mor Susceptible To Sun Damage + Foods That Help Protect Your Skin From UV Rays

There are a lot of medicaments that make the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun, which puts you at a higher risk of sunburn, ageing and skin cancer. The full list of those medicaments can be found here, they include common ones like Ibuprofen / Advil, oral contraceptives . Here are a couple of lists: 1 and 2. Remember that medicaments can have different names in different countries and that a brand name drug often has generic versions.

So what do you do if you have to take those medicines? If your skin is already very sensitive to the sun or if you are at higher risk of skin cancer, you should check with your doctor if an alternative drug would work for you. Obviously this is not always possible, in this case you should take extra care to protect your skin from the sun.

I also noticed that some people have a habit of popping an Ibuprofen every time they have a headache instead of asking themselves what is the cause behind them. I had two period in my life where I had severe headaches; the first time it was because my blood pressure dropped really low due to dehydration, the second time was many years later and and Osteopathy treatment got rid of them completely.

Basics of sun protection:

* Women need around 1/6 of a teaspoon of sunscreen for just the face (the 1/4 teaspoon recommendation is for men with the biggest surface area). Doing 2-3 layers ensures you apply  it evenly.
* Sunscreen of a minimum of SPF 30!
* Hats, parasols, shade.
* If you want bronze skin, self-tanners are great.
* Zinc oxide is the most effective sunscreen agent, followed by titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreen breaks up within a few hours and needs to be reapplied several times a day.

Foods that help:

There are some foods that increase the skin's resistance against UV rays. The list includes foods rich in lycopene like tomatoes, watermelon, guavas, papaya (link to study); and foods rich in vitamins C and D, beta-carotene and Omega-3. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that 
looks like a very promising UVB absorber, supplements exist which are made out of microalgea or Phaffia yeast.
  According to the studies, the effects of these foods start kicking in after 10 weeks of consumption. They are not as effective as sunscreen, but I think that every little helps. Besides all these things are really good for you, so you can't go wrong.
Photo credit: Jessica Rabbit

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G and GG cups – Do they Always Stand For "Get A Reduction"? (Guest Post by BFCidade)

Guest post by my bra-blogging pal from Bra Fitting Cidade and Soutienocracia
Reblog, because I think it needs to be seen.

Internet and Youtube are full of stupid videos made by people who are complete ignorants about bra-fitting.  Just like this one for example:
It’s totally idiotic, and if you start reading the comments there you’ll come to the conclusions that 95% of them are even more moronic (let’s not be afraid to use this word) than the film itself.  What videos like these do is only to reinforce harmful stereotypes that having bra sizes with cups over DD is something strange, abnormal  etc.(here you can put any other negative adjective). Generally these stereotypes force women to wear bras with D or DD cups (which are considered “normal”) and much too wide bands. Even if any of these women who wear bad sizes happens to enter a store with a real bra-fitting, she’s often shocked to hear that she should wear a 34FF or 34G instead of 38D that she always used to wear, what’s more she may get hysterical saying – I can’t/don’t have such big breasts. And refuse to wear a correct size because of that. This is what we call a “letterphobia” – this fear of wearing DD+ cups.
We  fight with these painful stereotypes. The Lobby organises numerous bra-fitting events and members try to promote the idea wherever and whenever possible. I’d like to present you the latest initiative by user butters77 -- G and GG busts. Dear ladies, look at this photograph.

Don’t believe the stereotypes – G cup is a size like any other

   The caption under the photo says: Don’t believe the stereotypes – G cup is a size like any other –   (click on photo to see it big – you can zoom it more than twice there). The point is – all the women shown on it wear G or GG cups with different bands. What’s more, almost all of them wear British G/GG cups, which means if they wanted a continental bra size they would have to go for J, K or L cups
   Are these huge, enormous breasts? No, as you can see they vary in size. There are some smaller breasts that sport 60G or 60GG and some bigger ones with 85G but none of them reaches the proportions that were show in this idiotic video from Youtube.
   And the bras themselves. Aren’t they beautiful? There’s a huge difference between lingerie that you can buy in so called “normal” shops that don’t carry all the sizes and the ones that do have them available (no matter if they are online or real ones). The bras that I an M were given  when we were doing the research here in Lisbon didn’t even resemble  the ones from the photo by butters77. Frankly speaking they were ugly (though it’s also a matter of taste, and as they say, you don’t discuss taste) . And much more expensive than these colourful, lacy bras that we normally buy.
   Ladies, take a look at your breasts. Look around yourselves too. Look at the breasts of your mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, girlfriends etc. How many of you have similar busts but yet choose to squeeze them into cups that are too small for them and bands that are much too wide and don’t provide support?

This post appeared originally on Bra Fitting Cidade

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Simple Skincare Hero -- The Multipurpose Balm

A simple balm is the best staple you can have. If you dig in your handbag you'll probably find one -- a small, simple tube of cream that you use for your hands or lips. I always carry one with me, it's both a tiny necessity and a luxury. The gentle scent calms me. It moisturises my hands, feet, cuticles, lips. If my face feels really dry I dab on a very light layer. Sometimes I use a tiny amount on top of my cheekbones as a kind of natural highlighter. I scrunch some into my hair ends to protect them.

If you haven't got a simple multi-purpose balm yet, you should -- you'll never look back. So what is the ideal balm like? Best is a small light jar or tube that fits into your smallest purse. My favourite kinds of balm are those that are oil or wax based, since I can use those on my lips and hair. The ideal balm is soothing and doesn't contain harmful chemicals, so I can use it everywhere, even on my kids. Ideally it should smell nice, since a pleasant scent can really pick you up during a long commute.
  My balm right now is a simple three ingredient beeswax balm that I got from a local bee-keeper. You can easily DIY something similar by melting together beeswax and any oil that tolerates a bit of heat. I do not recommend using coconut oil or monoi oil as these turn completely liquid in warmer temperatures and I've had them splash all over my clothes.

If you prefer to buy rather than DIY, most natural cosmetic brands carry some kind of balm, hand or cuticle creams often work too. Here are my favourites:
* Weleda Skin Food
* Hauschka rose cream Smells divine, and makes a great face cream.
* Any of the Martina Gebhart balms. The containers are heavy though.
* Lush Ultrabalm has really great ingredients, though I'm not a huge fan of the brand.
* Homeoplasmine Though I'm not a huge fan of petroleum, the homeopathic additives in this make it really soothing to the skin. The tiny nozzle is a bit irritating.

Do you use a multi-purpose lip balm? Which one is in your purse?

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How To Smell Good Without Using Perfume

Peonies are one of my favourite scents, along with lily of the valley and sandalwood.

   This post is dedicated to everyone who loves to smell nice but doesn't want to wear perfume. I'm sharing all the different ways to I use scents without necessarily using perfume.

   Pregnancy left me with an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Regular smells can get overwhelming, especially if I am tired. Perfumes can be worse. Don't get me wrong, I do love a hint of perfume on someone, a gentle note that blends seamlessly with their own scent. But anything more than that and I feel like it's hitting me. Regular fragrances often have a chemical note that makes them unpleasant, and a lot of natural perfumes are heavy and annoying.
   Personal preferences and sensitive notes aside, I believe that it is in good taste to wear nothing more than a touch of perfume. It should be detectable to those who lean in to you for a hug, like a secret surprise. And people don't want to smell like your perfume for the rest of the day after you hug them.

   If you love and use perfume, great! Just remember the perfume etiquette: that less is more. There are people actually getting sick from it. And remember that heat and physical exertion intensify perfumes, so wear less in the summer and none to the gym. Be aware that sweet and fruity perfumes are "loud", so you need to be especially careful with them. Clean and fresh scents and the mossy scents are much "quieter".

How to dilute perfume

   When I do use a perfume, I have developed a way to make it very subtle. First, I mix the essential-oil based ones with (alcohol 1:10) to lighten the scent. Then, I spray the perfume in front of me and walk into the mist. I found that I don't like having the perfume anywhere my face, so I spray the mist at chest level.
  Alternatively, apply perfume to the back of your knees. It will waft up every now and the.

How to smell good without perfume:

I found a couple of ways to do this.

Your hair and body products might be fragrant enough. A friend of mine told me several times that I smelled good, when the only thing I used that day was Alverde conditioner. I couldn't smell it any more but those around me could, so I didn't need anything more. I find that many certified natural products have nice, subtle scents. I love the rose products from Weleda and Dr Hauschka, they smell like actual roses and not cloyingly sweet. If they are certified natural, they do not contain synthetic fragrances which are really problematic as the ingredients are by large not regulated.

I often use oils as scents. My favourite is the plum seed oil which smells a bit like almonds. I'm also a huge fan of a Monoi oil I have which contains Tahitian Gardenia flower extract -- it smells like a dream. I use very little of each on the ends of my hair.

Have you ever tried using actual flowers and herbs? In Persepolis the girl's grandmother tucks jasmine flowers into her bra to smell nice. Putting scented herbs or dry flowers like lavender in your pockets will make your hands smell nice.

The scent of hydrolates is very subtle and very close to that of the real plant. Rose water, neroli, lavender are some of my favourites. A spritz on the skin and hair is refreshing and leaves behind a subtle scent.

Essential oils on their own can be pretty strong, so I dilute them. I add a drop or two of fragrant essential oils into my face and body oils. Sandalwood is my favourite, I generally find mossy and woody scents less annoying.
Scented smoke stays on the hair and skin for a very long time. I read about middle-eastern women wafting scented smoke through their hair, and I wanted to try something similar. It works really well with Palo Santo and sandal wood. I tried it with sage but there is too much burn/smoke smell to my liking.I also like to burn incense and resins it my home since I find that the scents of people's homes lingers on their skin and clothes.

Scenting your clothes instead of your skin always works. I add a few drops of natural laundry scent into my washing machine. Sometimes I mist my clean laundry with a home-made laundry spray -- a few drops of essential oils + alcohol + distilled water. I store my soaps nestled among my clothes. Finally, something amazing I have recently discovered is Papier D'Armenie. I keep strips in my wardrobe and from time to time burn a strip near my wardrobe. I swear the scent from these little strips lasts longer than anything else.

Finally, eating clean healthy diet and staying hydrated makes the natural body smell better. A strong body odour is always a sign that something isn't right with what you are putting into your body.

What is your approach to scents? Do you prefer perfume or do you use on of the methods I describe here? What are your favourite scents?

Photo credit

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Two Hair Care Secrets From Women With Amazing Hair

Bengali Actress Bipasha Basu's hair is magical. I swear she has enough locks for two regular humans, and it always looks amazing.

  Today I want to talk about was the fabulous hair of Bengali women. In my time in India I have seen just about everything from sparse and lanky to untameable frizzy curls. However the hair of the women from the Bengal province is a whole other story. Bengalis consistently have the most amazing hair. It ranges from brown to blue-black, from perfectly straight to curly, but is almost always strong and shiny. You could always spot Bengali girls in a crowd through their hair and beautiful cat eyes.
   There is two things that Bengalis do that I think makes their hair so healthy. Traditionally they shower "from the head down" every single day. This means they wash the hair with water each day. Bengali girls told me that they didn't use shampoo each time, only every couple of days. The hair is left to dry naturally, in India going out with wet hair is acceptable and is extremely pleasant.
   I think that water-only washing every day kept the hair clean and fresh, cutting down on the need to shampoo too often. This makes a difference especially if you are using a shampoo with sulphates.

If you haven't watched Konkana Sensharma in Mr and Mrs Iyer, you should do it right now. A beautifully wistful and non-cheesy love story.

Another think that Bengalis do differently from the rest of Indians is that they consume a lot of seafood. While the rest of India leans vegetarian, Bengali cuisine has always been centred around the sea and the river deltas and so fish is a big part of their food. Now, you probably know that Omega-3 fats are great for the hair, I have been raving about flax seed on this blog. However there are several kinds of Omega-3 fats: ALA, EPA and DHA. Seafood and seaweed are just about the only sources of EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. The deficiency of these two causes dandruff and hair thinning. Here is a very interesting post breaking down our daily need for the different types of Omega-3, it talks about how the body can convert the ALA into EPA and DHA. I have also read that seafood and seaweed being the secret of the healthy hair of east Asians.
I personally don't eat fish for environmental and ethical reasons; moreover I have read that the levels of mercury in fish are going through the roof but the "safe amounts" are kept high so as not to kill the fish trade. I do include seaweed in my diet, and have been thinking to occasionally supplement with spirulina. My favourite are the dried seaweed sheets (nori), they are crispy and fun to eat. I sometimes sprinkle them into salads.
Pollution in the sea can affect how healthy seaweed is, so it makes sense to check where your seaweed comes from.

Kajol made the unibrow sexy

Another thing that is not really specific to Bengalis but is a rather less known Indian hair care secret is protecting the hair from the sun. Indian women usually cover their head with a scarf or carry an umbrella as well as apply hair oil to prevent the sun from frying their hair.

Any Bengali readers here? If so, I'd love to know your perspective. Everyone else,  how does food rich in Omega-3 affect your skin and hair?

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Review: Underbust Body Shapewear Slip from PPZ

PPZ underbust body shaper slip review

    Shape wear not only makes the figure look streamlined and firm, but also helps clothes to fit better and skim the body instead of gluing themselves to every bump and roll. No wonder most celebs rely on them heavily for public appearance, from Beyonce to Kim Kardashian.

   Shape wear is a very individual thing, what will work for you depends very much on your figure type and the parts that you want to target. For me a bra-less control slip is an extremely versatile piece because it can even be combined with other shape-wear pieces if necessary.  Over the years I have tried out quite a few of such slips, and today I want to write about one that I own and like very much: the Slimming Underbust Body Shapewear Slip Seamless Micro Fiber from PPZ.

Advantages of a bra-less control slip:

   A control slip like this one is meant to smooth things from armpits to thighs. The underbust slip style has a couple of advantages over other full-body pieces, the most important one is that it allows you to wear the bra of your choice. This is really important for me because not only I can wear bras that are supportive and comfortable, I can also choose ones that work with deep necklines.
With this slip you can wear your choice of bottoms, whether strings or high-waisted boy shorts, it's up to you. Using the bathroom is also pretty unproblematic. However this style does not work with pants or hosiery. Another big plus is that it will fit a torso that is shorter or longer than the statistical average.

The effect:

The underbust body shapewear slip pulled things in and firms everything, but to a moderate degree. It feels comfortable and allows freedom of movement. It does not dig in anywhere, and most importantly it does not create lumps where it ends. It is perfect for smoothing out any rolls below the bra band and the hip area.

This shape-wear slip smooths and the belly area and creates a clean line, but do not expect it to completely flatten it and create a waist. If you do need strong belly-control, you could wear that underneath and use the slip to smooth out any bulges above or below. I have a pair of older high-waisted panties that came with the La Senza Sugar Ruffle, they have boning and can be worn underneath -- the slip smooths any bulges above.
I personally feel that the fact that it is seamless makes the PPZ underbust slip more comfortable. The ones with control panels usually fight with my hips and butt.

The underbust-panels of the PPZ slip are very stretchy and work with smaller as well as larger busts (I cannot say for sure how they would work with the biggest cup sizes, I'm talking J+). The encircle the breasts from the sides, and smooth the area. I feel they add a nice subtle lift.

I am 167cm tall and this slip hits me well above the knees. If you are petite, you might find this slip goes down to your knees. The bottom of the underbust bodyshaper slip is lined with silicone to prevent it from riding up. I'd say that the grip is pretty decent, and as long as I stand or sit properly in chair it stays put. Obviously if I try to sit cross-legged it will ride up.

The front part of the slip has two layers, both have silicone at the bottom.


Cut and material

The PPZ shapewear slip made a good impression on me, it is well-made and the material is sturdy. Even the strap buckles are made of metal, which means they will last longer. The straps are slim, they lie flat and do not create bulges. I love that the straps are movable, you can wear them regular or crossed at the back (prevents slipping). The strap length is adjustable all the way.

The armpits are cut comparatively low. This made me happy because in the past I had tried on similar slips which threatened to cut off my arms and were visible under sleeveless clothes. If I were looking for something that specifically smooths the underarm area I could wear my Braologie bra or vest underneath.

The front of the slip has two layers. The slip has no embellishments and is almost completely seamless, it is invisible under close-fitting clothing. The colour is a cooler beige, is invisible under white clothes (if you are Caucasian). I'd say that the colour on the website is pretty accurate, my camera makes it look warmer than it is.

The material is  27% lycra, 73% nylon.

I wear a European 36 on top and 38 on the lower body, and I went for an S. The fit is perfect. There is a sizing table on the website. I strongly advise not to size down -- it will feel uncomfortable and will just create weird lumps.

While I did not find anything to criticise in this control slip, I want to note that (as in all shape wear) your mileage may vary. Everyone has different proportions and different lumps and bumps. Also, remember that it is not a full-control piece and it will not create a corset-like effect. It will not make you a size smaller. For that you would need high-control shape wear with actual metal boning. I have tried on a lot of things and come to the conclusion that without boning most midsection-control pieces either roll down or are extremely tight. Lastly, like all shape-wear, it is hard to wear in higher temperatures.

Bottom line:

If you are looking for a slip that smooths and firms your figure yet is light and comfortable, I'd definitely recommend the underbust body shapewear slip from PZ. I am very happy with the effect it gives, and love that it's comfortable enough to wear often. It also looks elegant and simple and not shapewear-y, so you could wear it on a sexy date without being embarrassed if your clothes ended up coming off.

What do you think about shapewear? Is it something you wear or do you find it uncomfortable? What kind of styles work for you best?

Disclosure: The piece reviewed here has been kindly provided to me by PPZ, the opinions in this post are 100% mine. As always.

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Why You Should Switch To Safety Razors

The old-fashioned safety razor is one of those things that took me literally years to get the courage to try out, just like the menstrual cup. I was afraid it would be cumbersome and expensive, that I would cut my legs and fingers, and somehow it seemed too masculine for me. I'm also really squeamish around razor blades -- maybe due to all the weird movie scenes or due to my father strongly admonishing me to never the blades as a child.
I finally took the plunge. I'm surprised I didn't try it sooner. I so wasn't expecting to like it, but I'm a convert.
Shaving with a safety razor leaves the skin really smooth! I don't think I have ever had such as close shave before -- my skin was smooth to the touch on the second day (which never happens with regular disposable razor, my hair grow really really fast). On the third day my legs were prickly to the touch but still looked smooth. I didn't get razor burn and I didn't even nick myself. Why haven't I switched sooner? Also, I didn't nick myself even once.

What makes safety razors better than disposables?

Safety razors are old-style razors which you can unscrew and then switch out the blades. They shave much more closely and the single blade means they irritate the skin less. Two reasons that make these blades kinder to the skin are: the blades can be easily cleaned during and after every shave;  and are so cheap so you can switch them out every 5 shaves or so even if you are broke.  Generally they cause much less little razor burn and ingrown hair. You can use a safety razor for all body parts -- legs, bikini line, armpits -- I've done it all.
Shaving with a safety razor is customisable. Depending on how thick your hair is and how sensitive your skin is, you can combine the right blade sharpness with the right amount of razor aggressiveness, which will give you the smoothest shave with the least irritation.
Finally, safety razors are much more environmentally friendly than disposable razors. You don't throw away the entire razor, only the blade (and metal is usually recycled here).

What do you need to get started?

Not much. I found a basic safety razor model in the Müller which had decent reviews on Amazon -- the Wilkinson Sword Classic. The nice thing about this model is that the metal in the handle makes it heavier and easier to use. Also it has a guard -- this means that if it is lying on the counter than the blade does not touch the counter. It set me back around 8€. I have heard that the blades that come with it are not the best ones, so when I need new ones I'll be trying out different brands.
A basic inexpensive model is what you should start with, though if you can lay your hands on a vintage disposable razor you're lucky! Although there are a couple of scenarios where you need to research before buying -- like if you have very sensitive skin. Or if you have problems handling small stuff you might want to look for something with a longer handle.

You don't need any fancy stuff to shave with a safety razor -- though if you want to you can go check out the interesting products shaving geeks buy or diy. I just spent too much time down that fascinating rabbit hole, even though I only use olive oil soap.
Just like for shaving with disposable razors, you need to shower before shaving so to soften the hair. I like to use hair conditioner, oil, oil-based soap or shower gel to provide slip while shaving (make sure they are free from sulphates and synthetic perfumes, as both can irritate the skin). Some people prefer to make foam with a soap and a shaving brush, but the only advantage of this is that you can clearly see which parts you have already shaved. To shave, you need to hold the razor at a 30°-ish angle against your skin (sounds complicated, but you'll learn fast). Move the blade steadily over the skin in the direction of the hair growth and then against it. Don't apply any pressure! The weight of the razor should be doing all the work. Once again -- angles, and no pressure. Rinse the razor under running water or in a bowl. At the end dry it with a towel. Moisturise your legs with a perfume-free product.

Any downsides to safety razors?

Not really. Switching the blades is easy, the whole set-up is cheap and easily available. The only time I will still be using a disposable razor is while travelling, because they are lighter.

Any fans of disposable razors out there? What do you use and recommend? I remember that it was one of you who first brought safety razors to my attention.

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How To Minimise Scarring: Wound Care + Scar Treatments

So you have a wound in a visible place. How do you help it heal in a way that it leaves as little scarring as possible? Here is what I have learned from my doctors and from experience:

Disclaimer: I am talking about smaller wounds here. If you have a bigger wound, especially one over a joint, your doctor might give you very different advice because his goal will to keep the growing scar tissue supple. Also, the way we scar depends very much on the way our individual bodies work, on how healthy our lifestyle is, and on our age. One of the benefits of getting older is that the body gets better at healing skin.
Also, I am neither demonising nor glorifying scars. I'm just sharing some methods that might be useful for those looking for such information.
Finally, this post is titled How To Minimise Scarring, not How To Prevent Scarring, because unless you were genetically blessed with magically healing skin then the only way to avoid scarring is sitting still all your life.

How to minimise scarring:

Close incisions, preferrably professionally

   I once split my lip completely open after an unfortunate accident involving a sharp table edge. Fortunately I decided to go to a hospital and get it sewn, and was lucky to get a doctor who did his very best to sew it well. If I had let it heal on its own I would have ended up with a cleft and an irregular lip outline, but thanks to his skills I have just an extremely faint white line where the wound was and the lip outline hasn't changed. If you can't get someone to sew your wound closed, surgical tape will help to close the fissure.
   Of course not everyone is as skilled or as considerate as the doctor I got, some of them are really ham handed. I have firmly decided (and suggest you do the same) that if I ever get cut open again I'll ask the doctor to take extra care when swing things up. It may come off as a bit vain, but I do have a scar where I ask myself if the doctor could have done any worse a job of sewing up a small clean cut than he did.

Keep the wound dry!

That will help it to heal cleanly. When you wet a wound, the scab softens and sometimes even falls off. And obviously don't touch the wound, don't pick at the scab.
Ask your doctor to recommend you a silicone-based gel for your wound, especially if it's a bigger one. Or buy a silicone scar sheet. From what I have gathered silicone really helps the wound to heal cleanly by trapping just the right amount of moisture in.

   Ok, so your wound is healed. What now?

Protect the scar from the sun

Once the wound is healed, the scar tissue will be very photosensitive at first. This means that it can burn quickly when exposed to direct sun, and get discoloured -- especially if you have a darker skin tone.
So it's worth covering it up and applying sunscreen with a high SPF on it for the first year, maybe even wearing a band-aid over it if it's summer and the scar is on an exposed part of the body.

Act when the scars are still fresh

Scars (including stretch marks) that are still red are "fresh" and respond well to treatment. Mechanical exfoliation (scrubs or dry brushing) + heavy duty massage and keeping things moisturised with just about any basic oil or cream works quite well, but you have to be regular and persistent. I talked about that in this post. A friend of mine highly recommended the scar gel from Wala, I have also heard really great things about using Helichrysum oil (thinned with a carrier oil) or extract on scars.

Give them time to fade

Scars take time to fade, over the years they get less visible on their own. Also, you get more blasé about it, as life throws real problems at you and / or you get more comfortable in your own skin.

Treating older scars

Older scars are white or silvery. The methods I listed for fresh scars might help here, but don't raise your expectations too high. And again you need to be regular and persistent to see any results.
Acid peels, microdermabrasion and laser help with the skin unevenness (grooves and bumps) but not with the colour (white). If you need to conceal your scars for any reason, theatrical concealer or tattoo cover-up products do the job pretty well.

Rock your scars

Scars make you unique and are a part of who you are. There are plenty of amazing, talented and beautiful people out there with scars. A few celebs -- Harrisson Ford's chin, Padma Lakshmi's Arm, Joaquin Phoenix's lip, Seal's cheeks, Andy Warhol's torso, Queen Latifah's forehead. They don't make these people any less awesome. And of course in many cultures scars are seen as a thing of beauty.
If you find yourself focusing too much on your scars, try focusing on other things which will make you much attractive, scars or no -- be a kind person, do interesting things and be reasonably fit and healthy.

That's it from me. I'd love to know about your scars, the ones you like and the ones you've learned to live with. If you know of any good ways of minimising scarring, let me know!

photo credit: Day 227 - Tetanus Shot via photopin (license)

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How To Stay Really Warm In The Winter -- Dealing With Body Moisture

How to dress warm in the winter

   I have discovered that body moisture is to blame for my feet being cold even with the best boots, socks and inserts. Sweat is absorbed by our innermost layers of clothes, and as soon as we are outside this makes us feel really cold. Here are some tips on how to deal with body moisture and stay really toasty:

Put on fresh and dry inner layers:

   I found that putting on fresh socks, cami and leggings before I go out makes a huge difference. I used to think that the stuff that I wore around the house was warmed up by my body, but the truth is that it had absorbed a lot of moisture.
   When I expect to spend a lot of time out of the house, I sometimes bring an extra pair of socks with me to change into halfway.

Talcum powder:

   Sprinkle your feet with it to absorb the excess moisture. Cornstarch or arrowroot based ones work just as well as literal talc.

Moisture-absorbing fabrics:

   Outdoor people say that "cotton kills", because it absorbs moisture easily and then feels soggy. There are two alternatives that will keep you dry: hi-tech outdoor fabrics wick away moisture. The ones meant for sports like skiing are made to wick moisture but are also very breathable and not so warm as the ones meant for activities where you sweat less. Then there is animal wool which can absorb a lot of moisture without feeling wet. Merino and Alpaca are really good, and if you can afford it I heard that Quiviut is amazing.
   These fabrics do an amazing job of wicking away body moisture. Still, they have their limits and so you should take them off latest at the end of the day and let them dry.

Try not to sweat or get wet

  Take off a layer as soon as you feel hot. Don't keep on all your layers when you enter a heated building or vehicle. If it's wet outside make sure you have waterproof shoes and outer layers on.

Keeping your shoes dry

   Shoes absorb a lot of moisture because it's a closed environment in there. Quality shoes that breathe are best. It's a good idea to give shoes time between wears to dry completely. But don't place them near the heater as that damadges them. Crumpled newspaper stuffed into shoes help them dry faster. Wearing two socks on each foot is a great way to protect the shoe from foot sweat -- the moisture stays in the inner socks

  How do you deal with body moisture in the winter? Any tips for constantly cold feet? Or maybe you are lucky enough to live in a place where it doesn't get very cold?
Photo credit: Pablo Biasago via Unsplash

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Which Skin Products, Toothpaste And Deos For Allergies? {Reader Question}

   I got this mail from Ann in my inbox, and I would like to ask you to help me answer it:
    I am hoping that you or someone else might be able to help out. I recently developed some new allergies and after testing I'm at a loss about what toothpaste and moisturizer and deodrant I can use. Every product I've examined contains something I'm allergic to, because I'm not only allergic to the ingredients of drug-store brands but also to many natural and hypo-allergenic products. I went through three different soaps from Denn's before reading about the bar soaps on your blog and trying some of them out.
* Perubalsam
* Dibromdicyanobutan
* Propolis (I guess I can look for vegan products to avoid this)
* Natriumlaurylsulfat
* Cocamidopropylbetain
Additional constraints:
* I don't want anti-perspirant; I've found that causes cysts
* Due to soft teeth, I need fluoride in my toothpaste, so plain baking soda won't work
I'm trying to get help from my dermatologist and pharmacy, but they aren't familiar with a wide range of products.

Hello Ann
   For skin care, I love the hypo-allergenic shea butter line from Martina Gebhardt. You can order a bunch of samples through their sites if your Denns doesn't carry this line. I really really love Martina Gebhart's products, so I hope it works for you. Then there is the Lavera Basis Sensitiv line. Otherwise you could try using simple ingredients such as almond meal for cleansing, oil cleansing, and test if the Cattier Micellar Cleanser works for you. You can use oils or butters mixed with hyaluranon or aloe gel to moisturise.

   For deodorant, have you tried the crystal ones? I also like the ones from Waldfüssel (they even have a essential-oil-free version as well). I have also heard good things about Dado Sens Hypersensitiv.
     As for toothpaste, Neo Bio and Lavera both have ones with fluoride, the ingredients are nice and they are not as expensive as many other natural toothpaste. But you might want to try a proper fluoride treatment at the dentist -- they paint on fluoride on your teeth and leave it on there for a while, this is much more effective than toothpaste with fluoride which stays on your teeth for a very short time. 
    I also wanted to talk a bit about other things in your environment that might be stressing your body and triggering your allergies. I'd suggest generally cleaning up your diet and whatever comes into your home, especially removing anything with synthetic fragrance which is a cocktail of undisclosed and barely regulated chemicals -- and a huge triggers of allergies.
   I had a quick look at the chemicals that you are allergic to, and it looks like three of them are often found in cleansing and cleaning products. You might want to take a closer look at the household cleaning products that you use. As household cleansers often don't have the full ingredient list on the label, I'd suggest looking into simple things like vinegar and baking soda and simple household soaps like Kernseife. 
   Be sure to wash all new clothes at least once before you wear them, as brand new clothes often have chemicals from the manufacturing process still on them. Soap nuts are really great for people with allergies.

  Also, allergies are connected to stress and fear, so if there is anything like that going on in your life you might want to add some activities that calm and center you to your day.

   Do you have any recommendations for Ann? Which moisturisers, toothpaste and deo would you suggest she try?

Photo credit: Julia Shashkina

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