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Paying Attention to Skin Changes

check for skin changes

Our skin is our largest organ. Taking care of it is essential to our general well-being.  Therefore we need to be actively aware of any skin changes that occur.  Some of these changes can indicate or give clues as to what may be happening within our body.  Skin discoloration, a new growth, or even a difference in texture may be a sign of an illness or injury within us.  The following are some skin changes or conditions that may signal something worth looking into with a doctor.

New Growths

Any new mark or raised bump on the surface of our skin should always be seen by a doctor.  We are already aware that any moles we have should be routinely checked, as they could be a sign of skin cancer.  But there are some growths that can signal an internal issue.  Acne can suggest a hormone level problem, especially in women.  In extreme cases, acne along the jawline could indicate having polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that can also lead to thinning of the hair and weight changes in women.

Rashes and Other Textures

A rash or raised texture on the skin can signal an allergy to food, medication or the environment you are in.  However, other symptoms that can accompany a rash such as a fever or joint pain, may indicate an internal infection or condition.

For example, a purple tinged rash on the lower legs can be a sign of hepatitis C, or, not as common, a velvety rash could be a warning sign of stomach or liver cancer. Very dry, itchy patches of skin can be a sign of hormonal problems, especially in regards to the thyroid.  Or even eczema, a condition causing itchy, red patches of skin can be a signal of something internal going on, possibly joint issues or sleep problems.

Skin Discoloration

An altering in skin colour can be a symptom of various conditions worth looking into.  A yellowing of the skin, and the whites of the eyes, may signal liver failure.  A darkening of the skin, primarily scars and joints (knees and elbows) could be an indication of hormonal diseases, such as Addison’s disease.

Nail Changes

The shape or colour of our nails can also indicate an internal organ issue.  Dry, brittle nails could indicate a thyroid issue.  Nails that appear concave my indicate heart disease or a liver disorder called hemachromatosis, where the body absorbs too much iron.  Discoloured nails could indicate a plethora of possible health ailments.  Blueish tinged nails could mean low oxygen levels in the blood, whereas white nails may indicate a liver disease like hepatitis.

In short, pay attention to your body and look for skin changes.  Don’t ignore or overlook something new on your skin.  It is always best to consult your doctor if you have any doubt about a rash or a mark that you are unfamiliar with.  It just may be an indication of something bigger going on with you.

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Til next time,

Phyllis

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Beauty Benefits of Salicylic Acid

beauty benefits of salicylic acid

Suffer from acne? Have difficulty balancing your oily skin? Salicylic acid may help you keep your skin under control.  Salicylic acid is an ingredient used in many skin care products.  Exfoliators, facial masks and creams quite often contain this acid.  It is derived from the bark of the willow tree, and with some chemical magic, the extract is created with the use of antioxidant chemicals that are safe for our skin, provided that they are used correctly.

Did you know that salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin?  It acts as a pain reliever topically and orally!  There are so many ways to use this amazingly beneficial product.  The following are a few of the ways to capture the beauty benefits of salicylic acid.

Beauty Benefits of Salicylic Acid

Anti-Inflammatory

As mentioned before, aspirin contains salicylic acid.  Therefore it makes sense that it can reduce discomfort.  The acid can lessen the swelling and pain caused by rashes and pimples.

Anti-Acne

The acid aids in clearing and de-clogging your pores.  It helps to heal your pimples quickly by increasing blood circulation in the area.  Salicylic acid is in fact gentler on the skin for this purpose, rather than using some other acne treatment that can be harsh on the skin.

Reduces Oily Skin

Salicylic acid breaks down the oil in the pores, therefore tightening the skin and reducing pore size.  This in turn gives the skin a smoother appearance.

Blackheads

The acid acts as an exfoliator and aids in the removal of dry cells to make way for new cells to form.  It removes dirt and grime (i.e. blackheads) from the skin, promoting a clear, glowing surface.  To create a blackhead removal treatment, mash up a few aspirin tablets and mix with warm water.  Massage the paste onto your blackheads and remove after letting it sit after 7 minutes.  You may have to scrape it off with a spoon, so be careful!

Anti- Dandruff

There are many anti-dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid due to its anti-fungal, bacteria fighting ability.  It is highly effective in the treatment of psoriasis and other various scalp conditions.

Precautions Towards Salicylic Acid

Although there are a multitude of beauty benefits of salicylic acid, there are some precautions to take with its use.  If used incorrectly, your skin may become unnecessarily dry.  Regular or over use of this acid may discolour or darken your skin, so be sure to use sunscreen.  And above all, if you have any questions or concerns about using salicylic acid, it is always best to consult your doctor.

We welcome your questions and feedback. You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.  Join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Til next time,

Phyllis

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5 Signs of Dehydration: Are You Drinking Enough Water?

signs of dehydration - are you drinking enough water

For many of us, it can be quite the challenge to remember to drink our daily quota of water.  The human body needs to consume a certain amount of water by means of survival.  The amount of water we lose during the day is significant, therefore replenishing it is extremely important.  For most of us, eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day is the proper amount to consume.  Not only is drinking water fantastic for our skin, but also for our mind, muscles and all our bodily systems. But how do we know if we are drinking as much as we should?  Are we hydrating ourselves appropriately?  The following are some possible signs of dehydration and why drinking enough water is essential to our overall health.

5 Possible Signs of Dehydration

Dry Skin

Before you spend your money on super expensive creams and potions, increase your water intake.  Dehydration can in fact cause sensitivities to your skin.   Your skin may become inflamed or irritated causing itching or, in extreme cases, cracking.  Your skin is your largest organ and it needs lubrication so drink up!

Elimination Issues 

Dark urine and constipation can both be caused by insufficient water intake.  Your urine should ideally be a light yellow colour.  Any darker than that generally means it has more waste within it being excreted from the kidneys.  Constipation can also be a sign of dehydration.  The colon needs significant lubrication to eliminate what it needs to and drinking more water is the first solution to consider.

Headaches

When dehydrated, our brain tissue loses water resulting in pain and swelling.  Since our brains are 80% water, it is essential to drink the appropriate amount of water to promote proper blood flow and oxygen to the brain, thus preventing the dreaded headache.

Muscle Cramps

When we exercise, our bodies sweat, resulting in a lower sodium level.  Our muscles become very sensitive if they don’t receive an adequate amount of water, which can result in cramps or spasms.  Drinking water aids in replenishing sodium levels, helping to reduce and/or eliminate the cramps.

Low Energy

Feeling tired? Guess what?  It may be because you aren’t drinking enough water! Our energy levels lessen when our blood circulation is sluggish.  Proper blood circulation delivers oxygen to all our organs and muscles, therefore giving us energy to go about our day. And water is the key!

Make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day.  Eating more water rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can also be extremely beneficial in consuming the appropriate amount of water.  Most importantly, don’t wait to experience any of these signs.  Just grab, drink and refill your water bottle every day!

We welcome your questions and feedback. You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.  Join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Til next time,

Phyllis

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What to Look for in Moles to Detect Melanoma

detecting melanoma in moles

Ah, summer.  The season many of us look forward to the most throughout the year.  Many of us relate this time of year to relaxing family time at the cottage, packing up the kids and heading to the beach, or a fun day at the zoo.  Along with your snacks and water in your backpacks, be especially sure to pack your sunscreen!

Apply & Reapply Often!

Sunscreen is immensely important to apply at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors, at any time of the year, but especially in the hot months of summer. And also important is to reapply it often throughout the day.  We need to protect our largest organ, our skin.  As we know, melanin is the pigment responsible for our skin colour.  And without protection, dangerous conditions can occur over time, primarily, a disease known as melanoma.

Melanoma Can Occur from Over Exposure to UV Light

Melanoma is the rarest and most lethal type of skin cancer. Fortunately with early detection, it has a very high cure rate. Melanoma is a lump on the skin that often looks like a common mole. It can occur when we are over exposed to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) light or the use of tanning beds.  Other risk factors that contribute to the development of melanoma are having a large amount of moles on your body, having fair skin or a family history of this disease.

The following are characteristics to look for in moles that may or may not be melanoma:

Asymmetry

When you look at the mole, imagine a line traced down the centre of it.  If both halves look similar, odds are the mole is healthy.  However, if both sides look different, you may want to get the mole checked out.

Border

A mole that has a rather smooth outline usually isn’t a problem, whereas if the borders are uneven or even jagged, it may be a melanoma.

Colour

Generally moles tend to be brown, some lighter and some darker. This can be fooling as melanoma can appear in different colours.  A mole that looks black, blue, red or even white can present itself as a melanoma.

Size

A melanoma usually are larger than a healthy mole.  A regular mole tends to be the size of an eraser on a pencil, or smaller whereas a melanoma would be larger than that.

It is essential to know your body and its changes.  If you notice a mole or a growth that you are unsure of, be sure to make an appointment with your family doctor or dermatologist.  In the meantime, apply that SPF every day and often, and enjoy the beautiful summer weather!

We welcome your questions and feedback. You can connect with us via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.  Join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Til next time,

Jana

 

The information presented in this article is not to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your health care provider.