If you’re on a drug for high blood pressure or heart failure, it’s pretty likely that you’re doing your best to keep your body in working order. However, some patients with heart issues have recently found themselves trading one life-threatening condition with the risk of another.

An FDA investigation has triggered a recall of over 50 different medications which contain a drug that has now been linked to cancers. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is formally classified as a carcinogen by the FDA, meaning that it has the potential to cause cancers to form, and it was found in 55 different medications under the name valsartan, which is prescribed for patients with heart failure and blood pressure issues.

The recall list is long, covering valsartan prescriptions in a number of different dosages and amounts. A number of different companies produce the drug, and now they’re being forced to yank them from pharmacy shelves. The FDA notes that the carcinogen’s presence in the drug is being considered an “impurity,” meaning that not all valsartan prescriptions are affected by the recall. Those which do not contain the NDMA impurity are still considered safe, according to the FDA.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb provided the following statement in the FDA’s bulletin:

The FDA is committed to maintaining our gold standard for safety and efficacy. That includes our efforts to ensure the quality of drugs and the safe manner in which they’re manufactured.  When we identify lapses in the quality of drugs and problems with their manufacturing that have the potential to create risks to patients, we’re committed to taking swift action to alert the public and help facilitate the removal of the products from the market. As we seek the removal of certain drug products today, our drug shortages team is also working hard to ensure patients’ therapeutic needs are met in the United States with an adequate supply of unaffected medications.

If you need to check whether your medication is part of the recall, you can do so via the list (PDF) provided by the FDA.

Source: https://bgr.com/2018/08/14/valsartan-recall-heart-medication-cancer-risk/


Photo by Stuart McClayton/Getty Images

When it comes to your face, your anti-aging routine is a well-oiled machine: UV-shielding sunscreens, hydrating creams, wrinkle-reducing serums, the whole nine yards. Your hands? Not so much. But if you don’t have a youth-preserving plan for the delicate, oft-abused skin and nails on your hands, it’ll be a dead giveaway of your age, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Here, 7 things that are making your hands look old—and how to reverse them.

1. Age Spots
The funny thing about age spots is that they actually have nothing to do with age: “Age spots are the result of sun exposure,” explains Eileen Lambroza, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center. Though sun-worshippers may get them earlier, they most commonly show up in the 50+ crowd, who’ve accumulated more sun exposure than their younger counterparts. Short of wearing gloves 24/7, you should be smoothing on a dime-sized dab of hand cream with SPF 30 before heading out the door each day—and reapplying after you wash your hands or every two hours if you’re exposed to even a little sunlight, says Deborah Sarnoff, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at New York University. Tackle existing spots with an OTC fade cream with 2% hydroquinone like Glytone Fading Lotion ($46, skinstore.com), Lambroza says. Make sure to follow the directions carefully even at that low dose, since the bleaching ingredient can backfire if used improperly. Darker spots may need a 3% solution, but you’ll need a dermatologist’s prescription—and guidance—to give them a try.


Photo by Ross Whitaker/Getty Images

2. Crepey Skin 
If the backs of your hands are starting to get a crumpled look reminiscent of gift bag stuffing, use a prescription retinoid cream to improve texture and jumpstart the growth of thickening collagen, says Sarnoff. She recommends Renova ($100) or Retin-A ($120), which are pricey, but more effective than OTC retinols, she says. And, since they’re prescription-only, your dermatologist will explain how and when to use them so you get the benefits without common retinoid drawbacks like skin irritation.

3. Prominent Veins 
We’ll start with the bad news: The only way to get rid of them for good is to invest in vein removal, which is exactly what it sounds like: the removal of the veins right at the surface of your skin (the deeper network of veins will do the work of taking blood to and from your hands). The good, less invasive news: heavy duty concealers like Dermablend Leg and Body Cover Crème ($30, dermablend.com) can instantly cover dark veins. You’ll have to reapply after washing your hands, but it still beats surgery.

4. Scaly Skin 
Nothing about dry, scaly skin says “young and healthy.” Return them to smooth-and-plump status overnight with this quick pre-bed routine: First, slough off rough, dead skin with a gentle scrub like Freeman Bare Hands and Cuticle Renewal Scrub ($4, freemanbeauty.com), and then create an all-night moisture mask by smoothing on a glycerin and plant oil-containing hand cream like Aveda Hand Relief Moisturizing Cream ($24, aveda.com) and covering hands with plastic wrap and putting cotton gloves on top (skip the plastic and you’ll just end up with really well moisturized gloves).


5. Stained Nails 
First, figure out why your nails are turning yellow or brown. If the discoloration persists or is accompanied by pain, it’s likely a fungal infection—check with your doctor ASAP to treat it—something that causes about half of all nail discoloration. If you see your doc and it turns out the problem isn’t fungal, you can relax, as the discoloration is likely a harmless side effect of things like psoriasis medication or wearing dark polish. Run your nails with a lemon wedge, just like you would when you’re rubbing off nail polish (the natural fruit acids will lighten the nail bed), or soaking in denture cleaner for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the stains. Also make sure to apply a base coat before you reapply your favorite oxblood lacquer.

6. Brittle Nails
Water or chemical exposure, seasonal weather changes, and even genetics, can all lead to brittle, breaking nails. But the right supplements can help. Taking a 2.5 mg dose of the B vitamin biotin improves nail strength and reduces brittleness after six to nine months, says a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Learn more about brittle nails with 8 reasons your nails keep breaking.

7. Outdated Manicure 
Popular nail shapes and shades are constantly changing, and keeping up with them is a simple way to make hands look more youthful. Right now, shorter nails are the norm; keep nails no longer than ¼ inch beyond your fingertips, says Jan Arnold, of CND, a nail care company. Bonus points if you follow up with bold polish, which draws attention to your nails and away from any wrinkles or spots you’d rather not highlight. Try a classic shade like true red or regal purple (here are 20 of our non-toxic favorites), rather than a too-trendy shade like neon yellow or green.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/beauty/a20473036/anti-aging-tips-for-hands/

Photo: Sarah Villafranco, M.D.

When my stepdad called to say that my mother was dying and I should get on a plane to come home, I hopped on the first available flight. She waited all day for my brother and me, sliding in and out of consciousness. When we walked in, she was propped up on a pillow without a wig, her salt-n-pepper, chemo-cropped hair on display. She said, with a wry, exhausted smile, “You’ve had to wait an awfully long time to see me with gray hair, haven’t you?” A week later, she died at age 64.

When I think back on that week, most of my memories are of treasured moments, helping my mom transition from this life to the next. But the memory of her being self-conscious about her gray hair on her actual deathbed just makes me mad. Really mad. Why did this powerful, beautiful woman have to waste precious seconds cracking a joke to ease her embarrassment about being seen with her natural hair color? How have we, as a culture, allowed the definition of beauty to become, simply, “young”? And how can we shift it to something better now?

I’m a doctor, trained to prolong life using modern medicine and preventive health practices. Are we really supposed to live in a frantic effort to feel, look, and act so much younger than we are? By being unrelentingly critical as we age, aren’t we setting ourselves up to feel anything but strong, happy, and beautiful? What if—and it is an IF—life provides us with the incredible privilege of getting older? How will we feel when we’re 64? What about 84?

It’s time to move into a new age in the world of beauty, especially among people who have a tendency to be tough on themselves as age-related changes appear. Here are a few thoughts about how we can move toward a healthier relationship between beauty and aging. The journey starts in your mirror:

1. Reflect on your own true beauty.

If you’ve never looked in the mirror and had a near-endless stream of criticisms about your appearance, then you should (a) pat yourself on the back and (b) write a book immediately. If, however, you have mercilessly listed your perceived flaws as you brush your teeth—crow’s feet, age spots, cellulite, flabby arms, saggy belly, dark circles, gray hair—then this is your wake-up call. How will we ever learn to see beauty in others when we are so busy disassembling ourselves?

Exercise 1

Think about someone you love deeply. It can be someone in your daily life, someone far away, or someone you’ve lost. Close your eyes right now and picture some favorite moments with that person as you breathe quietly.

All done? What did you picture? Did you imagine that person’s wrinkles? Arm flab? Saggy knees? You didn’t, right? You thought about how that person held you when you cried, or how he could know your mood from across the room, or how you two laughed until tears streamed down your faces.

So why are you spending so much time focusing on your lines and spots when they will matter so little to those who cherish you?


2. Stop criticizing others.

We all do it. We look at others and judge them based on their appearance. We subconsciously slap labels on people as we move through the world: fat, old, sexy, ugly, gay, gorgeous, weird, skinny, stuck up—you name it. Those labels come with energetic vibrations, positive or negative, and those vibrations can be felt by all.

Why do we do it? Do we feel better about ourselves when we’re critical of others? If so, that’s an insecure, unhealthy pattern. Is it just a bad habit? If so, let’s break it. Can you think of any worthwhile purpose it serves? I’m guessing you can’t.

Criticism is especially prevalent among women. We are harsh in our assessments of other women, to no good end. What she does is her business, and she has her reasons for it. Focus on yourself—this applies to all.

Exercise 2

When you feel yourself start to label and judge, replace each label in your head with the phrase “human, just like me.” It applies to every person on the planet and can serve to remind you that we are all created equal.

It’s our behavior—not our appearances—that will set us apart.

3. Align with your partner.

If you’re worried that your partner will love you less or even leave you if you don’t maintain a certain appearance, it raises a few questions worth pondering. Could your fears be born of your own insecurities? Do you want to be with someone who would leave you for a younger model? Will your partner’s physical changes over time diminish your love for him or her? If these are familiar feelings, try this one.

Exercise 3

Talk to your partner and ask what’s important to him or her or them as your relationship progresses over time. Ask specifically if your appearance is important, and, if so, how? The answers might surprise you.

If you’re single and worried that you won’t attract a partner without looking a certain way, consider the possibility that by putting your natural beauty on display, you’ll attract exactly the right kind of partner. Confidence is magnetic in a unique and compelling way, so don’t underestimate your power to attract someone by simply feeling comfortable in your own skin.

The author, Sarah Villafranco, M.D., and founder of Osmia, sporting her natural locks.

4. Ask more of society.

Aging naturally, without so many interventions, should be treated as an equal and respectable option rather than being seen as a person who has “let herself go.” If you are someone who chooses Botox and cosmetic surgery, do it because it’s what makes you feel like your true self, and don’t look down on people who choose otherwise. If you are an earth mama with gray streaks and smile lines, don’t condemn those who prefer more invasive methods. Consider your role in how people see and talk about themselves, and think about how to engage in more positive conversations about beauty and aging.

I have wrinkles from laughing and crying—badges of honor, to be sure, but also reminders of time’s ceaseless march.

I’m not saying all this is easy. In fact, I’m here to say it’s hard, and something I struggle with every single day. At 45, I am a new kind of tween. I feel young and vibrant and healthy, yet I see things changing in the mirror. I have silver hairs arriving daily, like gulls landing on a pond, after deciding to stop covering my gray last year. I have wrinkles from laughing and crying—badges of honor, to be sure, but also reminders of time’s ceaseless march. When I see myself in the mirror, negative thoughts often try to sneak into my head. When I see women whose faces are perfectly smooth and plump, I might feel a quiver of insecurity somewhere in the primal recesses of my brain. But with a bit of practice, I’m starting to acknowledge these thoughts and understand them for what they are: noise.

It is time for a new age of beauty. It’s time to live in a world where people of all ages and aging styles are authentically celebrated and respected. It’s time we encourage one another to do exactly what makes us feel most like ourselves. Because those individual selves are the only things we have to offer this world—our laughter, our love, our ideas, our creativity, our tears, our smiles, our compassion, and our kindness. In trying to be like everyone else—or even look like everyone else—we deprive the world of our unique gifts, and we limit our capacity to love. It’s time to let our beauty shine in this exact moment of our lives, silver and all.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-will-you-do-when-you-age

What Is Eczema?

An overview of eczema symptoms, causes, and treatments. Plus: how to prevent eczema from striking in the first place.

Eczema overview

“Eczema” does not refer to a single health condition. It’s an umbrella term for a number of closely related skin diseases, all of which cause a cluster of skin issues. Up to 30 percent of the United States population has some form of eczema, and its typical symptoms include red, itchy, swollen patches of skin on the hands, cheeks, feet, or on the insides of the knees or elbows. Regardless of its underlying cause, eczema isn’t contagious, and its symptoms tend to come and go.

While a handful of health conditions cause eczema, the most common trigger is atopic dermatitis—a chronic inflammatory disease that tends to show up during childhood (and usually before age 2). Many people use the terms “eczema” and “atopic dermatitis” interchangeably. But in the same way that not all headaches are migraines, not all eczema cases are atopic dermatitis. Allergies, stress, and contact with substances—including water or chemicals—can trigger eczema flare-ups even in those without atopic dermatitis.

Eczema is slightly more common among women than men, and African Americans tend to experience higher rates of eczema than other populations. Eczema has grown more common during the past two decades, though experts aren’t sure exactly why that’s happening.

Psoriasis vs. eczema: What’s the difference?

It’s easy to mix up plaque psoriasis and eczema—they’re both frustrating conditions that cause itchy, red skin. To an untrained eye, they may look similar, but there are some key differences:

  • Their looks: Both psoriasis and eczema cause patches of red skin, but psoriasis plaques are also scaly and raised.
  • The parts of the body they strike: Eczema typically occurs on parts of the body that bend, such as the inner elbows and behind the knees. Psoriasis, on the other hand, is most likely to strike on the elbows, knees, scalp, palms of hands, and soles of feet.
  • Their symptoms: Both eczema and psoriasis feel itchy, but psoriasis may also burn. (Learn more about psoriasis symptoms.)
  • Their causes: Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, while eczema is triggered by external allergens and irritants. (Learn more about what causes psoriasis.

What are the types of eczema?

While all forms of eczema are associated with skin symptoms, there are several different types of eczema. These types are defined by their presentation (how and where they show up) and by their underlying causes or triggers.

What causes eczema?

In many cases, the exact causes or triggers of eczema aren’t well understood. But eczema sometimes results from a specific gene mutation that causes a lack of protective proteins in the outer layer of a person’s skin. This genetic component helps explain why eczema runs in families.

Environmental factors, especially early in life, also seem to play a part. It’s possible that kids with underlying genetic vulnerabilities develop eczema if they’re exposed at a young age to specific allergens, irritants or chemicals. Research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to develop eczema, while a fast-food diet or lots of time spent indoors seem to increase a child’s risk. Experts are still teasing apart how all these factors may contribute to a person’s risks for eczema.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

Eczema symptoms can appear anywhere on the skin—from the scalp to the bottom of the feet. But the symptoms below usually show up on an adult’s hands, the insides of the elbows or knees, and the back of the neck. In infants and kids, all those same hot spots are still a problem, though eczema often also shows up in a child’s cheeks, arms, legs, and torso.

Those symptoms include:

  • Dry and/or itchy skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Swollen skin
  • Patches of red or brown skin
  • Cracked or rough skin
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Skin blisters that may or may not leak clear fluid
  • Thick or brittle skin
  • Skin crusting or scales

How is eczema diagnosed?

There are no lab tests for eczema. Dermatologists and physicians diagnose the condition based on a physical exam and a discussion with the patient about his symptoms.

If a patient comes in with red, scaling skin on his face and scalp, a doctor may determine after close inspection that the patient has seborrheic dermatitis. Or, if the patient is an infant or toddler with rashes on her cheeks, arms and legs, a doctor may diagnose her with atopic dermatitis.

During the doctor-patient discussion, a doctor is likely to ask if scratching the itchy skin feels good—even if it also makes the skin irritation worse. If the patient answers yes, that’s a telltale sign that he has eczema. (While other skin conditions are itchy, scratching them tends to be painful—not enjoyable.)

A doctor may also ask a patient if she has been stressed, if she has any known allergies, if she’s taking any medications, or if she’s been exposed to any metals or chemicals. Each of these factors could help a doctor determine if eczema (or something else) is to blame for a patient’s skin issues. A doctor may also ask how long symptoms have been occurring, whether those symptoms ebb and flow, and what (if anything) seems to make them worse or better.

If a doctor believes a patient’s eczema is being triggered by an allergy, she may order skin-prick tests to confirm that an allergy is indeed part of the problem. But that has less to do with diagnosing eczema than in identifying its potential triggers. (A patient can be diagnosed with eczema even if its cause is never identified.

How is eczema treated?

The best eczema treatment for you depends on symptoms and how severe they are. That said, several remedies are commonplace, including over the counter ointments, sprays, and lotions, prescription creams, doctor-administered drugs, phototherapy, relaxation therapy, and biofeedback.

Anti-inflammatory ointments

A doctor may prescribe a topical anti-inflammatory cream or gel—often a steroid like cortisone, in either prescription or OTC strength—to reduce redness, swelling, itching and irritation.


Once a flare-up has settled down, eczema patients are instructed to moisturize regularly—multiple times a day, if possible—in order to keep their skin’s protective barrier intact and to avoid another flare-up. In many cases, over-the-counter moisturizing products are fine, although doctors typically recommend products without heavy fragrance or tint. (Look for products containing words like “sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic.”) Moisturizes that contain ceramides—one of the natural fats found in the skin—often work well for eczema patients.

Drugs or injections

While topical treatments are sufficient for some patients, others may need next-level medications. These could include an injectable drug called dupilumab, which helps switch off some immune system signaling pathways that promote eczema. Topical immunomodulators (TIMS) are another class of drug that can help calm down the skin’s immune activity and have been shown to help some eczema patients.


Exposure to UV light rays can help suppress some overactive immune cells in the skin, and so can prevent flare-ups.

Relaxation or biofeedback therapy

For some patients, anxiety or mindless skin-scratching can fuel eczema. Counseling or therapy can help these patients manage their stress and unhelpful personal habits, which can prevent new symptom break-outs.

What are the complications of eczema?

The most common and crippling complication of eczema may be the social embarrassment and insecurity that can accompany symptoms. Especially for adolescents and young adults, living with eczema can be mortifying.

There are other serious complications:

  • Sleep disruption or insomnia. Eczema’s symptoms can be uncomfortable or even painful, and so can promote poor-quality sleep or a lack of sleep.
  • Depression. Research has shown that eczema patients—especially teens and young adults—are at greater risk for depression than those who don’t have the condition. This uptick in depression risk may stem from the social anxiety these patients feel as a result of their skin symptoms.
  • Scarring. Over time, scarring or skin discoloration can result from eczema break-outs and the scratching they entail.
  • Allergies. Eczema patients are at much greater risk for allergies and asthma than individuals without eczema.

There is no cure for eczema, and there are no well-established ways for a person to protect herself from developing the condition in the first place. But there’s good news: when it comes to preventing eczema from flaring, there are several well-established safeguards, and all they require are some relatively simple lifestyle changes.

Take short, lukewarm showers and baths

Long, hot showers or baths irritate and draw water from the skin, and so promote flare-ups. Gently patting the skin dry after bathing (as opposed to wiping it harshly) can also help.

Moisturize after bathing

As skin dries, moisture is naturally wicked away. To prevent over-drying, always moisturize after bathing, swimming, or getting skin wet.

Use soaps designed for sensitive skin

Fragrance-free soaps made for people with sensitive skin can help prevent dry skin and eczema flares.

Wear gloves and avoid irritants

Wearing gloves to do dishes or chores can keep the skin away from contact with harsh chemicals, soaps, or other irritants that can trigger a symptom outbreak. Washing clothing in detergents designed for people with sensitive skin is also a good idea.

Drink plenty of water

Staying well-hydrated can help prevent dry skin. Aim for eight glasses a day.

Wash new clothes before wearing

New duds often come coated with chemicals that can irritate the skin. Wash them before wearing. Loose cotton clothing is also less likely to irritate skin than tight, synthetic garments.

Manage stress

Stress is a known eczema trigger. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all proven stress-fighters. Counseling can also help individuals develop effective stress-reduction techniques.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a19713405/eczema-facts/

Getty image

Herpes sounds like a sexually transmitted infection (STI) you’d be able to spot easily (cold sores and below-the-belt blisters, anyone?). But most people who have herpes simplex virus don’t show any symptoms and have not been diagnosed with herpes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And the virus is extraordinarily common. “About 60 to 70 percent of the population is positive for herpes simplex virus type 1, herpes simplex virus type 2, or both,” says Eric Ganz, MD, an assistant professor of gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Herpes is broken up into two types: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), also called oral herpes, which primarily affects the mouth and lips; and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), or genital herpes.

Signs of herpes you shouldn’t ignore

Unlike other STIs like chlamydia, herpes can’t be cured. That means once you have it, your best bet is to be able to spot the symptoms, treat them, and practice safe sex. Here, the signs to look out for and what to do if you think you’re infected.

Flu-like symptoms

herpes flu-like symptoms

The first herpes outbreak that someone gets tends to be brutal, says Monica Svets, MD, an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic. “You feel very sick all over and might have very intense flu-like symptoms.” Body aches, extreme fatigue, and swollen, tender lymph nodes in your groin area are all common in primary outbreaks, she notes.

Think of it like chicken pox: You have an initial phase of an active infection that wipes you out. There are high amounts of a virus you’ve never seen before coursing through your body, and thus, a higher immune system response. Herpes outbreaks tend to get less severe over time, says Dr. Svets.

Painful blisters

One of the classic symptoms of genital herpes is intensely painful blisters around the genital area, says Dr. Svets, who adds: “No blister is a good thing.” Unlike other bumps or sores you might notice around your vagina, herpes sores are extremely painful, says Dr. Ganz.

Blisters pop up because the skin is likely the area of transmission (through sex or oral sex), explains Dr. Svets. Vaginal tissue and the skin surrounding the vagina are also easier to injure, disrupt, and thus pick up a virus, she adds.

And remember: Just because you see your first blister doesn’t mean the incidence is a sign of your first infection. “The herpes virus is kind of like an evil little family—they go to sleep and lie dormant in your cells,” says Dr. Svets. “Different things can wake them up, such as high stress or other illnesses.”

Intense itching

Don’t notice a blister? You might feel some intense itching around a “hot spot” or one particular area of your vaginal region, notes Dr. Svets. It’s another reaction of the virus coming into contact with your skin.

Tender red spots

Herpes doesn’t always show up as a classic blister. Sometimes, it looks like red spots that might appear to have pus in the middle of them. “You can have minor ulcers that are hard to see in pubic hair,” notes Dr. Ganz.

But when you take a closer look, these marks are usually “angry” which makes them red, and are very, very tender (remember: herpes sores are painful). “They’re not subtle,” says Dr. Svets.

Cold sores around your mouth

Herpes symptoms cold sore

Oral herpes, usually caused by HSV-1, can lead to cold sores on or around your mouth instead of your lady parts. These will look similar to the blisters you might notice in your genital area, appearing to have a pussy filling, and they might crust or scab when they’re healing. (Here’s how to get rid of a cold sore—and prevent it from coming back.)

Numbness or tingling

Dr. Ganz notes that herpes tends to have an “unusual” feeling about it—like numbness or tingling on the mouth or in the genital region, even shooting through the legs, hips, or butt area—before sores even show up. That’s because while other STIs might affect just skin tissue herpes can impact nerve tissue, too. This can even lead to nerve damage in rare cases, says Dr. Ganz.

How to treat herpes

Herpes is diagnosed either by a sample of a sore itself or a blood test that IDs antibodies. Remember—it can’t be cured. But if you’re suffering from outbreaks, oral antiviral medications such as Zovirax, Famvir, or Valtrex are often prescribed to decrease severity and length, says Dr. Svets.

Sitting in a shallow, cool-water bath (known as a sitz bath) can also help alleviate sore pain. Just avoid any heavily fragranced soaps or bath products that could further irritation.

Since the likelihood of passing herpes on is high (even if you don’t have any symptoms you can still pass the virus), it’s crucial to tell any sex partners that you have herpes and use condoms, says Dr. Svets. For people with recurrent outbreaks, you can also use antiviral medications on a daily basis to suppress the virus and lower the risk of transmission to under 10 percent.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a22652270/herpes-symptoms/

There’s something about midsummer that makes everything feel a little…slow. In climates where the humidity frequently creeps up to near 100 percent, simple everyday moments like commuting to work can feel like a total slog. Weather like this catalyzes many palpable changes to ourselves and our environments. For example, houseplants become full, vibrant, and generally very happy, pets may get a little slothlike, and you’re probably feeling extra thirsty. Your hair and your skin are probably acting differently, too—frizzy locks and extra sweat, moisture, and pore-clogging buildup on your skin are typical of humid climes.

You might be tempted to stay in the air conditioning, but herbalist, natural beauty expert, and makeup artist Jessa Blades thinks you should sweat. “It is important to remind ourselves that it is really healthy to sweat and stay hydrated,” she said. Rule No. 1 is to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, including ones with electrolytes, to keep your body balanced. Beyond that, this checklist, compiled with tips from Jessa and natural beauty experts Katey Denno and Britta Plug, will keep your face clear and help you embrace your best summer skin.

1. Take a toner with you.

Katey Denno recommends bringing a toner to sweat zones if you’re battling breakouts and blemishes. “Carry a breakout-busting toner, and spritz it a few times a day. I personally reach for Be Clean from Jenette All Natural Skincare—this toner is extremely helpful in sweaty situations.”

2. If you’re going to wear makeup, keep it minimal.

If you must wear makeup, Denno and Blades agree that it’s best to stay away from cream-based formulas. “Using more powders and layering products is helpful for making them last,” Blades said. Denno recommends skipping foundation entirely and reaching for concealer instead as a spot treatment.

3. Swap moisturizers for oils.

Photo: @Anna-Ok

“I go down to 2 drops of oil serum—that’s it for the summer,” said holistic esthetician, gua sha expert, and mbg Collective member Britta Plug. Denno also recommends oil for summer. “Press the drops in and allow them to sink in before applying sunscreen and any makeup. Oil is the best way to hydrate at the deepest of layers anyway, and there’s no need for extra wax and butter on skin when humidity is high,” she said.

4. Do a clay mask.

While it’s best to skip clay masks in the cooler months because they can be quite drying, humid weather is the ideal time to do them. Plug’s favorite clay-based mask is Laurel Whole Plant Organics Detox Facial Mask. For maskers on a budget, she recommends the bulk French green clay from Mountain Rose Herbs for $11 a pound! If your skin is feeling a little dry despite humidity, Plug suggests adding honey to soften and hydrate.

5. Try (or stick with) oil cleansing.

It may seem counterintuitive to keep up your oil cleansing practice when skin feels oily, but trust—Plug maintains that oil dissolves oil, and when sunscreen, sweat, and city pollution mix, you get a greasy facial slick that only oil can break through. She recommends staying away from coconut oil for the face. Try jojoba oil or her favorite oil cleanser, the Myhavtorn Facial Oil.

6. Seize the opportunity to give your skin a break.

Summer is a fantastic time to scale back on any makeup or intense regimens to embrace the skin you’re in. “Wearing fewer products in this heat is also a good way to give your skin a moment to breathe,” Blades said. While there’s no hard science that supports “letting your skin breathe,” all three experts agree that giving it time without any makeup and focusing on hydration and oils leads to smoother, clearer, and healthier skin.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/best-skin-care-for-humidity

Lower back pain relief can be elusive, and it helps to know all your options.

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Whether it was brought on by arthritis, a structural or nerve problem, bending the wrong way, or lifting something a little too heavy, low back pain is frustrating as all get-out. But if you’re struggling, know this: You’re definitely not alone. Most people experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it’s one of the most common reasons people book doctor’s appointments and call out of work. It’s also one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.Back pain treatments range from simple to complex, and the right course for you depends on how long you’ve been hurting, the severity and location of your pain, and whether your pain is structural or muscular. But in any case, you’ll likely start with conservative, home-based remedies before you move on to doctor-assisted treatments.

Home remedies for back pain

If your back pain just started, consider slacking off, just this once. About 90 percent of back pain episodes resolve themselves on their own within six weeks. People who don’tpursue extreme treatment tend to have fewer complications than those who end up rushing into invasive treatments before it’s truly necessary.Of course, the thought of waiting over a month for your pain to subside may feel unbearable. Try these patience-prolonging strategies to relieve your pain and possibly even shorten the wait until Father Time works his subtle magic.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Even as you practice patience, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease the pain you’re pushing through. The research behind medicine guidelines for lower back pain finds that these may give slightly better relief than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Over long periods, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems, so don’t take them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor.

Ice and heat

Break out that bag of frozen peas (or an ice pack, if you want to get fancy) for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and put it to use for 20 minutes a session, several sessions per day. After those two days are behind you, switch to 20-minute intervals with a heating pad. Localized cooling shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area, which helps ease the swelling, says Lisa DeStefano, an associate professor at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. Cold also thwarts your nerves’ ability to conduct pain signals. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation, bringing extra oxygen to the rescue.Supportive shoesSome back trouble starts from the ground up. Women whose feet roll inward when they walk (what’s known as pronation) might be particularly susceptible to lower back pain, according to a recent study in the journal Rheumatology. Another study finds that correcting the problem with orthotics may help.

A new mattress

How old is your bed? You may be surprised to learn that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years. “There’s no hard-and-fast rule,” says Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, “but if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than 6 to 8 years old, I’d think about getting a new one. Something else to consider: a firm mattress may not do your back any favors, says Carmen R. Green, a physician at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses do better than those with firm beds.

Exercises and stretches

Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilize your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. And despite how hard it is to imagine doing Downward-Facing Dog with a bad back, yoga can work in your favor, too. A 2013 review of studies found strong evidence it can help beat lower back pain. Any type works; one to consider is the restorative viniyoga style.

Positive thinking

No, the lower back pain isn’t in your head. But what is in your head could be making it worse. “Fear, anxiety, and catastrophizing can amplify pain,” says Mackey. “People often get swept up in thoughts like This will never get better.” Because brain circuits that process pain overlap dramatically with circuits involved with emotions, panic can translate into actual pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you recognize and reframe negative thoughts. Deep breathing can help, too, as can simply shining a light on dark thoughts. “Start by accepting that you have pain,” Mackey says. “Then say to yourself, It will get better.”

Other back pain treatments

If your back pain hasn’t resolved itself within four to six weeks, you’ll want to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doc will examine your back and ask you to sit, stand, bend, walk, and lift your legs to see how your pain is affecting your mobility. You’ll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of one to 10, and you may be sent for imaging tests like an x-ray or MRI. You might be asked to try one of these therapies:


Muscle relaxants: If over-the-counter drugs don’t take the edge off, your doctor may prescribe you a medication that relieves painful back spasms. If you go this route, just know that side effects can include fatigue and dizziness.

Topical pain meds: These creams and ointments are meant to be rubbed directly on to the area that’s hurting you.

Cortisone shots: If other treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend an injection of cortisone, a potent anti-inflammatory. There are risks—including thinning of nearby bone—and relief typically lasts just a few months, tops.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist will teach you stretches to manage your back pain, as well as exercises to correct any imbalances that might have brought on pain in the first place. Depending on the causes and severity of your back pain, your PT may also employ other treatment techniques, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and active release therapy.

Alternative medicine

Acupuncture: Acupuncture may provide even more relief than painkillers, according to one 2013 review. In 11 studies of more than 1,100 people, this Chinese medicine staple improved symptoms of lower back pain better than simulated treatments and, yes, in some cases, NSAIDs. The needles appear to change the way your nerves react and may reduce inflammation around joints (which is only one of the therapy’s benefits), says DeStefano.

Massage: There’s an upside to your discomfort: It’s a legit excuse to get a weekly massage. One study found that people who did had less lower back pain and disability after 10 weeks, compared with the control group—and general relaxation rubdowns worked just as well as structural massage targeted at specific parts of the body. Osteopathic and chiropractic therapies—in which joints and muscles get stretched and repositioned—have been shown to work, too. In a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine

One back pain treatment you probably don’tneed

Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, and going under the knife may seem like the quickest, easiest fix to bring relief. But the truth is, very few people need surgery to manage their back pain.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/a20461629/highly-effective-treatments-for-lower-back-pain/