Health Watch: Adjust skin care regimen as seasons change

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Skin care needs change with the seasons. With winter drawing to a close and warm weather on the horizon, now is the time to think about updating your skin care regimen for spring.

Here are some tips for making the transition from winter to spring skin care:

- Exfoliate: No matter how diligent you are with winter skin care, some buildup of dry, flaky skin is almost inevitable thanks to heavier clothes and dry air. To leave skin smooth and healthy -- and to prepare for the warm weather ritual of hair removal -- use a good exfoliant in the shower. Don't, however, use strong, scrubbing exfoliants on the face, as they can damage skin and cause minute tears and abrasions on delicate tissues.

- Adjust your moisturizer: Winter's dry air called for a stronger moisturizer, but warm weather brings increased humidity, which in turn can make you sweat and increase your skin's production of natural oils. Switch to a lighter moisturizer, one that is not oil-based, and that includes a higher SPF protection for the time you'll be spending outdoors.

- Update your makeup for the season: Use a lighter foundation, perhaps substituting a powder foundation for liquid. Replace your moisturizing lipstick or lip balm with a lighter gloss that won't leave lips feeling weighted down or oily. Put away cream-based eye shadows for lighter powders that won't clump or run in warmer temperatures and humidity.

- Glow smart, not risky: Nothing says spring like a healthy glow, but traditional tanning achieved by sunbathing or going to a tanning salon can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. Instead of getting a glow the risky way, opt for self-tanners. Today's sprays and creams can help you achieve an even, natural-looking tan without exposing your skin to harmful ultra-violet rays.

- Eat for your skin's health: You probably already know to avoid oily and fatty foods that can contribute to skin problems. But don't forget to eat positively for your skin's health as well. Take advantage of warm weather's produce bounty to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are good for your skin, like leafy greens and antioxidant rich fruits and berries.

- Survey your skin: Just as you visit a general practitioner or gynecologist to take care of your internal health, you should have an annual skin exam by a dermatologist. If you haven't already had a complete skin survey, schedule one as the spring begins and repeat again at the same time next year. Early detection has been cited as one of the most important ways to effectively treat skin cancer.

-- ARA

Stroke treated just as safely by medical residents

Diagnosing acute stroke is a high-pressure decision. Treatment can stop brain damage, but if treatment is given inappropriately, it can dangerously increase the risk of bleeding in the brain.

Because of this risk, the final decision to administer stroke treatment is usually reserved for neurologists or, in some cases, other attending physicians.

But a new study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis with neurology residents at Barnes-Jewish Hospital has shown that residents, with appropriate training can safely make the call, ensuring that effective treatment is delivered faster.

Did You Know?

A study found that when participants performed a mentally fatiguing task prior to a difficult exercise test, they reached exhaustion more quickly than when they did the same exercise when mentally rested. -- The American Physiological Society

Health Tip: Smarter snack ideas

At some point during the day -- and often, multiple points -- most people crave a snack. Here are some tips for picking healthier snacks.

- To gain more from your snacking experience, go for nutrient-dense snacks that are enhanced with a greater amount of better-for-you ingredients.

- Those who eat boldly flavored snacks may be less likely to over-consume and can take their time to enjoy how the food tastes.

- Portion-controlled packaging, such as 100-calorie packs and snack-size products, are specifically designed to help people keep track of their snacking and stick to a pre-planned intake.

-- ARA

Number to Know: 68

Percentage of families affected by food allergies who limit where they vacation because of the allergies. -- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Children’s Health

National Poison Prevention Week is March 15 to 21. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to poison-proof your home:

- Store medicine, cleaners, paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.

- Install a safety latch -– that locks when you close the door -– on child-accessible cabinets containing harmful products.

- Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Discard unused medication; never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.

- Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage.

- Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.

- Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order, and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Senior Health: Houseplants increase quality of life

A recent study examining the impact of indoor gardening on quality of life in assisted-living facilities found that the activity can have very positive effects on a resident's happiness.

The residents in the study were given interactive lessons on the care of houseplants, choices of what plants to bring home and care for, and different options in potting containers. The classes also offered residents an opportunity for social interaction with peers and instructors.

Over the course of the study, the students changed from a state of passive, lonely dependence to being more active, socially connected and responsible for something other than themselves.

-- American Society for Horticultural Science

GateHouse News Service