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Cold Weather Skin Tips

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The winter months are some of the harshest months on your delicate skin.  But you can follow these tips to help protect your skin from the harshness of winter and your body will thank you for it.

Don't forget the sunscreen. Just because the temperature drops doesn't mean the ultraviolet rays have gone away.  While the UVB rays are weaker, you shouldn't skimp on the sunscreen during the winter months.  Dermatologists suggest using a cream or moisturizer with an SPF of 30 year-round. 

Turn down the thermostat , just a few degrees.  Surprisingly people who spend most of their time outdoors aren't the ones with dry, peeling skin.  It is just the opposite.  Those people who spend their time indoors with indoor heat constantly are those who experience parched skin the most.  If you can, turn down the thermostat a few degrees and use a humidifier to put some moisture in the air.  This combination will help to replace some moisture in your skin and will alleviate parched skin.

Skip the long, hot baths.  While a good long soak in a hot bath sounds like just what the doctor ordered after a day out in the elements, that hot bath is a big no-no when it comes to protecting your skin in the cold.  Taking a bath that is warmer than your body temperature opens your pores and releases the moisture that your body desperately needs during the winter.  If you would like a bath over a shower, limit your time in the tub to about five minutes and be sure to use a creamy oil wash to give your skin that moisture back that it may lose.

Exfoliate those rough feet.  While the logical cure for dry feet is to moisturize them, dermatologists suggest that exfoliating your feet should be the cure instead.  A moisturizer cannot work if you continue to put it on dead skin.  Once you get rid of those rough spots on your feet, then the moisturizer you use will take to your feet so much better.  Try a crystal buffer while your feet are damp or a stainless-steel file while your feet are dry for the best results.

Myths About the Common Cold

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Sure, we have all heard the common wives tales about the common cold, feed a cold and starve a fever, and so on and so forth.  But what tales are indeed true and which ones are myths?  Here we touch on a few of those true tales and debunk some others.

Chicken Soup:  So grandma always said that chicken soup is good to fight the common cold and she was half right, chicken soup has been shown to relieve inflammation.

Wet hair: Going outside with wet hair will not cause the common cold, but that doesn't mean that you should do it either.

Feed a cold, starve a fever:  This is the one that you often hear people recite when they are sick.  But being sick often kills your appetite and force feeding certainly won't help things.  What you should do instead is remain hydrated and get enough calories.

Wearing a coat: Common colds and the flu are caused by viruses not by temperature. And while they do circulate more during the winter months, you are more likely to pick up a cold or the flu inside more so than outside so wearing a coat or not wearing a coat does not indicate whether you will catch a cold.  Studies show that you can prevent some colds by getting physical exercise outdoors during the winter months.

Vicks Vapor Rub on Your Feet:  A widely spread email last year stated that you should put Vicks Vapor Rub on your kids' feet and put socks on them to get rid of a nagging cough.  This myth was debunked, and experts suggest that you should stick to using the vapor rub on your kid's chest and throat instead.

Avoid those Holiday Habits

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Even though the holidays are in full swing it's not too late to change your “holiday habits” that seem to be wreaking havoc on your body.  If you want to avoid packing on the extra pounds as the holiday season rolls on, then take heed to these habit breakers.

  • Stop surrounding yourself with sweets : If you are keeping Halloween candy out on the table or Christmas cookies on your desk, then you will easily lose track of just how many calories your sweets are taking up each day, Before you know it you will start looking like the jolly old elf himself!
  • Stop avoiding the scale - Just because it is the holiday season doesn't mean you should avoid the gym and give up on your weight loss goals entirely.  Stay on track and keep your scale out in the open to serve as a constant reminder of weight loss.
  • Stop avoiding the gym : This goes hand in hand with avoiding the scale (especially if you use the one at the gym!) Sure, everyone is busy around the holidays but giving up on your exercise regimen now will only make things worse when you try to start back up again, just remember how you feel after “doing legs” for the first time! Stay at it and keep exercising. You and your waistline will thank us later.
  •  Stop the stress : Yes, it may be easier said than done, but from shopping to relatives, the holidays can serve up their fair share of stress.  Exercising is a great way to deal with stress. Plus, stress can cause illness as well.  To make sure your immune system can handle the regular holiday stresses be sure to increase your intake of vitamin C and drink lots of water.
  • Stop avoiding sleep : Between busy schedules and stress, many people become sleep deprived over the holidays.  Missing out on quality sleep is linked to increased risk of infection, inflammation in the body, and low energy levels.  So, get your 8 hours (or more) every night, or as often as you can!

MoVember 101: It's No Shave November

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you have been wondering why all of the men in your life seem to be sprouting more and more facial hair these days, wonder no more : it's Movember! (Also known as No Shave November.)

The meaning behind Movember is raise awareness for prostate cancer and testicular cancer and began in Australia more than 11 years ago.  Males participating not only talk about why they are participating but also get other men to start talking about men's health and cancer awareness.  Men participating are also encouraged to donate what they would otherwise spend on grooming/shaving to the American Cancer Society.

Don't worry, ladies, you are encouraged to participate as well, you can forego shaving your legs or cancel the waxing/threading appointment that you have planned for the month.

Snore-free Night's Sleep

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Studies show that 30 to 40 percent of the general population snores, which means there are an awful lot of people out there not getting a good night's sleep.  Whether you snore, or your partner, there are some easy ways to alleviate snoring and catch some zzzz's before you know it.

Tongue exercises : believe it or not there are exercises that you can do with your tongue that will help “train” your tongue where to stay in your mouth while you are sleeping to prevent snoring.  One good tongue exercise to practice is making the “t-t-t-t-t” sound : sort of like you are scolding someone.  This strengthens the tip of the tongue.  You can also let your tongue hang out relaxed, then tense your tongue by pointing it and holding this position for three seconds.

Buy a mouthpiece : one of the most effective anti-snoring techniques is using a “boil and bite” mouthpiece.  These mouthpieces form to your upper and lower teeth and pull your lower jaw and the back of your tongue forward.  This process allows your airway to be opened and you to breathe easier.

Wear an air mask : commonly used for severe sleep apnea, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask pushes air into the nasal passages and throat, allowing the airways to be opened.  Unfortunately, only 50 percent of users actually use their machine correctly, as they cannot keep a mask on throughout the night.

Sleep with a tennis ball : say what? Hear us out on this one, because most people snore while sleeping on their back if you provide a barrier between your body and your back while you are sleeping you will be less likely to sleep on your back throughout the night, thereby reducing your snoring.  Some people suggest putting a tennis ball in a pocket T-shirt then sleeping with the T-shirt on backwards.  You can also put the tennis ball in a fanny pack and then wear that backwards.  If you happen to turn onto your back during the night, the ball, whether it is in your shirt or in your fanny pack, will cause discomfort and you will roll onto your side.