Beauty Myths Debunked

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Myth 1: Wearing nail polish all the time will make your nails turn yellow.
This is true, but you can wear enamel all you like and still avoid discoloration. Nails are porous, and they absorb the pigment in polishes. “Darker colors, especially reds, have more pigment, so they often stain your nails,” says Maria Salandra, the owner of Finger Fitness, in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.

The solution: Before applying polish, paint on a clear base coat,  to prevent nails from absorbing pigment.

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Myth 2: Brushing your hair 100 strokes a day will make it shine.
Marcia Brady, it turns out, was overzealous in her beauty routine. “One hundred strokes is too much,” says Christopher Mackin, a trichologist (someone who studies hair) at the Gil Ferrer Salon, in New York City. “You’ll do more damage than good.” Hair will break if you tug on it too much.

However, gentle brushing―a few strokes here and there―will make hair shine by distributing the natural oils from the scalp down the hair shafts and flattening the cuticles to make them reflect more light. More significant, light brushing removes impurities and stimulates blood flow to the scalp, which nourishes hair follicles and keeps them healthy.

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Myth 3: Sleeping on your back or with a satin pillow will help your face stay wrinkle-free.

That’s a big exaggeration with a little truth behind it. As you age, the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin break down, so when you burrow your face into a pillow, putting pressure on these fibers for several hours at a time, the skin is increasingly less likely to snap back. “If you have a pattern of sleeping on one side, that side of your face will typically show more wrinkling than the other,” says Tanzi, who adds that the difference is very subtle.

Learning to sleep on your back can help your skin a bit, but you’d fare much better wearing a good sunscreen every day than sleeping on a satin pillow, says Woolery-Lloyd.

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Myth 4: Applying mayonnaise to your hair will make it glossier.
Mayo is made with an oil base, and it makes hair shine.

But to avoid a mess, try this method:

  • Apply a cup of mayonnaise mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla extract (to cut the mayonnaise scent) to dry, unwashed hair.
  • Cover your head with a warm towel to help the mayonnaise penetrate, and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Before you step into the shower, apply a heaping handful of shampoo to your hair. Don’t add any water yet; just massage it in thoroughly for several minutes. That will help break down the excess oil, says Berkovitz. Rinse with cool water in the shower and your hair will come out shiny and silky.
    If the idea of putting a condiment in your hair makes you queasy, try a rich glossing treatment

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Myth 5: Sitting down and crossing your legs won’t cause varicose or spider veins, but standing may.

Pronounced veins often crop up on people who either have a genetic predisposition to them or have jobs that require them to stand a lot, says Kevin Pinski, a dermatologist in Chicago.

Standing makes the vascular network work extra hard to pump blood from the legs up to the heart. If the valves, which keep blood flowing in one direction within your vessels, aren’t functioning properly, a pooling of blood can occur and result in unsightly veins. Pregnancy, which puts added pressure on the circulatory system, or a trauma―getting hit by a softball or a car door, for example―can also lead to varicose or spider veins.

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Myth 6 : Drinking water keeps your skin from drying out.

“This is one of the biggest myths out there,” says Frank. What keeps skin moist is oil, not water. Certainly, drinking water helps vital organs operate properly, and too little water in your body can give you a wan appearance. But your skin can still look dry even if you drink eight glasses a day.

Source: real simple.com

Things to know about Fibromyalgia

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Pain—whether it’s an achy joint or a sensitive limb—is agony enough by itself. But when you can’t figure out what’s causing the pain? Then it can feel more like torture.

Unfortunately, that kind of torture is the daily struggle for the 5 million Americans who suffer from fibromyalgia—a condition characterized by pain or tenderness that comes and goes and moves throughout the body, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

“People complain of total-body pain not diagnosable by other causes,” says Jon Kaiser, MD, who has treated and researched pain conditions like fibromyalgia for 25 years. He adds: “There’s not a whole lot of agreement on the underlying mechanism that causes the pain associated with fibromyalgia.”

That’s frustrating for fibromyalgia sufferers. But there’s a lot researchers like Kaiser have learned in recent years that can shed light on this pain-inducing disease. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get daily healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox!)

Here’s what you need to know—but have probably never heard—about fibromyalgia.

It’s not all about pain.

Along with the aching and tenderness, many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience stiffness (especially in the morning), tingling or numbness in their hands or feet, sleeping issues, headaches, problems sleeping, and severe fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s diagnosable.
Just because the source of the pain remains in question doesn’t mean doctors can’t diagnose fibromyalgia. “The American College of Rheumatology came out with 18 trigger points, or sites,” Kaiser explains. “If you feel pain in 11 of the 18 sites”—and assuming tests have ruled out other conditions—”I can diagnose fibromyalgia,” Kaiser says.

It seems to stem from your nervous system

“The most commonly held belief is that there is a disorder in the nervous system that changes the threshold at which pain is perceived,” Kaiser says. Research backs him up: A 2015 study from Germany found the nervous systems of fibromyalgia sufferers respond to pain differently than those of non-sufferers.

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Stress may bring it on.

“Many of my patients talk about having a lot of physical and psychological stress leading up to the appearance of the condition,” Kaiser says. This stress may somehow cause a breakdown or change in the way the nervous system operates, which then leads to pain, he adds.

So might a shortage of vitamin D.
People dealing with chronic and widespread pain are more likely to be low on vitamin D than those who are pain free, found a 2015 study in the journal Pain Physician. Since it’s difficult to overdo it with vitamin D, consider adding a supplement to your diet.

It’s closely related to another condition.
Kaiser says fibromyalgia—in his experience—is closely related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). “They share many of the same symptoms, particularly pain and fatigue,” he says. “But while the fatigue is more prominent among chronic fatigue patients, pain is more prominent among fibromyalgia patients.” One notable difference: Kaiser says fibromyalgia seems to come on gradually and build over time, while CFS can come on very quickly and reach full strength in a matter of days.

It’s more common in women than men.
Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from fibromyalgia, Kaiser says—though he can’t say why this is the case. Also, while it could appear at any age, fibromyalgia tends to affect women in their 40s and older, he says. “There also seems to be a genetic component that causes it to run in families.”

Drugs can help.
Kaiser says there are 3 FDA-approved drugs that doctors use to treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia: duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and pregabalin (Lyrica). “These drugs can block the pain signals, but they don’t do anything to address the underlying issues,” he says.

That’s why you need more than a pill.
Sufferers often find relief through physical activity, range of movement exercises, stress reduction techniques like yoga, and a healthy diet, Kaiser says. “It’s not just about treating the pain with pills,” he adds. “Lifestyle changes can help address the underlying causes of the pain.”

It can be cured.
A combination of drugs and lifestyle changes can totally and permanently banish fibromyalgia. “Some people will improve a certain percentage and then just have to manage the symptoms that remain,” Kaiser says. “But others are totally rid of the disease, and that’s always the goal.”

Source: Prevention.com

 

7 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know Vitamin D Could Do For You

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It’s the wonder vitamin of the moment, and with good reason: Getting enough vitamin D seems to protect against just about everything, from cancer and depression to heart disease and an earlier death. Here are some more reasons:
1. Vitamin D makes you less likely to fall at home.
One in three older adults living at home will take a spill each year. But vitamin D supplements seem to help reduce that risk. In a small study of homebound adults between the ages of 65 and 102 who get some grub from Meals on Wheels, half were given a monthly allotment of vitamin D supplements that averaged out to 3,300 IU per day and half were given a placebo. Over the 5-month study period, the supplement increased vitamin D levels in their blood from “insufficient” (defined as less than 20 ng/mL) to “optimal” (defined as greater than 30 ng/mL) in 29 of the 34 participants.
Compared with the people who got a placebo, those taking vitamin D had about half as many falls at home over the same time period, possibly because of the benefits of vitamin D for muscle performance, the researchers write.

2. It may ward off vision damage.

The main reason our vision starts to slip after 50 is because of what’s called age-related macular degeneration, a slow-progressing blurriness that starts near the center of the eye and impedes our ability to see clearly straight ahead. Your chances of ending up with AMD are governed mostly by your age, race, and genes—aka, it’s pretty much out of your control, although staying generally healthy by avoiding smoking, working up a sweat on the regular, and eating your kale might help you keep your crystal-clear sight. However, a recent study suggests that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels can also help, even if the genetic cards are stacked against you.
3. It might stop that weird muscle spasm you’ve been trying to ignore.
One of vitamin D’s crucial roles in our bodies is keeping our muscles functioning and strong by helping them absorb calcium. While there’s a lot we don’t know about the little muscle abnormalities we call cramps, spasms, and twitches, it seems like not getting enough vitamin D may be one cause of those annoyances.

4. It can slow weight gain.

It’s another one of Mother Nature’s cruel tricks that it’s oh-so-easy to gain weight without even noticing after a certain age. But having enough vitamin D might help slow that process. In a Journal of Women’s Health study of more than 4,600 women 65 or older, those with insufficient vitamin D levels gained 2 more pounds over 4.5 years than those with enough D.

5. It can help ease fibromyalgia pain.
As if the chronic muscle and joint pain, all-encompassing fatigue, and associated depression and anxiety of fibromyalgia weren’t enough, add to the complexity of the disease the difficulty many patients have getting a diagnosis to begin with.
So hearing that something as comparatively simple as supplementing with vitamin D can bring relief might be welcome news. A small 2014 study gave women either vitamin D supplements or a placebo for 20 weeks, then monitored the women for another 24. Even after the treatment ended, the women who had been taking vitamin D noted less pain. While it’s far from a cure—and it did nothing for mood symptoms—it’s something.

6. It can keep your cholesterol in check after menopause.

People who get enough vitamin D are at a decidedly lower risk of heart disease, but postmenopausal women get an additional benefit when they’re up to date on their D: healthier cholesterol. In a 2014 study of 600 women, researchers found that after 2 years of taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily, women dropped 4.5 mg/dL in their LDL or “bad” cholesterol, compared with women who were given a placebo. Among the women who took the supplements, those who ended the study with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood also benefited from higher levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

7. It can reduce your risk of uterine fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus walls. Because they can grow as big as a grapefruit(!), they can be unfathomably painful and uncomfortable for some women, while other women with smaller fibroids don’t even notice them.
They seem to be related to hormones and an unlucky genetic hand. But a 2013 study found that vitamin D might also play a role. Among 35- to 49-year-olds, those with sufficient vitamin D levels had about a 32% lower chance of developing fibroids than those with insufficient vitamin D. The vitamin had previously been shown to slow fibroid growth in animal studies, but this research was the very first to examine the effect of vitamin D on fibroids in humans.

Credit: Prevention.com

Crying Can Be Therapeutic : Here’s a Scientific Evidence

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Feeling bad? Sometimes having a good cry is all that it takes to lift your spirits.

New research shows that while shedding a few tears leads to a dip in mood immediately after the crying jag, about 90 minutes later people report feeling even better than they did before they had reason to cry.

“This is the first study that has demonstrated a clear relation between experimentally induced crying and subsequent, more long-term mood improvement,” wrote lead researcher Asmir Gračanin of Tilburg University in the Netherlands in the paper.

Past research on crying has turned up conflicting results on the issue. Retrospective studies, those that ask people to look back in time and describe a weepy situation, generally find that crying lifted people’s moods. But laboratory studies, which assess people’s moods on a precise scale immediately after crying, have often found that people feel worse after a sob. Gračanin’s findings bridge the gap by measuring people’s moods at three different times: immediately after crying, 20 minutes afterward and then 90 minutes afterward.

To get people crying in the first place, Gračanin showed 72 study participants an edited version of known tearjerkers: “La Vita è Bella,” a film about a Jewish father’s efforts to protect and care for his son in a concentration camp during the Holocaust, or “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” about a faithful dog who waits at the train station for his owner to come home even years after the man’s death.

If you have watched the recommended film, you should be touched , and  cried.  Well, so were 69 percent of the participants who watched “Hachi,” and 40 percent of the participants who watched “La Vita è Bella.” And as the participants cried, two independent researchers watched them to verify that their eyeballs were indeed getting sweaty. After the films, all the participants filled out mood questionnaires immediately, then did so twice more at the 20-minute and 90-minute marks.

To see how crying affected their mood, Gračanin and his team compared those questionnaire results to the answers participants gave before watching the movie. He found that criers felt worse immediately after the film, and then returned to their baseline moods, or how they felt before the movie, at the 20-minute mark. Most interestingly, the film criers felt even better than they did before the film at the 90-minute mark, while participants who didn’t cry reported no significant changes to their mood, for better or worse, throughout the entire experiment.

“After the initial deterioration of mood following crying, it takes some time for the mood not only to recover but also to be lifted above the levels at which it had been before the emotional event,” concluded Gračanin in a statement about the research.

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Beyond lifting our moods, crying actually serves a lot of useful purposes. Anyone who’s watched Pixar’s “Inside Out” (another notorious tearjerker) is well-acquainted with the theory that feeling sadness and expressing it with tears can be a powerful communication tool to call for help. SPOILER ALERT: In the film, it isn’t until main character Riley cries and tells her parents how miserable she is in their new home that both of her parents embrace her and help her feel safe and comforted.

And Gračanin also points out that crying helps our body physically calm down after a stressful or emotional ordeal by regulating things like body temperature and blood pressure. While he hesitates to say that crying is directly beneficial for us humans — the only animals who have the capacity to shed emotional tears — Gračanin does think that people should not be discouraged from crying, especially in front who care for and support us.

This research was published in the journal Motivation and Emotion.

Credit: huffintgton post