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Eleanor Langston

Week Three: Sun Protection Secrets

Written on May 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm , by

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so we are going to feature weekly sets of sun protection secrets from Mona Gohara, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Get set to up your sun smarts and stay safe all summer!
Day 15: The damage is not already done. Contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18-only 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18. Forty six percent occurs between the ages of 19 and 40.  It is never to late to fight those feisty free radicals which wreak cosmetic havoc and cause skin cancer.

Day 16: Like SPF, Moisturization is a must year-round. Keeping the skin well hydrated helps to decrease the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Take note of what special care your skin may need. For eczema prone, sensitive skin try Aveeno Nourishing 24-Hour Ultra Hydrating Whipped Soufflé, which contains colloidal oatmeal to soothe the skin. For rosacea, Eucerin Redness Relief helps to mask summer flushing. For acne-prone skin, Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer is light and effective. Always top these moisturizers with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher every single day, 365 days a year.

Day 17: Eat to beat skin cancer. Antioxidants are the ultimate antidote to free radical damage. Fruits and veggies that fit the bill: kiwi, mulberries, blueberries, 
 blackberries, prunes, pomegranate, pink grapefruit, red grapes, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets and red bell pepper.

Day 18: Avoid summer sheen. Courtesy of sebum, the skin’s natural oil, many of us struggle with that not-so-fun glisten. This summer, let the sun do the shining and look for mattifying primers that have SPF too. (Studies show that unprotected skin can produce up to 26 percent more oil when exposed to UV rays than SPF-covered skin.)

Day 19: Sneaky sun spots. Sun damage rears its ugly head in many ways, but one of the most menacing is the seemingly out of the blue appearance of permanent brown sun spots (aka, lentigos). Lentigos almost inevitably darken and become more obvious over the summer. Diligent, daily sunscreen use and lightening creams with hydroquinone, soy, licorice root extract or other skin lighteners are the gold standard for treatment, but sometimes a quick fix with concealer is in order.

Day 20: Yoga benefits the mind, body, soul and skin. Stress creates muscle tension all over the body, especially the face. Tense 
facial muscles parlay into wrinkles, permanent lines and can increase the effects of sun damage. Training the body to diffuse tension with meditation techniques helps contracted facial muscles to relax. Plus, working out can help ward off cell damage head to toe, which is important for skin cancer prevention.

Day 21: Visible light can worsen melasma. Just when you thought you were safe from the sun, buried in your office, mired in deadlines and meetings. Enter  “need for daily sunscreen” reason 101. Recent data out of Henry Ford Medical Center Department of Dermatology, has indicated that melasma (darkening of the face from sun, pregnancy, or birth control pills) can indeed be worsened by the indoor visible light we are exposed to in the office, home, shopping malls, etc. Don’t panic, no need to slather on “greasy, coconutty” protection, instead channel cosmetically elegant make-up enriched with physical UV light blockers, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Week Two: Sun Protection Secrets

Written on May 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm , by

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so we are going to feature weekly sets of sun protection secrets from Mona Gohara, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Get set to up your sun smarts and stay safe all summer!

Day 8: Know your natural SPF. The melanin level in most fair skinned individuals provides a “built-in” SPF of 3.4, while those with brown skin have an SPF of 13.4. Although Mother Nature does provide a nice buffer, official recommendations are daily application of SPF 30 or higher-and with intensive sun exposure reapplying 1-2 ounces (the size of a ping-pong ball) every 2 hours for optimal use. Think beyond the beach or pool, prolonged summer sun exposure can happen at barbeques, outdoor concerts, trips to the zoo or amusement parks with the family and sporting events.

Day 9: Brown is beautiful. No one can dispute the aesthetic appeal of sun-kissed skin. Unfortunately, since 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet light, excessive sun represents a forbidden fruit to most health conscious individuals.  The solution? Tan in a can. Sunless tanners have bridged the gap between dazzling and dangerous. Remember to exfoliate the entire body prior to applying in order to avoid streaks.

Day 10: The “D”lemma. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that humans get via diet and sunlight. This vitamin is found naturally in cod liver oil, liver, eggs, butter and fatty fish. It can also be absorbed by drinking fortified milk/orange juice. We know that vitamin D is imperative for healthy bones, cancer prevention and protection against osteoporosis, cardiovascular and autoimmune disease. An ongoing study from the department of dermatology at Stanford University now shows that this super vitamin may also protect against melanoma, especially in women with a previous history of skin cancer. The dilemma? Because of genetic tendencies, trends towards skin cancer prevention and inadequate dietary intake, some people are deficient in this vitamin.  That being said, supplements and a diet rich in vitamin D foods remain preferable to sun exposure when is comes to ensuring adequate levels.

Day 11: The forgotten land, your scalp. Often times the scalp gets burned because of an “Oops, I forgot to put sunscreen there” or “ I didn’t want my hair to get greasy” maneuver. Ok, no more excuses. Skin cancers develop on the scalp commonly. Worse yet, tumors in this location are more likely to be aggressive and metastasize. Tip: To avoid excessive sheen, spray sunscreen on to the tips of your fingers and work into the hair, starting with the part.

Day 12: There is a formula to melanoma prevention. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that by applying sunscreen daily to the face, hands, arms and neck one could reduce melanoma risk by 50 percent. An easy fix to a potentially fatal problem.  That being said, the fact remains that 35 percent of women separately surveyed admitted to NEVER wearing sunscreen. Scary, but true.

Day 13: Learn the labels. Sunscreen isles in drugstores can be confusing and overwhelming. Decode the sunscreen Rosetta stone with a few basic tenets.  1-SPF only refers to the amount of UVB protection a product supplies, make sure to look for a label that reads “broad spectrum” to ensure sufficient UVA coverage as well. Active ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mexoryl or avobenzone, also guarantee that UVA will be blocked adequately. 2-Don’t let the numbers fool you. Nothing is truly 100 percent. SPF 15 blocks out 94% of the sun’s harmful rays, SPF 30 blocks out 97% and SPF 100 blocks out 99% of carcinogenic UVB rays. 3-Sunscreen is like a gym membership-its great in theory, but it only works if you use it (the right way!)

Day 14: Seek the shade or avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when ultraviolet rays are the strongest. If you are exercising outdoors try to do it in the early morning or the evening. If prime sun hours are more convenient, scope out a big tree and do your squats in the shade!

Week One: Sun Protection Secrets

Written on May 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm , by

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so we are going to feature weekly sets of sun protection secrets from Mona Gohara, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Get set to up your sun smarts and stay safe all summer!

Day 1: Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Protect your largest organ by getting yearly checks by a dermatologist and examine your own skin monthly. The silver lining? Most skin cancers are curable if caught early.

Day 2: 90% of the visible signs of aging are caused by daily sun exposure. Ultraviolet A rays cause brown sun spots, wrinkles, saggy skin and the breakdown of collagen. An easy fix? Daily sunscreen application to the face and hands. SPF 30 or higher is ideal.

Day 3: Talk to the hand! Damaging ultraviolet rays come through the windows of most cars, leaving your hands (as they rest on the steering wheel) and the left side of the face, most vulnerable to unwanted sunspots and wrinkled skin. Apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands before and after your commute, and enjoy the appearance of youthful hands for years to come!

Day 4: Protect those gams. The most common place for melanoma in women is the calves! Avid runners, swimmers, tennis players and other outdoor sports enthusiasts should be particularly cautious. For ultimate protection, slip on  sun-protective workout gear and apply sunscreen.

Day 5: Melanoma is the most common cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 29. The culprit? Tanning beds. “Parlor” patrons are exposed to 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from outdoor sun. Tanning bed devotees younger than 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75%. Look for moles that are asymmetric (one side is not the mirror image of the other), have an irregular border /color or those that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Pay close attention to subtle symptoms, such as pain, soreness, itchiness or a visceral compulsion to recurrently examine a mole—these are all reasons to pick up the phone and dial your derm.

Day 6: Fifty percent of Americans will have at least one skin cancer by the age of 65. Remember if you can spot it, you can stop it. Look for any spots on the skin that are bleeding, oozing, crusting or not healing. These are all potential signs of skin cancer.

Day 7: When it comes to skin cancer prevention, women are better listeners. A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology revealed that when men and women melanoma patients were surveyed up to a decade later, women were more likely to have adjusted their behavior towards sun protection. Results of a separate questionnaire showed that women more often seek skin exams because of a concerning mole or fear of previous sun exposure. Men on the other hand, were usually inclined to get skin checks only after a diagnosis of skin cancer. Tip: Make a date for annual his-and-hers derm appointments!

Recover from a Half-Marathon

Written on April 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm , by

Yesterday was FITNESS magazine’s annual half-marathon, so I know that the 8,000 women who participated are probably pretty sore today. I had a BLAST running the race. It was so uplifting, motivating and encouraging to see all of these women cheering for each other and genuinely wanting each other to succeed. Here are some stretching exercises to aid your recovery from Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie and the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza:

Hamstrings:

  • Standing, holding the left ankle with the left hand, pull backwards to feel the stretch, switch foot.
  • Lying on your back, bring one knee to your chest.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Do the same with the opposite leg.  Then bring both knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Lying on your back with one leg on the floor; the other leg is bent, place a rope (or towel) on the ball of the foot, hold the rope and straighten to stretch.

Calves:

  • Facing the wall at arms distance, place one foot close to the wall and bend that knee and arms to stretch opposite calve. Switch legs.
  • Place ball of foot on the edge of stairs, lower one heel, then switch.
  • Sit with both legs straight. Loop a rope around the ball of one foot and pull each end of the rope. Flex your feet.

Lower Back:

  • Bend as if you are going to touch your toes and hang. At each exhale lower your hands.  Slowly roll back up one vertebra at a time.

Locker Room Lesson: Treat Your Feet

Written on February 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm , by

I’m currently on week three of my half-marathon training schedule for the FITNESS Half-Marathon, and my feet are starting to look very callused and all-around rough. Heidi Waldorf, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, recently gave me this cool tip:

Before you put on your gym socks, slather on Vaseline all over your feet. “Vaseline will help soften your skin and also keep you from getting a blister,” Dr. Waldorf says. If you have calluses, Dr. Waldorf suggests using a lotion or serum with salicylic acid before Vaseline. Post-treadmill you’ll have baby-soft feet.

Cold-Weather Cures

Written on February 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm , by

Brrr! You don’t need Al Roker to tell you that it’s COLD outside in most states right now. (Californians, you are all lucky ducks!) In our February issue, we featured treatments to heal your toughest winter woes. Here are a couple of my favorite snow-day tips for looking radiant even when you’re freezing:

  • If the skin on your body is parched, try this trick: Once you get in the shower, massage a cream-based cleanser over your skin when it’s dry, not wet. This step prevents the cream from getting too diluted, so that it’s more effective and hydrating. Rinse after about 15-20 seconds.
  • To stop your makeup from caking, soften any cream-based concealers or foundations between your index fingertip and thumb before applying. The heat you generate will help it go on evenly. (Chilly temps can harden creamy makeup products.)
  • No tropical vacay in site? After applying a peach cream blush to your cheeks, pat a little above each eyebrow’s arch, then blend. This will give your face a little sunkissed glow and warmth.

My Aha Acne Moment

Written on January 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm , by

This past weekend, I visited the Mario Badescu Spa for a vitamin C facial, and I totally had an acne aha moment. For the past couple of months, I have been consistently breaking out on my neck.  (Who knew this was even possible?!) The zits are often on the left side of my neck, and I originally blamed my little puppy Elvis as my acne culprit. However, as soon as my facialist saw the breakouts on my neck, she asked: “Do you sleep with your hair down?” My answer: Yes, and I often slather oil (my go-to one: Shu Uemura Essence Absolue) on my ends in order to keep them shiny and prevent split-ends. Then she asked: “Do you sleep with your head turned more to the right?” My answer: Totally, because I like to face my window. Ding, ding! Tossing my hair around was exacerbating, if not completely causing, my neck bumps. Since this visit, I’ve been wearing my hair up, and I’ve already noticed that my skin is clearer. Have any of you guys come across other habits that are skin saboteurs? I’m curious!

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Olay’s Newest Face: Kim Cattrall

Written on January 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm , by

Congrats to Kim Cattrall, who is now the face of Olay’s new Total Effects 7-in-1 Advanced Anti-Aging Body Wash and Lotion that will be launching this spring. Recently, I had the chance to interview her over the phone. Here are some fun tidbits I learned about her:

  1. She has very dry skin on her body. “I take a ton of showers and baths, which I really enjoy as a way to decompress. My skin always felt tight and dry, and I would even scratch it so hard that I would break blood vessels. This Olay body lotion leaves it incredibly moisturized, and I apply it two times a day. I love that it’s lightweight, and I don’t have to wait to get dressed after I slather it on.”
  2. She squeezes in quick workouts every day. “Even when I’m working, I try to do something active for about 20 minutes a day, such as biking at the gym or taking a vigorous walk through Central park with my iPod.”
  3. She exfoliates her skin daily. “I buff my skin by putting a little bit of lotion on a mitt and rubbing it over my body gently when I’m in the shower. I always do this when my skin is damp, and it makes my skin feel supple and luxurious.”

Your Beauty Plans for Holiday Travel

Written on December 22, 2010 at 8:22 am , by

Holiday travel can be ultra-stressful, so I put together your ultimate beauty packing list for your next vacation. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be taking planes, trains and automobiles between now and New Year’s, so here’s a picture of what I packed on my last vacay.

The essentials:

*Dry shampoo (my favorite one is the travel-sized version of Klorane) and hairspray (L’Oreal Elnett is my go-to pick)

*An SPF with antioxidants, such as Clinique Super City Block SPF 40

*Bronzer, like Dior’s Matte Bronzer that also has sunscreen

*Eye shadow (I’m obsessed with CoverGirl‘s new two-in-one sticks that save space and give you tons of different looks)

*A highlighter or luminizer, such as NARS The Multiple in Copacabana (use it on your cheekbones or swirl a tiny dab into your foundation for an instant glow)

What do you guys travel with? Am I missing anything on this list? Safe travels and Happy Holidays!! -Eleanor

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Best Celebrity Bodies of 2010

Written on December 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm , by

To wrap up the year, we picked our favorite celebrity bodies and broke our faves down into categories that include everything from “Best Celeb Slim Down” to “Best Baby Bump.” Here’s a segment that ran on The Insider this week that will show you more of our winners. Talk about inspiration!

And check out the complete list of winners here.

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