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World Lupus Day: One Woman’s Story

Written on May 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm , by

lauren finney

This was NOT a "bad face day" for Lauren! (Photo by Jennifer Steele)

Aspiring to work at a major fashion magazine since she was a child, Lauren Finney saw her dreams almost crumble when she was devastated by the diagnosis of lupus about five years ago.

Within weeks of her moving to New York and pursuing a career in the fashion industry, Lauren developed a hard, painful, red and growing rash all over her neck and face—a horror for someone trying to excel in a field so focused on appearances! This first warning sign was followed by extreme fatigue, hair loss and a multitude of doctor’s visits.  But, after multiple opinions and doctors, two hospitalizations, a strict medicine plan, and—thankfully—the enduring support of her fashion colleagues, Lauren was finally diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that impacts the skin, joints, kidneys and other organs.

Lauren may have broken into the competitive fashion world, but not without simultaneously enduring a diagnosis that felt confusing, frightening and dream-destroying. But she is hardly alone; 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, 90 percent of whom are young women. Lauren’s work with the SLE Lupus Foundation  has allowed her to help others cope and find hope through research that’s taking place. Here, she answers a few questions about her experience:

Q: Why do you think more people don’t know about lupus?

LF: Lupus is such a weird topic. Every time I told someone I have it, they say,” Oh, I know someone who has it…what is that?” People know it’s out there, but what manifests as symptoms and issues in one person is not necessarily the same for someone else. This makes lupus hard to spot, hard to diagnose, hard to treat and hard to understand.

Q: Is the difficulty you had in getting diagnosed with lupus typical?

LF: Yes, it’s entirely common for someone to have trouble getting diagnosed. The symptoms one sees with lupus are often symptoms of other disorders and diseases. It takes on average three years for someone to get fully diagnosed. I feel lucky it only took a year for me.

Q: In your experience, what did you find to be the most common misconception about the disease and how did you overcome it?

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Fit Links: Eat for Great Skin and More Energy!

Written on December 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm , by

Peppers can help prevent crow's-feet. (Photo by Blaine Moats)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Can a Cocktail Make You Even More Beautiful?

Written on June 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm , by

Sip smart. (Photo by Jack Miskell)

Written by Danielle Paquette, editorial intern

Sip vodka to banish blackheads, tequila to erase wrinkles and rum to diminish dryness. There’s a cocktail for every skin woe, claims Randy Falcon, a mixologist at swanky New York City nightclub Provocateur.

I bellied up to the bar for some serious research and Falcon poured me a vibrant red Teddy Bear—one of 11 alleged drinkable facials. The blend of fresh lime juice, crushed mint, muddled strawberries and Belvedere is designed to unclog pores, according to the menu. Extra vitamins, minerals and “power powders” are mixed to delay aging.

But what can a shot of liquor do for my face (besides give me puffy eyes in the morning)? “You’ll feel and look a lot better with this than if you had a vodka tonic,” Falcon said. “It’s all in the fresh ingredients. ”

Since Provocateur unveiled its bar-meets-spa selection in April, health-conscious celebs have been spotted dropping $22 a glass. And with cocktail names like “Sweet Enchantment” and “Spring Flower,” why shouldn’t I, too, buy into promises of a gorgeous morning-after?

“Beauty drinks are a fun idea, but alcohol tends to dehydrate the skin and cause it to look dry,” says Tess Mauricio, M.D., a dermatologist in San Diego. No amount of kumquat, cucumber or pomegranate can cancel that consequence, she warns. “However, in moderation, drinking can reduce stress. That won’t hurt your complexion.”

After finishing the Teddy Bear in three swigs, I definitely felt more relaxed. It was fresh, fruity, refreshing—all of the qualities I desire in a drink.  So I had another.

When my alarm sounded at 7:30 a.m. the next day, I didn’t feel like a beauty queen. I didn’t feel particularly hungover, either. And after a look in the mirror, I realized I hadn’t found the secret to skin radiance in a cocktail or two.

But a night on the town put me in a great mood, and that’s worth the occasional puffy-eyed morning.

More from FITNESS: Yes, you can drink and still shrink! Check out our round-up of delicious low-calorie cocktails.