Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Avoid Infection at the Nail Salon

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

You visit a nail salon to be pampered, and you walk away with beautiful nails. But before you set up your appointment, be aware of some safety concerns at the nail salon.

Most nail salons want to do the right thing and follow strict health and safety guidelines. A salon is not the same as a hospital or doctor’s office. Employees use disinfectants, but are not required to use more strict sterilization procedures that would prevent skin infections and other harmful diseases like:

•Hepatitis B or hepatitis C
•Athlete’s foot and nail fungus
•Bacterial infections
Nail salon employees have to use sharp and pointy tools to do their jobs. Whenever they use such a tool, the skin can be broken and possibly get infected. If they use the same tool on more than one customer, infections can be spread. The manicure or pedicure should not be painful or leave your skin red or swollen.

Another source of infection is the foot bath. The warm water is perfect for the growth of bacteria. A small break in the skin or an injured cuticle can allow bacteria, fungi, or viruses to enter your body. So, look for a clean work area. Foot bath units should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Ask if this is the case if you are not sure.

Ideally, a nail salon uses disposable tools. This is not always possible because some of the tools are too expensive. Many doctors recommend that you bring your own tools to a nail salon. This prevents you from getting someone else’s infection. If you do this, keep your tools clean and wipe them with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide after each use.

Make sure the manicurist does not cut your cuticles. The cuticle’s job is to seal the space between the nail and the nail bed and prevent any bacteria or virus from entering your body. When the cuticles are cut back too much or get hurt, the nail bed is easily infected.

Another concern at the nail salon is the fumes that come from the nail products. These are less worrisome for the customer, who is not exposed to them for a long time. A salon worker, on the other hand, may be exposed to toxic fumes for 12 or more hours every day. Some solvents in nail polish, polish remover, and chemicals used to apply artificial nails are known to cause headaches, dizziness, or even nerve damage and cancer over the long term.

Good ventilation of the salon is very important. Ask yourself if there is a strong solvent smell when you enter a salon. If there is, the salon is not getting enough air.

Use common sense when you choose a nail salon. Does it look clean? Does the air smell fresh? Your risk of infection also increases if the salon uses low-quality products. So be careful about where you get cosmetic services. You may get more than what you wished for.

6 Things to Know Before Getting LASIK Surgery

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

You’d love to wake up in the morning without fumbling for your glasses. But LASIK eye surgery isn’t for everyone. Here are six things you may not know about LASIK:

1.It can’t be reversed. LASIK uses laser energy to permanently reshape the cornea of your eye. You can’t undo it.

2.You may still need reading glasses. LASIK does not treat presbyopia, the normal vision changes due to aging. So while the procedure may correct nearsightedness or farsightedness and astigmatism, you may still need to wear reading glasses.

3.Long-term outcomes are not known. Though millions of people have undergone LASIK, the procedure is still a relatively new one and long-term outcomes are not known.

4.Your insurance probably won’t pay for it. Most insurance policies won’t cover it because it’s not medically necessary.

5.Some jobs prohibit having LASIK surgery. Certain professions for which vision changes could be dangerous may prohibit you from having this procedure. Check with your employer first.

6.You may not be a good candidate if you have dry eyes, big pupils, or thin corneas. Other conditions that may exclude you include certain immune disorders (such as lupus, HIV, or rheumatoid arthritis) and diabetes. Taking some types of medications may also exclude you. You can’t have the procedure if you’ve had a change in your eyeglasses prescription in the last year or are pregnant – your eyesight may be unstable.

What is LASIK?
LASIK corrects blurry vision caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. The cornea is the clear covering in front of the eye that bends light rays to help focus them precisely on the retina in the back of the eye.

During the procedure, the surgeon cuts and lifts a flap of thin tissue off the outside of the eyeball. The surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea and then replaces the flap. Each eye takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Hindsight is 20/20
While millions of people who are good candidates have successful LASIK, a few have new problems. Some people might not see as clearly at night or in fog as they did before the treatment. Others have dry or scratchy eyes or are more sensitive to light. Blurred vision, infection, corneal scarring, and haloes or starbursts around lights are some other possible complications. Sometimes a second surgery, called a retreatment or enhancement, may be needed to correct very blurry vision. This is more likely for people who are more near-sighted or far-sighted before LASIK.

Talk to your eye doctor about all of the pros and cons of LASIK surgery to see if it is right for you.

Giving Your Eyelids a Lift

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

If the eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, the eyelids are the curtains. The eyelids are critical to vision and communication. They also reveal the signs of aging. Eyelid surgery can improve both function and facade.

What is eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery is called blepharoplasty. It’s done to remove excess fatty tissue and tighten sagging skin around the eye. This may be done to improve appearance or aid vision.

With age, the skin on and around the eyelids stretches, muscles weaken, and fat pockets become more noticeable. This may cause the eyelids to become droopy or baggy. Not only can this affect your appearance, it may even interfere with your vision. Droopy or baggy eyes also can be hereditary. They affect some people more than others.

Cosmetic eyelid surgery may be done by facial cosmetic surgeons. It may also be done by ophthalmologists who specialize in diseases and conditions that affect:

•The eyelids
•The bone cavity around the eye
•The facial structures around the eye, such as the eyebrow
How is the surgery done?
There are various techniques to improve the look and function of the eyelid. Typically, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the natural folds of the eyelid. This is the crease of the upper lid and just beneath the lashes or just inside the lining of the lower eyelid. Excess fat, muscle, and loose skin are removed and fine stitches are used to close the incisions.

What can eyelid surgery do for me?
Blepharoplasty can help your eyes look firmer and more alert. It may also be used to remove puffiness under the eyes. An eye lift is not used to remove crow’s feet (wrinkles around the eye) or dark circles.

Before you decide to have surgery, think about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

Am I a good candidate for eyelid surgery?
You may NOT be a good candidate, if you:

•Have any eye or circulation problems
•Have another serious medical condition
Where is eyelid surgery performed?
Eyelid surgery may be done in a surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It is done mostly on an outpatient basis.

This procedure typically takes from 1 to 3 hours. It is often done with local anesthesia.

What are the possible complications?
The removal of too much skin or uneven amounts of fat can result in a taut or uneven appearance. Additional surgeries may be needed to reverse this problem.

Other problems may include:

•Bleeding or blood clots
•Failure of the eye to close properly
•Temporary or permanently impaired vision
•Damage to the tear gland (lacrimal)
Plus, there is the chance that you may not be happy with the results.

What can I expect after surgery?
After the surgery, your eyelids may feel tight and sore as the anesthesia wears off. Your doctor may lubricate your eyes with ointment and put bandages over your eyes.

Swelling, bruising, and some pain are to be expected after the operation. These problems should go away within 2 weeks. Cold compresses may help. Elevating your head when lying down can also help while healing. But follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

For 1 or 2 weeks after your surgery, you will need to keep the eye area clean. Your eyes may feel sticky, dry, and itchy. Your doctor may recommend eye drops. For the first few weeks, you may also have excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision. Discuss any concerns with your doctor immediately.

Muscle Toning: Getting That Chiseled Look

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Men generally like to build muscle, while women prefer to “tone” their muscles. Toning involves making the muscles firmer and more defined – not necessarily bulkier. But the two strategies are really very much the same.

What is toning?
Toning has become a catchall term for “muscle conditioning.” It means having defined muscles that are firm to the touch. Improving your muscular endurance or strength will help to tone your muscles. If you are overweight, you will need to slim down, too.

There are two components to toning:

1.Building muscle
2.Losing any surrounding fat
Muscles can be trained individually with machines, free weights, or calisthenics (exercises like jumping jacks) at a health club or at home. If you are new to toning, you can work with an instructor to make sure you use the correct form, alignment, and technique.

Spot training will not work, though, if you are trying to lose fat that is hiding your muscles. Belly fat isn’t converted into muscle when you do sit-ups, for instance. Sit-ups done correctly will build your abs, but you may have to lose weight overall to make your new abs stand out.

Who should consider toning?
Toning or strength training should be part of any exercise program. People begin to lose muscle mass fairly rapidly as they age if they don’t use and condition muscles regularly. If you haven’t been exercising or are overweight, though, check with your doctor before you start.

A toning workout can help you build up strength. Your routine may include daily walks, stretching, floor work, and some low-weight resistance exercises. Repetitive-motion exercises can also put you on the right track to get those muscles moving. Resistance training should be part of your workout, too. You don’t have to be a weight trainer to know that we all rely on our muscles for daily activities.

I’m ready! Where do I start?
Before you join a gym or buy costly equipment, you may want to start with a few toning exercises 3 times a week for 1 month. Start slowly by walking regularly to build up your strength and endurance. Then, increase your activity when you feel ready.

If you decide that toning is right for you, consider joining a class. Group activities are fun because you can socialize while you exercise. You’ll get to work with weights and other tools during your class, such as stretch bands.

If you take care of your muscles today, you likely will not only look and feel better, but it may help you to live independently for a longer time.

10 Tips for Using Eye Makeup Safely

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

If you wear eye cosmetics like mascara, eyeliner, or eye shadow, be careful. That brown mascara might make you blue. Using contaminated eye makeup could land you in the doctor’s office. Eye cosmetics can be a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria. If you wear contacts, or have sensitive skin or allergies, your risk for infection is even greater. Practice good cosmetic hygiene to keep your eyes healthy and alluring.

The rules of eye makeup safety
Most eye makeup contains preservatives. But bacteria or fungi can still grow in the makeup or on its applicators, where it can be easily transferred to your eye. Follow these tips when using eye makeup to help prevent eye infection:

1.Wash your hands before putting on your eye makeup.
2.Use disposable applicators, or wash applicators and brushes with soap and water often. Don’t use an old applicator in a new product.
3.Replace your eye makeup every 2 to 4 months – more often if you wear contact lenses. After an eye infection, buy new eye makeup products and throw away the old ones.
4.Never share eye makeup, applicators, or brushes with anyone. Don’t try eye makeup “testers” in a store. Instead, test it by applying it to the back of your hand with a clean cotton swab.
5.Don’t use water or saliva to wet your eye makeup. They are breeding grounds for bacteria.
6.Don’t use makeup labeled “natural” or “preservative-free.” These products don’t contain ingredients that prevent bacterial growth. If your eyes are sensitive to preservatives, get products labeled “hypoallergenic,” “fragrance free,” or “for sensitive skin.”
7.Always take your eye makeup off before you go to sleep.
8.Keep your eye cosmetics out of heat or cold. Extreme temperatures above 85 degrees F can cause preservatives to break down and trigger the growth of bacteria.
9.Be label savvy. Don’t use eye makeup with color additives, like kohl, that have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration for containing dangerous ingredients like lead.
10.Stop using a product if it irritates your eyes. See your doctor if irritation continues or if you have signs of an infection in your eye or eyelid. Throw out the eye makeup you’ve been using. Don’t use any eye makeup again until the infection is gone.
For contact lens wearers
If you wear contact lenses, you need to take extra precautions with your eye makeup use. Lens wearers are more prone than others to getting corneal abrasions and other eye problems that can lead to infection. If not used properly, eye makeup can lead to eye irritation, injury, and infection. Follow the general rules of eye makeup safety and the following tips to reduce your risk:

•Put your lenses in before putting on your eye makeup and take them out before you remove your eye makeup.
•Get water-soluble eye makeup or those labeled “safe for contact lenses.”
•Don’t use waterproof or lash-building mascara. These products contain particles that may get into your eyes and irritate them.
•Use an eye shadow base and pressed powder eye shadow. Stay away from those that are frosted or glittery.
•Don’t apply eye liner or mascara too closely to your inner eyelid.