Protect Your Skin… From Within!

For far too long, we’ve been told to fear the sun. But (lighting and heating the earth aside) we need the sun to be healthy! Exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in our skin, helps regulate sleep / wake patterns, improves mood, and even serves as a natural pain killer.

Excessive exposure to direct sunlight increases the risks of skin cancers – some of which are very deadly. So, we’ve been told to slather on the sunscreen. But have you read the ingredients on the label? Between the perfumes, preservatives, organic solvents, and *known carcinogens* (like titanium dioxide and octyl methyoxycinnamate), you have to wonder which is worse for you – the sun or the sunscreen!

Instead, follow some common-sense guidelines in the sun. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants. Sport a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, face, and ears. Opt for the shade or use an umbrella. And avoid direct sun during peak UV hours of 10 am to 3 pm.

What you eat year-round can also help protect your skin from sun damage, too.

Make sure your regular diet is full of fresh fruits and vegetables that are bright in color, especially reds and greens. Foods like carrots, strawberries, watermelon, and tomatoes are packed with antioxidants and other natural molecules that gobble up free radicals that can damage the DNA in your skin cells.

Green tea boasts an especially powerful anticancer molecule called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Multiple scientific studies have shown that the EGCG in green tea reduces your risk of multiple cancers – including skin cancer.

A supplement made from an algae called Astaxanthin can be taken daily to prevent and reverse sun damage. In research studies, oral Astaxathin supplements help fade sun spots, reduce the look of wrinkles and crow’s feet, and lower incidence of skin cancer. In fact, it has been shown to be so effective at blocking UV rays that it is currently being studied as a naturally sourced sunscreen!

If you want to put on lotion before going out in the sun, try making a homemade whipped coconut oil lotion. Coconut oil only blocks about 20% of the sun’s harmful rays, but it’s packed with powerful antioxidants that combat long-term sun damage.

If you happen to get too much sun, try a luke-warm bath with organic oatmeal. Grind a cup of dry oatmeal in your blender and sprinkle in the bath. Gently pour the mixture over your burned skin for several minutes, rinse with cool water, and pat dry.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It deserves your care and attention. Enjoy the sun! But be skin smart year round to keep your skin bright and healthy for the rest of your life.

Worried about sun spots and wrinkles on your face? Consult with one of our facial specialists today!

Sharing Massage With Your Kids

Did you know that children can benefit greatly from massage, too?

It’s true! Touch is a universal healer. Without enough human touch during infancy, children may fail to thrive – and even die. Physical touch is a necessary part of our psychological development and emotional wellbeing.

Massage is a natural stress buster. You think kids don’t have stress? Try spending a day as a toddler who knows exactly what she wants but can’t get the words out right. Or a third grader moving to a new school mid-year. Or the goalie on the state trophy contending soccer team.

Massage is known to lower cortisol stress hormones and raise dopamine levels, combating depression and anxiety. Massage can, therefore also help with other medical conditions affected by stress, such as asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, eczema, and acne. In very young children, massage is a safe way to help settle upset tummies and get things “moving” again down below. Children battling cancer report that regular massage therapy helps reduce the pain and discomfort related to their treatments.

You can start massage at home on a newborn, as long as there are no underlying medical conditions to worry about. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you if massage is safe for your baby. Right after bath time when they are warm and snuggly is a great time to try some simple massage strokes on their arms, legs, and torso. As your child becomes a toddler, try adding in the hands and feet into the massage. Just remember, if your child becomes squirmy or asks you to stop, please do so. Honor your child’s nonverbal cues and spoken requests. Massage should never be something you do “to” you child. It should always be done “with” you child.

As your child becomes a teen, you’ll probably want to start seeing a licensed massage therapist – especially if he or she is very active in sports. A skilled therapist can help your child overcome growing pains, sports injuries, and clear away inflammation due to any number of causes.

Massage therapy is non-invasive and completely safe for most people – no matter how young or old! If you would like to learn more about sharing the healing gifts of massage with your child, please give us a call. We’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions.