skincare blog

Bunions

marilyn monroeA bunion is one of the most common deformities of the foot, involving the big toe joint and resulting in a large and sometimes painful bump at the side of the foot by the big toe base.   Although most people consider bunions to be a genetic condition seen mostly in older adults, the development and treatment of bunions are in reality much more complex.

Most people who have bunions have inherited a gait that causes overpronation, or a tendency to roll their feet inward with every step. It is the pressure of bearing and shifting weight on that big toe joint that eventually causes bunions to develop.  As the toe joint gets constantly stressed and pushed out to the side, the bones and joints become misaligned, causing the bunion.

Overpronation of the foot is only the common cause of bunions.  Arthritis and trauma to the tissues surrounding the toe joint can also result in similar foot deformities so it’s important to consult your health advisor to rule out other possible causes.

Although surgery may be the only solution for severe bunions that interfere with the ability to perform every tasks and athletic activities, taking a few preventive steps can help alleviate discomfort and slow down the progression of the bunion.  But a word of warning: women who are fans of Christian Louboutin won’t like these suggestions:

  1. Ditch the high heels.  Unfortunately, wearing pointy toed shoes with heels that are over 2” high will only aggravate the problem.
  2. Choose shoes with a wide toe box that won’t squeeze or cramp the toes.
  3. Use non-medicated bunion pads to cushion the bump.
  4. If the bunion becomes inflamed or painful, apply an ice pack to help bring down the swelling.
  5. Consult your doctor or podiatrist who may suggest custom orthotics.

Legend has it that even Marilyn Monroe suffered from bunions.  See, you’re in good company.

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Retinoid Myths – Busted

woman_black_chignonLike the celebrated actress in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, retinoids are stars when it comes to the anti-aging skin care world.  And just like the most talked about celebrity, there’s no shortage of information (and misinformation) about this vitamin A derivative.

If you’ve been considering adding a retinoid to your daily routine, we’re here to help separate the myths from the facts and to make your decision just a little bit easier.

Myth:  Only prescription strength retinoids are effective.

Fact:  Retinoids come in many strengths and forms, encompassing retinol, retinaldehyde (also known as retinal) and retinoic acid. When applied topically to the skin, retinol must first be converted to retinaldehyde and then to retinoic acid in order to be effective at skin cells. Pure retinoic acid for topical use is only available by prescription. Yes, it’s effective, but is also the most potentially irritating form and cannot be tolerated by many individuals. High potency formulations containing retinol or retinal are also incredibly effective.

Myth:  Retinoids thin the skin.

Fact:  Just the opposite in fact!  Retinoids promote collagen production, which leads to plumper, thicker and smoother skin.

Myth:  Retinoids should only be used after wrinkles appear.

Fact:   Although many women in their 20’s have not even begun to think about anti-aging and are still a few years away from developing wrinkles, some skin care professionals believe that it’s not too early to use retinoids to help maintain their great skin and delay the visible signs of aging.  Not only can retinoids reduce acne and shrink pores (common concerns of young adults) but they also work as cell communicators to regulate skin function.

Myth:  Retinoids will make my skin turn red and peel.

Fact:  Retinoids do have a reputation for causing dryness, redness and peeling.  However, by incorporating them gradually into your skin care routine and allowing the skin to build up tolerance slowly, those effects can certainly be minimized.  We like retinal, the gentle cousin to retinol and retinoic acid and the least irritating form of retinoids.  It can be found in Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging serum.

Myth:  Retinoids can’t be used in the summer.

Fact:  Retinoids can be used year round.  Retinoids are light sensitive and can be broken down to the point of being  ineffective when exposed to UV light, which is why it’s best to use your retinoid treatment at night, regardless of whether it’s summer or not.  When choosing a retinoid, packaging is also key.  An opaque and air-tight container is optimal.

Retinoids have a long and proven history when it comes to results.  Unlike a young starlet whose sole claim to fame is one movie, retinoids are here to stay, rather like Meryl Streep.  And who wouldn’t want Meryl Streep as a life-long friend?

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4 Anti-Aging Skin Care Breakthroughs

Anti Aging Skin Care LongevicellNothing holds back the hands of time indefinitely, but when it comes to skincare, there are a few science-based ingredients that really deliver results.  Here are 4 anti-aging ingredients with proven efficacy:

  1. 1. Sunscreen.  From an anti-aging point of view, a stable broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect against UVA and UVB rays is your best friend.  Sun damage can cause dark spots, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, all of which make us look older than we like. Enough said.
  2. Retinoids.  If a miracle ingredient existed in the anti-aging world, retinoids would be as close as it gets.  Derivatives of Vitamin A, retinoids work as cell communicators to increase skin cell turnover, reduce pigmentation, even out skin tone, unclog pores, stimulate collagen production and manage acne.  Quite a list of accomplishments!  Our favorite is Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging retinal serum which provides the ultimate in wrinkle reduction and prevention properties while being the least potentially irritating form of retinoid.
  3. Antioxidants.  Like superheroes, antioxidants protect the skin from environmental stresses such as pollution and UV rays that generate free radicals, which lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin and the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. When working as a team, as in Apothekari Undercover Agent Serum, vitamins C & E have been proven to work particularly well together in neutralizing free radicals, moisturizing and brightening skin tone.  If you haven’t already added a serum to your daily regimen, an antioxidant formulation would be a perfect addition.
  4. Alpha Hydroxy Acids.  Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, malic and mandelic acids (the latter two are found in customer favorite MaMa Lotion) help remove dead skin cells that not only dull the skin but also create a barrier to other active ingredients from penetrating.  Like retinoids, AHAs should be introduced gradually into your skin care routine, allowing the skin to build up tolerance.  Used at night alternately with your retinoid, AHAs will help give you back that radiant glow of youth.

When it comes to the anti-aging game, we’d love to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but sometimes slow and steady (as well as scientific) wins the race.

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Perfect Summer Feet? Do’s and Don’ts

feetWarm weather is at its peak, and with your toes out in full view for the world to see, there’s no better time to spend a few minutes achieving perfect summer feet.  We’ve put together a few simple pedicure do’s and don’ts to get you up and running.  Ahem, are you listening, men?  If not for your own sake, for ours, please.

Do:

  • Start by soaking the feet in warm water for 15 minutes to soften the skin. Add a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil for a spa feel.
  • Use a pumice stone to gently slough off the dead skin cells, paying particular attention to the heels, the balls of the feet and any other areas where callouses may have built up.
  • Cut the nail straight across to avoid getting painful ingrown toenails.
  • Use a foot cream with urea every night to help slough way hard, dry skin. Eucerin Foot Smoothing Cream contains 10% urea to exfoliate as well as hydate. The tops and bottoms of our feet have almost no oil-producing glands, so feet tend to get dry.
  • Apply sunscreen!  The lowly but hard-working feet are often overlooked when it comes to sun protection, so start from the bottom and work your way up to ensure total coverage.  With sandals, the tops of the feet are exposed to UV rays almost as much as the hands.
  • Take care of sweaty feet. Wearing sandals can actually help by allowing the feet to stay cooler and for sweat to evaporate more quickly with increased air circulation, but when desperate times call for desperate measures, Dehydral Antiperspirant Cream for the foot may be just the answer you’re looking for.

Don’t:

  • Wear flip flops every day.  It may be tempting with the warm weather, but flip flops simply don’t give your feet enough support.  Instead, choose sandals with ankle straps that help the shoes hang on to the foot without having to constantly overwork the toes to grip the shoe.  Flip flops may be the symbol of summer freedom, but save them for days at the pool or beach.
  • Use a foot razor or scissors to cut away any hard skin, which could leave you open to bacteria and infections.  Regular and gentle buffing with a pumice stone is the way to go.
  • Push back the cuticles with an orange stick. The area around the cuticles can be extremely sensitive and inadvertently breaking the skin allows bacteria to pass through.

If the thought of trying to get (and keep) your feet sandal-ready makes you weary, this is the perfect excuse to book that pedicure.  Like plumbing and electrical work, leave it to the professionals.

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