Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sunscreen Prevents Aging And Skin Cancer, Maybe Not!

Does Sunscreen Prevent Aging?

There is no denying that using a sunscreen can slow the process of aging and of course spending too much time in the sun will definitely have the opposite effect, by accelerating it.  So what we need to understand is that aging can be equated to many factors all of which can also include environmental pollutants and genetics.

When applying sunscreen we always want to make sure that we use broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.  This is something a mineral based sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide provides.  However, there are many other types of synthetically created sunscreens some women are very happy with when used in combination with their mineral makeup products.

The thing to remember though, is the skin will still age every time we go out into the sun and that our sunscreen use is not license to spend more time in the sun, thinking because we have on sunscreen we can now throw caution to the wind.  Also some studies have shown that certain types and combinations of these sunscreens can further produce free radical damage to the skin.  So no matter what, I personally feel it is a best case scenario to always use a mineral based cream when you can find it and supplement with mineral makeup each and every day.

Keeping an eye on the UV index for your state is also a great way to avoid certain time frames during the day for the least amount of sun exposure.  But bottom line, nothing works better than avoiding sun during peak hours, using clothing, sun hats for fighting facial wrinkles, big sunglasses containing sun blocker lenses to slow the formation of eye wrinkles, and last but not least seek shade during peak sunlight hours.

SPF factor is also a personal preference, but remember, no matter what number you choose, there is very little difference between SPF 30+ or something higher.  It is still about reapplication for best protection since the body absorbs, sweats off and wears off your sunscreen as the day goes on making your SPF factor greatly diminished.

Fighting Cancer With Sunscreen

With all the evidence available and the ongoing bombardment about making sure we wear sunscreen whenever we go outside, then we have to wonder why are incidences of deadly Melanoma and other skin cancers on the rise?

This is a question I think about in great detail since I am literally covered in freckles and moles, so I have to pay particular attention to my skin and have annual checkups with my dermatologist.  I have had cancers removed from my stomach, back and face, with my first tiny melanoma found on my stomach.  All is well, had it removed and got it all.  This is why early detection will cure it.  Melanoma does not have to be a death sentence if we are privy to the slightest change to a mole or having one suddenly appear.

Unfortunately, with the invention of sunscreen, many did have the idea that they would now be able to spend more time in the sun since they are wearing their "coating of armor."   The impact of this mindset is considerable with increased cases of different skin cancer continuing to rise.   UV rays are radiation and no amount of sunscreen will prevent it's penetration into our DNA when we expose ourselves to it, especially going outside unprotected.

Does this mean that applying sunscreen is a waste of time?  Not at all!  We simply need to realize that protecting the skin by using it will only slow the aging process, not prevent it, and that skin cancer is still a very real possibility from things we did to ourselves in our youth, up to not taking added precautions such as those that are suggested by the professionals.  Sunscreen cannot be the only answer to guarding against aging and skin cancers.

By knowing these basic facts and simplifying the parameters of what to expect from a sunscreen, we can now take that little extra step to improve on our sun habits, not forgetting that certain levels of sun does wonders for boosting our vitamin D levels, which in and of itself promotes body healing and prevents many other forms of cancers.

It is all about perspective and finding the right balance as we head into the final days of our summer.  Have fun and choose wisely how you dress, what time of day you spend in the sun, and still always use a mineral based product for the ultimate in broad spectrum protection.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Breast Cancer Reconstruction And Benefits Of Essential Oils

Dealing With Breast Cancer Reconstruction Can Be Perplexing

I would like to share an interesting story with you which has a touch of humor, written by my guest today who clearly has a zest for life, and offers support and help to women also suffering the angst of breast cancer. Perhaps you or someone you know are also dealing with past or future reconstruction of their breasts as well.  

The article is wonderful and I enjoyed reading it, so I very much hope that her personal experiences can assist other women going forward.

Teri Pearman, Founder of Infusion Breast Care Botanicals is also a breast cancer survivor and firmly believes in what she offers to her ladies and without a doubt has created some delightful formulas combined with aromatherapy to provide the ultimate in a calming and soothing experience. Essential oil components are fantastic for creating a sense of well being... something so many women of today can certainly appreciate and need as life takes us on different journey's. I wish everyone happiness and well being in that journey.

One Thing Your Breast Reconstruction Surgeon May Not Tell You: Objects in Overhead Compartments May Shift During Flight

I initially posted this blog entry in August 2013 and I have since learned a little more that I wanted to share. I am a couple of years out from my final breast reconstruction surgery. I had a double mastectomy with skin expanders which were replaced with silicone implants. Thanks to Infusion Breast Care Botanicals products my scars are barely visible and my breast skin is healthy. However, I do have one breast that is slightly lower than the other. Of course even my pre-cancer breast were not a perfect match so I am okay with it. And I did have to get a ruler out to prove to my husband that I was right, so it must not be that bad. By the way,  this caused  some laughing as I stepped in front of the TV with my ruler and chest bared to prove my point.

Laughing is good!
I did also recently learn that if your breast reconstruction included fat transferred from another part of your body, there is a chance that you may experience ” graph volume loss” which means exactly what you think it means.

Even the most experienced breast surgeons can not predict with 100% certainty the exact outcome of your breast reconstruction surgery. Unlike a master sculpture they are not dealing with marble which once completed stays the same for ever. Flesh stretches, moves and is often unpredictable. Other challenges come into play including; is your surgeon trying to match an unaffected breast, did you have radiation, were your nipples spared, are your breast large, small,  etc.

Talk with your surgeon about what you can reasonably expect. He or she can help you manage your expectations early on and help you select the reconstructive surgery best for your situation and which will give you the best outcome.

After surgery It can take several weeks for inconsistencies to show themselves. It’s not uncommon for one breast to be higher (or lower depending upon your  perspective). Nature herself does not create everything with complete symmetry so most “normal” breast are often different sizes, but if you did have an outcome that you are not happy with don’t be shy about expressing your concern. Many surgeons say to give your reconstructed breast three to six months to settle in. Swelling will reduce and scars will soften giving the surgeon a better idea how to correct the asymmetry and making a minor adjustment is usually an outpatient procedure.

A  friend of mine was very unhappy with her lack of symmetry after her breast reconstruction surgery. Her surgeon was trying to match her reconstructed breast with her unaffected breast which I imagine is a little more tricky than when reconstructing both breast at the same time. After struggling with the emotions that came up, like “now I’m just being vain, “I’m alive so stop complaining”, “I can’t take another surgery” etc…, she finally went back to her surgeon for an adjustment. I won’t say it was minor surgery, because no surgery is minor, but comparatively speaking she was in and out of the out patient surgery fairly quickly and she is happier with her results.

If you are not happy with your outcome and your physician is not offering solutions, consult another surgeon.  The 1998 Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) helps protect many women with breast cancer who choose to have their breasts reconstructed after a mastectomy. This federal law requires most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction. Under the WHCRA, mastectomy benefits must cover reconstruction of the breast that was removed by mastectomy and  surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to make the breasts look symmetrical or balanced after mastectomy.

Teri Pearman
Founder of Infusion Breast Care Botanicals, LLC

My sincerest thanks to Teri for pursuing her passion and exemplifying courage, and for offering some very good advice and being open about her personal experience. Sharing of information is vital and provides a sense of community where women will know they are not alone in their struggles.  


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