Posts Tagged ‘skin’

Sunscreen safety for pregnant women

Friday, June 6th, 2014

mom and child in sunSummer is here! Sunscreen is important whenever you are outside, especially if you are pregnant. During pregnancy your skin is more sensitive to sunlight than it was before pregnancy. The sun gives off ultraviolet radiation (UV) which can increase the risk of skin cancer, give you a bad burn and increase signs of aging.

There are two types of rays that can cause skin damage. These are ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation (UVA and UVB). Both of these can cause premature aging and skin cancer however UVB rays are what cause sunburn. It is important to choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. But, choosing the right sunscreen to slather on can be confusing.

Here are tips on choosing the right sunscreen for you:

•    Avoid retinyl palmitate This type of vitamin A has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and is associated with a risk of birth defects.
•    Choose sunscreen with a sun protected factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
•    Only use products that have UVA and UVB protection – also called Broad Spectrum protection
•    Use a water resistant sunscreen if you intend to go swimming
•    Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating (even if you use water resistant sunscreen).
•    Limit your time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun rays are most intense.

Combination products

To fend off those pesky mosquitoes, there are also combination sunscreen products that include bug spray. These can be  great two-for-one products, but combination sunscreens may be more hazardous that you thought. A combination product has the possibility of toxic exposure, due to overdosing on the bug repellant. It’s safe to apply the combination lotion first, but when it’s time to reapply, skip the combination and just use sunscreen.

Read our post for specific tips on how to keep your baby safe in the sun.

Have fun outside this summer, but wear your hat, sunglasses, stay well hydrated and remember your sunscreen!

101 years of soft skin

Monday, January 24th, 2011

beautiful-skin2We don’t realize that our skin is the largest living and breathing organ of our body.  On my mother’s paternal side I had a great- grandmother who was near and dear to our family.  She raised my mom for most of her childhood.  I remember looking at pictures of my great grandmother when I was a young adult thinking when I grow up I definitely want her long lifespan and soft skin as well.  She lived 101 years.  She had multi-ethnic roots, having an African American father and a Cherokee Indian mother.  As a child I remember spending time with her.  I would sit and listen to her stories and watch her quilt.  I was in awe of her knowledge and envious of the softness of her skin.

Our skin is the first line of defense and connection to the environment that surrounds us; both the positive and negative aspects of the environment.  Our body’s immune system works to heal our skin from acne, minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and wounds and the changes in the temperature.  It also responds to the type of foods we eat…fruits, vegetables, meats, calcium, oils and fats.  Our skin needs extra care from us too. 

It’s important for all of us to moisturize our skin from head to toe and front to back daily.  Many of us who are moms can think of the time we spend bathing our babies and then placing a conditioning moisturizer onto their skin. Yet, do we spend this time for ourselves, take time to do it and have the right moisturizing lotion that works for our own skin type?  This is an important question for everyone—women, men and children and especially pregnant women.

As an African American woman I find that this is a task I have to stay on top of regularly.  I remember during my first pregnancy going through the phase of having itchy skin and I would moisturize my belly to reduce the scratching.  There are many moisturizing products on the market.  You have to find the right moisturizer for your skin.  Your local pharmacist, primary care physician, OB-GYN or dermatologist can recommend skin moisturizers appropriate for you.  If you have sensitive skin or certain skin allergies there are specific products you should research and experiment to find what will work for you.  One tip that I can offer is researching products that are organic or have natural plant and tree oils, these seem to work well for me.  I also avoid products that have high fragrances.  I find in certain times of the season, such as the winter months, our skin gets very dry, brittle, rough and ashy; so daily moisturizing is extra important. Spending the time to protect your body’s largest organ will pay off—and for me I’m hoping it gives me the soft skin my great-grandmother had for 101 years.

Recall: Toy wind chimes, several models

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

tiny-love-wind-chimeThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of 600,000 wind chime toys made by Tiny Love. The toy can be pulled apart, exposing sharp metal rods. These rods can cut or puncture a baby’s skin or eyes. For more information, read the CPSC statement.

Several types of wind chimes have been recalled. The picture shown here is one of them.

Can I prevent or get rid of stretch marks?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

big-bellyShort of surgery, not really, no.  If your skin is not as elastic as some other women’s skin (you can thank your genes for that), this evidence of expansion and contraction will remain to some degree.  Many products imply that they can make these not so lovely lines vanish completely, but they really can’t. These marks are caused by tiny tears in the tissue that lies just below your skin and helps the skin stretch. There are products that will smooth your skin, moisturize and make the marks itch less, cover them and make them less noticeable, etc. but they won’t get rid of them all together.  Time is what will help the most, so save your money on expensive products.  They will fade from red or purple to silver, white or light brown (depending on your skin color) and may shrink a bit in size.

The best thing you can do during pregnancy to try to avoid stretch marks, or keep them at a minimum, is to eat a healthy diet, take your prenatal vitamins, try to gain weight gradually and not in big spurts, moisturize your skin and drink lots of water.

Milia and newborn skin

Friday, August 14th, 2009

In the early days and weeks you may notice tiny whiteheads on your baby’s face, particularly on the nose and cheeks. It’s called milia and approximately 40% of newborns get it. These spots are caused when dead skin cells and secretions get trapped in pores. Fortunately, it’s not 2 days oldpainful or contagious  and it will disappear within a few days to months without any treatment. Although tempting, don’t pop these little pimples.  It won’t  make them go away faster and it could irritate your baby’s delicate skin. Definitely no scrubbing, creams or ointments either.

It was one of the first things I noticed about my daughter after she was born. I feel badly saying that, but  I remember thinking, “oh, my poor babies skin!” Actually, I may have even said that out loud. I’ll have to ask my husband. I just wasn’t expecting her to look that way. Her precious little face was covered. If you look closely at her picture you can see it.

Have a great weekend and see you next Friday!

Clarcon skin products recalled

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

lotionClarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory is recalling some skin sanitizers and skin protectants because disease-causing bacteria has been found in the products.

Some of the bacteria can cause infections of the skin and underlying tissues. These infections may need medical or surgical attention and could result in permanent damage.

Because the products are promoted to treat open wounds and damaged skin, the risk of infection may be high. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is telling consumers not to use Clarcon products and to throw away Clarcon products that they own. 

For a complete list of the recalled products, see the FDA news release.

A newborn baby’s skin

Friday, April 24th, 2009

newborn-skin-is-softSoft.  Softer than rose petals, cotton balls, cashmere sweaters, puppy ears, silk scarves and air. 

Our two-weeker’s skin looks dry and flakey, especially her feet, but I know over time it will adjust to being in her new environment.  Her eyelids are somewhat translucent and little blood vessels crisscross over them, but they will disappear from view, too.  Unlike our grandson who was born prematurely and looked like his skin was too big for him until he grew into it, this little girl’s skin seems to fit just right.   And she looks like a perfectly healthy beet when she starts to wale before a feeding.  That’s OK, she doesn’t stay red once she stops crying.

While we think she looks perfect and without a blemish, the truth is probably slightly different. (What? We’re not objective?!) Here are some things most new parents can expect, though should disappear on their own with normal washing:

• Newborn acne – red spots with yellowish centers.  These form due to surging hormones before birth.
• Milia – little white bumps that resemble whiteheads but are flat and smooth.  Actually, some of these are visible on the nose, cheeks and forehead of our beauty.  These will disappear once the baby’s oil glands and pores are more mature.
• Miliaria – This is a raised rash.  Little blisters are filled with normal skin secretions and may be clear or have a milky hue.  Again, this should disappear with normal washing.
• Erythema toxicum – These red blotches with whitish bumps in the center look a bit like flea bites, but they’re not.  They’re usually gone ten days or so after birth.
• Pustular melanosis – (sounds nasty, doesn’t it?)  These are small blisters that quickly dry up and peel away, leaving spots or  “freckle” marks.  And the spots  disappear in a couple of weeks, too.

So the skin is subject to a few fleeting flaws that usually won’t last.  And did I mention it’s soft? That’s S.O.F.T., soft!  Whisper soft.

Botox, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

skin-smThe rumor mill churns. Which celebrities have had Botox injections to help erase those wrinkles? Nicole Kidman? Victoria Beckham? Lindsay Lohan? I really don’t care, do you?

But I do worry about pregnant and breastfeeding women who might be thinking about Botox and other cosmetic treatments. Probably not a good idea.

Doctors know very little about the risks of Botox during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The research hasn’t been done. Some worry about the risk of birth defects.

Removing wrinkles is not a good medical reason for a woman to have cosmetic Botox while she’s pregnant or breastfeeding. The same goes for plumped up lips and collagen.

In Australia, the association of cosmetic physicians has advised women not to have Botox injections when they are pregnant. ABC News did a story about this topic in January. The doctors they spoke to overwhelmingly said, “No way.”

Here’s the question to ask about any treatment during pregnancy, “Do I need this right now for my health and the health of the baby?” For cosmetic procedures, the answer is almost always no.

For more on beauty treatments during pregnancy, see Questions and Answers from the March of Dimes.

A promising treatment for peanut allergy? Maybe

Monday, March 16th, 2009

peanuts-sm1The media has been buzzing about a possible new treatment for peanut allergy. Here’s what we know.

Scientists from Duke University presented new research at a national medical meeting on Sunday. This sparked headlines and conversation.

One pilot study involved 33 children who were severely allergic to peanuts. Symptoms of this allergy include stomach upset, skin reactions and, in the most serious cases, breathing problems that can be deadly.

Researchers gave each child a dose of peanuts every day using a powder sprinkled on food. At the beginning, the dose was very small. Over time, it increased, amounting to 15 peanuts per day.

Most children in the study did not have allergic reactions. But four dropped out of the research because they did. After 2 1/2 years, five children in the study stopped the treatment. They can now eat peanuts just like their friends who aren’t allergic.

Are these five children “cured” of peanut allergy? It’s too early to say. Doctors will watch them carefully for several years to know for sure.

So what does this mean for people who have peanut allergies? Too early to say. More research is needed to confirm the pilot study.

Most important: Don’t try this on yourself or on your children. All the children in the study received their doses under the supervision of medical professionals. They were watched closely for allergic reactions.

To learn more about food allergies, read the March of Dimes article on our Web site.

Skin-numbing products: Words of caution

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

cream-thumbOuch! Nobody likes pain, soreness or itching. We want relief, and we want it fast.

Many of us have tried skin-numbing products. We may use them in advance to prevent discomfort. For instance, some women have spread them on the skin before laser hair removal. When used properly, these items work and are safe.

A lot of these products, also called topical anesthetics, are available at the local drug store. For some, you need a prescription. Many of them come in the form of creams, ointments or gels.

These products contain anesthetics such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine. When applied to the skin, these anesthetics can be absorbed into the blood stream and cause health risks.

Because two women died after using skin-numbing products before laser hair removal, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning. Here are the FDA’s recommendations:

* Don’t apply these products over large areas of skin.

* Use the lowest strength and the smallest amount possible.

* Don’t apply skin-numbing products to broken or irritated skin.

* Don’t wrap or cover the treated skin with plastic wrap, bandages or other materials.

* Don’t put a heating pad on the skin that you’ve treated.

Of course, if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t use any medication (over-the-counter or prescription) without first talking to your health care provider. And if anyone is using a prescription product, read the instructions carefully.

To learn more from the FDA, click here. Note: This warning from the FDA does not apply to products that contain camphor, menthol or arnica.