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February 24, 2014

// Skin Care

Discovering How To Battle Major Skin Conditions

Our skin is our largest organ. So it’s understandable that it deserves our constant attention. The problem is that most of take our skin for granted. We don’t always lotion it when we need to, and when we do, we tend to use lacklustre moisturizers. Okay, maybe not all of us do that. But the majority of us often forget that our skin requires regular care in order to protect it from the elements.

We forget that there are many types of skin conditions that we can work to avoid if we just treated our skin better. Then again, in some cases, our skin will react in ways that we can’t control. When these skin conditions pop up, it’s important that we take action to correct them. But it’s also important to know what these conditions are and how they may come about.

Sun Damage. Most of us are aware that we need to wear sunscreen when out in the sun, but how many of us do so during the winter? The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that we wear sunscreen with an SPF of no lower than 15. During the winter, we may be mostly covered up, but the sun’s harmful UV rays bounce off of the white snow and directly into our faces more often than you think.

Rosacea. According to WebMD.com, rosacea is actually a very common skin disease that often affects people who are 30 years old or over. It appears as a redness that can be found on your nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. Sometimes the appearance of red bumps indicates the presence of rosacea. The website also notes that there is no known cause for this skin condition.

Facial Veins. SkinCareCentre.ca reveals that facial veins are caused by prolonged sun exposure, aging and trauma along with other hereditary factors. These elements cause blood vessels in the face to become more dilated and therefore more visible. The areas of the face that are most commonly affected are the nose, forehead and cheeks. The site also cites the consumption of alcohol as a possible trigger for facial veins.

Large Pores. Discovery Fit & Health reminds us that our pores are nothing more than small openings that exist for a positive reason – to flush out toxins from your body, regulate its temperature and moisturize your dry skin. Without pores, we wouldn’t be able to sweat and we’d all overheat. However, the bigger your pores are, the more noticeable the obviously become. And not everyone is comfortable with that.

Skin Pigmentation. The colour of our skin is created from special cells that make up what is known as melanin. The more melanin our bodies produce, the darker our skin gets. As Medline Plus explains it, when the cells that create melanin become damaged or unhealthy, melanin production is affected. This, in turn, creates a patchiness of the skin that could affect your entire body.

So how do we do battle with sun damage, rosacea, facial veins, large pores and skin pigmentation? At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, Intense Pulsed Light Photo Rejuvenation (IPL) is used to treat such imperfections. This fascinating treatment uses a broad spectrum of light – not a laser – to smooth out these skin conditions. Treatments are quick, effective and cause very little downtime!

For more information, call 403-358-5818.

February 18, 2014

// Skin Care

Consider Blu-U For A New You!

Protecting our skin is a full-time job. No matter the season, it is still our jobs to ensure that we are moisturizing and using lotions that contain SPFs (Sun Protection Factors) so that we aren’t allowing the sun’s UV rays to do damage to our skin. Of course, there are a number of other methods that promote good skin care. Drinking water happens to be one of them. Staying hydrated is a big part of having healthy skin.

Unfortunately, there is no amount of water that can protect us from sun damage if we aren’t doing our best to adhere to certain preventive measures. As you’re likely aware, prolonged exposure to the sun has been known to cause skin cancer. But it isn’t just skin cancer that prolonged sun exposure can cause. AKs (Actinic keratosis) are yet another unfortunate ramification of sun damage.

AKs are identified as rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin. They have also been known to be warnings signs of potential skin cancer. Of course, there are measures that we can all take to avoid AKs. Avoiding prolonged sun exposure without sunscreen is an obvious one. And if you plan on being in the sun for long periods of time, it’s important to use a sunscreen with an SPF rating no lower than 30.

Your sunscreen should also be able to block both UVA (ultraviolet A, which are long waves) and UVB (ultraviolet B, which are short waves) light. In addition, it’s important to wear clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts and pants that serve as protectors from the sun’s UV rays. As well, if you plan on being in the sun, try to avoid the mid-afternoon when the ultraviolet light is at its most powerful state.

Don’t assume that these are just summertime precautions either. With all of that snow on the ground during the winter, UV rays are given the opportunity to bounce around a whole lot easier. This only makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage. It all kind of sounds scary, doesn’t it? After all, who doesn’t leave their homes on a regular basis? We’re all getting hit by the sun’s UV rays every day, aren’t we?

The key, of course, is protection, not avoidance. But what happens when we haven’t protected ourselves enough? What happens if Actinic keratosis is developed? Blu-U PhotoDynamic Therapy is a treatment that works to eliminate AKs. Skin lesions, acne scars, blotchy pigmentation, rosacea and other forms of sun damage can also be treated by Blu-U PhotoDynamic Therapy.

But how does it work? This skin therapy combines the use of ALA (Levulan) with blue light. Levulan is a topical solution that is used to treat Actinic keratosis. Once applied to the AK, it is converted to a chemical that makes AK cells extremely sensitive to light. The Levulan then becomes activated by the blue light therapy in order to effectively destroy AK cells.

At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, Blu-U PhotoDynamic Therapy has been very effective in the eradication of acne, precancerous skin lesions, sun damage, fine lines and actinic keratosis. It is also known to minimize pores and reduce oil glands which can help to prevent stubborn acne. For more information on this unique treatment, call the centre at 403-358-5818.

February 10, 2014

// Skin Care

Juvederm Battles The Signs Of Aging

This winter sure isn’t doing us any favours, is it? Sure, we may love the look of the snow. But the cold temperatures are definitely doing a number on our skin. Not only is the icy air drying our skin, but all that snow on the ground actually works in conjunction with the sun to cause skin damage. How so, you ask? Well all of that white on the ground provides the sun’s UV rays with a great bouncing pad.

And you guessed it. Once those UV’s rays have bounced, they’re all hitting us dead in the face! That means that it’s really important to wear sunscreen all winter long. The truth is, we should always be wearing sunscreen. But we tend to think about it only during the summer time because we can actually feel the heat from the sun. UV rays don’t need to be hot in order to be dangerous!

It seems like no matter what time of year it is, our skin is under constant attack. With that said, there are a number of things that we can do to fight back against these attacks. The aforementioned sunscreen application is one of the most obvious. Of course, drinking water is always important as well. Staying hydrated is a great way to improve your skin’s elasticity.

But even with all of the protective measures that we take to save our skin, there is still one skin-attacking dilemma that none of us can prevent. Aging, as you know, is a natural process. And it happens to all of us, if we’re lucky. So, of course, we should all be happy to age. Who doesn’t want to live a long and happy life? The only problem, of course, is that with aging comes wrinkling.

The older we get, the slower our bodies’ cell renewal becomes. This means that there is less collagen and elastin being produced to keep our skin looking smooth, fresh and young. Our skin eventually begins to thin out, wrinkles develop and we experience volume loss as well. So if no amount of sunscreen can protect us from the signs of aging, what can we do?

Have you heard of Juvéderm? Juvéderm is a dermal filler that is injected into the skin to smooth out wrinkles and restore lost volume. It’s known as a “Soft Lift” makeover as it functions in stark contrast to the well-known face lift that has been popularized by Hollywood. Plastic surgery, as you likely know, used to be the go-to solution to do away with wrinkles and fine lines.

The major problem, as most people are well aware, is that it quite often produces a fake, plastic look that has now become synonymous with Hollywood vanity. Juvéderm produces quite the opposite effect. In other words, the injections allow for a very natural restoration of your youthful beauty. And this is achieved predominantly because they utilize a natural substance.

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar that occurs naturally in the body. Juvéderm injections simply allow for this natural substance to do the work that your body was better able to do in its younger years. A great solution for crow’s feet, forehead lines, frown lines, laugh lines and just about any other fine lines and wrinkles you can think of, Juvéderm is a safe, natural opponent to the signs of aging!

For more information on Juvéderm, call Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.

February 5, 2014

// Unwanted Fat

6 Ways Winter Is Wonderful For Working Out

Winter can really be a drag, can’t it? With February here, we’re pretty much smack dab in the middle of the “winter is too long” complaint season. This is especially true for lovers of the outdoors. And that goes double for those who enjoy getting exercise outside instead of being cooped up in the gym or the basement. So what to do? Winter still has a lot time left in it!

It’s probably best that we all try to trade in our complaints for a little bit of compromise. The winter time actually provides us with ample opportunities to get our workouts in. In fact, according to Alison Goldman of Women’s Health Magazine, “there’s no reason to glue yourself to the elliptical once the temps drop.” So for those worried about being “cooped up” another couple of months, she offers tips on how to enjoy working out in the winter.

Take Up A Winter Sport. The first thing us winter-haters need to do is get over the fact that it’s cold outside. There are still tons of fun stuff we can do in frigid temperatures. Goldman suggests snowboarding or skiing. And don’t forget how much the kids like playing in the snow. Perhaps, this winter it’s time you go back to your childhood roots and be the big kid at play!

Have A Snowball Fight. Speaking of being a big kid, Goldman actually suggests that you throw the old snow around. What seems like a childish game is actually a good form of exercise. She notes that the mere task of walking or running around in the snow is a good workout for your legs. Considering the weight and unevenness of the snow, your muscles will get an even better workout than you may realize.

Go Running. Okay, so we know that this is the outdoor activity that you’ve been just dying to get to once the summer arrives. But you don’t have to put it off until then, says Goldman. It’s all about wearing the right gear. You may be surprised how perfectly warm you can be and how much of a sweat you can work up by running outside during the winter time. It doesn’t hurt to try!

Try Snowshoeing. There are many fitness rewards to snowshoeing, Goldman writes. Those legs of yours will get quite the workout as they maneuver your body through heavy and thick snow. It just so happens to be quite the underrated cardio workout. And besides, how often do people actually go snowshoeing? You may just end up finding a fun new activity you never knew you’d love so much!

Break Out A Sled. Okay, let’s not pretend you didn’t love tobogganing as a child. Sure, you’re all grown up now. But there’s nothing wrong with getting a sense of excitement out of a good old slide down a hill on a sled. Another great outdoor activity that you can share with the kids, sledding requires running up the hill after a slide which gives you another great cardio workout. The steeper the hill, the better!

Go Ice Skating. Was this tip not obvious? If you’d prefer not get out into the snow, then perhaps it’s time to get out onto the ice. A great winter alternative to your summer fitness routine, ice skating can help you to break quite the sweat. Winter really doesn’t have to be all that bad after all. It’s pretty hard to make use of most of Goldman’s tips during the summer. So get out in the cold and enjoy them while you can!