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August 26, 2014

// Unwanted Moles

5 Ways To Keep Moles At Bay

In last week’s blog, we discussed the importance of staying away from tanning beds. We felt it a necessary topic to address because, with summer winding down, many people seek out tanning beds to maintain their summer-induced tans during the fall. It needs to be reiterated, however, that doing so is extremely dangerous. Not the least of the problems that could occur due to roasting yourself in a tanning bed is the development of melanoma.

Melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer, is generally first detected by the appearance of moles on the skin. And while moles are often considered a genetic trait, they can still appear if we are not taking measures to avoid the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. As we mentioned last week, tanning beds actually give out greater doses of UV rays than the sun. This should be avoided at all costs.

In fact, instead of subjecting yourself to more harmful UV rays this fall, do your best to take measures to avoid them. The development of melanoma is in no way worth getting the ideal tan for the duration of the year. Even if we’re avoiding tanning beds, it’s important to remember, as well, that even when the weather isn’t hot, UV rays are still attacking us. Here are five ways to keep moles at bay.

1. Wear protective clothing. This will be a lot easier to do once the weather cools. But remember that wearing clothing that covers more of you has more benefits than just keeping you warm. It can protect you from skin cancer as well. “Exposure to direct sunlight can be prevented by wearing lightweight clothing that covers your arms, legs and body,” reminds Adeeba Folami on eHow.com.

2. Don’t forget the hats. Even when we remember to wear clothing that covers up our arms and legs, we sometimes neglect our faces. Weird, considering that it’s the part of our bodies that people see the most, isn’t it? On OnHealth.com, Dr. Gary W. Cole reminds us to wear wide-brimmed hats that provide at least six inches of coverage. This will help to stave off not only moles, but the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes over time.

3. Use sunscreen. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever find a list of tips on how to avoid skin cancer and not find “use sunscreen” on it. It needs to be stressed, however, that this is a practice that should be continued all year round. Too many of us see sunscreen as a “summer thing”. Both Folami and Dr. Cole agree that the use of sunscreen is necessary. While Folami suggests an SPF rating of at least 30, Dr. Cole suggests 50 as an ideal SPF.

4. Limit sun exposure. “Excessive time in the sun has been shown to increase the number of moles on your body,” writes Folami, “so it is recommended that you avoid direct sunlight until early evening, when the sun’s rays begin to lose strength.” Generally, the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are considered those when the sun’s UV rays are at its most severe. Dr. Cole refers to these as “peak sun hours”. Remember, this is true whether the weather is hot or not.

5. Know your family history. According to Folami, “It may not be possible to prevent the onset of moles that occur naturally in everyone, but if you have a family history of skin cancer, you can likely reduce chances of getting the disease by practicing prevention at an early age. You can lessen your children’s chances of disease and premature appearance of skin moles by doing the same.”

If, however, you still notice moles on your skin that you’d like to look into, please feel free to contact the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre. We proudly use The VariLite Laser to remove moles. For more information or to book a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.

August 19, 2014

// Skin Care

Exposing The Dangers Of Tanning Beds

Technically speaking, we still have a good month left of summer. But with Canadian weather being so unpredictable, you can never really tell just how many days of warmth and sunshine we have left. For those who enjoy catching some rays (a term no one should really be comfortable using), the end of summer doesn’t generally mean the end of tanning season. Do you know anyone who takes to tanning beds when the real sun won’t come out to play anymore?

It needs to be stated that “catching some rays” is simply bad for your health. We should be taking measures to avoid direct sun exposure all throughout the year. But during the summer, when the temperatures are at their warmest, people tend to show more skin in order to allow the sun to do its dirty work. And while a golden tan is often heralded as a beautiful thing, the discolouration due to the sun’s UV rays can truly be regarded as “dirty work”.

You see, a tan is simply a reflection of skin damage. And the worst case scenario, as you may have guessed, is skin cancer. So why anyone would want to directly expose themselves to dangerous radiation is hard to figure out. But this is exactly what people are doing when they choose to use tanning beds in lieu of the sun. While it may seem obvious, it’s probably necessary to give the following piece of advice. Stay away from tanning beds!

“Tanning beds might as well be coffins,” writes Meghan Rabbit of Women’s Health Magazine, “Oncologists now believe they are to blame for the alarming spike among young women in lethal melanoma cases—the second most common cancer in adults under 30. A big part of the problem: Many women think catching indoor rays is a harmless—or worse, healthy—part of their beauty routine.”

The U.K.-based NHS Choices website seems to agree, stating that sunbeds emit ultraviolet rays that increase one’s chances of developing malignant melanoma. In fact, “many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays than the midday Mediterranean sun.” The site goes on to note that young people are especially at risk as “people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before 25 years of age are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life.”

Even though the dangers of tanning are slowly, but surely become more widely known, it still stands to reason that people like to take advantage of the summer as much as possible. Being outdoors during the year’s warm and sunny months provides a lot of enjoyment. As long as sunscreen is involved and avoidance of prolonged exposure is practiced, we should all do fine, for the most part.

But subjecting yourself to the dangers of tanning beds just seems unimaginable when you take a look at the statistics. “Sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths give out the same type of harmful radiation as sunlight,” informs NHS Choices, “UVA rays make up about 95% of sunlight. They can cause your skin to age prematurely, making it look coarse, leathery and wrinkled. UVB rays make up about 5% and cause your skin to burn.”

And have you ever considered exactly what a tan actually is? As mentioned earlier, a tan reflects skin damage. But as NHS Choices explains it, “a tan is your body’s attempt to protect itself from the damaging effect of UV rays.” Have you experienced any skin damage due to tanning? If so, contact the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818 to learn about the various treatments that we offer that may help you.

August 12, 2014

// Skin Care

6 Ways To Protect Your Skin This Fall

No, summer is not over yet. And, don’t get us wrong, it’s not like we’re trying to rush it or anything. But the end of summer is inevitable. And a little over of a month from now, we’ll all be welcoming the new fall season. The kids will be back in school and the weather will return to that noticeable chill each morning that stubbornly won’t disappear throughout the day. So why do we have to bring up the fall so soon?

Well, it’s not to put a damper on your day. It’s simply to provide a reminder that when summer ends, your attention to protecting your skin shouldn’t disappear along with it. Most of us think about putting on sunscreen throughout the summer, simply because the heat from the sun is more noticeable. But an absence of heat doesn’t indicate the disappearance of the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, protection is always needed. Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Get Rich! No, we don’t mean that you have to win the lottery to protect your skin – although that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? On HuffingtonPost.ca, Cheyl Koziriz suggests that we use richer moisturizers and heavier skincare products when the fall season arrives. With less heat and humidity, your skin will tend to dry faster. To balance things out, your body could benefit from more nourishing formulas, she writes.

2. Gently Exfoliate. Exfoliation can be beneficial for your skin, but it’s important to be gentle, insists Karen Sinclair Drake on DrFrankLipman.com. “Summer damage can result in cellular build-up on the skin’s surface,” she writes, “To effectively remove dead skin cells and leave the skin smooth, it is advisable to frequently exfoliate using mildly acidic, natural formulations.” Your skin will thank you following a sweat-laden summer when its pores were more susceptible to clogging.

3. Use Sunscreen. As mentioned earlier, many of us associate sunscreen with the summertime. But as Vicki Clinebell reminds us on SheKnows.com, the number one recommendation that dermatologists make to their patients is to always wear sunscreen. That means putting it on all year round! “The main cause of wrinkles and discoloration is sun damage,” she informs us, “A daily application of sunscreen with at least an SPF-15 protection rating is vital in keeping your skin soft and youthful.”

4. Get Your Blood Circulating. When the weather cools down, the circulation of your blood is bound to be impeded. Regular exercise is a worthwhile tip no matter what type of healthful outcome you’re looking to achieve. But as Koziriz tells us, good blood flow can help to rejuvenate the skin. She recommends using a face oil with such ingredients as seaweed, algae, ginger root, ginseng and lemon oil to increase circulation and warm up the skin.

5. Stay Hydrated. This is also a great piece of health advice no matter what time of year it is. Drake reminds us that “drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day will keep your skin moisturize and help eliminate toxins effectively. Have an extra glass of water for every glass of alcohol/cup of coffee you take to prevent possible dehydration. Try to get as much water as possible from fresh fruits and vegetables.”

6. Keep It Clean. The regular cleansing of your skin will always be a beneficial practice. Writes Clinebell: “Gentle cleansing removes dirt and irritants from the skin and combats the effects of pollution and airborne bacteria. Select a creamy cleanser if you have dry skin or a clear cleanser for oily skin. Warm water will help loosen dirt from your pores, but hot or very cold water can cause broken capillaries.”

August 5, 2014

// Spider Veins

How Does Nutrition Impact Spider Veins?

Spider veins. We hate them. And for those of us who have them, we live our daily lives thinking of ways to either hide them or make them disappear. Vancouver-based blogger, Ruby is one such individual. On PaleoHacks.com, she writes that for a decade, she worked a number of jobs that all required extended periods of standing. And before hitting her 30th birthday, she noticed the appearance of spider veins in her legs, as a result.

Her first attempt to diminish them came by way of wearing compression stockings. They didn’t do much to help, she reports. In fact, she noticed that they ended up getting worse. The stockings, however, weren’t the problem. Ruby admits that her addiction to sugar was discovered to be a factor in the appearance of the “swollen” and “clustered” spider veins in her legs. So what to do?

Avoid Sugar. Ruby tried a diet void of sugar and grains for two weeks and noticed that her spider veins began to slowly disappear. Apparently, the less sugar in your diet, the less your spider veins thrive. “I know that sugar can destroy capillaries, but I always thought this applied to people with diabetes,” she writes, “but it makes intuitive sense to me that sugar could destroy healthy blood vessels as well, and leave them less able to shunt blood in and out effectively.”

HealWithFood.org couldn’t agree more that a healthy diet can help to reduce the appearance of spider veins. Since it should probably go without saying that eating nutritious foods is an integral part of maintaining optimum health, it should probably come as no surprise that healthy eating is helpful in the fight against spider veins. Here are just a few tips provided by the website to help those with spider and varicose veins to win their fights!

Restrict Calories Consumed. “A high energy intake is associated with an increased risk of varicose veins because it can contribute to the development of obesity and excess body weight,” reads HealWithFood.org. The site notes that by losing as little as ten per cent of your body weight, you can significantly reduce the appearance of varicose veins in the legs. Restricting calories and increasing physical activity will help with this process.

Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in Vitamin C. “Vitamin C is needed for the manufacturing of collagen and elastin, two important connective tissues that help keep veins strong and toned. Vitamin C is also known to increase circulation,” says HealWithFood.org. So when a person is short on this awesome and very popular vitamin, he or she becomes more susceptible to spider and varicose veins. Eat those oranges people!

Drink Enough Water. Hydration is important, no matter how you look at it. So drinking a lot of water and avoiding alcohol, coffee and tea is essential to your overall health. With that said, the website recommends that you eat a lot of fibre, but also drink a lot of water to avoid constipation. With your body hydrated and working in proper condition, you put a lot less stress on it. This will help for spider veins to diminish.

As you can imagine, there are numerous things that we can eat and not eat to help for spider and varicose veins to disappear. But sometimes, taking more effective measures is necessary. When all else fails, Sclerotherapy is a treatment that is considered the “gold standard” in the removal of spider veins. Unlike laser treatments, the injection of a “sclerosing solution” is involved to close off “feeder veins”, causing them to disappear.

For more information, or to book a consultation, please contact the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.