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health (209 posts)
Is mineral makeup allergy-safe?
How to stop breakouts
Help! I have dry, patchy skin!
A: The older I get, the more intrigued I am by the mysteries of the cosmos. You have an operation, all goes well (at least I hope it did), you resume your normal life...and one day a glance in the mirror reveals that your hair is a completely different texture. Yikes! Why?
I e-mailed David Kingsley, PhD, trichologist (explainer of all things hair related), who said that though it's very common to see hair loss about three months postsurgery—anesthesia can temporarily disrupt the hair growth cycle—he hasn't heard of anesthesia changing hair texture. He points out, though, that frizziness is a sign of dry hair, which could mean the oil glands on your scalp are less active than they were presurgery. Kingsley suggests that you switch to a shampoo for dry hair, condition after every shampoo, use a prewash deep conditioner at least once a week, drink lots of water to stay well hydrated, and take a primrose oil or omega-3 supplement.
Keep in mind: While you're waiting for your waves, a good antifrizz styling product will be very helpful.
Val Answers your top haircare questions
Why has my curly hair gone straight?
The best ways to tame frizzy summer hair
The Huffington Post's Healthy Living section has an eye-opening slideshow about foods that contain more sugar than a Twinkie. The one that really threw us for a fruit-loop wasn't kids' cereal but yogurt, that calcium-rich, go-to treat for for nutritionists, athletes and the nutrition-obsessed everywhere. HuffPo reports that an 8-ounce container of vanilla yogurt can have around 31 grams of sugar, while a 6-ounce container of the fruit-flavored kind can have around 32 grams. That's almost almost double the amount in a spongey, "cream"-filled snack cake!
But before you toss that tub, check the nutritional info, as sugar and portion sizes vary widely. For example, we found that that amount of sugar in Stonyfield Farms yogurt seems to increase in inverse proportion to the fat content: for French vanilla flavor, the non-fat had 17 grams, low-fat had 21 grams, and whole milk had 22 grams--more than a Twinkie, but less than the unspecified brands of yogurts HuffPo was referring to. Their slideshow did include this great piece of advice: When in doubt, or if nutrition info isn't readily available, go for Greek yogurt, which naturally has less sugar because of the straining process used to give it that thick, rich consistency. (Check out the slideshow to find out what other foods are more sugary than Twinkies--and let us know if any of these surprised you).
A: I'm always happy when I see a question with the words skincare and tight budget, because it's easy to put together a simple, effective, and inexpensive routine. Here, according to Arielle Kauvar, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, is what you need:
1. A gentle cleanser for morning and night. Skip any that contain treatment ingredients—they only get washed off.
2. A serum or lotion with an antioxidant (like vitamin C, E, polyphenols, or CoffeeBerry), to be applied after morning cleansing.
3. A moisturizer with sunscreen to be applied after the antioxidant.
4. An exfoliating scrub or a microdermabrasion-type brush (to be used with cleanser) to smooth the skin once or twice a week (or less frequently if your skin is sensitive).
5. A moisturizer and/or retinoid treatment product for bedtime.
Keep in mind: All the products Kauvar suggests can be bought for a reasonable price at the drugstore.
Val Monroe's skincare regimen
How to keep hands looking youthful
Do firming lotions work?
But it's really not a good year for allergy sufferers who happen to live in Knoxville, Tennessee—recently ranked as the most challenging place to live with hay fever by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). These rankings of the 100 largest US metro areas are based on pollen scores, number of allergy meds used per patient, and number of allergy specialists per patient. You can see the full list, and find out where your city ranked, by checking out the AAFA's web site. You may also want to head over to Weather.com, which has some interesting explanations of how cities broke into the top ten--for example, Louisville, Kentucky (#3 on the list) is plagued by poor air quality, and air pollution tends to exacerbate allergy symptoms.
Are you already sick of sneezing (and the season has just begun!)? Maybe you're taking your antihistamines at the wrong time, or maybe you just need a little more practice with the neti pot. Read more about these and other doctor-recommended allergy busters: 6 Reasons You're Still Suffering from Allergies
You wouldn't be able to pick Naomi Kutin out of a line-up at the yogurt place at the mall. Sure, she's trim, with strong little legs...but you'd still never suspect that this wide-eyed 10-year-old is a weight-lifting champion who just broke the women's world record for squatting (that's women's record, not girls). Naomi, who's been training for years, recently lifted 215 pounds (over double her weight of 93!)--watch the NBC sports video to see how the pint-sized powerhouse was able to do this. On her Facebook page, Naomi says she's now focused on a bench press and deadlift contest the end of April. We hope it's only a matter of time before she starts training to lift cars off of trapped elderly people in order to hurl them at villains.
Dr. Oz explains why you should give strength training a chance
5 muscle-toning exercises you can do anywhere
3 myths about strength training
You know how it goes: the book club meeting gets raucous, or you realize you and your out-of-town friend have a lot to catch up on, or your partner decides to celebrate the unseasonably nice weather by throwing an impromptu party on the front porch (guest list: him, you, Monsieur Muscadet). Regardless of how it happened, you wake up with a pounding head, a dry mouth and a stomach that feels like it just came out of the laundry spin-cycle. Yoga instructor Tara Stiles says she has just the cure, and swears that yoga can clear your head. Stiles, who is known for her laid-back, asanas-for-the-masses approach, says that her Saturday mid-morning classes in NYC are usually packed with bleary-eyed people who overdid it the night before, and they leave her studio looking a lot happier and healthier than they did when they walked in. She shares three of her favorite morning-after poses with us, below. These are adapated from Stiles' new book, Yoga Cures, which includes her favorite yoga "remedies" for everything from office body to traveler's anxiety.
8 new fragrances that will add a little swing to your spring
6 great long-lasting makeup products
The 2012 spring makeup O-wards: The best new beauty products
Realize nothing is good to the last bite. “The most compelling part of a dish is the first three or four bites,” explains Thomas Keller of the three-Michelin-starred restaurants French Laundry and Per Se. “That’s when you get the maximum pleasure.” The takeaway: Move on to another course after a few forkfuls—or step away from the table altogether.
Delight in dessert. Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and Oprah’s former personal chef Art Smith (who lost 85 pounds three years ago) are two big-time chefs who allow themselves to indulge in a little bit of chocolate every day. As for other treats, Smith advises, “You have to say to them: ‘Yeah, you’re a friend of mine, but you can’t visit very often.’”
Stop being scared of salt. For those of us not watching our sodium intake, the spice can make a typical dieter’s meal—baked chicken, anyone?—taste better. “It’s got to be in the cooking [not added later],” says celeb chef Marc Murphy. “Salt brings the flavor out...Don’t. Be. Afraid.”
Eben Bayer grew up on a maple syrup farm in Vermont, helping his parents chop wood and bathing in water warmed by a homemade solar heater. But it wasn't until he went away to college near Albany, New York, that he heard the word green applied to his family's way of life—and saw how his bucolic past might shape his future. While devising an eco-friendly glue for a class on invention, Bayer remembered the sticky white substance—mycelium, the "root" of a mushroom—he'd occasionally seen growing on the wood chips his family used as fuel. "And I was struck by this wild idea," he says. "Why not use mushroom roots as glue?"
Bayer's professor encouraged him to pursue the idea, and soon Bayer and a classmate, Gavin McIntyre, were growing the wet, rubbery fungus in McIntyre's apartment. They discovered it was strong enough to bind together cornhusks, rice hulls, and other inedible by-products of farming. When baked with these materials, it produced an uncannily Styrofoam-like substance. Bayer and McIntyre knew they were onto something.
After graduating in 2007, the pair cofounded Ecovative Design, a company that sells biodegradable alternatives to materials like Styrofoam, which can remain in landfills for hundreds of years. Soon they were "growing" packaging for the office furniture company Steelcase and the computer giant Dell; they also recently inked a deal with Crate & Barrel. In a 10,000-square-foot facility in upstate New York, assembly-line robots now combine mushrooms with cornhusks and other food by-products from local farms; the fungi are then left in the dark to grow and digest parts of the husks before being baked (which kills the live organisms). Bayer hopes the mushrooms will eventually be used for everything from automobile parts (to replace the foam used in bumpers, for example) to flip-flops. "Our goal is to rid the planet of harmful disposable plastics," he says. "When that bag from the supermarket finds its way into a field, I want it to be nutrients for the field."
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Find your green-collar dream job
5 simple things you can do to save the environment