Essential Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin


from the Skin Health Center

When is the last time you thought about your skin beyond worrying over a wrinkle or praying that a pimple would be gone before an important event? The reality is that your skin is far more than just a top layer to be washed, creamed and made up. Your skin is your body’s primary defense system against disease. As such, it might be time you treated it with more respect.

Skin: the basics

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It provides a thin, yet very effective, barrier to billions of health threats (called pathogens) found in the world that would love nothing more than to sneak past your skin’s defenses and make you sick. But if you don’t take care of your skin on a daily basis, it may become dry, rough and chapped, providing an opening for pathogens that could harm your health.

Skin plays other roles in your overall health, as well. It helps keep you cool or warm, insulates you, stores energy and provides sensation through touch so you can interact with the outside world beyond what you see and hear.

Maintaining skin health

Numerous things in the environment are harmful to your skin. Environmental pollution, ultraviolent light (sunshine), extreme temperatures, wind, sweating and using the wrong skin products can all damage that important outer layer.

The good news is that you have the power to maintain healthy skin. Among the steps you can take:

  • Protect your skin from the sun. That means using an SPF 30 sunscreen on your face every day, even on days you don’t plan to leave the house or office and even on days the sun doesn’t shine. That’s because you’re still exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays through windows and clouds. Thankfully, today it’s easy enough to ensure sunscreen coverage; many moisturizers and even liquid and powder makeup contain sunscreen.

    When you are in the sun, slather on the sunscreen. You should use enough to fill a shot glass each time you apply it (in fact, how about keeping a shot glass in your beach bag?). And wear a broad-brimmed hat; those baseball caps might be cute, but they’re not doing much to keep the sun off your ears and the back of your neck.

  • Protect your skin from dryness. The epidermis is made up of about 30 percent water, much of which is bound in the lipids that help prevent the water from evaporating. You can increase your skin’s ability to bind water by using a good-quality moisturizer. Natural moisturizing ingredients include citrate, various minerals, urea, lactate and amino acids.
  • Clean your skin properly. Water alone won’t do it. You need something to clear out the oily residue that can clog pores and lead to pimples. Compounds that do this are called surfactants. But stay away from soap; most soaps are alkaline, which can change the delicate pH balance of your skin and cause itching, redness, flaking and dryness. Instead, opt for liquid cleansers and cleansing creams with natural ingredients like beeswax and mineral oil to dissolve dirt. Other moisture-replenishing ingredients include vegetable and fruit oils and less-irritating surfactants such as coconut oil (cocamidopropyl), amphoteric surfactants, alkyl ether sulfates and alkyl glyceryl ether sulfonate.

    Also chill out on how you wash your skin. Ditch the rough exfoliating buffer or washcloth and opt instead for just splashing warm water on your skin to remove the cleanser or using a soft cloth. You also don’t need to wash your face more than twice a day. And make sure you wash with warm—not hot—water.

  • Check your skin carefully. If you’re 40 or older, you should have a health care professional perform a total body scan every year to look for any signs of skin cancer. If you’re younger, you should get a body scan every three years. And all women should examine their own skin periodically.

Remember, your skin is one of the most important components in your quest for good health. Just as you take care of your body from the inside out by eating well and exercising, you need to take care of your body from the outside in, by protecting your skin as that all-important barrier.

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© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at:


Pilates for Pink: 5th annual national breast cancer awareness initiative


5 Years of Pilates for Pink

Join SHAPE and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® for their 5th annual national breast cancer awareness initiative, Pilates for Pink. To date, SHAPE has raised over $700,000 through the nationwide Pilates for Pink campaign!

Attend Pilates in the Park
Sunday, October 3rd, 9am-5pm | Union Square Park North, NYC

SHAPE up for a cause with group Pilates classes taught by Equinox instructors and try out the all-new fitness equipment from at our NYC event. Try free samples, get exclusive offers and go pink at Pilates in the Park.

Join SHAPE for Pilates in the Park in
Union Square, New York City!

Each class is $25. For your donation to BCRF you will receive:

  • Registration in a 40-minute Pilates class.
  • A Pilates mat to use during the class, and to keep for your use at home!
  • A Pilates for Pink Swag Bag stuffed with goodies from our sponsors*.
  • PLUS! Enjoy lots of fun activities from our sponsors before or after your class — including samples, demonstrations, Spin & Win giveaways and much more! Classes are open to all levels. No previous Pilates experience is required to participate. Participants must be 18 years or older. Come dressed in comfortable workout attire. Towels will be provided.
  • For more info visit

New Book to Help Hispanics Prevent Heart Disease and Diabetes


In a recent American Heart Association survey of Hispanic Americans, 45 percent thought they were at ideal heart health. However, 66 percent of those surveyed said a health professional told them they had a risk factor for heart disease and/or needed to make a lifestyle change to improve their heart health. These findings indicate that most people don’t associate important risk factors such as poor diet and physical inactivity with heart disease.

Further survey findings show that whites (83 percent) are more likely than Hispanics (71 percent) to have visited a doctor within the past year. Hispanics are also further behind whites in knowing their blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes are the leading causes of death among Hispanics.  The majority of Hispanics are not aware that these can be prevented with simple lifestyle changes.

This book can help teach Hispanic families how to identify their risk factors as well as steps to lower their risk. “Tomo contol de su salud” is a step by step guide which is easy to understand and includes many pictures and charts.

Heart disease, diabetes and stroke are the leading causes of death among Hispanics, but you CAN prevent them. One out of four Hispanics die from heart disease or stroke. Hispanic people are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to non-Hispanics. Hispanics develop heart disease risk factors ten years younger than non-Hispanics. This book will teach you and your family how to prevent a heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

Available at for only $10

Also available at and

Nuevo libro para ayudar a los Hispanos a prevenir enfermedades cardíacas y la diabetes


Las enfermedades del corazon, derrames cerebrales y la diabetes son las principales causas de muerte entre los Hispanos.

La mayoría de los Hispanos no son conscientes de que estos pueden evitarse con cambios de estilo de vida simple.

Este libro puede ayudar a enseñar a las familias hispanas como identificar sus factores de riesgo así como las medidas para disminuir el riesgo.  “Tome control de su salud” es una guia paso a paso que es facil de entender e incluye muchas fotos y graficos.

La emfermedades del corazón, la diabetes, y los accidents cerebrovasculares son las principales causas de muerte entre los hispanos, pero se pueden prevenir.

Uno de cada cuatro Hispanos mueren de emfermedad cardiaca o accidente cerebrovascular.

Los Hispanos tienen el doble de probabilidades de desarollar diabetes en comparación con los no hispanos.

Los Hispanos desarrollan los factores de riesgo cardiovascular diez anos mas jovenes que los no hispanos.

Este libro le enseñara a su familia como prevenir un ataque cardíaco, accidente cerebrovascular y la diabetes.

Visite nuestro sitio http://www.heart-strong para obtener más detalles.

 Oferta especial solamente $10

Vaya a


Insulin Therapy and Your Life


 If your doctor just started you on insulin therapy, you’ve likely had diabetes for a while and you know the importance of following a healthy diet, exercising regularly and monitoring your blood sugar levels. Nothing changes in terms of these requirements now that you’re on insulin. Hopefully, you’ll find it easier to keep fasting blood sugar levels in your target range and to reach an A1C of less than 7 percent.

You may be wondering about the effect of insulin on other aspects of your life. Here’s what we know:

Your sex life. You may have noticed changes in your libido and sexual life since your diagnosis of diabetes. High blood sugar can reduce vaginal lubrication, leading to dryness and pain during intercourse. It can also increase the risk of vaginal infections, which can make sex more painful. Long-term damage to small blood vessels can occur when diabetes isn’t well controlled, resulting in decreased arousal. Since insulin should provide better control of your blood sugar, with fewer episodes of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), you may see these symptoms improve.

Pregnancy. Having diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, early labor and delivery, as well as preeclampsia and congenital defects in the baby. However, the best thing you can do to prevent these issues is to control your blood sugar levels before and during your pregnancy. In fact, all guidelines regarding pregnancy and diabetes recommend starting insulin therapy before getting pregnant so women can achieve target blood sugar (glucose) levels before conceiving. Taking insulin during your pregnancy is perfectly safe. One study that reviewed 10 years of pregnancy outcomes in women with type 2 diabetes found those taking insulin during pregnancy had significantly lower rates of complications. If you use oral medications for blood sugar control, talk to your health care provider about whether they are approved for use during pregnancy.

Menopause. Once you are menopausal, your body’s production of insulin drops even further, increasing insulin resistance. The fact that you’re already taking insulin is a good thing, but be sure to monitor your blood sugar for changes in your insulin requirements after menopause. As for hormone therapy, the decision is up to you and your health care professional. Replacement estrogen and/or progesterone therapy is recommended only for short-term use to address symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, but not for long-term use. The same recommendations apply if you have diabetes. An analysis of 107 studies found that hormone therapy reduces insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar levels in women with type 2 diabetes. However, if you have any significant risk factors for heart disease, talk with your doctor about whether hormone therapy is right for you and about other steps you can take to reduce your risks.

Other medications. People with diabetes often need other medications, such as a statin to control cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering drugs. Some drugs can increase your response to insulin; others can reduce it. Those that may increase the blood sugar-lowering effects of insulin include ACE inhibitors, fibrates, certain antidepressants, most oral anti-diabetes medications, some anti-arrhythmia drugs, certain pain relievers, hormones and antibiotics. Drugs that can reduce the blood sugar-lowering effects of insulin include certain steroids, niacin, diuretics, albuterol, certain hormone medications like thyroid hormones and estrogen and progesterones in oral contraceptives, as well as some psychiatric medications such as olanzapine and clozapine. Beta blockers, clonidine and lithium can make you more susceptible to hypoglycemia, while pentamidine can cause hypoglycemia, sometimes followed by hyperglycemia. Remind every health care professional who prescribes any drug for you that you take insulin, and ask if the drug will affect your blood sugar levels. Taking insulin for your diabetes doesn’t have to change your life. In fact, given the evidence regarding the benefits of insulin therapy in diabetes, it will help you have a longer, healthier life.

This content was developed with the support of sanofi aventis. For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit the areas below.

Diabetes Health Center : Healthy Living Center : Midlife & Beyond: Pregnancy Center : Menopause Center: References American Diabetes Association. Standards of me dical care in diabetes–2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(Suppl 1):S11-61. Ekpebegh CO , Coetzee EJ, Merwe Lvd, et al. A 10-year retrospective analysis of pregnancy outco me in pregestational Type 2 diabetes: comparison of insulin and oral glucose-lowering agents. Diabetic Medicine. 2007;24(3):253-258. Giraldi A, Kristensen E. Sexual dysfunction in women with diabetes mellitus. J Sex Res. 2010;47(2):199-211. Lantus [product information]. Bridgewater , NJ : Sanofi Aventis; 2007. Mahmud M, Mazza D. Preconception care of women with diabetes: a review of current guideline recommendations. BMC Womens Health. 2010;10:5. Wedisinghe L, Perera M. Diabetes and the menopause. Maturitas. 2009;63(3):200-203.

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: