Skin Care

Ebony

In This Article:

  • Recommended Products for Healthy Skin
  • Skin Care is Color Blind
  • What You Must Know
  • How is African-American Skin Unique?
  • Dark Skin and Sun Damage
  • Think Skin Type, Not Skin Color
  • It might surprise you to learn that darker skin tones do not require special skin-care products. Why not? Because skin color is not a skin type!

None of the research indicates that skin color has anything to do with the skin-care products you need. It’s not that darker skin tones don’t have some physiological differences from lighter skin tones; it’s just that those differences don’t impact what products you should be using. Read on to find out what everyone needs for healthy, beautiful skin—regardless of its color.
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Skin Care is Color Blind

When it comes to skin care, skin is skin—no matter the color. Think of it like your diet: Regardless of our ethnic background, we all need the same nutritious foods (that supply antioxidants, fatty acids, protein, vitamins, etc.) to be healthy. The exact same concept applies to skin. Skin is the body’s largest organ which is why everyone’s skin needs the same ingredients to address dry skin, acne, wrinkles, sun damage, uneven skin tone, oily skin, rosacea, sensitive skin, and so on. All of these problems affect every color of skin.

Everyone’s skin also needs the same basics to care for it: gentle cleansing, sun protection, and state-of-the-art products for their skin type. It is also important to avoid problematic ingredients such as alcohol, menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, lime, and natural or synthetic fragrances. Exposure to irritants always will worsen any condition on any color of skin.

What You Must Know

  • Always use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser (avoid bar soaps; they are too drying, can clog pores and cause skin to look ashy and feel dry).
  • Always choose products that are appropriate for your skin type (i.e. gels and serums for oily or combination skin; creams and lotions for dry skin).
  • Always use a well formulated sunscreen during the day (the most typical cause of uneven skin tone for women of color is sun damage).
  • Always use products loaded with state-of-the-art ingredients including antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients.
  • Always read ingredient labels or get product recommendations from The Paula’s Choice Research Team’s reviews on Beautypedia.

How is African-American Skin Unique?

Although basic skin-care needs are the same for everyone, there are some issues that darker skin tones are more likely to experience. For example, African-Americans may be more prone to skin issues like keloidal (raised) scarring, pronounced hyperpigmentation, and ingrown hairs.

Research shows that the only real difference between African-American skin and Caucasian skin is the amount, size, and distribution of melanin (the cells which produce our skin’s pigment). Excess melanin accounts for the darkened or ashen appearance darker skin has when it’s irritated or sun damaged, whereas the same conditions would cause lighter skin to appear pink, red, or, if more melanin is present or stimulated, mottled tan.

Dark Skin and Sun Damage

Everyone’s skin color is created by the amount of melanin in their skin. More melanin means darker skin color; less means lighter skin color. Having lots of melanin gives women of color an added advantage when it comes to how their skin handles sun exposure and how soon the damage becomes visible. Essentially, the more melanin your skin has, the more natural defense your skin has against the sun.

Although the extra melanin is good news for those with darker skin tones, it doesn’t mean damage from unprotected sun exposure isn’t happening. Uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and slower healing time (particularly for scars) is primarily a result of sun damage. Even though it takes longer and more intense sun exposure for visible damage to occur on darker skin, sun damage is always greater on skin that’s chronically exposed to sun than skin that’s properly protected. All skin, no matter what color, can absolutely be damaged by the sun and everyone needs to reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen at regular intervals during long days outdoors, especially after swimming or perspiring.

Think Skin Type, Not Skin Color

Just to review, skin color is not a skin type, and skin type is definitely what should dictate which products you use. How you treat oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, rosacea, acne, clogged pores, eczema, skin discolorations, wrinkles, or sun damage is the same, regardless of your skin color.

Rather than get misled by slick marketing convincing you to buy products based on ethnicity, follow The Paula’s Choice Research Team’s approach: Use products that suit your skin type and condition, not your skin color. We’ve even made it easy for you because our skin care reviews and recommendations at Beautypedia are all categorized by skin type!

The bottom line is that regardless of your skin color or ethnicity, everyone needs a skin-care routine that includes:

Gentle cleansing

  • Effective exfoliation to improve skin texture and tone
  • A state-of-the-art moisturizer (over dry areas, including around the eyes)
  • Broad-spectrum, daily protection from a sunscreen rated SPF 25 or greater
  • Appropriate treatments for skin discolorations (hydroquinone-based products or proven alternatives), blemishes, dry skin, oily skin, and rosacea.

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth scientific research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! Learn more at Shop Paula’s Choice.

Original article: Skin Care

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Hips & Butt (For Girls)

Ebony

Follow these 5 rules for stronger, better-looking glutes. Your aching back, tight hips, and saggy jeans will thank you!

Strong, round glutes are the foundation of a great physique and a healthy body. Unfortunately, many of us have weak glutes that just get weaker because we sit all day. Aside from not looking so great, feeble butt muscles can cause a litany of postural problems and pain issues. Even worse, having a weak bum means your primary lifts like the squat and the deadlift aren’t as strong as they could be. If that doesn’t motivate you to put some muscle on your backside, I don’t know what will!

To restore your ailing glutes, you need to make training them a priority. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with constantly tight hips and probably contract flat-ass disease.

Save your butt from these depressing side effects by following these five rules. They’ll help you feel stronger and more mobile. They’ll also help you add some great-looking curves to your rear end.

Hit Them Baby One (Okay, Three) More Times

If your training routine only calls for one glute-specific workout per week, it’s time to ramp things up. Glutes adapt well to frequency— the more often you train them, the quicker they grow in size and strength. Rather than performing a single glute workout once per week, add booty-busting exercises to each workout you do during the week.

Try this: Add loaded hip thrusts, glute bridges, hip abduction exercises, back extensions, or hip extension exercises to your daily workouts.

Mix Up Your Hip Extension

Hip extension is important for pelvic stability and daily movement. Walking, running, standing, and sitting in with proper posture begins and ends with your butt.

In this age of computers and cubicles, people spend most of their time in hip flexion (seated position). More often than not, long bouts of sitting cause tight quads, a tight psoas muscle, and weak hip extensors—namely the gluteus maximus.

To alleviate these symptoms and put yourself on a path to a perkier posterior, it’s wise to activate your hip extensors regularly. Hip extension occurs when the thighs or pelvis move rearward. The most common—and best—exercises for hip extension are the squat and deadlift. These two lifts belong in your lifting regimen along with assistance exercises to pack on glute mass.

Try this: Use squats and deadlifts as a primary hip extension exercises and add in one or two assistance exercises to each routine. Assistance lifts include, but aren’t limited to: the Romanian deadlift, single-leg Romanian deadlift, hip thrust, glute bridge, back extension, reverse hyperextension, glute kickback, and donkey kick.

Add a Little Abduction, Too

Your hips articulate in several ways other than the all-important extension. Your hips can also move in flexion, medial and lateral rotation, adduction, and abduction. If you move your hips in circles, you’ll get the idea. Along with hip extension, another important element of strong glutes is hip abduction, or moving the thighs outward from your midline.

Your glute medius is a major abductor of the thigh. Its anterior fibers rotate the hip internally while the posterior fibers rotate the hip externally. A strong glute medius will control any unwanted sideways movement in your pelvis. For example, if your left hip drops when you stand on your right leg, your right glute medius is probably weak. An unlevel pelvis can lead to other issues like IT band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome, neither of which is pleasant.

Try this: To strengthen the glute medius, add 2 sets of 10 reps of standing cable hip abduction and 2 sets of 12 reps of seated band hip abduction twice per week.

Keep  Your Booty Active

If you sit on them all day, your glutes will just become weaker and weaker. This weakness can be compounded when other muscles have to take over a lift in order to compensate for them. Avoid a weak booty by doing a series of activation and mobility drills for at least 10 minutes a day. Practicing glute activation will help them fire during every exercise.

Try this: Perform 10 reps of each exercise once per day.

  • Single-leg bodyweight glute bridge
  • Fire hydrant
  • Bird dog
  • Standing glute squeeze

Get Tense

Mechanical tension is the bee’s knees when it comes to muscle growth. Mechanical tension occurs when you passively stretch or actively contract the muscle. Passive tension is how your hamstring muscles feel at the bottom of a Romanian deadlift, and active tension is how your biceps feel as you contact in a barbell curl. Both are key players in muscle growth, and both can make a big difference in gluteal development.

When using a full range of motion (ROM), your muscles are placed under a combination of both passive and active tension. For example: At the bottom of a squat, your glutes are in a stretched (passive tension) position; at the top, they’re in a squeezed (active tension) position.

Maintaining this tension through a full range of motion is optimal for gains. To do it, control your reps, keep a steady tempo, and don’t rely on momentum to get through the exercise—oh, and don’t skimp on the ROM.

Try this: To increase mechanical tension, use a tempo for your exercises. Tempo is expressed as a series of 3 or 4 numbers, such as 2-2-2. The first number is the number of seconds in the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement, the second number is the pause, and the third number is the number of seconds in the concentric (lifting) portion of the movement.

You can incorporate an exercise tempo as simple as 2-2 or 3-3. You can also incorporate a pause in the middle, like 3-3-3, or even have a longer eccentric portion like a 4-3 tempo. Remember, though, that adding a tempo doesn’t mean you get to forgo a full range of motion.

Original article: Great Hips & Ass

 

Sun Strategies

Ebony

With summer on the horizon, the sun and surf are waving you in. Get prepped and primed for the beach — starting now — in a few simple steps.

Stock Up on Sunscreen

It’s your skin’s best friend. Think you can squeeze out a few drops from last year’s half-used bottle? Not so fast. “If you’ve had sunscreen around for more than a year, you’re probably not using enough or it’s probably expired. Get some new stuff,” says dermatologist Thomas Rohrer, MD, of Chestnut Hill, Mass.

For the ultimate protection, look for three key phrases on the label: broad spectrum (which blocks both UVA and UVB rays), water resistant (up to 40 or 80 minutes), and SPF 30 or higher.

Don’t skimp. You need enough to fill a shot glass for one application, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Reapply at least every two hours, more often when you’re swimming or sweating. Lips can burn too, so give them a little love with a SPF 30 lip balm.

Upgrade Your Whole-Body Skin Care

Trade dry winter skin for a healthy summer glow with a one-two punch of exfoliation and moisture. “Exfoliation is a good thing to turn over the dead layer of skin on the surface,” Rohrer says. “And skin always looks better when it’s moisturized.”

Step one: Slough off dead, flaky skin in the shower with a loofah or exfoliating scrub. Step two: Slather on moisturizer as soon as you get out of the bath or shower to lock in hydration.

Want a sun-kissed glow before stepping in the sand? A self-tanner will do the trick. Just remember that it doesn’t protect your skin from the sun, so you still need sunscreen. Don’t use tanning beds. Just like the sun, their ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.

Spruce Up Neglected Areas

Get those spots you kept under wraps all winter ready for their summer debut.
Treat your feet to a warm, soapy soak. Then exfoliate dry skin and soften rough calluses with a salt scrub and pumice stone. Follow this with a thick moisturizer specifically made for hands and feet. Get toenails ready by cutting them straight across and slightly rounded in the center, which will keep them strong and prevent ingrown toenails. The perfect accessory: a fresh coat of polish.

For smooth, stubble-free skin, you have plenty of options. At-home and salon remedies like shaving, depilatories, and waxing can be easy, safe, and inexpensive.
To prevent irritation, do it a day or two before hitting the beach. For long-term removal, Rohrer suggests electrolysis or laser treatment.

Wear the Right Stuff

Stock your beach tote with protective gear.

“Make sure you have a hat,” Rohrer says. “Baseball caps are OK but not great; it’s better to have a broad brim all the way around.” Broad-brim hats help protect the ears, which are often forgotten and a common place for skin cancer.

Use a leave-in conditioner or UV-protective spray to coat and protect your strands. If your hair is thinning, remember sunscreen for your scalp.

To protect eyes and reduce sun glare, pick up a pair of polarized sunglasses that block 99%-100% of both UVA and UVB rays.

Extra layers, like a long-sleeve shirt or cover-up, help shield skin from the sun’s rays. Rohrer recommends sun-protective clothing, which protects skin and dries quickly.

Tone Up

‘It’s not too late to shape up for swimsuit season.

“You can absolutely improve your fitness and muscle tone within a month – if you get moving!” says Juliet Kaska, a celebrity trainer and owner of JK FitnessPilates Studio in Los Angeles. The key, she says, is to become active. Burn calories every chance you get by walking, running, or even dancing.

You can also boost metabolism and build lean muscle with strength training. For a power move, Kaska recommends walking lunges with oblique twists. Start with feet together, a medicine ball in front of your chest, and elbows out to the side. Step forward with your right foot, bending both knees into a lunge. Hold. Push the ball forward, then twist to your right, keeping hips still. Hold. Return to neutral, then pull the ball back to your chest. Step your left leg forward, returning you to the start position. Repeat on the left side. Do 15 times on each side.

To flatten your tummy, try Pilates. “Activating your deep core muscles draws your waistline in, giving the illusion of lost weight even if you haven’t stuck to your diet,” she says.

Elongate

Last but definitely not least: Stand tall. Not only can good posture enhance your appearance, but it also boosts confidence, which will give you an inner glow that radiates for miles.