Six Tips To Safeguard Your Skin This Summer

summer skin tipsYou want to soak up that summer sun, but don't pay the price with premature skin aging, or an increased risk of skin cancer. Be smart and keep your skin safe with these summertime tips:

Start At Night To Build Skin Protection
A few weeks before that beach vacation, begin to wear sunscreen every night. Dermatologists say the technique builds up the outer layer of the skin and makes it less likely to burn.

Skip The Foundation
During summer, you can put away the foundation and opt for a daily moisturizer with a gradual self-tanner and SPF. It can give your skin a more natural glow and protect it from the harmful rays of the sun.

Get In Sync With Zinc
If you want fast coverage, look for a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum chemical protection plus zinc oxide, the original mineral-based sunscreen. Where chemical sunscreens might need 15 to 30 minutes to start working, zinc oxide begins protecting your skin immediately on application.

Stay Hydrated
Water is your body's friend during summer, and that includes your skin, too. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your skin looking it's best. And remember that when you begin to feel thirsty is when you're already dehydrated, so drink water throughout the day.

When In Doubt, Re-Apply
Don't be stingy with the sunscreen. To get the advertised protection for most products requires an application equal to a shot glass full of lotion, and that's a lot more than a typical handful of sunscreen. Consider the protection time listed on the product as the maximum, and be wary of sunscreens that promise long-lasting waterproof or sweat-proof protection.

Say “Hello” To My Big Floppy Friend
There's no better or easier skin protection than a wearing a hat that shields you from the sun's harmful rays. Look for one that's stylish and wide enough to protect your face, ears and neck and make it part of your outdoor summer wardrobe.


Five Steps To Healthy Conception

preconception health smLong before you're ready to have a baby is when you should start preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy, so when that time comes you'll improve your odds of conceiving and give your baby the best chance for a healthy start. You can begin now with these five steps.

Make Exercise a Habit
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. If you're breaking a sweat, you're doing it right. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve cardiovascular function that's important for mother and child when you're carrying a baby.

Cut Out Caffeine
It won't be good for you or your baby, so start saying “goodbye” to caffeine now. And while you're at it, begin to curb that sweet tooth to limit fat and sugar. This can help with weight management now and will pay dividends later when a high intake of saturated fats could increase the risk of pregnancy nausea.

Get The Right Nutrients
You can be pregnant before you know it, and some birth defects like spina bifida occur in the first weeks after conception. Folates are your best defense, so get more folic acid in your diet (think leafy green vegetables) and take a daily supplement or multivitamin that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid. Calcium and vitamin D are also important building blocks for a healthy mother and child.

Avoid Environmental Risks
Don't take chances with exposure to products that may be associated with infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. This includes pesticides and cleaning products with harsh chemicals. Some women also avoid using plastic containers and plastic wrap when microwaving food. And think twice about any pre-baby home makeover that could expose you to volatile chemicals from products like new carpeting. This also goes for the father-to-be because chemical exposure may affect his sperm and could lead to infertility or even birth defects.

Talk To Your Doctor
This should be tops on the preconception to-do list because your doctor can perform a complete checkup to look for any health issues that need special attention. This visit also establishes a baseline for tracking weight, blood pressure and other functions that are important for a healthy pregnancy.


Why Women Suffer More From Stress (And How You Can Stop It)

Women StressThese days, stress is a problem for men and women, but studies show that women are twice as likely to experience major depression, and women suffer from anxiety disorders up to three times more often than men. Why is that? Part of the answer involves hormones, but maybe not the ones you're thinking of.

When men and women are in stressful situations, the body releases cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels and can impair the immune system. The brain tries to counteract this by releasing oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone.

Men get less oxytocin so their reaction to stress can be more extreme, like “fight or flight.” Women get more oxytocin and that can mean a softer approach to stress. That's why women are more likely “tend and befriend” and reach out to solve stressful problems, but this kind of compromise can also mean that  your problems end up on the back burner.

If we know how stress is different for women, what can you do to deal with it? Some experts say an important part of the solution involves what you say to others and to yourself.

If you want to make life less stressful, practice using the words “yes” and “no” in equal parts to keep from overbooking yourself. Some obligations aren't optional, but others can be gracefully declined with a simple “no.” That might be hard when you want to “tend and befriend” but always placing other people’s needs before your own can allow stress to become a chronic problem.

You can also deal with stress by talking about it. Whether that's a conversation with a spouse, a family member, a friend or in a formal support group, look for people who can help you talk out the emotional experience and consider what might be done to solve a problem.

Finally, you should work to change the way you talk to yourself. Staying positive and using compassionate self-talk during stressful situations can help you calm down and focus on a solution. Tend and befriend yourself with the same kind of gentle, encouraging words that you’d use to help someone else and you can shut down stress before it builds.


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3 Steps To Beat PMS

three stepsIn our culture today, “PMS” is a kind of shorthand for the crazy things women do when it's almost “that time of the month.” It's even jokingly used as a verb, i.e., “She's PMS-ing.” But PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, isn't funny. It's a real health issue for many women and it should be treated.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 85 percent of women have experienced at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which is the physical and emotional changes that occur in the days before a woman's period.  The symptoms of PMS can range from mood swings, irritability and feeling overwhelmed to sleep problems, anxiety and depression.

While most women experience typical symptoms of PMS, about 5 percent suffer from a more-serious form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that can cause major disruptions of work and family life.

So, what's the best way to beat your PMS? Here's a three-step action plan:

Track It
Premenstrual syndrome is hard enough to live with, but it's almost impossible to know how to treat your PMS unless you track it. To help your doctor get a clear picture of what you're experiencing, you should keep a daily log of your PMS symptoms, whether those are physical or emotional. Do this for at least two months.

Treat It
An effective treatment for PMS might be getting more calcium and folic acid as part of a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Taking fish oil supplements may also help to ease the symptoms of PMS. Exercise such as yoga, running or even dancing can help to reduce the moodiness and depression associated with PMS.

Some women find that using hormone-based contraceptives like birth control pills can alleviate premenstrual problems because it suppresses ovulation. More serious symptoms of PMS or PMDD may call for treatment with an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.

Talk About It
One treatment for PMS is cognitive therapy, when you talk with a therapist about the symptoms you're experiencing and learn ways to retrain your thinking to lessen the effects of PMS. It can also be helpful to join a support group with other women who experience PMS. The members encourage each other to make lifestyle changes with diet and exercise that can ease the symptoms of PMS.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax