Every magazine article and tv commercial speaks about antioxidants and their seemingly miracle-working qualities. What are antioxidants really capable of and why do we need them? We take a little closer look.
Atoms, which make up molecules, are at the center stage of every chemical reaction that takes place within the body. To undertake ordinary chemical reactions, molecules should have a balanced charge. Balance in the molecules means everything is running smoothly, which translates to good health. The trouble begins when some atoms acquire an extra negative charge, transforming them into free radicals.
The free radicals roam the body looking for a balanced atom they can snatch an electron from to balance their charge. This solves the atom’s problems but creates another unbalanced molecule (free radical). As the free radicals increase in the body, many issues start to occur, including unhealthy chemical reactions and uncoordinated body functions. The resulting chemical stress can lead to diseases such as cancer, arthritis, respiratory and heart diseases. As long as there are free radicals in the body, the chain reaction continues, causing more chemical imbalances.
The damage caused by free radicals is known as oxidative stress. To counteract the oxidative stress, you require antioxidants. These are atoms whose work is to give the radical atoms the electrons they need to balance the charge. When there are enough antioxidants in the body, free radicals do not need to steal atoms from other atoms, breaking the chain.
Antioxidants that give away their electrons become oxidized so the radical molecules can gain balance and stop damaging the cells. Their mission is to find free radicals and prevent the reaction and formation of new radicals.
The key to chemical reactions is that they take place in the atoms, the core or foundation of the cells that make up the body organs. If the chemical reactions are altered in the cells, the entire body will react differently.
Origin of Free Radicals
Inhaling pesticides, household cleaners, smoking, radiation, alcohol consumption and exposure to industrial waste can expose you to free radicals. Processed foods, sugary foods, some medications, and emotional stress may raise the levels of free radicals in the body. This means that you need to take care of your diet, understand the chemical composition of prescribed drugs and steer away from radiation therapy if possible.
To ensure the body’s supply of antioxidants outnumber the free radicals, limit chemical exposure and consume foods high in vitamins and minerals. In fact, we recommend that you fill your plate with all colors of food. This ensures you get all the required nutrients to fight off the free radicals.
How do you get more antioxidant power?
Diet is one of the most important considerations. As you will realize, you cannot prevent the total formation of free radicals or oxidation because these are some of the byproducts of the body processes. Supplements and foods rich in minerals and vitamins are vital in achieving the optimal power to clean the body and stay healthy. Vitamin C is one of the vital nutrients required for this process.
To boost the protective power, you should make a conscious decision to eat foods high in antioxidant power. These include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It is important to note that how you prepare your meals can preserve or destroy their potency or ability to fight off destructive elements in the body. Deep frying food leads to oxidation and breakdown of nutrients and so does overcooking. Cooking over low heat ensures all the nutrients stay intact.
Stick to a healthy diet and ensure you include foods rich in Vitamin C, A, E, lutein, flavonoids, selenium, and lignan. As noted earlier, vitamin C is the best antioxidant, so make sure you eat foods rich in the vitamin, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and green leafy vegetables.
If you are worried about oxidation effects on your body, find solace in the fact that most bodily organs have a natural way of protecting themselves from this dangerous process. They can produce chemicals to fight oxidation and protect their cells from free radical damage. Being aware of the effects free radicals can have on your body can help you make better diet and lifestyle choices.
If you have questions about antioxidants in your body, contact our office today!Lear More
Sclerotherapy is a versatile treatment that targets spider veins, varicose veins, and other vein issues. It has been tried and tested over many years and has proven to be very effective. If you have any of these vein issues, this procedure may be right for you.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure that treats spider and varicose veins. Depending on how deep the abnormal vein is under your skin, your doctor may need to use ultrasound technology to see where the vein is located. Then, he or she will inject a specialized solution directly into the target vein. This solution is usually saline-based, but the chemical agent depends on the size of the vessel that needs to be treated.
Sclerotherapy will not only improve the appearance of veins, but it will improve venous blood flow and lower chronic swelling as well.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
Injecting the saline solution into a vein damages the inside lining of the vessel. This forms a clot that blocks circulation in the vein. This forces the body to reroute blood flow through healthier veins. The damaged vein will eventually become scar tissue and the body will reabsorb it under the skin. This absorption causes the vein to fade from view.
Who is a Possible Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Anyone who is in general good health and experiences unsightly spider or varicose veins is a good candidate for sclerotherapy. It can also be helpful for someone who suffers from venous insufficiency and cannot control the issue with the use of compression stockings.
Causes of Spider or Varicose Veins
There are a number of things that increase a person’s risks of developing vein issues.
Genetics. Almost half of the population of people who develop varicose veins have family members with the problem.
Age. As a person gets older, wear and tear cause vein valves to become weak.
Obesity. When a person is overweight, the extra weight strains the veins.
Gender. Women are much more likely to develop varicose veins. Hormones, pregnancy, and menopause increase the risks of development.
Prolonged Sitting or Standing. When a person sits with his or her legs bent, the veins must work harder to push blood to the heart.
What to Expect During the Procedure
When the procedure is about to begin, the patient lays on his or her back with legs elevated. Your doctor will clean the area and then insert the needle. When he or she removes the needle, the doctor will apply compression and then massage the area to prevent blood from entering the vessel. Immediately the following sclerotherapy, the patient will need to stand and walk so blood clots do not form.
Is Sclerotherapy Painful?
Sclerotherapy does require an injection into the skin, so the patient may experience some stinging or cramps when the syringe is inserted. Also, some feel pain from the saline solution being injected into the vein. The procedure should be otherwise pain-free unless a rare difficulty occurs.
All medical procedures pose a risk, but your doctor will discuss side effects before deciding if this therapy will work for you. For example, a person may experience hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), pain at injection site, temporary swelling, or an allergic reaction. In severe cases, a person may experience nerve damage.
Recovery and Aftercare of Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is performed on an outpatient basis; therefore, patients do not require hospitalization. Following the treatment, the patient will need to wear compression dressings for up to three weeks. A follow-up appointment after this recovery time will determine if further action is necessary.
After treatment, veins will fade within a few weeks. On rare occasions, it may take more than a month to see total results. More than one treatment may be necessary for larger veins.
Is Sclerotherapy Covered by Insurance?
Since sclerotherapy is often linked to the correction of spider veins, some see it as purely cosmetic. In these cases, most insurance companies will not cover the elective procedure. However, it can be used for other medical purposes, and if so, a doctor must document a patient’s condition. An insurance provider may cover the procedure if they understand the problems associated with a malfunctioning deep vein.
If you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, you may wish to consider sclerotherapy. Contact us to ask any additional questions you may have or to schedule a consultation where our providers will meet with you to discuss the issues you are facing and establish a plan of action.Lear More
Healthy skin and skin care routines are not just for women, men need to take care of their skin as well. Your skin is the barrier protecting your body from the outside elements, so protecting it is very important for your overall health. Here are some skin care tips for men.
What is a Holistic Approach to My Skin Care and Health?
A holistic approach to health involves treating your body as a machine. This means that each part needs to be tended to in order to keep the other parts functioning properly. Here are some ways you can take care of your body holistically:
- Be Attentive to Your Whole Body
- Eat Well
- Exercise Regularly
- Rest Well
- Keep Stress Levels Low
When many people think of skin care and dermatology, they only think of the skin on the face. However, skin care is about total body care. While it is true that some areas of the skin may be more sensitive or easily noticeable than others, it is a single organ that needs to be tended to. Therefore, use products that protect all of your skin—this includes full-body moisturization and finding a soap or body wash that does not dry out your skin.
There are some people who can eat poorly without seeing negative effects on their skin. However, for most of us, what we eat and how we live will directly affect our skin. As such, the first step to healthy skin is usually the same as taking the first step toward good general health—eat well and drink plenty of water.
Opt for natural, organic, and non-processed food items during mealtimes. A great place to start is increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. If you eat meat, stick to a leaner variety. Avoid sugars, sodas, and overly-salty foods.
Be sure to get regular, vigorous exercise as well. Exercise helps you exfoliate the skin, release toxins, manage your weight, and metabolize the food you eat. We recommend exercising each day at varying levels of intensity for at least half an hour.
Be sure to get the rest you need. Deep, relaxing sleep helps the body recuperate and replenish itself. This includes the skin. Without sufficient rest, the skin is likely to look aged, wrinkled, or swollen. The opposite is also true. Periods of physical and mental rest can do wonders for your total health and skin.
We may not be able to control all that we face, but we can manage how we respond to it. Developing a system of coping mechanisms—from meditation to nature walks—is a good place to start. This will prevent stress lines and promote overall well-being.
Should I Develop a Skin-Care Routine?
Yes! What you do to your skin topically is just as important to how well you eat and otherwise take care of yourself. The products you use and the actions you take can directly affect the look and feel of your skin. While it is often the last thing men think about, a skin-care routine including cleansing, moisturizing, and utilizing anti-aging options is the place to start.
Why is Moisturizing Important?
Many people undervalue and underutilize moisturizing, particularly men. Some consider it to be too feminine, while others are simply unaware of the value of a good moisturizer for one’s skin, and especially for men. Now that you have been informed, your next step is to seek out a moisturizer that works for you.
Admittedly, because men and women are different, it is important that men choose from among the moisturizers that are engineered for their skin.
What is a Good Shaving Routine to Protect My Skin?
Shaving is an important part of grooming for men. It is important to do it properly to avoid razor burn and other skin irritations. Therefore, when shaving your face, use this checklist:
- Wet your facial hair thoroughly.
- Use a high-quality shaving cream—these usually moisturize the skin and are less irritating to sensitive skin.
- Use high-quality shaving tools including a beard brush and a quality razor with clean and frequently-changed blades.
- Cleanse properly after shaving and use an aftershave lotion.
Should I Do Anything Differently for My Skin in the Winter?
All the aforementioned tips are great for every season of the year and should be practiced daily. However, these tips are particularly important for those times of the year when the weather is harshest.
In other words, it is even more important to use an effective moisturizer during the drying winter months. Contrary to popular belief, it is also important to wear sunscreen during these colder months. Cold weather does not mean the sun can no longer cause burns or other skin damage. Also, increasing water intake during these months can help. Adequate hydration maintains fresh, youthful-looking skin and serves as great support for the other topical options you are using.
Contact Us for More Skin Care Options
Here at Universal Dermatology and Vein Care, we offer skin care services, treatments, and product options that both men and women can benefit from. Available options are tailored to suit a wide range of skin conditions and skin-care goals and routines. The best place to start is by scheduling a consultation with one of our qualified dermatologists. Contact us today!Lear More
With the cold weather finally breaking up, many people are looking forward to enjoying warmer months under the sun. However, many people also do not consider some of the most important changes that they need to make to their skincare routine after winter ends. When you are ready to spend more time outside after a long winter break, prepare yourself with a few easy to remember winter skin care tips. These are particularly important to remember after you have had a chemical peel or some other intensive skin procedure done.
One of the easiest ways to take better care of your skin is to simply moisturize more. Moisturizing regularly with an oil-based moisturizer will help you create protective layers over your skin that can retain moisture much more efficiently than creams or lotions. Look for avocado, mineral, and almond oil, specifically, as these oils are nonclogging, which means that they can provide your body with the protection it needs without creating acne.
Be sure to put on sunscreen every time you plan on going out. Sunscreen is not only for summertime, as the winter sun, made more intense with a snow glare, can still damage your skin. Applying a broader spectrum sunscreen to your hands and face can ensure that you protect yourself all year round. Reapply this sunscreen regularly if you plan on staying outside for extended periods of time. Read the instructions and be sure to consult with a dermatologist if you have any skin conditions that you need to watch over.
Hydration is the key to keeping not only your skin, but your overall health well maintained. Drink the doctor recommended amount of water as regularly as possible, and make sure that you keep the air in your home hydrated as well. It is recommended for you to invest in a humidifier, as central heating systems, in addition to space heaters, blast hot air into the home and dry the moisture out. Humidifiers can help get more moisture back into the air, which will help keep your skin from drying out, ensuring a more vibrant appearance.Lear More
While many people may not be looking forward to winter skin care, the cold season is one of the best times of the year to treat some of your most annoying skin related problems. The wintertime is perfect for having a chemical peel done because it is when you spend the least amount of time in the sun.
Almost all effective skin care regimens feature one common trait: the promotion of exfoliation. When you allow your skin to shed its dead skin cells, you are promoting the regrowth of collagen and new, healthier skin cells. If you do not do anything to get rid of the skin cells in the first place, they simply stay on your body, giving your skin a dull and ashy appearance. Your body will not have any encouragement to produce fresh skin cells because the old ones will still be clogging your surface.
In order to make the most of your skin’s natural growth, chemical peels have numerous cosmetic and medical benefits. They can help optimize your skin health, no matter your skin type, by encouraging the growth of new cells. Cosmetically speaking, peels can help exfoliate your skin, improving your pore size and reducing fine lines along your skin. They can achieve these results, simply by removing the damaged layers outside of your skin and replacing them with healthier, new growth. During the winter, when you are not tanning and spending as much time facing the elements and sunlight, your skin will have much more time to heal.
Incorporating a chemical peel into your skin care regimen can be a good way to not only improve the effectiveness of the product but also ensure that the results of the peal last even longer. Your skin will look much better after exfoliation, and you will be able to enjoy a much more youthful appearance along with your dermis. Contact Universal Dermatology today to see what chemical peal options are available for you. Having an early consultation performed can be vital in ensuring that you do not suffer any unwanted side effects while maximizing your potential benefits.Lear More