Posts tagged "health"
Beauty is more than skin deep, and we’re not just talking about having a congenial personality. “Our skin can reflect what’s going on inside our body,” says dermatologist Anne Chapas, M.D., of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. ” As part of the immune system, the skin defends against environmental factors. But when your body is fighting an ailment, it can get overwhelmed and things like acne and redness can show up.” Here, how to read the signs in the mirror.
The cause: Hormonal imbalance
There’s a reason many women have breakouts on their chin right before their period: That part of the face is particularly sensitive to rises in progesterone and testosterone. Many women simply experience mild acne, but if your breakouts tend to be more severe or painful and are no match for OTC treatments, it’s time to see your ob-gyn.
“Deep, cystic acne on the chin or along the jaw line can be a sign of underlying polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS] and other types of hormonal abnormalities,” says Chapas. Left untreated, the condition can increase your risk for diabetes and infertility.
Get healthy: For certain patients, going on birth control pills is an effective way to balance hormone levels and clear up skin. (The pill is also very effective for treating symptoms of PCOS.) If you prefer a nonhormonal option, ask your M.D. about spironolactone, a prescription med that blocks testosterone receptors, thus preventing the skin’s oil glands from going into overdrive in some patients. Skipping dessert can help too, since extra insulin stimulates the hormone production linked to breakouts. “Some studies show that eliminating processed sugars and sticking to whole grains, fruits, and vegetables may also mitigate the hormonal stimuli that can lead to acne,” adds Chapas.
Dark Under-Eye Circles and Puffiness
The cause: Allergies
Chronic allergies dilate blood vessels and can cause them to leak, which creates puffiness and that telltale dark purple-blue hue. “Many people don’t even realize they’re suffering from allergies. They come in wanting a professional dermatologic fix because they think it’s too early or late in the season for pollen, or they’ve never had a problem before,” explains Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a Boston dermatologist and past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.
And because allergens also trigger the release of histamine, a chemical that contributes to the puffiness and can make eyes itchy and runny, you rub your eyes. A lot. Which only makes the swelling and discoloration worse. “By irritating the thin skin around your eyes, you may even create more leaky capillaries,” says Hirsch.
Get healthy: If the symptoms are new and you haven’t been keeping unusually late nights, try an over-the-counter antihistamine like Allegra or Zyrtec. Taking the medicine as directed should lessen the irritation in a few weeks. If that doesn’t give you any relief and you’re unsure of the culprit, see your doctor so she can pinpoint the cause and zero in on the best treatment.
Redness and Blotchiness
The cause: Stress, a digestive disorder, or lupus
Red blotches that come and go on the face and neck can be stress-related; they can be triggered by fluctuations in stress hormones, says Hirsch. Rosacea, clusters of tiny pimple-like red bumps, can be a sign of digestive ailments.
“The skin and gastrointestinal tract are both designed to protect the body by keeping things out. That may be why digestive problems can show up on the skin,” explains Chapas. When rosacea sufferers took antibiotics to clear high levels of bacteria in their small bowels, their skin improved, according to a 2008 study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Most serious is a malar rash, a symmetrical butterfly-shaped red rash that usually covers the top and middle of both cheeks. “It’s a classic symptom of lupus, a disease that attacks the immune system,” explains Hirsch. If you feel more tired than usual, are bruising easily, and are losing or gaining weight, see your doctor pronto.
Get healthy: Stay away from the sun and spicy foods—both can exacerbate redness. Engaging in stress-relieving activities (like yoga or meditation) may help. Also, try to up your intake of probiotics, the healthy bacteria that helps regulate digestion and calm inflammation. Yogurt with live cultures, kefir (a yogurt-like drink), and miso are all good sources. You can also consider taking a supplement such as Phillips’ Colon Health, which contains three probiotic strains.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? According to Chinese medicine, your face is a window to your health. Your forehead, nose, chin, right cheek, left cheek: Each of these five face zones gives you clues to what is going on inside your body—if you know what to look for! Read on to decode what your face reveals about you.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine Reads the Body to Detect Disease
Most people don’t realize that their face provides information about what’s going on beneath the surface. Your body speaks a unique language to communicate the imbalances within it. Chinese medicine has mastered the art and science of reading the body’s language over its five thousand year practice. Each part of your face reflects a different element from the Chinese 5-Element network (fire, earth, water, metal, and wood), which in turn, corresponds to a particular organ grouping. Your reflection offers visual cues to what may be happening within your internal systems—such as your heart, stomach, hormones and even your mind and spirit.
In some situations visual cues will immediately alert you of an issue, and you can take measures immediately. But the real value of self-inspection is in detecting subtle imbalances and dealing with them preventively through diet, herbal supplementation, and lifestyle practices. By reading your body, you can take care of small problems before they become big health issues.
According to Chinese medicine, the forehead corresponds to the fire element. This is associated with the heart and small intestine organ network, as well as the mind and spirit.
When examining your forehead, look for redness or small blood vessels that appear as discoloration, which could indicate a heart problem. Skin discoloration could also be caused by a recent emotionally-charged experience, such as a breakup or loss. It is common for people whose emotions are regularly in turmoil to have a constant furrow between their eyebrows.
A heart attack can often be foretold by a subtle bluish-green hue on the forehead. If you have discoloration on your forehead accompanied by heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, and tingling or pain in your left arm, schedule an appointment with a cardiologist or visit an emergency room, if necessary.
Your nose corresponds to the earth element, indicating a connection to the stomach, spleen and pancreas network.
Symptoms of internal discord typically show up as a pimple on the tip or side of your nose. Think back to your meals from the previous day. Did you eat a lot of spicy, deep-fried, fatty, or rich foods? How about chocolate? If the answer is “yes,” your choice of cuisine could be the problem. As a result, you may suffer from indigestion,constipation, or diarrhea.
Broken capillaries or redness across the bridge of the nose could reveal alcohol abuse, or it may simply mean excessive worry and stress, which taxes your earth element network. I had a patient who would de-stress from her taxing executive job with alcohol and sweets, and her nose always gave these indiscretions away. I recommended she calm her nerves in healthier ways, like meditation and other stress-releasing techniques.
The chin area is related to the water element, which is internally associated to your kidney and bladder organ network, including the hormonal system and glands.
Blemishes, discoloration and dark patches of skin around the chin and mouth could indicate problems within the kidneys or bladder. Recurrent acne breakouts around your chin may signify a hormonal imbalance. The problem is most often due to the body producing excess estrogen or testosterone and tends to be coupled withirregular menstruation in women and prostate symptoms in men.
Be sure to also look at your philtrum, the indentation just above your lips. This small area relates to the uterus and ovaries in women and the prostate and genitals in men. Horizontal lines, blemishes or discoloration across the philtrum may indicate infertility issues due to problems such as endometriosis or uterine fibroid cysts.
According to Chinese medicine, people who have a small chin are genetically predispositioned to weakness in their kidney and bladder network. However, this doesn’t mean that small-chinned people will develop kidney disease. The information is simply an alert that a tendency may exist, and patients can choose to make lifestyle changes to prevent the development of a condition.
Your Right Cheek
Your right cheek corresponds to the metal element, meaning this area of your face is connected to the lung and large intestine network.
Problems in the lung and large intestine network present themselves as discoloration, blemishes and skin problems on your right cheek. A mild acne breakout, eczema patch or slight redness may mean a cold is coming on. Lung illness or upper respiratory ailments also trigger visual symptoms on the right cheek.
People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma have a tendency to have a reddish, scaly eczema, a slight rash or slight bluish-green hue along the right cheek—showing too much heat or inflammation in the respiratory system, or a lack of oxygen from bronchial constriction. One of my many pediatric patients who suffered from allergic asthma always displayed an eczema-like patch right before a flare up of her allergy attack, a very useful tip off. I instructed her mother to treat her right away with herbs for allergies to avert an asthma attack.
Your Left Cheek
The left cheek corresponds to your wood element, or the liver-gallbladder network.
Broken capillaries and redness, especially up next to the bridge of your nose, indicate heat, inflammation or congestion of toxins in the liver. Bulging veins, redness, and rash sometimes signal high blood pressure and pent-up anger. A yellowish hue under the left eye may indicate gallstones or high triglycerides orcholesterol, which are processed by the liver-gall bladder network.
Problems in this part of the face can also reveal emotional issues, such as anger and depression, since the liver and gallbladder network includes the nervous system.
Please keep in mind that there are many ways that your body alerts you to imbalances. As you learn this visual method, you’ll want to be able to confirm your findings from one body part with observations from others, such as the eyes, tongue, and nails.
- Women, men who sat for long periods of time more likely to die in study than those who didn’t
- In other surveys, extended periods of sitting increased risks of illness
- Recent research shows exercise can’t undo damage to health from extended sitting
- Researchers say public health guidelines should address both physical activity and inactivity
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