Air Pollution Kills as Many People as Cigarettes

Oct. 8, 2019 -- When she turned 62 in 2012, Latifa Moosajee and her husband decided to downsize from their home in small-town Georgia. They moved into a brand-new townhouse in the commercial heart of Atlanta. “It was my dream home … close to my daughter’s family.”

Moosajee was excited to spend more time with her grandchildren and lead an active life in the city. But the very first year in her new home, she began to wheeze and have trouble breathing. At first, she tried allergy pills, thinking it was just a rough ragweed season. Over the next 5 years, she had longer and longer stretches of wheezing with trouble breathing, and she needed more and more medicines. She started short-acting inhalers, then long-acting inhalers, and eventually needed steroids just to keep her airways open.

The winters were the toughest. “For months at a time I had no energy… I could barely breathe,” Moosajee said. Her lung doctor ruled out the usual suspects. She had no history of lung disease. She didn’t smoke. No one around her smoked. She hadn’t changed her diet or started using new products in her home.

The only times she had similar problems were on her rare trips to India, which has some of the highest pollution levels in the world.

Figuring that out helped her zero in on the gridlocked street outside her window in Atlanta. “The cars pack the road from morning to night; only the evening would be clear.” Moosajee and her doctor began to suspect the polluted air she was breathing in for years was taking a toll on her health.

For millions of Americans like Moosajee, every breath brings toxic air deep into the lungs. There, pollutants can get into the bloodstream and cause damage throughout the body. The American Lung Association’s 2019 “State of the Air” report shows that more than 141 million people live in counties with unhealthy air, an increase of 7 million people from the 2018 report.

The science clearly shows that unhealthy air is dangerous. Air pollution, especially invisible, airborne particle pollution -- known as PM2.5 -- increases the risk of serious health problems. And it can kill. Even very low levels play a role in death from heart and lung diseases.

Most of us are not aware of the pollutants we are breathing in. Even fewer are paying attention to the long-term health risks of air pollution.

In the U.S., air monitoring stations collect data on pollutants like particulate matter and ozone so people can be alerted when levels are higher than what is considered acceptable. But these monitors don’t provide neighborhood-level information and may not catch “hot spots” where people like Moosajee live. This is quite true for people living on busy roads. Even on alert days, people who don’t have symptoms may not think they should heed the warnings.

Two young app developers in Paris want to change that.

Amaury Martiny came across Muller’s air pollution-to-cigarette calculation about a year ago and describes it as an “aha” moment.

Martiny and designer Marcelo Coelho created a free app using Muller’s formula and PM2.5 data from hundreds of air quality data stations in cities all around the world. When the app is open, it finds your phone, finds the closest air monitor data for PM2.5, and converts it into the “equivalent” number of health-damaging cigarettes. They found that many of their U.S. downloads happened during the California wildfires in 2018, when the app would have shown a staggering 45 cigarettes per day in the area of the wildfire.

Martiny and Coelho stress that their “main goal is to raise awareness about the risk of air pollution. … What was amazing about the equation was it transformed this very abstract scientific notion of PM2.5 to something that was really tangible to basically everybody. … Everybody knows the effect a cigarette can have on your body.” And everyone knows that there aren’t “safe levels” for cigarette smoking. 

Over the last 20 years, Americans have mostly been protected from high levels of air pollution because EPA programs have greatly improved air quality. The yearly average of fine particles has decreased by 40% since 2000. According to a 2017 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report to Congress, the EPA’s air rules save tens of billions of dollars.

Most of the savings come from what are known as “co-benefits,” meaning benefits to human health that result in lower health care costs and fewer premature deaths.

 “We’ve done a good job of reducing our air pollution. It’s improved our health, and we’ve done it at a time of rapid economic expansion,” Pope says. “It’s very clear that this isn’t a tradeoff between clean air and jobs. The reality is we can reduce our air pollution while at the same time improving economic activity. So it’s sort of a win-win situation.”

But recent concerning changes at the EPA may affect air quality and health in the not-so-distant future. EPA leadership has moved to replace independent science advisers from important committees, like the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), and halted a panel of experts that have been studying the most up-to-date particle pollution science.

But the American Lung Association and other health advocacy groups have raised the alarm about EPA plans to limit or gut many of the programs that have cut air pollution and improved the health of American communities. The organization cites:

  • Plans to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks
  • Repeal of the Clean Power Plan and replacement  with a rule that may increase emissions
  • Changes to how the EPA measures benefits to human health when cutting down on pollution from toxic air pollutants, including mercury and PM2.5

According to experts, all of these changes will likely lead to a reversal of the progress in reducing air pollution and preventing related deaths.

Though levels of air pollution are better in most communities in the U.S. than other places in the world, we can still do more to reduce our risk of long-term health problems. “The only thing that makes sense based on the evidence is that we should continue to try to reduce our exposure to air pollution. … It doesn’t come without effort, and it doesn’t come without vigilance,” says Pope.

Some of what we know about the health benefits of cleaner air comes from “natural experiments,” where researchers study what happens to people in areas after pollution levels come down, like when large factories shut down or traffic routes change. Most of these studies show improvements to health quickly.

After coal and oil power plants closed in California, there were fewer preterm births in neighboring communities. New electronic tolls (E-ZPass) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania reduced traffic congestion from idling cars, improved birth weights, and lowered early births for mothers living less than 1.5 miles from toll plazas. When air pollution was controlled during the Olympics in Beijing, birth weights for babies in the area improved. And when traffic was rerouted during the Olympics in Atlanta, there were fewer ER visits and hospitalizations for asthma for local children.

Worldwide, research shows that cleaner air from lower emissions leads to less asthma, lungs that work better, and less coughing, congestion, and mucus in young children.

The best way to reduce the risk of health problems is to avoid breathing in polluted air. This is especially true for pregnant women, babies, children, older adults, and those with chronic medical problems. But it’s hard to do if you live in high-traffic areas or close to polluting factories.

Facemasks, specifically those called respirators masks, can filter particle pollution if worn the right way. The main problem is that people have to buy the right mask and wear it with an airtight seal; otherwise, it won’t filter out harmful pollution. Also, most masks don’t filter out certain toxic gases and can still allow harmful lung irritation.

For most people, paying attention to air quality alerts is a good start. Avoiding outdoor activities on “unhealthy air days” is very important. Beyond air quality alert days, doctors recommend walking or exercising in areas far from high-traffic roads and idling cars or buses. High-quality HEPA air filters in the home can lower airborne particles. And eating a healthy diet and exercising can also lower the health risks from air pollution.

As for Moosajee, after years of trying air filters in her home and taking multiple medicines to improve her breathing, she eventually decided to move away. Two years ago, she found a home on a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in Atlanta. Now 69, she sees a vast improvement in her breathing. “I see a big difference. I don’t use any steroids, no inhalers. I only use allergy pills for a few weeks in the year. I expected these problems when I went to India. … I can’t believe I would have the same problems here.”

But for most people, moving is not an option. Schraufnagel stresses that the most important thing people can do is to learn about the risks of air pollution. “If enough people say ‘we don’t want dirty air, we want clean air, and we’re afraid that it’s affecting our health’ .... then decision-makers will need to step up to make sure that the automobiles are cleaner and power plants are cleaner” so we can all breathe cleaner air.

Nasty Chemicals That Should Never Touch Your Skin | Botani

Did you know it only takes 26 seconds for chemicals to enter your bloodstream? When you think of all the nasties floating around it’s a pretty alarming fact. When you’re putting those chemicals directly on your skin though? It’s a whole new level of scary. The truth is, the beauty industry is notorious for adding chemicals to their products. Here at Botani, we KNOW they have absolutely no benefit so we opt for natural, vegan, plant-based alternatives every time.

It’s estimated that every-day, women add 500+ chemicals to their bodies through shampoos, conditioners, soap, skin care, makeup, fragrances and more. These chemicals can have devastating effects including; skin irritation, allergic reactions, reproductive issues and even cancer. If you want to keep yourself safe, please don’t let these chemicals go anywhere near your skin.

1.  PEG’s aka Polyethylene Glycol

PEG’s are not a stand-alone chemical. PEG’s generally include ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. Ethylene oxide can harm the nervous system and is a known human carcinogen. Just to add a bit more fuel to the fire, it can interfere with reproductive health.

They are commonly found in moisturisers, cleansers, sunscreen and treatments. The sad fact is this ingredient does add moisture and has been shown to soften skin. Unfortunately, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

Botani Alternatives: we don’t believe in drowning your skin in chemicals to achieve a soft, luminous complexion. Instead, we use naturally derived Olive Squalane and Coconut Oil to nourish and hydrate.

2. Parabens

It’s estimated almost 60% of cosmetic products contain parabens. These are cheap and nasty chemicals that are used to prevent fungus, mold or other parasites from growing in the product. Basically, they’re to give products a longer shelf life.

Alarmingly, parabens are quickly absorbed from the skin into the bloodstream. Once they make their way there, they wreak all sorts of havoc. One of the big issues is, they mimic estrogen and disrupt our hormone balance. Studies are underway to prove the use of parabens increases the risk of breast cancer.

Botani Alternatives: the truth is, you don’t need chemicals when nature offers such a natural bounty. Our range includes the use of Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Avocado Oil which are all safe and effective!

3. Fragrance

This is a big one. Those lovely, fresh smells omitting from perfumes, cosmetics and skincare you commonly associate with high-grade ingredients could actually be a result of synthetic ‘fragrance’. Under FDA law, manufacturers aren’t required to list the ingredients they use in their so-called ‘fragrance’. This little loophole enables them to add whatever toxic / cost effective chemicals they see fit to their concoction.

Studies have linked fragrance to chemicals known to cause cancer, respiratory problems, reproductive issues and more.

Botani Alternatives: We don’t use artificial ingredients to keep our products smelling delicious because we don’t need to! Naturally derived essential oils such as French lavender, orange peel and rosewater are safe and beautiful.

4. Silicone

Silicones are used in a multitude of products including; moisturisers, foundation, sunscreen, shampoos, conditioners, serums and more. While considered a ‘low-hazard’ chemical, silicone is an ingredient you should avoid at all costs. Silicone will form a seal over your skin which will clog pores and trap dirt. The result? Unhealthy dehydrated skin prone to acne and congestion.

They are widely used because they have the illusion of working. They create a barrier between your skin making your skin look and feel smoother. They are cheap, nasty and have no long-term benefit for your skin.

Botani Alternatives: Smooth, blemish free skin can be achieved naturally. We use Gotu Kola Leaf Extract in our Acne Rescue Cream to calm irritated pores. Along with the added healing benefits of squalene and acai berries, you really are spoilt for choice with our range of naturopathically formulated, plant derived skincare.

So there you have it. If your beauty products are laden with PEGs, parabens, fragrance or silicone, they should never touch your skin. Also? They have ZERO benefits to your skin care routine. Instead, try Botani’s botanically based, natural, vegan skincare range. Your skin (and your health) will thank you for it.

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5 Tips To Remove Dark Circles Under Your Eyes - Botani

Wondering how to rid yourself of stubborn dark circles under your eyes? You’re not alone. It’s a common skin concern that is caused by many factors. Firstly, let us address what actually causes these pesky dark circles. 

What causes dark circles under your eyes? 

Dark circles can be the result of hereditary and lifestyle factors. 

Common lifestyle factors: 

  • Dehydration 
  • Nicotine 
  • Caffeine 
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Seasonal allergies 
  • Alcohol 
  • Stress
  • Hereditary concerns: 

  • Pigmentation in the skin 
  • Ageing rate 
  • So now you know what’s causing those dark circles, what can you do about them? 

    Sleep 8 hours per night 

    The most obvious culprit is lack of sleep. Even missing out on an hour of your usual slumber can make the area under your eyes dark. The truth is, a lack of sleep can affect your overall skin appearance – they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! 

    Without enough of it, your skin will become dull and pale which allows the dark blood vessels to under the skin to show. 

    The very best way to stay on top of your sleep hygiene is to make it a priority. Commit to turning in the same time each night. Stay away from sensory stimuli (phones, TV’s, coffee) in the evening and make your nightly routine a calming one. 

    You’ll notice a difference not just in your skin health but in your overall mood stat! 


    Dehydrated skin looks duller and as a result, allows skin discolouration to shine through. Cue heavy, dark circles. To combat this you need to address both your skin health and your inner health. 

    Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is imperative to keeping your body happy and healthy so make this your goal. 

    For your skin, you should choose products that help your skin retain moisture such as our Boost Balancing Moisturiser. Also, add a serum to turbocharge that hydration. We suggest our Acai Berry Active Antioxidant Serum to protect your skin against environmental stressors and hydrate at the same time. 

    Increase Vitamin C Intake

    Did you know collagen production will keep dark circles and fine lines at bay? Vitamin C kickstarts the process of collagen production internally and keeps it working for you. Nature really does provide everything you need to stay gorgeous! Simply include these nutritious superfoods in your diet and you’ll notice a difference. 

  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Berries
  • Dark Green Vegetables
  • Oysters
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Garlic 
  • Apply Frozen Cucumber To Your Eyes

    You’ve likely seen this little trick feature in movies and in your favourite beauty magazine but that’s because it works! Applying a cold compress (aka frozen cucumber slices!) can help reduce swelling and shrink the dilated blood vessels under your eyes.  

    Simply slice a cucumber in thick slices and allow them to freeze for half an hour before applying them to your eyes. Lie down for 10 minutes and enjoy the peace! Repeat as needed. 

    Add an eye serum to your beauty routine 

    Beauty really does start from within but that’s not to say a great eye serum isn’t a crucial step in reducing the appearance of puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. 

    Our Rescue Eye Treatment is a high performing, hydrating, anti-ageing plant-based eye gel enriched with acacia senegal gum which provides a visible lifting and firming effect on the delicate eye area. In fact, Ancient Egyptians used it to treat wounds, inflamed tissue and burns it’s that effective! 

    You’ll also find some of our signature hero ingredients like Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Eyebright Extract, Horsetail Extract and Licorice Root which when used in conjunction, work their magic to calm puffy skin and smooth fine lines. 

    Better still, in clinical tests, 77% of testers said it reduced puffiness, 71% noticed dark circles were less visible, 87% said it improved hydration and 83% said it left their skin feeling softer. Pretty impressive right?! 

    It’s a must-have in your beauty routine that’s for sure! 

    Bottom line? If you want healthy, supple skin start from the inside and work your way out. Your inner beauty is always more important than physical appearance.

    Be beautiful, be you x

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    11 Halloween Looks For Every Kinda Person (From Sexy To Scary)

    When it comes to Halloween, there are three kinds of people: The saucy bunny ones like Mean Girl Regina George, those that go all out with terrifying costumes, and the ones that just can’t be bothered (Halloween can get expensive!). Regardless of which category you fall into, we’ve got all the inspo you need. Happy Halloween!

    For The Regina’s Of The World…

    Despite the fact that this look has no eyebrows, it’s surprisingly hot! Just make sure you grab the longest lashes you can find (like our new Hoodie Lashes) and don’t be afraid to layer on the highlighter.

    People are going crazy for the latest rendition of The Joker, so why not create your own? …In a WAY less scary version!

    Makeup tip: Unlike the classic Joker, warm up your face with plenty of bronzer and a ton of contour – it’ll take the look from creepy to cute.

    While we’re running with the theme of blockbuster movies, this is giving us major Nala vibes, it’s cute and easy at the same time!

    For Those Who Go All In

    Somehow when you add white contacts to this look, it becomes hella-scary. Pro-tip for applying contact lenses: eye drops will be your savior.

    This look is done entirely with makeup! Literally, Desi has NEXT level skills. For a step-by-step, check out her YouTube Tutorial – it’s easier than it looks.

    Grab yourself a fake wound and some glue (you can find one at most costume stores or online), then add some fake blood. Et voila, you’re super gross for Halloween!

    If you don’t fancy splurging on a new outfit this year, this look is a more affordable option, although maybe a little time-consuming. Just grab a strapless top and the classic $2 Halloween makeup kit.

    For Those Who Massively CBA

    If you’re stuck at the office and have zero time to get changed, this look will save the day. Add some vampire teeth to upgrade the look.

    This is essentially a red smokey eye with the addition of some fangs – it transforms into a certified Halloween look.

    If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from this Halloween round-up, it’s that contact lenses take your look to the next level.

    What’s your go-to Halloween look? Let us know in the comments below.

    Walking Pace May Signal If Stroke Patients Can Return to Work

    By Steven Reinberg

    THURSDAY, Sept. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Walking speed may indicate whether young stroke survivors are ready to return to work, a new study suggests.

    And 3 feet per second may be the threshold that predicts whether they can meet a workday's challenges, the researchers found.

    One of every four people who has a stroke is younger than 65 years old. As many as 44% may be unable to return to work, largely because of difficulty walking, the study authors said.

    "Stroke affects motor control and motor function. To return to work, you must be able to walk to your car, bus, office and meeting rooms. If you can't walk or you get tired easily, your ability to do your job is going to be seriously impacted," said Hannah Jarvis, the study's lead author. She's a research associate at Manchester Metropolitan University in England.

    For the study, Jarvis and her colleagues compared mobility in 46 stroke survivors from Wales, aged 18 to 65, with 15 people who had not had a stroke. The investigators tested how far and how fast participants could walk in three minutes.

    The study found that stroke survivors who couldn't walk more than 3-feet per second were unlikely to be able to return to work.

    The report was published Sept. 26 in the journal .

    Among the 23% of study participants who went back to work, nine out of 10 walked faster than 3-feet per second. Those who went back to work walked almost 6-feet per second. Those who didn't return to work walked only about 2.5-feet per second.

    Stroke survivors had a harder time walking than those who didn't suffer a stroke, and they tired faster, the study authors added.

    "Walking speed is a really useful tool for clinicians to use to predict return to work. It's simple, low cost and effective," Jarvis said in a journal news release.

    She suggested that clinicians can use this measure to guide their patients during rehabilitation. "For example, they can focus on increasing walking speed and maintaining quality of walking in order to give their patients a chance of going back to work," Jarvis said.

    All That Screen Time Won't Hurt Your Kid's Grades - Maybe

    By Dennis Thompson        

    MONDAY, Sept. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Parents can relax a little about how much time their kids spend in front of screens, new research suggests.

    A large review of the scientific evidence on the topic concluded that media time overall is not associated with the academic performance of children or teens.

    But the more time kids spend watching TV or playing video games, the more likely their grades will suffer, the international team of scientists led by Mireia Adelantado-Renau, from the University Jaume I in Castellon, Spain, found.

    It makes a funny sort of sense, once you take a step back and realize how pervasive TVs, smartphones and laptops have become in modern society, said Dr. Victor Fornari, vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

    "This study just clarifies for me that life in the 21st century is so vastly different than it was 50 years ago. Tasks we used to do unrelated to a screen now involve a screen," Fornari said. "Reading a book is on a tablet now, and reading a magazine in on your laptop, and playing a game is a video game, and connecting with friends means you're on social media."

    This evidence should prove reassuring to parents, said Fornari, who was not involved in the review.

    "It's important for parents to know there's no real data to suggest that a large amount of screen time interferes with function," Fornari said. "These studies show it's really not the amount of the screen time, but the quality of the screen time.

    "If you watch more television, then you're not studying or reading," Fornari said. "We know many kids find themselves addicted to video games and are playing hours and hours a day and not devoting their time to reading a book or studying for an exam."

    For this new report, Adelantado-Renau and colleagues reviewed 58 studies on screen time from 23 countries, involving more than 480,000 kids aged 4 to 18. They also combined the results of 30 studies involving 106,000 children to delve deeper into the potential effects of screen time on learning.

    Antidepressants Might Raise Odds for Serious Pregnancy Complication

    By Steven Reinberg

    TUESDAY, Oct. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Treating depression during pregnancy can be vital to the health of both mother and child, but new research suggests that taking antidepressants may make a woman more vulnerable to gestational diabetes.

    Specifically, the drugs venlafaxine (Effexor) and amitriptyline (Endep) were associated with the highest risk, especially when taken for a long time.

    Still, "depression needs to be treated during pregnancy," said study author Anick Berard, research chair of medications, pregnancy and lactation at the University of Montreal.

    "If a woman is pregnant and is taking antidepressants, she should not stop by herself, but should have a discussion with her physician to assess the best way forward," she said.

    There are many types of treatments for depression -- antidepressants are only one option, Berard noted.

    And because this study looked back at data over time, it can't prove that antidepressants cause gestational diabetes, only that the two appear linked.

    But the connection might be that antidepressants affect sugar metabolism. Also, a side effect of antidepressants is weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes, Berard and her university colleagues pointed out.

    Venlafaxine is in a class of drugs called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and amitriptyline is an older type of drug called a tricyclic antidepressant.

    Gestational diabetes can result in overweight babies and longer bouts of labor because the baby can get stuck in the birth canal, the researchers explained.

    Also, the infants may be more prone to obesity and diabetes later in life.

    For the study, Berard and her team used the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort, which includes all pregnancies and children born in Quebec between 1998 and 2015.

    They looked at nearly 21,000 women with gestational diabetes, comparing them with more than 209,000 women without the condition.

    Slightly more than 4% of the women with gestational diabetes were taking an antidepressant. These included fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft), also known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), along with Effexor or Endep.

    Using any of these drugs increased the risk for gestational diabetes by 19%, compared with not taking them.

    Back-to-School Sports Test

    Our kids are getting ready for a new school year. Along with all the school supplies we need to buy, we need to prepare for after-school activities, which often include sports.

    If your child plays sports, most school districts and athletic leagues require an exam before your child can participate. The pre-participation physical examination is different from the yearly physical exam and well-check you might be used to for your child.

    A key part of this exam is medical history, especially your family's medical history. You will be asked about your child's or family members' history of diseases -- such as asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes -- as well as instances of dizziness and palpitations. None of these conditions automatically excludes your child from doing sports, but they are important to be aware of, as your child’s activities may be limited, or they may need accommodations. For example, some children only have asthma during exercise, so it's important to diagnose and then manage it.

    You might be surprised when you are asked about allergies. Parents sometimes forget that allergies can put your child at risk during sports. How so? Allergies to insects and bees can be a real problem for sports played outside during warm weather, and the ubiquitous team snack afterward can expose children to food they’re allergic to. So it is critical to know upfront if your child has allergies.

    Many parents have heard stories about a young athlete who suddenly dies of cardiac arrest on the basketball court or baseball field. This often is a result of a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Despite some news coverage, HCM is fairly uncommon, although there often is a strong family history. You and your child will be asked about any chest discomfort, murmurs, shortness of breath or dizziness, or feeling like passing out. (In the absence of a family history or a physical exam finding, EKGs and echocardiograms are not routinely done as part of this exam.)

    This exam is a good time to talk about the role of supplements as well as performance-enhancing drugs, which teenagers sometimes use. Such supplements and drugs often have significant side effects and should never be used without a doctor’s guidance.

    Although getting ready for school to start can be quite hectic, try to schedule the pre-participation exam at least 4 to 6 weeks before an activity is scheduled to begin, just in case lab tests or imaging studies need to be done, which then might require a visit to a specialist.

    Questions? Comments? Email me at [email protected].

    Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine.

    Tweens & Teens: The Ultimate Skin Care Routine

    As a parent, you’ll see your child go through many changes as they age and mature. One of the most obvious will be the appearance of their skin. If you’re at a loss for how to tackle skin changes with your tween or teen, don’t fret. Here is our guide for what to expect and how to treat tween and teenage skin.

    Preteen/Tween Vs. Teenage Skin

    First: a breakdown of how the skin changes during puberty. For most children, puberty will start sometime between the ages of seven to thirteen for girls and nine to fifteen for boys. This is the time when physical changes are most likely to appear - and accelerate - for your son or daughter. 

    Preteen (Tween) Skin

    Preteens - or “tweens” - are defined as children between the ages of nine to twelve who (as the name suggests) are on the cusp of becoming teenagers. Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar tells us: “This is a big deal. It’s when we start to see changes in the skin and also the body.” During this time, hormones are just beginning to influence the look and feel of their skin. At age seven, sebum (oil) production increases, and it is during these prepubescent years that they may experience slight oiliness in their T-Zone and their first pimples. 

    How Skin Changes As A Teen

    When tweens hit their teenage years, oiliness and breakouts really ramp up. Dr. Hooman Khorasani, Chief, Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery of Mount Sinai Health System tells us: “As teenagers (both male and female) go through puberty, they have a surge of testosterone and other androgenic hormones. One effect of this surge is an increase in sebum production." Sebum is an important component of healthy skin, helping to moisturize and protect it from the environment. However, as Dr. Khorasani says, "Sebum is the favorite “food” of the bacteria, p.acnes, and can cause an overgrowth of this bacteria on the skin, leading to breakouts.”

    Sebum is the favorite “food” of the bacteria, p.acnes, and can cause an overgrowth of this bacteria on the skin, leading to breakouts.

    Teens also produce more keratin, a protective protein that strengthens the skin, hair and nails. The result of an increase in keratin is - literally - a thicker skin. This contributes to blocked pores and congestion, which only amplify the likelihood of breakouts. Luckily, as Dr. Khorasani reminds us: “The good news is that most teenagers can manage these changes with appropriate hygiene and skin care.”

    When To Start A Skin Care Routine

    Most experts recommend starting a very basic skin care routine during the preteen years. This builds good skin care habits and ensures that by the time more major issues come along, there is a good, healthy base to work from.

    How do you get a skin care routine going? Natalie advises: “It’s super easy. You don’t want to make it complicated, but you also want to make it a little bit of fun so they will do it on a regular basis.” Read on for what we advise for a tween and teen skin care routine.

    The Basics: Tween & Teen Skin Care Routine

    Rule number one: Keep it basic. You don’t want to overwhelm your tween or teen with your favorite Korean 10-step routine. Instead, keep it gentle and bare bones; there’s always room for them to add more products as they become more comfortable. This slow and steady approach also makes it easier to determine what ingredients and formulas work best for your child’s skin - and what has the potential to irritate it. 

    Making skin care a quick and easy addition to their morning and night routine makes it more likely that your tween or teen will follow through.

    This basic skin care routine has two simple steps: cleanse and moisturize, day and night. Natalie suggests building skin care into your preteen's existing routine: “Why not make it part of that process? When they brush their teeth, they can wash their face. When they’re finished flossing, they can put on their moisturizer. If you create a skin care routine that way, they won’t miss when they’re supposed to do their home care.” Making skin care a quick and easy addition to a morning and night routine makes it more likely that your tween or teen will follow through. 

    step 1: Cleanse

    When it comes to choosing a cleanser, stick to a gentle formula that will clear impurities and keep the skin hydrated. Natalie recommends our Stone Crop Gel Wash which gives a nice, light lather and contains beneficial ingredients like stone crop, chamomile and shea butter. Most importantly, like all Eminence Organics products, it is formulated without harmful chemicals that could irritate the skin.

    step 2: Moisturize

    To moisturize the skin, Natalie suggests choosing an SPF formula that will also provide protection against harmful UV rays. Her recommendation: “If you want to go with a moisturizer that has an SPF in it, I would definitely go with our Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF 30.” This lightweight moisturizer not only controls oil but also contains sustained release tea tree oil which helps reduce the visible signs of breakouts.

    If you prefer to add an additional sun protection step to your tween or teen’s skin care routine, Natalie suggests pairing our Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer with your favorite sun care product. Like the Stone Crop Gel Wash, this gentle moisturizer is good for all skin types and contains deeply hydrating stone crop which brightens and moisturizes the skin.

    Watch this video for Natalie’s tips for your pre-teen’s complexion:


    The Extras: Makeup, Exfoliation & Acne

    As your teen or tween becomes more comfortable with their two-step routine, they may want to branch out to include some additional products. As mentioned, you don’t want to overload them with options, but you can add steps strategically depending on what their skin is facing.

    How To Remove Makeup

    Makeup removal may come into play as your tween or teen starts experimenting with cosmetics. This is an essential step in maintaining a healthy complexion and preventing clogged pores and breakouts. To thoroughly remove makeup, we recommend adding an oil cleanser and an eye makeup remover to your teen or tween’s routine. 

    Double-cleansing is the best way to clear makeup from the complexion. Like attracts like, and washing with an oil cleanser first ensures that stubborn, oil-based makeup is drawn from the skin’s surface and properly swept away. Follow with your tween or teen’s daily cleanser to clear any remaining oil and impurities.

    To remove eye shadow, liner and mascara, add an eye makeup remover to their routine. Our Herbal Eye Make-Up Remover is infused with gentle, natural ingredients like cucumber, lavender, calendula and chamomile. Teach your child to saturate a cotton pad with remover and hold it over each eye for ten seconds. This gives the product enough time to break up and dissolve eye makeup before it is gently wiped away. 

    Exfoliate skin

    Skin cell turnover is at its most efficient during tween and teen years and can be enhanced with regular exfoliation. The key here is to be gentle - young skin is often more sensitive. Eminence Organics Product Support Representative and licensed esthetician Alicia Hawthorne advises adding an exfoliation step around age twelve and sticking to once a week to start. For oily and/or problem skin, a gentle exfoliant like the Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel is a great pick. Simply swipe over a clean complexion before applying a moisturizer. 

    Treat Acne

    80% of people between the ages of eleven and thirty experience acne, and the brunt of breakouts tend to appear during puberty. In general, boys will experience more acne than girls due to a surge in testosterone that stimulates oil production. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to develop hormonal acne in adulthood caused by their monthly cycles, pregnancy and menopause.

    If acne flares up for your tween or teen, it’s ok to reach for a salicylic acid spot treatment. For minor breakouts, we recommend our Clear Skin Targeted Treatment, which contains tea tree oil, salicylic acid and buchu leaf extract to clear congestion, minimize the look of breakouts and shrink large pores. If they are experiencing more intense, chronic breakouts, we advise visiting a dermatologist or esthetician for expert advice on how to treat their acne.

    It’s important to remember that acne isn’t just skin deep, and breakouts can affect self-esteem - especially at this young age. Be prepared to have conversations with your tween or teen about their skin and how acne affects their confidence. We recommend visiting an Eminence Organics partner spa where a licensed esthetician can coach them on what to expect from their skin and how best to treat it. 

    Good Skin Care Habits

    Beyond a regular skin care routine, there are several things tweens and teens can do to maintain and improve their skin’s health. Here are a few simple habits to keep in mind and start early:

  • Wash pillowcases regularly
  • Keep phones clean
  • Avoid touching the face
  • Remove makeup before bed
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Don’t pick or pop pimples
  • Wear SPF daily
  • Avoid sun damage from tanning beds
  • Does your tween or teen have good skin care habits? We’d love to hear which products are part of their daily skin care routine. Share them with us in the comments below and join the conversation on social media.

    Could a Pill Replace Insulin Shots?

    By Steven Reinberg

    TUESDAY, Oct. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many people with diabetes have to inject themselves with insulin at least once a day, but new animal research suggests a pill may one day do the trick.

    This experimental pill can withstand the trip through the gastrointestinal tract, scientists report. When it gets to the small intestine, it breaks down into dissolving microneedles that attach to the intestinal wall and release the drug into the bloodstream.

    In tests in pigs, the capsule, loaded with the same amount of insulin as an injection, was able to deliver insulin to the bloodstream as fast as an injection, researchers found.

    "A lot of this work is motivated by the recognition that both patients and health care providers prefer the oral route of administration over the injectable one," said co-senior author and gastroenterologist Dr. Giovanni Traverso. He is an assistant professor in Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

    The capsule is coated with a polymer that can survive the highly acidic environment of the stomach but breaks open in the even more acidic small intestine. Three folded arms in the capsule spring open. Each arm has tiny microneedles filled with insulin.

    The force of the arms unfolding causes the microneedles to penetrate the top layer of the small intestine where the needles dissolve, releasing the drug.

    In experiments with pigs, the capsules delivered doses of insulin effectively and caused an immediate lowering of blood sugar, the researchers found. However, animal research doesn't always have the same results in humans.

    Insulin was used to demonstrate the new system, but other drugs such as hormones, enzymes, antibodies and RNA-based drugs might be used in the same way, the researchers said.

    "We can deliver insulin, but we see applications for many other therapeutics and possibly vaccines," Traverso said in an MIT news release. "We're working very closely with our collaborators to identify the next steps and applications where we can have the greatest impact."

    The report was published Oct. 7 in the journal .


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