Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Stress Increases Beauty & Health Costs

Stress is expensive in terms of beauty care costs and our health. This release (with stress-busting tips) offers insights about the bottom-line impact of stress on our appearance:

"Pending job cuts at the office. Back-to-back final exams. A messy divorce. An unexpected surgery. What do they all have in common? In a word -- stress. While everyone knows that stress can take a toll on a person physically and psychologically, it also can lead to dermatologic problems, such as acne, brittle nails or even hair loss.

"In treating hundreds of patients over the years with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis, I have seen firsthand how stress can aggravate the skin and trigger unexpected flare-ups that, in effect, create more stress for patients," said Dr. Mayoral. "Learning how to manage the effects of stress on your skin can help alleviate some of the anxiety and symptoms."

Stress and the Skin

When a person becomes stressed, the level of the body's stress hormone (cortisol) rises. This in turn causes an increase in oil production, which can lead to oily skin, acne and other related skin problems. Dr. Mayoral noted that even patients with skin that is not affected by acne tend to develop temporary stress-related acne due to increased oil production.

In fact, a study in the January 2001 issue of the Archives of Dermatology entitled "Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis," found that stress has a negative effect on the barrier function of the skin, resulting in water loss that inhibits the skin's ability to repair itself after an injury.

Specifically, the study involving 27 medical, dental and pharmacy students examined how periods of higher stress (in this case, during final examinations) impacted the skin's response to repeated stripping of cellophane tape on the subjects' forearms vs. periods of lower stress (such as after returning from winter vacation). Researchers found that it took longer for the skin to recover from the minimally invasive tape stripping during periods of perceived higher stress than during less stressful periods.

Stressed-Out Hair

There are many reasons why men and women lose their hair, but Dr. Mayoral believes that stress may be the primary reason for unexplained hair loss. When someone is under stress, hair can go into the telogen (fall-out) phase. Telogen effluvium is a very common hair loss problem that can occur up to three months after a stressful event. After the initial hair loss, hair usually grows back in six to nine months.
Life-changing events such as childbirth or surgery also can cause hair loss. Dr. Mayoral explained that during these times, the body takes a "time-out" from growing hair to concentrate on recovery and healing. As such, hair does not grow as much and some could shed and not grow back right away.
"Stress affects people differently -- some may develop an ulcer, or have a heart attack, or lose their hair," said Dr. Mayoral. "Hair loss is a normal response to stress, but patients should see a dermatologist for a proper evaluation to rule out other medical causes. I also advise patients to avoid any strange diets where only one or two foods are allowed, as improper nutrition and extreme or rapid weight loss can result in hair loss."

Effects of Stress on Nails
Nails are not immune to showing outward signs of stress, and some people develop the nervous habit of biting their nails or picking at them when they feel stressed. Another stress-related nail habit that Dr. Mayoral discussed is people who rub their fingers over their thumb nail, which can create a ridge across the nail. This rubbing causes a distortion of the nail plate, and when the nail grows, a raised ridge forms in the middle of the nail. In addition, physical or emotional stress, certain diseases, and chemotherapy can cause white horizontal lines to appear across the nails. Brittle, peeling nails also are a common side effect of stress.
"Sometimes patients with nail problems are not aware that their habits or tics from being stressed out or nervous are at the root of their problem," said Dr. Mayoral. "There are instances where patients self-inflict skin, hair or nail problems that go beyond what we normally expect from stress, and these patients often need psychological help to modify their behavior."

In her practice, Dr. Mayoral finds it beneficial to give patients the tools to help themselves cope with stress-related skin flares, particularly patients with eczema, acne, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis where outward symptoms are obvious. For example, Dr. Mayoral teaches her acne patients how to modify their treatment regimen to deal with flare-ups from stress -- which gives them control to help themselves during stressful periods.

"Being in control of your situation can help relieve stress," said Dr. Mayoral. "For instance, I teach my acne patients who use a topical acne medication once a day how to safely use the medication more frequently to counter the effects of stress. If this doesn't work, they know to call me or come in to the office so we can make further adjustments in their treatment. I find that initially giving them the power to fix the problem is very empowering to them."

In addition, Dr. Mayoral offered tips to curb the effects of stress both internally and externally:

-- Learn to recognize the underlying problem that is triggering your
symptoms and develop skills to help minimize the stress.
-- Exercise helps release endorphins in the body that can reduce stress.
-- Avoid very hot showers or baths and use detergent-free soaps.
Moisturize as soon as possible after bathing.
-- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily to
protect your skin from sun exposure.

For more information on skin, hair and nail conditions that can be affected by stress, visit, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or
Source: American Academy of Dermatology "

The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Free Diet Plan: Walking

Stay in shape without dieting or an expensive gym. That's the word from Woman's World Magazine, which quotes a Swiss study featured in the American Journal of Public Health. According to that study, a daily 30-minute walk at a brisk pace will help you maintain your current weight without dieting.

But if you're in the mood for a slower stroll you'll have to walk for 60 minutes, the study says.

In addition to a steady diet of yoga stretches, I am also a walker. I try to go on long walks at least several times a week. Long walks reduce stress, massage the heart and keep me in shape.

The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Asian Beuaty Secrets

I was stunned to find out that one of the lead actresses from the movie version of Memoirs of Geisha was 40 years old. She looks half her age.

I'm not alone in my amazement. In the November issue of More, Sandy Thompson, a 43-year-old marketeing executive, makes a similar observation based on a trip to Hong Kong

"I turned 40 in Hong Kong and was surprised to find that mature Asian women didn't look nearly their age." --Sandy Thompson, More magazine (Nov. 2006)

Here are a few of the Asian beauty secrets that she discovered:

1) Drinking Bird's Nest---a beverage made from bird's saliva. (No, thanks!)

2) Consume lots of green tea (There's a cup of green tea steeping on the table as I write this)

3) Facials!!!

4) Heels!

5) Makeup

6) No blazers!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My New Look

Here's my frugal makeover, courtesy of Beta Blogger.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Baking Soda: Beauty in a Box 101

Great for the skin, the teeth and the pedicure. That's the word on baking soda. Arm & Hammer will take you on a baking soda tour of your home with recipes and unusual uses for the product, which is cheap. (Generic is even cheaper.)

Here's an example of baking soda uses for beauty routines:

* "Facial Scrub and Body Exfoliant

Removing dead skin cells will leave your skin soft and smooth, perfect before application. Make a paste of 3 parts ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. Gentle enough for daily use!"

Hair Care

For locks that rock, remember to shake it. Sprinkle a small amount (quarter-size) of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. The ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.

Refreshing Bath Soak

Taking a bath is so last year…until now! Add 1/2 cup of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration. Your skin will feel silky smooth, and it’s a great way to get away from it all.

Soothing Foot Soak

Here’s a great way to start your home pedicure. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda in a basin of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub with a paste of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. The hardest part is deciding which color nail polish you’ll use this week!

Mouth Cleaning

Clean up your mouth! * Use ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda to help keep teeth clean and white! Sprinkle some ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda into your palm, dip in your damp brush, and clean those pearly whites. For a smile that’s Cleaner, Whiter, Fresher™ try ARM & HAMMER® Oral Care products with the proven cleaning power of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda.

*ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda does not contain the anti-cavity ingredient fluoride. Use it where water is fluorinated or when a non-fluoride toothpaste is desired for adult use or as directed by your dentist or physician.

Mouth Freshening

Bad breath keeping you tight-lipped? Open up for ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. Put one teaspoon in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized – not just covered up- so get ready to pucker up!

Deodorize Retainers

Minimize the "oh gross" factor by cleaning and freshening retainers and mouth-guards with ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. Soak after every use in a solution of 2 teaspoons ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda and warm water. Every so often, brush them clean with a paste of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. That’ll keep everyone smiling!


Spicy food is yummy until it bothers the tummy. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion, when used as directed. Always refer to the ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda package for instructions. Learn more about how ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda works as an antacid.

Hand Cleanser

Give yourself a hand with ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda. Forget the harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda to your liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean. Your skin will feel softer too!

Clean Brushes and Combs

For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.


A quick pit stop. Dust ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda under arms as needed to feel fresh all day. The magic of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda actually absorbs odors instead of just covering them up. For wetness and deodorization protection, try ARM & HAMMER® ULTRAMAX Deodorant Antiperspirant.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Yoga: My new Botox

Yoga is great for my skin. It diminishes the parenthesis ( 0 ) around my mouth.

I've noticed this on several occassions. Here's the drill: When I do a yoga routine before bed, my face looks so unlined in the morning. So rested.

Who needs botox when relaxation exercises and deep breathing take the tension out of your face?

I take a few yoga classes a week and I work out with a tape sometimes before bedtime.

Then I sleep well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

How I Aged 20 Years in One Day.

I know about sun damage and because of a horrible, fry-your-face//peel-you-back itchy sunburn, I now always use sunscreen.

Here's the scenario. I went to the St. Martin for my honeymoon (15 years ago). Weeks before my trip, I was constantly carded in New York City clubs and Atlantic City casinos. Everyone thought I was in my late teens. (I was much older)

But in the hot sub-tropical sun, I stubbornly refused to use sunscreen. I was having one of my macho moments and thought my skin was strong enough to take the punishment. UGH! I fried; I burned; I peeled. It was not the best day of my honeymoon.

And my poor face!!! I had deep, deep wrinkles in the inner and outer corners of my eyes. No one asked for my proof of age. People started calling me Ma'am and madame.

I aged decades in one afternoon of hot sun.

I reversed some of that damage with an expensive sunscreen, but my skin has never been the same and I've learned my lesson: USE SUNSCREEN.

Forget Botox, facelifts, collagen, acupuncture treatments and expensive skin creams!!!!

Millions of dollars are spent annually on cosmetic procedures and expensive anti-aging treatments.

But for far less money ($5 and under), we can buy cheap but effective preventive facial/skin care. THINK SUNSCREEN.

On a personal level, I know the power of sunscreen. For the last few weeks, I've been out of my favorite anti-aging skin creams. I use inexpensive; but effective drugstore potions. I've been too busy to clip coupons and pick up more. But I've slapped on some sunscreen --important in Miami--and my skin has been looking great. Less is more, especially if you remember the sunscreen.

The latest crop of women's magazines -- Real Simple, First, For Me -- have written some interesting pieces about the frugal and effective power of sunscreen. On the low end, decent coverage can cost $5 (or less). Here's one cheapie that's gotten rave reviews:

Hawaiian Tropic Baby Faces & Tender Places SPF 50 $5 (rated best stick protection by Real Simple)

On the higher end: Lancome Soleil Ultra Expert Sun Care SPF 50 Sunscreen Face and Body Lotion $32.50....rated best cream by Real Simple.

Real Simple offers these sunscreen tips