Q: With so many anti-aging products on the market, what ingredients should I look for? What should I avoid?
A. The world of anti-aging products can be overwhelming, but here are three essentials I recommend everyone use now:
1. Broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 or greater should be at the core of every skincare regimen. Look for one with the mineral zinc, which reflects light for further sun protection.
2. As we age we lose the ability to turn over cells. You can mechanically promote cell turnover with an ingredient called retinol, also known as retinoic acid. Retinols also help with pigment spots on the face and can decrease acne breakouts.
3. Antioxidants like Vitamin C protect our skin from free radicals – unstable molecules that damage collagen and elastin as we age. For best results, I recommend using a serum formulated with about 15% to 20% Vitamin C. It’s highly concentrated, so you get what you pay for with this little miracle worker.
A final word of wisdom: when checking the back of your product box, avoid ingredients like mineral oil, which can clog pores, and alcohol, which can dry out your skin. Now you’re ready to navigate anti-aging products like a pro!
Q: I’m a new cook who is learning kitchen safety. At what point is a burn severe enough to seek immediate medical treatment?
A. This is a great question. First of all, no matter how severe your burn, immediately apply cold water to the affected area. Cover it liberally, and hold it under the water for several minutes. If your skin only stays red after this, you have no need to seek further attention. However, if it leads to blisters you should see your physician within 24 to 36 hours. In relation to burns that are serious enough to need immediate medical attention, consider both the severity and location of the burn. Any burn across a joint (e.g., the knuckles, wrists, elbows) should be assessed within a couple hours by a physician, as well as any burn to the face or lap.
Q. I have a family history of endometriosis. What should I look out for?
A. Endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside of it, can be challenging to diagnose. It sometimes runs in families, but it doesn’t necessarily run in families. Common symptoms include: pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, and pain with intercourse. Less common symptoms include painful bowel movements, painful urination, urinary urgency, and frequent urination. At this time, there is no one screening test available for endometriosis. However, if you are concerned, be sure to keep up routine visits to your OB-GYN. This gives you an opportunity to discuss your situation, and you can call right away if symptoms occur. Remember: not all pain or bleeding means endometriosis. An OB-GYN can run appropriate tests to determine the cause of, and most appropriate treatment for, your symptoms.
Q. Is it safe to take more than one blood pressure medication?
A. Yes, granted you are under the close supervision of a doctor. While there were only a few blood pressure medications available 25 to 30 years ago, we have multiple classes available today. The benefit of this is that your doctor can prescribe more than one type to optimize results. For example, your doctor may prescribe a beta blocker, which lowers blood pressure by blocking the effects of adrenaline, as well as a diuretic, which lowers blood pressure by ridding your body of excess salt and fluid. Or, your doctor may prescribe a tablet that contains a blood pressure medication and a generic diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide (or hctz) all in one. The bottom line is: your doctor may try a combination of two to three different classes of blood pressure medications before settling on the right combination for you. As long as you keep up your visits, take your meds as prescribed, and notify him or her if something feels off, you will be safe.
Q. I was told exercise could help treat my back pain, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Could you explain?
A. Stretching and strengthening exercises will reduce your pain by reducing the stress put on your lower back. Hamstring stretches, for example, can reduce pain by lessening the load put on your lower spine. Similarly, core strengthening exercises support your body almost like a brace, which allows for better weight distribution along your spine. When you stretch and strengthen your muscles, you increase the number of nutrients transferred to your spinal discs, which in turn will prolong the life span of the discs and slows down the degenerative process. Movement also helps your body produce synovial fluid, which preserves the cartilage in the joints of your back. If you’re just getting started, I recommend beginning with low impact aerobic exercises like walking, riding a stationary bike, using an elliptical, or trying some form of water therapy. These will give you the benefits of exercise without putting too much stress on your joints.