March 23, 2016Skincare

Follow up to Rachael Ray’s Problem Solvers: Spring Cleaning Edition!

I wanted to share additional hot tips on the three key topics I covered on today’s show, so here we go!

Focus on: SHAVING

Myth v. Fact:

As I discussed on the show, shaving doesn’t cause your hair to grow back thicker! That is just a myth.

If you shave AGAINST the grain (up the leg), your hair grows back FEELING coarse and thick. Instead, if you first shave WITH the grain and then shave against the grain (as a second pass for a close shave), this technique actually causes new hairs to grow in with a tapered end that FEELS thinner as it regrows. So shave down, then up.

More Shaving Tips:

I recommend shaving later on during your bath or shower, so that the warm water and steam have a chance to warm up your skin and hair. After your shower or bath, I also recommend applying an oil like Bio Oil or Sunflower Oil to your legs to trap in moisture and to prevent razor burn. A little known fact is that our lower legs become dry and ashy naturally because we don’t have many oil glands in that area. You will see an improvement in your skin after just one application of oil on your lower legs!

Focus on: DANDRUFF

Why does it happen?

As I touched on during the segment, the cause of dandruff is a naturally-occurring microbe (tiny organism, in this case a fungus) on your scalp called “Malassezia Globosa.” This tiny organism feeds on natural oils which your pores release onto your skin and scalp called “sebum.”

As the sebum is broken down, it produces “oleic acid.” One in two people are sensitive to oleic acid. If you have the sensitivity, your scalp responds by becoming irritated, inflamed, red and itchy. To get rid of this irritation, your body tells your brain to shed skin cells faster than usual. This rapid shedding is what causes dandruff flakes to appear on your scalp.

Although dandruff is not caused by cold, winter air, it can be aggravated by the cold, dry air.

How should I treat it?

As I tell my patients, the best way to treat dandruff is to choose an effective anti-dandruff shampoo. It is important to look for a formula with good cosmetic qualities, so it doesn’t dry out your hair and is both gentle and effective. An anti-dandruff shampoo must be left on the hair for at least 5 minutes for the active ingredients to optimally work. Continual maintenance is necessary to prevent dandruff from coming back.

Are there DIY Options?

Yes! Tea tree oil is one of the only essential oils that kills yeast on contact. So, when my patients ask about at-home dandruff remedies, I often recommend this DIY Tea Tree Oil Dandruff Treatment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • A squirt bottle

Directions:

Pour 1 tablespoon of tee tree oil into 1 cup of warm water in a squirt bottle. Shake well. After shampooing, spray the mixture all over your scalp, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Pat the excess moisture out, but do not wash out.

I also often recommend this DIY Dandruff Scalp Mask:

Mix salt and mineral oil to create a scrub/mask for your scalp.  Apply the treatment to your wet scalp and rub it in.  Put on a shower cap and let the treatment sit.  The salt exfoliates the flakes from your scalp and the mineral oil works to break up the oil on the scalp.

Focus on: THE LOOFAH

Ditch the Loofah:

As I covered on air, loofahs are too abrasive for your skin and by their nature, are very porous. When people use a loofah to scrub off dead skin cells, those cells become lodged in the nooks and crannies of the loofah. When you add a warm and moist environment of the bathroom, your loofah becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. If you want to exfoliate in the shower, use a sugar-based scrub or a motorized brush like the Clarisonic.

Healthy Skin Tips:

As I tell my shower-happy patients, we are so obsessed with hygiene that we end up hurting our skin.  In addition to overusing loofahs, we tend to overuse antibacterial soaps and wash cloths, to the detriment of our skin. We over-cleanse and over-strip our skin not only of our natural oils, but we also end up removing many of the healthy bacteria that live on our skin.  These friendly bacteria help to protect our skin from pathogens, irritants and allergens, and they also help to regulate the pH and moisture levels in our skin. When we wash them off, we compromise our skin barrier.

For these reasons, for healthy, glowing skin, I recommend using gentle cleansers that are hydrating and soap-free. I also recommend using skincare products with probiotics in them after cleansing. These products help to replace the lost bacteria with friendly strains which support the health of our skin.