NewGel+ for Scars

  • How Alcohol Affects Scars

    Proper care of your scars is an important way to promote healing and minimize their appearance. While scar gels and silicone sheeting (like NewGel+) will help dramatically, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice that may interfere with the healing process. In addition to inhibiting your scar’s healing, alcohol also contributes to liver scarring known as cirrhosis.

    Alcohol Slows Healing

    Binge alcohol exposure significantly reduces the levels of key components of the immune system involved in healing and increases the risk of infections in the hospital

    Binge alcohol exposure significantly reduces the levels of key components of the immune system involved in healing and increases the risk of infections in the hospital, including surgical site infections. Patients injured while binge drinking who develop surgical-site infections are hospitalized for twice as long, have a higher rate of readmission and are twice as likely to die as injured patients not exposed to high blood levels of alcohol.

    Excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to wound healing because it significantly interferes with both the inflammatory phase and proliferation phase of the process. A study found that binge alcohol exposure impaired the production of a protein that recruits macrophages to the wound site. Binge alcohol also reduced levels of another key component of the immune system known as CRAMP (cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide). CRAMP is a small protein present in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. These small proteins may also be called antimicrobial peptides because they kill bacteria as well as recruit macrophages and other immune system cells to the wound site. Wounded skin needs more of these, not fewer. "Together these effects likely contribute to delayed wound closure and enhanced infection severity observed in intoxicated patients," researchers concluded.

    Hydrated skin is another important element of scar healing. Dry skin may slow healing of an injury and fading of the scar. Alcoholic drinks are diuretic and drinking too much will dry out your skin. Cutting back or eliminating alcohol, combined with any topical treatments prescribed by your doctor, helps the scar to fade and keeps the skin in the injured area healthy.

    Cutting Back on Alcohol

    To help cut back, make sure you understand what one serving is and stick with it. A standard alcoholic beverage is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of spirits.

    Limiting alcohol consumption may help your scar heal after an injury occurs, but you won't have to limit your intake for the rest of your life. In the weeks following an injury, avoid over consumption of alcoholic drinks to support the area healing itself. One drink every once in awhile most likely won’t interfere with scar healing, but binge drinking on a regular basis might slow the process and make the scar more visible by damaging your skin.

    To help cut back, make sure you understand what one serving is and stick with it. A standard alcoholic beverage is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of spirits. If you tend to drink more at home, keep alcohol out of the house for a few weeks while your scar heals. At restaurants, try non-alcoholic versions of your favorite drink. Another good reason to limit your alcohol intake? According to the NIH, a majority of emergency room traumas involve a person who is under the influence – avoiding alcohol is not only beneficial to wound healing, but it can help you avoid injuries altogether!

    Cirrhosis

    cirrhosis develops when scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue in the liver. It happens after the healthy cells are damaged over a long period of time, usually many years.

    According to WebMD, cirrhosis develops when scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue in the liver. It happens after the healthy cells are damaged over a long period of time, usually many years. The scar tissue makes the liver lumpy and hard, and after a while, the organ will start to fail. The scar tissue makes it tough for blood to get through a large vein (the portal vein) that goes into the liver. When blood backs up into the portal vein, it can get into the spleen and cause trouble in that organ, too.

    There are two main stages -- compensated and decompensated. In compensated cirrhosis, you won’t have any symptoms. There are still enough healthy liver cells to meet your body’s needs. They compensate, or make up for, the damaged cells and scarred tissue. If you don’t get treatment for the cause of your cirrhosis, it’ll get worse and over time, the healthy liver cells won’t be able to keep up. Nor will your liver be able to get rid of toxic substances in your body like ammonia. Decompensated cirrhosis causes symptoms. It can lead to problems like these:

    • You bleed from large blood vessels in your esophagus.
    • Fluid builds up in your belly.
    • Toxins build up in your blood that can cause confusion.
    • Your eyes and skin become yellow.
    • You develop gallstones.
    • You bruise and bleed easily.

    Cirrhosis is a leading cause of death in America, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. There’s no cure for cirrhosis except a liver transplant, but you and your doctor can slow cirrhosis down by treating whatever is causing it. Moderate alcohol consumption, which is one to two drinks per day, allows you to enjoy a cocktail without causing liver scars.

  • 5 Best Exercises for Scoliosis

    Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder where there is a sideways curvature of the spine. Curves can be in the shape of the letter “C” or “S”. Some of the causes of scoliosis include neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, birth defects that affect the developing bones of the spine, or injuries to the spine. However, the most common cases of scoliosis occur during a child’s growth spurt just before puberty. Doctors aren’t exactly sure of the cause behind these cases, which are referred to as idiopathic scoliosis.

    The following exercises are targeted toward people with scoliosis. Exercise is important for your overall health and can help ease scoliosis pain. People with moderate or severe scoliosis should consult with their doctor before attempting any of these workouts.

    Tools for Exercise

    Specific exercises performed on a stability ball are helpful in strengthening the back and abdominal muscles.

    Scoliosis can make exercising seem impossible, particularly if you’re dealing with extreme pain and discomfort. It is important to remember that you shouldn’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or in even more pain. Pain isn’t always gain! “Listen to your body,” says fitness trainer Carol Ann. “You do want to feel like your muscles are working, but you don’t want to work through pain. So just gauge that.” Utilizing the tools and equipment around you will help by supporting the weak areas of your spine. Using the right tools can even enhance the effectiveness of your workouts. Here are some tools you can use during your workouts that will be helpful for adults with scoliosis!

    Stability ball: also known as a Swiss Ball, is a ball constructed of soft elastic with a diameter of approximately 35 to 85 centimeters (14 to 34 inches) and filled with air. Specific exercises performed on a stability ball are helpful in strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. This ball provides balance and support for your spine while you work out.

    BOSU Balance Trainer: a BOSU Balance Trainer (or BOSU ball) is a fitness training device, invented in 1999 by David Weck, consisting of an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. The device is often used for balance training. Exercising while standing on this dome-shaped device adds an element of instability to your workout, engaging the muscles responsible for stabilizing and balancing the spine.

    Wedges: a versatile exercise prop can be used in a variety of ways for added comfort and to alleviate overstretching or pressure on the joints. Use the wedge under heels, knees or sit bones in forward bending exercises to maintain alignment and achieve a deeper stretch. Exercising with training wedges can provide extra support where you need it, especially if your spine has multiple curves.

    Foam roller: A foam roller is helpful for improving balance while you perform core-strengthening exercise.

    Workouts

    Many of the best exercises for scoliosis patients come from Pilates, a system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness.

    Many of the best exercises for scoliosis patients come from Pilates, a system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness. In one study, women who completed nine months of Pilates training built up their abdominal strength by as much as 20 percent while reducing their existing muscular imbalances.

    Below are 5 of the best scoliosis exercises you can do at home to help:

    1. Spider: Stand facing the wall with your feet together. Lean forward and place your hands on the wall at chest height. Tighten your abs and slowly walk your fingers up the wall. As you extend your arms over your head, come up on your tiptoes. Once your arms are fully extended, with a straight line from hands to heels, walk your fingers back down. Repeat, keeping abs and lower back muscles engaged.
    2. Pelvic tilts: Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and arms at your sides. Tighten your belly and buttocks to slowly curl your pelvic bone inward, feeling your lower back flatten out against the floor. Hold for five seconds, breathing normally, before releasing. Repeat.
    3. Leg and arm extension: Lie across the stability ball on your belly and place your hands and toes on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs and lower back muscles while you steadily raise your right arm and left leg until parallel to the floor. Slowly lower and repeat on the other side.
    4. Squats: Stand on a BOSU Balance Trainer and find your balance. Extend your arms in front of you and sit back and down like you’re easing into an imaginary chair. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees over your ankles. Keep your body tight and push through your heels to return to the starting position.

    Foam roller balancing: Lie longwise on a foam roller with your tailbone at one end, head at the other and feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Lift one knee so your calf is parallel to the floor while lifting the opposite arm straight up so your fingers are pointing at the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

  • Epidural: Fact and Fiction

    One of the most common ways of dealing with pain during childbirth is through the use of an epidural. While 60 percent of patients choose this form of pain management, deciding whether or not it's for you is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many patients struggle with the idea that getting an epidural makes them appear weak or they fear that it will be unsafe or dangerous for them or their baby. There are a lot of myths about epidurals and here we will give you the facts you need to help make your decision.

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  • Can Cold Weather Increase Pain?

    You notice that your knees are starting to ache. Is there a storm brewing or is that just an old wives' tale? Can joint pain actually predict weather changes? Believe it or not there is some validity to this, because of the effects of barometric pressure changes on your body. According to Robert Newlin Jamison, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and a researcher who has studied weather's effects on chronic pain patients, "it's common for people to blame increased pain on the weather, Everyone's got an aunt who complained that her knee or ankle would flare up. Or Uncle Charlie's shoulder would give him trouble and he would say, ‘Oh, the weather's changing,'" he says. But Jamison, who is also the chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, has seen patients worry about being ridiculed. "For whatever reason, people with chronic pain are real shy about saying it, because they think other people think they're nuts.” In previous research published in the journal Pain, Jamison looked for an association between weather and chronic pain in four cities: San Diego, Nashville, Boston, and Worcester, a Massachusetts city with much colder temperatures than Boston, he says. Among all people interviewed about their chronic pain, "Two-thirds said they were pretty sure that weather seems to affect their pain. Most of them reported that they could actually feel the changes even before the weather changed. In other words, they could feel some increased pain the day before the storm comes."

    Understanding how and why winter weather affects your pain is the first step to mitigating it. With this in mind, here’s what you need to know:

    What Causes Weather Pain?

    Another common theory among specialists is that “when it is cold and/or damp out, changes in barometric pressure can cause an inflammatory response in the joints

    Just to make one thing clear, there's a lack of research to prove why pain increases when it’s cold. However Lauren Farrell, M.S.P.T., a physical therapist and clinic director of Professional Physical Therapy in Hoboken, NJ says experts have a few theories. “The research suggests that in colder weather, the body will conserve heat, and it will send more of the blood to the organs in the center of the body, like the heart or the lungs.” Armin Tehrany, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, also has some ideas. He tells SELF “So when that happens, the arms, legs, shoulders, knee joints, those blood vessels will constrict,” he says. Less blood flow makes those areas colder and stiffer, which can cause discomfort and pain.

    Another common theory among specialists is that “when it is cold and/or damp out, changes in barometric pressure can cause an inflammatory response in the joints,” Farrell explains. “This response could lead to increased joint pain, due to changes in circulation and possible nerve fiber sensitivity. However, there’s a lack of evidence to confirm or deny whether these responses are actually occurring in the body,” she adds. If you imagine the tissues surrounding the joints to be like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding. But barometric pressure often drops before bad weather sets in. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand -- and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint.

    What Can You Do?

    Stay warm: This one is a no brainer. Dressing in layers, keeping your home heated, and warming up the car before you get in can help ease pain related to cold weather

    Fear not, relief is possible. As the weather changes, some people with arthritis and joint pain may need to increase their pain medications. Be sure to go over this with your doctor before doing so. Other than increasing medication, there are other steps you can take for relief according to WebMD;

    Stay warm: This one is a no brainer. Dressing in layers, keeping your home heated, and warming up the car before you get in can help ease pain related to cold weather, according to the National Institutes of Health. Also try sleeping under an electric blanket or warming clothes in the dryer before wearing. Try applying a heating pad to your painful joints, as heat lets muscles relax, so it's a soothing way of helping with pain.

    Try to prevent swelling: While warmth helps with joint pain, it will not necessarily reduce swelling. For example, if bad weather worsens arthritis in the hands, try wearing Spandex gloves at night to keep fluid out of the joints.

    Keep moving: Before you go outside during cold weather, try to exercise your painful joints to loosen up stiffness.

    Improve your mood. People in chronic pain often feel anxious, depressed, and irritable but in many cases, when pain strikes the brain is able to override a lot of sensations. Learning how to improve your mood is important. Break things down into bite-size pieces. Learn how to pace yourself, and figure out how to improve your sleep. We know that distraction is really important, so have something to keep your mind occupied, and keep active.

  • Breast Augmentation 101

    Breast augmentation is sometimes referred to as a "breast aug" or "boob job.” This procedure involves using breast implants or fat transfer to increase the size and shape of your breasts. It can also restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded breast shape or improve natural breast size asymmetry. Here is everything you need to know about this procedure.

    What Can a Breast Augmentation Do?

    Breast implants may also be used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy or injury. Breast augmentation does not correct severely drooping breasts.

    Patients who opt for a breast augmentation are often hoping to increase fullness and projection of their breasts, improve balance of breast and hip contours, enhance self-image and improve self-confidence. Breast implants may also be used for breast reconstruction after mastectomy or injury. Breast augmentation does not correct severely drooping breasts. A breast lift may be required along with a breast augmentation for sagging breasts to look fuller and lifted. Breast lifting can often be done at the same time as your augmentation or may require a separate operation. Your plastic surgeon will assist you in making this decision.

    You will notice your breasts are larger immediately after surgery, but the final results will take a few weeks as the swelling subsides and the skin stretches. Some patients opt for wearing a bandeau to help shape their breasts. This is especially useful to those patients that had any underlying asymmetry or very small breasts prior to surgery. To achieve optimal breast augmentation results, it is important to follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions and return for follow-up visits.

    Breast implants are not totally permanent, and they may need to be replaced at some point in the future. Plan to see your plastic surgeon for an annual examination to evaluate your breast health and implant integrity. Over time, your breasts will change due to aging, weight fluctuations, hormonal factors and gravity. As the appearance of their breasts changes with time, some patients have a breast lift or an implant exchange to restore a more youthful contour.

    Different Types of Implants

    Different Types of Implants

    According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, these are all the different types of implants you can choose from. Be sure to consult with your plastic surgeon about which one is best for you.

    Saline breast implants are filled with sterile salt water. Should the implant shell leak, a saline implant will collapse and the saline will be absorbed and naturally expelled by the body. Saline breast implants provide a uniform shape, firmness and feel.

    Structured implants are filled with sterile salt water, and contain an inner structure which aims to make the implant feel more natural.

    Silicone breast implants are filled with silicone gel. The gel feels a bit more like natural breast tissue. If the implant leaks, the gel may remain within the implant shell, or may escape into the breast implant pocket. A leaking implant filled with silicone gel will not collapse. If you choose silicone implants, you may need to visit your plastic surgeon regularly to make sure the implants are functioning properly. An ultrasound or MRI screening can assess the condition of breast implants.

    Form-stable implants maintain their shape even when the implant shell is broken. The consistency of the silicone gel inside the implant is thicker than traditional silicone gel implants. These implants are also firmer than traditional implants. Shaped “gummy bear” breast implants have more projection at the bottom and are tapered towards the top. If a shaped implant rotates, it may lead to an unusual appearance of the breast that requires a separate procedure to correct. Placement of gummy bear implants requires a slightly longer incision in the skin.

    Round breast implants have a tendency to make breasts appear fuller than form-stable implants. Higher profile options can achieve even more projection. Because round implants are the same shape all over, there is less concern about them rotating out of place.

    Smooth breast implants are the softest feeling. They can move with the breast implant pocket, which may give more natural movement. Smooth implants may have some palpable or visible rippling under the skin.

    Textured breast implants develop scar tissue to stick to the implant, making them less likely to move around inside of the breast and become repositioned. Texturing offers some advantage in diminishing the risk of a tight scar capsule.

    Implant manufacturers occasionally introduce new styles and types of breast implants, so there may be additional options available.

    Healing the Incision Scars

    t is common for scars to occur after receiving breast implants but topical silicone treatments are the most commonly chosen by cosmetic surgeons for their healing properties.

    It is common for scars to occur after receiving breast implants but topical silicone treatments are the most commonly chosen by cosmetic surgeons for their healing properties. They help to normalize collagen production in the healing and repair process, keeping scars soft and flat. NewGel+ carries a range of products specifically designed to treat breast implant scars, no matter where the incision, including the clinically-proven, fast-drying, NewGel+E. This is one of the only brands to offer specifically-shaped bandages that are pieces of reusable silicone sheeting that fit perfectly over the breast area. There are areola circles for those near-the-nipple incisions, anchor shapes for inframammary crease incisions, and a four piece value kit that includes some of each. There are treatment strips that are designed for mastectomies, as well as ‘lollipop’ shaped pieces for breast reductions. Each piece can be cut and customized to fit you perfectly.

  • Putting Together a Pre-Baby Bucket List

    Did you know that women are waiting until much later than ever to start having kids? According to research from the Fertility Centers Of Illinois, women in the U.S. are waiting longer to have children for some pretty practical reasons, including financial stability and prioritizing their careers. The research was conducted through interviews with 1,208 women across the country, aged 25-45, who did not have children. The participants answered questions online, and were able to give more than one answer. While having a baby is exciting and a goal for many people, it’s no secret that a baby will change your life.

    Having a baby requires a lot of preparation, but in the preparation don’t forget to set aside time to do things you won’t be able to do once the baby has arrived. A pre-baby bucket list is gaining popularity amongst both couples and those who are single but hoping to have a family in the future. Here are some pre-baby bucket list items to add to your list no matter what stage in the family planning you may be.

    Travel!

    If you wanted to go out of your comfort zone and travel to another county there is never a better time than before you start your family.

    The number one thing that everyone should add to their pre-baby bucket list is travel. Whether it’s a short weekend trip, or going to another country, taking vacations will be much different once you have a baby. Spend some time exploring your neighboring towns, cities, or states. Make a game out of finding a favorite new spot. If you’re having trouble picking a place to go on your weekend adventure, U.S. News posted their list of Best Weekend Getaways to help. If you wanted to go out of your comfort zone and travel to another county there is never a better time than before you start your family. Alternatively, if you are in a couple relationship and looking to have a romantic getaway before your baby arrives, here is a list of all-inclusive couples-only retreats or romantic destinations. Enjoy the quality time now, because it will be difficult to set aside time later to do these things.

    Go on More Dates

    As your family grows in size, date night will become increasingly more difficult. Having children requires a lot of energy and you will find yourself spending most nights at home with baby instead of going out for dinner and drinks. If you’re trying to save money or are on a tight budget (babies are expensive) there is nothing wrong with enjoying date night at home. Even something as simple as cooking a meal together and binge watching your favorite Netflix series is a great way to bond with your partner. If you feel like getting out of the house, look into free activities around your city. Many museums offer free admission days and you can also attend concerts in your local park. Taking a class or signing up for a workshop together can bring couples closer together.

    Socialize

    Bonding with your partner is important, but don’t forget to spend time with your friends and family too. Haven’t seen your best friend who only lives 30 minutes away for a few weeks? Go visit them.

    Bonding with your partner is important, but don’t forget to spend time with your friends and family too. Haven’t seen your best friend who only lives 30 minutes away for a few weeks? Go visit them. 30 minutes doesn’t seem too far when you are childless, but once you have a baby it can feel like your best friend lives in another country. Also take time out to visit people who live in other states, or calling friends you haven’t seen since college just to chat. Go out to as many happy hours as you can, put together a team for trivia night, or join a kickball league. You will appreciate the time spent with them once you start your family and don’t get to see them as often. If you want to really go all out, you and your partner should plan a huge blow out at your house for all your close friends. It’s a great way to get together with all of your friends without leaving the house.

    Do Something for Yourself

    Take some time for yourself and accomplish something that you’ve always wanted to. Your life will revolve around your baby once they arrive.

    Always wanted to go to grad school? Do it. Wanted to go to a music festival? Do it. Take some time for yourself and accomplish something that you’ve always wanted to. Your life will revolve around your baby once they arrive. While this is incredibly rewarding, it will also be difficult to do something that is just for you. This is also the perfect time to take risks. Not happy at your job? Hate the city you live in? Now is the time to make a change. Taking a career risk before a baby is the right time to do it. It can be hard to take such risks when you have to take care of another life. If you’re unhappy with your company or the field of work you’re in, make the leap.

    This also goes for the city you live in, or maybe even the state. Always wanted to live in New York City? Make the move! Take the chance. Find your dream home so that you can get all settled in before your first-born arrives.

  • Banishing Under Eye Bags and Dark Circles

    Anyone with any amount of stress in their life has fallen victim to eye bags and dark circles. It is a normal part of life and nothing to be embarrassed about. Cosmetic companies have come out with amazing and effective foundations, powders, and concealers for correcting and covering this trouble area. Cosmetic primers are also a great product to use in the fight against dark circles. Color-correcting primers with a yellow tint can neutralize dark, bluish under-eye circles, and because the primer is so sheer, it's easy to blend. But what about those looking for a more permanent solution? Below are ways to minimize the appearance of those circles that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

    Retinoids

    When used regularly retinol can stimulate the production of collagen, which will make the skin less thin and improve the appearance of dark circles.

    When used regularly retinol can stimulate the production of collagen, which will make the skin less thin and improve the appearance of dark circles. Retinoids are available in both drugstores and department stores at various price points and formulations. “Retinoids help rebuild dermal collagen and thereby contribute to vascular support in the area and the recovery of skin volume and firmness," adds Patricia Ceballos, a dermatologist in New Rochelle.

    Change How You Sleep

    The cheapest and one of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of undereye bags is to get on a regular sleep routine of seven to eight hours per day.

    The cheapest and one of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of undereye bags is to get on a regular sleep routine of seven to eight hours per day. Avoid heavy meals and don't drink alcohol a few hours before bedtime. Shut down your phone and get black out curtains if need be.

    If you struggle to cover the dark, puffy bags under your eyes every morning, try sleeping on your back with an extra pillow so that fluid does not build up overnight. Keeping your pillow protected from allergens like dust and dust mites with a protective case can also help if allergies are the culprit.

    As a side note: if allergies are the culprit, try taking an antihistamine as well. Most people who have darkness under the eyes due to allergies don't realize it. An antihistamine helps to clear that up!

    Be Gentle

    Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City advises that you should “consider your under-eyes as sensitive skin even if you may not necessarily have sensitive skin. Under-eye skin is among the thinnest on the body, so any trauma or irritation can cause skin inflammation. If you are using a towelette, try one that is fragrance-free, and take gentle strokes in a single direction rather than rubbing back and forth."

    Tea Bags

    #Lifehack -- caffeinated tea, which contains natural tannins, is a mild diuretic and long used by everyone from grandmothers to runway models for reducing eye puffiness. Soak two tea bags in warm water, then chill the bags for a few minutes in the refrigerator. Place one tea bag on each eye for five minutes, and your eyes will feel fresh and look brighter.

    Adjust Your Diet

    Staying hydrated has a number of positive health benefits, one of which is getting rid of bags under your eyes.

    First things first, if you want to banish your under eye bags you have to cut back on salt. Sodium can cause you to retain water. Typically we associate this with bloating but it can also cause puffiness under your eyes. Ridding your diet of excess sodium can help combat bags under your eyes.

    Staying hydrated has a number of positive health benefits, one of which is getting rid of bags under your eyes. When the body is dehydrated, it responds by retaining as much water as it can (similar to what happens when you consume too much sodium like we discussed above) causing puffiness and under-eye bags. To avoid this, it is best to ensure that you are always staying hydrated. If you are unsure about how much water you should drink, try the 8 by 8 rule: Drink eight ounces of water eight times a day. That adds up to a half gallon, which is the recommended amount of water to consume daily. If you're drinking a half gallon of water a day but still feeling dehydrated, take a look at your alcohol consumption. Alcohol acts as a diuretic in the body, causing you to lose not only fluid but also electrolytes. If you're suffering from chronic eye bags, reducing your alcohol consumption might prove helpful.

    Now that we’ve talked about liquids, let’s move on to solid foods. Eating food rich in vitamin C helps your body produce collagen, a protein that keeps your skin—including the delicate skin under your eyes—healthy, hydrated and dark circle-free. You can also take vitamin C as a supplement, as well as amino acids and copper. All three of these will help you produce more collagen and keep under-eye circles at bay. Here are some foods you can start eating that are high in Vitamin C; yellow, red and green bell peppers, guava, kale, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, clementines, pummelos, tomatoes, peas, papaya, pineapple, mango, melon.

    Don’t despair, there are ways to improve the appearance of your under eye area and present a fresh face to the world!

  • What Is a Gentle C-Section?

    A gentle c-section (also known as a natural cesarean) is a procedure that is designed to make a cesarean seem less like a major abdominal operation and more like a vaginal delivery. The surgical aspects of the procedure are still the same: the patient is numbed from the rib cage down, and the doctor makes an incision through the abdomen and uterus, and with the help of the doctor, the baby is born. The difference with a gentle c-section is what the woman and her partner can see and touch—and when. After a traditional c-section, the mother is typically left waiting to hold her child for as long as a half hour, while her OB stitches her incision. The baby will be cleaned and assessed in another part of the room. During a gentle cesarean however, the baby will be brought to the mother within a few minutes after birth and placed on her chest. A majority of the cleanup and assessment of the newborn is done in the same room.

    What Makes It Different?

    The equipment for a gentle c-section is the same as used in a traditional c-section but moved into slightly different positions so there’s more room for the team to monitor baby and mom.

    A gentle c-section doesn’t take much longer (less than five minutes longer, according to one study) than a traditional c-section. Doctors use a transparent drape to keep the surgical field clear yet still allow the medical team to communicate with one another easily. The equipment for a gentle c-section is the same as used in a traditional c-section but moved into slightly different positions so there’s more room for the team to monitor baby and mom. For example, the IV catheter, oximeter and blood pressure cuff are placed on the mom’s nondominant arm, and the electrocardiographic leads are placed in the back so her chest is cleared for the baby. These small, subtle things can make a big difference! Patients are also given the option of selecting calming music during the procedure and the medical team is advised not to slip into any unrelated or distracting conversations. A doula or midwife is also allowed join mom and her partner while the gentle c-section takes place.

    According to Dr. Kecia Gaither, “in a traditional C-section, the baby is delivered quickly and handed to the pediatricians, but in a gentle C-section, the baby's head is delivered, then slowly the rest of the body is delivered, allowing a bit of a squeeze to get that extra fluid from the lungs expelled, then the baby is placed on the mother's chest and breastfeeding is initiated. There is no quickness elicited in cutting the cord; that procedure is delayed and the baby stays with the mother throughout the entire operative procedure."

    Allie Sakowicz, a certified birth doula and a member of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine research team at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago adds that “the most common requests that I have seen included in a gentle C-section birth plan call for immediate skin-to-skin contact after delivery and the initiation of breastfeeding in the [operating room]".

    Why Have a Gentle C-section?

    A gentle c-section transforms the typically cold, sterile c-section procedure into one that is warm and meaningful.

    A gentle c-section transforms the typically cold, sterile c-section procedure into one that is warm and meaningful. According to new reports it’s not only safe but it is also healthy for both the mother and child. In fact, just last year, Dutch researchers analyzed 365 conventional and 285 natural cesarean cases and found no difference in the rate of infection at the surgical site, and infants born via gentle c-section were less likely to end up with an infection or in the NICU. Moms who gave birth via gentle c-section also had shorter stays in the hospital and reported (along with their partners) greater satisfaction with the whole experience. This is in large part due to the early skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby. This meaningful moment when a mother first meets her baby is usually only given to women who have given birth vaginally. A 2014 review study of immediate or early skin-to-skin contact after a c-section, published in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition, reports that it may promote bonding and breastfeeding, reduce newborn stress and stabilize baby’s body temperature. The study also suggests that bonding with baby provides a distraction for mom that reduces perceived pain. Finally, a paper published last year by doctors at Charité Hospital in Berlin, reported higher rates of breastfeeding with a cesarean that incorporates early skin-to-skin contact, like a gentle c-section.

    You Will Still Need to Take Care of Your Scars

    Case studies show that using NewGel+ C-section strips after any staples or stitches have been removed can help make your scar flat and soft while reducing redness, itchiness, tightness and pain.

    C-section incisions, like all surgical incisions, will leave a scar whether you have a traditional or gentle procedure. However, it is possible to improve the appearance of the scar so that it is barely noticeable. NewGel+ has several silicone gel products designed to soften, flatten, and fade your scar. Case studies show that using NewGel+ C-section strips after any staples or stitches have been removed can help make your scar flat and soft while reducing redness, itchiness, tightness and pain.

  • Best Diet Plans for 2018

    New Year, New You right? If your new year's resolution is to start eating better, you are not alone. Year after year it tops people’s list of things they want to improve at the start of the year. But where do you begin? Recently Time magazine released its list of the best diet plans for 2018. Here they are and how you can get started on them today;

    DASH Diet

    The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans.

    DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was designed to help lower high blood pressure. This diet is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) as a way to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans. People on this diet are told to avoid saturated fat, sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy and some oils—and to eat less salt overall. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. DASH is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as one of its ideal eating plans for all Americans.

    Mediterranean Diet

    The diet gets its name from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries and has been linked to better health and longevity. People on the Mediterranean diet had a 29% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who weren’t on the diet, a 57% lower risk of developing breast cancer and a 30% reduced risk of getting diabetes. The Mediterranean Diet meal plan is high in fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fatty foods like fish, nuts and olive oil.

    Flexitarian Diet

    A blend of the words flexible and vegetarian, the Flexitarian diet encourages people to eat vegetarian most of the time, but doesn’t call for cutting out meat completely.

    A blend of the words flexible and vegetarian, the Flexitarian diet encourages people to eat vegetarian most of the time, but doesn’t call for cutting out meat completely. Flexitarians (also known as semi-vegetarians) have been found to not only have lower BMIs than their carnivore peers, but are also at a lower risk for type 2 diabetes and have lower mortality rate. Another study found that after following a flexitarian diet for just four weeks, the total cholesterol levels of the participants dropped almost 20 points—and LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol) dropped almost 15 points!

    Weight Watchers

    Weight Watchers is one of the most popular diet programs in the country, and is promoted by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jessica Simpson. Weight Watchers works by utilizing a points based system, in which each food is given a number of points, and people are told a total number to aim for each day. Foods that are high in nutrients and are filling have fewer points overall. Sweets, on the other hand, are high in points. There is also an accountability part to this system, and each week people attend meetings where they are weighed and given tips and advice from their peers and coaches.

    MIND Diet

    The MIND—a mix of DASH and the Mediterranean diet—is supposed to help protect the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, though much more research is needed to determine whether it really helps curb brain decline. People are encouraged to eat from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. They are also told to avoid foods from five food groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweets and fried or fast food. In one study of 923 older adults, people who followed the MIND diet the closest had a 53% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than people who followed it the least. And even those who followed the MIND diet only moderately still seemed to benefit from it, and cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 35%, on average!

    Volumetrics

    People who follow the volumetrics diet are told to pay attention to the energy density in foods, which is the number of calories in a certain amount of food.

    People who follow the volumetrics diet are told to pay attention to the energy density in foods, which is the number of calories in a certain amount of food. Foods that have high energy density will have lots of calories for a little amount of food, whereas low energy density foods have fewer calories for more food. Volumetrics relies heavily on foods that have a lot of water in them, like many fruits and vegetables, because they fill you up without adding a lot of calories. There is also an exercise element to this diet. You start by adding 150 steps a day to your routine, using a pedometer. The first goal is reaching an extra 1,000 steps by the end of the week. The ultimate goal is to log 10,000 steps each day.

    Enjoying a diet based on foods that are naturally high in water and low in energy density is a great strategy to satisfy hunger and fill up on fewer calories. The Volumetrics plan will teach you how to make better food choices and slash calories without deprivation. This plan is ideal for anyone who wants to eat a healthier but flexible diet.

    Here’s to a healthy 2018, whichever diet you chose!

  • How to Improve Posture

    You know how your mother and grandmother always scolded you for slouching? Well they may be on to something. Bad posture can lead to aches and pains in your back, neck and shoulders. You can credit bad posture for headaches and tension in the shoulders and back as well as gastrointestinal reflux or feeling fatigued because you’re unable to breathe deeply. And the problem seems to be getting worse as most of us have become accustomed to hunching over our desks, computers or handheld devices. Here are some tips for improving your posture.

    Sit Up Straight!

    Be sure to position yourself all the way back in your chair. If you are sitting too far forward, there’s pressure placed on the pubic bone; too far back, there’s pressure on the tailbone.

    First, adjust the way you sit, particularly when you are at your desk. Be sure to position yourself all the way back in your chair. If you are sitting too far forward, there’s pressure placed on the pubic bone; too far back, there’s pressure on the tailbone. You can find the middle range by keeping your feet flat and centering your weight with your buttocks and pubic bone creating a triangle. If you are sitting on bleachers or a seat with no backrest be sure to keep the triangle position in place, as it will naturally align everything. When in a car adjust the seat or place a small pillow behind your lower back.

    When you are sitting at your desk there’s a natural tendency to lean forward toward your computer. This puts unwanted strain on your back. Sit back in your chair, use a lumbar pillow and slightly elevate the knees instead of slanting them downward. Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen at eye level so you’re not looking up to see it. With a laptop, attach an external monitor or keyboard to prevent hunching. Use a phone headset to avoid neck strain.

    When you’re stuck in one position too long, whether it be an office chair, or a car—your muscles will become fatigued. We can learn how to avoid this by taking lessons from our furry friends. Cats and dogs stretch when they get up from sitting or lying down and you should, too! While standing with feet slightly apart, place hands on the small of the back with your fingers pointing downward. Then, lean back as far as you can, holding a few seconds; repeat. At home, lie on the floor face down, raising yourself up on your elbows and letting the lower back sag toward the floor. Hold a few seconds; repeat.

    Exercise

    Great ways to improve core strength are with yoga or Pilates because they use controlled movements to hold positions. If you are a beginner, start slow.

    Slouching isn’t the only thing that can cause bad posture, a lack of flexibility can also lead to muscle imbalances and poor alignment. You should be sure to include stretching in your weekly routine, and be sure to stretch daily as a way to relieve any discomfort. One thing you can try? While standing or sitting, pull your head back, and center it over your spine. Pull your shoulders back and down, moving your arms as if you’re trying to put your elbows in your back pocket. Push palms outward—as if you’re inside a door frame—and hold for at least six seconds.

    You should also strengthen your core muscles. The core refers to the entire area from under the rib cage to mid-thigh, not just the abs, and all of these muscles work together to help you sit and stand tall. Great ways to improve core strength are with yoga or Pilates because they use controlled movements to hold positions. If you are a beginner, start slow. Lie on your back, lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees as if you were putting your feet flat on a wall. Pull in (contract) your abs, then extend one leg straight. Keep your back flat and the other knee bent. Bring extended leg back, pause, and then extend the other leg; repeat.

    Be Aware of How Your Body Moves

    The most dangerous position is bending and twisting because there’s nothing supporting the spine. As you lift, stand directly in front of the object, not to the side.

    When lifting heavy objects like kids, luggage or groceries it can really hurt your back if you don’t use proper posture. The most dangerous position is bending and twisting because there’s nothing supporting the spine. As you lift, stand directly in front of the object, not to the side. Place your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and squat from the knees, using the gluteal muscles to lift. Pull in your stomach, exhaling on exertion. To pick up small items, such as toys, bend at the waist, keeping your head and back straight while extending one leg off the floor straight behind you.

    When carrying a heavy backpack or purse, it’s very difficult to maintain good posture. Try to limit how much you carry, and choose cross-body bags to distribute weight more evenly. Don’t carry more than you are able without straining, and take things slow. Wearing high heels? It is possible that they can throw you forward and put strain on the lower back. Limit how often you wear them, and if you need to do a lot of walking or standing in heels, opt for lower heels (2” or less) or wedges.

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