6 Surprising Truths about Sweat

You’re at the gym, grinding away on the elliptical and breaking a wicked sweat. If you’re wondering why you’re so sweaty, it’s time for a primer on this basic bodily function. Here are six need-to-know facts about sweat:

1. The more intense your workout, the more you sweat.
Physical exertion requires our cells to make energy. Tapping into that energy creates heat, which our body needs to release in order to cool down. “Our body wants to keep us at an even temperature,” says Greg Cloutier, project manager for the Human Performance and Exercise Science Laboratory at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences. “The blood gets pushed through capillaries in the skin, and it gets cooled by the evaporating sweat on our skin, much like a car radiator. The more we work, the more heat we create.”

2. People who are fit sweat less.
As you become increasingly fit, your body becomes more efficient, so you don’t generate as much heat to make energy, Cloutier says. If you’re in shape, you won’t perspire as much because you have less insulation creating heat. In other words: The more you work out, the fewer tissues you’ll need to wipe your brow.

3. That sweat needs to be replenished.
Perspiring means your body is releasing water, which needs to be replenished by drinking more liquids. If you exercise strenuously for 90 minutes or more, you’ll also need more electrolytes, which help regulate the balance of fluids in your body. Try consuming a sports beverage that contains sodium, potassium and chloride -- but go for a low-cal version if you’re working out for less than two hours (to avoid any unnecessary calories!).

4. Everyone has two types of sweat glands.
When your body temperature rises during a workout, your autonomic nervous system stimulates what are known as the eccrine glands to sweat in order to cool down. That perspiration is made up mostly of water and salt, as well as small amounts of other electrolytes.

Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are usually triggered by emotions like nervousness or stress. They’re located where you have hair follicles, such as the scalp, armpits and groin, says Dr. Pamela Jakubowicz, a dermatologist at Montefiore Medical Center and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. These glands secrete a fatty sweat under stress, and “when sweat from these glands is released, bacteria breaks it down,” Jakubowicz says, which can cause body odor.

5. Sweat too much? It might be a medical problem.
People who sweat too much may have hyperhidrosis, which may result from a health condition, such as an overactive thyroid gland, low blood glucose or menopause. If you feel like your sweat is out of control, talk to your doctor, who can offer a prescription-strength antiperspirant.

6. Mopping up your sweat prevents breakouts.
While there’s no medical reason to wipe up your sweat, doing so certainly helps prevent the machines at your gym from getting doused. “You may also want to do that so you prevent breakouts, which are caused when dead skin gets stuck and attracts bacteria” to your face and other areas of your body, Jakubowicz says. So always bring a few tissues with you during your workout.

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Photo: Corbis Images

5 Steps to Blemish-Free Healthy Skin

Thought those embarrassing breakouts would go the same way of teenage angst and strict curfews? As it turns out, adult acne is becoming increasingly common. According to a recent report from the American Dermatological Association, nearly half of women in their 20s and one in four women in their 30s battles clinical acne.

In many cases, these breakouts are caused by different triggers now than in your teens. “Our skin is an eliminating organ, which often acts up when the body is out of balance,” says Tammy Fender, an aesthetician and the founder of Tammy Fender Holistic Skin Care. “So we may need to make a few changes with our emotions, diet, or lifestyle.” Ready to finally give those blemishes the boot? Start with these simple changes so you can finally get that clear, glowing complexion:

Healthy Skin Step No. 1: Eat more fruits and veggies.
To clear up your skin, you have to clean up your diet. One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that people who ate a diet high in sugar and refined carbs (foods high on the glycemic index) were more acne-prone than those who dined on healthier meals. After they started eating more produce, whole grains and lean protein, their complexions significantly cleared up.

“Your skin is nourished by the nutrients that you consume,” explains Fender. In fact, British researchers show that adding three more servings of produce to your diet can make a visible improvement to the quality of your skin within six weeks.

Healthy Skin Step No. 2: Clean with gentle products.
When you’re trying to zap a zit, it’s tempting to reach for the most powerful products in the drugstore. “But these harsh ingredients can aggravate the skin,” says Fender, who recommends looking for those made with natural anti-inflammatories like thyme and tea tree.

The American Dermatological Association advises washing with a mild cleanser twice a day, and opting for a non-clogging moisturizer daily. If you opt for a drying product or zit cream, apply only a thin layer -- using more than recommended will only aggravate your skin.

Healthy Skin Step No. 3: Be diligent about makeup removal.
Your makeup can clog your pores, paving the way for a breakout. So clean your face each night. “I recommend taking off your makeup as soon as you can, like first thing when you get home,” says Fender.

One of her favorite makeup products is jojoba oil, which removes stubborn products without leaving an oily or greasy feeling. Simply put the oil on a cotton pad or facial tissue and wipe away any makeup before washing your face with a gentle cleaner.

Healthy Skin Step No. 4: Stress less.
Research from Wake Forest University shows that stress causes your skin to produce more oil, which can trigger pimple production. So no matter how hectic your day is, make sure to set aside some time to relax: Go on a solo walk, do a yoga DVD or simply take a few deep breaths.

Healthy Skin Step No. 5: Don’t wage war on that pimple.
“Treat breakouts as you would a wound,” advises Fender. That means avoiding picking, squeezing or jabbing at that zit, which can introduce more bacteria and make matters worse.

Instead, she recommends treating the blemish with an antiseptic product, like her Tammy Fender Clarifying Dermagel. “It’s made with myrrh, thyme and tea tree, which battle bacteria and help to oxygenate and heal the skin,” she says.

If over-the-counter products don’t work on your skin, you may want to consult a dermatologist.

Photo by Richard Jaimes on Unsplash

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5 Beauty Tricks to Beat the Summer Heat

It’s summertime, and the living is easy -- except when it comes to your appearance. That’s because the heat and humidity can take a toll on your skin, hair and outfits, causing greasy faces, sweat stains and frizzy locks. But with the right moves, you can fend off these beauty woes. Try my summer beauty tricks to look cool even on the steamiest days.

1. Summer Beauty Woe: Greasy Skin
Summer Beauty Trick: Moisturize the right way.

When your face is already glistening, it’s tempting to forgo adding any extra moisturizer. But this strategy can backfire: Without replenishing the moisture, your skin overcompensates and produces more oil.

To prevent a shiny complexion, look for an oil-free, noncomedogenic (read: it won’t clog pores) brand. Lightly pat the product into your skin. Then, rip a tissue in two and press each half on either side of your face to soak up any excess moisturizer. Follow this step by applying a lightweight broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen to protect against harmful rays.

2. Summer Beauty Woe: Frizzy Hair
Summer Beauty Trick: Pare down your daily routine.

Dry, damaged hair is more porous than a healthy mane. As a result, the strands suck up more moisture from humid air, leading to frizz. Maintain your locks by using conditioner and skipping the daily shampoo. Washing your hair can strip it of its natural oils, so simply rinse between shampoos.

If you blow-dry, curl or flat-iron your hair, use a heat-protecting spray to protect your strands. Better yet, wet-set your hair in rollers and allow them to air-dry.

Finally, avoid fussing with your tresses. The oil from your hands transfers to your strands, weighing down your hair and giving it a greasy look. Meanwhile, combing can break up curls and create frizz. If you tend to fiddle with your mane, wear it up in a chic chignon or bun on hot, muggy days.

3. Summer Beauty Woe: Sweat Stains
Summer Beauty Trick: Slow your roll-on.
Using extra deodorant may seem like a smart move, but it may actually lead to more stains. That’s because many of those unsightly discolorations are caused by the sweat-fighter’s residue. A smarter move: Apply a thin coat of antiperspirant, and let it dry completely before you slip on your shirt.

If you’re still worried about sweat patches, consider using dress shields. These adhesive pads stick to the inner underarm of your shirt to absorb sweat. You can also make your own by sewing a small fabric pocket into the armpits of your favorite shirt and filling them with tissues. Already out on the town? Stash a few tissues into your pocket, and regularly excuse yourself to wipe off the sweat.

4. Summer Beauty Woe: Breakouts
Summer Beauty Trick: Keep it clean.

Because bacteria thrive in moisture, humid days can bring on unsightly blemishes. If you’re prone to acne, make sure to keep your cell phone and hands clean throughout the day; touching a contaminated surface to your face can lead to a breakout. Also wipe your face clean throughout the day with a clean tissue; soft facial tissues are best for use on your face.

5. Summer Beauty Woe: A Disheveled Appearance
Summer Beauty Trick:
Bring an emergency kit.
Headed on a day trip or have to run a few errands before dinner? Keep a pouch filled with a few travel-size products. My essentials: bobby pins, antiperspirant, moist towelettes, sunblock, mints, fragrance, tissues and makeup. With these products on hand, you can wipe off the sweat and grime -- and reapply makeup -- so you can look fresh all day long.

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Healthy Skin Mistakes Even Smart Women Make

Now that the weather’s getting cooler and your tan is starting to fade, you may notice a less-than-glowing complexion. That may be because a few of your daily habits are actually sabotaging your natural glow. Consider the following common mistakes -- and learn how you can finally score super-healthy skin.

Healthy Skin Sabotager No. 1: Exfoliating daily. Scrubbing off the outer layer of dead skin cells can reveal a glowing complexion underneath. But do it too often, and you’ll remove the natural lipid barrier that protects the skin, says Maggie Hazard, lead aesthetician for The Spa and Wellness Center at Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont. That may leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria, setting the stage for acne and other blemishes. To make matters worse, your skin may overcompensate by producing excess oil, adds Hazard.

Avoid using an exfoliating product every morning and evening, says Dr. Ahmet Altiner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College and owner of UWS Dermatology & Skin Care in New York City. “It can irritate the skin,” say Altiner. “I tell my patients not to exfoliate more than three times a week.” Scrubbing your face vigorously with a washcloth can have the same effect; use your hands to lather up instead.

Healthy Skin Sabotager No. 2: Skipping the sunscreen. Experts estimate that 98 percent of Americans don’t regularly use sunscreen during the winter months. That’s worrisome, since the sun’s rays are just as powerful as in the summer. Plus, you can still get burned on cloudy days, says Hazard. 

“Many people forget about sunscreen because they’re more covered up,” says Hazard. “But their heads and hands are still susceptible to burns -- especially if they’re out skiing or playing in the snow.” In fact, snow reflects about 80 percent of those damaging UV rays, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. That can put you at greater risk for sun damage and skin cancer. To stay safe, apply a product with SPF 30 before heading outside.

Healthy Skin Sabotager No. 3: Reaching for any old tissue. When your nose is running, it’s tempting to reach for the closest paper product around. But rough tissues can irritate skin, says Hazard. “If you’ve got the sniffles, look for facial tissues with lotion,” adds Hazard. They’re gentler, which can prevent your skin from cracking.

Still have a red, raw nose? Skip the petroleum jelly, which can clog pores. For healthy skin, apply a thin layer of healing ointment or skin oil, like pressed olive leaf oil.

Healthy Skin Sabotager No. 4: Heading to bed without washing your face. Throughout the day, oil and bacteria builds up on the skin, along with any remaining makeup from the morning. “These particles can clog the pores overnight, raising the risk for a breakout,” says Hazard.

Take the extra five minutes to wash your face before hitting the sack. You may also want to stash a pack of makeup remover wipes by your bedside for those evenings when you just want to crawl under the covers.

Healthy Skin Sabotager No. 5: Putting on lotion before bedtime. Dry, itchy skin is a top cold-weather complaint. But a simple change can make all the difference: Rub on your lotion after you step out of the shower or wash your face. “Applying lotion on slightly damp skin locks in the moisture,” explains Altiner. You don’t need to be dripping wet -- simply pat yourself down with a towel and lather on a liberal amount of moisturizer. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes, and then wipe off any excess. The result: soft, healthy skin.

Photo by x ) on Unsplash

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6 Pro Beauty Products

Most of us have our favorite beauty staples: foundation, blush, and mascara. But it’s time to introduce a few new items into your repertoire. As a makeup artist, I deal with hundreds of different cosmetic products -- but I always find myself relying on a few surprising ones.

Consider adding the following products to your beauty regimen. They may seem simple, but they’ll make a huge difference!

1. Exfoliating products.
Large, clogged pores are my beauty arch-nemesis. For a smooth complexion, I use a micro-exfoliation wash, mask or cloth to strip away excess dirt and oil. Choose a gentle product that isn’t too harsh on your complexion. My rule of thumb: If the product feels like it’s scratching your skin, toss it.

2. Antiaging serum with vitamin C.
Known in its pure form as ascorbic acid, vitamin C lightens dark spots and softens fine lines. I prefer serums with rose hips, which are high in the vitamin. To apply it, put a reasonable amount in your palm, rub your hands together and pat your face, neck and décolletage. Then softly drape an unfolded on your skin to absorb the excess. Tip: If your product turns a different color, like yellow, that means it’s lost some of its benefits -- and it’s time to buy a new bottle.

3. Primer.
Several of my clients complain of having red splotches or sallow complexions. Tinted primer is the remedy to these problems. Remember the color wheel from art class? Opposing colors can neutralize one another: Green balances out red, and violet counteracts yellow.

Choose your tinted primer and prep your skin with moisturizer. Using a flat foundation brush, paint the primer on your face, focusing on the areas that need color correction. Dab off any streaks with a and apply your foundation as usual.

4. Nude eyeliner.
When all the concealer in the world is not enough to make me look awake, I brighten my eyes with a flesh-toned eyeliner. Choose a waterproof pencil one or two shades lighter than your skin. (Even if you’re pale, stay away from stark white liner. They can create a chalky look.) Sketch the color across your waterline -- the innermost rim of your lower eyelid -- brush on your mascara, and your eyes no longer look like they’re begging for an espresso.

5. Paintbrushes.
Mixed in with my pricey top-of-the-line makeup brushes, you’ll find several art store paintbrushes. Great for lipstick, eyeliner and under-eye correction, many of these brushes are made from the same synthetic fibers as their more expensive makeup counterparts. Some of my finest and most precise eyeliner brushes are actually meant for oil or acrylic paints and cost half as much as the less effective ones sold by beauty suppliers!

As with all brushes, washing is essential. Use a mild shampoo to scrub off any residue and makeup and rinse. Then press the brush into a folded to remove as much water as possible. Shape the brushes and lay them out to dry.

6. Cream shadows.
For years, cream shadows have been my No. 1 necessity. These products provide long-lasting coverage, so there’s no need for a specific eye primer. Plus, they have pigment that blends well with powder shadows.

How to apply it? Spread a light peach-pink cream shadow over your lid, V area and crease. Before the product dries, dust your lid with a lighter matching shadow. You can keep it simple or go more dramatic by highlighting the center of your lid with a pearl shimmer, then add a darker shadow to your V area and crease. Wipe away any smudges or excess.

Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash