Sunday, March 17, 2019

Surprising skin sins that age your face as explained by a plastic surgeon


Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that smoking, not wearing sunscreen and going to bed with your makeup on hardly produces the coveted look of Instagram’s “glass skin.”  Aside from these three ‘skin sins’ there are many others that are not so obvious. We turned to Denver Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Manish Shah who is a big believer in pre-juvenation and a holistic approach to youth. 

Inconsistent Dieting
“Many people think caring for your skin is skin-deep,” quips Dr. Shah. “It is not.“ Inconsistent or inadequate nutrition that has your body mass and weight moving in a yo-yo motion up and down the scale can contribute to ruined elasticity and reduced collagen in the skin. This is part of the reason why specialists will recommend a two-pound maximum weight loss goal per week because your skin needs time to adapt to the loss of mass. Dr. Shah explains that the skin needs to be nourished from the inside as well and many of the trend diets like keto and paleo focus on one group of food and though it can help keep a caloric deficit, it can also create a deficit of the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to keep your skin looking healthy.

Drinking Too Much Coffee
“Excessive amounts of caffeine can increase the levels of insulin and cortisol in the system,” explains Dr. Shah.  Insulin increases inflammation and cortisol is known as the stress hormone. This combination could mix up your sleeping habits and contribute to continued stress which can lead to sleep deprivation. “Sleep deprivation prevents that regenerative rest our skin and mind need to stay healthy.”

Neglecting the Skin Around Your Eyes
"The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and has very few oil glands," says Dr. Shah. Pamper your eyes and stave off signs of aging by choosing a daily eye cream that includes peptides. Dr. Shah explains, “They work to stimulate collagen production and prevent fine lines. Be sure to check the label.” Other notable ingredients that reduce puffiness, lines, wrinkles, and under eye circles are caffeine and nicotinic acid (a form of the B vitamin niacin).

Expecting Instant Results from Beauty Treatments
Most of us are guilty of trying a face cream or anti-aging treatment once or twice and then giving up on it before it has had a chance to work. A majority of anti-aging treatments take up to a month to begin showing positive effects. Dr. Shah explains, “This is due to the cycle of your skin, which undergoes a period of cellular structure renewal over a span of 30 days. In our instant gratification mode, we often toss a product before giving it time to work.”

Taking Medications With Side-Effects on the Skin
Certain medications like corticosteroids for asthma and arthritis cause the skin to thin and weakens blood vessels. Medicine to treat seizures can cause heightened sensitivity to sun damage in the skin which is a common perpetrator in premature aging. Blood pressure medications that block calcium channels have been studied in relation to their inhibition of collagen production by obstructing the absorption of vitamin C by the cells. Vitamin C is an important part of collagen production.  “If these medications are being prescribed to you by your physician then the benefits outweigh their effect on collagen production. There is no need to stress over this, as long as you take care of your skin in other ways you should be fine,” explains Dr. Shah.

Consuming Excessive Amounts of Salt
“By all measures, an excess of salt in your diet is detrimental to your kidneys, your cardiovascular health and, yes, your skin,” says Dr. Shah. Salt absorbs moisture and it can aid in making your skin look dry and less vibrant. Reducing your sodium intake and sticking to a moisturizing routine should help your skin stay healthy and smooth.

Facial Expressions
Every time you move that beautiful face, your skin wrinkles a little bit. Most of the time your face bounces back and those little wrinkles disappear once new skin cells grow.

While you may think that soap is your skin’s best friend, this is actually not the case. The reason for this is that your skin has an acid mantle which is a natural protective barrier of the skin. When you wash with soap – which is generally alkaline – it can remove this protective layer of oils and dry out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles. Dr. Shah says that “While it is not advisable to stop washing entirely, try swapping the soap for a PH-neutral and chemical-free cleanser, and bear in mind that there is such a thing as over-cleansing your skin.”

Tugging on Your Skin While Applying or Removing Makeup
To minimize the damage to the skin around your eyes, follow these quick tips from Dr. Shah:
Use your ring finger to pat on products around your eyes, including serums, oils, moisturizers, and concealers. Your ring finger is the least likely to pull or tug at your skin.
Apply eyeliner and eyeshadow by gently closing your eyelids, rather than by pulling them taut. If you’re struggling to apply without pulling, consider investing in products that are made to apply smoothly, like cream or gel formulas.
Have patience when removing makeup from the eye area. Use cotton or another soft product, coated well with your favorite makeup removing solution. Hold the cotton over your closed eye without wiping, allowing the product to break down the makeup. After a minute or so, wipe gently to remove the makeup.

Picking Your Skin
You're not a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. You should not be picking at your pimples, ingrown hairs, or anywhere else on your face. It's one of the biggest assaults against your skin and can have permanent effects. "The more people press and manipulate blemishes, the more inflammation they create underneath," explains Dr. Shah. "The result is scars, pockmarks, and discoloration that can become permanent.”
Licking Your Lips Constantly
There's a myth out there that claims people can get addicted to lip balm. "These people just have dry skin and miss the feeling of the balm when it's gone," says Dr. Shah. Lip licking can become a bad habit. But when you moisten your lips that way, you actually wind up making things worse. The water in your saliva evaporates, leaving lips dry and cracked. "Saliva can contain bacteria and irritants, so you can end up with a rash around the lips as well," says Dr. Shah. Try a lip balm such as Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, Original Beeswax with Vitamin E & Peppermint Oil.

About Dr. Manish Shah:

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. was born in Canada and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in biomedical engineering. He then completed his medical training at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Doctorate. During this time, he also completed a one-year fellowship in microsurgery research at the New York University School of Medicine / Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. As a prelude to his plastic surgery training, Dr. Shah completed a rigorous five-year training program in General and Trauma Surgery at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. His formal training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was completed at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine – Chattanooga Unit. After completing his plastic surgery training, he moved to New York City when he was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. This fellowship is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who has undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.
Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery.
Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!
Dr. Shah is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.  He maintains a private practice in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver.
Dr. Shah is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Rhinoplasty Society, and the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Shah is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

10 Sleep Hygiene Tips from a NYC Neuropsychologist

10 Sleep Hygiene Tips from a NYC Neuropsychologist

Lack of sleep is such a universal problem that the National Sleep Foundation has proclaimed the week of March 10th as Sleep Awareness Week.
How do you assess your bedroom habits and optimize your nighttime routine for better sleep? To find out, we turned to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University.
Studies show that sleep quality is directly related to sleep hygiene. So could it be that your nighttime habits are causing you to lose out on the benefits of quality sleep?

Dr. Hafeez says that “not only are people unaware of why they are suffering from insomnia or not getting quality sleep but they are unaware of the effects this has on their health, daily functions and brain.” The New York-based Neuropsychologist explains that a large part of insomnia is a result of poor sleep hygiene.

The National Sleep Foundation defines sleep hygiene as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”

Here are 10 behaviors that could be causing a decline in your sleep quality and tips from our neuropsychology expert explaining how to fix them!

  1. Working Out Too Late Into The Night
Working out can help de-stress the body and reduce anxiety. However, “if done too close to your bedtime your body might still feel the adrenaline and pump of the workout and it might be difficult to fall into a sedative state,” says Dr. Hafeez.

  1. Having A Smoke Or Some Caffeine Too Close To Bedtime
“Nicotine is a stimulant and it is well known to cause insomnia. Depending on how your body processes nicotine you could be putting yourself at risk for low quality sleep which means a lack of REM sleep,” warns Dr. Hafeez. This stage of sleep is where we recharge the most throughout the night. In other cases, people unassumingly snack on chocolate or have a soft drink that contains caffeine and that caffeine will keep you in a state of alert and it will be more noticeable that you are alert as you stare at the roof without any other activity. “Caffeine is great at work when you need a little help staying alert, but at night it can cause you to miss out on that much-needed recharge,” Dr. Hafeez says.

  1. Using Your Bed For More Than Just “Bed” Functions
  Much like productivity professionals advise maintaining a designated area
for studying or work, sleep experts say your bed should be used almost exclusively for sleeping and sharing intimate moments with our spouse or lover. This is because, “the brain has a hard time adjusting to sleep mode if it gets used to being on the bed all the time, eating, watching tv, studying or just hanging out. You’ll have a harder time shifting into actual ‘bedtime,’ explains Dr. Hafeez.

  1. Eating Too Late Into The Night
 For late night munchers, it is no strange notion that after a binge session at 3 a.m it may be a little difficult to fall asleep. “Your system is stuffed. Depending on how much you eat you may feel bloated or hyperactive. This can result in you feeling uncomfortable. If you’re on a diet you may feel guilty for breaking your regimen,” says Dr. Hafeez. All of these things cause your brain and system to be preoccupied with all but falling asleep.

  1. Though It Is A Sedative, Alcohol Will Ruin Your REM Sleep
 Many people say they sleep better after drinking. That may be true for a glass of wine with a light dinner but “a restful sleep is not the same as blacking out or drinking so heavily that you find yourself inebriated prior to sleep,” explains Dr. Hafeez.  Alcohol disrupts the way our body absorbs liquid, thus causing urgent and frequent needs to go to the restroom to urinate. Dr. Hafeez also says alcohol tends to disrupt the restful stage of REM.

  1. Going To Bed Angry Will Make It More Difficult To Fall Asleep
 Not only is “don’t go to bed angry”  good relationship advice, it turns out it ’s great psychological and sleep hygiene advice. Dr. Hafeez explains that “if you are able to leave things off with someone in a better place or in a place of ‘we will work this out in the morning because we care for each other,’ you have a better chance of letting your body relax into sleep.” If you aren’t able to calm your frustration for the night you may find your mind circling the problem until the sun comes up.

  1. Clinging to Your Cell Phone While Trying To Doze Off
 This is a major issue in today’s digital age. People are tuned in to their phones too late into the night, reports show. “As more and more people opt to have their phone by their bedside and go to bed staring at their screens there is an increase in phone-related insomnia. Our eyes stay alert with the light of the screen explains Dr. Hafeez. “The constant scrolling and continued processing of information make it so your brain never begins relaxing,” she says. Tips for avoiding this issue are to leave your phone across the room. This also helps when waking up in the morning and having to walk across the room to turn your alarm off.

  1. The Room Temperature Is Not Optimized For Sleep
Optimal room temperature is commonly thought to be 60-67 degrees according to the national sleep foundation. “Your body has a way of regulating temperature relative to the temperature of the room in order to relax you into sleep,” says Dr. Hafeez. If the room temperature is too hot or too cold it can cause discomfort that will wake you up throughout the night or keep you from falling asleep at all.

  1. Poor Lighting Environment 
If a room is getting too much light coming in from the window or from your bedroom hallway it can be difficult to sleep. “Many people with light sensitivity will use blackout curtains to optimize the room for sleep. When clocks move forward and the sun rises at an earlier time people often struggle to acclimate themselves to the new time because the sunlight is waking them up,” says Dr. Hafeez

  1.  Napping During The Day
Sleep is a recharge for the day's activities. If you are constantly napping or napped too heavily during the day, your mind won’t be as tired as it usually is once it’s time to tuck into the sheets for the night. “Napping if necessary is not a bad thing. But one 20 to 30-minute nap is very different than sleeping all day and then struggling at night to sleep,” says Dr. Hafeez.

About the Doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. Connect with her via Instagram @drsanamhafeez or

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Sincerely Silver Co. Gold Initial Personalized Bar Necklace

Clearly, my obsession with bar necklaces is real! 🤩🤩🤩

I think this necklace from @sincerelysilverco is my favourite so far. I love the yellow gold and the script with my initials. Sometimes I don't want to wear my name on my chest but I still want something personal. This initial necklace is just perfect for that! Another reason that I love this style so much is because it goes with everything and it's great for layering with other necklaces! This style is on an 18" chain.

Sincerely Silver offers so many styles and the customization possibilities are endless!

Here are just a few of the styles offered:

Get 15% off your order with "Enjoy15" at (non-referral)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Product was kindly provided free for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Canadian Summer Travel Bucket List

As some of you may know, I worked in the airline business for almost 2 decades. Although I did a lot of travelling, we often went to the same places over and over because we became familiar with them and enjoyed them so much. Although I did quite a bit of travelling, there are many places that I have yet to see and I'm starting to compile my Travel Bucket List.

Because I worked for an American airline, most of my travels were within the USA. I have seen much more of the USA than I have my own country here in Canada. In fact, other than where I live in Ontario, I've only been to 2 other provinces; Quebec and Vancouver. Yet, I have been to at least 20 states in the USA. Now that I no longer work for the airline and my lifestyle has changed, I definitely have Canada on my radar for travel. It's a shame that I haven't visited more places in this beautiful Country but I'm starting to do some research and I'm beginning to build my Canadian Travel Bucket List. With Summer just around the corner, I definitely have travel, and particularly road trippin' on my mind!

Because I love beaches and being near the water so much, the first places that I've added to my bucket list are all waterfront locations. Much of my inspiration is found on Google:  10-incredible-coastal-towns-you-must-visit-in-canada.

Did you know that Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world!? Over 200,000 kilometres! That's incredible and I hope to visit as much of it as I can in my lifetime!

Within Ontario:
When I was young my parents always took us to a place called Sandbanks, Ontario. It had white sandy beaches along the lake's shoreline and I always used to think that we were in Florida. It wasn't until I was older that my parents told me where we actually were. I look back at those photos from our Sandbanks trips and it really does look like we were in Florida.

Sandbanks Info from Ontario Parks:
  • World’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation
  • Three expansive sandy beaches that some say are among the best in Canada; Outlet Beach is perfect for families, with shallow waters and gentle drop off
  • Location jutting out into Lake Ontario means that this park is a bird migration hotspot in spring and fall
  • Walking trails that allow visitors to experience the dune and wetland habitats of the park
  • Daily interpretive programming for the whole family during summer months
  • Great starting point to explore Prince Edward County known for its bicycle touring, wineries, food and antiques

The East Coast
I have never been East of Ontario (besides Quebec). I hear such great things about the East Coast in Canada and see such beautiful photos, it's actually been on my radar for quite some time. Since I'm always drawn to beautiful locations near the water, I have several locations on my bucket list for the East Coast. Since I want to visit so many spots on the East Coast, I have a truck camper rental in mind. I've always had the idea to get a travel camper and go travelling across Canada, this way I can see ALL the beautiful spots, no worry about hotel reservations and I can bring my cat, too!

Below are the places that I've added to my list so far:
  • New Brunswick, St. Andrews By-the-Sea
  • Nova Scotia, Peggy's Cove + Lunenberg
  • PEI, Cavendish

The West Coast
I visited Vancouver once a long long time ago and I was there on a business trip and it was only for a few days. TBH, most of it was a blur. I was at that partying age and didn't have any other interest but finding the nearest club to go to and I sure had a hard time finding any "nightclubs" in Vancouver at that time. Now that my interests have completely changed, I would love to go back and explore all the beauty that I've seen in photos, and I won't be looking for a single night club.

My Father has always loved and wanted to move to Vancouver Island. It's on my bucket list and I am quite certain that after I visit some of these towns that are on my list, I'm never going to want to come back home! I seriously want to visit EVERY waterfront town on the West Coast but these are the ones on my list so far.

  • Gibsons
  • Vancouver Island
  • Bowen Island
  • Prince Rupert
  • Tofino
  • Squamish

I do want to visit central Canada as well but I'll save those for my next Candian Travel Bucket List.

Do you have any places in Canada that you'd recommend I add to my bucket list?

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