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HEALTHY LIVING

What’s causing your dark under-eye circles (and what experts swear will help)

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By Well+Good Editors

You’ve got to hand it to dark circles: Unlike many other skin issues, they don’t discriminate. You could start your day with a green juice and a facial and still end up with a serious case of the under-eye blues.

“They’re ubiquitous,” admits Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a dermatologist with Connecticut Dermatology Group. “You can find different aspects of [dark circles] in people from their early twenties, onward.”

The bad news is that genetics plays a big role (thanks, Dad!), plus the thinnest skin on your face is around the eyes, so you can often see blood vessels beneath it. But many of the other causes—sun damage, allergies, lack of sleep, cocktails, and salty snacks—are within your control.

Since pulling a Victoria Beckham and wearing oversized sunglasses for the entirety of your week isn’t a realistic option, we spoke with four top beauty experts who share 12 ways that you can take on dark under-eye circles—and win. —Rachel Brown

1. Pinpoint your problem

Tackling dark circles is easier when you get a handle on what you’re dealing with. Certainly, if you just pulled an all-nighter, it isn’t hard to determine the culprit. Most of the time, it won’t be that clear, but there are signs that can direct you to possible offenders.

Sun damage and visible blood vessels are greater problems for lighter-skinned people, explains Dr. Mraz Robinson, while those with darker skin are prone to inflammation-induced hyper-pigmentation. No matter your skin tone, there’s one thing you can’t stop and that’s aging; as you get older, your skin thins and, in the process, reveals the capillaries and plumbing underneath. But you also get wiser, so… trade-off?

2. Eat well, sleep well, repeat

Heart health, cancer prevention, stress reduction… There are many reasons to chug water in place of alcohol, get at least seven hours of sleep a night, and include as many anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. And you can add eye de-puffing to that list.

“Under-eye circles are a symptom of internal issues in the body,” says Laurel Shaffer, herbalist and founder of skin-care brand Laurel Whole Plant Organics. If you’re going for an extra-big wine pour at your next dinner out, make sure your water glass is constantly being refilled, too.

3. Don’t be so thin skinned

Collagen boosters such as retinols, which are a form of vitamin A, increase cell turnover and generate firmer, thicker skin below the eyes. “The thicker the skin, the less visible those vessels will be,” says Dr. Mraz Robinson.

Natural skin-care products often use carrot oil, rosehip seed oil, or tamanu oil, which Shaffer loves for being super-packed with vitamin A. (Laurel Whole Plant Organics’ Eye Serum and Eye Balm, which both include rosehip seed oil, are a good place to start.)

4. Get your buzz on

Turns out, caffeine might perk up your skin, too. “It functions as a vasoconstrictor. Constricting the blood vessels around the eye area, in turn makes the dark circle and puffiness less visible,” says Lauren Hoffman, co-founder of eye-focused beauty brand Onomie (whose Bright Concealing Elixir features caffeine as one of its main ingredients). She also points out that, because of its antioxidant properties, the stimulant also excels at “protecting your skin from free radical damage and thus protecting against potential future aging.”

5. Address your allergies

Onomie’s Hoffman and Dr. Mraz Robinson note that allergies trigger inflammation, which does no favors for your under-eye area. So it goes without saying that, when you’ve got something you’d like to look bright-eyed for—a date, a wedding, a New Year’s Eve party—your best bet is to steer clear of known allergens altogether. When that’s not possible (because you are human), you can give over-the-counter antihistamines a shot, they say.

6. Be gentle

Abrasive cleansers and makeup removers can further aggravate dark circles. “If you’re using something that isn’t taking [product] off very well, then you’re irritating the eye and making the darkness worse,” says Christy Coleman, a makeup artist and head of creative design at non-toxic cosmetics brand Beautycounter.

She recommends the brand’s Routine Clean because “you don’t have to rub, and it removes makeup very well.” (These nine cleansers also get the Well+Good stamp of approval.)

7. Pile on the pillows

It’s not just how much you sleep that impacts dark circles, but how you sleep. Ditch those old, scratchy pillows you’ve been meaning to throw out anyway, and make a pillow pile with the ones you’ve got left to prop up your head. According to Dr. Mraz Robinson, “If you sleep a little elevated, it helps drain the swelling. When you lie flat, it’s more likely to pool.”

Massages are not just for your back

Natural beauty maven Laurel Shaffer advises compressing your face daily with a towel soaked in warm water, salt water, or herbal tea. “Compressing will absolutely reduce under-eye puffiness and improve darkness immediately,” she notes.

To achieve similar ends, Beautycounter’s Coleman favors light massages around the eyes with your fingers, with jade rollers, or stones. (New to DIY jade rolling? Here’s everything you need to know.)

8. Massages are not just for your back

Natural beauty maven Laurel Shaffer advises compressing your face daily with a towel soaked in warm water, salt water, or herbal tea. “Compressing will absolutely reduce under-eye puffiness and improve darkness immediately,” she notes.

To achieve similar ends, Beautycounter’s Coleman favors light massages around the eyes with your fingers, with jade rollers, or stones. (New to DIY jade rolling? Here’s everything you need to know.)

9. Choose your concealer wisely

The wrong cover-up shade can be particularly problematic when you’re coping with dark circles. “It might actually make that dark circle more pronounced and stand out on your face in a way that isn’t going to seem natural,” says Hoffman.

Coleman’s tip? Select a concealer a shade lighter than your foundation, to help brighten the area around your eyes. It always helps to go with an all-natural option, too.

10. Banish heavy eye shadow to your bathroom drawer

We’re not saying you should break up with smoky eyes for life… but maybe put down the kohl and the dark shadows for a little trick of the eye. “You want to keep [your eye makeup] brighter; that deflects from the dark circles underneath,” reasons Coleman.

She opts for shadows with shimmer or sheen for those occasions when a diversion tactic is necessary, and singled out Beautycounter’s pearl and champagne duo as a good option. “If you use a neutral peach-y beige to line the inner rim of your eye, that also helps,” Coleman adds.

11. The bold and the beautiful

Distraction can be a dark circle sufferer’s biggest ally. “If you wear a brighter or a darker lip, people are going to notice that before the dark circles,” promises Coleman. Besides, who doesn’t love an excuse to grab your go-to red lipstick on a Monday morning?

12. And, of course, don’t skimp on the sun protection

Grab a hat whenever you’re spending time in the sun, and Dr. Mraz Robinson recommends finding a delicate sunblock that you feel comfortable wearing regularly. “Sun protection is very important because pigmentation can become darker with sun exposure,” she says, noting skin-care products with vitamin C and licorice extract can be applied to combat hyperpigmentation.

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Support brain health: Simple ways to add to your wellness routine

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(Family Features) When most people think of wellness, diet and exercise are the first things that come to mind. Brain health is another essential element of your overall wellness because it affects your quality of life in many ways.

Brain health is the foundation of your ability to live a productive and successful life by communicating and solving problems. It’s the driving force behind your daily function.

Give your brain extra support with these tips:

Stimulate Your Mind

Like any muscle, your brain needs exercise. Your workout equipment for your brain can include activities like puzzles, reading, learning an instrument, taking up a new hobby or learning a new language.

Focus on Brain-Supporting Foods
What you eat doesn’t just affect your physical health; it affects your brain health, too. One example is the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which is the result of more than 20 years of data collected by researchers at Rush University Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health.

It follows the Mediterranean style of eating whole foods with minimal processing and includes an emphasis on plant-based foods, including leafy greens, whole grains and heart-healthy legumes along with some fish and smaller amounts of poultry. The MIND diet aims to build on these principles and emphasizes antioxidant-rich berries, dark leafy greens and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines.

A dish like Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Salmon reflects the MIND diet guidelines and is a delicious and smart way to support your brain with good nutrition.

“Fueling your brain starts with your plate,” said Melissa Halas, MA, RDN. “This tasty kale, quinoa and salmon recipe by Alton Brown has smart ingredients that match the MIND diet. Plus, the results are delicious. It’s so important to support your brain with the right nutrients.”

Sleep Well
While you catch up on your rest, your body is hard at work rejuvenating all your systems, and your brain is no exception. Getting plenty of sleep each night gives your brain time to repair itself so you wake feeling sharp and focused.

Add a Supplement to Your Daily Routine
Most people fall short of reaching recommended nutrient levels with their diets alone. Supplements can help fill the gap. An option like Neuriva Plus can help support the key indicators of brain health: reasoning (think and understand things in a logical way), focus (zoom in and filter out distractions), accuracy (react with greater speed and precision), memory (record and recall stored information), learning (retain new information) and concentration (concentrating on tasks for longer periods).*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Available in capsules and gummies, the Neuriva brain health supplements include naturally sourced ingredients like Neurofactor™ (coffee cherry extract) and plant-sourced phosphatidylserine (PS), as well as B vitamins to support brain health.

“I recently turned 60 and over the past couple of decades, I’ve been very focused on taking care of my health from the inside out – first with my food, and now taking action to support my brain health,” said Alton Brown, award-winning chef and food geek. “Neuriva fits perfectly into my holistic regimen, which for me, is just simple life practices, like exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting a good night’s sleep.”  

Manage Stress
Keeping your stress in check is good for your mental well-being, but it also affects your physical and cognitive health. Practicing yoga, meditation or listening to music are some ways to reduce stress while improving your cognitive function and performance.

Connect with Others
Personal interaction also sharpens your brain, as it encourages you to practice communication and other cognitive skills. You can protect and improve your brain health by creating and nurturing connections with friends and family.

Keep Moving
Your brain needs plenty of oxygen for good function. Physical activity burns calories and builds muscle while increasing oxygen flow and stimulating nerve cell growth.

For more ideas to support brain health and wellness, visit Neuriva.com and download the Neuriva Brain Gym app.

Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Salmon

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown on behalf of Neuriva
Servings: 4

Kale and Quinoa Bowl:

  • 1 bunch lacinato or “dinosaur” kale, stems removed and cut into ribbons (about 4 ounces, stemmed)
  • 1 bunch (1 1/2 ounces) flat leaf parsley, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice only
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 4 ounces firm feta cheese, divided
  • 1cup (3 1/2 ounces) walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • freshly ground black pepper

Salmon:

  • 2 skin-on salmon fillets (around 1-inch thick and 5 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  1. To make kale and quinoa bowls: In large bowl, toss kale, parsley and shallots with 2 tablespoons olive oil; set aside 10 minutes.
  2. In bowl of food processor, puree remaining olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, yogurt, 2 ounces feta, 1/3 of the walnuts and salt.
  3. Pour dressing over greens then fold in quinoa, remaining walnuts, cherries and remaining feta.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving with several grinds of black pepper.
  5. To make salmon: Wrap fillets in paper towels then heat large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes.
  6. When skillet is hot, season fillets with salt. Add oil to skillet and carefully tilt to evenly cover bottom. When oil shimmers, slide fillets in, skin-side down, pressing each fillet firmly down with spatula.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3 minutes then cover and cook 2 minutes.
  8. Carefully flip fillets, cover and cook 1 minute, or until fillets reach desired doneness or internal temperature of at least 130 F** on thermometer inserted into centers.
    **The United States Department of Agriculture recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. To serve, separate kale and quinoa mixture into four bowls. Slice each fillet in half and place on top of kale and quinoa.

Content courtesy of Neuriva

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman eating at laptop)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman doing a puzzle)
Photo courtesy of Lynne Calamia (Kale and Quinoa Bowl with Salmon)


SOURCE:
Neuriva

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Living with psoriatic arthritis? How to manage your symptoms

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(BPT) – Sponsored by Janssen

Imagine finding simple tasks, such as getting out of bed, dressing yourself or turning a faucet on and off, difficult to do because they’re too painful.1 That’s what a typical day can feel like for people living with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). About 1.5 million Americans are living with PsA, and although patients may experience symptoms differently, the condition can often interfere with basic daily activities.1,2

Active PsA is a chronic condition that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, which causes inflammation in the joints as well as overproduction of skin cells. 3 Common symptoms of active PsA include joint stiffness, pain and swelling.4 Some patients with active PsA can also experience fatigue, which is an underestimated and underreported concern that can interfere with daily life. 4-6

PsA symptoms can vary and differ in severity from patient to patient, so it’s critical for healthcare providers and patients to have an open dialogue to build a personalized management plan together. 4 A PsA management plan may incorporate lifestyle changes as well as medication potentially to help address the disease symptoms.

“The symptoms of active psoriatic arthritis may be hard to describe or feel invisible at times, but that doesn’t make them any less real,” said Soumya D. Chakravarty, MD, PhD, Senior Director, Strategic Lead, Rheumatology Therapeutic Area at Janssen. “PsA can have debilitating effects on the lives of patients. It’s important for patients to speak about symptoms with their rheumatologist because there are strategies they can implement to help see improvement.”

Here are some top tips for managing symptoms of PsA:

Consider a Healthy Diet

While there isn’t a specific diet for PsA, research shows that certain foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, which contributes to the disease.7 Consider incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and healthy fats like fish and avocado, while reducing foods like fatty red meats, dairy, refined sugars and processed foods. 7,8

Think About Finding a Workout That Feels Good

Exercise while living with active PsA can feel daunting, but physical activity has many benefits, including helping to maintain a healthy weight, taking extra pressure off painful joints, keeping joints flexible and increasing endorphins, which can provide an energy boost. 8,9 Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider or a physical therapist about a workout routine that is right for you. As a general guide, try to target 30 minutes of movement each day if you’re able and consider lower impact workouts. 8

Lean On a Support System

For people living with PsA, the disease can have an impact beyond just physical symptoms. 10 Connecting with other patients who understand what you’re experiencing, whether in a support group or an online community, can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood or isolated. 10

Start a Dialogue With Your Healthcare Provider About Treatment Options

In addition to physical tests to assess the severity of your PsA, rheumatologists are also building treatment plans based on outcomes that are more personally significant to patients.6 “It’s important to speak openly with your rheumatologist because there are treatments that may help improve PsA symptoms,” said Dr. Chakravarty.

Be sure to describe your symptoms — such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling — with specific details about how they impact your daily activities. Also, let your rheumatologist know if you are experiencing fatigue from your active PsA. This information will help them develop an individualized treatment plan that is right for you, which may include a biologic therapy, such as TREMFYA® (guselkumab) — a prescription medicine used to treat adults with active PsA. Talk to your doctor to see if TREMFYA® is appropriate for you. TREMFYA® is the first FDA-approved medication of its kind to selectively block interleukin 23 (IL-23), one of the key proteins thought to be responsible for symptoms of PsA. TREMFYA® can help reduce the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling that make everyday tasks harder to do. In two medical studies, more than half of patients treated with TREMFYA® had at least a 20% improvement in joint pain, stiffness, and swelling at 24 weeks. Furthermore, at 24 weeks, people taking TREMFYA® showed an overall improvement in their ability to perform daily activities such as getting dressed, eating and walking. Some patients also reported improvement in fatigue as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy – Fatigue (FACIT-F), a questionnaire to measure self-reported tiredness, weakness, and difficulty conducting usual activities due to fatigue.

TREMFYA® is not for everyone; only your doctor can decide if it’s right for you. Do not use if you are allergic to TREMFYA®. TREMFYA® is a prescription medicine that may cause serious side effects, including serious allergic reactions and infections. It affects your immune system and may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. Patients should be instructed to seek medical advice if signs and symptoms of clinically important chronic or acute infection occur. Patients should also be evaluated for tuberculosis before being treated with TREMFYA®. Please read the Important Safety Information and the Medication Guide for TREMFYA® available at www.tremfya.com to learn more about these and other risks for TREMFYA®. Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

Coping with PsA can be overwhelming at times, but as difficult as it may be, don’t get discouraged. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to PsA management and it’s important to remember you have options. There are various steps you can take with your rheumatologist to help alleviate symptoms and better manage the disease.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Tips for caring for a loved one from afar

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(Family Features) Caring for a family member or loved one with a serious health condition like Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be a big undertaking and often takes a concerted effort from many family members and friends to provide the best care possible. Even if you’re not available to provide hands-on assistance on a consistent basis, there are ways to provide aid from a distance.

PD is one condition that may have an impact on the entire family, necessitating a broad care network. The second-most common neurodegenerative disorder behind Alzheimer’s disease, PD affects nearly 1 million nationwide, with more than 60,000 Americans newly diagnosed each year. Because it can be hard to tell if a loved one has the disease and no two people experience it quite the same way, some early signs to look for include tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness or rigidity, among others.

Organizations like the Parkinson’s Foundation have resources that can help you and your family members provide long-distance care to a loved one. As an ally to care partners, the Foundation aims to make life better for people living with PD and their families by improving care and advancing research toward a cure.

Experts from the Foundation offer these tips for long-distance caregivers:

Learn about your loved one’s condition. You will be better able to provide support if you have a basic understanding of the disease. Be sure to gather information on the condition’s symptoms, how it is diagnosed and what treatment options are available.

Be well versed in your loved one’s needs. Learn about his or her general health and keep a list of doctors and neighbors along with their contact information. Also keep any pertinent financial and legal documents readily accessible.

Keep an open line of communication with the primary caregiver. As care partner responsibilities often increase over time – and can easily lead to burnout – be sure to let the primary caregiver know you are there for them. Consider sending a simple gift such as a hand-written card, flowers or a gift card for a self-care appointment, like a massage.

Consistently offer to help. There are many ways you can offer support. If in doubt, directly ask how you can be of the most help. Even if you cannot be present to offer hands-on assistance, consider sending meals, troubleshooting technology issues or providing other assistance based on your skillset. You may even offer to have your loved one come stay with you for a while, if they are able to travel, to give the primary caregiver a respite from duties.

Call often. Set a designated day and time each week to chat with your loved one and make the call faithfully, even if just to catch up for a few minutes. Consider using a video calling service so you can see each other, if possible, to provide an additional level of connection.

Talk finances. Many people won’t ask for financial help, even if the limitations of a fixed income mean going without necessities, so it may be best to have this conversation proactively. If a regular subsidy isn’t possible, offer to buy groceries online, send a weekly meal, purchase medical supplies or help with household utility bills, transportation costs or home-related services.

Visit when possible. If your budget allows, plan regular trips to check on your loved one and plan ahead with the primary care partner so you can provide respite. Offer to take on key responsibilities during your visit and provide a listening ear for the main caregiver while you’re there.

You can find an array of free resources, including a comprehensive Caring and Coping guidebook, a video library, podcast episodes, courses and an online community, at Parkinson.org/Caregivers. To learn more and find additional resources in English or Spanish, visit the website or call the Parkinson’s Foundation toll-free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
Parkinson’s Foundation

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