From WebMD, it’s stated that “In 2009, American and French researchers determined that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored.” Don’t forget that you haven’t had a good night’s sleep and go sleep now! For more of Mom NeedyZz cartoons > here!
There are quite a few articles out there on what summer foods you can eat in order for glowing skin and #SkinishMom decides to investigate! You can never take for granted that if a food is recommended on numerous health/ beauty websites, it means that it is the summer (super) food to eat for your skin – sometimes it’s just one website copying another. So #SkinishMom compiles the common summer foods and look at what they are recommended for (vitamins, antioxidants) and research Pubmed to see if there is a scientific basis for such recommendations.
This has been covered in this #SkinishMom column where it’s concluded (based on general dermatologists’ views online and research (or rather, lack of, since no one can earn money from researching water!) that being dehydrated is bad for the skin but excess water does not benefit the skin.
Foods to eat for water during summer is watermelon, cucumber, celery, cantaloupe, tomatoes and strawberries.
Vitamin C is studied to varying extent (meaning: the trial is either small scale, or it may be at higher dosage than in a fruit or for application instead of oral or studied in mice) to:
- Increase collagen production
- Protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays
- Helped skin healing, including pigmentation problems
- Improve inflammatory skin condition (do you know mice are injected with a pro-inflammatory chemical to create inflammation, then administered an oral supplement to test the results, gasp!)
Summer fruits loaded with vitamin C are citrus fruits, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and watermelon.
Our skin, being the largest surface of our body, is subject to oxidative stress – from the sun, air pollutants, stress, alcohol and the foods we eat. Free radicals are formed during our body’s natural metabolism and oxidative stress but our skin have antioxidants to balance the free radicals. Intake of antioxidants have been studied to prevent carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells) and protect cells from oxidative damage (e.g. limit the effects of sunburn). One study showed that sunburn to cells was decreased by antioxidant treatment via (i) protection from free radical and (ii) increasing epidermal thickness.
Foods with antioxidants that are popular during summer are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Drink up green tea too!
This compound is studied to for collagen production and quite extensively known for its anti-cancer properties for melanoma (along with proanthocyanidins in grape seeds). Together with soy isoflavones, vitamin C, vitamin E, fish oil, lycopene has been studied to induce an improvement in the depth of facial wrinkles after long-term use.
Foods rich in lycopene are guava, water melon, papaya, grapefruit and cooked tomatoes.
Retinoic acid is essential for skin and bone growth and in the studies, mostly linked with cell development and use in cancer treatment. Be careful about taking too much neonatal vitamin A supplement as it has been studied to be linked to atopy and wheezing in children.
Foods rich in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins (but these are considered fall vegetables). The case for beta-carotene for skin isn’t so clear in studies though.
Vitamin E protects skin membrane and guard against UV damage as it has UV absorptive properties.
Avocado, broccoli and tomatoes are foods rich in vitamin E.
Essential fatty acids are essential from the time of our development in our mother’s womb! It’s critical for brain development (our brains are actually quite full of fats!) and for our skin, omega 3 is able to regulate oil production, have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Omega 3 is also studied to maintain our skin (stratum corneum permeability) barrier, inhibit pro inflammatory compounds and elevate our sunburn threshold and promote wound healing.
Experiment different recipes using avocado, chia seeds and salmon!
Green tea polyphenols
Geen tea polyphenols (GTP) inhibits chemical carcinogen, induced by UV radiation. Green tea being calorie-free is a healthy drink to acquire a taste for.
So this summer, drink enough water and eat some of these summer foods to help protect your skin – sun protection is still a must though!
House dust mites is one of the most common allergen triggering eczema in older children. We often think of house dust mites residing on the bed sheets, pillows and mattresses. One often overlooked area is the child car seat. This team of researchers from Ireland studied the type and amount of allergens in the child car seats and (oops, add one more thing to your to-do chores) it turned out child car seats are quite loaded with dust mites and allergens. Here’s a quick look at the study.
Sample: Dust samples collected from 106 child car seats and driver seats
Results: 12 species of mites, of which nine are known to produce harmful allergens, were recorded from 212 dust samples. Over 80% of drivers’ seats and over 77% of child car seats had house dust mites and its allergens. Over 12% of driver seats and 15% of child car seats contained house dust mite levels sufficient to be risk factors for sensitization and allergic reactions. From the samples examined, the house dust mites were breeding (not dead).
What it means: For those with eczema, asthma and rhinitis, you’d have to add car seats to your list of items to clean. Especially if you spend long hours in the car, even more critical to vacuum your car seats regularly. Plus it is compulsory for your child to be in a child car seat for safety.
Why dust mites love car seats: The researchers pointed out that the materials of the car seats, being made of polyester and/or cotton, trap shed human skin and other organic matter (like food) that are the food sources of house dust mites.
Read also these posts for more on:
- Higher indoor house dust mite worsens the skin of eczema children, whether or not they are sensitized to house dust mite
- Minimizing house dust mites in your home
- House dust mites and eczema children
This coming Saturday, National Skin Centre is holding an Eczema Support Group Forum on the Effective Management of Eczema. There will be 3 informative talks by dermatologists on the following topics:
A/Prof Mark Tang, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, will be sharing on new treatments for eczema
A/Prof Giam Yoke Chin, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, will be sharing her expert tips on the right selection of moisturiser and skincare products
Dr Eugene Tan, Associate Consultant Dermatologist, will share his insights on how to maximise treatment success and minimise risk
This forum is free for Eczema Support Group members, but S$5 for non-members. Do register early by calling 65-63508273. If you are interested in becoming a member and registering for the event, do leave a comment or email me at [email protected] and I’d get a NSC staff to contact you on membership and RSVP.
Mark your calendar for the event!
Date: 27 June 2015, Saturday
Time: 1.30pm to 4.30pm (registration starts at 12:45pm. Event starts at 1:30pm sharp)
Venue: National Skin Centre, Level 5 Auditorium.
Chronic sleep loss leads to more stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down skin collagen, making your skin looks dull and dark circles under your eyes. Beauty sleep anyone? For more of Mom NeedyZz cartoons > here!
I’m so upset, holiday is supposed to be fun and relaxing right? But it never turned out that way. If we actually go for a holiday, I’d end up packing everyone’s bags, planning the itinerary, cleaning up the home and the dirty clothes. That’s still not the worse part. The worse is when we actually stay at home and entertain guests – gosh, my spouse and I would always end up quarreling and tension run sky-high. What’s up with hols, is it just me?
It is so nooorrrrmal (yawn). It happens all the time – my theory?
Theory of Failing Expectations
When we are up to our neck dealing with a regular workday, we don’t have time to quarrel. My guess is no one in the family has had the time to even look (like really look and appreciate the other person, as opposed to Yo, Where are my socks?) at each other, let alone talk. If you don’t have time to talk, you can’t quite quarrel.
But on a holiday, especially one where you stay at home – you’d have started a long weekend with the hope of getting your own stuff done (sorting photos, getting that manicure, baking a new recipe) but by the time you reach the middle of your break, you realized that it’s so not going to happen. Instead, you have to rush to the grocery store to get ready for the home party, clean up the house for the guests (and the thought of cleaning up after is already killing you), cook and then pretend to be the calm hostess while inside, you’re screaming everyone’s head off. Then the quarrel and tension come whenever it’s just you and your spouse – blaming about not doing fair share of work, mostly.
I came across other interesting theories too:
Narcissism of Small Differences (from the Atlantic)
This theory is from Sigmund Freud that small differences among people who are similar lead to them being hostile to each other. So family members who are similar tend to be hostile over a minor difference like which candidate to vote for!
Survey showed that jealousy is the common reason why most couples quarreled during vacation, because the men had wondering eyes for other women! Others were worried over everyday issues (finance) or wanted to be in control of what to do during the vacation.
This is a given. Do not associate holidays with rest. Full-day, 24/7 care for your kids (school and alternative caregivers like your parents are having holidays, remember?) is bound to lead to exhaustion. No afternoon coffee breaks and gym workouts at lunch will upset you more than you think. Exhaustion is one of the key reasons why couples quarrel on holiday and when you think of it, it’s not just physical exhaustion. It’s mental as well – exerting mind control over your eczema child to pleeaaase moisturize and your hubby to just clean that up!
It’s the June/ summer holidays – be mindful of the above, lower your expectations on what can be accomplished during this ‘break’, do less and consider not meeting people who will set you off. No excuses for the men with lustful eyes for other ladies; if you happen to be with one during your vacation, dump him and your baggage be lighter!
Heading off for a coffee break and trying not to let all the bad long weekends and hols get to me,
Recently, Hong Kong researchers published a review article ‘Eczema therapeutics in children: what do the clinical trials say?‘ in Hong Kong Medical Journal. Categorized by major treatment methods, previous clinical trials were examined for each individual treatment option. Below is my quick and dirty summary, for the full paper that is available for free, see here.
There is no evidence to show that any emollient is superior to their counterparts, including a small trial that compared the results of using a (cheap) petroleum-based cream versus an (expensive) ceramide-based cream. >> Use a cream you can afford
Aqueous cream has been shown to cause skin irritation, thinning of the cornea stratum (ie skin layer), and increased transepidermal water loss following twice daily application for a few weeks. >> Avoid aqueous cream and sodium lauryl sulphate
There is a lack of evidence for other bathing practices like addition of emollients to bathing water, while use of emollients immediately after bathing as ‘soak and seal’ can help maintain hydration >> You were right about the ‘3 minutes, quickly moisturize after shower!‘
Two studies showed that the use of emollients might prevent development of atopic dermtitis in high-risk patients >> Moisturize your next baby from young
Guidelines on use of topical steroids – NICE guidelines for children recommend use of the
corresponding potency of TCS for severity of atopic eczema; mild potency for the face and neck and moderate potency only for short-term (3-5 days) use in severe flares; moderate or potent preparations for short periods only (7-14 days) for flares in vulnerable
sites such as axillae and groin.
Potent fluorinated corticosteroids should be avoided for infants and sensitive skin areas.
Systematic reviews of studies that compared the frequency of application of newer-generation moderately potent to very potent steroids identified no benefit in outcome for more frequent applications over once-daily application. >> Keep to once a day, no more than twice.
Topical corticosteroids are generally safe with few serious reported adverse effects. Risks of side-effects increase with higher potency, occlusion, thinner skin areas, severity of eczema, young age and longer duration of use. >> Be careful if your usage falls into these categories!
#3 Wet Wrap
All studies reported improvement in eczema scores, though the methods of wet wrap vary, for e.g., some used diluted steroid + moisturizer while another used chlorhexidine + moisturizer.
The most common reported adverse effects include discomfort, mostly due to chills, and
folliculitis more commonly caused by ointment.
There is strong evidence that TCIs have a steroid-sparing effect and long-term use up to 12 months can prevent flares. Topical calcineurin inhibitors are particularly useful for sensitive sites including the face, neck, and skin flexures. It’s now studied that there is no statistically significant cancer risk.
#5 Proactive approach with topical anti-inflammatory therapy
The results suggested that for a patient with moderate-to-severe eczema and chronic relapsing lesions, maintenance treatment with topical anti-inflammatory therapy twice a week may be a better strategy to prevent eczema flares and topical corticosteroids more effective than topical calcineurin inhibitors. The rationale is that there is inflammation in the underneath layer of skin that is not visible, ie has not presented itself as rash.
#6 Antimicrobials and antiseptics
Bacteria count was reduced and there was significant improvement in mean eczema EASI (Eczema Area and Severity Index) for those using diluted bleach bath. >> I use chlorhexidine-wash for my daughter with eczema twice a week.
There is no strong evidence that oral antihistamines are effective anti-pruritics. They are safe to use and their sedative effects, where present, may be useful to promote better sleep quality.
More treatment options that are less often prescribed are covered in the review article, like oral medication. Read up and let me know what you think!
Sleep deprivation is associated with depression – it’s not sure though which causes which, but they go hand in hand! Anyone feel emotional and depressed when lack of sleep? For more of Mom NeedyZz cartoons > here!
To : The #SkinishMom
My husband kept saying that I’m nagging – nagging about my eczema child’s skincare (you know how we have to moisturize within 3 minutes after shower?), nagging about housework, nagging about doing things faster (we have loads of things to do, can’t possibly be doing slower right?). Am I really nagging? I thought I’m just talking – since when my words become ‘nags’?
I totally empathize. and mystified. Why do men keep saying that their wives are nagging, when we’re just talking? So I did a bit of digging to see if there’s any science I can find about nagging.
- Nagging is defined as persistent and repeated requests that increases in frequency as the request is not fulfilled.
- Nagging is a sign of love – we don’t nag at our boss, our co-workers, maybe not even our parents or kids, only at our spouse.
- The nagger is usually the one who feel responsible about the subject – so, that’s why women nag about chores but not about soccer.
- Nagging is a sign of not trusting that the requests will be met. It’s no surprise given that nagging turned the guy off and he intentionally didn’t want to do what you want him to do.
There is a lack of science in this area – I researched online and found a study that’s often misreported as men can be nagged to death. Actually, the conclusion was more like both men and women in demanding relationships were associated with increased death risk. This would not be surprising – chronic stress is reflected on our skin so it’s natural to assume it’d affect other parts of our body.
So bottom line, what’s a woman gonna do about her man, her supposed nagging and the negative spill-offs from being thought she’s nagging?
#1 First ask yourself – Do you really want him to do it or is it easier if you just do it? Put aside equality of sexes and fairness, and consider seriously. If you can answer no and yes, just do it yourself. And read on.
#2 Put aside negativity – you want to be appreciated for doing it all, not being hated for nagging you’ve done it all. Decide today to be a smart woman – smart in getting your man to love you, not hate you.
#3 Think of what your man wants – appreciation is my guess. Being made to feel like a man in the home, being admired by his spouse. Heck. I know you want the same from him. Men are dumb – give him what he wants first and the aha moment is more likely to hit him to do the same for you.
#4 Actually give your man what he wants – appreciation, in many forms (including but not limited to!) hugs, kisses, praise, touch, praise in front of your kid, sex, praise in front of his family, surprise gifts, praise in front of his friends/co-workers.
#5 If he hadn’t done something you want (not what you were nagging him about, something else- like a present, a cheesecake, a coffee machine, a iPadAir2), tell him POINT BLANK what you want.
#6 Be delighted by your man – he ‘surprises’ you with the thing you want, you’re ‘surprised’ and delighted. He’s delighted that you’re delighted not remembering it’s not a surprise (or not even crossing his mind that a non-surprise is an issue on the scale of ‘delightedness’).
#7 Witness positive change – 1. You didn’t nag (cos you did it all yourself), 2. You no longer see an annoyed look from him (cos there’s nothing he’s annoyed about), 3. He’s happy (cos you actually did something for him and appreciated him), 4. You’re happy cos finally, your husband is showing his love and appreciation.
Notice how easily the requests you were trying to get him to do fall out of the picture? Notice how kids don’t even come into the picture?
That’s the #SkinishMom way of handling nagging – if anyone has a better way, please do share! Since men are universally the same (o.w. why do books like Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus become best sellers if every man is different), do share with the rest of us women what had worked in your marriage!
Off to get a surprise gift for hubby,
Came across this 2015 research study on Environment Tobacco Smoke Exposure Affect Childhood Atopic Dermatitis Modified By TNF-α and TLR4 Polymorphisms in which the researchers studied:
- 3,639 children aged 7 and 8 years old
- Survey format – 2-year follow-up
- Participants were followed up 2 years later with blood test
Results were that children with the gene variant (that encode immune proteins TNF-alpha and TLR-4) associated with inflammatory conditions such as asthma and Crohn’s disease were more likely to develop eczema if they had been exposed to smoke in the womb. Since we wouldn’t know whether there’s gene variant in a fetus, it’s best to quit smoking and have everyone around to quit if you’re planning to have a baby. More studies on Pubmed linking second-hand smoke and eczema:
Cigarette smoking on allergic conditions – Maternal smoking in the first year of the child’s life resulted in the children having an increased chance of wheezing, exercise-induced wheezing and asthma.
Foetal exposure to maternal passive smoking is associated with childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema – Foetal exposure to maternal passive smoking was significantly associated with wheezing, allergic rhinitis and eczema.
Improvement of Atopic Dermatitis Severity after Reducing Indoor Air Pollutants – After the completion of the program that reduced the air pollutants in kindergarten, the prevalence of atopic dermatitis and the mean eczema area and severity index (EASI) were decreased, and the changes were both statistically significant.
Pre- and postnatal exposure to parental smoking and allergic disease through adolescence – Exposure to second hand smoke during infancy was associated with an overall elevated risk of asthma, rhinitis and eczema up to 16 years.
It is likely that not only tobacco smoke but also outdoor air pollutants like traffic exhaust can stimulate immune cells to respond. What is your experience? I was living in a scaffolded apartment for the first two trimesters – till today, I still wonder what the effect had been on my baby…