Beauty, Medical & Health Public Relations

The Instagram Effect: The Pressure of Perfection How to deal with the self-esteem pitfall after giving birth

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2017 AT 12:59 PM 

   

Our relationship with social media is definitely a love/hate one. As much as we enjoy seeing what’s up with our friends and our favorite celebrities, its also takes a toll on our self-esteem. New moms see celebrities shedding baby weight within a few weeks; fitness models that further promote their tight abs, cellulite-free, stretchmark-free bodies.  Then you have friends competing with one another… there’s Stephanie with her workout selfie, in yoga pants and sports bra, stroller jogging with the baby. She has 300 likes and 30 “Go girl!” comments. You still struggle to lose the muffin top and it’s been 6 months since you gave birth. It’s pressure!

 

Pregnancy, particularly the first one, can leave some women’s bodies virtually unrecognizable, and the attitude that women have to look perfect during and immediately after it, is widely perpetuated by celebrities and #instagramfamous new mommies. “Seeing beautiful, “perfect” women all over their newsfeeds can create serious self-esteem and anxiety issues in new mothers,” says New York City neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez Psy.D, professor at Columbia University. “After pregnancy, hormones are still raging, the woman is going through a roller coaster of feelings and adjusting to a whole new lifestyle; the added pressure to look perfect right away can be very emotionally disruptive,” she adds.

 

It’s common for women to become concerned that their partner will no longer find them attractive compared to the girls on their own newsfeeds. “While a little insecurity is normal, fretting over keeping your partner’s attention is counter productive,” says Hafeez. “You should focus on feeling healthy and strong again, and especially bonding with your partner and your child. The feel good chemicals your brain releases while making a connection with your new baby and adjusting to life as a family will boost your mood and stave off bad feelings.”

 

Some new moms might be motivated to “fix” their new body with surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons the demand for “Mommy Makeovers” has grown dramatically over the past 10 years; the most popular procedures, breast lifts and tummy tucks, have increased by 70% and 85% respectively. These surgery packages aim to combine a number of procedures in one surgery with one recovery period, meaning a woman can choose to undergo a breast lift, lipo and tummy tuck in one go.  

 

These packages can also include reconstructive surgeries, different from cosmetic surgeries in that they seek to improve the function of the body, rather than alter it for aesthetic purposes. The most popular is vaginoplasty, which tightens the vagina, and some say even heightens sensitivity. Since 2010 interest in vaginoplasty has increased by 45%, possibly more according to various reports.

 

However, choosing plastic surgery to bounce back should be carefully considered. “Pregnancy and child birth are very traumatic for the body,” says North Carolina board certified plastic surgeon and best selling author Dr. John Zannis, “It is very important to give yourself a break.” Going under soon after pregnancy, especially for multiple procedures, is not recommended. The body needs time to heal and bounce back on it’s own, and depending on the age and individual metabolism of the woman, it will!

 

During pregnancy your organs move and grow. The uterus itself expands from the size of an orange to the size of a water melon and shrinks back to it’s normal size, but that process takes weeks or months, the main reason for your post baby belly. It takes some women as much as 2 years to fully bounce back. Many don’t give their body enough credit; it’s a natural machine and it knows what to do. You will lose about 12 pounds during delivery. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day and releases hormones that shrink your uterus. You need to give it time!

 

“If a new mom is set on getting any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, she should wait at least a year. This time period allows for the body to bounce back on its own, heal, regain its strength, and be ready to take the stress and trauma of invasive procedures,” advises Zannis.

 

“It’s also very important to remember that celebrities are human, but they are not “normal people”, they have a team of nutritionists, trainers, personal assistants, nannies; helping them and keeping them on a strict schedule, and a strict diet,” cautions Hafeez, “It’s unrealistic to expect yourself and your body to go back to supermodel shape in three months.”

 

“If a person lacks self esteem no amount of plastic surgery will satisfy them. This is when we see body dysmorphia and plastic surgery addiction. I encourage mothers to rejoice in that they are bringing life into the world and their over all health and well-being is most important for them and their baby. It’s great to want to lose the baby weight but set a realistic goal,” says Hafeez.

 

Many ad campaigns are in fact embracing different body types and a more realistic looking model is used. Some companies are even including real people and bloggers in their ads to show that 5’10” 118 pounds on a woman is not the norm. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

 

BEAUTY 911 HOW TO NIP A SKIN DISASTER IN THE BUD

POSTED ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2017 AT 11:08 AM 

 

What can be worse than the onset of an unsightly skincare emergency the day of a big event such as a wedding, reunion, business interview, or first date? Have you ever cancelled a first date because a cold sore erupted? How about an acne breakout the morning of your sister’s wedding or worse… your own? With tips and insights is board certified dermatologist, Dr. Margarita Lolis to help us handle these common emergencies within 24 hours. 

Problem: Hives, Redness and Allergies

Solution: When you realize a certain food, beverage, cream or cosmetic triggered an allergic reaction discontinue use or consumption. As for treatment Dr. Lolis suggests using hydrocortisone cream which can be purchased at the drug store and should always be on hand. Also take an allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Try a cotton compress of apple cider vinegar which is an anti-septic and anti-fungal that pulls any toxins out of the skin. A compress with whole milk is also very soothing.

 

Problem: Puffy Eyes

Solution: Cool tea bags, cold cucumber slices work wonders to constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling when applied for 10 minutes. You don’t need to see a dermatologist for any kind of treatment for this beauty issue however be sure to invest in a good eye cream and keep it in the fridge. Applying eye cream morning and at bedtime will help.

 

Problem: Cold Sore

Solution: “Most dermatologists will offer cortisone injections to tame a cold sore given its ability to rapidly address inflammation. This doesn’t take very long to do so many dermatologists will tell you to come in the same day. If you can’t get an appointment get your doctor to issue you a prescription for Famvir, Acylovir or Valtrex,” Dr. Lolis suggests. “Applying a lemon tea compress, applying witch hazel oil or peppermint are some natural ways to treat a cold sore,” she adds.

 

Problem: Cystic Acne Breakout

Solution: Resist the urge to squeeze and soak in rubbing alcohol. “This is such a common response and people end up making the pimple worse not to mention scarring their skin. Cystic acne is deep and if treated correctly beneath the surface it could remain a bump and not a red, scabbing mess,” warns Dr. Lolis. The secret to destroying a deep cystic pimple is to get a steroid or cortisone shot. “What the dermatologist will do is inject a diluted glucocorticoid right into the pimple. You’re basically getting a concentrated dose of steroid molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies responsible for regulating metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement,” explains Dr. Lolis. If you cannot get to the dermatologist apply a paste of baking soda with water then remove it within 20 minutes. Natural clay can also work very well as could a sea salt compress. Sea salt, especially directly for the ocean only takes 20 minutes to dry up skin.

 

Problem: Chapped Lips

Solution: “Use lip balms not waxes and go natural with ingredients such as almond oil, vitamin E or A and make and at home paste of sugar and honey to use as an exfoliator. You want to exfoliate lips in the shower when temperature is warmer,” Dr. Lolis advises. Dry lips are always a beauty bummer especially when they crack and bleed. If chronic chapped lips are an issue, you may experience flare ups when lips are especially sensitive. “Your lips lack a tough outer skin layer which is why they are a darker color from the rest of your skin. Plus, there are enzymes in our saliva made to break down fats and proteins which is why when we lick our lips it makes matters worse.

 

About Dr. Lolis:

Dr. Margarita Lolis, M.D. is a board-certified cosmetic, medical dermatologist and a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon with over 20 years of experience. In her practice, she addresses common skin concerns such as acne prevention and treatment in both teens and adults, sun-damage, skin discoloration, wrinkles, changes to skin texture and loss of volume. On the medical side, she is a trusted expert in melanoma and over-all skin health. Dr. Lolis prides herself in honoring facial symmetry to deliver a natural look to her clients. She always recommends a healthy skin care regimen plus lifestyle habits that are aligned with her holistic approach to beauty. Dr. Lolis is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, and the American Society of Anti-aging. Her practice, Skin, Laser, and Surgery Specialists is in New York City and Bergen Country, New Jersey.

The DOUX is A MUST DO! New Hot Hair Care Line Drops at Target Christmas Eve 2017

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2017 AT 3:44 PM 

Get ready to “drop the mic” on the beauty aisles at Target stores this December. The Doux® (pronounced The Do) is a “new school” modern hair care system with an “old school edge.” With packaging that is bold and bright and product titles inspired by 90’s hip hop, The Doux is poised to kill it with those seeking a way to smoothing curly, kinky, and wavy hair into both, curly or straight styles.

Created by Maya Smith, a 25-year celebrity stylist and International Curl Master, The Doux was first launched in Europe in 2011 in response to her passion for helping people master the hair they were born with. STRAIGHT, NATURAL, CURLY, or RELAXED, according to The Doux, if you grew it, it’s ALL GOOD. “I was living in Germany at the time, had my own salon there and my specialty was helping clients to transition to a relaxer-free lifestyle. I’m obsessed with people maximizing the potential of the hair they were born with. Mastering curls is my passion and purpose,” explains Smith.

The people felt her passion through her products. The Doux blew up overseas so much so that it caught the attention of media in the USA. “Once we started getting press in the states the demand for The Doux was incredible. I had to return to the states and see this vision through,” Maya Smith explains. In 2014, Maya opened The DOUX Salon™ in Macon Georgia’s historic Downtown district and started selling her professional grade products at her salons and on-line.

Fast-forward three years and a lot of work and dedication, The Doux will arrive in Target stores, on Christmas Eve; no easy feat for an indie brand. “We are so excited to bring The Doux to the masses. It’s 20 years in the making. We listened to 20 years of feedback from actual clients from Minneapolis to Morocco. We listened to what people wanted, a salon grade, high quality product that delivered on its promises. Helping people to manage and maintain their natural hair and celebrate their own bold, unique style is what the last 25 years of my professional life has been about,” Maya Smith shares. 

The Doux also redesigned its packaging, with the intention to disrupt the category. It’s bold with bright colors, which is the opposite of the more subdued look you see on the shelves currently. “I’m a fan of 90’s rap so I wanted to incorporate lyrics and titles in the packaging,” adds Smith. With titles such as Bonita Afro Balm, Mousse Def, Sucka Free, Fresh Rinse, and The Light, The Doux will most definitely catch the eyes of Millennials and Gen X’ers alike.

 

THE PRODUCTS:

Shampoo and Conditioner 

*SUCKA FREE™ Moisturizing Shampoo,  *FRESH RINSE™ Conditioner

Sulphate & Paraben-free Shampoo and Conditioning Duo with Shea Butter & Sea Silk. A gentle cleansing system for thick, dry, or color-treated hair. Ultra-hydrating conditioner has amazing slip for easy detangling. Sea silk smooths the cuticle, leaving hair frizz-free and full of body. MSRP: $12.99 each.

Stylers:

*BONITA AFRO BALM™ Shine Enhancing Texture Cream Delivers shine and manageability for pixies, Afro's, tapered cuts, and twist/braid/coil sets. Certified organic botanicals, alcohol & paraben free. MSRP: $15.99.

*MOUSSE DEF™  Texture Foam Non-flaking mousse gives definition to curly styles without stiffness, cloudiness, or crunch. Soy proteins and natural humectants make this humidity-resistant styling aid ideal for thermal styling as well. MSRP: $14.99

*THE LIGHT™ Shine Mist Preserves color and protects hair from heat styling. Reduces drying time and delivers weightless shine to finished looks. Adds natural luster to natural styles. Infused with Black Cacao, Passion Fruit, and Palm Oil. MSRP: $14.99.

 

5 Kinds of People Most Likely to Get the Holiday Blues

POSTED ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2017 AT 11:21 AM 

With the holidays upon us it’s easy for us to get caught up in the rush of it all. While we may be cooking, shopping, enjoying holiday events there are others, many of whom are in our very own circles, having a tougher time. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a 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, reveals who are most likely to have the holiday blues and how we can help them make it through.

1. The newly divorced or widowed.

Loss is a sad, life-changing event at any time of the year.  However, it tends to be harder when everyone around you is joyful celebrating the holiday’s and you feel it’s an effort to get out of bed.  If someone in your circles is going through a major loss and life transition be supportive and understanding. “They are grieving and mourning and are especially sensitive around the holidays. It’s important that they feel included but don’t be offended if they choose to opt out of certain events,” advises Dr. Hafeez. She suggests checking in and offering them the option to participate in whatever they want, when they want. Love them through it.

2. The busy entrepreneur.

The holidays could be stressful for small business owners because so much rides on the end of year. They may be fretting over their profits (or lack thereof), the goals they didn’t reach, and the many things still to do. They feel overwhelmed and when they are expected to shop, entertain and be present for their families, they may be short tempered and anxious. “The best way to help the busy entrepreneur is to make their life easier in any way possible. If they can’t make it to a family dinner, tell them your door is open for dessert. Oftentimes they feel guilty and obligated which only adds to their frustration,” explains Dr. Hafeez. Also consider that these worker-bees are conflicted. When they are working they miss their families and when they are with family they are thinking of work.

3. The caretaker of an elder parent or relative.

Adults who are now caretakers to their elderly parents are incredibly overwhelmed and often overlooked. As a caretaker, they always have to consider the well-being of their parent. They can’t just get up and go,” explains Dr. Hafeez.  Caretakers may feel resentful, isolated and stuck during the holidays which leads to conflicted feelings of resentment and guilt. They also believe they have to be hands on managing everything. It’s important to lighten the caretakers load by offering support even if it means asking them how they are doing. Be patient and ask the caretaker what they need. It could be something as simple as having food delivered to their home to free up time for other tasks, Dr. Hafeez recommends.

4. The recovering substance abuser.

Recovering from addiction is hard.  Period.  But it’s harder when holiday festivities are filled with friends and family drinking everything from eggnog to champagne.  “Understand that those in recovery from substance abuse are hyper-sensitive about being judged. They feel as if all eyes are on them and that pressure may trigger the desire to use drugs or alcohol to soothe their anxiety. When they aren’t fully recovered, they may anticipate possible “landmines” and avoid them. They may choose to stay to themselves and observe more and participate less. They might opt out of larger family gatherings that are too overwhelming,” cautions Dr. Hafeez. Offer an open invitation and remind them they are welcomed when they are ready. A balance of love, support and acceptance is what they are in most need of, suggests Dr. Hafeez.

5. The children of divorce.

Divorce means two separate holidays at two different places and kids feel overwhelmed having to double up. It’s incredibly important for parents to agree on where the kids are going during the holidays and all logistical details. “Kids want to feel safe and secure. They don’t want to feel as if they are the expected to be rushed here and there because their parents chose to divorce,” says Dr. Hafeez. It could be unsettling to younger kids and teens may isolate and rebel against any family events as they are sorting out their own emotions as they get used to a new normal. You really want to establish a game plan for the holidays and if possible, stick to it every year, advises Dr. Hafeez.

 

Adult Acne: Which Product Option is Right for You?

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2017 AT 12:34 PM 

There are so many acne and breakout busting treatments on the market. It’s common to get a feeling of product overload. Dr. Margarita Lolis a Board-Certified Dermatologist in northern New Jersey who takes a holistic approach to treating skincare issues; breaks down the list of common products to consider using with the benefits of each. Hopefully this menu of options will clear some confusion.

Go simple on cleanser. People who are prone to breakouts may use a cleanser with salicylic acid triggering excessive dryness which only increases oil production leading to a breakout cycle. Gentler products that are appealing to all skin types such as Cetaphil or CeraVe are great options because they don’t strip away moisture and soothe the face.

Exfoliate weekly. They key here is not to be too harsh. You want to gently rub product into your face in circular motion then rinse with luke warm water. There are new products available with charcoal an ingredient which does a great job controlling oil in acne prone skin. People with sensitive skin should opt for an exfoliating mask which is less irritating. 

Soothe with serums. Acne prone skin needs moisture not oil. Serums that address acne without compromising moisture are a great bet. Serums penetrate the skin quickly making them a great option for nighttime healing as you sleep.

Try skin oils. You can add drops of vitamin C oil, argan oil, or vitamin e oil to your serum or directly onto your face after cleansing which is like a vitamin boost to skin. This will address acne scarring helping them heal quicker.

Don’t skip moisturizer. Many people who are prone to breakouts want to skip moisturizer because they think their skin is oily enough. The reason skin is producing oil is because it is lacking moisture. Moisturizers with Hyaluronic acid draws water from the atmosphere and keeps skin hydrated. This is great for all skin types. You cannot go wrong with more water in the skin. 

Consider a peel with a pro. Chemical peels are a great option for skin that has scarring and Hyperpigmentation. While there are at home, do it yourself options available I have seen many people harm their own skin with peels. You really want to work with a professional as not to make matters worse. People often think a burning sensation means it’s working so they mistakenly leave peels on for too long and hurt themselves.

Balance skin with a toner. I like toners because they do a nice job of clearing away dirt and make-up, shrinking pores, and restoring skin to its natural pH balance. Witch Hazel is a simple no fuss astringent found at any drug store which works wonders on acne or break out prone skin.

Do a mask every week. You want to choose “detoxifying masks” featuring ingredients like, charcoal, clay, sulfur. You may want to alternate between a more soothing mask one week and a treatment mask when a breakout first occurs. Another option is using a soothing mask on the cheeks and then a clarifying mask on the chin and jawline.

Spot treat and refrain from picking. We touch our faces approximately 25 times per hour. It’s hard to be conscious of it. When we have a breakout, we may sit at our desks or behind the wheel picking away. It is a habit that spreads bacteria and leads to scarring. Getting a prescription level topical spot treatment is key because many are designed to work immediately which lessens the need to pick.

Ultimately, when in doubt see your dermatologist who will assess your skin and the many factors that may be causing acne. Oftentimes dermatologists will outline a treatment regimen that is more customized to you considering age, skin type and lifestyle.

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