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Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Ultimate Winter Checklist for your Hair!

Here’s your ultimate winter beauty checklist that will make sure you have that lustrous mane you’ve been dying for.

Intense Moisturizing

The best way to keep your hair shiny and glossy during winters is to switch your regular conditioner to an intense conditioner meant for dry hair. During winter, the natural oils that keep your hair moisturized get sapped easily, and leave your hair dry and frizzy. Giving it that extra moisture is only going to help, so do get it without a second thought.

Quality Products

Winter or not, make sure you always use quality products for your hair and skin. Don’t be lured by new shampoos and conditioners arriving in the market- changing the hair care products you use too often can actually cause damage to your hair. Instead, stick to the products that you know your hair loves, especially if you have dry hair that is more prone to damage and breaks easily.

Hair Trimming

The benefits of regular trimming are severely underrated. Not only does trimming help keep split ends at bay, but it also helps maintain your hair and keeps it glossy and shiny. In fact, it is also believed that trimming every 6-8 weeks can help improve hair growth and enhances the natural beauty of your hair by getting rid of the damaged hair.

Occasional Oiling

Your scalp health says a lot about your hair health and vice vera, and during winters, make sure you give that little extra pampering to your scalp, which is vulnerable to drying out. Choose from almond oil, argan oil and coconut oil and give yourself a nice head massage atleast once a week. These oils can actually give your scalp and hair roots the nutrients they need to keep your hair shiny and glossy.

Get Wise

Be it summers or winters, one hair care tip you should live by is to use lukewarm water while rinsing your hair. You may love going for a hot water bath during the chilly winters, but it will only leave your hair frizzy and unmanageable. Instead, use hot water for your body bath and choose lukewarm water to wash your hair. Limiting the number of times you have a head bath is also believed to be helpful during winters.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Hair colouring – what you need to know

Spotted your first grey hair? Or just want to get your hair coloured for a new look? Either way most first-timers are sceptical about streaking or colouring their hair. Understand the process, keep these pointers in mind and there’s nothing to worry.

Is it safe?

Quite obviously, hair colouring is a chemical treatment that changes your hair texture and its natural state so it doesn’t come without risks. But to ascertain whether it could be potentially harming, a visit to a dermatologist is advised, especially if you already have a problem concerning hair or scalp, such as excessive dandruff or hair fall.

Can I do it myself or do I have to go to a salon?

You can do it at home. Get a friend to help (especially if you have long hair) and make sure you get a few things right before you begin.

Before colouring

Your very first task is to test the colour for allergic reaction – so get that out of the way to avoid any unpleasant scalp-surprises later.

Know your shade: Two shades lighter or darker – stick to this mantra to choose a shade that suits your skin tone. The only thing worse than a bad hair day is a bad hair colour day.

Set a timer: Don’t apply the colour and forget about it – make sure you keep it for as much time as it says on the pack.

After colouring

Condition, condition: There’s nothing more important than conditioner post colouring. Not only does it help to retain the colour for a longer period but also preserves your hair texture.

“Conditioners are a must, hair colour or no hair colour. You should go in for colour safe shampoos and conditioners. Ask your stylist if your hair needs a specific conditioner in case your hair has become too brittle, rough or you are experiencing too much hairfall. Pay your stylist a visit routinely to find out if your hair is in a good condition or if it needs anything extra like a hairspa,” says Zing Shatsang, who owns Zido Salon in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb.

After the first time, just colour the roots because your hair colour will have changed only there.

Are colour-protective shampoos different from regular shampoos?

They are definitely more expensive! Most colour-protective shampoos claim on their labels to ‘enhance or revitalize richness and depth and add shine’ which probably indicates more conditioning agents for a shampoo that’s less chemically harsher on your hair than a regular shampoo.

Although opinions are divided on whether there’s any difference between the two, you can look for ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine on your shampoo bottle which are gentler cleansing agents and won’t wreak as much havoc with your hair colour. Also, shampoo your hair as seldom as possible.

There are two reasons to avoid the salon – cost and chemicals – the above option is for the cost. But what if you want a natural colorant?

Can I use natural home-made colours?

Yes, but again, consult a dermatologist before you go ahead. If you are too apprehensive about going the commercial way, try a natural recipe for hair colours. For instance, to get blonde streaks apply a mix of lemon juice and chamomile tea, don a straw hat and pull out as many strands as you want to streak and sit in the sun for two hours and voila! You get perfectly natural streaks.

Similarly if you want dark brown tones simmer some walnut shells, black tea and cloves in water and apply the strained liquid on washed hair. Repeat a couple of times to develop the rich brown shade.

For red tints, try beetroot and carrot juice and dry your hair in the sun.

The most common natural dye that most Indian women prefer is mehendi or henna – it gives a strong reddish orange tinge to your hair and doesn’t fade away for a long time. However, not everyone’s hair is compatible with its use and while there are advantages, there are some shortcomings related to its usage. For instance, not all henna brands are completely natural because manufacturers add some or the other chemical or metal salts. Apart from that, if your hair has been coloured before, adding henna on top of it might produce a completely different colour from what you expected. And for many, henna makes the hair very dry. You could try colouring a very small area of your hair with it and see if the results are desirable.

At the salon

Trusting yourself to the hands of a professional is a good idea, especially the first time but it’s equally important that your hairdresser understands exactly what you want.

Take a picture: Do you have a picture of the hair tinge you’d like? Share and discuss it with them and explain exactly what you like about the picture.

Listen: Remember that you are with a professional so listen to their feedback – for instance, if they tell you that the shade may not suit you, consider the suggestion. Never proceed unless you are completely satisfied with the consultation.

Ask: You might want red streaks but did you know that colours like red and purple fade out faster than say, brown? Talk about the colours you want and find out how soon they are likely to last.

“Shades like blue and purple do fade off because we (Indians) have naturally dark hair so hairdressers need to bleach the hair by pre-lightening it. And if the hair is weak, it can’t hold on to the new colour for too long. Also, most of these colours are ammonia free,” explains Zing.

Ammonia helps open the cuticle layer of the hair and allow the colour to penetrate; it also activates the peroxide in the colour developer.

The golden rule of testing the hair colour on your skin holds good here too.

How often can I get my hair coloured?

“In case of a ‘global’ colour(entire hair being coloured) you can ‘refresh’ the hair colour every 4-6 months; till then doing a monthly touch up is required if you want an even look overall,” suggests Zing.

Avoid hair colours if…

You have a medical scalp condition such as ringworms or excessive dandruff – chemicals in the hair colour may aggravate this problems. Instead, consult a dermatologist to find out if you can colour your hair at all.

You’ve had an allergic reaction to a hair product in the past. A common allergen in hair colours is called PDD (Paraphenylenediamine) that you might want to check for.

You have a serious hair fall problem. Hair colours are inherently strong and therefore may turn your hair even more brittle.

So there you have it – an introduction for beginners to hair colouring. Who doesn’t want their locks to look trendy and lovely, right? But because your tresses are such an important part of your appearance, be armed with all the information you need. Apart from that, happy colouring!

Want to live longer? Eat less!

Reducing daily intake of food by 40 percent may help in enhancing one’s life span by 20 years, British scientists working over treatment for ageing disease have suggested. Researchers at the Institute of Health Ageing at University College, London are developing a treatment they hope will combat the ‘disease’ of getting older, the Daily Mail reported.

They are looking into how genetics and lifestyle, adapted to offset the effects of ageing, can add years possibly decades to a person’s life. Age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegeneration can also be combated, it is claimed. One line of inquiry that the team is developing is how the life of a rat can be increased by up to 30 percent simply by reducing its food intake.

“If you reduce the diet of a rat by 40 per cent it will live for 20 or 30 per cent longer. So we would be talking 20 years of human life. This has shown on all sorts of organisms, even labradors,” lead researcher Mathew Piper (ironic) told The Independent. Scientists are also studying fruit flies, which share 60 percent of human genes and age in a similar manner, and mice.

They have already prolonged the healthy lifespan in both flies and mice by using drug treatments and a modified diet. It is hoped that this combination will also work to extend human life. Piper said: ‘If we discover the genes involved with ageing, we should be able to delay ageing itself. This is what we’ve found.’ Piper, however, cautioned that the field of research into extending life is only a decade old, so remains “theoretical”.

Reduce your risk of heart disease, eat fruits and veggies!

Hate eating fruits and veggies? You better include them in your diet for your heart’s sake!

As per a WHO study, eating fruits and vegetables every day has been proven to reduce your risk of developing heart disease by 20 percent.

Death rates from heart disease are twice as high among people who eat diets high in saturated fat, trans fats and salt such as junk food, Xinhua quoted the study as saying.

More people around the world die from cardiovascular diseases than any other causes.

These diseases were responsible for 17.3 million deaths in 2008, representing 30 percent of all global deaths, WHO said Wednesday.

The major causes of cardiovascular disease are tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and harmful use of alcohol.

WHO predicts if the current rising trend continues, by 2030 almost 23.6 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Hair Loss Problems Overcome with Green Tea

So far known to have the benefits of green tea to lose weight, prevent cancer and diabetes, boosts the immune system and eliminating bad breath. But it turns out that the tea can also increase hair growth.

Hair growth cycle and is influenced by a few studies found that green tea has a positive impact on the hair cycle. There are several ways that allegedly committed in helping the growth of green tea, prevent and stop hair loss, as quoted from Lifemojo, namely:

1. Inhibit DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)
The study found the main cause of hair loss is DHT, and the sensitivity of follicles to DHT can cause baldness. Green tea is thought to be a DHT inhibitor, because it increases levels of sex hormone binding globulin (sex hormone binding globulin / SBHG) that interacts with testosterone, thus preventing the formation of DHT.

2. Increase blood circulation to hair follicles
Green tea contains catechin polyphenols which is one of the essential molecules. In some studies of these substances can trigger the relaxation of the microcapillary circulation system in the hair follicle.

3. Stimulate hair growth
Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan and Seoul National University College of Medicine found positive evidence of the compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). In laboratory studies found that the growth of hair follicles become better and becomes longer when given EGCG.

4. Strengthen and moisturize hair
Some of the ingredients in green tea can be beneficial for the hair. The content of vitamin E can rejuvenate dry or damaged hair, vitamin C can protect hair from UV radiation damage and panthenol (provitamin) can increase the strength of the hair and makes it soft so it does not easily fall out.
A website like will provide you with the highest quality in the industry.
Consuming green tea twice a day proved to be beneficial for overall health, including making the hair strong and healthy so as to prevent and stop hair loss

5 Natural Ingredients That Can Brighten Skin

Women who live in tropical climates often want their skin to appear more white or bright. Pollution, exposure to the Matari, and many other factors can make the skin color becomes darker. To make it clear again, some of these natural ingredients can be selected. What are they?

Potatoes are not natural substances that are foreign to the skin. Parutlah potatoes, then squeeze or puree. After that, apply on face to dry. Once dry, repeat the process until it reaches the three layers. Let stand 15 minutes then rinse with cold water. The second way: Peel potatoes and slice thinly, then stick to the face and let sit for 15 minutes. After that wash your face. Potatoes contain catecholase enzymes that can help brighten the skin.

Papain enzyme contained in papaya is very beneficial for the skin. These enzymes help speed up the process of cell turnover and skin. In addition to brighten the face, this enzyme is also believed to disguise a black stain. Combine papaya is mashed with honey. Use a clean cloth and soak it in warm water. Squeeze a clean cloth and then spread the mixture on a cloth papaya. Place the cloth over the face that had been washed clean. Let stand for 20 minutes then wash with warm water. Finally, rinse with cold water to close pores. Use once a week to get a fair skin.

Green vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In addition to brighten skin, cucumber can also be used to lighten underarm skin is blackened. Paste the grated cucumber juice on the face and neck. To effect a fresh, store cucumbers in the refrigerator the night before. Blackened eye bags can be easily overcome by the cold cucumber slices and fresh. Slice the cucumbers crosswise and cover your eyes with a piece of cucumber. Let stand for 15-20 minutes while you relax.

Rice has long recognized the beauty secrets of Asian women. Combined with milk, rice could be a face of a natural lightening ingredients. Mashed rice to a powder then mix with milk or water until thick enough. Stick to the face such as wearing masks. Let stand 15-20 minutes then wash with cold water. Rice contain PABA (para aminobenzoic acid) is high. PABA can serve as a good sunscreen. In addition, rice also contains ferulis acid that act as antioxidants and allantonin that can accelerate the process of skin repair.

The content of lycopene in tomatoes serves as a natural skin lightening. Eating tomatoes can also mengurangsi skin sensitivity to UV rays that can damage the skin. The content of lycopene in tomatoes can make the skin brighter, protected from free radicals, and increase the production of a natural sunscreen to the skin. To brighten the underarm skin is blackened, cut tomatoes in half and then stick in a circular motion in the underarm. Do this for 15 minutes then wash. This ritual can be done every day.

As for the face, grated tomatoes to be used as a mask. Let it dry and then stick it back up to form three layers. Let stand for 20 minutes then wash with cold water. Do this treatment on a regular basis for maximum results.

Egg White Acne Medication Can Be

Egg whites contain lots of protein, vitamins, minerals, glucose and water. The contents can reduce levels of fat, which in turn can be useful for treating acne.

Eggs can be used topically (applied as a mask) on the face as an acne treatment. Egg white has a drying effect on skin, which reduces excess oil secreted by sebaceous glands and accelerate the healing of the stained area.

In addition, egg whites can also be used to shrink pores, attract dirt and oils from the skin so as to prevent acne.

Egg whites also contain the enzyme lysozyme, which can destroy the cell walls of bacteria and eliminate the infection, as reported by Livestrong.

Bacteria found on skin infections like acne, has been protected with a tough exterior is composed of carbohydrate chains. Lysozyme is strong enough to break the chains of carbohydrates and the inner mechanism of cell killing. This enzyme is also regarded as an antibiotic, discovered by Alexander Fleming in the early 20th century.

To get the result, egg whites can be used and applied to the face mask. Here's how to make:
Gently break the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks
Beat the egg whites until foamy and bubbly
Add a few drops of lemon juice into the egg white
Clean face and apply the egg white mask by using the fingertips to gently move melingkat
Avoid eye and mouth area
Let the mask dry on your face and let stand about 15 to 20 minutes
Feel the skin becomes very tight
Rinse with warm water and let dry

In addition to be used as a mask, egg whites can also be boiled and then eaten. Vitamins contained in the egg white will work from inside to outside the body, so that emits a healthy and glowing skin.

Egg whites are rich in vitamins that can fight acne. Vitamin B2 is a natural stress reliever, which in turn can also prevent pimples, because stress can increase oil production and cause acne.

In addition, egg white also contains vitamin B3 which can increase blood flow in the body. While the content of zinc can strengthen the immune system, heals wounds and helps regulate hormones. All these functions are very useful to combat acne.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Seek Advice But Think Before You Follow!!

For every activity that we carry out we will surely try to seek tips and advices from the person who has already performed the activity.

To receive tips and advice is good, but one has to rethink before following such tips and advices.
This concept is very important for those who are involved in the deed of weight loss programs.

It is advisable to receive tips and advice from person’s who have already undergone the training of Weight Loss Programs, but to follow the same is not advisable.

This is due to the reason that such tips were offered to that particular person depending on his/her lifestyle and body type and not according to yours.

Hence before you follow or practice any of the tips that you have received from others rethink about the course of action that it will leave on your body.

Weight loss programs are designed based on the needs and preference of a person’s body type.

Workouts and diet which are required to be followed will be clearly explained keeping in mind the comforts of that particular individual who wants to lose his excess of weight and lead an healthy lifestyle.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Essentials For Falling Hair

Does your hair fall often Arm yourself with these tools to combat hair fall.

Wide-toothed comb
  • Get yourself a wide-toothed comb. This is probably one of the most important yet underutilized of all hair tools. A wide-toothed comb helps you distribute conditioner evenly all over your hair while shampooing and conditioning. In addition, it also helps get rid of knots smoothly.
  • The best time to get rid of knots is during conditioning. Apply conditioner and run a wide toothed comb gently through your hair. 

  • While untangling dry hair, do so in sections. Take one section at a time, and first, untangle the ends of your hair. Do so slowly, and don't pull unless you want your hair to fall out in clumps or break.

  • Don't wait for the last minute before detangling your hair. Every night, while sitting in front of the television, run a wide toothed comb gently through your hair, until you have untangled it completely. Do this every night, and you will notice that your hair remains free from tangles.
Leave-in conditioner
Dry hair tends to tangle easily, and, needless to say, causes it to break. Make sure your hair is never devoid of moisture by always keeping a bottle of leave-in conditioner handy. The next time you feel your hair is dry and rough to the touch, simply rub a dollop of leave-in conditioner between your palms, and apply it to your hair. Comb through with your wide toothed comb. Your hair will be instantly rejuvenated and moisturized. Gradually, the texture will also improve. This is a must if you blow dry your hair regularly, or if it is chemically treated. Such hair constantly craves moisture, so get yourself a bottle of leave-in conditioner.


Olive, almond and coconut oils are all excellent for the hair. While you could apply oil as an alternative to leave-in conditioner, oil tends to make your hair sticky, and you cannot style your hair well after applying oil. Your only alternative would then be to tie up your hair. For better results with oil, apply just a few drops immediately after washing your hair, when your hair is still dripping wet. Oil doesn't penetrate the strands as easily as leave-in conditioner does though. Nothing beats a hot oil massage followed by a steam treatment, as the steam helps the oil penetrate the hair strands, strengthening them and curtailing hair fall.


Egg is great for the hair - there are no two ways about it! True, it causes a tremendous stink in the bathroom, and your hair may let off an 'eggy' smell, but the results are instantaneous and worth it! Egg strengthens your hair almost immediately, and the egg yolk leaves your hair shining. Whip an egg with two tablespoons of olive oil and apply it to your hair. Wash off after half an hour. Make sure you wash off with cold water though, or the egg will start cooking in your hair, and would be harder to take off! Use a scented shampoo to counter the smell of egg in your hair, and follow up with a leave-in conditioner. Do this for a month, and you will be amazed by the change in your hair texture and the reduction in hair fall.

Hair and Your Health

Hair is a woman's crowning glory. When it starts to fall at alarming rates it becomes a cause of incessant worry. Many believe that baldness occurs only in men but this is incorrect.

Ignoring hair loss can be a big mistake because hair is an indicator of health and losing your tresses might mean there is some imbalance that needs attention. Dermatologists believe that hair loss can be treated in most of the cases with timely medical help.

What is hair loss?

Shedding 50 to 100 hairs is a part of the normal hair cycle. But if you are seeing a gradual thinning of your mane or bald patches on your scalp, consult a dermatologist.

What are the causes?

If you have diffused thinning all over your scalp, you might have androgenetic alopecia. Hormones are the culprit. There can be an increase in male hormones and other imbalance related to ovarian cysts, pregnancy, birth control pills and menopause. Heredity factors might also have a role in it.

If your hair growth goes in to a resting phase, yours might be a case of telogen effluvium. Child birth, malnutrition (iron and protein deficiencies), crash dieting, surgery, infection or extreme stress can cause a lot of shedding of hair.

If you are losing hair in patches, it is called alopecia areata. This happens when the hair roots are attacked by your immune system.

Other reasons for hair loss include:
  • Medication
  • Chronic illness like renal and liver problems
  • Pulling your hair through regular braiding and ponytails
  • Thyroid disease
  • Improper hair treatments with repeated use of chemical colors or incorrect way of applying hair cosmetics.

How can it be treated?

The good news is that most cases of hair thinning can be reversed or stopped with medical help.

When hair loss follows temporary events, it will grow back after you pass that phase. Stress, pregnancy, disease, medication are some of the examples of such temporary events.

If your hair is thinning out because of an underlying protein or iron deficiency, it will grow back when you take a proper diet or supplements.

In cases where tress trauma is caused by hormonal imbalance, dermatologists may prescribe estrogen and progesterone pills or creams. Birth control pills with low androgen levels are also given in a few cases. But a thorough medical check-up is required before taking these treatments.

If you are losing hair in patches, your doctor might give you topical treatments like ketoconazole to treat any underlying fungal infection.

Many a times dermatologists may not be able to help you regrow your hair. In the case of thyroid disease, you might not see your tressing making a comeback even after taking thyroid medication. However, your doctor might be able to stop further hair loss.

There are many companies peddling hair loss cures. Don't let these magical cure companies mislead you with their before-and-after pictures and guaranteed hair regrowth. The solution to your lost tresses does not lie outside. By taking a good look at your body basics you will not only treat your hair but also find a cure for the silent ailments that are attacking your health.

At-home Facial Treatments

Oh, so you thought only women get facials done or spend hours in front of the mirror? If yes, you’re wrong. Facial masks have today become an important part of our beauty regime. Not only do they get the glow on our skin but also help you unwind. And, you no longer need to spend hours at the salon to get a facial done. We list down some simple home facial treatments for you...

  • Banana-Avacado mask Ingredients
    1/2 over-ripe banana
    1/2 over-ripe avacado
    2 tbsp yogurt
    1 tsp olive oil

    Mash the banana and avocado together. Then combine it with the other ingredients and mix well. Apply the mask liberally to your face and neck. Leave it on for about 20 minutes. Once dry, rinse with warm water.
    Best for: Skin nourishment 
  • Tomato-Lemon mask Ingredients
    1 ripe tomato
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp instant oatmeal

    Put all the ingredients in a blender, puree until smooth. Apply to your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
    Best for: Skin exfoliation

  • Peach mask Ingredients
    1 ripe peach
    1 egg white
    1 tsp yogurt

    Peel and pit the peach. Blend it with the egg white and yogurt until smooth. Pat gently onto your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
    Best for: Skin tightening  
  • Honey almond mask Ingredients
    1 tbsp honey
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 tsp almond oil
    1 tbsp yogurt

    Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth. Apply it on your face and neck. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, gently wipe residue with a damp cloth.
    Best for: Leaving your skin soft and smooth

  • Cucumber Parsley Mask Ingredients
    1 tbsp yogurt
    1 tbsp chopped cucumber
    1 tbsp fresh parsley

    Puree cucumber and parsley, until smooth. Add yogurt to it and mix well. Apply the mixture to your skin, Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
    Best for: Skin rejuvenation

Saturday, 7 April 2012

8 sore-throat soothers

Experts' top treatments for sore-throat pain, from home remedies to drugstore buys. 

1. Humidifier 

Try it when: Your throat feels dry. 

How it works: A humidifier keeps the air around you moist. That's important, since “indoor heat and arid air may dry out the mucous membranes,” says Michael Finkelstein, a holistic physician in Westchester County, N.Y. 

Good to know: Keep the humidifier's water tank and filter clean to prevent the growth of mold, which can worsen symptoms and, in some cases, lead to lung issues. 

2. Garlic

Try it when: You begin to notice a tickle. 

How it works: This pungent bulb is thought to have “tremendous immune-stimulating effects” as well as antimicrobial (read: virus-fighting) and antibacterial qualities, says Finkelstein. So it may help the body to heal the infections that cause a sore throat while fighting the germs that cause the pain and the irritation. The compound that may be responsible for this is allicin, which is released when raw garlic is cut, crushed, or chewed. Finkelstein suggests microwaving one or two cloves for 10 to 15 seconds to decrease the intensity of the taste, then crushing them in a press and eating the garlic on a cracker. Do this once daily. 

Good to know: Garlic supplements, which may be effective at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, do not seem to help the immune system. 

3. Zinc Lozenges

Try them when: You have mild soreness along with a stuffy nose. Pop in one every two to four hours as needed. 

How they work: These coat the throat to soothe red, raw tissue. In addition, as the zinc ions dissolve, they migrate up the nose, where they bind to and may halt the virus causing a cold. A study conducted at Wayne State University, in Detroit, showed that patients who took zinc lozenges every two to three waking hours cut the duration of a cold by almost half. And since most sore throats come with a cold, start sucking on a lozenge at the first signs of pain. Look for drops that contain zinc gluconate, which is easier on the stomach than other forms, and take them with food to reduce the risk of queasiness.  

Good to know: Because some supplements can interfere with other medications, check with your doctor first. 

4. Warm Salt Water

Try it when: Your throat is feeling sore and scratchy. 

How it works: “This solution is soothing and can kill bacteria in the throat,” says Dr. Grace Keenan, director of the Nova Medical Group, in Ashburn, Virginia. “And it can help increase blood flow to carry infection-fighting cells to the throat to speed recovery.” Mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of water to create a gargle, and use that mixture once a day or as needed. 

Good to know: The water should be comfortably warm, not hot. “You don't want to burn your throat,” says Tim Tucker, a pharmacist in Huntingdon, Tenn.

5. Herbal Tea

Try it when: The pain persists all day. 

How it works: Herbal varieties may contain an immune booster, such as goldenseal root or echinacea; licorice, which is antiviral and antibacterial; or marshmallow herb, which helps produce the protective mucous in your throat.  

Good to know: The above herbs can also be taken as tinctures, which are distilled liquids you place under the tongue. Find them at a pharmacy or a health-food store. 

6. Slippery-Elm Lozenges

Try them when: Your throat is red and feels raw. 

How they work: The powdered bark of the tree keeps your throat moist, which eases the discomfort brought on by inflammation. Try lozenges that are free of lactose. That's important, says Finkelstein, because dairy ingredients may stimulate pain-inducing inflammation. 

Good to know: Some slippery-elm lozenges are combined with vitamin C, which some studies have shown to reduce a cold's duration, including scratchy throats. As with zinc lozenges, check with your doctor before using. 

7. Over-the-Counter Numbing Spray

Try it when: Every swallow aches a little. 

How it works: When the spray hits your throat, the ingredient phenol (a local anesthetic) gives instant, albeit temporary, relief. “These sprays deaden the area for a couple of hours, so if you have a very irritated, inflamed throat, they make it feel better fast,” says Tucker.  

Good to know: These sprays simply mask the pain. They don't treat the underlying problem, help your immune system, or shorten the duration of symptoms. 

8. Prescription Gargle

Try it when: It's downright painful to swallow. 

How it works: If you get to this point, see your doctor. He or she can test for more serious conditions, like strep throat , and give you a prescription for a lidocaine hydrochloride gargle. “This type of solution numbs the area for a longer time than over-the-counter medications,” says Tucker. Your doctor will advise you either to gargle with the straight liquid or mix it with water or other ingredients to make a mouthwash. 

Good to know: Don't eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a prescription gargle, because in addition to numbing your throat, it can also deaden the sensation in your tongue (and you don't want to risk biting it).

'False-alarm mammograms' linked to increased breast cancer risk

Eileen Moleski has received mammogram results suggesting she has breast cancer four times, but further testing showed, each time, that she didn't have the disease. 

Now, she gets anxious each time she's due for another mammogram, said Moleski, 44, who lives in the Philadelphia area. 

A new study suggests that, for women like Moleski who've had a false-positive mammogram , continuing to be watchful for signs of breast cancer may be a good idea - such women are 67 percent more likely to eventually develop the disease, compared with women who've only had negative mammogram results, the findings showed. 

The findings suggest "that either that the false positive mammograms may not be false at all, or that the false positive mammograms may be representative of a biological process which contributes to elevated risk of developing breast cancer in the future," said Dr. Richard Bleicher, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia. 

The study is published today (April 5) in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
A heightened risk 

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen compiled mammography data from more than 58,000 Danish women. The women in the study were between 50 and 69 years old, and were screened between 1991 and 2005. 

The findings showed that 339 cases of breast cancer would be expected in one year in a group of 100,000 women who had only negative mammograms , whereas 583 cases would be expected in a year in a group of 100,000 women who'd previously had a false-positive mammogram. 

The increased risk of breast cancer remained for six years after a false positive mammogram, compared with women who always had a negative mammogram. 

The findings showed an association, not a cause-and-effect link, and further work is needed to confirm the results. 

Still, similar findings have been shown in the United States, said Dr. Jeff Tice, of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, who was not involved in the study. 

The link might be explained by breast density , Tice said. Women with higher-density breast tissue may be more likely to get a false positive mammogram, and studies, including one that Tice worked on, have shown these women also have increased risk of developing breast cancer. 

Dr. Dana Whaley, an assistant professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agreed that breast density may be the common link. 

"Breast density is an independent risk factor for breast cancer, and it is more significant than family history most of the time," Whaley said, though he added that why this is the case is not understood.

The study researchers said that the new findings suggest that false positives are a sign of some change occurring in breast tissue. It's not likely, they said, that there actually was a tumor that was missed in follow-up evaluation: women in the study with a false-positive mammogram tended not to develop cancer within two years of their false-positive tests. 

Skepticism of a link 

Some experts raised cautions about the new findings. 

"We don't know other critical factors about the risk of the patients in the study — family history, genetic mutations, hormone use," Bleicher said. The false-positive test might not, in itself, be the risk factor for cancer— it may be related to something else entirely. 

The findings would be more convincing if the study researchers had linked the specific location within the breast of the abnormality that caused the false positive with the location of later breast cancer, said Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, also of the Diller Cancer Center. 

The underlying biology that might increase the risk of breast cancer in these women needs to be explained with follow-up studies, Kerlikowske said. 

Like Moleski, many patients with previous false-positive mammograms have anxiety, Whaley said. But that anxiety is usually about the detection of cancer, not the false-positive result. "When and how this information is presented to women is very important in preventing unnecessary anxiety,"hesaid.

6 effective dry-eye treatments

Got that burning, stinging, sandy feeling? Stop seeing red with these doctor-recommended remedies. 

1. Artificial Tears 

Best for: Everyday burning or stinging brought on by too much computer use, say, or a late night.
How they work: Made of ingredients such as glycerin and natural oils, these over-the-counter drops can temporarily restore moisture to the eyes, says ophthalmologist Robert Latkany, the director of the Dry Eye Clinic at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, in New York City. 

How to use them: Put a drop or two in each eye when you feel discomfort. However, if you need to use them more often than four times a day, see your eye doctor. He may suggest that you switch to preservative-free drops, which are better for more frequent use. If you're a contact-lens wearer, look for drops labeled “re-wetting drops.” That means they're safe for contacts. 

2. Omega-3s

Best for: People who don't like drops. 

How they work: Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation that can contribute to dry-eye syndrome (DES), a common condition that's easily diagnosed by an eye doctor. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , led by investigators at Harvard Medical School, found that women who consumed the highest levels of omega-3's in their diet had a 34 percent lower risk for DES than did others. And a 2010 study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas showed that people who took a daily omega-3 fish-oil supplement that contained 450 milligrams of the fatty acid EPA and 300 milligrams of DHA, plus 1,000 milligrams of flaxseed oil, produced more tears. 

How to use them: Add a few servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, to your weekly diet, or talk to your doctor about taking daily fish-oil and flaxseed supplements. Take omega-3 supplements with food, as they can cause stomach upset. 

3. Prescription Drops

Best for:
Treating chronic DES. 

How they work: Sold under the brand name Restasis, prescription drops contain the drug cyclosporine, which can help increase natural tear production. In a 2010 study published in the Korean Journal of Ophthalmology , a majority of patients reported few dry-eye symptoms or none at all after using the drops for three months. 

How to use them: Apply one drop per eye twice a day. Experts note that these drops can be used indefinitely, as long as you're under the care of an eye doctor. 

4. Warm Compresses

Best for: Dryness that drops can't seem to tackle. 

How they work: Tears, your eyes' own lubrication, are made up of water and an oily substance produced by glands along the eyelids. “If cells in the glands harden and plug the opening, it can keep the oil from getting into the tear film,” says Stephen Pflugfelder, an ophthalmologist in Houston. “Without that oil, the water in tears evaporates too quickly, leaving eyes feeling dry.” A warm compress helps liquefy plugs so the oil can flow into tears. 

How to use them: Place a warm, wet washcloth over your eyelids for up to 10 minutes once a day as needed. 

5. Eyelid Washes

Best for: Dry eyes that are accompanied by flaking along the lids, which could be a sign of blepharitis, a dandrufflike inflammation of the eyelash follicles. 

How they work: “People with blepharitis tend to overproduce oil, which can block the glands and cause tears to evaporate too rapidly,” says Christopher Gelston, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora. An over-the-counter eye wash contains mild cleansing agents to dissolve oil and remove flakes (as well as irritants and allergens that can exacerbate the problem). 

How to use them: Rinse or massage over the lash line once a day, typically at night (some washes come with a cup for application). If your symptoms don't clear up after several days, see your doctor. 

6. Ophthalmic Inserts

Always prepare before you make a choice. Best for: Relieving dryness that doesn't respond to other remedies. 

How they work: Available only by prescription, Lacrisert inserts are tiny cellulose beads that you place in the pocket of each lower eyelid. “They dissolve slowly and mix with your tears to provide ongoing lubrication throughout the day,” says Pflugfelder. 

How to use them: Insert a bead once or twice a day. Like prescription drops, inserts are safe for long-term use, as directed by your doctor.

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