Sunscreen Protects the Age of Your Skin

Study Shows that Sunscreen Protects the Age of Your Skin

To combat the negative effects that the ultraviolet ray will be doing to our skin, sunscreen is now our new best friend. Even when it is cloudy, sunscreen should be applied as there will still be UV rays which are able to penetrate into our skin, only that it is not visible. Recently, two studies about the effects of the sun has on aging skin have been on the news.

Study #1: Sun-exposed skin looks older

One of the studies is about a 69-year-old trucker who has been on the road for 28 years without any application of sunscreen. Compared to the side of his face which was not exposed to the sun, the other side of his face looks much older with asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin. He was diagnosed with unilateral dermatoheliosis – photoaging from chronic UV exposure. Although the window of his vehicle was not down, the UVA rays are not stopped by the glass and able to penetrate the epidermis and upper layers or dermis, damaging it. Other than thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, chronic UVA exposure can also lead to destruction of elastic fibres. Although exposure to UVB rays is linked to a higher rate of photocarcinogenesis, UVA has also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, causing skin cancer. The patient was told to use sun protection and topical retinoids besides being monitored periodically for skin cancer.

Study #2: Sun-exposed skin sags

The other study conducted which demonstrated the lack of using daily sunscreen which contributes to skin aging involved the monitoring of 900 participants aged 25 to 55 from an area north of Sydney for four and a half years. The participants are then divided into two groups; the first to continue their usual sun avoidance activity while the other to use broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF15 every day in the morning and after exercise or bathing. Skin biopsy and silicon cast method were used to measure elastin levels in the skin and a scale from 0 to 6 were given where 6 indicates severely aged skin. At the beginning, the average level of aging was 4 for both groups, indicating moderate aging. At the end of the study, the first group had an average score of 5 while the second group maintained their average score of 4. One of the limitations to this study is that no dark-skinned people were included.

Sunscreen for younger skin

Obviously, we are always told to wear sunscreen to avoid cancer and both of these studies show measurable evidence that the use of sunscreen can decrease the effects of photoaging on the skin which leads to your skin appearing more wrinkled, thicker and drier. All these make us to look older than we actually are. Some may avoid sunscreen due to the toxicity. However, one can consult the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for a list of sunscreens they approve.



Yoga for a Sharper Brain

Study Reveals that Yoga Leads to a Sharper Brain

With the increasing health awareness among us thanks to the media, most of us consider it a need to exercise. With regular workout, we are able to battle a number of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure among others. However, not many know that exercising can also enhance your brain activity. According to a small new study, your brain can function better with the help of a simple 20-minutes yoga session. According to researchers, people perform better in both speed and accuracy on brain functioning tests after 20 minutes of Hatha yoga compared with aerobic exercise.

Findings by University of Illinois

This study was conducted by Neha Gothe while being a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gothe is now a professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at the university and has the report published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health observed 30 young female college students who underwent 20 minutes of yoga. Then, they did meditation and deep breathing before proceeding to jog on the treadmill for another 20 minutes, considered as aerobic exercise. The participants were subjected to cognitive testing after each of the yoga session and the aerobic exercise session. The researchers found out that the tests after the yoga session showed better scores compared to the tests after the aerobic exercise. According to Gothe, one of the possible mechanisms of meditational exercises is enhanced self-awareness. Moreover, meditation and breathing exercises are also known to be anxiety and stress reducers which lead to a better cognitive test score.

In short, the research shows that those who do yoga practice were better able to focus their mental resources, process information quickly, more accurately and also learn, hold and update pieces of information more effectively than after performing an exercise bout. Gothe added that the breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body as well as keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities. So, after this, yoga exercises would be incorporated in most of everyone’s workout circuit.





Breastfeeding for Your Baby’s Brain

Breastfeeding For Your Baby’s Brain – New Study by Brown University

Not many can resist the small little adorable baby that just popped out of their mother’s womb. But no matter how much you can’t resist the charm of that adorable baby, they say that nobody can beat a mother’s love. So, it is only natural that a mother should only choose and decide the best for them. The first thing that you can do for your baby is managing its diet. After all, you are what you eat – start early and give them the best, so why not breastfeed? There have been a number of articles promoting the goodness of breastfeeding, but many still opt to buy those formula enriched with all the awesome stuffs claimed to be able to boost your baby’s brain activity and everything good. Lately, a new study by researchers from Brown University will enforce the belief that breastfeeding is good for babies’ brains – steering you away from the formulae-laden shelves.


A new study at the Advanced Baby Imaging Lab, Brown University


Led by Sean Deoni, assistant professor of engineering at Brown and the study’s lead author, Brown’s Advanced Baby Imaging Lab makes use of specialised, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the brain growth on a sample of children under 4 years old – 133 babies ranging from 10 months to 4 years old with normal gestation times plus similar socioeconomic statuses. These babies are categorised into 3 groups; mothers who exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months, mothers who fed a combination of breast milk and formula, mothers who fed formula alone. The MRI technique used actually zooms in on the microstructure of the brain’s white matter, tissue that contains long nerve fibres and helps different parts of the brain communicate with each other. Specifically, the amounts of myelin, fatty material which insulates nerve fibres and speed electrical signals as they travel around the brain.


Brown reveals about breastfeeding, babies and brains


The study showed that by age two, babies in the first category had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to the babies in the other 2 categories; especially in parts if the brain associated with language, emotional function and cognition. Deoni said that compared to other studies, this is the first imaging study that concentrates on differences associated with breastfeeding in the brains of very young and healthy children. Since this study is also looking at how early these changes in brain development actually occur, the team found out that exclusively breastfed group had the fastest growth in myelinated white matter (covered with a layer of myelin – an insulating layer that forms around the nerves), with the increase in white matter volume becoming substantial by age 2.


The duration of breastfeeding also plays a role where babies breastfed for more than a year has significantly enhanced brain growth compared to babies breastfed less than a year, especially in areas of the brain dealing with motor function. With so many findings and endless evidence showing the positive relation between breastfeeding and children’s brain health, there is really almost no reason not to breastfeed.