Jan 26, 2012

Natural Progesterone Cream

Moving on with the Bio-Identical Hormone post Link we can then be faced with the dilemma of the cost for the initial necessary visits with a Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Doctor which is often not covered by insurance. However there are products out there that can definitely help with many of the symptoms that you may be experiencing and one of them is Natural Progesterone Cream and at $12.70 for a months supply it is well worth trying. We are often led to believe or are under the impression that Estrogen is the first hormone to decline but that is not the case....it is Progesterone and this can start in the early 30's and on occasions the late 20's.
Natural progesterone cream helps many women through the symptoms of hormonal imbalance with many added benefits. Natural progesterone, has the same molecular structure as the progesterone produced by the body. It is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. It can help your body keep estrogen and progesterone levels in balance, resulting in maintained sense of
equilibrium.                                                                                                        Symptoms of low progesterone
Most women never really consider the implication of their hormones on their overall state of health.
BUT, the symptoms of low hormone levels in women are many. Some of these symptoms are so commonplace that we've come to accept them as 'normal.'
  • Accelerated aging (ouch)!
  • Allergy symptoms such as; asthma, hives, rashes, sinus congestion
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety, nervousness and irrational fear
  • Back-ache – particularly pre-menstrual back ache
  • Bloating
  • Blood clots during menstruation
  • Breast tenderness
  • Brittle nails
  • Brown spots on the back of the hands (I hate these)!
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Cracked heels
  • Cramps
  • Cravings, binges and eating disorder (I constantly crave anything sweet)!
  • UTI's
  • Dark rings under the eyes
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression, anxiety or agitation
  • Dry eyes
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Fat gain, especially around the abdomen, hips, and thighs (we all can probably relate to this one)
  • Fatigue
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foggy thinking
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Hot flushes and night sweats
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Osteoporosis
  • Panic attacks
  • PMS
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Varicose veins
  • Weight gain
  • Water retention
Studies have shown that progesterone may provide many benefits such as protection against fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer, protection against osteoporosis, maintaining the sex drive and normalizing blood sugar levels.
Research has also indicated the importance of progesterone to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal chord) – finding levels of progesterone to be 20 times higher in brain cells than in the blood. Therefore it has been studied in benefiting brain injuries and preventing migraine headaches. Progesterone has long been studied for its calming almost sedating effect. Proper levels have been linked to sleeping well and maintaining a sense of calm.
  • Here is a list of some of the benefits you may experience once you begin to balance a progesterone deficiency and curb estrogen dominance.
  • Happiness :) Natural progesterone is a natural antidepressant.
  • You get to rediscover your lost libido. Natural progesterone restores the sex drive.
  • Relief from PMS symptoms. Natural progesterone is effective in treating PMS because when estrogen is not balanced by progesterone, it produces weight gain, headaches, bad temper, chronic fatigue, breast tenderness and a loss of interest in sex - all of which are part of the clinically recognized symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
  •  Relief from menstrual cramps. Many women have found relief within 20 minutes of rubbing natural progesterone cream onto their stomachs.
  • You get relief from the normal symptoms of menopause which include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, restlessness, vaginal dryness and mood swings. Menopause is not an estrogen deficiency disease. Estrogen levels fall by 40 - 60% during menopause, but progesterone levels often fall to zero or close to zero, which means the symptoms experienced by menopausal women are actually the symptoms of estrogen dominance! The most effective and safe treatment of menopause symptoms is to balance off the excess estrogens in the body with natural progesterone.
  • You lose weight. (Hallelujah)! Balancing the excess estrogen in your body with natural progesterone normalizes blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar level is too low – you crave food – usually high-sugar or sweet foods such as chocolate.  If you indulge in these quick sugar fixes your body pours insulin into the blood to help remove the sugar from the bloodstream … it then stores it … as fat. Once insulin removes the sugar from the bloodstream into the fat cells water fills the space where the sugar was – causing bloating and cramping. Natural progesterone therefore helps to reduce symptoms of both bloating and cramping giving further relief and further weight loss.
  • Because it normalizes blood sugar levels natural progesterone also alleviates cravings and binge-eating and therefore further helps to reduce weight.
  • More weight loss benefits – it is a natural diuretic helping to release excess water that is being stored in the body.                                                                                     When unopposed estrogen is present in tissues that are sensitive to hormones such as the breasts, uterus and ovaries, these tissues can turn cancerous if the unopposed estrogen, is not balanced off with progesterone.                                                                                                                        
Arthritis & osteoporosis
Progesterone, is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory. This is because it is the precursor to cortisone, which is an excellent anti-inflammatory. It therefore:
  • helps to reduce arthritic pain.
Natural progesterone helps to reverse osteoporosis by:
  • Protecting against bone loss and hence osteoporosis
  • Improving new bone formation
  • Stimulating bone building responsible for Osteoporosis Reversal
Findings to support the fact:
Women using usp natural progesterone cream experienced an average 7 to 8% bone-mass density increase in the first year, 4 to 5% in the second year, and 3 to 4% in the third year! Untreated women in this age category typically lose 1.5% bone-mass density each year! These results have not been found with any other form of hormone replacement therapy or dietary supplementation.
Supplementation with Natural Progesterone helps to alleviate depression.
It does so by it’s ability to:
  • stabilize low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia)
  • ease stress by providing the raw material for the anti-stress hormones by influencing the production of serotonin and dopamine.                                              Depressed people have been found to have a higher incidence of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).  Woman suffering from PMS and depression have also been found to have low levels of serotonin in their blood.
Progesterone and depression are linked through progesterone's influence in the metabolism of serotonin and dopamine, both known to play a role in depression.
What else?
Correcting a progesterone deficiency through the use of a usp natural progesterone cream has a number of other benefits such as:
  • Reduced stress
  • Normalization of zinc and copper levels
  • it gives you more energy 
  • it stimulates scalp hair re-growth and reduces facial hair
  • it restores normal sleep patterns
  • is effective in preventing varicose veins which are caused because of excess estrogen which causes the collagen to age and the vein walls to weaken
Directions for use:
  • Menstruating Women: Apply once or twice a day as needed, starting on the 12th day after the first day of menstrual flow thru the 28th day.
  • Menopausal or Post-Menopausal Women: Apply progesterone cream twice a day for a maximum of 25 consecutive days. Resume after a five-day break. After you have received significant relief you can and should see if your body can do as well with one application a day.
  • Apply to chest, inner arm, thigh, stomach, neck or face. 
 Now Foods Natural Progesterone Product Description: Link
  • 20 mg of Natural Progesterone Per Pump
  • No Artificial Colors or Fragrances
  • Paraben Free

Jan 18, 2012

Bio Identical Hormone Treatment

Along with skincare I am also trying to become more aware as too how my body reacts to certain foods (see Sugar and Skin article link at bottom of page) but I have noticed that as the biological clock continues to 'click' things are changing along with becoming harder to keep at bay.
Weight Gain
I have been fortunate that weight has never really been an issue for me. Of course, like the majority I put on weight when I decide to over eat (notice I said 'decide' as I find this is a choice I make rather than it being something that just happens). One thing I do have going to my advantage is that I am a qualified Dietician and Fitness Instructor.....but I want to emphasize that just because I have the knowledge does not mean that it is any easier for me to stay on track! Recently I have noticed that as the years creep up on me (where did all that time go) I am now carrying some extra poundage around my middle and the dreaded 'muffin top' is rearing its ugly head. Taking into consideration that I have 'not' increased my calorie intake my antenna went up and I started to think 'Is this the beginning of what is commonly know as Middle Age Spread'. When I studied nutrition it was apparent that the only conclusion anyone ever came up with in regards to the extra pounds that appeared to occur during middle age was supposedly due to the 'slowing down' of the metabolism and those who where suffering just had to 'accept' this as part of the aging process or had to make the choice to increase their physical activity and/or cut calories. I completed my training at the hands of Rosemary Conley in the United Kingdom and she, along with many others agree that your metabolism does slow down 'slightly' when you get older but only by a few per cent each decade. In fact, scientific figures suggest you only need to cut down your calorie intake by about 40 calories a day beyond the age of 50 and by a further 90 calories past the age of 75 therefore proving that weight gain along with a multitude of additional annoying and inconvenient issues are not so much an age related issue rather than a hormonal issue.
Below are just some of the issues we can face in latter years:
Back-ache – particularly pre-menstrual back ache   
Brittle nails 
Brown spots on the back of the hands 
Cold hands and feet 
Cracked heels 
Cravings, binges 
Dark rings under the eyes 
Depression, anxiety or agitation 
Difficulty concentrating
Forgetfulness (how many times have you gone in to a room to get something and you cannot remember what you went there for)! 
Irritability (I think we all can admit to this one)!  
Joint Pain
Mood swings 
Thinning hair
Water retention
Fortunately we now have much more information and knowledge therefore enabling us to decide for ourselves in regards to how we can conquer and overcome the unnecessary effects of middle age rather than having to just 'live with them' and 'grin and bear it'.
There appears to be four main options:
1. HRT (Hormone Replacement Treatment)
2. Nautural Remidies
3. Accepting the situation and doing nothing about it
4. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
What is Bio-identical Hormone Therapy?
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy is a treatment consisting of supplemental hormones that are chemically and molecularly identical to the hormones found in your body so as to achieve proper balance.
Hormones are taken from natural sources like soy or wild yam plants and molecularly manipulated in a laboratory to 'exactly' match yours, making them easier to assimilate and use by the body since it has the right enzymes to classify and metabolize them properly and efficiently thus, lessening side effects.
Bio-identical hormones are tailored to 'your' body; rather than the 'one size fits all' synthetic prescription from your GP. Ingredients are mixed in individual doses at a compounding pharmacies (more on compounding pharmacies below) to meet your specific needs based on your symptoms and are adjusted until your hormones are completely balanced and symptoms disappear.
What is the difference between Bio-identical Hormone Therapy and Synthetic Hormone Therapy?
The synthetic hormone therapy operates on the opposite principle of the Bio-identical Hormone Therapy and the hormones are different.
Synthetic hormones' (those that are given by prescription from your GP) molecular structure is completely different from the human one, in fact, these hormones are stronger than ours, making them unrecognizable for the body and more difficult to absorb, turning them into a risk source for adverse side effects.
Bio-identical Hormone Therapy allows hormones to more efficiently interact with human tissues and other hormones in your body affecting positively its potency and elimination, thus, making them gentler on your system.
What is a Compounding Pharmacy
Pharmacy compounding is an established tradition which allows a physician to prescribe a very specific medication, prepared by a pharmacist, for a patient’s individual needs. Years ago, compounded medications provided the majority of prescription drug care for the population. Today, the vast majority of medications are mass-produced by pharmaceutical drug companies which aim to treat a specific medical condition for a large segment of people (one size fits all). Problems can arise when a patient has a medical condition that can’t be treated by one of these mass-produced products. These are the situations where a compounding pharmacist can play a vital role in helping the physician find an appropriate treatment for their patient.
Compounded medications are ordered by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, veterinarian or other prescriber and mixed by a licensed compounding pharmacists in a safe and carefully controlled environment.  Pharmacists are the only health care professionals trained in chemical compatibilities, making them the only ones qualified to compose alternate dosages. Each state requires instruction on the art of pharmaceutical compounding be included as part of the core curriculum in their pharmaceutical programs. In addition, it's important for compounding pharmacists to seek additional, continual training on their trade to stay current on the latest information and techniques.
Cost of Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy
This differs from state to state but the average cost for the initial visit is around $300. This without doubt is a large sum but taking into consideration as to how much you may be spending on medication for the symptoms you are now experiencing this is something that will undoubtedly pay for itself in the long run. However, there is a possibility that you can get your GP to refer you to a Bio-Identical Hormone specialist and if this is the case your visit could well be covered by your insurance (check this out with your insurance company). You will then need to have your hormone levels checked and this will take place at a Lab which again you may be able to get covered by insurance. Once you have all the results you will then have the results sent to a Compounding Pharmacy who will customize your creams to the perfect formula for you specifically.

Link to Sugar and Skin article:
Sugar and Skin 

Jan 6, 2012

My Favourite Beauty Products of 2011


Burts Bees honey lip balm
Honey and Vitamin E, Helps nourish dry lips with Honey and Vitamin E
What it does:
Living in Arizona my lips are often dry due to not only the heat but the constant a/c being run. I have tried and tested numerous lip balms and usually find that they leave a heavy and waxy film unlike Burts Bees Honey Lip Balm which I think is the best. It really does nourish and moisturize and makes my lips silky smooth and is so cost effective at around $3.00. This can be used if you have very dry lips or as a preventative measure. It is easily obtainable and can be purchased in Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and many supermarkets,

No7 High Lights Illuminating Lotion Link
What it does:

I decided to give this British  illuminator a try for two reasons:
1: The cost at $12.99 for one ounce which I felt was reasonable compared to Benefit at $26.00 for less than 1/2 oz and Mac at $30.00 for 1.7 oz 
2: I was born and raised in the UK and always loved Boots No 7 products when I was a teenager (a long long time ago) and was delighted when Target started to sell this line!There are numerous highlight illuminators on the market...Benefit High Beam, MAC Strobe Cream to name a couple and I have tried them all. Some choose to use these products as a highlighter to the upper cheek and brow bone after foundation application but like myself I often found them to be a little too 'shiny'. I then thought I would try adding illuminators to my foundation mixing at a ratio of 1:4 and was pleasantly surprised when it gave me the 'glow' I had been looking for. So if you feel your foundation can sometimes look a little dull and flat add some of the No 7 Highlights Illuminating Lotion and I promise it will give a beautiful soft glow to your skin that you will love.

Tweezerman Slant Tweezers Link

Oh how I love these tweezers! this is another (like makeup brushes) that is worth spending a little more money on. They are precise and will 'grab' the tiniest of hairs and will last a lifetime if you take care of them and remember to place the plastic cap on the top of them after every use.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Link
Washing our hair everyday is not only time consuming but also damaging to our hair. But there is nothing worse in my opinion than flat lifeless hair and Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is the ultimate time saver and really works. The art is to use very little. I choose to place some on my fingers and run it through the roots of my hair and it gives me instant lift and volume. It has a pleasant smell and is Paraben and Sulfate free and therefore very gentle for the hair and scalp. You can also apply this before going to bed so as to 'prevent' hair becoming greasy over night (I have tried this and it does work). This is a great product to have at hand even if you only use it occasionally. 

Makeup Brushes
I was always under the assumption that it was a complete and utter waste to spend large amounts of money on makeup brushes. I spent years (yes years) wasting time and money on useless brushes that either shed, fell apart after a few uses or were just to 'prickly' to use. Finally I decided to give a MAC brush a try. I admit that I had to take a few deep breathes before purchasing but now understand what all the hype is about. No matter how wonderful the foundation, blush, eyeshadow etc is you will never get the best out of it unless you have some good quality applicator brushes. However, I do want to emphasize that not all expensive brushes are good and of course some of it is down to personal preference. I have tried numerous brushes and below are the ones that I personally reccommend.

MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush
I originally bought this as a stippling brush to apply my foundation but found it a little to large especially around the eyes and nose area. The brush itself is fantastic, shedding is very minimumal and it is so so soft. Rather than waste this I now use it as a blush brush and it works perfectly.
MAC 188 Small Duo Fiber Brush
This is the baby sister of the 187 and I love it for stippling foundation. It is large enough to cover areas speedily but small and soft enough to get close to the eyes and around the nose.

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
This is perfect for applying and layering your eyeshadow. It does not shed and is so so soft on the delicate eye area.
MAC 217 Blending Brush
This in my opinion is one of the most important brushes you should consider investing in along with the 239. The 217 Blending Brush does exactly what it is supposed to do....blends. I had always struggled in the past trying to create that beautifully blended smokey eye but this brush (with a little practice) makes it so easy. Just like the 239 it does not shed and is extreamely soft but firm enough to enable you to have control.
There are a few other brushes I use but the above I feel are the most important so as to get the best out of your makeup application.

MUFE HD Foundation Link

This was the first silicone based HD foundation I had ever tried and even though I am currently using Temptu Pro S/B Foundation I absolutely love MUFE (Makeupforever). This has the most creamiest and smooth texture I have ever found in a foundation and it is true to its word when it states that it gives a flawless finish. The only downside is the cost at $40.00 for 1.0oz. This is a light to full coverage makeup and silicone based hence the creamy smooth texture.
Temptu Pro S/B Foundation Link

This is my 'everyday' use foundation. This can be applied  through an airbrush compressor or applied with the fingers, an applicator sponge or with a stipple brush. This foundation is NOT the pod version and comes in either a 1oz at $27.50 or 4oz at $100.00 (the 1oz bottle was $25.00 but has recently had a price increase). This is a medium to full coverage foundation and again is silicone based.

Latisse Eyelash Growth Serum (Generic)
This is my ultimate 2011 favorite. My lashes have gone from regular length to WOW! I spent the 70's wearing falsies the 80's 90's and up to 2009 coating my lashes with 'lengthening, thickening, volumizing mascara and then 'voila' I found the ultimate eyelash growth serum and have never looked back.

Now that my lashes are sooo long I have tried and tested so many mascaras in the search for one that coats them without making them longer (I cannot believe I now have to say that). My search ultimately bought me to Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara Link. This by far is the best mascara to work for long lashes. It does not clog or smudge and gives a great finish with only one coat and at only $5-6 is a real bargain. This can be purchased at any Walmart, CVS or Walgreens,