Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category
When most people think of dermatology, they probably think of beauty. No longer are dermatologists known for removing embarrassing warts or moles, but for chemical peels and Botox. They are the go-to person for making skin beautifully flawless. But dermatologists also engage clients to help them deal with some of the more unsightly dermal concerns: skin abnormalities, rashes and cysts, among other things.
My own first meeting with a dermatologist was over a cyst. Cysts are a common abnormality that often appear on the face and neck, but can appear anywhere on the body. They’re just plain ugly, and coming from personal experience, I can assure you that they’re embarrassing and made me feel self-conscience. I even had people ask if I had cancer!
What is a Cyst?
A cyst is a noncancerous, closed pocket of tissue that can form anywhere in the body and is common on the skin. Skin cysts develop due to an infection, clogging of sebaceous glands (also called oil glands), and may form around foreign bodies in the skin, like piercings. Certain factors increase the possibility of developing a cyst such as:
• Age (30s or 40s)
• Damaged hair follicles (skin abrasions or wounds)
• Trauma (skin is crushed or broken from an injury, such as hitting your finger with a hammer)
• Birth Defects
Common Skin Cysts at a Glance:
Cysts are usually noticeable and tend to be slow-growing, painless and can be rolled under the skin. Some of the most common types of skin cysts include:
• Epidermoid cysts (which men are twice as likely to have): the most common type of skin cysts (this was the type I had) and are often mislabeled as sebaceous cysts, which are a rare type of cyst. Epidermoid cysts range in size from ¼ inch to 2 inches (Mine was about an inch).
• Lipoma: a fatty lump that tends to grow slowly over time and is usually discovered accidentally.
• Pilar cysts: form from hair follicles and commonly occur on the scalp.
• Milia: tiny white bumps or small cysts on the skin. These cysts are common in newborns, which then are called Epstein’s pearls, and go away on their own.
• Pilmatrixoma: a slow-growing, hard mass found beneath the skin. Occurs most commonly on the face and neck and is seen mostly in children under 10.
The treatment of most cysts depends upon cause, size and location. Removal of the cyst is done at your doctor or dermatologist’s discretion, as some cysts can be drained or aspirated, or injected with a cortisone shot (My dermatologist gave me a cortisone shot, which resulted in an infection, so instead of a smallish size cyst, I had what looked like a goiter. I went back and it was drained – yuck! – and removed). Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Most people elect to have their cyst drained or removed for cosmetic reasons or to prevent further growth of the cyst. Pilmatrixoma cysts are removed surgically as an outpatient procedure.
Some skin cysts can be prevented by keeping your skin clean and avoiding skin irritation. Using a shower filter that filters out harsh chlorine to keep your skin soft and less dry may help reduce irritation. Use gentle, oil-free cleansers, wear soft, cotton clothing, and adjust anything that may rub against your skin.
Need a little less skin irritation in your life? Check out our shower filters to keep your skin soft and from drying out! Click here to receive half-off during July 2011!
As you may or may not be aware, dermatology is the field of medicine that focuses on the skin: skin diseases and disorders. This includes things as varied as hair removal and implantation, skin cancer treatment, skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis and (the most unfair of plagues) acne, to plastic surgery like liposuction and face lifts.
And just how, you might ask, is dermatology related to water and water filtration?
For hair removal issues, plastic surgery and cancer, water is important for all the usual health reasons, but has little impact aside from that. Where water becomes an essential component of dermatology issues are in the areas of skin health and skin disorders. Proper hydration is often the heart and soul of health in general, but it particularly affects the skin. Lack of adequate hydration can exacerbate (or cause) rashes, eczema, allergic reactions and other topical ailments.
Along the same lines, the water you wash with can affect the quality and vitality of your skin in surprising ways. City water contains a whole raft of contaminants in varying concentrations, some of which have been shown to be harmful to your skin. Chlorine in particular is cause for concern. We all know how it feels when you get out of a chlorinated pool: the itchy, dry, tight feeling plagues you until you can rinse off with less chlorinated water. But there’s chlorine in your shower water, too, if in lesser amounts, and it’s still not good for you.
Dermatology and you
For the next several weeks, be on the lookout for blog posts, Facebook and Twitter activities, and general buzz on Aquasana.com and our other community channels that relate to dermatology and skin issues. The subject is near and dear to our hearts, and we have undertaken a mission to shed light on various dermatology topics. With that in mind, we’ve found some really excellent resources about dermatology and skin conditions out there on the net:
Related, interesting sites on dermatology…
So your kitchen has a refreshed and energized look. What next? If you have some budget left over, or some time next month, you might consider making some updates to another room in your home. I’d say the bathroom is worthy of attention, for two reasons:
1) Often all it needs to really look spiffy again is a good hard scrubbing and a few cheap changes to dress it up.
2) We all know the bathroom is one of the rooms that determine a home’s character and level of sophistication (for whatever reason—real estate agents harp on bathroom updates constantly when a house goes on the market), so it’s a good investment to spend some time bringing it up to date.
So what can you do that is easy, relatively painless and inexpensive to give your bathroom a fresh and clean look? More or less, you do the same things as you did to your kitchen—paint, color, fixtures. There are just a few different things to keep in mind as you make changes.
• Add a new coat of paint or stain. Same as the kitchen, a new color can transform a room in ways you can hardly believe until you do it. (See the paragraph below about color before you go crazy, though!)
• Install a new vanity or mirror treatment. Mirrors give us only what we put into them, right? If you make the setting a bit more attractive, you might be surprised at what stares back out at you!
• If you have windows, try a new window treatment. This is where that complementary color comes in: choose a lovely complementary shade to the walls and dress the windows and the shower curtain to really make the most of the bathroom.
• Add some fashionable and useful storage. I don’t know anyone who could not use more storage in their bathroom. So get out to IKEA or the Container Store and find a fashionable and serviceable set of shelves or a cabinet and really make full use of all the space in your bathroom (but make sure to do this after you paint).
A word about color
Take a moment to reflect on how you feel in your bathroom versus how you want to feel. Do you feel hot and sticky in the bathroom when you have to be in there? Do you often take cool showers? Do you approach blow drying your hair with dread? If you feel uncomfortably hot in your bathroom, you might consider painting and decorating with cool colors—blues and greens and greys and whites—to promote an illusion of a cooler atmosphere. Alternately, if you always shiver your way through showers and bathroom activities, redecorate with warmer colors and tones. Install a space heater or overhead heater/fan. Invest in some lovely warm, fluffy towels and floor mats! (And remember the 60/30/10 rule of colors! Choose a main color and make the room 60% that color, a complementary color to cover another 30%, and an accent shade in about 10% to give just a taste of freshness.)
Like every room in your home, you want to customize your bathroom to be comfortable for you. It’s not as important as the kitchen or family room, certainly, but it’s still important and worthy of some summer attention.
Are you planning on making any changes to your bathroom this summer? What’s the one update you’re burning to make? Or are you misering away your extra dough against the unpredictable and difficult economic times? (Either way, fair enough!) Let us know in the comments!
Father’s Day is coming up this weekend, and the race is on to secure a good, enticing, enjoyable gift for the men in our lives who grease the wheels and make life exciting. But what do you get for the man who already has every tool from Home Depot and too many ties to count? Why not go sideways this year, and reach for a practical and exciting gift that he’ll love? (That’s my plan, anyway.) Here are some ideas to get you started!
For the closet cook
Cooking has become a more acceptably enjoyable activity for men, and a good many of them show a decided flair for it. Why not invest in a few really excellent kitchen gadgets to help him out?
Men really like to grill best, and summer is the perfect time for him to get some more experience! Try the cookbook Everyday Grilling from Sur La Table. He’ll be able to make everything on the grill, appetizers to desserts!
If he already knows the grilling ropes, a great instant-read digital thermometer can help him hit just the right level of done.
A nice pizza stone is a good investment, too. When not in use for pizza parties, you can use it to bake other yummy things, like biscuits and cookies.
But not every man likes to cook. Some of them just can’t ever own enough gadgets. For some spectacular ideas on what to get to indulge him, try looking at Skymall.com or Brookstone.
Weather stations are pretty neat little things, and the prices on the good ones are coming down. If you need to know instantly how to dress the kids today, don’t wait for the weatherman, just take a peek at this little guy!
Maybe your man is security-minded, though. If so, investing in a home security system could be a good gift to ease his anxiety. There are lots of options out there, and some even come with iPhone or smartphone apps that let you manage your security remotely, so you always have access and control.
Or if your husband is the fastidious sort, you could consider even our own Aquasana shower filter with handheld wand. Clean himself, the kids, the dog, pots and pans, whatever he wants, in clean and healthy shower water!
Being a dad is a demanding job, one that increases stress and tension. Why not get Dad a back and neck massager of some kind? (And when he’s not using it, you can hop right in there and take a whirl!)
There are lots of other ideas out there, but use these to get you started. Use a bit of thought and imagination, and forgo the tie or cufflinks this year (unless they shoot lasers or auto-clean the house or something). And remember the best gift dads can ever get, those three little words they love to hear:
“I’ll clean up!”
We all want to upgrade and beautify our homes, but the problem with making changes these days comes down to two key facts: money is scarce and tastes change. High-contrast color kitchens are trendy this year (lime green and stark white, purple and white), but may not always be. Chrome and black appliances are all the rage, as are granite counters and reclaimed wood cabinets. Some people are also really into making healthy and/or “green” changes, trying to make their spaces beautiful and functional in a way the supports long-term sustainability and health goals. You know what they say about diets: if you want to eat more healthy, stock your kitchen with healthy food, not junk. The same idea can apply to your home: if you make it easier to be good, you will be good more often. And we start the being “good” by not over-reaching our budgets. Living within your means is the hottest new fashion, and we certainly want to promote that!
This year, forgo the massive remodel, and opt to give your kitchen a face lift instead.
Repaint/stain your cabinets with VOC-free paint or stain, of course. Unless your cabinets are just falling apart at the seams, you can probably get away with simply giving them a good hard scrub and a layer of paint or re-staining them. The new look will make you see the space with fresh eyes, trust me!
Get a sink-mounted water filter. (I know, please forgive the plug.) You’ve no doubt heard the recent clarion call to abandon our national love affair with bottled water; the concerns that inform this trend are real and incredibly sobering, and we’ve covered them in other blog articles. But to get the healthiest water, you need to filter what you drink (and bathe in). And for those of you who really want the convenience of a water filter spout in your kitchen, but don’t want to sacrifice your kitchen’s feng shui, we have seven different finishes just for you!
Consider green lighting options. Some older kitchens still have overhead fluorescent bar lights. Yuck. Aren’t we a bit too old and discerning for that? We don’t all have the budget to add a new skylight (which would be the ideal green kitchen lighting) but you have options to make a few changes to the illumination in your kitchen, save some energy and update the look all in one swoop. You’ll be amazed at the difference good lighting can make. Look into sustainable countertops. There are a number of sustainable, affordable options out there if you’re into getting new countertops. There are the reclaimed wood and recycled paper varieties like PaperStone and EcoTop. Recycled glass counters like Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS and EnviroSLAB. Ceramic tile can be a good option if you take care when shopping (look for tiles made from recycled material) and use a low-VOC adhesive to lay the tile. Invest in energy star appliances. You can get some really good models of fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves out there that look great, don’t cost a ton, and can save you money on your house bills in the long run (and some even come with local or even national rebates for going green!). Make sure they rate well and save lots of energy (some models only barely save you enough to be considered Energy Star compliant, and I’ve avoid those), and recycle your old appliances with your local municipality (or donate them to Goodwill). Up next time: redo your bathroom with a few key additions or changes and give it a whole new look and feel.
Consider green lighting options. Some older kitchens still have overhead fluorescent bar lights. Yuck. Aren’t we a bit too old and discerning for that? We don’t all have the budget to add a new skylight (which would be the ideal green kitchen lighting) but you have options to make a few changes to the illumination in your kitchen, save some energy and update the look all in one swoop. You’ll be amazed at the difference good lighting can make.
Look into sustainable countertops. There are a number of sustainable, affordable options out there if you’re into getting new countertops. There are the reclaimed wood and recycled paper varieties like PaperStone and EcoTop. Recycled glass counters like Vetrazzo, EnviroGLAS and EnviroSLAB. Ceramic tile can be a good option if you take care when shopping (look for tiles made from recycled material) and use a low-VOC adhesive to lay the tile.
Invest in energy star appliances. You can get some really good models of fridges, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves out there that look great, don’t cost a ton, and can save you money on your house bills in the long run (and some even come with local or even national rebates for going green!). Make sure they rate well and save lots of energy (some models only barely save you enough to be considered Energy Star compliant, and I’ve avoid those), and recycle your old appliances with your local municipality (or donate them to Goodwill).
Up next time: redo your bathroom with a few key additions or changes and give it a whole new look and feel.
We know from our blogs and our online community conversations that our customers are fans with great love and great loyalty. People who use Aquasana products tend to talk to their friends and family (and sometimes perfect strangers) about how much Aquasana products mean to them and how much our products impact their lives for the better.
As some of you know, we have had an affiliate referral program for some time through which our customers and loyalists speak out and spread the word about Aquasana products. In fact, our program became so large that it outgrew the platform we were running it on! So at the beginning of 2011, we researched and found a new company to host our affiliate program, LinkShare.
The affiliate relationship is basically a channel marketing relationship. Our Publishers (What LinkShare calls affiliates) post links on their websites that go to www.aquassana.com, whether text links, banner images or full-blown product detail pages, and each time someone makes a purchase on Aquasana.com from that link, the Publisher earns a commission*.
There is no cost to join the Publisher program on LinkShare, and if you have a website, adding us is often just a matter of getting the link code from LinkShare and plugging it into your site. Publishers enjoy the ability to participate in site-wide promotions, like the current April 30% off promo, and earn a little something for spreading the word about Aquasana products. Our Publishers range in size from single families who refer their friends and families to substantially sized companies: we welcome all shapes and sizes.
There are several popular Publisher strategies.
The Blogger writes new and fresh content, either reviews or information on water in general or other interesting, semi-related topics, and posts the blogs with links or banners for Aquasana.
Entrepreneurs populate websites with product images and details, like an e-commerce site. (Though this is fine, we do not allow online checkout.)
Coupon Clippers aggregate coupons and coupon banners (from various companies, not just Aquasana), promoting the discounts we offer to our publishers’ customers.
Thank you for all your continued loyalty and support as we spread the word of healthy, clean, delicious water!
*For commissionable items. Not all products are commissionable, and not all items earn the same commission. See LinkShare site for details.
You recycle. You turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You started doing the laundry in cold water. But despite taking steps to reduce your family’s carbon footprint and save the planet, you still feel slightly guilty about not doing enough.
Sound familiar? It’s called Green Guilt: the anxiety and self-doubt that we are not doing enough (or that our efforts mean nothing) to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve global resources. Green Guilt is becoming less of a problem in today’s tighter and more stressful economy, since the overriding concern is “Will I have a job in three months?” not “How can I reduce my environmental impact?”, but it still occurs and adds unnecessarily to your stress level.
Don’t beat yourself up
What can you do to avoid feeling this way? Well, for starters, understanding goes a long way. Do your part, do more when you can, and don’t beat yourself up too much if you choose paper towels over cloth for the sake of convenience once in a while. To help you along, I’ve gathered a few extra tips to help you save time and money and get a little greener at the same time:
1) Use a water filter and refillable water bottles. You know how we feel about disposable plastic water bottles. They aren’t really that much safer than tap water in a lot of instances, water leaches plastic molecules, and when we’re done with them they often as not pollute landfills and oceans. Not a lot to love there. But there is an upside to drinking filtered water: not as many of those bottles. I know it’s often a quick decision to make your life easier to just grab some water bottles to toss in the cooler when you go camping, but during the rest of your life, make a concerted effort to use refillable bottles and fill them with filtered water.
2) Walk your neighborhood, not a treadmill. Gyms are all the rage, but are they really worth it? They’re noisy, crowded at all the wrong times, expensive, and they guzzle energy. Plus, those fancy elliptical machines lie about how many calories you’re burning. Try finding a place to walk near where you live—a trail or park that has some good hills. Or just walk or jog through your neighborhood. Do some pushups and sit-ups when you get home. The world will thank you!
3) Carpool. Seriously. I know it’s hardly appealing and takes trust, coordination and sacrifice, but if you can be one fewer car on the road, even once in a while, then you’ll be responsible for cutting down pollution, fossil fuel addiction and household expenditures. Gold star for you!
4) Ask your boss about telecommuting options. Save fuel altogether and work at home a day or two a week, if your job type allows it. Not all jobs lend themselves to working at home, and I am a staunch believer in the value of a tight-knit team, but since a lot of the work that occurs in an information economy happens in your head regardless of where your bottom is, this is becoming an increasingly viable option for many companies.
March 22 every year is World Water Day. And what is World Water Day? Not another Hallmark holiday, I can assure you. World Water Day is an education and awareness program that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Environment and Development Conference. World Water Day 2005 marked the beginning of a Decade of Action, between 2005 and 2015, during which Word Water Day each year would focus on a specific problem facing global water supplies. 2010 was “clean water for a healthy world,” 2009 was “transboundary waters: sharing water, sharing opportunities,” but my personal favorite was 2001’s discussion on “water for health – taking charge.”
World Water Day 2011 is about water for cities and the many issues and challenges facing cities regarding sanitation, waste water and drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, in 2005 40% of the world’s population did not have access to even a simple pit latrine, and 20% did not have access to a source of clean drinking water. I hope advocacy and education programs like World Water Day have improved those numbers, but the situation for so many people is so grim.
There are World Water Day events going on in a lot of cities worldwide today, with the main event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn about the issues and challenges, and take part in some local events if you have the time.
Ever heard this one? “I want to drink more water, I just get so bored with it! I need taste!”
Some people are happy with a slice of lemon, some just guzzle water when it is super cold to avoid having to taste it. But there are more interesting ways to liven up your water to make it taste great and still enjoy the numerous benefits to your health and well-being. Our favorite way at Aquasana is to infuse the water with various vegetables, fruits and herbs. We served our three favorite recipes at the Natural Products Expo West last week, and they were such a big hit, we wanted to share the recipes in detail here.
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 20 thin slices cucumber
- 2 lemons, sliced thin
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, slightly crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the thyme and rosemary and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the herbs. Add the lemon and cucumber, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 10 strawberries, sliced thin
- 2 tangelos, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh mint, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the mint and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the leaves. Add the strawberry and tangelo, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
Watermelon Cooler (not served at Expo West)
Yield: 1 ½ quarts or 4 servings
- 6 cups cold Aquasana filtered water, divided
- 1 ½ C watermelon slices
- 2 lemons, sliced thin
- 4 sprigs fresh mint, slightly crushed
In a 2- to 2 ½-quart pitcher, fill the bottom with about 1 cup of water. Add the mint and use a muddler or wooden spoon to lightly crush the herbs. Add the watermelon and lemon, then the rest of the water. Chill for at least 1 hour. Add ice cubes made from Aquasana water just before serving and enjoy!
- Plum and cinnamon (served at Expo West—tasty but subtle, and the plums sink!)
- Pineapple and mint
- Raspberry and lime
- Cilantro, lime and jalapeno
- Tarragon leaves with blueberries and raspberries
- Cucumber, honeydew and mint
- Tomato slices with fresh horseradish
- Strawberry, kiwi and mint
What are your favorite ways to dress up your water? Do you know more infused water recipes? Share your secrets with us!