Beauty Pageants and Body Positivity

The efficacy of beauty pageants is often debated. Some people argue that pageants contribute to self-esteem and self-worth, while others say the process is degrading and can lead to prolonged and permanent psychological issues. 

According to pageant operators, the purpose of these events is to promote body positivity and to encourage self-care, but are pageants doing anything to ensure girls and women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds are viewed through an objective lens?

Efforts Toward Change

In recent years, the world has witnessed transgender participants both disqualified and welcomed to compete in pageants. Additionally, many pageants are now presenting more diversified talent, and efforts have been made to include pageantry options for plus-sized individuals. Finally, the Miss America pageant eliminated its swimsuit competition in 2018. While many positive changes have occurred and continue to occur, are they enough to distract from the pedestal of commercialism that seems to dictate the terms of beauty?

A Steep Hill To Climb

It is impossible to ignore the underlying problem of conventional beauty pageants: women are rated on their appearance, which dictates their success. It is a cynical message, to say the least. The idea that a select few women represent the cultural ideal of beauty and that all women must alter their appearance to conform to such standards if they wish to be deemed beautiful is ludicrous and insulting.

A platform where women compete based on appearance is degrading, and it has a long history of promoting body-shaming, low-self-worth, and eating disorders. While pageants stand by their mission to promote body positivity, the reality is counter to the desire.

Winners of beauty pageants might feel the sense of self-worth and accomplishment that comes from taking home a prize and trophy but is that self-worth built on the individual presence or outsider appreciation. 

Finding Worth From the Inside Out

Beauty pageants are trying to create more inclusive environments, and some of the messaging is starting to include a more body-positive focus. However, the presence and popularity of pageants are still problematic from a self-esteem standpoint. As a woman, the constant and daily battle is proving you are more than your body.

The sexualization and objectification of the female form is nothing new; it is engrained in society. Pageants epitomize the belief that physical form means more than psychological value. While telling women to look inward to find their beauty and power is simple, it is not a straightforward process. 

Women are bombarded every day with magazines, social commentary, and any number of mediums and personal relationships telling them how to look and act. The idea of physical beauty becomes an obsession, and unfortunately, pageants continue to promote it.

There is no way a beauty pageant can ever promote the idea that inner beauty — confidence, intelligence, compassion, etc. — is more valuable than external beauty because it is a competition based on physical attributes above all else.

Realizing All Women Are Beautiful

All women, all people really, are beautiful; it is a message everyone should get behind. Your physical appearance does not and should not represent your worth to yourself or society. Your goal in life should be to be as healthy and happy as possible so that you can live as long as possible.

Beauty pageants are trying to change. Still, as long as they promote physical worth as equivalent to self-worth, they continue to fail. 

How do you feel about recent beauty pageant changes, and do you think it's enough?

Personal Sleep: Understanding the Best and Worst Ways To Sleep for You

For most people, finding a sleep position is about finding the most comfortable position possible. Sometimes, you end up sprawled out across the mattress on your stomach, and other times, on your side with your knees tucked into your chest. However, despite the various options, you likely favor one position over others, and that position will typically fall into one of three categories: back, side, or stomach sleeper. Which position is right or wrong depends on the individual.

The Back or Supine Position

Sleeping on one’s back is often touted as the superior sleep position because it reduces stress on the body, improving muscle or joint pain symptoms. Additionally, adjustments to this position, like raised feet, can reduce swelling and risks associated with congestive heart failure. However, the supine position is not for everyone.

People who struggle to breathe at night or are diagnosed with sleep apnea will find this position challenging and even life-threatening. The position allows the tongue and lower jaw to shift backward, potentially obstructing the airway. Sleeping on the back can also lead to louder snoring.

The Side or Lateral Position

Sleeping on one’s side, either the left or the right, can circumvent the potential problems of the supine position. Many side sleepers find it easier to breathe in the lateral position and report less snoring and reduced sleep apnea symptoms. Additionally, for individuals with joint or knee pain, especially when it affects one side more than the other, sleeping on the opposite side with a pillow between the knees can relieve pain and improve sleep.

The primary cons of sleeping in the lateral position are increased pressure, shifting organs, and the potential of increased shoulder, hip, and lower back pain. When you sleep on your side, gravity automatically pulls on your internal organs, putting pressure on the heart from the lungs. The effects of pressure on the heart include heart strain and increased kidney output.

The Stomach or Prone Position

Not many people sleep on their stomachs. The prone position often requires the head to be turned to either side, with the arms in any number of positions and the legs straight out. The advantages of prone sleep include the avoidance of many of the supine problems and the organ shifts of the lateral position. Additionally, a prone position can provide greater comfort, especially when the sleeping surface is not ideal.

However, the prone position is not the best position to sleep because of the risks of neck, shoulder, and back injuries. The need to twist the neck to one side or the other puts pressure on the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It can also make it hard to breathe. Sleeping on one’s stomach means the body’s weight is restricting the motion of the ribs and pressing down on the lungs, making it hard to breathe.

Which sleep position is best? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer because everyone is unique. You might not have a problem breathing at night, meaning that a supine position is superior, or you might struggle with knee pain, making a lateral position more favorable. Essentially, the position that is best for you is the one that allows the most comfortable and uninterrupted night’s sleep. You can visit a sleep specialist if you want a more specific answer.

What is your favorite sleep position?

The Benefits of Vitamin C For Your Skin: A Simple Guide

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; it is these underlying advantages that result in comparisons of Vitamin C to the holy grail of skincare. The question: is there evidence to support the rumors? According to the research, vitamin C can brighten complexion, repair skin damage, prevent premature aging, heal wounds, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. If vitamin C is the holy grail, how do you take advantage of it?

Benefits of Vitamin C for Your Skin

Your body cannot make vitamin C on its own, which is why it is necessary to include the vitamin in your diet through foods or supplements. Vitamin C is capable of incredible things, including:

  • Counteracting sun damage
  • Improving overall immunity
  • Treating skin conditions, like psoriasis, acne, scars, wrinkles, and fine lines

How To Take Advantage of Vitamin C

If you have heard enough, it's time for you to make your skin glow. What you eat and apply can help you achieve that happy, glowing complexion of your dreams. Vitamin C can be found in sources such as oranges, grapefruits, papaya, lemons, limes, berries, and fortified cereals, like yogurt and granola. The highest food sources of the vitamin are found in citrus fruits. It is these foods that are particularly powerful when used as skin-care ingredients, which leads to the other source of vitamin C in topical treatments.

What Skin Conditions Can Vitamin C Help With?

In general, vitamin C can help reduce the effects of several conditions, including acne and premature aging. However, the full impact of vitamin C is achieved when you consume or use enough of it, and there are plenty of ways to get enough of the vitamin. If you want to consume vitamin C in your diet, focus on fruits and vegetables; if you want to include it in what you drink, look to orange juice. However, if you want to use vitamin C at high and effective levels, look to supplements and topical treatments. 

Vitamin C, when applied topically, accelerates collagen and elastin production. Using topical treatments helps to keep skin firm and plump, ensuring a youthful appearance and preventing premature aging. 

Every skin treatment requires adherence to the instructions to achieve desired results. However, before using any skincare supplement, check with your dermatologist to ensure your skin is capable of the regimen.

After following the basic steps of the vitamin C topical application, how do you ensure that you are getting the most out of this little beauty treasure? No matter the technique, choosing the right Vitamin C-based skincare products, the proper application technique, and making sure you are adding the proper amounts to your diet, you will be rewarded with improved, smooth, and glowing skin.

Obviously, vitamin C is not the only thing you need to ensure healthy and beautiful skin. A dermatologist can help you determine the right creams and treatments to achieve your best skin. However, vitamin C is a highly effective vitamin, and it does provide several research-backed benefits when applied or consumed correctly.

What do you think of vitamin C as a skincare holy grail?

Stop Using Body Lotion on Your Beautiful Face!

Do you use body lotion on your face? If so, stop!

Body lotions can easily clog your pores and make you feel uncomfortable, especially if you already have oily skin. Trust me on this — you would literally be better off using nothing at all. Fortunately, there are great alternatives that still make you feel sexy, don’t cost an arm and a leg, and don’t take long to apply.

Why Body Lotion Is a Bad Choice for Your Face

Body lotion and facial moisturizers are two very different products with completely different goals. Think about it for a second — Your face has to deal with things during the day that the rest of your skin normally doesn’t, including intense sun rays, makeup, dirt and sweat.

1. Your Face Is More Sensitive Than Your Body

Women have far more sweat-producing glands in the face than any other part of the body. These glands are sensitive to hormone changes and irritation, meaning that you have to treat them with extra care compared to the rest of your skin. Also, your facial skin is thinner than flesh in other areas of the body, so it’s more delicate.

What this means is that products that don’t normally irritate your arms or legs can often irritate your face. This is especially true for those luxurious body butters that smell so good. Irresistible fragrances are amazing when you’re giving your legs some TLC, but they’re often a problem for the sensitive skin of the face.

2. Body Lotion Isn’t Designed To Protect or Nourish Your Face

Body lotions generally focus on minimizing spider veins, reducing the appearance of cellulite, or toning and firming your skin. They contain ingredients designed to add moisture to dry skin and smooth rough areas such as your elbows or toes.

On the other hand, face lotions almost do the opposite. They focus on moisturizing your face while also keeping pores clear. The goal is to minimize wrinkles, dark spots and the appearance of pores.

3. Face Moisturizers Avoid Irritating Your Skin

Even the ingredients on facial moisturizers are better for a gorgeous complexion.  To avoid irritating the delicate skin of the face, these products should have natural extracts that are gentler on you.

Other ingredients may help specifically with wrinkles, such as hyaluronic acid and peptides for collagen production. Many facial moisturizers have sunblock to help protect your face against UV rays during the day.

What You Should Use for Facial Care and Moisturizing Instead

There are many good options for facial care, and they don’t have to be expensive. You can even improvise face moisturizer using natural ingredients. Here are a few favorites:

  • Aloe gel: Great moisturizer that soothes irritated skin.
  • Shea butter: Luxurious butter for your face but also lightweight.
  • Rose essential oil: Gentle oil that softens and hydrates your face.
  • Rose water: Calming liquid that helps with inflammation and redness.
  • Jojoba oil: Anti-inflammatory oil that repairs and firms facial skin.

Don’t get me wrong, I love silky-smooth body lotion just as much as the next girl. It helps me sleep like a baby when I massage it into my tired feet. But I don’t use it on my face.

The Unique Advantages of a Humidifier

Humidifiers work by vaporizing liquid to add to the moisture level in your home. While these devices might not be paramount in the warmer, more humid months of the year, they play a critical role in your house and even health during the winter. 

People often undervalue the significance of moisture levels in their homes, often equating moisture with problems, such as mold. Still, despite moisture causing some complications, at adequate levels — no higher than 50% — moisture content can help maintain the house's structure and the people, pets, and plants inside. 

The idea of bringing a tool into your home to add moisture to specific areas can seem a bit strange, but it is beneficial. Before you decide to forego purchasing a humidifier, consider the advantages of using one.

Prevent Dry Skin 

Did you know that it is normal for moisture levels in your home to dip below 30% when using forced air heating? Your skin begins to lose its moisture at such levels, resulting in dry, tight, itchy, and flaky skin. 

Your hands and lips are especially vulnerable to losing moisture and becoming dehydrated. The hands have fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, so they have less protection against dry air. The lips are more sensitive with more tender skin, making it easier for them to become chapped and cracked. 

A humidifier helps return some of the lost moisture in the air, providing relief for your skin. Applying hand lotion and chapstick can also help mitigate damage in the colder, drier months.

Ease Sinus Symptoms 

The winter and drier climates are notorious for drying out sinuses and nasal passages. The excess dryness can lead to sinus pressure, headaches, bloody noses, and discomfort. 

While many people believe that humidity will only worsen stuffiness and sinus issues, the contrary is true. Maintaining optimal humidity levels throughout your home contribute to healthy sinus and mucus function, reducing the risks of sinus-related problems. 

A humidifier permits the ease of breathing because it encourages the free movement of mucus. Additionally, it reduces the risks of a bloody nose and sinus headaches.

Reduce Spread of Germs and Bacteria

The National Academy of Sciences found that dry conditions promote the survival and transmission of the influenza virus. Therefore, using a humidifier to maintain optimal moisture levels can reduce the risk of spreading viruses, germs, and bacteria. 

Humidity does not permit the spread of bacteria through the air as much as dry conditions. Moisture in the air makes it heavier and harder to navigate at a molecular level. With appropriate moisture levels, viruses cannot spread as far and wide, meaning humidifiers can reduce the risk of infection. 

However, do not count on humidifiers to eliminate all risks. You will still need to focus on hygiene — regularly bathing and washing your hands and taking necessary precautions like receiving vaccinations. 

Provide Additional Warmth 

Aside from the health benefits of using a humidifier, the device also provides environmental advantages, such as providing greater warmth. Research suggests that dry air typically feels chillier than moist air. 

HVAC professionals recommend using humidifiers in combination with forced air heat to combat feeling overly cold. Additionally, using a humidifier can help reduce the strain on your HVAC system. 

While the general principle of homeownership is to avoid moisture in the house, it should be changed to the avoidance of excess moisture. Humidifiers add a beneficial amount of moisture to an otherwise dry space, helping to relieve wintertime ailments. 

Do you use a humidifier? Why or why not? 

Are You Using Too Much Disinfectant?

One question that has popped up during the coronavirus pandemic is whether it’s bad to disinfect. Does getting rid of germs around the house weaken your immune system?

Protect Your Health Without Going to Extremes

According to many health professionals, the idea that your immune system suffers in a clean home is just a myth. There’s no reason to think that cleaning and disinfecting are bad for your family. Keeping your kitchen clean, vacuuming carpets, dusting furniture and disinfecting bathroom surfaces are all good for staying healthy.

It is possible to overdo disinfecting, but the risks are different from what you think. Disinfecting too much is dangerous because of the side effects of the cleaning chemicals you use, not because of your immune system.

Keep Disinfectant Chemicals Away From Your Skin and Food

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, calls to poison control centers in the U.S. increased by 20% practically overnight. Some families exposed themselves to serious health problems by using disinfectants in dangerous ways:

  • Never wash food with bleach or other disinfectants

  • Never apply disinfectant chemicals to your bare skin

  • Never breathe chemical vapors on purpose

  • Never gargle with any type of cleaning chemical

  • Never soak clothing in disinfectants or use chemicals in your washing machine

Disinfectants are only designed for cleaning hard surfaces.

Be Balanced With Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be a lifesaver when you’re at the supermarket or in public, but you should be careful not to overuse it. Too much sanitizer can irritate your skin or trigger eczema. If possible, avoid sanitizers that contain antibiotics such as triclosan.

At work and home, go with soap and water. Many antibacterial soaps have hydrating agents that keep your hands from drying out.

Follow Safety Tips When Using Disinfectants

How can you stay safe and keep your family safe when using disinfectants? These tips can help protect you:

  • Follow label directions: Many people think that if the bottle says one capful, then two capfuls are twice as effective. A stronger concentration doesn’t improve cleaning! All it does is potentially expose you to skin irritation and other health problems.
  • Wear gloves: Many cleaning and disinfecting products can be absorbed into your skin. The best way to protect yourself is to wear gloves when wiping down countertops or cleaning bathroom surfaces.
  • Open a window: You have to be careful not to breathe cleaning chemicals. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, either by opening a window or turning on your exhaust fan.

Be especially careful with bleach. Never use bleach directly. Always dilute it according to label directions, and wear gloves.

Never Mix Disinfectant Chemicals

One of the most dangerous situations is when people try to mix different cleaning chemicals. Here is a complete list of things never to mix:

  • Vinegar

  • Hydrogen peroxide

  • Bleach

  • Ammonia

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Acids

These chemicals produce toxic vapors if you mix them. This can lead to breathing problems, chemical burns or even death.

Disinfect Safely

There’s no need to go crazy with disinfectant most of the time. Of course, if someone in your family is sick, it’s OK to clean more frequently than normal.

Clean the surfaces that you touch the most, such as faucets, door handles, light switches and appliances. Wipe down tables, desks and dressers. Keep your kitchen and bathroom especially clean, and wash your hands when you come home with antibacterial soap and water.

Is Deodorant Dangerous? 5 Ingredients To Watch For

Whether you prefer spray-on antiperspirant, roll-ons or classic stick deodorant, these beauty products come with a long list of chemical ingredients. Some of the names are so long and confusing that you can’t even pronounce them, like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex. Should you be worried about these chemicals? Is deodorant dangerous?

How Dangerous Is Deodorant?

The answer backed by many scientists is that you have nothing to worry about. According to the available data, most women can whatever deodorant or antiperspirant they like without worrying about developing serious health issues such as breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there aren’t any solid studies linking cancer and antiperspirants, and “very little scientific evidence to support this claim.” The National Cancer Institute takes things a step further, saying that “no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.”

Why Do Some People Worry Anyway?

Just because scientists can’t definitively prove a link right now doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Also, there aren’t many studies on deodorant because it’s not a priority.

Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can make mistakes. A study found that out of over 200 products approved as safe by the FDA, about 30% needed to have safety warnings added later. Three of those products that were “safe” ended up being pulled from the market.

Something similar happened with Teflon, which used a chemical called PFOA to make nonstick cookware (remember those pans?). For almost 60 years, this chemical was considered to be perfectly safe. Now, scientists understand it’s linked to everything from cancer to diabetes.

Another problem is that the US approaches chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty.” It takes a lot of evidence to get a chemical banned in the United States. More than 40 countries worldwide have banned 1,400 chemicals used in cosmetic products. What about the U.S.? Just 9 chemicals are prohibited here.

What Deodorant Chemicals Do Some People Avoid?

Now, I’m not telling you about this to scare you. After all, it's impossible to completely avoid chemicals in today's world. I just think it's important for you to be able to make an informed decision that you’re comfortable with. Here are a few ingredients some people prefer to live without:

  • Parabens: These preservatives are used in many skincare products, including some deodorants and moisturizers. Some scientists worry they may mimic female hormones and contribute to cancer problems.

  • Phthalates: These chemicals help fragrances stay on your skin. They may interfere with hormones and potentially cause problems with fetal development.

  • Denatured alcohol: Cheap alcohol ingredients such as denatured alcohol, isopropanol and propanol are very irritating for skin.

  • Aluminum: Some scientists think that aluminum (found in most antiperspirants) may make it easier for breast cancer to grow. If you have severe kidney problems, you should talk with your doctor before using antiperspirant because your body may have trouble getting rid of the aluminum.

  • Fragrance: Manufacturers can include practically any ingredient and label it as “fragrance.” That makes it hard to know what chemicals you’re putting on your skin. For some people, synthetic fragrances cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

The good news is that If you prefer to avoid certain ingredients, there are plenty of options on the market. You can choose a fragrance-free alternative or look for “paraben-free” and “phthalate-free” on the label. Put simply, the fewer strange chemicals on a product’s label, the fewer things you have to worry about.

 

5 Surprising Ways You Can Use Ginger in Your Health and Beauty Routines

I just recently learned that ginger is one of the best-kept secrets for your skin and immune system. It’s very effective at minimizing inflammation (which we all know is one of the most common causes of skin blemishes, joint pain, and premature aging). And the best part is that it won’t cost you a fortune as some top-of-the-line beauty products will.

It’s one thing to know that ginger is a great health and beauty ingredient, but it’s another thing to know how to use it. So I’ve put together this guide of five surprising ways you can start incorporating ginger into your health and beauty routines, starting today.

1. Anti-Inflammatory Skin Cream

To get the skin-healing benefits ginger has to offer, try creating your own anti-inflammatory skin cream. To make it, peel two, 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, then place them in a pot with 2 teaspoons of apricot kernel oil and 2 teaspoons of light sesame oil. Add ½ cup of cocoa butter and 2 teaspoons of vitamin E. Warm on low heat just until the cocoa butter softens and all the ingredients blend together.

Pour the mixture into a lid-sealed container, then put it in a cool, dry place where you can use it often! I recommend applying it after you wash your face. The ingredients are very moisturizing and soothing.

2. Ginger Massage Oil

We all know how quickly excessive stress can cause us to look and feel much older than we really are. But a good massage has a way of melting all our troubles away as it restores our vitality and sense of well-being. To enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage as well as the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger, recruit someone you love to massage your back, neck, or feet with diluted ginger oil. Your skin and mood will feel so much better!

3. Mint and Ginger Mouthwash

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to gum disease and other oral issues. While regular mouthwash can help rid our oral cavities of unwanted bacteria, it can also leave our mouths feeling dry. That’s why I prefer making my own mint and ginger mouthwash. Both mint and ginger are known for their antibacterial properties, which make them a great duo for oral health.

Here’s how to make my surprisingly refreshing and effective mint and ginger mouthwash recipe. Start by pouring about 1 ½ cups of filtered water into a pot, then adding approximately 10 fresh peppermint leaves and one sliced 3-inch ginger root to the water. Bring the mixture to a light boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add about 35 drops of peppermint essential oil to the mixture, then cover the pot and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a sealed jar. You can store this mixture at room temperature for about a month, or put it in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.  

4. Natural Pain-Reliever

Would it surprise you to hear that ginger is a natural pain-reliever? Some research shows that it’s very effective at relieving migraines. So the next time you feel a headache coming on, sip ginger tea or try munching on some candied ginger.

5. Ginger Detox Bath

Ginger is known to help the body fight off bacterial infections. So if you feel like your immune system is fighting something off, grate about ½ cup of fresh ginger and sprinkle it in your hot bathwater. Soak for at least 15 minutes to get the full effects of this detox remedy.

So, what do you think about these unusual uses for ginger? I’d love for you to give them a try and see if they work for you!

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Brush Your Teeth Right After Breakfast

Hopefully, brushing your teeth is a staple of your morning and bedtime routines. (If it's not; it's past time to start!) Brushing at least twice a day like this is crucial for both your oral health and your overall health. While getting into a brushing routine that includes brushing first thing in the morning and last thing before lights out is great, it’s time to stop brushing your teeth right after breakfast. Here are three reasons why:

1. Your Morning Breath Is Trying To Tell You Something

Morning breath — or “dragon breath,” as my grandkids like to call it — isn’t just the side effect of a dry mouth. It’s due to the massive amount of bacteria that has quietly multiplied in your mouth overnight. In other words, your mouth is kind of gross when you first wake up and a literal breeding ground for tooth decay.

As such, most dental health experts recommend brushing your teeth before breakfast, first thing when you wake up. You might think of it like hitting the “reset” button on your mouth.

2. Your Mouth Needs Saliva, STAT

Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Why in the world is more spit a good thing?” Three reasons:

  1. It eliminates harmful bacteria roaming around your mouth. After multiplying all night long, they’re running wild by sunrise.

  2. It helps breaks down what you eat. This takes stress off your teeth and jaws.

  3. Saliva plays a pivotal role in protecting your teeth by re-mineralizing your enamel.

Who knew spit was so essential to your health?

3. Many Breakfast Foods Are Acidic

If you must brush your teeth after breakfast, the American Dental Association strongly suggests that you wait an hour before doing the deed. The reason for this can be found on your breakfast table: Several breakfast staples, including coffee, sugary cereal, toast, citrus fruits and many juices are acidic. Brush your teeth too soon after the most important meal of the day, and you’re just spreading that acid around your mouth, helping it weaken your teeth and stripping off your tooth enamel with your very own toothbrush.

Unsurprisingly, this is terrible for your smile. It not only erodes your tooth enamel and damages your gums, but it also stops your saliva from beefing up your teeth’s natural defenses. Your teeth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but even it can’t stand up to the potent combination of acid and bristles. Over time, enamel loss can lead to a host of undesirable side effects:

  • Yellow teeth

  • Higher risk of cavities

  • Increased tooth sensitivity when consuming hot, cold or super-sweet foods and drinks

  • Abscesses

  • Tooth loss

Tooth erosion isn’t reversible, either. Once that enamel is gone, it’s gone for good. Depending on how far things progress, you may need fillings, crowns, veneers and even a root canal or two to maintain your smile. While you wait to brush, drink plenty of water or pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth to start safely precleaning your chompers.

Why Not Just Skip Breakfast?

This isn’t a healthy alternative to smart brushing. Your body needs those morning nutrients to propel you through your day. Instead of skipping breakfast all together, enjoy acidic foods in moderation and chow down on plenty of calcium-rich, non-acidic fare such as yogurt and chia seeds.

While we’re at it, it’s not smart to skip brushing your teeth, either. While brushing after breakfast is far from ideal, it’s better than leaving your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet until bedtime.

If you’ve been brushing your teeth right after breakfast for years — decades even — it can be hard to revamp your morning routine, but it’s worth it. Daily brushing right after your morning coffee or OJ can do more harm them good. Keep your winning smile — and your original teeth — by waiting an hour after eating breakfast to fire up your electric toothbrush.

Why I Won’t Be Fascia Blasting

Fascia blasting is one of the most popular health and beauty trends of the past five years. It’s also one of the most mysterious, one that picked up steam after making a cameo on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and one that I don’t intend to try anytime soon.

What Is Fascia?

Fascia is a thin layer of fiber-rich tissue woven throughout your entire body. It's what puts the “fasciitis” in “plantar fasciitis.” In that instance, the fascia found beneath the arch of your foot is inflamed, which causes pain. Fascia exists all throughout your body, though, including around both muscle and soft tissue areas. Some of these soft-tissue areas are fat, and that’s where fascia blasting comes in.

What in the World Is Fascia Blasting?

The basic idea is this: When your fascia gets too tight, it can cause discomfort (see sore arches above), and it can also encourage the growth of cellulite. Loosen up that fascia, the theory goes, and you’ll curb pain and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

The name for that process is fascia blasting, and it's performed in a variety of ways. The most common method involves warming up the area and then rolling or rubbing a fascia-blasting device across it for several minutes. These tools can take assorted shapes as well, but the most popular design looks like a baton with rubber claws on it. These claws do the actual “blasting.”

Does Fascia Blasting Work?

If an end to dimpled thighs sounds too good to be true, it’s because it probably is. Scientists have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding what fascia is and what it does. They know that it’s primarily collagen and that it both gives your body its shape and helps its various parts move. Some evidence suggests that it may play a role in cellulite as well.

When it comes to actual fascia-blasting results, however, science is split. Some physical therapists and other health professionals feel that fascia treatments do improve the flexibility of your fascia, which, in theory, could decrease cellulite. Others disagree.

Interestingly, one of the biggest issues with any form of fascia treatment is the fact that fascia is virtually impossible to handle in isolation. In other words, since it’s wound all throughout your body like a giant net, it’s difficult to study or to say with any certainty what its exact role is in a given health condition.

Should You Try Fascia Blasting?

Probably not, and I’ll give you three reasons why. First, much more research needs to be completed. The evidence that suggests fascia blasting works for both cellulite and pain is promising, but it’s just a start.

Second, many physicians strongly recommend that any manipulation of the fascia be done by a trained professional. Experts know better which areas to target and how to handle them (literally in some cases).

Third, there are safer and gentler ways to relieve pain and potentially bust up cellulite-boosting tissue. Commercial fascia blasting tools are often extremely rigid. Add a well-intentioned but total lack of expertise into the equation, and you have a recipe for lasting damage. In fact, one of the most popular fascia-blasting devices has been subjected not only to FDA complaints but also to multiple class-action lawsuits by parties claiming blaster use led to inflammation, violent bruising and altered menstrual cycles.

I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t like to have the same figure that I had when I was 22. The thing is, I’m not willing to literally beat myself up to get it! If you’re considering fascia blasting to remove cellulite, do your homework first. Better still, learn to love yourself. Those aren’t dimples, those are battle scars, and you’ve done some incredible things to earn them.