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.

Seven Spa-Ready Recipes for a Professional Facial at Home

With a bit of prep and the right ingredients, you can achieve an at-home facial that rivals the services at the swankiest spa in your area. Get ready for a day of pampering without leaving your abode with this guide to our favorite tips, tricks and recipes. 

Remove Dirt With Raw Honey

If you're into natural beauty, you'll appreciate this no-fuss cleanser. Simply rub raw honey into your skin then remove it gently with a warm, damp washcloth. If you prefer not to put the sticky stuff right on your face, try shopping for skincare products that incorporate honey. This ingredient has antiseptic properties that sweep your skin free of bacteria. Fans of honey also report that it helps hold in moisture without making the skin oily. 

Banish Blemishes With Banana

This mask blends 1/2 tsp. each of turmeric and baking soda with a single mashed banana. The vitamin A in the flesh of the fruit helps keep pores clear and encourages skin cell turnover, which helps rid your complexion of acne. Baking soda soaks up excess oil for an ultra-matte finish while turmeric kills germs that contribute to blemishes. Turmeric also reportedly helps even skin tone and reduces the appearance of acne scars and sunspots. Let this mask set on your skin for 20 minutes and then rinse with cool water.

Tone Up With Vinegar

Effectively remove bacteria and residue from the skin after cleansing without the harshness of traditional alcohol-based toner. Try adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups warm water for a custom facial rinse that's as gentle as it is powerful. 

Calm Skin With Lavender

You already know lavender has mood-boosting effects with a calming scent that can help you sleep better at night. This flowery herb can also soothe redness and inflammation that impact your complexion. Make a paste out of a ripe avocado, which delivers moisturizing, disease-fighting antioxidants. Add a few drops of your favorite lavender oil along with a teaspoon of coconut oil for even more hydration and a bit of honey to keep acne at bay.

Enhance Texture With Yogurt

Plain old yogurt from your fridge can encourage rapid cell turnover that keeps skin looking soft, supple and youthful. This basic dairy product is packed with lactic acid, which you might recognize as an active ingredient in high-end skincare lines. Mix it with equal parts turmeric and honey and let dry on your skin for 10 to 20 minutes.

Brighten and Glow With Papaya

This tropical fruit is your antidote for dull skin. For an even, glowing complexion, mash a quarter of the pulp with a bit of aloe vera gel and a tablespoon of cacao powder. The aloe is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that heal and hydrate while sloughing off dead cells that can clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Cacao helps repair the skin's moisture barrier, which declines in quality as we age. 

Exfoliate With Sugar

This sweet scrub combines sugar and honey to remove bacteria, dead skin and other debris. Measure out 3 tablespoons of raw honey and mix in brown sugar until you get a paste-like consistency. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut, olive or almond oil, which adds hydration and helps create a spreadable texture. You can use this on your face or anywhere on your body as long as you don't have sensitive skin. Leave on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. 

For the price of a bag of groceries, you'll have a complexion that looks its absolute best and an easy, affordable skincare routine to maintain.

When Was the Last Time You Pampered Your Scalp?

Your hair probably gets a lot of tender, loving care, and you may spend time every night moisturizing your hands or face. When was the last time you pampered your scalp? You won’t believe the difference it makes!

The Benefits of a Healthy Scalp

The scalp has approximately 100,000 hair follicles, each one responsible for a single luxurious strand. When your scalp is healthy, so is your hair.

You can see the results in the mirror. Taking great care of your scalp makes your hair stronger, longer, shinier and brighter. The way it looks and bounces practically shouts to the world “I feel amazing!”

Tips for Great Scalp Care

1. Know Your Scalp

Every woman’s scalp is unique, just like her skin. Pay attention to the specific needs of your scalp. Does it tend to feel oily or dry? Even hormonal changes can make your scalp more sensitive to ingredients at certain times of month.

If you notice dandruff after using certain shampoos or hair coloring products, try avoiding them. There’s nothing embarrassing about using products designed for sensitive skin. It’s just part of listening to your body.

2. Exfoliate At Least Once a Month

You may not think of exfoliation as something important for your scalp, but it’s one of the most vital steps. Even if you don’t have oily hair, you still need to cleanse your pores of dead skin cells and bacteria. I promise your scalp will love this revitalizing care. Here are my favorite options:

  • Scalp mask: These gentle options remove dead skin cells, grease and grime. If your scalp is on the oilier side, try a clay mask.

  • Olive oil and baking soda: This blend exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time, perfect for dandruff relief. Mix equal parts olive oil and baking soda, then massage into your scalp and let sit for five minutes before rinsing.

  • Apple cider vinegar: This natural ingredient is antimicrobial, so it can calm itchiness, irritation and inflammation. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water. Use your fingers to apply it directly to the scalp.

3. Shampoo Your Scalp, Too

Don’t ignore your scalp when you’re shampooing and conditioning your hair. Ideally, most of your time should be spent massaging your scalp, moving your fingers in a circular motion.

4. Moisturize

You know how important moisture is for your skin. It’s just as important for your scalp. That’s why using conditioner after shampooing is a great idea. You get the cleansing you need, but you also ensure your scalp stays hydrated.

Personally, I like to use a few drops of essential oils at bedtime. Rosemary, tea tree and lavender smell amazing and help keep your skin moist and healthy. Just massage them gently into the scalp. As an added benefit, I’ve noticed this routine helps me fall asleep more quickly.

5. Pamper Yourself

Pamper yourself. Enjoy a soothing massage. Take a bubble bath. Watch a romantic movie with someone special. Less stress translates into a healthier scalp, too.

Scalp health is also related to good nutrition. Your skip needs the right “ingredients” to repair, nourish and rejuvenate itself. If your hair and scalp don’t look as vibrant as you want them to be, add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet with fresh fish or supplements. Probiotics also make a huge difference.

Why I Prefer Exercise Out of the House

It’s no secret that exercise is good for the body and mind, but when I see so many people choosing to exercise indoors on treadmills or stationary bicycles, I don’t understand it. While I may be a little old-fashioned, I think there’s nothing better than getting your heart pumping while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some of the reasons why I prefer to exercise out of the house.

It Helps With Insomnia

Now, hear me out. When you exercise outdoors with natural sunlight surrounding you, it helps to regulate your body’s internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm). If you’re always inside soaking up artificial light, your body can become confused and you may have trouble sleeping at night. Plus, breathing fresh air regularly may help improve the quality of your sleep at night!

It Helps Your Body Create Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for your body’s immune system. It also helps the body absorb calcium from dietary sources. Unfortunately, many adults in the United States have low levels of vitamin D, which can lead to a deficient immune response and can affect bone health in a negative way. Since exposure to the sun is necessary for our bodies to create vitamin D from cholesterol, regular outdoor exercise sessions are important.

You don’t have to do typical “exercise” to benefit from the sun, either. Working in the garden, doing yardwork or playing with grandkids outside are all great ways to get outdoor exercise and boost your vitamin D levels without feeling like you’re “working out.”

It Provides a Natural Mood Boost

If you’re feeling grumpy or sad, spend some time outdoors on a lovely day and watch how quickly your mood improves. There’s no doubting that natural light and fresh outdoor air help provide the mind and body with positive energy. I’ve noticed that when I regularly exercise outside of my house, I’m less likely to feel down or depressed. Being outside is one of Mother Nature’s most under-utilized natural mood-boosters.

It’s Free!

The cost of a gym membership adds up over time. If you’re looking for ways to save money, ditch the membership and ride your bike or take a walk outside. It’s completely free of charge!

It Reduces Stress and Lowers Blood Pressure

Whether you take a simple stroll outside or you engage in a vigorous hike, you’re doing your body good in a lot of ways. Studies show that people who engage in physical activity outdoors lower their heart rate and blood pressure. If you’re not in peak physical activity, just take things slow to get started. As your cardiovascular health improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer and harder than before.

It’s Fun

I’ve tried working out on a treadmill with dozens of other people working out on either side of me. I got bored really quickly. Even when you have a television show in front of you, walking on a treadmill without going anywhere just seems like a waste of time. Walking outdoors, on the other hand, is always interesting and fun. Whether you take a stroll around your neighborhood or along a walking trail at a nearby park, you’ll find plenty of people to talk to or small creatures to watch. The entire experience is much more fulfilling than exercising indoors, in my humble opinion.  

These are just a few of the top reasons why I think exercising outside is one of the best things people can do for their health and sanity. If you’re not convinced, give it a try! I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll decide exercising outside is a better choice than working out in your home.

Are “Worry Lines” Really Caused by Stress?

Many people know them as worry lines. Others call them frown lines or 11s. Whatever name you give them, forehead wrinkles are easy to spot. What causes these deep creases?

Worry Lines Aren't Just Because of Worrying

Some people will tell you that worry lines mean you’ve been frowning too much. That’s not really true. Yes, worrying can make you crease your brows, but so do many other facial expressions.

For example, squinting while you’re reading a book or looking at a bright screen can do the same thing. Even smiling makes certain parts of your skin wrinkle a little. In other words, wrinkles are caused by all of your facial expressions, not just the frowns.

Those funny faces you made to get a laugh from your little baby? Tiny wrinkles. That surprise anniversary party? That’s right, extra wrinkles. If you’ve ever felt angry, sad, scared, happy or overjoyed, you’re going to get some wrinkles as part of the deal.

The Main Cause of Wrinkles Is Aging

The truth about wrinkles is that your facial expressions are only a minor part of the cause. Any wrinkles you have are going to form along the same unique lines that appear when you frown, smile, or act surprised. But the real reason those wrinkles stick around is because of skin changes caused by aging.

Healthy skin has an essential protein called collagen. Collagen keeps skin firm and elastic, like a rubber band. In your early 20s, collagen levels are through the roof, so your face feels exquisitely smooth, supple and fresh.

As we get older, the body slows its production of collagen. Fine lines usually start to appear by the late 20s because of this. Even people in their early 20s can get wrinkles if they spend a lot of time in the sun, because UV rays – you guessed it – hurt your collagen levels.

But... Stress Speeds Up Aging

Even though worrying isn’t the main cause of frown lines, it’s still a good idea to avoid anxiety as much as possible. Scientists are discovering that too much stress can speed up your body’s aging process. When you’re feeling stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream.

Cortisol breaks down collagen. In other words, chronic stress can trigger premature wrinkles. A lot of other things caused by worrying are bad for skin, too, such as not getting enough sleep and forgetting to drink plenty of water. When you’re exhausted, skin looks dull instead of vibrant.

5 Things That Help With Worry Lines

Some wrinkles are just a part of your emotion-filled life. You may not be able to erase worry lines completely, but you can make them less visible.

  • Exercise: Doing exercise naturally improves cortisol levels, making you feel happier, keeping skin healthier and fighting inflammation.

  • Spa visits: If you ever wanted an excuse to go to a health spa, this is it. It’s not just the pampering, beauty treatments and massages that make your skin have a healthy glow again. It’s also the benefits your whole body gets from reducing stress levels.

  • Moisturizing creams: One of the best (and most overlooked) ways to take care of forehead wrinkles is to apply moisturizer every night. Plus, massaging your facial muscles with skin cream feels heavenly.

  • Homemade masks: Use plain yogurt, lemon juice, honey and vitamin E for wrinkles. This mixture cleanses and lightens your skin so wrinkles aren’t as noticeable.
  • Antioxidants: Include red fruits in your diet and benefit from the skin-protecting effects of antioxidants.

Bad Skincare Routine Advice

A good skincare routine is the best beauty secret out there. Why? Because healthy, pampered skin is the foundation for the rest of your beauty routine. Just think about it: Beautiful, healthy skin is the ideal canvas for makeup, and you may need a lot less of it when your skin is in good shape. If you've ever tried a long, complicated skincare regimen and lost interest after the first week, it's OK! Don't give up. You can maintain your complexion and your sanity at the same time. Here's how.

Cleanse

Cleansing is the first step in any good skincare habit. The trademark of a bad skincare routine is going to bed without removing makeup. Start a new, good habit: Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser designed for your skin type. If it helps, use a makeup remover wipe at night before cleansing. Depending on whether your face is dry, oily, or combination, you may be able to use the same cleanser morning and night.

Treat

Step two in a simple skincare routine is to treat your face and neck with a serum designed for your skin type and problem areas. To treat dark spots, try an overnight serum with vitamin C. For daytime, a collagen-boosting preparation is a good bet. Don't forget eye cream while you're at it.

Moisturize

Skin at any age needs moisture, but depending on your skin type and the climate where you live, you have many choices here. For light, oil-free moisture, choose a gel or souffle. For more intense moisture, especially overnight, you may want a heavier, creamy product. In the morning, choose a moisturizer with sun protection, no matter the season or the weather.

Don't Forget

  • Exfoliate. A hallmark of a bad skincare routine is exfoliating incorrectly. Avoid doing it too frequently, too infrequently, or with the wrong product. Aim for an acid-based exfoliator, which won't scratch your skin like a granular product could, and put yourself on a once-a-week schedule.

  • Use SPF every day. (It's worth mentioning again.) Sun exposure is one of the quickest ways to damage your skin and speed up its aging process. The easiest way to get into the habit of applying sunscreen every day is to be sure your morning moisturizer has it built-in.

  • Nourish your skin from the inside out. Your lifestyle choices make a difference in how your skin looks. The best products in the world won't give you ideal results if you drink too much, skimp on sleep, smoke, or forget to hydrate and eat well.

  • Roll with the punches. Your skincare needs change as you age. Traveling to a new climate may play tricks on your complexion. Things happen. If you find that your old routine isn't working for you anymore, don't be afraid to change it up.

No matter how bad your skincare routine has been in the past, don't give up! On the other hand, don't stick with something that isn't working. If you find that you really hate a product that you thought would be a winner, see if you can exchange it. Even if not, try to find a new product that you love so you'll look forward to using it every day. You may be amazed by the results you start to see by implementing just these few tips. The key is to keep it simple so that you'll stick with it.

4 Changes To Make to Your Beauty Regimen in 2021

The new year is a great time to embrace a new you. As you replace one calendar with another, it only makes sense to replace bad habits with better ones. Here are four changes to consider making to your beauty regimen now that 2020 is finally in your rearview mirror.

1. Skip the Soap at Bedtime

You may already know that you should always wash your face before you crawl under the covers, but did you also know that you should leave the face wash in the medicine cabinet? As women age, their skin’s oil glands slow down. The result? Drier skin. While soap is great for taking off the day’s makeup, it’s not great for retaining moisture. In fact, most soaps actively strip your skin of moisture.

Instead of working against your skin’s natural anti-aging properties, work with them by skipping the soap when you wash your face before bed. If that’s a deal breaker, choose a very gentle cleanser so you can avoid robbing your skin of so many beneficial oils.

2. Make the Switch to Natural Beauty Products

How closely do you examine the label when you buy a new bottle of shampoo or tube of mascara? You might be surprised to discover how many toxic ingredients are in the skin care products, hair care items and cosmetics that line the shelves of your local pharmacy or beauty supply store. From parabens, which can disrupt hormone function, to formaldehyde-filled preservatives, there’s often more to that new conditioner than its enticing coconut scent.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to avoid potentially harmful chemicals in your beauty regimen. More and more companies are committing themselves to clean beauty, and most major retailers now carry a wide array of clearly labeled non-toxic products.

If you’re not ready to detoxify your entire beauty regimen just yet, start with those items that make the most contact with your skin, such as lotion or foundation. Think of it this way: Any product that you literally rub into your skin probably shouldn’t be full of carcinogens or other harmful chemicals.

3. Break Out the Dry Brush

While you likely have no room for dry skin in your beauty regimen, 2021 is a great time to embrace the dry brush.

Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like: rubbing a dry, stiff-bristled brush against your skin, particularly your arms and legs. The effect? Supremely — and naturally — exfoliated skin.

It may be trendy, but don’t let that turn you off. While some claim that dry brushing can help with circulation and other issues, the jury’s still out on those claims. It is a powerful way to remove dead skin cells, though, so before you jump in the shower, spend a few moments dry brushing. You may even feel like you're at the spa.

Just don’t overdo it: Brush firmly, but not so hard that you break the skin or it’s painful. Beauty shouldn’t hurt.

4. Stay Out of the Sun

If you think it’s too late to safeguard your skin against the sun, think again. Shielding your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is important at any age, but it becomes paramount as you grow older. When you hit the backyard, beach or bike trail, show your skin some love by always wearing sunscreen from head to toe. Keep your face extra-protected with a hat and chic sunglasses, too.

New year’s resolutions get a bad rap. It’s only natural that as one year gives way to the next, you become more introspective and more motivated to find a better tomorrow. As you craft your plan to make 2021 the best year yet, consider upgrading your beauty regimen to look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.

How To Prevent Crow’s Feet (Without Those Expensive Creams)

In some ways, crow’s feet are a sign that you’ve lived your life right. Moments of genuine happiness cause the muscles around your eyes to contract, which is what people mean when they talk about your “eyes smiling.” A lifetime of laughing and smiling will eventually create these fine wrinkles. Still, wrinkles don’t make any woman happy. How can you prevent crow’s feet?

Tips for Preventing Crow’s Feet Wrinkles

1. Wear Sunglasses

Squinting a lot from intense sunlight can contribute to premature crow’s feet wrinkles. At the same time, UV damage from the sun’s rays hurts your skin. Give your eyes a well-deserved rest by wearing sunglasses every time you go outside, including in winter (UV rays are still strong on overcast days). For maximum protection, choose sunglasses with 100% protection against UVA and UVB.

2. Put on Sunscreen Every Time You Leave the House

The more sun exposure you get around your eyes, the more potential damage your skin has to deal with. In fact, too much sunlight is one of the most common — and most preventable — causes of wrinkles and aging. UV rays make the skin’s layers less elastic.

I know it’s tempting to skip putting on sunscreen when you’re just running to the store  or taking care of errands, but your skin needs it. Something with SPF 30 is fine. As an added bonus, sunscreen protects your whole face from premature wrinkles, not just your eyes.

3. Relax More

Another common cause of crow’s feet is stress. Frequent anxiety makes you frown, and stress also provokes headaches. When you have a headache, you probably shut your eyes tightly when the pain is bad. If this happens a lot, you can end up with deep forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.

The solution? Make time every day to relax. Whether you’re a successful entrepreneur or an amazing mom, you deserve to take at least 15–30 minutes for yourself. Listen to calming music, read something inspiring, massage your feet, watch the hummingbirds in your garden or take a steamy shower.

Natural Ways To Reduce the Appearance of Crow’s Feet

As I said at the beginning, laughing and smiling also contribute to crow’s feet, so there’s no way to avoid them completely. With some TLC, however, you can make unwanted wrinkles less noticeable. Here are my favorite tips for hiding crow’s feet:

  • Apply: Facials made with natural ingredients can deliver wrinkle-reducing enzymes and vitamins directly to your skin. Cucumber slices, shea butter, coconut oil, fresh aloe vera gel, avocado puree and mashed papaya are all great choices.

  • Exfoliate: Dead skin cells make wrinkles look deeper than they really are. A gentle exfoliation with cinnamon and honey (once a week) can smooth your skin and make crow’s feet thinner.

  • Sleep: While you sleep, your body repairs the damage from UV rays and produces new collagen for healthy skin. Beauty sleep really is a thing.

  • Eat: Make sure you’re getting plenty of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins in your diet. Your skin depends on these nutrients to prevent sun damage, improve natural hydration and create collagen. When your body has lots of antioxidants, it heals better.

These simple steps for taking care of the delicate skin around your eyes have a bigger effect than most women realize for reducing crow’s feet. You may not be able to completely avoid wrinkles, but you can slow down the aging process and keep your skin nourished and healthy.