Splitting nails is a very frustrating problem, especially when you desire to have long, strong nails. The technical term for this condition is onychoschizia (on-uh-coe-scitz-ia). It includes splitting, (which a lot of people refer to as "peeling", brittle, soft or thin nails. So what's causing this problem?

There could be several reasons why your nails are doing this. If you notice your toenails aren't splitting then it's most likely an external reason and not a disease. If you notice that both sets of nails are doing this then it could be iron deficiency anemia, glandular diseases, tuberculosis, Sjogren Syndrome, malnutrition, skin diseases (lichen planus, psoriasis), or from oral medications with vitamin A in them.

More often than not it's due to external reasons, such as wetting and drying your nails too frequently, using harsh chemicals (acetone, nail hardeners), biting nails, or by using nails as tools (to open things, etc.).

So now that you can deduce what's causing it, what can you do to fix/prevent it? First of all you need to determine if your claws, I mean nails are dry and brittle or soft and brittle. Dry and brittle means they're not getting enough moisture so you should soak nails in water for about five minutes and put on a lotion containing lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acid. If they're soft and brittle that means they're getting too much moisture or are being damaged by chemicals (detergents, acetone, etc.) so try and wear gloves when washing dishes or other chores that require you to get your hands wet. Putting on a coat of clear polish can help too.

You can also try taking a Biotin supplement (1mg 2-3 times per day) but it can take at least six months to notice a difference, so you'll have to be patient.

How many of you have splitting nails? Have you tried anything that's worked for you? Leave a comment! Meow.

Images: Google Images     
References: www.MayoClinic.com
                       www.Livestrong.com
                       www.AOCD.org
                       www.SkinSight.com
 
 
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So I was at school the other day and a conversation about Carmex got brought up. When I told my friend that I used it every night she about fell off her chair stating that she was told that "Carmex is like taking an eraser across tissue paper"...what?! I found out that a lot of people have heard that it's horrible for your lips and that there's a "really bad ingredient in it". So, naturally I researched this little myth because I found this very hard to believe.

In my research, I found that people think there's ground glass in it or that there's an "addicting" ingredient. Snopes found these claims to be false and if you look at the ingredient list, there's nothing that's not FDA approved. And I highly doubt there's something in it that's not listed because the company would have been in trouble a long time ago.  

However, according to The Beauty Brains, there is some truth to becoming addicted to lip balm. Not in the same sense that someone gets addicted to crack, but you can, in a sense, train your body to rely on lip balm. Your lips (and every part of your skin) has a top layer that sloughs off dead skin cells and as it does this, it tells the deeper layers of skin to send up some new cells. Well, when you have lip balm on, those deeper layers of skin don't get those signals to produce new cells anymore because the lip balm is preventing the sloughing of dead cells, so it quits. Once you quit using lip balm for a while, your body will see that it needs to quit being lazy and start bringing up new cells again. So, there's nothing to worry about- no need to join a support group or anything :)

Here's a list of the ingredients and what they do:
Camphor- Analgesic (Relief from pain)
Menthol- Anti-Itch (That's what the product says but when I look that ingredient up it says it's used in cosmetics as an anesthetic.)
Phenol- Anesthetic (I found that it's approved to be used as an antiseptic and analgesic. I couldn't find that it's used in OTC products for an anesthetic, but that's what the back of my product says...)
Beeswax- Keeps the emulsion from separating
Cetyl Esters- Wax lubricant
Flavor
Fragrance
Lanolin- Moisturizer
Mineral Oil- Skin protectant/ skin conditioning agent
Petroleum- Dissolves other substances
Salicylic Acid- Approved for use as a denaturant, exfoliant, preservative and a skin conditioner. Since it's pretty low on the list, I'm assuming it's used as a preservative in this product.
Cocoa Seed Butter- Skin protectant

See? Nothing to be afraid of, kittens. It's my favorite lip-moisturizing product and I fearlessly use it every night! Do you use Carmex? Tell me why you love it and which product you use :)

Image: Google Images
References: www.Snopes.com
                      www.TheBeautyBrains.com
                      "Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm?"
                      www.CosmeticsInfo.org

 
 
Want your hair to get really long? I mean realllllly long? Then here's a few things you can do:
1. Don't ever brush your hair when it's wet
2. Brush it minimally when dry. (Brushing 100 strokes isn't going to make your hair shinier...it will just cause more damage. Get your tangles out and be done!)
3. Try to let hair air-dry as much as possible. Blow dryers are your enemy!
4. Quit flat ironing your hair everyday. It's so damaging!
5. Don't ever use a hot tool (flat iron, curling iron) when hair is wet
6. Cover your hair with a hat when in the sun
7. Get your hair trimmed about every 8 weeks. Give or take a couple of weeks depending on the amount of split ends you have

Image: Google Images
 
 
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Don't you just hate old acne scars? If it wasn't bad enough to have to deal with acne in the first place, now you're left with a reminder. The best way to get rid of acne scars is to use a topical retinoid cream. This is by prescription only, as retinoids are stronger than retinols, which you can get over-the-counter (OTC). They're both related to vitamin A and work by speeding up cell turn over which pretty much means that they help slough off dead skin cells.

Be a smart shopper: If you're going to buy a retinol product at the drugstore, make sure it's packaged properly. Retinol is super unstable. It will be pretty much worthless if light hits it or if it gets too much oxygen or other oxidants. What does this mean in terms of packaging? It means look for one in an opaque tube (one you can't see through) and don't get one in a jar because every time you take the lid off, you're exposing too much of it to the air. Aluminum tubes are great. Roc and Neutrogena have patented packaging for retinols so they're your best bet. Leave a comment if you have any questions! Meow.

Image: Google Images
References: www.SkinTypeSolutions.com
                       www.skinacea.com

 
 
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I was recently asked on my Facebook page about what my suggestions were on a good set of hot rollers. First off, let me say that I love hot rollers! I think a lot of people feel they're dated and don't realize how time-efficient they can be.

There are so many hot roller sets on the market, it's hard to determine the pros and cons of each. To me, the most important thing is the type of clips or pins they have. If they come with metal pins (Fig. A), they're keepers. If they come with the clamp-looking clips (Fig. B) then they're no bueno. Reason being is that the clamp type will leave indents on the hair and the metal pins won't. Metal pins are hard to come by at the store, but search the internet and you'll find them. Another option is a plastic clippy with teeth, called a butterfly clip (Fig. C). Since there are so many teeth, they don't leave indents on the hair, but since they cover more of your hair up, it takes longer for the rollers to cool off.

Then there's all kinds of finishes on the actual roller or clamp: plastic, ceramic, velvet. I think it's easy to make hair fuzzy with velvet covered rollers, so if you're a beginner they're probably not a good choice. I think the ceramic clamps are a moot point because I don't like clamps so it doesn't really matter what the clamp is made of! Plastic is tried and true and it's what I choose to use in terms of rollers. My favorite combination is metal pins with plastic rollers. 

Here are some links to what I feel are good sets of hot rollers :)
Conair HS34R Compact Hairsetter
Revlon RV261 20-Roller Ionic Professional Hairsetter

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Fig. A- Metal Pins
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Fig. B- Clamp-like Clips
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Fig. C- Butterfly Clip with Teeth
 
 
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Old Myth Busted: There are not numbing agents in J&J Baby Shampoo! I had heard this and thought it sounded strange so I investigated. The belief as to how this myth started, according to The Beauty Brains, was because of an ingredient, "benzyl alcohol", that is believed to have been used as a preservative. It's not used in J&J Baby Shampoo anymore though. The reason this shampoo doesn't make babies cry is because of the size of micelles (these are electrically charged particles formed by accumulations of molecules). Smaller micelles can penetrate the eye and irritate it, where as larger ones, like in baby shampoo, can't penetrate and therefore don't irritate eyes. Salt content, pH and impurities are all important factors in making things tear-free as well.



Image: Google Images
References: The Beauty Brains


 
 
No one likes cellulite, right? Here are a few ways to avoid developing it or developing as much of it. Mayo Clinic states that stress, inactivity and hormonal contraceptives (any type of birth control that has hormones, like the pill) can contribute to the development of cellulite. I've also heard the frenzy about how caffeine makes cellulite worse. Well, in a round-about way it does. Large amounts of caffeine cause stress on the body according to a study done at the Duke University Medical Center, and we now know that stress contributes to the development of cellulite. So, in other words, drink only a little. Like, no more than 2 cups a day :)

Image: Google Images
References: www.MayoClinic.com
                       www.DukeHealth.org
                      
 
 
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I used to work with a girl who, every time I was putting mascara on at work (my old boss isn't reading this, is she?), would say, "Ew! You're putting bat poop on your lashes!" I was like, "Whaatttt?" She said that "guano" (bat poop) was in mascara. Well, if you look at your ingredients, it lists "guanine" and we now know that's derived from fish scales, and only related to but not actually, bird poo. According to Cosmetics Info.org, it's FDA approved for use around the eyes, so don't worry. How many of you kittens have heard people tell you there's bat poop in mascara? Leave a comment and let me know! :)

Image: Google Images
References: www.CosmeticsInfo.org

 
 
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Beauty Fact: The other day I heard that fish scales were in lipstick. What?! I had never heard this before so I researched it and it's true! "Guanine" is the ingredient in cosmetics (not just lipstick) that is made from fish scales and related to guano, bird poo. It's technically a colorant but it's good at covering up blemishes and makes products more opaque. How interesting! Does this make anyone grossed out? Leave a comment and let me know!

Image: Google Images
References: www.thebeautybrains.com
                       www.cosmeticsinfo.org


 
 
I always find products that advertise they can "shrink pores" and unfortunately a lot of people believe this. The way they're getting by with this is that they're typically saying their product makes "pores appear smaller". Yes, "appear" because they are in fact still just as big but because they're being filled in or covered over, their size is not as apparent. My dermatologist told me long ago that it was impossible to shrink pores by applying a product or by doing any type of at-home remedy (like splashing cold water on your face).

Dr. Debra Jailman, a NYC dermatologist, said in an article by the Huffington Post, that the only way to truly shrink pores is by using a non-ablative laser, like Medlite or Genesis or by getting a series of Fraxel laser treatments done. She says these methods are permanent and effective.

If that's going to cost too much for you (as these are pretty expensive procedures!), a good product to use is Clinique's "Pore Minimizer Instant Perfecter". It's pretty much a spackle for the face. It also gives a matte finish; I love it! A little goes a long ways, so the investment is definitely worth it in my opinion (it's about $25).

Image: Google Images
References: www.HuffingtonPost.com