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Go Bananas Over Bananas

Here's another great article with the help of  Dr. Christopher Calapai and Dr. Kally Papantoniou.!!

It’s no surprise that bananas are a fruit favorite around the world, packed with nutrients and antioxidants, rich in fiber and low in fat, they are little powerhouses of good nutrition. 

In our never-ending quest to stay healthy without sacrificing our taste buds, bananas are a clear go-to and they are quite versatile. 

Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. a highly accredited New York City anti-aging and stem cell specialist, and long-time nutrition advisor to the New York Rangers hockey team explains, “Bananas are packed with health benefits throughout every stage of their lives, from green to fully ripe. As the banana ripens some of these health benefits change, making it a rare fruit that is enjoyable in many forms.

Typically when we think of bananas we think of a lunch-box addition or a quick on-the-go snack, more so than a cooking staple? 

Here are 5 healthy ways to incorporate bananas into your meals and the health benefits of each.

When they’re green...

Fill Up on Mashed Plantains.

Green bananas are often referred to as plantains, they are not sweet like ripe bananas and they contain most of their fiber in the form of resistant starch. “Plantains are rich in starches that regulate appetite,” says Dr. Calapai. “Resistant starch may even slow stomach emptying, making you feel full longer and thus reducing the urge to eat sooner after a meal.” 

Mashed plantains could not be easier to whip up. 
Peel and cut the green plantains into chunks and boil in a full pot of water for 20-30 minutes or until tender, then mash with a fork until they achieve the consistency of mashed potatoes. 

Sautée garlic and onions in olive oil and add to the plantains along with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you enjoy. 

You can serve the dish with fish, chicken or meat, sprinkle with bacon bits or eat plain. 

Satisfy your craving for something salty, crunchy with plantain chips.

“All bananas, green, ripe or in between are very low in calories, about 105 per fruit” explains Calapai “So you can get away with frying them in your choice of light, heart-healthy oil.” 

Plantain chips are a great snack or side dish and are also incredibly simple to whip up. 

Peel the plantain completely and cut off about half an inch on both ends, then thinly slice the rest of the plantain into chips. 
When the oil is piping hot fry your chips until golden and salt to taste. Voila!

When they’re semi-ripe...

Eat "Maduros" for younger, healthy skin. 

"Maduro" (pronounced mah-doo-row) means "ripe" in Spanish and it’s what Latin Americans call this tasty plantain dish. 

You can eat plantains this way once they are very yellow and spotted, or have turned fully black. 

Peel, cut into thick diagonal slices and deep fry until golden brown in heart-healthy oil. 


“Bananas at any stage of ripeness are very rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant also known as called ascorbic acid,” says board certified dermatologist Dr. Kally Papantoniou. “Vitamin C assists in collagen production, which keeps your skin healthy and also blocks free-radical damage which is believed to potentially contribute to the aging process.”  

When they’re ripe...

 Manage blood sugar with a banana smoothie.

This one takes five minutes and a blender. 

Cut up two nice yellow, ready to eat bananas into chunks, add milk or yogurt of your preferred variety, some ice, and blend until thick! 

“Bananas have shown by studies to possibly regulate blood sugar as they are very moderate in the glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause dangerous spikes to your blood sugar levels,” says Dr. Calapai “Having a good banana smoothie for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, as opposed to high-sugar options make sure you are balanced throughout the day.”

Amp up the flavor!

If eating a banana starts to get boring amp up the flavor with a healthy pairing. 

Cut up your banana into chunks and add a healthy spoonful of peanut butter, sprinkle with some almonds or cinnamon, or mix with some dark chocolate chunks!

Bananas are a great, affordable way to add some goodness into your meal plan. Enjoy! 


The Things We Do for Beauty (Guest Post)

You know what they say: Inner beauty is great, but a little lipstick never hurts. And while many people believe that the importance of physical beauty became prominent in the last decade or so, this is not quite true. Ancient Egyptians used a combination of ores as makeup, while Chinese used rice powder on their faces. Let’s not forget that henna is widely used in India since ancient times for hair dying, and around 1200AD perfumes became very popular. So let’s face it: regardless of the era, age or gender, we’re all a bit superficial…and you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And while women are a bit more affected by this beauty frenzy than men, it’s safe to say that the stronger sex surely isn’t excused from various beauty treatments. 

Let’s check out some of the most common things we do to make ourselves more attractive:

Fitness and Dieting

One of the most popular methods of beautification are surely fitness and dieting. And while regular exercise and a balanced diet are actually quite healthy, the main reason for practicing these two things is an improved physical appearance. Of course, the devastating factor here is that if you wish to maintain your rocking body, you actually need to stick to your routine.

Hair Removal

Did you know that ancient Egyptians used to remove all of the hair from their body, except the brows? Talking about going to extremes. Certainly, it’s easier learning the fact that the no-hair trend didn’t start yesterday, but it’s much easier knowing that nowadays, instead of using pumice stones, we can rely on wonders of shaving, epilation, waxing and of course – laser hair removal.

Hair Care

How many hours on average do you spend looking at video tutorials on how to make a perfect messy bun? Yes, the struggle is quite real. From flowy boho chic hairdos, wet curls and hair straightening up to dying our hair in different colours, applying highlights and making all kinds of extraordinary dos, it’s safe to say that hair care is one of the essential things for any lady.

Breast Augmentation

According to breast augmentation experts from Sydney the most searched topic related to beauty by Australian women are boob jobs. The main reason that women from Sydney are opting for breast augmentation are fuller and shapely breasts. Can you blame them? Ever since Pamela Anderson made a debut in Baywatch, there isn’t a woman in this world who hasn’t wished for a fine pair of jugs.

High Heels

“Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world.” I think we can all relate to the well-known wisdom of Marilyn Monroe. No, they aren’t comfy or easy to wear, but they sure are sexy and give you an instant confidence boost. What more does a lady need?

Body Modifications

Tattoos and body piercings are not everyone’s cup of tea but they’re also commonly used as a way to alter our appearance and make us feel more appealing. And some say that if it’s in the right amount, there’s nothing sexier than an inked lady with a nose ring.


Lastly, let’s not forget about the most commonly practiced beauty method – makeup. Foundation, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick are just a few magical products without which a lady simply can’t start her day.

From exercising and hair removal, all the way to cosmeticsurgery and makeupproducts, there are all kind of things ladies are ready to do for beauty. But is it worth it? Well, the next time you stand in front of the mirror looking like a bombshell, just remember what Sheryl Crow would say: If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.

This guest post is by 
 Kimberly Lawrence


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Trust Your Gut…6 Stomach Issues Not to Ignore

We’ve all eaten or have drank something that didn’t agree with us.

We’ve all caught a stomach bug that was settled with rest, and over-the-counter aid and some chicken broth.

While many times we can go at it alone and solve a stomachache ourselves, there are certainly times where it’s necessary to see a doctor.

Dr. Gina Sam is a  Gastroenterologist with Mount Sinai in New York City and Associate Professor provides insights on symptoms indicative to common conditions and advises when it’s time to see the doctor.


Common symptoms include feeling full fast during a mean, a slicing pain, burning or tightness between your breastbone and navel or bloating. The tricky thing with indigestion is that it can be triggered by something else that is worse. Persistent indigestion may be a side effect of a medication, caused by smoking, thyroid disease, ulcers, infection, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). “If you rarely have indigestion and feel funny or discomfort after a spicy meal that may go away on it’s own. However, if indigestion is a daily occurrence for more than 2 weeks and is coupled with trouble swallowing, fatigue or weakness then absolutely see your doctor to be sure it isn’t due to something more serious,” advises Dr. Sam.

Lactose Intolerance

When the small intestine fails to product enough lactase, an enzyme that digests milk sugar (lactose) food reaches the colon before it has been processed and absorbed. Undigested lactose interacts with normal bacteria in the colon leading to diarrhea, nausea, bloating, cramping, gas and sometimes even vomiting. These symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after consuming foods or drinks with lactose. Dr. Sam explains that the challenge with lactose intolerance is that it often leads to calcium deficiency so it’s always a good idea to see your doctor to create a plan that explores which foods trigger discomfort and which are still okay.

Kidney Stones

According to Dr. Sam kidney stones don’t cause symptoms until they pass on from the kidney towards your bladder. That’s when there may be cloudy or foul smelling urine that can appear brown, or pink. There may also be a frequent need to urinate but the ability to urinate small amounts. Nausea and vomiting along with fever and chills are also symptoms. Usually when lower back pain is so severe sleeping and even sitting is difficult the patient seeks medical attention. “When you have kidney stones you just know something isn’t right, yet sometimes it takes people longer to see several symptoms before they seek medical attention,” explains Dr. Sam.


Gallstones are stones that form in the gallbladder, a tiny sac that hangs out under the liver, emptying bile as needed to digest fats. These stones cause swelling and can block the duct into the intestine, resulting in pain. Gallstone pain tends to strike the right side of the upper abdomen, particularly after fatty meals triggering the gallbladder to contract. “If the gallbladder is inflamed, any contraction of that nature will be amplified and typically will cause pain to the patient,” says Dr. Sam.


While it’s more common to people ages 10-20 it can strike at any age. Typical symptom is pain specifically in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen however, half of those with appendicitis have pain elsewhere. Also not everyone has his or her appendix in the same place making the pain site vary. “This is why it is important to monitor symptoms closely. Many of the symptoms are similar to ones associated with other conditions such as kidney stone, Crohn’s disease even ectopic pregnancy,” offers Dr. Sam. She further explains that the patient can expect several tests (blood, urine, MRI, CT or ultrasound) to confirm diagnoses. Some doctors don’t want to risk waiting for test results and based on how the patient describes his or her own symptoms may opt to surgically remove the appendix.

Medication side effects

“No drug is without side effects and sometimes that includes abdominal pain.
Oral bisphosphonates, a popular class of drugs that helps preserve bone density and prevent osteoporosis, can cause swelling—and therefore pain—in the lower esophagus,” says Dr. Sam. Pain medications known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can also cause swelling in the stomach lining and may even lead to ulcers.

Rule of thumb is to trust the gut

When something feels more serious, it usually is. Some stomach issues can either be symptoms of other more serious issues or if left unaddressed, can escalate into something worse. “Whenever you’re feeling prolonged discomfort and sharp pain it’s worth seeing your doctor,” advises Dr. Sam.

About the doctor:

Dr. Gina Sam, MD/MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. She is the Director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center specializing in achalasia, gastroesophageal reflux, functional disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis, and anorectal disorders including pelvic floor dyssnergia and fecal incontinence.


Prep skin with BVspa

As the seasons change, so should our skin regimen. 
Less humid, cooler weather can mean dry skin for some. 
Even though colder weather calls for long pants and sweaters, it’s important to keep your skin moisturized and smooth year round. 

Switch to a thicker moisturizer and start using a scrub to eliminate dry skin. 

Exfoliating and moisturizing on a daily basis will not only give you glowing skin but it can help eliminate the appearance of cellulite. 

By exfoliating the problem area you'll stimulate blood flow resulting in smoother, firmer skin.  

It’s also important to exfoliate rougher areas of skin such as elbows, knees and hands as the skin on these areas tends dry out faster.

First, use a scrub with a coarse ingredient such as salt for a deep exfoliation. 

BVspa Salt Scrub contains Dead Sea to remove dry skin and also contains Jojoba, Olive and Safflower oil to soften and moisturize the skin. 

This scrub is great to use in the shower because of its squeeze tube bottle which prevents shower water from getting into the bottle during use, unlike a tub container.

After showering, immediately follow with BVspa Body Butter. 

This body butter contains Cocoa Seed Butter, Shea Butter and Sunflower Oil for extra moisturization. 

It’s important to apply the body butter right when you get out of the shower while your pores are still open. This allows the body butter to deeply nourish the skin leaving it silky smooth.

All BVspa products are available at Shopper’s Drug Mart for $11.99 and three amazing scents: Pink Grapefruit, Lavender & Rosemary, and Pomegranate & Acai.


Beauty on a Budget – Natural Beauty Tips (Guest Post)

Attending college is all about bagging an excellent education. However, as well as studying, we all want to look good! Money can be tight, but luckily you don’t need to spend lots to look and feel good.

The following suggestions cost very little, but the results can be amazing. Give them a try – you could even introduce your friends to these beauty tips, too! A pampering party for your friends would be a great way to beat study stresses. Plus, as well as having great fun, you won’t wake up with a sore head! You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, ready to tackle another day of college study, all the while looking like a true natural beauty!

Home Made Honey Face Mask

This simple face mask is so easy to make – one ingredient!

You’ll need:
1 large spoon of honey
A small microwaveable bowl

Step 1 - Microwave the honey in a bowl for 5-10 seconds.
Step 2 - While waiting for the honey to cool, cleanse your face, ensuring that all of your make up is removed.
Step – 3 Take some of your cooled honey (just scoop it up with your fingers) and apply it directly onto your face. Don’t get the honey into your eyes!
Step 4 - Let the mask sit on your skin for around ten minutes. Try to use this time to relax. If you can lie down and close your eyes, do so. Once the ten minutes are up, rinse your honey mask off.
Step 5 - Gently dry your face, and apply your usual moisturizer.
Honey is a natural antiseptic, so this mask will give your skin a deep cleanse. If you need a more moisturizing mask, try mashing some avocado in with your honey – or you could even spoon in some natural yogurt!

DIY Strawberry Tooth Whitening Treatment

Although your college studies are keeping you focused, never forget that your smile is your biggest asset! Healthy teeth and gums are vital, not only for the way you look, but also for your overall health.

Give this home-made tooth whitening treatment a try – the tastiest way to keep your pearly whites gleaming!

You’ll need:
1 strawberry
A small cup
A fork
A pinch of baking soda

Step 1 - Mash the strawberry into a pulp, then load your toothbrush with the red crushed fruit.
Step 2 - Brush your teeth as you normally would. Then rinse your mouth thoroughly, making sure that all of the strawberry seeds are washed away.
Step 3 - Do one final rinse with water and a pinch of baking soda – this acts to neutralize any remaining acidity from the strawberry.
We know that we should always brush our teeth with toothpaste. We should also floss and use mouthwash, too. Those are the basics. Adding this occasional strawberry whitening treatment to your dental regime will really make your teeth smile!

Ultra Rich Mayo Hair Conditioner

Instead of spending precious pennies on a conditioning treatment in a hair salon, try this super cheap hair nourishing tip. Your hair will love you for it!

You’ll need:
1 large handful of mayonnaise (or enough to cover all of your hair)
A large towel

Plenty of time to relax!

Step 1 – Wash your hair as you normally would.
Step 2 – Gently towel dry your hair. Your hair needs to be damp, though not dripping wet.
Step 3 – Take a handful of mayonnaise and put it on to your hair, starting at the scalp. Think of the mayonnaise as a hair mask – you don’t need to try to lather it or rub it in, just lay it on to the hair.
Step 4 – Make sure that your hair is covered, from the root to the tip.
Step 5 – Take your towel and put your hair up into a turban.
Step 6 – Relax for around 30 minutes with your hair wrapped in the towel.
Step 7 – Wash your hair as you normally would. Then, dry and style your hair as you usually do.

Your hair will feel soft and it will look glossy. The mayonnaise mask is a cheap and easy way to look and feel like you’ve had a salon conditioning treatment. Happily, you’ll know that you’ve done it on a college budget!

For more tips check this out

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'Feels Like a Facelift' Skincare System

Natural & Healthy products started as an idea from pharmacists who like to get out from behind the counter and help people find natural health solutions.

All Natural & Healthy products have been tested first through pharmacies and clients.

The 'Feels Like a Facelift' skincare system is a blend of science and nature. It helps to prevent premature aging, and brings visible results for even very deep wrinkles and fine lines.

I was thrilled when the company contacted me to review the skincare system.

'Feels Like a Facelift' products contain a number of healthy ingredients, recognized by dermatologists as being highly beneficial for aging skin.

These products include components of the world's most effective skincare formulas.

Other natural ingredients used in the products that are recognized for their skin-enhancing qualities include: Green Tea Extract, Chamomile, Ginkgo Biloba, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Grapefruit Extract.

Nightly Renewal Cream

This is an incredible cream!

It has a thick, rich base and is packed with high potency anti-oxidants.

When I would wake up in the morning, my face would feel super soft and smooth.

How to use:

I used this cream before I went to bed. I would apply this night cream to face & neck area.

Firming Chest & Neck Cream

The secret to younger looking skin is keeping it hydrated throughout the day and a lot of us forget about our neck and chest area.

This cream is enhanced with anti-aging properties to help tighten skin and make deep lines less noticeable.

This cream can be used in the morning and again in the evening.

How to use:

I would apply to the skin morning (and when I remembered) in the evening as well. 

I heard using gentle massage motions, working downward from chin to chest works best.

After using for a couple of weeks I noticed a few not so deep lines started to be less noticeable, however the deep lines are still there.


Purifying Cleanser

This soap free cleanser turns into foamy once applied with water.

At first I didn’t think it was a great cleanser but once I added a bit of water while I was massaging in the cleanser I could see it turn into a foam and I could feel it getting deep into the pores.

It gently cleanses away dirt, grime & impurities and even removes make-up without clogging the skin.

Skin feels fresh, supple & glowy.

It also tones the skin by removing pollutants and any residue left on skin – love multi-purpose skincare products!

I would apply to my wet face, apply cleanser to the face, add just a little bit of water and massage using circular motions over the face and neck. Rinse with warm water.

Daytime Cream

This moisturizer corrects imperfections and delays the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

It provides lasting protection to aid your skin's natural renewal process.

Has sunscreen for daytime protection.

My skin felt moisturized all day.

Moisturizer absorbed quickly.

I find this moisturizer to be user-friendly especially given my tendency to oily skin.

Anti-Aging Mud Masque

This mud masque contains Canadian Glacial Mud from Pacific NorthWest coast in Northern British Columbia.

This masque is rich in minerals such as Silicon, Aluminum, Iron, Magnesium and has natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Green Tea.

The clay detoxifies the skin, effectively removing dead skin cells and gets deep into pores.

This masque will clean, exfoliate, detoxify, rejuvenate and revitalize the skin.

The Anti-Aging Mud Masque works on all skin types including normal, oily, dry, even sensitive and troubled skin.

This masque can be used twice a week.

After cleansing with the purifying cleanser, I would apply a thin layer of this masque to the face and neck area. It would dry between 12 to 15 minutes. Remove with warm water. Follow with the daytime moisturizer or nightly renewal cream.

Night-Time Serum

This is most probably the most important step in the system.

This serum will help to reduce the signs of aging, by activating the cellular mechanisms that help to rebuild the skin.

The packaging says for best results, use in the morning and again in the evening.

I would wash face with cleanser, apply thin layer of serum, let absorb for about 30 seconds. Then apply the moisturizer or night cream depending on the time of day.

Overall I did like this skincare line, I did notice some lines softening. I liked how tight my skin felt.

“Feels Like a Facelift” products have a light scent – nothing overpowering.

The prices range from $10 - $60.

Considering a little product goes a long way it is a good investment.

The Natural & Healthy line of products is available through pharmacies at all London Drugs and selected Pharmasaves locations.

For more information on the “Feels Like a Facelift” products, visit Natural & Healthy website at


Wonder Water: 6 Unexpected Infused Water Ideas for Gorgeous Skin

While most dermatologists and doctors preach the benefits of drinking more water, water gets boring. Perhaps you’ve done just about everything to make your plain glass of water more enjoyable. 

If you’re running out of ideas and are tempted to reach for a caffeinated beverage you’re not alone. 

We talked to the experts who gave us six fresh infused water recipes that’ll pack a punch of flavor and add health and beauty benefits to your H2O! If you’re new to infused water it’s easy. 

Chop up the ingredients, let them sit overnight in your water pitcher and sip your way to healthy hydration inside and out. 

1. Mango Ginger

This combo might seem weird, but adding the health benefits of ginger and the antioxidant power of mangoes is a surprisingly tasty mix! 

“Mangoes contain so many vitamins that help boost your immune system. It has antioxidants that maintain youthful glowing skin and aid in the production of blood cells,” says Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. an anti-aging expert and long-time health advisor to the New York Rangers hockey team. 

“Ginger is also helpful in fighting infection, has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, may reduce muscle aches, and helps digestion,” adds Dr. Calapai. 

2. Grapefruit Rosemary

Recently rosemary was found to be the main ingredient eaten by residents of an Italian village with one of the highest populations of people who live past 100! 

“Rosemary improves circulation and sends more blood to the brain which is linked to greater concentration and potentially reduces risk of Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Calapai. 

Grapefruit is not only delicious but it’s a natural fat burner, boosts metabolism and cleanses your liver. 

3. Melon Mix

Cut up watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe chunks and throw into your water over night. 

“This melon variety tastes great and is amazing for your skin,” says Dr. Kally Papantoniou board certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. 

“Melons are immensely hydrating, meaning more hydration per cup of water. 

They are also chock-full of antioxidants that keep skin clear plus they contain vitamins that promote collagen production which helps skin cell turnover.”

 4. Citrus Mint

Pick your favorite citrus fruits, cut up into slices and add some crushed mint.  

“Adding mint to your water is not only extra refreshing but also improves digestive health and can speed up your metabolism,” says Dr. Calapai. 

“Mint actually contains salicylic acid, a potent acne fighter,” says Dr. Papantoniou. 

“It’s also well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties which work to calm irritation both on your skin or internally,” she adds. 

5. Cucumber Lavender

“The reason so many spas use cucumber based treatments is because it contains many skin friendly minerals like magnesium, potassium and silicon,” says Dr. Papantoniou. 

“This mix is especially healthy,” says Dr. Calapai “Cucumbers are powerful detoxifiers, flushing out any waste in your system. 

Adding crushed lavender to the mix not only adds a beautiful aroma but can also help digestion as lavender contains polyphenols that reduce bad bacteria in your gut, making your system run smoother,” he explains.    

6. Pineapple Coconut Water

This one is almost cheating… almost. 

Get your favorite store bought raw coconut water and refrigerate overnight with large chunks of pineapple. The coconut-pineapple flavor combo is delicious and reminiscent of a piña colada without all the sugar and calories. 

Although this is not pure H2O, coconut water contains electrolytes which plain water does not, which rehydrate you in record time. 

“Pineapple is yet another fruit that aids in collagen production,” says Papantoniou 

“This is not just great for beautiful skin, and collagen also has a major role in bone health and tissue repair.”  

There are great benefits to keeping hydrated. Water does not have to be boring, it can be delicious. Drink up!

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is a board certified Osteopathic Physician in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.

 Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice.

His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's.



Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou shares information and tips on dandruff and dry scalp.

1. Most women these days use multiple hair products and don't wash their hair every day.  Is this causing more problems to scalp health?

We are seeing more women use styling mouse, anti-frizz polish, root lifting sprays, and other hair products while skipping shampooing all together in lieu of “dry shampoo.

” Dry shampoo, is a spray that absorbs excess oils on hair and is used when you don’t have time or want to shower. This may not be a problem for most but for those who suffer from dandruff, scalp psoriasis, or have a greasy scalp; not washing their hair and scalp every day can definitely worsen or even cause problems. 

If someone has sensitive skin or an allergy to ingredients in hair products; they can develop a reaction.

2. Is it important to treat hair health and scalp issues from the inside out? A combo of both internal supplements and hair products?

We definitely see a very close relation to the health of hair and the scalp with overall health and nutrition. The appearance of scalp and hair can be one of the first indicators of overall well-being and stress. 

When we are vitamin deficient, have hormonal imbalances, or are emotionally stressed it can manifest in the appearance of our scalp and hair. For example, hypothyroidism can present as dry brittle hair and hair thinning with a flaking scalp. Iron deficiency can also present with thinning hair. Hair may fall out rapidly after pregnancy for several months, this is known as telogen effluvium, and can also occur from other medications, weight loss, surgery etc. 

Depending on the etiology treatments will vary, but it is important to supplement your nutrition to provide the support for your hair and scalp to improve. Vitamins such as Viviscal and Biotin are very important supplements that work very well.

It is good to use shampoos to help lift off residue from products weekly, such as Neutrogena’s Clarifying Shampoo. Depending on whether the hair loss is female pattern type, it may respond to the use of topical Minoxidil 5% solution or foam twice daily. Injections with PRP are also being performed by Dermatologists to help regrow hair in areas of thinning. I would recommend a consultation by a Dermatologist for a proper work-up and treatment plan.

3.  What if you had a healthy scalp and all of a sudden start to get scalp breakouts? Is this from product build-up? What causes this and what are things you can do to help with breakouts?

Product build up can definitely cause blockage of follicles on the scalp and lead to scalp folliculitis or even seborrheic dermatitis, which appear to be red bumps that can be tender and filled with pus and light pink flaking patches respectively. 

Washing your scalp daily can help, and alternating shampoos is another good tip to help prevent product build up. Alternating several times per week with an anti-dandruff shampoo can also help control scalp flares. If this does not help, visit with the Dermatologist for prescription shampoo or topical medicines for better control.

5. What about itchy scalp? What can you do to help with this problem?

Scalp itch can signify several points: this could just be a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), could be an allergy to hair dye/shampoo/other hair product, or could even be a sign of a metabolic condition or deficiency. 

I once had a patient that had a very itchy scalp, and did not respond to any medicated shampoos or cortisone solutions to help stop the itching after weeks of trying, but once she restarted her iron supplementation for iron deficiency her scalp itch resolved within 1 day. 

Depending on the cause of itch the answer can vary greatly as seen with this woman, who had Iron deficiency. If a simple over the counter shampoo is not helping your itchy scalp, seek out a dermatology consultation for further investigation and the best recommendations.

6. Does the scalp need to be exfoliated to maintain health?

Some women may never have any need to exfoliate their scalp, and do not develop buildup or dull appearance to their hair. For those that tend to have more oily hair, and have product residue using a clarifying shampoo such as Neutrogena’s can be very helpful 1-2 times per week. 

Neutrogena also makes a shampoo called T-Sal, with the active ingredient salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a mild exfoliator that works well on oily pores and follicles to break up residue and dead compact skin cells to help reduce build up. 

For women looking to exfoliate their scalp, I would recommend lathering with T-Sal shampoo, letting this sit for 5 minutes and then rinsing thoroughly, repeat 2-3 times per week as needed. 

For women being treated for seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis this can help the medications topically penetrate better into the scalp.

7. Lastly, any tips on ways one can help maintain a healthy scalp? Products they should incorporate in their weekly/daily routine? Ingredients to look for?

I would definitely recommend washing hair either daily or at least every other day, and with the more products being used daily washing is recommended.  

Use a clarifying shampoo weekly to help reduce build up. Alternate shampoos, this will reduce build up in hair and on scalp and prevent a dull limp look. 

For hair prone to dullness and residue consider use of T-Sal, a salicylic acid over the counter shampoo to be used 2-3 times per week. 

For hair that is more dry or brittle use shampoos that contain argan oil or Moroccan oil, if your ends are still very dry apply a small amount of coconut oil to the ends. 

For itchy scalp try an anti-dandruff shampoo, such as clear scalp, and try a menthol shampoo to help cool the itch, such as Head & Shoulders Refresh Menthol. 

For dandruff shampoo a tea tree oil shampoo may be also used on alternate days. 

For thinning hair consider a supplement like Viviscal or Biotin, and be patient because it can take 6 months to a year to see significant improvement. 

The earlier you intervene the better, if you notice a new change or thinning do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified
by the American Board of Dermatology.
Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City.
She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients.
Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention.

Connect with Dr. Papantoniou  via twitter @DrPapantoniou or her website

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