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Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
Active Kids in Winter
Athletic Skin Infections
Children, Nutrition & Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussions
Core Stability
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Exercise and Disabilities
Exercise and Menstrual Irregularities
Exercise in the Cold
Exercise in the Heat
Exercise is Medicine
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Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
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From Surviving to Thriving
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Get Moving!
Get Motivated
Golf Exercises
Golf Injury Prevention
Head Injuries
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Home Gyms
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Jump Start Weight Loss
Knee Cap Pain
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Live Actively
Low Back Pain
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Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Plantar Fasciitis
Prehistoric Workout
Prevention of Sports Injury
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Staying Fit in the Cold
Sports Nutrition & Supplements
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Teen Sports Injuries
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Water and Exercise
Weight Training
7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Acne
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Adolescent Growth & Development
Body Image
Body Piercing
Bullying
Chronic Diseases in Teens
Communications Skills
Concussion in Sport
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Dangers of Artificial Tanning
Depression
Depression - Causes
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Female Physical Exam
First Period
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Junior High
Mentoring to Quit Smoking
Mononucleosis
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Parent -Teen Interaction Patterns
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Teens & Exercise
A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Childbirth
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
Exercise in Pregnancy
Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Medication & Pregnancy
Miscarriage
Managing Your Own Labour
Monitoring Your Labour
Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun & Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum & Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Childhood
Full Listing with story descriptions
Asthma in Children
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Children's Headaches
Childhood Obesity
Choosing A Babysitter
Circumcision
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Developmental Milestones
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Daytime Wetting
Introducing Solid Foods
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
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Discipline
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Feeding Your Baby
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Head Lice
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How Children Grow
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Heart Murmers
Hip Clicks
Influenza
Iron
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Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
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Not Just Baby Fat
Orthodontics
Preparing for Lab Tests
Recognizing Learning Disabilities
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
School
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Sick Toddler
Sleep Struggles
Sniffles, Fevers, Rashes & Coughs
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Toddler Safety
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Urinary Tract Infections
Vaccinations
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When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Nutrition
Opioids
Pacing
Pain Medications
Prevention
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
Dental Exam
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Dental Care Offshore
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Dentures and Healthy Jaw
Esthetic Dentistry
Fluoride
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
Headaches
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Mouth Protection Equipment
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Healthcare
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontics
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
The Smile You Want
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
Accurate Blood Glucose Testing
Alchohol and Diabetes
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Glucose Testing Tips
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Constipation
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Distress
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Financial Support for Diabetes
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gastroparesis
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glucose Meters
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Grocery Shopping Tips
Guidelines for Diabetes Management
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization & Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Insurance
Ketones
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Metformin
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Sensible Snacking
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Sodium
Social Media & Diabetes
Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supplements
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sweeteners
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Understanding Ketones
Used Sharps
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Walking
Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
Wonderful Water
Natural Medicines & Diabetes
World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Allergies
Antibiotic Use
Arthritis
Aspirin Every Day?
Asthma
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Check-Up
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Contraception
COPD
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Diabetes Management
Diarrhea
Diagnostic Tests
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
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Dealing with Dry Eyes
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Eczema
Electronic Medical Records
Epilepsy
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Fibromyalgia
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Gallbladder
Get Active!
Glare
Headaches
Healthcare Teams
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Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
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High Blood Pressure Risks
How to Talk to Your Doctor
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Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
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Multiple Myeloma
Obesity
Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
Prostate Problems
Quitting Smoking
Red Eyes
Respiratory Tract Infections
Restore Your Core
Rosacea
Screening Tests
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Special Diagnostic Tests
Stopping Stroke
Stroke
Superbugs
Thyroid
Ulcers
Urine Tests
Vaccination Controversies (ask the doctor)
Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Burns
Choking
Cuts and Scrapes
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Nosebleeds
Poisoning - Household
Emergency Care Guidelines
Sunburn
Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Alzheimer Disease
Avoiding Memory Loss
Building Strength
Dementia and Agitation
Cataracts
Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Cholesterol
Congestive Heart Failure
Coping with Dementia
Constipation
Controlling Medications
C.O.P.D.
Delirium
Dizziness (Vertigo)
Eating Well
Elder Abuse
Exercise Benefits
Erectile Dysfunction
Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Feet
Frailty
Fungal Nail Infections
Get Active!
Glaucoma
Grief
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
Incontinence
Joint Replacement
Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Osteoarthritis
Osteoporosis
Parkinson Disease
Problem Gambling
Prostate Health
Retirement
Seniors and Medications
Senior Sexuality
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Sleeplessness
Skin Structure
Skin Protection
Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Abuse
Acupuncture
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Antidepressants
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Depression
Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
Harassment
Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
Hypnotherapy
Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports & Nutrition Supplements
Sunscreen
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Prevention
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Alcohol
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Meningitis
Norovirus
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
Sun Safety
Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
xx
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
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Family Health Magazine - PHARMACY CARE

Looking after Your Skin
The role of cosmeceutical ingredients

Who doesn’t want to have a radiant, youthful glow? The quality of facial skin is perhaps the most noticeable thing about our appearance. Skin is the largest organ in the body and reflects our health and vitality. Keeping skin clean and smooth is important to many of us.

Skin consists of the epidermis (outer layer), and the dermis (inner layer.) Two major structural proteins, keratin and collagen, make up the skin. As we age, these two proteins decrease in number and quality. Eating well, sleeping enough, not smoking, and staying out of the sun all protect our skin against aging. Still, it may not be enough.

The desire for beautiful skin is the driving force behind the growing skin care industry. It has sparked a new skin care area called ‘cosmeceuticals.’ Like cosmetics, these products are applied to the skin. They contain pharmaceuticals, ingredients that may improve the skin’s condition biologically.

Walking down the personal care aisle, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the large variety of skin care products. Daily skin care routines usually include a cleanser, moisturizer and possibly a toner. To choose the right product, you must know your skin type – dry, oily or combination.

In general, dry skin should be washed once daily with a creamy or foamy cleanser. Toners may be used, but avoid alcohol-based versions since they overly dry the skin. Finally, use a heavy or rich moisturizer. For oily skin, use a lighter cleanser, alcohol-based toner, and a water-based moisturizer. Wash more than once daily. Those with combination skin can find products labelled especially for this skin type. Apply moisturizer more frequently, but only to dry areas.

Product ingredients may now include vitamins, herbs, natural medicines, and other substances you may never have heard of. Many questions come to mind. Which one is right for me? What ingredients are actually proven to benefit skin? Will a more expensive product give better results than a cheaper one?

One essential ingredient in any moisturizer is a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more to protect against UV rays. UV rays are known to cause premature aging and skin cancer. Even on a cloudy day, these rays can penetrate and harm skin.

Other ingredients commonly found in the new cosmeceuticals may be good for skin. Unfortunately, some may not help at all.

Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids

Two ingredients frequently appearing on skin care product labels and advertised in commercials are alpha hydroxy (AHA) and beta hydroxy (BHA) acids. How do they benefit the skin and how do they differ?
For starters, both are used to remove the top layer of the skin, which is made up of damaged and dead skin cells. This process, called exfoliation, unclogs skin pores. New, healthy cells underneath are exposed, so skin color and texture look better.

AHAs include glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, and tartaric acids. They are also called fruit or milk acids. Salicylic acid is the only type of BHA.

The main difference between the hydroxy acids is that BHA can better penetrate oil glands than AHAs. BHA is more suitable for acne-prone skin, while AHAs can be used for dry or sun-damaged skin. Remember to shield skin from the sun when using any product containing hydroxy acids. Both types increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

The effectiveness of AHAs and BHA has been established. However, hydroxy acids must be used continuously, as results do not last once you stop.

Some skin care products contain both alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids. These may be marketed as ‘multiple hydroxy acids’ or ‘optimized hydroxy acids’ products. However, they are not any more useful than a product using only one kind. AHAs and salicylic acid work better at different pH levels. (The pH measures how acidic or alkaline a given solution might be.) When a skin care product is made, the chosen pH level works effectively with either the AHA or the salicylic acid, but not for both.

Vitamins

Vitamins including A, C, E and pro-vitamin B are often found in skin care products. However, the effectiveness of some of these vitamins is questionable. Carefully examine ingredient lists when choosing products containing added vitamins. It is easy to choose a product with many vitamins, and this may seem more natural and appealing. But do all of the listed vitamins actually help your skin? Remember, ingredient listings only list what was included in the product, not whether it retains an effect. Certain conditions or mixtures make an ingredient inactive.

Vitamin A has a long track record of improving skin. Retinoic acid is one form of vitamin A. Some wrinkle-treatment products containing retinoic acid are now available by prescription in the United States. Over-the-counter (OTC) products containing vitamin A can be bought in Canada without a prescription. These products are similar to prescription versions, but less effective since they are not as concentrated. The skin must convert the vitamin A into the active retinoic acid form, and can only do so in small amounts. Vitamin A is not stable in the presence of acids. Products combining it with hydroxy acids do not benefit from the vitamin, since vitamin A becomes inactive. More research is needed on OTC vitamin A products to know how much they actually do.

Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants counteract free radicals in our surroundings that may harm our bodies and affect our skin’s appearance. Some are even suspected of causing cancer. Although vitamin C in skin care products might help improve skin condition, more research is needed. For instance, vitamin C is not very stable and becomes inactive when exposed to light, moisture, or oxygen. More research must
be done to create products that protect the vitamin while allowing it to
benefit skin.

Vitamin E is used in skin care products to moisturize and improve smoothness and softness in skin. It is usually in the form of tocopheryl acetate, which acts as a preservative for the skin care product itself. It is also a very good skin conditioner. Vitamin E was once used for scar therapy, but is no longer recommended for this purpose.

Provitamin Bs include panthenol (a form of vitamin B5), and niacinamide (vitamin B3). Panthenol is a humectant, which means it traps and holds water. This makes it very useful in moisturizers. Like vitamin A, panthenol is not stable in the presence of acids, such as AHAs and BHA. Niacinamide is an exfoliant, which may help clear up some types of acne. It is very stable in many conditions, and is easy to put into products.

Herbs, natural medicines and other additions

You can now find herbs and natural medicines in many skin care products. Since they have been used for thousands of years, it only seems logical to include them in many products. Many people now prefer organic or natural products. Having these ingredients on a product label may certainly convince the consumer to buy it. However, you should know which herbs and natural medicines are effective and which are not.

Aloe is a common houseplant. The gel found in its leaves is used to heal burns and wounds. It is also used for its soothing properties. However, Aloe is also a common sensitizer and in some people its use can result in contact dermatitis. Aloe can be found in moisturizing products, but most research has been done on pure aloe gel alone.

Coenzyme Q10 is made naturally by the body. It has had a lot of positive press on its benefits when taken orally for congestive heart failure, angina (chest pain), diabetes, and high blood pressure. However, when used on the surface of the body, it may only be effective in treating periodontal (gum) diseases. More research is needed to prove that coenzyme Q10 can help when applied to the skin. Most of the previous research was done on the oral form.

Grape seed extract is usually taken orally as a supplement for essential fatty acids and tocopherols (forms of vitamin E), and for ailments such as blood vessel or circulation disorders. It can also be used for hemorrhoids, inflammation, and to protect against collagen breakdown. However, there is not enough evidence to prove it is effective for these conditions. More research is necessary.

Green tea is enjoyed as a drink. Many people also use it as a wash to ease sunburn, and as a poultice to soothe swollen eyes. Green tea has antioxidant properties that may help to improve skin condition. Although many promising results suggest that green tea is helpful when applied to the skin, more research in humans is needed.

Pomegranate is thought to be useful for topically treating hemorrhoids and as a gargle for sore throat. Pomegranates contain tannins, substances that have an astringent (drying) effect that may help treat acne. However, like many other herbal substances, more research is needed to show that pomegranate is effective for any of its listed uses.

Hydroquinone is used to lighten darkened areas of the skin, such as age spots and freckles. Four to six weeks of continuous use is usually necessary before any change is noticed. The lightening effects are not permanent. Exposure to sunlight should be avoided since this will reverse the lightening effects on the skin. Sunscreens of SPF 15 or more should be used along with it. Common side effects include burning, itching, and irritation. The higher the concentration of hydroquinone, the more possible side effects. If no improvements are seen in six months, stop using it. Heavier concentrations, especially in an emollient base containing hydrocortisone (which reduces irritability) should only be used on the advice of a physician.

A word about collagen

Collagen is the key fibre in the elasticity of human skin. Due to its molecular structure, it cannot be topically absorbed. The only immediate way to improve skin with collagen is to have it injected by a medical professional. Although no topical treatment can actually deliver collagen to the skin, many anti-wrinkle creams and collagen-promoting products can help enhance overall collagen production. Using them may defend against oxidants that reduce the skin’s collagen levels.

Although many skin care products contain added ingredients, keep in mind that more research needs to be done into the benefits. However, they may still be effective. Many personal stories, and in some cases a long history of use, support their use. Learning more about ingredients and using your best judgement regarding price can help you to find the right product for your skin.

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FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
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