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Monday, January 19, 2009

Be A Beach Babe

Blame it on bikini-clad Ursula Andress. When she emerged from the sea in the 007-classic Dr No, the image of the modern beach babe was born. But real-life beach beauties aren't born, they're made. The only catch? Making the effort look effortless. Sail through summer with Mars And Venus...Actually's tips for seaside glamour.

A lot of hot air
Think beachside hair and you picture tousled, rippling locks. It's not about a perfectly in-place low-dry - not only does this look too "done", it simply takes too long. After all, when the sun is shining, the sea sparkling and the beach is beckoning, do you really want to be wasting time in the bathroom, lasting yourself with hot air and doing a contortion with your hairdryer and brush? Save the effort for work days. All you need for beach-ready hair is to comb a leave-in sunscreen treatment through towel-dried hair, and let the natural summer heat do its work.

Cutting loose
Ponytails, pigtails, plaits ... the beach is where you can get away with all your favorite girly Gidhet hairstyles. Make the most of it and decorate your 'dos with real or artificial tropical blooms. Or try out the Gucci look - a long scarf tied kerchief-style at the back of the head.

Love your hair to health
It's all too easy for tresses to wind up looking like a tangled of shrivelled seaweed by the end of the beach season. Unless you have a beach-specific hair strategy, the sun, the salt and sand will all take their toll. If you colour your hair, comb in a shield alm or oil before taking the plunge - it's like an invisible bathing cap. At tne end of the day in the sea, wash your hair with a deep cleansing shampoo. For an additional lift, try a post-sun conditioner. Finally, nourish locks with an intensive treatment once a week.

Mermaid temp-tresses
You know those sexy Blue Lagoon locks? That just-been-rolling-in-the-waves-with-a-dream-boy effect? Yes, it looks amazingly sultry, but if he tries to run his fingers through your salty mane, he'll encounter hardly enough snarls to make you howl in pain. Hardly romantic! A better way to get the sexy sea-goddess look? Kusco-Murphy Beach Hair is a light gel blended with crushed bamboo, bergamot and coconut oil, and gives your locks a tousled, carefree look - plus, it smells tantalisingly tropical. Hair stylist Kevin Murphy was inspired to concoct it after working on a Sports Illustrated shoot: sand blew into the hair gel, which gave the model's locks extra texture and body.

Beauty in the buff
Layers of make-up won't stick it out in the heat, so stick to sheer coverage. A facial self-tanner is perfect if you normally get away with minimal foundation. If you need more help, add a dollop or two of liquid foundation to your facial sunscreen. Spot cover any blemishes and set the concealer with powder. Choose a lip-cheek-eye stick or cream in a warm shade (bronze or gold), dab on lips, lids and cheeks and press in with your fingers.

Evening star
How to make the most of that all-over-fake tan? Mix some shimmer into your sunscreen and coat yourself from head to toe. Try Anna Sui Body Glitter #701. It looks tres St Tropez, plut is sets off that hot pink bikini! At night, turn up the voltage. Keep the face subtle - dust on glimmer powder, smooth on a high-sheen tint.

Surf skin saver
What's your number-one summer skin saviour? Loads of sunscreen, of course; slather it on when you know you'll be exposed to the sun. But you also need to be extra dilligent with your regular routine as well. If you suffer from excess grease, don't skip the moisturiser (even oily complexions get dehydrated) - just swap to a lighter, gel-based or oil-control lotion, or apply your cream just to dry skin spots. You may also need to use an oil or acne-control cleansing foam to keep over-active sebaceous glands in check and exfoliate once a week. If you have an excess-oil problem, pack on a purifying mask twice a week, while all skins benefit from a weekly hydrating treatment.

Tequila sunrise
Lip glosses and cheek tints in coral shades, nail polishes in daiquiri colours, eye-shadows in curacao blue and Midori green ... If you want to make a splash with summer's technicolour make-up, the each is your perfect backdrop. The key: pick one shade and one facial feature only. You want a single wash of colour on an almost bare face. Coat your lids in blue or green, load up your lids with coral or hot-pink, or slick your nails (be sure to splurge on a manicure and pedicure at the start of a sunny season) in a shade that's between yellow or orange.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gyno Anxiety

A regular PAP smear is a good start, but really looking after yuor body requires more intimate knowledge. If you've been guilty of complacency about your reproductive health, stop cringing, uncross those legs and read on...

Below The Belt

Scan any office, bus or shop and you'll see women going about their daily business. Outwardly, all look normal but, inside, those women could be itching like mad with thrush, growing cysts on their ovaries or harbouring a lump in their breasts. These are "women's problems", usually discussed in hushed tones with eyes downcast. Well, not here. We're talking loud and proud about the things that can go wrong with your "girlie bits", so you'll be able to recognise if a problem strikes - and take action. Here's a guide through the maze of problems that affect the health of those body parts specific to women - the vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries and breasts. Any one of us could be affected, at any time. Yep, that includes you. So read on.


What is it?
Basically, a thrush is an overgrown yeast fungus. Candida albicans is a fungus present in small amounts on your skin and in your mouth, bowel and vagina. Usually, your body's defences keep it in check, but sometimes circumstances allow it to flourish and it starts to attack the tissue under it, causing inflammation - that is candidiasis or thrush. Factors include stress, taking the Pill, antibiotics, a high intake of alcohol, sugar and caffeine (especially in recurring thrush) and hot sweatiness around the vagina (often caused by tight pants and synthetic undies).

What does it feel like?
In a word, itchy. It causes an intense itching or burning around your vagina and vulva, accompanied by a discharge that's often described as looking like cottage cheese, but can also be thin and clear. Some say it smells like bread or beer.

What can I do about it?
Thrush is diagnosed by examination and sometimes a swab (to identify the yeast). You must have it diagnosed by a doctor, especially the first time, as there are other infections, such as bacterial and urinary tract infections, that can affect the area and produce a similar sensation. Treatment is via creams, pessaries and sometimes even oral treatments. You'd probably also be advised to wear cotton underwear, avoid soaps and perfumes, wash the area regularly, wipe your anus from front to back and use a condom when infected. If you have chronic thrush, try to change to an appropriate diet; taking lots of sugar and wine will increase candida's recurrence. Try eating acidophilus bacteria, which are found in some yoghurts or in tablets from health food stores. They should help clear it up.


What are they?
Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that grow in the wall of the uterus. They are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue. One in five women has fibroids, but as firboids are often symptoms-free, you could be that one-in-five and not even know it. No-one knows what causes them, but their growth seems to depend on the presence of hormones, mainly oestrogen. There are fibroids on record that weigh 10kg, which you can feel because as they grow, they enlarge and distort the uterus and can often be felt by pressing on the area. Fibroids are rare in women under 25.

What do they feel like?
Usually, you won't feel a thing - but they can cause heavy periods or bleeding after sex and between periods. They may intefere with fertility by projecting into the uterus cvausing miscarriage or premature delivery, but this is not common.

What can I do about them?
Treatment depends on fibroid size and whether the woman wants to keep her uterus. If you're 45, have had your babies and are sick of heavy periods, you may choose a hysterectomy. If you're 25, however, and the fibroids are thought to be interfering with your fertility, they may just cut out the fibroid. A naturopath will prescribe herbs to help regulate bleeding and to reduce fibroid size. You can also use dietary changes to control oestrogen levels, such as eating more soya products, increasing your protein intake and eating more vegetables from the cabbage family.


Short of beating your boyfriend with a rolled-up printable version of Mars & Venus... Actually, finding relief from PMS can be a bitch. The most common symptoms include a bloated abdomen, swollen, tender breasts and "mood changes". Add to this swollen ankles, skin disorders, headaches, backaches and hot flushes and it's no wonder that women who suffer badly from PMS may also be irritable, anxious, depressed or aggressive. Mainstream medical treatments include taking the Pill, using diuretics to help eliminate fluids from the body and taking supplementary vitamins, including B6 and B1. A healthy diet and lots of exercise are also highly recommended. Evening primrose oil, often suggested as a natural cure for PMS, is only suitable for mild cases while visiting a naturopath may provide more relief.

Ovarian Cysts

What are they?
There are many different types of ovarian cysts. The most common are physiological cysts, also known as "simple" or "functional" cysts, because they form as part of normal ovarian processes. There are two types of simple cysts: follicular cysts, which form when an ovarian follicle (egg sac) doesn't release its ovum (egg) and fills up with clear fluid; and luteal cysts, which form in ruptured follicles and are more likely to cause spotting, heavy bleeding or early/late periods. Both follicular and luteal cysts usually disppear on their own. With polycystic ovarian syndrome, lots of little cysts form all over the ovary's surface. The first signs of the condition include heavy bleeding and irregular periods and, over time, these cysts can affect fertility. This condition is generally treated hormonally. Other benign cysts include hormone-producing cysts, serous and mucinous cystadenomas, fibromas and Brenner tumours. Most of these should be surgically removed once discovered. In all cases, irregularities in your periods are the giveaway.

What do they feel like?
Generally, you won't notice an ovarian cyst. If it ruptures, however, it may cause pain, often on one side only. Pain during sex can also be a warning sign of cysts, as can a "bloated" or heavy feeling in the lower abdomen.

What can I do about them?
Treatment depends on what it looks like on the ultrasound - how big they are, whether it's a 'simple' cyst or a 'complex' cyst, which can be malignant and usually needs to be removed. Ovarian cysts are usually considered to be a result of some abnormal tissue development. If there's even the smallest possibility that a cyst might be dangerous, surgery is a definite must.

From the totally weird file

There's a type of ovarian cyst, called a dermoid cyst, which forms when an egg begins to develop in a very abnormal way. So? Well, these cysts can be made up of all sorts of bizarre things, including hair, teeth, bones and skin fragments. This is because the cells that have gone mad are the ones that have the potential to create the different types of tissues normally found in your body. These cysts are best removed surgically - after all, who wants a set of teeth in their ovary?

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