We all know the statistics:  each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.  “Despite all of the efforts being made, over 10,000 people have died of melanoma this past year, this is more deaths than in any previous year,” says Dr. Darrell S. Rigel, medical director at Schweiger Dermatology Group and world-renowned skin cancer expert.  The good doctor notes that the age group that’s growing most is young women, thanks in part to the use of tanning beds.  In fact, the tanning industry, a $6 billion industry, has hired the same PR firm that the tobacco industry has employed.
Therefore, its no surprise that Khloé Kardashian shared her own cancer story today on her subscriber-based website, khloewithak.  “There was one mole I had on my back that was skin cancer,” the reality star revealed. “I had eight inches of skin removed. It was definitely painful because it was a lot of skin, but most of the time, the removals haven’t been that bad,” she said. “Now that I’ve gone through this a couple of times,” she added, “I am extra aware of my skin, body and moles.”  So why has Kardashian, 32, come forward?  “I’m writing this post with the hope that my story can get some of you in to see your doctor if you notice something wrong with your skin. I haven’t had a problem in years, but wanted to share my experience with you so that if you notice something doesn’t look right, you will take action and take care of your health!”
So what can you do to prevent skin cancer (the only cancer for which there is a known cause)?  According to Rigel, simple behavioral changes can help prevent skin cancer: wearing daily SPF of 30, avoiding the midday sun, and seeing your dermatologist for annual screenings or when there’s a suspicious mole or lesion on your body.   He also advises that you become aware of the ABCDEs [A (asymmetry), B (irregular borders), C (color), D (diameter), E (evolution) of your moles] of melanoma detection, which can save your life.



Kombucha Stink

Kombucha drinks are no longer relegated to specialty markets, such as Whole Foods and Bristol Farms, or in the dark corners of national chains.  The mainstream popularity of the “sour-sweet, fizzy, fermented tea” can be attributed to the increase probiotic and detox diet crazes, as well as its strong celebrity associations.  According to a recent article in The Atlantic, while the origins of kombucha can be traced back to both China and Russia, as well as Korea and Tibet, it is still a mystery how the fibrous SCOBY (anagram for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), which ferments sugary tea into kombucha, arrived in America.  Popular brands such as GT’s Organic Raw, Synergy, Kombucha Wonder Drink, Latta, and Celestial Seasonings produce numerous varieties of the “wonder tonic,” which alleges everything from improving digestion and immunity, to lowering cholesterol, and even warding off certain cancers.

But the tide may soon turn.  According to Dr. Brent A. Bauer, an internist with the Mayo Clinic, “To date, there hasn’t been a single human trial reported in a major medical journal,” he said.  “This doesn’t mean that kombucha tea can’t possibly have health benefits, it just means that at this time, there’s no direct evidence that it provides the benefits it’s reported to have.”  In a recent podcast of Gastropod, Tufts University microbiologist Ben Wolfe, concurs with Bauer’s assessment.  Wolfe, who has created a kombucha culture “zoo” at the university, does, however, suggest “a potential mechanism through which fermented tea might have a positive impact on the gut microbiome.” Read more of this story »


Signature FacialLet’s face it, lotions and potions are great at getting us this far, while laser treatments go the distance, but are terribly pricey.  So what’s a gal to do during the summer when she just can’t take any more?  Contrary to popular thought, her best bet is a summer facial peel!

Recently we discovered the “Signature Peel” at The Face Bar in Los Angeles.  The proprietary treatment is the brainchild of  Beverly Hills celebrity esthetician, Tricia Dikes, and the result of her 19 years of experience (combined with some very cool tricks-of-the-trade picked up from some of Beverly Hills’ leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists — were not “naming names,” but there the good ones!).  It is quick, intense, effective, and affordable ($69!).

The Face Bar Signature Peel targets fine lines, uneven skin tone, sun damage and Melasma.  Beginning with a vitamin cocktail steam to open the pores, it is followed by some light extractions.  Next is a rather uncomfortable sea enzyme/acid blend exfoliation to remove bacteria and the top layers of the skin.  While we call it uncomfortable, others have referred to it as “being rubbed with shards of glass.”  The acid peel, a mixture of Kojic, Lactic, and TCA acids to resurface and brighten skin, follows.  Had enough?  Wait, here comes “the goods”: a cold collagen roller, to tighten and add elasticity to the skin, and a soothing mist of Echo 2 Pure Oxygen, fortified with 87 vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids.  The grande finale, though, is the actual peel: a customized compounded, orange-tinted, cream-based acid, which must remain on the face for eight hours.  Beware:  you will look like an Umpah-Lumpah (no matter what anyone tells you) from the moment it is applied until you remove it eight hours laterRead more of this story »