Saturday, April 28

Raynaud's phenomenon - Raynaud's disease symptoms

The common and early signs and symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon are color changes to fingers and toes brought about by exposure to cold conditions or emotional disturbances.

Raynaud's phenomenon

Raynaud's is a disease of circulatory system involving the arteries of fingers and toes. The blood vessels of the fingers and toes undergo sudden vasospasm restricting the blood supply. Though usually the symptoms involve fingers and toes, in some rare cases ear lobes, nose, lips and nipples may also be involved. This disease was discovered by a French doctor A. G. Maurice Raynaud (1834–1881).

What causes Raynaud's phenomenon

In many situations, causes of Raynaud's phenomenon are not known (idiopathic) and this type of attack is called primary Raynaud's phenomenon or disease. The symptoms arise due to constriction of peripheral arteries by hyperactivity of sympathetic nervous system. It may last from a few minutes to several hours.
In some cases the underlying disease condition can cause these symptoms to appear. Such type of disorder is called secondary Raynaud's or Raynaud's syndrome.
Though the primary Raynaud's phenomenon can resolve by taking some simple measures, the secondary Raynaud's can progress to gangrene and necrosis.

Raynaud's phenomenon symptoms

In persons predisposed for Raynaud's phenomenon, these symptoms occur typically in a sequence. On exposure to cold temperatures or emotional stress, blood circulation to the extremities get greatly reduced. Initially finger and toes turn pale in color due to restricted blood supply. With the dwindling blood supply oxygen levels in the affected place go down, imparting a bluish discoloration (cyanosis).
The affected area feels cold and numb with reduced sense of touch. When the episode subsides or remedial measures are taken, the blood supply gets restored. With the release of constriction, the blood rushes to the affected area, making it turn red in color. This may be followed by local flushing, edema, inflammation and tingling, throbbing, sore and painful sensations. During the attack the proximal region of the finger will show vasodilation and red color. The central constricted area will appear pale and the distal end will appear bluish due to cyonosis.
Acrocyanosis of toes
image wikipedia/user:Gkwinter
The level of vasospasm may vary among individuals and all the three symptoms may not be observed in every patient. Avoiding emotional stress and wearing warm clothing can help in preventing attacks of Raynaud's phenomenon. This disorder is mostly observed in the 20-30 age group and is more prevalent among women. There is a possibility of Raynaud's being hereditary as it is found to run in families.

Secondary Raynaud's syndrome symptoms

Though in the secondary form the vasospasm symptoms are seen they are brought about by underlying diseases. During subclinical stage, many diseases induce the symptoms of the secondary disorder.

Many connective tissue diseases, autoimmune diseases, eating disorders, obstructive diseases in the circulative system, cancerous diseases, certain vaccines, drugs, chemicals, hormones, trauma, smoking, and continuous vibration (drilling) can bring about the secondary Raynaud's disease symptoms.
Apart from efforts to alleviate the symptoms of vasospasm, focus must be on the causative disease and its treatment for permanent relief from vasoconstriction. This secondary disease may affect any age group. Secondary Raynaud's can also be limited to one limb, indicating local disorders and diseases.
A complete clinical examination and blood tests of the affected person can pin point the causative disorder behind this phenomenon. If the symptoms left untreated blackening, ulceration, gangrene and necrosis of the digits may follow.

Differentiating symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon and acrocyanosis

Acrocyanosis is a persistent cyanosis of the extremities, more common in hands. Though acrocyanosis symptoms may look like Raynaud's phenomenon cyanosis, acrocyanosis is persistent whereas Raynaud's phenomenon is episodic, resolving on remedial measures.

Remedial measures for primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon or disease on onset of symptoms include protection from cold, emotional stability, medication for vasodilation and also diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, if any.
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Tuesday, April 3

Topical Vitamin C skin treatment - Vitamin C skin products

Vitamin C benefits > Skin discoloration pictures > Topical vitamin C skin products

Why topical vitamin C skin products are effective?

Topical vitamin C skin products are the most popular and sought after anti aging treatments.
With proven efficacy these cosmeceutical products exert their benefits by neutralizing the damaging free radicals produced during the metabolic activities in the organ systems including dermal layers.
Free radicals are also produced on exposure to ultraviolet rays in the sunlight.
The effects of free radicals leads to skin aging, formation of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity and firmness, photo-aging and also hyperpigmentation.
Treatment with topical vitamin C products has been found to rejuvenate and bring back the radiance, softness and glow of skin by promoting collagen synthesis, lightening hyperpigmentation and reducing the effects of ultraviolet A and B radiation from sunlight.
By correcting the structural and functional losses associated with photo aging and skin aging, these cosmeceuticals show important anti-aging effects during treatment.
Latest research studies have shown that topical vitamin C with regular treatment can decrease the  development of melanin pigment.
Melanin is the pigment contributing to darkening and any decrease in its production can give fairer and whiter skin.

L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C

L-ascorbic acid is the common form of vitamin C available in nutrient supplements.
However this water soluble form lacks stability and is highly degradable in the presence of air, light and moisture; hence its storage life is very short.
When exposed to air, L-ascorbic acid undergoes oxidative changes and becomes useless for skin whitening or anti-aging.
In fact it becomes an oxidative agent and contributes to the increased formation of harmful free radicals.
Moreover L-ascorbic acid is highly acidic in nature and may irritate skin at higher concentration.
Its acidic chemical quality makes it an excellent exfoliating agent.
So it becomes impracticable to use this form in topical products meant for anti aging treatment or skin lightening.
Much research work is been done by cosmeceutical manufacturers and a number of useful stabilized vitamin C derivatives and storage methods are being discovered.
However many of the products are expensive and many do not contain sufficient concentrations to be effective in treatment.

Ascorbyl palmitate

The ester formed from ascorbic acid and palmitic acid is ascorbyl palmitate, a fat-soluble form of vitamin C.
As an antioxidant its primary use was as a food additive.
When taken orally it is broken down into its component acids and its efficacy as vitamin C goes down.
But cosmeceutical manufacturers have utilized its longer stability to make topical serum, gel or cream to formulate more stable skin whitener and anti aging products.
Topical Whitener, for effective treatment results, is incorporated with higher percentage of ascorbyl palmitate.

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

Similar to Ascorbyl palmitate, this derivative of vitamin C is less acidic and is gaining popularity and use in anti aging topical products.
It is found to be effective in lower concentrations and also helps in exfoliation.

Tetra substituted lipophilic ascorbates:

Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is also found to have good anti aging  effects and is being increasingly used in topical formulations and products for collagen production.

Quality of topical vitamin C skin products

Though many of the new generation topical products are more stable than ascorbic acid form of vitamin C, they also gradually degrade over a length of time.
Hence we have to check for freshness and proper storage of the products.
Most of the vitamin C topical products slowly turn yellow as they degrade; do not buy preparations which have turned yellow.
On oxidation vitamin C acquires yellowish tint, indicating advanced stage of oxidation.
Please also note that the change in color is apparent when the degradation is fairly high.
There is a chance that the serum appearing white has already started to grade by the time it is bought.
Some manufacturers, color the preparations and this may camouflage degradation.
Pick a trustworthy brand at a trustworthy source and take care to pick a topical preparation which is recently manufactured.
Also look for sufficient (about 10%) concentrations of vitamin C for beneficial results.
It is also possible make topical vitamin c skin products (gel or serum) at home with ingredients available locally.
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Sunday, April 1

Vitamin C skin care - Vitamin C skin benefits

Skin lightening > Skin care and moisturizers > Vitamin C and skin care
Skin care with vitamin C is one of the very important secrets in keeping it youthful, shining and glowing.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) benefits skin by strengthening and increasing elasticity of collagen tissue and preventing wrinkles and photoaging.
Very reliable scientific research evidence has now proved benefits and effectiveness of vitamin C in skin care in whitening and in removing blemishes and hyperpigmentation.
However the latest trends and changing ingredients have made it difficult for us to choose effective vitamin C skincare products.

What are vitamin C skin benefits?

Ascorbic acid helps in skin whitening by exfoliation, cleansing and also by slowing down melanin skin pigment production, premature aging and age spots.
This also helps in softening and toning up dermal layers.
Its benefits also include stimulation of collagen growth, which is the basic matrix of dermal layers.
This has anti-aging effects and benefits in slowing down skin aging by firming it up and removing wrinkles and fine lines.

Antioxidant benefits of vitamin C for skin care

Ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant, which care and protect our body cells from  destruction by free-radicals formed during our body's metabolic processes.
Ascorbic acid actively neutralises free radicals. It is also found to reverse the DNA damage.
Free-radicals are also produced in the dermal layer, when it is exposed to ultra violet rays present in the sunlight.
Ascorbic acid also takes care of our dermal cells from negative impact of sun when applied topically by neutralizing free radicals.
However it is to be noted that, ascorbic acid application does not have sun screening effect and does not block sun rays.
Its action is only in protective care by neutralizing the free radicals produced during sun exposure.
Hence sunscreen, especially broad-spectrum sunscreen, with effective sun protection factor (SPF), also has to be used to block the sunlight for required care from darkening, sunburn, photodermatitis and cancers like  squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Vitamin C skin care benefits in exfoliation

One of the benefits of vitamin C is that in its common acidic form (ascorbic acid) exfoliates the epidermis layer effectively.
The top dead epidermis layer is shed off continuously by the natural process called desquamation.
In some individuals the process may be slower and more dead cells remain back giving the epidermis a dull appearance.
Exfoliating periodically makes the skin to bounce back with youth, vibrancy, freshness,clarity, radiance, shine and glow.

Collagen production for skin care with vitamin C

Collagen is the basic structural protein of the dermal layers and its synthesis depends on ascorbic acid.
The components of the skin are held together by the collagen fibres.
The benefits of collagen fibers are many and their benefits for dermal layers lies in holding together dermal components.
Insufficient and inefficient collagen fibers lead to dull, sagging and wrinkled epidermal structure.
For having wrinkle free look with firm texture, collagen synthesis at the epidermis and dermis levels must go on at optimum pace.
High levels of oral ascorbic acid, though have many effective benefits for other organ systems, do not target dermal layers effectively.
However ascorbic acid can be infused into the epidermis and dermis by topical applications.
In its ascorbic acid form it gets oxidised and denatured on exposure to water and light and loses efficacy.
Vitamin C skin care products have been developed with its different stable derivative forms,which are very effective and give immense benefits.
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