Hello, Warriors! We hope you’re doing well and thriving! Welcome to The Breast Place blog, where we cover a range of topics from breast cancer management to skin care treatments to women’s health. We’re committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Check out our previous posts about mask-related acne and teach your daughters how to perform a self-exam! Be sure to check back in for more information you need to live your best life!
Today, we’ll be detailing the effect of water on your skin. Whether you’re drinking water or washing your face with it, water plays a vital role in allowing our bodies to function properly. We’ve all been inundated with “remember to drink water’ posts and perhaps you’ve even started to incorporate water consumption into your daily routine. However, the type of water you drink and use on your body can have effects on your skin you didn’t intend for. We’ll go over the benefits of drinking an adequate amount of water, as well as which types of water you should avoid to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy!
Benefits of Drinking Water
According to the ‘Natural Mineral Waters: Chemical Characteristics and Health Effects,’ a scientific paper studying the benefits of mineral water on the body, “water is involved in many body functions, since it serves as a carrier of nutrients and substances in the circulatory system. Furthermore, it is a vehicle to excrete products, eliminate waste and toxins, and it also lubricates joints. However, there is no efficient mechanism of the body's water storage; therefore, a constant supply of fluids is needed to keep water content.” (Quattrini).
Drinking an adequate amount of water can help to tighten skin, maintain your body’s natural pH balance, flush toxins, retain skin elasticity and prevent wrinkles, as well as reduce breakouts and the appearance of dark circles. All of that, you say? Yes! And more.
Allowing your body to become dehydrated is detrimental not only to your skin, but also all of your other body functions. Now you’re aware of the importance of drinking plenty of water daily, the next question is...
How Much Water Should You Drink A Day
How much water you consume on a daily basis varies depending on a set of personal factors, including: metabolism, weight, height, and daily activity. While some medical professionals recommend an all-encompassing five to eight glasses a day, others ask you to do a bit of math to determine the appropriate amount of daily water consumption. The formula takes your weight in pounds and divides it in half. The resulting number is how many ounces of water you should consume per day. For example, a two-hundred pound man would drink one-hundred ounces of water per day.
Different Aspects of Water and How They Affect Your Skin
Water may seem simple at first glance. Water is water, right? Well, not quite.
Consider the water aisle at your local grocery store. There are multiple different brands and all manner of different kinds of water available for consumption. We’re here to tell you some of those types are better for your skin, both orally and topically.
Let’s begin with the one most of us have access to in our homes--tap water. Tap water is cheap and widely available, making it the most convenient option for the general population to both drink and wash with. However, as we’ve seen on the news in past years, tap water may not always be the best to drink. Tap water can contain plastic particles, lead, pesticide residue, aluminum, and other contaminants we don’t want circulating through our systems. Extra toxins can and will have an effect on our skin. Therefore, you might want to consider investing in a filtration system to filter out the microscopic contaminants present in tap water. Purified water—water which has been chemically treated to be safe to drink—may be an option for your drinking water as well, but we’ll discuss later why it may not be the best option for your skin.
As well, tap water has a pH of about 7, which is considered neutral. Tap water can run more alkaline, in certain areas. Our skin has a natural pH of about 5 (ideally, 4.7), which is slightly acidic. When our skin is left unwashed for at least twenty-four hours, it generally dips below a 5 on the pH-scale. This pH contributes to what’s known as our acid mantle, which is essential for our skin’s health and health. The acidity of our skin allows resident bacteria to continue living on the skin, but makes the skin inhospitable to other types of bacteria. Breakdowns in the acid mantle can lead to acne and infections. Alkaline soaps and water (such as tap water) can raise the pH of your skin for a temporary period and potentially interrupt the acid mantle. Skin that’s too alkaline is dry, tight, and dull. Meanwhile, skin that’s too acidic is greasy, irritated, and overly sensitive.
As an alternative to tap water, you might choose to drink and wash your face with distilled water. Distilled water is tap water that has been boiled and had its steam collected. This steaming process leaves behind contaminants and is a great option if you don’t trust your tap water. Distilled water, lacking minerals, can sometimes pull minerals from your body and teeth. However, its pH is close to 5, meaning distilled water won’t bring up the pH balance of your skin. That’s why it’s recommended you use distilled water for your skin and drink mineral water instead.
Mineral water is collected from select springs and contains a host of beneficial minerals. Defined as “microbiologically wholesome,” mineral water must be absent of the main contamination factors (e.g. parasites, E. Coli, fecal matter) at the time of collection and marketing. Below is a list of some minerals found in mineral water and how they benefit your body:
Many of these minerals aid in digestion. Digestion plays an important role in the appearance of our skin. Good digestion helps eliminate toxins from the body and reduce inflammation. When our digestive system isn’t operating effectively, our bodies struggle to absorb nutrients and toxins can reintegrate into our systems, then express through our skin.
Not every bottle of mineral water will contain all of these macro and micronutrients. As well, mineral water can be expensive. As well, you should be able to acquire the necessary quantities of these nutrients through a balanced diet. The alternative, spring water (which also contains minerals) isn’t always tested and may contain health risks. Therefore, a combination of drinking mineral water and using distilled (reverse osmosis) water on your face should give you everything you need—both inside and out—to keep your skin looking its best.
Remember to tone after using an acidic or alkaline cleanser to restore your skin to its natural pH balance. Additionally, avoid spending too much time in chlorinated water.
Another important factor you need to consider is the hardness of your tap water. Hard water contains soap scum—dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium—which leaves a thin layer of residue on the skin even after washing with soap. This residue can clog pores and lead to breakouts, as well as worsen skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Hard water can dry skin out and prevent our natural oils from doing their job of conditions and softening our skin. All of this drying can lead to premature aging. If that wasn’t bad enough, those impurities present in hard water can form free radicals which damage healthy skin cells, causing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. If you have an irritated scalp or dandruff, hard water may be making the issue worse. Hard water has been found to be an environmental trigger of eczema.
Soft water, on the other hand, lacks these mineral deposits. Therefore, soft water is gentler on your skin and won’t trigger skin condition flare-ups. Soft water won’t give you the telltale “squeaky clean” feeling hard water will give after a shower, but that’s a positive. Clean skin should feel slick and slippery, not tight. Hard water actually has a difficult time bonding to soap and forming a lather, which makes it less effective when cleansing the body.
If you suspect your water is too hard, you can do a water hardness test to confirm your suspicions. Then, if you were correct, invest in a new showerhead which filters hard water or applies a softening agent. As well, rinsing your skin with acidic water (i.e. ionized water or heavily diluted apple cider vinegar) can remove some of the residue from hard water still present on your skin after washing.
Though you may love hot showers or extol the benefits of a cold shower, the optimal temperature for extended exposure to water is lukewarm. Water that’s too hot can irritate and strip the skin. There’s no harm in splashing your face in cold water or taking a cold shower every once in a while. In fact, we’re sure you’ve read about the benefits of doing this. However, the safest bet every time is lukewarm water.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about how the water you drink and use can affect your skin, in a nutshell. We hope this information leads to noticeable improvements in your skin. And, one last time, drink your water!
Here at The Breast Place we offer a list of facial rejuvenation services, including Excel V+ (vascular laser), Secret RF (micro-needling with radio frequency), dermal fillers, and Botox. Facial rejuvenation can address concerns such as excessive redness, uneven texture, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We also have Dr. Des Fernandes, a skincare expert and founder of Environ Skincare, on-hand to help you with any other skin concerns you may have. Reach out for a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve your best skin! Until next time, thank you for reading!
Hello, Warriors! How are you doing today? We here at The Breast Place hope you’re enjoying the long days of constant sunshine midsummer has to offer. Whether you’re at the beach with your family or basking in your backyard, remember to slather on a thick layer of your favorite sunscreen!
Today, our aim is to impress upon each of our readers the importance of teaching your daughters how to perform a breast self-exam and how you might go about having such a conversation. We understand these sorts of things can be tricky. It’s our professional opinion: preparation is the pangea to anxiety in situations such as this one. Equipped with knowledge, you can answer any questions your daughter might have about why breast self-exams are necessary and how to perform one herself. This exchange doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, we hope with the information in this article, both you and your daughter will walk away from the conversation feeling confident and empowered.
On the Importance of Self-Examination
A breast self-exam (BSE) is, as the name suggests, a self-performed examination of one’s own chest area. The area underneath one’s armpits is also included in a self examination.
The chief benefit of self-exams are their potential to alert women to the presence of lumps and masses in their breasts which might be cancerous. Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancer cases are first detected by women who felt a lump. Early awareness is a key factor in determining survival rates in cases involving non-metastatic invasive breast cancer. Sixty-three percent of women are diagnosed while the cancer is still contained within the breast and of these women, the five-year survival rate is ninety-nine percent. However, young women—ages 15 to 39—are less likely to be diagnosed within this early stage because regular breast cancer screenings don’t begin until age forty for most.
The chance of women under forty developing breast cancer is only five percent. However minimal this risk factor may seem, it is still a risk. Therefore, teaching your daughters how to perform self-exams is vital.
Knowing One’s Own Body
The secondary benefit of performing regular self-exams might be the more universal of the two. We all need to have at least a basic understanding of our bodies. Performing regular breast self-exams can help your daughter to become familiar with her own physicality. Doctors recommend young women conduct self-exams less for the chance they’ll find a cancerous mass and more to have a solid understanding of what’s “normal” for them. Only by having a baseline of what your breasts look and feel like can young people identify when something has changed.
Now, you’re ready to have “the talk.” You don’t necessarily have to plan out what you’re going to say. In fact, it’s better if you don’t! You don’t want anything to sound too scripted. This is a natural topic of conversation between you and your daughter. Therefore, it’s always better to keep things casual.
When and Where
As with any in-depth conversation, you want to choose your moment. On a broader scale, this comes down to when—in your daughter’s timeline of development—you choose to have this conversation. While some doctors don’t recommend starting breast exams until you’re at least twenty and fully developed, others recommend beginning self-exams as soon as puberty. In this aspect, you must gauge the maturity of your child. Will they participate in this sort of conversation or plug their ears and run away? If it’s the latter, you might want to wait until they’re a bit more mature to have this conversation.
On a smaller scale, when to have this conversation depends on external factors. Environment. Time-of-day. Even whether or not your child has eaten. For the optimal retention of information, you’ll want to choose a day when your child is well-rested. Choose a private location for this conversation, as well. Though there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, no one wants an audience when they're talking about intimate parts of their bodies.
Do Your Research
Knowledge is your friend. Don’t go into the conversation unprepared. Chances are, your daughter will have questions about things. If you’re confused about certain aspects of the self-exam, you’ll only transfer your confusion onto her. Make sure you’re able to answer the most common questions.
How often should I be performing a self-exam? Once a month.
When should I perform the exam? At least a week after your last period. This allows any swelling of the breasts to lessen before the exam.
Where should I perform an exam? Self-exams can be performed standing up or lying down. They’ll want to add in the assistance of a mirror (when standing) in order to visually inspect the breasts. Doctors no longer recommend performing self-exams in the shower.
What should I be looking for? You’re looking for any lumps, bumps, hard masses, dimpling, discoloration, changes in texture, or discharge.
What’s normal? Everyone’s body is different. Therefore, there is no basic definition for normal. You’ll have to develop your own definition after multiple self-exams. Uneven breasts aren’t necessarily an indication of something being wrong. Likewise, stretchmarks (lighter or darker toned striations where the skin has stretched) are no cause for concern. What you want to keep an eye out for is major differences between the breasts (i.e. deformations or dimpling) and other sudden changes in the feel and appearance of your breasts.
How do I perform a self-exam?
This part of the conversation depends on your level of comfortability. You can either verbally explain what to do or physically demonstrate using hand motions or combine a mixture of both methods. You can also print out a self-exam guide on the National Breast Cancer organization website.
Stand in front of a mirror. With your arms by your side, visually assess your chest area. You’re looking for noticeable changes in contour, dimpling, discoloration or strange texture. Next, raise your arms above your head. Continue your visual examination. Next, place your arms on your hips and press to flex your pectoral muscles. Continue your visual examination, searching for major differences in the usual appearance of your breasts.
Lying Down Self-Exam
Lie down with a pillow placed under the shoulder of the breast you’re examining. Lift the arm on the side of the breast you’re examining until your bicep is beside your ear. Use the three middle fingers of your opposite hand (i.e. ring, middle, index) to make a flat surface. Using the flat surface of the pads of your fingers, palpate the entire breast area, including the armpit. You can use varying degrees of pressure. You can use an up-down motion, make circles, or radiate your palpitation outward from the nipple. Finally, squeeze each nipple to check for blood or discharge.
After the Talk
What happens after the talk is just as important as the actual conversation. At this point, your child will go off to process the information and perform a self-examination alone. Especially in the beginning, self-examinations can be the catalyst of worry. This next section will help you handle the emotions which might come up as a result of a self-exam.
Self-exams shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. In fact, they’re a wonderful tool for assuaging anxiety. Self-exams cannot rule out the possibility of having breast cancer. To rule out any foreign masses, you or your child would need to have a mammogram performed by a doctor. However, self-exams give us a small amount of power in the knowledge they imbue. With an understanding of our own body and what’s “normal” for us, we’re equipped to notice when something goes awry.
And, even when something does go awry, it’s not always a reason to panic. Eight out of ten lumps are not cancerous. They can be cysts or benign tumors or even just particularly dense sections of breast tissue.
Self-exams take five to ten minutes and only need to be completed once a month. As women, we have a responsibility to ourselves to check in with our own bodies. This is how we manage our health. Fear is most often born out of a lack of knowledge. With regular self-exams, we’re collecting knowledge about ourselves and managing our fear.
Assuage and Anticipate
Even equipped with the proper knowledge and relevant statistics, self-exams can bring up a lot of guessing and wondering. In the weeks or months following your conversation, check-in with your daughter. Of course, gauge her willingness to continue the conversation first. You might ask her how she’s feeling about her self-exams. Does she have any questions? Even if you’re not able to answer her questions and concerns, you can both take a trip to the doctor’s office and learn about breast health together.
Discussing your daughter’s health care concerns doesn’t have to be done alone. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help assuage any fears which might arise after beginning self-exams. That’s why The Breast Place offers consultations concerning breast pain, breast lumps or masses, abcesses and nipple discharge. Our physicians can show you and your daughter how to properly perform a self-exam and run family history risk assessments to see if you’re genetically predisposed to certain forms of breast cancer.
If you or your daughter do encounter a lump, don’t panic. Instead, schedule an appointment as soon as you’re able. The Breast Place offers several breast imaging services, including: mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs. Whether you have dense breast tissue or have had an abnormal mammogram, we can assist you in deciding what the next step in your healthcare journey should be and facilitate the necessary care. We’re here to help!