Tag Archives: Skin Issues

Different Insect Bites And What To Do About Them

Vine Vera Insect Bite

Here’s the news folks: We are all minority. Yes, no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation we identify with, there is a species that far outnumbers us, relegating us to minority status, despite our relatively large number. That is the insect. Insects are the most diverse group of animals on this planet including over a million described species and comprising more than half of all known living organisms on the planet. So, when it comes to the attack, how are we to know which one of these antennae bearing, joint-legged, googly-eyed life forms bit us? Here is a short guide to determining which of these hexapod invertebrates sank their teeth into our skin, and what we can do about it.

Mosquito Bites
Probably the most common and most annoying of insect bites, the mosquito bite is characterized by the signature itchy round pink or red bump. Although it is usually harmless, it can cause serious illnesses such as malaria and the Zika virus, which can be the cause microcephaly in infants of infected women. Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using an insect repellant containing DEET will help to protect from most bug bites. Antihistamines can be taken before going outside to decrease allergic negative reactions.

Biting Flies
Biting flies are a motley crew consisting of deer flies, horseflies, blackflies, no see ums and sandflies. Bites from this gang of pests tend to be more painful and irritating than those of mosquitoes and can sometimes cause allergic reactions.

Red and Black Fire Ants
Found mostly in the South, red and black fire ants give bites, which form a small blister, or pustule that usually appears a day or two after receiving the bite itself and tends to go away within a few days.

Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Bees and Wasps
Causing fear among children and grown men alike, these winged buzzers almost never attack unless provoked. Never swing or swat at them, and don’t smash them, as this can trigger an alarm scent that may stimulate others to attack. If you feel threatened by a bee, cover your face and keep still or walk away slowly; resist the urge to run.

Vine Vera itching hand


Normal Reaction
When most insects bite or sting, they inject a small amount of venom under the skin, usually causing a small area of swelling redness, itching and /or pain. These symptoms should resolve relatively quickly and can be eased by taking over the counter pain medicines, applying cold compresses or ice, and using calamine lotion to control itching.

Large Reactions
Dramatic immune responses can cause significant pain and swelling over a large area of the body. These often require prescription medication, such as pednisone, an oral steroid, to fight inflammation. Seek medical health if the swelling does not get better after a few hours, or if it affects more than one-third of your leg or arm.

Life-Threatening Reactions
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that spreads through the entire body. It is characterized by itching that commonly occurs far from the bite or sting, and trouble breathing. Antihistamines can slow the process, but urgent medical attention is urgent and should be sought immediately.

How are you dealing with insect bites this summer? Let us know which of these critters bit you and for family and how you handled it.


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Try The “Tissue Test” To Determine Your Skin Type

If you’re trying to choose the best skin care treatment for your skin, whether it be cleansing, moisturizing, or toning, the first step is always the same: determining your skin type. Which should be easy, right? How far off the mark can you be? But truthfully, we’re all a little unsure, and if you’re reluctant to admit confusion, you’re not alone.

You see, as it turns out, determining your skin type can be more difficult than you might think. That’s because skin type changes as you age. Acne-prone teens can grow into adults with dry sensitive skin and clear skinned twenty-somethings can develop breakouts later in life. Heaters, air conditioning, changes in weather and other external factors can also affect skin behavior. If you’re among the many who are not sure which skin type category your fall under, you may want to try the “tissue test” for an accurate read.

Woman smiling

The Tissue Test

  1. Cleanse your face. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and pat dry. Remove all traces of makeup. This will clear away the daily accumulation of oil and dirt, leaving your skin in the best shape for the test. Be careful to avoid over washing.
  2. Wait an hour. This will give your skin time to return to its most natural state, restoring pH balance after cleansing. Try to avoid touching your face during this time.
  3. Dab your face with tissue.
  4. Pay most attention to your “T-zone,’ the area including the nose and forehead.


Normal Skin
If you have normal skin, your skin will show no oil and no flaking skin, and feel smooth and supple. If you have this, congratulations, this is the most desirable type.

Oily Skin
A greasy tissue means greasy skin. Oily skin is also characterized by large pores and a shiny complexion.

Dry Skin
If your skin feels taut or shows dead skin flakes it means you have dry skin. It is also common for people with this skin types to have small pores. Moisturize, moisturize!

If your skin shows all three traits of the above type, join the crowd. Combination skin is the most common skin type. Usually, this means the skin in the T-zone is oily, while other parts are normals or dry.

Woman smiling

Skin Problems
In addition to having a “type,” there are two common “problem” categories that your skin can fall under.

Sensitive skin
If your skin reacts easily to regular facial products, developing redness, itchiness, or rashes, your skin is sensitive.

Teenager of not, if you see spots, you’ve got acne-prone skin. Look for a good product with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid on the market, or visit a dermatologist for advice.

Did you do the tissue test? Did it work for you? Let us know, and tell us what works best on your skin type.

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Caffeine’s Effects On Your Skin

Judging from the lines at Starbucks, people sure like the effects of coffee. It seems that coffee companies cannot find enough ways of incorporating the bean into new drinks. Just when you think you finally figured out the difference between a mocha chino and macchiato, a new drink appears with lines of people ready to dole out their hard-earned cash for the latest blast of caffeine infused sweetness. And while these consumers may be giving themselves an extra pat on the back for the not so recent evidence of coffee’s antioxidant properties, they may be less enamored to hear of how the brew actually affects the skin.

Woman drinking coffee

Tannin is a chemical present in coffee and tea. If the knowledge that tannin is used in tanneries to process leather isn’t enough to convince you that it’s not something you want in your coffee, consider its effects on your skin. Tannins prevent the pores of cells from receiving nutrients. Other things that make tannin such a great leather treatment, and a such a lousy skin treatment, are its hydration removal properties, which can make skin brittle over time.

Liver Spots
Liver spots are a common skin problem for older people. The liver functions as a filter to purify your blood, allowing cells to receive essential nutrients and oxygen. Over the long term, coffee can block the liver with toxins, preventing it from doing its job. The impurities in the blood result in high levels of liver congestion and toxicity which can result in the appearance of the dreaded liver spot, according to Chet Day’s Health and Beyond Online.

Not only does the tannin contribute to skin dehydration, the caffeine in the coffee acts like a diuretic in high amounts, furthering the dehydrating effects. Diuretics cause increased urination which dries out your skin and your body. Although a few cups of Joe a day may not dry you out too badly, try to keep your intake to under 4 cups to avoid problems.

Woman drinking coffee indoors

Ok, so the word is still out on the acne-caffeine connection, but it seems to be the opinion of most experts that, while caffeine may not cause acne, it could exacerbate an already existing condition, according to AbsoluteAcneInfo.com. The toxic effects of coffee on the liver may also contribute to acne because the caffeine can block the liver from purifying blood, which may taint skin cells.

Topical Use Of Caffeine
Why, you may be wondering, if coffee is so bad for the skin, is it a common ingredient in skin care products? Well, it turns out that the antioxidant properties in caffeine make it an effective anti-ager and its ability to constrict small blood vessels and reduce inflammation can help minimize sagging skin and dark circles under the eyes. Caffeine’s anti- inflammatory qualities often aid in reducing the appearance of cellulite and its dehydrating abilities help to draw excess fluids from fat cells.

So the upshot? When it comes to caffeine and your skin, put it on you, not in you. Let us know what you think? Is the caffeine withdrawal worth the potential skin benefits?

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Get Rid of Blackheads

Keeping your skin looking its best is no trivial task, and there are a wide assortment of obstacles that can set you back in this endeavor. Roadblocks like acne, pimples, redness, age spots, rosacea, and more can be a serious thorn in your side when it comes to effective skin care. And that’s not even to mention the “typical” skin problems like dryness, redness, and greasiness!

But no skin care obstacle is quite so stubborn and irksome as the dreaded blackhead. They’re ugly, hard to get rid of, and can happen whether you suffer form acne or not (though they will certainly happen more often if you have acne), sometimes seeming to appear out of nowhere. In short, they’re a pain.

But they are manageable, and Vine Vera happens to know a few ways you can get rid of and prevent blackheads, and we’re about to share them with you.

Woman suffering from a breakout

What Is a Blackhead?
It’s always helpful when treating any given problem to first identify the issue. While you undoubtedly know what a blackhead is and how bothersome they can be, do you actually know what they are?

Blackheads are a type of pimple, meaning they’re pores that have been clogged with things like makeup, oils, makeup, and other debris. Unlike whiteheads, the type of pimple we usually think of when we hear the word “pimple,” blackheads are “open,” meaning the clog is not covered by skin as it is with a whitehead. This allows the pus and debris clogging the pore to be exposed and get dirty and dry, creating the blackish color that earns blackheads their name. Because the clog is closer to the surface, blackheads often do not form a “bump,” like whiteheads, but instead just an unseemly dark dot on the face.

Blackhead removal strips

Blackhead Extractors
It’s generally a bad idea to “pop” your pimples, because it can leave scarring. And while blackheads don’t really “pop” when you squeeze them like whiteheads do, it’s fairly common to try to extract them through squeezing. This is still a bad idea, though, because it can be easy to accidentally drive the clog deeper into the pore, causing more damage and potentially worsening the infection, or cause scarring through the imprecise pressure created by your fingers. Instead, if you must manually extract your blackheads, get a blackhead extractor, a tool that allows you to press in a circular area right around the blackhead to push it out.Woman using a toner.

Toners use astringents to constrict your skin and push oils out of your pores. If you have blackheads, the oil moving out of your pores can also have the effect of of pushing out blackheads with it. Just be careful and get a gentle toner that won’t dry out your skin.

Honey mask

Preventative Measures
To avoid getting blackheads in the first place, there are a few things you can do. For one, get products that contain salicylic acid. This powerful ingredient will kill harmful bacteria that can cause the infections in clogged pores that lead to blackheads and whiteheads. Just be sure it’s a low concentration and doesn’t over-dry your skin.

There are also a number of DIY masques you can use to help prevent blackheads, like an organic honey mask. Honey softens the skin, but also has anti-microbial properties that will help prevent pimple-causing infections. Just spread a thin layer of organic honey over your face and leave it for around 15 minutes before washing off.

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Vine Vera on Stretch Marks – VineVera Reviews

Stretch marks can be embarrassing and cause a woman to lose confidence in themselves. Wearing clothing that exposes the areas, such as a bathing suit, shorts, or a crop top may cease to happen. Vine Vera found that stretch marks can effect some women so badly that it can even interfere with their sex lives and cause complications in their relationships.

Hand with sign: stop stretch marks

What are Stretch Marks?

Stretch marks are caused by the body’s inability to properly expand when excess weight is gained. The skin and tissues tear due to needing extra room for the expanding body mass beneath. Many women during pregnancy develop stretch marks on their stomachs, and even on their sides and back. Stretch marks have become increasingly common due to the fact that two thirds of Americans are overweight today. This is an extremely disturbing fact being that obesity has doubled since only 1980. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)


Ways to Hide Stretch Marks

Wearing clothing that covers the areas of the body where the stretch marks are located is the best way to actually hide them. There are also body cosmetics which are said to hide the stretch marks. Some work well, according to reviews, and others – not so much. There is also the option of airbrush makeup, which can hide virtually anything. This is, for the most part, impractical as most women don’t have an airbrush setup at their homes.

Tanning at a salon or lying out in the sun can also help to camouflage the appearance of stretch marks as well. The darker the skin, the more difficult it is to see the stretch marks.

belly with stretch marks

Ways to Fade and Remove Stretch Marks

If you have light stretch marks that don’t cut too deep, chances are you are able to diminish them to nearly nothing. There are scar creams and stretch mark creams available in drug stores, department stores, and online to help fade the stretch marks to the point where they are barely noticeable. There is also the option of cocoa butter, which can help to fade the stretch marks as well. As a side note, the use of cocoa butter lotion during pregnancy can actually prevent pregnant women from developing stretch marks in the first place. There are also other options as we will discuss below.


Difficult Stretch Marks

Sometimes, there are stretch marks that are difficult to alleviate due to the fact that they are too deep, too dark, or too large. In these cases, you could perhaps speak with your dermatologist to discuss further options.

Some of these other options include laser therapy, and surgical removal of the stretch marks. Both of these options are extremely expensive, and it is a personal choice to opt for this kind of surgery. Make sure you discuss the pros and cons of these types of treatments with your doctor, and find out the possible side effects and negative things that can come along with these types of treatments.


Life Without Stretch Marks

If you have stretch marks, life doesn’t have to feel depressing and difficult. Vine Vera suggests that you try some of the above treatment options, and chances are you will find something that works well for you.

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