Category Archives: The Doctor’s Corner

Is Your Handbag Weighing You Down?

Do you ever experience shoulder or back pain after a long day out? It could be because you may have over 20 pounds of stuff in your handbag, according to the Telegraph UK.  Results based off of a OnePoll survey showed the average handbag weighs 23 pounds (10.5 kilograms), the same amount as a small child! Sounds crazy, right? I challenge you to weigh your bag right now and see how much extra weight you’re carrying around.  I try to wear my lighter or crossbody bags when I know I’ll be out all day and save my heavier bags for shorter periods of time.  One of my favorite purses is this Marc Jacobs handbag with beautiful chain straps.  The bag is heavy before I even put anything in it and of course, I want to try to be glamorous and wear it on my arm instead of sensibly on my shoulder.  I decided to weigh it and see just how much weight I’m actually carrying.

Marc Jacobs handbag weight

Just under 10lbs! I’m under the average but it’s still pretty heavy.

Oversize totes carry a serious potential for injury. The combination of the weight of the bag against muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments—plus the compensating shift in posture you make to carry the load—can lead to headaches, back pain, and muscle strains. Excessively heavy handbags can cause more serious nerve trauma or degenerative joint disease. It’s easy to dismiss the “pocketbook effect,” but “when you carry something heavy every day, the accumulated stress can lead to significant injuries that require medical attention,” says Martin Lanoff, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and a clinical assistant professor at Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in Chicago.

So, how can you attempt to avoid injury from your handbag?

1.) Limit the loads. Lighten your load by using only trial size lotions and cosmetics. Also, shop for lighter bags: buckles, chains and other hardware can add upward of a pound to your freight.

2.) Center the weight. A backpack is best for this but everyone is not going to wear one of those (myself included).  You can try to split your load and carry two bags with half the weight in each and holding one on either side of the body which will balance things out and align you better. Another alternative is a messenger style slung across the body to balance the weight. If you have a heavy shoulder bag, try to switch sides periodically and use a style with a wider strap to distribute the pressure across the shoulder.

3.) Keep the weight close to your body. Shorter straps will hug the weight closer to your body and minimize swinging. Also, wearing the bag on your shoulder as opposed to on your arm will keep the weight close to the body and lessen the strain.

Now that we know how to prevent injury from our handbags, it’s time for my personal pet peeve. Get your handbags of the ground ladies!!!! I have to tell this story. I was at a Hawks game sitting in the club level with some friends.  I went to the bathroom and noticed that the woman in the stall next to me had placed her gorgeous leather Gucci bag on the bathroom floor. Yuck! But it gets worse.  When we went back out to the dining area, she placed her bag on the table!! On the table where she and others were eating! YUCK!!!  There have been several recent studies showing how toxic womens’ handbags can be to their health.

purse-on-ground1

Source: mix97-3.com

Tests done by Initial Washroom Hygiene shows that leather handbags carry the most bacteria because the spongy texture provides ‘perfect growing conditions.’ It is, therefore, advisable that women should wash their hands regularly and use antibacterial wipes to clean their bags and contents. In another study reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the technical manager at Initial Hygiene, Peter Barratt, said: “Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces; so, the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned.

In conclusion, clean your handbags regularly with sanitizing wipes and sanitize your hands after contact with your handbag before eating our touch yourself or others. And please don’t place your handbags on the ground.  Use a cute bag hook instead.

hook_pink bag

Source: Margarets.com

I hope these tips will help create a more harmonious relationship between you and your beloved handbags.

Sources:  Huffington Post, Telegraph UK, Prevention.com, Daily Mail.

Fashionably yours,

thestylishmd

 

Eyelash Extensions: My Personal Struggle for Lush Lashes

I was not blessed with long eyelashes.  I’m always envious of my husband’s naturally long eyelashes and of course, as a man, he could care less about having them.  I highly doubt there’s a mascara out there that I haven’t tried but I’m never able to achieve the desired length from any of them.  I have also tried products similar to Latisse which work, but you have to continue to use them to keep the length.

Last December I was getting my nails done by my usual manicurist and I commented on her gorgeous, long lashes.  She quickly told me they were extensions.  I had known about the typical falsies I used in the past as a dancer and performer, but I was not hip to eyelash extensions.  I questioned her further and she gave me the name of the woman who did her lashes.  I made an appointment with Robyn Fujimoto, who was the ‘go-to’ woman for eyelash extensions in Atlanta.  During my consultation, she explained to me about the different types of lashes (mink and faux mink), wear, and care of the lashes.  We decided on a length and after 2 hours I was transformed into a glamazon!  My lashes were so long and natural looking.  You can see similar results in the pictures below:

image

Source: eyelashextensionvegas.com

I received endless compliments on them and I was hooked.  Now, this is NOT a cheap habit.  A full set was $200 and a fill was $75 every 2-3weeks.  I continued to get my lashes filled for several months until one day I woke up in the morning to a red, itchy, swollen eyelid. Even more importantly, it was THREE days before my wedding!!!! Needless to say, I was freaking out!  I immediately thought I may have had an infection.  I spoke with my aesthetician that day and she said it was common to have a mild allergic reaction to the adhesive.  I then consulted with a friend of mine who is a dermatologist and also had eyelash extensions.  I received a cortisone injection and my eye was back to normal within two days.

Well, that was the last time I had eyelash extensions.  I have spoken with several other women who have similar stories to mine.  So, what exactly happened?

image

Source: beautytips411.com

There are several different eyelash extension products with the most popular being NovaLash, NaturaLash, and Xtreme Lashes.  They all use a “medical grade” adhesive for the lashes to stick.  NovaLash is supposed to be the healthiest of the products claiming a fume-free adhesive.  This is what there Material Safety Data Sheet reveals:

2 – Composition/Information on Ingredients:

Hazardous Component (relative %)

Cyanoacrylate Ester Poly Methyl Methacrylate Chemical composition testing has confirmed that this adhesive is essentially formaldehyde free*. (*below those levels specified by the FDA and OSHA as significant or hazardous)

3 – Hazards Identification:

Toxicity: Skin contact may cause burns. Bonds rapidly and strongly to skin. Skin and eye irritant. Estimated oral LD50 more than 5000mg/kg.

Route of Entry: Inhalation

Signs of exposure: Vapor is irritating to eyes and mucous membranes above TLV. Prolonged and / or repeated overexposure to vapors may produce

symptoms of non-allergic asthma in sensitive individuals.

I’m sorry but this doesn’t seem fume-free to me.  This is supposed to be the best glue and I’m sure salons across the country are using cheaper adhesives to cut costs.  Kind of makes you think….  I also love this first aid tip in their MSDS:

Eyelid Adhesion – In the event that eyelids are stuck together or bonded to the eyeball, wash thoroughly with warm water and apply a gauze patch. The eye will open without further action, typically in one to two days. There will be no residual damage. Do not try to open the eyes by manipulation.

Could you imagine having your eye glued shut for 1-2 days!!!  All in all, this post is not to scare you, but to inform you.  My aim is to make you an informed consumer. I didn’t know to ask these questions so I’m passing on this information so you can avoid having an experience like mine. If you go to a salon for consultation about eyelash extensions, ask them about what adhesives they use and what problems previous clients have experienced.  If they’re not open about their product, RUN!

Here is the link to novalash.com/pdf/MSDS-FF.pdf for more info

Fashionably yours,

thestylishmd

Gel Manicures: Are They Safe?

As an orthopaedic surgeon, I was never able to maintain a manicure because it would chip after one day of surgery.  I always envied ladies with beautifully manicured nails.  There is something so feminine and polished about a woman with beautiful nails.  Then I heard about gel manicures that promised a no-chip manicure for up to two weeks!  I thought “Finally! I can be a girly-girl too!”  My experience with these manicures has been a positive one so far.  Then I began to hear horror stories from people I know about botched nail jobs, weakening nails, and even infections.  So I decided to do some investigation to determine if these manicures were safe or not.

Source: michelessalon.net

Source: michelessalon.net

During the process, the nails are prepared in the same fashion as a regular manicure.  Then they are brushed with alcohol and a setting liquid.  A base coat is applied followed by two coats of color, and then a top coat.  The nails are cured in a UV light lamp between each coat.  After the final coat is cured, the nails are wiped with alcohol and the manicure is complete.  The advantage to this process is that your nails are already dry at the completion of the manicure and you don’t have to worry about messing them up on the way out of the door.

Source: becomegorgeous.com

Source: becomegorgeous.com

Source: emilyrecommends.com

Source: emilyrecommends.com

The removal process consists of soaking the polish off in acetone.  Cotton balls soaked in acetone are placed on the nails and the fingers are wrapped in foil, or alternately a finger sponge can be used.  Soak times vary depending on the type of gel polish used (OPI, CND, Gelish).  After, the nail polish is soft it is removed with either a wooden or metal pusher.  The nails are then buffed and filed.

Source: trendyhands.com

Source: trendyhands.com

Source: uvnailpolish.com

Source: uvnailpolish.com

Now. Is this safe? First, the skin cancer risk.  Due to the novelty of these manicures, there is not a lot of scientific literature on the risk of skin cancer from these UV lamps.  In 2009, the Archives of Dermatology reported two women developed non-melanoma skin cancer on their hands.  The one woman had 15 years of UV light exposure and the other women used UV light eight times in one year.  The nail industry says that visiting the salon every two weeks exposes you to the equivalent of just two extra minutes in the sun every day, according to a study cited in ABC News.  Just to be on the safe side, if you’re going to have the manicures you should protect yourself with sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. The Rodan & Fields Anti-Age Shield is an ideal product for protecting your hands.  You can also use fingerless gloves.  Also, try to find a nail salon that use LED lights instead.  These lights dry faster and use less UV radiation.

Source: Kali.myrandf.com

                                 Rodan and Fields Redefine Hand Shield Balm

 

Source: uvnaillamps.com

Source: uvnaillamps.com

The removal process can put nails at risk of weakening and infection.  The acetone can weaken the nails up to 50% and the scraping with the metal pushers can lead to breaks in the surrounding skin where a Staph infection could occur.

Source: linearcanvas.com

Source: linearcanvas.com

So with all of this information, am I going to give up my beloved gel manicures?  Honestly, probably not.  I will, however, protect myself with the hand shield, use the LED lamps, and get them less frequently.  I hope this information can help you to be an informed consumer.

Fashionably yours,

thestylishmd