Eagle County residents: Get glowing skin | VailDaily.com

Eagle County residents: Get glowing skin

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Skin Food 02 TS 05-21-08

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Staring at WebMD isn’t a very fun way to learn about your skin. We challenge you to use all five of your senses. See how different cancers look by taking the quiz below, feel the effects of home-made face masks or taste a salmon tartar dish rich with skin-friendly fatty acids. From visual learners to audio learners, we have a lesson for everyone.

We asked Melaine Hendershott, a registered dietitian with the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, to name foods that are good for the skin. These are her picks:

Antioxidants (Vitamins A, C and E): These nutrients have been shown to prevent DNA damage from sun exposure, reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. Good sources of vitamin A are carrots, squash, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. Sources of vitamin C are citrus fruit, berries (especially blueberries) and dark greens. Nuts, seeds, olives and spinach are all good sources of vitamin E.

B-vitamins: These vitamins help retain moisture to prevent dry, itchy skin and scalp. B vitamins are found in whole grains and cereals, legumes and eggs.

Selenium: This mineral can help protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the severity of burns when consumed prior to sun exposure. In a study by the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Study Group, skin cancer survivors took 200 micrograms of selenium per day. The findings, published in the “Journal of American Medical Association” in 1996, showed reduced malignancies and 50 percent reduced risk of death as compared with a placebo. Good sources of selenium are whole-grain cereals, eggs, seafood and garlic.

Alpha-lipoic Acid (ALA): This is an antioxidant that is made in our bodies. It helps boost the actions of vitamins E and C. This antioxidant has properties to neutralize free radicals both inside and outside of the skin cell. Food sources of ALA are dark green vegetables and organ meats or can be supplemented at about 50 milligrams per day.

Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids are important in producing a healthy oil barrier to protect skin from dryness, sunburn and other environmental factors. Most of us get plenty of Omega 6 fatty acids in our diet, but often lack Omega 3s. Good sources of Omega 3s are fatty fish (see recipe), flax seeds and safflower oil. Supplements of 1 to 2 grams per day of fish, flax or primrose oil can be taken if needed.

This salmon tartar recipe comes from Kristi Allio, co-owner of The Bookworm of Edwards. Allio served the dish prior to a skin cancer lecture at the Bookworm last week.

Smoked Salmon Tartar

1 cup smoked salmon (diced)

2 tablespoons red onion (minced)

1 tablespoon capers (chopped)

3/4 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Lemon zest, to taste

Sea Salt, to taste

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except for smoked salmon in a mixing bowl. Fold in smoked salmon last until just combined. Serve chilled with grilled pita chips, endive cups, or partially-hollowed avocado halves.

Serves: 4 appetizer portions

Can dogs smell skin cancer? One study suggests they can. In 1994, dermatologist Armand Cognetta enlisted the help of an expert dog trainer with the Tallahassee Police K-9 Department in Florida. Researchers attached bandages to a woman’s body, including one bandage covering a melanoma sample. Over the course of a year of sniffing bandages, a trained Schnauzer learned to detect the bandage with melanoma 99.7 percent of the time. Researchers then tested the dog’s sniffing skills on cancer patients. The dog correctly identified melanoma on six of the seven patients.

Jim Walker, a Florida psycho-biologist who helped to present the research to the public, said the findings are intriguing. If melanoma has a unique chemical marker that dogs can smell, perhaps researchers could develop a sensor to detect it, Walker said.

One disclaimer, though: The study does not prove that melanoma has a distinct smell among cancers.

“It could smell just like squamous cell or basal cell cancer,” Walker said. “It could smell just like liver cancer. We don’t know how specific and how selective the chemical markers might be.”

Walker is unaware of any similar studies that have taken place more recently.

Douse your mug in one of these home-made face mask recipes from Deborah A. Wiancek, a naturopathic physician and owner of Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic in Edwards. Why do it yourself? Some cosmetics contain chemicals that are known or suggested to cause cancer, according to The Breast Cancer Fund (Visit http://www.safecosmetics.org for more information).

You’ll find nothing cryptic here ” just cucumber, avocado and rose water.

For dry skin


1/2 avocado

1 tablespoon honey

Preparation: Peel the avocado. Place it in a bowl and smash it up with a fork until it becomes a smooth paste with no chunks. Stir in honey. Apply the mixture to the face for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash it off with warm water.

For oily skin


1/2 cucumber

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Preparation: Clean and peel the cucumber. Place it in a blender. Blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Add the yogurt. Blend together until it reaches a consistency that’s smooth but not so runny that it will drip off the face. Apply to the face for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash it off with warm water.

For combination skin


2 tablespoons rose water or rose hydrosol

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1 tablespoon honey

Preparation: Mix together until the ingredients reach a smooth consistency. Apply to the face for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.


Tune into the Medical University of South Carolina’s podcast on dermatology (www.podcastdirectory.com/podcasts/44056).


Can you identify the skin cancers below? Take this quiz. Doctors with Vail Dermatology in Edwards provided these pictures of skin cancer. Match the doctor’s description of each cancer with the correct picture.

A) Melanoma: They look like brown or black spots on the skin, and typically have irregular borders, Dr. Karen Nern with Vail Dermatology said. Melanomas often have multiple colors, like brown, black, pink or gray, she said. Five percent of skin cancers are melanomas.

“If it’s caught early, it’s not very dangerous. If it’s caught late, it can become quite dangerous” because the cancer can spread, Nern said.

B) Squamos cell carcinoma: It looks like a small volcano: a bump with a crust in the center, Nern said. The second most common form of skin cancer, squamos cell carcinomas rarely spread. “If it occurs on sun-damaged skin, it rarely goes internally, unless it’s on the lip or the ear,” Nern said.

C) Basal cell carcinoma: Look for a shiny pink or white bump, like a pimple that won’t heal. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, Nern said. Although it won’t spread, it doesn’t go away by itself, she said. “It will continue to grow and bleed and become annoying and, if left untreated for many years, can become dangerous,” Nern said.


Answers: 1, C; 2, B; 3, A

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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