5 PLANTS THAT SHOULD NEVER TOUCH YOUR SKIN

5 PLANTS THAT SHOULD NEVER TOUCH YOUR SKIN

Plants are incredibly smart; a lot smarter than we give them credit for.

 As humans, we are created with a genetic predisposition to protect ourselves. When we sense danger, our bodies release epinephrine in order to initiate a fight-or-flight response. Though plants don’t have epinephrine (of course), they do have built-in chemical weapons that keep them safe, and keep predators away – both animals and humans. 

So what does that have to do with you? Well…these chemicals can be extremely deadly, especially if you’re exposed to them on your morning walks in nature.They can lead to blistering skin and rashes, burning, stinging, and other ‘discomforts’ that could ultimately lead to a trip to the hospital. So it’s extremely important not to  expose your skin to plants.

 

 

KNOW YOUR PLANTS

To protect your skin and minimize your exposure, it’s very important to know which plants are harmful, and which plants are safe. Some plants deemed safe can also cause nasty side-effects if you are over-exposed. 

So, here are 5 commonly encountered plans in North America that you should look out for. You can also download this blog and keep it on your phone in case you need to reference it when you’re out and about!

 

 

 
WATER HEMLOCK

 

The Water Hemlock is a toxic wetland plant that is commonly found in wet meadows along the banks of streams. It’s arguably one of the most poisonous plants in North America, and can lead to seizures and death.

The toxic substance in water hemlock is cicutoxin, a highly poisonous unsaturated alcohol that has a strong carrot-like odor. It is found principally in the tubers but is also present in the leaves and stems during early growth.

 
 
 
GIANT HOGWEED

Giant Hogweeds were not indigineous  in Canada, however it has recently been spotted across several provinces such as Ontario, B.C., and Quebec. It’s also very common in the U.S.

These plants can grow up to 2 meters in height, and look like a gigantic version of the Queen Anne’s lace (which is lovely, but…Giant Hogweeds scare me!!)

Though this plant isn’t deadly, the sap can cause burning and blistering. And, if it makes contact with the eyes it can cause temporary or permanent blindness, so stay clear! 

 

 
 
 
POISON IVY, POISON OAK, POISON SUMAK

The deadly trio is what I like to call these 3 sister plants, and the easiest way to identify them is through their distinctive leaf shapes as well as black spots typically found on their leaves. All three of these plants emit an oil called urushiol. This oil is the toxin that makes you itch. The oil is present on the leaves, stems, and roots of these plants whether they are live or dried up.  It’s important to note that you should NEVER burn these plants, especially if you find them growing in your backyard. If they’re burned, the oil vaporizes and is carried in the smoke. Breathing the fumes can threaten the lives of some individuals.

Poison Ivy

 

Poison Oak

Poison Sumac

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH THESE PLANTS

According to the United States Department of Agriculture and Forest Service this is what you should do if your skin comes in contact with one of these plants. 

In cases of water hemlock poisoning, contact a poison control center and obtain emergency medical assistance as quickly as possible…

In the case of the other 4 plants, you should wash the area with cold water as soon as possible. If symptoms appear (inflammation and a rash), apply topical ointments, such as calamine lotion or zinc oxide, for relief from itching.

So, if you are out and enjoying nature ensure that you respect nature and try to learn as much as you can about what is around you…and when in doubt…don’t touch it!

 

THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF DEODORANT SENSITIVITY

WHY AM I GETTING AN ARMPIT RASH?

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN SUFFER FROM THIS YEAST INFECTION….HINT IT IS NOT VAGINAL

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN SUFFER FROM THIS YEAST INFECTION….HINT IT IS NOT VAGINAL

When someone says yeast infection, we automatically think of vaginal infections…which is normal. It’s an association that has become ingrained in our minds simply because yeast infections in the nether regions are extremely common. In fact, almost 3 out of 4 women in the united states will experience a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime.

However, what many people are unaware of is that it’s also possible to get a yeast infection in your underarms. And it’s not just for women…men are just as susceptible.

 

WHAT CAUSES YEAST INFECTIONS?

A common misconception is that yeast infections are simply a cause of sexual activity. Though that’s definitely one possible cause, it’s usually not the culprit. The reality is that our body naturally has yeast and fungus that lives on our skin. However, when there is an overgrowth of fungus, it can cause different types of rashes or infections.

For example, think about the acne that you sometimes get on your back. Yes, dirt and oil are definitely one factor behind those nasty zits, but sometimes they are also caused by an overgrowth of fungus that is not supposed to be there. This is EXACTLY what happens in your armpits.

 

 

What makes matters worse, however, is that your underarms are extremely dark and moist. According to Manhattan Dermatologist Dr. John F. Romano, inflammation and overgrowth of yeast in moist areas often leads to infections. Hence, an overgrowth of yeast in the area can easily lead to an infection, which causes red, scaly and moist patches on your skin. Because of this, common areas for skin yeast infections are your vaginal area, armpits, and the skin folds under the breast and stomach area.

 

ARMPIT YEAST INFECTIONS ARE ALMOST UNDETECTABLE

The biggest problem with armpit yeast infections is that they are almost undetectable. This is because the symptoms for this type of infection are red patches and dryness, which are very similar to those of armpit rashes, product irritation, and even eczema. So how can you tell if you have an armpit infection, or if you simply have a rash? 

Well, the first indicator is itchiness. Does the red patch or rash on your underarm area itch, or is it sore to the touch? If so, that is your first indication of a yeast infection. You should also try to look at the patch of red skin in your armpit; if you have a yeast infection, you will find a red plaque right in the fold as well as little tiny red dots in the surrounding area. Finally, look for white flakes, scaling, and cracks on the skin. 

If you’re still unsure, definitely consult your dermatologist to rule out any type of fungal infection in the area.

 

HOW TO TREAT YOUR YEAST INFECTION

 

 

Although yeast infections in the underarm area can be quite uncomfortable, treatment is actually quite simple. You can use anti-fungal cream which can typically be bought over-the-counter. However, if it’s not improving with over-the-counter creams, you should probably consultant your dermatologist.

If you have any questions about a yeast infection on your skin, let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to help!

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HOW YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE CAUSES ARMPIT PAIN

HOW YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE CAUSES ARMPIT PAIN

Simply because of the anatomy of the underarm area, the slightest armpit pain or sensitivity can cause our minds to wander to the most extreme scenarios. But before you panic, you should know that more often than not the pain you’re feeling in your armpits is benign, and is often an indication of muscle soreness, infection, or … your menstrual cycle. 

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE MONTH

As if period pains aren’t enough, now we have to deal with our menstrual cycles causing ARMPIT PAIN?! Unfortunately, yes…

Armpit pain can easily occur before or during a womens’  menstrual cycle. This is because while many women experience breast tenderness just before or during their periods, this pain can actually radiate into the armpit. Why? Again, this ties back to the anatomy of the underarm, and the interconnectivity of the underarm and breast tissues. 

 

The skin found in your underarm area has several layers, and within these layers are hair follicles, sweat glands, fat, connective tissue, and more. The tissue connecting the underarm and breast is known as the axillary tail, and it can exist all the way up into the armpit area. 

As you begin your menstrual cycle, your breasts and the tissue surrounding the breasts begin to swell. Hence, the axillary tissue also begins to swell, resulting in increased sensitivity and tenderness (just like your breasts). This can also occur during pregnancy, and your skin tissues will undergo the same reaction.

 

 

 

 

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HORMONES ALSO PLAY A ROLE

We are all aware that hormones fluctuate before and during our menstrual cycles, and this too is related to both armpit pain and breast pain. In fact, your hormones are what call the shots when it comes to how painful and sensitive these areas become while on your period. 

Whenever there is any type of hormonal change in a woman’s body, the lymphatic system gets “turned on”. Now I don’t want to get too technical on you, but what happens is when your hormones change, your lymph nodes swell, and when your lymph nodes swell, the swollen area can become even more sensitive. This is often why some women experience extreme sensitivity in their breasts, while others experience mild sensitivity to none at all. 

HOW TO TREAT

If your armpit pain is in fact another nasty side effect of your period, the good news is that it is short lived. However, the bad news is that there’s nothing you can really do  to treat it. The only thing you can do is minimize the discomfort, the same way you would with any other type of menstrual pain. For example, try going braless for a few days, or while you sleep, as restricting the area may increase pain in your breasts while on your menstrual cycle, and thus also increase the pain in your armpits. Also, many have found success with different relaxation techniques, such as lightly massaging the area!

That said, if your pain persists, does not only occur during menstruation, or if you have other symptoms, like swelling or the presence of a painful lump, you should see your doctor. If you see a rash or other signs of skin problems under your arm, then see a dermatologist. It might not hurt to see a doctor if the pain is a temporary problem either, as getting a medical diagnosis can also ease some anxiety.

 

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