Yes, you re­ally can step out with con­fi­dence this spring! Our ex­perts show you how

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

Q What’s the best way to ditch stretch marks?

A Com­plete re­moval is never guar­an­teed and for many peo­ple stretch marks are just a part of their body. There are laser re­moval treat­ments for stretch marks but th­ese do tend to only lessen the ap­pear­ance not re­move them com­pletely. You can re­duce their ap­pear­ance by dry body­brush­ing once a day and us­ing a weekly cof­fee scrub. I love Atom Cof­fee Body Scrub ($21, kin­dred­tox­in­freefa­, which has a nat­u­ral AHA in the added cit­rus oil and cof­fee to stim­u­late the skin. Then fol­low up with Erica Brooke Detox Body Oil ($50, er­i­cabrooke. If a client is preg­nant, I’ll of­ten rec­om­mend us­ing Metta Vanilla Body But­ter, ($34, kin­dred­tox­in­freefa­ To pre­vent more stretch marks from de­vel­op­ing, in­cor­po­rate es­sen­tial fats into your daily diet – think sal­mon, av­o­cado, nuts – or take a sup­ple­ment with all the es­sen­tial fats to in­crease col­la­gen in your skin, and drink lots of wa­ter.

Q Should I stop cross­ing my legs to pre­vent vari­cose veins?

A No – it doesn’t cause vari­cose veins. Up to 40 per cent of Aussies will ex­pe­ri­ence vari­cose veins dur­ing their life­time and ge­net­ics plays the big­gest role in de­ter­min­ing if you’ll get them. If your mum has them, your chances are about 40 per cent, while if both par­ents have them, the like­li­hood of you de­vel­op­ing them in­creases to at least 70 per cent. The sec­ondary cause is life­style fac­tors, such as pro­longed stand­ing – nurses, chefs, hair­dressers or fac­tory work­ers are more likely to de­velop vari­cose veins – and obe­sity. In­creased oe­stro­gen lev­els may also play a role, as some women will no­tice a few pop up if they’re tak­ing the con­tra­cep­tive pill or dur­ing preg­nancy. If you’re prone to get­ting them, I’d rec­om­mend wear­ing com­pres­sion stock­ings, es­pe­cially on long-dis­tance flights, and stay­ing well hy­drated. Ex­er­cises will help with cir­cu­la­tion but it won’t stop vari­cose veins from form­ing. Ask your phar­ma­cist about med­i­ca­tion known as “veno­ton­ics”, which can help tone veins and min­imise symp­toms such as aching, how­ever, they won’t af­fect the ap­pear­ance of the vari­cose veins.

“If both of your par­ents have vari­cose veins, your chances of de­vel­op­ing them are 70 per cent”

Q How can I get rid of vari­cose veins?

A Non-surgical treat­ments are the gold stan­dard, par­tic­u­larly en­dove­nous laser ther­apy. This gently seals the vein by ap­ply­ing ther­mal en­ergy, which causes the vein to scar and af­ter a pe­riod of time the body re­sorbs the vein and it dis­ap­pears. This laser pro­ce­dure is about 98 per cent ef­fec­tive over five years and doesn’t have the as­so­ci­ated risks of surgery. En­dove­nous laser treat­ments are un­der­taken at spe­cialised clin­ics and cost be­tween $3000 and $4000 (af­ter Medi­care re­bates) for a full treat­ment plan, in­clud­ing scans and fol­low-up con­sul­ta­tions. Most pa­tients see re­sults within a few weeks. The im­por­tant thing to un­der­stand is you can’t judge the sever­ity of the vari­cose veins just by look­ing at them, so I’d en­cour­age pa­tients to get an ul­tra­sound scan to check. Even if you have a con­sul­ta­tion and get the scan done, you can ob­vi­ously de­cide not to go ahead with treat­ment but at least you’ll know how bad your vari­cose veins are. When left un­treated, vari­cose veins can progress to com­pli­ca­tions such as swelling, aching and throb­bing, ul­cers, deep ve­nous throm­bo­sis and skin pig­men­ta­tion, so it’s best to con­sult your GP.

Q Do cof­fee prod­ucts work on cel­lulite?

A No, in my opin­ion, cof­fee doesn’t work to re­move cel­lulite and is ac­tu­ally bet­ter on the inside than the out­side. In fact, drink­ing cof­fee boosts me­tab­o­lism, es­pe­cially pre-ex­er­cise, burn­ing more free fatty acids and help­ing with weight loss and cre­at­ing a leaner body – so in that way it may help with cel­lulite. In gen­eral, top­i­cal agents tend not to help with cel­lulite, ex­cept fake tan, which can min­imise the ap­pear­ance. What does work is los­ing weight and in­creas­ing mus­cle strength and tone in the legs as this strength­ens and tight­ens the un­der­ly­ing sup­port. Cel­lulite is dif­fi­cult to ‘cure’. It’s an anatom­i­cal de­fect, due to the skin be­ing teth­ered by fi­brous sep­tae to the un­der­ly­ing mus­cle layer. This teth­er­ing cre­ates the in­den­ta­tions and sur­face ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties on the skin’s sur­face. It’s mainly ge­netic, made worse by weight gain as it ex­ac­er­bates the puck­er­ing by in­creas­ing the vol­ume in the fat com­part­ments. Some skintight­en­ing ra­dio-fre­quency laser treat­ments may help soften the ap­pear­ance of cel­lulite but mul­ti­ple treat­ments are usu­ally re­quired and the cost for sev­eral ses­sions starts at about $2000. It works by melt­ing fat and tight­en­ing the fi­brous sep­tae, there­fore re­duc­ing the drag on the outer skin layer, mak­ing it look smoother and less like cel­lulite.

Q Is there any way to pre­vent age spots?

A Age spots, or liver spots, oc­cur due to ex­cess melanin. This can be caused by UV light (which in­creases melanin pro­duc­tion) and ex­ces­sive sun ex­po­sure. So the way to pre­vent th­ese spots comes down to avoid­ing the sun in the hottest parts of the day and us­ing an SPF 30+ sun­screen. If you pre­fer a nat­u­ral op­tion, try Sim­ple As That Nat­u­ral Sun­screen Lo­tion ($29.95, sim­pleast­

Q Can I use ap­ple cider vine­gar at home to re­duce the ap­pear­ance of age spots?

A Yes, you can, thanks to the nat­u­ral acid in ap­ple cider vine­gar and in fruits such as lemon and pa­paya. As an at-home treat­ment, do a patch test with the ap­ple cider vine­gar first and wait 1-2 min­utes to see how it feels. If it’s fine, ap­ply it twice daily on clean skin us­ing a cot­ton pad. Leave it on for 30 min­utes then rinse with warm wa­ter. It usu­ally takes six weeks to see a re­sult. If you have sen­si­tive skin, use half wa­ter, half ap­ple cider vine­gar. Some beauty sa­lons also of­fer nat­u­ral peels with pa­paya and pineap­ple en­zymes. For peo­ple want­ing med­i­cal op­tions – via a qual­i­fied skin ther­a­pist or doc­tor – prod­ucts and treat­ments such as bleach­ing creams or laser treat­ments can fade the spots grad­u­ally. Th­ese treat­ments make skin more sen­si­tive to UV dam­age so it’s vi­tal to wear sun­screen. And al­ways see your GP if any­thing looks sus­pi­cious.

Q What’s the best ex­er­cise for ton­ing legs?

A Run­ning. I’m not say­ing you have to run 10km straight away but you could start by do­ing in­ter­vals where you walk for 1 minute, then jog for 1 minute, and grad­u­ally build up to the point where you walk for 1 minute and jog for 2 min­utes. Run­ning is one of the best ways to shape up your legs, no ques­tion. Need ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion? Sign up for a fun run to give your­self some­thing to aim to­wards.

Q What are the best re­sis­tance moves?

A Squats! Start by do­ing body­weight squats, then once you’ve built strength, do them with weights. Walk­ing or static lunges are another great ex­er­cise to add to your reper­toire. Again, your own body­weight is fine to be­gin with, grad­u­ally build­ing up to the point where you can do it with weights, whether that’s dumb­bells or a bar­bell across your back. The last ex­er­cise is a step-up: Find a step or a low bench you can step up and down on. No equip­ment is nec­es­sary un­less you want to chal­lenge your­self by hold­ing dumb­bells, a medicine ball or with a bar­bell across your back. Th­ese three moves are fan­tas­tic ex­er­cises to re­ally shape up and tone your thighs, bum, glutes, and in­ner and outer thighs.

Q How can I shift stub­born fat from my thighs through diet?

A While you can’t spot-re­duce fat on your body (that would be like try­ing to use the petrol from one side of your petrol tank first!), you can re­duce the over­all amount of body fat by mak­ing small changes to your diet:

1 Re­duce the kilo­joules through the amount you eat. Have an omelette for break­fast, an open sand­wich (so one slice of bread) for lunch and eat a half serve of din­ner to re­duce your en­ergy in­take.

2 Have a week that’s free of added sugar and al­co­hol. You’d be sur­prised by how many ex­cess kilo­joules come from sug­ar­laden foods and al­co­holic drinks.

3 In­clude a salad or a serve of ve­g­ies at each meal and snack. They’re low in salt and kilo­joules so will help boost me­tab­o­lism and burn fat.

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