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Moisturizer: A Recipe for Supple Skin

A cocktail of different ingredients is needed to soothe dry, scaly skin. Find out how they work in Groupon's guide to moisturizer.

Oily skin is generally considered a beauty problem?but in fact, oil is a major ingredient in making our skin look its best. A coating of natural oils secreted by the pores typically protects the outermost layer of the skin, a thin sheath of cells called the stratum corneum. But when there's not enough oil, the cells dry out and shrivel, causing flaking, roughness, and wrinkles. Moisturizers aim to make up for this drought by locking water molecules into the skin.

The simplest moisturizers are occlusive agents such as petroleum jelly, which form a physical barrier to keep water from escaping. Though great for rough elbows and chapped lips, occlusive agents are usually too greasy and heavy to be used on the face. Instead, commercially produced moisturizers often feature emollients such as lanolin, which flow into and fill the spaces between cells to make skin look suppler and smoother. Some emollients are oil-based, and form a protective coating similar to occlusive agents, but for skin that's already oily, a lighter, water-based emollient can work without leaving behind greasy residue.

Another common ingredient, humectants, attract moisture from the air and keep it bound against the skin; glycerin is an especially popular option. Humectants are especially important for aging or extremely dry skin that doesn't produce enough moisture on its own. Besides these skin-softening substances, many moisturizers will also include specialized ingredients, such as a sunscreen that blocks UV rays or vitamins intended to even out skin tone and make up for not bathing in enough vegetable juice.

An important consideration, especially for oily skin, is whether or not a moisturizer will exacerbate acne. Although some products bear the label "noncomedogenic"?from comedone, a scientific term for blackheads and whiteheads?the truth is that most modern facial moisturizers will not clog your pores. Instead, the most important consideration should simply be how it feels on your face.

141 Boston Post Rd
Old Saybrook,
CT
US

Muscular System: The Meat of the Matter

The joys of a massage or the relief of a chiropractic adjustment?and the stresses of physical work?play out partly in the muscles. Learn just what pumps the body up with Groupon?s guide to the muscular system.

The human body has more than 630 muscles keeping it upright and mobile. They make up almost half its weight and power the movements of the bones, the blood, and even the food in the stomach. Perhaps the most familiar muscles are those seen in bodybuilding contests and facial-expression contests: the skeletal, or voluntary, muscles. They?re attached to our bones and controlled by our brains, which zap them with electrical signals to cause their fibers to contract. During a muscle contraction, filaments inside the muscle fibers slide together, stacking up on one another so that the larger fiber shortens. In shortening, the fibers gain thickness?a phenomenon we notice as flexing. Whatever muscles do, they accomplish by this single pulling action. If a bicep (part of a category of muscles known as flexors) flexes to lift a barbell, it needs a tricep (an extensor), pulling in the opposite direction, to bring the arm back down.

The other two types of muscles are smooth muscles and cardiac muscles, and both are beyond our conscious control. Cardiac muscles control the beating of the heart, contracting the chambers to push blood throughout the body. But the blood doesn?t ride to the toes on that momentum alone. Lining the blood vessels are smooth muscles that help push it along. These also line the esophagus, stomach, and intestine to move food through the digestive track, and can even help regulate the body?s temperature by opening and closing capillaries near the skin surface, all without conscious effort. The subconscious brain is also happy to turn muscles to ends beyond their apparent purpose: for instance, what we experience as shivering from cold is simply the brain causing the muscles to spasm so they will generate heat and keep your blood and any baby chicks in your coat pockets warm.

141 Boston Post Rd
Old Saybrook,
CT
US

Luke Maynard, founder and head therapist of Therapeutic Release, graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 2008. He uses his knowledge of physical anatomy and body movement to identify and correct muscular imbalances with three types of massage?anti-stress (Swedish), deep tissue, and sports.

Luke works alongside Samantha Troilo, a licensed massage therapist who specializes in anti-stress and deep-tissue massage. Personalizing her massage techniques for the individual client, she wants to be able to augment her massage therapy with therapeutic release.

Massage therapist Claire Nortz throws a new modality into the mix: Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, which involves delivering long, broad strokes and firm pressure with her feet. She also relies on acupressure, trigger-point release, and stretching to release muscle tension and boost mobility.

142 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook,
CT
US

Luz Pinto knows what looks good when it comes to nails, and she's happy to share that expertise with her customers. At Elysium Massage of Old Saybrook, the resident nail technician buffs fingernails and toenails, shapes cuticles, and sweeps vibrant colors across nails in regular or gel form. She also customizes looks with nail art, granting clients new ways to express themselves.

263 Main St
Old Saybrook,
CT
US

At Elysium Therapeutic Massage, a licensed massage therapist helps patients overcome stress and tension with customized treatments. The repertoire of modalities includes Swedish, deep-tissue, scalp, and prenatal techniques.

141 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook,
CT
US

The experienced stylists at Salon Allure keep hair sleek and healthy with products from Goldwell, L?Oreal, Bed Head, and Paul Mitchell.

1587 Boston Post Road
Westbrook,
CT
US