Flesh-Eating Fish: The Good and The Bad

  • By RenewAlliance, Inc.
  • 03 Dec, 2015

Fish spa pedicures are all the rage – but are they safe?

Doctor Fish Feet Pedicure
Dead skin-eating fish called Garra rufa, or "Doctor Fish" are a popular beauty trend.

Flesh-eating fish might sound like something out of a horror film, but they’re now part of a popular beauty trend. Garra rufa are a type of carp commonly referred to as “doctor fish”. A fish spa pedicure involves putting your feet in a footbath with warm freshwater and as many as 100 live Garra rufa fish. The fish nibble away dead, callused skin from your feet. Treatments typically take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

A fish spa pedicure is painless and is in fact quite relaxing. The Garra rufa fish are about the size of minnows and have no teeth, so they cannot bite flesh. When they gently suck on and nibble dry skin, it creates a tingling sensation. The treatment reveals the soft, new skin underneath and makes your feet feel refreshed.

Garra rufa fish come from natural river basins in the Northern and Central Middle East. People in Turkey have long known about their healing properties. In the early 1800s, people in Turkey began visiting springs that contained these healing fish, which are said to be effective in treating eczema and psoriasis.

Fish pedicures have become ubiquitous at nail salons and spas around the globe. The primary form of sustenance for these fish is dead skin, but in some spas, the fish are also fed a special fish food formula as a supplement. 

Due to health risks and potential for spreading infections, many states in the US have banned the use of fish in foot spas.

The Downside of Fish Spas

Despite their worldwide popularity, doctor fish have their fair share of critics. Due to health risks and the potential to spread infections, many states in the US have banned the use of fish in foot spas. The fish may carry bacteria that cause skin and soft tissue infections.
Although the risk of infection is very low, the possibility of fish spa pedicures spreading illnesses like HIV and Hepatitis C cannot be entirely excluded either. People with open sores or skin cuts, an underlying medical condition like diabetes or a compromised immune system should avoid fish spa pedicures altogether. The following are some reasons why fish spas are falling out of favor:

  • Footbaths containing fish can’t be cleaned properly between treatments and the same fish are used multiple times. 
  • The fish aren’t sanitized between treatments, so they can spread infections.
  • The Chinese Chinchin fish is another species of fish that is often mistaken for Garra rufa and used in foot spas – Chinchin fish have teeth and draw blood, increasing the risk of infection .
  • Garra rufa fish may threaten native plants and wildlife if they are released into the wild.
  • In order to get the fish to eat dead skin, they are inhumanely starved.
  • The fish deposit their waste in the water where your feet are soaking.
There have been no published reports in the United States about illnesses arising from fish spa pedicures, but fish-free footbaths at nail salons have been implicated in mycobacterial infection outbreaks, leaving customers with boils and scars. If you want soft, beautiful feet without the health risks or ick factor, your best bet is to treat your feet at home.  
For soft beautiful feet without the health risks, treat your feet at home.
Use sea salt for soaking and a pumice stone for scrubbing your dead skin away.
Soak your feet in warm water for 30 minutes prior to exfoliating so that the dead skin comes off more easily. Use a foot file or pumice stone to scrub the dead skin away. Massage foot cream into your feet and then put a pair of socks on to lock the moisture in. If you do this two to three times per week, you can keep your feet soft and smooth without fish pecking away at your feet.

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By RenewAlliance, Inc. 14 Apr, 2017

You’ve probably heard of good fats and bad fats, but what about good sugars and bad sugars? Sugar is a carbohydrate that is naturally found in a variety of foods. An example of good sugar is the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables. This type of sugar is bundled with water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bad sugar consists of regular table sugar or the refined stuff you find in sodas, candy, ketchup, or baked goods. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar each day . Many of us consume sugar without even realizing it because ready-made foods, even savory ones like pasta sauce and bread, often contain sugar.

By RenewAlliance, Inc. 22 Mar, 2017
Bye-bye Botox. The new beauty secret on everyone’s lips right now is collagen. There’s always been pressure to be ageless in Hollywood, but today’s celebrities are nixing the usual topical remedies and invasive treatments in favor of collagen of the consumable variety. Collagen drinks have been popular in Japan for years, but they have started generating more buzz among women in the rest of the world, including the rich and famous.

What does it take to achieve glamorous looks and a youthful complexion worthy of the red carpet? Celebrities often have access to a team of hair and makeup pros who can glam them up at a moment’s notice, but they also cling to their fair share of anti-aging beauty secrets – collagen drinks being one of them.

The likes of Drew Barrymore, Lady Gaga, and the Kardashian sisters swear by these nutrient-rich beauty drinks. Below are some of the reasons why more and more celebrities are incorporating collagen drinks into their routine.

1.   Repair, strengthen, and rejuvenate skin with collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a major structural protein, making up about 75% of our skin. Skin with healthy collagen levels looks smooth, plump, and youthful. After the age of 25, however, collagen production slows and you start to lose approximately 1.5% of your collagen each year. The breakdown of collagen causes the skin to get thinner and leads to the formation of wrinkles.

Collagen gives the skin its strength and smooth appearance, so it’s crucial to protect and promote collagen growth. The active collagen fragments in collagen drinks are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body and to the skin. Skin cells called fibroblasts produce collagen. 

Collagen drinks containing hydrolyzed collagen promote collagen synthesis by stimulating these fibroblasts to produce new collagen. Clinical studies shows ingesting 10,000mg a day for a period of 8 weeks help to increase skin thickness and collagen density, reduce wrinkles. See Clinical studies.

2.   Hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and stay in the dermis of our skin

In their natural state, collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin’s surface, so the effectiveness of many topical collagen products is limited. Collagen molecules are also too large for your body to absorb when ingested. The process of hydrolysis breaks collagen down into fragments that are small enough for your digestive enzymes to break down completely. Hydrolyzed collagen consists of small peptides with low molecular weight that are easily digested, absorbed, and distributed throughout the body.

 While traditional collagen serums only penetrate the top layer of the skin, hydrolyzed collagen is more easily absorbed by the body and can thus boost collagen in the deeper layers of the skin. A 1999 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatology showed that orally administered hydrolyzed collagen was digested and more than 90% of it was absorbed within 6 hours, with measurable accumulation in the skin and cartilage.

3.   Collagen drinks are better than powder or pills

Collagen supplements come in all forms, including tablets, capsules, chewables, softgels, powders, and even marshmallows. The problem with collagen pills and powders is that they could pass through your digestive system without being broken down. Pills are also hard for some people to swallow. Moreover, they typically contain fillers, binders, stabilizers, and chelating agents, making them less potent than liquid supplements.

The secret to success with collagen supplementation is taking collagen in liquid form. Collagen drinks are absorbed into your bloodstream faster than other supplements because the collagen is already dissolved in the liquid. Collagen drinks are also a lot more convenient than pills and powders. They come ready-made in small bottles that you can easily carry in your purse, so you can drink them on the go. No messes or mixing necessary.  Additionally, collagen drinks are a lot more potent than other collagen supplements, so you can get a higher dose of collagen.

4.   The higher the potency, the better

While there is no recommended daily allowance for collagen, high-end supplements typically contain more than 5,000mg of collagen. For maximum results, drinking a collagen supplement with at least 7,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen is recommended. Anything less than that simply isn’t potent enough. LAC Taut® Premium Collagen drink contains 13,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen per 1.7oz bottle,  which is two to six times the concentration of other collagen drink brands.

5.   There’s more to collagen drink benefits than meets the eye

In the first few weeks of taking a liquid collagen supplement, you might not notice any physical differences in your skin, but skin readings would suggest otherwise. Skin graphs showing the facial images of a 60 year old woman who drank one bottle of LAC Taut® Premium Collagen every night for the first 8 nights and then every other night after that showed a noticeable increase in skin thickness and hydration levels after just four weeks.   See results.

Drinking high-potency marine hydrolyzed collagen is also shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Several controlled clinical studies have been performed that prove the efficacy and benefits of collagen peptides in the reduction of wrinkles. A study conducted by Rousselot SAS France showed a 30% decrease in the formation of deep wrinkles after supplementation with 10g of hydrolyzed collagen. In another study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, daily supplementation with 1g of hydrolyzed collagen for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in skin dryness and wrinkles. The authors of the study suggested that dietary supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen can physiologically counteract natural and photo-aging processes. Hydrolyzed collagen is an important weapon in the fight against wrinkles and aging skin.

So the question is "Can we drink our wrinkles away?"

Yes we can! 

Drink Your Way to Firmer Younger-Looking Skin with Taut® Collagen

LAC Taut® Premium Collagen drink contains 13,000mg marine hydrolyzed collagen with active ingredients that work together synergistically to make your skin look younger and healthier while boosting hydration and elasticity. In addition to hydrolyzed marine collagen, LAC Taut® Premium Collagen contains key ingredients like hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, Vitamin C, and Co10. The drink contains collagen peptides that can be readily absorbed and penetrate the dermis layer of the skin to produce new collagen. Drink one bottle a day for three weeks to see the most intense, visible results.

Shop for your collagen drink now.

By RenewAlliance, Inc. 07 Mar, 2017

Collagen masks have been popular in East Asia for years, but they’re starting to receive recognition around the globe. Made with cloth drenched in hydrolyzed collagen and other anti-aging ingredients, collagen masks are like super food for your face. By using them on a regular basis, you can make your skin smooth and supple while reducing the signs of aging, all in a matter of minutes.

There are a number of ways to increase your skin’s collagen production, but one of the most convenient and effective way is by using a collagen mask. Applying the mask is quick and easy, but the benefits are immense.

The following are 5 important things you need to know about collagen masks.
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