Health Buzz: Can Humans Heal Scar-Free?

Cheers for beer ... shampoo, that is; how to stop feeling selfish about 'me time'

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Study: African Spiny Mouse May Be Key to Scar-Free Healing in Humans

The key to human skin healing scar-free may come from an unlikely source: A mouse. A study published yesterday in the journal Nature analyzes the African spiny mouse, which can lose up to 60 percent of its brittle skin when escaping from predators. Rather than forming a scar of collagen I to cover the lost skin like other mammals do, the spiny mouse uses collagen III, which completely replaces the lost cells and creates new, normal tissue. Along with the ability to regenerate skin and regrow hair, its takes the spiny mouse 77 percent less energy to create a lesion, compared to a regular mouse. Regrowing organs is something amphibians, like the salamander, are famed for doing. The findings that a mouse—a mammal—also has these abilities may open the door for exploring scar-free skin regenerating properties in humans, study author Ashley Seifert, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida, told BBC News. "This study shows that mammals as a group may in fact have higher regenerative abilities then they are given credit for."

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  • Cheers for Beer ... Shampoo, That Is

    Pour another—for your hair. Turns out that pumpkin ale could be exactly what it needs to look healthy and shiny. No joke: Beer hair isn't just what happens when some drunk guy spills his Guinness on you, or when you accidently dip your locks into your drink. On the contrary, beer shampoo is trendy—intoxicatingly so, some might say—and it's landing everywhere from high-tier salons to your neighbor's shower.

    "People put beer in lamb, in bread, in pastries," says Francky L'Official, a celebrity hairstylist who works with clients like Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mena Suvari, and Vanessa Minnillo. "Why not use it for your hair, too? It gives it body and makes it shiny and bouncy."

    That's because two of the basic ingredients in beer—malt and hops—are packed with protein, which acts as a nourishing and strengthening agent. Soaking, rinsing, or spritzing your hair with beer will strengthen the cuticles and help repair damage. Alcohol also contains B vitamins and natural sugars, which add a glossy shine. "Beer is great for fine or fragile hair," says Marta Wohrle, founder of Truth in Aging, a website that reviews beauty products. "The proteins bind to the hair shaft and give it more volume," boosting the appearance of thickness. [Read more: Cheers for Beer ... Shampoo, That Is]

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    • How to Stop Feeling Selfish About 'Me Time'

      According to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, called "The Harried Life of the Working Mother," 66 percent of women with children 17 or younger work full or part time. But these working women are extremely hard on themselves. Only one-third gave themselves top marks on being a mom. Among the full-time workers, only 13 percent agreed it was ideal for child rearing, writes U.S. News blogger Rebecca Stritchfield.

      Hello, guilt. It's no wonder working moms feel the need to compensate for their lack of "mom performance," rushing to get to their families ASAP to ease the guilt of being gone in the first place. There's the added pressure to schedule kids' extracurricular activities, which can leave kids coming home late in the evening, just as tired as their parents! Then there's homework, dinner, and the work E-mails you can't seem to ignore. For everyone in the family, it's go, go, go. There is no down time, no more empty space on the calendar. It's not surprising that four in 10 working moms describe themselves as "always rushed," according to the Pew study.

      Sound familiar? With that much on your plate, it's no wonder there is no more "me time" left. For many women, self-care may not even feel like an option. But it is your only option if you want to be healthy and energetic, and take care of your family for as long as possible. Just like those airline flight attendants who tell you to "secure your oxygen mask before assisting others," you have to make time for yourself to be an energetic and productive employee, mother, and spouse. [Read more: How to Stop Feeling Selfish About 'Me Time']