The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Think Before You Ink and How Rosemary Can Improve Your Thinking…

10 Aug

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

In recent months, I’ve shared secrets from of our new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, released February 28th, 2017).  Some of you must have bought it as the book made it to #10 on the NY Times list and #3 on the Wall Street Journal List.  Thank you.  This month, I want to share two tips that may help you live younger and become more Age Proof…

TIP 1 — Think Before You Ink: In 2006, Lucky Diamond Rich was declared “the world’s most tattooed person.” Ink covers every inch of his body—private parts included. For him, it’s too late to think about the downsides, but for those just starting out —or still tattoo-free—this recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning is worth paying attention to.

If the tattoo parlor isn’t sanitary, you may be at risk for contracting an infection, which may require months of antibiotics or hospitalization to treat. Even the cleanest of places, says the FDA, may use unsterile water to dilute pigments or they may have pigments (marked sterile and sealed) that are nonetheless contaminated with mold or bacteria. (It happens more often than you’d think.)

And then there are the inks themselves… Some contain pigments used in printer toner and car paint. The FDA hasn’t approved any pigments for injection into the skin for cosmetic purposes—so it’s the Wild, Wild West when it comes to knowing exactly what’s being pumped into your body. You also risk an allergic reaction to the inks—and allergic rashes can persist for years. Experts also say allergic reactions can pop up—seemingly out of the blue—years after getting a tattoo.

Tattoos can also make you allergic—and sensitized—to other products, such as hair dyes, if they both contain phenylenediamene (PPD). PPD was designated the contact allergen of the year in 2006 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society!

So think before you ink—your skin has to last a lifetime!

TIP 2 — Enjoy the Fragrance of Rosemary and You May Get Smarter: Rosemary has long been thought to have memory-boosting properties, and now modern science is backing up this theory. In a study presented recently to the British Psychological Society, researchers found that children in a room scented with rosemary did significantly better on memory tasks than those who didn’t get a whiff of the herb. These findings line up with an earlier study the team did that found when adults were exposed to higher concentrations of rosemary aroma, they performed better on cognitive tests. Scientists think a compound called 1,8-cineole found in the plant might help boost an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

If you want to see if you benefit from this aromatic herb, you can make rosemary oil by adding a sprig of rosemary to a bottle of olive oil. Use on salads and chicken. Or grow a houseplant or outdoor bush and enjoy the fragrance. Or get an aromatherapy diffuser and use only an essential oil (no phthalates, please). However, pure rosemary essential oil should be used carefully. If applying topically, first dilute in a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation. Pregnant and breastfeeding? No essential rosemary oil for you. And never ingest it!  The essential oil can be toxic if taken internally, even at low doses.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to

Dr. Mike Roizen

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

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