Tips for Chest Acne Sufferers

Happy Sunday, everyone. After last night’s big date, I rolled out of bed this morning around 11:30, and I must say—it was quite nice to get my sleep on. (Especially with the crazy week I’d had.) I am happy to report some noticeable shrinkage in the size, swelling, and redness of the forehead zit that’s been plaguing me since about Wednesday. Looks like there’s a chance I’ll be able to do the Monday morning meeting thing with relatively clear skin. Woohoo!

 So, I called up my best friend this morning to dish the dirt on last night’s nocturnal happenings (I knew she’d get a major kick out of knowing I ran into the ex). As is usually the case when we get to yapping, the conversation went off in a million different directions. She’s a fellow acne sufferer, so as we were debating the pros and cons of Benzoyl Peroxide based products, she raised and interesting question,

“Hey… have you heard of any good treatments for chest acne?”

 Apparently, my dear friend has been avoiding low cut shirts and dresses for the past two years because she’s embarrassed of her blemished décolletage.

 Well, let’s see if we can put a stop to that, shall we?

 A quick trip around the internet yielded some interesting tips:

 Prevent pimple producing perspiration by sticking to breathable fabrics—cotton works best. Avoid super tight tops, too.

 Wash the area morning and night with a salicylic acid based cleanser. (I know we’re still exploring the world of BP vs SA, but everyone seems to be in agreement on this one; when it comes to body acne, salicylic acid is the way to go)

 Try a mud or charcoal mask twice a week to help keep those pesky pores unclogged.

 In the meantime, there are ways to cover up chest acne (just like facial acne) so that you can rock your favorite outfits with confidence. Just pick a concealer that’s spiked with (here we go again) salycilic acid, and apply lightly to the area. Let it dry completely, and then blend with foundation and a light dusting of powder.

 Spring is coming… and it’ll be bringing tank tops and low cut blouses with it! Anyone else have ideas on how to keep the chest area acne free?

Is it Acne or Rosacea?

 Dealing with skin that’s red, swollen, and painful? Before you assume that you’re dealing with adult acne, make sure that you don’t have Rosacea—a skin condition that often produces similar symptoms. But while they may look the same, Rosacea and acne should be treated very differently.

 There are several things that can cause acne—hormone fluctuations, stress, pregnancy, and an increase in androgen and sebum production, just to name a few. On the other hand, no one is really sure what causes Rosacea.

 Rosacea is often mistaken for acne because they are so similar in appearance. It starts with redness or flushing across the nose, cheeks and forehead. From there, it can develop into a rash-like appearance, along with thickening of the skin and blotchiness or skin discoloration.

 Rosacea most often affects women between the ages of 25 and 30. There also seems to be a definite genetic connection, and it seems to run in families. Additionally, Rosacea can reoccur for the rest of your life. And while there is no cure for it yet, there are treatment programs that can help you keep the signs and symptoms under control.

 If you’re not surewhat you’re dealing with, it’s best to let your dermatologist make the decision—especially since most over the counter acne meds can actually make the symptoms of Rosacea worse.

 Here are a few warning signs to look out for when deciding whether or not to make that doctor’s appointment:

Foods for Clearer Skin

Try though they may, docs still can’t seem to come to a definitive conclusion as to whether or not diet and acne break outs are directly related. One thing that is certain, however, is that there are some foods that can help give you better skin. So, I have vowed to incorporate these incredible edibles into my daily routine. Here’s a look at the most potent:

 Green Tea: Is it just me, or are there a seemingly endless number of articles and news stories about the amazing properties of green tea? The Archives of Dermatology recently published a story stating that green tea (whether you drink it or apply it topically) can actually help reduce your risk for skin cancer. Yowza!

 Anyway, the polyphenols in green tea help reduce inflammation of the skin, making it fantastic for your overall skin health. That settles it… I will be swapping out one of my morning cups of java for a mug of green tea with honey. Come to think of it– cutting down on my daily coffee shop habit will probably save me some cash, too. Cheers for the tea!

 Water: This one may seem like a no brainer, but the truth is that a lot of us have trouble staying properly hydrated. In fact, according to a university study last year, in so many Americans, our thirst mechanism is so weak that it’s mistaken for hunger! Aside from being a necessity for every cell in our body, water also helps flush out the toxins and icky stuff that accumulate in our body and up wrecking our complexion. I’m making 8 glasses a day my goal.

 Super Fruits: Free radicals from pollution and sun exposure can age skin, and according to a lot of people, can also cause some gnarly break outs. To keep your skin smooth and blemish free, you should incorporate some antioxidant rich fruits and veggies into your daily diet. The best ones to try? Blueberries, plums, artichokes, and blackberries.

 There ya have it. The best foods to keep your acne at bay. Any suggestions on super-foods to add to the list?

Date Night… The Conclusion

HA! I don’t watch a whole lot of reality television, but I’m pretty sure tonight’s date could have made its way into living rooms across America if someone had had a camera.

 First of all… I am so glad I blew a third of my monthly disposable income on those boots. They got a very welcome reception from the boy friend, thank you very much! As an added bonus, he told me I looked hot, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t even notice the whopper of a zit on my forehead. Guess my vanishing act with the concealer worked! (Plus he brought me flowers… can’t remember the last time the big lug brought flowers out of the blue, so bonus points for him)

So we get to the restaurant, and since we didn’t have a reservation, we decided to hang out at the bar while we waited. Well what to my wondering eyes should appear across the bar… the ex. As in, the ex-boyfriend. As in, Mr. Drama. What the…

Seriously, I had all but forgotten about this dude. But seeing him there, in the flesh, brought back many a memory, none of them particularly pleasant. Well except for that one time at his parent’s house… but that’s a story for another time. And trust me; the bad times far outweigh any potential nookie induced happiness.

I excused myself to the ladies room (had to make sure my make-up was holding up—I’ll be darned if Drama was going to see me looking anything but gorgeous) and, suddenly I put two and two together. When me *him* were dating, I would break out a lot more. In fact, I could always count on at least one major pimple after a big fight… and there were a LOT of knock down drag outs back then.

I know it goes along with the idea of stress being bad for the skin, but I couldn’t help but think of that Jesse James song, “I look so good without you”. Anyhow, when I emerged from the restroom, I was pleased to see that the ex had been joined by his date for the evening—a badly bleached blonde with a black root problem and some seriously tacky attire.

Looking over at my sweet, handsome, and primarily drama-free man, I just had to lean over and give him a big kiss. Just wondering… anyone else ever been caught in a relationship so toxic that it actually gave you bad skin?

Oh, and just as a quick post script—the rest of the date went absolutely incredible 😉

Date Night!

It’s Saturday… about 4 o’clock. The boyfriend called and wants to take me out to dinner (to make up for acting like a jerk earlier in the week, no doubt) and I am definitely up for some much needed distraction. He said we’re going someplace nice, which made me very excited, as it gives me a reason to wear the killer black leather boots I bought last weekend. (No, I couldn’t afford them, but you should see these bad boys—they’re mouth watering)

 I’ve decided to go with my black skirt… the snug one that grazes about an inch over my knees. Red wrap around sweater, and I’m a happening babe. So, hair up or down?

 Well it’s not really going to matter, is it? Since I’ll be wearing a bucket over my head to hide the monstrous zit on my forehead that still hasn’t completely cleared up!!! I have faithfully been applying the benzoyl peroxide based vanishing products (see yesterday’s post) in an attempt to clear it up by the end of the weekend.

 To be honest, I had to cut back on the number of daily applications just a tad, due to a bit of skin irritation. My own fault, I assure you, seeing as though I was going way over the recommended daily usage. But here’s something to keep in mind if you’re going to go with benzoyl peroxide over salicylic acid: BP can bleach clothes, pillowcases, and even your hair (yikes!) so you might want to be careful when applying it.

 So, back to tonight’s dilemma… nix the bucket. I am NOT going to let this blasted blemish ruin my good time tonight. So, after a quick online search of the best way to conceal a pimple, I came up with a quick (and pretty effective) routine for covering up a zit. Here’s how it goes:

Start with a concealer that matches your skin tone. (More on this later tonight or tomorrow!) Make sure your hands are clean and completely dry. Using the tip of a new cosmetic sponge, dap on a tiny bit of concealer to the pimple itself and the area surrounding the zit.

 WAIT! (Don’t do anything until this layer is completely dry)

 If there is still a lot of red showing through, repeat the process.

 Apply foundation to the area surrounding the pimple. I like mineral make-up, but use whatever you normally do. Try to avoid globbing makeup onto the zit itself… it actually makes the blemish seem more obvious.

 Finish with a light dusting of finishing powder all over your entire face.

Ok, fellow travelers… I am off to do something fabulously smoky with my eye makeup. I’ll let you know how it went!

The War Rages On: Benzoyl Peroxide VS Salicylic Acid

Ok, for those of you who have been following my trials and tribulations, here’s a quick recap: A couple of nights ago, I had a whopper of a stress pimple pop up on my forehead. I ran out to the store in search of some over the counter cure-all that would get rid of it before the end of the weekend (and my big Monday morning meeting). I returned home a few hours later—and quite a few dollars poorer!

 I learned a few things on my field trip. First: There are some, ahem, interesting characters at Wal-Mart at 11pm. (Fuzzy boots, pink tights and a rhinestone jacket… why, people?)

 Second, over the counter acne treatments can basically be categorized into one of two major camps: Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid. Both of these two active ingredients claim to be the “best” at drying up and vanishing problem zits. But which one actually works better? And which is the least harsh on traumatized skin?

 I figured there was only one way to find out… I stocked up on both kinds. But I can’t use them both together. Not only would that eliminate any accurate findings on my part one way or the other, but I’m pretty sure it would burn a hole through my face.

 After much scientific debate (Read: eenie meenie miney moe) I figured I’d start with the benzoyl peroxide stuff first. Other late night acne shoppers pointed me in the direction of a few different products, including Clearasil’s StayClear Vanishing Acne Treatment. One woman told me she swears by the stuff, and her skin looked pretty darned clear, so I decided it was as good a place to start as any!

 I’ve been slathering it on a couple of times a day. I must say… there does seem to be some shrinkage, though Mount O-Zit-Pus isn’t completely gone just yet. I’ve got two more days before Monday… let’s see what happens!

The Stress Zit… This is War!

I knew it was coming. Stress always makes me break out, and if there’s anything I’ve had a heaping helping of lately, it’s stress.

 Work’s been an adventure, to put it mildly. My boss? Well, I’m pretty sure she’s off her rocker. My customers… mostly I love them, but every once in a while, I’m convinced that they’re out to get me.

 Then there’s my home life. The boyfriend, usually so sweet and romantic, has been acting like a first rate weeny of late. And don’t get me started on my sister’s long winded 11 pm drama filled phone calls.

 Which is why I wasn’t exactly surprised when a Mount Kilimanjaro sized zit erupted on my forehead yesterday morning.

 I, for one, did not consider it “news” when recent studies pointed towards something that the rest of us have known all long: there is a definite correlation between stress and acne. It may have taken researchers and scientists decades to put two and two together, but anyone who’s ever had a break out can tell you that when life is stressful, the skin is the first thing to go.

 Which brings me to my current dilemma: How do I get rid of it, and FAST? I have a big meeting on Monday, and I’d really rather not go into that conference room rocking a third eye. Usually, Visine helps me get rid of some of the redness and swelling of a monster zit, when I catch it in time, but I’m afraid this one may be too far along. Someone told me that my dermatologist can give me a shot that can banish the blemish within a couple of days, but I can’t get an appointment until after Wednesday, which sort of makes it a moot point.

 So, instead, I’m off to my friendly neighborhood Wally World. Maybe I can find a combination of over the counter stuff that can help me conquer the evil stress zit before Monday. I’ll keep you guys posted.

 Oh… and suggestions are always welcome.