Au Naturale

There are a vast number of different acne-zapping products on the market these days, and I don’t have to tell you that some of these products can be irritatingly overpriced or difficult to find.

Luckily, though, there are a number of inexpensive foods (and liquids) that are natural combatants against acne. Instead of dropping thirty dollars on acne medication or having to travel across the highest mountains and deepest valleys to locate said medication, you can, simply head on over to your local grocery store, or even reach inside your cupboards/fridge, and pick out some of the following items:

WATER

Water is, by far, one of the best things for your skin. It keeps it hydrated and helps maintain a healthy, acne-free glow. Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses a day. I know this might sound like a lot, but, trust me, it’s worth it; not only for your general good health, but for the health of your skin.

GREEN TEA

Green tea is a favorite natural product for skin care, and one recommended by celebs and health food experts alike.  The reason it’s so effective is because, directly after harvest, its leaves are steamed to prevent fermenting. This helps keep in all of its antioxidants and, in turn, makes it a great acne fighter! Also, if you’re not the biggest tea fan and aren’t exactly thrilled about having to drink it to rid yourself of acne, you can just apply it directly to your face instead. You can rub some dampened tea bags over the acne infected areas, or you can pour some brewed tea into a spritzer bottle and spray it onto your face. Either way, it’s said to be a pretty effective acne combatant. (Stay on the lookout for more green tea posts soon)

 WALNUTS

Walnuts are also effectively awesome in helping to prevent/get rid of acne. They are full of Omega-3 oils which are a great antioxidant. And antioxidants are key in having great skin. Munch on them here and there throughout the day and it will definitely help make your skin much healthier.

AVOCADO

Avocados are great for the skin. They are rich with vitamin E which is one of the best things to help keep your skin supple, vibrant and acne-free. Once again, this is a food you can eat a lot of or just apply directly to your face. You can mash some up and make your own homemade avocado mask. (Recipes coming soon!) Either way, avocado is a definite recommendation.

 Those are just a few suggestions. There are, obviously, plenty of other helpful foods out there, but my main recommendation would be to just eat healthily. Avoid greasy fast food or heavily processed foods and your skin will thank you.

Hands OFF!

By now, you’ve heard me (and just about every other acne related blog out there) talk about how it’s a bad idea to pick at or try and pop a pimple. I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you’ve got Mount Vesuvius on the tip of your nose.

But did you know that you pimple picking habit could actually be making your acne worse?

You see, when a pore becomes clogged and swollen with sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria and oil, a pimple is born. Squeezing that pimple actually forces all of that gunk even deeper into the pore and follicle. If the follicle wall ruptures, the bacteria then spills into your dermis. (That would be the innermost section of your skin)

And don’t think for a second that just because you see pus and other assorted nasty bits coming out of the top of your zit that it means that you got everything out. The very act of squeezing is enough to send some bacteria shooting up, and push the rest down.

And guess what happens to all of that trapped bacteria? That’s right, it becomes a new pimple! We’re talking vicious circle territory here.

Even worse, it can turn into a cyst. These are big, painful, fluid filled bumps that have to be treated by a doctor. (Not a fun experience, from what I’ve been told)

So there you have it—when it comes to blemishes, zits, pimples, or whatever it is that you call them, it is definitely best to maintain a strict hands off policy.

Body Acne Revisited

It’s unfortunate that acne isn’t limited to just our faces. I mean, it’s bad enough to have to deal with facial breakouts, but when you’re back, arms, chest, or derriere start sporting spots, it’s tough not to want to run head first off of a bridge.

Well, with summer officially kicking off this Monday, I’ve gotten a few emails from people wanting to know what to do about breakouts that go beyond the face. I’ve done a couple of posts on body acne before, but I shall save you newbies from skimming through the entire blog by bringing you up to speed with a quick recap:  
The exact cause of body acne remains unknown, but it has been proven that irritation makes it worse. Obviously, this means that anything rubbing against your skin is not good. Also, damp, sweaty clothing combined what an irritated skin will just aggravate your acne.

Therefore, avoiding things like tight fitting clothing, snug collars, backpacks, purse straps and athletic pads or gears is always a good idea. (Not always feasible, I know—but definitely worth the effort whenever possible)

Other simple solutions include wearing breathable cotton whenever possible. And if you get sweaty, change your clothing as soon as possible.  If you workout, time your workouts so that you have time to shower afterwards.

Speaking of showers, avoid scrubbing your skin harshly—even with your loofah or body puff. You want to avoid friction so a gentle cleansing is preferable, especially with a salicylic acid wash.
For mild body acne, a salicylic acid wash every day should help. Pads containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be wiped over the affected areas as well. You can also use a lotion containing an alpha hydroxy acid such as glycolic or lactic acid. Alpha hydroxy acid is a key ingredient because it helps speed up cell turnover. Plus, it exfoliates the skin and reduces the number of pore blockages. (More on AHA later)

Moderate to severe body acne is hard to control and is usually treated by a physician. In these cases, topical and oral medications are often prescribed.

Like facial acne, it may take a little trial and error to find what works best for you. If you guys find something that works great, let me know! Good Luck out there…

Soap Hope

When you’re dealing with adult acne, nothing is more important that maintaining a good skin care regimen. We’ve gone through the how’s and why’s of moisturizers and cleansers—but what about those of you who prefer bar soaps to the liquid kind?

Much like acne cleansers, finding the right kind of soap for your skin is essential. And with so much variety in the bar soap world, this isn’t always an easy task. Let’s see if we can’t clear a few things up, shall we?
For some acne sufferers, the most obvious choice is to go with natural soaps. Some people want to keep chemicals out of their bodies and away from their face, and going natural is a good way to accomplish that.  An added bonus is you don’t have to think about side effects as when you go organic.

Next are sulfur soaps. Some people swear by sulfur as an anti acne ingredient. (Something tells me we’ll have to explore a bit more on the subject) Sulfur believers claim that these soaps not only get rid of acne, but they also prevent acne from coming back. It leaves your skin nice and healthy. Sulfur is an ingredient used for many years with a long track record of treating problems with acne.

Finally, a glycerin or sorbital based soap is recommended by still other believers. Usually, soaps leave the skin feeling strange and waxy while a glycerin or sorbital based soap is supposed to prevent that residue. It doesn’t strip moisture from the skin so it doesn’t leave it dry or irritated. Plus, it balances the skin’s acid pH level which means bacteria won’t have a good environment to grow on and cause further breakouts. (Again, more research shall be forthcoming)
Remember, in the battle against acne, soaps should be used as part of your daily regime—not alone.

Quick Zit Fix?

While scanning the internet the other night (getting my celebrity gossip and nightly news fix) I came across what one self proclaimed celebrity makeup artist calls his no fail method for getting rid of a problem zit fast. He claims it’s what he uses to get a star ready for camera time when an unexpected blemish pops up.

Now, after reading through the steps, I have to tell you… I don’t think this would be a good way to deal with every one of your pimples. It can’t be good for your skin and, I suspect, repeated use would probably lead to clogged pores and maybe even more break outs.

However, I am a firm believer in the “don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it” school of thought. So, chances are good that the next time a whopper of a zit appears on my face, I will give this unorthodox home remedy a try myself.

Ready for the steps?

Here goes:

For starters, inspect the pimple for any visible pus or a white or yellow head. If it looks at all possible, squeeze out the gunk within the zit. (Yes, I know I’ve always told you to keep your hands off… just another reason why I seriously recommend against using this method very often at all)

If any bleeding ensues, use the moistened tip of a men’s styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. (These can be found wherever men’s shaving supplies are at your local grocery store or pharmacy) NOTE: Using a styptic pencil will sting, but it stops the bleeding quickly.

Next, you’ll want to moisten a cotton ball with eye drops (Visine is what he recommended, but I assume that any brand would work just fine). This will get rid of all redness. Personally, I have used eye drops to decrease redness in big, inflamed pimples before, and I know that it works.

Wait about 10 minutes. If any redness remains, apply the eye drops one more time. (Make sure you wait another 10 minutes before proceeding to the final step.

The last step is the application of hemorrhoid cream.

Yes, you read that right. I said hemorrhoid cream. Apparently, this will shrink the big bad zit down to a tiny size that can be easily covered with concealer and makeup.

So what do you guys think? Worth a try?

Aspirin Allergy and Salicylic Acid: A Warning

According to a recent study in the Archives of Dermatology, as much as 1% of the American population has a sensitivity to Aspirin. (That’s close to 3 million people) What’s more, with the popularity of non-aspirin derived pain relievers, many consumers (especially younger ones) don’t know if they are allergic or sensitive to aspirin, because they simply haven’t used it.

So what does this have to do with adult acne?

More than you may realize.

Salicylic acid, a popular component of many (if not most) acne cleansers, body washes, and treatments is made from aspirin. That means that if you are allergic to aspirin, then acne products may be dangerous—or fatal—to you.

Symptoms of aspirin sensitivity include everything from itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion, and rash to hives, cough, wheezing, trouble catching your breath, and even anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. It causes a drop in blood pressure and serious breathing difficulties.

And if you’re thinking that it’s ok to use SA on your skin because you’re not actually ingesting it… think again. Your skin absorbs the acid right through the cleanser.

Using a facial cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid is the equivalent of taking about 80-100 mg of aspirin orally. (That’s about ½ of a baby aspirin tablet) And if you’re using a 2% SA body wash in your daily shower, that’s over 300 mg of aspirin every time you lather up!

That’s not all, either. Recent studies show that people with asthma may be more susceptible to aspirin sensitivity. (And that aspirin and aspirin containing products like salicylic acid) can seriously aggravate asthma symptoms—even causing asthma attacks.

So does this mean that SA is unsafe for use? In general, I’m thinking not. As long as you don’t have an aspirin allergy, you should be ok. But just in case, I’m going to look into it a bit more, and report back to you guys with any interesting findings!

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

By now you know that moisturizing is important—even if you’ve got oily or acne prone skin. You know how and when to moisturize. You even know the right way to wash your face before applying that much needed moisture.

But do you know what to look for when buying a moisturizer?

No two faces are exactly the same, so you’ll probably have to do a little research (trial and error style, unfortunately) until you find the right moisturizer for you.

However, in the interest in helping you narrow down your choices, I thought I’d give you a crash course on some of the key words you might want to keep an eye out for when hitting the drugstore for your moisture fix.

Be on the lookout for:

1)OIL FREE: Obviously, you don’t want a moisturizer that adds oil to an already oily complexion. Instead, look for a water based moisturizer—they’re more effective on acne prone skin. Make sure GLYCERIN is the featured ingredient (as opposed to mineral oil). The glycerin retains moisture and keeps skin hydration balance in order, without greasing up your skin.

2)NON-COMEDOGENIC: “Non-comedogenic” literally means that it won’t clog pores. These kinds of moisturizers help prevent breakouts, blackheads, and whiteheads by preventing the pore clogs and blockages that bring them on in the first place.

3)ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Certain ingredients, when present in your moisturizer, can help treat or prevent future and present breakouts. Among some of the most popular are salicylic acid (for clearing up dead skin cells), alpha hydroxy acids (commonly referred to as AHA), retinol, and benzoyl peroxide (which kills bacteria and helps fight off acne).

Natural ingredients that can be found in moisturizers that claim to be acne friendly include jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and aloe vera gel.

4)SPF: Protection from the sun’s harmful rays is an essential part of any skin care routine. Fight off sunburn, skin cancer, and premature wrinkles by choosing a moisturizer that contains sunscreen—especially if you’re using acne medication (such as retinol) that can make you photosensitive.