Acne, Wrinkles and Weak Bones…Send Help!

Acne is just one aspect of skin care, actually retaining a youthful look is a whole new can of worms. As women, we are held to a higher standard than men–we are not allowed to age, apparently. Well, a new study just came out that links the intensity of wrinkles to bone density problems.

The study submits that depending on how many wrinkles you get and their severity is directly predictive of how low your bone density is. In short, if you get some seriously deep wrinkles at menopause, your bone density is probably pretty low. The study maintains that the skin can give you a sort of x-ray into the shape and condition of the skeletal system below.

Where’s the up side, you say? Well, this means that you can sort of self-diagnose your low bone density without those expensive tests….yay…? How does this work, you want to know? Well, the link between skin and bones is still officially unclear. However, since they are made up of the same essentials–proteins and collagen, etc, they could hold a special bond. As we age, our skin sags because of less collagen–perhaps your bones are similar.

Hmmm. Sounds like bad news and…worse news. Great–wrinkles and graham cracker bones. Sweet.

Pass the milk, please.



Summer Nostalgia

You can’t live through the summer and not be nostalgic at some point. Anything can trigger it, a whiff of sunscreen, or the obligatory bag of Sun Chips that we took with us to every beach day. My brother and I had the most wonderful summers, full of silly mid-afternoon soap operas, backyard gardens and creaky tire swings. It was those summer moments that come flooding back every year.

You never know when it will happen which makes it so much more special. Yesterday, it grabbed me while I was sitting outside, waiting for my do to “do his business.” I was initially in a hurry; of course I had stuff to do. But then, mysteriously, a tiny organic glow switched on. It happened again…it was the delightful flicker of lightning bugs.  I loved catching those things! Instantly, I was sucked back in time to rinse out salsa jars reclaimed to be little holding tanks for those lightning bugs. I was rocketed back to the summers of kiddie pools and crust less sandwiches.

Summer breezes and impromptu picnics will always be on the tip of my brain. I love summer, even when the sweat is dripping down my back. Moments like these make me forget everything, even summer skincare. Just take a minute to forget your pimples or your acne and just remember what it was like to be a carefree child of summer.

Skipping Foundation–Yes We Can!!

Think about it—could you conceivably skip your foundation? If it meant that you’d save a few minutes in the morning, if you knew your skin could breathe all day long, could you do it? I don’t wear foundation—ever! I have tried numerous different types—they all make my face feel hot. I know—its weird. I also think that it makes some women look older.

Consider skipping the foundation or at least switching to an oil free formula. I think you’d see your acne clearing up a bit. Your skin gets to breathe and you don’t have to suffer through another day of makeup meltdown.

If you ABsolutely will NOT sacrifice your foundation, maybe you can lighten it up a bit. Use an oil free moisturizer to slightly dilute it, giving a thin veil of coverage. Or you can opt for a tinted, oil free moisturizer if you just can’t go nude. Sure, you can still make your touch up’s with your concealer, I’m not trying to ruin your life, here. J I think with a good swipe of bronzer and some great concealer, you’ll never even notice that your foundation is missing. BUT, you might notice that your pimples, zits and acne are quite NOTICEABLY missing…

Treating Acne Scars

Ice pick scars can be difficult to manage and remove. However, they are best handled with processes like punch excision and punch grafting. During punch excision treatment a small, cookie cutter-like tool is used to cut out individual scars. The small wound can be closed using steri-strips, sutures, or skin glue such as Dermabond. Once healed, the skin is smoother and more even in texture. In the punch graft, the process is similar, but, a piece of skin is taken from the ear and actually adhered over the scar. The skin grows over, creating a smoother surface.

For boxcar scars, the process is similar, but a doctor can actually “fill” the hole. These processes leave a small scar, but less noticeable than the original. Resurfacing and dermal fillers will also be an option.

When dealing with the Keloid scars, regeneration needs to be the main priority. In some cases, a doctor can inject the site with steroids will strip down and flatten the scar, they can also soften. When dealing with rolling scars, the best bet is subcision. Subcision is a process in which the doctor will “free up” the compacted, scarred tissue beneath the dermis. They do this with a needle or surgical scissors to separate the dermis from the subcutaneous tissue after topical anesthetic is applied to the treatment area. You could have some minor bruising in the affected area.

Types of Acne Scars

No matter what how haphazard or strategic your skin care regiment, acne scars are a reality. When you are suffering with acne scars and considering treatment, start with some valid information. There are two very broad categories of scars, one type is the “atrophic,” caused by a loss of tissue. The second category is the “hypertrophic,” those caused by an excess or a build up of tissue.

Now, inside of those two categories, you have four different types: ice pick, boxcar, rolling and keloid scars. (Before your eyes glaze over, I will get to the point.)

Ice Pick Scars: these are the very long, narrow, column like gashes. Some could look like a very large, almost oversized single pore. They develop after an infection (a cyst or other deep inflamed blemish), skin tissue is destroyed, leaving a long column-like scar.

Boxcar Scars:  are the round or oval depressions with steep vertical sides. Wider than ice picks, boxcar scars give the skin a pitted appearance.

Rolling Scars: Give the skin a “waved” appearance, they arise when fibrous bands of tissue develop between the skin and the subcutaneous tissue below.

Hypertrophic or Keloid: these look like a raised, firm mass of tissue. These types of scars often grow larger than the original wound. They are common on men, on their torso.  Different from ice pick or boxcar scars, hypertrophic scars are not caused by a loss of tissue, they develop from an overproduction of collagen.

Ok, I will weigh in with the different ways to treat acne scars next week!

Acne Medicine Class Action Suits

Hopefully you have heard about this whole Accutane thing. If not, lemme catch you up. When Accutane first came out (in 1982), it was highly controversial–but it seemed to have miraculous results! The product made use of a special Vitamin A formula to reduce oil, tame the acne you had and help your skin renew faster. (Vitamin A has been used to clear up acne since 1930.)

It was prescribed as an intended miracle drug for people with nodular acne. For awhile it was going great, sure there were side effects (extreme dryness in the skin, lips and mouth, discomfort with contacts, joint pain, back pain, dizziness, drowsiness, nervousness, cracking or peeling of skin, itching, rashes, or changes in finger nails.) Then there were the extreme cases, in which it was suspected to cause severe birth defects or even fetal death, depressed moods, trouble concentrating, insomnia, agitation, change in behavior, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body, blurred vision, sudden or severe headaches, vomiting, hearing problems, seizures, severe pain in upper stomach, fast heart rate, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay colored stools, jaundice, severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, black, bloody, or tarry stools, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, purple spots under the skin, easy bruising or bleeding, or bone fracture.)

But, hey, your skin was clearing up, right? Well, not for everyone. It seemed that Accutane as actually making people’s acne worse…yikes. If you didn’t have the specific type or “strain” of acne, Accutane was only making things worse. Well, things are getting nuts because a new study has been able to link the use of this acne med to Crohn’s Disease. Another serious issue is the affect that it has on the upper intestinal track, causing a condition called ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores in the lining of the rectum and colon. These ulcers can start to form where inflammation has killed the cells that usually line the colon, then bleed and produce pus. Inflammation in the colon also causes the colon to empty frequently, causing diarrhea. If you have taken Accutane in the past and are experiencing things like abdominal pain and cramping and possible gastrointestinal bleeding–get yourself to a doctor.

Then, take a few minutes and research your options. There are a great deal of class action suits going on, perhaps you are eligible for some relief from your doctor bills, etc. This is a huge reason that I make sure to try to treat things naturally–too many wayward drugs on the market, how can we be sure that stuff like this won’t happen?

Have a good day!

Grandma’s Summer Acne Advice

If you know my Grandmother, you know that she is headstrong and stubborn. She and I regularly discuss skin care; some of her advice is usable, some not so much. We were chatting about summer skin care and she had some interesting advice.

First, she says to stay out of the heat. Easy enough, right? I sort of agree, you get all sticky and you feel “dirty.” So, use your car’s and your home’s air conditioning. Stay cool, avoid frustration and break outs.

The next one is a good one, she says “wash your face…but don’t wash your face.” Uhm. Yeah—gotta love Gram Gram. She means that you don’t have to wash your face with soap to get the advantages of washing your face. Carry those pimple pads and give yourself a swipe during the day. Or you can just splash some cool water to wash away the extra oil, sweat or dirt that is on your face. Granted, you will have to fix up your make up, but, hey.

Next, she says always drink something cool—it is like air conditioning for your insides. Lastly, mentally prepare yourself to be ok with being sweaty and sticky. I know it sucks, but if you can get over it, you will be less self conscious and less stressed. Take it in stride and cool off at every opportunity you get.

There ya go—my grandma’s advice. Enjoy.