Tag Archives: skincare tips

Tips for Controlling Common Skin Conditions

Dr. William’s Pink Pills For Pale People,” “Dr.Scott’s Electric Corsets and Belts, “Dr. Ayer’s Pectoral Plaster,” “Dr. Watson’s Worm Syrup.” It seems like, since time immemorial, there have been people ready to cash in on the belief that “for every problem, there is a solution.” However, attractive as it the phrase may sound, unfortunately it is not always true, and skin conditions are no exception. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make to make them better. Here is some expert advice on how you can handle some common skin conditions under control.

Under-eye bags

Under-Eye Bags
Under-eye bags are the result of fat that gathers in the lower eyelids, and become more prominent with age. According to Curology founder, David Lortscher, gravity, loss of collagen, and genetic factors are all responsible for the these pillow like protrusions, and the bad news is, they cannot be permanently eliminated and masks and eye creams usually don’t help. However, there are ways of minimizing the puffiness.

According to Lortsher, “proper head elevation during sleep, sleep itself, and decreased dietary ingestion of salt and alcohol are simple lifestyle changes that can help.” He adds, “Topical creams can also reduce swelling.” If more intense treatments are an option, the doctor allows that, “Surgical correction or blepharoplasty can lead to a semi-permanent solution. But, remember, with age and volume loss the under-eye bags can reappear.”

Melasma
Melasma is characterized by dark facial pigmentation. It is triggered by sun exposure, hormone treatments and pregnancy and may last for decades. While melasma research is still ongoing, topical treatments, such as the prescription medication Tri-Luma, are looming on the horizon and experts recommend sun avoidance and protection to keep the condition to a minimum.

Dermatologist checking skin

Stretch marks
Stretch marks appear when the tissue below your skin, called the dermis, tears after being stretched by rapid growth or weight gain. Lortscher explains that, “Stretch marks are difficult to treat because they are actually scars,” and, like most scars, may fade with time, but never fully disappear. But there is hope.

Lortscher says cosmetic fractionated layers offer the “best hope at improving the depressed and thinned texture of the skin and topical tretinoin may help to some extent through its collagen stimulating effect.”

Rosacea
Rosacea is the general term used to refer to the appearance of redness of the face, small, acne like bumps and dilated blood vessels. Rosacea affects the capillaries under the skin surface and, “As you might imagine,” Lortscher says, “there is no topical treatment that will remove these little blood vessels.”

Although rosacea is not completely curable, there are several ways to manage it. One way is to avoid triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, stress, and hot showers. Redness can also be decreased by using topical products containing metronidazole, tacrolimus, azelaic acid, and glycol acid.

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema
A catch all phrase applied to most skin inflammation, eczema can be caused by almost anything from stress to food allergies. Although not curable, eczema is easily controllable with topical antibiotics, emollients and steroids.

Keratosis Pilaris
About 50% of the population suffers from the genetic acne- like skin condition known as keratosis pillars. KP is usually found on the thighs and upper arms and consists of dry, rough bumps resulting from the accumulation of dead skin cells, and, as Lortscher says, is,”incurable and persistent, even with treatment.”

Thankfully, alpha hydroxy acids are helpful in sloughing off dead skin cells and allowing them to shed, so glycolic and lactic acids can be effective, as can coconut oil, although coconut oil should not be used on the face. More good news: the condition also tends to go away when the sufferer reaches his or her late 20’s or early 30’s.

What Makes A Product Noncomedogenic?

Noncomedogenic. N-O-N-C-O-M-E-D-O-G-E-N-I-C. Noncomedogenic. It sounds like the word that stumped the runner up in the fourth grade spelling bee. If you’ve been hearing this word used a lot lately in the cosmetic industry and thinking it sounds impressive, its meant to. But is it, really? Let’s break it down.

Woman squeezing pimple

A comedo is the mildest form of acne, otherwise known as a pimple, whitehead, or blackhead. So technically you could say, “Wow, that’s a rather large comedo on your face.” as a more polite way of saying, “Wow, that’s a really big zit you have.” Non, of course means without, hence, noncomedogenic, when applied to a skin cleanser essentially means the product does not clog pores and will break down excess oils on your skin without stripping necessary moisture.

What Does “Noncomedogenic” Mean?
Although the term “noncomedogenic” sounds scientific, the truth is that the effectiveness of noncomedogenic products has not been proven in clinical trials, nor has it been tested by the FDA. This is not, however, to say that such products are without merit; in fact, there is some evidence that non comedic products can reduce acne. There is, after all, proof that blocked pores can produce acne, and therefore, a product preventing occlusion of pores, may help prevent it. However, some forms of acne may be a result of other causes, such as a high presence of bacteria on the skin, and, in these cases, noncomedogenic goods would not have much effect.

In other instances, products are labelled noncomedogenic, but, in fact can cause skin rashes an irritation.

Woman cleaning face

Chemistry of Noncomedogenic Products
Noncomedogenic cleanser usually contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or salicylic acid. Some have ingredients to treat acne, and others are simply formulated to not aggravate pimples and clog pores.

Benzoyl peroxyde kills bacteria which causes acne and does not produce oil on the skin. Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria, but does unclog pores without creating additional oil. It also dissolves oil in the hair follicles. Sulfur washes away dead skin cells and excess oil and is also believed to be able to break down blackheads and whiteheads.

Pros and Cons Of Noncomedogenic Cleansers
Noncomedogenic. How bad could it be, right? Anything purported not to clog pores, couldn’t be too bad, right? Well, you be the judge.

Benzoyl Peroxide
If you’ve ever used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, you probably found it to be effective. However, you will need to use it for a few weeks before you see results, and, if you discontinue use, the acne will return. Also, while you can combat the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide on skin with moisturizer, other side effects are not so easy to deal with. Itching, rashes, burning, and swelling have all been associated with the use of benzoyl peroxide and are best handled professionally.

Woman checking skin

Salicylic Acid
Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid requires continuous use to see results, as pores will clog up again when the skin is no longer receiving treatment. Although it can cause irritation and stinging, it is usually mild enough to work without causing serious side effects.

Sulfur
Sulfur has very few side effects, if any, and, although some may find the smell disagreeable, the odor is usually not detectable when mixed with other ingredients.

What do you think of noncomedogenic products? Does the term reassure you? Let us know!

Can Your Pimples Shed Light On Your Gastrointestinal Problems?

Woman checking pimple

“CNotes” started having really bad problems with his skin about 8 months ago. He noticed that his breakouts came in conjunction with hits stomach problems which lead him to believe that his nausea and indigestion may be the cause of his constant breakouts. He wonders if anyone has gone through a similar experience, and says, “There are so many treatments and so much information, I don’t know where to start.”

Well, CNotes, you are definitely not alone. A study investigation 13,000 adolescents found that those with acne were more prone to gastrointestinal problems like heartburn and constipation and that abdominal bloating was 37% more likely to be linked with acne. As for where to start, try here:

Clues that Your Acne Is Caused By Digestion
If you suspect that your digestion may be at the root of your acne problems, here are some clues to look for:

  1. You breakout after eating certain foods.
  2. There is no cyclical pattern to the timing of your breakouts.
  3. You are breaking out mostly on your forehead.
  4. You have frequent stomach aches.
  5. You tend to break out before, during, or after periods of gut problems.

Gastrointestinal Problems and Acne
Keep in mind that skin is an elimination system in your body and that acne is a result of the skin doing its job. Therefore, increased toxicity in the blood can lead to an increase in acne. Diets high in processed foods, sugar and trans fat can create imbalances in the body and acne can be a symptom of this.

drinking water

Lack of digestive juices in the upper GI can also lead to acne. Active digestion starts with the saliva, and if there are not enough digestive secretions to break down the food in the upper GI, food will travel undigested to the lower GI. Undigested fats in food store toxic waste, minerals, and vitamins. If fats aren’t completely broken down, they can get into the liver, intestines and bloodstream, causing the liver to go into overdrive. Eventually this slows down systems that feed the body and the body creates “collateral veins.”

When the liver is overtaxed, the body creates collateral veins to help the blood keep flowing. Collateral veins are extra blood vessels in the intestinal tract that allow the body to bypass the liver and, as a result, unfiltered, impure blood enters your body causing imbalances; acne is among these.

Healing Digestive Problems

  1. Drink Water: Water will help to carry nutrients through your body and flush out toxic buildup.
  2. Keep a Journal of What You Eat: Write down what you eat and how you feel for a wok, noting patterns. Analyze your entries to see if you notice more of less breakouts when you eat a certain food.
  3. Increase Digestion in Upper GI: Consuming bitter herbs can help increase digestion in the upper GI, as can consuming probiotic foods. Lemon balm is a recommended herb and fermented foods likekimchi, yogurt, pickles and sauerkraut are all probiotic.
  4. Heal the Lower GI: Taking demulcent herbs, such as marshmallow, can coat the lining of the intestines that are subject to damage associated with lower GI distress. Herbs that help the liver include burdock and milk thistle.
  5. Keep Track of Fats: Fat is a vital part of building energy in our body, so its important to eat good fats to sustain us.

Do you think your acne is related to your gastrointestinal problems? Let us know how you handle your challenges. Your comments and opinions can help!

The Amazing Health Benefits of Water

Woman drinking more water
You may have noticed some pretty creative things being done with water lately. You may have seen pitchers of water on the counters of Trader Joe’s or Souplantation with cucumbers or strawberries floating in them. You may have seen ice cubes infused with black raspberries or kiwi slices. Maybe you’ve sucked on a water popsicle with a few frozen cherries inside, Tootsie Roll style. Let’s face it. Water is pretty great for us, but it can be kind of boring. Tom Ford, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Aniston agree, but they all drink it, and if they can do it, so can you. So whether you infuse it with fruit, fizz it up with bubbles, or down it straight, water is a crucial part of the human diet and here are some of the reasons.

1. It Helps to Balance Body Fluids
The human body is about 60% water. We use this water for saliva, digestion, absorption, maintenance of body temperature, circulation, the transportation of nutrients. When the fluids run low, your brain tells your body you’re thirsty, and when it does, you should listen. Get a drink of water, juice- as long as it’s not alcohol, you’ll be fine. Kaiser Permanents nephrologist , Steven Guest , MD, warns that “Alcohol interferes with brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can lead to dehydration.”

2. Water Can Promote Weight Loss
Although pouring water through your system does not directly result in shedding pounds, it is a great substitution for higher calorie drinks, like soda and sugary fruit juice. You never have to check the sodium content on a water bottle.

As an added perk, food with high water content looks larger. Compare dry pasta to cooked, it puffs up like a balloon, and have you ever seen a prune in contrast with a plum? Water makes a big difference. Water- based foods also take longer to chew and help you feel full, perfect for those who like their portions generous.

Woman drinking water

3. Water Energizes Your Muscles
Imbalances in fluids and electrolytes can cause cells to shrivel up, causing muscle fatigue. To make sure you are getting enough water before and during exercise, look at the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines – which recommends the intake of 17 ounces of fluid two hours previous to physical activity with supplements at regular intervals.

4. Prevents Dehydration
Although water will not erase your wrinkles, dehydration can make them look worse, according to Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. “Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.” In other words, if you drink too much, you will only end up needing to run to the bathroom, so don’t overdo it.

5. Helps Your Kidneys
Blood urea nitrogen is the body’s main toxin. Guest says, “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.” If you take interest in your urination, you should know that free flowing, light colored, odorless urine is a sign that your body is getting enough fluids. Dehydration causes an increase in cold, odor and concentration of urine because the kidneys are working to trap fluids in order to maintain function. Chronic dehydration can cause kidney stones.

Maybe you still think its boring, but you have to agree, water does some pretty great things for us. Let us know how you jazz up for water or what you think of jazzing up water. You may provide some pretty good tips!