Saturday, April 12, 2014

Information on Acne Treatments: A Message to the Readers that Request Some Answers

Hello everyone,

If you have stumbled upon my blog by chance, welcome.  This post may or may not have any relevance to your skin.  I am a blogger that has never been able to quite get the hang of blogging consistently on a daily basis over the years, and some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted any new information in at least a year.

I want to tell everyone who has written to me in the comments section or by email that I care about you, your skin, and your happiness more than you'll ever know.

That's why I don't post much.

Weird, huh?

I care too much about what happens to everyone who reads my advice, so I have become more and more cautious of recommending products.

About a year ago, I found that several of the products I had recommended had changed formulas, and knowing that my words would continue to impact people who visited this page long after I made a certain recommendation, I became reluctant to give as many suggestions.

As all of you know, I love science and research.  I do not care about popular opinion when I craft these posts, and when I write, I write as a woman who knows what it feels like to distrust yet trust everyone out there with a success story and a gimmick.

In the last year, I have taken my love of knowledge elsewhere, abandoning my pimples (or lack of pimples) until today when I was refreshed and ready to respond to some comments and post something about hormonal acne and prevention...Until I saw...

Okay, let's get to the reason for this rant: The blog has been tainted.  Today I logged onto my blog after staying after for far too long to find that many wonderful people had sung my praises in the comments section.  It seems that some people think the content on this blog is helpful and answers their questions. I'm glad.  

When I read the number of ads that were nestled in between these sincere remarks I find so rewarding to read, I felt sick I hadn't monitored this page more carefully.  I knew I hadn't responded to some people's comments, but I had no idea what I would find lurking for anyone to read.




No more capital letters, I swear.

It's time I spoke up for the good people who visit this site.  This is a place to explore the options available for skincare, but I have no patience for businesses like this.  I would rant about the other people selling snake oil, but I'm too worried about the Accutane dealers right now.

Let me know... Does this stuff bother you?  How do you feel about people selling products to treat acne that could hurt teens or adults who visit this page?  Do you think that the comments should allow people to market sketchy products without permission?  We won't be able to know how to address these issues unless people share their honest thoughts.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Scrubbing Your Acne

The pharmacy shelves are lined with abrasive cleansers that allow us to give in to the temptation we’ve all had to scrub, scrub, scrub away our acne.  Here are five reasons why you should never buy another scrub if you suffer from acne:

1.       Acne is not caused by a lack of personal hygiene, and blackheads are not dirt stuck in your pores.  Acne starts below the surface, so scrubbing away at the top layer of your skin will not treat the problem.  It can only make it worse.

2.       Scrubs are irritating to the skin.  They increase redness and peeling without reducing acne lesions. This worsens inflammation, which can be uncomfortable. Furthermore, your acne lesions will be more obvious to others and more difficult to camouflage with makeup. 

3.       Abrasive scrubs make other skin care products more irritating too!  Many beneficial acne-fighting agents can be better tolerated when you use them with gentle skin care products.  Case studies have suggested that reactions to ingredients like benzoyl peroxide can be induced or enhanced when abrasive scrubs are used.  It’s a shame to make fighting acne harder than it has to be.

4.       Physical exfoliants give inconsistent results.  This means that you won't get the same results every time you scrub.  Not only can you not predict the exfoliation you’re getting, but you’re unable to predict how any products you apply afterward will interact with your skin.  Inconsistent treatment is not good for acne.

5.       Rubbing and friction toughens the skin.  Thickening the skin will promote clogging and make your acne more difficult to treat.

Exfoliation is a critical part of any skin care regimen, but don’t be fooled into thinking that scrubs are your best or only option when it comes to increasing your cell turnover rate and treating your acne-prone skin.
This post reflects the views of the author and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How To Remember To Take Your Oral Medications and Supplements For Acne

Whether your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, Accutane, oral contraceptives, or supplements to treat your acne internally, it’s important to remember that unused medicine is ineffective medicine.  If we don’t remember to take our acne medications, we won’t achieve the clear skin we want.

Often times we forget our oral medications because we don’t necessarily associate a pill with our skin care regimen.  If you’ve always been a relatively healthy person, it may be difficult to get used to taking a medication on a daily basis.  And if you already take other medications on a daily basis, it can be difficult to remember which ones you’ve taken and which ones you haven’t.

Whatever the reason is that you’re struggling to remember that pill every day, I’ve got some tips that will help you remember to take your oral acne medications, so you can achieve clearer skin that much sooner.

1.       Sit down and read the prescribing information.

You may be wondering how reading the prescribing information is going to help you remember to take your pills.  Trust me.  It will.  By understanding what you should expect from your medication and knowing the proper way to take it, you are less likely to run into any mishaps that you could otherwise encounter.  For example, did you know that many of the antibiotics prescribed to treat acne should not be taken with food?  If you don’t read the instructions, you might assume that you’re supposed to eat before taking your medication.  When we experience side effects, don’t see results, or have mixed feelings about what a medication is doing to our health, we inadvertently forget to be as diligent.  Setting yourself up for success starts by avoiding unnecessary pitfalls that could cause you to stop your treatment.  Reading the prescribing information will help you better understand the medication you are taking and tell you what to do if you miss a dose accidently. 

2.       Put your medication where you can see it every day.

Don’t leave your pills inside that dusty medicine cabinet you only open when you have a headache.  You’ll never remember to take your meds if you can’t see them!  Instead put your acne medication next to something you habitually do on a daily basis, so it becomes easy to make that daily pill part of your routine.  Now here’s the tricky part… Where should you put them?  Experts suggest placing your medicine next to your toothbrush, and for many, this works well.  But some of you may find that you’re better off putting it next to your coffee maker, contact lens solution, or alarm clock.  You could even put it on your nightstand or next to your computer keyboard.  Where you decide to put it depends on your routine and how you’re supposed to take the medication.  Go back to that prescribing information I told you to read, and think about what you’ll be doing when you’re supposed to take your medicine.

3.       Buy a pill box and fill it up for the week.

Any pharmacy will have an assortment of pill boxes available.  These can really help you remember to take your medications properly.  Regardless of how simple or complicated your daily medications are, I definitely recommend picking up a pill box that you can fill up each week to keep you on track with your treatment.  For starters, this will keep you from wondering whether or not you took that pill already, which can cause many of us to skip a dose because we’re afraid we'll overmedicate.  Secondly, by filling up for the week, you can better anticipate when you need to refill your prescriptions and plan accordingly.  Thirdly, pill boxes are great for those embarrassed about taking an acne medication because it gives some amount of privacy. 
When picking out a pill box, think about your needs.  If you need to remind yourself to take your medication twice daily, you might want two separate pill boxes to place in different areas, or you may find that a box with multiple time slots for the same day is more helpful.  You could also need a larger pill box if you need to keep track of multiple medications. 

4.       Set an alarm.

Now that so many of us have cell phones, it is easy to set a customized alarm (or alarms) to remind you when you need to take your medication.  Remember to set one for both the time of day when you need to take your medicine, as well as one to remind yourself to fill up your pill box before the start of a new week.

5.       Stay on track with your skin care regimen and topical treatments.

If you’re making a daily effort to take care of your skin and treat/prevent acne breakouts, then you’re more likely to remember that you need to take your pills to maintain a clear complexion.  Oral medications work synergistically with topicals, so don’t prioritize one over the other.

Like I said, unused medication doesn't get you clear skin.  I hope these tips help you all remember to take your oral medications and supplements, so you can achieve your treatment goals that much sooner. =)

This post reflects the views of the author and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Does Drinking Water Help Acne?

Many people claim that they’ve cleared their skin by drinking water.  Is it true?  Can it really be that simple?

Drinking water is good for you.  Plain and simple.  Staying well-hydrated is critical to good health, and when we’re dehydrated, our health suffers as a result.  If our body’s under stress, our acne will get worse.

However, there are plenty of dehydrated people in this world that do not experience acne.  And there are plenty of well-hydrated people out there that still suffer from breakouts.

So why does water seem to work such wonders for so many people?

Let’s think about it… If you’re drinking lots of water, you’re probably going to be drinking less of other beverages that may be triggering your breakouts. 

Sodas, sports drinks, and juices are loaded with sugar, which increases the amount of calories you’re consuming in a day and spikes your blood sugar.  Lots of sugar and/or lots of calories can increase acne.  Cutting the amount of sugary beverages you consume in a day is one of the best things you can do for your skin—both for breakouts and aging.

Dairy products can also aggravate acne, and it’s something many of us were raised drinking.  Like the beverages listed above, it can negatively affect our insulin levels.  Milk also contains high amounts of iodine, and it also is loaded with hormones.  Buying organic milk really isn’t a very effective way of avoiding these hormones either because lactating animals just naturally produce these hormones that are secreted into the milk.  Many people also are allergic to dairy, which further adds to inflammation.  In short, milk can cause a lot of problems for our skin.  (I speak from personal experience on this one.)

Drinking water is a good thing, and we should definitely continue doing it for our health—not just our skin.  But try to look at what you’re replacing if you really want to uncover the mystery behind your breakouts.

This post reflects the views of the author and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is Your Powder Drying Out Your Skin?

We know that powders reduce shine, but can they actually dry out your skin?

The answer is…yes and no.

Powder products—especially loose powders—contain fewer emollients than liquids or creams.  Even mattifying liquid products that contain powders are suspended in something that gives slip to the skin, so they can spread evenly over the face. 

Pressed powders contain significantly less of these slip agents, but they do contain some to hold the particles together in the pan.  Loose powders contain no emollients whatsoever, which is why they are considered ideal for oily skin.

No matter what type of product you use, if it contains powders, then those powders will absorb oil on your skin.  Sebum is your skin’s natural lubrication, which prevents—guess what—dryness.  If you are using a product without added emollients in it—such as a loose powder—then you will find that shine is being absorbed by the powders and not being replaced by anything else.  This will accentuate any flaky, loose skin cells that would be shellacked onto the surface of the skin by your natural oils.  It will also collect in those pesky fine lines.

Makeup often contains the same ingredients we would find in moisturizers and other skin care products, so if you find that your skin seems dryer when you use a powder product, you might be missing out on the benefits of the emollients you were accustomed to getting through your liquid foundation. 

Oily skin requires more exfoliation than other skin types.  Because sebum is so sticky, it prevents the natural shedding process from occurring normally.  This can lead to clogged pores, acne, and similar skin problems that can make your skin look less than its best. 

While many people with oily skin have beautiful complexions and seem to be immune to wrinkles, we should note that it’s possible that our skin’s natural oils are holding down dead skin cells that should be long gone by now.  This explains why flakiness can suddenly appear out of nowhere when the oil is absorbed by a powder. 

Another thing to consider is the method of application.  You may be buffing foundation powders and mineral makeup into the skin, which lifts flakes that you wouldn’t otherwise see if you applied your makeup in a downward motion.  It just adds insult to injury.  If you find that flakes appear after you’ve finished your makeup, dampen a sponge and stipple over any problem areas.  This will moisten the powder and smooth out any rough patches.

So yes, powders do highlight problem areas that other formulas do not.  But no, they don't cause them. 

No matter what formula you prefer to use, any new foundation may require some adjustments in your daily routine in order to keep your skin looking and feeling balanced.  Powders are no exception.

Please leave any comments, questions, or tips below!  As always, I would love to hear from you all!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Could Your Facial Cleanser Be The Reason Why Your Makeup Never Lasts?

With warm weather finally here, many are reaching for long wearing formulas to keep our makeup looking fresh all day long.  Some of us, however, feel like our makeup is constantly sliding off our face no matter what we use.

Before you purchase another primer, powder, or setting spray, make sure you’re not making this skin care mistake.

Many women find themselves frustrated with their skin and their makeup because they’re not thoroughly rinsing off their facial cleanser.  Leaving cleanser on your skin can cause irritation and—yes—breakouts. 

It can also sabotage the appearance of your makeup.

Facial cleansers contain detergents that remove dirt, debris, oil, and makeup by reducing the surface tension of water on the skin, so they can be easily rinsed away.  When even a smidgen of this detergent remains on the face, it will continue to create slippage on the skin, making makeup next to impossible to wear.  The second you apply it, it just seems to wear off.

Gel cleansers can be particularly problematic because they are more concentrated, making them more difficult to rinse. 

It’s equally important to make sure that you’re not using too much cleanser because this will cause dryness and sensitivity, as well as make proper rinsing a real chore.

Spending a little extra time splashing your face or adding a gentle toner into your morning skin care routine can ensure that every last trace of cleanser is removed before you start applying your makeup. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Should You Consider Using Jojoba Oil For Your Acne?

Rumor has it that jojoba oil can solve all your beauty dilemmas.  It can be used on the hair, body, and the face.  Many people even believe it can cure acne.  Is this true?

Before I answer that question, let me explain the theory that's circulating behind this claim.  Many jojoba oil advocates believe that because jojoba oil is so similar to human sebum, it can actually trick the skin into producing less oil.  When you produce less oil, you don’t break out as much… Therefore it can cure acne.

I have no clue where this notion got started, but there is no sensor in the skin that determines whether or not you have produced enough sebum.  If there were, no one would have oily skin. 

Oily skin is determined by genetics and hormones. 

The only other reason we may produce more oil is irritation.  The nerve endings in our skin can trigger excess oil production, but avoiding irritating products that agitate these nerve endings to begin with should make this a non-issue.

What if you have irritated your skin?  In that case, jojoba oil may not be a terrible idea.

Many experts theorize that one of the underlying causes for acne—especially adult acne—is an impaired barrier function.  When this critical component of healthy skin is damaged, bacteria can easily multiply and get out of control.  It is also more prone to reactions from traditional moisturizers.  Applying something like jojoba oil to the skin can soften dry, easily irritated skin without occluding it, which could trigger more breakouts. 

If you are experiencing dry skin and sensitivity in addition to your acne, you may see results from the right source of jojoba oil.  (Dr. Fulton’s study on comedogenicity found that not all sources of jojoba oil are non-comedogenic, so shop carefully.)  Flaky skin can fall off and into pores, which makes clogging worse.  By using something like jojoba oil to moisturize the skin, the flakiness becomes less of an issue.

Jojoba oil may also soften the existing clogs in dry skin with acne because it can penetrate the pore.  Some have speculated that jojoba oil even has antibacterial properties, which would certainly help. 

If you choose to use jojoba oil, use it sparingly, and be sure to purchase a high quality, cold-pressed variety. 

The science simply is not there to support any claims that jojoba oil will help your acne though.  It could even make it worse.  Jojoba oil is not a stand-alone treatment for acne.  It’s only a potential moisturizer that you could consider if you’re struggling with both acne and dryness.  However, you might also want to check out the other non-comedogenic plant oils like safflower oil before deciding if jojoba oil is the best choice for you.

This post reflects the views of the author and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.