Friday, February 26, 2010

Suitable oily / combination skin care products and routines

People that have oily / combination skin type have a very hard time with the proper care of their skin.  Because of over active sebaceous glands that are producing excessive oil or sebum, your skin looks greasy and dirty soon after washing.  Another disadvantage associated with your skin type is that you are very prone to breakouts.  Bacteria love to feed on sebum; skin gets inflamed and you will develop big red pimples. 

Fortunately, with the proper beauty products and daily routine, you can improve the appearance of your skin.  The key to oily / combination skin care is good cleansing, gentle exfoliation, oil control and using suitable skin care products. 

A good cleanser is a must for oily / combination skin care.  Those that are using soap or harsh cleansers that are designed to strip away all facial oil can cause a lot of damage to the skin.  You will need a gentle foaming cleanser that is formulated for oily / combination skin type.  There are some on the market with the active ingredient salicylic acid which targets oily skin with active pimples.  Other cleanser such as Neutrogena’s Transparent Facial Bar for acne-prone skin has no active ingredient but is extremely effective at sebum or oil control.  There is no one cleanser that fits all people; you will have to try different cleansers to find the one that works the best on your skin. 

Here is the proper routine for washing your face: first wet your face with some lukewarm water.  Use your fingers to gently message the cleanser into the skin for a deep clean.  Rinse your face clean with lukewarm water several times to get rid of all traces of cleanser.  Use tissues to gently get rid of all water on face. 

A gentle moisturizer is also very beneficial for those with oily / combination skin types.  However, if you choose the wrong one, it can make those over active sebaceous glands produce even more sebum.  The moisturizer you choose need to be water based, light and non-comedigenic (something that specifically states that or similar to “won’t clog pores”).  In fact, anything you use on the face must state that it does not clog pores.  Apply only once a day.

 Additional exfoliation will be needed for a deeper clean in the summer time.  Oily / combination skin usually have a harder time in the heat where sebaceous glands produce more sebum.  When your sweat is mixed with sebum, you face can get itchy and dirt / oil accumulates more on your face.  A mask that is designed to deeply clean your pores is a good choice to get rid of anything in the pores that will cause breakouts. 

Contrary to popular beliefs that makeup is bad for oily skin, some make up base is specifically designed for oily / combination skin that is acne prone.  In addition to covering blemishes, these can be beneficial to some women in terms of oil control and acne skin.  There are some make up bases that can actually “cure” acne on the face.  My roommate in college uses a Japanese brand makeup that controlled the level of her acne to about one or two small pimples a month.  I think the brand is called Shiseido, which is a very popular make up brand in Asia and Asian communities overseas.    

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What are real causes for adult acne and adult cystic acne?

There are so many adults that are still suffering from acne; some even suffer from cystic acne that never seems to go away. Exactly what causes acne to flare up continuously even when you have long passed puberty? There are so many causes for acne and there is no one treatment that will work for everyone.

According to some studies, around fifty percent of adult women and twenty five percent of adult men suffer from acne. This is a significant percent of the population that are still burdened with this problem even well into their adulthood. Acne is not just a surface problem that affects the skin. It is very devastating to self esteem and confidence. In extreme cases, people will lose social interactions and opportunities at love all because they are embarrassed from acne. I experienced too many breakouts that made me extremely self conscious about my own skin. Those that do not understand the problem will say, “oh, it will go away eventually”, “it’s not really that bad, I am sure other people won’t notice”. These people do not understand our problem because they never suffered from it; the worse thing you can do is not get any treatment and hope it will go away by itself. Understanding the cause of adult acne or adult cystic acne is the first step toward successful treatment.

The biggest cause for any adult acne is heredity. If one of your parents suffers from acne when they are younger, you might inherit those bad genes for acne prone skin. From what I understand, heredity is the worst when it comes to acne. My dad inherited his oily, sensitive and acne prone skin from his dad. I received the same genes for oily, sensitive and acne prone skin. My breakouts are more severe than most people where it was treated and then returned slowly to a point that it was comparable to the previous levels. You can also use that to your advantage because what works on your parent that suffered from acne will most likely work for you.

Stress is another factor that can cause you nasty breakouts. Stress will stimulate facial oil glands and make your face oilier than usual. Excess oil on the face can clog pores, attract bacteria and result in more pimples than usual. Depending on the amount and severity of the breakout, you will have to get prescription medicine to get rid of existing pimples. They have several kinds of prescription medicine that will either lessen your acne problems or completely get rid of it. Reducing stress is essential to make sure acne doesn’t come back. If stress levels are high, acne prone skin is very hard to manage.

Most adult women suffer from a monthly breakout right before the menstrual cycle; this acne tends to be adult cystic pimples that are painful and have a tendency to scar. This is extremely difficult to treat with normal over-the-counter or prescription medicine. In this case, only birth control pills will do the trick. Most women notice that not only their acne disappears but the skin also gets so much better overall. However, you should be aware that when you suddenly stop the medicine, acne can come back with more force than ever. Birth control pills are medicine that helps with your hormone imbalances.

What cosmetics are you using on your face? Some people that are suffering from acne are suffering because of the products that they use on their faces. Many products are made so it is oil free, non-comedogenic. If you are using a product without these words, chances are it is either worsens your acne or it’s causing them.

Any treatment for adult acne or adult cystic acne is trial on error. There is no one thing or medicine that will cure all types of acne. In my case, it is a combination of different remedies that “cured” my acne. But remember, you will have to keep on trying to get the clear skin. The more you work on your skin, the better it will get. You should always keep an open mind about your skin because one day it will be completely free or your condition will be under control. I never thought that day will come, but now my skin is better than ever after more than 7 years of suffering from active acne, here is my daily acne skin care routine. Acne skin care systems on the market are worth a try. Although, it won’t work for everyone, there is always a chance that it is the right product for you.

Types of acne and your options for treatment – explained in details

There are so many different types of pimples that affect the face and body. Some are minor and will go away without any treatment, whereas other types of pimples are more severe that might require extensive treatments and care. I am listing very common types of acne and what you should do in each case to properly treat / care for them. This list is in the order of mild to severe forms of acne.

Whiteheads – it is very small pimple that is not inflamed at all. They are small bumps and not very visible to the eyes unless you look closely. It is not painful and heals very quickly without using any over-the-counter or prescription medicine. They don’t scar even when you pick at it. However, it is still not recommended that you pick any kind of acne. Our skins are different and what scars for one person will not for another. Over-the-counter face washes that unclog pores (active ingredient: salicylic acid) should be enough to treat this kind of acne.

Blackheads – these are acne that is not inflamed at all. They are mild acne that is mainly on the nose and part of the cheeks. It takes a long time for them to go away because it is a very stable structure under the surface of the skin. Your best options here are using a gentle exfoliating scrub or a strip that pulls out the blackheads. These pimples will not scar but are the hardest to permanently get rid of among all types of acne.

Papules – these are moderate acne that is inflamed. These are a small bump in the center that is surrounded by an area of redness. This type of acne needs treatment such as benzoyl peroxide gel. The most important thing to remember about this type of acne is absolutely do not pick these lesions. It will cause the bacteria to go into deeper layers of the acne which has very high risks of scarring. Popular acne system sold on the market today such as Proactive is sometimes effective at this type of acne. If no treatment is effective and amount of acne increases, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice.

Pustules – these are very similar to papules with the exception of having a white center. The acne is pus filled and the visible pus in the middle will get bigger. Most of these pimples will break open by itself and many people speed up healing by squeezing out the pus. If you do it wrong, it has the risk of scarring. Again, depending on the severity and amount of pimples, you might need to consult a dermatologist when it doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments. Theses are moderate to severe type of acne.

Nodule – this is one of most severe type of acne that you can get. It is red, huge and hard. It can be under the skin for months without anything happening. Most over-the-counter medicines will have no effect on this type of acne. Your best bet is to see a dermatologist for a cortisone injection that can help it go down. If you don’t do anything to it, it can take several months to up to a year for the nodule to heal. Fortunately, Accutane is an extremely effective drug for people suffering from severe acne. Most dermatologists will prescribe it to you when all the other treatment options failed. For more than half of the people, Accutane will completely get rid of your acne. Other people will see a dramatic reduction in the severity and amount of acne that they suffer from. At the very least, skin will be a lot more manageable with Accutane treatment.

Cyst – this is also one of the most types of acne that you can get. It is very similar to nodule because it is very painful as well. It differs from nodule because it is pus filled. And it has a lot of pus. This type of acne is large and very noticeable. Not even makeup can cover all of it. You should visit a dermatologist for this type of pimple. Effective treatments are similar to what people use for nodules.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best natural home remedy for acne – proven to be effective on my skin

I had tried lots of alternative home remedies to “cure” acne in addition to traditional medicine from different dermatologists.  Anyone that suffered from acne has heard about these home remedies from many different sources (online, friends, magazines and etc).  Many of these home solutions for acne had actually made my skin worse.  Putting toothpaste on my acne is the worst; it made my skin super red but it didn’t do anything to heal the pimples.  The home remedy that I am describing below is somewhat labor intensive.  But it is all natural and it really works. 

I mentioned about this natural home remedy for acne in my previous blog entry “Daily acne skin care routine for oily, combination skin”.  I will describe this in details with pictures to help you make this at home.  It was given to me by a classmate in college.  At the time, I developed severe acne that had lots of whiteheads, papules, pustules and even 1 or 2 nodule.  It was a very hot summer and my skin was so oily.  Although I had acne before, it was the first time that it made me very depressed about my skin.  I noticed that she had severe acne on her cheeks but it was disappearing.  I thought it had to be something that she was using and asked her about it.  She was nice enough to give me the recipe for this all natural home remedy that really decrease the severity and amount of pimples in a short time.

It is not a home remedy that will work for every kind of acne.  Here is what is good for: oily or very oily skin, constant breakouts and sensitive or very sensitive acne prone skin.  It is less effective against monthly breakouts that most women suffer from.  However, it does lessen the severity of the acne and the amount of pimples.  Overall, it helps a lot with very oily skin where it will visibly reduce oil production on the face. 

Here are the ingredients that you will need; I also have this in picture to make things easier:
  1. A big deep cooking pot that will hold all the ingredients plus water.
  2. fresh sugar cane (1 foot or 12 inches for each serving)
  3. fresh lemon peel (1 whole lemon peel for each serving)
  4. Dried licorice slice, a Chinese herbal ingredient.  It can be bought at any herbal medicine shop and almost all of them have it in stock.  If you live in Southern California like me, you will be able to go to lots of Chinese herbal medicine shops.  These include Tak Shing Hong which has many shops located in the local Chinese community in Monterey Park, Rowland Heights and Los Angeles area.  You can also get them on online at Amazon. (12 pieces for each serving)
  5. raisin (dried raisins that are not flavored, not your sun maid California raisins)  Again you have to buy this from a Chinese supermarket (99 ranch market, 168 market, Hong Kong supermarket in San Gabriel to name a few in Southern California).  Any Chinese supermarket should have this ingredient in stock.  Look to your right for picture.  (12 raisins for each serving)

As you can see from the ingredients above, this home remedy for acne is quite labor intensive.  Well, I never said that getting rid of acne is easy.  This home remedy recipe for acne really works so it is definitely worth your effort and time.

You put all the ingredients in a cooking pot of appropriate size.  It is easier to make a whole week’s worth of this home remedy and store it in the refrigerator for use later.  So that means 7 foot of fresh sugar cane, 7 whole lemon peels, 84 pieces of the dried licorice slice, and 84 pieces of raisins.  Chop the sugar cane into small pieces so that it fits into the cooking pot.  Add 21 cups of water into the cooking pot.  Turn on the stove and bring it to a boil first.  Once it boils, turn down the stove so that the mixture simmers for one hour.  21 cups of water is now approximately reduced to 7 cups which is one week’s medicine.  So basically, you want to boil down the water from 3 cups to 1 cup. 

Here is how you drink the medicine: drink it after lunch, this home remedy works best when drunk around noon time.  It also needs to be warm not hot when you drink it.  I just warm it up in the microwave and let it cool down a little bit before I drink it.  Here is what the acne medicine looks like. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home remedies for acne – things that will lessen acne occurrences

Acne has so many causes that it requires different treatments for different people.  That is why it is such a stubborn problem that is extremely difficult to cure.  Many people like me have suffered with it for many years with many unsuccessful treatments, over-the counter medicines and re-occurrences.  Don’t get me wrong, treatments are great things for acne.  But sometimes it is just not enough to get your acne completely under control.  Over the years, I came up with a list of home remedies / routines for acne that you can do that will lessen acne problems:

  1. Develop a routine for your acne skin care, modify it and stick with it to see results.  This can be different for each person but most people with acne prone skin tend to have oily or combination skin types, click here to see my daily skin care routine.  You can see what I am doing to get rid of my acne and keep my skin relatively clear.  Feel free to change the skin care routine to better fit your needs.
  2. Get enough sleep, at least 8 hours.  More importantly, sleep before 11:30pm.  Your skin will be nicer when you wake up because like our bodies, it needs plenty of rest to repair and restore itself.
  3. Drink plenty of water during the day.  It is not only good for health, but it is good for your skin too. 
  4. Drink one cup of water when you first wake up (no beverages, coffee or tea).  This should be the first thing that you put in your mouth.  It will flush out all the wastes that are stored in your body. 
  5. Your pillow case should be 100% cotton.  Those of us with constant acne flare ups can experience allergic reactions with other synthetic materials such as polyesters and etc that can make the problem worse.
  6. For those that live in a dry area with low air humidity should consider using a humidifier to add moisture.  There should be one in the office and one at home to provide you with more moisture.  When the weather is very dry, our skin will compensate by producing more oil.  Oily skin is one of the worst problems associated with acne skin care and must be avoided at all costs.  A humidifier will help you alleviate some of the oily skin problem.
  7. Manage your stress.  Constant stress will cause more breakouts. 
  8. Treat your skin gently when washing, toning, or moisturizing.  Acne prone skin is even more sensitive than regular skin.  Lightly tap your skin instead of rubbing is the best way to make your skin less inflamed.
  9. Do not touch your acne or skin all the time.  Chances are our hands are dirty from work, school and a lot of other things.  You don’t want to add inflammation to an already infected pimple. 
  10. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.  These toxins will make your skin even worse.  Your body will be burdened with more things to deal with once your take up alcohol and smoking.  Acne skin care will be even harder and more breakouts will certainly happen in the near future.
  11. Don’t wash your skin more than or less than 2 times a day.  Many people that are suffering from acne also suffers from oily or combination skin type.  It is so important that you don’t make your skin produce even more oil.  If you wash your skin when it starts to produce oil, your skin will think that it needs to produce more oil to compensate for the oil loss.
  12. Use only a few products at a time; this applies to the external medicines (over-the-counter) for acne.  You don’t want to pile on a ton of different chemicals on the pimple to help it heal.  This applies to the amount you are using as well.  Don’t pile on the medicine to the point that you actually see the color of the chemical.  Just apply a light layer on the affected area.