Saturday, August 21, 2010

Caffeine Acne

I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of coffee. Not that gourmet stuff you get at places like Starbucks or some other joints that require you to take out a signature loan for a cafe latte or mocha whatever. No, just give me a simple cup of Joe, keep them coming throughout the day and I am good to go. No sugar, no creams, just a strong black beverage that has some kick to it that will get me up and keep me going. I know I picked up the habit from my dad and cherish our memories and moments we had over a morning cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, my predisposition to acne also seems to benefit from the black nectar. While I avoid other caffeinated beverages like sodas and energy drinks (I just don't like them, too sweet, syrupy and expensive) I have no intention of giving up my coffee. So what's a person to do?

Well, the way I see it, if caffeine is going to play havoc with your acne, you have three choices. You can resign yourself to the fact that pimples are going to be a part of your daily life and wear those bad boys with pride and determination. You can cut out the coffee (caffeine) and feel sluggish and deprived. Or you can find a remedy that will offset the negative effects and allow you to enjoy this simple pleasure in life. The choice is yours. What's it going to be? Do you hear the Jeopardy theme song in the back ground? Can't you see Bob Barker telling you to pick a door?

Well, when I was younger I though there were only two choices. Cut out the coffee or enjoy and live with the acne. Like I said, my dad hooked me up with my taste for coffee (I don’t know why he didn't pass on his flawless complexion gene) and I would be dammed if I was going to miss out on those precious moments that I shared with him over a cup. It wasn't going to happen, no way no how. Acne was just going to have to be the price I paid.

Well, one day our morning ritual changed. After we finished our cup of coffee, my father got up from the table, grabbed a lemon from the refrigerator and ran it under some hot water. He then proceeded to roll it on the counter with the palm of his hand, applying slight pressure. He got two glasses of ice and water. Then cut the lemon in half and squeezed the juice from each half in their respective glass. At the time he said something about having an upset stomach and the lemon cutting the acidity of the coffee. But looking back, I realize that it was his way of noticing the effect the caffeine was having on my acne and his attempt to help. His upset stomach was a cockamamie story.

I don't know where he learned that lemon juice can get rid of caffeine acne. But from that day forward, my acne improved and every other day or so, our morning cup of coffee was followed by a half of a lemon squeezed over a glass of ice water. God, I miss that man.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fruit Natures Acne Food

Way too often, when most folk's think of acne and food, their first though is to the foods they think they have to avoid. Tastes like chocolate and French fries; donuts and cookies; and colas and coffee. Well, since I noticed my son's complexion looked a little dull and I went out and spent a fortune at the supermarket on fruit. Today, I thought I'd bang away on my keyboard and talk about the foods that not only taste great and are good for you and your acne, but are also unprocessed and natural. That's right kids, fruit natures acne food. The trifecta of what's good for you – FRUIT. What follows are a list of fruits you should most definitely include in your diet, particularly one that is geared towards getting rid of or preventing acne. The reason I have included them is because these actually are the fruits that I purchase at the market.

  • Apples - It may sound like a lot but you should try to eat two or three apples every day. Apples are great for a healthy complexion. Wash them well and don't be afraid to eat the skin as this is where most of the pectin resides which relieves constipation and is an excellent natural antioxidant. Apples are high in fiber and ascorbic acid, as well as minerals like; calcium, iron and potassium and vitamins A, B and C.

When I was young I hated apples. As a matter of fact I hated apples and potato chips. Those actually were the only foods that I disliked and it all was due to a pig out day I had when I was about 4 or 5 years old. The binge consisted of you guessed it; potato chips and apples. Well after getting sick and seeing the regurgitated mess on the floor. I never wanted to see, much less taste another apple or potato chip ever again. So I guess I missed out on the acne benefits of apples when I was a teen. But that was probably evened out by the fact that I never ate greasy potato chips. However it's amazing what a couple of decades will do, as I enjoy both foods today and get the acne food benefits of apples.

But I digress.

  • Apricots – These summer stone fruits are a great source of vitamin B complex and E, minerals, fiber and beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A. They are helpful in the alleviation and reduction of constipation. Additionally the anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit also make its juice a great topical acne treatment. Particularly when applied to cystic lesions.
  • Bananas –This probiotic fruit has been shown to help your body regulate the balance between good and bad bacteria, especially when it comes to the beneficial bacteria necessary to maintain optimal colonic function. By keeping this balance in check the bad bacteria are inhibited, thereby reducing the toxins which produce acne. Because this fruit contains live bacteria you should be careful not to overdo it and consider one banana a day a sensible limit.
  • Blackberries – another great source for beta-carotene and natural antioxidants. Additionally it is one of the few fruits that contain vitamin E, which greatly enhance you immune system. These berries are a natural source for salicylate. They also contain the photochemical; ellagic and lycopen which prevent damage to and promote healthy skin cells.
  • Blueberries – The healthful benefits of blueberries have been used in medical treatments for thousands of years. Is it any wonder? This fruit has probably the highest levels of antioxidant of any known food (the acai berry is giving it a run for the money). Research is also suggesting that one of the active elements of blueberries, Pterostilbene is a natural anti inflammatory. While it is more advantageous to eat fresh blueberries, frozen can be substituted.
  • Cantaloupes – An excellent source of vitamin A, C, and a lot of other proteins and minerals which places it high on any list of fruits to improve acne or your complexion. As a matter of fact the high level of vitamin A in these melons makes it a no brainer for inclusion on this food for acne list. But it doesn't stop there since it is also loaded with potassium. This allows injury to the skin caused by acne to heal much faster and its high folate content is beneficial in the maintenance and production of new cells.
  • Cherries – These are my favorites, although they can get a little pricy. Like all the other acne foods we have discussed so far. Cherries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper health and fitness. But what makes cherries special, is they are one of the few sources of food known to have melatonin. Melatonin which is naturally produced in your body's pineal gland is an antioxidant that is necessary for the regulation of your biorhythms and sleep patterns. Which in turn insure proper regenerative rest and reduction of stress and the stress acne associated with it when an imbalance occurs.
  • Figs – Have been around round since the time of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. This fruit was most likely the first dried and stored by mankind. They are extremely high in fiber; beneficial to digestion and pureed makes an excellent sweetener for cooking as well as a substitute for sugar. While they are low in vitamin C they are a great way to get B6. As a nutrient, B6 is probably necessary for more bodily functions than any other and is not a place where you want to be caught short.
  • Grapefruits – Like most citrus fruits, grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C. But unlike its citrus cousins, it contains a phytonutrient lycopene. This antioxidant combats free radical damage in its quest to preserve your skins health, combat acne and ward off cellular damage due to aging. This fruit also contains Naringin, this phytochemical assists in the reduction of toxins in the liver, thereby leading to a better complexion. On the down side, Naringin can interfere with the livers ability to break down some drugs; divalproex sodium and aspirin just to name two. It's a good idea to speak with your doctor and or pharmacist about grapefruit if you are taking any medications, either prescription or over the counter.

While this list of foods that fight acne is by no means all inclusive. It is a good start. I would of considered including; grapes, plums, strawberries, mangoes and raspberries. While the supermarket had them, I didn't care for the way they looked, so they have been excluded. Of course, if you want to talk about them or any other of natures acne foods. Feel free to use the comment box.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Products

Ever wonder what all the fuss is about benzoyl peroxide acne products? Well, just walk down any acne products isle in any drug store in any city, and you'll see row after row of acne products. A universe unto itself of acne lotions, potions, creams and ointments, now pick up a product, it doesn't matter which one. It can be Clear and Clean, Neutrogena Acne, PanOxyl, Benoxyl or whatever, it doesn't matter. Ok, check out the back ingredient panel and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient. Now if you are a real betting person. I'll double down and wager you that the level of concentration of the benzoyl peroxide is between 2.5% and 5% but could go to maximum strength 10%, the most you can have without a prescription. I'm not trying to show off. What I am attempting to do is show you how myopic the acne products industry is. BP (benzoyl peroxide) has been in use since the 1920’s as an acne treatment and for a host of other uses from hair bleaching to teeth whiting products. It was originally used in the garment industry as a fabric bleacher.

So what makes benzoyl peroxide popular as an acne product? There are a couple of things. First, it is an excellent killer of the P acnes infection. It is this bacteria that is a leading cause of acne. While the bacteria are very common they usually don’t cause a problem. That is until sebum gets backed up in the sebaceous glands. This in turn, creates an ideal host situation for the P acnes to thrive resulting in the pain redness and swelling of pimples, zits, blackheads and cysts. Benzoyl peroxide is an excellent killer of P acnes and works by introducing oxygen into the skin pore. The bacteria are unable to survive in this environment and dead skin cells are simultaneously flushed from the pores. It’s actually a two for one process that is very effective at getting rid of acne.

However, benzoyl peroxide's ability to kill these bacteria and act as a peeling agent is also one of the chief negative side effects of the product. You see, it can be rather harsh on your skin. Stripping the natural oils and leaving your skin dry, irritated and inflamed and on particularly sensitive skin can actually lead to chemical burning and swelling.

While I no longer have a need for benzoyl peroxide. As a teen it was a staple in my acne arsenal. When I first tried it, I found that it irritated my skin somewhat, but was informed that my body would develop a tolerance for it. The first couple of days there was some stinging and itching but sure enough, 3 day in and it was like using soap and water. I never had a problem with benzoyl peroxide again and had a good bit of success with it treating certain conditions as they arose. Benzoyl peroxide is definitely a product that shouldn't be over looked as you looks for ways to get rid of your acne but don't put blinders on either. While benzoyl peroxide acne products can work wonders, they aren't the only way to get rid of acne.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dog Acne

Acne conditions and treatments; I've been writing about them for some time now and I thought I'd covered most every angle and possible form of skin malady and irritation. The truth is I have only begun to scratch the surface.

Something important I've stumbled upon based again on personal experience is perhaps something none of you have ever heard of or encountered before. I know I hadn't, dog acne!

This actually started for me almost five years ago and while most of my posts have referenced my skin and my own face, this involves another member of my family. This particular family member is actually quite hairy and small. No, I didn't give birth to or adopt a feral child; the creature to which I'm referring is our little pet dog and his dog acne. Now I'll bet you’re thinking exactly what I thought the first time I heard this expression, "dog acne" there's no such thing! Well, you'd be wrong, as wrong as I was! Dog acne does exist and my little guy suffers from it in a big way.

Let me back up a bit and tell you a little about my experience and what it taught me. As I said, this odyssey began years ago and to be honest, I had no idea what I was dealing with at first. Neither did several Veterinarians across the state where I live. In fact, I could have saved myself a lot of time, trauma, frustration and a couple of thousand dollars because frankly and ultimately, I was the one who diagnosed the problem and found a solution that worked.

The first sign of dog acne was relatively small and began as tiny patches of dry skin across his coat. This eventually spread and became worse. The second stage resulted in hair loss where the patches of dry skin originally were. The third and worse stage resulted in large areas of hair loss characterized by extremely flakey skin and matted, greasy short hair that grew then subsequently came out in small clumps over two thirds of this tiny dog's 4 pound body. Needless to say it was horrible and he looked pitiful! He was also miserable and scratched and bit at the areas as I am sure they itched like crazy! All the time, I'm working to find not only a cure but what the heck this may be. He was checked for everything from mange to vitamin deficiencies but nothing seemed to help and none of the doctors ever seemed able to offer a diagnosis.

I researched online looking for a solution but couldn't find anything that quite fit this problem. Then one day I’m watching a show on television featuring several doctors and dermatologists. They're talking about a wide variety of health subjects and skin conditions. One of the dermatologists begins to speak and I notice the skin condition he's describing sounds exactly like the condition my dog is suffering from. I listen intently to his description and his recommendations. He talks about the sebaceous glands and how they can be over productive. The over production of sebum can cause several problems; many which we've covered and I've discussed with you here on this forum; acne, blackheads, pimples, etc. It can also create the greasy, matted hair environment my dog was experiencing. His suggestion was applying salicylic acid as this dries up and decreases the production of the excess sebum.

The problem with my dog wasn't stress, his problem was dog acne!

I had already purchased several topical treatments for my dog. Some containing conditioning ingredients and some of them contained medicated ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. None made significant difference. Once I heard this information I began to search hoping to find a dog shampoo containing salicylic acid and eureka, I found one! I looked specifically for a shampoo made for dogs as I wanted to be certain it was safe and wouldn’t harm my little guy should he lick his coat. Shampoo made for humans may work too, but I haven't tried that yet. Anyway, after ordering the shampoo it arrived and I began using it immediately. The difference has been remarkable. Our little guy now only has a couple of small stubborn areas where his skin still shows signs of a problem. The majority of his skin and coat is vastly improved and I learned that we're not the only ones who suffer from acne. Our pets can suffer from acne too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Apple Cider Vinegar Acne Cure Move Over Apple AcneApps Is Here

In the past I used to wake up in the morning with the fear of going to the mirror and discovering a new pimple. Today, while my acne is under control for the most part, I wake up and discover some new development in technology has just set me back two steps even though I gained a step yesterday. If you are confused let me try to explain.

When I was young, if apples and acne were mentioned in the same breath, it would have immediately brought to mind an image of the apple cider vinegar bottle that was the main ingredient in my number one treatment for bacne. Unfortunately, vinegar having the acidic content that it does, made it too harsh for my facial acne. Oh, sure I could have diluted it with water down to a 9 to 1 solution but at that cut it was just ineffective for me.

As I got a bit older and began to understand that my acne is really the result of an imbalance that is taking place within my body. I started to learn what foods to avoid and more importantly those foods that were beneficial in my acne fight. The lowly apple came to my attention for its content of vitamins and minerals and especially the natural antioxidants that are packed in its peel.

Then the other day, I stumble upon an NYT article that professes a new apple acne cure in the form an Apple i Phone app. That's right, you heard me. No need to continue popping pimples or spending tons of cash for some over the counter acne treatment. For $1.99 you can get rid of your acne while talking on the phone. According to the AcneApp description you can use the antibacterial blue light and or the anti-inflammatory red light to cure your acne. Of course not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, according to Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas "In studies we've done, data has shown that both blue and red light have a low efficacy range in acne treatment," I tend to agree, but as always will keep an open mind and would love to hear your comments on Apple's AcneApps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tips for Getting Rid of Acne - My Top Ten

It seems everywhere I turn someone is always imparting their idea of what are great tips for getting rid of acne. I guess around the neighborhood I am becoming known as the Acne Pro and get stopped to discuss the topic no matter where I am. Well after watching Letterman last night I have decided it's time for me to add my 2 cents and do my own top ten list. So without further adu allow me to present my Top 10 List: Tips for Getting Rid of Acne

10.) Wear loose fitting cloth that allows your skin to breath.

9.) Avoid wearing makeup whenever possible and when you do try to stay away from oil based cosmetics. They are more prone to clogging pores.

8.) Get enough Zinc in your diet. Zinc is an effective antibiotic for preventing acne and a necessary element for the proper functioning of the sebaceous glands of the skin. Low levels of zinc can actually account for acne breakouts.

7.) Have a carrot. Carrots are great for your well being. You can add it to your diet raw, cooked or juiced and even use it as a facial mask for your complexion. They are high in vitamin A which is necessary for your skin but also an excellent antibiotic to help fight off acne.

6.) Use clean towels every day and change your pillow case every other day. Ok you caught me, this is really 2 tips for getting rid of acne in 1. But the point should be fairly obvious. Anything that comes in contact with you face should be clean. Reapplying yesterday's bacteria by drying you freshly washed face with a soiled towel doesn't make a lot of sense, nor does resting that face on a pillow case that hasn't been laundered in days.

5.) Don't over wash. The point of washing up is to remove the dirt, bacteria and grime of the day off your skin. Using harsh detergents and too much cleansing, does nothing more than dry out your skin, stripping your complexion of necessary oils and moisture which makes your condition worse.

4.) Properly exfoliate. It's imperative to remove the dead skin cells from your skin so as not to allow a condition where the pores become clogged and bacteria is allowed to fester. But like tip number 5 for getting rid of acne, moderation is the key, once maybe twice a week.

3.) Keep your hair clean.

2.) Drink more water. This liquid is the secret fountain of youth.

And the number one tip for getting rid of acne is?

1.) Don't pop your pimples. There really isn't any good that can come from this practice so why indulge. For a little refresher see popping pimples.

Well there you have it kids, my top ten tips for getting rid of acne.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Olive Oil Acne Face Wash

"Hum, olive oil acne?" The look of confusion was priceless, as he mustered up the courage to continue. "I'm sorry Ms. Tuesday. But, I just don't see how adding more oil to my face is going to help me get rid of my blackheads? You just said oil was the cause of my acne."

Yep, that was the response from my adorable anonymous high school teen acne author who "volunteered" for the previous post. Bless his heart. He's the spitting image of Zac Efron only better looking. Bangs over his forehead, flawless complexion and an ever present skull cap under a hoodie that I guess makes a seventeen year old boy "fit in" nowadays. Anyway when he came by after school and dropped off my teen acne request. We made some small talk (I was dying to see what he had written. But it was sealed in an envelope so I left well enough alone figuring he would have been embarrassed by me to read it in front of him) and while I thanked him as we walked to the door, he drew back his hoodie, removed his skull cap and whispered "how do you get rid of a blackhead" as he brushed back his hair.

What stood before me was a child with a porcelain complexion from the temples down and a forehead that resembled a pair of dice rolled box cars on a Las Vegas craps felt, there were so many blackheads. Fortunately, the cause of his forehead acne was a classic example of self induced hair acne aggravated by a skin hugging skull cap. I explained to my young friend that he was walking around with a pimple Petri dish for a forehead. The bacteria, grease and oil from his hair was fermenting under the dark, unventilated cover of his form fitting cap.

But not to worry because there was a quick acne fix for his self induced environmental condition. First, he needed to always make sure his hair was squeaky clean. If it wasn't, then get it off the forehead until it was. Next, he needs to stop sleeping in the skull cap. Like any other part of the body. The skin needs good old oxygen, air, it needs to breath. Trapping the toxins and holding them against the skin by way of a skull cap and hoodie was a zit train wreck in the making. The cause of his blackhead problem was really as simple as that. I didn't need to spend 4 years at the University of Acne, Pimples and Blackheads to see the solution to his problem. And if he simply pays attention to these two factors he would virtually do away with the growth of any new blackheads. Now, all we need to do is to get rid of the blackheads that are there now.

Enter the olive oil acne face wash. Once my Zac Efron look-a-like heard those words in the same sentence he responded in the manner in which I opened this post, "hum, olive oil acne". I have to admit, I was not totally surprised. I fully understand the stigma that is attached to using olive oil to get rid of acne. We have been conditioned to think that some things are just downright nutty. It seems perfectly logical to think that if one of the cause of acne is the over production of oil by your sebaceous glands, then how in the world is adding more oil to your face (and olive oil at that) going to help? Of course your natural response to an olive oil acne face wash is going to be "don’t be ridiculous! That’s almost as stoopid (sic) as using chocolate to get rid of acne".

Yet open your eyes and look around. There are thousands of commercial skin care products that are made from and promoted because they contain the oil of olives. Everything from soaps to creams to facial regiments and they charge an outrageous price to boot. Why olive oil helps particularly with the removal of black heads is beyond me. I heard the theories that like most things in the natural world "like things attract". When viewed in that light it makes perfect sense. This would also explain why the first time I ever used olive oil; my blackheads were literally drawn to the surface of my skin right before my eyes.

There are many ways to apply olive oil. But the one that has always worked best for me and the one I relayed to my young acne patient was simply this. Pour about a quarter sized portion of olive oil in the palm of one hand. Dip two fingers from the other and apply to the face in a circular motion. Don't be afraid to use as much oil as you feel is necessary. It's great at removing dirt, grime and even make up. If your face was fairly clean to start with you can leave it on for a half hour or so and enjoy the benefit of an olive oil acne face mask. Or simply rinse with plenty of warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. If your skin still feels oily repeat the rinse. That's all there is to it. No need to spend big money on some fancy high priced commercial products. Chances are you have some olive oil in your kitchen right now. If you feel wrong using such an inexpensive acne product, splurge and buy (EVOO) Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It really won't make a difference when it comes to your acne. But your salads and other dishes will taste better.

That's pretty much my olive oil acne face wash. And that's pretty much how I explained it to my teenage acne student.

That night my phone rang and low and behold before I could say hello, it was “Ms. T, Ms. T, that's the best acne advice anyone has ever given me. When I was applying the olive oil to my forehead it felt gritty as the blackheads started pop n to the surface. Thank you, Thank you and oh yeah I am going to do the other things you told me about too"!

God, life sure is great when enthusiasm comes back at you like that.

Guess there is nothing else to say about that but - Tah-dah another acne problem solved, this time with a whole lot of common sense and the tried and true acne olive oil trick. Next!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Teen Acne: A Teenagers Perspective

Life sure can be a funny thing. When I started this "getting rid of acne" info blog, which has now taken on more of an acne community sounding board, I would have bet you dollars to donuts that my very first post would have been something about teen acne. I mean really, if I am honest with myself, kids and teenagers were and are where my passion has been all along. When I think how acne affected my teenage years and how fast the world changes today. It breaks my heart picturing what teens with acne must go through.

The heads of kids in high school have to be spinning like a top, social pressures that come at them from all angles on top of a relentless sophisticated media/advertising behemoth that pitches those manipulated images of who the cool kids are. And they can sell you anything you need to be cool too. Should you happen to be prone to acne they have just the right teen acne treatment to take you to nirvana.

But somehow life just got away from me and the acne topics that seemed appropriate at the time just got my attention while teenage acne issues got put on a back shelf. I could always justify to myself that as long as I was staying on topic I didn't need to get age specific.

But a couple of days ago my conscience got the better of me and I had made a determination that come hell or high water I was going to write something about teen acne. But when I sat down to bang it out on the keyboard, I had nothing. Well maybe a little more than nothing but it wasn't anything new. It was the same old tripe that you can find on a thousand sites about teen acne treatments and cures for teenage acne that are nothing more than jump pages to retailers. So what's a person to do?

Well it occurred to me since I am some years removed from my teen years and hanging out at high school football games and pep rallies would be too embarrassing. I would just find a teenager and let them tell me about their view of teen acne.

So what follows is a response from a 17 year old boy. He is a junior in high school and since he wishes to remain anonymous. I'll just say he is an attractive doll. The question I put to his is "tell me about teen acne", that was it, nothing more nothing less.

Here's his reply;

I'm 17 and was asked the other day what my take on teen acne was. It took some time for me to think about, but I think I have finally come up with a response to the question. I dislike it, greatly. Although I do not have severe breakouts with acne, I still have problem areas from time to time. My worst problem area is my forehead. Every now and again my forehead will break out, either due to stress from school or the things I have been eating or not eating. Even when the pimples and blemishes cease I still always seem to have a constant problem with black heads there. I hate blackheads! I have tried absolutely everything known to man to rid my face of this pest, but alas I haven’t come across a remedy for the situation. From my experience with them I found that they seem to become immune to whatever regimen I use. For a while I used a mix of a prescription ointment I had had and a Clearasil brand spot remover (I would mix the both of them in the palm of my hand). It worked for about a week until the blackheads came back in stronger force, not to mention that my forehead had become dried out and flakey. So to remedy the dry skin, I reverted to bar soap and a moisturizer, and then after that I would make sure to wipe away and excess oil in hopes to keep my pores from clogging. Alas this helped my skin. My skin was back to normal, nice and smooth, but during the course of the week my black heads stayed. So my point is this. If anyone knows of or can come up with a black head annihilating regimen please share it. The world will thank, I know I will.

Well there you have it kids, a teenage perspective on teen acne. After reading what he had to say I realized high school and kids really haven't changed that much. Oh sure, they have game boy, X box, cell phones and instant messaging. But they are really the same kids that we were. Learning who they are. I realize I don't need to go back to high school to remember teen acne. I lived it and have the acne scars to prove. I think teen acne better watch out; cause if I have anything to say about it will soon be relegated to the dust bin of history.