Archive | August, 2010

Adult acne meds – when tips just aren’t enough – Jill Sung

25 Aug

How I feel when acne’s got me down…

My family was born with acne loving skin. Before I knew it was bad for you, I grew up popping zits, living on pimple cream, and washing my face all the time. Neutrogena, Oxy, Clearasil were some of the most well known brands in our house, that’s not including the countless antibiotic and other medications that peppered our medicine cabinet.

In looking back, and dealing with adult acne, I did some research on the meds that we apply and take for acne. You’ve already read up on how not to overcleanse oily skin etc., but do you know how the popular acne medications out their work?

Benzoyl Peroxide: Kills Bacteria: Mild to Moderate Acne

Works by introducing oxygen to P. acnes, one of the main acne-causing bacteria that will die with oxygen exposure, and by removing dead skin cells and sebum, helping to keep your pores clean and prevent further acne breakouts.

Most recommend that one starts with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, and if your acne doesn’t clear up, to move to a higher percentage. However, that could mean more drying and flaky skin. Don’t forget, it can bleach your hair and clothing!

Salicylic Acid: Peeling Agent

Did you know that Salicylic Acid does not kill bacteria? Topical salicylic acid treats acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging blocked skin pores to allow pimples to shrink. Tip: Don’t use on damaged, irritated, sunburned, or broken skin!

Tea Tree Oil: Natural Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal: Mild to Moderate Acne

Found to have fewer side effects than Benzoyl Peroxide at similar percentage use (5%), but may take longer to work as well. May also be less effective than Benzoyl Peroxide. If you buy the pure oil, be sure to dilute – 5% solution is 95 parts water, 5 parts tea tree oil. If you don’t dilute – you can get side effects like itching, burning, and irritated skin. Not fun if you’re stressing dealing with acne already!

Stronger Medications

If those over-the-counter medications don’t work, as they didn’t in my case, then you move on to prescription anti-bacterial medications to apply to skin or take as pills. Beyond that (and hopefully you don’t end up here because we all know how fun it is to be plagued by acne), there are topical and oral retinoids or diluted steroid injections. Topical retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) work to unclog pores and prevent whiteheads and blackheads from forming, but these can make one sun-sensitive or have extremely dry skin, bright side- they can also help with wrinkles. (But if I have wrinkles and crazy acne -I will be one unhappy lady). Oral retinoids do the same, but can also cause birth defects.

But thinking back, I guess the journey makes the woman! Maybe that’s looking at the glass half full, but having acne definitely made me appreciate inner beauty more and the strength of nature and genetics. My good friend used to always get a big red pimple in the middle of her nose – kudos to her for living through all her Rudolf moments…Mine were not so poetic, but it’s definitely humbling to have acne in your 30s and count more than the fingers on our hands.

Tell me about your worst acne experience…always good to commiserate!

Masks for Oily Summer Skin – Louise (JUARA intern)

12 Aug

Summer is almost everyone’s favorite season. People love the beach, the heat, the tans… but I just think of the humidity! As someone who has oily skin, the summer means one thing for me- acne. All the humidity increases oil production, which is bad news for oily skinned gals. One important thing is to wash your face every night to get rid of all the makeup and dirt your face has collected all day.

But sometimes just washing your face with a normal cleanser isn’t enough. Using a mask a few times per week is one of the best ways to thoroughly cleanse your skin and draw out all the impurities. There are tons of different brands who sell great masks. The best thing to do is to try different products and see what works best for your skin.

But while looking for a mask, make sure that it contains ingredients like Salicylic Acid which help keep pores clear, Kaolin clay which absorbs oil, or Benzoyl Peroxide which kill bacteria which causes acne.

Clay masks are also great for oily skin because it removes excess oil, clears up blackheads, and deep cleans your pores. I have two favorite masks that I’ve been using this summer:

The first is Lancome’s Pure Empreinte Masque. This mineral mask with white clay mask hardens after about 5 minutes and removes oils and reduces the appearance of my pores.

The other mask I’ve recently become obsessed with is the JUARA Milk & Red Sandalwood Mask. It absorbs oil and reduces redness. The mask comes as a powder and you mix it with any type of liquid into a thick paste. After about 15 minutes, I wash it off and I’m left with cleansed skin. Many masks leave my face feeling super dry and tight. But this mask leaves my skin feeling great and super soft.

As much as clay can be purifying, it can also be drying if left on for too long. I always use an oil-free moisturizer or JUARA’s oil-free, alcohol-free Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, which gives just the right amount of moisture to negate the potentially overdrying effect of clay.

A lot of people like to make their own masks. Check out this website with different mask recipes and try to make your own at home!

Some recipes that look great are:
*Cucumber Yogurt Mask – ½ cucumber, 1 Tbsp plain yogurt – Puree cucumber in blender and mix in yogurt. Apply to face and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse well. Yogurt can soften skin and exfoliate gently, while the cucumber tones the skin. How relaxing!

*Apple Zinger Facial Mask – 1 medium size apple, 5 tbs. honey – Grate the apple and mix the honey well. Smooth over skin and let sir for 10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water. Honey is antibacterial and skin softening, while apple can exfoliate.

*Honey Mask – High quality honey – Massage a small amount of slightly heated honey onto skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. Honey is a powerful antibacterial agent and it does not cause unpleasant side effects such as dry skin, itchy skin or allergy.

Do you have favorite masks for oily skin?