The skin’s small sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance called sebum, which normally keeps the skin soft, supple, and protected. But when the skin is too greasy, the glands clog with sebum and may become infected, which appears as acne. Acne may be compounded by the presence of staphylococci bacteria, which create a yellowish pus. Resist the temptation to squeeze pimples, because this risks scarring and further infection. Serious conditions require treatment by a dermatologist, who may prescribe antibiotics, or vitamin “A” acid creams.
There are a host of reasons why acne is triggered. Teenaged girls, for example, often lack enough female-hormone secretions to counter the amounts of male hormone in their systems, which makes sebum secretions more active, and in turn creates acne.
Heredity also plays a large role. If your parents or siblings have acne genes, you are likely to, also, particularly given the fact you and your family live together, are exposed to the same stresses, and eat the same foods. (The probability of inheriting acne genes is 80 percent.)
Acne can be brought on by high temperature and humidity and certain foods, especially those high in acid, fat, and sugar. You can counter these irritants to a degree by avoiding acidic foods or those high in fat and sugar, especially when it’s hot and humid.
Stress, constipation, and lack of rest can also induce acne. Regular elimination, a well-balanced diet, and plenty of rest are obvious remedies.
Last but not least, keep your face clean. Neglecting to wash your face attracts acne-inducing bacteria.
Wash three times a day to remove the dirt and sebum. Soap is alkaline, so after lathering your face, rinse five times with lukewarm water.
Apply an astringent, which will remove excess oil (you may want to experiment with astringents of varying strengths to find the one best suited to your skin), and then use a hydrophilic (water-based) foundation rather than an oily one. Before washing your face at night with antibacterial or anti-acne soap, remove the foundation with a cleansing cream. Keep the skin as dry as possible during the day by patting occasionally with astringent and applying a face powder to soak up the oil. Be careful not to apply cosmetics on inflamed areas. These should be treated with antibiotics and special hormonal drugs prescribed by a physician.
Since proper elimination is important to the maintenance of clear skin, try to get moderate exercise every day, drink lots of water, and eat whole, fresh foods (preferably alkaline rather than acidic-based). Vitamin B6 is also helpful in clearing up acne. Take it in a B-complex form, two tablets daily.
Finally, don’t treat acne symptoms alone. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise, you aren’t treating the whole problem.
Problem: Blotches (liver & sun spots, freckles)
When your skin is young, it replaces itself about every four weeks. But as you age, this process slows, leaving the skin susceptible to permanent deposits of black pigment, or melanin. This condition can be brought on by overexposure to the sun, taking contraceptives or other drugs, or occasionally, cosmetics. A hormone imbalance, either because of pregnancy or the natural aging process, can induce blotching, as can liver related ailments, fatigue, stress, and acne.
Treatment: Blotches (liver & sun spots, freckles)
Blotches can be completely removed only by laser treatment or surgery. But there are several ways to make blotches less prominent and to retard darkening. Wash the face carefully every night to remove all trace of cosmetics. Massage blotchy areas to stimulate circulation and metabolism, and to spread pigment to prevent deposits from forming. Vitamin C helps lighten blotches, and vitamin E helps reduce blotch-inducing lipid peroxide in the blood. As mentioned earlier, vitamins can’t be absorbed through the skin, so the only option is consuming either vitamin-rich foods or capsules. Take 1000 mg of vitamin C – or, even better, try to eat more raw foods like strawberries, oranges, cucumbers, and lemons, with a supplement if needed. You’ll want to take about 100IU of vitamin E a day. Wear sunscreen or extra foundation to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays. Get treatment for constipation or other ailments. And relax, or you’ll produce extra melanin.
This problem varies greatly from individual to individual. A woman in her 20’s may fret over it as much as someone twice her age; and two 55-year old women may look as much as 30 years apart. The variables include genetic factors like race, as well as controllable factors such as stress, nutrition, and skin care.
Hormone creams and massage help to some degree, but in general, the final recourse is cosmetic surgery. The best approach is to try to slow the progress of wrinkling. It occurs when the skin becomes thin and dry, and the connective tissue weakens and loses elasticity.
Each night, remove oily cosmetics with oily cleansing cream.
Then wash the face with soap or cleansing foam, rinsing five times, to extract makeup left in the pores. Eat balanced meals, with adequate protein and vitamins. These are necessary for new tissue formation, and for preventing rough, dry skin. Remember your beauty regimen continues even as you sleep, so get to bed before midnight.
There are compelling reasons for this. Skin cell division tends to peak between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Beauty-related hormones are secreted, and the autonomic nervous system goes on duty at night. Not getting enough sleep at night disturbs these mechanisms. So staying out until late into the night is an invitation to wrinkles.
Problem: Allergies and irritation caused by cosmetics
These occur either because the user has a sensitivity to certain ingredients in the product, or because the cosmetics were used improperly – an emollient cream applied to oily skin, for example, or an astringent to dry skin. Allergic rashes can lead to blotching.
Treatment: Allergies and irritation
Stop using the product immediately. Wait 48 hours. If the irritation continues, consult a dermatologist. Note: If your cosmetic reaction is an allergic one, skin will react within an hour of contact with the offending substance. But if the problem takes longer to appear, it’s probably a reaction to a poor-quality product.
Source: Grace Maeda’s Book – “Japanese Secrets to Beautiful Skin” Chapter #2