Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mandelic acid is amazing against blackheads and acne ..., Exfoliates and tightens pores; antibacterial; anti-inflammatory

After 4 months on retinoids (Green Cream, Diacneal, Retin A), I have managed to get rid of all of my old bumps and inflamed acne ... but the pores in my T-zone were still getting badly congested every couple of weeks, resulting in blackheads and microzits. Since I'm a habitual picker, and my skin is currently very fragile from the retinoids, these clogged pores were creating a real problem for me.

As soon as I started reading about mandelic acid, I knew I had to try it. The trouble was, the first MA product I tried really does not work well with Green Cream -- and I LOVE Green Cream and will not give it up! I could see that the MA was zapping the blackheads and tightening my pores, but unfortunately it was also burning my skin -- which is not supposed to happen. Mandelic is a very mild AHA.

Anyway, I finally found a new MA product that I can use with retinoids, and I am just loving it. My pores are tighter and clearer than I ever thought possible and my blackheads are almost entirely extinct.

So here are my product recommendations:

If you have oily skin and are NOT using retinoids, you should be able to use the Vivant mandelic acid serum sold on the Diana Yvonne site. I suggest buying a sample first to try it out. This is probably the purest, most powerful and effective mandelic product out there.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, are using retinoids or other anti-acne products, or just find that you can't tolerate the Vivant mandelic, you are probably better off going with the alcohol-free mandelic acid serum made and sold by Garden of Wisdom. They make a 10% version and a 15% version. Sample sizes are available. I use the 10% if I'm layering it under retinoids and 15% if I'm using it by itself.

Mandelic acid needs about 30 minutes to absorb into the skin and "do its thing" -- so you should apply it to clean dry skin, and not apply anything else for at least 30 minutes.

A little more info about mandelic acid: here's a quote from Deb, the Forum Host at the Diana Yvonne SkinCare Board:

It works in the same manner as salicylic acid, except it cannot penetrate as deep into the pore as salicylic acid. Thus, it increases cell turnover within the pore, causing the release of comedones. As soon as you stop using it faithfully, just like salicylic acid, back they come!

I think the reason people rave about mandelic acid is that it is an AHA with some BHA properties. As well as being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and lipid permeable (thus the pore exfoliation), it is a gentle 15% AHA at a low pH. AHAs exfoliate the epidermis much better than with salicylic acid, which cannot penetrate very deeply into the epidermal layers. So, the skin is smoother, tighter and more even in tone. Thus, the AHA activity combined with the lipid permeability aids in the appearance of smaller pores.


By LionQueen

Monday, June 9, 2008

3 Ridiculously Cheap and Easy Tips To Reducing Severity

I suffered from mild to moderate acne from age 15 (with periodic severe break outs during high-stress times) and I tried everything: over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and clindamycin topicals of every size and description, Proactiv, Murad, antibiotics from mild, low-dosage to high-powered Accutane (supposed to be %99 effective) to crazy home remedies and bizarre foods combinations.

Everything I tried had the same effect: my skin would become dry, flaky, red and irritated for the first few weeks of usage, then clear up some for a few weeks (deceptive), then swing back and become worse than it was before I started. After much trial and error, here are some easy-to-use, basic steps I discovered that drastically reduced the severity of my acne without prescriptions, subscriptions, or complex regimens.

1. Moisturizing

I cannot stress this one enough. I reduced my acne drastically just by moisturizing daily. (I recommend Cetaphil: lightweight, non-greasy, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, absorbs
quickly, cheap.) Your skin has a natural protective barrier of oils, and moisturizing helps restore them. Keeping your cells properly hydrated creates a balanced environment. When you over-wash (a common and sometimes almost unavoidable error), your skin may feel tighter or less oily initially, but soon will become OVER OILY and start to break out more severely. This is because you have stripped your pores of their natural moisture. To keep the hair folicle lubricated, they overproduce excess amounts of oil which collect in the base, attract bacteria, swell the pore and rise to the surface. Just by applying a product like Cetaphil every morning, (don't go crazy, though. It retains moisture; if you use too much, your skin will feel slick and "water-logged") and not over-washing (I recommend just water), you will notice your skin tone evening and smoothing out more, less redness, smaller pores, and your face will generally feel more supple and healthy.

Check out your local drug store or check here for an example of where to buy Cetaphil online:;catid=21503

2. Sleep

This one is so obvious, but it's an easy one to dismiss or overlook. As a a college student, I was accustomed to pulling all-nighters and getting only a couple hours sleep. Lack of sleep causes huge amounts of stress which, as well as affecting your whole body negatively, wreak havoc on your skin. I would come out of my vampire-like existence with the most sickly-looking, blotchy, pimple-ravaged face you've ever seen. But once I established a pattern and rhythm of getting at least 6 hours of sleep every night, I noticed my breakouts lost some intensity and frequency. (I also noticed that when I was well-rested I didn't mentally freak out and get depressed over a break out like when I was sleep-deprived. You feel more positive and energized, like some good angel whispers in your ear that "it's not that bad" or "it'll heal soon". One of those strange mind-body connections.) Instead of having a batch of new zits every morning, you might get one or two every other day, but they're smaller and more manageable. (If you keep regular and eat well, your metabolism will also increase, causing you to eat less and lose some weight, another mental aid to feeling good about yourself and not focusing so much on your acne.) While adequate sleep is essential for total-body health and well-being, your skin (and stress levels) is the most noticeable product. You will look fresher, even with your acne (I know, it's seems like a non-sequitur but it's true) and feel less tense and on-edge.

3. Cold Compress or Ice Pack

This one is not so obvious, but works if you do it right. It uses the same principle of ice packs to sports injuries or a black eye: taking swelling down. Invest in a quality medical-grade or therapeutic cold compress or ice pack. At night before bed and moisturizing, sit or lay down somewhere and relax. Apply the cold for a few minutes to each cheek and forehead just long enough to cool the skin surface, careful not to freeze your face. (At first, you will feel a little uncomfortable with the cold, but after a while you'll become accustomed to it. In fact, you'll end up enjoying the experience as it will calm you down.) Remove the cold source. Your face will feel pleasantly tingly and warm. While you still feel this, apply a thin layer of a %5 or less benzoyl peroxide gel or cream. (Using a low concentration and small amount is crucial. Most people, thinking more is better, buy a %10 and slather it all over but end up burning their face raw. Peroxide is powerful. A little is enough.) The cold actually expands your pores for a few minutes, which allows the BP--the best of the topicals at killing bacteria--a window to sneak in to the root before the pores reduce. Then apply the simple moisturizing technique describe above and get a good night's sleep. I guarantee you will wake up in the morning with less redness, less breakouts, more luminous, and generally feeling better about your appearance than you were the day before.

Check out your local drug store or check here for an example of where to buy a cold compress online:

Note: I am not trying to disregard or disprove the pharmaceutical approach, I am just saying that it isn't the sole means or only avenue for relief. Remember, these little tips are not a cure-all. They simply are tricks I learned over many years how to reduce severity, not eliminate completly. They may or may not work for you. But for the very little time and money they require, why not try?

By Jenson

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Brain Skin Connection, Very Technical Article

Why emotional/physical stress leads to inflammatory skin diseases...

I'm starting to think that stress predisposes a person to hypersensitivity to foods and such. There are too many people who can eat shit and still be clear, and I don't think its purely genetic. Stress wreaks havoc to and distracts the immune system, possibly making us less able to deal with certain foods.

This study showed how you could induce hair growth inhibition in mice by providing them with stressors. We know that hairloss is very possibly related to acne...
Also, stress leads to the production of cytokines and inflammatory mediators....

This article was supplied by Dr. Lin, the crazy orgasm doctor who says acne is caused by excessive sex (a stressor) for some people. A point which I agree completely with.

By john1234

Cure for acne found

The codename given to a drug that could possibly be the cure for acne. Initial tests have confirmed it does the job successfully without ANY side effects.

It could well replace Accutane as the 'gold standard' of acne treatment. It has shown to reduce sebum production by 90% and was tested at Oxford University, England.

The major advantage being no side affects unlike Accutane. Expect it to be commerically available within the next few years if the last few tests yield positive results.

Having no side affects could mean it could be used for any type of acne, mild or severe. Acne as we know it could be a thing of the past.

Original article:

By A.G