Fixes for 6 Common Skin Problems
Fixes for 6 Common Skin Problems
posted in Care2 by Mel, selected from Natural Solutions magazine Nov 16, 2009 (Rona Berg)
Because the skin connects to every system in the body, when something gets out of whack inside, it shows up on your face. How to improve your skin's tone, texture, health?
- Reduce Stress
- Take Omega-3
- Sleep at least 7 hours nightly
- Eat a healthy diet rich in Antioxidants
(Stephanie Tourles, Organic Body Care Recipes).
Six common problems & effective ways to look your best.
PUFFINESS, DARK CIRCLES
These two conditions “go hand in hand... Both stem from a lack of circulation. Puffiness is caused by fluid that collects and doesn’t move with the lymphatic flow, and dark circles indicate a need to stimulate your blood circulation.
- genetic inheritance
- too many late nights spent staring at the computer
- salty foods
- poor diet
- inflammation in the nasal area (can weaken the blood vessels, which may leak and cause what appear to be bruises under the eyes).
Solution: you need to get your blood circulating and your lymph fluid flowing... a gentle under-eye massage each night. Apply eye gel instead of cream if you have pouchy eyes–and be sure to chill it in the fridge beforehand.
Good ingredients to look for...
- green tea or vitamin K, which strengthen the blood vessels;
- calendula or chamomile to reduce swelling;
- gotu kola to stimulate circulation.
Apply gel with your ring finger (it exerts the least pressure), and gently massage in clockwise, circular motions from the edges of the “bruise” toward the eye.
Do-It-Yourself: Steep two cups of green tea for five minutes, and then remove the tea bags and chill them briefly in the freezer. Pour the tea itself into an ice cube tray and freeze. Squeeze the excess water out of the chilled tea bags, lie down, and place them on the under-eye area for 10 minutes. And the tea ice cubes? When you wake up puffy-eyed but in a hurry, pop out a cube and run it over the area before you dash out the door.
BLACKHEADS and Chin Breakouts
The nose, chin, and forehead (aka the “T-zone&rdquo have more oil glands than anywhere else on your body. So if you have oily skin, the T-zone will be your problem area–especially when you have your period. And because the pores on your nose can be large relative to those on the rest of your face, they’re prone to blackheads when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria become trapped in them.
Hormones trigger most chin breakouts–especially during pregnancy, an irregular menstrual cycle, or perimenopause, or when taking birth-control pills.
Solution: To banish blackheads, exfoliate regularly, using a natural abrasive scrub two to three times a week. But handle with care...scrubs can sometimes tear at the edges of your pores, and end up spreading the bacteria around. Wet your face and gently press–don’t rub!–the scrub on your nose and T-zone, using the same light pressure you use to shave your legs.
Could it be your cell phone? sometimes, clearing up your chin can be as simple as cleaning your cell phone–especially if you’re only breaking out on one side. When oil and bacteria accumulate on your phone, they can get pressed into your skin and clog your pores.
Do-It-Yourself: Sprinkle a quarter-size dab of baking soda into your palm. Moisten with a few drops of warm water, gently press into your face to exfoliate, and rinse.
Inside-Out Beauty: Your chin may also break out if your digestive system is out of balance. The jawline and chin correspond to the intestinal region in Chinese medicine.
- probiotics, in supplements, yogurt, many fermented foods
- 6-8 glasses of water, daily.
The delicate tissue on the lips, easily chapped and prone to bacterial infection, is vulnerable in any weather. Wind and winter chill sap moisture from the lips, but so does exposure to the sun, surf, and chlorinated swimming pools. Many conventional lip balms contain petrolatum-based ingredients like mineral oil that appear slick and emollient, but because the skin can’t absorb them–the molecules are too big–they don’t actually condition or heal chapped lips. In fact, they just lie on the surface, creating an impermeable barrier that can actually clog the skin and lead to breakouts and bacterial infections. Instead, look for natural moisturizers like shea butter - beeswax - sweet almond oil - jojoba oil - hempseed oil, all of which actually penetrate the skin.
If you’re prone to breakouts or bumps on the lips, look for lip balms with antibacterial essential oils like rosemary - mint and avoid camphor because it can dry the lips.
Aloe vera soothes chapped skin, and menthol can numb the pain if your lips are severely chapped.
Do-It-Yourself: Mix a dab of honey with a bit of brown sugar. Apply to lips and gently massage back and forth with an old toothbrush. Sugar is a naturally abrasive exfoliant, and honey contains an exfoliating enzyme, as well as a mild antiseptic that kills bacteria and a natural humectant that helps the skin retain moisture.
DRY, FLAKY SKIN
Flaking on the cheeks, hairline, and brows may come from common dermatitis, or it could signal the presence of eczema, which can be a little harder to treat. Flaking is an inflammatory response to something that’s aggravating the body. Among the likely reasons:
- extreme weather - food allergies - chemical ingredients prone to generating an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) in the skin, like those found in heavy fragrances, laundry detergents, or harsh shampoos. Any of these can shorten the life cycle of skin cells and lead to a buildup of dead skin, resulting in dryness, irritation, and flakes. Stress and age can also aggravate the problem. As we get older, our skin naturally becomes drier. The skin cells oxidize, and the cell walls can’t hold moisture like they once did. That’s why aging skin dehydrates, loses firmness, and starts to wrinkle. (Exposing unprotected skin to the sun can cause premature wrinkling, of course, because nothing oxidizes skin cells like those tanning UV rays.) Instead of heavy creams or lotions, look to moisturizing seed oils (pomegranate, rosehip, and grapeseed), which are light and thus move easily into the skin.
- POMEGRANATE SEED OIL contains linolenic acid
which promotes cell turnover and skin regeneration;
- ROSEHIP, APRICOT, CARROT SEED OIL for vitamins A and C,
which strengthen and protect skin;
- grapeseed oil - the antioxidant resveratrol;
- hempseed oil contains linoleic and linolenic acid, anti-inflammatory ingredients that soothe skin.
Do-It-Yourself: Put a few drops of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants and high in polyphenols, into a small bowl of warm water. Press a washcloth soaked in this gentle mixture on the skin for a few minutes. It will stimulate circulation, lift off dead skin cells, and moisturize.
e.g. spots, splotches during pregnancy or as you enter your 40s.
Excess MELANIN which causes hyperpigmentation, is triggered by:
-chronic sun exposure -major hormonal shifts (as in pregnancy - perimenopause - menopause).
Once you’ve got it, it’s hard to get rid of it.
Traditional treatments like glycolic acids and Retin-A are harsh. People tend to overuse them, which leads to thinning of the skin, and thin skin is hypersensitive and more susceptible to sun damage...can lead to more age spots and further hyperpigmentation. (Warning: Don’t use these treatments if you’re pregnant.)
Protect your skin from the damaging UV rays - use a sunscreen daily–jojoba oil is a natural sunscreen, with an SPF between 10 and 15.
To lighten and fade pigmented areas, apply a GREEN PAPAYA mask once or twice a week, and look for creams with lightening agents like LICORICE EXTRACT - MANDARIN or TANGERINE OIL - MULBERRY EXTRACT. Natural remedies for pigmentation problems can take a few months before they start to work, so remain patient.
Do-It-Yourself: Apply PLAIN YOGURT to your face three to four times a week. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a natural exfoliant.
BLOTCHINESS or Broken Capillaries (cheeks)
For red, flushed, blotchy, sensitive skin, put the blame on heat and sun, alcohol, extremes of temperature, or spicy foods.
When the capillaries under the skin’s surface dilate, it can result in redness and flushing, the same things that trigger rosacea... prevention is the best cure.
Include OMEGA-3s (anti-inflammatories found in FISH OIL - FLAXSEED OIL - WALNUT OIL) in your diet to protect, moisturize, and soothe the skin.
Use face oils, hydrosols, and creams with soothing and hydrating CHAMOMILE - LAVENDER - ROSE - VITAMIN K.
Do-It-Yourself: Chill ALOE VERA gel in the refrigerator. Apply to clean skin like a mask to soothe and calm the skin. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
Rona Berg is the author of Beauty: The New Basics and Fast Beauty: 1,000 Quick Fixes (Workman Publishing).
Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living -news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.