Fun Facts : Skin Care Regimens : Encyclopedia
Okay, Wee lovers. The words of the day are ZIT, BLEMISH, PIMPLE, and if youíve seen that annoying commercial CRATER.
Imagine, if you dare, this nightmarish scenario:
You frantically bolt out of bed and hurl your buzzing alarm clock at the door--just in time to hit your father in the head as he enters the room to make sure youíre up. Late again!!! Whatís that you say? This is only the first time this has happened all week? Yeah, nevermind the fact that itís Monday ("Just another Manic Monday...whoa...whoa"). Wait--isnít this Class Pictures Day?! You abandon your father in a broken heap on the floor with a bump the size of a golf ball throbbing in the middle of his forehead and streak to the bathroom in your fuzzy bunny slippers. You take one blasted look in the mirror and are overcome by a mixture of terror and rage. No, thatís not a giant red light bulb at the end of your nose (You should be so lucky! A light bulb would have been less shiny!) but the mother of all zits, the blemish to end all blemishes, the pimple that would launch a thousand cities and devour them all in one foul swoop (huh?). "Cruel fate why do you haunt me!" you shriek...and youíre still screaming as you return from this episode of the Twilight Zone. Scary, isnít it? Your body is changing in many frightening and exciting ways and just when youíd like to keep the change as quiet as possible, take cover under a rock, or skip the planet ("Beam Me Up, Spotty!") leave it to your face to proudly shout to the whole world (via zits) that you are, in fact, becoming an adult. Well... your face no longer has to look like a Pizza Paradise masterpiece or a game of connect the dots. Hereís all the info that you need to get a complexion that would make the Gerber babyís behind green with envy--or at least green with something else...but thatís another story for another web page.
Attention all Jeopardy contestants: Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? There are nerve endings all over your skin that send messages to your brain. These nerve endings are responsible for your sense of touch. Your skin protects your organs and keeps you from flashing your kidneys around. Your skin also keeps your body from going into meltdown by regulating your internal temperature. You perspirate to cool down. There are two main layers to your skin: the epidermis (the outer, thinner layers of skin) and the dermis (the inner, thicker layers of skin). Nails and toenails sprout out of your epidermis while hair follicles, nerve endings and glands have their roots in the dermis.
"Mummy, dearest..." Did you know that vials of zit cream were found in King Tutís tomb?
DONíT LET YOUR FACE BE MISTAKEN FOR A HALLOWEEN MASK
- Chocolate is not a four letter word: there is no scientific proof whatsoever that chocolate makes your skin break out. The same goes for greasy foods like fries and uh... pizza. If you tend to break out after eating a certain food, then donít eat it anymore. Sorry to pop your zit...uh....bubble dermatologists say that toothpaste and calamine lotion have no proven effect on spots. But you donít have to take our word for it.
- In the words of Nancy Kerrigan: "Why, Why, WHY?!" As if hormones and genes werenít enough, your skin is constantly battling with pollutants in the air. The dreaded Sís--Stress, Sleeplessness, Smoking, Sweat, and Sunshine--wreak havoc on what could otherwise be a glowing complexion.
- Believe it or not, SUNSHINE DOES NOT CLEAR UP ZITS!!! The sun can signal your sebaceous glands to kick up the oil production--and the Crisco complexion is nice if you want to bake cheese on your face. The sun can also do the exact opposite: dry out your skin so much that the sebaceous glands go into overtime trying to make up for the moisture loss. Sunburns can also cause existing blemishes to leave behind dark scars. So before you head outside, MAKE A NONCOMEDOGENIC, OIL-FREE SUNSCREEN WITH AT LEAST AN SPF OF 15 THE ICING ON YOUR BIRTHDAY SUIT AND REMEMBER THAT SUN-WORSHIPERS SACRAFICE AT THE ALTAR OF THE PLASTIC SURGEON. In the beginning, there was Blonde in a Bottle. Now we have Tan in a Bottle. Thereís no reason you should be causing yourself unnecessary and possibly permanent skin damage by basking in the sun without protection or using tanning beds!!! If you are using any kind of acne medication (oral or topical) check with your dermatologist before catching any rays because the main ingredient in your medication could make your skin more sun-sensitive. You could wind up with some serious burns. Retin-A users beware.
- Have you hugged your dermatologist today? If you have tried absolutely everything from toothpaste to dancing naked under a full moon with an armadillo on your head and you are still plagued by frequent breakouts after six to eight weeks or have underground critters that wonít go away, donít be shy--SEE A DERMATOLOGIST!!! They can prescribe stronger topical medications or oral antibiotics and answer any questions that you may have (itís what they are there for!). Accutane, Retin-A, and AHA are star performers. So donít be a stranger (you probably couldnít get any stranger if you tried)
- To Pop or not to Pop: THAT is the Question: Your psychic friends, fairy godmothers, and talking dogs may have warned you that popping zits will lead to scarring and like gray hairs will result in ten more, but the truth is that sometimes relieving the pressure and releasing the buildup of a pimple will help it go away faster. If you can see the pus under the surface (that yucky white or yellowish stuff) and the zit has passed the "I can feel it under the surface!" stage, go ahead and pop the little sucker. REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST AND TO CLEAN UP AFTER WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE AND A DAB OF ZIT GEL OR SOMETHING!! BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERSQUEEZE--THAT WILL LEAD TO SCARRING. IF YOUR ZIT IS STILL TOO DEEP AND NOT OF THE POPPY VARIETY, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you donít follow our advice, you could wind up with an infection and a cabbage patch of zits instead of one. When itís still subterranean, (hasnít come up for air yet, but you can definitely feel it under the surface...YEOWW!!), or if youíre still leery about popping it and fulfilling your familyís ancient evil curse, you can take a washcloth and soak it in water as hot as you can stand. Smother the pimple with this for at least one minute and definitely no more than five. Then slather on some jelly zit goop or cream. There are many zit medicines out on the market--some of them even come flesh toned so that you can cover up your tracks and leave nary a trace of evidence when you go in for the kill.
- If one of your parents had acne, thereís a good chance that youíll have acne, too. There are many kids who experience acne, though, whose parents had glowing complexions. Itís just the dumb luck of the draw, I guess.
- You want to wash your face at least twice a day and take a shower and wash your face after you exercise to avoid acne (face or other) brought on by sweat. The key to a great complexion lies in keeping your skin clean and hydrated. You donít want to go overboard and be squeaky clean, though. Overcleansing, overexfoliating, and using too many medicated products can zap moisture and the irritation that this brings on will only make matters worse.
- Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, exercising, keeping your skin clean, and getting a good-nightís sleep will do wonders for your complexion.
- Keep your hands off your face during the day!! Resting your chin or forehead in your greasy, grimy palms or rubbing your face when youíre stressing out or nervous will only make your face more dirty and oily. Beware of the telephone mouthpiece, unless youíre going for the "chin as mountain range" motif.
Skin Care Regimens
All females: Donít use any more products in your skin-care routine than are absolutely necessary. Choose cleansers formulated for your skin type. Never go to bed with makeup on--especially waterproof mascara. Great skin goes with everything! Try not to use scented facial products. If you are FEMALE and have...
- Nnormal Skin: Your skin is normal if it feels comfortable shortly after washing (approximately fifteen minutes later)--not tight or greasy. Start with a cleanser or moisturizing bar like Dove or Ivory. Those two brands are really great. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry with some facial tissue; never rub your face with towels that you use on the rest of your body. Then swipe your face with a cotton ball soaked in toner or astringent, but stay away from harsh products that make your skin sting. You want to moisturize your dry areas with an oil-free lotion.
- Oily Skin: If your skin feels greasy shortly after washing, you probably have oily skin. Wash your skin with oil-free gels or cleansers. Soaps formulated for oily skin are great, too. No harsh or stinging products here. You want to zap excess oil, not wipe out moisture all together. Use water as warm or hot as you are comfortable with. Look for products containing witch hazel. Witch hazel refreshes skin without drying it out. Use an exfoliant recommended for oily skin, preferably one with small granules. Oily skin moisturizes itself so you donít need to use moisturizer. Use only oil-free, water-based, non-comedogenic makeup.
- Dry Skin: If your skin feels tight or scaly shortly after washing your face, you probably have dry skin. Wash your face with cleansing or moisturizing bars and never rinse with hot water. Warm to cool is your safest bet. Avoid soaps, products containing detergent, products that irritate or dry, dry saunas, and wash cloths--they strip skin of moisture. Moisturize by day with a product containing sunscreen and try a cold cream or sleep-wear moisturizer at night. Ponds Cold Cream and Night of Olay are fabulous. Look for products with alpha hydroxy acid or amino acid. Stay away from products containing any kind of extract.
- Combination Skin: If your cheeks are dry or normal and your T-Zone (your chin, nose, and forehead) is oily, then you have combination skin. Choose a cleanser labeled "for normal to oily" or one labeled "for normal to dry." Choose an astringent formulated for combination skin. Dab moisturizer where your skin is dry or scaly.
Within the last few years, the cosmetics industry has taken a serious interest in male skin-care. Makeup counters in department stores (like the Clinique counter) and stores in the mall (like the Body Shop and Bath and Body Works) have skin-care lines just for guys! So lack of products for men is no longer an excuse. Thereís never been a better time to put your best face forward. If you are MALE and have...
Blackheads : Whiteheads : Pimples : Oil
Analysis: A blackhead looks like an enlarged pore with dark stuff inside. These are generally more annoying than painful and they just look filthy.
Pain (1-10): 2-4 depending on its exact location and whether or not you pop it; childís play
Whatís happening here: Itís not dirt, but itís actually sebum (the oil produced by your sebaceous glands) and dead skin that are clogging up your pores and hair follicles here. Then this tasty mixture of oil, dead skin, and bacteria is introduced to the atmosphere (the pore is open at the skinís surface) where the chemical reaction with oxygen makes it darker.
HORMONES+SEBUM+DEAD SKIN CELLS+BACTERIA+OXYGEN = BLACKHEADS
Banishing blackheads: keep your pores clean with products containing salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids. Donít overexfoliate; overzealous scrubbing will irritate your condition and youíll wind up with a fleet of blemishes.
Analysis: these little nightmares come in the flesh-toned or egg-white varieties
Pain (1-10): 4-6; weíll make a man of you yet--COMMERCIAL DISCLAIMER: popping whiteheads will not result in increased masculinity.
Whatís happening here: Donít blame it on the rain; the devil didnít make you do it; and itís not a conspiracy. ITíS HORMONES!!! Your oil glands are going berserk and are clogging up your pores (or hair follicles) with sebum and dead skin cells. Bacteria builds up and you get a little (or maybe not-so-little) bump. A whitehead has the formula for a blackhead, minus the oxygen (the clogged pore is closed at the skinís surface).
HORMONES+SEBUM+DEAD SKIN CELLS+BACTERIA = WHITEHEADS
White Out Your Whiteheads: Use the same plan of attack for whiteheads that you use for your blackheads: try treatments with alpha hydroxy or salicylic acids to remove dead cells and keep pores clean.
Analysis: You may find some bashful pinks here, but letís face it-- Fire engine, redís a classic that never goes out of style! What other color clashes with everything? These are must have-notís for all of this seasonís hottest fashions. These atrocious freaks of nature may be pus-filled (that slimy, whitish-yellow, baking soda creamy paste) or they may be lurking just under the surface building up energy to erupt.
Pain (1-10): 8-11; Whatever doesnít kill us will only make us stronger. Just keep repeating this until you start to believe it.
Whatís Happening Here: A flaming black or whitehead undergoes a mutation and merges with sebum and acne-causing bacteria to take over first the pore and tomorrow the world. When the irritation is just under the surface of your skin; youíll be able to see the whitish or yellowish toxic waste inside. These are the stuff pops are made of. Itís now or never. If the pore is raging deep below the surface of your skin, the zit will be big and red.
Analysis: greasy looking, especially in the T-Zone (your forehead, your nose, and chin)
Pain (1-10): 0, 11 if you decide to stand near an open flame
Whatís happening here: the three Hís--Heredity, Hormones, Humidity
Get the Red Out: Popping is a personal decision that every adult must make for themselves. Read "To Pop or Not to Pop.." You might want to experiment with products containing benzoyl peroxide. Before you go to sleep, try a gel or pasty product with salicylic acid. See a dermatologist if you have a severe case of acne.
Crisco looks better on your cookie sheet: clean your face at least twice a day and after exercise. A swipe with a medicated skin pad during the day when you canít wash may be just what the dermatologist ordered. If you wear makeup, go oil-free and noncomedogenic.
And may the force be with you.