Acne Magazine

All About Acne and How to Treat This Skin Condition

Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinoma Due to Hair Colors and Chemicals?

I wanted to take a bit of a break from our usual conversations about acne, rosacea and other similar skin conditions to talk about another very concerning problem that affects millions of men and women today. Especially men and women like me, who are of European descent and are naturally fair skinned.

I’m talking about basal cell carcinoma, which is a form of skin cancer that often occurs on the face due to the naturally higher exposure to sun that the facial area experiences.  The good news is that basal cell carcinoma is the least dangerous and most treatable form of skin cancer there is. The bad news is, it seems to have a high rate of recurrence in many people.

This often requires hundreds or thousands of dollars in the precision surgery called Mohs, which scrapes the cells off in layers and then examines them in a lab to confirm they are indeed cancerous.  This can also leave a person with lots of little scars. It happened to me, and I am done paying for multiple surgeries because obviously there is something causing them to recur right along my hairline a few times a year.

I have an idea that I know why. I think that my skin cells up by my hairline are particularly damaged and susceptible to turning cancerous because of the multiple dye jobs I used to go through on my hair when I was younger. Not only that, but ignorantly I also had many chemical treatments done like straightening treatments, perms and smoothing treatments that are now known to be highly toxic.

I think that these treatments irretrievably damaged the skin by my hairline. I know that this area also naturally gets more sun exposure because it is the top of your forehead, but it’s just odd that I know I had all these chemicals put on my head years ago and now this is the only area where I’ve ever had problems with basal cell carcinoma.

I’ve read about others who have had surgery to get these “tumors” removed (usually they are just red spots that never heal or crust over and bleed but never seem to go away), and have had recurrent basal cells return over and over again, so I don’t think what I’m experiencing is all that uncommon.

I think once your skin is damaged, there is not much you can do besides make sure you don’t put any chemicals on it ever and use all natural hair care and skin care. Also I think you use a natural sunscreen barrier like titanium or zinc oxide to reduce the exposure to the sun as well.

As far as getting the excisions done to remove them over and over again, I’ve instead opted to treat my basal cell carcinomas with a cheap solution of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid and water. It works within three days and completely removes the tumors without leaving a mark on my healthy skin.

February 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm Comments (0)

Probiotics Tied to Eczema Prevention?

Probiotics are a favorite supplement of mine. I take them when my digestive system just seems all out of whack, and if it’s a really high quality supplement, then I notice some pretty amazing results fairly quickly in the “righting” of my digestive tract.

They are mostly known to help replenish the healthy flora in the gut and intestines which helps to keep the colon and intestines healthy and in working order so you may eliminate your waste with no problems.  This can also be tied to a variety of skin conditions. Some even think that flora imbalances in the gut can aggravate acne for example.

Now there is a newer study that is saying that women who were fed probiotics during and shortly thereafter their pregnancy showed a marked reduction in passing eczema on to their  babies. They also experienced less eczema themselves.

While the connection between eczema and probiotics may not be totally clear, it does appear that there is some sort of immune response that is responsible for the help it offers in this skin condition.  The condition improved so much that they are very confident it can really help new mothers going forward to not pass on that pesky baby rash to their children that so often happens after a baby is born and often alarms new mothers.

Probiotics are a good idea to keep around. Let’s face it, we don’t always keep the best diet, especially with the holiday coming up, and it doesn’t hurt to have a helping hand when it comes to efficient digestion and elimination.

November 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm Comments (0)

Have a Sore on Your Face that Won’t Heal? Get It Checked!

I just wanted to share my experience with a  basal cell carcinoma (recurring) that I’ve had on my forehead for a  few years now. For some reason, this precancerous lesion keeps popping up in the same spot when I have even a few unprotected hours in the sun (even sometimes with sunscreen on).

I’ve come to the conclusion that the skin on my upper forehead is somehow damaged at the DNA level and is easily susceptible to sun damage and cell damage, and that is why it keeps happening. My theory is that I used to use a lot of chemicals and hair dyes on my head when I was younger and didn’t know better – chemical straighteners, perms, you name it.

I think that these repeated chemical exposures really messed up my skin cells in these areas, and that is why the basal cell carcinomas (which are technically cancerous lesions, but not usually serious and easily treated) keep coming up in the exact same spots on my forehead over and over again.

I wanted to share it because when I first noticed these coming up years ago, I thought that I had burned myself with my curling iron or something. The odd thing was, the lesion kept crusting over and bleeding, but never seemed to heal. ODD!!

Somehow, I came across an article on basal cell carcinomas and read about their most common forms.  Lo and behold, one form was a constant scabbing lesion that didn’t looks serious at all, but rather could be a reddish or purple-pink dot or spot on the skin that never went away and when picked at, would probably bleed and crust over but then would never heal.

This is a dead giveaway for a basal cell lesion.  Basal cell means that it has not penetrated through all the layers of skin yet, and it still truly a “topical” infection of out of control cells that cannot stop growing and dividing, growing and dividing, and so on and so forth.

So basically, you either need to get it cut off or you have to treat it otherwise. I have chosen to treat mine by applying topical concentrated vitamin C (ascorbic acid) by putting an ascorbic acid powder in a tiny amount of warm water, letting it dissolve, and putting it on the affected areas with a cotton swab or Q-tip. 

It doesn’t prevent them from coming back in those areas, but neither does getting it cut off professionally by a dermatologist – I’ve had that done too, and some of them grew back right in the same spot! If you have any doubts what a spot on your skin may be, consult a doctor so you can be sure.

May 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm Comments (0)

Natural Oils That Act as Sunscreen

It’s about summer time. And you know what that means – lots of sunshine (we hope, sometimes it doesn’t quite happen that way for us in Northeast Ohio).  What that also comes with is a lot of skin-damaging UV exposure IF you allow your skin to be over exposed.

Keep in mind that some sun exposure is absolutely vital to your health and wellness. It brightens mood, creates the uber important vitamin D for your body to use against sickness and disease, and is totally important for your mental health and happiness.

So, if you don’t want to rub God knows what chemicals all over your skin with many of the commercial sunscreens out there, you actually have some decent natural options for covering your skin against excessive UV exposure.

The first and most effective of course is to use clothes as your first defense. Wearing long sleeves, pants, hats and other sun-screening clothing completely (and chemically free) shields your skin from too much sunlight. This physical sun barrier can be a bit uncomfortable though in the high temps, to be sure, so there are also some totally natural oils that have a small amount of SPF in them naturally.

The first and supposedly most effective of the natural “sunscreening” oils is sesame oil.  This has a pleasant scent that smells just like sesame seeds. Makes perfect sense since that is what sesame oil is pressed from ?

It is estimated sesame oil can screen anywhere from 15% to 20% of the sun’s rays.  This is followed by coconut oil and shea butter.  Not only are these great moisturizing agents, but they also have sun-protective qualities.  You will only get anywhere form 10% to 15% protection from these, but that’s better than nothing.

There are also some very eco-friendly, nontoxic sunscreen options on the market today since people have become so aware of the dangers of slathering on tons of chemicals all over their body to screen it from the sun.  Some chemicals found in sunscreens have even been linked to INCREASING the risk of skin cancer if you can believe that, so it is wise to really read up and make sure your sunscreen has safe, natural ingredients, no parabens or any other questionable chemicals.

Some of the safest large-particle sunscreens are titanium and zinc oxide. These literally lay on top of the skin and form a physical barrier against the sun.  They have no known toxic properties because the particles are too large to even absorb in to the skin. 


May 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm Comments (0)

How to Reduce the Redness of a Pimple Fast

A pimple on your face can be a rather large eyesore and has a huge psychological impact. While some pimples can be unnoticeable, some tend to stick out when they have that blazing red color. If you currently have a pimple that has the color of a fire hydrant, here some things that are home remedies that you can do in order to reduce redness of pimples:

Ice: Ice is a great way to reduce the swelling of any pimple. Since the ice can help reduce the size, it can also help get rid of that pesky red color rather fast. Directly apply ice on the pimple, and let it sit for a few minutes.

Toothpaste: When most think of toothpaste, they often think of teeth. Believe it or not, toothpaste has a lot of amazing uses such as getting rid of pimples. Wash your face, and after you have done so, apply a small amount of toothpaste on the pimple. It’s best to apply the toothpaste before you head to bed, so that you can let it sit overnight.

Eye Drops: Just like the toothpaste, eye drops can also reduce redness of pimples. While it may sound strange, applying eye drops directly on the pimples can help tremendously. With eye drops, the drops are going to hydrate the affected skin area, allowing the skin to heal faster but more importantly, eye drops constrict the blood vessels that make your eyes blood shot and an irritated pimple red, so you can see less redness.

Crush Aspirin: There’s a rather good chance that you have Aspirin laying around in your medicine cabinet. Take a capsule, and crush it in a tiny bowl. Mix it with a small amount of water and proceed to blend it until you get a pasty-like substance. Take this substance, and apply it on your face as if it were a face mask.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice has a lot of uses and if you have some available, put some on a cotton ball. Once on the cotton ball, dab the area for around five to ten minutes.  Using natural cleansers with ingredients like lemongrass and tea tree oil will also greatly reduce redness and inflammation. 

Getting rid of pimple redness fast can be done using the methods mentioned above. Keep in mind that you have to remember that prevention is key. Never pop your pimple, or attempt to squeeze them unless they are 100% ready to come out from underneath your skin.

This means you should only see a thin white covering of skin over the pus of the acne lesion (I know, gross but I have to say it). While it may be tempting, it’s best to let it sit and let nature take its course. By doing so, you should find that you’ll have a clean looking face in no time.

March 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm Comments (0)

Observations of a Stubborn Zit

You know those zits that seem to linger forever.  You put something on them every night, and yet there they are in the morning, still as red, raw and big as ever. They don’t seem to respond to anything.  They hurt, and you can feel them under the skin.

You really want to pick at them, or squeeze them until they come out. But you’ve been down  that road before, and you know that will only bring scarring. Plus, if the pimple is just not ready to be extracted yet it’s still too far under the surface for all your poking and prodding to make any difference.

All your squeezing will have been for naught. In fact, all your squeezing will actually lead you to a redder, more irritated large lump that repeatedly fills with the clear fluid you see leak out when you squeeze it, but there’s never any real payoff in the form of pus.

Pus is when you know you’ve actually breached the infection and have found the end of the pimple, and are extracting the last of its havoc.  Before you see pus on the surface, where you can see the whiteness of it, don’t even bother trying to extract your pimple.

If you do it too soon, you only risk further scarring your face, and several more days of having to awkwardly cover up the blemish and treat it – usually to no avail. Because the ones that are deep under the surface are extremely hard to treat.

They’ll be ready to treat when they are good and ripe to come out, and not one moment before that. Some pimples just have all the say, and you can’t force them out.

Of course, you can go to a dermatologist for pimples like that and have them injected so they can go down quicker. But realistically, who has the money to do this every time one of these obnoxious, stubborn zits crops up?

Not me!  And that’s why I’ve learned, through the many years I’ve had acne flare ups, that if you can’t beat ‘em, well you just have to observe them.  You’ll only make it look worse while it’s still brewing below the surface if you prod it too much before hand.

Wait to see the whitehead, and you’ll do less damage, incur less long term acne scarring and pitting (see best ways to be rid of acne scars), and generally have a much easier time making the thing disappear without a trace.  And remember, per one of our previous posts, avoid acne cover up cosmetics with certain ingredients to make the recover faster.

March 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm Comments (0)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! And an Announcement….

Hello all my awesome Acnemagazine readers!  I wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  Hopefully like me, you don’t plan on doing much but lounging around and watching movies all day.  That’s the way to spend New Years day I say!

Seriously though, I wanted to say how much I appreciate each and every one of my readers, and how without you, I’d feel alone in this world with the ways I feel about having great skin, and all the years I struggled in my teens with having acne ranging from severe to moderate.

I feel like this blog has given me a voice, and allowed me to share my own experiences and viewpoints, screw ups and victories in my battle to get clear, beautiful skin over these years. After all, acne does not simply stop when you are an adult when you have very oily skin naturally!

I also wanted to make an announcement that we’ve added a brand new page to AcneMag about blackheads and how best to get rid of them without causing too much skin trauma.  It’s called Remedies for Blackheads. I discuss what I’ve found over the years to be the most effective and least damaging ways to get rid of blackheads.

Blackheads are something that everyone considers hard to get rid of, as evidenced by the thousands of internet searches done on “getting rid of blackheads” and other various searches regarding blackheads which show people are obviously looking for ways to remove them.

Again, all readers I want to wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. May this next year bring you and your family peace, prosperity and unbounded happiness :)

January 1, 2012 at 8:28 am Comments (0)

Do Calm People Have Clearer Skin?

I’ve always felt, myself, that when I’m going through those periods of zen, when I’m most at peace with myself and my lot in life, that so happens to also coincide with the times when my skin is its most clear and radiant.

When I’m calm and happy and content, that’s when my skin really glows. My skin is also calm, not red or ruddy, or irritated, or acne prone. That’s because when you are experiencing that “zen” zone, you are also experiencing a superior hormonal state of balance.

Think about it. As a woman myself, I can say that the times when I feel most insecure and most anxious about everything is times when I also tend to be irritable, such as during PMS.  This is also the time that my body just feels tightly wound, and my stomach has more issues.

Everything just seems out of whack, and my hormones are the primary reason that I can’t really focus and feel like I might cry at the drop of a  hat. Well, acne, and even acne rosacea, are hormonally based skin issues.  They are conditions that are DIRECTLY related to the balance of your hormones.

When your hormonal balance is out of hand, usually you experience more female hormones surging if you’re a guy, and more male hormones, or androgens, if you are a woman. These two clash with eachother, and they cause the skin to erupt, just like how you are feeling inside “like you are going to erupt”.

This is why many feel that things that relax them, like massages, yoga, and other activities that they find peaceful and enjoyable, help their skin to look radiant and unflawed.  When you are in the zone, and you are feeling comfortable and happy with everything in your life, that is when all is right with the world.

If you are a person who is naturally tightly wound, I suggest you find ways to really culminate relaxation and peace in your life.  Some people find this in kickboxing and other really agressive sports, while others find more peaceful sports like yoga and tai chi to be more complementary to their state of mind.

Whatever the case is for you, make sure that you try to cultivate this sort of peace and balance in your own life. It’s only then that your true beauty shines – from the inside out.

August 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm Comments (0)

Visine for Reducing Acne Redness

One of the unique “home remedy” types of suggestions I have heard has to do with reducing the characteristic redness that goes with acne lesions, especially when they are large and painful, and also especially when they have prematurely been opened, whether by accident, or they were intentionally popped by the person to relieve the pressure.

Either way, the redness is what makes an acne bump look so terrible. Without the color, sure, it would still be an unsightly lump on the skin, but at least it would not also set itself apart from your healthy, clear skin by flashing a red sign “I’m here, I’m here, look at meeee”.

If you are struck with a particularly ugly, red zit and you have no other recourse to get rid of it quickly, one “home remedy” you may want to try is to put a little drop or two of the eye relief liquid Visine, or some such similar product.

Why would Visine be used to reduce redness of a zit? Well, Visine is actually a blood vessel restrictor. This is why it helps to reduce redness in your eyes. When you have irritated capillaries, this product’s duty is to help constrict those back down and reduce their red appearance.

When you irritate your zit by popping it or by otherwise traumatizing the area, or it just gets so big that the pressure is too great for the skin to bare without getting red, try putting a little bit of this on the affected area.

What’s the worst that could happen? You may irritate it a little with the salt that typically is in these eye formulas, but the ingredients in it which help to reduce redness will counteract any additional redness from the irritation, setting them off of one another.

March 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm Comments (0)

Acne and Insulin : More on Foods to Eat and Avoid

We talked last time about how your blood sugar levels affect your skin and can trigger acne breakouts and perpetuate the unfortunate predisposition toward acne in your skin.  Remember, your blood sugar levels control a lot more than just hunger and mental and physical performance.

They also control the levels of female and male hormones in your body. Remember also that excess androgens (male hormones) in the body are what lead to acne lesions because of their ability to force the body into excess production of oil, or sebum, which traps bacteria beneath the surface of the skin and inflames the pores.

A high sugar, high carb diet is, in itself, a naturally “inflammatory” diet. This means that it actually pushes the body to not heal as well.  This is part of the reason why diabetic people have a hard time healing wounds.

Avoid refined starches and grains like white bread, white pasta, chips, crackers and other foods which use refined white flour as their basis.  Also avoid sugary sweets like chocolate, candy and cookies.  Choose foods that keep you full for hours. 

You will know when your blood sugar is all whacked out because you’ll feel it in your mental performance and the way your body reacts. For me, I know that my blood sugar is either too low or too high because I can’t seem to focus, I get moody and my motor skills seem to be “off”. 

Some people experience seeing auras or bright lights in front of their eyes when their blood sugar goes into dangerously high or low ranges.  When your blood sugar is even, you will know it because you feel like your body and your mind are humming along like the finely tuned machine they are. 

Remember that even if a food isn’t “sugar” when you eat it, like the obvious culprits candy, cookies, cake and the like, it can convert to sugar rapidly in the body.  Breads, cereals, potatoes, white rice and corn are examples. 

However, it doesn’t mean you have to live a carb free life to maintain clear skin. You can eat carbs, just make sure they are as whole as possible. Only consume WHOLE GRAIN carbs.  Never eat white pasta, white bread or other refined ones, always make sure they are whole.

Lean protein is best for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.  Try to stick to hormone free white meats like chicken, pork, and turkey. Fish is excellent for your skin because it contains omega 3 fats, which are in themselves a great blood sugar regulator.

March 10, 2011 at 9:37 am Comments (0)

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