And -don't squeeze—you'll damage the skin by increasing inflammation and risk spreading the infection. Instead, wash your face with a coarse washcloth and mild soap to break open any pimples. Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and vitamin A creams or gels are all simple and effective methods for reducing acne. You can also try an ancient Chinese remedy—seabuchthorn oil, which has been used for a few millennia in China for a variety of medicinal benefits. More recently, the rich fatty acid mixture has been used topically as a natural treatment for acne and rosacea. Try the soap form. For rosacea—a form of adult acne -that's a fairly common problem—certain antibiotics tend to work not only because they kill bacteria but because of their anti--inflammatory effect. Our recommendation: Ask your doc if an ointment that combines antibiotics and a low--potency steroid cream such as hydrocortisone is right for you. Lasers that target the visible capillaries can have a dramatic immediate effect, and daily topical vitamin C and twice daily topical niacin more subtly reduce the redness in about a month.
Eczema: If your -skin's looking as if you just did the hubba--hubba in a bed of mashed strawberries, it might be a case of the common skin condition eczema. This is a type of allergic reaction, and -it's easily treated with inexpensive skin moisturizers. -It's especially common during the winter, when the dry air causes little breaks in the skin, letting in chemicals that rake over your skin, particularly your hands. Treat your skin like an athlete working out in the heat—keep it hydrated. After your daily shower (don't dry yourself first), immediately apply Vaseline or cream (Eucerin, Keri, Nivea) so the moisture is locked in—and the rash--irritating dryness is kept out. If you have stubborn eczema, you might use a moisturizer with lactic acid or a steroid or a prescription drug called tacrolimus. If all else fails, have an allergist get to the bottom of your problem—in many cases the culprit is the metal nickel or one of the preservatives or fragrances in skin care products.
What's Your Type?
All that time in front of the mirror, in the shower, and at the nude beach has likely given you some pretty good insight into what type of skin you have. But -there's more to skin intelligence than just knowing whether -you're happier exposing it or concealing it. Take this test to determine your skin type.
1. Does your skin look dull or flake like a snow globe?
2. Does your skin look like a bathroom floor with a shiny, slippery texture?
3. Does your skin feel itchy and taut like sausage casing?
4. Do you have pores that are enlarged like craters, or clogged pores, or acne?
5. Does your skin react to cosmetics containing alcohol, synthetics, fragrances, and artificial colors?
6. Does your skin appear consistently moist, vibrant, and plumper than a squishy cantaloupe?
7. Does your forehead, nose, or chin appear oilier than a fast--food kitchen, while the skin around your cheeks, eyes, and mouth is normal or dry?
If you answered yes to 1 or 3, you have DRY skin.
If you answered yes to 2 or 4, you have OILY skin.
If you answered yes to 5, you have SENSITIVE skin.
If you answered yes to 6, you have NORMAL skin.
If you answered yes to 7, you have COMBINATION skin.