Blue Zones have been in the media a lot lately, thanks in large part to Dan Buettner, the author of the similarly titled book, “The Blue Zones: Nine Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest.” Blue Zones are places in the world where people tend to live a long time. Buettner points out the following places: Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).
The people in these areas tend to do some things that had me thinking they might also experience less acne, mainly because many of the dietary and lifestyle choices they engage in are anti-inflammatory in nature. Since acne is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense that living in a Blue Zone type of way couldn’t hurt with acne symptoms.
Keep in mind that Buettner says himself that we can’t artificially adopt the lives of these people very successfully. The way they eat and their lifestyle is woven into the fabric of their lives and communities. However, it’s interesting to see what they do and incorporate what we can, where we can.
The things all Blue Zones tend to have in common are:
– Mostly vegetarian plant-based diet
– Lots of beans/legumes
– Family focused
– Socially engaged
– Constantly staying physically active as a part of daily life
All of these things could be argued are anti-inflammatory. Certainly a plant-based diet with lots of beans is a good low glycemic option full of antioxidants. And living in a family focused, engaged way can reduce stress, which in turn reduces inflammation. While the jury is still out on whether smoking is a big risk factor in acne, smoking causes vascular injury and we know this can lead to inflammation response in the body. And finally, staying physically active is associated with lower markers of inflammation.
We’re not likely to keep acne at bay by attempting to adopt a Blue Zone diet and lifestyle, but it might help reduce symptoms somewhat and it’s a tasty and fun way to live anyway. On that note, I’m walking to lunch today and I’m ordering tofu and veggies
Physical irritation of the skin makes acne worse. Every spring and summer when I get allergies and end up blowing my nose constantly, I have a harder time keeping that area clear. It might seem strange, but an allergy pill can help clear acne for this very reason…not that they work all that great, but they do help.
If you are like me and on an allergy pill and still have a constantly drippy nose during spring and summer, keep some 10% Glycolic Acid around. If you apply this to the area around the nose after a day of blowing and wiping, this can help prevent a breakout in that area.
Ok, now go out and have some fun!
We were playing around with licochalcone the other day in the lab. I just thought you guys might want to see what it looks like. Here it is in raw form:
And here it is once you solubilize it. You need to solubilize it before you put it into the formulas so it dissolves into the formula nicely:
Licochalcone is in acne.org products because it is known to be powerfully calming to acne-prone skin. It’s what gives our Moisturizer and AHA+ products their yellow color. Here it is once it’s in the moisturizer:
A new book hit the market recently called Pathogenesis and Treatment of Acne and Rosacea. The biology dork in me is excited to chomp it up. This is a perfect time of year too. At my latitude here in San Francisco, from April through October you can get tons of vitamin D from sitting in the sun, and I absolutely love sitting in the sun. So, I’m going out back to start reading this thing. Anybody want to join me in reading this thing!? I’d love to hear your input if you want to be in the world’s nerdiest book club with me 😉
I continued trying the blade buddy for the past month in the same way that I did the first month, every other day, using a regular blade as a control. It’s looking pretty obvious now that the Blade Buddy works to some degree. Here is the final verdict:
Razor blade using Blade Buddy after 30 days of use. Some pitting, but not too bad:
Razor blade without using Blade Buddy after 30 days of use. Lots of pitting, getting pretty old and unusable at this point:
It’s nice to see a product that works as advertised. To be honest though, I’ve come to realize through this experiment that I can get away with using Gillette Trac II blades for a month without needing to replace them, so I’m not planning on continuing to use the Blade Buddy. One blade a month is good by me and that eliminates the need to use the Blade Buddy each time I shave.
I’ve been looking for a way to keep razor blades sharp longer for quite a while now. I tried a bunch of stuff that I read online such as:
– Blow drying the blades to keep them dry after use
– Wiping them on a piece of denim (a few people do this on YouTube)
– Wiping them on a towel after use
– Storing the blades in jojoba oil
Of the above methods, only storing them in jojoba oil seemed to keep them sharper longer. However, the oil would sometimes get a little gross so I decided to see if there were any other good options.
I recently purchased the Blade Buddy and decided to give it a shot. The instructions on the Blade Buddy tell you to apply some shaving cream to the Blade Buddy and gently glide the blade up the surface of the Blade Buddy 15-20 times before each shave. This sounds like it would be a pain, but it really wasn’t bad at all. I use Acne.org Gentle Cleanser for my shave cream so I just put some of the lather from that on there and did as instructed.
I started using the Blade Buddy on January 12. It’s been 1 month. I started with 2 separate blades which I exchanged daily. I alternated each day for the past month, one day using the first blade without the Blade Buddy, and the next day switching the blade to the second blade and using the Blade Buddy as instructed, then switching back to the first blade without using the Blade Buddy and so on…
I put a new blade under my microscope here at the office and took a picture of a new blade on January 12 before I started. Here it is:
After 15 days of using the first blade without the Blade Buddy, this is how it looks:
After 15 days of using the second blade with the Blade Buddy:
You can see that the blade I used without the Blade Buddy has many more pits and imperfections. The blade that I used with the Blade Buddy appears smoother and newer.
This leads me to believe this product actually does do something. However, I really can’t notice a difference when shaving yet. If I were to try a blind shave test as it were, I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference. I’ll keep testing for another month and we’ll see how it progresses. This is kinda fun…
[Note: I am not in contact or related to Blade Buddy in any way.]
I feel like it’s a good idea for me to mention this at least once per winter. Tons of people are deficient in vitamin D, especially now that a lot of us are using SPF more regularly. Our bodies are perfectly designed to get vitamin D through sun exposure on the skin, so well designed in fact that if you get enough sun exposure during the summer, your body will hold on to its vitamin D and use it all winter. However, if you are light skinned and didn’t end up getting 10-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure per day during the summer or if you are darker skinned and didn’t get a bare minimum of 20-60 minutes of unprotected sun exposure per day, you may need to supplement with a vitamin D pill this winter. To know for sure you need your doc to check your levels.
Vitamin D helps in wound healing, cell differentiation, and in moderating inflammation, 3 things that are important to acne sufferers. While there is little published research attempting to link vitamin D levels to acne, it can’t hurt to make sure your levels are in the acceptable range. I would love to see more research on this in the future.
I am light skinned and I try to get unprotected sun exposure during the summer whenever I can, but I work during the day and very often don’t get the time in the sun that I like. The last time I had my vitamin D levels checked they were right on the line between acceptable and deficient, so I take a 10,000iu vitamin D pill a few times a week during the winter. 10,000iu is the upper limit recommended by the Vitamin D Council per day. Your body can produce 10,000iu – 25,000iu in a day of moderate sun exposure. When taking vitamin D, look for D3, which almost all leading authorities recommend over D2, and as always, if you have specific medical issues, be sure to talk to your doctor before supplementing.
I haven’t mentioned The ZIIT Method on the blog recently, but it warrants occasional mention. It’s pretty amazing. This is a method you would use if you want to do absolutely everything you can to prevent a zit from forming. It includes taking zinc and an NSAID like Ibuprophen to reduce inflammation, icing the zit, and spot treating with both 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and 10% glycolic acid.
Because my skin is normally completely clear from The Acne.org Regimen, I don’t have to use this method often, but on rare occasions when I do get a zit and I have a wedding to go to or something big like that, I’ll employ The ZIIT Method. Every time I do, I’m surprised at how well it works. As long as I catch a zit early, I can blast it with The ZIIT Method and eradicate it. It’s kinda fun. Try it out and see for yourself. If you do try it, please take a minute to review it here as well. I’d welcome more feedback from you guys on The ZIIT Method.
It’s so easy to forget to take a vitamin. I try to take one 30mg zinc pill per day to keep inflammation down in my body and help with my acne-prone skin. While I am completely clear from The Acne.org Regimen, I still like the idea of using zinc to help calm everything down from the inside out. Multiple studies point toward a 40% reduction in acne symptoms from regular zinc supplementation. In my own completely subjective and anecdotal case, my skin is calmer when I remember to take the zinc pill on a regular basis.
However, zinc is the only pill I’ve been taking lately because I’ve been getting my omega-3s from wild fish and sushi, and remembering to take just one vitamin can be hard. I looked around online for tips on how to remember to take a pill each day, and to be honest they all sound a little over the top. Tape it to your toothbrush? Seriously?! The one simple suggestion that I did like was to just make it a habit and pick a time of day to always do it. I think I’ll choose with breakfast and see if I can get more regular with it.
You can buy zinc at any Walgreens or CVS or from countless vendors online. Just make sure to get zinc gluconate. From what we can tell, this is the best form. 30mg should be a good dose because we get zinc from food as well and you don’t want to get too crazy with it.
Also, as I’ve mentioned before, a fun way to forgo the pill and still get a ton of zinc is to eat oysters. Oysters have far more zinc than any other food. Eating just 3 raw oysters gives you around the same 30mg that you’d get from a pill.
I take it for granted sometimes, but I think it’s so cool that we have such an active, helpful, supportive community of people on Acne.org sharing their knowledge and experience.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who are active here at Acne.org, whether that be through adding your honest review of products or treatments you have tried, or whether it is asking and/or answering questions on the forum, uploading pictures to the gallery, or keeping a blog of your experience with acne treatment.
How much do we all rock?! A lot.