A clear complexion

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Having a bad face day? You've got plenty of blemish-embarrassed company. Acne is America's #1 skin disorder (with psoriasis, seborrhea, eczema, dermatitis and dry skin-and broken capillaries syndrome not far behind). Acne is the result of sebaceous (oil) glands secreting too much oil (sebum). Dead skin accumulates, plugging pores and preventing the natural flow of sebum. Bacteria builds up, pimples form and acne appears as a manifestation of an internal toxic condition. Other causes include allergies, a poor diet, dehydration, emotional problems or stress, environmental pollution, heredity, hormones, oral contraceptives, poor hygiene, sun overexposure and weakened immunity.

A few are beyond your control but of the remainng causes an improved diet is the most promising place to start. If you can't face your face, here are nine internal and external food-based steps.

NINE ACNE-ENDER STEPS
1. Spot treat, don't squeeze or pinch pimples, which can cause scarring. Use an herbal oil that heals blemishes in days. Good choices: tea tree oil, aloe vera gel, which, says Varro Tyler, Ph.D., professor of pharmacognosy at Purdue University, inhibits the action of bradykinin, a pain-making peptide, and inhibits the formation of thromboxane, a chemical that blocks skin healing. Or apply one or more of these facial oils several times daily (from aromatherapy suppliers, health pharmacies or mail order).

Aromatherapy Blemish Blend: jojoba oil, lavender oil, chamomile oil, geranium oil.

2. Increase your consumption of acne-antagonist foods (containing beta-carotene and vitamins A and E, zinc, chromium, selenium). The 10 that are tops: sweet potatoes, leafy greens, apricots, wheat germ, beans, carrots, spinach, nutritional brewer's yeast, parsley, apples.
3. Take a super-healing skin dip: Two times a week or more bathe in aromatherapy salts to reduce the stress that triggers inflammation, to soothe and soften skin. Soak for 30 minutes. Switch to once-a-week maintenance dip when symptoms are under control.
4. Home-make a good anti-acne facial and use it daily. Here are two: Combine one cake of yeast with enough lemon juice to produce a paste with cold cream-like consistency. Apply evenly; remove after 20 minutes with warm water.
Powder 1/3 cup uncooked oats in blender. Add water (less than 1/3 cup) to consistency of paste. Apply to pimples and allow it to dry completely. (Hot or cold water can cause capillaries to break.)

5. Detoxify from the inside out and while you're at it, re-energize and add luster to your hair. This "eat-yourself-acne-free" formula does all three in three days. Day One: Before breakfast (or as breakfast) take 2 teaspoonsful of brewer's yeast, 1 tablespoonful of lecithin granules and 1 tablespoonful of cold pressed safflower oil in a glass of pure apple juice. Day Two: Repeat, adding another teaspoonful of brewer's yeast and lecithin granules. Day Three: Repeat, adding one more teaspoonful of brewer's yeast and lecithin granules.
6. Put fruits rich in glycolic and alphahydroxyl acids on your menus for ache control. Best sources: apples, pears, berries and cherries.
7. Avoid all salty, iodine-rich foods, refined carbohydrates, foods that are fried or which contain acne-triggering trans-fatty acids (milk, margarine, shortening, etc.).
8. Avoid medications with bromide or iodide, greasy creams and cosmetics, and thoroughly cleanse your face with a sulfur-contain-ing soap (an alternative is calendula soap) daily.
9. Build your omega-3 stores three ways. A shortage of essential fatty acids (EFA) is common among acne sufferers, says skin specialist Gustav Skreiner, M.D., of Graz, Austria. Salad greens, green juices, and flaxseed oil are the three best non-animal sources of omega-3 (EFA).
SKIN-DEEP TRIVIA
Did you know that . . . your skin is the largest organ of your body . . . you have an average of 17 square feet of skin . . . your skin weighs about five pounds?

SUPER HEALING BEAUTY: 20 TOP HERBS AND FOODS

Legend for Chart:

A - Astringent
B - Calmative
C - Cleansing
D - Cuts, Bruises Skin Massage
E - Eczema, Acne
F - Inflammation Skin Disorders
G - Moisturizing, Softening

A B C D E F G

ALOE -- -- -- * * * *
ALMONDS -- -- -- -- -- -- *
APRICOT -- -- -- -- -- -- *
ARNICA -- -- -- * -- -- *
AVOCADO -- -- -- -- * -- *
CHAMOMILE * * * * -- * *
CUCUMBER * -- -- -- -- -- *
DANDELION -- -- * -- * -- --
ECHINACEA -- -- -- * -- -- --
EUCALYPTUS * -- * -- -- -- --
GINSENG * * -- -- -- -- --
GOLDENSEAL * -- -- -- * -- --
HORSETAIL * * * * * -- --
LAVENDER * * * * * * *
NETTLE * -- -- -- -- -- *
PAPAYA -- -- * * * -- *
PLANTAIN -- -- * * * * *
ROSEMARY -- * * -- * -- --
SAGE -- * * -- * -- *
WITCH HAZEL * -- * * * * *
PHOTO (COLOR): Apples.

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By FRANCES SHERIDAN GOULART

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