Best option for complicated skin problems or soreness is to see a dermatologist


March 03, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q: I have a skin problem I can't seem to solve. My skin feels sore until I moisturize, yet all along my jaw line and a little way down my neck, I break out. Sometimes, throughout the day, my skin along the sides of my nose and on my cheeks becomes sore and at times itches. Why does my skin do these things? I use Cetaphil Lotion, 3 percent hydrogen peroxide on blemishes, Neutrogena SPF 15 and Clinique's Stay True Foundation, and Victoria Jackson blush.

-- Lisa

A: It sounds to me as if you are doing everything right. I am not sure why you are having problems. Could you be allergic to the sunscreen in the Neutrogena, or does the itching and soreness occur regardless of what you use? You need the help of a dermatologist. The soreness you are experiencing is a complaint I have not heard before, and I am unclear as to what could be causing it. It is not unusual for skin to experience more than one skin condition at a time.

Q: I have a bad habit of attacking blemishes on my face and making a mess of things. I am desperate to find a good cover-up to hide these sore spots. I would also like to know what you think of some of the Biogime and Equinox products. I tried some of them and found them to be terrible.

-- Rose

A: There is nothing you can use over open sores that won't burn the skin and look like a mess at the same time. You can't hide scabs (but you already knew that, didn't you?), and you could cause scars. Please stop attacking your face; it isn't helping anything, and scabs are not any more attractive than the original blemish. I explain in my book "Blue Eyeshadow Should Absolutely Be Illegal" how to gently squeeze a blemish so you don't cause wounds.

In reference to the Biogime product ingredients, all that counts is that you didn't like them, plus the expense is absurd. The Colloidal Cleanser is probably too oily to rinse off completely, and the Lathering Cleanser sounds good but could be too drying; only you can be the judge of that. Vitamins A and D in a cleanser serve no purpose -- the cleanser is all rinsed or wiped off, and none of it absorbs. The toner is fine but nothing special, and propylene glycol, the second ingredient, can prove to be irritating, but that depends on your skin. The Ultimate Conditioner is the ultimate in useless products. It is almost identical to the toner. The only different ingredient is the panthenol, which is good, but why didn't they just include it in the first toner? It doesn't warrant a new product. Sounds like they were trying to pass the same products off by changing the name and price to extend their product line.

The Equinox Cleanser sounds fine, although the last preservative isn't the best (quaternium-15). The Creme Cleanser is a more oily wipe-off cleanser (both are similar to the two Biogime products). The Skin Refreshment is OK but only for dry skin, and the quaternium-15 is again a problem. The Skin Creme is good, not great. Super Rich Creme would be good for dry skin. The Sheer Skin Moisturizer is good for normal to dry skin. The Clay Mask is just like all other clay masks, nothing special (milk of magnesia is by far better). The Skin Polish is a scrub (like baking soda), but it contains beeswax, which can clog pores. All these products contain quaternium-15, which I recommend staying away from.

Q: I recently purchased eB5 Facial Cream at JC Penney. I am enclosing the ingredient list and the brochure. The cream is supposed to make women look younger, and I expect it to do so. I am developing small wrinkles around my eyes. Please check this out for me, or is there something else I should use instead?

-- Dee

A: Why would you ever expect eB5 to live up to a promise of younger skin any more than the thousands of other products on the market promising to do the same thing? None of them can deliver the way you hope they will, but most of them can smooth dry skin, which is good, but not the miracle that advertising (including eB5's brochure) makes them out to be. The eB5 is a fairly standard moisturizer that contains mostly water, a slip agent (this one can be irritating), a form of vitamin E, a wax-like thickener, mineral oil, more thickeners, a form of vitamin A and preservatives. (Collagen is at the end of the list, and there's not enough to make a difference in the product.) Basically, this is an OK moisturizer. I've written before about vitamins E and A in products; they are good but won't change a wrinkle.

It is too complicated to just tell you to use any cream; there are many other questions I would need answered. But if you like the way the eB5 works, keep using it.

Paula Begoun is the author of several books on cosmetics, including her second edition of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" (Beginning Press, $13.95). She also publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update. For an introductory copy of the subscription newsletter, send $1 for shipping and handling to: The Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.

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