AHA can spell trouble for oily skin


June 23, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q: My skin is normal to oily in the winter and definitely oily in the summer. I wash with Cetaphil (or one of the other cleansers you recommend) in the morning, wait 15 minutes, and then apply Alpha Hydrox Lotion morning and night. My skin is significantly oilier now. Is this from the action of the Alpha Hydrox Lotion unblocking my pores and releasing the oil that's in there? I have whiteheads and blackheads and would like to continue using the Alpha Hydrox if possible. I could increase my use of Milk of Magnesia as a facial mask -- I normally use it once a week in the winter, but several times per week in the summer.

Also, I find my peach and pink blushes become somewhat orangy during the day as the oil in my face increases. Is this common for someone with my skin type?

A: A problem for someone with oily skin using Alpha Hydrox Lotion or Cream is that they are not only AHA products, they are also moisturizers (that is true for any AHA product that comes in a cream or lotion base). There are many AHA products on the market designed for people with oily skin, but they almost always contain alcohol and I don't recommend them because they can cause dry skin and irritation. The only AHA product on the market designed for someone with oily skin that does not contain any irritants is a very expensive product from M.D. Formulations. You can purchase its Facial Lotion with 12 percent AHA by calling (800) 347-2223. It is the best oil-free as well as irritant-free AHA product on the market. It is more expensive than most brands, but it is excellent.

By the way, instead of the Cetaphil Lotion, I would encourage you to use Pond's Foaming Cleanser and Toner In One. It would be better for your skin type.

When someone has oily skin, makeup colors often become more intense as the day goes by. This is particularly true for any shades of peach, coral or red. When you touch up your makeup, use the sponge you used to apply your foundation to blend down the color, then apply translucent powder. You could also consider starting the day with a softer-colored blush than you usually wear so that by midday, as your skin gets oilier and the color starts turning darker, it won't be so obvious.

Q: There is a "miracle" hand lotion I've found called Udder-Balm. As an RN, my hands get cracked and raw from constant hand-washing. This stuff really performs an overnight miracle. No more dry hands. Do you think this product is too heavy for my face? Is the moisturizer I normally use, Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer, enough?

A: The Udder-Balm contains mostly water; mineral oil; several thickeners; glycerin; more thickeners; lanolin; aloe vera; vitamins A, D, and E; and preservatives. It is a very emollient moisturizer but not anything special or out of the ordinary. Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer isn't all that "dramatically different" from lots of moisturizers on the market. If anything, it is a good basic moisturizer that is actually quite similar to the Udder-Balm, only lighter weight.

If the Udder-Balm works well on your hands, there is every reason to believe it will work well on your face.

Paula Begoun 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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