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Home remedies are often hit-or-miss

By Al Varela

A reader writes, "I recently had laser resurfacing on my face and my doctor told me to use Crisco. Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

In the many years that I have been in the skin care business I have probably heard it all -- from using cucumbers on the eyes to reduce puffiness, olive oil as a daily moisturizer, egg white with yogurt and oatmeal as a mask and a sea shell filled with lime juice as an anti-aging paste, and I am amazed to hear that people actually use anti-hemorrhoidal cream on their face to tighten the skin.

There is some merit to the use of home remedies in skin care. For instance, ground apricot seeds will act as an abrasive on the skin for exfoliation. Also, vegetable shortening will allow the skin to retain moisture. Egg whites will tighten the skin.

The problem with many of these home remedies is that they are unrefined, and at times in a state where they will not work if they are used improperly. I have heard of the use of avocado on the face as a moisturizing agent. There are products on the market that contain avocado oil. But, no matter how much ground avocado you put on your face, it will never absorb because you must extract the oil first. Save those avocados for a nice guacamole salad!

The research and development that goes into skin care products is phenomenal. The natural ingredients are refined and developed to be used so that the skin can get the maximum benefit and the risk of sun damage is diminished. They have the highest concentration of ingredients, something you would never be able to equal in your kitchen blender.

The cosmetic products available allow you to use your moisturizers and conditioners at the office without having to worry that your eyeshadow and blush will slide under your desk because of the vegetable shortening base you used. To say nothing of the impression your face left on your wonderful satin sheets after you fell asleep while still wearing that avocado, egg and cucumber concoction.

We have come a long way in the development of products available. You must always follow your doctor's directions--but I'd rather put potatoes in my soup than to use them as a skin preparation for my eyes. Thinking about all this is giving me a headache--so I think I will now go pull the bark off my willow tree and chew on it to get some relief.

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