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Your doctor is quite right - mineral oil dries out the skin. And peppermint is an astringent, good for spot fixes (like tea tree oil). If you want to try it out, certainly do so but on a small area of face skin to make sure it won't irritate. I don't know receipes to dilute it, but either vegatable oil or soybean oil seem to be non-clogging carrier oils. You should be able to find dilution receipes in just about any herbal preparation book. I wish I could use tea tree oil on my face - it's too harsh for my skin but I've heard it works wonders. :)

Not all products work for all people - particularly the greasy products with largish molecules that are partially/completely absorbed (or claim to be) by the skin such as emu oil. From what I've seen, emu oil as a trendy cure-all is highly touted by the emu industry itself but also that there hasn't been much in the way of third-party research to verify their claims. I'm sure it probably does soften the skin of many folks, but so do many oils such as coconut and olive oils. My own grandmother used vaseline every night under her eyes, but my skin isn't as tolerant as hers was and it just gives me bumps. Emu oil (i.e., bird fat) is an animal product, and if it's being absorbed by your own skin your body may be identifying it as an intruder and causing an allergic reaction once it builds up to a certain level. Allergic reactions have been shown to cause the skin to be alkaline. It's my belief that you shouldn't have to make your skin absorb anything to be healthy over the long term - your body should be supplying all you need, you just need to enable your skin to use it. That's why I recommend vinegar to create the ideal environment for your skin to function (and to make your skin soft and smooth). You're not absorbing animal-based products into your body through your skin, you're simply creating an acidic environment suitable for your skin's healing/proper function. The skin is the body's largest organ, after all.

Complex sugars can also cause excessive alkalinity - processed breads, pastas, sweets (highly refined sugar) and such. That's probably why the myth of chocolate causing acne was created. Yeast feed on sugars and also cause acne. If you're a carbohydrate enthusiast, try reducing the amount you eat.

Something else I just thought about is the use of a Na-PCA spray-on supplement (sodium salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid). It may help in some cases of dryness because it replaces the Na-PCA compound that sometimes the skin looses the ability to produce over time (it causes the skin to retain moisture). It personally doesn't work very well for me because it's not what my skin needs, but a friend of mine uses it and swears by it to make her skin soft. It's kind of hard to get, but you might be able to find it at health food stores. The kind I used is by Twinlab.

-Robyn





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