Peace For All

November 8, 2006

Shaving without the irritation: Corn Starch

Filed under: acne, health, Life in general, Shaving — Devlin Bentley @ 10:16 am

Here is an excellent tip that will save your face a lot of problems, and also keep you stylish to boot!

While the “kind of scruffy” 2 days worth of facial hair growth style is mostly dead now, if your gal likes it, here is a way for you to keep your hair at mostly the same length all the time, without having to buy some strange beard trimmer or such.

The trick to all of the above is corn starch. When lightly powdered over a dry face, corn starch removes excess oils from the face and hair. It works amazingly well. It also makes shaving extremely easy.

How easy?

You don’t even need shaving cream.

Powder your lower face with corn starch, then rinse of with water, dry well. Repeat if you feel like you need to (just to be sure). Now, taking your Gillette Mach 3[1], preferably Mach 3 Power, and lightly shave your face,  just skimming over top of your hairs.  You should not be pushing down or even touching your skin.

Rinse out your razor often, and shake it dry before resuming shaving.

If you want a smooth shave, simply dust with corn starch, rinse off, then shave as normal.  Your hair will come off a lot easier and with less irritation.

No matter which style you want, (clean shaven or rugged), corn starch is an excellent way to help reduce the irritation from shaving.

Extra Note: Don’t ask me how I know this, except that I made a stupid bet/promise.  But if you are insistent upon sugaring (a form of natural waxing that hurts a lot less) your face, do the corn starch thing first.  If you don’t, it will hurt badly and no hair will come off.  Maybe I’ll write a separate article on sugaring later if need be, but it is not really related to acne, and as stated, the only reason I know is that I made a stupid promise and ended up with a seriously sore face (after which I found out about the corn starch thing…)
[1] You do have at least a Gillette Mach 3 don’t you? If you are using cheap disposable razors to shave, STOP RIGHT NOW. If you use a cheap razor you do not know how nice a good razor is, and the second you use a good razor, you will never want to go back to cheap single use disposables again! I know that the newer razors cost more, but…. Trust me, they are worth it. With a good razor I can shave with almost no skin irritation.

October 6, 2006

On Love and Understanding

Filed under: Friends, health, Life in general, Me — Devlin Bentley @ 9:54 am

I chose to fall in love.

I had spent years learning to control my emotions.  No angry, no great sadness, stoic, centered in the world.  Able to observe, and influence so well.  I feel sad and sort of empty remembering that time, I cannot explain what it is like to have that sort of…. control.

The one thing control did not give me was motivation.  Motivation to succeed, motivation to move forward.

I saw that I was going no where.

To who I was then, love was an economic choice.  Hard to say, but true.  Love would enable me to reach a higher potential; I have not gone as high yet as I hope for, but still I strive.

I knew, that by letting free the base primitive emotions that I had fought so hard to control, I would be able to use the instincts born in to me by nature to fulfill a greater purpose, to aim for higher goals.

By giving up control, I gained something.  A switch in my mind, flipped by my hand, told me to fall in love.  To let free motions long held in reign.

Rarely I regret it, when I realize how dangerous of a game I play, when my anger rages out of control, when my emotions run free and visions of hate and violence dance freely in my head.

But without letting loose, I could never achieve what I have today.  I would not be in this chair, in this office(cubical…).  I would not be respected by those around me for my intelligence and working spirit.

Still, love has not completely given me control over my mind’s tendency to stray wayward from its goals, but greatly reduced by many orders of magnitude have such tendencies become.

Odd, be it that your situation differs so greatly from mine in the gender roles employed.  I lament that the one I love is not capable of complete sacrifice of body for love of another, that she does not sway the thought of I as I sway at the thought of her.  Her definition of love can be broken up, still maintains its economic basis, yet such was the agreement I knowingly bound myself to when I promised my love to her, fully informed by her as it was.

(On advising to a friend on what to do given her lovers lack of ability to know the emotion of love) What I advise is such:  Send the one you love to meditate for durations lasting of at least an hour a day, every day.  If such length cannot be maintained, mayhap instead half an hour a day for 7 days a week.  While such a habit is most easily acquired during the months of the summer, for then is it most pleasant to be out amongst the gardens and the sky, reflecting on what splendor nature has created for us, much can be found to occupy a mind during all seasons of the year.

The goal of such an activity would be for the one whom you love to acquire a greater understanding  of who he is and how he relates to the world.  To come to grips with emotions, past experiences, and to further develop his introspective abilities.  I highly recommend that he initially attend a workshop of some sort that will give him the basic tools of the mind necessary to complete such a journey with ease, for there is no sense in him roughly traversing the simple pathways that have been traversed many times before.

No, this is not nonsensical new age balderdash.  The mind itself works on principles which we have barely discovered.  Yet our mind, our very intelligence, is what makes us alive, what lends personality, behavior, curiosity, emotion, and understanding.  The bodies we possess are easily augmented, improved.  From simple tools to cars to prosthetics, our bodies are merely controlled by our consciousness through some process which we do not understand as yet but a very small fraction of.

Just as we, mankind, have gained control over our surroundings in the physical, I believe that  that we must also gain a control over our intellectual capabilities.

The first step to gaining control in a new environment is to fully understand what resources are available to be utilized.  Walk into an office to start a new job, upon being shown your desk, is not the first question you ask: “Where may I find a pen?” (or some similar variant there of).  Assessing ones environs and gaining both control and understanding of them is critical to success.  Tis not a needed task, for verily many do work years ignorant of the systems around them, but for those who wish success in life, such ignorance is known to be unwise.

Yet, how few have attempted such control over their own mind?  To explore the resources therein shall lie a great many surprise.  Much of what you take for granted in life, and this I promise you, need not be as it is.  Pain need not be felt in all but the most dramatic of circumstances.  Sweat need not flow but when it is of the utmost importance.  Adrenaline may run through your veins when ever you will it to be so.

We are our minds.  Understand who you are.

If the one you love can achieve even a fraction of such level of control, then it will be a matter of simplicity for him to understand what love is.

I could, in but a few short words, describe love to you.  Lay bare all of its most fundamental secrets.  Gaining such understanding of any emotion was once a simple matter for me, and I have carefully maintained in my mind the knowledge I previously fought so hard to discover.

But, dear lady, I have too much heart now.  Better that some things left unsaid, for though you likely have an understanding of the true meaning of love, that understanding, though lip service is given quite readily and easily, to ponder it at length, or to see it exposed in such bluntness as I would subject it to, is not something I would do to you.

Why YOU should get Trivex in your next pair of glasses

Filed under: health, Life in general — Devlin Bentley @ 8:07 am

Imagine there is this material floating in front of your eyes.

It is almost perfectly clear, 98% or more so. No color distortion, beautiful clarity, and its sole job is to correct your vision.

Oh, did I mention? The material is stronger than polycarbonate. Almost unbreakable.

That material is Trivex. Made by these fine people right here.

Really, I don’t know much about them. Maybe they eat kittens? Once again, I do not know. What I do know about them is that they make one excellent material for eye wear.

You may be asking yourself right now: Why didn’t my optometrist recommend Trivex to me last time I got new lens?

Well, the answer is that there is an actual polycarbonate industry (I know, an industry for cheesy $20 lens…) and they lobby heavily to keep the price of Trivex up, and the availability and knowledge about it low.

If you need to get new lens or glasses soon, or just want to experience a HUGE difference in clarity of vision, get Trivex. Pay for Trivex. They will cost you around $70-$90 more than Polycarbonate (maybe less if your current eye glass shop is ripping you off for polycarb lens…). You will have to shop around to find them and to find them at a good price.

It is worth it.

If you happen to live near Kirkland I highly suggest you visit Dr. Kerry Atkins and his amazing staff, you can find their website here.

September 25, 2006

Treating Your Acne Part 4: Proactive Solution

Filed under: acne, health, Life in general — Devlin Bentley @ 1:34 pm

This is the part that sounds like a sales pitch. I used to have white heads going down my back before I started Proactiv, at present, I have 3 white heads on my face. From hundreds to three, the numbers alone speak for the efficiency of the product.

Proactiv treats all three sources of acne. It exfoliates (a fancy word that means “removes top layer of dead skin”) your skin, moisturizes it (this sounds odd, but wait!) kills the bacteria, and shrinks pores.

Proactiv has three steps:

  1. The first step is a beaded face wash that exfoliates your skin and has a strong benzoyl peroxide base to it, helping to ensuring that any bacteria that are exposed during this initial scrub are killed before they can spread to neighboring pores.
  2. The second step hydrates your skin. Don’t ask me what this means, I just know that it has witch hazel in it, and while witch hazel has a tendency to dry out skin, it is also a very nifty chemical overall in its many uses. It is applied with a cotton pad (cotton balls are a good way to waste your Proactiv and get a very clean cotton pads and not much second step on your face!)
  3. The third step contains a weaker (than the first step) dose of benzoyl peroxide, and moisturizing agents that help keep your face from producing excessive oils (as discussed previously). The third step also helps to reduce pore size (The larger the pores, the easier they get infected with acne and the worse the white heads) and to make your skin nice and smooth. It also lightens the color of acne scars, helping to blend them in with the rest of your face.

Proactiv gets insulted a lot, but I’ll tell you something, I have tried other cheaper products that say they work just as well as Proactiv: They don’t.

For the record, in contrast to what Proactiv’s latest adverts say, it does take awhile before it starts working. They used to admit this, and I think that it hurts their business reputation to claim instant results. Your first month (or two!) may involve a huge break out, but continued regular usage, twice a day every day will result in your acne improving. Mine is rather cyclic, it gets a lot better, than a little bit worse. It has been that way for over three years now, but as I said, I am down to just three whiteheads during a break out, compared to having hundreds on my face and back continuously.

September 22, 2006

Medicine should be available to all

Filed under: health, Life in general — Devlin Bentley @ 3:18 pm

This story demonstrates why science needs to be available to all.

I don’t approve of sex outside of marriage, but I have little problem with it in terms of an ongoging monogomous relationship. I *really* have problems when people are denied medical treatment!

I believe in use of science and technology to further the human species. I want bionic limbs some day, what happened to that poor woman is NOT a good way to start off. Humans have gained control of their environment, now we struggle to gain control of our own bodies, yet there are those so foolish as to oppose such goals.

August 21, 2006

The Annoying aspect of blogging about acne treatments

Filed under: acne, Life in general — Devlin Bentley @ 12:10 pm

If you check other blogs out there that deal with acne, almost every single one of them is a spam blog that is selling something.

Thus it turns out there are almost NO real blogs about Acne, which makes finding anybody to link to pain!  Without site links going out, track backs and the like, nobody else knows this site exists.  Bleck!

August 11, 2006

Treating Your Acne 3: The causes of Acne

Filed under: acne, health — Devlin Bentley @ 10:34 am

First, realize that there are still many theories about what causes acne. We know what bacterium is responsible for it, but beyond that, new theories are coming out regularly. With that said, this article will provide you with an overview of what causes acne just in terms of what is happening to your skin, how those things actually happen to your skin is a topic left for the doctors to figure out.

Acne is caused by overactive bacterial growth, the bacteria is very common and exists on everybody’s face. This is why you cannot (with a few exceptions!) “cure” acne; assuming you ever could kill all the acne bacteria on your skin, the second you hugged, kissed, or came near any other person, the bacteria would appear on your skin again immediately.

The question you want to know the answer to of course is “Why is this bacteria growing so fast on my face?” Well, it has to do with oil production. Amongst other things. Honestly, theories exist, and they are finding more reasons every day. In general, oily skin and a combination of other factors specific to you and your skin, makes your face (or other body parts) more predisposed to acne than that of other people.

That is really all there is too it. What causes your face to produce all that oil is the topic of much discussion, and my next article will deal with how you can properly treat your face to avoid sending messages to your body that shout out “make more oil!”

August 7, 2006

Treating Your Acne Part 2: An Overview of Topical Solutions

Filed under: acne, health — Devlin Bentley @ 4:07 pm

This entry provides a brief overview of how topical acne treatments work.

There are two ways to directly treat acne:  antibiotics to kill acne bacteria, or topical chemical solutions.

Because acne is actually present on everyone’s face normally there is no chance of “curing” it (with a few exceptions), so antibiotics have to be continuously used until you outgrow acne.  Since Long term antibiotic usage can have nasty side effects, many people are just not comfortable using antibiotics for acne.  Because of this, topical chemical solutions are by the most commonly chosen acne treatment.

The next obvious question is: how do topical solutions work? Well, they work by using one or more of the following chemicals: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or the bactericidal chemical benzoyl peroxide.

As mentioned previously, acne is caused by the overactive growth of a bacterium that is very common and exists on everybody’s face. Topical treatments for acne tend to deal with removing oil, reducing the clogging effects that oil has on your pours, or killing the acne bacteria. Salicylic and glycolic acid work to unclog your pours and are often combined with other chemicals that help to remove excess facial oil, effectively giving the acne bacteria less “food” to eat off of. Benzoyl peroxide treatments focus on killing the bacteria directly.

If you have mild acne, either one of the two above approaches may work, but for more serious forms of acne, you really need to treat all three sources (oil, clogged pours, and the bacteria) at the same time. That is the topic of discussion for a future entry about Proactive Solution.

July 7, 2006

Treating Your Acne: Part 1 – Diet Modification

Filed under: acne, health — Devlin Bentley @ 8:11 am

Welcome to the first part in my series on how to treat your acne.Today, I will write about one of the most hotly debated topics in acne treatment: diet modification.

For a long time I refused to believe that diet could have an affect on my skin. All the information out there about diet and acne was based on old wives tales, rumors, and gossip. Not exactly a sound basis to make a decision, especially if that decision involved giving up chocolate or some other food that I like!

Suffice to say, this article would not exist if I had not found some evidence that diet and nutrition can, and should, make up part of an acne treatment plan.

As I mentioned in Part 0, even after having found a reliable topical treatment, I was still having seemingly random breakouts. Having a naturally logical mind, I proceeded to diagnose the problem step by step; by analyzing everything that was occurring and changing, and by assuming nothing was as I thought it was. In the end, after trying all sorts of bizarre solutions, I finally found a single correlating factor between my acne breakouts and my activities throughout the day.Honey Covered Oats.

If I eat a bowl of honey covered oats, almost any cereal that has the word “oats” and the word “honey” on it, I have a breakout. Within an hour of eating a bowl of such cereal, whiteheads start to form on my face. They form so fast I can feel them rising up from my skin.

Testing my hypothesis was quite simple. Buy a box of such cereal. Eat a bowl, note the formation of new white heads that very day.

Wait a few days until my topical treatments have removed the white heads. Note the lack of any new white heads in the intervening time frame. Eat a bowl, note new white heads.

Unfortunately I did not have the time during the school year to save the various boxes that I tried out to find exactly what ingredient was causing the problem, but I did notice that this occurred even when eating “all natural” (not labeled organic though) brands that contained relatively few ingredients in comparison to the big name cerals, which tend to include oats, honey, and a dozen or more other chemicals.

The cereal also effected Rosia (readers of my other blogs will know her) in a similar way, though not as dramatically.

Eating whole grain bread did not have this effect, nor did other source of oats. Indeed, I ate a plethora of oatmeal with no problems at all.

The problem here is, every person’s body chemistry is different. I know that you have likely heard that a thousand times before, but it is true. Until our knowledge of human biochemistry far exceeds its present level, the only testing we have available is empirical.

Here are the steps you can take to help determine how both your nutritional habits and daily routine are affecting your acne.

  1. Maintain a constant routine for at least 5 days. Take a shower every day, use the same shampoo and conditioner every day, at the very least eat an identical breakfast, and lunch, and avoid all snacks and desserts (you never know what is really in your snack or dessert, fast food and sweets have many additives in them). If you put any makeup on, apply equal amounts of the same brand each day. The key here is consistency.
    • You are trying to establish what is known as a “baseline” of your acne’s growth. You will use this baseline during the next few weeks to see what activities help improve your skin in comparison to this baseline. If you don’t actually measure and write down what your acne does during a typical week, you cannot really tell if your acne is improving, since any comparisons would be based upon memory. “Oh I think my acne is better this week…” By taking this first step, you can be certain when your acne is getting better!
  2. Write down whatever you decide your routine is. Include a list of all products you put on your face, how and when you wash your hair, basically anything that goes into your mouth, gets on your hair, or touches your face should be noted and written down!
  3. Take note of how many new blemishes appear during each day of this week. Take a look at your face periodically in the mirror and note any oddities, and the rate of growth of any blemishes.
  4. At the end of the week, party! You just went 5 days without eating any candy! Ok kidding, but you likely saved some cash by not snacking!
  5. Now live a “normal” week in your life. Write down what you eat each morning, what shampoo and conditioner you use in the shower, what you eat for breakfast every morning, what makeup you use (if any), any any other product that goes on your face. Also if you eat some snack or junk food, write it down.
    • I know all of this writing sounds like a pain, I am telling you to write stuff down because it WORKS. If you try to use your memory, you will forget if you “really” used some product on some day, and you will have to test it again to see what effect it has, and you have at that point wasted a whole day. A day wasted is a day that you could have been free of acne!
  6. Each day during this normal week, take note of your acne. Once again, look in the mirror now and then throughout the days and note the appearance of any new blemishes. Also observe the rate of growth of blemishes.
  7. Compare your notes from your baseline week to your notes from your “normal” week. Hopefully the results are different, if your acne was increasing in severity during both weeks, you want to try and create another baseline week using even more controlled conditions. I will talk more about how to reduce the effects of your environment on your acne in later posts.
  8. If your acne did change, make a list of what you did differently between your baseline week and your normal week. So for instance if on your “baseline” week you
  9. Now, you are going to select one item from this list and consider it a “variable”. You will NOT do whatever this item is, if it is eating snickers, you won’t eat snickers. You WILL do everything else that is on the list, every day. (to a reasonable extent!) The other items are considered “constants” or “controls”
  10. Avoiding your “variable” action every day for an entire week, note the results.
  11. If your acne gets even a little bit better, congratulations, you have found (at least one!) environmental cause of your acne!
  12. Most likely you will not be so lucky, and you will return the “variable” to the list of items and choose another item from the list to be the “variable”. Keep going through your list until you do have success.
  13. There are likely multiple items that are contributing to your acne, so pay close attention. If you drink a cup of hot cocoa with marshmellow swirls in it, and eat candy bars, and your acne happens to be sensitive to sugar, both those foods are going to be messing you up!
  14. If success eludes you, try to figure out if you have missed elements from your list, did you really capture your daily routine in detail?

Of course if all else fails, it may be that other treatments are needed for your acne, and that your diet or daily activities are not having an effect upon your acne one way or the other. In that case, tune back in later for more information on acne treatment.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. In fact I am a computer scientist. My only qualification to be giving out medical advice is that I am (or at least I believe I am!) rather intelligent. Being that this does not count for much please use common sense when following the above instructions, or anything else that I say. Don’t let “eat 15 cookies” be a control that you do every day! Or if you do eat that many cookies, realize that I am NOT responsible for the end effect. If they are good cookies though, send me a few. 🙂

Rev3 – Formatting
Rev2 – Moved this to a new post, factored out personal history to a new post.
Rev1 – Cleaned up grammer and stupid spelling errors. Snakes -> Snacks.

June 30, 2006

Treating Your Acne: Part 0 – My Personal History

Filed under: acne, health — Devlin Bentley @ 11:46 am

Welcome to the prequel in my series on how to treat your acne. I am writting this so as the break up the initial article, which I gathered is a bit too long.

I have had acne since I was 13. It was not the worst acne, but it was pretty bad, eventually spreading to the point that I had white heads going down my back. I had tried a number of products over the years, including prescription products. I am going to talk about topical and prescription treatments in a separate post, but suffice to say, even with a combination of pills and topical treatments, I was still having sporadic breakouts.

Eventually, I found a reliable treatment in the form of Proactive Solution, which works for many people. I had tried various prescription formulas to not success, and I had also tried a pill treatment, minocycline.

Even after I had found a reliable topical treatment, I would still have seemingly random breakouts. One time I had been free of acne for almost 4 months, then I had a serious breakout. No increase in my stress level had occured to cause these breakouts, and the breakouts were rather surprising to my friends and to myself. How I went about discovering the final treatment that was needed for my Acne is the topic of Part 1.

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