Monday, 13 September 2010

Beauty hints

Tomorrow, children, I shall tell you how to self-publish your pearls of wisdom and live happily ever after, but it's a big subject and today the sun is shining and there are many apples to be picked (about a ton so far as I can see) and fences to be painted (about 300 yards of them).

But first, while we are on the subject of the difficulty of getting your work published, allow me a brief rant.

Why do the Editors of prestigious daily newspapers continually publish such drivel in the Health and Beauty sections of the weekend supplements? On 12th. Sept. for example, the Sunday Telegraph had the following question on page 77 of their 'Stella' magazine.

"I had a facial recently and was told that I had a lot of water retention in my face. I had noticed that my face had been looking very puffy of late and my cheekbones seem to have become a lot less pronounced. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?"

The Nutritional Therapist, Melanie Brown, said:
"It might be that you are a bit dehydrated, which encourages water retention. Try drinking two litres of water a day and cut out caffeine, alcohol and salty processed foods"

Call me a pompous old silly-billy, but that is the most stupid answer I have heard for a long time. Naomi Campbell could have done better. Or Wayne Rooney.

Not only is it twaddle, its dangerous twaddle. The lady might for example be retaining water because she had the nephrotic syndrome (a form of kidney failure). Two litres of water a day might then push her into heart failure and if she kept it up without further medical advice, because the 'dehydration'(facial swelling) was getting more severe, she could die.

There are at least another 10 or so causes of facial swelling, most trivial, some severe. Ask any dermatologist.

I've written to Editors about similar loony advice on many occasions, asking for a correction, pointing out that I am a Professor of Dermatology, I've done research on that particular subject and I've written chapters on it for medical textbooks. Have I ever had a reply or even an acknowledgement? No.

I apologize if this sounds sexist, but even intelligent and educated women sometimes seem to become gullible fools whenever they are given advice about beauty products.

If I tell somebody that I've noticed that their petrol tank is overflowing and petrol is leaking out on the road, they're quite sensible. They'll switch the pump off. But if I tell them that I'm a Nutritional Therapist and therefore they should try putting in another two litres because their car needs more petrol, my invaluable advice will immediately be worth publishing, for a fee, in a major newspaper.

I enrolled for some private language tuition once, and the obese lady who was teaching me kept having to break off to go into her kitchen to fetch more drinking water. She said this was because, being divorced, she was trying to get back into shape. To help her to achieve this laudable goal she had been told by her 'personal fitness trainer' who visited her at home, that she must avoid salt and drink 8 pints of cold water every day. I explained to her that the total blood volume is about 8 pints, and in a cool climate with no vigorous exercise, you only need 2 or 3 pints of fluid daily (tea, coffee, fruit juice, whatever). Any extra and you just pee it out. Fat doesn't normally come out in urine.

So did she take my advice and stop trying to kill herself by over-hydration and hyponatraemia. No. She hadn't paid £50 an hour for it you see.


  1. Dear Dr John - I have very baggy eyes - what can I do about it?

    The above is only meant as a sort of half joking reference to the beauty columns in papers. But I do have baggy eyes and would like not to have them. The bags.

    I think you should write an article based on the answers that you see trotted out to women about their skin in mags.

    If people are informed there are other medical reasons for what they perceive as simply cosmetic, you would be doing them a massive favour.

    Ali x

  2. The advice people get over this side of the pond is to drink 8 pints of water a day, and that doesn't include anything else they may be pouring down their gullets. Seeing people walking around with their water bottles in hand is a common sight. It's like they are trudging round the gobi desert.

  3. Ali, The bags under the eyes. Not always a joking matter I agree.
    If they're still there after adjusting the life-style (sleep, booze, etc) and you really need something doing, consult a plastic surgeon. They are very good nowadays. But make sure he or she is a qualified plastic surgeon with the FRCS.
    It'll cost you, but probably money well spent.

    Legend, And I thought Washington was the seat of the most powerful people (and therefore cleverest??) in the world.

  4. JohnB - not quite at General Sir Michael Jackson stage yet (suppresses innate desire to squeal 'ooooowwwwww' in manner of spangly glove wearing Michael Jackson) but may honestly consider bag surgery at some point. Maybe for 50th birthday :-)

    And by the way, just Google General Sir MJ - he's deffo had his eyes done!

    Ali x

  5. Ali- I checked out General Michael Jackson and I think you're right. Good result eh?
    Your mention of the Specific Michael Jackson (the Spangly-gloved one) raised the intriguing possibility of confusion in the ranks. Supposing the General M.J. did the Moonwalk, clutching his bits from time to time, and the Specific M.J. led our lads into battle. I'd pay good money to see either.

  6. Ali,
    Wait until you are 50 ,save up, the pleasure and results will last a life time
    Mrs JohnB.

  7. Mrs JohnB? Bloody hell, how did she get in here?
    But she's right (as usual)
    (Note to self: Change the password)

  8. *mwhahahahha* I shall wait until 50 then!

    Ali x