Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts


Athletes need to stay hydrated, but just how much water should you drink?

How Much Water Should You Drink?

How much water or other fluid you need before, during and after exercise largely depends upon the intensity and duration of exercise. But other factors, such as the air temperature, humidity, altitude and even your own physiology can affect how much water you need during exercise.
Although it can be a difficult to determine exactly how much water individuals need to drink each day, the following recommendations will provide a good starting point for most athletes.

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?
If you are training regularly, you will probably need between one half and one whole ounce of water (or other fluids) for each pound of body weight per day.
To determine your baseline range for water requirement, use the following formula:

Low end of range= Body weight (lbs) x 0.5 = (ounces of fluid/day)
High end of range=Body weight (lbs) x 1 = (ounces of fluid/day)
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your approximate water requirement will be between 75 and 150 ounces each day.
When to Drink Water During Exercise
Begin the day with a large glass of water each morning, whether it's a training or a rest day. On training days, the following schedule works well for most athletes:
Water (Fluid) Intake Schedule
Before Exercise
Drink two to three cups of water within the two hours before your workout.
Weigh yourself immediately before you begin your workout.
During Exercise
Drink one cup of water every 15 minutes.
After Exercise
Weigh yourself immediately after you finish your workout.
Drink two to three Cups of water for each pound lost during exercise.
How Much to Drink Water During Endurance Exercise
If you are exercising at a moderate to high intensity for more than 90 minutes, you will want to consume more than plain water. You need to replenish glycogen stores with easy-to-digest carbohydrate. Sports drinks can be an easy way to add the necessary energy. For longer workouts, choose a drink with 60 to 100 calories per eight ounces and consume eight to ten ounces every 15 to 30 minutes based upon your preference.
For those exercising in extreme conditions over three, four or five hours, you'll need to replace electrolytes. A complex sports drink, NUUN tablets, or other foods will help provide the needed calories and electrolytes required for continuous performance.

Hyponatremia or water intoxication - Can Athletes Drink Too Much Water?

What Is Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia, also called water intoxication, is generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood. Once a rare occurrence at sporting events, it is becoming more prevalent as participation increases and more novice exercisers are entering endurance events.
Prolonged and excessive sweating increases the risk that an athlete will alter the delicate balance of blood-sodium concentration. Because sodium is lost in sweat it is important for those exercising at high intensities for long periods of time to replace any loses.

Research has found that long duration endurance events, such as the Ironman distance triathlons, often have finishers with low blood sodium concentrations. Those at most risk are those who are on the course the longest, because they tend to drink the most water during the event. Runners who drink extra fluids in the days before the race or those who stop at water stop during the race are also at increased risk of hyponatremia. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (April, 2005) found that 13 percent of Boston Marathon runners developed hyponatremia from drinking too much water.

Causes of Hyponatremia
During high intensity exercise, sodium is lost along with sweat. An athlete who only replaces the lost fluid with water will have a decreased blood-sodium concentration. As an example, consider a full glass of salt-water. If you dump out half of the contents of the glass (as is lost in sweat), and replace that with water only, the sodium concentration of in the glass is far less and the water is more dilute. This can occur in the bloodstream of an athlete who only hydrates with water during excessive sweating. The result is hyponatremia.

Adequate sodium balance is necessary for transmitting nerve impulses and proper muscle function, and even a slight depletion of this concentration can cause problems. Studies have shown that high intensity athletes can lose up to 2 grams of salt per liter of sweat. Replacing this during the event is critical to performance and safety.

Symptoms of Hyponatremia
The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration and include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion. At this point, many athletes drink more water because they think they are dehydrated. Unfortunately, water alone will increase the problem of hyponatremia. At the most extreme an athlete may experience seizures, coma, or death.

Treatment of Hyponatremia
At the first sign of symptoms an athlete should drink a sodium containing sports drink or eat salty foods. Ideally, an athlete should plan ahead and estimate his or her fluid loss and need for sodium replacement during the event, and stay on a hydration schedule during the race. If the symptoms are extreme, a medical professional should be seen.

Preventing Hyponatremia
The best way for an athlete to avoid such problems is to plan ahead by training in the same conditions you will encounter during race day. Hydration recommendations include:

How Much Water Should You Drink?. Calculate your water intake with this simple formula.
Use a sodium containing sports drinks during long distance, high intensity events (more than 60-90 minutes long).
Increase salt intake per day several days prior to competition (except for those with hypertension).
Try not to drink more then you sweat.
During a marathon a good rule of thumb is to drink about 1 cup of fluid every 20 minutes.
In the days before the race, add salt to your foods (provided that you don't have high blood pressure and your doctor has not restricted your salt intake).
Avoid use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medicines that contain sodium. Research suggests that these drugs may predispose runners to hyponatremia.
Keep in mind that all athletes respond differently to exercise; fluid and sodium needs will vary accordingly. Foods that provide additional sodium include chicken noodle soup, a dill pickle, cheese, pretzels, and tomato juice.

As always, it is important to consult your physician for special considerations if you have a history of any health problems or are taking any medication for a health condition.


Consensus Statement of the 1st International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia, Consensus Development Conference, Cape Town, South Africa 2005. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 15(4):208-213, July 2005.

Quotes that Could Put You in the Hospital

Drink or Else!

Hyponatremia -- the loss of sodium through sweating or from over-hydrating -- is a huge problem on for distance walkers such as those on a 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, half marathon or marathon walk. Anne Thim collected these six quotes about hydration and drinking that could land a distance walker in the hospital. Avoid these mindsets for any walk of over two hours, especially in warmer weather.

1. "I hate sports drinks! I won't drink them."
If you don't drink them, you could easily become a victim of hyponatremia. While salty snacks are good, they are not a total substitute for the electrolytes in sports drinks. Mix sports drinks with water to whatever concentration you desire (most can tolerate half and half).

2. "I walked the entire event last year and didn't drink any sports drinks."
You were lucky, very lucky. This year, you might not be so lucky. More importantly, the person you are telling this to may think that they can also make it without sport drinks. Their metabolism is different from yours. They might not make it because you gave them this bad advice. This is not the type of testimonial that distance walkers should be giving out.

3. "I need to drink something, but I only like purple (or orange, or green) sports drinks. This stop doesn't have my flavor. I'll wait for the next stop."
Trust me, chances are that if you will only drink a certain flavor of sports drink, you won't find it anywhere on the walk. Don't plan on an assortment of every flavor of drink at every stop. Drink whatever is available.

4. "There are no cold drinks at this stop. I'll wait until the next one."
Don't wait, drink it even if it is warm. Pretend that you are in Paris and drinking warm drinks the European way - ooo-la-la!!!! Even if the bottles are warm, fill your personal water bottle with ice, water, and sports drink -yum! Odds are, if one stop is out of ice cold drinks, the next place might not have them either.

5. "Sports drinks make me gag."
Lack of sport drinks can may you go into seizures. Bring some powdered Kool-aid/Crystal Light to help cover the sports drink taste.

6. "I'm on a diet, and I don't want the calories."
You are on an intense endurance event, and you NEED the calories! THERE ARE NO DIETS ON THE WALK (exemption - diabetics, special medical cases, of course - but for the vast majority of us - NO DIETS. NO GUILT - OKAY!)

Update 2006 - Drinking Recommendations for Distance Walkers
The International Marathon Medical Director's Association revised guidelines for drinking and fluid intake for walkers and runners at endurance events in May 2006. For a workout of 30 minutes or more, they recommend drinking sports drink, and not diluting it or alternating sports drink with water. The carbohydrate and electrolytes in the sports drink helps the body absorb water faster, and provides energy for the body. If you dilute the sports drink, you decrease the benefits.
The IMMDA also recommends that during a marathon, participants drink whichever beverage most appeals to them, relying on their body to know whether they need more sodium or more water.

Drink to Thirst
New evidence says that thirst is the best protection for athletes when it comes to drinking the correct amount.
Drink when you are thirsty.
Don't drink if you aren't thirsty.
Don't drink at every water stop at an event just because it is there or your companions are drinking.
Rely on your thirst unless you discover it is leading you wrong, from weighing yourself before and after a workout.
Source: Lewis G. Maharam, MD.FACSM (chair),Tamara Hew DPM, Arthur Siegel MD, Marv Adner, MD, Bruce Adams, MD and Pedro Pujol, MD, FACSM. "IMMDA’s Revised Fluid Recommendations for Runners and Walkers." IMMDA. 6 May 2006.

Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, Joseph G. Verbalis, MD,w and Timothy D. Noakes, MBChB, MD, DSc, "Updated Fluid Recommendation: Position Statement From the International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA)," Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006;16:283𤬔)

Hyponatremia Hype and Hazards for Distance Walkers

As a certified marathon coach and a participant, crew member, and event director for endurance walks, I have seen the effects of heat, dehydration, and hyponatremia among walkers.
Ambulances All Night Long
The Avon Breast-Cancer 3-Day Walks had a sad history of medical problems among the walkers challenged to walk 20 miles a day for three days, often in temperatures above 80F. The 2000 DC 3-Day Walk sent so many to the hospital that the next year they shortened each day's course. Even on the shorter course, as a traveling walker in 2001 I experienced heat illness by Mile 10. I crewed the Seattle 3-Day Walk in 2001 and was horrified at the 5 block-long line-up of ambulances as walkers had to face 90F temperatures on a course that included difficult hills in full sun on Day One.
While most of those sent to the hospital had dehydration and heat illness, I have personally heard from walkers diagnosed with hyponatremia who swore they were drinking both water and sports drink. The 3-Day Walks stressed drinking before you are thirsty and eating before you are hungry. Did the walkers drink too much?

Obedient Walkers
As identified in the Noakes paper on marathon fluid intake, those new to long distance walking and running are often more obedient to guidelines to keep drinking throughout the event and to drink before they are thirsty. I heard a similar theory during my marathon coaching certification class from experienced coach Patti Finke.
These same walkers and runners are often concerned about weight and may avoid sports drink for its calories and flavor. They may be watching their sodium and avoid salty snacks. All of this can set them up for drinking too much water and not taking in enough sodium on long walks and runs.

Rules of Thumb Needed
As Dr. Jack Scaff of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic said, it is next to impossible for runners and walkers to be calculating exactly how much and when to drink when out on the marathon course. Almost everyone is so fatigued by Mile 18 than any attempts at keeping track are out the window - and who among us has a coach following us every mile handing us exactly the right amount to drink?
Individual variation will also gum up most attempts to be precise. Overweight people are more prone to overheat. Studies are often done on athletes and don't show how the same guidelines will affect those who are older, who are on medications including the common ibuprofen, those with declining kidney function, etc.

Tell most US walkers to drink 400-800 mL of water and sports drink an hour and the result is extreme confusion. For that reason, I offer general guidelines relating to a sports water bottle and English units.

Water Bottle = 16-20 oz. bottle, the common size sold for bottled water or the reusable bottle that comes with a water bottle fanny pack. Don't know how big your bottle is? Check the label, or use a 12-oz. can of soft drink and pour it in and see how much that fills it up. A cup measure is about 8 oz.

Sane Drinking Levels
Checking my own published guidelines, which followed conventional marathon coaching guidelines, they are pretty much within the 2005-2006 guidelines. I have edited them to stress letting thirst be your guide, unless you have proven it to be unreliable through the "weighing before and after" method.

Drink about a cup of water or sports drink each mile, or a sports bottle full of water or sports drink an hour, whichever is less.

Camelbaks and other hydration backpacks pose a problem for gauging how much you are drinking. Those using them need to let thirst be their guide and to check levels before and after their training walks.

How Much to Drink on Marathons and Long Walks

Drink, drink, drink - marathon walkers and runners have taken that to heart. In recent years, marathons have seen a huge influx of walkers, slow runners, women, and people over age 35. Many of these participants are new to endurance sports and may or may not be part of a training program. Is today's marathon walker at more risk of drinking too much water and getting hyponatremia vs. not drinking enough and getting dehydration? How does heat sickness play into all this?
A death from hyponatremia at both the Boston Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon has become a hot topic for marathon directors and discussed at the 2003 Marathon Directors Conference.

Hyponatremia is low blood sodium, which can occur when endurance athletes including long distance walkers and runners lose sodium through sweat and are unable to replace it. They may further dilute their blood sodium by continuing to drink large amounts of water and losing further sodium through urination.

Setting Off the Hype Over Hyponatremia
"Advisory Statement on Guidelines for Fluid Replacement During Marathon Running" written by Tim Noakes MD, FACSM of the University of Cape Town, South Africa and David E. Martin, Ph.D. FACSM, of Georgia State University ignited changes in many marathons.
"Drink when thirsty" is the biggest change from standard guidelines, and drink only enough to replace lost fluids - 400-800 milliters an hour (no more than a water bottle full an hour, or about a pint, a maximum of 20 oz. per hour). Many marathon programs had been recommending drinking before you are thirsty and replacing up to 150% of lost fluids.

The USATF further recommended that the replacement fluid should be sodium-containing sports drink in preference to plain water.

Profiles of runners and walkers who became hyponatremic, published in the Oct. 23, 2003 edition of the Washington Post, showed them drinking as much as 3000 ml of water (3 quarts) before the marathon and 500 ml (a pint) or more at each water stop.

Hype or Growing Hazard?
Dr. Jack Schaff, medical director of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic, at the National Event Director's Workshop in October, 2003 declared that Dr. Noakes was wrong. He raised fears that races would restrict or remove water stops, leading to more dehydration and heat sickness. At the Honolulu Marathon the temperature and humidity is high and most participants have just flown in and are not acclimated. The Honolulu Marathon attracts many slow runners, walkers, and first-timers. Yet he does not see hyponatremia, but rather sees hundreds of cases of dehydration and heat sickness each year. Update: at the 2005 Race Director's College, Dr. Schaff and other race medical directors were in agreement with updated drinking guidelines that address the hyponatremia hazard.
Drinking Guidelines 2006
Experts tend to agree that each individual has a different risk of dehydration and hyponatremia and the whole issue is not well understood. To limit their liability, marathon coaches will be modifying their guidelines to match those issued by USATF following the Noakes paper.

Other sports physicians take issue with Dr. Noakes' assertion that dehydration doesn't contribute to heat illness and cite studies that show it certainly does, especially at a level of 8% of body weight.

What Should You Do?
Rely more on your thirst level rather than forcing yourself to drink.
Drink a big glass of water 1-2 hours before a long walk - approximately a half-liter or pint. Have some salty food before your long walk.
While walking, drink approximately a sports water bottle full of water an hour (500 ml or 1 pint) and after the first hour you should be drinking a sodium-replacement sports drink or eating salty foods such as salty pretzels.
Weigh yourself immediately before and immediately after your training walks. Gaining weight during the walk is a sign of developing hyponatremia. Losing weight is a sign of dehydration.
Note how much and what you ate and drank during the training walk, plus the temperature and how much you are sweating.
Adjust your drinking intake, or your use of sports drink or salty foods before and during your training walks, until you are neither gaining nor losing weight during the walk.
Pain-relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, and naprosyn - NSAIDS - may contribute to developing hyponatremia. Discuss this with your physician if you are on them for a condition. Otherwise, avoid them before and during your long walks.
Before your walk - increase your salt intake so you have some in reserve. Consult your physician if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.
After your walk - eat salty foods and do not drink water to excess. Keep to the same guideline of a pint or half a liter an hour. Many people end their walk feeling good, then wash out their sodium by drinking too much afterwards. Let thirst be your guide.

Drinking Recommendations for Walkers and Runners

The International Marathon Medical Director's Association revised guidelines for drinking and fluid intake for walkers and runners at endurance events in May 2006.
What Should You Drink?
For a workout of 30 minutes or more, they recommend drinking sports drink, and not diluting it or alternating sports drink with water. The carbohydrate and electrolytes in the sports drink helps the body absorb water faster, and provides energy for the body. If you dilute the sports drink, you decrease the benefits.
In my experience, many walkers are likely to try to ignore this advice in order to take in fewer calories. During a marathon or race, they should drink carbohydrate-containing sports drink for performance. For walking workouts, they could use a low-calorie sports drink to replace salt without adding calories.

However, the IMMDA also recommends that during a marathon, participants drink whichever beverage most appeals to them, relying on their body to know whether they need more sodium or more water. Event directors need to have both water and sports drink available at water stops. I think this is good advice for walkers on long walks as well - have both available to you and drink whichever appeals to you at the moment.

How Much Should You Drink?
There are dangers in drinking either too much or too little. Drink too much and you risk hyponatremia - low blood salt level and fluid overload. Drink too little and become dehydrated. The needs will vary with many factors: the weather, your body's reaction to the exercise demands, sweat rate, etc.
Weigh Before and After: Weighing yourself before and after exercise can often help you know whether you are drinking too much or too little. The guidelines say: a weight loss of more than 2% or any weight gain are warning signs that justify immediate medical consultation and indicate that you are drinking too much or too little.

Drink to Thirst
Erase the old advice that you can't rely on thirst. New evidence says that thirst is the best protection for athletes when it comes to drinking the correct amount.
Drink when you are thirsty.
Don't drink if you aren't thirsty.
Don't drink at every water stop at an event just because it is there or your companions are drinking.
Rely on your thirst unless you discover it is leading you wrong, from weighing yourself before and after a workout.
Drinking Guidelines For Walkers and Slower Runners
No more than 1 cup of water per mile is a good rule-of-thumb for walkers and slower runners - anyone who takes more than 4 hours to complete a 26.2 mile marathon, or a pace of greater than 10 minutes per mile.
Your weight determines the range - a half-cup if you weigh 100 pounds and a full cup if you weigh 200 pounds.

The slower you are, the less you should drink. While a fast runner may need 4 liters of fluid for a marathon, a walker or slow runner needs only 2.5 to 3 liters for the entire event.

Thirst may not kick in as fast if you are in extreme heat and not yet acclimated to it, or in cold weather, or if you are over 65.

Calculating Your Fluid Needs
Your needs may change based on the weather, your conditioning, and other factors. IMMDA provides this method of determining your fluid needs:
One Hour Test

Weigh yourself nude before the walk or run.
One Hour Test: Walk or run or alternate walking/running at race pace for one hour, just as you will do during the race. IMMDA recommends one hour to get the sweat rate you will have during the endurance event.
Write down how much you are drinking, in ounces, during the 1 hour walk or run.
Weigh yourself nude after you finish the 1 hour walk/run. Subtract from starting weight. Convert the difference in body weight to ounces (multiply pounds by 16).
To determine hourly sweat rate, add to this value the volume of fluid consumed (from Step 3).
To determine how much to drink every 15 minutes, divide the hourly sweat rate by 4. This becomes the guideline for fluid intake every 15 min of a walk/run.
Record the weather and conditions on your test day. Do the test again on a day with different weather and conditions, so you can see how your sweat rate reacts to different conditions.
Source: Lewis G. Maharam, MD.FACSM (chair),Tamara Hew DPM, Arthur Siegel MD, Marv Adner, MD, Bruce Adams, MD and Pedro Pujol, MD, FACSM. "IMMDA’s Revised Fluid Recommendations for Runners and Walkers." IMMDA. 6 May 2006.
Tamara Hew-Butler, DPM, Joseph G. Verbalis, MD,w and Timothy D. Noakes, MBChB, MD, DSc, "Updated Fluid Recommendation: Position Statement From the International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA)," Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006;16:283–292)

Is Drinking Cold Water During or After Exercise Good or Bad?

Question: Is Drinking Cold Water During or After Exercise Good or Bad?
Is drinking cold water during or after exercise good for you or bad for you? Does the temperature of the water matter at all?
Answer: Believe it or not, cold water is absorbed faster by your body than water at room temperature or at body temperature. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that water and other drinks be chilled when used for exercise.
Cold Water and Cold Drinks Rehydrate Faster
Research has shown that cold water passes through the stomach faster and is therefore sent to the intestines for quicker absorption. During and after exercise, you want to rapidly replace fluids lost due to sweat, so cold water and cold sports drinks are preferred.
Cold Water and Cold Drinks Taste Better
Another reason for drinking cold drinks is that most people find that they taste better, making you more likely to drink more and more often.
Cold Water Does Not Cause Cancer's Urban Legends Guide dispels another myth, that cold water after a meal causes cancer. No, it doesn't.
What to Drink and When
The 1996 Position Paper of the American College of Sports Medicine recommends:
Cold: Drinks should be cooler than room temperature.
Flavored: Drinks should be flavored to make them taste more appealing, helping people to drink more. A squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of a flavoring can help without adding calories. Water flavorings for exercisers
Handy: Drinks should be served in containers that let you drink without disrupting your exercise. This implies it is better to be wearing a water bottle-holding pack when walking rather than relying on water fountains along the way.
Sports Drinks: Use a sports drink to replace carbohydrate and electrolytes when exercising longer than 1 hour.
Plain Water: If exercising less than an hour, plain water is just fine, maybe with a squeeze of lemon juice or other flavoring if preferred for taste.
Drink to Thirst: Updated guidelines in 2006 caution endurance runners and walkers that overdrinking can cause hyponatremia, so exercisers should use thirst as their guide rather than forcing fluids.
Sources: Bateman, D. N.. "Effects of meal temperature and volume on the emptying of liquid from the human stomach." Journal of Physiology 331(1982): 461–467.

Convertino, Victor A. Ph.D., FACSM (Chair), Lawrence E. Armstrong, Ph.D., et. al.. "American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand: Exercise and Fluid Replacement." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28(1996): i-vii.

Lewis G. Maharam, MD.FACSM (chair),Tamara Hew DPM, Arthur Siegel MD, Marv Adner, MD, Bruce Adams, MD and Pedro Pujol, MD, FACSM. "IMMDA’s Revised Fluid Recommendations for Runners and Walkers." IMMDA. 6 May 2006.


Hatha Yoga Class "Rediscovered"

Guest article by Deb Kurtz

My Journey into Hatha Yoga began as a teenager in the 70s. My young body was naturally flexible and strong. It was my mother who led me to a yoga class where I quickly learned the various postures, and I soon became an "expert." Little did I know then that what I had learned was just the tip of the iceberg.

The 80s led me into aerobics which helped keep my body in shape after bearing 3 children. The 90s, however, found me facing 40 and dealing with a herniated disc and subsequent back surgery. My exercise regime had dwindled down to walking the dog. I knew I needed to do something more physical for my health but I couldn't seem to find the energy any more. I had purchased a few yoga video tapes, but not being a self motivated person, they soon got lost on the shelf. Then one auspicious day I saw an ad in the local paper for a yoga class.

Our instructor's enthusiasm for yoga was immediately apparent. Sylvia explained to us that she would be teaching us the B.K.S. Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga. What this meant was that we would be paying attention to the smallest details as we created space in our bodies and paid attention to where the energy was flowing. Yoga means union, and this style of yoga gives attention to not only body but mind and spirit as well.

We use a variety of props in class which help beginners learn to do the poses, or asana's, properly. We use blocks, blankets, straps, chairs and sandbags to help ease our inflexible bodies into each pose. We may start out the class by sitting in virasana which is much more than just sitting on your feet! We are taught a very specific way to come into the pose, paying attention to the position of our feet, the muscles in our legs and the position of our spine and how we hold our shoulders and head. This pose leads to others which stretch and strengthen various parts of the body.

Another basic pose which is the basis for all standing poses is tadasana or mountain pose. To the casual observer this may look like standing up straight with good posture. But as with all of the poses, the position of each muscle, the lengthening of the spine and creating space in the body brings in energy and balance.

There are challenging poses to stretch and strengthen, poses for balance and poise, and guidance into breathing awareness and relaxation. The hour and a half class goes by quickly but the effects of yoga stay with you for a long time. My 42-year-old body sings by the time class is over.

My only regret is not having a personal yoga trainer to guide me every day. Left on my own I still haven't disciplined myself to take the time from my busy schedule for a daily yoga program at home. I have, however, learned to incorporate a stretch here and and pose there throughout my day. I look forward to my weekly yoga class with great anticipation and I know that yoga is something I will enjoy doing for the rest of my life.

Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life - B.K.S. Iyengar

Three-Part Breath Dirga Pranayama

Benefits: Focuses the attention on the present moment, calms and grounds the mind.
This pranayama exercise is often done while seated in a comfortable, cross-legged position, but it is also nice to do while lying on the back, particularly at the beginning of your practice. When you are lying down, you can really feel the breath moving through your body as it makes contact with the floor.

1. Come to lie down on the back with the eyes closed, relaxing the face and the body.

2. Begin by observing the natural inhalation and exhalation of your breath without changing anything. If you find yourself distracted by the activity in your mind, try not to engage in the thoughts. Just notice them and then let them go, bringing your attention back to the inhales and the exhales.

3. Then begin to inhale deeply through the nose.

4. On each inhale, fill the belly up with your breath. Expand the belly with air like a balloon.

5. On each exhale, expel all the air out from the belly through your nose. Draw the navel back towards your spine to make sure that the belly is empty of air.

6. Repeat this deep belly breathing for about five breaths.

7. On the next inhale, fill the belly up with air as described above. Then when the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart.

8. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and them from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.

9. Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five breaths.

10. On the next inhale, fill the belly and rib cage up with air as described above. Then draw in just a little more air and let it fill the upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, causing the area around the heart (which is called the heart center in yoga), expand and rise.

11. On the exhale, let the breath go first from the upper chest, allowing the heart center sink back down, then from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together. Finally, let the air go from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.

12. You are practicing three-part breath! Continue at your own pace, eventually coming to let the three parts of the breath happen smoothly without pausing.

13. Continue for about 10 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Also known as: Downward Dog, Down Dog
Type of pose: Standing, Mild Inversion, Resting

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the whole body. Can help relieve back pain.

Downward facing dog is done many times during most yoga classes. It is a transitional pose, a resting pose and a great strengthener in its own right. It may be the first yoga pose you encounter as you begin a yoga practice. Downward dog is so prevalent, even people who have never done yoga have probably heard of it.


1. Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.

2. Curl the toes under and push back raising the hips and straightening the legs.

3. Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips.

4. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones.

5. Let the head hang, move the shoulder blades away from the ears towards the hips.

6. Engage the quadriceps strongly to take the weight off the arms, making this a resting pose.

7. Rotate the thighs inward, keep the tail high and sink your heels to the floor.

8. Check that the distance between your hands and feet is correct by coming forward to a plank position. The distance between the hands and feet should be the same in these two poses. Do not step the feet toward the hands in Down Dog in order the get the heels to the floor. This will happen eventually as the muscles lengthen.

Beginners: Try bending your knees, coming up onto the balls of your feet, bringing the belly to rest on the thighs and the sit bones up high. Then sink your heels, straightening the legs keeping the high upward rotation of the sit bones. Also try bending the arms slightly out to the side, drawing the chest towards the thighs. Then restraighten the arms.

Advanced: If you are very flexible, try not to let the rib cage sink towards the floor creating a sinking spine. Draw the ribs in to maintain a flat back. Try holding the pose for five minutes, placing a block under your head for support

The Equipment You Need to Start Your Yoga Practice

Basic Equipment
Clothing: Comfortable, breathable clothes are recommended for yoga. You probably want to wear a shirt that is a little bit form-fitting, since in many yoga poses, your head comes below your hips and your shirt can slide down. Any exercise pants or shorts will do, although it’s best not to have super slick lycra-type pants since this may cause you to slip in some poses.

Shoes: Yoga is most often done barefoot, which is great news for those of us tired of packing a bulky pair of athletic shoes for after work trips to the gym. Yoga studios will often request that you leave your shoes near the entrance.

Mats: In gyms and yoga studios, it’s commonplace to use a yoga mat, also called a sticky mat. The mat helps define your personal space, but more importantly, it creates traction for your hands and feet so you don’t slip, especially as you get a little sweaty. The mat also provides a bit of cushioning on a hard floor. Most studios have mats for rent, usually for a dollar or two per class. The disadvantage to these mats is that lots of people use them and you can't be sure how often they are being washed. Yoga mats can be purchased for as little as $20, and many studios will allow you to store your mat with them if you become a regular.

Optional Equipment

The following yoga props come out of the Iyengar tradition. Iyengar style yoga teaches that having the proper alignment in the poses is the most important thing. Until the body becomes open enough, students should use props to bring the body into alignment to achieve maximum benefit and avoid injury. Iyengar’s use of props has been adopted by many other styles of yoga. The props are usually provided for students to use during class and there is no need to buy your own unless you are beginning a home practice.

Blankets: Yoga studios often have stacks of blankets available for students to use during class. Grab yourself one or two blankets at the beginning of class. The folded blankets are props to sit and lie on during class. For instance, sit cross-legged and put a blanket under your sit bones to elevate the hips above the knees. They come in handy for all sorts of things during class, and if it’s chilly you can use them to cover yourself during final relaxation at the end of class.

Blocks: Like blankets, blocks are props to make yourself more comfortable and improve your alignment. Blocks are great for standing poses in which your hands don't reach the floor.

Straps: Straps are particularly useful for bound poses if your hands do not reach each other, and for poses where you need to hold onto your feet but cannot reach them.

Dos and Don'ts of Good Yoga Etiquette

These rules of good yoga etiquette will help you feel comfortable when entering an unfamiliar setting. They are based on common sense and courtesy, but deal with some issues that are specific to yoga classes and studios.
1. Remove Your Shoes
Many yoga studios have a place for your shoes by the front door. Since people will be walking around the studio barefoot, it is most hygienic if everyone takes off their outdoor shoes first thing.

2. Turn Off Your Cell Phone
Make a habit of doing this as soon as you get to the yoga studio. You will be quite embarrassed if your phone rings during class. If this happens (and it has even happened to me), I advocate owning up and going to turn the thing off immediately. Some teachers prefer that it just be ignored and will let you know of their preference.

3. Arrive On Time
Arrive at least 10 minutes before the class is scheduled to start. If you do arrive late, don't enter a class more than 10 minutes late if it has already started. Wait for the next class or another day.

4. Respect the Teacher
When you enter a yoga class, you sign on to respect the teacher for the next hour and a half. You may discover halfway through the class that you don't care for this teacher, style, or hour of the day. But you still should continue with the class, follow the teacher's instructions, take your Savasana, and chalk it up to experience.

5. Keep Variations Appropriate
Keep in mind the level of the class you are attending. If it is an advanced class and some of the poses are too hard, it is fine to take a more basic variation of the poses being taught. Usually the teacher will offer this option. If you are attending a basic class, stick to the basic versions of the poses so you don't confuse new students. The teacher will offer you the option to take a more advanced variation when appropriate.

When it comes time to take a vinyasa, always feel free to take either Knees, Chest, and Chin and Cobra or Chaturanga and Updog.

6. Go to the Bathroom During Resting Poses
It is fine to leave class for a few minutes to go to the bathroom: There is no need to ask the teacher's permission. The best time to go is when there is a period of rest, either in Child's Pose or Downward Dog. You will not earn your teacher's respect if you routinely dodge out during difficult poses or skip part of Savasana.

7. Don't Skip Savasana!
Your final relaxation in Savasana is an important part of your practice. Don't plan to leave class early. If you must, tell the teacher in advance and take a short Savasana before you go. Don't make a habit of this.

Where Should You Take Your Yoga Classes?

Is it better to take yoga classes at the gym (health club) or at a specialized yoga studio? The answer is…it depends on what you value in your yoga experience. Let’s take a look at how the two stack up on the basic issues of affordability, convenience, quality of teaching, ambiance, and community. (Of course, individual establishments will vary quite a bit, so the below is based upon an average experience).
Generally speaking, yoga classes at the gym are going to be cheaper. This is particularly true if you are already locked into a gym membership or if you want take other fitness classes and have access to amenities like a weight room or pool. Note that some gyms do charge a premium for yoga classes, so make sure to clarify this point. That said, there are ways to get classes at yoga studios on the cheap. Since many yoga studios are individually owned and operated, the owner has a lot more discretion to offer things like karma yoga and students discounts than most gyms, which are increasingly corporate-run. Another issue to consider is the commitment most gyms require. At a yoga studio, you can take drop-in classes any time you like.

Take a look at when you’ll want to take your classes. Are you into early morning Ashtanga, a quick lunch-time power yoga session, or after work classes? A yoga studio will probably offer all these options, plus larger studios offer a few classes at off-peak times as well. The yoga classes at the gym have to compete with other fitness classes for the same real estate, so the pickings may be slimmer. Also, if you want to take a shower immediately after class before heading to work, a gym is more likely to offer this amenity than a yoga studio.
Many yoga teachers lead classes at both yoga studios and gyms, so the quality of teaching can be exactly the same. The key is finding those good teachers, which can be tough at any location. If you are thinking of joining a gym for the yoga, ask to take a trial class with the most popular teacher, just to get an idea of what the style is like. You will also want to make sure that the yoga teachers are Yoga Alliance certified. Quality gyms are pretty good about this, but some do try to repurpose their other teaching staff as yoga instructors by having them take quickie training courses. Needless to say, it’s not a great idea to study with teachers that are under qualified. Most yoga studios are very picky about their teachers.
Unless you are joining a very upscale gym, the ambiance will tend to be, well, gym-like. There will be sweatiness, lockers, techno music, people working out all kinds of ways. Some yoga rooms in health clubs are carpeted and have mirrors since they are used for a variety of classes. Most yoga studios take great care to provide a relaxing, welcoming environment. They paint the walls with pleasing colors, play mood music, burn incense and serve tea, all in an effort to build community. Which leads us nicely in to the last section...
Yoga studios love to build community. If you attend regularly, you can’t help but get on friendly terms with the staff, teachers, and your fellow students. Some studios provide couches and comfortable chairs, just to encourage students to stop and talk awhile before or after class. You all have a common interest, after all. If this appeals to you, a yoga studio is definitely the way to go, because most gyms tend to be pretty impersonal, which, on the flip side, is great if you just want to take your class and go about your business.

Practical Advice on How to Start Doing Yoga

Deciding that you want to start doing yoga is the first step. It's easy to get stuck here, though. Don't be intimidated! Here is the information you will need to take that next step and start enjoying the pleasures and benefits of yoga.
1. Pick a Yoga Type
A little research will be required on your part. Many yoga classes are out there, and you may be turned off if you pick one that does not suit your personality and state of physical fitness.
Take a few minutes to read this overview of yoga styles. For most beginners, a hatha or vinyasa class will be most appropriate, depending on whether you want a slow or fast-paced class. These are basic styles, and you can always try something fancier later.

2. Find a Class
Online resources will help you find a yoga class in your area. You can also check local alternative newspapers or wellness magazines for listings or search online for "yoga" and the name of your town.
Pick a studio that is convenient to your home or work so getting to class will be easy. Make sure you start with a basic level class. Many gyms also offer yoga classes; this is a good place to start if you already belong to a gym.

3. Find Out What to Bring
On the first day, you will not need to bring much except yourself and some comfortable, breathable clothing. Read up on basic yoga equipment you will encounter. Most studios have yoga mats that can be rented.

4. Learn What to Expect
In a typical yoga class, the students place their mats facing the front of the room (often identifiable by a small altar or by the teacher's mat) in a loose grid. It's best not to line up your mat exactly with the one next to it because you and your neighbor will need some space in certain poses. The students often sit in a cross-legged position waiting for class to start or do some gentle stretching.
The teacher may start class by leading the class in chanting "om" three times. Depending on the teacher, there may be a breathing exercise or short meditation at the start of class.

This is followed by warm-up poses, more vigorous poses, then stretches and final relaxation. At any time, take child's pose if you need some rest.

Sometimes the teacher will go around to each student during final relaxation and give them a little massage. Most teachers end class with another round of oms.

Know that you may be a little sore the day after your first class.

5. What if I Have No Access to Yoga Classes?
While many great yoga books and videos are available, there is no substitute from learning directly from a good teacher in a yoga class. That said, if you cannot get to a yoga class, I recommend starting with any beginner's video, as this will give you more visuals to follow than a book.
6. Dos and Don'ts
have a big meal right before class. Try eating lightly a few hours before class starts.
drink water during class, but have some before and after.
wear shoes or socks during class.

review yoga etiquette so you feel very comfortable entering an unfamiliar situation.
tell the teacher it's your first class (you probably won't be the only one).
ask the teacher for help if you need it.
look around and follow what other student are doing, especially if the teacher does not demonstrate every pose. However, keep in mind that you may be looking at more advanced students, so do not compare yourself to them.
familiarize yourself with some beginners' yoga poses before you take your first class.
come back in a few days for your next class!
7. Want to Know More?
Sign up for my Yoga for Beginners Crash Course. Through weekly email newsletters, you will find out how to pick a yoga style, lose weight, observe proper yoga etiquette, and avoid injury. Each week you will also get the answer to a frequently asked question (FAQ). At the end of this seven-week course, you will understand the principles and origins of yoga, and know how to practice beginning-level poses.

Is Yoga Good for Seniors?

One of the great things about yoga is that it is so adaptable to different populations with diverse physical abilities and needs. Though the popular image of yoga is of a young person twisted up like a pretzel with apparent ease, those who are older and less flexible can enjoy a yoga practice just as much and potentially benefit from it even more.
Is Yoga Appropriate for Seniors?
In most cases, seniors can absolutely do yoga. Many people with hectic schedules only find the time for activities such as yoga in retirement. Though the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Attending a regular yoga class will also establish a sense of community with teachers and fellow students.
What Type of Yoga Should You Try?
What kind of yoga depends on your age, current level of fitness and physical ability. If you are starting a fitness regime for the first time (or after a long break) or have already lost significant muscle tone and flexibility, you should start with a very gentle hatha practice. Although it is possible to learn yoga from books and videos, the best way is through teacher instruction in a yoga class. Attending class will allow you to get the most out of yoga with the least risk of injury. Yoga classes especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available: check local senior centers, retirement communities, religious organizations and even health clubs. If you can’t find a special senior class, a gentle beginners class will do. Iyengar yoga, with its emphasis on adapting the practice through the use of props such a blocks and chairs, is also good for seniors and many Iyengar centers offer classes for this demographic.
The Benefits of Yoga
The benefits of yoga for seniors are much the same as those for the general population: increased muscle tone, balance, strength, and improved mood. Through pranayama (breathing exercises) lung capacity is increased. You can expect your posture to improve and you may sleep better. If you experience stress, yoga can help counteract that too. But keep in mind that these benefits will not come overnight after a single yoga class. Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy the best yoga has to offer.
Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying yoga, especially if you suffer from any chronic conditions or are very inactive. Those with spinal disk problems or glaucoma should take special care, as there a poses to avoid (twists and inversions, respectively).

How to Do Yoga When You are Overweight

Starting a yoga practice can be intimidating for anyone: you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of yoga, but how do you make the leap to actually doing it? Yoga studios can seem like private clubs, where you have to know the secret handshake and password before you'll be allowed to join. Add to this scenario the popular image of the yogini: young, lithe and twisted like a pretzel in skintight spandex. What if that image bears little resemblance to yourself? If you are overweight, overcoming both your mental and physical hurdles to try yoga for the first time can be even more challenging.
Why Do Yoga?
Any physical activity will improve mobility and general health. Doing yoga decreases stress, improves flexibility and increases muscle tone and strength. The overweight often have trouble with joint pain; yoga can help by improving the body’s alignment to reduce strain on joints by allowing the frame to bear more of the body’s weight. Yoga also develops your balance, which helps you feel grounded and reduces the likelihood of injuring yourself in a fall. People who are overweight often feel disconnected from their bodies — yoga helps to bring the mind-body connection to the fore, which can improve self-image and acceptance of your body. Most importantly, yoga can help you feel better, both improving your physical fitness and elevating your mood.

How to Start
The best way to learn yoga is from a qualified teacher in a yoga class. Specialized classes for the plus-size are becoming more popular, but can’t be found everywhere. In order to have a positive experience from your first yoga classes, try a beginner’s level gentle hatha practice. Kripalu and Integral are good choices, if available, because the teachers are trained to work with differing abilities and body types. Abby Lentz, founder of Heavyweight Yoga in Austin, Texas, suggests speaking to the yoga teacher before your first class to ensure that you are comfortable and the teacher will be prepared to offer modifications and props as necessary. If you do not feel ready for a group class, private yoga sessions may be the way to go. This can be a great way to learn basic poses and gain the confidence to use props in an effective way before joining a group practice. Becoming knowledgeable about yoga is the best way to ensure that you will feel at ease.

Those who don’t have access to yoga classes can still get started by using DVDs at home. Lentz’s Heavyweight Yoga DVD (see below) is a great choice, as it leads you through basic exercises and offers modifications for those whose mobility is limited by their size.

Yoga and Weight Loss
In order to lose weight, you must limit your caloric intake while also engaging in regular exercise that raises your heart rate. If weight loss is your primary goal, there are more effective methods than yoga. Yoga will make you feel better, but is best thought of as a part of your overall wellness routine than as the path to thinner thighs. Read more on yoga and weight loss here.

What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

You've probably heard that yoga is good for you. Maybe you have even tried yoga and discovered that it makes you feel better. But what are the specific health benefits can you expect to enjoy from doing yoga regularly?
Physical Benefits
Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increases strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don't give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits
Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are doing yoga. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started. Read more about yoga for stress management here.

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

What is Yoga?

The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated. We can think of the union occurring between the mind, body and spirit.
What is commonly referred to as "yoga" can be more accurately described by the Sanskrit word asana, which refers to the practice of physical postures or poses.

Asana is only one of the eight "limbs" of yoga, the majority of which are more concerned with mental and spiritual well being than physical activity. In the West, however, the words asana and yoga are often used interchangeably.

Many people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose. The poses are a constant, but the approach to them varies depending on the tradition in which the teacher has trained.

Yoga teachers will often refer to "your practice," which means your individual experience with yoga as it develops over time. The amazing thing about yoga is that your practice is always evolving and changing, so it never gets boring. Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will. Anyone can start a yoga practice, even if you don't feel like you are very flexible or very strong. These things will develop over time. Another great thing about thinking about "your practice" is that it encourages the noncompetitive spirit of yoga. One of the most difficult, but ultimately most liberating things about yoga is letting go of the ego and accepting that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is just doing their best on any given day.

In addition to practicing the poses, yoga classes may also include instruction on breathing, call and response chanting, meditation, or an inspirational reading by the teacher. The variety and amount of this will depend on the individual teacher and the yoga tradition in which he or she has trained. Typically, a yoga class at a gym will be more focused on the purely physical benefits of yoga, while one at a yoga center may delve more into the spiritual side. Some people find that the physical practice of yoga becomes a gateway into a spiritual exploration, while others just enjoy a wonderful low-impact workout that makes them feel great. Whatever your tendency, you will be able to find a yoga class that suits your style.


Purpose Redness Reducing Moisturizer with SPF 30

The Bottom Line
An ideal facial moisturizer for sensitive, acne-prone skin. This non-greasy formula absorbs fully and quickly, but still leaves skin feeling moisturized. Fragrance-free and soothing, it would be perfect for dry skin caused by acne treatment products.
The budget-friendly price -- I found it for under $5!
Leaves your skin feeling nicely moisturized without being heavy or greasy.
Absorbs quickly.
Contains sunscreen, so you get your sun protection too.
Super gentle and fragrance free.
Those with extremely oily skin may find it a tad too heavy.
Facial moisturizer with SPF 30 broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen.
Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
Noncomedogenic, so it won't clog your pores.
Guide Review - Purpose Redness Reducing Moisturizer with SPF 30
This moisturizer was bought on a whim. I've used Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer for ages, and really like it. But now that I'm getting older, I notice my skin needs a bit more moisturizing that the Aveeno product could give.

This moisturizer wasn't heavy or greasy. It absorbed super quickly without leaving a trace of oiliness. But the best part was it actually left my face feeling hydrated. This can be tough to find in lighter moisturizers.

Another plus is the broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sun protection this moisturizer affords. No more worrying about a separate sunscreen or unwisely skipping one altogether.

Anyone who tends toward sensitive skin, or those fighting acne-treatment dryness will appreciate the gentle, fragrance free formula. This moisturizer didn't sting or burn even chapped areas of skin. In fact, it felt soothing. My preteen with extremely sensitive skin could also use this product without a problem.

The pump bottle is cool, too. One pump measures out the perfect amount of moisturizer for the face, two additional pumps are ideal for the neck and chest.

On top of everything else, it's inexpensive (actually a steal, at less than $5!) Just more proof that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a good moisturizer. Purpose Redness Reducing Moisturizer definitely exceeded all my expectations.

Will Over-Applying Acne Treatment Medications Clear My Skin Faster?

Question: Will Over-Applying Acne Treatment Medications Clear My Skin Faster?
My doctor gave me a topical medication and told me to apply it once a day. But I really want clear skin now! If I use it three times per day instead, won't my acne clear up three times faster?
It's tempting to slather on topical acne medications more often than is directed, in an attempt to clear the skin faster. Unfortunately, using your treatment medications more often than advised won't clear up acne any faster, and can actually be injurious to your skin.

Most people wouldn't dream of taking an oral medication dosage five times higher than recommended. But many of us over-apply topical treatments without a second thought. Over-using your topical acne medications more often than advised can lead to a host of side effects, including:

Severe dryness, peeling and flaking
Burning, stinging, itching and redness
Swelling, blistering, cracking, crusting or oozing of the skin
Rash and general skin irritation
Instead of over-using your topical treatments in the hopes of clearing acne fast, focus on good daily skin care, treating your skin gently, and using your topical medications as directed. Clearing acne takes time, and over-applying your acne medications won't speed up the process.