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Change your face, change your future

As French fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883–1971) observed, “Nature gives you the face you have at 20. Life shapes the face you have at 30. But at 50 you get the face you deserve.”

According to the Chinese art of face reading, known as mian xiang, there’s some truth to that. The Chinese believe your face is a map of your past, present and future. Over time, the changes in your face say much about your physical wellbeing, intellectual and emotional attributes and possible future challenges.

Just look at the faces of public personalities who are known for their angry outbursts: as time goes by, their faces settle in frowns and their addictions to work and alcohol give them an ashen complexion. Conversely, look at someone like the Dalai Lama, whose life devoted to compassion has given him a soft face and lively eyes.

We read faces every day. More than the words we hear, a person’s facial expressions tell us what they’re really thinking. Science has now proved what we always thought: first impressions count. Psychologist Dr Alex Todorov of Princeton University has found that we form an opinion about a person with a 100-millisecond glance at their face alone.

Chinese medicine practitioners use face reading to detect internal imbalances and illnesses, while feng shui experts read the face to discover more about an individual’s personality and to predict their future choices.

The face can be divided into zones that represent particular internal organs and personality traits. For example, the nose is associated with the heart; the cheeks reflect the state of the lungs; liver health is revealed between the eyebrows; and the lips indicate digestive health. 
In addition, the quality of the skin 
– colour, dry or oily patches and 
rashes – indicates internal health issues.

Proponents of face reading claim it can even help you lose weight. Britain’s former First Lady, Cherie Blair, and actor Kate Winslet both attribute their weight loss to visiting London-based face reader and nutritionist Elizabeth Gibaud. Winslet was so delighted with Gibaud’s methods that she wrote the foreword to the nutritionist’s book, The Facial Analysis Diet.

The reason face reading works, says Gibaud, is that analysing the face allows you to develop an individualised approach. No two faces are the same, so no treatments are exactly the same. 
“I look for markings, facial colour and skin texture. This tells me which minerals the body is lacking,” she says.

Your face can help you unlock the secrets of your health. Some of Gibaud’s basic indicators can potentially be used for self-diagnosis: open pores could mean there is too much acid in your system; lines on your forehead could mean your diet is too rich and oily; and red or puffy cheeks may indicate a dairy intolerance.

Joey Yap, a feng shui teacher and author of Mian Xiang: Discover Face Reading, tours the world conducting seminars on face reading. “Who you are reflects how you look,” he says. “Your beliefs, your attitude and your character shape how you look.” Likewise, he says, changing those beliefs and attitudes can change your appearance. He cites those who have received counselling after trauma whereby their whole face has softened. “Change your attitude and your face will change,” he says.

According to face consultant Diamanda Huynh, “Nobody has a perfect face. It is your Heaven Luck [predetermined destiny], which used to be considered unchangeable, but now there’s Botox and plastic surgery.”

I asked Yap if making cosmetic changes would affect a face reading. Could altering your facial features through cosmetic surgery change your future or your health?

“When you change how you look, you subsequently feel differently about yourself and obviously you change some of your outcomes,” he said. “But the best way to change is from your heart, because that’s free.”

Feng shui expert Jon Sandifer outlines some common health issues that can be diagnosed by face reading in his book, The Eastern Art of Face Diagnosis. He also uses the teachings of 18th-century Japanese doctor and face reader Namboku Mizuno – a proponent of the macrobiotic dietary regimen – to supplement his dietary advice. We’ve taken a sample of these symptoms from the book and devised some beauty fixes that can help effect positive changes.

EYES

Symptoms

Puffiness or a dark, bruised appearance under the eyes.

Face diagnosis

Kidney or adrenal imbalance.

Lifestyle solutions

Increase sleep and keep warm in bed. Reduce your intake of salt and caffeine and avoid ice-cold foods. Increase your intake of vegetables and hearty soups or stews.

Beauty solutions

Sleep with your head slightly elevated to prevent fluid collecting under the eyes. Use an eye cream containing caffeine (to decrease puffiness) or brightening ingredients 
(to reduce dark circles).

To reduce dark circles, try PerriconeMD’s Ceramic Eye Smoother, available at Mecca Cosmetica. Lancôme’s Rénergie Refill Yeux is a lightweight serum that intensely moisturises the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Origins’ No Puffery, with its yeast extract and calming mushroom extract, helps reduce puffiness and dark circles.

For quick cover, you can’t go past Yves Saint Laurent’s classic Touche Éclat, a lightweight concealer with light-reflecting particles.

BETWEEN THE BROWS

Symptoms

Oily skin between the brows; deep creases between the brows; and itchy or tired eyes.

Face diagnosis

Liver imbalance.

Lifestyle solutions

Try to get 
up at sunrise, as this is the time that supports the liver. Develop patience and reduce stress levels through yoga, tai chi or meditation, or take a walk outside 
to increase positive energy. Reduce your intake of animal fats, dairy, eggs and sugar and increase consumption of green vegetables and salads. Add umeboshi (pickled plums) to your diet, as they contain therapeutic amounts of picric acid, which is thought to support liver function. They are available from health food shops and Asian grocery stores.

Beauty solutions

Oily skin between the brows or on the T-zone indicates combination skin. Treat this section and the rest of your face separately. Using a gentle cleanser and light moisturising lotion works best. A cooling gel can help soothe tired eyes.

Estée Lauder’s Perfectly Clean Splash Away Foaming Cleanser and Fresh Balancing Lotion help rebalance the 
skin, deal with oily spots and soothe dry areas. For an alternative to Botox, try 
Dr. Brandt’s Crease Release with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a compound that helps the muscles relax, thereby reducing wrinkles caused by frowning.

CHEEKS

Symptoms

Spots, redness, broken capillaries or rashes.

Face diagnosis

Lung or bronchial imbalance; allergies.

Lifestyle solutions

Keep your environment well ventilated and take walks in the fresh air. Breathe deeply and slowly and get things off your chest – speak up if something is bothering you.

Reduce your intake of dairy, processed flour and tropical fruits and increase your intake of rice and hard leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, watercress and parsley. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods.

Beauty solutions

Redness and rashes on the cheeks may be a sign of allergies or rosacea. Use a moisturiser with calming ingredients, such as oatmeal, or make an oatmeal face mask yourself. A dermatologist may prescribe hydrocortisone cream. For a temporary fix, use a slightly green-toned primer (to tone down the redness) followed by a mineral foundation powder, which contains inert ingredients so it won’t irritate sensitive skin.

Clinique’s Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream is a soothing moisturiser. Dermalogica’s Clinical Colloidal Oatmeal Masque can be used weekly to reduce symptoms. Revlon’s ColorStay Mineral Foundation offers quick coverage.

LIPS

Symptoms

Dry, cracked or puffy lips or purple lower lip.

Face diagnosis

Colon imbalance.

Lifestyle solutions

Eat slowly, chewing your food properly. Cut down on raw fruits, nuts and muesli, which may tax the digestive system. Avoid yeast products. Increase your intake of rice, especially brown, and root vegetables such as carrot, parsnip and turnip.

Beauty solutions

Moisturise your lips with a gentle lip balm and then create a barrier to keep the moisture in. Avoid overly salty or acidic foods that can irritate the lips’ delicate skin.

La Prairie’s Cellular Lip Renewal Concentrate is arguably the Rolls-Royce of lip treatments. It gently exfoliates and hydrates. Use it overnight for intensive treatment. For everyday care, try Avène’s Cold Cream Lip Balm or Clear Advance Lip Balm by Blistex – both create a barrier to prevent moisture loss.

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Acupuncture the non-surgical face-lift

Facial acupuncture treatment, dubbed “non-surgical face-lift” has grown in popularity over the past few years.

“Ten years ago, the alternative was Botox, fillers and all that stuff. Now, 10 years after, people are looking for alternatives to Botox and fillers. This is the only treatment that would be as effective,” said Shali Rassouli, a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and a specialist in cosmetic acupuncture.

Rassouli, the first acupuncturist to practice the technique in Canada, charges $125 per one-hour session for the treatment, which usually requires 10 to 12 visits.

Rassouli has trained more than 500 others practitioners from Canada, the United States, and Australia since 2000.

Acupuncture, which has been used for more than 2000 years, involves stimulating certain points on the body, known as “qi” with needles, heat, pressure.

According to Rassouli, who may insert between 25 and 75 needles on the face increase the circulation and stimulate collagen production, which fills in wrinkles, tightens sagging skin and eyelids and brightens a dull complexion.

Rassouli also uses acupuncture to treat cellulite.

“Why choose this over Botox? It’s a worry-free treatment. There are no side effects. And you’re doing something beneficial internally too,” she said, noting that pressure points on the face effect other parts of the body such as the kidney and spleen.

A 1996 report in the journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported a 90 per cent effective rate among 300 people treated with cosmetic acupuncture. But the Western medical journals have not yet reviewed the research and many Western doctors remain skeptical.

Michael McGuire, a plastic surgeon based in Santa Monica, California and vice president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said cosmetic acupuncture may show results on a short-term basis.

“I would say that there conceptually could be benefits from acupuncture in causing people to relax, or if they have pain, it might be effective in reducing painful stimuli, both of which would improve their appearance, simply by causing them to relax,” he said.

“Relaxing obviously decreases frowning. It decreases scowling. It decreases squinting. And those are all line-producing activities that people do better without.”

But McGuire said he disagreed with claims that acupuncture actually increases the body’s collagen production, which can make skin fuller, more elastic and younger looking.

“People think of making more collagen sounds like a good thing that’s going to prevent ageing, but that’s not really the case,” he said. “It’s not the normal collagen that’s being created. It’s scar collagen.”

More than 8 million Americans use acupuncture for different ailments, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more in Canada rely on a variety of alternative health treatments to supplement their health care.

Reuters Life

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