Fall is the time of year dryer skin and more apparent facial lines annoy many women. Besides using skin care products, it is actually more important to moisturize the skin from the inside out, according to Erlene Chiang, Ph.D. in traditional Chinese medicine.
"Skin care is more than skin deep," said Chiang in Mandarin to a group of Chinese American women at a seminar presented by the Cupertino-based Women's Workshop in Sunnyvale on Friday.
Based on a Chinese medical theory, Chiang said the skin is controlled by the lungs through meridians (the paths energy takes to circulate the body). So, when dry autumn air enters the lungs, lung meridians will bring dryness to the skin.
While moisturizers cannot reach deep enough to treat the dryness from inside, certain foods which nourish the lungs will subsequently moisturize the skin, Chiang said.
Chiang explained that Chinese medicinal classics call white foods nurtrients for the lungs and lung meridians. The lung-nourishing, skin-moisturizing foods are therefore all white, including napa cabbage, button mushrooms, turnip, white gourd, peeled pears, dairy products, barley, lotus seeds, lily bulbs and tremella (Chinese name yin-erl 銀耳, a flowerlike genus of fungi).
Chiang advised the audience to soak and boil lotus seeds, lily bulbs and tremella (all of which are available in pre-packed dried form at local Chinese markets) on low heat for hours until they melt into a pudding. For health benefits she suggested sweetening the pudding with fresh papaya, dried fruit or honey instead of sugar.
Chiang also recommended making dessert with barley and azuki beans (available in prepacked dried form at local Chinese markets). Although azuki beans are dark red, not a white food, they contain high iron to nourish the blood. Chiang said making up for the loss of blood due to menstruation is essential to get a desired rosy complexion.
In addition, Chiang talked about acne, which tends to flare up in dry weather. Chiang said it must start from the liver to correct the hormonal imbalance that causes acne. She named some Chinese liver tonics including mung bean soup and chrysanthemum tea.
Chiang's solutions for acne pleased Cupertino resident Melody Chen in the audience.
Chen said her 16-year-old daughter has serious acne breakouts, and now she knows how to solve the problem.
"I'll tell her to drink chrysanthemum tea," said Chen with a smile.
When Chen left at the end of the lecture, many of the other audience members surrounded Chiang to ask questions. Elaine Han, founder of Women's Workshop, looked on.
"It's women's nature to care about beauty," said Han. "Our skin care seminars are always popular. We used to just get beauticians to talk. This time I decided to try a different angle. It works really well."
Han added that Women's Workshop also organizes seminars on cooking, tax preparation, and other topics of female interest.
To inquire about future seminars of Women's Workshop, email email@example.com.