Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adzuki (Azuki) Beans Exfoliator Review and Tragic Tale

For those of you who have read any of my skincare posts, you know that my skin and I don't always get along (understatement!).  In spite of its tendency to break out at the slightest anything, I have continued my dogged pursuit of diy skincare treatments in an effort to tame it without harsh chemicals.  I've had some successes (honey, sea salt, yogurt masks), and some failures (cucumber toner, green tea [which, in spite of my excitement at the time, has since broken me out]).  None of my reactions, good or bad, have been nearly so impressively epic as the effect adzuki beans had.  Brace yourselves.
raw adzuki beans, image from here

I'd read on a skincare forum at some point that adzuki beans, used in red bean paste, make a great exfoliator.  Just grind them up in a coffee grinder, mix with some water, and rub onto face.  They're really cheap; about a cup cost me $0.50 from Capella, the local health foods store.  What's the worst that could happen?, I thought to myself.  If only I'd known.

I ground a small handful of the beans in our coffee grinder (used now primarily for oatmeal for yogurt masks), mixed in some water, and scrubbied my face.  Scrub scrub scrub.  The beans weren't too abrasive or hard, which was nice, and they rinsed off relatively easily.  I dried off my face and went off to move some laundry from the washer to the dryer.  I sneezed, but thought nothing of it, and spread some yogurt and oatmeal on my face as a mask to help soothe any irritation from the exfoliation.  Then I sneezed again, and again, and a few more times for good measure.  I figured I'd just inhaled some bean powder, and that those lovely sneezes would get rid of it.  I sat down in my favorite brown chair to watch some tv (without my glasses, so really, it was more like "listen to some tv") with my mother.  I sneezed some more.  She asked me if I could please stop, so I did my best.

And started wheezing instead.  Now, I have asthma, but not badly; it pretty much only comes out when I've been exercising (because of health problems, that's an extremely rare occurrence) and when my hayfever's really bad.  Apparently, though, my asthma decided that the adzuki beans were an occasion worth attending.  So I sat in my chair, face covered in goopy yogurt-oatmeal paste, sneezing and sniffling and wheezing my way through NCIS.  My mother asked if I didn't maybe think it might be time to take off the beans, only to be surprised to learn that I am not a complete idiot/masochist, and that this array of reactions was thanks to something I'd rinsed off a good 20 minutes prior.  Eventually my lungs and the adzuki bean particles or whatever the hell was leftover called a truce, and I stopped excreting phlegm and snot (such beautiful imagery, I know).

The lesson here?  Well, one is that I'm apparently allergic to adzuki beans.  The other is that I now appreciate my body's usual reaction to irritants––sure, blemishes are a pain and the bane of my existence, but at least they don't make me sound like Darth Vader.

Have you tried adzuki beans?  Are there any ingredients you're violently allergic to?  Do tell!
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