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M BEAUTY: Face the elements; With Chinese therapies in back in vogue, experts say they can determine skin problems by the element that your date of birth signifies. Here's our oriental guide to a clear complexion.

Byline: EMMA BANNISTER

Thanks mainly to Kate Winslet, a diagnostic technique only a few people had heard of three months ago is now being mentioned alongside that other celebrity favourite, yoga.

Chinese Facial Diagnosis is said to be behind a series of stunning celebrity weight losses, including Kate's. But it can also be used as a beauty tool.

It works a bit like reflexology, only it's the face, not the soles of the feet, that are the map.

Basically, the face is divided into various specific areas, each of which relates to different internal organs.

Depending on how the skin and underlying colouring appears, a trained therapist can assess how well different parts of your system work.

Clays, masks and pills (which are all high in essential oils) are then prescribed to treat the skin.

The Chinese system also uses your year of birth to diagnose and treat internal problems.

According to experts, your birth date is tied to an elemental sign - it could be metal, wood, fire, earth or water - and each one can make you more or less prone to certain symptoms and problems.

Tracey Smith is responsible for bringing the beauty side of Chinese Facial Diagnosis to this country with a range of products called La Phyto. And she's said to be so good at reading the visual clues on your face that she can usually guess which sign you are.

We asked her to give us a break-down of the skin types associated with each sign. We then selected some of the best products available so you can create your own specific treatment. Simply pinpoint your birth year below and read on...

METAL- Premature ageing

- Pale complexions

- Jowly

- Dry skin

- Strong line from nostrils to mouth

WOOD- Too much or too little oil

- Surface dehydration

- Premature ageing

FIRE- Poor circulation

- Red skin

- Broken capillaries

- Outbreaks of spots

- Very dry skin

EARTH- Prone to toxins

- Acne in teenage years

- Congested skin in thirties

- Dullish complexion

- Cellulite

WATER- Dry and devitalised skin

- Dark circles or puffiness under eyes

- Spots on the chin and jawline

METAL

February 5, 1962 to January 24, 1963

January 25, 1963 to February 12, 1964

February 6, 1970 to January 26, 1971

January 27, 1971 to January 15, 1972

Your character Metal people truly value their friends and families. Smell is also very important to you. You might have a stash of perfumes at home and the aroma of food always makes you hungry. Your worst habit is a tendency to dwell on the past.Skin diagnosis People of the metal sign tend to age prematurely and their complexions are quite pale. They also often get jowly. This can signify a blockage in the lungs when younger. They tend to have dry skin and will have quite a strong line from the nostrils to the mouth.Your prescription Clarins Extra-Firming-Age-Control Lip & Contour Care, pounds 22. Don't wait for signs of ageing to appear at this delicate area. The best way of countering them is to get into the habit of using a lip cream as you would an eye or hand cream. This skin type is also associated with coldness. Use La Phyto Climatelle Formule Cellular Renovator For Dehydrated Skin, pounds 9.99 (call 01823-400551) for stockists), after cleansing. This refined oil will warm the skin back up.

WOOD

January 16, 1972 to February 2, 1973

February 3, 1973 to January 22, 1974

February 16, 1980 to February 4, 1981

February 5, 1981 to January 24, 1982

Your character You have a lot of energy, are creative, intuitive and have a lot of ideas. But despite your high energy levels, having trouble getting out of bed is a typical wood trait. You either adore or detest taking part in sports. When rundown you can be moody, tense and irritable. You are also very observant.

Skin diagnosis Wood people tend to have too much or too little oil in their skin. When younger they may have too much, but ageing depletes the amount of moisture in their complexion which means it can show signs of surface dehydration and premature ageing.Your prescription La Phyto Facial Mask Of Green Clay And Plant Extracts, pounds 28.99 (call 01823-400551) for stockists), will rebalance the oil production in the skin. Use after cleansing once a week, or more if necessary. Creme De La Mer Oil Absorbing Tonic, pounds 45, keeps the skin's oil production at regular levels throughout the day without stripping it of moisture.

FIRE

February 13, 1964 to February 1, 1965

February 2, 1965 to January 20, 1966

February 7, 1978 to January 27, 1979

January 28, 1979 to February 15, 1980

Your character Fire people are very talkative and good communicators. You radiate warmth and energy and draw people to you. Love is a high priority and you often wear your heart on your sleeve. You are always very passionate about what you believe in.Skin diagnosis Fire people tend to be at extremes - either they have too much fire in their bodies or they can have poor circulation with very cold hands and feet. This can result in the skin being quite red, caused by broken capillaries. The skin can also be prone to spots or very dry, depending on how the heat is distributed throughout the body.Your prescription Comfort Zone Licorice Soothing Cream, pounds 29.30 (call 01984-623209 for stockists). The soothing properties of liquorice are incorporated into this cream, so if your fiery nature is too much for your skin to handle, slather it on. For outbreaks try Australian Bodycare Treatment Stick For Spot Prone Skin, pounds 3.99, (call 01892-750333) for stockists) with witch hazel, Vitamin E and tea-tree oil.

EARTH

January 28, 1960 to February 14, 1961

February 15, 1961 to February 4, 1962

January 30, 1968 to February 16, 1969

February 17, 1969 to February 5, 1970

January 31, 1976 to February 17, 1977

February 18, 1977 to February 6, 1978

Your character Earth people are organisers. You like things to be tidy and if someone puts something in the wrong place, you can't help but put it back. You tend to think too much about situations which can lead to headaches. You hold your emotions in your stomach, hence the skin complications.Skin diagnosis Earth people are prone to toxins. Very often they will have acne in their early years and congested skin into their thirties and forties. They tend to have dullish complexions and will suffer from cellulite.Your prescription Ketsugo, pounds 9.95 (call 01892-750333) for stockists), is a patented anti-acne cure developed by Japanese and Australian scientists. The magic ingredient Isolutrol came originally from shark oil but is now synthetically produced. Epure Gel Mousse Foaming Cleansing Gel, pounds 6.50, (call 020-7620 1771 for stockists) is a relatively new range of washes, creams and body products aimed at those who have congested, oil-prone skins. The mild formulations help rebalance the skin, returning it to normal functioning.

WATER

January 21, 1966 to February 8, 1967

February 9, 1967 to January 29, 1968

January 23, 1974 to February 10, 1975

February 11, 1975 to January 30, 1976

January 25, 1982 to February 12, 1983

February 13, 1983 to February 1, 1984

Your character You are a strong-willed, determined character, but a good listener. You may come across as confident, but this could be an illusion. You have a fear of inadequacy and failure and demand too much of yourself. Work is very important to you.Skin diagnosis Water people suffer from dry and devitalised skin, with dark circles or puffiness under the eyes. Because one of the energy meridians which may get blocked in this sign is the gynaecological system, you may have a tendency to spots on the chin and jaw area.Your prescription Eve Lom Cleansing Cream, pounds 39.50, is a unique cleanser full of essential oils, all of which help decongest and detoxify pent-up skin. A new ultra-mild generation of hydroxy acids are used in Exuviance Rejuvenating Treatment Masque, pounds 20, to lift dry skin cells and counter any lack of radiance (call 020-7636 0234 for stockists).

CAPTION(S):

Sharon Corr March 24 1970; Kate Moss Jan 16 1974; Courteney Cox June 15 1964; Meg Ryan Nov 19 1961; Nicole Kidman June 20 1967
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Title Annotation:M on Tuesday
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2001
Words:1382
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