Skin

If someone told me I would start getting zits again as I sauntered into middle age I would have punched them in the face. And then fainted. Because it’s not bad enough that my hair is getting really wimpy and my metabolism has come to a screeching halt. Now I’m getting pimples again like I’m 16 years old. What the heck, body? Why are you doing this to me???

But I have good company because both my teenage sons are breaking out too. I’ve only got chin zits now and again but they definitely need some help, skin-wise. So I did what I do anytime I think there must be a product to cure my ills: hop over to Amazon! Sho’ nuff, I found something magical.  This stuff:

Gel peel

It’s Perfect Image’s Salicylic Acid Gel Peel. It eats pimples. I’ve had professional chemical peels many a time and I’m a huge fan. This is a similar kind of thing but it doesn’t make my skin peel like the professional ones. It does get rid of zits, though. Totally. I use this once a week and I have not had one single pimple since then. I’m not exaggerating. No zits whatsoever.  Just wipe this on with a cotton ball, let it sit for between 45 seconds to 2 minutes and then rinse it off very thoroughly. Easy peasy.

Just a warning: it burns like a mother. The first time you use this you will barely be able to handle 30 seconds. Each week I upped the time until I got to about two minutes. That’s my limit.

After I use the gel peel my skin is super dry so I slather on some of my extra-luxuriant homemade moisturizer. The chemical peel makes skin more sensitive to the sun, so products with an SPF are a must! The rest of the week I use this Roc Retinol Correxion moisturizer which my dry skin just drinks up.  It’s quite heavy but since I have dry skin, it works for me. Sometimes I get this on Amazon but I can usually find it cheaper at Costco.

Roc moisturizer

(Yes, I use a product that is designed for “deep wrinkles”. Let’s just gloss over that little detail, mm-kay?) This moisturizer has got a big fat SPF 30 and you’d better believe you need that every single day. Especially if you live someplace sunny. If you have greasy skin this isn’t the product for you, but if you’re on the dry side, this Roc moisturizer is great.

Truthfully my sons haven’t had as good of results with the chemical peel as I have. Their zits are of the angry teenage sort and they’re hard to stop. The gel peel has reduced their break-outs by about 50%, I’d say.  I’ve given them a face wash that has also helped. Because Finn has dry skin he uses a moisturizer too.

They’ve had good luck with this cleanser
Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 11.58.18 AM

And this mositurizer:
Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.05.21 PM

The good news is that we’re a lot less zitty than we used to be a couple of months ago. I think you’ll agree that nothing is as big a drag as having a big fat pimple on your face.

 

P.S. Okay, yes, there are things that are a lot more of a drag than a big zit. No need to give me a laundry list of what a drag it is to be missing an arm or whatever.

P.P.S. I bought all these products with my very own money. Well, my husband’s money if you want to be technical. But I do receive a small pittance if you buy any of these products through my links. Which you should definitely do because I try to do right by you guys. And these products are legit.

 

I know you’re expecting me to tell you about that mascara or lipstick that you simply must have. Here’s the absolute most important thing you need:

Sunscreen

Yep. Every single day. Winter, summer, even if you live in Oregon and the sun hasn’t come out in days. If you can see without a flashlight, your skin is getting bombarded with UV rays. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this truck driver who spent decades with only one side of his face exposed to the sun. And this is through a window! It’s not even full-on sun exposure!

If you’re under 30 you may think, “meh, I’ll worry about my skin when I’m older.” No, no, no, no, no. If you worry about your skin now, you’ll thank yourself each and every day.

You’re never too old to start wearing sunscreen. Take it from someone who is 41 and has no wrinkles. I wear sunscreen (both in my lotion–28 SPF–and in my foundation–15 SPF) and moisturize ever single day.

If you’re one of those people who insists they look so much better tan, yes. Yes, I’m sure you do. We all look better tan. But when you get tan you’re choosing wrinkles. It’s as simple as that. So if you’re OK with that then tan away.

You’ll never meet a 50 year old who wished she laid out a lot more as a teenager. But you’ll meet a ton of 50-year-olds who wished they took better care of their skin. I’m just telling you what you already know, right? So do it. Buy some skincare products with sunscreen. You can thank me in ten years.

Whether you wear makeup every single day of your life or wear it just for special occasions, there is something that you need to be doing on a very regular basis: exfoliating.  As I’m sure you remember from 8th grade biology, your body sloughs it’s skin all the time. Sometimes the skin falls off (hello dust!) and sometimes it sticks around. I’m sure you can imagine how unattractive it would be to have makeup, especially foundation, clinging to your dead bits of skin. Not pretty.

We all want perfect, smooth skin. Exfoliating gets you one big step closer to that. Have you ever seen someone whose foundation just looks so . . . obvious? A lot of the time it’s because they’ve got their makeup spread over rough, dry, dead skin. Sounds pleasant, no?

So how are you going to exfoliate and get rid of all this dead skin? There are some really fancy long, term solutions like chemical peels (which I love!) and microdermabrasion. But those are costly and not a day-to-day solution. Some people swear by swirly battery-powered brushes that cost upwards of a $100. Uh, no thanks.  Instead I’d like to recommend facial scrubs that have lots of scrubby ingredients like seeds or ground nuts. My favorite is the Citrus Facial Scrub by Burts Bees. It’s about $7 and I get it at Target. It’s made of natural goodies and smells like actual dried oranges and spice, not like fake-scented orange cleaner. It comes out of the jar very dry so it needs to be mixed with a bit of water to form a paste. Unlike other scrubs Burts Bees leaves behind a nice bit of moisture. Your face won’t feel parched and dry when it’s rinsed off.  This product can be a little on the messy side so I only use it in the shower. It really leaves my skin looking glowy and smooth.

Everyone’s skin is different so you’ll have to figure out how often you need it. At the bare minimum you ought to exfoliate once a week. Pay special attention to your nose and cheeks. This seems to be the area where dead skin seems to stick around the most.

No matter how young or old you are, exfoliating will help your skin look as fabulous as possible.

 

 

* I received no compensation for this review. I bought this scrub with my very own money and wanted to tell you how much I like it.

Today we’re going to talk about makeup primer. For a lot of you the response will be “say what?”. Primer is one of my favorite products; the whole point of it is to make your skin perfect for applying makeup. It goes on after your moisturizer/sunscreen (you’d better be wearing something with sunscreen in it or else I’m going to spank you!). It’s made out of who-knows-what but it glides on and makes your skin feel like velvet. Seriously, I could sit and pet my face for hours after I put this on. But instead I put on my foundation. Or if I’m having a less-is-more makeup day, I put on my blush, concealer and powder over the top. Either way, it helps the makeup do its job better by keeping your face smooth and silky-looking. It also helps the makeup stay in place and not look too shiny. If you live in a hot sweaty climate, it’s a must in the summertime. Especially since it’s oil-free.

Another great benefit of primer is that it sinks down into any fine lines you have, making you look a little less wrinkly. Perfect for light lines like crows feet. It also works well on big pores.

My favorite brand is by Smashbox. It’s called Photo Primer and the product I like best is the basic clear primer. (There are tinted ones as well, but I don’t like to mess with colors; I’d rather use my makeup to color-correct.) It’s not cheap ($36.00 for one ounce) but it lasts a long time. Sadly this is kind of an upscale item and the drugstore brands haven’t really jumped on the bandwagon yet. But they will! This is such a great product that it’s only a matter of time.

If you want skin that stays dewy and radiant looking all day and keeps your makeup in place, this is the thing for you. If you want to try it out first and make sure it’s something that you like, try buying a sample tube of it on ebay. Sephora sells it too and you might be able to snag some samples there.

It’s time we sat down and had a chat. You know you’re not getting any younger, right? Even if you’re 22, you know your lovely, wrinkle-free skin won’t last forever.  The older you get, the more important nice skin becomes. So here’s what you need to do: Stay out of the sun. I know, I know; you look gross and pasty if you don’t have a tan. I get it. But this is the thing: a tan lasts for what– a few days? But the damage of being out in the sun lasts forever. Forever. You can’t undo the damage. It’s not like a pair of lungs that somehow regenerate themselves once a person stops smoking. Forget what the ads say, you can’t turn back the clock. If you could everyone would look 28.

It’s sad to consider all the damage we girls of the 80′s did in the quest for bronze-goddess status. But nowadays pale skin is where it’s at. You can be pale and still be accepted socially!  Look at all the actresses! They are pale. So accept your future; it’s either tan and wrinkly or pale and less wrinkly. There is no possibility of being tan and having gorgeous skin until you’re fifty. It is simply impossible. Impossible.

Most of the skin products I use are homemade, but my daytime moisturizer is something I don’t mess around with. Why? I need serious SPF and so do you. Adding SPF to handmade products is a tricky business and I don’t want to end up making a product that hurts, rather than helps, my skin.

There are a jillion creams and lotions out there for you to chose from. I stick to the drugstore products because they are cheap and work perfectly well. If buying something that costs $50 makes you feel better about yourself, be my guest.  But there are lots of cheapo products that work really nicely.  This is my favorite. It’s by Garnier and moisturizes my dry skin without making it greasy, and it looks nice under my makeup. It has a nice fat SPF of 28.  You shouldn’t be putting anything on your face with an SPF less than 25.

favorite daytime moisturizer

Garnier Skin Renew costs about $12 and can be purchased at any drug store/Target, etc.

Again, my skin is dry and not at all sensitive. If your skin is oily or easy irritated, you might need to try some other options. Garnier Skin Renew might work for you or it might not. Either way make sure you get something with a nice high SPF. Promise?

 

I was not paid by anybody to hype this product. I just like it.

Today is Makeup Monday and although I call it that, it’s really about more than just cosmetics. Anything having to do with the face or skin is fair game.  Today we’ll be discussing that gross, bumpy, red skin that shows up on the backs of your arms (or even on your legs, hips or bum). I always figured this skin condition was something that happened to everyone as they got older. It happened to me, although I’m not really sure when I first noticed it—maybe sometime in my early thirties.  But I’ve talked to several people who don’t have it (lucky!). I’ve also found out that it can actually be caused by a medical condition called Keratosis Pilaris. (That sounds like some sort of fancy new workout.)

I’m rather passionate about skin care and have tried all sorts of methods to get rid of my scaly, red chicken skin. I have used every exfoliation product sold at the store and still it’s persisted.

Until now.

My red bumps are gone. Completely gone. It took about two weeks.

This is how I got rid of them: (People are always asking me for lots of details when I do a skin “how-to” so this will be very descriptive.)

1. Exfoliate in the shower every day. You can use whatever method you prefer. I have a loofah that I use sometimes. But I also use an Apricot Scrub by St. Ives. This is a really unique body scrub because it isn’t oily. Most scrubs are full of oil so they will moisturize as well as exfoliate. But we don’t need to be coated with oil at this point. So stick with the St. Ives if you plan on using a body scrub (it’s also perfect for exfoliating before a spray tan). It’s cheap and can be found in just about any drug or grocery store. But any product that really gives your skin a good scrubbing will be fine.  Exfoliation alone is not enough, though.


2. Moisturize. I stumbled across a fantastic product a while ago called Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion. It is pretty strange stuff. After you’ve cleaned yourself off in the shower, you slather this Olay lotion on and then rinse it off. Yes, you rinse it off. So bizarre. But it is wonderful. It will leave your skin so moist and soft. And it has a little sparkle to it. Who doesn’t want to be sparkly? (Okay, maybe not men. But Mister uses it and you definitely cannot see the sparkle through his arm hair.) It has  a pleasant scent (not my fave but it’s OK. The scent doesn’t last long anyway).  Occasionally I can find this at Target (you know I don’t shop at the Walmarts on principle so I can’t tell you if they sell it there) but sometimes I have to get it here on Amazon where it’s about $8 for a pretty big bottle. It’s easy to spot because it has a large hole at the top of the bottle to hang in your shower (nifty little touch). You don’t have to use this moisturizer, but I love it and it’s super convenient to apply lotion head to toe and be done in 30 seconds. If you don’t want to use this, then go straight to step three.

3. After I get out of the shower and do my hair, my lotion has absorbed pretty well so I apply my third—and most important—product: Glytone Body Lotion which you can buy here. I found this on Amazon and it’s been a game-changer.  This lotion is over 17% Alpha Hydroxy Acid. So basically, it’s going to sizzle off those bumps and keep new ones from forming.  Glytone is pretty spendy (about $30 for an 8 ounce bottle) but I only apply it to the areas that need it so I imagine it’s going to last quite a while.  Glytone needs to be applied twice a day, so I use it in the morning after my shower like I said, then in the evening after I get undressed. That way it can sit on my body all night long.

I’ve been completely amazed at my arms; they are silky, clear and baby soft. It took me about two weeks to get them looking good, but other people that have used Glytone say it can take up to 3-4 weeks.  If you’re going to be wearing anything revealing for the holidays, now is the time to get your skin in tip-top shape.

 

I was not compensated for any of these products. I bought them, tried them and liked them all on my own.

Hey lookie! Makeup Monday is back! It’s not just about makeup, despite its name. It’s about beauty, and products I like, and maybe even a tutorial or two. After all, I want you readers to be even better looking than you already are! Well, actually, you can be hideous if you want. It’s not really my business. But I’m here to help you look ravishing if you’d like to. And before we even think about makeup we need to think about skin. It’s your blank canvas. Your makeup can be absolutely perfect, but if your skin is no good then it hardly matters.

I am 40 and my skin still looks pretty darn good. I get compliments on it almost every day. Part of it is genetics, part of it is staying out of the sun, but a large part of it is due to two products: olive squalane and shea butter. I make my own soap (soap being nothing more than a combination of water, lye and oils). While I think soap is sort of important, it’s washed off every time it’s used. But moisturizers stick around. To me moisturizing is where it’s at. I love the idea of using completely natural products on my skin. Because of my soapmaking, I have many, many oils and butters on hand. I have tried everything to see what works.

I have dry skin that has only gotten dryer as I’ve aged. Dry skin looks tired and lackluster. So I was thrilled to find my first product: Olive squalane. Squalanes are produced by the skin and are basically fats pumped with antioxidents. They are what gives a child that radiant, glowing complexion. But our bodies slow down squalane production in our early 20′s. After than we’re left with skin that gets wrinklier every year. Excuse me while I sob about that for a minute.  But lo, here is squalane in a bottle! It is wonderful! Seriously, it is light and quickly-absorbed by the skin. I apply a few drops to my face, neck and hands every night after I wash my face. When it’s dry weather I’ll also put some on before I apply my moisturizer with SPF.

The thought of putting oil on my face freaked me out a little the first time I tried it. I mean, I spent my entire adolescence getting rid of oil! But this isn’t heavy and won’t clog pores. It’s nickname is “A facelift in a bottle”. While I think that might be pushing it, olive squalane is fantastic stuff; my skin glows. It is soft and moist and healthy-looking. It will forever be my favorite facial product.

My second favorite product is shea butter. I make a salve that has several ingredients but the backbone is pure shea butter. I’ve used it by itself for quite a while and it’s great stuff. When I was about 35 I started getting dry, scaly skin under my eyes. The skin in that area is very delicate and I had an impossible time trying to get rid of the dry cracks.  I even tried chemical peels which worked for a couple of weeks but never cured the problem.  One night as I was going through my soapmaking supplies I came across my container of shea butter. I though, “what the heck?” and rubbed a bit under my eyes. By the morning the dry skin was gone and has never come back.

Shea butter is very heavy and greasy. I only put it under my eyes and around the mouth on my smile lines. It’s incredibly gentle and has never irritated my eyes. It is also great to put on lips or on chapped baby cheeks. If you live in a dry or cold climate, you need this stuff!

Olive squalane and shea butter are specialty ingredients that can be hard to find locally. I get mine from Texas Natural Supply. They are here in Austin but are exclusively a mail order company. I have been thrilled with the quality of their products. Their prices are very good too (although shipping is not cheap. But in the end these products are not going to be any more expensive than nice drugstore moisturizers). You can find olive squalane here and shea butter here.

Central Texas has quite the infestation of mosquitoes this year. We had a very wet spring and now we are celebrating buy buying lots of cans of insect repellant. We have the typical dusk-loving mosquitoes, but this year there seems to be a brazen new strain of bugs that come out during the day. It’s kind of like those campy old vampire movies where suddenly the vampires become immune to sunlight. It changes everything. This year I can’t sit out by the pool without getting eaten alive. Even in the middle of the afternoon. Mosqitoes, what is going on? Whence the superhuman strength?

The upshot is that I have bug bites all over me. I hear every adult voice in my head telling me not to scratch. But one day I just though, “Who cares? Why shouldn’t I scratch? Scratching just means they’ll stop itching sooner.” Which is true. I congratulated myself on going against the flow and feeling free enough to scratch as I pleased. But now there is a big problem; I have gross scabs and scars from scabs. Especially on my legs.

They look horrid.

And no amount of fake tanner can camouflage a scab.

Maybe all those voices telling me not to scratch knew what they were talking about. Darn. I hate when those voices are right.

Target never ceases to wow me.  Last night as York and I were shopping for supplies for his art class I came across the new skincare line from Boots.  Not only is it so darling, but the lip stuff is actually called Lip Salve.  This is what I have always called Chapstick, Carmex, et al.  I don’t know why. I think I just like the word “salve”.  

I feel so validated.

I will not, however, be buying any Boots products, cute as they may be.  You know I make my own line of skincare, so why would I?

Aaah, the hubris

August 24, 2008 · 6 comments

in Skin, Yuck

You know how I mentioned a few days ago that I have such wonderful skin?  Well, due to my bragging I am developing what will surely be one of the decade’s largest zits (everything is bigger in Texas!)  It is still in the subterranean stage, but I can feel it growing in strength and power.  It should burst forth in all its nasty glory in a few days.  My pale skin only accentuates the redness, so I will appear to have a large neon light on my chin.  If you happen to see me, please avert your eyes.  Many thanks.