Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's Talk About Skincare, Part 2- The Extras

Sorry for the delay in getting this second post up. It's been a challenging week, but I'm back and ready to talk about skincare!

This is Part 2-"The Extras". I'll be talking about the "extras" I use to treat problem areas and breakouts. I'll also tell you about the "big gun" products and treatments that I have tried.

The Extras

  • Bio-Oil: I've been using this for about 4 years now. I dab this on dry spots or post breakout marks. I have some on my night stand for my hands and cuticles. Love this stuff! It's also good for stretch marks and for pregnant tummies.

  Bio-Oil Scar Treatment, 2 fl oz
  • Boscia Luminizing Black Mask- I use this mask once or twice a week on my face, neck, and chest. Like many other reviewers have said, "It's like a big Biore strip for your face."  Be careful and don't get this on your eyebrows or too close to your hairline. If you do, then you can easily have a hair removal session. "Kelly Clarkson!!!"
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
  • Ole Henriksen "Truth is in the Eyes" Eye Peel- Yes, you read that right, "eye peel". This is a mild eye treatment with glycolic and lactic acid. I've read many times that no amount of moisture will improve dark circles and deeper lines around the eyes. Supposedly, you have to thicken the collagen to reduce the appearance of dark circles and lines. Retinoids and acids are proven to thicken collagen if used consistently. 
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I use this in the morning and night. The directions say to use it at night, but I do both.

  • Hydrocortisone and Bandaids- I use these for unexpected breakouts. You know those big, honkin' chin pimples? My former dermatologist told me about doing this. I have gone in before to have a cystic pimple injected with hydrocortisone. It hurts like a mother trucker. Sore pimple and a needle jammed in it.....good times I'm telling ya. But it really is a miracle worker when it comes to big event/monster pimple combo we all have had. Here's what you do at bedtime: wash your face with a mild cleanser, pat dry, and squirt a pea-sized amount of hydrocortisone cream onto your finger. Apply to the breakout and cover with a bandaid. Leave on all night. It really does help reduce the swelling and redness. 
  • Neosporin and Bandaid- If you're a skin picker, I recommend using this after you've done your damage. Use it the same as the hydrocortisone/bandaid combo. Neosporin will kill the bacteria on the surface of the open pimple. 
  • Visine eye drops- Good old Visine. It's not just for your eyes. Get the basic formula, not the allergy AC or whatever it's called.  Put a few drops on a cotton swab and hold on a pimple for 30 seconds to a minute. It helps reduce swelling and redness.
  • Peter Thomas Roth "Unwrinkle Peel Pads"- I use these a few times a week at night before applying Retin-A. WARNING: Don't do this if you have not consistently used acids and retinoids. I've used strong products for 20 years. My skin is very accustomed to these type products.  Oftentimes, before a laser treatment or peel, estheticians and/or plastic surgeons will have you "prep" your skin with retinoids or acids. An esthetician told me that she preps her skin with a mild acid before using her nightly Retin-A. She said it improves the efficacy of Retin-A by sloughing off old skin cells and provides an even surface for the retinoid to work. 
Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads
You wash your face, wipe your face and neck with the pad, leave on a few minutes, and rinse. I pat my face dry, then brush my teeth, etc. before applying Retin-A Micro. 

Stay tuned for Part 3- "The Quirky". You get to find out about how I wear some SEXXAH Scar Sheets on my face to bed. HA!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Let's Talk About Skincare (Part 1)

    The Basics

    A little history behind my obsession with skincare:

    My skin is oily and I've had issues with breakouts since I was 13. My teenage years were spent using tubes of "Oxy" 10% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment. That's all that was on the market when the dinosaurs ruled the earth at that time. Little did I know....I am very sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, and it can actually make my break outs worse. 

    As a teenager, I'd spend my summers tanning to "dry out" the pimples. In the winter, I'd pack on more makeup than Christina Aguilera to cover up the massive breakouts. Sounds sexxah, huh?

    I found a wonderful dermatologist in my early 20s that educated me about acne and how it's related to hormones, cell turnover, and even diet. He also encouraged me to start an anti-aging regime, even though I wasn't "old". 

    I won't go into all the acne meds I've taken through the years, but I will say that I've used some form of retinoid (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, etc.) for 20 years now. If you have the time, do a little research on retinoids and their ability to build collagen. Prescription strength retinoids are truly the gold standard in anti-aging.

    If you  haven't started snoring yet have read this far, 
    here's "The Basics of my skincare routine:

    • Cleanser:  Clarisonic Brush with Johnson's Baby Shampoo. I started using baby shampoo on my face after I asked a ageless and gorgeous 60-year-old woman what products she used. She told me she'd been using baby shampoo on her skin for 40 years. SOLD. I alternate using Johnson's with MD Forte Facial Cleanser. This stuff is strong. It's 20% glycolic compound, so you have to work up to it. I put it on my dry skin, let sit for a minute or so, then add water and cleanse. 
    • Serum:  Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Broad Spectrum Treatment. I could talk about free radicals all day, but I won't bore you. This serum compound contains vitamin C and phloretin and has changed my skin tone dramatically. It's not cheap, but my bottle has lasted almost a year.
    • Treatment: Dermaquest Skin Therapy Peptide Mobilizer . Also pricey, but you can find coupons online all the time or even try eBay. My esthetician told me about this product. They don't even sell it at the salon, so I know her endorsement was not sales-based. I've read a lot about the use of peptides in tissue regeneration and its ability to reverse sun damage and aging. I rotate this treatment with MD Forte Facial Lotion III (30% glycolic acid).
    • Protect: John Masters Organics SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen . I recently started using this sunscreen because it contains no dimethicone or parabens. So far I like it pretty well. It does feel and look like sunscreen when you first put it on, but it absorbs pretty quickly. My choice in the summer is Neutrogena-Spectrum + Advanced Sunblock Lotion SPF 100 +. You can tell by the "100+", mama don't mess around.
    • Cleanser: Lazy nights- Neutrogena Make-up Cleansing Towelettes Refill. If I'm too tired to do the whole skincare routine, I use these wipes. These wipes don't burn my eyes, and they thoroughly remove all my makeup. Don't buy the ones in the box. They're more expensive, and yeah, they're more expensive.                                                                             Non-lazy nights- University Medical Acne-Free Oil Free Purifying Cleanser on the Clarisonic brush. I can't tolerate benzoyl peroxide lotion on my skin, but do really well with this cleanser. I tried Proactive products in the past, and didn't like them at all. This cleanser keeps my pores clean and isn't irritating.
    • Treatment: I alternate 2 products at night. There's no rhyme or reason. I usually use what's in close proximity.  Most often I use Retin-A Micro pump in 0.1%. As you may know, this is available by prescription only.  The second treatment I use is also doctor prescribed--Evoclin foam. This is a topical antibiotic (clindamycin) that I've had success with in the past year. 
    There you have basic skincare routine. It may seem a little complicated, but essentially it involves cleansing plus 3 quick products in the morning, and cleansing plus 1 product at night. For only a few minutes 2x a day, you can make a big difference in your skin.  

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Let's Talk About Skincare

    I've had a few of you "youngins" ask me about my skincare program and what supplements I take. I did a post in the past about my skincare products, but I've changed it up since then. I think it's important to periodically make changes to your skincare routine. I have some "tried and true" Holy Grail items that I'll never give up, but if I start having breakouts, you better believe I'm going to pull out the big guns.

    So first, let me preach a little. No amount of products, peels, supplements, or jugs of water are going to give you changes in your skin if you tan or smoke. Those two habits are going to age you faster than anything, and it's often irreversible. 

    Friends, you have to stay out of the tanning beds and sun! I cringe when I see a beautiful 20-year-old fried to a crisp, all red-faced with legs as dark as cedar siding. Throw in some "weekend" smoking, and you'll have this.

    END. OF. RANT.

    **Disclaimer: By no means do I consider myself a skincare expert. My skin is NO WHERE near perfect. I still battle with acne. UGH. My suggestions are based on what has worked for me through the years.

    I'll divide my skincare routine into 4 posts:
    1. The Basics:  This includes what I consider to be the "basics" of skincare. I'll discuss my choice of cleansers, serums, sunscreen, etc.
    2. The Extras:  This will include what I use to treat breakouts and problem areas. I'll also talk about the "big guns" of skincare.
    3. The Quirky:  You may say "What the Helena?" when I tell you some of the crazy things I use and do for the sake of anti-aging and acne control.
    4. Supplements and Food:  I'll share with you what supplements I regularly take, along with foods that have improved my skin. 
    Check back tomorrow for my suggestions!

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Enter Shasta's Giveaway

    My dear friend Shasta is having a bombdiggity giveaway! It's for a $100 Forever 21 cash card AND a $100 Exxon cash card! Um, hello. With rising gas prices, who doesn't need a cash card for gas?

    Here is how you enter:

    1.  Follow Shasta's blog.  You must follow to win!  Comment in the comment section for one entry.

    2.  Tweet about her giveaway and then post the link for two entries.  Please leave the comment twice so that all of your entries get counted.

    3.  Blog about this giveaway for four entries.  Please leave a link in the comment section four times so that all of your entries get counted.

    The winner will be chosen on Friday, April 15th.