Boring Face Care Stuff

orig. date: 11/10/14

Hello, Gentle Readers. I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. I am still without reliable internet service. But today, I have a gift for you. Well, at least it may seem like a gift for those of you who followed this blog for my few and far between contributions to health and beauty. Once again, let me preface this by saying no one is paying me to endorse anything or whatever (I’m not important enough to be paid to advertise anything. Haha) This is just a product I stumbled on my chance, tried, and loved. And the best part is, it’s cheap!

As some of you may remember, I have suffered from regular bouts of hormone-related acne, probably since I had my daughter some four years ago. Not just pimples, but big, nodular, cystic type pimples that start deep in my skin and hurt like hell. I have had little luck controlling these outbreaks, which are usually limited to one or two zits at a time, but underground zits that nonetheless cause swelling and redness (which I often exacerbate in my attempts to bring them to the surface) that sometimes make me feel like Quasimodo the way they distort my face. The red marks and often some of the hard clogged nodule remain under my skin even after the infection portion of the zit has gone. By the time one is fully healed, often weeks later, a new one is cropping up.

It seems like my best defense thus far has been very frequent exfoliation. I have a generic cleanser with very tiny, mild scrubbing do-hickies in it, and then I usually use a mud mask of some sort a few times a week, as well as to spot treat individual zits with the mud. (I usually try those little single sized packets at Walmart in the HBA section to try out different things.) The mud works to purify pores and draw nastiness to the surface. Recently, during yet another breakout, I decided to try one of the Freeman brand packets that had an activated charcoal and black sugar mix. Charcoal is well-known as a detoxifier, and although I was initially hesitant to put anything like that on my face, I gave in and tried it.

The first thing I noticed when I smeared on the grainy substance was it did not go on specifically even, being not smooth like mud, however if applied generously, coverage was adequate. The second thing I noticed, dear readers, was a pleasant warming sensation on my skin that could only be the result of some sort of chemical reaction. The smell was very pleasant, and I could taste sugar in the spots where the mask was close to my lips.

You leave the mask on for 5-7 minutes, and are supposed to then “scrub” it for one to two minutes. I find the sugar grains too large to be comfortable to scrub, and I have also read before that a substance that is too abrasive can actually cause more trouble for your skin. I prefer to let the mask gently rinse in the shower.

But afterward my skin feels heavenly smooth. I do a full mask once or twice a week, but sometimes I spot treat my “trouble spots,” my cheeks right beside my nose, my nose, and chin with a dab or two of the mask mix in between full masks. It’s been about a month since I started using this product, and it seems like I have noticed a decrease in the number and size of blemishes. Plus, I just love how it smells and makes my skin feel. My only gripe now is that I can’t find a full-sized bottle in the stores near me so far, and based on past experiences, I expect placing an order for a four dollar product online would yield ridiculous shipping charges on most websites. Luckily, I can get at least two uses even out of those little packets.

Anyway, even if you don’t have acne issues, I recommend trying this affordable skin care option. You may just get as hooked on it as I have.

Now, I have a little bonus for you. I also found a moisturizer I am pretty happy with. My skin can never seem to make up its mind. It’s what most people would call “combination” skin I guess. It looks tight and dull when it’s dry, but if I dare to moisturize too much it gets greasy.

Also, as some of you may be aware, even cosmetic companies that have built a loyal following of people who swear by their products, and companies who market supposed high-end or “healthier” products often have ingredients that are either comedogenic or harsh (like surfactants) and may even further damage skin in the long run (denatured alcohol.) I have made it my policy to always read the ingredients list.

Anyway, I digress, as usual. There is a line of products out now called “Simple (Sensitive Skin Experts.) I have already tried and really liked their toner (having read the ingredients to make sure there was no denatured alcohol in it. In case you may be wondering, Cetyl and Cetearyl alcohol are both okay.) It is mild but still refreshing and doesn’t seem to be over-drying. Recently I also picked up their “Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer.” I had just been contemplating ordering a gel moisturizer from Mary Kay (no small price tag there for a poor chick like me,) so when I came upon this in the store, I pounced on the opportunity to try a gel moisturizer for a decent price. I paid around ten dollars, give or take. I love this stuff. It doesn’t feel overly heavy, and it doesn’t deliver a huge moisture punch, but then again, I have the ability to layer it with my sunblock when I go out and it’s also light enough that I feel comfortable putting it on before bed and knowing I won’t be greasing up my pillow.

Well, before I sign off, I’d like to just mention once again, I am not a paid endorser of any of this stuff. I just like it, and hope maybe some of you may find it useful too. Neither do I have any special knowledge or education in cosmetics or skin care beyond my own personal research and experiences.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I have recently added Clindamycin (topical antibiotic) gel to my face care regimen. (Although previously it didn’t seem to do much good, I think maybe I didn’t use it religiously enough and decided to try it again.) I have read it can take up to as many as twelve weeks to start working well anyway, so most of my skin’s improvement I actually credit to the charcoal mask. But, hey, try the mask a few times and you decide.

Acne Magic Quick Tip #2: Warm Tea Bags

Admittedly, despite the inexplicable popularity of my first “magic potion”  tip, I was not intending on writing a lot of posts about beauty and facial care.  But here’s another quick zit fix, the efficacy of which I can attest to personally.  And the idea actually came from a tip a nurse gave me when my daughter got a flu vaccination.

She said that if the injection site got red and swelled, I could use a warm tea bag on it to take out some of the redness and inflammation.  So I got to wondering, would it do the same for those pesky (and very painful) subcutaneous pimples I sometimes get, (ones I refer to as underground zits.)

Turns out, it does.  Take a tea bag and run it under hot water, as warm as is comfortable, and then press the bag to the blemish.  (Hold it there with a paper towel to catch any tea that drips out.)  Within minutes, you will notice a difference in the size and redness of the pimple.  This is especially helpful when I’ve picked and squeezed at the damn thing, trying to get it to come to a head, but only accomplished making it bigger, redder, and more sore.

I’m not a dermatologist by any stretch, but I think it works for several reasons. Firstly, heat will open your pores and likely start to draw the blemish out.  Normally, to reduce swelling, an ice cube would probably be a safer bet, but I believe the tea has a sort of drawing salve effect, and the benefits of tea are well documented.  I have used this trick several times, and I don’t know if my blemishes necessarily heal any faster, but I definitely notice the short term effects of a reduction in size and redness.  At any rate, it’s cheap and easy, as most of you probably keep tea bags in your kitchen anyway.

Tea can also be used topically, as a tincture or a poultice, for cuts, burns, baggy eyes, or as an astringent.  It can also be ingested, different types of tea supposedly having different therapeutic benefits.  I’ll include some links below if you are interested in using tea or other herbs for health and beauty.

So…there’s your quick tip, and here’s your links.  Don’t say I never gave you anything!

common herbs and some of their uses

brewing therapy teas

Magic Potion~Rosewater and Glycerin

WHY was I not informed of this sooner?  The answer was so simple– literally!  I could have started using this years ago and reaping the benefits, if only someone had told me… Rosewater and Glycerin.   Continue reading