update to skinsperiments / upset skin

Well. Remember how this blog’s sub-title and description is “the praise of folly?” 


Morosophical beautification: because morosophy has its beauties too.

Remember how that folly-praising isn’t just about slagging off other people and being snide and snarky, but also a chronicle of my own chronic folly? Therapeutically putting it in perspective against larger and more dangerous follies in the world. Remembering that rest of the world, and how much bigger and more important it is. There are bigger issues. And life goes on. My own crises are small and trivial. My own follies are trivial too. That does not detract from my foolishness or from that of others and of the world around us. 

Yes, umpteen years on, in the fourth year of this present blog, guess what: I am still foolish.


The skin upset had started on the 1st of March. That’s nearly three weeks ago. I’d self-diagnosed and done what worked in the past for things that looked roughly similar. Turns out that wasn’t entirely foolish–I could have done stupider things (well, I did, but more on that in a minute)–but my face wasn’t suffering allergic over-reaction plus something that would behave like eczema if I did eczema-type stuff to it. 

My skin had ups and downs. Nothing dramatic, but no better, and still itchy in the morning and rashy and sore to the touch after my morning shower.

I went to the pharmacy a few days ago, and they suggested a barrier repair cream. All those available were from companies that test on animals, or own-brand dupes of products that have been tested, or from a company that does but this specific product isn’t. Bugger. People, I bought one. I’m not saying which one because I don’t want to give the company extra publicity. Any of them would do much the same thing. I also donated the same sum of money to an appropriate charity. 

So I substituted the barrier repair cream for what I had been using, my oil-as-moisturiser. It has soothed a bit. 

Then I added back in my nice green tea serum. 

That was hasty and foolish.

Things got worse yesterday and this morning. Painfully so.


So I did what all sensible people do, and what I should have done a good two weeks ago. In my foolish case, “should”; a less foolish peson would have done this sooner. Mood makes all the difference, in more ways than one, LOL. (Bonus bit of grammar for the day, and you’re welcome.) I went to the doctor. This being Canada, with a decent public health service, you can do this sort of thing with impunity. It took some time and a second doctor and tests (to rule out certain more dire things), but I have a more accurate diagnosis and prescribed treatment. 

  • Allergic over-reaction: YES
  • Eczema: PROBABLY NOT in that what my face is doing bears no resemblance to my previous instances of eczema on the face, or indeed elsewhere. My medical record includes a neat photo-gallery… Treating the current condition like eczema may have aggravated it through over-moisturing with heavy occlusives.
  • Assorted diseases, viral infections, a couple of scary bacterial ones going around right now: NO
  • Staph bacterium: YES
  • Labelled with the grand sweeping generalizations that is “dermatitis” (d’oh, purely descriptive “itis” of the skin = that just translates as WYSIWYG right in front of you): YES
  • Labelled with another grand sweeping generalization, just in case, and given my age (41 and 2/3) and main genetic background (north-west European “Celtic”): YES – possible rosacea

So. Skin treatment amended to:

  1. Mild moisturising unscented liquid cleanser (two good ones: CeraVe Hydrating, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet body one) and warm water. 
  2. Then dry skin: not done this in years, due to skin dryness. Haven’t died yet. 
  3. Apply Metrogel, thin layer on affected areas: completely new to me. No reactions and soothing on one application so far. Skin feels quite dry once it’s on and in. Insurance (that is, the compulsory one you pay here directly out of your earnings) means this cost CAD31.63.
  4. Barrier-repair emollient cream, unscented (two good ones: Avène Cicalfate, La Roche-Posay Cicaplast baume b5).
  5. (Morning only) Back, under orders, to a simpler sunscreen that’s just filters in an unscented easily-spreadable siliconey base: so  EltaMD SPF 47 (ZnO + TiO2) or Replenix sheer physical SPF 50 (ZnO).
    UPDATE (the next day, 2015-03-21): totally fine, no issues with cyclopentasiloxane or other cyclomethicone (volatile ‘cones); you’ll recall my earlier conclusion that they irritated my skin, and considerations over the years that they were something my skin “didn’t like.” Well, that was a working hypothesis. Right now, it is invalidated. It may have been valid, and it might be again, or the hypothesis might itself need to be tweaked or more comprehensively reformulated.
  6. Repeat steps 1-4 twice daily (5 just in morning)
  7. A heavy dose (tablet/pill) of antibiotic, three days; taking extra probiotics (standard GP advice), not just 1 x in morning but 2 x and 2 with lunch (Jamieson 10 billion 8 types).
  8. Antihistamine, daily.
  9. I’ve been given the all-clear on household stuff (detergents, laundry, fabrics, etc.), lip balm, body and hair products, and what little makeup I was using. No scented anything.
  10. Next appointment in 2 weeks, return immediately if condition worsens. Give skin 2-9 weeks to heal and settle.

So that’s that for the time being.
UPDATED: added specific products on notepad. Will update on them there as needed.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: also added above because, well, why not.



ART WITH A GOOD HEART.” Copyright Elaine Davies 2014.

What one should do (and what I ought to have done) is to follow my mother’s advice. If something hasn’t got better in a week, go and see the doctor. The medical profession have neat things like microscopes and slides and test-tubes and ways of testing tissue and fluid samples for all manner of fun creepy-crawlies and buggy wotsits that you cannot see or otherwise detect. Do not do what I did, messing around. Even just with staph, that could be dangerous. I am kicking myself and putting myself in the public stocks and pillory because I knew all these things, I am not a scientific idiot, yet I managed to be foolish. 

Link of the day: the perils of greenwashing and idiocracy


Read the full piece at Back From Nature. A lesson in scepticism. Think, learn, research, think again, question everything. But maintain balance and common sense. If you have little to no scientific background, do not reject and repudiate those areas of knowledge but make the effort to learn about them. That’s good scepticism too, learning stuff; remember that “science” in its full older sense just means “knowledge.” Being scientific means being sceptical, and being sceptical entails being scientific. 

Learning and knowledge are interactive: consult experts, the first of whom is your doctor. Or any doctor. So: talk to–and that  includes listening to–your doctor. 

OK, my own doctor is fabulous, sane, and sensible. She includes more eco stuff and advice, but only when properly tested. I passed on her tips on meditation in a recent MUA green board discussion; here they are for anyone else.

The original question (anonymised):

 My GP’s answer, with apologies for any errors, my own via recollection and reporting:


Nice person thanked me (this discussion board is usually like that ❤️)


skinsperiments update: irritated, reactive, distressed

My skin is currently not happy. It hasn’t been for about a week. Symptoms:

  • Itchiness
  • Pain when touched by anything
  • Stinging when touched by liquids, including water
  • Constant itchiness, etc., 
  • Tenderness to the touch, and, visually, swelling, blotchiness, a rash of red pimply-looking things, and dry flaky sore patches

Continue reading

a couple of mascara reviews

Screenshots because I’m lazy and need to go get lunch otherwise I will die or worse. What’s worse than dying? Going zombie and eating other people’s brains in desperation and despair, that sort of thing.

Current mascaras:

  • Clinique Lash Power because it is great in allergy season
  • Clinique Naturally Glossy with Marcelle waterproofing topcoat: nice but not as fast as Lash Power and I’m lazy and appreciate opportunities for extra sleep. When it comes to sleep and facing the horrors of the morning, every second counts.
  • HerbanLuxe waterproof vegan mascara: nice, but the brush isn’t as fabulous as the Lash Power one, so I get bits of mascara around my eyes, and I Gotta Work It Work It to remove them and that’s normally fine and dandy but it’s not cool right now because it’s allergy season and that skin around my eyes is being even more sensitive and feckin precious than usual. In other words, it takes time and it hurts. Please note that this is NOT the mascara’s fault. It is all to do with mascara-application technique and idiosyncratic weird requirement for mascara to go right down to the roots and cover every single lash, because my physical exterior is ginger but my True Inner Self has dark lashes

And now for some actual reviews. Continue reading

“toxins”: a classic

reviews / rapid updates: sunscreen and eye concealer

waterproof mascara and mascara waterproofers

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Get your mascara right, and you will become the exquisite butterfly-flower-girl you know has always been hidden within you…


Mascara has appeared on here on numerous occasions. I love mascara. My life is not complete without it. I also like my mascara within limits, to stay within its bounds, where it’s supposed to, on my lashes. Not smudging under my eyes or up onto my eyelids, and not onto my glasses. See, for most people, mascara might be less of a Problem: either they’re not wearing glasses, or if they are, their eyes are set further back and/or their lashes are shorter. Many mascaras may be fine on such fortunate persons, but fail on me. Some change, too, as my skin changes, and what I’m putting on it, and so on.

Oh yes, and why waterproof? I live in Vancouver. It often rains here. I’ve also managed to spend most of life up to now in more or less rainy places. And not always with access to lash-tinting places, good ones using decent stuff (cruelty-free but people-tested).

Three solutions: Continue reading

some lipstick and moisturiser and horror

Later this week: mascara. There will be waterproof mascara, of three sorts. Over the course of rather a long post, you’ll also be able to watch me stumble clumsily through a decision-making process. All this will be accompanied by at least one song, of dubious appropriateness. It’ll be fun!

Meanwhile, here are three experimental failures and a success.


I’m ethically OK with using BH: formulated before my own FCOD (03-2012). It’s an amazing perfect colour on me: it is my very definition of My Lips But Better. Other pluses: No scent. No irritation. Doesn’t dry my lips out.

But it doesn’t last.

Various indie brands have near-misses, usually too orange-brown or going that way (oxidation) before the end of the day, because of restricting their colouring agents to iron oxides. Or too fuchsia-pink. Lavera had one that was close, about ten years ago, but it was irritating (mint, for starters). That’s the other issue: this “green” overuse of essential oils in every damn thing. Continue reading

reviews for some pampering products

I’ve been using and liking some fluffy vain unnecessary stuff recently. Yes, ’tis Folly, and I’m somewhere between ashamed, making excuses, and just enjoying the damn stuff. The whole green movement can be irritatingly “holier than thou”: too much sanctimonious do-gooding, a surfeit of self-sacrifice and suffering (especially if you get to show off about it and berate others for their faults and foibles); a worrying preoccupation with purity, often of the selfish “my body is a temple” variety; and a desire for perfection, both absurd in its impossibility and lack of contact with the real world, and absurd if that’s what “desire” has sadly been reduced to. Grim and gloomy and all rather unhappy and unfriendly. Damn it, the world is shitty enough as it is, we all need more enjoyment, joy, and pleasure from time to time.

So here’s some frivolous foolish fun stuff that’s vain, self-centred, pleasurable, and also Good: no animal testing, small independent companies, good ethics on ingredient-sourcing and labour (as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong), sustainable plant-based biodegradable ingredients, recyclable packaging (which can also be reused for repotting and decanting other things, DIY products, travel sizes, etc.). Most of the items below are from the small-ish online independent, Garden of Wisdom. I’ll also indicate the veganism, or not, of ingredients in the products at hand.

The products:

  • Garden of Wisdom oat enriched facial serum
    + Aubrey Organics aloe vera + Garden of Wisdom witch-hazel hydrosol
  • Garden of Wisdom Majik eye cream with CoQ10
  • ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy Hand Cream
  • 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
  • Garden of Wisdom Pack your Bags and Say GOOD BYE… Eye Gel

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Continue reading

long time no see…

Life here in Vancouver continues. There has been the bad: heavy workload, work stress, and recent events in the outside world; that is, The Big Bad World that lies beyond my work-place, and indeed Vancouver, and well beyond the little bubble of pulchritudinous morosophy, such as the world of MakeupAlley. Some of the Bad Shit Going Down made me stop reading MUA altogether, because I just wanted to shake and spank MUAers for being vapid vacuous ****s.

“Spanking,” metaphorically-speaking–obviously one can’t actually go around and physically personally assault every irritating individual–and besides, however bad Things get, I absolutely must remain anti-violence. Also, it would be impossible in practice. Metaphorical spanking means expressing anger and home truths, calling a foolish spade a foolish spade. But I would be kidding myself if I thought for a minute that’s not violent too: it can hurt people. Like it or lump it, one’s own intentions are partly a selfish urge to express anger: to expel it from oneself, get it off you, no matter what the consequences are, not caring if anyone else is affected. That’s selfish. It’s uncaring: no care for others, and I think that I (and we all) have a duty of care towards others. It’s unthinking and reckless, not giving any consideration to consequences and to other people. All of these things make metaphorical spanking Bad, Immoral, and Unethical. So it is a thing that one should not do.

Also, in the online version, it’s one of the classic forms of trolling. It may start out as sincere trolling, but damn it, it’s still trolling and there’s the additional danger that one might get Into It. Keep doing it for the sake of doing it. Become more involved with goading other people and interested in their reactions (thus also: less angry, losing that original raging serious edge), invested in trolling itself (rather than one’s message). It could be enjoyable and addictive. As with certain very heavy and very illegal drugs, it may be a cowardly move, but better not to start at all… You all know my relationship with chocolate. I could be one of those addictive-personality types, I’d rather not risk finding out the hard way.

Furthermore, saying mean things to other people is mean. No matter what your intentions are, and no matter they have said and done. And meanness is something to be avoided. (Critical comment is different, but if and only if it is constructive and with the intention of opening, engaging, and continuing conversation.) Just like it’s wrong to murder satirical cartoonists. And that is all, on here anyway, that I’m going to say about that recent event in The Big Bad World outside.

And finally: it’s actually really nice and good to see everyday life continue, in its simple and often sweet way. One of the finest things about the online beautyverse, including fora like MakeupAlley, is that simplicity, continuity, and humanity. It’s peaceful. That peace is precious. Vapid and vacuous can be–usually is–wonderful.

On MakeupAlley, I often don’t have anything to contribute for good reasons (besides sitting back and enjoying normal human peaceful interactions). It’s great to just read what other people say, instead of blabbering on yourself. Sometimes I have nothing to say because the conversation is about something I know little or nothing about, and on which I have no personal experience: I can listen and learn. Sometimes I could say something useful, but by the time I read a thread–several hours later, or a day, or a week, or even longer–the moment has passed, and nearly every time someone else has said exactly what I would have said. Often better and in fewer words. Silence can be positive.

So I’m more at peace with myself, and the world, and the online world; however godawful yoga-selfie-Vancouverite that sounds.

There has also, as ever, been The Good of living in Vancouver and the happy positive uplifting aspects of my work. As ever, I don’t want to talk about work-stuff on here–I prefer to keep it and at identity separate, also it’s not really that relevant. It’s nice to have other places to talk about other things, relaxing, and helping to maintain perspective. Life in Vancouver is always brilliant, and the non-work stuff helps: simple things like going out the door and enjoying a pleasant walk in woods or along the beach, these too help with perspective, mood, thanking one’s lucky stars for the good things one has in life, going “OMG isn’t life brilliant!” at least once a day, and other aspects of basic good mental health and hygiene. Even if, as recently, it can be very foggy for days on end and it looks like our lovely mountains have disappeared.

So what’s up on the Products front? Continue reading