Category: cleanser

Really seriously nothing to report

skin update 

Skin in a better state. Still constitutionally sensitive because that’s just how it is, but the extra horrors of most of the year seem to have abated. 

A CHANGE

Moisturiser: back to ShiKai borage dry skin remedy hand cream. Yes, on face and neck and around the eyes. Morning and evening. It is marvellous. It has a smell, and many people hate it. That’s borage seed oil. It’s OK if you hate it, that’s perfectly normal and human. I don’t mind it–and it goes away fast–and the stuff works well on my skin. It doesn’t hurt it and it moisturises it. That’s all I want from a moisturiser, so I’m happy.

I woild rather use something in a larger tube (less use of plastic) and that’s cheaper and at least as ethical as whatever I was using before. This stuff ticks all the boxes compared to Avène Cicalfate

NO CHANGE, COOL WITH IT

  • CoTZ sensitive / pediatric SPF 40. Good on all fronts: no irritation, does what it’s supposed to, OK ingredients, no animal testing, decent price.
  • Oil, mix of random quantities of meadowfoam and sunflower, mostly the latter: eye makeup remover, sunscreen remover and body moisturiser in shower, etc.
  • Balm, DIY, mix of shea butter + Badger unscented balm (olive oil + beeswax).
  • Primal Pit Paste deodorant, unscented regular strength.
  • Aloe vera gel, version with xanthan gum from Mountain Rose Herbs, as hair styling stuff

???

One thing could change.

La Roche-Posay Tolériane dermo-cleanser: very simple lotion cleanser. I have found nothing that is comparable (same or similar ingredients, similar formulation) in either the mainstream or “greener” brands, nor as easily obtainable (local drugstore) or cheap. 

If you have suggestions, please do drop me a line. I am open to alternatives but they must be serious alternatives. Not effing coconut oil or some trustafarian’s essential-oil-loaded concoction at several times the price. I would like to move away from LRP for reasons of ethical discomfort, but I do not want to test out lots of stuff (reasons: expense and waste) and I do need stuff that cleans my face without damaging it (reason: risk to skin a.k.a. to health). I’ve spent quite enough time in hospital this year. 

new stuff: shampoo and conditioner

skin, updated

(Little to report.)

Compared to my last post: stabilisation, mainly ups overall. Skin feels, seems, and looks more stable.

Here is what I am using on my face right now:

  • Mix of sunflower + meadowfoam seed oil as makeup remover; warm water & a fresh cleansing pad flannel thing every time
    = no change
  • Wash: La Roche-Posay Tolériane Dermo-Cleanser; applied to dry skin, removed with a damp cleansing pad. Zero anything with this cleanser: a bland fluid, feels like lightweight cold cream or cleansing milk. Cleans well and leaves skin feeling clean but comfy.
    = no change
  • Toner, serum, etc.: nothing. Just pat skin dry.
  • Eye area: Garden of Wisdom anti-puffery eye serum (hyaluronic acid, caffeine, matrixyl 3000). Using this for puffy eye area (undereye and eyelids) with regular seasonal allergies. Current sleep situation is improved; I get baggy both with too little and with too much sleep, so actually bags are a good indicator of whether or not I’m getting the right amount of sleep (for me, and this is one of at least two raisons d’être for bagginess in my case; the “how” and “why” of bags varies).
    = no change
  • Moisturiser (face, eye area, throat): La Roche-Posay Tolériane Cicaplast balm.
    Testing against their Tolériane Ultra ended with the following:
    1. Cicaplast baume is moister, more concentrated, and as I use about a third of the quantity and a tube is half the price, Cicaplast is a better buy.
    2. Cicaplast keeps my skin better moisturised for longer.
    3. I do not get any redness, bumpiness, itching, spottiness, or other stages of irritation with it. At all. Skin just feels soothed. While Tolériane is fine on most areas of my face plus neck, I get all these irritable negatives in the nose, chin, and jawline areas. Sometimes soon after application, sometimes a few hours later.
    Conclusion: staying with Cicaplast Baume. Used up the last of the pathetically tiny tube of Tolériane Ultra in one lavish swoop as a body moisturiser after a very pleasant oily bath. Waste not, want not.
  • Lips: my old multi-purpose DIY balm, shea butter + olive oil + beeswax
    = no change.
  • Face & eye-area sunscreen: Derma E Face SPF 30 (16% ZnO, also green tea, vitamin C (SAP), no silicones; = Wise/Poor Man’s Replenix)
    = no change.
  • Lip sunscreen: Badger unscented SPF 35 stick (22.5% ZnO)
    = no change.

Using up the remaining Lipikar Syndet cleanser on body, plus Lipikar Baume on body and hands (like it a lot), and Derma E Body sunscreen.

So: continuing minimalism and super-gentleness. As I said before: Current cleanser and moisturiser are pricy but not exorbitant, and certainly cheaper than prescription medication or trying out other products that might or might not work. Above all, functioning calm skin and no pain = priceless.

Plus hat, covering up, daily antihistamine, etc. …

On a less self-protective defensive note, but staying with that idea of being pure as the driven snow:

  

current state of the skin-nation

Ups and downs, mainly ups overall. 

Changed cleanser experimentally to an even blander one without niacinamide; face happier. Lipikar Syndet had been stinging a bit in the shower. Next move is to see (once I’ve finished the current cleanser) if I can find something similar that’s cheaper. Right now, where I am, I can’t: I can get similar and more expensive, or nearly-similar but with some known problem ingredients for about the same price.

Here is what I am using on my poor unfortunate face right now:

  • Mix of sunflower + meadowfoam seed oil as makeup remover; warm water & a fresh cleansing pad flannel thing every time
    = back to my old multi-purpose oil, moister than just meadowfoam alone and cheaper
  • Wash: La Roche-Posay Tolériane Dermo-Cleanser; applied to dry skin, removed with a damp cleansing pad. Zero anything with this cleanser: a bland fluid, feels like lightweight cold cream or cleansing milk.
  • Garden of Wisdom anti-puffery eye serum (hyaluronic acid, caffeine, matrixyl 3000)
    = no change
  • Moisturiser (face, eye area, throat): La Roche-Posay Tolériane Ultra cream or Cicaplast balm; applied to dry skin, after drying skin with a soft flannel cloth. Skin had been getting red, rashy, and sore when using a regular towel, even just patting at skin gently. I thought I might have been getting slight break-outs around the mouth and nose from Cicaplast, but not with Tolériane Ultra (tested split-face etc.). Not conclusive. Continuing testing.
  • Lips: DIY shea butter + olive oil + beeswax lipbalm
    = back to my old multi-purpose balm
  • Face & eye-area sunscreen: Derma E Face SPF 30 (16% ZnO, also green tea, vitamin C (SAP), no silicones; = Wise/Poor Man’s Replenix no. 2)
    = no change
  • Lip sunscreen: Badger unscented SPF 35 stick (22.5% ZnO)
    = no change

Using up the remaining Lipikar Syndet cleanser on body, plus Lipikar Baume on body and hands (like it a lot), and Derma E Body sunscreen.

So: continuing minimalism and super-gentleness. Alas, the absolute minimalism of just oil–for both cleanser and moisturiser–doesn’t work: I get redness, inflammation, return to rashy irritated zittiness. Oils tested out at various stages in the last three months using various blander oils like mineral, safflower, sunflower, meadowfoam, avocado, hemp; the ones that worked previously with other skin conditions. Current cleanser and moisturiser are pricy but not exorbitant, and certainly cheaper than prescription medication or trying out other products that might or might not work. Above all, functioning calm skin and no pain = priceless.

Plus hat, covering up, etc. …

  

lippie and what else is on the face a.k.a. The Routine (much as I loathe the word and idea)

Routine, schmoutine. Routine, rootin’-tootin’, poutine, pah! Now we’re talking.

routine? give me poutine
The skin on my face is still not exactly normal, but we’re managing to co-exist. I think my face is calming down and getting better, slowly slowly. My forehead is OK, nose, most of my cheeks. Chin and jaw-line are still a but itchy and iffy, and usually the area between just under my cheek-bones and the wings of my nose will get grumpy and spotify later in the evening. It’s OK now (nearly 8 p.m.), yesterday it did its daily reminder around 10 p.m., last week it was around when I was coming home from work (so, between 7 and 8:30 p.m.). At the beginning of last week, the itchy rashy spottiness was further up my face, on my cheeks and temples, with some red dots on my forehead the weekend before. So it’s diminishing and coming down my face. All very fascinating to watch.

Current stuff and what I do with it:

MORNING

  1. wash with warmish water + cotton or bamboo flannel round (a reusable make-up removal pad, basically; a fresh one every time) + La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet cream-gel washlrp lipikar syndet
  2. dry face
  3. EXCITING NEW RETURN TO NORMALITY: Continue reading

upset skin update: journalling the apocalyptic singularity

  

(There will be no gory extreme close-up illustrations.)

SKIN SYMPTOMS

  • itchiness, at its worst making you want to claw your face off
  • watering eyes 
  • tears from watering eyes make skin around the eyes and on cheeks itchy and sore
  • excessive tenderness, hypersensitivity: even brushing the skin with a scarf, or rain, makes it hurt. Side-effect: totally fucks up your love-life.
  • swollen puffy skin, especially around eyes and nose
  • red rash, at its worst all over. Centred on the thinner skin to the sides of my nose, mouth area, chin, jawline, cheeks. 
  • raised bumps in that rash, particularly cheeks and jawline
  • some of which blister, some develop what looks like whiteheads and pustulation
  • skin feels hot to the touch
  • heightening of the above with over-reaction to many things
  • PAIN: the sensation of being flayed alive, or burning (like sunburn or a regular good old scalding from boiling water or burning from fire), and of your whole head ballooning and going “whooompf”

HOW TO KNOW SOMETHING IS WORKING

  • if the symptoms above decrease rather than increase
  • if you don’t feel your skin at all: this is The Ultimate Good

PHASE ONE

The following, twice a day:

  • Cleanser: something mild that didn’t irritate and inflame my face further + tepid to warmish water + facecloth
  • Pat skin dry
  • Apply thin layer of Metrogel 1% (prescription from doctor)
  • Bland soothing but lighter moisturiser
  • Sunscreen

PHASE TWO: CLEANSER TWEAKS

  • Swapped facecloth for (softer) reusable cotton pads. I use them for eye makeup removal, they’re made from pyjama-/bedlinen-type flannel.
  • Cliniderm shampoo stung skin (it usually doesn’t, but this last month has been full of Skin Firsts). 
  • Bar cleansers (Aveeno, A-Derma): stung skin.
  • Plain oatmeal: stung skin.
  • CeraVe Hydrating cleanser (leftover dregs in an old bottle): OK. I had barely enough left for one use, though.
  • Avène Xeracalm (I use it in the bath): stinging.
  • Samples of various things from doctor: variable. 
  • At the worst stages, plain water from the tap (we have good soft water) and even mineral water: stung skin.
  • Best one, no stinging, face calm: La Roche-Posay Lipikar body cream-gel cleanser. Also good reviews from assorted skin-problem people, including a lot of rosaceans, on MakeupAlley and Beauté-Test. It happened to be on special offer at a local drugstore so I bought a full bottle and that’s what I’ve been using for the last several days.

PHASE THREE: MOISTURISER TWEAKS

  • Several moisturisers that are in my standard arsenal for my usual skin problems (dryness, eczema, allergic irritation) were too thick and rich. Spreading and rubbing them in hurt skin. Skin would also feel hot and would be hypesensitive in the way that a fresh burn is. Thus:
  • DIY oil blend: nope.
  • Avocado oil: nope.
  • The following super-bland oils used alone–safflower, sunflower, meadowfoam–nope.
  • Mineral oil: nope.
  • Prevex cream: nope.
  • Drugstore own-brand dupe of Aveeno’s blandest unscented lotion: nope.
  • ShiKai borage dry skin remedy hand cream: nope.
  • Impruv cream: nope.
  • CeraVe cream, lotion, and P.M. lotion (doctor samples): nope.
  • Avène Xeracalm cream: nope.
  • La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ balm and another one (cream or lotion, doctor samples again): nope.
  • Avène Cicalfate: OK but a bit thick and, on day two, some burning around nose and on jawline. Great on hands though…
  • THE WINNERS:
    La Roche-Posay Cicaplast: excellent, soothing, calming. No irritation or burning. Also great on hands. And (update 2015-04-05) around eyes.
    La Roche-Posay Tolériane Ultra. I first got this for around the eyes. Super comfortable on even the most upset areas of skin. Feels very like Cicaplast, not quite as moisturising, and usually nearly three times the price. But: very minimal formulation and no preservatives (sterile packaging with a special delivery-mechanism where there’s no contact with air).

PHASE FOUR: METROGEL

  • My suspicion that Metrogel might be hindering more than helping arose at PHASE TWO. That experiment resulted in improvement. When I had washed with LRP Lipikar and patted skin dry, my skin felt calm, comfortable, cooler to the touch. It still wasn’t pretty (a.k.a. normal). But felt OK. Then I would apply Metrogel and it would sting. I bore with it. For the first few days, my face would stop stinging by the time the Metrogel had sunk in. I would then apply moisturiser (with PHASE THREE experiments above) and sunscreen.
  • On the sixth day of using Metrogel, I observed noticeable stinging and increased skin redness, inflammation, and downright pain. No matter what I did next, that stayed. It worsened through the day. 
  • That evening, I observed that my chin had more raised pustules after Metrogel application than before. I hypothesised that, whether or not it had helped earlier, Metrogel was now irritating my skin.
  • I spent another three days tweaking sunscreen; no difference to the day 6 pattern. Hellfire burning sensation with Replenix spray one and with Derma E (had to remove with both, immediately). EltaMD less agonising, but hot and heatrash in addition to other bollocks.
  • I have now therefore stopped using Metrogel. The very first time I washed and moisturised without it, my skin felt and looked better. 
  • It is now 5:37 p.m. I washed at about 11 a.m. Skin much improved, no pain, less puffy / inflamed, rash receding (barely discernible on forehead), blisters way down (they’re just slightly raised parts of the rashiness, no larger than minor milia), no pustulating sores, and the thin tender tenderised skin in the nose & mouth area is way down, nearing normality. 
  • Remaining bumpy rash and some spots / cysts: left jawline, right cheek

The fight goes on.   

summer updates

magic oil

I was away. This involved not carrying too much stuff. Unfortunately, until the FAA and suchlike get rid of that absurd 3-1-1 max 3 oz / 100 ml rule, I am obliged to check in one bag when flying, so as to have adequate sunscreen supplies. Until the kind of sunscreen I can use on my skin is available more widely, I am stuck with carrying around my own supplies. (Next time you see someone with a more visible disability than my relatively trivial one, spare them a thought.) Given that I live half-way around the world from the various places I was going, and given that I didn’t have the time to go by slow boat or foot: I was obliged to fly. Yes, I made my carbon-offsetting donations (and percentage-of-ticket-price donation to trees), like a good person.

Here are the lucky beautification products that accompanied me on my jet-setting adventures.

Continue reading

cleansing bars, soaps, & other scum of the earth

soap

Here we go again.

I’ve had a fair few self-cleaning issues over the years. Here’s what a cleanser should do:

  • ONE: clean. You might think this is obvious. Many makers of skincare products seems not to.
  • not contain common irritants, such as most scented ingredients
  • or any of the others on my own lovely personal list
  • TWO: leave my skin in at least a good condition as it was before
  • not over moistened and clogged up
  • or dried out
  • or irritated or otherwise buggered up
  • THREE: not wreck my skin barrier, which is already not of the best, given thin and more acidic (ginger) skin etc. etc.
  • so: with a lower pH (usually around 5.5-6, in the broad range of 4-7)

Continue reading

product minimalism

Victory: removed another item from the bathroom.

Soap.

I now have something in common with Brad Pitt.

Currently using shampoo (Earth Science fragrance-free) as face wash, body wash, shampoo. Could also be used for side-of-sink hand-wash, menstrual cup cleaner, hand-washing detergent, etc. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot of the current stuff to use up (Everyday Shea unscented moisturising body wash + Curelle Hydra shampoo mix), and it’s cheaper. So I might still be a two-soap person, but using one on my whole entire person.

No deodorant, though? Nope. Sorry. Have to deal with other human beings in work. This means not being smelly: no bodily odour, including no additions like perfume. I’m not sure if my compromise, the deodowich, counts as environmentally-friendly enough to meet the Pitt approval. I am sure, though, that there are better compromises than the concoction it’s claimed Mr Pitt is using. So: dear Mr Pitt, if you’re interested, drop me a line: I’m happy to share the knowledge. Or indeed my own deodorant. Or anything else…

soap

the lovely Brad, back in the day: a portent of the future soap-free pits