Apologies to the poor suffering blog, due to my being away on assorted bits of travel. In no particular order, here are some observations from the travel beautification routine:
Routine, schmoutine. Routine, rootin’-tootin’, poutine, pah! Now we’re talking.
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:
My skin is currently not happy. It hasn’t been for about a week. Symptoms:
- 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
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.
Once again, I completely forgot my blogoversary (sorry blog) and also didn’t post anything on here for a while. Mainly because WORK. Also because I didn’t have any interesting updates to add. The only recent change in skincare has been to return, now my skin is less dry, to meadowfoam seed oil. This has duly been updated here:
I’ve also updated the big main post on oils, first posted three years or so ago. That is, it’s about carrier oils (as opposed to fragrant / essential oils), used on skin mainly for moisturising. I also used the multi-purpose oil for makeup removal, pre-cleansing (especially with heavier sunscreen), body moisturising, armpit shaving, hair styling / frizz minimising, and I’ve probably missed a few other uses. For lots of stuff, anyway.
Here is the shiny updated post, same place as usual:
The main tweaks are organizational:
- what I’m using now
- why + my past history of oil use
- general information: some approximate suggestions for oils and further information resources, where to buy oils
In that last section, this might be sorta kinda useful:
A FEW APPROXIMATE SUGGESTIONS FOR OILS, BASED ON KIND OF SKIN
A. A GOOD BASIC START FOR MOST SKINS
Look for: lighter-feeling oils; often with lower molecular weight. Check the latter in chemistry textbooks, Wikipedia, etc.
Examples, cheap and readily-available from supermarkets, and should be likely to be OK on many skin types:
B. OILY SKIN
Look for: light-weight oils, high in omega-3, and/or astringent.
Avoiding: omega-9 (monounsaturated fat), omega-6 especially if λ-linolenic acid (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA), so seed oils unless high linoleic.
Some possible oils to try out:
- safflower (low-oleic: check ingredients on bottle)
C. SENSITISED DRIED SKIN
= skin that has become more sensitive and more dry, usually as a side-effect of things being used on it (Accutane, AHA, BHA, etc.); may also have damaged barrier
≠ sensitive dry skin, on which see item D below
Look for: light-weight oils, preferably high in omega-3, omega-6 OK if linoleic acid (LA).
Avoiding, to be on the safe side: nut oils; omega-9 (monounsaturated fat); omega-6 if λ-linolenic acid (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA), so seed oils unless high linoleic; astringency.
Some possible oils to try out:
D. SENSITIVE DRY SKIN
Some possible oils to try out:
- avocado (heavier)
- borage / starflower seed
- canola / rapeseed (careful: patch-test, as allergies are not uncommon)
- evening primrose
- hemp seed
- macadamia (heavier)
- olive (EVOO, heavier)
- rice bran (light but not astringent)
- sweet almond
E. ROSACEA AND SEBORRHEIC DERMATITIS
Avoid: nut oils; omega-9 / oleic acid: emu, jojoba, olive oils (including derivatives such as squalane); seed oils unless high linoleic. Advice from people on MUA such as the great and good barbiH.
Some possible oils to try out:
- mineral oil
- Dryness = oil production by skin
- Dehydration = water retention
Skin may be any combination of the two: dry and dehydrated, oily and dehydrated, oily and hydrated, dry and hydrated. And it can be any of them in different areas. And to different degrees.
On dehydration: hydrate skin (water is the basic way), use oil to trap that layer next to skin. Hydrators can help too: a.k.a. humectants, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, etc. In the form of toners, waters, Japanese and Korean moisturising waters/lotions, gels, serums. The most basic hydrator: plain water.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON OILS
See also, on oils, and on irritation and comedogenicity indices:
- Face Reality Skincare Clinic
- Garden of Wisdom: good information on oils
- Mountain Rose Herbs: good information on oils
- from Rosaceagroup forum: includes very good screenshot of a comparative table of fatty acids
And now for something completely different. Here are some irrelevant gratuitous nice treats from Chocolate Arts:
UPDATE (2014-03-13): we have a winner. Two, actually:
- Avocado is IN: avocado oil + either of the balms
Back to the original post and its updates along the way… Continue reading
The weather is colder, my skin is drier. Meadowfoam seed oil is no longer up to the task. Current solution: sweet almond oil. For all the usual multi-purpose uses: pre-cleaning, makeup removal, moisturising face and body, shaving.
Next experiment: camelina oil.
- Health Canada approval sheet, with some chemical breakdown
- the Wikipedia article on camelina sativa
- c/o Purdue University horticulture (journal article, Issues in new crops and new uses, 2007)
- c/o (industry) Oilseed crops
- c/o Mountain Rose Herbs
Why: because it has a chemical composition and properties, when applied to skin, that are similar to hemp seed oil. Similar fatty acid profile, very high in omega-3 (linolenic acid). High in plant sterols. Goes into that groups of well-omega-ed oils: hemp seed, flax / linseed, chia seed.
Hemp oil is good on my skin, bu the stuff is outrageously damn fragile. Even if I keep it in the fridge, even the little time it spends in warm bathroom and especially in a warm shower, that’s enough to help it go rancid very fast. Sure, not as fast as keeping it out in the open (days); even with some “stabilising” oils like meadowfoam (adds maybe a few days to life).
Camelina oil is much more stable, doesn’t need refrigeration, has a long-ish shelf life. Sounds ideal.
Like some other oils I’ve liked, its main use and historical development have been as a more sustainable substitute for other oils. Its main uses recently have been for cattle feed (though the cattle industry isn’t exactly sustainable) and for biofuel. Camelina plants tolerant of cold and need little water to grow: eco-friendly compared to other plants. It’s a substitute for crude oil and derivatives, which was in turn a substitute for whale oil. It was also used in Europe as lamp oil before the 19th-century whale-oil era. Good cooking oil too.
So that’s like canola / rapeseed oil and meadowfoam seed oil. It’s somewhat related to rapeseed, they’re both members of the mustard family. No, that does not mean it’s like smearing hot stingy mustard on your skin. That’s foolish thinking.
One of the main areas for development, scientific study, and production of camelina seed is in central Canada, so I’m also supporting national and local agriculture. There have of course, as you might imagine, been forays into bioengineering the stuff; with, as you might imagine, pros and cons both ways. Corporate nasties trying to control seed supplies, ensure sterility of hybrids and thus a captive farmer market, and rule the world. And bio-engineering as a long laudable human occupation, one of the earliest human activities in technology and in scientific method / methodical science, from back around the Neolithic agricultural revolution somewhere around -10,000.
Not yet tested. Will report back once preliminary testing has been completed (so: if there are immediate reactions, and then how things go after 6 weeks or so).
UPDATE (2014-02-14): it arrived, I tested it out, and it’s a NO.
At least, on the selfish skincare etc. front.
Stuff at present being used on self in state of stability, top to toe:
- Curelle Hydra shampoo: for cleaning face, body, and hair
- Curelle Riche conditioner: on hair
- Mountain Rose Herbs meadowfoam seed oil: pre-wash, eye make-up remover, shaving, body moisturiser, face moisturiser
- Garden of Wisdom oat enriched serum: face hydrating serum (under moisturiser, i.e. oil)
- Silk Naturals lip balm or Badger unscented sensitive balm in the tin: lip balm and eye cream
- BurnOut eco-sensitive sunscreen SPF 30+: sunscreen, on face and any other exposed areas
- Elemental Herbs SPF 30 unscented sunstick: lips and eye area
- Curelle Styling Gel: on hair
- Chagrin Valley deodorant cream, coconut unscented version
- Reviva Labs mascara
- Tarte stick concealer in eye area
- Silk Naturals slick stick in Strawberry Fields
- shea butter, Prevex, petrolatum, or the SDM “Life” brand knock-off of Aveeno’s unscented super moisturising lotion (the one with shea butter) on dry patches
- Aveeno hand cream, because it was a gift so I’m using it up
- and some other scented hand-creams that were Christmas presents from well-meaning nice people who have had to encounter my dry flaky hands and the horror that is my nails
In other news, the outside world is not a happy place. Even here in the Pacific North-West, where the weather is balmy and many things seem rather pleasant and civilized–tolerant, liberal, socialist, human(e)–in comparison with some other places; yet unhappiness and unpleasantness are here too. Read the news. Talk about it with other people: family, friends, strangers on public transport, dog-walkers, people in check-out line-ups in shops, barriste making your coffee. Discuss. Question. Rinse and repeat. Spread words. Agree, argue, change your mind, refine opinions, read some more, think. That’s what civilization is all about. Sure, democracy and a rights-based and -respecting society too; but civilization above all.
On which subject of civilization: here is some chocolate, in the form of truffles from Vancouver’s finest, the lovely Chocolate Arts:
A quickie post this one, mainly as a pathetic excuse to repost some glorious images of chocolate-based tasty treats!
It is now winter. Not quite officially, we have a couple of days yet to go. Unofficially, and according to older calendars, we’ve been in winter since the beginning of November and will stay here until the beginning of February. At once a more pessimistic version of the season—it starts earlier—and a more sensible and practical one. As soon as you’re wearing extra woolly layers and scarves, it’s winter. Sorry.
This older version of seasonal categorization also works out better at the other end: the start of spring vegetables (and, alas, lambs destined to live and end their lives as “spring lambs”). It may still be freezing cold in February, but you’ll also be noticing more light. Even in the horrors of extreme northerly areas such as those I’m originally from, and from which I’ve spent as much as possible of my life escaping by living in lower slightly sunnier latitudes like Vancouver.
But winter means winter skin. And hair. And nails. Continue reading