Category: sensitive skin

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

rapid update on sunscreen

Current like:

CoTZ Sensitive SPF 40

  

  • 20% coated ZnO, unscented, minimal
  • SPF 40, reported to be around PPD 10 (using coated mineral filters of several different sizes)
  • cruelty-free
  • 3.5 oz / 100 g
  • costs around US$20, usually around CAD25.00 – 28.00
  • online from various places, also in some doctors’ and dermatologists’ offices

Manufacturer information: 

Active Ingredients: 

  • Zinc Oxide 20% (Sunscreen)

Inactive Ingredients:

  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Methicone, Microcrystalline Wax, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate, Triethanolamine, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Water

Comments:

  • Easy to apply: creamy, smoothes on well, easy and fast to apply evenly. I’m applying as usual to dry skin after it’s been washed, dried, and moisturised.
  • Zero irritation 
  • Zero zits and/or irritated cloggy areas
  • Dries fast
  • But moisturising and non-drying
  • Better and nicer than their previous all-zinc sunscreens: they were either very siliconey-slippy, or powdery-dessicating, or both. This translates in BlurbSpeak to “silky soft,” a phrase that you’ll see in many an online review; its presence should alert you to a review probably being a pseudo-review that’s a more-or-less unsubtle copy-past job on advertorial bumff graciously provided by a marketeering department (or straight off the product label of the “Face” tinted SPF 40). But I digress.
  • Invisible finish but: on me; I am NW05 approximately and match walls; YMMV. CoTZ have a tinted face SPF 40 which is available in two shades, but it isn’t just ZnO it uses TiO2 too.
  • Slightly weird smell, rubbery? plasticky? for a brief moment when applied; disappears
  • Contains TEA: this irritates my eyes in anything other than minute concentration in mascara, but OK in a product like this one at low concentration.
  • The sunscreen filters are coated (that’s what most of the silicones and crosspolymers are doing in the ingredient list) and small, hence use of the term “transparent”; CoTZ uses several different particle sizes in their “Gentle Mineral Complex.” This is a very good approach to protection and the best compromise between smaller particles (= best coverage, least concentration needed, very elegant thin sunscreen, but The Nano Concerns for whatever that’s worth) and larger particles (= less coverage–more and bigger gaps between particles–and uneven coverage; a thicker layer with a higher concentration means inelegant clownface). 
  • Cheaper than comparably elegant ZnO-only face sunscreens, ex. Replenix sheer physical cream
  • Less greasy-feeling than Replenix sheer physical spray (which contains no grease, so go figure)
  • Spread more evenly and sinks in more smoothly than a non-silicone “greener” ZnO-only sunscreen like Derma E
  • Needs more serious attentive removal, like any other siliconey sunscreen: oil, or a good milk-fluid (La Roche-Posay Tolériane dermo-cleanser fluid works well, use a little more or clean twice or something similar, use common sense and good judgement to figure out when the stuff’s successfully off your tender visage)

  
The Pediatric SPF 40 is basically the same stuff and usually the same price. This is worth knowing as sometimes one will be available but not the other, or a website may sell out of the one or the other (the same tip applies to that great sunscreen classic, Blue Lizard, and its “Sensitive” and “Baby” versions): 

Active Ingredients:

  • Zinc Oxide 20% (Sunscreen)

Inactive Ingredients:

  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Methicone, Microcrystalline Wax, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate, Triethanolamine, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Water

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. …

  

skin disaster updates + coming up next…

  
Main update: skin is improving and nearly “normal.” Touch wood (or soft fluffy bunny). How and why are mysterious as the exact mechanism is unknown and has not been tracked systematically, due to my having other things to do (work, life) which are incompatible with obsessively attending to skin-condition. My doctor suspects the following:

  1. Paying less attention to skin and more attention to other things has probably been a positive contributing factor.
  2. Skin improvement has meant that (1) above was possible in the first place, because my skin didn’t hurt so I could ignore it. Skin not hurting, skin slowly healing, triggered a neat nice virtuous circle.
  3. My skin may have simply taken a regular renewal time to heal: that is, two months after the multiple initial dramas at the beginning of March.
  4. Work stress, anxiety, and overwork have been a negative contributing factor. They would have put my whole system in a weakened state, including increased sensitivity, proneness to over-reaction, and lower defenses. I’ve been more physically ill this year than previously, and less mentally well. 
  5. A positive that may have helped in the last two weeks: it’s a calmer time of year, work-wise, and I talked to work-people who were supportive in various ways, including reducing my work-load. Moral of the story: talk to people, openly and honestly, including your boss. If you’re valuable you will be valued. If you’re anxious and/or depressed, you may have no idea as to whether or not you and your work are valued and valuable, and you may have no way of telling precisely because your judgement is off. This may of course be a high-risk gamble if you are in fact neither valuable nor valued; so talk to trustworthy peer-colleagues first. (If you have none, then it’s probably a sign you should change job; been there, done that…)

Current stuff used:

  • Meadowfoam seed oil as makeup remover; warm water & a fresh cleansing pad flannel thing every time
  • La Roche-Posay Lipikar cream cleanser; ditto
  • Garden of Wisdom anti-puffery eye serum (hyaluronic acid, caffeine, matrixyl 3000)
  • Garden of Wisdom green tea hydragel serum (= Wise/Poor Man’s Replenix no. 1)
  • La Roche-Posay Cicaplast balm
  • DIY shea butter + olive oil + beeswax lipbalm
  • Derma E Face SPF 30 (16% ZnO, also green tea, vitamin C (SAP), no silicones; = Wise/Poor Man’s Replenix no. 2)
  • Badger unscented SPF 35 stick (22.5% ZnO)

Next up: 

  • review of Derma E Face SPF 30: I’ll expand the quick notes on my notepad at the  “morosophical beautification” page
  • review of that Garden of Wisdom eye stuff, and a couple of comparisons
  • review of the Badger sunstick, comparisons (Babo Botanical, Elemental Herbs, BurnOut)
  • I’ll keep my eyes open for any new sunscreen that looks Ginger-compatible, and anything else useful and, again, usable on yours truly.

  

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.   

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

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

hibernation, winterising skin, and some makeup

ISSUE:

Skin is feeling drier as the weather gets colder. It’s not dramatic: right now, here in Vancouver the temperature has dropped from around 16-18° C to around about 12-13. Big deal. And it’s currently raining. Skin isn’t getting dried out through dry air, nor through excess indoor heating and massive climactic vatiation between indoors and outdoors. But it does mean that the mid-northern clammy chill has started. Winter is coming…

ATTEMPTS AT SOLUTIONS: Continue reading