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Apr. 21st, 2012


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Aug. 4th, 2009


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One of my classmates from yoga teacher training posted this article on our private blog; apparently it was in our Kripalu newsletter!  I thought it was too good not to share, especially since the topics of weight and appearance surface quite a bit.  Hopefully it will have a gem or two for you.  

Cherish The Crooked Stitches: Learning to Love Your Body

By Geneen Roth

A groundbreaking author and workshop leader, Geneen Roth was one of the first to explore the pivotal links between emotions, eating, and spirituality. Her seven books include the New York Times best-seller When Food Is Love and her latest, The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It. Geneen believes your relationship to food, money, and love is a perfect reflection of your relationship to life itself, and that the way to transform those relationships is to be open, curious, and kind to yourself.

My friend Catherine recently told me about a 50-year-old friend of hers who’d been a member of a sewing circle for 10 years and was now dying of brain cancer. “I labored and sweated over my crooked stitches,” the friend said. “And I always felt ashamed for not making the right-sized or -shaped stitches. As if making straight stitches actually meant something about me or my life. Now, the doctors say I have six months to live and when I think about the time I wasted worrying about those crooked stitches…” Most of the people I see spend most of their lives worrying about their own versions of crooked stitches—the size of their thighs, their hips, their abdomens. As if those things mean something true or real about their lives. As if when we get to the end of our lives, a number on a scale will mean anything at all.

Recently I was in a car accident. We were burbling along, two friends and myself on our way to a party, when suddenly we got sideswiped by someone who ran a red light. After our car crashed into two lampposts, three other cars, and one stop sign, we came to a total standstill. I crawled out of the hole in the side of the car (that used to be the door) and although my ankle throbbed and my head felt as if a brick had fallen on it and I couldn’t breathe very well (but besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?), I was alive. And suddenly, just being alive was enough. Was miraculous. Suddenly nothing was important but the fact that I was still breathing.

I needed a wheelchair for six weeks (due to a sprained ankle and a set of bruised ribs), and sometimes, when my husband was busy and couldn’t transport me from the dining room to the living room, I’d sit outside and stare at the feast in my backyard. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Just the usual clouds, trees, wind. Dog barking. Birds trilling. Wind blowing. The everyday jubilee I’d been passing on my way from desk to kitchen to desk as I worried about the stitches of work, family, errands, responsibilities. As I rushed frantically to keep up with the pace of e-mails, text messages, book deadlines. But since I had a concussion and couldn’t think clearly, and since my usual mode of running around was impossible, I had a good excuse to stop everything and contemplate the little things. Like living and dying. There is nothing like a brush with death to get a girl thinking.

The first time I led a retreat after the accident, I asked my students to make a list of 10 things they loved most about being alive. They said things like: reading my daughter to bed, swimming with my son, holding my husband’s hand, being in the forest, taking a hot bath. Then I asked them what they would spend their time on if they knew they had a year to live. All of them elaborated on different versions of doing what they loved and of loving the people they cherished. Not one of them mentioned losing weight, although some of them did say that they would only eat what they really, really liked. Which brings me to the subject of dieting and weight loss and being fully alive.

I read a study recently published by the New England Journal of Medicine in which 300 “moderately obese people” were followed on three different diets: the low-carb diet, the low-fat diet, and the Mediterranean diet (healthy fats, some dairy products, abundant fruit and vegetables). After two years of tightly controlled dieting, the dieters lost an average of 6–10 pounds.

And it turns out that in the years after the study, everyone who participated gained back most of the weight they had lost. Two years of strict dieting and the end result is that you lose 10 pounds that you then gain back? Hmmm. There’s got to be a better way to spend your time.

There is.

It is: Live the life you have. Love the body you’ve got. (This is not the same as “give up and binge.”)

Part of the reason diets don’t work is that when we are obsessively focused on our weight, we are not focused on doing what we love. On loving what we love. We are thinking about what we will look like when we lose weight. We are spending our days on counting calories or fat grams, as if we have forever to be alive, forever to turn to what we truly love.

When the college professor Dr. Randy Pausch’s last lecture swept through the Internet, when he spoke about having pancreatic cancer and six months to live, he spoke as a man whose priorities were clear. He wanted to spend every second he could with his family, he wanted his kids to have a visible record of his love. “I am maintaining my clear-eyed sense of the inevitable,” he said. “I’m living like I’m dying. But at the same time, I’m very much living like I’m still living.”

Every one of us has a terminal illness—it’s called life. Although we want to believe that death only happens to other people, it only takes a second or two to realize that the D word is going to happen to us, too. A car accident. A serious illness. An iffy mammogram. Suddenly, it’s our life that’s at stake. Our life whose stitches are numbered.

Ask yourself how you want to live.

Ask yourself what you would do with your time if your days were numbered (because they are—you just don’t know what the number is!).

And, oh, ask yourself what and how you would eat.

While you might be tempted to say, “I’d eat cheesecake all day and pizza all night because who cares about clogged arteries or cholesterol?” ask yourself if that is true. If life is so precious, why would you want to spend one minute making yourself sick? Why would you spend even 30 seconds of it causing yourself discomfort and therefore taking your attention away from what and whom you love?

When I was 19 years old, my college roommate and I were on a rickety Italian flight from Pisa to Rome. We were convinced the plane was going to crash and in the last few minutes of the flight, I figured that as long as I was going to die, I might as well die eating chocolate. Despite the turbulence, I managed to polish off the entire five-pound box of chocolate I’d bought for my mother. If I had died, I would have gone out burping and in a sugar coma. Not exactly a graceful exit.

Rather than focusing on dieting and depriving yourself, which we all know does not work, turn your attention to what you love. Because, if you love your life, you want to take care of your body. If you love your life, you don’t want to spend it making yourself sick or uncomfortable. Even if you knew you only had six months to live, you might eat differently, you might even begin exercising every day, but it wouldn’t be because you were ashamed of your body. It wouldn’t be because your thighs weren’t thin enough or the stitches of your life weren’t good enough. It would be because you didn’t want to miss a minute of the time you had left.

Why wait? Why not cherish every crooked stitch of your life?

May. 25th, 2009


15% TCA peel update - #4

Days 14-16:  Great molting, impressive even.  It was a lot of fun to see my face molt like snake skin.  But will this peel do anything for my acne?  Because that is why I did the peel, right?  It was not just for the fun of peeling skin off of my face? 

The acne spots that showed up during purging are small and probably not very noticeable now.  I suspect that they will be healed up shortly.  I am mostly concerned about whether or not the peel will have positive effects on managing my acne.  For the time being it is obviously too early to make any determinations.

Day 17: There are some stragglers that still need to come off.  I plan to use a washcloth today to mechanically exfoliate whatever is still barely clinging.  My face is not feeling sensitive so there should not be a problem as long as I am mindful of not sanding my face off.  

I am still using the Aveeno Daily Moisturizer.  The next time I do a peel I will probably only use the antibiotic ointment for a few days instead of two weeks and opt for the Aveeno as the method of moisturization.  This lotion is *really* great.

Now that the skin is healed up I need to find out about when I can go back to my regular skincare regimen.  Most dermatologists would advise against using anything except moisturizing lotion between peels, but that is unrealistic for me.  I am going to chat up my skincare guru friend, Esthetician Bev, about the next steps.  Esthetician Bev is a great resource because she has suffered from acne for a long time and has sensitive skin.  She knows that it is not effective to tell an acne sufferer to "just leave it alone and it will go away...eventually" post-peel.  Those of us with a long history with acne will probably want to spot treat at the minimum; it is important to know how to do this safely without causing any chemical reactions.

May. 22nd, 2009


15% TCA peel update - #3

Day 12: Discolored leathery brown patches appeared on my left cheek, under my left eye (at the very top of the cheek bone) and a few on my neck.  Sometimes people will experience patches that are brown and leathery when they do chemical peels.  When they slough off, the skin underneath will be a normal color.  Purging subsided.  I quit applying antibiotic ointment and switched over to Aveeno Daily Moisturizer.  It looks like this:

The dermatologist I went to for my first chemical peel heavily advocated the use of this product.  It is good for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.  I did not think that it was that great when I first tried it but I had two samples sitting around so I figured I would try Aveeno again.  The magical moisturizing ingredient in Aveeno is dimethicone, which is derived from oats and helps skin retain moisture.

Days 13 and 14: Wow, my face feels way more moisturized and it looks a ton less scary.  PLUS, the dead skin is coming off more easily now.  Awesome.  More peeling still needs to happen as my forehead is still on strike.  The discolored patches on my face came off but the ones on my neck remain.  I might try lightly exfoliating with a washcloth, but it could be irritating.

May. 19th, 2009


Second 15% TCA peel update? Or is this the third? I don't know.

The peeling process is going well.  As you might have guessed I have decided not to follow instructions (typical) and have been busying myself with using my face as a science experiment.

Day 4: my skin was showing signs of flaking but I could tell that there would not be any amazing results.  My forehead was tight and moderately wrinkly, but not in the way it looks when it is going to slough.  Thus, it seemed like a good idea to slap on two more layers of the TCA solution.  This time it hurt and a few patches frosted.  JOY.  

Days 5-8: Some pretty good peeling, some flaking.  Scary looking face.  Very scary.  Have I emphasized the scary?  Really unpleasant to the point that I really did not want to leave the house.  However, I discovered an interesting technique that is probably just a huge waste of time and money but I enjoy doing it anyway: slather scary face with triple antibiotic ointment.  I know, I know, it is a petroleum product.  My bad.  But it is helping my face not hurt and significantly decreases the appearance of reptile skin*.  Some of the cystic nodules are healing nicely and there has also been a bit of purging by way of white heads around my jawline and chin, which is where I break out ALL THE TIME.  The new skin that has emerged is soft, smooth and pink.  The skin that sloughed off of my neck was thin and wispy...sort of like fairy wings.  Well, okay, more like a thin layer of glue that you let dry on your hand so you could peel it off later, except a little thinner.

Day 9: My forehead does not want to peel.  It continues to hang out and mock me in its quasi-wrinkly, semi-gross state.  The only peeling it has agreed to is around the hair line.  Not impressed.  My cheeks are on the same bandwagon as my forehead, although this is understandable since I did put as many layers on them.  Purging continues.  So what did I do?  Three more layers of peel solution.  This is the last time, I swear.

Day 10: Gnarly!  But not in the awesome way.  My face feels VERY tight.

Day 11: Horror.  I went to the dentist today and, while I had my mouth open for a very long time, all of the surrounding skin got really dry and crackly.  The dentist came in and decided to feel my jawline (checking for tumors?  who knows) and this really bothered me because she was rubbing off any moisture I had left; I was also embarrassed because she kept touching my zits.  My face is red and blotchy and uber terrible.  Forehead is still on strike and my cheeks refuse to let go of their nasty patches.  Maybe they will reconsider at some point in the near future.

-I have had to keep my hair out of my face due to all of the ointments and moisturizers I keep putting on.  If you try this at home, do not expect to have fabulous hair during your peeling process.  Keep it out of your face to avoid irritation and getting greasy face products all over your locks.

-Blackheads.  Do you have them?  Because I do, all over my nose and some renegades on my cheeks and forehead.  The blackheads on my nose (where they are most prominent) have decreased in size and the peel has made it easier to extract the renegades.  Blackheads are pretty impossible to get rid of and they run in my family (on the nose), but it is nice to know they can be treated in some capacity.  My regular skincare regimen just does not affect them too much.

-I really love the green tea soap that came in my kit.  It is actually a bar soap that they say is NOT soap...okay?  Un-soap soap.  Anyway, it is non-irritating and does not sting.  I tried using my regular cleanser and it stung.  This soap seems to be somewhat moisturizing and lathers really nicely.  The next time I buy something from the website I will probably pick up one of these bars.

-I might be breaking out moreso because it getting close to "that time of the month."  Not sure.

I will update again in a few days.

*This is what I do when I want to appear in public: (1) Make sure face and neck are freshly washed and dry (2) Apply daily SPF moisturizer and let the skin absorb it (3) Apply a thin layer of Neosporin/your favorite generic triple antibiotic ointment (4) Mix a small amount of foundation with some moisturizer and apply like you regularly would if you wear foundation. 

If you prefer to forego foundation your face will look super great with the application of the ointment, just in a shiny-great kind of way.  I apply the foundation because my skin tone is uneven.  Anyway, personally, I feel more confident being shiny and less peely looking.

May. 12th, 2009


15% TCA peel update

Day 2: a few slight flakes appeared around my nostrils and several of my pimples crusted over.  Slight dryness and tightness.

Day 3: my face is now starting to look like it is manifesting some strange disease.  The area all around my mouth and chin is starting to flake and look very dry and gross.  A few small patches on my neck have flaked but it was very insignificant.  There are a few patches of skin that look like they are getting a little tighter and more wrinkly, which means the dead skin will be coming off in a few days.  My cheeks and forehead show no signs of peeling although my forehead feels tighter than normal if I wrinkle it intentionally.  It is pretty common for my forehead and cheeks to peel last if they do at all.

What else?  I wore liquid foundation today and it probably only made my skin look worse.  By the end of the day I could see all sorts of places where the foundation was collecting and the skin was forming flaky plates.  It probably wasn't obvious to anyone from a distance but up close?  Different story.

May. 10th, 2009


First TCA Peel 15%

The application of my first TCA peel was a little anticlimactic.  The instructions were very specific and said to only apply one layer for the first peel.  I was also supposed to do a little patch test 24 hours beforehand but I did not bother with it; I already have experience with peels and use 15% glycolic acid and 5-8% salicylic acid on a regular basis (I am already exfoliated really well).  TCA peels work better if they are preceeded by regular exfoliation with glycolic, salicylic and/or lactic acids.  This is a little different from Jessners Peels; for these you should use retinoids beforehand but not for a week before peel application. 

What happened...
First steps: removed makeup (cetaphil), cleansed with the soap provided in the kit, dried skin thoroughly, put moisturizers on eyelids, below eyes, put on lip balm.  Putting moisturizers on sensitive areas will prevent the solution from getting on places where it might cause a lot of discomfort or damage.   I applied the first layer (with q-tips) to my face, jawline and neck and waited for five minutes.  The solution actually felt a little cooling and "minty" feeling and there was hardly any discomfort except for my cheeks; they got really red and hot, which is normal (for me).  This is a sign to not apply any more of the solution to the area.  No frosting occurred so I applied a second layer (except to the cheeks).  More waiting, very slight discomfort (tingly burning), still no frosting.  I read the directions again and noticed that there was a blurb that said I could leave the peel on until frosting OR pronounced feelings of discomfort.  Again, more waiting, maybe about fifteen or twenty minutes.  Any discomfort faded and my face felt fine.  Back to the bathroom I went to apply a third and final layer.  Still, NO FROSTING.  *Sad face*

I rinsed off and put on some neosporin and a very emollient moisturizer that I had from the Jessners peel kit.  Oddly, once I rinsed off my face started getting red and itchy.  After applying the neosporin and moisturizer it calmed down quickly.

A couple of reminders/helpful hints

1) Make sure skin is clean and completely dry before applying the peel solution.  Some peel kits include a special cleanser.  The TCA peel kit included a special "soap free" cleanser that I used before and after peel application.

2) Some peels have different cleansing directions depending on the type and where it is purchased from.  Neutralizing the peel is a very important step that can never be skipped when you are ready to remove the peel.  Neutralizing the peel is done by either splashing the face with cool or tepid water, or splashing the face with a sink full of cool or tepid water with a few teaspoons of baking soda.  The baking soda tends to neutralize peels faster than regular water but it is not necessarily any better than regular tap water.  Always neutralize the peel before cleansing at the end.  Some peel instructions say to forego any type of soap cleansing because it might cause a chemical reaction and further irritate the skin.

3) When neutralizing or cleansing post-peel, do not scrub the face with anything abrasive, including washcloths. If you want to use a washcloth dab it on the face.

Some thoughts...
15% TCA peels are sort of in the middle between lower and higher strengths.  The strengths come in 8%, 12.5%, 15%, 18%, 21%, 24% and 30%.  From what I have read it is pretty uncommon for people to go up to the 30%; 18 and 21% are considered to be pretty strong.  The site I bought the peel from recommended starting at the lowest strength but I chose something a little stronger because I have pretty good knowledge of peels and skincare in general. 

If nothing significant happens and I only flake instead of peel, I will do the peel again in another week and see what happens with 4+ layers.

Today, my skin feels a little tight but looks fine, no redness or other obvious signs of a chemical peel.

Updates to follow.

Apr. 16th, 2009


Peel Updates

Toward the end of March I applied another Jessner's Peel.  Unfortunately I did not achieve any super awesome results.  In fact, I have been breaking out moderately ever since which was about a month ago.  The breakouts are not as bad as they could be, but they have been obnoxious to say the least.  I am particularly annoyed with the zits that keep popping up on my neck jawline and around my mouth/chin.

I purchased the Jessner's peel from this vendor on e-bay: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Original-Skin-Store .  The kit I received from this vendor included a mild cream cleanser (might have been Cetaphil, actually) and a heavy cream for post-peel application.  The face cream was very heavy and basically created an oil slick on my face.  I also bought their "Acne Stop" (10% Lactic Acid, 5% Salicylic Acid) at the same time back in early February.  I have not used the Acne Stop much because they blend the acids with some sort of ethanol that seems much stronger than what I have encountered in the past with other products (Diana Yvonne, Makeup Artist's Choice).  The solution hurts to apply and it makes my eyes tear.  Overall, I have not been very impressed with these products.  However, they do have other types of peels and receive decent product ratings on MakeupAlley

It is a general rule of thumb that, post-peel, you are not supposed to treat your skin with any additional products for a while.  I did not abide by that advice and have been treating my breakouts anyway.

A few weeks ago stacyanne09 told me about Makeup Artist's Choice (MUAC) and the TCA peel she bought from them.  I purchased their 15% TCA peel and 8% beta hydroxy serum (salicylic acid).  I have yet to use the TCA peel because the instructions say that wearing makeup 7-10 days post-peel is a big no-no.  Some dermatologists say that using mineral makeup might be okay but to exercise caution with makeup application after peels - it can cause infection, which may lead to scarring.  The main issue with makeup is that it tends to be unhygenic and the second is that certain ingredients can cause a chemical burn after peels.

MUAC gets good reviews on MakeupAlley.  The TCA peel comes with one pair of latex gloves, a small round of green tea soap and a sponge...I think.  Why do I think there is a sponge in there?  Sorry, I am too lazy to walk to the bathroom to confirm.  Keep in mind that one bottle of peel solution will give you a good number of peels (10-20+) so you will need a box of latex gloves if you are concerned about your fingers peeling from exposure to the solution (it doesn't bother me so I don't use gloves). 

Feb. 20th, 2009


Chemical Peel and ShiKai product reviews (face, eye and body products)

I've been meaning to post about this for a while but I keep forgetting.

I had a retinoic acid peel and Jessner's peel on Dec. 8th.  The peels were applied sequentially.  They have a watery characteristic, not gelatinous in nature, and are about the consistency of a regular toner.  When I thought of chemical peels I always imagined some sort of gel that was applied and removed at the dermatologist's office.  My peel procedure involved applying the solutions sequentially, waiting ten minutes to make sure everything was okay and then they sent me on my merry way all the way home.  The office staff advised to leave the peel on overnight without washing or applying ANYTHING to my face until the next morning.  Unfortunately, as the day went on I developed an allergic reaction and had to call the doctor on her off hours.  She instructed me to wash the peel off with room temperature water, apply a steroid cream (I had this left over from when I was using it in tandem with Tazorac) and take some benedryl.  That pretty much did the trick although there was a bit of irritation over the next few days and I discovered that moderate to strenuous physical activity would generate too much heat, causing my face to itch and burn.

My existing breakout persisted for about two weeks post-peel, but since then I have had excellent results.  Because the peel did not stay on very long I did not have crazy, grotesque peeling, which was a little disappointing (I had really hoped for a true face melting).  However, I did have some moderate peeling that was mildly entertaining to experience.  After about a week I began using regular acid products like a 5% salicylic acid toner and 15% glycolic gel a few times a week and then regular moisturizing on the off nights.  It should be noted that I broke the rules: post-peel you are not supposed to use any products other than regular moisturizers until the next peel.  OH WELL.  My skin felt fine so I proceeded with my own judgment.

My neck and jawline nodulocystic acne has nearly vanished.  I still have blackheads and some smaller pimples although they do not stick around for long and are easy to treat.  I wanted to continue the positive results and attempted to make another appointment (one should wait 6-8 weeks in between the first three peels).  Due to a lot of asshattery on behalf of the derm's office I gave up and decided that it would be interesting to try an at-home peel.  This is a scary thing to do, especially since products that are available to consumers "OTC" (like online) are not guaranteed medical grade products.

I am now in the process of doing my own at-home peel.  Obviously I found a site to order some products from.  Once I am sure about the safety and efficacy of the products I will post the name of the site.

The peel I did today went differently compared to the last one.  I only used a Jessner's peel which is a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol (a retinoid), all supposedly at 14% strengths in an ethanol base (ethanol is a standard base for these types of products so don't be alarmed).  This one did not stay on for very long at all - I applied one layer, waited five minutes and checked for frosting.  Frosting is when the skin takes on a white-ish appearance and additional layers are applied to spots that do not frost at 5 minute intervals.  I did not have significant frosting by the second application and decided to rinse it off; some precaution should be exercised since today is my first time using this product and because my face was getting pretty red and stinging pretty intensely.  Again, I only rinsed with water.

After rinsing for 3 minutes I let my skin dry and applied some cream that came with the peel.  The seller included a cleanser, moisturizer and peel solution so I followed the recommendation to moisturize with their particular moisturizer as the enclosed directions stipulated.

Before any type of peel it is generally advisable to avoid applying any exfoliating products for the week leading to the peel.  This includes all anti-aging products, zit-zapping stuff, scrubs, etc. - simply keep skin hydrated for that week.  The only thing I did to prepare my skin other than that was cleansing as usual before applying the peel.  I did not "de-fat" (apply toner, witch hazel, or alcohol) since my skin was very clean.  If a person has very oily skin then they might consider the toner step.

Right now my face is a little rosey but not by much more than usual.  Immediately after rinsing and for about 40 minutes afterward my face was VERY red and irritated.  Everything seems alright at the moment.

Peeling typically starts 3 - 6 days after the application of the peel chemicals.  I experienced peeling the day after last time and it continued for just a few days.  It is common to experience dry patches, brown patches, tightness, dryness and low-level irritation after having a peel so if you ever consider trying this out you might want to do it when you know you don't have to go anywhere for a while.  Some people experience a flaking reaction while other might have sheets of skin that come off easily on their own. 

Helpful tips: (1) For DIY peels keep a fan or hair dryer (on the COOL SETTING ONLY) on hand to help reduce the stinging sensations while the peel is resting (2) keep hair pulled back and out of the face for a few days (3) be careful to avoid getting shampoo, conditioner or other hair products on your face (4) never pick at the skin while it is peeling or flaking as this could cause scarring although it is okay to gently remove skin if it begins to peel off and hang (5) keep skin well-hydrated and apply moisturizer whenever the skin begins to feel dry (6) it is an absolute priority to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 otherwise you risk serious damage to the skin.

Price of peel at the derm's office: $150 out of pocket (often ~$300 at other derm practices in my region).
Price of peel kit online: $28.99 plus shipping and handling. (The chemical peel itself should yield 10 or more peels and keeps for a year if stored correctly)

If you have any questions just holler.
During a trip to Ulta I picked up some ShiKai skincare products from the Borage line.  The items were on clearance and I like to try new things so I swiped them.

24 hour Repair Cream - This came as a sample along with the body lotion.  On the nights that I only moisturize I apply a cream that is formulated for sensitive skin, generally something calming - Eucerin's Ultra Calming Cream has been my staple for a while and I really love it.  The sample lasted me three nights and I was so thrilled that I went back for more.  Someone else had beaten me to it so they were out.  I will buy it when I see it next or when I am out of the Eucerin.  The 24 Hour Repair Cream absorbed quickly and when I woke up in the morning my dry patches were gone and my face felt soft, hydrated, calm and HAPPY.  And it didn't make me break out which is a bonus since my skin is so sensitive.  The regular price looks to be around $15.99. (The Eucerin runs about $14)

Eye Cream - It is hard for me to find a simple hydrating eye cream that doesn't make my eyes sting or water.  Most eye creams that I have tried do not have lasting hydration but this one does.  It doesn't have any anti-aging properties but is still good as a general moisturizer for underneath the eyes and eyelids.  I bought it on sale for $7.99 and the regular price is $15.99.  One thing I have not checkes is if the 24 Hour Repair Cream has the same ingredients as the eye cream.  If so, it would obviously be more economical to simply buy the Repair Cream.  It is always wise to read the labels because you will sometimes find that an eye cream has identical or near-identical ingredients as its larger companion for the face.  Neutrogena products are notorious for this.

Cleanser - Another sample that I enjoyed and SUCCESSFULLY purchased during my second trip back to Ulta.  There isn't anything wild or sensational about this product, it just does what a cleanser is *supposed* to do:  cleanses thoroughly without drying out the skin.  It is free of heavy scent, lathers easily and a little goes a long way so it should last a while.  I bought it for $5.49 and the regular price is $10.99.  I would buy this brand over others like Dove, Neutrogena, L'Oreal, Oil of Olay, etc.

Here is the link for the facial products: www.shikai.com/products/borageFacial_order.htm

Dry Skin Therapy Lotion: Absorbs quickly and moisturizes my cracked knuckles.  I wash my hands more than the average individual and my skin pays the price.  Sometimes my hands are so dry and cracked that they bleed.  SO, every night before bed I moisturize my hands pretty heavily.  This lotion is healing my sad hands and returning them to a non-embarrassing state.  It is free of heavy scent.  I bought it for $7.99 and the regular price is $14.50.  I don't know if I would pay $14.50 for this because there are other products that lead to similar results.  However, this lotion is free of petroleum products and is not tested on animals, which is always good.

Oct. 8th, 2008


Skin check update 2

Thom went to the dermatologist today for *his* first full skin check.  What brought him in turned out to be of no concern but he has one spot that must be biopsied in 2 weeks and another on the bottom of his foot, like me.  I was surprised because he is not as fair as I am and tans instead of burns.  Since we have been together he has gotten better with sunscreen but in the past he didn't think it was an issue.  Let this be a word of caution to those of you who think that you don't need much sunscreen because you don't burn easily or that you don't need to exercise concern because your skin tone is not fair.

Also, most insurance plans do not cover skin checks but if you make it clear that you have a spot (or two/three/four) your visit should be covered and the doctor will check you all over.

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