Above you see much what of I’ve been using for skin care. I plan to keep on with some of it, but also make some changes, given what I now understand. Here’s what I have done wrong, and what right, in making my choices to date.
1. Get taken in by a saleswoman, albeit one good enough to found her own company
2. Fail to understand the (complicated!) biology behind skin care
3. Let my fear of chemicals trump proven research
1. Use peptides for collagen restoration
2. Follow my nose to lavender
3. Get sensible about the cost of scented body lotion
4. Find the strongest sun screen I can stand to wear
5. Win a giveaway for Perricone skin care hosted by Mary Jo Matsumoto, here
But let’s back up. I’m 53. I have stayed out of direct sunlight most of my life, so I’m not too bad in the sun damage department. Not dry, a tad oily. My skin reddens easily, and I already know I can’t use AHAs or any other chemical exoliants. I tried. Wound up with rosacea, exacerbated by stress. Imagine you’re flying around Europe on a private jet with a newly-minted millionaire, to promote his acquired product for Sun Microsystems, and every night you stare at yourself in a mirror, in Prague, in Hamburg, in London, wishing an ugly red rash would disappear. All glamor out the window. But I digress.
I started using MyChelle products because I liked their premise. Ingredient-based, natural products. No parabens, no scary chemicals. But eventually they irritated my skin. Reading Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia, I see that Ms. Begoun thinks the formulations are less than optimal, and the packaging virtually guarantees ingredients degrading into uselessness. The founder is characterized as a great saleswoman. Ooops. She got me. However, I also use their Honeydew unscented cleanser, and that one Ms. Begoun likes. I’ll keep it.
I started using the Avalon moisturizer because it was for sensitive skin. I see Ms. Begoun doesn’t approve. She thinks the lavender extract will irritate. Here’s the thing. I love lavender. I’ve always loved it. The smell makes me happy, almost ecstatic. As it turns out, maybe there’s a chemical reason for that. It seems to calm my skin down. Sometimes you should ignore the experts. As Maya said in comments yesterday, I’m guessing that your mind can affect your skin.
I started using Perricone a few years ago because I liked his ideas on preventing inflammation. Stopped when I lost my job because, um, expensive. Started again this year, when I won a giveaway on Trust Your Style. His products have a wonderful feel, with a great slip to the fingers that works well under makeup. Temporary tightening, temporary wrinkle filling, all good. Thank you, Mary Jo. Ingredients are pretty high quality, including Ester-C, DMAE, and Alpha Lipoic Acid. No parabens. Paula likes his products, calls their formulation, “elegant.”
Uh-oh. A new voice crying danger enters the fray. Dr. Samuel Epstein says that nanoparticles are dangerous. Perricone uses nanoparticle technology to address the issue of active ingredients penetrating the dermis. No need to panic. I have come to understand that these alarms are first raised with very little data, and I will use and enjoy until I run out. Then reassess.
I started using Kiehl’s moisturizer with SPF15 because one day I was wandering through the mall and thought I’d try, yet again, to find a sunscreen I can stand to have on my face for more than 2 hours. I just hate the way most sunscreens feel. Paula doesn’t rate this one, but the ingredients are known to be effective and the risk factor on the skincare safety site, Skin Deep, 0-10 scale is only 6. The sunscreen stays.
I started using Shikai lotions because you can buy them at Whole Foods and CVS, they are cheap, smell fantastic, and have no parabens. Skin Deep rates Shikai risk somewhere around 5. A keeper. Besides, I’ve tried almost all the fragrances and can’t decide which I like better, Sandalwood or Vanilla. I use their bodywashes too and tell myself I’m layering scents.
What other changes? Maybe I should try Retinol again. With a coupon. Maybe the lavender moisturizer will protect me from redness and scary visions in my mirror. I know I should stop using my son’s leftover ProActiv as an exfoliant. Did I say that? Eek. Begoun says that a washcloth works just as well as most scrubs. No parabens in a washcloth, either. I’ll think about it. Luckily, skin care experimentation is fun, not too expensive (if you stay away from the ReVives of the world), and for the most part consists of patting yourself on the face with something that smells good. Sturdy Gals can do that.
*And yes, that’s me on the sidebar. Seemed only right that if I’m going to talk about skin, I show you the one I’m in. And I can’t hang my skin on a wall or put it in a light box, so there you go.