Monday, January 17, 2022

I don't know about you, but regular mask-wearing really wreaked havoc on my skin.   Full disclosure, I enjoy wearing masks.  I like the fact that they may add a little extra sun protection vs. wearing sunscreen alone.  I also appreciate the anonymity they offer.  But for the acne-prone, like myself, they provide the perfect environment to trigger breakouts.  As you would imagine, most of my summer was spent trying to address random breakouts on my cheek jawline.  Months later, I’m still dealing with the aftermath.

Could things have been different if I had known about MasqueBar's Sheild & Soothe Hydrogel Mask?

The first time I saw someone wearing this half mask, I thought "why did it take me so long to become aware of this?"  The idea is a stroke of genius.  Imagine the beauty of masking publicly without anyone knowing.  While on a long flight, you can discretely keep your skin supple and hydrated.  If your work requires you to wear a mask for hours on end, a demi-sheet mask might save your skin. 

This doesn't feel like your typical sheet mask that's typically dripping wet with serum.  MasqueBar thought of everything and realized that a gel-like consistency made much more sense.  A saturated sheet mask wouldn't be ideal under a mask, but a cooling, hydrating gel mask changes the entire game.

I have yet to try a hydrogel mask but I'm reading that they are superior because they offer a better fit and more intense hydration because gel holds moisture better than traditional sheet masks.  Some say that gel masks produce a greater plumping effect than your typical sheet mask.  So not only does this sheet mask help protect the skin from unwanted acne, it might also act as an antiaging tool against signs of aging around the mouth area.  What’s better than that?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

 I've been really good about adhering to my skin routine lately and my efforts have been paying off.  Thanks to a little consistency, my skin is becoming clearer and more supple. The better my skin looks,  the more I notice issues that are going on with my scalp.   I realized that if I go too many days without using an acidic toner, my skin goes haywire.  But, at the same time, I'm doing absolutely nothing to keep my scalp calm in between washes. 

Isn't the skin on the scalp just as important as the hair on the face?

Actually, our scalp health might be even more important because our scalp health is directly related to the health of my hair.  Flaky scalp is bad enough but if we ignore the issue for too long, we're leaving the door open for unwanted hair loss.  

So I've decided to try scalp exfoliation again. Years ago, I attempted to exfoliate my scalp using products with tiny beads or even sugar scrubs.  That was a huge fail.  Huge. Not only did my scalp not really feel different after use, the tiny beads often got stuck in my thick hair and became a pain to remove.  I almost gave up on scalp exfoliation altogether until I realized that there was another way I could approach this...

Acids toners work wonders on my face, wouldn't they also do the same for my scalp?

To experiment, I grabbed a bottle of The Ordinary's 7% Glycolic Acid solution and poured a little on a cotton round and proceed to rub it into the visible areas where I noticed obvious signs of flaking.  Like magic, the tiny flakes began to disappear, allowing my scalp to look normal again. I have several acidic, exfoliating toners in my arsenal but I find this one to be mild enough to use on my scalp without fear of adverse side effects.  

Acids are great because they gently remove dead skin, dirt and oils without aggravating the scalp.  I suspect that, with regular scalp exfoliation, I'll probably experience a reduction in shedding and healthier hair growth come summer.

The only issue I seem to have is accessibility to the parts of my scalp that I don't see.   Instead of using a cotton round, I think it's time to graduate to using a spray bottle to mist my scalp directly.   Years ago, I used tiny misters to spray diluted ACV directly to my scalp.  That method worked like a dream.   I only stopped doing it because it was darn near impossible to mask the scent of my scalp being lightly coated in apple cider vinegar.  But with the Ordinary's toner, I don't have to worry about such a thing which makes it easier to seamlessly integrate it into my regular rotation.  I plan on doing this pretty regularly until my dermatitis calms down, but if your scalp isn't as troubled, but you still want to treat your scalp a facial,  you tack on this step on wash day as part of your pre-shampoo routine. 

I'm not the only one singing the praises of chemical scalp exfoliation, there are countless folks online who have experienced this for themselves.  My recommendation is that you start with a gentle acid toner that you already use on your face.  If your face responds well to it, chances are your scalp will too.  Not long ago, I discovered that our scalp is aging more rapidly than our face.  We routinely exfoliate our faces to keep the skin young and vibrant, doesn't our scalp deserve the same?

Friday, January 7, 2022

Years ago, after receiving a nice bonus at work, I mosied down to the local Neiman Marcus so I could treat myself to something nice.  While there, I noticed a distinguished-looking older woman standing near a display of fragrances.  For some reason, I felt drawn to her.  Typically, I avoid department store salespeople but this time was different.  

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of her, saying hello. She eagerly treated me with her English accent.  After exchanging pleasantries, I informed her that I was a novice when it came to fragrances.  She took the opportunity to share her background.  This woman was no ordinary Neiman Marcus associate, she was a representative visiting directly from the fragrance house.  In fact, she had decades of experience working with various Parisian fragrance brands.   She delighted me with stories of how she's traveled the world representing well-respected perfume empires.  She then invited me to sample some fragrances from Atelier.  The scents are heavily citrus-based. Because I was looking for a fresh, everyday, summery scent, I was sold.  I grabbed a bottle of their signature scent, Orange Sanguine, and one that was scented like deliciously sweet lime

Prior to completing our transaction, the lovely woman demonstrated, in full detail, how to properly apply cologne for maximum effectiveness.  She instructed me to take a "bottom-up" approach. This meant that I should start by misting behind my knees then work my way upward to the inner elbows, wrist, and finally behind the ears.  Although I listened closely, I had no intention of following her advice.  Instead, I continued to spray perfume directly on my chest like a barbarian.

....and guess what happened. 

I was likely triggering breakouts on my chest.  I've suffered from acne pretty much all of my life.  But I've been focused on the pimples on my face that I didn't stop to reflect on why I also dealing with chest breakouts.  Looking back, it makes sense that my fragrance application technique was flawed and likely caused my skin woes.   

Perfumes can sometimes contain synthetic oils and alcohols that can dry the skin.  Couple that with friction from clothing and suddenly you have a potential breeding ground for acne.  When covid first became widespread, I spent more time at home than ever.  Which meant that I wasn't really wearing any fragrance.  Whenever I wanted to wear a scent, I'd opt to use a rollerball and wear a little on my wrist.  It took me a while to realize but, over time, my chest acne pretty much went away.  The scars from past breakouts are now fading into obscurity.  

I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone might be dealing with the same issue.  Following that nice lady's advice could've solved a lot of my issues.  From now on, I'm only applying my fragrance like a french girl. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

I’ve always been a lemon water kind of gal. One reason why I'm a lemon water believer is because I've enjoyed real benefits by simply adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to room temperature water.  Aside from apple cider vinegar, and green tea, I can't think of another single ingredient beverage that offers as many benefits. 

I don't think that anything could top lemon water, but I may have found a formidable alternative. 
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