Stuff I Buy: Fighting Discoloration Naturally

When will this damn melasma go away? It’s such an uphill battle fighting skin discoloration in the summer, even with an SPF 50 on every day. I’m outside so much that I know I’ll have to wait a few months before another round of lasers to get deeper than any skincare can, but until then I’m hoping a few things I grabbed this week will help get my skin to get back to a more radiant state.

Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum

I’ve never heard of this line before and I’m not even sure where it’s sold other than online, but it’s an Amazon.com bestseller with 1,400+ glowing reviews. Oh, and it’s only $23. It’s an organic vitamin c, amino acid blend, and hyaluronic acid serum that people swear gives them more a radiant skin texture. Could it be a big marketing campaign from people within the company leaving false feedback? Sure, it happens on amazon all the time. But there are a ton of verified customers who left great feedback, enough to get my money and see for myself.

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Skin Obsession 40% Gycolic Peel

Yet another amazon.com best seller for skin peels, a huge sort of underground category on there for skin. They’re basically professional caliber peels available to the public from companies I’ve never heard of before. Totally legit right? Again, the reviews got me- 400+ singing the praises of how well this peel worked. Basically, I’m using it for my melasma, fine lines, and overall texture which is still not back to normal since my pregnancies. There’s just a dullness and blah to my skin that makes me look tired and probably old which really sucks. The great thing about peels is that the acid (whether it be glycolic, lactic, or whatever) dissolves the waxy layer of oil and dead skin that builds up on your face over time (why consistent exfoliation is key!) and gives that dull, dry, wrinkly look. Once that’s removed you’re left with a fresh layer of new skin that looks more radiant and less lined. Do a ton of research (I’ve looked for over a year) and google around. I was going to go with a peel from THIS line, but after reading several times how they plant positive reviews from within their company I decided it was best to skip it. Just follow their directions to a T which includes knowing how to neutralize the peel once it’s on otherwise you could end up with permanent burns and even scarring.

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Éminence Eight Greens Whip Moisturizer

My girl Alexa, an aesthetician to Denver’s who’s who over at the swanky Spa Vital in Cherry Creek has been an Éminence fan for as long as I’ve known her. After my facial today she sold me on their Eight Greens moisturizer which has a thick, almost balm-like texture that dissolved into my skin so completely and left it looking really fresh and hydrated and I didn’t even get that typical afternoon shine. It addresses tone and aging using natural ingredients like yucca, stone crop, and flaxseed. It’s a really cool line with a big upscale spa presence that you can check out HERE if you’ve never heard of it before.

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Éminence Lemon Cleanser

Alexa turned me onto this cleanser like 8 years ago. It’s a cream that doesn’t foam up (which is why I think I quit using it) but now that I’m older, I can finally appreciate a cleanser that cleans without stripping and drying. This one does that and also happens to have the best slightly sweet and tangy lemon scent that I just adore.

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Next up; more laser research on CO2 vs Fraxel. I think I’ll wait until October so I have a little time. Tweet me your thoughts if you’ve tried either before and had a great result.

Andalou Naturals Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish

There was a time BC (before children) when I’d on occasion wander around the skincare aisles of Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage while I was grocery shopping. I’d look, smell, test, and spray every bottle that caught my eye. It’s these natural, organic, off the beaten path lines that I’ll first browse when it comes to my own skincare whenever I’m out of something. I’ve seen this Andalou line a million times but never bought anything until I saw this Skin Polish which is usually a term for a finer grain scrub versus a traditional exfoliant with larger beads or bits of grit.

Here’s what I love- the finely ground chia seeds are in a rich cleansing aloe base so it feels like a microdermabrasion and it quickly buffs away dry skin and dullness which leaves my skin noticably softer and brighter. I love the natural ingredients like jojoba, flax, vitamins, and walnut powder and the exclusion of GMO’s, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Sulfates, Synthetic Colors, Dyes, Fragrances, Triclosan, PEG, MEA, TEA, DEA, or Paraben Preservatives which goes for every product they offer.

Online it sells for $15, but I got it for $10. Based on this scrub alone I’m excited to try more- like their BB Cream from their 1000 Roses line, and this Beta Hydroxy cream for pigmentation and skin healing.

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Acne Skin? Try This: Murad Acne Starter Kit

Murad’s new Acne Starter Kit $30 is a total homerun for breakouts and redness. It’s a grown-up solution for troubled skin, so it clears it up quickly without drying or peeling. It’s so gentle and makes skin feel great. Since I haven’t been getting facials like I used to, my skin is up and down so I’ve been using the Acne Clearing Solution which helps with shine and reduces inflammation. I love the way it makes my skin feel and when I use the Mattifier SPF 15 over it, my skin is totally primed so foundation smooths right over it. A mattifing SPF is key for the summer months so you don’t turn into an oil slick in the sun.

I used Proactiv years ago and hated it. It dried my skin out and left it flakey and red without clearing anything up. It was too harsh and not effective. This kit is the opposite. Try it first if your skin has been giving you a hard time.

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How to Dermaplane/ Don’t Try This at Home

Dermaplaning. How I love thee.

For those unfamiliar it’s an exfoliating skin treatment performed by facialists that removes tons of dead surface skin (and peach fuzz) using a razor blade. Basically, it’s a hard core face-shave best described by Cheryl over at The Cut who goes into detail of her experience getting the treatment- worth a read if you haven’t had it done. I love it because my face is hairy (I’m Italian what can I say?) and it fully removes that peach fuzz and top layer of skin so well that I obsessively touch my face for about a week after because it’s so soft. It gives a youthful and radiant glow plus your skincare will penetrate and work better not having the dry skin and hair barrier blocking its way. It’s a technique that’s been used for years and it’s so simple and non-invasive. You can usually add it onto any facial for $20 or so, but since I haven’t been to my facialist since forever, I decided to bravely DIY this treatment that’s admittedly best left to the pros.

Now let’s be clear, I really don’t recommend you do this yourself. We’re talking about taking a sharp, medical grade scalpel to your skin that could cut and permanently scar your face. But for me, I felt like after a few quick YouTube vids I could dermaplane with the best of em. (Side note: ever since I learned to roll sushi via YouTube I feel like I’m just a four minute tutorial away from learning anything. I somehow felt like I could repair our broken dryer after watching this video today but eventually called someone who actually knows what they’re doing.)

Anyway.

I was a little nervous getting started but I followed the tips on how to hold the blade at an angle and how lightly to press to a T. I was so gentle that I had to do a few passes to get results but that’s better than going nuts and hacking a chunk of skin off my cheek. Afterward I applied my Vivant Mandelic Acid serum which did sting a little on my sensitized skin (typical) but it was back to normal the following day.

I didn’t take a before and after because I didn’t think to, but the pic below demonstrates pretty typical results immediately after a treatment.

If you’re looking to try dermaplaning at home.. don’t. You really shouldn’t. But if you’re stubborn, stupid, pressed for time, and cheap like me, here’s what I used.

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These blades I bought from Amazon that received glowing recommendations. How could 39 people be wrong?

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It’s a lightweight curved blade with a plastic handle. The ones used by pros have a metal handle where you pop in disposable straight blades after each use. It goes without saying that they are extremely sharp. People in the reviews say they also use them in the kitchen as ultra sharp pairing knives. Let’s hope it wasn’t after they used them to shave the skin and hair off their faces because yuk if so.

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Photo credit: dermistique.com

If you do try it be sure to let me know how it goes but be careful and do your homework. Sharp objects and ignorance do not mix.

The Skincare Line I’ve Used For 15 Years

One of the most miraculous sights in my bathroom is that of an empty jar. I often get bored or jump from one thing to another when what I’m using isn’t working. But, off and on (more on than off especially with their toner) for 15 years I’ve bought Aqua Glycolic. It was even confirmed by my derm to be one of the best lines on the market- high praise for a simple line priced around $12.

Aqua Glycolic is a hidden gem among drugstore skincare. Best prices I’ve found are at Costco which typically has it all in stock behind the counter in their pharmacy (you don’t need a PX it’s just where it’s kept) but every pharmacy either carries it or will order it for you free of charge. A few tips: I don’t like their creamy cleanser because it feels thin and doesn’t remove makeup. Use the body lotion in place of the cream on your face if you want a higher concentration of glycolic (it’s the same formula), and dilute the toner half and half (or more if you’re sensitive) with witch hazel so you get the benefits of the toner without any drying or irritation.

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How to Get Rid of Blackheads with Murad Pore Reform

I’ve been hearing such good reviews on Murad’s Pore Reform line including two friends who swear by it. One started off with buying just the moisturizer and saw such big results that she went back to Sephora for the whole line. They say that their pores have never been clearer and their stubborn blackheads which were once resistent to any sort of treatment were totally gone. After receiving the products from Murad to try, I decided the best thing to do (since my skin is clear right now and being pregnant I can’t do retinol which is in the T-zone Serum) was to hand it over to another friend whose skin is a total roller coaster ride in terms of breakouts and blackheads.

Now all three of them are in love.

They all agree that the cleanser is a good formula, but the foamer reduces its richness and they’d like to see sturdier suds in their cleansing routines. They also loved the T-Zone pore Refining Serum that you use after cleansing day and night to dig out the trapped dirt and keep pores clear. They said that it leaves skin really soft and zaps shine for those who were a bit on the oily side, yet isn’t too drying. But the real heros are the Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo, a twice weekly treatment starting with the cream that you leave on for 10 minutes before washing it off and applying a lotion to seal the skin to prevent any additional blackheads from forming. I’m sad I gave this one away because they all swear by it and say that it gives their skin an instant fresh looking glow like no other. It’s like an extraction for the skin minus the painful poking and prodding.

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