TPDTY: Managing Suddenly Problem Skin (as an Adult)

As an adult, when you go from nearly life-long clear skin to problem skin in the space of three months, you might panic.

I did. Many ladies and gentlemen did and do. Adult-onset acne is not unheard of and can be triggered by any number of things – commonly hormones, but also environment, diet, and other lifestyle factors. Going from having something work for years to everything being clearly.freaking.wrong for your skin is frustrating!

For the first time in I’m-not-even-sure-at-this-point (18 months? 24? I don’t know anymore!), I’ve had clear skin. Clear, that is, aside from an occasional cycle-related blemish that is minor and goes away on its own. Hallelujah.

If you’re frantically trying to pursue resolution, you might inadvertently have left common sense by the wayside. No judgment; I did. Keep these things in mind when trying to manage suddenly problem skin.

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Costco Beauty Finds – May 2017

I’ve been a Costco member for a few years now and have shared some beauty finds in the past. Costco Beauty is a veritable treasure trove of desirable products at even-more-desirable prices. Arguably, if you have a makeup/skincare/haircare habit, the savings on some of these finds alone more than pays for the membership if you were planning to buy them anyway.

Here are some neat things I came across recently. I haven’t purchased most of these items, but either want to at some point or think they’re probably interesting enough to some people to share.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Amope Pedi Perfect Wet & DryAmope Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry

The standard Amope Pedi Perfect is the recipient of several consumer awards as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews. Between 4.5 and 5 stars virtually everywhere, the Pedi Perfect typically retails for $30-36 for the device itself with only one head. Costco regularly carries the Wet & Dry variety, which is waterproof and therefore safe to use in the shower, for $40; the Wet & Dry variety typically goes for $50+ elsewhere. Costco’s package includes FIVE replacement rollers heads, which retail for $20 for a pack of two, plus a storage bag. Bonus: You DON’T have to be a member to order this from Costco.com, but there is a non-member surcharge of a couple dollars. This is the best value I’ve found via Costco Beauty to date.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumMurad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

This popular Murad serum goes for $65 at Sephora and Ulta in the same quantity. Even with a 20% off Platinum Perk or the November VIB sale, it drops to $52…so the $43 price tag Costco has it for is a steal. People have luck fading acne scars, sun spots, and age spots with this.

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April 2017 Favorites

April 2017 Favorites
GVP Compare to Clairol Shimmer Lights
, $10 / Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream, $5 /
Tarte Shape Tape, $25 / L’Oreal Sublime Glow, $9 / Febreze One, $6

I made a typo when I was writing out the title of this post – I accidentally wrote, “April 2015 Favorites.” Yeah, right.

I’ve moved on from Blond Brilliance. Priced similarly for way more product, Sally Beauty’s GVP line has what is apparently an excellent dupe of Clairol Shimmer Lights. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried Shimmer Lights, but what I do know is that this stuff is glorious for preservation of blonde.

It’s back! My cuticles are a mess since the manicure that blew my no buy. They did a fairly shoddy job, and now my fingers are worse off than before. This is the universe’s way of getting me back, ha. To help protect them, I’ve been slathering the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage cream into them a couple times a day. I’m almost all fixed up.

I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Shape Tape is a really great concealer. It isn’t some godly ambrosia perfect for every situation as the masses on YouTube would have you believe, but it is pretty solid.

I’m using Cabana Tan on my legs, but my arms (which take color at a comically rapid rate and do not suffer aggressive exfoliation from shaving) are getting a gradual sunless tanner for now. I’ve used Jergens with success but wanted to try L’Oreal Sublime Glow for fun and bought it over the winter – I like how it smells a bit more than the Jergens, and it seems as effective. Bonus? This has a small bit of fun, non-distracting, non-tacky shimmer – just enough to highlight the skin ever-so-faintly and give it a bit more life. I use medium. Note: This isn’t Sublime BRONZE, which is their more aggressive sunless tanner. This is the gradual one!

I’ll be the first to admit I have a Febreze problem. I have since as long as I can remember. Back in the day, it was Meadows and Rain. Then, Thai Dragonfruit, Allergen Reducer (smells surprisingly nice and I still use it). Next (and also currently), the Tide scented one since that’s my husband’s laundry detergent preference. I’ve tried and liked many more. Then, Febreze came out with their refillable Febreze One product and I immediately purchased it. It’s a fabric refresher and air freshener in one. It’s non-aerosol, and you can buy refill cartridges rather than whole new bottles. The Bamboo scent reminds me of something between Tide and Meadows and Rain – it’s clean, but not nauseatingly so. There’s a distinct, crisp Ozone note that I can’t.get.enough.of (its what I love about Yankee’s Margaritaville Mother Ocean candles!) Anyway, then BzzAgent sent me the other two scents which are quite lovely as well. I love that they’re lower-waste and that it’s a multi-use product. Couch? Curtains? Bathroom? Office? Handled.

Melanoma Monday 2017 – For the Desk Jockeys

Protecting your skin is a recurring theme on this blog. Before my mom’s initial melanoma diagnosis my dumbass was a tanning salon client. That abruptly stopped, and I’ve been slathering on sunscreen ever since.

A sunscreen-related question I used to ask was raised in the comments recently that I think warrants its own post. What better a time than Melanoma Monday? In essence, it was:

If most sunscreens must be reapplied every two hours or so, how does one reconcile reapplication with makeup usage? Do you need to remove your makeup, reapply sunscreen, then reapply makeup? How does that work for people who, you know, work?

Sunscreen for Desk Jockeys

Rejoice! You don’t need to literally reapply every two hours unless perhaps you work next to a window (through which UVA rays can penetrate). For those of you with cubicles or windowless offices, this means you can apply in the morning, commute, work, and not need to reapply for a lunch our or your commute home.

Chemical sunscreens aren’t time-released; they don’t have an expiration timer that starts from when they get massaged into your skin. The two-hour estimate is based on the photostability of the chemical components that protect your skin; subject to sun exposure, they gradually break down and become ineffective.

So, the TWO HOUR sunscreen reapplication guideline is two hours of EXPOSURE, not on a stopwatch.

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PMD Personal Microderm

PMD Personal MicrodermPMD Personal Microderm, $159

I’ve been questing to achieve skin that doesn’t piss me off for a while now. Around the holidays, I ordered a PMD Personal Microderm system from Nordstrom to try. My concerns:

  • General exfoliation/cellular turnover
  • Sebaceous filaments
  • Skincare product absorption
  • General preventative aging stuff

PMD Personal Microderm describes their device as…

…a revolutionary at-home skincare tool that provides the same brilliant results as professional … treatments. PMD Personal Microderm combines Patented(1) Spinning Disc technology(2) with Perfectly Calibrated(3) Vacuum Suction to brighten, smooth, and even skin tone and texture. Personal Microderm reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, and enlarged pores. This exfoliation process removes the dead, dull skin cell barrier, increases blood flow, and boosts the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.

Having a Patent isn’t as Big of Deal as it Sounds

First things first: I hate when marketing departments throw the word, “patented,” in front of something. It’s a buzz-word. It isn’t more impressive simply because it was patented. Not to be crass here, but toilet tissue was patented, too.

Patented

Just add, “Technology!”

Second, more marketing criticism – “Spinning disc technology.” You know what else uses spinning disc technology?

frisbee

Perfection is Ambitious

Third, throwing in that golden adjective, “perfectly,” is a little bold. Different skin types need different things, so let’s not pretend that there really is a one-size-fits-all level of suction. That is what the PMD Personal Microderm devices offer, but to call it perfection is a bit much.

The Device

The PMD device receives largely positive reviews, but my first impression of the PMD Personal Microderm was that it felt lightweight and flimsy in my hands. Here’s this fairly large handle…made, clearly, of hollow plastic. The balance was poor. It wasn’t comfortable in my and and felt awkward to hold. On top of that, I nudged the power rocker several times during normal use. Poorly thought out.

The PMD Personal Microderm device is not battery powered, so treatment needs to take place near an outlet, which may be a detractor to some. I’d rather have consistent power and performance than the freedom to traipse around my apartment while sloughing off my skin’s outermost layers. There are two threaded plastic caps that hold the exfoliating, spinning disc in place; one wide, one narrow. The wide discs and cap are intended for larger surface areas (cheeks, forehead) and the smaller discs and cap are used in narrower spaces (around the nose, etc).

To switch discs, unscrew the cap, pull the disc cylinder out, and replace. I found that the disc cylinders were a little snug and stiff when it came to removing and replacing, but I accepted this if it meant they were secure.

Usage

Prior to use, you should wash your skin with a mild cleanser and pat dry. Skip moisturizers.

Starting at the bottom center of your face, hold the PMD Personal Microderm to the skin and use the other hand to hold the treatment area taut. Moving outward and upward in steady strokes, move the device across the skin. Easy enough. PMD has you start with a super-gentle white disc to help you acclimate to the device and prevent you from destroying your skin.

After the first two uses, I graduated from the white discs to the light grey (ultra-sensitive) and blue (sensitive) discs. After each use, my skin was red but not in pain. My skincare products did sink in quickly after use and that day and the next my skin was fairly bright.

Over Time

Using it once weekly for six weeks did not seem to be significantly impactful, however. I had to work hard to deal with sebaceous filaments just as I would have without the device, and the lines that developed in my forehead woefully (albeit not unexpectedly) early are just as noticeable as they ever were.

Also, although the exfoliation was there I didn’t find myself getting better with the device – I didn’t go slowly by any stretch of the imagination, but it was difficult to smoothly glide over my skin; the disc wouldn’t stay in proper contact with my skin as I moved the PMD Personal Microderm device around. It would skip with the suction and tug a bit, which was uncomfortable but not injurious. I did not have difficulty lining up my strokes to avoid a, “tiger stripe,” effect that some users reported.

Reviews report that the devices loses suction after about a year. That’s disappointing considering the cost of the device. If it truly gave professional results, a limited lifespan would be completely worth it (after all, how much is microdermabrasion at a med-spa?)…but it doesn’t.

The Bottom Line

A rarity, I ended up returning the device after six weeks of use. I wouldn’t recommend. Why?

  • The results were not consistent with the marketing or hype.
  • I found it challenging to use consistently without skipping over my skin.
  • I did not see anything beyond short term, 1-2 day benefits.
  • Limited lifespan at approximately one year.
  • High replacement/consumable cost at $15-20 for a set of 4-6. When each disc should be replaced every 3-4 uses, that adds up!
  • Sensitive heads feel decently abrasive (not painful); can’t really see someone using a coarser disc without discomfort.
  • Device felt flimsy and isn’t designed with ergonomics in mind for the cost.
  • Seemed that I had to work entirely too hard to contend with sebaceous filaments, which are common and not stubborn…if I had that much trouble with that, how much difficulty would someone using it for anti-aging concerns have?
  • The lines in my forehead are just as obvious as ever. I’m not trying to get rid of them, per se – of course I have lines in my forehead as a cynical twenty-something – but this did nothing to them, which I think would be concerning, again, for someone looking into the PMD Personal Microderm device for DIY anti-aging treatment.

Fortunately, I found and use something else. Have you tried any at-home microdermabrasion substitutes?