TPDTY: On Sebaceous Filaments & Why You Don’t Need Pore Strips

This is a post from the Beauty Skeptic archives that has been given a facelift! Content is the same but may have been edited for clarity and flow, as well as some small content updates noted in line.

Pore StripOh look, a pore strip!

Yeah, you’re familiar with them, probably from Biore. Other brands make pore strip products, too, often more expensive for the same (lackluster) result.

But you don’t need them.

Yeah, there are DIY pore strip tutorials online with weird suggestions involving egg whites or Elmer’s Glue. And listen, I can appreciate getting a little mad scientist in my beauty/skincare as much as the next person…

But you don’t need to.

Wash your face, leave it sopping. Dry your hands, open the thing. Slap the pore strip on your nose and smooth it down. Wait until it feels ridiculous, then rip it off.

But you don’t need that.

Here’s the thing – what many of us bought those things or played mad scientist for was because we believed we had a ton of god-awful blackheads on and around our nose, right? Oh god, we have to fix it. We’d peel away the papier-mâché pore strip and marvel in disgust over what we just ripped out of our faces with this pore strip. Right? Don’t lie, if you’ve used this, you have. You’re elated for a day or two because your skin looks a little better…and then things return to normal – and you strip again.

A waste, indeed, of time and money for such fleeting results.

But here’s the thing – in so many cases (I wish I could quote you a percentage) those are not blackheads. They are sebaceous filaments – they occur naturally on everyone, ever, and are not blemishes…and they cannot be, “removed,” not even by a pore strip. Yes, they aren’t the cutest thing in the world, and yes, that is irritating. Proper skincare, however, can make them less obvious.

The Routine

Your skincare routine should consist of (at minimum), daily cleansing, exfoliating as often as your skin wants/needs it (some people like a daily gentle exfoliant, some of us like to break out the big guns 2-3 times per week), and moisturizing. You can get more detailed than this if you wish (I like to!) but it isn’t a dire necessity. (Bonus points if you use a face brush like an Olay Pro-X or Clarisonic!)

In terms of cleansers, I like something basic and simple. (2017) CeraVe Foaming (2014) Cetaphil Gentle is my favorite. As far as exfoliants go…in terms of what is best for your skin, a chemical exfoliant is technically best and I have (2017) this AHA gel from Alpha Skin (formerly Alpha Hydrox) (2014) this one from Alpha Hydrox .

That said, I also commit “skincare sins,” and indulge in physical ones (theoretically the gritty nature of these can cause tiny cuts in your skin. I haven’t had problems, personally, but I get it – especially with the St Ives, it can be a bit much if you overdo the pressure) such as this classic from St Ives and my long-time favorite from Burt’s Bees 2017 Update: The only physical exfoliation my face sees these days comes from my Clarisonic or Luna Mini.

Moisturizers are very personalized depending on your needs but I am currently happiest with (2017) Mountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil (2014) Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. Those things help me keep my skin healthy and looking well-cared-for.

The Bottom Line

Stop wasting your money on pore strip products, your time on playing face-goop-alchemy, and just get back to basics. They’re fun, but they are a gimmick – and a costly one, at that. Chances are if you don’t have other acne issues, you don’t have a nose rife with blackheads…you, like most people, just have some sebaceous filaments which are normal and healthy. Not gross, just kind of odd looking when you actually notice them.

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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