Sunday, February 5, 2012

Marketing BS and the truth about health

Let me preface this post by saying you should NOT Google skin conditions unless you've got a strong stomach or desire to see gross things.

As some of you know from my previous post that included "zit-hydra monsters," and my ability to temporarily turn into a hippie with green smoothies, I suffer from a variety of dermatological woes. Mainly, my skin is very sensitive to stress, humidity levels, and irritating products.

In 2011, I spent close to $500 on skin products. Hours of research were poured over each purchase, and two things on the list were repeat purchases. Otherwise, most of the items didn't work as advertised. Likely, my skin just doesn't respond to the ingredients as most people's skin does.

This is nothing new. Six or seven years ago, I went to the dermo about a tan circle on my elbow. The doc labeled it as "localized morphea," which happens to some people sometimes for some reasons - all unknown. Today, I question the diagnosis because the information about morphea suggests that the coloring or shape changes over time, which mine hasn't.

Last month, I came across an iodine article (which I can't find, dang it) in my quest to find the right combination of vitamins and antioxidants. It said that there is little known about how the body uses iodine in the tissues, all the blood test measures is what is being circulated through the bloodstream. Similar messages are throughout medical studies germane to psychology, metabolism, and (you guessed it) skin conditions. Because everything is related to everything else, like how hives are an immune system reaction, it's hard to pinpoint what exactly is happening (thus how an individual would react to anything). It's frustrating because you would never be able to prevent a reaction to something unless you tried it, which is why I'm still on a quest to figure out if there is some magical lotion or cream that won't sting the bejeezus out of my skin or leave me high and dry.

So, given that my skin is finicky, my sun exposure is minimal (less than 1 hour a week in the winter and less than 4 hours a week in the summer), and I still get acne when I'm stressed, here is the lineup from 2011:

Soaps and washes:

Cetaphil - Does this stuff do anything? I feel like it just moves dirt and oil around. I'd rather use water.

CeraVe Face Wash - A little stronger than Cetaphil, but not by much. I like bubbles, what can I say? I don't know if I'd buy this again.

I used to use Topix Replenix, which was actually something I got for my husband. I might switch back to this in the summer, when water as a cleanser isn't sufficient.

African Shea Black Soap - This should have been good, but I didn't find the soap's effects to overcome the dark brown trails going down the drain. Dove or Ivory is just as good if you're into bar soap. The Suave perfume free stuff is also OK (even with the irritation and potential toxicity of sodium laureth sulfate).

Face moisturizers:

Neocutis Biorestorative Cream with Psp - Smells faintly like plastic, but this moisturizer is very nice to my skin. I've never had a reaction to it, and I'll likely buy it again. I like to use this over sunscreen or at night.

NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen - I've consistently used this for two years and my skin loves it. It doesn't moisturize, but I usually layer this under other products. I've tried the trial kit from this brand, and the other products don't impress me that much. Of course, I only noticed a difference in my skin from using this after about two months (it takes a long time for my skin to look better from something). I'm allergic to most sunscreens (anything that ends in "-zone"), as in, they sting before I get into the sun. 

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer - This stings if I use it on my whole face, maybe because of the amount of Vitamin C (asorbic acid) in it. My plan is to use this as an eye cream, because it doesn't bother my crows feet one bit. My mom had a similar reaction, and our skin is very different, so it was probably designed for someone who is resistant to having acid on their face.

Clarins UV Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 - My goal was to find an alternative to the NIA that would moisturize. No such luck. This stuff doesn't sink in, so I get a nice mineral sheen after using this. I didn't react to it though, so I might recommend it for sensitive skin; however, it is more expensive than NIA, so nevermind.

Aveeno Smart Essentials Nighttime Moisture Infusion - I bought this from Target because I thought this would be a nice, low-cost way to supplement my moisturizing routine. What a load! There is technically moisture in the product, but no infusion with the skin. It sits on top of your skin and comes off in little balls. Not sure what they were going for here, except to get my money.

Body Moisturizers:

VaniCream - There are loads of people who like this product, and I can't understand why. I got through about half of the product before I just threw it away. It wasn't even good for layering (which is how I use up some of the crap products I buy).

Tree Shea Body Butter - You need something cheap to use after a shower? This stuff would be good in the summer time, since it's rather light. 

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Moisturizer - Holy grail of all body moisturizers. If you are as dry as the Sahara, or like taking hot showers, Kiehl's will not disappoint. Of course, you will also pay an arm and a leg. I was disappointed that they basically redid the formula for the "lightweight" version to make it "light," as it didn't have the same effect as the original. 

Serum:

Peter Thomas Roth Viz-1000 - This is the only serum I use, and it's because it allows my skin to absorb even more moisture than just on its own. I've since bought hyaluronic acid in bulk instead of sticking to a particular brand, as the ingredients are the same in each product.

Other:

Clarisonic Mia - I use this off and on, depending on if my skin looks dull or extra sweaty. It's a great product, and I would recommend it to other folks if they want a squeaky clean type of feel to their skin. It's also rechargeable, so you don't need a circulation of batteries going to your bathroom.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle/Anti-Blemish Treatment - Benzyol peroxide be damned! It breaks me out all over in a red rash. This Neutrogena product, on the other hand, uses a gentler salicylic acid and retinol. Plus it comes in an opaque tube, preserving the light-sensitive Vitamin A. So yes, now Liz Lemon can have a buddy that gets both wrinkles AND zits. :)

Hopefully this helps someone. I am still questing, and would love to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience or some better products to try.