Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Effectively Treat Acne

Welcome back S+SR Readers!

Today we are going to be talking about the topic of  Acne.  As someone who has struggled with acne since "teen" was added to my age, I have done extensive research to find out what works and what does not.  I tried prescription products, Proactive, and tons of home remedies (even toothpaste!) Luckily, you readers will not have to spend as much time and money on ineffective solutions (after you read this report)!

The things I use to effectively treat acne!  Soap and Olive Oil for Cleaning Brushes, products, Olay Sensitive Skin Daily Moisturizer with SPF, BB Creme and Mineral Make-Up.

#1:*- is the biggest tip I can give anyone**.  This guy really has it figured out.  He posts all the science behind his method.  I really suggest reading through his Regimen. Then looking at his guide to finding the right products.  Any other questions can be answered by exploring the website. This worked so well for me that I really have to pass it along.  I went from trying to hide my acne to getting complements on what great skin I have!  I had no idea that could happen to me before  
  • Mini Tip: If you are wondering about why I like over other acne systems (proactive, simple, burtsbees etc.) It is because many of those systems have things that will cause irritation (such as exfoliating beads).  I also think they have lots of added things that you don't need (tea tree oil, scented oils, sulfur, toners, etc).  I also think none of those systems are as cost effective as    

#2: See a Dermatologist-
If you have acne and despite months of commitment to topical products, nothing is working, I suggest seeing a dermatologist.  They can direct you to the best course of action.  They could simply adjust your current topical treatment.  They could also prescribe oral medications, topical medication, or surgical solutions.  Dermatologists can deal with issues such as major hormone imbalances that or other internal issues that might contribute to your acne.  While seeing a dermatologist a great thing to do no matter what, I had such success with, I really suggest educating yourself and trying that method first.  When I was on prescription acne topical medications it was very harsh on my skin and was not nearly as effective.

#3: Love Yourself, Acne and All-
No matter what your age and diet, acne can effect you.  Acne is often something that people become very insecure about and will go to great lengths to hide.  Acne can make people feel alone, outcast, and depressed.  While there are great things such as that can start your way to recovery, it is important to know that you are not alone.  You shine and sparkle no matter what the condition of your skin.  Those who are truly there for you will look past the acne and love you for all the greatness you are!  Most strangers are too wrapped up in their own heads and insecurities to worry about your acne.  So go out there and don't let acne stop you from shining (and sparkling)!!!!

"All that is well and good Ms. Sparkles, but I have acne NOW and I have somewhere to go and look fabulous.  What do I do?!"  I totally understand your predicament.  While not wearing any make-up is best for treating acne, there are sometimes when we really want to shine and sparkle on the outside.  Here are my tips for instant shine and sparkle that wont thwart your mitigation efforts.

Covering Up (while still mitigating) Acne:
  • Use mineral based face products until your acne is under control. If you can't afford all make up products to be mineral based, focus on getting them in your foundation, blush, concealer, setting powder, and bronzer.  Make sure that the mineral products are fragrance free, oil free, and paraben free.  This means you are not using anything that will irritate your skin.  Some more expensive brands I suggest are: Bare Minerals and HourGlass. Some great drugstore brand alternatives are Almay (select products) and Physician's Formula-Mineral Wear.
  • Wash your brushes often.  I know this sounds intuitive, but I know sometimes I get lazy and sometimes wait a few applications before washing my make-up brushes (I'm sure you do too).  In a nutshell, this is a terrible idea if you have acne (and in general).  You are letting bacteria grow in the brushes and then reapply the bacteria to your face. Ew right?!  
  • Mini Tip: The best and cheapest way to wash your brushes is to put 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 anti bacterial dish soap on a plate.  Wet your brushes in warm water then swirl around in this cleansing and moisturizing mix.  Work the mix through the brush then rinse in warm water.  Dry the brush with the brush side lower than the handle (I roll up half a towel and rest the brushes at an angle to dry).  This prevents excess water from sitting in the glue that holds the brush and handle together and shortening the lifespan of your brushes.
  • Use products with sanitary dispense methods.  Pumps, sprays, shakers and squeeze tubes are your friends. Open pots?  Not so much.  This goes back to the contamination with bacteria issue.  When you are constantly dipping fingers into something or constantly using an attached application method on your skin, you are inviting bacteria to grow and break you out.
  • Green Concealer.  Concealer is probably already one of your best friends, but you might want to try one that is green. The green color cancels the bright red of an pimple.  This is absolutely a "must" make-up tip to cancel any redness you might have and make you photo ready!
  • Tinted Moisturizer/BB Creme. Guys, don't feel like just because you are male that you can't cover-up your acne.  While you might not be comfortable applying a full face of make-up, tinted moisturizers (light coverage) and BB Cremes (Light-medium coverage) are one step that you can simply apply with clean fingers.  As far as tinted moisturizers go I think anything that is fragrance, oil, paraben free, and matches your skin tone will work.  I highly recommend Skin79 BB Cremes (look on amazon for cheaper prices-though beware of counterfeit products!) .  I use the Skin79 "gold label" after my benzoyl peroxide treatment is completely dry since it has more moisture (and I'm too lazy to do a full foundation routine).  I have tried the "hot pink" line as well.  I think this line is better if you have oily skin since it controls oil production.  I have not tried the Skin79 men's line, but that is also an option!
  • Paperbag.  Because you might suffocate with plastic.  Just kidding. Don't do that!  You shine and sparkle with or without these tips! 
  *I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my honest feelings and opinions. 

**Take my advice at your own risk...that being said, I think it's great advice! Consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications or may/are pregnant.  If you don't, "it said so on the internet" is not a great explanation to St. Peter. 

Shine & Sparkle!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Essentials For My Male Readers

Howdy S+SR Readers!

 May 1st! Time for another blog post!  This is a request from a reader! Go me.

It has come to my attention that there are men out there who want to shine and sparkle too.  So to that effect I shall be working in "S+SR Men" reports.   This report is aimed at the guys, but many of these tips are great for you ladies to show your man, or are gender neutral.

Beauty for men is a bit simpler than for women, and often men just do not want to spend the amount of time that women do getting ready.  Thus, we are boiling it down to get the most benefit for the least amount of time.

In absence of pictures of specific products, please enjoy this stock photo of men touching their faces.  I'm not sure who made it but it isn't me.  I'll gladly give someone credit for their image or take it down if whoever owns it throws a hissy fit.

Moisture Rich Soap:  Wash your body with a deep moisturizing product. Many men think using a pink poof to apply floral scented body wash is girly (I wonder why....) But never the less, that classic bar of Irish Spring is VERY drying on skin.  Dry skin is more prone to damage and does not feel or look nice.  Whether you choose to smell like a tall-deep voiced-black man on a horse, or use a Dove Deep Moisture bar soap, please make sure you are getting clean.  
  • Mini Tip: While we are on the subject of smelling good, please use deodorant.  Maybe you hate the chemically smell of deodorants--there are fragrance free ones.  Maybe you are an sustainability nut--they make eco-friendly ones.  Even if you are allergic to the aluminum they use for anti-antiperspirant--they make ones with out it.  No matter what--there is no excuse for smelling nasty.  Don't over do it though, tons of white paste in your pits is gross too.

Condition Your Hair:  I suggest a good 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.  Since guys do typically have shorter hair (that gets cut more frequently), they do not need the same level of conditioning that comes from having a separate conditioner from shampoo.  Also, it's a one step process.  Many men think that just because their hair is short it doesn't need to be conditioned.  Well here is some news--hair is hair.    Now I know some guys out there have super long hair.  In this case, please read my post on Healthy Hair because it applies to all long hair.

Condition Your Skin: Lotion/Lip Balm is for everyone!  Maybe you are not disciplined enough to put lotion on your body after every shower but at least as much as you can remember, I highly suggest it.  It will help your skill maintain its elasticity which means less wrinkles in the future.
  • Mini Tip: While we are talking about lotion/lip balm, always use one with SPF on any part of your skin that will touch the sun.  You will thank me when those 20-somethings are all over you when you are 50 because they think you are 30--this applies to you ladies too!
Nail Care:  While some men are into the mani/pedi scene, I can understand them not wanting to.  Thus, men really need to only do two things for their nails (1) Trim/Clean Under Them-because nasty long nails are not cute on anyone,  (2) Moisturize-because while "rough man hands/feet" sound good to other guys, I have never met a chick who liked a guy with ashy feet (feel free to use the lotion used for the rest of your skin or a specific product if you want).

Pick One Scent for The Day:  Only apply one strongly scented product.  Whether it is Old Spice deodorant, manly lumberjack smelling lotion, or your favorite cologne, just pick one to use per day. Have the rest of your product be lightly/non-scented.  This will prevent you from smelling like some strange chemical ball.
  • Mini Tip:  While on the subject of fragrances, don't over do it.  A small amount on your pressure points ( pulse points on neck or center of chest) is good.  And please stay away from spraying Axe all over your chest and stomach unless you are going for the "teenage boy/douche bag/smell you before I see you" look.

Note: All of this blog post are my personal views and opinions. Take my advice at your own risk...that being said, I think it's great advice!

Shine & Sparkle!