Managing/Healing Seborrheic Dermatitis: My Skin Routine Now

It’s been a long time since I last wrote, but I have been hard at work trying to get my skin and overall health in a better place. My whole life, my skin has been a series of woes and complications. I have always had to put in twice as much effort as others even just for mediocre skin. After hundreds of products, many years, and many more tears, I am finally in a place where I can say, “I HAVE GREAT SKIN!!” Knowing there are many others out there who struggle with acne, oily skin, seborrheic dermatitis, and other relentless skin conditions, I decided to compile a comprehensive article of what I am doing now and what changes I have made. I hope this post will be helpful for others, although be ready for a pretty lengthy article, though I will do my best to cut out anything that isn’t essential information. Feel free to ask questions if there’s something you want to know. Let’s start from the beginning.

A Little History

As a teenager, I had moderate to severe cystic acne (closer to the severe side than the moderate side) and undiagnosed seborrheic dermatitis, mostly on my scalp. I started puberty very early, having my first period at 8 or 9 years old. By the time I was 10, I was having some pretty serious skin issues, and by the time I was 13, I had stopped growing (I still say I was cheated out of my true height). My periods were horribly painful events as well, which eventually led to seeing an endocrinologist at around 15. At that time, I was diagnosed with high testosterone and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I was having issues with blood sugar, probably as a result of the PCOS, so I was put on metformin, but quickly stopped taking it after it made me sick (and I mean sick all the time). In addition, I was put on birth control pills to help with the PCOS and testosterone dominance.

While the birth control pills helped with my periods, even after seeing a dermatologist since I was 12 and being put on a series of topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics and using every skin care regimen under the sun (tried Proactive twice, tried Clinique for several years, etc.), I saw practically no resolution for my acne. The dermatologist eventually decided to put me on Accutane, and this cleared up my skin beautifully–for a few years anyway. I was 19 when I was put on Accutane, and by the time I was 22, my skin seemed to start rebelling against me again. At 22, I also decided to stop the birth control pill, but my periods were wildly irregularly after that, and who knows what the heck was going on with my hormones! As I got into my early 20’s, I also started using more and more natural products, doing a lot of research on diet and nutrition, and started my long road of overhauling my entire lifestyle.

Fast Forward to Today Relatively Recently

I’m getting ahead of myself ! We need a little more background.

My irregular periods continued until I started bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. To my surprise, I was not diagnosed with high testosterone, but with low progesterone, so now I am supplementing bioidentical progesterone (not to be mistaken for plant-based [phyto] progesterone or phytoestrogens). So my hormones were all good at this point, but my skin was still…well, mediocre.

My skincare regime had evolved several times at this point. I had tried oil cleansing, oil cleansing with steam, carrot masks, tea tree oil, honey: the extreme of all natural. This stuff works for a lot of people, and that’s great. However, much to my dismay, it did not work for me. My only guess is that my skin is so complicated and has had compounded effects of using very harsh products (Clinique and Proactive? Super harsh) in addition to my already existing skin problems, especially seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis seemed to cause excessive layers of dead skin on my face and scalp, worsened by increased oil, which made these layers stubborn as hell when trying to remove. It took me a very long time to even figure out I had seborrheic dermatitis. I gave up on the dermatologist after 20, as they were really not helping me at all and were unwilling to try a different approach. They just kept throwing the same stuff at me, hoping it would work. Well, it never did.

Rant aside, I used oils for a while and went completely natural. Because of my seborrheic dermatitis, though, it wasn’t very effective. It was like the oil would just sit on top of my face and would have almost no cleansing effect at all. Needless to say, that didn’t last very long. After a while, having switched back to somewhat more traditional cleansers, I read more about sulfates in cleansing products. Sulfates, which are actually used for desiccants (absorb moisture to keep products dry), are so harsh that they remove more moisture from the skin than the skin or any lotion can replenish. Sulfates dry the skin down to such a deep layer, your lotion will never reach how far your skin has been stripped of moisture. This has a compounding effect: dry skin will become increasingly dryer, and oily skin will freak out and increase the amount of oil produced to make up for the moisture loss–except the oil produced is usually poor quality oil and it ends up just giving you very greasy skin.

After this revelation, I immediately switched both my skin cleansers (face and body wash) and shampoo to sulfate-free. The change was immediate and improved more with time. I saw probably an 80% reduction in the oiliness of my skin once I started using only sulfate-free cleansers. To illustrate this, before switching to sulfate-free products, I had been using French green clay on my face once a week, and this was perfect to manage my oiliness for a week. After I started using a sulfate-free cleanser, the French green clay was way too drying, even with jojoba oil added to it! This was a pretty dramatic step toward amazing skin, and I recommend to everyone, even those who do not have skin problems, switch to sulfate-free! Your skin will thank you for it. Sulfate-free products are also becomingly increasingly easy to find. I eventually even switched to sulfate-free hand soap, because I get eczema on my hands. I don’t get eczema on my hands anymore!

As I was making this sulfate-free switch, I was also getting more acquainted with high-quality skincare brands. It is still a lot of trial and error, as some products are just the right composition to be brilliant for one person’s skin, but may not be worth the price tag for another person’s skin. It can be overwhelming how many options there are now, but I can speak from experience in saying that it is worth trying a ton of different products when you finally find the ones that work. One of the greatest resources for me has been a website called My Pure. It is a UK-based company that ships worldwide (only ~$7 for shipping, too!) and has some of the best all-natural and organic European brands on the market. My favorite for body wash, body lotion, and hand lotion is Madara. Their products are amazing. The cost is a little bit high, but try it just once, and I think you will find it worth it.

Okay, Now Fast Forward to Today

Yay! Now I get to tell you about what I have done in the past few weeks that has really transformed my skin!

Facial Products
Let’s start with facial products, as I have already discussed the body lotion I am using. I have fallen in love with South Korean skincare products. They are the leading country in formulating great skincare products that are plant-based, while Western countries tend to believe in the power of chemicals to make great skin products (this does not work well for a lot of people). Many people who have very sensitive skin have had great success switching to South Korean products, and I don’t mean “South Korean” products sold at Sephora. I mean South Korean products directly from South Korea.

These can be found on Amazon, though some people claimed to have received fake products (I’ve never had this problem, and you can buy from South Korean shops through Amazon). I prefer to order all my Asian cosmetics from YesStyle, as it is a store I trust and have been shopping on for years. Some brand names that spring to mind if you aren’t sure where to start is Innisfree and Etude House. The Face Shop and Nature Republic are two brands that are also very good and a little less expensive than Innisfree or Etude House. I have been very happily using a combination of Innisfree, The Face Shop, and Nature Republic for months now. They all have a green tea series, which is what I have really been liking, as green tea has lots of great properties. I recently decided to switch completely to Innisfree products for skincare, as it has received slightly better reviews, a few of which were written by girls with oily skin issues. Once I have tried these, I will post my own review. Right now, this is what my routine looks like:

Morning
Face: Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam, The Face Shop Green Tea Waterfull Emulsion for face and neck, Replenix CF Cream for eyes, Nature Republic Fresh Green Tea 80 Cream
Back of neck, upper arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back: Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer (contains retinol/vitamin A, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E + B5, and green tea)
Evening
Face: Skin Blossom Gentle Cleansing Milk or baby oil for makeup removal (for both, I just massage the product on my face and use toilet tissue to gently wipe the makeup away. It works great and makes a huge difference in how oily my skin gets overnight.), The Face Shop Green Tea Waterfull Serum, Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer
Breasts and decollete: Mio Boob Tube+ with a few drops of Evening Primrose Oil
Back of neck, upper arms, shoulders, and upper back: Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer

There are a couple more items I want to mention about my skincare. I have been getting microdermabrasion treatments for a few weeks, which has made a world of difference in removing those excessive layers of dead skin on my face. Since I started getting these treatments, which I get every 8 weeks, my skin products absorb MUCH faster and are much more effective. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, I highly recommend going through a series of microdermabrasion treatments. I am hoping it will “reset” my skin. Once those layers of dead skin are removed after years of skin abuse, I hope my skin will not feel the need to create such a barrier now that my skin care routine is much gentler. This is also one of the reasons I decided microdermabrasion over chemical peel. As the name suggests, chemical peels are very harsh, and I know my skin: it has a tendency to overreact and then I am worse off than I started. I am still getting the microdermabrasion treatments now, but I am really curious to find out how my skin does when I stop getting them.

Also, I do exfoliate once a week, but now that I’m getting microdermabrasion treatments, I can use a really gentle exfoliator and get great results! I had tried the Japanese product Natural Aqua Gel Cure (available on Amazon) without a very satisfying outcome several months ago before getting microdermabrasion. However, now it is the perfect exfoliant: gentle enough not to cause an overreaction in my skin, but just enough to smooth my skin very nicely and help my products absorb better. I hope this continues to be a good option for me even after I stop the microdermabrasion.

Now that I’ve discussed all of my skincare products, there are a few other essential changes I have made to my lifestyle.

Detox
This is important for overall health and even more important for the skin. The skin is a major elimination organ, meaning anything the body wants to get rid of gets pushed out of the body and through the skin. This means that if your body is overloaded with toxins, chemicals, anything at all that the body is wanting to remove, your skin is going to constantly be impacted negatively. Your body probably needs some detox support to effectively clear everything out, and by properly clearing things out, your skin will eventually reach a point where it is not always being irritated by what the body is trying to get rid of.

There are lots of different ways to detox. I prefer the daily/weekly mild detoxing methods over the debilitating once a year liver detoxes that I have only ever read about. As such, I will limit my discussion to what I’m doing now. First, I go to the sauna twice weekly for 30 minutes. Sauna is amazing for detoxing and deep skin cleansing! I have read of people who have healed their seborrheic dermatitis using sauna as part of their treatment. Sauna has a lot of the same benefits as cardio workouts, including increasing human growth hormone. Known as the “hormone of youth”, human growth hormone is essential for repair. I would caution against using sauna too often, as it can cause dehydration if you’re not careful, but 2-3 times a week is great. To read more about the benefits of sauna, read here, here, and here.

Another detox element I have added to my lifestyle is some detox supplements. As part of my bioidentical hormone therapy, I have been taking supplements containing DIM, 3-indole-carbinol, and milk thistle (I use EstroSense). All these support liver detox, especially hormone metabolism. The pills tend to be slightly too large for me to swallow comfortably, so I have been breaking the capsules open and dumping it in with my daily protein shake.

The last step I have added is daily skin brushing and weekly exfoliation. Skin brushing using a dry brush helps stimulate the skin and increase blood flow. It is also great if you have skin problems, as it is a light exfoliation that you can do on a daily basis. I brush in the evening before using my creams. I also use a salux (available on Amazon) once a week for a slightly more intense exfoliation. This is especially important for my chest, back, and upper arms/shoulders where I still have a lot of active acne. I love being able to do this, because it is a really easy way to add some detox support specifically to the skin on a daily basis.

One more thing that’s really important: Collagen Protein Powder
This is probably the basis of my great skin now. Collagen is a building block for skin (and joints, hair, and nails, but let’s focus on the skin). The body loses its ability after age 30 to product its own collagen, therefore supplementing collagen is very important if you have skin troubles. The way you supplement it is critical, though. The body is best able to absorb collagen when it is in a liquid form. The good news is, this is really easy to find. I use Bulletproof Collagen Protein Powder daily. Powder collagen is a little more expensive than tablets, but it is much more effective and easier to take. It dissolves readily into any liquid, and a good quality collagen powder will have no flavor. It will take a minimum of 4 weeks to see results, though for people over 30, it may take up to 8 weeks, so be patient and consistent with taking it.

The jury is still out on this one, but I will mention it anyway: Injuv Hyaluronic Acid
One of my previously mentioned creams, the retinol cream, contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is essential for cells to maintain intracellular water levels, which means this is directly connected to moisture levels for skin cells. Injuv variety hyaluronic acid (available at a reasonable price through Swanson Vitamins–especially when they have it on sale) is an oral supplement that has undergone an enzymatic process that makes it absorb more easily. I recently started taking this, as some say it is even more important for skin health than collagen! The two together should make a killer combo, but as I have not been taking it long enough to say one way or the other, the jury is still out. I will report back once I have gone through the first 4 weeks. There are other benefits to taking hyaluronic acid, though: detox. Hyaluronic acid is needed by cells to help remove metabolic debris and dead cells out of the system. This in addition to its moisture benefits makes hyaluronic acid a great one-two for both skin support and cellular detox.

The Takeaway

  • Sulfate-Free! This is so important. If you do nothing else, switch to sulfate-free cleansers, even if it’s only for your facial cleanser, body wash, and shampoo. This will help your skin better maintain its moisture balance and will help make your lotions and hair conditioner effective.
  • Detox For overall health, detoxing is essential, especially today when we are surrounded by all kinds of pollution, chemicals, and stress. There are lots of different detox targets from overall detox to liver detox to cellular detox. Any kind of detoxing you can add to your daily routine will help. I don’t recommend doing harsh liver detoxes that last for only a few days or weeks. I believe more in including detox as a part of lifestyle, as I think removing toxins as they enter the body is more effective than letting toxins hang out in the body for a while before removing them.Sauna is a great overall detox method and is fairly easily accessible through a gym. Sauna has other great health benefits as well, such as increasing human growth hormone, which is essential in repair functions of the body. Sauna is also said to help in healing all kinds of skin conditions. For the best results, use only 2 or 3 times a week for 30 minutes. If you don’t have access to a gym with a sauna, but still want to use a sauna, you can find sauna kits for your home online (and the prices are surprisingly reasonable).

    Adding detox support supplements to your diet is the easiest daily detox step you can add to your regime. If you’re targeting hormone detox, milk thistle, indole-3-carbinol, and/or DIM are great. To target the skin more specifically, using hyaluronic acid helps with cellular detox and is essential for maintaining moisture.

    Skin brushing, while a little more effort, is an easy way to add daily exfoliation to your skincare routine. Using a salux once a week can help maintain smooth skin in stubborn areas where you’re still waiting for seborrheic dermatitis to resolve. These both can help manage acne as well.

  • Collagen For the most effective collagen supplementation, use powdered collagen. It’s really easy to mix with beverages you’re already drinking like coffee, tea, or even just water. Collagen is the building block for joints and skin. After age 30, the body begins to lose its ability to produce its own collagen, so supplementing even before 30 can only help your skin.
  • Be Gentle Avoid harsh products. They will only aggravate your skin, and your skin will in turn aggravate you for it. As much as you’re able, it is best to use natural products. South Korean skincare products are well known for their very gentle ingredients, and most people who have a history of very sensitive skin do great with these products! The price for these products is also quite reasonable, especially in comparison to some of the products you will find at places like Sephora.
  • Most Importantly, BE PATIENT, BE CONSISTENT The body needs time to make adjustments. Taking collagen supplements is important, and you will probably start out very enthusiastically, but you won’t start seeing a difference in your skin for 4-8 weeks as the skin is the body’s last priority (it will use the collagen as needed in other areas first). Hyaluronic acid supplementation will also take a few weeks to see results with. It may also take longer to see results with sauna and other detox methods, as the body will have a lot of detoxing to do initially and with time will have less to eliminate. In the case of exfoliation methods (microdermabrasion, skin brushing, and salux use) and switching cleansers, you will see a difference right away.

I hope this article has been helpful and informative! Please feel free to leave comments if you have any questions and best of luck on your journey to amazing skin!

Some Thoughts on Breast Health and Natural Breast Enhancement

For a long time, I treated my breasts like I treated my arms and legs. I basically moisturized my arms, legs, and torso and forgot about them. Recently, I started thinking, though… I do all this special stuff for my face. I have a meticulous routine for taking care of my face and using anti-aging products and applying antioxidant exhibiting products and always have treated it differently from the rest of my body. Well, it didn’t occur to me until recently that my breasts aren’t like the rest of my body at all. Arms and legs are mostly muscle and bone, and the skin on these areas is usually pretty sturdy. The breasts aren’t muscle or bone–not even a little, and the skin is very thin and delicate. Therefore, breasts should be given special treatment just like the face should.

What kind of treatment should the breasts get? Well, I started thinking how can I nourish the breasts, meaning the skin and the tissue. One of the things I’ve learned is how toxins tend to build up in fatty areas of the body, and the breasts are one of the fattiest areas of the body. This means it tends to be an area where a lot of toxins build up. What can be done about this? Massage.

There are many massages out there for the breasts, and many different techniques depending on what you’re wanting out of the massage. Massaging helps increase blood flow, which helps move toxins out of the breast tissue and fat. It also stimulates cell growth, which has an anti-aging effect on the skin and tissue. So this led me to a couple of different types of massages: lymph massage, which is really about moving bad stuff out of the breasts, and breast enhancement massage, which helps stimulate all the cells and tissue that make breasts … well, breasts. This is the breast massage that I started doing, and bought the book Breast Massage and Acupressure: for Improved Breast Health and Increased Fullness. Of the breast massages from the book, I just picked four that I felt were easy to do (a couple which are a technique known as fat brushing) and just made a routine of doing massages before bed. It wasn’t long before I started noticing that my breasts weren’t as hard, and my breast pains went away. Instead, my breasts were both firm but soft, whereas before I had some stiffness and often had trouble with breast pain, especially in conjunction with PMS. My breasts were also fuller and perkier. In addition to doing these massages, I started using IsoSensuals breast enhancement cream, a non-hormone-based cream. My logic was that this would provide moisture and nutrients that breasts need to stay healthy and young, and applying it topically should be effective. I didn’t use it as directed: I only applied it once a day before bed instead of twice a day. My goal wasn’t really breast enhancement, but it really did help keep the skin well hydrated. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a difference in terms of size. I haven’t outgrown any of my bras, but as I said, that wasn’t what I was going for.

I did that for a few months and did end up getting some growth pains, so I guess as a side benefit, I was getting some breast enhancement. About a week ago, I decided to buy some supplements that would continue with the good things my topical cream and massages were doing. I started looking around and stumbled across this Japanese woman named Chiyomilk. She used natural supplements, massage, and fat brushing for three years to go from a B cup to an I cup. My brain still doesn’t know what to do with that. It ended up being a great resource for finding supplements that would be good for breast health, though, since the idea is to give the breasts what they need to grow, which should be the same things the breasts need to stay young and healthy, too, right?

So the products Chiyomilk uses are really expensive. She invests a lot of money into her supplementation. I decided Amazon carried plenty of supplements that were the same, but less expensive, and probably still just as good–or good enough anyway. I ended up ordering some collagen I and II tablets with vitamin C (they’re so small, I can actually take them!), and I also ordered bovine ovary. The idea behind it is that like cures like. It makes sense if supplement all the nutrients found in breast that it will be beneficial for your breasts, right? My only concern with it is that it can effect hormones, and I’m just finally getting those all in order! (More on that later.)

But anyway, after reading about what Chiyomilk accomplished (and seeing pictures on her Japanese website, which be forewarned show nude breasts, but if you’re okay with that proceed to here), I couldn’t help but look at my breasts sans bra and feel unsatisfied. I wear a 28DD in Freya bras, a 65D in Chinese bras, and a 65E in Japanese bras, but my breasts themselves are not that impressive! I couldn’t help but consider trying natural approaches to go up a cup size or two–nothing as dramatic as Chiyomilk, but some enhancement.

One of the popular ways of getting results relatively quickly is using breast enhancement pumps. They work by pulling the breast tissue away from the chest, creating a gap that the body then fills with new tissue. Over time, this creates larger breasts by stimulating new tissue growth. Prices can range a lot. I’ve seen some $30 pumps on Amazon, but with something like that you want to be careful. The breasts are delicate, and you don’t want to destroy them through being cheap. Most websites I’ve read about breast enhancement pumps on recommended pretty much the same three brands. There’s the Noogleberry, which is the least expensive (around $80), but is a manual pump and takes the longest to see results with. There’s also the middle of the road in terms of expensive called the Bosom Beauty (about $160), which is an electric pump that self-manages the pressure, and you can see results in about 8 weeks using it 15-30 minutes a day. The most expensive one, the Brava bra, is really meant for being slept in. You wear it 10 hours a day, and it costs $2,000 (yikes!). For a lengthier discussion and review of these systems, you can read this.

I feel like the Bosom Beauty is probably the best choice. It is a little more expensive than the Noogleberry, but my biggest concern is with being able to properly manage the pressure. It’s also nice that it doesn’t require nearly as much of a time commitment, which I feel like I don’t have enough time as it is to do the things I want. I also feel like using supplements that help balance hormones and supplements or creams that provide what the body needs to keep the breasts healthy will also make a big difference.

In my next post, I want to talk more about hormones, as I’ve been going through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and want to share what I’ve learned.

Finally Options for Girls Who Wear Bras Smaller than a 32!

It took me years to realize a 32 band was still too big. When I did realize it, though, I quickly found that options didn’t exist for petite girls. Luckily, over the past three years, I’ve found lots more options emerging for girls who wear a 28 or 30 band size. It gets better! They’re no longer available in only A or B cups either, and there are adorable varieties out there, too. There are lots of 28A-E+ options now, and I want to share them with you.

European Brands

It’s a little surprising to me that Europe has better selections in terms of bras. Even the UK has a lot more brands that carry 28’s in a variety of cup sizes. Think Freya (longline bras), Curvy Kate, Panache, Fauve (also has some longline bras). Doing a Google search will bring up mostly UK websites that sell these brands, but most of them will ship them to the US. Most UK shops also have very reasonable shipping rates: $5.00-7.50 for shipment if orders are under a certain amount–you pay this much for shipping within the US! Here are a few shops you can start with:
Fig Leaves
Uplifted Lingerie
Boux Avenue
Bravissimo

Asian Options

I say Asian options, because China has a tendency to unbrand a lot of clothing they sell. I’ve bought so many bras from Chinese merchants online, and 90% of them have no brand name on the tag. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good bras, and they’re actually some of the best bras I’ve bought. The quality is usually quite good, especially for the price. You can’t beat the cost for a bra and panty set. Be forewarned, though, a lot of them are padded, some very heavily and most with additional removable padding. My favorite place lately is AliExpress. You can find a wider variety of bra styles and sizes on AliExpress than eBay. You get the same buyer protection with AliExpress, too, and they even require you to send an “item received” notification, so they know when you get your stuff! It’s great! Search for your European size when using AliExpress. Cup sizes are usually pretty close to American cup sizes. I don’t recommend using the size filters on the side, though. They don’t work very well and won’t show you all of the bras that come in the size you’re searching for, which is usually part of the keyword search in the title of the item.

Sadly, while Japanese stores carry a greater variety of sizes and adorable styles, most Japanese shops and brands won’t ship outside of Japan. So a great site I recently stumbled across is Shiro Hato. This is a Japanese store in Kyoto, Japan, that sells Japanese lingerie and ships to the US (so far the only one that I know of). They have adorable items in a huge variety of sizes, even more size variety than AliExpress. That being said, the Japanese size chart is quite different from the US. I’ve only just placed my first order with them to see how their sizes match up, but I’ve read several other people who mentioned that the sizing is pretty dramatically different … Shiro Hato has a size chart that you can follow, which is what I did, but I’ll share my experience once I’ve completed the transaction. Shiro Hato also has adorable lingerie. If you’re looking at bras, though, make sure you also look under the junior’s section. There are some cute bras and panties sold separately there.

Options if you have a smaller cup size (A, B, and maybe C): YesStyle is a great place to shop for bras if your cup size is less than a D. They have a huge variety of styles. If you wear a D, you might occasional find something in your size, but I haven’t really seen anything bigger than a D.

I’ll post an update of the bras I receive from Shiro Hato once they’ve arrived and feel free to share any other websites that should be added to this list!

Miracle Makeup Products For Oily Skin and Seborrheic Dermatitis

There are a couple of makeup products that have revolutionized my makeup bag. One is a primer. Now, I’ve tried many different primers (Make Up For Ever, Benefit, other expensive brands), but the result is always the same: it doesn’t adhere to my skin and my makeup slides off my face with the slightest touch. It’s almost like my skin rejects the primer, and my skin actually ends up oilier with the primers I’ve tried. I had given up on primers until I recently saw some makeup videos using Korean cosmetic products (not the kind sold at Sephora, but the kind that you can only order online and get directly from Asia.

It seems like Asian cosmetic companies do something different from Western cosmetic companies (which seem to just do variations of the same thing). So, I want to introduce a couple of products that are absolutely amazing if you have oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, starting with a primer.

・゚:*Etude House: Face Blur*:・゚
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I tried Etude House’s Face Blur primer out of curiosity without much expectation. It was so worth the wait. I ordered it from YesStyle (~$18 for 1.23oz, but usually on sale), but you can order it from Korean shops through Amazon, too (~$13 for 1.23oz, but longer wait time).
This product is great for smoothing the skin, which is important for applying foundation to the uneven textured skin that is the signature of seborrheic dermatitis. I rub a very small amount in well before applying my foundation, but my foundation doesn’t just slide off my face the way it does with other primers. It also gives my makeup better staying power, and my skin doesn’t freak out and get overly oily like it does with other primers. It smells really nice, too. 🙂
There are a couple of things I want to mention about this product, though. It isn’t very good as an eye primer. It gets into creases and creates creases both under the eyes and over the eyes. I apply a lot of concealer under my eyes (mixture of dark eye circles and puffiness from my eyelids swelling), and I was hoping it would keep my concealer in place better. It doesn’t work as great under the eyes, but if you’re careful with the application, you can make it work.
Overall, this is an amazing primer for a great price. If other primers haven’t worked for you, or if you have oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, you should definitely try this one.

・゚:*Innisfree: No-Sebum Mineral Powder*:・゚51eb4j7e0ll-_sx522_

Instead of making my makeup super heavy by using a powder foundation to help keep my T-zone under control, I decided to try this product. I heard about this product through makeup tutorials that used mostly Asian cosmetic products and was intrigued by the ingredient list (Jeju mineral powder, corn starch, mint). Most oil-control powders I’ve tried have had the reverse effect, or they shrivel my skin and make the texture look awful. Just a small amount of this keeps my skin oil-free for most of the day. I do need a touch up in the evening, but it does a very good job. It also has a very nice and delicate scent to it. It’s available as a loose powder or a compact. I bought this on YesStyle for ~$15 for 5g (usually on sale for less), or you can buy it on Amazon for ~$7 from a Korean shop. I noticed you can also order two of the 5g loose powders through Amazon Prime for ~$17.

I hope these products work as well for you as they have for me!

Review: Organic Liquid Foundation by Zuii Organic

So I’ve been looking for an organic liquid foundation for a while now. I’m currently using Kat Von D Lock-It Liquid Foundation, and I really like it. The tone matches my skin beautifully (I wear Light 42 Neutral), which finding a foundation to match my skin tone is incredibly difficult as most brands don’t go light enough. However, I wanted to find something with more natural ingredients, so I came across an Australian brand called Zuii Organic. They have a liquid foundation that is flower-based, using rose, chamomile, and jasmine extracts.

I wanted to love this foundation, because I like everything about it: natural, jojoba oil-based, and smells lovely. But it doesn’t go on my skin very evenly. Even worse, it made my skin mildly itchy. It seemed to come off very easily as well. It also carries a relatively high price tag when comparing to other foundations: around $45 for 1oz, whereas the Kat Von D foundation is $35 for 1oz. The Zuii Organic foundation coverage is medium. The Kat Von D foundation is definitely one of the heaviest foundations I’ve used, probably second only to Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation ($42). Kat Von D foundation lasts me easily a year, as I apply so little to get good coverage, and I wouldn’t expect the Zuii Organic foundation to last nearly as long.

On the positive side, the shades they offer for the Zuii Organic foundations go very light. If you’ve ever tried Illamasqua’s Skin Base Foundation in 02 (this was actually too light for me, but I think they’ve reformulated since I tried it), then you’ll have a good idea how light the Zuii Organic’s Light Rose is (again, turned out to be too light for me).

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    I took a picture in natural lighting of Zuii Organic’s Light Rose next to my Kat Von D Light 42 Neutral for reference.

I tried the Zuii Organic again without putting any moisturizer on to see if this would resolve the application problems I was having. It didn’t. I also found the Zuii Organic didn’t build very well. When trying to add an additional layer of foundation, I found it just left many bare spots on my face.

Sadly, this foundation didn’t work for my skin. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Zuii Organic does offer little sample pouches for their foundations, so you can try it out for relatively inexpensive. However, I will be sticking with Kat Von D’s foundation for now.

Review: Natural Aqua Gel Cure Exfoliating Gel

The Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a Japanese exfoliating product that I used it for a couple of weeks. I used it every other day and replaced scrubbing my skin with a coarse wash clothe with this product. Its breakthrough ingredient is “activated water” according to the advertisement. I’m really not sure what “activated water” is, but anyway.

There are some things I really like about it: First, it’s very gentle. I use it under my eyebrows, and it never irritates. It’s also not too expensive: I bought a bottle for $30 on Amazon, and this should easily last three months using it every other day. As I said, I also ordered it on Amazon, and it shipped from Amazon, making it very easy to get a hold of if you live in the US.

Somethings I didn’t really like about it: The gel turns into a liquid while you’re massaging it into your face and gets a little messy. It has a tendency to run down your arms. Another thing I don’t really like is just how gentle it is. For someone who struggles with the scabbing of seborrheic dermatitis, this product doesn’t do enough to smooth the skin or remove the excessive dead layers.

This product would probably be good for someone who has surface acne (as opposed to deep acne that’s mostly under the skin). It would also be good for someone who has very sensitive skin. However, if you have seborrheic dermatitis, this may not be enough to smooth your skin.

For seborrheic dermatitis, what I prefer to do is use a lemon juice and brown sugar scrub three times a week. Just cut a lemon in half and squeeze a small amount of the juice into a small bowl. Drop a teaspoon of brown sugar into it. Take a cotton pad and drop it in to soak in the lemon juice. Using the cotton pad, massage some of the brown sugar on your face to exfoliate. After exfoliating, let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it off. The lemon juice will help break up the sebum and dead skin, as well as brighten your complexion and improve discoloration. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks after trying the exfoliation gel and prefer this. It’s more effective, but be careful if you have very sensitive skin.

Femininity and Vulnerability (Mostly Ranting)

Femininity is a dying quality. Women today seem to feel like they need to behave like men to survive, to survive. You see, women are in survival mode. They don’t have fathers or brothers or boyfriends looking out for them or protecting them or guarding them in any way. Women are having to be independent to survive.

I’m not going to say this is all men’s fault. The second wave feminist movement started this mess when they said women don’t need or want men and then convinced a whole slew of women that this was true. As these women got older, they realized it wasn’t true, but it created a generation of men who leave the women in their lives to their own devices. It’s a sort of the chicken and the egg dilemma.

The result, however, is still difficult for women. Women now feel like they have to be strong and independent to survive, because no man will step up to protect them (and when I say man, I don’t just mean a boyfriend or husband, but fathers and brothers, too). Then men wonder why women behave the way they do: they’re unfeminine. Women are serious, closed off, defensive. Some women have started to pride themselves in their ability to be one of the boys, while other women struggle being in survival mode just to make it through the work day. And there’s no off and on switch for this mode of living, especially if you’re unaware you’re doing it.

Working in a male-dominated field in the hard sciences, I see this with the women I work with. They carry themselves like men, talk like men, and the ones they end up treating the worst are other women. I have a manager who is very much the quintessential one of the boys. I’m very girly. I love presenting myself as a woman and not being sloppy. I’m only 4’11” (151cm) and 105ish lbs (46kg) and need help reaching things or lifting things. The response I often get from her for this is beratement. “We need to toughen you up,” “we need to work on those muscles,” and all these comments about how I should be more independent and, essentially, more masculine.

This bothers me. Why are women putting more pressure on other women to be this way? Why do women put this masculine expectation on other women? What is so wrong about a woman needing to ask for help and showing she is vulnerable and not completely independent? It doesn’t bother me to have to ask for help. Why does it bother her?

Growing up, I also received a lot of these types of comments from my dad. “I’m trying to toughen you up, make you stronger, make you more independent.” Why do I have to be independent? Why is relying on others so bad? Isn’t that what makes women women is their relationship with people? Yet it seems today women are more competitive with each other than men are–and worse, women are competitive with men! This is not how women fundamentally function. It’s been ingrained into their minds that this is the only way to “survive”. And most women are in survival mode right now. Is it self-inflicted? Partly. Is it a result of men not being masculine? Partly. At the end of the day, there’s no point in laying blame on anyone. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

I think it needs to start with women. Stop putting other women down for being okay with their femininity and accepting themselves as women. Stop being competitive with women, and for your own sake, stop being competitive with men (men don’t like this). Learn to be vulnerable and accept help. Women in their heart of hearts want to be protected, but unless women learn to be vulnerable and show they need protection, no one will ever step up and say, “I’ll protect you!” But as long as women are going after other women for trying to return to their feminine core, this won’t happen. What I really can’t understand is why have women become woman’s greatest enemy ? Shouldn’t we be supporting each other?

Once women can learn to accept their own femininity and their own core as women, I think both men and women will be happier as individuals and in relationships. Once women start acting like women again, men can start acting like men again. At least, this is my hope.