Thursday, 28 April 2011

Overexposure: The Silent Epidemic

How many of you are familiar with the term ‘overexposure’ or know what it means? 
Many people experience overexposure without ever knowing it because it hides behind the term 'contact dermatitis': this IS overexposure.
Overexposure is a term used by experts in the field meaning: a reaction in your body, usually on your skin, when it reaches the point of critical mass, that is: where it has had enough (too much) exposure to a particular chemical, or chemicals, and cannot take any more exposure to it/them.

How ‘overexposure’ manifests: (symptoms may vary from person to person).  Here is my story:
"I had been using a brand of moisturiser I loved and trusted for 7+ years – from mid teens to early 20’s.  One day I noticed a odd tiny pimple near my nose.  This ‘pimple’ was mildly itchy like an insect bite and wept like a blister.  It was a cross between a pimple and a cold sore, yet I'd never had a cold sore in my life.  Then I got another and another.  After a while the first ‘pimple’ stopped weeping and scabbed.  It was still fairly tiny but it now looked like a red sore on my face.  More of these tiny blister things appeared around my mouth and nose, all starting off and ending the same way.  Soon I had a mass of red sores that had spread around my mouth, nose and chin and was too embarrassed to leave the house or see people.  I looked hideous, the rash was utter torture and I was miserable!

When I finally braved the outdoors and saw a skin specialist he told me I had perioral dermatitis (a dermatitis that affects the area around the mouth and nose), gave me topical cream and tablets to take.  Telling me I’d only ever get it once in my life and it would never come back.  For quite some time I was fine.  Then years later it started again.  This time I knew the signs and went straight to a doctor who gave me different pills to take – which made me blow up like a balloon and gain 3 dress sizes in three months.  I stopped taking the pills.  The rash while never getting as bad as the first time did not completely go away.  I would have these ‘break outs’ then they would subside and then come back again.  Another couple of years later the rash came back in full force!  The sores merged together to make one horrible mass of cracked weeping skin.  This time nothing the doctors gave me worked, plus I was pregnant at this stage and there was little they could safely prescribe to me.
[this photo was taken of me after I gave birth and I was depressed that this is how I looked in my photos]

I was using mainstream makeup and foundation to try and cover up my red skin, all the while being vaguely aware that after the application of foundation the ‘rash’ would flare up.  I thought it was the pad (contamination) I was applying the makeup with so I threw it away and used a new one.  It made no difference.  Soon it got to be a vicious circle.  Using foundation made the rash worse yet I needed the foundation to cover the rash so I could go out in public.  I was living a nightmare!

After having my baby I went to see another highly skilled (scoff scoff), highly reputable skin specialist and plastic surgeon.  This guy told me it was acne and I “need to leave my face alone” (suggesting the pimple type things has scabbed and become sores because I had been picking at my pimples). I tried to explain how they first appear as small itchy blisters (much like a small insect bite) that popped and weeped and scabbed all by themselves.  However, this specialist insisted I had acne.  I’ve had oily skin all my life and I knew a thing or 10 about pimples!  These were NOT pimples!  In fact pimple treatments made the rash flare up ten times worse!  The skin specialist prescribed a rather expensive acne treatment brand of skin care specifically sold via his clinic and when I read the ingredients list on the back I said “no thanks”.  The lotions and potions were filled to the brim with chemicals.

By this stage I knew about chemicals in skin care and was becoming aware that the rash breakout was coinciding with the use of my favourite moisturiser and foundation, when I stopped using these products the rash subsided and when I used them again the rash started to flare up.  I switched to a natural moisturiser and after some time it dawned on me that using mainstream makeup while using natural skin care was defeating the purpose, so I switched to natural mineral makeup as well.

Thankfully I was blessed with a double ACE.  Once I switched to natural skin care, as apposed to the petroleum based chemical filled skin care on offer, my pores became less clogged, my skin became healthier, clearer, glowing, and I no longer have the problems associated with overexposure.  I can recall those miserable times when I didn’t want to be seen in public because of the sores on my face and how hideous I felt!  Those days are now a distant memory.  My skin is a far cry from how it used to be."  

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It was during my training as a nail technician that I learned about overexposure and the effects on skin and body.  About the chemicals in beauty products, how toxic they are and how our body deals with these chemicals in tiny amounts, and how when they reach critical mass – the point at which YOUR body cannot take any more exposure – a reaction occurs.  This is ‘overexposure’.  Each person’s critical mass levels vary.  You will find babies have a low critical mass level which is why many babies have severe skin reactions when using mainstream skin care products.

I have spoken to many people about overexposure over the years and have found they too have experienced this without knowing what it was or why it was happening.  They used a product for X amount of years then suddenly one day they couldn’t use it any more, switched to anther brand of product which they used for a while until they also couldn’t use that product any more either.  Some times chemicals reactions are instant; sometimes they take some time to present themselves, depending on a persons level of sensitivity.  I have also spoken to people who have not experienced anything like this who say they’re fine because they have no symptoms.  True, they may have no symptoms but they are still being exposed every time they use products containing chemicals.  Why wait until ‘overexposure’ symptoms occur?

Switching to healthier skin care options is a much better choice for you and your family.  Trust me... Your skin will Thank You.

The Home Facial with JOLI

Since my mid teens I’ve had a ‘facial’ routine.  Back then I used Yardly (I don’t even know if they sell that any more?).  I would steam my face, remove any blackheads, wash my face, use a toner and finish off with a moisturiser.  Washing, toning and moisturising was a nightly ritual for me.  The steaming and black head removal was a once a month thing.

This ritual hasn’t changed a great deal over the years only nowadays I use different skin care products.  And I’m not as diligent as I was back then doing my routine nightly.  These days it’s more like one to three times a week – time permitted.

1.     To begin: your pores need to be opened so you can remove the dirt and grime from within.  Do this by either steaming your face with your head held over a basin of hot steamy water, splashing moderately hot water onto your face, or placing a dampened (with moderately hot water) face washer over your face and leaving it there for a few seconds.

2.     After opening pores use your Facial Wash Scrub (suitable for use on body as well) – made to suit your skin type.  Shake well before use and apply a little to your face and neck, lathering thoroughly.  Wash your face vigorously then rinse with warm water.  Facial Wash Scrub is made for daily use with just a dash of exfoliating granules to be gentle on skin while removing build up of grime and dirt and dead skin cells.
[Facial Wash Scrub]
3.     Every 3 days, or at least once a week, gently exfoliate and refresh your skin with Enliven Facial Scrub (suitable for use on body also).  Enliven Facial Scrub can be applied before cleansing or instead of cleansing with Facial Wash Scrub, and is useful for removing the build up dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin.   We shed skin daily and exfoliating leaves skin looking revived and refreshed as well as youthful.
[Enliven Facial Scrub]
4.     To help close the pores, tighten and tone the skin and remove any residue of the day’s dirt and grime, as well as any wash or scrub, apply Purifying Facial Toner with a cotton ball, all over your face and neck.  Repeat until the cotton ball comes away clean.  Leave to skin to air dry.

5.     If you’re wearing eye makeup use a little Fluffy Lime Eye Cream (suited to ALL skin types) to wipe away the makeup from your eyes.  Apply extra Fluffy Lime Eye Cream to eyes as necessary to moisturise and reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Refer to the Joli video “Fluffy Lime Eye Cream Makeup Remover” for a demonstration on how to use the eye cream to remove eye makeup.

6.     Apply Moisturiser suited to your skin type to richly moisturise and hydrate your skin and aid with the prevention of premature aging and wrinkles.
Normal:         Rich Cream Moisturiser, Skin Serum, Light Moisturiser
Dry:                 Rich Cream Moisturiser, Whipped Cream Moisturiser, Skin Serum
Oily:                Tea Tree Moisturiser, Skin Serum, Light Moisturiser
Mature:           Whipped Cream Moisturiser, Skin Serum, Light Moisturiser
Sensitive:      Rich Cream Moisturiser (fragrance free or for sensitive skin), Whipped Cream Moisturiser, Skin Serum, Light Moisturiser

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

My Week of Beauty Indulgence.

Over the past week I assigned myself the task of doing at least one beauty treatment each day.  Mainly because there are so many beauty things I need to do and never have (or find) the time and also because I have so many neglected body parts lately that I decided to dedicate a week to covering as many areas as I could.

Thursday: I started with a clay face mask.  Mud masks are one of the things I wish I had time to do more often (exfoliating my body is another).  I love how my skin feels and looks after a mud mask.  While I was waiting for the mask to dry I put on some music and danced – getting some exercise in at the same time.  When I rinsed off the mask I added a dollop of toner to the warm water and wiped my face with a face washer.  Then I applied toner to a cotton pad and thoroughly cleaned all residue of clay from my face.  I applied some moisturiser and eye cream to finish off my pampering.  My face was glowing and looked refreshed.

Friday: I exfoliated my face.  This helps to remove dead skin cells and keep my skin looking refresh and vibrant.  I think that I perhaps should have done this before I applied the clay mask, either way it is good to remove dead skin cells and help unclog pores.  I also gave myself a full body moisturising massage with a bath melt.  My legs, arms and torso have been neglected lately.

Saturday: was the day for a mini mani.  Plonking myself in front of the TV that night to watch a movie with  hubby, I had in hand: a face washer, a nail file, a cuticle stick, nails cutters, some moisturiser and cuticle oil.  Beginning with moisturising my cuticles, I let the moisturiser sit for a while and soak in.  Then I rubbed the moisturiser away with the face washer and pushed my cuticles back with the cuti stick.  Even though my nails are short, the longest is about 3mm, I filed my nails to shape them and have them all looking neat and alike.  I cut away any of those side parts of the nail (perionychium) that grow and catch on clothes, followed by an application of cuticle oil - vigorously rubbed into my cuticles.  This softens the cuticles, moisturises them and also strengthens nails.  I finished off with rubbing moisturiser all over my hands… and off course I remembered my elbows.

Sunday: is the day for indulging in a long hot bubble bath.  I add a liberal sprinkling of salts to the water and dash of bubble bath.  I’m not overly concerned with bubbles and tend to only like them because they cover me if anyone intrudes on my bath.  Once in the bath I rubbed massage oil all over my body to moisturise and delight in the scents.  I usually do so much more pampering while in the bath but this time I made it all about lying back and enjoying the soak.
I did finish off with soaking my feet, trimming my nails and applying peppermint foot lotion so that my tootsies are in decent condition for my pedicure on Tuesday.

Monday: Legs!  I also need to have my legs looking good for my pedicure on Tuesday.  Don’t want to be seen with spider legs (hairy) or lizard legs (dry).  For hair removal I use an epilator.  For anyone who has ever used an epilator you will know they can sting especially if you’re cold.  For this reason I like to either epilate after a shower or bath or, as was the case this time, apply an aloe gel to my legs prior to epilating.  The gel soaks into the skin and seems to absorb any excess oils on the surface of the legs.  The gel also helps the hairs stand up ready for extraction.  Gel application is also beneficial prior to waxing – which uses the same principle [extracting the hair by the root].  After epilating, I massage some leg butter into my legs leaving them silky smooth, sexy and looking amazing.
Note: it is also advisable to exfoliate your legs prior to hair removal to remove the layer of dead skin on your legs.  This dead skin is what causes blockages and ingrown hairs.

Tuesday: had a pampering and relaxing pedicure.  The beauty therapist (who knows I am a qualified nail tech) asked me why I’m not painting my own toe nails.  I explained that I’m getting too old and inflexible these days to do body contortions and wrap my knees around my ears in order to paint my toes.  It is nice to spoil myself on occasion and have someone pamper me.  It was also lovely to see the beauty therapist again and chat.  Now my toes are metallic dark red and look gorgeous!!

Wednesday: gave myself an all over body scrub with a hand held loofah.  I washed my body first then gently ran the loofah all over every inch (that I could reach) of my body.  Body scrubs are another beauty treatment I don’t give myself often enough.  As we age our skin needs to be refreshed more often or else the layers of dead skin cells we shed daily sit on the surface of our skin making our skin look dull and drab.  Removing the layers of skin cells keeps skin clear and refreshed and exposed the new skin we have underneath, leaving us looking more vibrant.

That ends my week of beauty indulgence and pampering.  I recommend trying to give yourself at least one beauty treatment a week, picking a different treatment each time, or doing a week of indulgence once a month.  Can't wait for my next week of pampering.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I Love All Things Skin Care

This being my first post I thought I should begin by talking about why I chose to work in the skin care industry.  From early childhood I remember my mum offering me advice about always moisturising my elbows and telling me to remember my hands and decolletage because they are the areas that show the first signs of aging.

At age 14 I was moisturising daily.  Not that I needed wrinkle prevention back then although it is actually beneficial to rehydrate the skin no matter what your age.  By mid teens I had a regular beauty routine of steaming my face, washing my wash, toning and applying moisturiser.  A couple of times a week I would use a facial scrub.  I was dedicated to my good skin routine rarely missing a night.  I still had my breakouts no matter how thorough I cleaned my skin and no matter how much chocolate I didn't eat!

As the years progressed my list of beauty routines grew and grew (most of which I mentioned in the Top to Toe Body Care book by Joli).  Once a month I would indulge in a long hot bubble bath lie back and enjoy the soak until the water got cold.  Then I would wash my hair, scrub my body to remove dead skin cells and pumice my feet.  My beauty regime didn't end when I was out of the bath.  I would then apply an oil or lotion and begin to massage my thighs and buttocks with a wooden massage brush.  Promoting blood flow to those areas to aid with cellulite prevention, then apply a firming lotion.
I have always been obsessed with not having those hard cracked heels on my feet and with trying to prevent cellulite as much as is humanly possible.  My feet are still in very good condition.  I have noticed as I age my skin is becoming less firm causing the onset of cellulite.  Yet for the most part and considering my age I have starved off cellulite for quite some years just from sheer dedication to my thigh massaging.
I also comb and brush my hair in a particular way to avoid split ends and give myself manicures.

As you can see I am obsessed with all things beauty.  Not to be mistaken for perfection.  Beauty is not about looking like a super model or even liking what you see in the mirror necessarily.  It's not about being a girly girl either (I am a self confessed Tom Boy).  Beauty is about looking after your skin, your body, your hair, your nails.  Beauty is about pampering yourself and the more you pamper yourself the better you feel.
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