January 25, 2012
January 19, 2012
January 18, 2012
January 17, 2012
Recently I was chatting with a friend about Retin A (and I may have given her some samples that I received from my dermatologist). When I first started using prescription Retin A products a few years ago, the only basic advice I received was start slowly and only use a small amount at each application. So this got me thinking that I should let you all know what has worked for me. Please note I am not a medical professional of any sorts and this information is based on my personal experience only.
The first product I was prescribed was Retin A MICRO.
The product is now available in a pump, which I suppose helps in administering an “appropriate” amount. When I used the product it was just in a metal tube like the picture, nothing fancy. I started off using this every other day and still had a lot of red flaky patches, which were more embarrassing than wrinkles or acne. I returned to my dermatologist who then prescribed a lowered dosed product, Atralin.
The MICRO product is a .1% strength and the Atralin is a .05% strength. You are thinking okay, no big deal, but let me tell you it is a big deal. I can now use the Atralin every night and wake up with only minimal flakes. You want flakes, that means the product is working to shed your old skin to reveal new fresh skin.
Okay, now on to my routine and recommendations. As you have gathered from above, I prefer to use the Atralin product. Each night after I wash my face using Cetaphil and my Clarisonic, I apply a thin layer of Atralin all over my face, avoiding the eye area. (I use a separate eye cream on and around my eyes because I like them to be moisturized and the Retin A can be drying.) I need to start applying the Atralin to my neck to avoid saggy-neck-ness, **note to self**. As far as “thin layer” goes, I probably use a total amount equivalent to 1 1/2 peas. After I wait a few minutes for the product to set in I apply a light moisturizer all over my face, to combat any dryness (I might skip this step in the summer when my skin is more oily). In the morning I use a gentle scrubbing face wash to exfoliate any flaky patches. I then apply a topical exfoliator to ensure I got rid of all the flakes.
This is the process that I have found to work best on my combination skin. If you have dry skin you will definitely want to start off using as little Retin A as possible, perhaps only on problem areas. I would also suggest to start using the product in your mid 20’s, before wrinkles really start to become an issue. Yes Retin A is mainly prescribed to combat acne, but fighting wrinkles is an awesome side affect, if you will. When I get random blemishes I use a benzoyl peroxide product in conjunction with my Retin A. Please note that unless you have super awesome health insurance (does such a thing even exist anymore???), you will still have to pay some out of pocket money for the product. If you compare the prescription to OTC product costs, they might be pretty darn close (not to mention a prescription tube can last you a long time, not sure you can say the same about OTC brands). Also be sure to ask your doctor for samples so you can try it before getting an entire tube. They might also have coupons too, doesn't hurt to ask.
Another important piece of information when using any Retin A product is to be sure to wear sunscreen, as it makes your skin more prone to burn. But we already know that we should wear sunscreen daily, right?
I hope that at least one person finds this information helpful and useful. I have not really used any OTC Retin A based products and cannot attest to their effectiveness in comparison. If you have health insurance and can get a doctor to prescribe you Retin A I definitely recommend doing so. And if you find the one he prescribes to be to harsh, go back and request a different strength. I believe some products now come in cream based versions, which may also combat some dryness. Bottom line is don't give up if the first product you try gives you terrible or unexpected results.
Again, I am not an expert and do not claim to have perfect skin, I just think this is useful information to those considering prescription strength Retin A products. If you have more tips or suggestions on Retin A I would love to hear them!
I will follow up in another post on what kind of moisturizers, scrubs and exfoliants I like to use.
January 16, 2012
January 10, 2012
January 5, 2012
January 4, 2012
January 1, 2012
1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority. Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out! If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made. What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
4. Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on. A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
5. Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
6. Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
7. Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
8. Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
9. Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
10. Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
12. Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.