About Me

My photo
I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beauty To Consider: BB Creams and Silicones....

East meets West:
In light of this being "Western Easter," Eastern Orthodox Easter next week, I thought it'd be fun to show the first compromising of our two cultures blending together as one family.  I love the skeptical looks on the females in hubby's family and won't even try to say what my mom's probably thinking. The tiny bunny was probably the only thing all agreed on!

Just over a week ago, in order to try to cut down on my feebly slow "getting ready in the morning routine" for my appointment with the beauty heaven I was (hopefully) heading to, I thought I'd try a few new beauty products properly.   As always, I'm on the hunt to look my best - with a minimum of effort, please! - in the ever-desperate hope that the savings in time will give me more time/energy for the actual event.  And I'd hoped that I'd have tips or new info to send on to my readers as well.  

I thought I'd test a few more of those BB creams I'd mentioned in an earlier post. May I say how surprised I am by the fact that so few people I've spoken to lately have never even heard of BB creams?  Wow!  For perhaps the first time ever, I may be at the beginning of a trend as opposed to the end of one. Excuse me while I pat myself on my back - and try not to break my arm doing so!

A few days ago, my daughter stopped by the house and I ambushed her as a very reluctant tester for two products, one of which was a luxury sheer coverage foundation I'd put on half of my own face hours earlier in the day.  Yes, the makeup looked nice and I could  see a difference but it was not really worth the exorbitant price. On the other hand, I liked it enough to want to try the fuller coverage version and will get back to you on that when I get up my nerve to order it - enough damage has been done to my wallet lately in the beauty department.

At any rate, when asked if she could tell which side of my face had the sheer coverage, my daughter could see the difference immediately, though she too agreed that it wasn't worth the price.  After putting some of the sheer coverage makeup on her face, I wasn't impressed with it either, though for a different reason. The makeup didn't melt into her skin.  Something was off.  Perhaps it was just too mask-y looking. But, aha!  I thought to try the Dr. Jart+ Premium BB cream on the other side of her face.  

Oh how I love having a daughter!  She too loved the packaging - UNLIKE her dad, who had a hard time finding ANY enthusiasm for it a few weeks ago when I showed him the beautifully engineered and designed "tube."

The Dr. Jart+ went on beautifully. I loved it and best of all, she loved it enough to take my tube home with her.  Actually I think what she loved most was the fact that the SPF was a whopping 45 and though the skin tone had evened out beautifully, she still looked very natural with her freckles peeking through.  I loved it because you could absolutely tell the difference: it just lifted up her skin, making it so fresh and looking almost as if she'd been on vacation, masking the signs on her face of the influenza (not just the "flu") she'd battled a few weeks ago and was slowly recovering from.

So, the next day I tried two other BB creams in order to not have to borrow my daughter's for my one day out of the house... my replacement, which I'd just ordered, would not arrive in time for my great escape.  I tried Clinique's and Boscia's versions. Both companies I like quite a bit.  I've bought their products in the past and been happy with them.  I must say that one of the BB's was OK, but something was still off and it was hard to put my finger on what it was that made it look so wrong. And one or both caused bumps on my face, as well as redness. Furthermore, I had to wash the BB's off BOTH sides of my face within less than a half hour - why I thought the burning would go away for both products I have no idea.  And, BTW, I've never before returned a beauty product - with the caveat that I don't ever REMEMBER doing so - but you can bet that those two were going back; they were in the mail the following day.

I suspected, but now am fairly sure, that I've a problem - I may have an allergy to silicone.  

After my first office visit with my plastic surgeon to get the stitches out for "The Claw," what I affectionately call my arm and hand these days, I was given a silicone sheet to wear on my approximately 30 inches of scars.  I waited for everything to be healed with no broken skin, as instructed by everyone I saw that day.  I swear, I felt as if I were Moses receiving the commandments by God when the silicone sheet instructions were given.  I was nervous but I was really excited.  When I arrived home I sent an email to my best friend and told her all about this miraculous new treatment. I'd googled it, of course, and had been so thrilled to read the rave reviews. Naturally, I'd want my BFF to know about this immediately.  (Oh, of course she must have known this telepathically, but I just had to be SURE she'd gotten the message!)

Finally, I figured out how I would cut the sheet to allow it to fit all of the scarring.  The directions said I could wear the silicone sheeting for just about all day and night, only taking it off for a little time.  My surgeon and his support staff said to put it on for only six hours and no more, but definitely for the six to get the full benefits.  That was rather complicated, since as mentioned before (Ha!) I don't have any predictable sleep patterns.  If I put them - the now cut-up strips - on during the day, I might fall asleep.  If I put them on at night, the same concern.   A few days later I bit the bullet and told myself to stop all the tomfoolery and just get on with it.

Well, after about five minutes, my ever-observant hubby looked over at me and said, "You know, if it hurts you SHOULD take them off."  Well, I had no idea why he said that...I hadn't noticed the tears rolling down from my eyes, "the tell." I answered, while staring at the TV, "That's OK.  I can do it."

Hubby looked at me (again) like I was the crazy one and said, "If it's hurting, take it off - IMMEDIATELY.  Are you nuts?  You're probably having a reaction."

Me?  Nah! "Oh, I can take it," I, more or less, whimpered.  "I don't want those scars!"  

"Are you bonkers? Take those things off and let me take a look at that. Really!" he said, a tad exasperated.

Well, the entire area covered by the strips was red, angry and inflamed. And the spots and lines where the staple holes were - the ones that make you look like Frankenstein - had, more or less leveled off before, but were now back to being ugly, pimple-looking creepy bumps. Gross!

It was awful.  I could take the nettle-stinging feeling but to have such a huge step back in the healing - well, you know how vain I can be.... Or should I say how much I'll give up to look good.... This was a definite mistake.

Of course, I emailed my BFF immediately because with our luck she or one of her (grown up) kids would just have had the sudden misfortune to also be in a position to need those silicone sheets - at that very moment! - and someone would inevitably be told, "Oh, Irene's doctor gave her that and she googled and read in tons of places that this is the best thing out there" and end up having an even worse reaction than I did!

OK, folks, I can be slow. But it finally dawned on me that one day, at the "medical center" with my daughter, I'd put a new primer on my face and immediately, it burned so badly that I threw the sample away - right after thoroughly washing my face, first with warm water and Dove (I always go back to Dove, don't I?) and then applying very cool water compresses because my face was red and getting inflamed, followed by my skin-saving and rescuing LaMer.

After the silicone sheet fiasco, and keeping in mind the one primer reaction, I started noticing reviews on Sephora and other beauty sites about women having problems with dimethicone in beauty products.  It finally hit me that I too must have an allergy to silicone.  But I had been using silicone all along, I realized, as I started to read the ingredients on various beauty products in my cabinets and drawers.  Talk about a headache!  I suddenly realized why I disliked chemistry so much in high school.  But it was fascinating that there were some products that I really didn't care for or some I loved and it was the dimethicone that seemed to be the main difference.  The few products with silicones which didn't seem to bother me were those that looked as if they hardly had any silicone in them.  But I soon realized that perhaps some products were formulated differently - such as with buffers?  What do I know?  To further confuse the issue, I realized that silicone goes by many different names.  

The point is that the reaction didn't hit me strongly under most circumstances.  On the other hand, I seemed to get unexplained little bumps on my face that I had thought were due to nerves about my daughter's precarious situation - they may have been, instead, reactions to the silicone.  Under some circumstances I may not have been getting a bad reaction, but what were those circumstances?  So, at first I stayed away from all silicone while doing research - a guaranteed headache-producing exercise, let me assure you.

I was "outraged" when I read on one skin store's blog site, written by a physician, that Vitamin E should not be used for scars because reactions - allergies - could take place, but that silicone NEVER had any adverse reactions.

OK.  Let's see if I have this straight.  There is something out there that NO one has ever had a reaction to?  Hmmmm.... Ever heard of the exception to the rule?  Well there you go.  Someone's either not thinking or is stretching the truth if they say there's NEVER been an adverse reaction to something.  Don't even get me started.

At the same time, I was suddenly coming across sites with on-line shopping where they proudly advertise the fact that THEIR products have no silicones at all.  The reviews on any number of beauty sites report women having reactions to silicone. It's a HUGE concern.  Some women make silicone sound as bad as when doctors demonize cigarettes as if they were the equivalent of smoking crack cocaine.

When my surgeon's assistant suggested Vitamin E oil, her boss scoffed at her (in a light-hearted way) and when I piped in that I believe in the effectiveness of arnica and lavender essential oils, for example, he looked at me as if I were bonkers.  But he was all for the silicone.

And I don't blame him.  He's kept up with the medical studies that are constantly changing.  These include papers on Vitamin E oil therapy, the latest saying it was the massaging that made the difference.  And of course he wants minimal scaring.  He wants what's best for me.  Furthermore, it is, after all, his work that is on display for the whole world to see - especially when I don't wear sleeves that go from my shoulder down to my fingers.

My feeling?  I think big pharma is putting out good money to keep yet another nasty pharmaceutical problem hidden as long as they can get away with it.  Call me paranoid, but that's exactly what I'm afraid of.

I might have been foolish, but I finally made the decision to go with selected beauty products that have SOME silicone. First, I would continue with the products which I hoped weren't causing problems, for whatever reason, my go-to products.  Secondly, that was after looking at the labels and ensuring that there was very little silicone content in anything I put on my skin.  I would trust the manufacturer to adhere to the requirement that the substances in the products are listed from the highest amount to the lowest.

I mean, the silicone really makes products glide on so beautifully and there are a ton of other pro's for the way they function cosmetically.  It's an incredible new resource for the beauty world from makeup to hair to skincare.

My immunologist, however, said I many want to rethink that, given my extreme reaction with the sheet.  A first allergic reaction, as what I had with the strips, COULD lead to a more severe reaction with the second or third exposure to the substance. In other words, nature is giving a person a "pass" the first time around.  It may be nature's way of not killing off a person the first time, while giving that person a warning (i.e., the bad reaction) that something is off and not working...beware! Nature, evolution - whatever you choose to call it - may thus be offering a second chance at being smart the next time around and figuring it is the fool who goes back for a third or fourth time and Goodnight Moon!  Not necessarily so, but did I want to take that chance?  Had I forgotten the primer incident too?

Geesh!  Perhaps I really AM lucky that I'm bedridden...I don't need to go out much anymore.  Therefore, I don't need to make a decision as "to silicone or not to silicone": that is the question.

Groan...did I really say that?  I guess so!

But I definitely want to work with my Dr. Jart+.  That stuff may be joining my very tiny "hall of fame" keepers.  

No comments:

Post a Comment