About Me

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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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Self-tanning and bronzers à la CFIDS/ME/fibro-style...

Some of my self-tanning supplies for this year.

Now that we're explored the world of exfoliation, we're ready for that all-important "sun look."  I'm not sure about you, but since my skin is chicken-skin white, self-tanners really are a life-saver.   Normally, I don't do "the whole bit," but since this is my year of "making myself look human," I've decided that I really am going to go the self-tanner route and streaks be darned.  You see, I'm such a perfectionist that I can take all day just applying self-tanners. Granted, most of the day is spent trying to get my energy up to do it - and the rest of the day is taken up with giving myself a pep talk that I don't really need to do a perfect job.  But this year, I've told myself, I'm just going for it.  

Except there's been a bit of a kink in the system, just as it's started.  I put on two of the tanners I've been excited about and you'll hear the results in a moment.  Two or three days later when I was ready to reapply the self-tanners was the day that I'd had those unfortunate baby hives and when I went to take a bath in order to exfoliate the skin, I found that those pesky little hives had left the front of one leg abraded!  "Foiled again!" as Popeye might have said.  

So, yesterday was to be my day to do the whole exfoliation experience followed by self-tanners.  I'd written up (yesterday's) post and decided I needed to take a picture.  Everything was finally arranged downstairs in the new bathroom, pictures taken, but I wanted to take a few more with the window shutters open and as I stepped back out of the bathtub from adjusting the shutters, I fell.  Badly. I even shattered a tray that was standing outside the tub to bits, one I didn't think was even breakable - I must say I'm most talented!  I'm not quite sure what happened, although I do remember thinking, "NOT THE FACE! NOT THE FACE!" as I came crashing down and was rather badly banged up. The face is fine!...the rest of me, not so much.  I've become a bit accident-prone lately, and I don't like it!  Usually, I'm as agile as a monkey.  I have no idea what is happening to me.

All of which is to say that the products were tested only once this year and I'll have to rely on the experiences of last year as well.  I'll have to wait at least another week or two before I get to work on my "tan," but rest assured, what follows will be what I'll be using since it all is basically the same, year in and year out, with one notable exception.  

I've found it a good policy to basically go with Clarins since it appears to be fine with my skin and, really, I shouldn't do too much experimentation any longer since I've had a few disastrous results in the past. Often, I find, "don't fix it if it ain't broke!" is indeed the smart policy.  So, off we go with:

  • Clarins "Delectable Self-Tanning Mousse with Mirabelle Oil."  I used this on my legs and they came out looking rather nicely.  
If anyone recalls, due to a flu I had a few years ago which lasted two years (yes, this is not a mistake, I had a whole full blown-out flu for two years: amazing what this CFIDS/ME/fibro can do to your system!) and was left with mottled legs as a souvenir.  Given that my legs have been one of my vanity points (i.e., one of the few things that I actually liked about my body - oh come on, we American women ALL hate our bodies!  It must happen in the hospital when we're born and then just gets worse over the years) I thought at first that the tanner would sort of disguise the "mottle-ness" or "mottled mess."  However, after the whole arm/hand thing and with my muscle tissue coming out in that bag of urine in the hospital as I lay dying (sorry, Billy Faulkner, for using your words), I now have these veins that are not going back into the body and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get rid of them. Horseback riding lessons are one idea (my GP just gave me a huge lecture that it is time and, man, how I do not want to do it, at this point, but only because of timing considerations!!!) and I have an awful feeling that for many reasons that it's simply not going to happen. 

Anyway, I thought the self-tanners may help disguise...well, that with a lot of very long skirts?!  Anyone with ideas, please figure out my funky comments section and write in as I'm pretty desperate.

But, yes, from one application of the Clarins Mousse, I came out with a very nice tan on my legs that I could see would help me with my "disguise" plans.  

In previous years, I've also tried the following Clarins self-tanners and intend to do so again this year:
  • Clarins "Self Tanning Instant Gel"
  • Clarins "Self Tanning Milk with Sun Protection"
Both have done nice jobs and given that I already have them in stock, I'll be using them until I run out and then will most likely buy again.

But we have a surprise!
  • Omorovicza's "Glam Glow self-tanner"....5 thumbs up!
I'd received a full-sized sample of Omorovizca's "Glam Glow self-tanner" when I bought one of their sample bags - when it was on sale a few weeks ago.  I was bold enough to ask if they had a substitute that I could have instead of the self-tanner but the substitute was so unattractive compared to the self-tanner (OK, it was a $20 value compared to a whopping $89 value for the self-tanner!  And OK, I was momentarily dizzied by the dollar in this instance - but I also knew I'd have a better chance of using the self-tanner than the substitute, which I guarantee you I would never have used!).  As soon as it came in I used it on my arms (we have 30 inches of scarring to somehow camouflage) and I loved the color and smell.  It just looked like my arms, but darker.  Best, it made my very white (read: untoned, flabby) arms, that is, from shoulder to shoulder, including the collar bone and décolleté SHINE! Even my daughter, who'd stopped by the house, remarked on it.  I GLOWED!   And it was nice.  I'm not sure that it will be "strong" enough for my legs, though I know I'll give the legs a layer of it after I've built up some color on them, thanks to the Clarins, plus I can't wait to see what'll happen to my legs with a bit of glow.  I just hope it's not neon veins!  BTW: only the best of ingredients are used.  Omorovicza tries to keep it as healthy and natural as possible, albeit remembering that they do want to give you a tan! 

Moving on, every summer I use the following periodically:
  • Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, Fair to Medium Skin
  • Jergens Natureal Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer, Fair to Medium Skin
Now these are really and truly very nice products, but you need to apply them every day and there is nothing that I do every day, other than eat.  NOTHING!   I have CFIDS/ME/fibro, and that's the beginning of  my problems, so nothing else is a given.  Let's face it, even breathing every day if often difficult.  So, I've applied the Jergens now and then, but really, it's a lost cause for me and I'm not even sure I didn't throw them out when we were decluttering.  Let me tell you, I had quite the collection as each new kind of Jergens gradual tanner came out, and once my ever-optimistic middle child bought me the medium-dark skin one.  Sad.  He's just so darned optimistic, that dear child!
  • Bare Essentuals "Faux Tan"  
Now, hubby was sent out to buy me a self-tanner last year, with no specific instructions, I'm the first to admit, at least not instructions specific enough for him.  He came home with the aforementioned "Faux Tan" and I wanted to cry.  I'd already had a bad experience with it a few years back. (Daughter to mom/me: "WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOURSELF????")  After looking at the happiness on hubby's face and hearing everything that the salesclerk told him (VERBATIM!), I tried the stuff on my legs again (on the principle that no one would see the disaster) and I still do NOT understand how this mess works!  I've read up on it, watched people on YouTube and people actually swear by it.  The saleswoman must have been telling the truth when she said she couldn't keep it in stock but I've had no luck with it. 

I HAVE read that you can now buy a brush to apply it with.  Are they insane?   Why would I want to fork out 50 bucks for a brush to use a self-tanner that MIGHT work if I do it ABSOLUTELY correctly and am, by the way, a Snookie-like pro with self-tanners, which I'm not?  And then the brush has to be washed, I would imagine?  I love brushes but, really, in this instance, my life is already difficult enough, so I'm not even going there...unless, I get very desperate about my legs....

But then I'll use the
  • St. Tropez's "Tan Optimizer Applicator Mitt"  
Right!  OK.  I'd like to think that I'll use it, especially since I already own one.  I hate orange hands perhaps even more than streaks, so washing my hands is usually a huge ordeal. I do one leg and wash hands thoroughly, including using the all important nail brush.  After a while (at least 15-30 minutes because I'm now exhausted and need a rest) I do the other leg, wash hands and rest.  Same goes with the arms, shoulders, back of neck, etc.  Wash hands and rest.  Actually, you've/I've earned the rest by now!  Congratulations!
  • St. Tropez's "Tan Optimiser"  ("Tan Removal")
This is what is giving me the confidence this year to go on and risk the streaks, orange hands and mishaps.  I've used this a bit and haven't had any problems with my hands.  Good!   A lot of anxiety not needed, a definite plus in my book.

Now, I do not tan my face.  That is a sacred area.  (See above account of accident last night to remember just how sacred the face is!)  

But thanks to Ruth, The Model, I've discovered: 
  • Chanel's "Soleil Tan," a cream bronzer that you apply with your fingers, or with a brush if you really want a mess and have the energy to clean brushes.  I like the control I get with my fingers.  It is heaven!   Yes, this is just a cosmetic, which is all I'll use on my face, thank you very much!
I've found that bronzers can be tricky.  They can be muddy, they can be orange.  They can "over-stick" if your face is over-moisturized, they can do heaven-only-knows-what if your face is under-moisturized.  I own Guerlain and many other "best of" bronzers.  My daughter always thinks she's my mother and will start smudging off some of the bronzer I apply (I guess it's not the right amount or not in the right place to please the ever-critical "children.")

However, the Chanel goes on beautifully and because it melts into your skin - it is a cream - it works like a dream. It blends so well that it's almost mistake proof. Critical daughter had nothing to criticize the few times I've worn it!  I get no awful facial reaction to it, my face actually seems to LIKE whatever is in there.  So, that is it for bronzers for me.  

Oh, I'm sure I'll fool around with a few other products - it's my nature.  And I do have a few products lying around already that I really should give a try.  But really, I'm happy (or not happy in one instance) with the products I've listed and so there you have it. 

And finally, just to keep everyone safe, the best sunscreen ever:
  •  La Mer's "The SPF 30 Protecting Fluid," bar none!
When I visited my son in Australia, I had at least five different sunblocks to choose from/foisted upon me, that is, by various members of my family as they all feared for me because they all tan while I only burn - and Townsville is in the tropics. (We also went during the height of their summer so we could spend time with said son!) I hated every single one of those sunscreens as much in the topics as I did anywhere else, not surprisingly.  

But I do remember being wonderfully shocked by the feel of the La Mer, especially since I was in the midst of trying them out one by one, constantly, no rhyme nor reason other than someone was always yelling, "MOOOOMMMM!!!!," horrified that I'd expire from melanoma right there in front of them.  After about thirty minutes by the pool one day (a record, trust me!) I fell in love with the La Mer (who knew?  I'd been using it for years whenever I got a nice lecture from Sylvia). For the rest of our time in Oz, I kept reapplying the La Mer, and was able to come home as pale as I left. To tell you the truth, because it is so pricey, I use it only on my face, shoulders, décolleté and arms.  I figure the rest of the body can use the less expensive sunblocks and since my legs aren't funny about having anything on them, it's basically a non-issue. Besides, if I did burn those legs, I'd kind of like it (again: remember, I'm a product of the '70's!)

And if you're in the sun: please remember to wear a hat!  The sun really does have a tendency to wipe "us" out, those with CFIDS/ME/fibro, and a hat with a wide brim is hard to beat.

If you want to be a bronze goddess this summer, these products may work for you.  Or, if like me, you just want to look a bit healthier, this just might be the ticket for you too.  Whatever, enjoy!   And if you can sneak a few minutes of sun for your Vitamin D without any cover, go for it, as long it's for just a right amount of time - I've heard ten minutes in the gentle morning sun, not the afternoon harsh 3PM sun - and it might be a good idea to carry a timer with you, as it is all too easy to misjudge how long you've been out in the sun. (Personally, I'm really hoping umbrellas in the sun, as in "parasols," come back into style!  Think about it: it's a nice idea, and we would get a bit of sun, just enough for that oh-so-necessary Vitamin D!)

Finally, my GP, who knows me all too well, has put me on Vitamin D capsules to take daily since, for the first time ever, my Vitamin D level has dropped significantly, to an unhealthy number.  Hmmmm...perhaps he doesn't know me as well as he thinks: I have hit my quota as to how many meds I can remember to take and supplements are a whole 'nother ball game in the memory department, one I will also get into at some point!

In the meanwhile: Happy Sunless Sunning! 

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  1. Thanks for the rundown on self-tanning products! I have been thinking about using one so this is a big help for me to choose one.
    By coincidence, I'm going to the dermatologist for my annual skin screening this afternoon. I have had 4 "spots" taken off me over the years - one described as "funky," another one as "close to melanoma on the continuum but not melanoma," and one squamous cell carcinoma. (Can't remember the description of the fourth one which was actually the first one.)
    Sorry about your fall.

    1. So glad I could be of help in the choosing process, Martha. Sorry to hear about the spots you needed to have cut out/off and holding fingers crossed for good results from dermatologist this visit. Let me know how it goes...

  2. Just out of interest were you using a hot water bottle at all before you got your mottled legs? I am a hot water bottle addict but I now have a crazy leopard print going on on my back and stomach. Many doctors have called their whole teams over and non have been able to guess that it was simply from using a hot water bottle. Luckily Leopard print is fashionable right now.

    1. No, Sian, I didn't use a hot water bottle. That is really strange about the leopard print! But at least you picked the right pattern! ;) If I come up with any ideas, I'll let you know. Perhaps tweet me a picture to direct message? xx

  3. I'll try and get a picture to you. It's not too bad on my stomach now but I think that's more because I have used the hot water bottle there less and it has been more on my back and legs.
    I should try and use bio oil more but again it's remembering. And with tje area being really sensitive it's sometimes best avoided. But who says a leopard can't change her spots? Maybe I should try using some of the oil in my bath. Again when remembered ;-) I can see post it notes coming in handy soon.
    Best wishes