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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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beauty and the Repair Complex

I think I need a good few days away from all things CFIDS/ME/fibro, away from the inadequacies, the stress, the pain, the angst. (I like that last word, "angst." It says so much, though a bit melodramatically?)

Instead, I'd like to go to the "beauty world" part of my life: it's August and it's HOT, HOT, HOT. That means "miserable."   Why is it, I often wonder, that despite my not going outside, I am STILL affected by the weather?   Perhaps barometric changes influence?   I have no idea.

But what I do know is that not too long ago (smooth but awfully corny transition!) I bought a couple of Esteé Lauder promotional products.  I'm not sure why I've never been even slightly interested in Estée Lauder.   When in high school, I had a neighbor who worked the cosmetics counter at our local department store and perhaps I somehow associated the EL line with Bebe, who, bless her heart, would slip me a sample of this or that every once in a while, along with a few much-needed tips that high school girls want (and desperately crave!).  

At any rate, in both promotional packages, I found that there were tiny little bottles of EL's Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex, a product in a brown glass bottle that I've never even given a second glance.  Was I disappointed to find those samples?  You betcha!   But after a couple of weeks I was in one of those "let's play girl" moods (my BP must have been up to almost normal if I was up for games) and so I smeared a bit of it onto my face.  When I woke up (who knows if it was day or night - it was SLEEP!) I happened to brush my hand across my face and was absolutely surprised to find that my skin felt so much softer and definitely more finely textured than it had been in quite some time.  Having so little short-term memory, it took me a while to remember why my face felt so much nicer and then looked "healthier" in the mirror.  Surprise!   It was the Night Repair.   I liked this product so much that I ended up buying a bottle of it and refilling one of the sample-sized bottle to take with me on my madcap adventure to Kuala Lumpur.

I was further surprised to find out that the serum is a "classic," and a real workhorse, known for its reliability.  Yet another surprise for me! 

And it is quite a good serum.  I like that there is hyaluronic acid in it, the acid I wrote about in an earlier post (see here). Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance which we start producing less of as we age (of course - all the good stuff goes!).  It holds water in the uppermost layers of your skin so when you apply a beauty product which contains hyaluronic acid onto your face, you're capturing the moisture and keeping it there.  It's essentially a water magnet.  It's also hugely effective as a healing agent.  The stuff just keeps sounding better and better.

There is much more mumbo jumbo about it, "scientific" stuff that EL is throwing around, just like every other skincare and beauty company out there.  Who knows how much is hype and how much is truth, my skewed opinion, honestly, in everything with the beauty industry.  Add in the "what works for one may not work for another" and then the "consistency" problem - there is no way on God's green earth that I'm going to be able to carry off using any product every day - and you have a very skeptical customer.  So, I basically go by the old standard of, "does it work for me?"  

And then today, as I started to do some preliminary research on the serum, I discovered that there is reportedly a bit of silicone in it.  I didn't find that whatever silicone is in it affected me negatively and I'm not sure if the reason the silicone not disturbing my skin is because of the formulation or if it's because I don't use it every night, just on nights I don't use my other products.
Ah yes, I happen to like to change my beauty products, unlike most sane people out there I suppose, because I work on the "shampoo principle."  

"And what is the 'shampoo principle'?" you many ask?  

Well, back in high school we were always told that you needed to switch your shampoo around because your hair gets "used" to a product and changing brands occasionally helps move things around.  Now I have no idea if this is true, or was ever true or true back in the day: lots has changed since I was in high school.  And you may very well ask, by WHOM pray tell, were we given this advice?  Warning: don't choke!  Take whatever you're drinking away from your mouth or you run the risk of spraying water onto your computer monitor when I tell you and spraying water out of mouth is a decidedly uncouth thing to do.

Ready?  I think it was the nuns at my one wonderful year at a Catholic boarding school - nuns who were very dedicated to making "ladies" out of us, and "Southern Ladies" at that! - who taught us that bit of news.  (Yes, they WERE women before becoming nuns, rumor has it!)  

At any rate, that bit of "wisdom" has stayed with me.  And to be fair to those beloved nuns who taught us that, I find that it works!   So, having put all these pro's and con's together, I must say that I really like the serum and will be using it for quite some time, although I know I'll keep on switching things around, experimenting. 

Yes, it's a bummer getting older.  I realized that not only do I need to get rid of the hyperpigmentation (age spots) that is appearing at an alarming rate, but that I also need to try to detour the wrinkles coming along and get the dehydration out of the way.  Yes, dehydration, one of the hallmarks of CFIDS/ME/fibro: all three chronic illnesses.  So, for that alone, the night repair is staying in my skincare drawer.  

Do you have a favorite product or beauty routine that you picked up quite by accident and are not sure how or why you continue to do so?   I'd love to hear it.

In the meanwhile, I hope everyone's feeling as best as can be, only better!  Till next time!

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  1. Hi Irene,

    I've been enjoying reading your blog. I have Lyme, quite badly, and it is comforting to read over what you have written.

    I am not a big fan of makeup and creams--my skin seems to be ridiculously sensitive. I paint my nails in a Goth rainbow to keep myself from biting them. I don't know what it is about a bare nail that makes me want to pick at it! The one thing I have consistently done for my skin since I was 12/13 is to wear strong sunscreen. I think it really helps, although it feels rather useless when you burn through SPF 85 because of your antibiotics!

    <3 Maggie

    1. Hi Maggie! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind (and encouraging) words. I'm so sorry that you're struggling with such bad Lyme at the moment and really hope that the fact that you're having such a huge Herxheimer reaction means that you are well on your way to recovery! Are you supposed to be out in the sun at all with such an extreme reaction, or is it that it can't be avoided? Goth rainbow: that is one I'd love to see! Hang in there and I hope you come back and visit...and often! ;). I'm glad I could be of some comfort!
      Irene xx