I’m Hooked

So this happened today…

I’m way too excited to be part of the Rodan and Fields company! I appreciate all the support from my friends, family, and mentor/team leader.  I’m so fortunate.

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Cheers!

Pascal

This is Pascal, the other half of my marital entity. He’s a good sport and a great friend. We’ve been married for 37 years, just about grown up together, so we naturally support each other’s endeavors as much as we’re critical of one another. But, he’s a hell of a lot better at withholding judgment about my new adventures than I am about his.

We complement each other that way. When he’s adventurous but unrealistic, I jump to the cautious curb and question his ideas until I’ve parsed everything that could possibly go wrong. When I’m not pursuing my dreams hard enough or not dreaming enough–period, he pushes me to let go, have faith.

But I’ve also been his voice of reason and cheerleader as he has been mine. We’re as different and separate and independent as two roommates paying the rent, sometimes, and life-long friends when we’re sitting down to dinner with a bottle of wine–and share that identical glint in our eyes and slight nod of the head after the first sip that we mutually silently agree, “uh huh, yep, she’s good.”

We share so many of the same tastes and values even as he appears to be from Venus and I from Earth. I know everything and nothing about him. I wonder if he’d say the same.

Yes, he’s a good guy. He agreed to be my guinea pig too.

He likes the skincare products I’ve asked him to diligently apply day and night. He uses the Rodan and Fields Soothe regimen for sensitive skin and psoriasis he’s battled since I’ve known him.

Judging from this two week before and after shot, it seems to be working.

 

You can see the flakiness between his eyebrows from psoriasis in the first photo. His forehead is dry and rough. But after two weeks, the flakes are gone and his forehead is smooth. Even the laugh lines around his eyes are not as deep. His skin is brighter too.

I’d say Rodan and Fields has been good to him. His skin, which is always dry, is sucking up the hydrating goodness. Although, he says it’s harder for him to see the changes since he sees his face every day. I think he’ll be pleased when he sees these two photos.

Can you see the difference?

Two-week Trudy

Trudy started the Reverse Lightening regimen two weeks ago and already her skin looks brighter and smoother. In fact, all four of us (my husband, daughter, Trudy, and I) glow. It seems the earliest results of this skin care line is brightening and smoothing. Fine with me.

 

In only two weeks, her skin is less bumpy and less dry. Compare the forehead, cheek, and eye edges to see the emerging effects. I know she’s happy with results so far.

After taking her picture last night, I showed her the amp roller, which I use to till my skin before bathing my skin in the liquid gold, Active hydration serum. It’s a funny sort of toy-looking object with its own little case that I still can’t quite figure out.

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Yeah, that guy. Except I use the Active hydration serum after rolling instead of the Redefine Night Renewing Serum. This week, anyhow. I have to admit that I’ve been having fun just trying everything to see how it all works and feels.

Trudy likes the both products–roller and serum–and wasn’t deterred by the whole Medieval torture-like poking holes in her skin. The tiny pricklings have grown on me. The price, however, was a little startling

I have to admit I didn’t know how much the thing cost and would not have guessed it cost over a hundred bucks. I guess that’s because it’s not perishable but a staple (hopefully for a lifetime to get the most bang for your buck).

Then again, given that women spend 2.9 billion a year on anti-aging skincare products a year, maybe that shouldn’t surprise me. 

What absolutely stunned me was the cost of laser surgery. While I waited for my daughter to get her Rejuvederm several months ago, the esthetician visited me and my wrinkly-ass face to recommend a “procedure.” The awful one would confine me to solitary for something like five days, and the other one was not as life-altering but also not as deeply curative.

It costs anywhere from 2 to 8k to get face laser surgery.  A chemical peel costs about a grand to 3 grand. It all depends on your location and doctor.  Ouch, ouch, and ouch.  It’s not even so much the cost as the pain and pulverizing of a laser. I only endure pain when absolutely necessary (dentistry and childbirth). But that’s me.

As for my sister and me, we’ve got time to peel away the years sunken into our cheeks and jowls. Although, she’s got far less to repair than I do. She’s nearly four years older than I, and people have always asked if I was the older one, even when we were teenagers. She inherited the good skin and the good hair.

I’m grateful for my sister, not only for being my guinea pig, supporting me in this new endeavor, and knowing every lyric to every Beatle song ever written but for telling me the truth.  My skin has changed dramatically. Pictures don’t tell the true story. She showed me the real state of my skin before embarking on this journey.

The true picture: my skin is badly damaged. I always knew it. But hearing it from someone I trust looking from the outside, I was both confirmed and astonished.  You know how you’re sometimes shocked by a truth you’ve  always already known? I thought because it was my eyes surveying the damage on my face, my opinion was untrustworthy. But I was right. It was as bad as I thought.

Yes, I’m pleased to be on the road to repairing my skin so that I don’t look 15 years older than I am.  More than that, the pleasure of seeing and feeling silkier, brighter, and well-hydrated skin on and around me grows daily.

I can’t wait for next week’s check-in. Hopefully, with a new business partner too!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I see changes. People around me see changes. My skin is brighter, shinier, and healthier looking. I love that.

But not only outside changes. The subtle outer softening and brightening skin tone seeps inside. My inner tone is changing too. A new light emerges–slowly.

Lightness is a state of being more than weight, skin tone, or even mindset. It’s about choice.

For example, my encounter at Starbucks this morning rode the edge of a hostile or happy outcome. The place was crowded. I was waiting for a friend to arrive for our appointed chat over a cuppa Jo. I sat at a table with three seats and got up to order a coffee, leaving tote bag and keys on the table.

When I came back, a couple sat at two of the chairs at the table, despite my territory clearly staked out. Ordinarily, that would rattle me not just a little. I’ve got anger issues sometimes, no doubt. But today, I calmly spoke, “Oh, I was expecting to use two of the chairs.”

They both looked up and the woman said, “We’ll get up.” But they didn’t. I sat down in the vacant third seat, and my friend arrived. She asked if we should go somewhere else, but I told her that they said they’d move.

She waited in line for her drink; the couple at the table got their drinks and got up to go. I was struck at how civil and easy it was. I expected a confrontation at some point and braced myself for it somewhat while keeping passive and hopeful on the outside.

I’ve witnessed so much hostility in simple exchanges between people lately–let alone everywhere in the world–that I was genuinely grateful that they didn’t try to justify their behavior or project blame on me (probably not cool that I took the table before getting my drink and was prepared to give the table up to someone with drinks already).

I reached into my bag and handed the woman a mini facial packet and said, “Here, have a free mini facial on me, and thank you for being a decent human being.” She was happy to receive it, though her table mate asked, “Where’s mine?” We laughed, and all ended well.

Ordinarily, if I didn’t grumble something sarcastic, I would have tried to burst them into flames with my glare and hostile vibes. But that instinct stayed buried. And I’m pleased it did.

Changes are emerging. I’m not suggesting the Rodan and Fields skincare products on my face produce miraculous personal growth. That’s happening because it’s time for it to happen. But all invisible forces converging at once–inner and outer–are peeling away the layers of unwanted ruts and ravines, habits and impulses, a microscopic layer at a time.

Time. I breathe the mantra over and over daily. It takes time.

On the wrinkles and age spots front, there’s still the problem of lighting, position, and angle for proper comparison, but I’m surrendering to my photography skills as they are. Sometime in a few weeks or so, I’ll return to the very spot and hour that the first photo was taken and have the person who took it do the final comparison shot properly.

For now, this is what I have:

 

 

 

What do you think?

Face Yoga

Face yoga is a series of exercises that promise to do for your face what yoga does for your body: relax and tone muscles. Is one of your eyebrows raised as you read this? That’s face yoga. (Kind of.)  totalbeauty.com

I’m researching this subject for a client. In fact, I’m writing a short book about it.  While most of what I’m finding is common sense–to remain firm, your face muscles need a workout too–I’m conflicted about some of the fantastic beauty claims some writers or practitioners make about face Yoga.

First off, what does that really mean? Doesn’t Yoga involve all of your body, including your face? You breathe. You bend. You lower your head down into gravity. It all touches your face somehow with blood and air flow. Ujaii breath is throaty breath. Does that count as your face?

Proponents of face Yoga as an anti-wrinkle solution, like Yoga instructor, Annelise Hagen, claim that face yoga exercises and relaxes your face muscles to counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do all day.

But Jeffrey Spiegel, M.D., cosmetic surgeon, counters that all that moving of your face causes more wrinkles in the skin, which is where wrinkles develop, not in the face muscles.

I’m still researching in order to reach my conclusions. However, I do know health is beauty. Exercising, relaxing, strengthening, and nourishing well (depending on each person’s condition) affect attitude, cells, muscle, bones, and skin.

There’s no magic potion. You are a network of touch points for beauty. The journey from youth to maturity requires adjustments to create balance. As a teenager, I could skip lunch to burn the calories from the french fries of the night before.  At 25, that method didn’t work. I needed to add regular exercise to maintain my weight.

The same with cosmetics and skincare products. Soap and water worked until it didn’t. My skin was clear and wrinkle-free until it wasn’t. We’re fluid beings. Maintaining equilibrium takes constant recalibrations of the formula: diet, exercise, stress-reduction, hair products, clothing, and skin care. Even your car model changes to suit your phase.

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Jordyn

This is Jordyn. She’s my older daughter and, despite the look on her face in this picture, a willing participant in my skincare adventure and science experiment.

 

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Her eyes express the cringe she’s experiencing inside, I’m sure. She has little faith in my photography skills–and for good reason.

Jordyn suffers from acne, or, at least, did. Her skin is much clearer now, but she has the scars to prove her high school outbreaks from several years back. Most people who see her now wouldn’t know it since she’s mastered the art of natural-looking makeup. Her face is naked here.

What is Beauty?

My firstborn has taught me a thing or two about beauty. She gathers a lot of hair, makeup, and cosmetic enhancement tips and ideas from social media and the net. In fact, the before and after picture on Instagram that began her quest for a non-invasive nose job led to her undergoing cosmetic “surgery.”

She’s 21. I was against this injectable, Juvederm, that she wanted under her skin to even out the line of her nose and make her “bump” disappear. Shouldn’t she be old before she starts with cosmetic surgery?

My judgments and prejudices kicked in immediately. “Why do you want to inject a foreign substance into your bloodstream?” I asked (I wanted to make it sound dangerous). She assured me it was safe, she was fine with it, and she wanted to do it.

So she did. I watched the procedure after interrogating the doctor with my concerns. Apparently, the stuff is made from a substance your body produces naturally. I was assured.

Some dozen or so needle pokes, a few thousands of dollars, and fifteen minutes later, her nose was transformed.

Her nose looked straighter. But more importantly, I could see instantly that she felt wonderful looking in the mirror. Her appearance was that much closer to what she wanted to see. And she was happy.

In that moment–in her approving smile at her reflection–she taught me something about beauty. It’s not only in the eyes of the beholder, but we’re all beholden to it. Who doesn’t want to feel it, see it, and be it?

No More Acne Scars, Please.

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Jordyn just started the Rodan and Fields Unblemish regimen a week ago. I’ve taken before and after pictures, but, as usual, my angles and lighting are slightly off. Still, I can see changes already in her skin tone. The right one is the before.

 

 

The acne scars will take time to fade.  By then, my photos might improve too 🙂

Sisters

I’m the luckiest person in any room. I have the best family ever.

My three sisters and brother lead different lives. Two are married, two not. Two have children, two none. Two are Republicans, two Democrats. And we each lead distant lives within mere miles of one another.

But when the holidays and other important days of joy and sorrow, frivolity and seriousness, come around, they’re there. When I need them, they’re there. My family–immediate and extended–has helped me through the toughest time in my life. As have my friends.  I am loved, and for that, I could wish for nothing more.

So, in typical family fashion, my sister, Trudy, was my first volunteer to go along on the skin care journey with me. She agreed to be a guinea pig–as did my husband and daughters a few days later.

While my husband, Pascal, is using the Soothe regimen for sensitive skin and my daughter, Jordyn, is using Unblemish for acne scars, Trudy is using Reverse Lightner (like me) to even out blotchiness on her face. As we age, we take along for the ride a few memories and seasons that embed in our faces–brown spots, freckles, and ruddiness.

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One week ago, we sat down at the computer, plugged in her skin issues in the Rodan+Fields Find Your Formula, and decided the Reverse Lightener was the way to go. She started the next morning, per the directions, using the regimen (4 steps–wash, toner, treatment/moisturizer, and sunscreen/moisturizer) every other day.

After only one week, these were her results (no makeup).

 

These pictures were taken at the same day and time (night) in my bathroom, at approximately the same angle (No photography skills!)

Like all of us experimenting with this product, we certainly feel results. Our skin feels silkier, and we look brighter. No one is unrealistic about the time it takes to make significant changes. But this is a great start!

For me, the psychological results count most. I’m optimistic that my face will finally reflect how radiant I feel inside.

 

Thanks, Trudy. Sisters rule.

Water In Water Out

The question is not whether to drink, but how much to drink. Water, that is.

Not long ago, I was hired to ghostwrite a listicle about health myths: “Top Ten Health Myths,” or something like that. One of the first myths I found in researching for the article was the 8-glass water myth. Surprising.

I’d always heard you’re supposed to drink eight cups (glasses?) of water a day for optimal health and performance if you’re an athlete. But even if you’re not exercising, eight cups of water, I’d heard, flushed your toxins, hydrated your skin, and eased your digestion. It was common knowledge as much as flossing your teeth daily (both habits hard to form).

I come from a long line of camels. My mother drank her water in tea several times a day. Her mother got hers that way, and though I’m a coffee drinker (iced tea in the heat), I don’t drink more than a cup or two a day. Honestly, I forget to drink most days.

The truth is, however, that the water myth is not a myth, meaning it’s not fictional or merely a suggestion even. The number of mandatory cups a day may be the untrue part, but even that is a disputed fact or fiction debate.

In WebMD’s “10 Health Myths Debunked” (no, I didn’t ghostwrite it),  number one is the 8-cup myth:

No need to count cups. Research shows people who gulp a glass of H2O when they’re thirsty get enough to stay healthy and hydrated. Water-rich foods like soup, fruit, and vegetables and drinks like juice, tea, and coffee all help you get your fill. You might need to drink more water if your urine is dark yellow, you don’t go regularly, you’re very active, or you live in a hot climate.

But a little context might be helpful. There’s organ, digestion, and survival water needs. We’re roughly 65% made of water, right? But you’re skin needs lots of hydration to glow I’d heard. That’s why you carry that water flask around wherever you go–to visit every public restroom you see and to keep your skin clear. Certainly, that’s not a myth.

If you trust Women’s Health, the answer is maybe yes, maybe no.

While hydrating for better skin does make sense—your skin is 64 percent water, after all—there’s very little research out there to back up water as a skin treatment or declare it a myth.

Not helpful. But the reason for the “very little research” part is simple. There’s no money to be made in water research. But the article does cite a couple of studies that tend to confirm a water-to-skin relation: More water leads to thicker skin density and more blood flow to the skin. But the studies are suggestive of skin improvement not conclusive.

Though, like the dermatologist interviewed for the Women’s Health story surmises, if your skin looks better, who cares about the research. And that’s my take too.

Board Certified dermatologist, Rachel Nazarian, M.D., says that anecdotal evidence from her practice confirms that when patients drink less water, their skin is more prone to breakouts–which makes sense given that diet affects oil and sebum production in the skin.

Ultimately, she says, you need a steady flow of water–eight to ten 8 oz cups spread throughout the day (what?!!)–to maintain healthier looking skin, especially coupled with moisturizing the skin on the outside too.

“Moisturizing your skin both internally and externally is a critical combination for healthy, beautiful skin.”

Yes. Studies or no studies, I’m finding that the extra topical hydration I’m applying with this new regimen (foremost focus to these products is hydration) makes my skin feel smoother, softer, and healthier. My skin was dry, and now it’s not. If for the feeling alone (I touch my face now and utter a silent ahhhh at its silkiness), I would continue using the products.

But I want more. I’m dreaming big.

Now the water intake part…well, that’s why I asked for–and received from my dear daughters–a smart watch, which nags me about drinking water.

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I think I’m up to two cups a day aside from my two cups of coffee. Not enough, I know. But time and persistence, that’s all it takes.

 

 

 

 

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