Over the years that I have been doing this blog I have shared a lot of things related to skin care and skin health. But there is one thing I realize I have never shared with you, the actually journey from having a full-blown damaged skin from having a reaction to thriving healthy skin.
So after my skin being dried out from air travel on our vacation to being neglected after falling ill, and now I have had a major reaction that has left me with a rash all over my face. I thought this would be the perfect time to not only share my skin care journey with you, but also show you how much of a difference each product you add to your skin care routine can make in the way your skin looks and feels.
Here is how I want to go about this. I have taken pictures that of how my skin looks now. You can see that below. I am starting out with the three products I consider to the basic necessities of my skin care routine. For me the three things I always have to have is a some sort of an exfoliator, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. After three days I will take a new picture of where my skin is at, and I will add an additional product. I will keep this process going in three-day increments until I am using 9 products for a full Korean skin care regimen. (I originally planned on seven, but I thought why not do a full 9 step routine to show people what that looks like and what a difference it makes.) At the very end I will show you all what the side beside pictures of beginning and end look like.
Before we talk about the exact products I started with, lets take a look at where I am starting with my skin.
You can only see tiny bits of the problems in this full face picture, so I am also going to share a couple of closeups.
The lighting is bad in my house, so this isn’t too much better, but you can see more. If you look around my brows and on my eye lids next to my lashes you can see areas that look like dry flaky skin. That is one of the many things that happen with my allergic dermatitis, and from what I understand it is very common for anyone with a Balsam of Peru allergy. My skin is also very dehydrated and you can see that along my cheeks, both in this picture and the next.
In this picture you can see better where I really feel the majority of the pain from the reactions I have. If you look around the crevice of my nose and the of my chin, you can see a lot of redness and texture. Whenever that happens, those red spots usually feel like they are on fire.
I of course do have other issues with skin care, they just aren’t my first concern. But it is always a bonus if I see improvement with those things as well. In general while I have never suffered from a lot of Acne, I do get blackheads. Mainly I see those in the temple area. I also have some of the earlier signs of aging skin. I have a couple of sun spots, a small wrinkle in my forehead, and loss of firmness. Additionally, my skin can have a tendency to look dull.
Now that we have discussed my skin concerns, lets take a look at the three products I am starting out with.
For the first three days I used only these three products:
My exfoliator is the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. I usually by mine at Walgreens, but you can also find it at Amazon.
For my cleanser, i am currently using the Tony Moly Banana Cream Foam Cleanser. I believe I purchased mine from YesStyle (though it is currently not available there), but you can also find it at Amazon and at Riley Rose.
And my moisturizer is the Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour. I typically purchase mine at Sephora, but you can also find it at Ulta and at Amazon.
So the big question is what sort of results did I get after just three days?
You can probably see that I still have some dry flaky patches of skin, especially around my eyebrows and eye lashes. But there has been some improvement. The most noticeable thing for me is that a significant amount of the redness has subsided, and I am not having as much of the allergic reaction symptoms. So not as much of the burning and itching.
If you want to find out what product I add to my routine next, make sure you check back next week. I will be continuing to document the products I use and the progress in my skin.
This is the fourth in a series of Shampoo and Conditioner reviews. I will be reviewing a Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner. Don’t forget to check out my last review on the Free & Clear Shampoo And Conditioner.
My Hair And Scalp Type
(notice this section will be in every shampoo and conditioner review for reference. This is for convenience so you do not have to look back at earlier posts)
My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.
My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis caused by my allergy to Balsam of Peru. This causes a dry, scaly, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.
This is the Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner with Baobab. I purchased mine at Meijer’s, but they don’t seem to currently have a website to link to. So I have linked to Amazon. Of course it is also available on Burt’s Bees website and some of the places Burt’s Bees products are sold. Each bottle is 10 fluid ounces, and it sells for anywhere from $7 to $8 depending on where you buy it at.
There were a lot of reason I wanted to give this a try. Most of all I had not seen this products before and I really wanted to give some product out of the more natural category a try. There are some things on the label that really intrigued me, which will be a big part of the discussion in several ways.
How It Performed
Moisturizing shampoos for me, at best, usually means not drying. I rarely find one that I actually find moisturizing. In fact there is only a few that I can think of that is actually moisturizing, and most of those are more oil based. This really performed well on my hair. It was moisturizing, it wasn’t oily, it left it soft and manageable. I really like what it did for my hair.
The conditioner performed well also. I would say it verged on almost being too moisturizing for me, but not quite. I definitely don’t need to use a hair mask with this one. And just a little bit goes a long way. That is probably the first hair product I have felt that way about, but its true.
Overall I would say that I am very happy with the way this shampoo and conditioner performed for my hair. And I think most people who have very thick, course, and dry hair will like it. I would not recommend this for anyone who has fine, thin hair or anyone who struggles with their hair being limp or oily.
The Allergy Affect
Before I say anything else here, let me say that I have not had a reaction to this product. It hasn’t improved my scalp from previous reactions, but it has not caused a reaction either. This is a very distinct difference that perhaps only other with contact dermatitis will understand. For the rest of what I want to say, there is a bit of a story involved.
When I am trying to decide whether to give a product a try there are always a few things I do to make that decision whether I think it will cause a reaction or not. Two of the top things are reading the ingredient list and smelling the product. I have probably mentioned this many times over the years.
I smelled the product and no alarms went off. So I read through the ingredient list, and again no alarms went off. But I did notice something interesting I had not seen on any of the other products I have tried. In the ingredient list it has fragrance, and right by it is a little asterisks mark. When you look at the bottom to see what the asterisks is about, it says natural fragrance. When I smelled the product it had that very natural kind of smell like many Korean products do. This had me intrigued, so I visited their website for more information.
Looking at their product page didn’t really give me any more information than the bottle did, so I decided to look around the rest of their website. After much searching I found no information that directly answered my question, but I did find on their contact page a link that says it is to email them about product and ingredient inquiries. So of course I sent them and email.
I messaged them and let them know that I am a blogger and that I was working on a review of their product and why fragrance information was important. I of course let them know what product I was reviewing, and I asked for information about their fragrance mix used. The initial reply I received was an automated response saying they needed more time to research my question. But when I got the actual response from a person, this is where my problem started.
The first response I got back from Burt’s Bees was odd, to say the least. All it said was, ‘Thank you for your patience. So we can help, would you mind providing the UPC for the product in question? We look forward to hearing from you.”. Now remember my question was a general question about fragrance for the anyone, not one specific fragrance, and definitely not about me having a reaction to the product I purchased. The response I got was more what you expect when you have told the company you had a reaction to the product.
So I responded back to them, not with an answer to their question, but I just sent back a message saying I was a little confused why they needed that to answer my question. Did they perhaps misunderstand what I was asking. I mean, this should be a simple answer from them. They are not creating a different fragrance for each bottle of moisture shampoo they make.
I did get another response back from them, and I felt just as frustrated by this one as the last. Their response read, “Thank you for getting back to us. The majority of fragrances in Burt’s Bees products are natural, composed of proprietary blends of essential oils and natural extracts. We ask that you please consult with your doctor before using our products. If you happen to have an allergy to a specific ingredient, please provide the name so that we can let you know if it is in the product.”. Again, I didn’t have a reaction and wasn’t asking for that reason. And even if I had, with a allergy to something like Balsam of Peru, it’s not as simple as just saying I am allergic to Balsam of Peru.
First of all most doctors and health professionals don’t even know what that is, I don’t expect someone at a beauty company to know. You can literally react to hundreds of things that are chemical twins to Balsam of Peru. And people with my allergy don’t all react to the same things. So admittedly I was very frustrated when I sent my last response back to them. I sent back a simple question. “Did you even read my initial email?” I never received another response from them.
I have really mixed feelings about this, and a lot of it has to do with the email exchange. On the one had I think the product was excellent, but I have said many times how important customer service is to me. And the email issue isn’t just that they didn’t want to tell me what their fragrance is, but that they indicate that you can ask and then rather than directly saying in the beginning that they can’t share that sort of information. (I am guessing that is what all the dancing around the subject is about. I would hate to think they are really so incompetent that they can’t read an email and comprehend it.)
So I am at that point where does the product outweigh the behavior of the company and my frustration with them. But I suppose only time will tell with that. I am still testing out shampoos and conditioners. Maybe I will find something I like better.
Tell me in the comments if you have tried this shampoo and conditioner. I would especially love to hear from any of you with contact and fragrance allergies. And don’t forget to let me know if there is a specific shampoo and conditioner you want me to put on the list to try out.
I can’t believe three weeks have already passed. Really by the time you will be reading this most, if not all, of the month will have been over. I have already used a lot of sheet masks this month. If you missed what I used the first two weeks I also have recaps of week one, and of week two. Make sure to check those out.
Last week was a some exploring mixed with using up some things before they go bad. This week I wanted to keep trying some new items, but I also wanted to bring back some of the favorites. There was one misstep in the plan, and you will see that as we go.
I even added something on the fun side this week. So lets take a look at week three’s recap.
This is the Yadah Moisturizing Mask Pack. I think the packaging makes it pretty obvious this has honey as an ingredient. This is extra moisturizing and honey is also great for pimples.
This is a great mask for anyone with extra sensitivities or someone like me who has a contact allergy. It says 4 free on the pack..It is free of parabens, fragrance, ethanol, and artificial colors. You can also find brands marked as 5 free and 6 free. It is often looked as a competition with some brands who can make their products the most natural.
Day sixteen’s mask is the Pore Rosehip Mud Sheet Mask from JJ Young by Caolion Lab. I received mine in a subscription box, and unfortunately it looks like everywhere that carried this particular mask is out of stock. If you want to try something similar, you may like this It’s Skin Color Solution Mud Mask Sheet.
I had never tried one of these mud sheet masks before. It was definitely an interesting experience. I’m not sure that I am ready to pass judgment on whether I like them or not until I try another one or two.
I will say that I found myself worrying that it would stick to my brows or get in my hair. That didn’t happen, and I was pleasantly surprised by that. And it was a lot less messier and easier to remove than a traditional mud mask.
Day seventeen comes with a bit of a story. This mask is the Superfood Broccoli Mask from Nohj. I had never used this mask before, but I have used broccoli masks from other brands before. As I was putting the mask on I realized it didn’t smell like the other broccoli masks I have tried, and I didn’t like the scent at all. But I powered past the smell and put it on. I had it on for about two minutes and started feeling my face having a burning and tingling sensation that I associate with an allergic reaction.
I went ahead and took the sheet mask off at that point. I went back and looked and sure enough there were several ingredients I react to with my Balsam of Peru Allergy. This was particularly odd because it was in my stash of sheet masks that were ready to use. I always check ingredients before putting any masks in there.
This was definitely not a case of it being a bad mask. I will say I did not care for the fit for me. I had to make some cuts around the eyes and mouth to make it fit, but there are
On day nineteen I used the Pumpkin Ade Sheet Mask from Mediheal. I did tell you that I love this line of sheet mask. While the cacao one is my favorite, all of them do great things for my skin.
I do believe that this is another seasonal mask. I tend to stock up on the ones that I love when I see them, that way I can use them all year round. This should be back in stock in the fall. With the exception of a few eBay sellers, no one seems to have them in stock right now. I wouldn’t personally recommend buying sheet masks on eBay mainly because of their shelf life. I don’t know of any similar masks to this one to recommend.
You should know that I wouldn’t be able to stay away from my favorite brand for long. On day twenty I used a Pearl Essence Sheet Mask from eSfolio. Pearl essence is really great for anyone who has rough or dull looking skin. It gives you that glowing youthful look to the skin.
Yes, your eyes have not deceived you. I have decided to use eSfolio on back to back days. But for day 21 I decided to go all out and use a hydrogel mask from them. This is their Aloe Hydro-Gel Mask.
This is currently sold out everywhere I know of that carried it. I am honestly not sure if this was a one time item or if it will be back. I bought mine on YesStyle in the winter time. Keep in mind many seasonal items are opposite of what they are for us. So aloe which we think of as used in summer, they have their summers as we have winter. However if you are just interested in trying a hydrogel mask, you might enjoy this ALL MASK STORY – Pearl Brightening Hydro Gel Mask.
That wraps up week three. There won’t be the same kind of recap for week four as I will be traveling. I will instead be doing a what skin care I traveled with post. I will still be sheet masking while traveling, but there will be some repeats. But if you want to see me using them you can catch that on my social media.
Tell me in the comments if there is a mask you would like to see me try out or give my thoughts on.
I am on a personal mission this year to find a shampoo and conditioner that both works for my hair type and for my sensitive scalp. To be more specific, I need something to help with my contact dermatitis. I want to go beyond not causing an allergic reaction and find something that will actually help the skin on my scalp.
To keep these reviews relevant to more people than just those with a Balsam of Peru allergy or some other sort of fragrance allergy, in addition to general information about the shampoo each review will be broken down into sections. I will do half of the review just based on how effective it is at cleansing, price, ease of use, etc.. The second part of each review will be based on the effects on my allergy as well as discussion of ingredients used.
I am of mixed heritage, and I don’t have typical white girl hair. My hair is very thick and coarse. It tends to be very dry, and can turn brittle if I wash it too often or don’t condition it enough. But my hair is reasonably healthy outside of that, as I do not use heat on it very often and I try to take care of it to the best of my ability.
My scalp goes back and forth between dry and oily depending on the time of the year and the products I have used. My biggest struggle with my scalp is from the allergic contact dermatitis. This causes a dry, scaley, itchy coverage on the scalp that looks a lot like dandruff. I have never been able to get it fully cleared up on my scalp. At its worst, when I have a reaction to something, it also burns and can blister.
Now that we have covered the basics of what I am looking for in a shampoo and conditioner and what I my particular needs are, lets take a look at the actual shampoo and conditioner we are reviewing today.
I decided to give this set a try because of several reasons. I have had previous good experiences with the Not Your Mother’s Brand, I just hadn’t tried any of their shampoos and conditioners. I also have had relatively good experiences with the main ingredients. Coconut is always good for my skin, and seems to do well in my hair as well. And the blue sea kale, well I have not had a direct experience with it, but other ocean plants like kelp have been successful in the past. Plus since this is a drugstore brand the price is right and it would be easy for me to find at a moments notice.
How It Performed
This shampoo had a lot going for it, and so I was pretty hopeful that I would have a great shampoo. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I really expect anything coconut to be super moisturizing. This was not. If anything I felt it was drying, and by the end of washing my hair with it my hair felt a rough.
Now the conditioner fared slightly better, but not by much. Just the nature of what conditioner is means it’s not going to dry my hair out. It did moisturizer, but it just wasn’t the intensity that I needed. And oddly enough, even though the moisture was light, it left my hair feeling weighed down and limp.
Overall, I would say that this shampoo and conditioner is fine for anyone who has thick hair, but it would be best for someone who stays on the oily side. I would not recommend it for coarse hair or dry hair. I also would not recommend the conditioner for anyone with fine, thin hair. I think this set is going to be for a very specific hair type.
The Allergy Affect
When it comes to my Balsam of Peru allergy it can get really complicated as to what will or won’t affect me. You can read the ingredient list and not see anything that looks problematic and it still can be. Then there are also times that you can look at the ingredient list, be really nervous about what’s on the list, and then nothing happen. In this case the ingredient list for both the shampoo and conditioner was rather on the small side compared to a lot of hair care products I have used over the years.
The only ingredient I was the least bit wary of was fragrance. The Balsam of Peru allergy does get classified as a fragrance allergy, but it’s not really. It is used in some fragrances, but not all. So I sometimes react to fragrances, and sometime I don’t. In these cases I know certain scents to stay away from for sure, and for the rest I do a smell test. What I mean is I can usually tell by just smelling the product whether I will react. Upon smelling the product, it seemed like I was in the all clear.
After washing my hair with the Not Your Mother’s Blue Sea Kale & Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner everything seemed fine. I thought for a bit I had hit the jackpot on the first shampoo and conditioner I was trying. But unfortunately about three to four hours after washing my hair I started to experience a reaction. Full on itching and burning that led into flaking skin. It fell just short of causing blisters. So this was a fail on the allergy front too.
This shampoo and conditioner from Not Your Mother’s was just not a good match for me. Since I had an allergic reaction, there was definitely no point in trying it a second time. If it were not for the allergic reaction, I probably would have given it at least a second shot just to see if my hair reacted different.
I will be reviewing a lot of shampoos and conditioners this year, so if there is one you would like to see me review leave the name or a link to it in the comments, or alternatively you can send me a message on the contact page. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, tell me in the comments if there is anything more you want to know about the shampoos and conditioners I try. Did I leave some needed information out?
Something I have talked about here on the blog a lot is my Balsam of Peru allergy and how it affects me as a contact allergen. What I have not talked about as much is that for me, and a lot of people with this allergy, it also causes reactions from various foods. This can be for two reason, just the same as with the contact allergy, the plant can be used as an additive (either as a flavoring or preservative) or I can react to the many foods that are chemical twins. To make choosing food even more difficult for me, I by choice follow a pescatarian diet.
Sometimes finding food to eat really can be a challenge. What is even more challenging is having food with other people, especially if other people also have food issues and dietary restrictions. So what do you do? Well now there is an app that is here to help. The app is called Selectivor and you can download it for free on IOS or Android in the App Store. If for some reason you do not want to download the app, you can access a web-based app to use. Look for this symbol for the Selectivor App.
According to Selectivor’s description they are “a social food app designed to be a better way to eat together”. The simplified versions of what that means is that you can make lists of your allergies, food restrictions, diets, and any foods you just don’t like. From there you can meal plan and invite others to plan meals with you.
So who is this app meant for? Well pretty much everyone and anyone. But it will be most helpful to people who have food allergies or sensitivities, and those who have dietary restrictions (either by choice or lifestyle necessity). It could also be helpful for people who have friends and family that have food restrictions that they dine with often or wish to dine with more often. I also think there are some other great uses for this app, but I will talk about that more towards the end. Lets take a look at some of the basic functions of the app and my experience with it first.
Once you sign up for an account/log in, the first step will be creating your food profile. The app opens to this page:
This is your dashboard, and the app always opens to this page first. As you can see this is the main page that will have links to all the things you can do in the app. From here you can edit your profile, add people, create events, etc… I think the app is pretty user-friendly and self-explanatory in how to use it. As I said the first step will be creating your food profile so for the most of this post we are going to focus mainly on just that.
First you will want to click on “FOOD PROFILE” button near the top that I have circled in the picture. Filling out your food profile is a three page process. Lets start with the first page.
One page one they ask your diets, foods you are allergic to, and anything you avoid eating. You can see I have already filled in Pescatarian under diet.
If you scroll further down
You see the list of foods I avoid (not finished with my list, still working on that). Now you may be wondering why I made this list but didn’t put anything in the allergy box since I do have an allergy. My allergy as I have said before is very complicated, and not everyone reacts to the same things or in the same way. I have been dealing with my allergy for years, and I am pretty well versed in what causes me to react.
They do have an option for Balsam of Peru Allergy, but its more of a long list of possible things that can cause reactions. So for me picking individual items seems like a better way to go. But going with the pre-made list will be a really great option for anyone that is maybe newly diagnosed or perhaps having a hard time figuring out what is causing them to react.
You can see in the image above that “Balsam of Peru and food that may cross react with BOP” pops up as an option with just the first few letters typed in. Of course Balsam of Peru is not the only option. The Selectivor App will let you choose lots of various foods, diets, and allergies. Some of the options for diets and allergies are Kosher, Low Carb, FODMAP, Nut Allergy, and Shellfish Allergy. There are many more options and the list is growing. However, because they are still growing and developing the app, there may be things missing from the lists. But don’t worry, they have a solution for that too. If you look at the second photo up, you will see that at the bottom of my food list there is a link that says “I Don’t See What I Am Looking For”.
If you click that link a box like this pops up. From here you can make the suggestion to add anything you can’t find. So far in my experience they are quite responsive and quick to research and add what is needed.
When I first talked to the people at Selectivor about reviewing their app, they did not have Balsam of Peru listed. They had it added within a couple of days after we talked. Once I started playing with the app I noticed there were something missing from the list that I react to, so I submitted using this form on the app. Again it was taken care of within two days. I am sure there will be some variation in response time when there are higher volumes of people accessing the app and making requests. But so far I have no complaints in their responsiveness.
Once you have finished filling out the first page and submitting anything you need added through the suggestion box you will hit the next button.
On page two there isn’t a lot to fill out for me. This page should be slightly different for everyone. You can see they just offered me a suggestion based on one of my choices. I did not add the suggestion because I don’t react to everything with carbonation. After you make your decisions on any suggestion you want to add or not add, you will then hit next.
And here on the third and final page you should have a review of your choices. If everything looks right you will simply hit the button that says “That looks correct”. That is all there is to creating your food profile. It is unbelievably easy to do.
Once your food profile is complete you can share it several way. You can use Facebook, Whatsapp, or by a link that you can paste anywhere. And as mentioned earlier you also have the option of directly inviting people to the App. When you share your link, people do still have to sign up for an account to view it. During my time testing out the app this has been the only hindrance I have come across. The function part works fine, however getting others to download the app was a struggle. I think between just being busy and not being motivated by an allergy of their own, it was a hard task to get some to download the app. So meal planning with others hasn’t really happened for me yet. I have suggested they look at a way to share food lists to Facebook event pages so that people who don’t want to download the app can still access it. They said they will be looking into this as an option, but this might be a bit of time away.
But even if you are like me and can’t get anyone else to download the app I still think I see a valuable use for this app. For some allergies and diets, like mine that are more complicated there are long lists of foods to memorize that you can’t have. It can be very overwhelming, and to date there hasn’t really been a website created with an empirical list of foods you should avoid if you have a Balsam of Peru allergy. So having an app on your phone that is easy to access, that is so valuable right there. People who are newly diagnosed often feel lost and don’t know what to eat. This app can be a real life saver and time saver for them.
If you have any sort of food restrictions because of allergy or diet, I highly recommend that you check out Selectivor. You can also check out their companion website for special information and tips on dealing with food allergies. And because they are new and still growing, I really encourage to reach out to them with any feedback you have and let them know of any foods or diets that need to be added to the list.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan on trying this app out.
This post was sponsored by Selectivor. However all opinions and thoughts about the product are my own. I was only asked to share the product with my viewers, and any thoughts shared beyond that are of my choice.
I recently joined a website community called Influenster. I briefly mentioned this a couple of post ago when I was doing an update on what’s going on with the blog. So let me start by telling you what Influenster is. According to Influenster they are:
A community of over 1.5 million social savvy shoppers that:
Stay on top of the latest product news & expert tips.
Review products, share honest opinions with brands and the community.
Test products for free based on social media influence.
And yes that is what they are, but that doesn’t really tell you everything until you really get there and see how it works.
My best description would be imagine Tripadvisor, Ipsy, and Instagram joined into one, but completely free and the only way to get products were dependent on you writing reviews and how many followers you have, then you have Influenster.
They do not require that you have a blog or a YouTube channel to sign up or to receive free products, though it certainly won’t hurt you. Anyone is allowed to sign up, and in order to get free products you only have to be active on social media. And you can not use Facebook fan pages to count into your social media usage. And if you do have a blog, all blogs no matter how big or small are treated equally in how much credit you get for them.
I personally do not have a tremendous amount of social media followers on my personal accounts, but I do really enjoy writing reviews. I probably would have participated whether I thought I would be getting a lot of freebies or not. But as it happened within the first couple of weeks of being a member, I got a notice saying I was receiving my first VoxBox. (VoxBoxes are what they call the various promotional boxes they send out to members for review.)
The first box I got was the L’OREAL Revitalift VoxBox. I received the complete volume filler part of the line. So lets take a look at what I got.
This is how it arrived in the mail. The shipping label being on the bottom side you can not see in the picture.
Here are all the products I received in my LOREAL Revitalift VoxBox. In addition there was also a card with product information included in the box.
If you have followed my blog for any amount of time at all you know I have to be really careful about the products I use due to the semi-rare contact allergy I have. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, and would like to learn more about my allergy or whether you or someone in your life should possibly be checked for it, the you can check out one of my older blog post about it here.
After careful examination of all the ingredients I was saddened that I was not going to be able to use the products. So what to do? Well, that is where one of my best friends Jenna comes in. She and I are close enough that I refer to her kids as my nieces. (we are both only children, so its the closest I will ever have to a sister and nieces and I love my friends like family anyway) She and I are similar in age and skin type outside of my allergy. And we both have maintained our skin over the years in similar ways, so it makes sense that she be the one to test it out for me.
So I gave her the products shortly after getting them, and this is what she had to say about them:
I’ve been using the Loreal Revitalift system for about a month now. The volume filler Eye Treatment, Serum and the Night and Day creams. I really like how the day cream feels on my skin, it doesn’t feel “heavy.” The night cream is ok, it does it’s job, but I like how the day cream feels better.
I haven’t noticed any significant difference in my skin in regards to the serum, but with the volume filler for the eye area, I have noticed a big change. The small “laugh line” wrinkles around my eyes are much less noticeable now than they were a month ago. That is great, as I will be 42 next week and I got carded for wine the other day. The person did not believe I was my age, they thought I was in my early 30’s. It feels great to be mistaken for a much younger person.
Here are a couple of side by side selfies from last month and this month of Jenna, and I think I can see a little difference, what do you guys think?
I think the biggest difference I can see from comparing the pictures is, like she mentioned, her under eye area and then maybe the texture of her skin appears to be more dewy or youthful looking.
Has anyone else tried this line? If so what do you think? What about Influenster? Are you a member? If so do you find it helpful?
Since I wanted to do this month of beauty posts, I thought I would starts things off by talking about something that is deeply personal to me, and actually effects every decision I make when it comes to beauty products. For as long as I can remember I have had issues with having reactions to lots of different products and foods. I honestly thought when I was a teenager that I was allergic to everything. I avoided what I could, but I didn’t always know what was causing these reactions.
While I never had a lot of acne, my skin constantly stayed red, irritated, inflamed, scaly, itchy, etc… This was on top of the migraines I got from exposure to many items as well as blisters, itching, and a swollen tongue. However my parents were extremely poor, they didn’t have health insurance, and they rarely had the money to take me to the doctor when I was extremely ill, let alone for something like this. So I did the best I could with what I had.
I want to share some of the things that have happened where I had allergic reactions that were confusing. In elementary school I had to stop using wood pencils that you sharpen and go exclusively to mechanical pencils. After using traditional pencils for a few days I would develop what looked like a third degree burn with small bumps and blisters in the are the pencil continually touched. As a preteen I was in the grocery store with my mother and they were handing out samples of Farmer’s Cheese. One bite and my mouth started feeling odd. Within a minute I had three large blisters on my mouth. Anytime I am walking through a store, or enclosed public place really, it is a real possibility I am going to have a reaction. All it takes is walking by a man or woman wearing a heavy dose of the wrong perfume or cologne and I will within minutes have a migraine and red blotchy spots all over my face. Sometimes it will feel like my face is on fire, sometimes it will only feel itchy. And this is just a small sample of things that happen.
Fast forward to my mid twenties and it has done nothing but gotten more severe. I finally had health insurance and I decided that it was time to visit a dermatologist for my skin, as that seemed like the most logical place to start. They diagnose me with seborrhea dermatitis, which is not an allergic reaction at all, and honestly at this point I was still willing to believe the allergies were a separate issue. They give me a prescription cream, told me to use a heavy duty dandruff shampoo and sent me on my way. I use the cream as it was directed for almost a year with no real results. The most I ever got was some relief from the burning. Then one day I had a reaction so bad, I think if I could I would have ripped my own skin off. I know that sounds really graphic and disturbing, but the level of pain I was in was indescribable. That is the point where I decided to go to an allergist and see if I could find out anything different.
I had planned on taking some photos of my enflamed skin so you all could see what it actually looks like, however I started a new product to test out for this month that actually helped clear my skin up. If I do have a reaction sometime this month I promise to take a picture and share it. But before moving on with my story I did manage to find pictures on a dermatology websites of people who have the same allergy and seems to have a very similar looking reaction to help give you an idea of what I deal with. And if you image search what a Balsam of Peru Contact Allergy looks like, you might be both horrified and realize I am one of the lucky ones. But I digress, back to the allergist. When I got there they ran a standard panel for allergies where I came up allergic to dust, dust mites, and lobster. Knowing none of these are the culprit for my issues they suggested I also take a patch test. Patch tests are different from skin prick tests. While the skin prick tests are used to find food and seasonal allergies, the patch test looks for contact allergies. While the patch test is optional, I highly recommend everyone take it, especially if you suspect an allergy to something like a fragrance. Also unlike the skin prick test, with the patch test you wear it overnight or longer and then come back for an analysis.
As you have probably guessed at this point my patch test came back positive for something called Balsam of Peru. The thing is that is the only thing I tested positive for. This left me very confused since, as I mentioned earlier I thought I was allergic to so many things including foods, cosmetics, fragrances, and so many other things. So if I only tested for one thing, how am I reacting to all of those things? And what does the Allergist tell you? “Take this paper, go home, do some research, and use this cream.” Ironically, I am given the exact same prescription cream the Dermatologist gave me.
I made my way home and read all the info the Allergist gave me, which is now available to view here. It soon becomes apparent why I am having reactions to so many things, and that I am going to need to do a lot of my own research since the info given is very basic and there is so much to remember. For instance the plant alone can go by so many other names as well as 20+ chemical ingredients they make from it, and dozens of genetically similar items like essential oils you can have reactions to. Between all of the items I can have reactions to, they are used in foods, medication, cleaning products, cosmetics, skin care products, etc.. And they tell you that this plant is rarely used anymore, which is a bit deceptive. Its true, you rarely see Balsam of Peru or any of its other names listed as an ingredient. However, the many types of alcohols and other chemical ingredients made from the plant are common ingredients. Also, since this is also sometimes used as a fragrance or flavoring, that is all that is required to be listed in an ingredient list. And there is a loophole often used:
Because of allergic reactions, since 1982 crude Balsam of Peru has been banned by the International Fragrance Association from use as a fragrance compound, but extracts and distillates are used up to a maximum level of 0.4% in products, and are not covered by mandatory labeling.[30 –
So many people may use a product thinking there is no Balsam of Peru or any of its derivatives in it, and yet still have a reaction. Over the years it has been a process of trial and error, but those with stronger reactions do not have the luxury of the trial and error process. It would be so much easier to find things to use if western culture wasn’t addicted to artificial flavoring and everything smelling like roses.
If you would like additional information on Balsam of Peru contact allergy, I have found the following sites helpful:
If you have been diagnosed with a Balsam of Peru contact allergy already and have been looking for help, don’t be afraid to reach out by leaving a comment below or messaging me on my Facebook page.
For my readers, I know this isn’t my usual topic, but it is relevant as we move into the month of beauty. The next few posts will be about my routine, and new products I am trying. I also will be covering some favorite cosmetic brands, new and old that I am able to use. And feel free to ask any questions. There are articles out there that make this seem rare, but there are other things that say this is one of the top fragrance allergies. I think there might be a lot of people out there that are silently suffering like I use to, that just never got tested. I hope there are people out there I can help in some way. And isn’t your skin as import as any dress you can put on when it comes to beauty? Do any of you have rare unheard of allergies?