Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Damage Control

This has been a very strange Spring for me, with my accomplishing little in the garden or around the outside of the house.  I have a good excuse though; I developed a chronic conjunctivitis, which has now been diagnosed as rosacea affecting the eyes.  I haven't been able to tolerate the sun or pollen at all.

So, here it is, almost June, and my gardens are empty and the yard overgrown.  My eyes are getting back to normal and it is time for Operation Summer Damage Control.  My plan is to plant the gardens in flowers and herbs.  I hate not having anything to can, but I can always hit the Farmers Market if the canning withdrawal gets too bad.

Living in Florida makes it difficult to garden during the summer, but with good micro-irrigation (see previous posts) I should be able to keep some heat tolerant flowers going.

The forced inactivity has not been without some humorous moments.  We like to spend time together as a family on the weekends and a big part of our family is our parakeet, Cooki.  Cooki has decided that his new favorite activity is sitting on one of our heads checking out the world.

Cooki Reading Over My Shoulder

Cooki Likes To Mess Up Our Hair

Not everyone in the family is fond of Cooki's new habit, so there have been some creative ways developing to discourage him from settling in.

Anti Bird On Head Device

I look forward to showing you my progress in the gardens and sharing some ideas for beating the heat.  Take care.

God bless,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Frugal Skincare: Pigmentation

When I was young sunscreen was unheard of and having spent many years in Florida, let's just say I have had more sun exposure than normal.  As a result, I now find discolored areas (red and brown spots) on my skin.

The best treatment product for pigmentation is glycolic acid, a mild sugar-derived acid.  Glycolic acid works well on fine lines, wrinkles, minor sun damage, discoloration, acne and oily skin.  Using products with glycolic acid should result in smoother texture and fewer sunspots.

Glycolic acid also has a small enough molecular structure that it penetrates the skin better than other products.  It is a good, go to product, when you are unsure which products will work for you.  Please be sure to test the glycolic acid product on a small area of skin to make sure you can tolerate it.

I wish I had taken skincare seriously when I was younger.  It would have saved me many a trip to the dermatologist.  If you have children start using sunscreen when your pediatrician suggests.  Encourage them to wear hats and sun blocking clothing.  When they are my age they won't have to worry about treating their skin for sun damage.

God bless,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frugal Skincare: Anti-aging

For every day maintenance to keep your skin looking refreshed a low dosage retinol product is best.  Retinal is one of the animal forms of vitamin A.  It can unclog pores, boost collagen production to reduce fine lines and encourage the sloughing off of dead skin cells.   Retinol is readily available in low doses at the drugstore in over the counter skincare products.

If you have sensitive skin you may want to consider using lactic acid as your anti-aging product.  Lactic acid is derived from sour milk.  It is very gentle and results in softer, smoother skin that is less dry.  It is a natural moisturizer and nourishes the skin.

Retinol can't be tolerated by everyone, so please test it in an unobtrusive area.  If it is too strong for your skin it's nice to know that lactic acid products are available.

God bless,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Frugal Skincare: Anti-Acne

This is the first post in a short series on choosing the correct skin care products for your skin.  Each skin problem needs a specific ingredient to get the best results.

With a preteen in the house, finding an effective acne treatment has become a priority.  The best products for acne, oily skin, blackheads, melasma and enlarged pores contain salicylic acid.  Salicylic acid is derived from willow tree bark; the same as aspirin, which is why the aspirin facial is effective (see previous post).

Using salicylic acid products should result in smaller pores, more even texture, and fewer breakouts.  I suggest using the mildest products you can find, then work your way up in strength until you find the product that works the best.  There may be some mild stinging with salicylic acid, but it shouldn't be uncomfortable.

If you have acne please stay away from physical exfoliation (brushes, scrubs, washcloths) and allow the salicylic acid to do the work.  You should be washing your face twice or three times a day with a mild soap.  Rinse with at least twenty splashes of clear water.  Use a clean hand towel to dry your face; change the towel every day.  Apply your acne treatment according to the package directions.

Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face.  The idea is to keep bacteria away from your skin.  This is why you should always use a clean towel to dry your face.

If you have very oily skin, I would recommend a gel based product.  It won't give you an oily feeling and you will be more comfortable.

Use the right product for the problem and don't hesitate to use store brand products.  Good skin care doesn't have to cost a fortune.

God bless,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take Sunscreen Seriously

I would like to say that I have always been dedicated to using sunscreen, especially since I live in Florida with it's intense sub-tropical sun.  However, I am from the "seek a tan at all costs" generation.  We used to slather ourselves with oils with no SPF (sun protection factor) and lay out on the beach for hours.  Add on sailing, swimming and bike riding, and I now have plenty of sun damage on my fifty plus aged skin.

As I hit my late twenties the scary data on UVA rays started coming out and I became pretty consistent with using sunscreen on my face, but pretty much ignored the rest.  I also wasn't aware of how much sun damage I could get just doing everyday activities like driving the car or working around the house.

I now have severe sun damage showing up in two areas, the left side of my face (the side the sun hits when I drive) and my neckline.  Definitely going to give the dermatologist a big payment at my next appointment.  I have already had several basal cell carcinomas removed and I know I have more.

We now know that UVA rays cause sunburn, but it is the UVB rays that cause the skin damage.  Sunscreen packages must now state whether they block UVA or UVB rays or both.  Obviously, you want to look for sunscreen that blocks both types.

Above is a photo of my favorite sunscreen.  It is not oily and doesn't make my face break out.  I use it on my face, neck, neckline, arms and hands every day.  If you wear cosmetics it will not affect how they apply and last.  Neutrogena makes several good sunscreens, all of them non oily.

A couple of other places to put sunscreen you may not think about:  If you aren't wearing a hat put sunscreen on your ears and the part in your hair.  My mother developed a carcinoma on her scalp in her later years because of sun exposure.  Consider a lip balm with sunscreen and reapply regularly.

Last, but not least, there is nothing good to say about tanning beds.  They are just plain bad for you.

Enjoy the outdoors, but do it safely while wearing sunscreen.

God bless,