December 27, 2006

Lotions for Different Purposes

In case there is anyone out there not taking skin care seriously, this is to encourage you, especially for the winter, to practice self care through the use of lotions for the face and body. I am often amazed at how many people do not use any face or body lotion, there seems to be a horror of feeling “oily”. In my experience, if you don’t use lotions, it makes the face skin much more prone to skin problems. There are many different creams, lotions and emollients marketed for all the different parts of body, and parts of the face, in all different price ranges. Hand, foot, bust, neck, eye are the first that come to mind. I personally find that there is a significant difference in areas of body and what they require. I think for the legs and feet, a lot of exfoliation with brush, rough cloth or loofa, and an oil such as grapeseed or jojoba infused with certain essences such as geranium, clary sage, lavender or sandalwood works well to impart a velvety texture over time and also for healing and cooling the skin. The hands are another place that requires much heavier emollients than the rest, with frequent reapplication. An occasional night time application of almond or jojoba oil on the hands, especially rubbed into the nails, and mixed with a few drops of high potency vitamin E oil will cure winter dry skin spells. The skin around the eye area is another special one because its sensitivity. The eye area products, are, I find, divided into two types; those that are serum or gel-like and those that are creamy or an oil. The serums often deliver vitamins to the area but I find that the best for me include an element of cucumber. There are many on the market in a great range of expense but I personally have not found anything, regardless of how much money you are willing to spend, that works for dark circles caused by lack of sleep. Sleep is the only cure. Many people have naturally darker skin under the eyes, because the skin is thinner and often more translucent there, and nothing but a concealer can change that. I was impressed with recently an extensive article in the New York Times which said that the only product that really did anything concrete to boost moisture and improve aged skin was retin-a or retinol, which is the weaker, over the counter version. It works by increasing the production of collagen, and had the additional positive effect of neutralizing pre-cancerous areas after two weeks of use. For that alone, it would well be worth trying it. However, it does sensitize the skin to the sun, so you really have to be careful, forever after, to really protect your face from sun exposure.
Above, Actaea by Lord Leighton, looks to be someone who has been taking care of her skin (tho we know that lying around in the sun malarky will be doing her no good in the future...)
Here is a quiz to see which Greek Goddess Are You... from this wonderful site that has all the stories of the goddesses and mythic figures of Ancient Greece, and a gallery of paintings they have inspired.


Zz said...

I am asked about creams and lotions a lot. I do not sell them, but make my own for personal use. One of my favorite recipes, a cream that I use everyday is by the famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.It is called Rosemerys Perfect Cream ( I think).
It is in one of her books, The Family Herbal Book (again I think, I am not going to go hunt it down right now for the accurate title) but I also believe that it can be obtained from the internet.
I make the recipe as stated in the book. Keep it in the fridge, and take out a few days supply at a time to keep in the bathroom. For the distilled water portion of the recipe, I use organic rose hydrosol.
I also make a whipped body butter of organic cocoa butter, coffee bean butter and apricot kernel oil, vit. e. rose oil (otto), petigrain and carrot seed. Easy, simple and great after the bath.
I make an eye cream too, but Rosemary's cream works well for under and around the eyes as well.
Best, Z.

Lucy said...

Wow. That sounds so luscious. I make the oil with essences myself for in the shower and after bath, but yours sounds really intensely wonderful, especially the whipped body butter. There is the problem though, that the price would be astronomical if you wanted to offer such things commercially. I am sure that the portions of real essences used are much higher than anything available out there. Thank you for the tip on the recipe book, I will definitely look into it.

Anya said...

Hi ZZ, Lucy.

I have quite the radical view on creams and moisturizers -- I feel for the most part they are unnecessary, with a few exceptions.

Let me back up a bit: exfoliation is more important to good skin tone and regeneration of skin cells than creams, no matter what part of the body. Even mechanical exfoliation with microfiber cloths is great.

Too often, people mistake flaky dull, dead skin for dryness. Nope, it just needs to be sloughed off. Then, if you wish, apply some cream, it is a luxurious and pampering ritual that is as old as man (and woman) and just plain feels good.

Dry, calloused feet do better with a dry callous remover like the 99cent one I get at Sally's beauty Supply store than any cream. Works instantly!

My skin glows. I don't use any creams except those that contain AHA and sometimes I use a BHA watery solution. All inexpensive and again, quick acting.

There are peptide-containing creams and other new stuff on the market that do work on a deep level like the retin-A and retinol, and maybe I'll use them some day, but exfoliation is my first-line beauty treatment for smooth, clear skin. Drinking a lot of water helps with the hydration. Yep, that's about it.

Anya said...

I forgot to add after I said my skin glows -- it used to be dry and horribly flaky in parts on my face, and I had developed almost plaque-like hardness on the side of my cheeks, near my ears and hairlines. Creams didn't help at all.

Two days after using a cheap AHA cream, all dryness and plaque was gone. To think I had tried to battle the dryness for years with creams and lotions!

I like the Walgreens AHA in a jar, sometimes on sale for $4.99.

Lucy said...

Hi Anya-
Those AHA creams are really popular, but they cause me to get really bad breakouts and rough patches. I think it all depends on the skin type. Transparent/translucent type of skin doesn't do well with the acid exfoliator creams, or at least mine doesn't. The most abrasion I can take on the face is a washcloth, or baking soda mixed into liquid soap substitute like Cetaphil. That has a very fine abrasion that also combats the inflamation through the baking soda. On the body though I find the exfoliation is really beneficial. We all have to tailor our skin care very individually. It's very cool that you found that exact right thing that works so perfectly for you. I think some never find that and just keep going from product to product without results.

Anya said...

You're right, Lucy, I forgot to write about degrees of exfoliation. The baking soda with soap is great. Some folks can tolerate high percentages of BHA or AHA, and I can't.

I just do love the idea of removing the old skin instead of slathering a cream on top and making a dead-skin-cell paste. Ick. Once that was made clear to me, I became an exfoliator just about daily,and my skin has never felt better.

Have you ever tried the soft exfoliating cloths? They're rather lovely, too.

Lucy said...

I love the smoother exfoliating cloths.
Great article in the Times today (1/4/07) saying that many dermatologists are now against the use of multiple products on the face - they advocate simplifying to two or three products; a cleanser like Cetaphil and a sunblock or a simple moisturizer for aging skin. Again, they emphasize that nothing has been medically tested, and recent consumer experiments have found that the cheaper or moderate products work as well or better than the most expensive ones. Personally, I like jojoba oil on the face, and though these dermatologists are adamantly pro sun block, I have not yet found one that doesn't cause me to break out in tiny bumps on the face...a hat is the only thing that really works for me...
Sometimes the physical barrier creams work better, like those containing zinc but they are very heavy.

Anya said...

I agree with the derms, I have a very simple routine, and it took a lot for me to use the AHA, but the results were so quick, so dramatic! I don't use it all the time. I never use moisturizer, I use a light ayurvedic soap to clean, and like you, sunblock guarantees that I'll have at least some blemishes all the time, but since I live whre the solar index is usually 10-14 and where you live it's usually 4-6, I tradeoff getting skin cancer with a few blemishes, and I live with the blemishes.

My sunscreen has zinc, and practically all photos of me show a rather ghostly skin tone, lol.