At-Home Spa Beau-T // Lip Care

I happen to really like my smile.  I think it’s one of my best features.  And while yes, caring for my teeth plays a major part into making that smile great (I can do a post on that later…), the frame around them is equally as important:  lips!

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There’s nothing worse than dry crusty lips. NOTHING! Well…maybe getting a craving for Chik-Fil-A then realizing that it’s Sunday, which means you’re FOL (fresh outta luck).  Yeah that’s pretty bad too…

Have no fear though!  Today’s post is all about how I exfoliate, moisturize and treat my lips so that they can be pillow soft.

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For a quick and no-fuss lip treatment, I usually go to the easy petroleum jelly and toothbrush method.  I apply a generous amount of the petroleum jelly to my lips then using a toothbrush (not the same one that I brush my teeth with though.  That’s kinda gross lol), I gently brush my lips to get rid of all of the dead skin.  Then I use a warm, damp washcloth to remove any excess petroleum jelly before applying my Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm.  I’ve been using this method for years and only recently decided to step my game up a little bit and try some other lip products I’d been hearing about.

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I’ve heard great things about the fresh Sugar Lip Polish for quite some time but…it is a little pricey for me so I’d stayed away.  But one afternoon I found myself in Sephora (is it sad that I do this to de-stress after a long day at work?  I rarely actually buy anything when I do but….the fragrance and bright lights.  Hmmm…maybe this could be a good way to help with my SAD…*makes mental note for winter*), I saw that there was a gift set with the lip polish and like…3 other lip balms included and I was like…hmmm…you can never have too many lip balms!  So I picked it up and let me say this….it’s AMAZING!  But I really do feel like I could make something similar in my own kitchen with some finely granulated sugar and that trusty petroleum jelly.  But I do really like the product!  And the lip balms are all awesome as well!

I’ve also been hearing rave reviews about the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and the hype is REAL y’all!  It’s a super thick agave-based lip mask that you apply after exfoliating and moisturizing your lips and leave on overnight.  In the morning when you wake up, your lips are SUPER soft.  And a little goes a VERY long way so although this tube was pricey, I know it’ll last me several months.  Especially since I don’t use it more than once a week typically.  LOVE this product!

 And that’s it!  Let me know if you guys have tried any of these products and what you think.  AND feel free to share your lip-care tips in the comments below as well 🙂

Til next time…

Love and God Bless,

– T

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At-Home Spa Beau-T // Facial

For some reason, a lot of people seem to thing that being a resident physician means that you’re big ballin’. Well….let me tell you right now: That ain’t it! lol  Being a resident has taught me how to budget and save so that I can meet my needs and still splurge every now and than.  But I’ve had to definitely cut costs here and there in order to meet my savings goals and not live beyond my means.

One area that I’ve become pretty good at doing for myself is when it comes to Spa-like or beauty-related services.  I do my own makeup, nails, facials, body care.  Now if I could learn how to thread my own eyebrows, do my own bikini waxes, and give myself massages tho! LISTEN! I would be set for life! lol

I’ve been wearing makeup more frequently (about 2-3x a week) since the Spring began…partially because I’ve actually been having a life and going out and enjoying doing fun things lol.  But as a result, I really have been doing the BARE minimum when it comes to my daily skincare regimen (more on my current skincare regimen to come soon…I promise!) and my skin has been like, “Girl, WHETT?!” in response…smh

So I recently decided to give myself an intense at-home facial to cleanse my pores from all the impurities over the past….month.  Can you believe I haven’t done a mask treatment on my face in almost a month? When I say failures of life! S.M.H.  But I have been consistent with cleansing…exfoliating…toning, and moisturizing daily.  I really do need to do better though because I know if I continue to be consistent with my skincare regimen AND my healthy habits, my skin will flourish. *message to self*.
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Every now and then, when I want a really deep exfoliating scrub, I combine baking soda with my daily cleanser to polish my face.  Baking soda is such a great cheap and effective exfoliant, in my opinion, but it can be quite harsh so I don’t use this combination very often.  My daily facial cleanser of choice over the past several months has been the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream.  I first heard about this product in a YouTube video from the lovely Maeling (more widely known as Natural Chica) in which she was sharing her skin story and updated skincare regimen for her oily acne prone skin.  Having pretty much identical issues to hers, I pretty much adopted her skincare regimen from the day that video was published until now, with a few adjustments for my own personal preference.  BUT! Again…more on that to come later.

I’ve also noticed that my skin LOVES Tea Tree Oil, when it comes to spot treating my really bad acne breakouts.  I’ve also heard great things about the Tea Tree Skincare line for blemish/acne-prone skin from The Body Shop.  One of my favorite YouTube Beauty Vloggers, ItsMyRayeRaye has raved about this line in many videos and again has a similar skin story to mine.  So I recently picked up the mask and Toner from this line to try out and….I actually love it!  I’ll definitely be trying to use these more often and who knows…I may update my skincare to incorporate the entire line. We shall see.

I also decided to try this Biore Warming mask, which I used before the Tea Tree Mask from The Body Shop.  I used the warming mask first to open up my pores and then the tea tree mask, which is a cooling mask, to help close and refine my pores.

Back to the oils.  Once I finished applying the masks, and toning my face with the Tea Tree Toner from The Body Shop, I apply a mixture of Tea Tree Oil, Oil of Oregano, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil to my skin, paying particular attention to my blemish-prone/affected areas.  Both Tea Tree Oil and Oil of Oregano are natural astringents and antiseptics that help to kill acne-causing bacteria.  They are both very strong (in effect and in scent…lol) so the olive oil kind of cuts that down (more details on how I mix those oils in a later post).  My face still smells like food afterwards but I am perfectly fine with that lol.

And last but not least, I apply a thin layer of Vitamin E Cream to my skin, as Maeling mentioned in her video, this cream is AMAZING, super moisturizing, and over time slowly helps to fade areas of hyperpigmentation or post-acne scars.

Also, every now and then, I’ll notice a bit of peach fuzz along my upper lip and that has GOT to go!  So not cute.  I’ve recently started using the Nair Hair Remover Moisturizing Face cream, which I purchased from my local Target.  It’s pretty effective!  I usually do this after my entire intense facial routine just because I don’t want to further irritate the skin after hair removal since it is a chemical depilatory.

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So yeah….I really hope I can remember to treat my skin a little bit  a lot better this sumer (especially) and from this day forward.

Do you guys and gals get facials or have your own at-home facial regimens? I’d love to hear what you find to be effective.

As always thanks so much for stopping by and reading the blog!  I really appreciate all of the support you guys have been showing since I decided to relaunch the blog a few months ago.  Planning to update the design of the blog soon as well so stay tuned for that!

Until then….

Love and God Bless,

– T

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Unblemish Journey: 2 Month Update

**WARNING:  What you are about to read and the pictures you are about to see are 100% raw and real.   This is my skin story.  I just wanted to share my struggle in hopes that maybe it could help someone else out there.**

Hey guys!  Finally got around to doing an update on my Unblemish journey.  As most of you know, a couple months ago I started a new skin regimen using the Rodan + Fields Unblemish system.  I started out on 8/15/13 and shared my skin story with you guys at that time.  Now, 2 months later, how have things shaped up?  Well let’s look at some comparison photos….

8/15/13 image

10/2/13

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Now to you guys it may not seem like a  big difference, but here’s what I see:  Less blemishes and underlying more luminous skin tone.  Yes the hyperpigmentation is still there, but I didn’t expect that to change dramatically in such a short period of time.  I’m thinking maybe over the course of a year of use then maybe I’ll see some significant changes where that’s concerned.  But overall, I definitely do feel like the system is doing SOMETHING.  I plan to continue using it and updating you guys.  I’m actually still using the bottles from my first shipment so I’d definitely say it’s worth the money.

Have any of you guys started using the Unblemish system?  If you have, what are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comment section down below.

Til next time…

Love and God Bless,

– T

Keeping It Real: Starting my Unblemish Journey…

**WARNING:  What you are about to read and the pictures you are about to see are 100% raw and real.   This is my skin story.  I just wanted to share my struggle in hopes that maybe it could help someone else out there.**

Hey guys! 🙂

Many of you guys that have been reading my blog for quite some time know that I’ve struggled with the condition of my skin for quite some time, and I’ve done several blog posts and even a YouTube video about it quite some time ago.  I have oily, acne prone skin, post-acne scars and hyperpigmentation.  Enlarged pores.  In high school and undergrad my skin was particularly bad and even though it may not have showed to others, it really affected the way that I felt about myself….

I’ve tried quite a few things and rested upon a regimen centered around Retin A Micro and spot treating with Tea Tree Oil to help with my acne, which had still been working pretty well….until I started my intern year of my pediatrics residency program.  Stress, Seasonal Affective Disorder, not eating very well; all these things had my face exploding out the wazoo.  I wasn’t drinking enough water or really taking care of myself at certain times.  I’ve gotten better.  Definitely trying to drink more water and making juice more of an occasional thing.  Eating lots of fruits and vegetables (especially avacadoes in the form of guacamole, for which I’ve developed a pretty strange obsession….but I digress).  Trying to get more rest and reduce the amount of stress in my life.  But I still get quite a significant number of blemishes…

I still get at least 4-5 breakouts on my face regularly, depending on the time of the month, but I can live with that.  My biggest struggle as of late however, has been hyperpigmentation, which is a very common consequence of moderate to severe acne with lots of extraction (aka pimple popping), of which I’m definitely guilty.  So needless to say I’ve been trying out different things to help with that.

Not too long ago my good friend Talisa (who I’ve mentioned quite a few times here on the blog), shared her story about how Unblemish by Rodan + Fields (the two dermatologists behind Proactiv, which I’ve tried and didn’t work very well for me…probably because I was a teenager with severe acne who didn’t have the discipline to stick to a regimen…but again, I digress lol).  Literally, the only reason I’m trying this out at all (because it is fairly expensive) is because of her success story (and her unwavering persistence that I try the regimen).  I asked if I could share her progress pictures and with her permission they’re here on the blog today 🙂

Talisa at the beginning

2 months in

August 2013

Now Talisa’s skin to me has always been fine.  Definitely not as bad as mine (and you’re all gonna get to see what   that STRUGGLE called my naked face looks like later in this post).  But here’s two things about that.  Number 1:  Self confidence can really outshine any physical insecurities or imperfections you may have.  Number 2:  Everyone’s struggle with their skin is their own, even if it didn’t seem like a big deal to me, it’s something she wanted to make better.  Honestly, I’ve come to just learn to live with the ebs and flows of my skin.  Getting better at learning what makeup items do and do not work for me has been great because at least I can “cover it up”.  But keeping it 100:  I HATE doing that!  I DON’T like wearing foundation.  At all.  I never wear ANY make up to work because….come on, I’m a resident, I really don’t have time for that at 5 in the morning??? But there are times I literally wish that when I’m going out with my friends and stuff, I could just wash & moisturize my face and go, without having to even out my skin tone with foundation. It. Sucks.

So..here starts the beginning of my Unblemish journey….

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I’ll be chronicling my skin’s progress (or lack thereof) monthly here on the blog.  But to start, here are some pictures of my naked face as of today.  Like I said, in this post I’m keeping it AWL the way real so I’m sorry if you get grossed out or turned off from me or my blog because of this, but this is literally what I deal with every single day *shrug*.

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To be perfectly honest with you, this is for me is a pretty bad skin day.  I’m PMSing so definitely breaking out pretty badly.  Quite oily.  Post-acne scars and hyperpigmentation galore.  But compared to what my skin used to look like in high school, this is nothing.  Don’t cry for me Argentina….smh.

But!  We shall see how this goes.  I’ll definitely be updating you guys on a monthly basis.  But the journey starts today.  Hopefully this works.  But if not, I’m still fearfully and wonderfully made, and makeup is there to help *shrug* lol.

Love and God Bless,

– T

Skin Care Update: Prescriptions and Ingredients

As I mentioned in my last skin-related post, I’m supposed to be on a dairy fast.  Key words “supposed to be”.  See what had happened was…smh.  It’s been a little hard to do that man!  Free food at the hospital, hot days leaving me craving gelato, ya know.  But I can say I’ve been doing it in moderation and I see minor differences…not very much.  But regardless, I’ve moved on…lol

Last week I finally got a chance to go get a check up at the Doctor’s office (you know, gotta set that example as a future medical professional; tryna practice what I preach), and while there I brought up the issue of my skin and she prescribed me some Retin-A (which is a Vitamin A derivative that’s one of the first line agents in topical acne treatment, meaning that’s what you apply to your face) along with Minocycline (an antibiotic that’s also a first line agent but in systemic treat, meaning it’s a pill you ingest).  Now this may sound surprising, but this is actually the first time I’ve spoken to a medical professional about my skin troubles, which thinking about it now is pretty wack, for lack of better terminology, considering it’s been plaguing me from high school.  I guess it’s one of those things where I really thought over time it would all resolve on its own…we see how well that turned out.  But anyways, I’ll definitely be keeping you all posted on how these new additions work.

Also, in talking to my physician about just general skin care, she recommended gentler products for both cleansing and moisturizing.  Nothing to harsh in my cleanser and nothing that would clog my pores or aggravate my skin, which makes sense.  I’ve already been on the right track with my Cetaphil cleanser but when I took a closer look at my moisturizers I made some shocking discoveries.  My daytime moisturizer, Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisurizer with SPF 30, has received lots of rave reviews and has pretty much been adequate for me except for my face being naturally oily and the moisturizer doesn’t really do much to help with that.  When I took a closer look at the ingredients however, I was shocked to see that WATER was actually the very last ingredient (!!!), which usually means that it’s the ingredient with the least quantity in the product.  I mean, what the heck???  Isn’t the point of a moisturizer to keep the moisture in your skin?  How are you gonna have moisture without water?  Smh Aveeno, SMH! 

Now on to my night-time moisturizer, Ponds Dry Skin Cream (which I used at night-time).  I don’t know why I didn’t pay more attention to the ingredients when I actually bought the product but here goes.  Good news:  The first ingredient is Water.  Yay!  Bad news:  The very next ingredient is mineral oil.  BOOO!  Mineral oil, although in itself not bad, when used on the skin it can be difficult to absorb and possibly lead to clogged pores.  Needless to say, I decided to replace my moisturizers with some less expensive yet better alternatives.  and here they are.

NEW DAYTIME MOISTURIZER:
Black Opal Daily Fade Lotion with SPF 15

Black Opal Daily Fade Lotion 2 oz. SPF#15
First Ingredient = Water
Bonus:  It supposedly helps to fade dark spots (of which I have many b/c of my acne) for a more even skin complexion.  Not really counting on it, but it would be a nice bonus/surprise.

NIGHT TIME MOISTURIZER:
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for All Skin Types

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

First two ingredients:  Water and Glycerin (cha-ching!)

So yeah, hopefully I won’t have to do any more tweaking to my skin care regimen anytime soon.  Will definitely keep updating.  Ready for this next phase.  Stay tuned!

Love and God Bless,

– T