Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Book Review: Stop Aging, Start Living by Jeannette Graf, MD September 24, 2012

Also a short review of Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

I wrote a post a few months ago entitled Is an Alkaline Diet Good for Your Skin? which concluded that yes, an alkaline diet was good for your skin.  After researching that post I wanted to learn even more about the subject of alkaline diets so I read the two books reviewed in this post and attempted to change my own diet (not so successfully) as well.

I was drawn to Dr. Graf’s book Stop Aging, Start Living for a few reasons.  Dr. Graf is a practicing dermatologist with a background in medical research who came to the conclusions that she writes about in her book after years of research and trial and error (on herself and her patients).  I always like to read books by people who back up their medical claims with real evidence and science as opposed to hearsay which is exactly what this book is like.  Moreover, Dr. Graf actually follows the advice that she dispenses in this book.  This is definitely a case of someone practicing what they preach.

The book is clearly and concisely written and an easy read.  Though there are real scientific principles outlined in the book they are done in a way that anyone can understand.  Believe me – I need my science dumb downed for me so if I could understand what she was talking about in this book anyone can.  The book outlines a lifestyle that embraces healthy eating and living.  There are recipes (I haven’t tried any yet I must admit) and skincare product recommendations in addition to skincare regime ideas.  Dr. Graf also includes sources for finding the other products she suggests getting in the book.

Dr. Graf’s co-author Alisa Bowman outlines the anti-aging program in the book’s introduction (pages 4-5 in the paperback edition):

The Nutrition Prescription.  You’ll focus most of your food choices on Jeannette’s eleven alkalinizing Age Stoppers (dark leafy greens, vegetables, filtered water, lemons and limes, garlic and onions, spices, fruit, nuts and seeds, olive oil, sea salt, and specific whole grains) and try to minimize the five acid-producing Age Accelerators (sugar, processed carbohydrates, alcohol, colas, coffee, and animal protein).  Using her 3-to-1 alkalinizing formula, you can continue to eat the acid-producing foods you love by balancing them with more alkaline options.

The Supplement Prescription.  Each morning you’ll drink a sweet but powerfully effective Alkalinizing Cocktail that contains greens powder and fiber.  You’ll also take an alkalinizing mineral supplement with calcium and a probiotic supplement to improve digestion.

The Lifestyle Prescription.  Through laughter (watching funny movies), joy (doing something every week that exhilarates you), and calm (deep breathing, vegging out, etc.), you’ll rev up your brain chemicals that produce joy, happiness, serenity, and an overall sense of well-being.  Your skin will glow as a result.

The Skin Care Prescription.  By using a cleanser, moisturizer, sunblock, eye cream, and makeup suitable for your age, skin type, and skin needs, you’ll reduce the appearance of wrinkles and plump up your skin.  The products work, and they’re affordable and easy for even the least knowledgeable skin care consumer (read: me) to fine. You won’t go broke on this program.

That is really Dr. Graf’s program in a nutshell.  The book expands upon the above topics.

I found Dr. Graf’s program to be easy to follow (for the most part) and realistic (compared to the program outlined in Crazy Sexy Diet – more on that below).  Dr. Graf takes into account that people do not have the time or inclination to make huge lifestyle changes that would disrupt their lives and burden themselves with unattainable goals and edicts.  Take for instance coffee – Dr. Graf acknowledges that while coffee is acid forming and while it really doesn’t have a place in an alkaline diet she still drinks it herself so it isn’t banned entirely from her patients’ diets or from the regime outlined in the book.  Or look at her alkalinizing cocktail which can replace time-consuming juicing and green smoothie making yet still gives you similar benefits to juicing and making vegetable laden green smoothies.

Part 1 of the book is the scientific side of the book.  In this part of the book Dr. Graf explains all about pH and how it affects your body and your skin; she talks about how if your body chemistry is too acidic hurts this your health.  The book also delves into the workings of our digestive system and explains how a properly working digestive system helps your body and your skin.  Lastly, the first  part of the book discusses the importance of joy and balance in our lives and how valuable it is to incorporate activities that make us happy into our lives.

Part 2 of the book explains, in detail, Dr. Graf’s four pronged approach to help you look your best.  There is the nutritional program, the supplement program, the skincare regime, and the lifestyle prescription as well.  I found her nutritional program striking in its easiness to follow and to incorporate into your life.  Yes, it takes some planning to follow her suggestions and you do have to give things up (limit the amount of animal protein in your diet including dairy and eggs and cutback to two cups of coffee a day for example), but the plan, overall, is realistic and clear.  The fact that there are recipes in chapter 10 (I would like to make the crunchy oatmeal raisin cookies with flax soon) and a list of acid forming and alkalinizing foods (pages 222-225) at the back of the book just makes trying to change your eating habits much easier.

The supplement chapter (chapter 6) outlines the different supplements Dr. Graf recommends taking daily and the reasons behind her recommendations.  This chapter also includes her recipe for the alkalinizing cocktail she recommends drinking every morning.  This is the simple way to get all the nutrition you would get from juicing without the fuss and mess of juicing (or expense). Dr. Graf explains how she came up with the idea for her alkalinizing cocktail (pages 89-90):

I stumbled across the greens powder many years ago, after that juice fast that I mentioned earlier.  I knew I needed more fruits and vegetables in my diet, but I was constantly on the move, going from patient to patient.  I traveled frequently.  Sometimes – often with the help of my juicer – I managed to eat ten servings of fruits and vegetables in a given day.  Usually I did not, especially when I traveled.  As committed as I was to juicing, I wasn’t willing to lug the juicer with me on an airplane.

So I began looking for a more concentrated and convenient source of fruits and vegetables.  I discovered greens powders.  Sold online and in health food stores, greens powders are nothing fancier than a powdered form of vegetable juice.  You mix the powder with water and drink.  Most notably, these powders are rich sources of wheat and barley grasses, sprouted grains, broccoli, kale, and other green vegetables.  Wheat, barley, and other cereal grasses in particular are extremely rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll, protein, vitamins, and minerals.  The grasses – the youngest green sprouts of these cereal grains – are actually much more nutritious than the grains (wheat, barley, kamut) that they produce.  They are particularly rich in polyphenols, the colorful pigments in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to promote optimal health.

Thanks to the nutritional goodness of these grasses, some greens drinks – such as my favorite brand, Greens First – contain antioxidant power equivalent to eating ten servings of fruits and vegetables!  That’s what I call concentrated nutrition.

I was really intrigued by the idea of drinking an alkalinizing cocktail each morning.  I went to a very large Whole Foods near my home at the time I was reading this book and looked for the brand recommended by Dr. Graf (Greens First).  When I couldn’t find that brand I decided to try different flavors of another brand since you could just buy one serving sizes.  The brand I tried was called Amazing Grass and the drinks I mixed up tasted just like that – grass.  No matter the flavor it tasted like grass.  It was very hard to drink (I still have one more packet left that I am dreading to try).  Granted I did not try Dr. Graf’s actual cocktail recipe (page 92) or the brand she recommended, but still the taste of the powder was a huge turnoff.  Also no matter how hard I tried to dissolve the powder in water I just couldn’t.  After drinking a full glass of the powder mixed with water I was still left with  sludge at the bottom my glass.  It was gross.  I do think that I need to try the greens powder again since I am nowhere near being able to afford a juicer, and despite my negative experience I still think this is a great idea.

Dr. Graf’s lifestyle prescription calls for incorporating a fun for you activity once or twice a week into your life.  She recommends exercising 20 or more minutes four times a week (fairly doable for the average person), deep breathing twice a day (a great alternative to mediating), laughter (so important and easily overlooked), relaxing for ten minutes twice a day, and finally finding a way to give back as often as you can.  Being able to make all these lifestyle changes every day probably isn’t in the cards for most people, but when you do have the time all of the recommendations in the book are quite doable and not overwhelming.  For instance, how many of you have tried to mediate and just given up in the end?  But can you find time for deep breathing twice a day?  I think most of us can.

Of course I was very interested to read Dr. Graf’s skincare regime advice.  I actually really like it since it was so down to earth, realistic (yes that word once again), and clear.  I found it really interesting that she advises everyone, no matter what is going on with their skin, to use a moisturizer twice a day.  As a retinol, retin-a devotee myself I loved the fact that she sees both as an integral part of an anti-aging skincare routine.  In the book she recommends drugstore products for everyday use though while researching this post I found out that she now has her own line of skincare products (which are very reasonably priced).  I have no idea if her products are any good, but I found it interesting that she has also come out with a skincare line.  Overall, I loved the skincare advice that she dispenses in the book, and if you aren’t into the nutritional aspects of this work I would still recommend reading what she has to say about skincare.

Chapter 9 of the book is an outline of how to really put to use all the information you just read about in the book.  There are three different plans explained – the 24-Hour Kick-Start (hardcore), the 2 Week Plan, and the Baby Steps.  I think most people will want to try the second or third or just the third plan.  Every aspect of your day is explained in detail and meal recommendations are included as well.  There is no guess work about how to incorporate all the information in the book into your life.  Everything is right there before you.

And Now A Little Bit About Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

Many of you may have already heard of Kris Carr, but for those who haven’t I urge you to read her bio and explore her website.  Personally I find her story very inspirational and was looking forward to reading her book.  Now keep a few things in mind when you read Crazy Sexy Diet – the lifestyle choices recommended in this book are not for most.  Not that many people are willing to embrace a largely vegan and raw diet.  Not that many people can fast and/or go on juice cleanses.  Not everyone is willing to give up their coffee.  And not everyone has the time first thing in the morning to mediate and exercise before going about their daily business.  I would love to start my day like that but my son has drastically different ideas of how our morning should look like.  Having said all of that I found aspects of this book wonderful and inspiring.  Though Carr’s food and lifestyle plan do not work for me as a whole there were parts of the book and ideas from the book that I was delighted have encountered.  Just the outpouring of positivity that the book embraces is worth the price of the book.  As I was reading this book I kept thinking of different friends, who for varying reasons, would benefit from this reading this book.  I think there is really something, even if it is small, that everyone can take away from this book.  Just because you aren’t ready to spend your days juicing and eating raw vegan meals while telling yourself positive affirmations doesn’t mean that you can’t find something of use to you in the pages of this book.

Bottom Line:  If you are looking for a reasonable and fairly easy way to improve your health and help your skin I recommend Dr Graf’s book.  If for whatever reason you feel like you need a total lifestyle overhaul I recommend Carr’s book.  And if you just need a little inspiration and a pick-me-up turn both of these books can help you.

Just for Fun:

Further Reading:

In case the ideas espoused in Crazy Sexy Diet sound new to you be sure to read The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle which is a fictionalized account of the going ons at Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s Battle Creek Spa.  Ideas about healthy eating and how to care for one’s body have been around for eons, in different permutations.

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How to Clean Your Make-up Brushes September 17, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 7:15 am
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I own both expensive and inexpensive make-up brushes.  I would be lost without my Urban Decay Good Karma Powder Brush, but I equally love my Eco Tools brushes which cost me much less.  With proper care your make-up brushes should last you a long, long time. Luckily, caring for your make-up brushes doesn’t have to be a burden.

Why Should You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Simply put your make-up brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria that will spread all over your face if you don’t keep your brushes clean.  Furthermore, as Makeup Geek explains in the post How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Like a Pro:

Makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Think of how much bacteria is on your face daily.  Bacteria and natural oils transmit onto your brushes every time they come in contact with your skin. And if you are using them on clients, you may be picking up germs and transferring them onto other people including you.

Regular Cleaning Will Help Remove:

  • Old Makeup
  • Dirt and Debris
  • Dead Skin Cells
  • Bacteria
  • Oils

Another benefit of keeping your makeup brushes clean is softness. Makeup buildup on your brushes can make them feel scratchy. Cleaning your brushes on a regular basis will help keep them soft and supple. This is especially great for people with sensitive skin.

How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

Opinions vary on how often you should clean your brushes.  According to Bobbi Brown, make-up artist and mogul, the frequency you clean your brushes varies according to their function.  Brown explained to Allure:

How often should you clean makeup brushes? 
For concealer and foundation brushes, at least once a week to prevent a buildup of product. And because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner, the better. Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month, while all others can be washed once a month.

(From Bobbi Brown Explains How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes)

Though I love Bobbi Brown I have to say that I disagree with her here.  I think that ALL your make-up brushes should be cleaned once a week.  Cleaning your brushes will prolong their life, not reduce it.  Plus anything that comes in contact with your eye area should be very clean so why only clean those brushes twice a month?  Make cleaning your brushes part of your weekend ritual or whenever it would be most convenient for you to remember to do it.

Just How Do You Clean Your Make-up Brushes?

Now here comes the tricky part – there are a lot of different methods out there for cleaning make-up brushes.  I’ll give you a few different ideas to choose from (look for the list below).  No matter which method you choose keep a few things in mind:

  • Makeup Geek suggests washing your brushes at night so that they are dry and ready for use in the morning
  • Bobbi Brown cautions letting your brushes dry on a towel; this could lead to mildew.  Instead, after reshaping the bristles, let them hang over the edge of your counter

Personally I think that when it comes to cleaning your brushes simplicity is best.  I like the method I found in Good Housekeeping (it pretty much was what I was already doing):

I have several makeup brushes that I would like to clean. What method do you recommend?
— Rebecca Stewart, Brandon, MS


Makeup brushes can hold bacteria, so it’s a good idea to clean them regularly with shampoo or a commercial brush cleanser. First, run water over the bristles, then apply just a drop of shampoo and lather up. Rinse extremely well to get rid of the soap residue, then squeeze out all the water with a towel. Allow brushes to air-dry.

Read more: Cleaning Makeup Brushes — Heloise Hints – Good Housekeeping

One word of caution –  though both Good Housekeeping and Real Simple advocate using a commercial make-up brush cleaner I don’t recommend it.  Those products are mostly alcohol which is drying.  Having said that – these cleaners are good when you need to clean brushes quickly such as in-between use on a few different people in a short period of time.  When you have time and are washing your own brushes simply use shampoo or soap.  I use whatever hand soap I have in my bathroom at that moment.

More ideas on how to clean your make-up brushes:

If you have a favorite way to clean your make-up brushes please share below!

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Beauty Briefs: BB Creams Are Over, Here Come CC Creams September 10, 2012

I toyed with the idea a while ago about writing about BB creams but decided against it when I realized that I had nothing new to add to the discussion.  In case you need a recap, BB creams were first developed in Germany but caught on in popularity in South Korea.  These creams only started recently appearing in the US market, but it is easy to find one in all price ranges since they’ve become popular very quickly.

In theory I like the idea of BB creams since they are really souped up tinted moisturizers.  Not only are they meant to hydrate and provide some coverage (like a light foundation), but they also include added ingredients that can act as a make-up primer and are anti-aging or anti-acne.  They also include sun protection though my great fear remains that people think they are getting enough sun protection from a product like this.  Always use a separate stand alone sunscreen.  Please!

Though it is not labeled a BB cream the one I’ve tried is called Miracle Skin Transformer.  I consider it a BB cream since it is a multi-tasker – it is tinted, hydrates, has spf, and contains antioxidants as well.  I first discovered it when I received a free sample with a Sephora purchase, and I thought that it made my skin look amazing.  A few months later I bought a travel size at Sephora.  Interestingly enough now that I have the product at home I don’t quite like it as much as I did when I had the sample.  I can’t figure out what would have changed about the product and how it looks on my face, but something did change.  Not that it looks bad, simply my skin doesn’t look as fresh or dewy as it did when I applied the product from the sample.  Nonetheless I still think it is a good product.

Just as US consumers were getting used to the idea of BB creams, it turns out that they are on their way out.  Here come the CC creams.  Allure explains:

Still trying to wrap your head around BB creams? (Pssst, we’ll help you out. They’re souped-up moisturizers that cover like a sheer foundation and treat various skin-care concerns such as acne or wrinkles.) Well now there’s a whole new category of multitasking formulas: CC creams. Short for “color and care” or “color and correct”, CC creams are essentially BB creams on steroids.

They’re designed to offer more coverage than BB creams but still go on sheer, they moisturize better, and they contain hard-core anti-aging ingredients. Look out for the first CC cream to hit the U.S. this October: Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting Moisturizer.

Future Derm isn’t so excited about either BB or CC creams.  The post How is a CC Cream Different From a BB Cream? explains and highlights a few important points:

A CC cream is a color correcting cream, meaning that it is a brightening primer, foundation, moisturizer, SPF and anti-aging cream.

On the other hand, a BB cream is a non-brightening primer, foundation, moisturizer, SPF and anti-aging cream.

BB creams are typically laden with hydrators to create a dewy finish, which are not so great for acne-prone or oily skin.

CC creams, on the other hand, are typically oil-free.  …

Delivery systems matter.  Ingredients like propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and other alcohols, as well as advanced delivery systems like liposomes, are commonly used to increase the skin’s absorption of ingredients.

Unfortunately, BB and CC creams typically are designed to be make-up products.  Yes, you will get benefits.  But I’d take 10% vitamin C in a serum over 10% vitamin C in a BB or CC cream any day!

I love the idea of multi-tasking skincare and make-up products that help cut down on the amount of time you spend prepping in the morning.  I just think you have to very careful before you buy something.  Remember my warning about not relying on a BB cream, a CC cream, or your make-up for your sun protection.  Additionally, keep in mind what the Future Derm post said about delivery systems in products.  Just because a product includes fabulous sounding ingredients doesn’t mean that they are actually getting into your skin and providing you with any benefit.  If you have a BB cream that you like I see no reason to stop using it and I see no reason not to try a CC cream, but don’t expect miracles.  Sometimes the newest thing on the market just makes a scene only to disappear.  Tried and true products are always around.

Further Reading:

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What I’m Reading OR Was I Wrong to Say Thank You? September 6, 2012

This post was supposed to be a compilation of beauty blogs and beauty related articles that I recently discovered (most of  the blogs I found through one of my favorite beauty blogs Gouldylox Reviews) when things took a turn for the worse for me on the very popular peer review beauty site Makeup Alley.  I’ve been thinking for days about how to approach this issue and if I should even blog about it, and I’ve come to the general conclusion that I should write about my experience  so that I can hopefully get some feedback and explanations from my readers about what happened to me and perhaps my experience might be helpful to others.  I also thought this might be a good opportunity to present some information about my motivations for writing this blog and why I like blogging.  (This is fairly long post so I hope people will hang in there until the very end.  I would love to get feedback on what I have to say here.)

Let me explain a few things about myself and my blog.  I started this blog nearly three years ago because I noticed that there was a real lack of concrete and true skincare information on the web yet there was a lot of misinformation out there, because I wanted a way to share my skincare knowledge with more than just my friends and family (at the time I was looking for a job as an esthetician and had few clients to share my knowledge with), and I found that having a blog was a great way for me to both research and organize my thoughts about skincare topics that interested me.  I also loved the idea of “meeting” people from around the world, hopefully, with whom I had a common interest yet no other way of finding one another.

When I started writing my blog almost no one read it except my mother and my husband, but slowly my readership began to grow.  Is my readership now large?  Am I inundated with free product samples?  Am I receiving recognition from outside sources?  Do I make any money from my blog?  The answer would be no to all four questions.  I even asked myself the other day – “if people stopped reading your blog would you still write it?”  And then I concluded “yes, yes I would keep writing.  I like writing a blog about skincare enough that even if no one read it I would still keep writing”.

Anyhow, I’m getting side tracked.  Because my readership isn’t large and I would love to see it grow I try to thank people when I see that they mention my blog somewhere.  I don’t know 99% of my readers and truly appreciate each subscriber and each mention of my blog since my great hope would be for this blog to be more successful.  Though my readership is small through my blog I’ve come in contact with really great people from all over the world; one of the things I had hoped for when I started this blog as I mentioned above.  Though at times I’ve received negative and outright rude feedback and comments from people for the most part my blogging experiences have been extremely positive.  (By the way, the rudest comments I have received have almost all been in connection to my post from years ago about Paula Begoun.  Some of the people who commented didn’t even seem to actually have read what I wrote before they attacked me, but since I wanted to be impartial I published their comments nonetheless.  Paula Begoun certainly has many very loyal fans out there.)

WordPress allows me to see what websites refer readers to my blog, and as such I always pay attention when I see that more than a few readers have found my blog from one source.  Quite a few months ago someone mentioned my blog in response to a question about favorite skincare blogs on Makeup Alley.  I was very pleased and flattered to see what was written and wanted to thank my reader in that forum but never got around to it.  Then just this week  the same question was posted and my same reader once again mentioned my blog. Yet again I was excited and flattered and decided that this time I really needed to thank the reader publicly.  And why not?  I wasn’t planning on writing something about my blog, I just wanted to let this reader know that I greatly appreciated their support since each mention of my blog on that forum brought new readers to my site and potential subscribers.  I genuinely thought a public thank you was in order.  I had done this before in other blogs that mentioned mine.  I wasn’t a member of Makeup Alley, something I had planned to do for a long time but never got around to, so I signed up for the website and posted my thank you.  A day or so later I looked back at the thread from the forum and was shocked by the comments that I found after my thank you.  Users accused me of using the site to promote my blog (all I wrote was thank you for your support and didn’t mention my blog or provide a website address for my blog) and that somehow me and the user who wrote about my blog were in cahoots together in order to promote my blog.  Then a user wrote that if I did not take my comment down it would be flagged for being inappropriate and would be removed.  And that is exactly what happened much to my great shock.  (You can see the whole thing for yourself here)  Once I saw what had happened I posted an apology and explanation in the forum, but received no feedback or explanation about how thanking a reader is actually promoting or advertising my blog.

Could someone explain?  I know that Makeup Alley has extremely devoted users who seek to maintain the integrity of the site.  This is the reason why I had eventually planned on joining and using the site; I just never found the time to do so (for more information about Makeup Alley see this New York Times article Someone Just Like Me Said, ‘Buy It’).

I am just completely flummoxed by why my thank you received the hostile response that it did on this site.  Have I grown too used to hearing nice comments about my blog and on my blog?  Am I being too sensitive?  Or was the response I received one that is normal for these forums?  I would love any response and/or explanation someone can provide me with.  Have other people had such negative blogging experiences as well?  Please share below.

I decided to contact my reader who posted about my blog on the message board.  Louise wrote me back a lovely and kind email.  In response to my question about why other users would be so quick to jump to conclusions about my intentions when posting in the forum Louise wrote the following:

 I think that is one problem with online discussions, you can’t hear a tone of voice or see a facial expression, and you can form an entire opinion about somebody that could be totally off. I am sure I am guilty of it myself.

I do know that I am not the only person to encounter unfounded negativity on forums and online chats.  Just as I was writing this I came across something that Gouldylox Reviews published about her online experience:

Question of the Week: – What compelled you to start a beauty blog?The power of Bare Escentuals compelled me, I suppose. My father had just passed away and Loxy sent me for a day of relaxation at a spa. Afterwards, I went to Ulta, where I fell in love with BE. I then started friendships with loads of ladies on chatboards about mineral makeup. Sooner or later, as they usually do, the chatboards turn evil and eat themselves. I only chatted with one, much smaller group after that, and sooner than later, fell away from my happy little group of mineral loving ladies. Not really having anyone else to discuss makeup with, I started blathering to myself on this blog, basically to hear myself chat about how much I loved this or that sparkly thing.

Ok – so perhaps it is a universal experience to find nastiness on chatboards?  But really – in the words of Rodney King (may he rest in peace): “Can’t we just all get along?”.  Truly I don’t understand it.  Additionally, I remembered the really great post that Rae from Scatterbraintures wrote about haters months ago (it helped me then and it continues to help me).  Here’s a section of the post that applies well to my situation:

Haters don’t care about you.  They might care about how you look, what you say, or what you do but they don’t actually care (in the real sense of the word).  Since haters don’t care, you don’t need to care about them too.  You can go about your life without giving a sh*t about them. The best part is, the world will not end even when they exist.  …

Learn from them
This skill is especially useful if you have internet haters. Real life haters normally won’t tell you to your face what they think about you. On the other hand, internet haters are behind a computer, where they get their audacity from to be able to tell you what they really think. This could be valuable information you can learn from.  Example: If someone called you a FAT bitch, maybe you should take time to think about your health, or better yet, think about why you got so affected. You might have self-esteem issues you need to work on.

So if I am to take Rae’s advice, and remember what Louise wrote as well, about learning from internet haters I realized that I learned, once again, not to jump to conclusions about the motivations behind other people’s comments and actions.  I learned to give people a chance and that saying “thank you” is still a good thing.  Tolerance is something we should all try to practice more often.

But let me put all this negativity aside.  I am trying to be more positive in my life as things change all around me.  I’m in a holding pattern now as I wait for the entire contents of my house to make it from my former home to my current home so in the meantime I have time to read.  Here are the beauty blogs I have discovered lately and some articles I’ve been reading.


    • Fifteen Minute Beauty Fanatic  – the name of the blog alone just makes you want to take a look.
    • Makeup and Beauty Blog –  very funny and she constantly mentions her cat which I love.
    • Makeup Geek – I can’t wait to learn new makeup looks from this site.
    • Madame B Fatale – this blog from Australia has great make-up and hair style tutorials that are fun to look at even if the actual looks aren’t ones that I would try myself.


Happy reading!


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Cosmetic Botox Turns 10 September 3, 2012


In April, 2012 Botox turned 10 years old.  That is it has been 10 years since the FDA gave Allergan approval to sell Botox Cosmetic as a solution for moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows and not just for medical purposes (As many readers may know Botox has numerous medical applications as well).  Now that Botox is so widely used (and even abused some would say) this is a good opportunity to look back over the last decade to see what people had to say about Botox then and the reality of its use today.

Take for instance Dr. Richard Friedman’s piece Cases: A Peril of the Veil of Botox in The New York Times from August, 2002 just after Botox was approved for cosmetic use:

Unlike a face-lift, where the skin is stretched taut like a drum but facial expression is unaffected, Botox paralyzes the underlying muscles that control facial movement and produce wrinkles. Botox, or botulinum toxin, is the neurotoxin derived from the bacteria Clostridia botulinum, the cause of botulism.

Botulinum toxin is the most poisonous substance known and is a potentially potent bioweapon. A single gram of the purified toxin, widely dispersed and inhaled, could kill a million people.

Ingested systemically, botulinum toxin kills by paralyzing the diaphragm, the muscle used in breathing. The toxin prevents neurons from releasing acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that causes muscle contraction. But injected locally, it paralyzes just a small area of skeletal muscle. The effect is temporary, lasting three to four months.

Little is known about the long-term cosmetic effects of Botox. But there is evidence that prolonged use can cause some people to produce neutralizing antibodies against Botox, which diminish or block its effect over time.

Botox had wiped the wrinkles from the woman’s brow but had also robbed her face of some human expressiveness. It made her appear not so much youthful as lifelike — a frozen imitation of youth.

Unlike this woman, many Botox users receive extensive injections above the nose, around the eyes and across the forehead, which deeply alter their expressions.

It made me wonder: Should we become a Botox nation? What are the implications for human relationships? I’m not too worried about the adults; they can figure out that their friends and loved ones are poker faced not because of lovelessness but thanks to Botox. But what about infants and children?

Now some of the above concerns have come true.  There are people who have developed a tolerance for Botox rendering it less effective or completely ineffective for them.  Additionally some people have gone overboard with their Botox injections causing their foreheads to become motionless and their expressions frozen, but keep in mind if Botox is used judiciously this should not happen.  Certainly the popularity of Botox among Hollywood celebrities has greatly contributed to its use amongst the general popular.  While celebrities are at the forefront of the use of new cosmetic products and procedures they can also clearly show the pitfalls of these procedures as well.  (For a good illustration of how this pertains to Botox see Shape magazine’s article Botox: Hollywood’s Most Frozen Faces)

The key to a positive Botox experience and a great result?  Finding an injector, either a doctor or a nurse (In the US any doctor, not just a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon can inject Botox, and any registered nurse can inject Botox.  I would love to know from my readers in other parts of the world about how popular Botox is in their country and who can inject it), who knows their stuff.  If you place yourself in the hands of a skilled injector your face looks refreshed, not overdone.  Your forehead will still move while you look alert and your wrinkles are smoothed.  There has been a great improvement in how Botox is injected since it was approved for cosmetic use in 2002 so the concerns from then as mentioned above, while not to be taken lightly, are not as much of a problem today.

Just how did the FDA approval of Botox for cosmetic use change the anti-aging game?  The impact of Botox should not be underestimated.  According to a Skin Inc. article about the 10th anniversary of Botox being approved for cosmetic use:

“When approved by the FDA in 2002, Botox Cosmetic changed the way that physicians could treat patients who were interested in improving the appearance of their vertical frown lines between the brows,” says David E.I. Pyott, chairman of the board, president and CEO, Allergan, Inc. “Botox Cosmetic has become the No. 1 neuromodulator in the United States and the number of patients considering talking to their doctor about treatment has more than quadrupled to 5.8 million since 2002.”

Botox secured its first FDA approval more than 22 years ago as a treatment for two rare eye muscle disorders, making it the first product of its kind approved in the world. In 2002, the same formulation with dosing specific to frown lines was approved under the name Botox Cosmetic.

“The FDA approval of Botox Cosmetic enhanced the practice of plastic surgery by providing plastic surgeons with a new treatment option for patients seeking to reduce the appearance of vertical frown lines between the eyebrows,” says Malcolm Z. Roth, MD, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In the decade since Botox Cosmetic was approved, aesthetic specialty physicians–which include dermatologists, oculoplastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons–have developed extensive experience in the art and science of administering Botox Cosmetic to yield predictable results for their patients. These physicians have performed approximately 11 million treatment sessions since 2002 and have also contributed to the extensive clinical database demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the drug.

“The approval of Botox Cosmetic in 2002 dramatically changed our ability to treat our patients by giving them an effective option to treat the appearance of moderate to severe vertical frown lines with a minimally invasive procedure,” says Susan Weinkle, MD, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. “Botox Cosmetic has become more accepted by the public, and this treatment has brought more patients into aesthetic practices to learn about other treatments available.”

Though I have yet to try Botox (or Dysport or Xeomin which do the same thing as Botox yet are newer to the market) I am certainly not opposed to trying it in the future.

Have you tried Botox?  Are you open to trying it?  Share your thoughts below.

Further Reading:

There is, of course, endless amounts of information available about Botox online.  Here are some good sources for more information about this product.

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