Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Spray Bacteria On Your Skin? Well, Yes! March 12, 2017

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Some time ago I wrote an article for About.com about the so-called caveman regime which simply means you stop washing your face.   I’m definitely one of the last people to tell you to stop washing your face.  My belief in how important face washing is was only strengthened by what I read happened to people’s faces when they stopped washing them.

There are a variety of reasons why people decide to stop washing their faces – their skin is sensitive and they feel like facial cleansers are harming their skin instead of helping it, they think they are applying too many chemicals and products to their faces, or they connect a certain lifestyle choice (like eating a Paleo diet) with not washing their face, i.e. do as the cavemen would have done.  As I already wrote above after reading about what happened to people’s skin when they didn’t wash their face, I definitely was not about to try this myself.  I’m the last person who wants a build up of dead skin cells all over their face.

One part of what I read about these no-wash experiments was intriguing – people who had sensitive, easily irritated skin found that their skin calmed down after they stopped washing it.  This could be true because of what happens when you stop washing your face. Firstly, dead skin cells build up and literally sit on top of your skin, but not washing can actually restore your skin’s protective barrier (or acid mantle) which potentially could mean your skin will start “behaving” better – will be calm, acne free, less irritated, not red, etc. By not washing your face you are allowing your skin to perform its duties – protecting, hydrating, and healing.  One reason for someone’s skin improving in both look and texture after they stop washing it or stop using all other skincare products as well is the fact that bacteria, good bacteria, starts proliferating on the surface of the skin.  This good bacteria helps to kill acne causing bad bacteria and provides the skin with protection from outside sources that can irritate it.  The more good bacteria on your skin means that skin conditions like eczema and rosecea won’t flair up as much.

The idea of increasing the good bacteria on the skin, allowing the skin to heal itself, and just basically getting out of the way of “interfering” with your skin’s functions is a skincare idea that I find very intriguing even though my own daily, far from minimalist skincare routine is the opposite of those skincare ideas.  I’ve been reading about bacteria and probiotics (good bacteria) in skincare products for years and wrote a post on this topic in the past.   While not every expert thinks that applying topical skincare products with pre-biotics, probiotics, or bacteria to the skin is helpful, the number of products with these ingredients keeps growing (pun intended).  There is also the fermented skincare trend which came to the West from South Korea.

Mother Dirt Products

At this point you are probably wondering what all this has to do with photo at the top of this blog post.  Let me explain.  After my article on not washing your face was published on About.com I received an email from a PR person asking if I wanted to try Mother Dirt products.  What did my article have to do with this company’s products?   Well Mother Dirt sells bacteria to spray on your body and heal your skin.  Yes, bacteria you spray on your face or somewhere else on your body.

This product is far from something that was created overnight in order to jump on a skincare trend.  In May, 2014 an article appeared in The New York Times Magazine that chronicled the writer’s experience with not washing (body or hair) for a month and twice a day spraying her body and hair with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria instead.  After an initial gross period, the writer reported that her skin was softer, smoother, and breakout free because good bacteria had started to grow on her skin. Once the month ended and the writer went back to using regular skincare products and washing as she had before the good bacteria disappeared from her skin.

The skin friendly bacteria discussed in this article eventually made its way into Mother Dirt’s signature product – AO+ Mist, and is now available for all consumers.  While the Mother Dirt website is very thorough and is great at explaining both the science and the everyday use of their products, I’ll elaborate a little bit here as to what the product is supposed to do.  Mother Dirt’s proposes that in today’s world people are “too clean”, washing down the drain on a daily basis the good bacteria on their skin that is supposed to protect our skin and keep it healthy.  When this occurs our skin suffers – becomes sensitive and easily irritated, red, acne appears regularly, and our skin is dry.  Having healthy skin is as easy as spraying this mist on our skin at least once a day.  The company says that with regular use you won’t need as many skincare products including deodorant. Keeping all this in mind I was obviously intrigued.  So when the company offered to send me some products to try for free I jumped at the chance.

My Experience Using Mother Dirt

My Mother Dirt products arrived via messenger in a cool, silver padded envelope (yes, I am easily impressed by shiny things).  The company sent me a few bottles of the AO+ Mist, their cleanser (which has no SLS, more on that later), and their moisturizer to try for free. The company also makes a shampoo that they did not send me to try which is too bad since I would have loved to try it.  I suffer from seborrhea on my scalp and always use a special, medicated shampoo so I would have been happy to see if this product would have helped to relieve my itchy scalp.  The real star here in the AO+ Mist.  The other products are meant to treat your skin gently without getting in the way of the good bacteria that is supposed to start growing on your body.

I decided that everyone in my family needed to try the products.  My husband suffers from dry, itchy skin, my son has dry skin, and my daughter has easily irritated skin.  I did momentarily consider ditching all my facial serums, nightly retinol cream, and morning peptide cream to see how my skin would react to spraying the bacteria on it, but I just couldn’t do it.  Instead I decided to use the spray twice a day on my chest.  My chest is an area of skin embarrassment for me.  It is covered by red dots that sometimes have white heads on them.  At first I thought I had acne there and tried to treat my skin for acne. Nothing changed.  Eventually I realized that I simply had skin irritation in that area that looks like a lot like acne.  I always think twice before wearing a shirt with a v-neck because the area is most unsightly.  I hoped that using the AO+ Mist would clear up my skin irritation by helping my skin heal itself.

My husband and son dropped out of this skin routine experiment a day after they started. They had no interest in remembering to use the spray.  My daughter is still quite young so she had no choice other than to be part of this experiment.  I used the spray on her after bath time, washed her with the soap, and moisturized her with moisturizer.  I sprayed the mist on my chest and underarms, washed with the soap, and moisturized with the moisturizer.

I was pleased to see that the soap was SLS free.  SLS can be quite irritating to many people’s skin and though some companies have taken it out of their products it is still very widely used.  I’ve decided to avoid SLS for my daughter’s skin since she has experienced red, itchy skin in the past that cleared up once I started using a SLS free soap on her skin. Despite having no SLS in it, the soap still foams very nicely and cleaned the skin well yet gently.

Mother Dirt states that when it comes their moisturizer less is more which turned out to be true but it took me time to realize just how much I really needed and how to use it.  In addition, if you think of moisturizers as always being creams this product will confuse you since it is a liquid.  It feels and looks like an oil.  It does moisturize effectively once you get used to its feel and figure out just how much you need.  I can’t say how long it will actually last you, but I think you could easily have it on hand for about 2 months or more.

But you are probably wondering about the bacteria spray more than any other product I tried.  You need to keep in in the refrigerator once you open it (or even before) so it is cold when you spray it on your skin.  This made the product less than pleasant to use during the winter. Though I did spray it once or even twice a day on my underarms since it was winter I really couldn’t tell if it helped balance out the bacteria in that area and made deodorant less necessary since I don’t need much deodorant as is during the winter.

Now did the mist helped heal the skin irritation on my chest?  Well yes it did!  It took over a month to see a difference which didn’t surprise me since real skin changes take time.  I didn’t wash that area with soap during the time I used the spray (not even with the Mother Dirt soap), but water did wash over the area each time I showered.  My skin finally became little, red bump free after using the AO+ Mist.  BUT as soon as I stopped using the spray the bumps returned which is quite frustrating.

When it came to my daughter’s skin the products kept her sensitive skin irritation and rash free.  Her skin was also soft.  I passed along one bottle of the AO+ Mist to a friend who had hormonal breakouts on her back.  She definitely saw an improvement in her bacne after regularly using the product.

Would I Recommend Mother Dirt?

I would definitely recommend Mother Dirt products for people with sensitive, easily irritated skin, and those who suffer from regular breakouts.  These products will not get rid of hyperpigmentation for example or treat cystic acne, but they definitely can be helpful for people with sensitive skin.  People who want products with few and easily understandable ingredients will like Mother Dirt’s products.  I applaud the company’s transparency and innovation.

 

 

 

Long Overdue: Product Recommendations February 7, 2017

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I am embarrassed to say how long ago I tried the products I am going to mention in this post so it’s probably just best I don’t address that issue.  Instead please find my reviews below of a few products I have tried and liked.  Some of the products were sent to me for review, others I purchased on my own.  Let’s begin, in no particular order.

  • No7 Refreshing Toner:  This product I purchased out of desperation.  Two long airplane trips in a row left my skin extremely dry and parched.   I tried to think of something I could do to bring extra moisture back to my skin in addition to my regular moisturizer. This toner did a great job at bringing much needed moisture to my skin.  I recommend this product for someone looking for an easy yet effective way to get more skin hydration.
  • Neutrogena sent me a number of products to try.  Unfortunately most were strong, anti-acne products that weren’t right at all for my skin.  The only product I tried, and loved, was the Neutrogena Cooldry Sport Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 70.  This sunscreen felt great on my skin.  It goes on totally weightlessly, absorbs quickly, and didn’t leave any sticky residue behind.  I highly recommend this sunscreen for use on your body.  It isn’t meant for your face.
  • The kind folks at Meg21 approached me about trying their products many moons ago. This company has an intriguing approach to anti-aging skincare – the main thrust of their message is that glycation is ruining our skin.  “Toxic sugars” (their words not mine) are breaking down the collagen in our skin thus aging it.  Their products contain an ingredient called supplamine that inhibits glycation in the skin thus keeping your skin looking young for longer.  The company was kind enough to send me full size products to try along with a few samples.  Overall I really liked the texture, ease of application, and how the products felt on my skin.  The packaging for their moisturizers is great.  Unlike a lot of moisturizers that are in containers with tops that come all the way off which then exposes the product to the air, these moisturizers were packaged in containers that had a top that did not come off. Instead you pressed down on the top in order to release the amount of product that you wanted to use.  This way none of the moisturizer was ever exposed to the air.  I tried the antioxidant serum (I can’t live without using an antioxidant serum each and every morning), the cleanser, Smooth Radiance Face Treatment, and the Smooth Radiance Advanced Formula. Though I definitely liked the way all the products felt on my skin I did not use them for long enough to be able to tell you if my skin looked any younger or fresher.  I will say though that the science behind the products is definitely intriguing.  If you are looking for a new and innovative way to fight skin aging these products are definitely worth trying.

 

Favorites from 2010 December 31, 2010

 

As we leave one year behind and start a new one I thought this post would be great to take an opportunity to look back on some of my favorite product discoveries from 2010.

But before listing my favorites from 2010 I wanted to take the time to say thank you to a few people who really made this blog possible:

  • First and foremost a great big thank you to my dear friend the fabulous Ms. S who gave me the idea to start a blog.  Always happy to share her blogging knowledge and tips, Ms. S really helped me get going with blogging.  (You can read Ms. S’s own blog filled with her musings on life.)
  • Thank you to my husband, mother, and sister for being the first subscribers to my blog.
  • And last but certainly not least – THANK YOU TO MY READERS!!!  A big thank you to everyone who posted comments over the last year and who took the time to read what I have written.
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Favorite New Product Discoveries from 2010

In no particular order here they are:

  • Obagi’s Clenziderm anti-acne line:  I’ve had acne for 20 years straight and tried so many products in order to keep my acne under control that I’ve lost count of what I’ve tried.  This physician dispensed line really delivers.  It isn’t cheap, but it is well worth the money.
  • The first post I ever wrote for this blog was about brush-on mineral sunscreen, an obsession of mine for about two years now.  Until about a month ago I had always used Peter Thomas Roth’s brush-on sunscreen and had had issues with the container/brush of the product.  Basically the powder sunscreen would spill everywhere.  Not fun.  I finally tried Colorscience’s brush-on sunscreen, and well now I understand why it costs $50.  The brush is by far the most superior and high quality brush I have used for a product like this.   The actual powder sunscreen goes on flawlessly, cutting down on mid-day shine while providing that much-needed sun protection.  Once again – not cheap but worth the investment.
  • I have always been bothered by my calloused feet.  Simple moisturizers never gave me the smooth feet and soles that I wanted.  Then I realized that I needed to use a moisturizer with glycolic acid in it in order to get smooth feet.  So little effort, so much reward.  I’ve tried two products and been very happy with both:  Philosophy’s Soul Owner and DDF Pedi-Cream.

 

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2011!

 

Will Ferrell Sunscreen – I Kid You Not June 20, 2010

I don’t even remember any more why I was looking at the Fred Flare website in the first place.  But as I was tooling around the site I came across what I thought at first was a joke: Will Ferrell endorsed sunscreen  which benefits Cancer for College.  My husband is a big Will Ferrell fan so I thought buying him this sunscreen as part of a Father’s Day gift would be fun and a great surprise as well.

It turns out that Will Ferrell is a long time friend of the guy who founded the non-profit organization Cancer for College.  Craig Pollard founded Cancer for College after battling and surviving cancer twice before he turned 20.  Realizing that many families use up all their savings just to save the lives of their kids who have cancer he wanted to help those kids realize their dream of going to college.  The non-profit holds an annual golf tournament fundraiser which Will Ferrell always participates in, and now Ferrell has also lent his name and image (well partial image) to a sunscreen whose proceeds benefit the group.

The sunscreen is spf 30 and has a lightweight feel.  It went on easily and sunk in quickly.  I definitely recommend it for use this summer.

You can buy the Will Ferrell sunscreen through the Cancer for College website, Fred Flare, and even Amazon.

 

Caring for Your Feet May 15, 2010

 

I think/I hope we might finally be having spring weather in Chicago so summer is just around the corner.  Summer always makes me think of pedicures and having nice looking feet for sandal wearing.  I suspect that I am not the only person who suffers from rough, even calloused, feet year round.  I’ve tried to treat my own feet with callouse removers in the shower – scrubbing away at my heels to no avail; I never saw much of a difference when I used an emery type board on my feet.  I have also tried different foot creams that advertised that they would smooth your feet.  Then finally I got a clue – glycolic acid!  It was time to try a body lotion with a hefty dose of glycolic acid (10%) in order to smooth and soften my feet, especially my heels.  After all two things that glycolic acid does is smooth and soften the skin.  Products with glycolic acid that are formulated for the body are stronger than those for the face and worth trying.  I’ve been using DDF Pedi-Cream for only about a week now and immediately saw results.  I’m converted – no more scrubbing away at my heels in the shower.  And what could be easier than just applying a lotion to your feet and heels after you shower?

 

My New Favorite Lip Product May 7, 2010

I’m always on the look out for great lip products since I have dry lips all year round.  Until I discovered Dermalogica Renewal Lip Complex recently my two favorite lip products were Aquaphor Healing Ointment (the small tube) and Neosporin Overnight Renewal Therapy.  Now I still like both of those products for use in the evening since they are thick  and hydrating.  Unlike the Dermalogica product the primary ingredient in each of those two products is petrolatum which is known for its healing and protective qualities and can be a great ingredient for lips.  On the other hand, the Dermalogica product has cocoa butter, castor seed oil, wheat germ oil, and even Vitamin E (which is a great antioxidant) in it in addition to a polypeptide which is anti-aging.  But my main concern with a lip product is – how long does it last?  Well the Dermalogica products lasts for a long time making it my new favorite.  As anyone who has read this blog knows – I want all my products to have spf in them so I am disappointed that this does not.  So after applying this lip product in the morning I apply an additional lip product with spf in it on top in order to get proper sun protection for my lips during the day.

You can buy Dermalogica Renewal Lip Complex through Ulta.  Check out the online reviews; I’m not the only one who loves this product.

*Please note I get no compensation whatsoever for recommending products.  I just recommend them because I like them.*

 

Sephora Sun Safety Kit April 29, 2010

Sephora and The Skin Cancer Foundation have teamed up once again to sell a Sun Safety Kit for only $25.  That small amount of money gets you 11 trial size sun protection products in a cute pink bag.  In the kit you’ll find sunscreens, moisturizers with sunscreens,a lip balm with sunscreen, a self-tanner with sunscreen, and make-up with sunscreens.  And the best part, if getting all those products for $25 wasn’t enough for you, 100% of the net profits from the sale of the kits goes to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Enjoy shopping!

 

 
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