Skincare Enigmas part II

It’s been two months since I posted about my acne issues and I wanted to update everyone.

About a month ago, I went for a detoxifying facial at my favorite spa, Hand and Stone. This is the same spa I purchased my ClarityRx products which I believed weren’t working for me. After some discussion with the esthetician, she set me up with a game plan. She asked me to do the following to try and clear up my skin:

  • Use a Precleanse to remove makeup before using final cleanser to treat skin.
  • Use a sebum clearing mask about twice a week with a spot treatment of salicylic acid under mask
  • Hydrate

I discovered what I was doing wrong was not precleansing my face to remove makeup. The ClarityRx products while effective, are also designed to be gentle since they contain no artificial fragrances, parabens, or harmful synthetic chemicals. Therefore, I was needing to precleanse my face to rid of the makeup and then I could medicate my acne with ClarityRx. (Remember guys, I don’t sale this stuff, I am merely a consumer trying to fix my skin without breaking the bank.) So I’ve taken some of the esthetician’s suggestions and tweeked them a little so I can keep some money in my pocketbook. Here is my current regimen:

Before bed/makeup removal:

  • “Precleanse” with Pond’s Original Fresh Wet Cleansing Towelettes with Vitamin E. (I’ve tried about a dozen different brands of wipes my friends, and these here are gentle and effective, and do not leave a sticky after feel on my face.) Use 1 to 2 wipes.
  • Post Cleanse with ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed 10% Glycolic Acid Cleanser (This was the esthetician’s recommendation and I love it! It’s really helping me with my acne and acne scars.)
  • Alternate these next two steps, 1 to 2 times a week:  a) tone with ClarityRx Fix It 2% Pore Perfecting Solution  or   b)  spot treat with ClarityRx Fix It and use Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Mask (This mask is so invigorating, tingling and energizing. It is a must try.)
  • Hydrate with ClarityRx Call Me In The Morning Soothing Recovery Cream (This moisturizer is great for my acne prone skin with dry patches. It is a matte cream. Soothing and leaves my skin super hydrated without feeling oily or greasy.)

Before work/morning cleanse/no makeup/premakeup application:

  • Use ClarityRx Cleanse As Needed or one of my Aveeno cleansers. (Since my face is practically clean because of no makeup, I’ll use an Aveeno cleanser in this step to help extend the life of my more expensive ClarityRx cleanser.)
  • Hydrate with ClarityRx Call Me In The Morning (I try to now stay away from primers since they tend to clog my pores. Call Me In The Morning seems to do the work of a primer for me.)
  • FOUNDATION!  This one came highly recommended by the esthetician. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour full coverage foundation (I did my own research on Tarte Cosmetics and found out they use “skinvigorating ingredients  (tm)”,  which includes  superfruit, plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, essential oils and other naturally derived ingredients. My skin LOVES this stuff! I went to Sephora and one of the lovely ladies there helped me find the perfect color.
  • On my low key foundation “off days” I use NYC BB Creme 5 in 1 Instant Matte. (This formulation is easy in my pores and stays matte for many hours.)

Here is a picture of everything I am currently using

 

Overall I feel like my skin is on the road to recovery and is so much better than it was two months ago. I’ll keep you posted! Please feel free to leave me any questions you may have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skincare Enigmas

I’ve experienced mild acne issues since my teens and early 20’s, but lately it seems to be different. My face used to be oily all over with breakouts mainly on the nose, forehead and chin. These days my skin is about 90% dry, 10% oily and breakouts are almost always on my jawline, chin and upper arms. I am not sure if this is a case of an absent thyroid or if it is because I am now in my mid 30’s and my skin has changed. Most of the time I am able to keep it under control, but I am currently battling a moderately severe acne flare-up. Two possible reasons for this: 1) one day last week I went to bed with my makeup on.  2) I may be allergic to an ingredient in a health drink I was consuming but have now stopped.

The past six months or so I have discovered that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide treatments are too harsh on my skin and end up giving me dry patchy skin and sometimes irritate the acne even more. After some research I believe my breakouts on my upper arms are due to Keratosis Pilares; which seems to be under control at the moment.

Here are two pictures of my face without makeup so you’ll know what I am dealing with

Right Side

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Left Side

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About two months ago I purchased some high end skin care products (Clarity Rx) from my local day spa, but those didn’t do hardly anything for my acne and seemed to dry out my face even more. So I purchased a set of Aveeno Skin Care products to see if they would help. Here is what I am trying next:

  • Positively Radiant (PR) Daily Cleansing Pads
  • PR Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
  • PR Brightening Cleanser
  • Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream
  • PR Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15

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I will keep you updated on my results and post some new pictures in about a week.

A list of my must do’s to help with my skin care:

  • Drink 64 ounces of water daily
  • Get 8 hours of sleep at one time
  • MUST wash face before bed
  • Moisturize after cleansing and before makeup application
  • Use Antibacterial Soap to cleanse makeup brushes
  • Use Antibacterial soap on face after removing makeup for 3 days straight

To be continued…

 

To run or not to run?

As part of my attempt to create a healthier me this year, I decided to try to participate in the occasional 5k every now and then. So far this year, I have completed one 10k and three 5ks. The last one was took place this past Saturday, December 17th. The high for the day was projected to be around 76°, followed by an arctic front forecasted to arrive in the late evening hours. The 5k was scheduled to start at 4:45 P.M., so I figured by the end of the run, the temperature would still be in the high 50’s. Well mother nature had other plans in store for the 600+ walkers and runners participating in the Cowtown Speedway Candy Cane Classic. The cold front came in early, way early, and around 1 P.M.,  our beautiful 70° Texas weather abruptly dropped 20 degrees. As I drove to the 5k location, the thermometer in my vehicle read 40°, and then 38° when I arrived. OH BOY! This was wasn’t going to be pretty. I can barely run in normal conditions, much less frigid and ice-cold windy conditions. I participated with a group of ladies; our Team Leader named us the Sleigh Belles. Cute, huh? The first mile and a half was brutal…I tried to run but the wind whipped across my face and said “oh no you don’t”. So I walked as fast as I could until I reached about the second and third miles where the course was a partially covered concourse. There I was able to do a little jogging and I made up some time. And that’s just an estimate on where the miles were because I was too cold to check. The last 5k I did in November took me 41 minutes. This one, my friends, took me a blistering 53 minutes. It was freezing and I reconsidered going through with it many times. After the run, I was numb and quickly went to my car to blast the heat on my legs. It took me about six hours to warm up afterwards. But I am glad I did it.

Here is a picture of us gals; I am the shortest one on the end.

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Thank you ladies for the motivation! I couldn’t have done without y’all!

And our Team Leader, Dana, was awarded third place! GO DANA!

Here is a screenshot of the weather forecast for that day

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We’ve already signed up to do another 5k at the end of January – fingers crossed this one doesn’t come with a cold front!

Magic Potions?

In my sometimes underactive (pun intended) attempt to find my new “normal” I’ve purchased hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of over the counter products. This includes health drinks, weight loss pills, vitamins, BCAAs, protein drinks, etc. Some I’ve loved and some I’ve hated. After my thyroidectomy, I gained approximately 15 pounds in one year. I topped out at 179 and on a 4 foot 10 inch frame, that’s a lot of weight. With diet and exercise I managed to bring it down to 147 this past spring, but sadly I have gained about 11 pounds back. My current weight is 158. I try (emphasis on try) to exercise 2 to 3 times a week, which includes boot camp, the stationary bike, and the occasional circuit equipment, elliptical and treadmill. Still, it’s hard to stay focused on my diet and have the energy to get to the gym. I want to sleep… all the time! Which brings me to my newest, most exciting discovery. (Disclaimer – I am not a medical professional, I do not sell these products, I am just a consumer trying to find the holy grail to feel “normal”.)

After seeing commercial after commercial for Sero-Vital, OTC supplements to help induce one’s natural production of HGH, I started to do some research. What if a higher HGH would help me with my thyroid absence woes? After watching you tube videos on Sero Vital, I came across a youtuber who was sold on Ageless Foundations Ultramax Gold, which is an amino supplement to support natural HGH production. More energy, better skin, better sleep and overall health? What do I have to lose? Well today’s the first day I am trying this exciting product. To be clear, I am not trying this product as a weight loss solution, but I am hoping if I am able to naturally increase my HGH, I’ll have more energy and motivation to get to the gym. Some extra stamina during my workouts would be nice also.  I’ll keep you posted on my findings.

The UltraMax is an orange flavored powder you take with 8 ounces of water. Here is their site along with the fabulous youtuber who reviewed it:

Ageless Foundation

http://agelessfoundation.com/products/ultramax-gold/

Yoga GirlsWorld  https://youtu.be/kNFXY47BNiA

What is a “ghost butterfly”?

After almost five years of feeling lost and having the desire to express my views on thyroid cancer, I finally stumbled on the term “ghost butterfly”. Since my teenage years, I’ve had a fascination and love for butterflies which was unexplainable. I received my first tattoo at around age 20, which was none other than a petite pink solitary butterfly that I proudly displayed on my left shoulder blade. Through the years, my dear butterfly signified beauty and freedom. During my 30th year on this earth, my butterfly came to signify something deeper. In December of 2011, I had surgery for the removal of what I thought was a benign goiter on one side of my thyroid. About two weeks later after the new year in 2012, my lab results showed that the benign goiter was actually cancerous. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the follicular carcinoma version. Immediately following was the removal of the remainder of my thyroid, months of tests, treatments, hormone replacements and a struggle to find my new “normal”. Now during this 4th year, sans thyroid, I’ve finally decided to convey my thoughts and see how many people share the same struggles I have, with this less mentioned, often disregarded type of cancer. The stereotypical “good cancer” as it is often referred to. LAUGH and SIGH. The term “ghost butterfly” came to me a few months ago when I was trying to figure out how I best feel about my situation; logically I know I no longer have my thyroid and my body knows it too, but my heart still feels an attachment to this little butterfly shaped organ which is no longer present. A ghost butterfly. All that is left is a slightly visible scar on the front of my neck which I thank God for. With it, I am reminded every time I look into the mirror not to settle for less and to try (at least) make each day count. But it’s so hard most of the time. Especially when I feel like something is missing and I cannot quite put my finger on it. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, two years ago I retouched my tattoo and had it completely filled in with black ink. I also added six more butterflies so she wouldn’t be alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If they can do it, so I can I

The years following my thyroidectomy, part of me concluded that the rest of my life would be plagued with weight issues and lethargy. But the universe has shown me that I don’t have to give in to that way of thinking. I discovered there are some celebrities who share the status of thyroid cancer survivor. To name a few, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Sofia Vergara, Tarek El Moussa… these human beings are gorgeous and appear to full of life and vibrancy. What is their secret? If they can manage their busy celebrity schedules and look good doing it, so can we. Anytime I start to feel sorry for myself I think about them. REPEAT AFTER ME: “If they can do it, so can I”.

Follow the leader…

After the complete thyroidectomy, I spoke to three different doctors, who felt it was in my best interest to get me on a regimen of levothyroxine, aka Synthroid. I did as I was told, and yes, it did the job on supplying my body with the necessary thyroid hormone to live, but I still didn’t feel quite right.

During one of my stays at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Phoenix, AZ, I spoke with a Young Man who was being treated for throat cancer. Unfortunately for him, his thyroid became a causality during his cancer treatment. In order words, it was fried. He told me if I wasn’t feeling satisfied with my Synthroid I should seek another medication, Armour Thyroid. Armour (for short) is a naturally desiccated thyroid hormone, which contains T3 and T4. I kept his advice in mind, meanwhile sticking with the Synthroid regimen. But I didn’t feel like myself. I was cold, even in a hundred degree weather; sleepy, tired, body aches, brain fog, forgetful… the list goes on and on. So finally, the third doctor, sweet as could be, finally agreed to let me try the Armour. Yes, it took a few months and many blood tests to get the dosage right, but it was completely worth it! I felt almost like my old self again, closer than I did when I was on Synthroid. I admit, I am not completely my old self again, but it’s the closest I have come to it to this day. Yes, I still have occasional issues with energy and body temperature, but it’s less frequent than before.

In my book, Armour has greatly improved my sense of well-being. If Synthroid is working for you, I think that is awesome and you should continue it. BUT if you are not satisfied with it, I strongly recommend you become an advocate for your health, ask questions, do your research and ask your doctor to let you try other options (aka Armour). It may not work for everyone, but hey, its worth a shot right?

Thank you, Mr.Young Man at CTCA. I owe you so much, and I will always remember you.