Aging, Shopping, Skin

Beautycounter: Anti-Aging Line + A Giveaway

A post by my youngest daughter Laura Allen:

I have been bugging my mom to start a skincare routine for years. She’s somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to beauty & skincare and wasn’t convinced anti-aging products would really make a difference in her skin.

Then my sister and I joined the Beautycounter movement in April, and my mom agreed to try it all!  She’s now using the resurfacing peel, anti-aging night cream, brightening oil, makeup line, and more, and her skin is brighter, more hydrated, smoother, and has less age spots in just a matter of months.

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If you’re not familiar with Beautycounter, the skincare & beauty company is making headlines because they are committed to safer skincare products and have banned over 1500 harmful chemicals from their products (known as The Never List). They are also certified B Corp, and have a strong mission of advocacy, investing in research, and giving back.

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But the icing on the cake is that the products are amazing! Especially the new anti-aging line, known as Countertime. This line contains two plant-based ingredients: bakuchiol, a derivative from the Asian babchi plant, and Swiss Alpine rose, a plant extract from the Swiss Alps. Bakuchiol has been shown to provide skin-care results that are comparable to retinol—without potentially harmful side effects—and Swiss Alpine rose boosts the skin’s antioxidant defense. Known as a ‘Retinatural Complex,’ these new ingredients have strong clinical data and rave reviews so far. The Countertime line includes:

Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil – This is a lightweight oil that removes makeup and dirt without stripping essential lipids from skin.

Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence This is similar to a toner in that it prepares the skin to absorb products, but it also hydrates and has a lightweight, milky consistency.

Tripeptide Radiance Serum – This is a rejuvenating treatment that helps with skin firmness and elasticity, while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Antioxidant Soft Cream (AM) – Provides hydration and protects the skin barrier; designed for use in the morning/under makeup.

Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream (PM) – This is a rich, hydrating night ream for elasticity and firming.

Ultra Renewal Eye Cream – This revitalizes the eye area and reduces the appearance of under-eye shadows and crow’s feet.

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Giveaway: Curious to try Beautycounter?

I’m giving away Countertime samples to two Friend for the Ride readers. The sampler packs include the Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil, Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence, Tripeptide Radiance Serum, Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream (night cream). Just leave a comment by October 10 to enter the giveaway!

As a Beautycounter consultant, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about products & ingredients or make recommendations based on your goals/skin.

 

PS: Like to get your holiday shopping finished early? The Beautycounter holiday line will launch on the website October 7th, and includes gift sets, limited edition products, and travel-sized samplers that make excellent holiday or thank you gifts.

Aging, Menopause, Skin, Skincare

Skin! 10 Ways To Start The Anti-Aging Process at Any Age

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A post by freelance writer Elizabeth Rago:

It’s never too late to start the anti-aging process. From encouraging cell renewal to seeking out professionals to recommend skin care products, here are 10 tips to reviving the vibrant and youthful skin you were born with…

1. Exercise–Dinana Rodriguez of everydayhealth.com lists 5 ways working out can benefit your skin and besides boosting oxygen and unclogging the toxins in your pores, exercise eases stress making that natural happy glow shine.

2. Wear (SPF) protection–Exposure to the sun can happen any time you step outside, so choosing a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and applying properly is key.

3. Be patient–If you are starting a new regimen, whether it isa change in diet or testing out new skin care, give your body some time to respond to the switch in routine. You are planting a seed of healthy goodness inside your body and while you can’t see the results yet, the benefits will bloom in time.

4. Lather Up–Keeping your skin hydrated is a key element to the anti-aging process. Supple skin reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

5. Control Yourself and Don’t Over-exfoliate–“It’s no coincidence that women often start to overdo it in terms of exfoliation at midlife,” said The International Dermal Institute’s Director of Global Education Annet King.“This is when the cell-turnover begins to slow, and the skin’s overall metabolism subtly declines. In response, many women may get a bit reckless, wanting to “amp up” the exfoliation.”

6. Protect Yourself From the Sun Even In Cold Temperatures– Use a tinted moisturizer with an SPF, even during cold months when it might appear that the sun is not strong enough to cause damage.

7. Encourage Cell Renewal– In your 20’s, your skin cells were full of cell turnover energy, busting out fresh new cells every 14 -25 days. But as we age, too many poor choices like all-nighters or the overuse of alcohol starts to catch up with us, not to mention what our skin is exposed to environmentally. New Beauty Editors suggest you stay away from sweets, “Sugar will boost inflammation’s damaging effects, but eating good fats and oils, like tuna, salmon, soybeans, tofu, olive oil and avocado, help regulate cell metabolism, boost cellular repair and suppress inflammation.”

8. Get Educated – “It’s so important to interview, consult and map out the facial conditions of your client, as a free service before any product purchase and certainly before any professional service,” Annet King impresses to students who are preparing to become licensed estheticians and professional skin therapists.

9. Eat healthy – We are bombarded with the message “eat healthy”, but it’s important to take into account your personal lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic’s approach to diet “aims to teach you how to choose healthy foods and portions and to develop healthy lifestyle habits so that you can maintain a healthy weight for life.”

10. Invest In Quality Skin Care, But Don’t Break The Bank– It is important to find out from a professional what kind of skin care products you should use, but natural health and wellness practitioner, Dr. Andrew Weil, disagrees that buying expensive products ensures healthy skin. In fact, he says, “The best ways to maintain skin health aren’t very glamorous and certainly aren’t overly costly: good nutrition, adequate intake of both water and essential fatty acids, and daily use of a good antioxidant multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.”

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Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, and wellness practitioners. Elizabeth writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. She has been published in Mamalode Magazine, MOMentumNation.com, and thesavvyfreelancer.com.  Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz, and Google+.

Aging, Menopause, Skin, Skincare

Age Spots: A Slight TMI Post

Birthday Maze

When I saw this photo of my grandson Mazen, taken on his first birthday in September, my immediate emotion was: What a happy, festive day!

But this grandma’s second thought was: Look at those large age spots ( two inches above my right thumb near my wrist). They bother me whenever I look down at them. Now they’re popping up in pictures.

So………

At Chapel Hill Dermotology for a skin check two weeks later, I held out my hand. “Can we get rid of these?”

“I can freeze them off,” Dr. Becker offered.

“How much?”

“Charge is one hundred dollars.”

Hmmm…..

A hundred dollars.

Two dinners out.

Two new dresses at a really good sale.

or……..

Two big old age spots gone forever.

“Will it actually work?”

The nurse, about my age, stretched out her hands. “Yep!”

No spots there.

I looked at my own hand, and then I looked at the doc. “Zap me.”

I felt some burn, and ten minutes later, this is what they looked like:

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I took photos of the healing process, but daughter Kath said they were too gross to post. The spots blistered up. Then scabs formed and after about two weeks, fell off.

They are now smallish smudges. I hope in time, they’ll fade to invisible.

At what price youth? Beauty?

I’m not sure, but I’m glad those extra-large age spots are gone.  To me, the one hundred dollars was well spent.

But guess where a chunk of the next hundred is going?

Someone’s getting  a train set and accessories for Christmas.

Choo! Choo!

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PS. I have plenty more age spots; I’m not ditzing, in general, on those marks of time. The two I had zapped were just so big, I was glad to see them go.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Perimenopause, Skin

Ten Tips from the Menopause Owl

“WHOO!  WHOO,” says the Wise Ms. Menopause Owl. “I have ten tips for you!”

Not.

I tricked you, so you would read my post.  I don’t know if there really IS a Menopause Owl, but until she makes her apprearance, I’ll post these tips myself.

I researched the reasons why owls are revered for their wisdom.  One is they can see in the dark.  How cool if we could see our way through the sometimes darkness of menopause with special eyes.

I sure couldn’t.  But here are some tips I would give a younger me right before the Great Pause hooted my way.

1. Speak up-about moodiness, physical symptoms, all of it. Don’t suffer in silence.

2. Don’t make a stranger of your doctor. Visit. Email. Call. Ask. And if after a visit or so, your doctor still feels like a stranger, find another doctor.

3. Don’t expect menopause to necessarily be a quick process. For me, one symptom would go away but another would appear. This is still happening!

4. Be watchful of  what you eat. I found all the menopause weight gain stories to be true.  The weight flies on. I wish I had been more careful.

5. If doctors, therapists, and buddies are suggesting you are depressed and need medication, explore the possibility that this is the Great Pause first.  (Guest post on this topic to come.)

6. Lotions and creams are your magic potions: moisturizer, sunscreen, conditioners, and lubricants. Estrogen cream may rescue you from vaginal dryness, which can cause not only pain but intense pressure.

7. If you find yourself tossing in bed for more than a half hour or so, sometimes it’s best to just get up for a while. This wiggles my brain around and puts it back into a sleep mode.  I let myself get wide awake, contrary to the advice in most articles. I write, do dishes, straighten drawers, answer email, whatever.

8. Exercise does everything it promises to. Big bad hormones hate exercise . It scares them away, making you feel better, sometimes within the first ten minutes or so.

9. Make changes. As you feel  yourself changing, make some.  Small changes, larger ones. Good ones.  Change helps us climb out of ruts and feel like we’re the boss, which in many ways we are!

10. Appreciate the sisterhood of the ages.  Women have gone through menopause for centuries. Let their spirits bolster yours.

Photo: The owl above lives on the first outfit I bought for my grandson-to-be. More funky than classic, I found the decorated onesie at an arts festival in Durham. I hope my grandson will have wise eyes and steady wings and lots of fun as he flaps and soars through life.

Aging, Menopause, Skin

Guest Post: Vein Vanity!

Judy Brown writes about the art of the vein:

The mosaic of tiny capillaries and purple veins.  It is yet another sign of our womanly aging. Every time I see an ad for a vein clinic, I hesitate.  I was really bothered when a friend of mine said she was going to a clinic to have all her protruding leg veins removed. I am sure many of you have also contemplated this procedure.

It is another decision.  But it is not a hard one for me because I have a phobia of needles. I look at my 82 year old mother’s colorful legs and see my future. I have several works of art already on my upper thighs: moles, freckles, sun damage, red dots, purple veins, other discolorations and undefined splotches.  Sometimes I stare at them.  Are  they all that bad?  

Are these intricate designs on our legs not works of art, perhaps, masterpieces?

A colorful curve in the capillary run might be the time you paced for hours in the middle of the night waiting for your teenager to come home.

The large and bulging upper thigh vein might be from stomping on the ground trying to make your point during the  “big fight” with your spouse.

Or the lacework patch of pinkish blood vessels might be the daily commute to your first job in the city.

I bet one burst was from running after your toddler at the mall!

These mini paintings show the wisdom of our years.  They show active lifestyles and miles of adventure. They show hard work and fun times. They show stress and pleasure. They even come in rainbow colors. Most amazing is that they are unique to each woman. We are each our own art piece.

What is the point of being perfect?  Of having perfect legs? How have you decided to reconcile this point of vanity?

**(Not being a medical expert, I do know that some cases of vericose veins are serious and painful, so the procedure is a life saver. I am referring to cosmetic options.)

Judy Brown grew up in Rio. Here she is basking in the sun during her senior year in high school with no worries of unsightly veins.

Stocking Photo:  These funky stockings are sold by a French company.  In case you don’t have bad veins yet but want to pretend, you can purchase a pair.   Learn more about them here.

Gratitude, Hot Flashes, Menopause, Skin

Turtle Thoughts with a Slight Link to Menopause

The other night, I had a dream I was wading through dozens of  enormous turtles.  And so the next day I tried to figure out the dream’s message for this menopausal blogger.

Should I up my efforts to declutter the house so we can fit into a smaller shell in a few years?

Do I need to increase my walking pace?  Wear stronger sunscreen to prevent leathery skin?  Buy some funky placemats in an earth-toned geometric print?  Eat more greens?   Be more patient?  Be less patient?

Should I tuck in my head, think deeper, and write harder?

Or does dreaming of turtles suggest I am behaving much too turtle-like?  Do I need to stop writing with such intensity and abandon my semi-turtle shell life?   More party and less keyboard pounding?

Is the dream urging Cliff and me to put our shells in gear and get going on the world travel we long for.  (The dream was vaguely set on the Galapagos Islands.)

Was the dream’s purpose to teach me, once and for all, that I need to get over the frustration of not being able to solve the world’s mysteries?  I’ve always wondered how it feels to be a turtle, and I will NEVER have the privilege of knowing.  Chill, Barbara.  But I still wonder:  Do lady turtles go through menopause?  Bless their turtle hearts if they do.  Menopause and a shell can’t be a great combination.

OR (and I promise this is the final “or”) does my dream mean, plain, happy, and simple, that I’m lucky, very lucky, to live in a world graced by amazing and intriguing creatures?

And now a hypothetical question for you, my dear human readers:  What would you MOST like to ask  one of the world’s creatures?  Leave a comment by clicking on “Comments ” below.

Photo:  I found this lovely turtle, who is really a tortoise, on Mongabay.com.  I’m pretending she has in-shell access to the Internet  and is a fan of Friend for the Ride.  I’d love to have some readers in the Galapagos!

Change Your Life!  Learn once and for all, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise by watching this SHORT video.

Aging, Skin

Skincare: One Girl’s Trash Is Another Girl’s Treasure

For many women (most?), aging skin is a heartbreaker.  We make upbeat remarks about our laugh lines and the happy moments they represent, but all in all, seeing your skin crinkle and spot up can cause some real frowning.

But what’s almost as bad, or worse, is FEELING your skin change.  Menopause does nasty things to the skin’s moisture.  Dry skin, especially when I come out of a hot shower, can turn me into a grump faster than you can say, “Sahara Desert.”

What’s tricky is figuring out what works to fix the dryness.

I have a confession:  I’m a Noxzema addict.  My great-uncle founded Noxema Canada, and so you see, it’s in the blood.  My girls are mortified.  They have read the label on the blue plastic  jar and know the product is marketed as a face wash.  But it works for me, and has for my family for several generations.

Which brings me to this blog post’s title.  A balm for some skin types can feel like wind burn to others.  I’ve had bad luck with more elegant brands, so  I keep blobbing on the Noxzema.  What my daughters and most skin care experts trash, I treasure.  I thank my menopausal stars I have a husband who doesn’t complain about its unusual smell  (L’eau of Cedar Chips, perhaps?)

What about you?  Has your skin gotten dryer as you’ve aged?  What’s your favorite skincare product and/or routine?  Let’s start a list.  That product you treasure may be the perfect solution for another reader too.

Photo:  The old cobalt blue glass jars above would certainly be trash to some, but my mom saved them.  Now they grace a shelf in daughter Kath’s home.  My guess is the taller octagonal jars on either end are Noxzema jars.  Any blue glass experts out there?