July 9, 2009

the damage done

So, lately I've been trying my best to reverse the skin damage I've done over the years. I was a definite sun worshiper when I was younger--I think it's a requirement living in southern California. But now that I'm in my mid-twenties, I've decided that I need to make the conscious effort to stop the damage I've been doing.

Sunscreen vs. Sun Exposure

Obviously, this is the biggest no-brainer. I try to avoid going out when the sun is the most intense (which here in the desert is always), but when I do have to venture out, I slather myself with SPF 50. I've been using Banana Boat Sport with Helioplex, but I don't like it. It seems to make me really warm (literally, after applying it I start to feel really hot), and I doubt its effectiveness. I went to a one hour water aerobics class after putting on four layers of sunscreen and still came back with a very noticeable tan line. Considering that it's supposed to be "water proof, sweat proof" this doesn't fill me with confidence. So if anyone has a brand of sunscreen they absolutely love, give it a shout out!


Before I was simply using sunscreen as my moisturizer, but didn't like the sheen it left on my face (plus, I was breaking out--ick!). Now, I've started using Neutrogena Ageless Essentials Continuous Hydration with Helioplex (it must be the newest thing in sun defence). I was very surprised at how well it works and how much I like it. It's a little thin, but a little goes a long way. It has SPF 25 in it, doesn't have any kind of smell, and keeps my super-dry skin very hydrated. Bonus: it only runs about $13 in-store.

I've also started to consider foundations that will do more for my skin than make it "flawless and dewy." One of the lines I considered was the Olay-Cover Girl compilation of Simply Ageless Foundation. I've heard mixed reviews on it--you either love it or hate it--but I won't be trying it as people seem to be having reactions around their eyes. Being a contact wearer, I just don't mess with stuff like that! So the search continues, but I'm confident my perfect foundation is out there somewhere!


My body is what has taken the brunt of my sun damage, as well as what I'm focusing the most attention on. Aside from bleaching my skin, the only other avenue I had was to use fruit and citrus extracts to help lighten my freckles and correct the discoloration. I started looking for citrus body scrubs. C.O. Bigalow has some wonderful lemon body scrubs, but at $20 per 10-ounce tub it was going to cut into my allowance heavily! Instead, I made my own!

DIY Lemon Body Scrub
3-cups Epsom salt, plus some extra
3/4-cups baby oil
Juice of 2 lemons

1. Pour salt into container.
2. Add oil.
3. Juice lemons and add to mix.
4. Stir. Add extra Epsom salts until desired consistency is reached.

Hopefully, I don't have to tell you please don't use this mix if you have open wounds or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. And like all cleaners, this is for external use only. Please keep away from eyes!

If the idea of using a lemon scrub doesn't appeal to you, add some full-fat milk to your bath water. Supposedly Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin radiant!

I also started using a lotion containing Vitamin C (according to everything I read, Vitamin C is one of the best things you can use to reverse sun damage). I've been using Beauty Without Cruelty's Organic Vitamin C with CoQ10 lotion. It smells so good! I'm sniffing my arm right now trying to figure out how to describe it. {{sniff sniff}} Roses? Eucalyptus? The best I can say is it smells like a day spa. You know, all those essential oils mixed together? It's divine if you like that kind of smell. Plus, BWC doesn't test on animals and their potions are 100% organic and vegetarian! You can find more info on their website.

Now, for the Disclaimers

I'm not a doctor, esthetician, dermatologist or any other practicing skin-care-know-it-all. I based my regimens on research that I did for myself and my skin type. I only hope to pass on what I've learned and what I'm trying!


  1. Hey Amber -- I'm a big fan of your blog - it's so fun to see what people have been up to since EHS. Anyway I wanted to let you know about some sunscreen that's totally awesome. I had shoulder surgery this winter and was told to keep my arms out of the sun this summer - and since I love the summer they recommended some sunscreen to me. I use Neutrogena with helioplex. It's so awesome. I have the really high SPF (like 95) for my scar but then I use their sport one for when I swim. I love it because it doesn't leave your skin feeling all icky and oily...you should give it a try - sometimes you can find it for cheap at target (like 12 bucks)

    Anyway hope that helps - and good luck packing all your stuff for your move back to SD

  2. Thanks Lyanna! (For the well wishes and the suggestion!) I wonder what the whole deal about Helioplex is. I'd never even heard about it until recently. I'll definitely look for it around the PX or out in town--I love their face moisturizer, maybe I'll love their sunscreen too!


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