Archive for August 2009

Acne and Pimple Treatment Review: TCA Peel and Steroid Injection

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As narrated in my best oil-control products post, oily-skinned girly like me are sooooo prone to acne. And we hate it a lot! We're in an endless search for the best zit-zapping cream that can give us a big hug and tell us that the humongous pimple sitting on our cheeks will be gone by the morrow.

TCA Peels and steroid injections are my last hopes when all else fails (because they are quite expensive). Here are my before pics (the costs of sleeping soooo late! Lack of sleep+hormonal imbalance+being lazy for skin care routine are the culprits, I can tell) :

A closer view of what women's chins must never be: yes, there are pimples, and see how ugly and rough my skin is?

Acne-fied chin: In need of a good pimple treatment!

I never liked steroid injections simply because they're all about needles. And I'm just not a fan. But I needed those trapped pus out of my chin, and so I had to face my fear and give in to that sort of acne treatment. Gosh, of all the places, I had to get the needle right along my T-zone area! Great.

I received a 30% (or was it 40?) TCA for the entire face. I didn't take ibuprofens or anything beforehand, and so I took the burning sensation of the procedure like a man, erm, a woman. Boy, it really stung my face! To think that a cooling fan was already hovering at my face, it still felt like my face was against the gas stove.

45 minutes after, I got up with a harrassed look on my pimpled face. The TCA Peel and Steroid tandem did a good job in freaking me out, but I know they'll be giving me the results that I want. Cliche-ish, but... no pain, no gain.

3 days post-treatment:

Welcome to the jungle!: A not-so-resolved chin area where peeling adds up to the jungle theme

5 days post-treatment:

Minimal peeling, I'm itching to force em out, but that's a no-no! Can anybody see a difference now?

I should've taken a shot of my chin the following day after visiting my derma. I know most of you already know how steroid injections work like magic, but I should've archived a proof of its wonder! Anyway, the above shots were take 5 days after my derma trip, and I have to admit I'm happy. I do mind how obvious the peeling was on day 3 (and that people stare at you like you're some walking... well, peel girl. haha, i can't think of anything else to say!), but seeing a whole new "baby" skin relieved me. Plus the pimples shrank significantly and are already drying up!

Boyfie had his fair share of the experience, minus the steroids... he's got less complicated zits (If ever you're reading this... I'm sorry!):

such a darling to pose for me! xoxo

Acne and Pimple Treatment Review on:

TCA Peel:
  • Painful Procedure? Yes, but tolerable.
  • Length of Treatment: ~15mins
  • Downtime: depending on TCA strength (x%), peeling may take up to 10 days max; I normally have 5 days down-time at 30%.
  • Cost: 1,000 to 3,000php/session (it's a thousand bucks with my doc, buti'm paying 50% off...yipee)
  • What you'll fall in love with: takes old skin out and a rosy, smooth skin in place of it; pimple-busting/drying; skin looks thinner (in a positive way)

Steroid Injection:
  • Painful Procedure? Terribly painful! (Hindi siya kagat ng langgam!! Grrrr!)
  • Length of Treatment: a few secs
  • Downtime: None
  • Cost: 500-800 per shot
  • What you'll fall in love with: instantaneous effect on acne/pimple

(L): Before Acne treatment (R): 5 days after acne treatment
A proof of my extremely imperfect skin (click to enlarge): The after pic isn't drool-worthy, but this is the best that my skin can get

I love my dermatologist to bits because she makes the cost part of my review inkling to the positive side! These above prices are the usual ranges you'll be quoted when you derma-hop around the metro. I'm a lucky gal to have found a good doctor who is passionate about her craft, and who is already rich enough to even think about dermatology as a business!

Have you tried TCA Peels and the dreadful steroid shot? Or do you prefer other acne and pimple treatment? Tell me about them and I'll try them out, too!

My MD, a fellow Thomasian: Sixta Foronda , M.D.
6F Aesthetic and Anti-Ageing Center
14/F Medical Plaza, Amorsolo St., Makati City


Made a POST on how my entire face looks like 4 hours after threatment!

Top 6 Oil - Controlling Beauty Products

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I know that I am not the only girl wishing I had a different skin type and that I knew the best way to control oil. Oily-skinned gals like me are dreading the oil mine trapped in our faces and it's such a difficult task for us to make sure that we're still pretty and fresh at the end of the day.

Here's our biggest problem: we need a face make-up with medium-to-heavy coverage to hide our acne marks and scars, but we can't keep that make-up sit on our faces because of excess oil.

Let me share with you my top 6 must-use beauty products to control oil in helping us keep our faces primped and pretty the entire day:

#6. Blotting papers.
J&J Clean and Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets, ~118php ($2.50) at beauty stores and supermarkets

Oily girls need blotting papers since these are handy goodies to keep our faces fresh and oil-free. Just make sure you dab it on your face and not rub it in. It's a must to blot first before retouching with a finishing powder to make sure you're not trapping oil and sweat underneath your made-up face.

(my pick: J&J Clean and Clear Blotting Paper; also try: Gatsby's ~140php, Watson's <100php)

#5. Finishing powders.
Aromaleigh's Ultra reslution finishing powder, $13.75 at website, there are resellers over

These oil-control beauty products add to keeping the face clean and fresh-looking. It can also blur imperfections while giving us a radiant glow.

Oily girls need finpows because we don't want our face to look so flat with a matte make-up.

(my picks: Aromaleigh's URFP's, Bare Escentuals Tinted Mineral veil 500-1000+; also try: Monave's 600-800php, Joppa's 490-900php)

#4. Foundation powders.
Joppa foundies in Full/Soft Coverage, Morning Dew and Simple Radiance, $18-$22 for full-sizes

MMU's are by far, the best foundation powders that can perfectly set your liquid foundie! I will swear to this till I die.

Oily girls need foundation powders to make sure that their base foundies get an extra hold.

(my picks: Joppa's 700-1000php, Pure Anada's 1,000+php, Clinique Superbalanced powder 1,780php; also try: Monave's ~1000php, Lauress')

#3. A gel moisturizer.
Clinique's DDMG, 2400php 125mL at Rustan's; $24 at Clinique website

It's a let-down to know that there are millions of oily-skinned girls who skip on moisturizers. Let me tell you a secret: moisturizers that hydrate the skin send signals to our sebaceous glands to cut down on oil production since enough moisture is already achieved. We produce excess oil basically because our skin lacks the needed moisture!

Oily girls need a moisturizer in gel form to eliminate the greasy feel and replace it with a smooth and velvetty one instead.

(my pick: Cinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel)

#2. A good toner.

Most people say that it tightens the pores and remove excess oil. While this is good news for us, these claims are plainly untrue. The real deal with toners is that it removes unwashed dirt and cleansing residues (c/o our soaps) that may irritate and clog our pores. Since most traditional soaps (and even some facial soaps) are alkaline, toners do the job of restoring the pH of our skin to normal.

Oily girls need a good toner because we don't want more zits/acne adding up when we stuff our faces with make-up. (Tip: there are some toners, like L'oreal Pure Zone's, that contain salicylic acid which can help us with our acne problem)

(my picks: Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3 or #4 1,500-1,800php, my derma's glowing solution 400+php; also try: L'oreal Pure Zone Toner 300+php, Celeteque's 200-300php, Nivea's, Body Shop's Tea Tree Toner 600+php, Neutrogena's Alcohol-free toner ~500php)

#1. Primers!

Smashbox Photofinish (Original), 1800+php at Beauty Bar, $36 at Smashbox website

I've never realized the power of a primer until I started reading beauty blogs. Primers do wonders you just can't imagine. They provide a smooth slate for your make-up to glide on while blurring imperfections and pore size. The best thing about primers is that it keeps your make-up stuck on the face by keeping oilies at bay (which is later reinforced by your finpows)!

The best primers I've tried are silicone-based ones (Smashbox Photofinish), but since most of these can clog our pores, there are primers built silicone-free that may be to our liking!

(My picks: Skinhour's Mattifying Day Cream/Leyende's Face Canvass 400+php, Shu Uemura Mousse UV Base 2000php, Smashbox photofinish Light 2100php also try: Smashbox photofinish original (has silicone), Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel Cream 400-500php, Kryolan Invisi Matte, 800php, MUFE Matt-Velvet 2000+php, Skinfood Agave Prime Gel, 2000php)

I hope you learned a thing or two with these. There are hndreds of ways we can hate our oily skin, but the first step to busting the unwanted oil is to accept that we are what we are. I've come to love my oily skin now... partly because of these best beauty products to control oil!

Laser Hair Removal: A Post-treatment Review

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Laser hair removal is one of the breakthroughs in epilation. Over the years, a bunch of medical literature have proven its effectivity in the long-term removal of unwanted hair. Take those on the pits for example.

I've always been less confident about raising my arms ultra high because I feel like my pits are so darn ugly. Blame genetics and the media for my insecurity, but I always minded reaching my arms up in public. I was always on the look-out for the right tools to keep my pits as flawless as it can be, but I grew tired of the fact that I always have to tweeze (haha, lazy me), plus the fact that my neck gets stiff because of it. Hence, my experiment with laser hair removal.

My first session with the procedure gave me results that I noticed a week after. I know that there are girls who've had instant results, but I wasn't that sure I noticed something instantaneous after leaving my derma's clinic. 7 days post-treatment, I noticed that it made the growing hair less black, thin and frail, like it was so easy for them to tweeze off my kili-kili (haha, remember that Rexona commercial: "It's like a spa for my kili-kili"). And indeed, it was! I tweezed em off in a jiff and I must say I'm impressed. The other thing I noticed was that it took some time for my underam hair to grow back. I just love skipping my usual 2x/week tweezing sessions (lazy talaga!)!

I can't wait till my next session. I'm hoping to see even better results soon.

Some Laser Hair Removal FAQ's:

What are the mecahnics in Laser Hair Removal? Laser hair removal made simple:
The principle used is selective photothermolysis (rooting em out: photo=light, thermo=heat, lysis=break-down/destruction). Laser can damage and destroy specific areas by its heating properties. Since laser is actually light (LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulatted Emission of Radiation), and light gets easily absorbed by dark objects, LASER is the perfect killng machine for melanin ( the dark appearance of both the skin and hair). LASER is selective since it only chooses to target our melanin.

How many sessions does it usually take to permanently stop hair growth?
4-8 sessions. Rarely, some people get to their 12th session.

After-care instructions?
Common MD orders are: deodorant application can be done a day after the procedure, not to rub or exfoliate the pits in between treatments, and not to freak out when you see your pits reddish and a little swollen post-treatment (they will disappear in afew hours). There are also anti-inflammatory creams that can be used.

Treatment interval?
3 to 8 weeks.

Factors affecting the number of laser hair removal sessions needed to get our pits looking gloriously flawless:
skin color & coarseness of hair (Coarse hair on light skin is easier to treat vs. Light hair on dark skin)

How much does it cost?
The lowest Laser hair removal for the pits that I've heard of was around 2k/session (~$35/session). Usually, it costs around 3,500 to 5,000php/session (~$60 to $90). There are also packages you can avail of that allows you to save thousands of pesos. I know my derma offers an unlimited package for 20k until you get the results you want (lifetime package, as she calls it).

What are other permanent hair removal techniques?
There are: topical and oral medication (requires continuous use), electrolysis, flashlamp, and photodynamic therapy (still on its experimental stage).

Intriguing, eh? Why not give laser hair removal a try?

My MD, a fellow Thomasian: Sixta Foronda , M.D.
6F Aesthetic and Anti-Ageing Center
14/F Medical Plaza, Amorsolo St., Makati City

Royally yours, Bleak

Stila Hits Manila... Soon!

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***UPDATE*** Stila goes live at Rustan's Makati, Rustan's Shangri-la, and Rustan's Gateway! Check them out!

It's been a month now since it has been rumored that Stila, a U.S. make-up brand, will be squeezing into the already crowded imported booths in Rustan's. Whichever Rustan's branch it would be, of that we're not totally sure. I'm betting it'll be up over at Rustan's Makati first... well hopefully, Stila opening syncs with the rest of the branches.

Here are the top 3 Stila products that got most girls swooning with joy:
(images from Stila website)

#3: Eyeshadow Pans ($18)

With over 40 pretty shades to choose from, these babies have been hailed by magazines for their great color pay-off. Accessories to match these eye enhancers are Stila's aluminum compact and refillable 4-pan compact.

#2: Lipglaze ($22) and Cherry Crush Lip& Cheek Stain ($24)

It's a tie between two lippies, pretty friends! The Lipglaze offers 28 yummy glosses in their famous lip pens. Glittery or not... take your pick! The Cherry Crush is both a lippie and a cheek tint. Hurrah, I can give my good old body shop L&C tint make-up a break. How good can that be? If you think that's good enough wait till you hear this:

This revolutionary multi-tasker not only moisturizes and protects skin with all important anti-oxidants (cherry and pomegranate extracts), but it beautifully reacts to pH levels in your skin and creates a personalized blush and pout. It's that perfect shade every time. - from Stila website

#1: Smudgepots ($20)!

Everybody loves dramatic eye make-up and a lot of girls can't stop gushing over Stila's smudgepots! Do you remember how quickly ran out of stocks??? Grrrr... I only scored one and nothing else to back it up. Frustratingly, Smudgepots in jet black is equally out of stock most of the time over the Stila site. That only means one thing. They're not manufacturing enough. These gel liners come in 6 lovely colors to match our ever changing mood.

If you'll notice, I've noted the product prices as well. I wanna watch Rustan's infamous mark-up on most beauty prods, checking how they'll fare on Stila's goodies.

Anyway, I just hope it comes out really, really soon (or is it already out?). I hope it doesn't end up like Missha (BB creams and Korean beauty stuff), who announced their Philippine launch last April 09. Up until now, I'm hoping they'll snag a booth at Megamall, as promised. I certainly hope Stila make-up products won't share the same fate.

How about you? Are you excited about this new make-up line, too? Tell me!

P.S. There are other Stila products' Filipino reviews you can check out!

Royally yours, Bleak

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