is the word 'diary' better than the word 'blog'? probably not.

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Share the Lotion.

One time when Evany, Caroleen and I were heading out of Yosemite over Tioga Pass, to enter the Hoover wilderness and explore the wondrousness that is the Twenty Lakes Basin, we stopped at the Tuolumne Meadows lodge store to see if they had any hydrocortisone cream, because I was breaking out in alligator-eye hives and had forgotten to bring the steroids. (Um, hydrocortisone is a steroid, OK? Thatís why you should never over-use it. If you use it too often, your skin will think it needs it and then will rebel when you try to stop. Your face will go into a STEROIDAL RAGE.) Anyway, dumbass store HAD NO HYDROCORTISONE CREAM. A store stocking things hikers might need without hydrocortisone? Whatev!

However, the point of my story is twofold: 1) I have sensitive, hivey, aging, alligator-eye skin and 2) as we were leaving the store a totally dirty hippie hiker walked up to Caroleen and I and asked whether we had any lotion he could use. We paused in confusion and mild alarm, and then said no and walked away and, after we had covered a respectful distance, began laughing and discussing a new hippie-inspired environmental and charity cause called ďShare the Lotion.Ē

Thatís what Iím doing today.

But first.
1) Alligator-eye is how I feel when I get hives surrounding my eyes. For some reason this is where I tend to get hives, when I get them. It sucks big donkey. Apparently I donít LOOK like an alligator when I have alligator-eye. Itís just that the person inside the body with the eye-hives, aka me, FEELS like her eye skin has become alligator skin. Itís not pleasant, though I am certain that alligators probably enjoy being in their own skin and would be horrified to have their lovely eyes surrounded by the weak-ass dewey substance known as human eye-skin.

and 2) Iím blogging for dollars again. Remember the experiment in terror I conducted upon myself in the form of hair-ripping-out machine? Well, this time apparently someone really wants to know what women between the ages of 35 and 45 think about anti-aging products. Utterly painless.

Of course, my most effective anti-aging product is genetic luck. I just happen to look younger than I do. Still, that said, Iím guessing that my decades long love affair with girly products and in particular moisturizing lotiony girly products ends up having something to do with the relative lack of wrinkliness on my face at age 40.

The main components of all this are: use sunscreen, wash your face with something so mild that it seems like it might not actually be cleaning anything, and moisturize all the time.

Regarding sunscreen, for years I used Aveenoís SPF 15 daily lotion with soy, but then slowly I began to realize that SPF 15 is simply not enough, so I switched to Eucerinís 30 SPF daily stuff, which is pretty good but I was never entirely satisfied with it because of its opacity. Since it is for the sensitive-skinned types like myself, it tends toward sun BLOCKing agents like titanium dioxide instead of the transparent sunscreens like Parsol. Itís true that Parsol can be reaction-y and sting-y for lots of sensitive skin people, myself included, but Iíve found one or two products that have a mix of Parsol and other screens, such that the lotions manage to be un-sting-y.

In particular the SPF 30 daily lotion of my dreams is ~h2o+ís green tea urban defense lotion. It is quite a bit more expensive than the other products Iíve just listed (which range from $8 to $15 for 4 oz bottles) at a whopping $32 for 1.6 oz, but hell, itís good stuff. I read about it in Lucky magazine and thought what the reviewer said was probably too good to be true: SPF 30, for sensitive skin, and decreases pinkness and blotchiness associated with the kind of skin I have that tends toward breaking out in hives and such. However, I am happy to report the product does all that, and does it well. In fact about six months ago I began to doubt its greatness, and thought maybe I was spending too much on it, so I went back to Aveeno. Enter splotchiness. It was terrible. So I ran back to ~h2o+ís green tea urban defense lotion, begged her to get back with me (it cost me $32), and weíve been happy ever since.

These are my recommendations for face-washing: Cetaphil or DHCís Deep Cleansing Oil. Cetaphil is just the most basic, crazily mild cleanser ever. You cannot go wrong with it. The Cleansing Oil freaks some people out, because, well, who ever thought of WASHING your face with OIL? Answer: the greeks! And they arenít so stupid. Sometimes your face will be oily because youíve been drying it out with over-drying products, and it reacts by producing oil. So consider trying DHCís line of products. Theyíre great. And if you go to their website, theyíll send you free samples and a catalog.

If you are having some oil problems or some zit problems, then Aveenoís Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser is good, but I tend to think it is too drying.

And now, Moisturizer: This is IMPORTANT. You should do this everywhere at least once a day. It makes a huge difference. And, really, itís not just your face you want to keep nice looking, right?

For instance, think of Susan Sarandonís cleavage. Susan Sarandon is quite a bit older than me, but man, is she hot?! And have you seen her dťcolletage? Itís like she stole it from a 22-year-old! I had a bit of an out-of-body experience looking at her in a lowcut dress once, and I promptly started lotioning up even more often than before.

For facial stuff, I sometimes slather a layer of ~h2o+ís Aqualibrium mattifying moisture plus over the SPF 30 green tea stuff as a booster before I leave the house or later in the day when I need to feel like Iím starting over again. DHCís Rich Moisture is pretty good, too, but I really do prefer the ~h2o+ moisturizers for daily stuff. At night I use either ~h2o+ Aquafirm replenishing night cream (a really rich, but pretty basic deep moisturizer, with marine-derived collagen, phospholipids, and algae, which is supposed to help develop your own natural collagen) or ~h2o+ Aquafirm Face Oasis hydrating treatment (a gel which is so incredibly refreshing and moisturizing that it seems kind of miraculous. plus it doesnít leave you feeling greasy like a deep moisturizer does. it says it gives you liposomes and marine algae to diminish the appearance of fine lines. all I know is that it feels GREAT.).

Those are kind of pricey, though. So if you want something good for about 1/3 the price, go for Eucerinís Q10 creme in the tiny glass tub. Itís cute, and it is a really good moisturizer. It has a good percentage of Q10, which seems to me to be a great anti-ager, from the way it affected my skin while I was using it. It also cuts down on redness or pinkness. The only reason I stopped using it is that I donít really like how it smells. It is unscented, yes, but even unscented things have odors, and this one is a bit yeasty? Not bad yeasty, pleasant yeasty like baking bread. But somehow I just didnít want that smell all over my face.

The ~h2o+ products arenít fragrance free, but Iíve never had a problem with them despite the fact that most products with fragrances tend to make me break out in hives. So they must be using really gentle ingredients or something.

For body moisturizing, the best thing Iíve ever found is Archipelago Botanicals Soy Lotion Milk #12. It is amazing. But if you want something cheaper or easier to find at the drugstore, Vaseline Renew and Protect is really good. It has some SPF and retinol in it, and the moisturizing effect lasts for a really long time, though not quite as long as the Archipelago stuff.

Another thing to try for facial moisturizing at night is DHCís olive virgin oil. It is pretty straightforward olive oil that you slather on your face and let absorb in. I know it sounds gross. But it does work. I just donít really like how it sometimes leaves oil stains on my pillows, so I donít use it very often anymore.

I also recommend ~h2o+ís Face Oasis energizing enzyme mask. Itís gentle but effective, with some exfoliating effects. And, of course, if you need some fast, rough, and powerful exfoliation, try Tend Skin, everyoneís favorite ingrown hair problem solver.

It seems slightly ridiculous to me that I have this many thoughts on moisturizing, and that I own this many products. But there you have it. Perhaps it is fitting that in the background right now I can hear John Vandersliceís beautiful suite of three songs about whether or not a person should commit suicide (the last three songs on Pixel Revolt). I think the answer the songs give depends on whoís listening. I say no. Share the lotion.

So letís get real for a minute. Aging is nothing to be ashamed of, nor anything to hide, or to hide from. It fills us up with wisdom (and baggage) and freedom from being as hurt by otherís judgments (while leaving us a bit set in our ways) and gives us the look of someone who has lived (with perhaps less radiant, more saggy skin). And, sure, some moisturizing products will actually make a difference in how our faces or our arms and legs and backs and cleavages look, and itís good when we find those products, but none of us, I submit, think itís the products that make anything we value more valuable. In sum: YOU LOOK GREAT.

3:55 p.m. - February 02, 2007

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