Thursday, July 12, 2012


"A Skin Thing" on Into the Gloss

The best time One of the many times Jane changed my life. (Related: Acne Makes Us Do Crazy Things.)

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Hugs! Hugs for everybody! Everybody gets hugs!

fondue with cheddar

My acne was fortunately never that bad, but I still totally understand the feeling. The part at the end is one of the reasons I don't wear makeup; because I like not having to worry about what will happen if it smudges/comes off.

It kills me that someone as pretty as Edith would freak out about not having makeup on. ARGH we're all so crazy about our bodies/faces/hair and we don't have to be!


My two favorite blogs collide! Completely different from each other, but both are great and go a bit beyond their peers.


i love this so much: "I still wear fun makeup, like eyeliner, but wearing it because you feel like you have to hide something is a lot different than trying to be your prettiest."

all the ladies in my family sell mary kay, and none of them ever leaves the house without a full face of makeup, and they often say things like "the one time i went out without it, everyone told me i looked tired!" they have to wear it just to feel like they look normal!

i'd rather just wear it sometimes for a good time and let everyone be used to my face the way it naturally is!

Judith Slutler

@madge This is exactly why I quit wearing makeup. It was getting to be more of an obligation than a fun thing.


@madge Last year, I couldn't leave the house without foundation, blush, bronzer, highlighter, concealer, three shades of eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick and brow liner. After many willpower struggles and intentional frugality, I am down to tinted moisturizer, beige eyeshadow, clear balm and mascara! You all can do it too! You do not need a full face of war paint to look beautiful and human, you don't need it to look great in photos and you don't need it to feel good. Hell, you don't even need it to go out or for your own wedding. Just throw it all out. Or set it on fire. Buck the system.


@charizard yes! i actually really love playing with makeup! wine + one of jane or lisa eldridge's tutorials + all my pretty eyeshadows and brushes laid out on the table = a rockin good tuesday night.

but it's a totally different thing to do it because you want to vs. you think you absolutely have to.


I read a lot about how to talk to young girls about weight, but nothing about how to talk to them about acne; is it because there's not much to say? I had it bad, I still have some, and my 12 year old went on medication for it this year. She wears concealer (not foundation) and I think it makes her feel better, although she's not concealing much. My attitude has been sort of "I'm with you; this sucks. Let's get awesome haircuts!" because anything else feels disingenuous to me.

Judith Slutler

@C_Webb Yeah, I mean, I think it's better to do that than to go on a megasearch for an acne cure. She's being treated for it, and I'm sure she realizes she isn't the only one in her age group dealing with it. It's really just one of those things. Hugs to her and you.



That is an excellent approach. As a 40-year-old currently sitting behind a massive, painful nose cyst (it's draining; I'll live), I think there isn't much to say except "it happens, and it pretty much feels worse than it looks."


@Emmanuelle Cunt Thank you! I took that crazy Accutane stuff twice and thought it was awesome, but it's way too early for that kind of intervention/decision. My mom wouldn't let me take accutane as a teen because she was Catholic and wouldn't put me on the pill, which was mandatory (still is I think?). Did it myself at 21, when my desire to be less bumpy finally surpassed my fear of needles.


@C_Webb I think I would have appreciated a concealer tutorial at that age (note that this may or may not apply to your kid). Basically, I'd try to conceal them with, like, tinted medicated cream that was the color of a band-aid and not at all the color of my skin. My mom was never a makeup wearer and basically nobody told me that I was making it worse.

Not sure how to balance the not-a-big deal message (which is awesome) withs this, though.


@OhMarie I actually got her a tutorial from a nice lady at the Clinique counter, because I had no clue, and she had her eyes done too, which was fun. As we all know, though, some zits require more than Clinique (or whatever) -- more like Industrial Light and Magic.


@C_Webb That is such a great idea, I would have loved it.

New Hoarder

@OhMarie You wouldn't be referring to Tinted Oxy, would you? ;-) 13-year-old me thought that I was the SHIZNIT wearing that, even though I had perfect skin then. *sigh*

On a related note, I just remember all of the girls in middle school with powder compacts. I finally bought one (also in 8th grade), used the way-too-dark-for-me powder once, got a pimple, and never again. Sure, I wear light tinted moisturizer or the thinnest layer of foundation possible (I have to throw out my Clinique foundations every 3 years b/c I can't finish the bottles) every now and then, but my sweaty, oily skin demands to BREATHE!


@New Hoarder Oh god, probably! Do they even still make that stuff? They shouldn't. It should be burned. Also, now that I'm thinking of it, I feel like I didn't even buy this stuff--I think I found it in a corner of the medicine cabinet. It was probably from the 80s!


Ahh so lovely. No matter what our imperfections, pretty sure they always seem huger to ourselves than anyone else. It's so lovely to decide not to give a shit because you realize most people with brains don't either!

As a postscript, I never learned how to do foundation or concealer, mainly because my mum never used it. Admittedly I just had pretty decent skin naturally but I always think clogging up your pores every day with that junk could only make it worse...


@iceberg yeah, my almost 40-year-old skin isn't perfect, but it looks better than the cakey mess that it turns into when i use foundation. i am probably doing it wrong!


@iceberg I sadly have yet to put that mantra into practice. I freak the FUCK out if one of my zits is showing through the concealer, and I wind up in a day-long paranoia that everyone is secretly thinking how disgustingly oily I must be to have a protruding zit. But then....I NEVER notice when my co-workers or friends have zits. So I wish I could turn that logic onto myself.

fondue with cheddar

@madge ME TOO, 100%. I feel like maybe I should figure it out soon though, because almost-40-year-old skin is also almost-old-enough-to-start-looking-terrible skin.

New Hoarder

@olivebee Unless it's a big ole whitehead, I like to rock my red zits because I think it makes me look younger!

New Hoarder

@jen325 Is this the thread where we mention Liz Lemon's anti-aging acne cream? Shouldn't they all just be made this way?

sarah girl

@New Hoarder The last time I was rockin red zits and went out without makeup, a guy came up to me in a parking garage and said he was surprised I was old enough to be driving.

I'm 28.

fondue with cheddar

@New Hoarder YES, they should! It's not like acne is a rare problem among adults.

New Hoarder

@Sarah H. BAM! I'm all, "I know I'm hideous... hideously young!"


Super gorgeous, seriously.

I did two rounds of accutane (yuck!) and pretty much everything under the sun and it wasn't until I stopped using foundation that my skin finally cleared. Sometimes I'll use a bit of that mineral powder, but every day foundation equals automatic breakout for me. Honestly--the less products I used, the better my skin got so now I just clarisonic wash it and put on a little lotion and sunscreen and that's good enough.

I think the only diet-things that ever made any difference in my acne was getting off diet soda, not eating sugar and lowering carbs. All of those things at once are seriously bummertown whatevs, so maybe just do one at a time.


@parallel-lines My face is fine now (at 42); my chest and back still break out, though. I WILL NEVER WEAR A STRAPLESS DRESS TO THE PROM.


@C_Webb I asked a derm about that once and he really had no answer--he said acne just sort of migrates around thruout life and the only way to kill it all over is antibiotics or accutane.


@parallel-lines I did both, in spades. Acne still very much alive, and says "hi!" Sigh.

Roxanne Rholes

@C_Webb Ahhh, I am sorry about this! I just went through a year of crazy changes in birth control, and when I went on the ring I got killer bacne. I've never had it before. Now I can't wear half my summer clothes because it's still all spotty and bumpy. Uuugh. Worst part: too self-conscious to accept a back rub!


@Roxanne Rholes I hear you. I lay in bed this morning staring at the perfect skin on my boyfriend's back and hating his stupid good-skinned guts just a little bit.


@parallel-lines Yeah, I asked my dermatologist about this too when I got severe acne after college. He said that men really don't have problems after they finish puberty, but with women, it can pop up at any time in life. Mine was when I finished college and started working in a super stressful job. A few rounds of monocycline cleared it up, but it is not comforting to hear that it could come back into my 40s and 50s.

fondue with cheddar

@C_Webb I wore a dress with spaghetti straps to the prom right after I had the chicken pox. :(


I always wanted to have scar-free, even skin that didn't need makeup, but I think I've used too many products with exfoliating and/or whitening ingredients because now I have uneven, hyperpigmented skin with dark patches, and I need more makeup than ever :( I have no idea if this is something I can ever fix, since most suggested solutions to darkening are the exact things that caused it in my darkish olive complexion. bummer.


@nina For hyperpigmentation, maybe consider getting an AHA done by a dermatologist? That can fade it but it can take more than one treatment and results vary with darker skin colors. There's a couple of other routes - hydroquinone (which is dicey and there are concerns it may be carcinogenic) as well as pulse lasers. None of these options are cheap, I'm afraid :(


@parallel-lines Thanks. Hydroquinone and AHA products are what caused it, so I would only trust a professional to fix it now, and yeah, can't afford that.


@nina I have been getting microdermabrasion treatments to help with the scars I still have from a good 10 years of acne. I've managed to patch together the recommended 6 treatments through a combination of Groupons (usually they offer 3 and then expect you to pay full price for the rest, but nothing says you can't hop from one deal to another.) Maybe you might want to look into it?


I never believe it when other people have the same feelings about the acne as I have had forever and ever. Ugh, it is a frustrating thing.

I am still working out the "I can be pretty even with all these zits/scars" issues. So a dude tells me I look good the other day and I looked in the mirror later and thought, no way, have you seen my chin today? Have you seen me in direct sunlight, with all the pock marks (they look worse in my head I think). It's still equated with this self-worth thing, where zit on the outside = bad on the inside. I know I'm not, but gotta keep on telling myself that until I believe it.

I don't do much in terms of makeup anymore because I am too lazy and it melts off anyway, but I had a family member point out my travel-related acne and I definitely did a little more to try to cover up the next day. It hurt a lot! And the makeup made me feel a little better. Eh. Some days are better than others.

sarah girl

I'm inching into this territory - I have not-at-all-great skin (and am notoriously bad about washing my face in the evening), and I've tried so many foundations over the years with very limited success. The combination of getting frustrated and a horrific heat wave made me go FUCK IT and more or less give up; I'm doing tinted moisturizer now with a little bit of primer (to help with the shine), although I still do a little concealer on more egregious spots. And a little mascara to make my tiny eyes look a little bigger :)

It's difficult and I go back and forth between feeling liberated and feeling gross and ugly, but I'm doing my best. I may also be kicking myself in the ass because I look VERY young for my age, and I know minimal makeup isn't helping... ugh. Whatever.


When acne went away, I wondered: what will be wrong with me next?

And, sure enough....


@atipofthehat What? What?


@atipofthehat When my acne went away I got wrinkles. Not sure which is worse.


@atipofthehat Bald? So that's what the hat is for!

Daisy Razor

@parallel-lines I have acne AND wrinkles. I look like I could simultaneously be my daughter's nanny and grandmother.


@Daisy Razor I have acne and wrinkles and don't get tan (I know, I know, but still). My skin is basically like, "Yeah, I'll cover your skeleton so people don't scream, but that's basically all I've got to offer, so deal with it."

sarah girl

@Daisy Razor Yeah, this is going to be me.

Faintly Macabre

@Daisy Razor I got my first white hairs before I went on accutane for the second time and got my first noticeable little forehead lines while on accutane, thanks to thin-skinned acne scars. At this rate, I will be a white-haired crone covered in acne, but at least the swelling will hide the wrinkles, right?


Timely post. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to have my very first laser treatment for scarring. My skin is clearing up for the most part (at 29), but what bothers me more than anything about my appearance is the damage from years of breakouts and picking. People don't realize I have problem skin, but that's because I do not leave the house without foundation/concealer. The laser treatment is expensive and uncomfortable and I'll have to do it several times before I get the results I want, but I'm willing to make the investment.

A. Louise

@Mere Congratulations! I did laser treatments last summer, and it sounds like you and I had similar skin. Even after my acne mostly cleared up, I still felt like I had to wear foundation all the time to try and smooth out the texture of my skin, and the marks were more noticible than the acne to me.

Confession: the fractional laser treatments (at least the ones I had) do hurt like a bitch, but they're tolerable and totally worth the time, effort, and money. If they're similar to the ones I did, ask for ice packs during treatment and put them on the side of your face they're not lasering, and take some pain medicine to reduce swelling right away - your turnover time with the red bingo dots (as I called them) will be a lot faster. Also, invest in some non-acne related face wash. I forgot to do this and had to run to CVS post-treatment.

Best Part: not only did they help even out my skin, I break out a LOT less in the areas I had lasered. I still wear foundation, but don't wear it all the time, and I tend to wear Clinique's BB cream - a sheer, more lotion/balm type foundation with SPF 30 in it. (You'll need lots of SPF and hat love this summer.)

Best of luck!


@A. Louise Thanks for the tips! I have ibuprofen, pure aloe, and a big sun hat for afterward. The person who's going to administer the laser treatment already did a practice spot on my arm during my consultation so I could see what it would look and feel like. A bingo dot is a good description. I admit I'm a tad nervous, but mostly excited nervous.

Reginal T. Squirge

My acne finally started clearing up about a year ago (after pretty much nonstop eruptions for 13 years) and it's... weird. I still get one or two small zits every now and then but I'm still just deathly afraid that I'm going to wake up one morning and be back to a full-on face of acne. I still remember how it feels.


EEEEEEEEEDITH. Edith! You are beautiful! We are all beautiful! Your writing is also beautiful, carry on.

(also I realize that this is not at all the point, but it did make me yearn for another Jane piece on having fun with makeups!)


I never felt too bad about my acne (I had it, but my sister had it worse, and the cream my doctor gave me for it interacted badly with the chlorine in the pool and made my face feel like it was on fire), until I saw a different doctor than my regular one when I was going on birth control pills. I wanted them for cramps, but when I filled the prescription, I saw that she'd written down that they were for acne as well. So that made me self-conscious for a few years.


I still have acne, and it's sort of going away (I think birth control was the culprit? CAN I NOT HAVE CONDOMLESS SAFE SEX AND CLEAR SKIN?), and I gained a bit of weight, so now it's like...oh great, society wants me to be thin AND have clear skin! So yay, I feel unattractive a lot of the time. Especially since I recently transferred to a new college program where there are only like 25 people and half of them are stunning thin flawless complexioned girls and then VOILA, ME.

New Hoarder

@cosmia As soon as I started the pill I got crazy, painful cystic acne. Not a ton, but a few big ones on my neck, chest, chin... owww. They always stayed under the skin, too, so the only solution was some topical stuff that freaked my skin out so much it gave me *regular* acne. I did not have any real skin problems before then. Stupid BC...


@cosmia this sounds particularly annoying because hbc is supposed to improve your acne and so many people go on it just for that purpose! WHAT THE HELL!


@New Hoarder This is exactly what happened to me, except I was on birth control for two years, and I only started getting cystic acne after the first year. I switched to Yaz and that sort of helped after 3 months, but I haven't been on HBC for two weeks now and I have a couple of tiny, normal pimples but no cysts, so yay?


As a fan of Edith's writing, this piece is more personally revealing than usual--like when she told us about natural deodorants that changed her life. Plus, her use of dashes makes me doubt some parentheses I've been using.



It seems like a real, personal story, but then they illustrate it with some beautiful model.


@atipofthehat Touché!

sceps yarx

Hey, you guys know that thingy that they sell at Sephora that's pretty much like a sonicare toothbrush for your face? Do any of you pinners use it? I'm in the sensitive-skin, kinda flakey, light-acne-at-30 club.

sarah girl

@sceps yarx It's great for removing makeup! Also, Oil of Olay makes a much cheaper version that is basically the same.


@Sarah H. YES, I use the Olay one (recommended by a pinner like a year ago), and adore it. The Clarisonic one is better, and everyone I know raves about it, but then the Olay one was $20 and the Clairisonic one is $150, so I'm happy with my choice.

sceps yarx

@thebestjasmine Oh sweet, I am all about spending 20 bucks. What product do you use with it? Can you use it with just water?


@sceps yarx I use just whatever face wash I'm using at the time (Cetaphil or whatever). I use it at night, and then moisturize, makes my skin so soft!


@sceps yarx I also use the Olay machine, and it has made SUCH a difference in my skin! Pores are less cloggy, I feel like I'm less oily, I have fewer pimples, and when I do get a pimple, it goes away sooner. I think part of it is also that I'm using a better cleanser, but I really do think the extra exfoliating power of the machine is the key here. My face feels softer, too.

The cleanser I'm using was recommended by a facialist, and it's Arcona Berry Fruit Bar, which is a glycerine bar that lasts foreeeeeever. Seriously, I bought the last one in early January, and I still have at least one-third of it left.

Mrs. Hutchinson

I'm biased because I'm an Edith superfan, but she is seriously one of the most gorgeous women ever, inside and out.


Can I share a personal acne experience that is really specific to me and will probably only help like 5% of acne sufferers?
(But HELLO 5%)

My skin was kind of ok as a teen and then in my 20s it was like I suddenly entered puberty and got a face full of spots.
Id have hated it as a teen but having it later in life made it this sort of puzzle (a really really annoying puzzle) that I wanted to figure out in terms of why it happened and, more importantly, how to make it STOP. And I tried everything! Birth control, perscriptions, natural remedies and I nearly bankrupted myself buying all kinds of expensive products. Any way I went away on a trip and Id forgotten all my stuff so all I could do was wash my face with water and I terrified my spots would get worse, but weirdly enough it sort of cleared up, which is insane as I had severe and persistent cystic acne.

It seems that Im just weirdly intolerant to everything so now I just wash my face with water and use the plainest moisterizer I can find, but everything is much much better.

This might not help the majority of acne sufferers but if it helps anyone else then Id be happy.

So just see if you're intolerant!

Now ... to figure out scars!


I cannot comment intelligently on this article because I have stupid immortal acne taht not even Accutane could eradicate, and thinking about my face too much just leads to the Pit of Despair. Like, my doctor started in on me to try dermabrasion and I WASN'T EVEN THERE TO DISCUSS MY SKIN.

Angry Panda

I used to have super oily skin that broke out into big ugly pimples all over my face even into my mid-twenties. After four rounds of chemo, my skin dried out completely and stopped breaking out, and it's stayed that way for 4 years now.
I wouldn't recommend getting cancer to get rid of your pimples though.


@Angry Panda I had the same skin history and even though it had been cleared up for over ten years when I was diagnosed, I saw a difference too. My skin never looked better than when I was going through chemo. Of course, I had no eyebrows or eye lashes, so, you know, trade offs. I'm hitting the 5 year mark and it still looks good! Plus, hair.

Angry Panda

@Rosebudddd Yeah, that and not having my periods for a few months were the only two good things about cancer. :-) People actually complimented me on my good skin after treatment and in my head I'd go "There's this great new treatment for it - chemo! You should try it some time".
My hair grew back funny, too. Curlier and a lot thinner than it used to be. Lately I've been missing my bald head though, maybe it's time for a haircut.
And yay for 5 years! Here's to many many more for us both.


@Angry Panda I said that in my head too! I went from stick straight hair to super curly little mop. Chemo curls! The curls have gone away now, but I still have some waves that I never had before. I liked the ease of being bald and sometimes miss it. Amen to the many more!


So,I registered just to share my ramblings on who/what made my "curse" virtually non existant.
Wish I could have all that time spent alone because of the acne between 11-28 back,plus the $....oh well.

Hope this helps someone,and in case it doesn´t not a single cent have to be spent trying it out:http://shabbynonchic.blogspot.se/2011/08/my-grumpy-goddess-paula-begoun.html

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