How To Beat Tinea (Athlete’s Foot), Naturally

Tools for the cure.

I’ve been struggling with my health this year, due to a weakened immune system from a surgery I had in the Spring.  Diseases that aren’t that bad affect me in horrible ways.  Things that don’t affect normal, healthy people trigger illness in me.

One awful thing I got lately?  Athlete’s foot…and HANDS!!!  Yes, it can happen and it’s as awful as it sounds!  This is embarrassing to admit – most people I know in real life had no idea I got it.  But I think it’s important to write this out for whoever may stumble upon it on the internet, in case what I learned may benefit them.

This is gonna be a massive product review article as well, for things relating to treating Athlete’s Foot.  Basically everything you see in the above pic; Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Micatin, Jojoba Oil, and Tea Tree Oil.  These are all based on my personal experience with them.

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The Face Shop: Rice Water Bright O2 Cleansing Foam Review

Ready for your closeup?

Ready for your closeup?

This review has been a long time coming!  I have been using this for nearly one year and can’t say enough good things about it.  Enough time has passed for me to have something to say!

Description

A cleanser for all skin-types, and part of The Face Shop’s “Rice Water” line.  It claims to not only cleanse your skin but brighten it as well.  “Brighten”, in this case, does NOT mean it makes your skin white!  It means it makes you look fresh and vibrant.  This is a foaming cleanser, so it comes out as sort of a gel or goo and then bubbles in to foam, by itself, while on your skin.

Why Use Rice-Based Products?

Rice-based skin products go hand-in-hand with “brightening”.  There’s a lot of people who will wash their rice and save the milky water that accrues; this can be used to splash on your face or as a mask at night.  The starch acts as a moisturizer….I don’t want to preach a bunch of “science” here, however.  If you want to know more about whether rice starch truly, scientifically, measurably improves skin (I saw some articles online talking about how it benefits those with eczema), research it on your own and decide.  But personally I like them, they work well with my skin, and I see “rice” or “rice bran” as the ingredient in many face-related products.

How to Use

Step 1: Begin with a dry face.  Very important!
Step 2: Pump the cleanser in to your hand. It will be in its “goo” state.
Step 3: Spread evenly over your face; you may want to do this rather quickly, before it bubbles too much.  You may also need more than one pump, so do your face in sections.  Personally it takes me 2-3 pumps to cover my face.  Try not to pull on your skin too much as you spread it around.
Step 4: Wait for everything to bubble up!
Step 5: (Optional but recommended) Let it bubble itself away; this may take a few minutes of waiting.
Step 6: Rinse it off with water and a washcloth!  You’re going to want the washcloth, definitely, to pat dry and remove any residue.

I would wash my face with this once or twice a week.  Doing more than that with any cleanser seems to irritate my skin and cause me to break out.  This is probably why it’s lasted me for so long, otherwise the saleslady had told me it lasts her about six months of daily use, twice a day.

Results

Nearly a year of use and still has a good amount of cleanser inside.

Nearly a year of use and still has a good amount of cleanser inside.

Amazing!!  There are few skincare products I actually like…I have sensitive skin and have tried many brands that just did nothing or made things worse.  After washing off this cleanser and patting dry, my skin instantly looks fresh and bright.  Again, that doesn’t mean “paler”, I mean youthful and vibrant.  My skin is also baby-soft!  Immediate results are something I didn’t think skincare products would do.  And the bubbling feels strange, tingly, and wonderful.  Also, if you have “sebaceous filaments” on your nose that get filled up with oil and turn dark….as in this picture (don’t worry, it’s not nasty looking like Google Image Search!)…it’s not blackheads, but it IS something that just happens to certain people (like me).  It’s a genetic thing.  More info on that on this site if you need more explanation. This Rice Water cleanser has been able to eliminate that for over a day, with 1 cleansing.  Usually for me, these would reappear in a few hours after cleansing with a normal face wash, like Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Clearasil, whatever. AHA’s and BHA’s usually help with minimizing the appearance.

The one half-point I would deduct from this cleanser is that while it doesn’t feel or look like it’s dried out my skin, my cheeks tend to feel a little stiff.  I don’t know if this is due to drying or – more probably? – due to the rice ingredient.  Starches can totally do that to your skin; try it with some of the milky water you get after you wash some rice for dinner.  This is easily remedied once I put on my moisturizer.  And everyone should really be moisturizing already anyway :)

This cleanser definitely works on makeup as well, but don’t expect it to clear everything away.  Honestly…I don’t get why people want to combine everything and have face cleansers that are also make up removers.  Especially since it’s the oil-based make-up removers that really get everything off your skin, and you don’t necessarily want a face cleanser to have that type of ingredient in it.  Don’t be lazy!  Tugging and scrubbing your skin isn’t great for future elasticity and wrinkle prevention, just use a real make up remover, then let this cleanser clean up any residuals you accidentally smeared across your face.  What, I know that happens to me :P  You know what other kind of two-in-one product doesn’t work as well as separates? Shampoo-and-Conditioners!

The price is a little steep on this product.  I can’t quite remember, but it was over $20.  $26 perhaps?  Close to $30, but not quite.  The Face Shop in Chinatown gives student discounts at least!  However, I’ve had such good results with this cleanser, I’m willing to pony up the cash for it.  It’s been nearly a year and I haven’t had to buy a new bottle yet!

Camping over Memorial Day Weekend!

The last time I went camping was about 15 years ago, in Yellowstone National Park.  It was miserable; it rained all week, I got sick the first day, everything was wet and gross, it was difficult to cook things…but it was also majestic, beautiful, and an experience I would never forget.  I’ve always wanted to go camping again – somewhere closer to home than Yellowstone – but getting people to go camping is one of the hardest things ever.  I mean, have you ever tried to organize a group of people to go to the movies together?  Unless everyone’s already present when the decision is made, you can bet that at least half the group will flake out, while the other half arrives late or doesn’t pay you back in a timely fashion.

Finally….an opportunity came up!

It was an intimate 3-day vacation with just me and my boyfriend…and nearly 30 other people, haha!  My sister invited me on this trip, and it was sorta like an industry retreat, unofficially.  Another coworker kept joking it was the “3D Summit” out in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Heavy amount of pics incoming (from this Flickr Set), and two camping gear reviews.

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The Face Shop: Aqua BB Cream & Oil Cut Dual BB Cream Emulsion

The Face Shop BB Cream

The Face Shop is a pretty well-known chain of Korean face-care/makeup stores.  We used to only have one in Korea Town up on 32nd street (near the Empire State Building), and another in Flushing….which takes me almost 1 hour to get to….but a few months ago, a new branch opened up on Elizabeth Street in Chinatown!!!  So there’s finally a branch that’s convenient to get to, and … I don’t know if it’s because the workers are Chinese and I’m Chinese, but they are way nicer here!!  Even if you speak to them in English, which I do 100%.  I feel like they listen to what I’m saying and don’t just want me to go away (don’t you guys want my money?!).  In the Korean branches, I dunno.  They’re not very friendly to me, they don’t seem to want to talk if I ask them questions.  They kinda just glare at you as you move around the shop.  So….Elizabeth Street Face Shop, you’re extremely welcome in my neighborhood!

Obligatory: What is BB Cream?
This is a VERY brief description, you can find more info elsewhere on the internet (BB creams have a huge community following them).  The full name is “Blemish Balm” Cream, though I have heard some claim it is “Beauty Balm”.  The end result is the same, but I believe “Blemish” is what the first B stands for.  Anyway, it’s a 3-in-1 product that is supposed to moisturize, cover your blemishes a la foundation, and protect from sun damage.  BB Cream always has SPF in it, but in varying degrees…the ones with more SPF tend to become more “white” in color tint, so do not just jump for an SPF 30 or 50, haha.  You’ll look like a ghost, and yes everyone can tell it looks weird!  Usually you do not have to choose colors with BB Creams…they blend to your natural skin tone.  But some do come in 2 colors, normally a “light” color and a “natural” color.  I tend to buy the natural ones, because even I am not as pale as others.  I try to get my Vitamin D from the sunlight every day ;)

I have two BB creams from The Face Shop, and I’ll cover both…seems to me that there aren’t that many reviews on these, so hopefully others can benefit from what I’m saying here.

What My Face Skin Is Like (So you can compare it to your own):

There are some days I would say combination (dry skin and oily T-zone), but usually I’m in the dry skin camp. This matters a looooot with what BB Cream you choose.  I don’t have much acne, except a few breakouts during my period.  So I’m not looking for an intense concealer and foundation set, and BB Cream tends to be so light that you can’t expect it to work as good as a real foundation when you have mountains on your face.  Just a warning!  I’m not being mean, just save yourself the money if you have some real acne going on and try a different product.  Cuz I used to have bad skin, and you’ll otherwise be disappointed.  My skin is on the fair side so I do have a bit of freckles on my nose and cheeks, despite being Asian, with warm tones.  I guess I am close to either yellow or olive in coloration.

A Bit about BB Cream and SPF Terminology

For some reason, Asia Market cosmetics LOVE the word EMULSION  Over here in the US, we’d probably say things like “moisturizing” or “hydrating”. Both BB Creams I’ll be talking about are SPF 20, and before you freak out and say “OH, THAT’S WAY TOO WEAK!”  please read a little about how sunscreen works…SPF 150 is not way better for you than SPF 50, which is not drastically better for you than SPF 30.  For non-white people, SPF 20 is decent enough.  You know what those higher numbers are?  Marketing.  They put higher numbers, and you pay them more money, and get more skin irritation :(  These BB Creams are also PA++, which means you should be totally fine being outside in the sun all day long.  For anyone wanting more information, search the internet for “Protection Grade of UVA”, which is what it stands for (possible scores are PA+, PA++, and PA+++).

Product #1: Oil Cut Dual BB Cream Emulsion (SPF20/PA++)

The Face Shop Oil Cut Dual BB Cream

I used to like Oil Cut, but I have grown to hate this product.  There were almost no reviews out for this specific product, so I really want to fill that void.  The “Dual” in the name is made up of the BB Cream itself, which is in the tube, and the concealer that is tucked away in the cap, along with a mirror for application.  It’s a nice touch, but it’s not the best concealer on the market. Most likely you would be better off getting a separate concealer that truly matches your skin, and has a spread that you like,  It’s nice that they included it, but it’s mostly useless.  Also, it’s difficult to spread and I don’t think it effective at concealing.

The Face Shop Oil Cut Dual BB Cream Cap

The “Dual” stands for being a dual product – has BB cream in the tube, and some concealer in the cap!

It’s called “Oil Cut” because it’s supposed to keep you from getting too greasy with sebum and oil….however the emulsion side is supposed to keep your normal skin moisturized.  I got this because I thought I had combination skin – dry everywhere except for an oily T-zone.  But this product is actually way too drying in my experience, and I feel like it appears very powdery!  I apply it with my finger, dabbing a little across my cheeks to spread it out, then move a big, fluffy brush over it to blend it in.  You could do this with your finger too, but I feel the brush adds extra polish overall, and better evenness.  It does do a pretty good job in the foundation department, covering up the pores and freckles on my noise and cheeks.  But the dry-ness it gives me is just too much, and I hate the powdery-ness.  Even with applying moisturizer and primer before hand, I am not happy with it.

Go ahead and try it if you really DO have oily skin.  Turns out I do not, it is way too drying even for combination skin.

Product #2: Aqua Tinted BB Cream (SPF20/PA++), Natural Beige

The Face Shop Aqua Tinted BB Cream

I’ve had this for about 2 weeks, and I LOVE IT.

Got this in the Chinatown branch of The Face Shop, after trying every other version of their BB Cream in the store. A saleslady helped me out, and we tried swatches on the back of my hand.  Some of the more pricey BB Creams had some pink undertones to them, which did not match my coloring at all   It advertises on the bottle that it uses “deep sea water” to help keep you moisturized.  To me this is like when face products say things like, contains Green Tea, Pomegranate, or Charcoal.  These things are usually good when ingested….but their value as topical agents is very debatable.  So I don’t care about that stuff, I just want myself to look good..and hopefully without ingredients that harm me in the future.  Which is why natural sounds best, right?  This AQUA BB Cream comes in 2 colors – light beige and natural beige.

The saleslady said that this is good for dry skin, hence the aqua/deep sea water in it. So far, I never felt too dry with it on, and it therefore has yet to get powerdery in texture.  This is already a huge improvement over the Oil Cut version for me.  The foundation element of it is extremely light…much lighter than the Oil Cut. So only use AQUA if you already have decent skin!!  It’s not going to hide your acne.  What it does do, and what I love it for, is the subtle glow you get from wearing it.  My sister says she can tell that I’m wearing something, but it’s not very apparent. Not powdery or cakey.  All I really want is that healthy glow, so this product is perfect.  It does cover my pores a little, and freckles just slightly, but again it is nothing drastic.  People can still see I have those things.  My skin just looks a little “brighter” and healthier with this BB Cream on.

2 weeks in, I would say that I do recommend the Aqua Tinted BB Cream.  It’s good for dry skin and gives you a nice glow.  But you should still try it on in-store if you can, see if the light or the natural shades are better on your skin.  Good for normal to dry skin types.

Here’s a few pics of the samples and goodies you get when you spend money there….different gifts per different money tiers you hit.  Too bad cellphone charms are pretty useless now that everyone uses smartphones!  But I welcome the free samples.

Engrish on the back:  We are not responsible for the damages of belong by users carelessness.

Cigarette Burns, Bicycle Accidents, Keloids, and Scar Serums

I’m not the kind of person to write reviews on things, but this is something that’s totally worth it.  It honestly has helped me feel better about myself, because people no longer see my horrible scar and grimace.  The product is Palmer’s Scar Serum, my bottle seen below:

Palmer's Scar Serum

Palmer’s Scar Serum! Photographed in my building’s staircase, haha. Classy, isn’t it?

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine who keeps wavering between quitting smoking and staying addicted pulled out a cigarette.  Like an idiot, I dove for it, to grab it and throw it away.  But he moved reflexively and it burned my middle finger.  It’s still tender, but feels mostly dry already, and raised scar tissue has formed.

Cigarette Burn.

Welt from a cigarette burn.

So I asked my sister to bring me back the Scar Serum that I lent her for her own keloid scar on her knee, to try and get rid of this thing :) It’s not that big, so I’m hoping it’ll go away in good time! To me it looks like a nasty wart on my hand, blegh.  It’s also still tender and sensitive, as scar tissue tends to be.

I had such AWESOMELY unreal results with my first bad scar on my own knee with this thing.  Six years ago, when I was in Japan, my host family tried to teach me to ride a bike.  I was doing alright till I went too fast on uneven ground, hit an irrigation canal while turning (we lived in the farmlands of Tokushima :D ) and smashed in to the ground.  My forearms got completely scraped up, with seashell shaped cuts radiating from elbow to wrist.  I had to keep this completely wrapped with bandages, because if I put my arm down on anything it hurt really badly, and because people would grimace if they saw it.  As for my knee…a whole chunk of skin went missing!  Some of it was still hanging on there, and dirt got wedged in.  I tried to pick out the dirt when I cleaned it out, but it was so obscenely painful I didn’t get everything out.  Two weeks later, I returned to New York and the wound started to smell.  My arms healed up scarless and good as new, but my knee…ugh.  My doctor here scolded me, saying I let this go on for too long.  It smelled because it was infected, and she said it was doubly dangerous because this was an infection close to a joint.  If the bacteria manages to get under my patella, in to my bones…then antibiotics will no longer be able to reach the bacteria, and I’m screwed.  I feared my leg could be lost, all from a stupid biking accident a couple weeks ago.

But I’m still here, whole and happy :)  I took antibiotics and dripped Oregano Oil over the wound, which is another miracle product I’m happily in love with.  This stuff is expensive, but the smell is great (smells like Italian food!!) and it’s a natural antiseptic.  It killed the bacteria on the surface, and in under a week the smell from my puss-oozing knee wound disappeared.  I got better eventually, but was left with a hideous keloid scar on my left knee.  It was shiny skin, a few shades darker than my regular skin, and raised about 1cm or so.  On your kneecap that’s very noticeable.

This is what a keloid looks like; pic is not me, I’m not a hairy man :P  Courtesy of Wikipedia:

It sucked having a keloid scar on my knee, and as a girl….I love wearing skirts and shorts and dresses in the Spring and Summer.  With a huge keloid on my knee, people would see it and again make a face.  Sometimes I’d cover it up with a bandaid when I didn’t want to deal with that, but it’s annoying to keep replacing a bandaid every time you shower.  My mom eventually bought the Palmer’s Scar Serum from the pharmacy and told me to apply it 3 times a day.  I didn’t see any results for a while, and this serum is extremely oily!  It also kinda smells like fish oil.  One of the ingredients is Shark Liver, I believe.  But don’t let that put you off, because it’s so worth it!!  Who cares if a TINY part of your body smells temporarily when it means you’re eliminating an eyesore FOREVER?  About six months later is when I finally realized it DID work it’s magic on me, and a year later my knee looked like this!!

Sorry, this is an unshaven leg XD  It’s practically winter here.  The scar skin is still shinier than my normal skin, but it has the cross-hatched pattern of my normal skin again.  The color is no longer reddish-purple and dark, but a normal and even tone :D  AND, if you check out the side-view pic, it’s completely smooth.  No more raised keloid!!!  People don’t even notice I had a scar there, not unless I mention it and point it out.  It’s so great, it’s hard to imagine sometimes how different my scar was before.

My sister has the same issue, from a post-op keloid scar on her knee cap.  After I’m done with this, the scar serum is going back to her.  I haven’t tried things like Mederma, since it’s like $26+….insane prices.  Haven’t tried Neosporin because that seems to be for fresh cuts that may become scars in the future.  Anyway, Palmer’s works like magic, and is completely worth the price, 100%.  Even though it’s only 1oz, it’s already lasted me over a year, plus probably 3 months or so that my sister has been using it…though I don’t know if she’s been using it consistently.  As you can see from the first pic of the bottle in this post, there’s still tons of it left!  What’s really great too is that it works on OLD scars.  Ones you thought were hopeless!!  My older cousin originally recommended Palmer’s to me, and he showed me the biking keloid on his elbow that it completely eliminated.  Again, like mine it was still a little shiny the way scar tissue is, but no raised bumps and no dark discoloration.  His biking accident was 12 years ago, and this scar serum took care of it!  Truly a great purchase, and I hope anyone else out there who hates their disfiguring scars gives it a try.