Category: Skin Care

A Brief Essay on Seeing Eye to Eye With My Bare Skin

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Skin Care

Marcella Yakalis

I catch my reflection in the window of the downtown D train. In my bathroom mirror, as I pass by a shop. While I still struggle everyday to live comfortably in my body (I am a size 22, 5 foot 6), I often find it even harder to live in my skin.

Around six months short of 25, I noticed the blemishes forming on my chin and forehead were not just the occasional stress related zit. They were cyclical, they scarred even when I didn’t pick them, they were incredibly painful. Through my late teens and early twenties, I never had more than the occasional flareup, and never ones that gave me so much shame. I went off my hormonal birth control, thinking that was the issue, but it still persisted. I stopped wearing makeup entirely, afraid to agitate my skin.

Like so many other women, I was struck with sudden adult acne as a result of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and didn’t know it. It wasn’t until I actually went to a dermatologist, who suggested, from my acne patterns, that I might have the condition. I made a mental note to check on it and asked what could be done about my skin. I was prescribed Aczone Gel, 5%, as well as a retinoid (Adapalene) and a tretinoin (Atralin)

Marcella Yakalis

These medications greatly improved my skin over a short period of time. The combination of all three settled the horrifying red bumps that littered my chin, cheeks, and my forehead. As my face cleared up, I became excited at the prospect of being able to wear makeup without feeling like I was just covering up a disaster. I didn’t realize at the time how badly the marks had scarred me, in more than just a physical sense.

When I looked in the mirror, this is what I saw: sunken eyes and horrible skin, broken capillaries around my nose, bags under my eyes that I’ve had since I was four, that weird chicken pox scar above my right brow. When my skin began to clear up, I saw my face, my bare face, and I didn’t like what I was seeing. When I was wrapped up in the acne covering my face, I didn’t have to deal with the fact that I didn’t particularly like my face.

Despite the myriad of treatments I now use, I am still reluctant to wear makeup and try new products. I’m afraid that my skin will react poorly or that it will burn. This fear, however, has made me more comfortable in showing my bare face. When I used to go out with a bare face (and I mean bare, not even concealer) I was ashamed to look in the mirror. I still had the allergy eyes and the scars, but as I learned to deal with my bare face as it was, I realized that while I had been ashamed of the acne, I had often used it as a blanket for my insecurities when it came to my natural looks. Now that my skin was on the road to recovery, I had nothing to hide behind.

Living with my acne, and learning to actually like my own face again, is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I always used to think scars were really cool until I started seeing them on my face…and feeling them far deeper.
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For Sensationally Soft, Squeaky Clean Skin, Scrub-a-Dub-Dub and Exfoliate Before You Turn on the Shower

Published in: Clarins, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care, Soap & Glory


Next time you exfoliate your bod in the shower, instead of wetting your skin first before you get down to it, try applying your scrub to your skin while it’s still dry, with the shower turned off. Then, after rubbing your little heart out, turn on the water and rinse.

Sooo, why would anyone do it this way?

LOL! Good question… No, but seriously, I think I get a better, more intense scrub when I scrub while my skin is dry. My skin feels softer and squeakier clean than when I scrub while it’s wet.

The first time I heard about doing it this way was at a spa years ago, but, wouldn’t you know it? After getting home, I promptly forgot.

But I remembered after seeing it mentioned recently in a magazine. I think it was this month’s Allure… There’s an article in there about multitasking and getting the most out of your shower time.

Anywho, I did it last night with three different exfoliating scrubs. I hopped in the shower (with the water off) and used one of the scrubs on my arms, one on my torso and the other one on my legs. Then I stood there for few minutes scrubbing everything south of my neck.


After I turned on the water and rinsed, my skin felt smooth as a baby’s bottom — smoother, I feel, than it would have had I used the scrubs on wet skin.

And I’m sure I also ended up using less product.

By the way, the three scrubs I tried last night were…

  • Tree Hut Vanilla & Honey Gentle Oatmeal Scrub ($7.99) — This gentle, non-abrasive creamy scrub smells faintly of yummy oatmeal cookies. Mmm… Oatmeal cookies…
  • Soap & Glory Flake Away ($15) — This highly moisturizing, fragrant scrub (the strong scent reminds me of the old Dior Miss Cherie, which I loved) contains shea butter, sugar and pretty big scrubby bits, so it’s a little more intense than the Tree Hut Gentle Oatmeal Scrub. It also leaves behind a slightly oily residue.

    I really like this one. It did the business, and my skin felt soft and great.

  • Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub for Smooth Skin ($38) — This creamy concoction has medium-sized scrubby bits made from natural bamboo fibers and a very faint, almost imperceptible peach scent.

    It also did a great job. Plus, I didn’t have to use much, and it didn’t leave behind an oily residue.

Have you been using any good scrubs lately? And do you usually use them on wet skin or dry? Inquiring minds want to know…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


Day in Beauty Vol. 6: Narwhals, Foaming Face Cleansers, More Korean Skin Care, and an Improv Journal

Published in: Just For Fun, Skin Care


Note: any time you start your day seeing a narwhal, or a picture of a narwhal, emerging from the sea with Christmas ornaments or other seasonal or holiday decorations on his/her tusk, well, chances are you’re gonna have a good day. :)


This is one of the reasons I looove this Trader Joe’s Decaf Candy Cane Green Tea. My heart will break into a trillion tiny pieces when I finish the box.

I was hoping it would last me through this last leg of my pregnancy, up through BG’s big debut, a.k.a. the day she gets her eviction notice, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen, and I’m kinda freaking out a little… Since it’s seasonal, I think they already pulled it off the shelves for the year at Trader Joe’s.

Serves me right for not stockpiling…

Also in green tea news, this cleanser!


It’s called Neogen Dermalogy Real Fresh Foam Green Tea Cleanser. It’s $19 and looks good enough to drink (but please don’t).

It looks like there are bits of real tea down there at the bottom…

Anywho, I’m still on that Korean beauty and skin care kick, so I’ve been trying lots of Korean products, and this Neogen Dermalogy is another one of them.

The bottle says that it’s a 100% Naturally Brewed Soothing Bio-Cleanser for sensitive skin.

I’m very finicky about my cleansers, and a lot of them leave my combo skin feeling super tight and dry, but this foaming face cleanser doesn’t. As far as I can remember, I’ve never used a foaming face cleanser before (I’ve used plenty of foam hand washes, but never a face cleanser), and I like it. It feels like I’m really babying my face.

When I rinse off the foam, my skin feels clean, great, and it smells faintly of green tea.

The ingredient list is RIDICULOUSLY LONG, but most of the things in there are plant extracts…


I’ve also started using Son & Park Beauty Water, a $30 hydrating toner that smells like roses and adds a great deal of moisture (I apply it with a cotton pad after cleansing).

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Good to the Very Last Drop: Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

Published in: Product Reviews, Skin Care


Stick-to-itiveness. That’s what I don’t have when it comes to a lot of beauty products.

OK, I TRY A LOT OF BEAUTY PRODUCTS, ALRIGHT!? And it’s rare when I stick with one thing long enough to finish it, but that’s what I did with this sunscreen by Murad. It’s called Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++, and it carried me through completely different climates and seasons. I started wearing it in the summer when we were having hella 90-degree days, then wore it through the fall and well into winter.

And back when it was still warm here, I was spending a lot of time outside — lots of walking and working out — and when I wore this, it stayed where it belonged. It would never, like… You know how some sunscreens get into your eyes and STING when you start sweating? Not this stuff. It stays put, and the SPF certainly appears to have worked, because I tan easily — my skin picks up color after just few minutes outside — but this year I didn’t tan as much as I usually do.


I wish it wasn’t $60 for a 1.7-oz. tube, but at least it lasted six months, and that’s with me using it every day. It’s just a lovely, dependable sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection and antioxidants that are supposed to soothe stressed out skin and help with firmness and hyperpigmentation.

I didn’t really pay close attention to those things while I used it… I probably could/should have tracked my progress by taking pictures of my skin every few days, but I can confidently say that the hyperpigmentnation on my upper cheeks hasn’t gotten worse.


Active ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Homosalate 6.5%, Octisalate 5%, Avobenzone 3%, Oxybenzone 2%

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Treat Yourself and Your Skin to Much-Needed Meow Time With CVS/pharmacy Beauty 360 Facial Masks #Beauty360atCVS [SPONSORED]

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Skin Care, Sponsored Post


In partnering with Beauty 360 and the CVS Beauty Club, I’ve received product samples and/or compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #sponsored #Beauty360atCVS

You should really ask me about my facial mask addiction. :) Or maybe you shouldn’t. Because when I tell you that I stockpile masks like cat ladies stockpile all cute-kitty-cleaningteh cute kittehscute-little-kitty, you might think I’m a little crazy.

I just love masks! I think they’re great. Among my favorite skincare products, they’re probably second only to moisturizers, because of the skin benefits, but also because they’re a fun way to take a break from life.

Ya just put on your mask and chill for 15 minutes, and while I’m sitting there “in mask,” I totally forget about my chores and responsibilities. I don’t think about the dishes in the sink or vacuuming the stairs or doing the laundry. I’m totally preoccupied by the fact that I’m wearing a mask.

They’re a good way to tune out and focus on me. Plus, they’re an easy way to treat my skin.

beauty 360 masks all

I have masks from here to eternity, but I’m always looking for more (MOAR MASKS!). Up until recently, I had no idea there were so many different masks in the Beauty 360 line at CVS/pharmacy, and most of them are less than $8 (on sale the sheet masks are usually less than $4).

beauty 360 anti wrinkle anti aging eye mask

They’ve got sheet masks (sometimes called tissue masks), sleep masks, masks in tubes, masks in jars, soothing masks, smoothing masks, deep moisture masks, detoxifying masks, brightening masks, anti-wrinkle firming masks and masks just for your eyes, and they’re loaded with interesting ingredients like coffee and tomato extract, charcoal and green caviar.

beauty 360 detoxifying perfecting face mask
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