Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Welcome back to SAVING FACE, a blog for the mature woman who refuses to be bullied by the indignities of aging and celebrates all of its blessings!



I recently submitted my blog for consideration to be included on a group blog site that caters to a mature  audience.

I received a prompt response.  The bottom line was that my blog would not be appropriate for this site because blogging about anti aging products and procedures promotes AGEISM.

So my first thought was, "WELL KISS A BILLY GOAT'S BUTT!"

But my second thought was that, in good conscience, I should give this feedback some more mature consideration.

I looked up the definition of AGEISM in the good old (Oops...there I go again) Merriam-Webster dictionary.

AGEISM: prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly.

Hmmm.....I'm still not getting it.  Did this responder think that wanting to minimize or reverse some of the more subjectively unpleasant visible effects of aging on the skin constitutes a hatred, denial, or indictment of the state of being elderly?

If that logic were to be followed, than would blogging about how to build up thinning bones, how to reduce age related cognitive decline, how to improve joint function or how to treat the more uncomfortable symptoms of menopause all promote AGEISM?

Because seriously, there is a WHOLE BOAT LOAD OF CRAPPY STUFF that can start to happen to our bodies and psyches as we age, and I don't think it smacks of AGEISM to want to remediate what we can and accept with grace what we can't.

Should we embrace the natural wonder of hot flashes, insomnia, joint pain and vaginal dryness?  Shall we eschew HRT and personal lubricants for fear of being perceived as AGEIST?

I'm tempted to create a blog geared solely to anti aging products for the mature vagina, I'll call it SAVING YOUR 'GINA, and submit it to the group site to see if it passes the AGEISM test.....(Bad Teresa!)

Ultimately I suspect that the AGEISM accusation stems more from the perception that anti aging products and procedures for the skin are considered too frivolous and vanity driven to be accepted under the broader category of "MORE SERIOUS AGING STUFF YOU CAN TRY TO FIX WITHOUT BEING ACCUSED OF BEING AGEIST"

All snark aside, I started thinking about who might be a target audience for this blog...

I am guessing that we don't define ourselves by our looks, but we do experience some mirror angst....We don't want to look like we are 30 again, but would prefer not to be asked if we're angry when our faces are in repose...( Are you kidding!.... of course we would like to look like we were 30 again...but we're realistic!)

 We are active, passionately committed to causes, jobs, family and friends....We've lowered our tolerance for bullshit (YAY!)....We don't hate ourselves and we don't abhor aging because quite frankly, EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND IS A GOOD ONE!... But truth be told, we look in the mirror sometimes and see ourselves looking just plain tired and saggy ....We grieve these changes, just as we grieve some of the losses we experience socially and physically as we approach the last stage of this wacky experience called life.

I think we FEEL BETTER when we think we LOOK BETTER.  Looks are part of the total package, and by golly it's the 21st century and we can do something about some of this stuff!

And if we feel better, maybe we'll have more energy, and if we have more energy, maybe we'll do more stuff like exercise, and wear sunscreen and go to the doctor and eat well, and if we do all that, maybe we will prevent some really scary stuff from happening like heart attacks and stroke, and melanoma....You can see where this is going, can't you?  Yup, this blog could be about SAVING LIVES!

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


RETIN-A (Tretinoin)

Dr Andrew Weil on Retin-A:

"Retin-A, a derivative of vitamin A, is a drug applied to the skin for treatment of wrinkles, blackheads and acne.  It can also fade age spots over time.  Retin-A and similar products including Renova and Tazorac contain retinoic acid and are available by prescription.  They all work by causing skin cells to turn over more rapidly than usual, which has the effect of peeling off layers of skin, thickening underlining layers and stimulating cells that produce collagen, the fibrous substance that firms skin."


I have been using Retin-A (Tretinoin) off and on for years, on the recommendation of several dermatologists.  It was recommended as one of the best products I could use to reverse the effects of sun damage to the skin.  I use a strength of .1% on most of my face and neck, and a strength of .025% under my eyes or any where else that seems too dry.  I buy my product at my aesthetician's office for about $30.00 a tube.  Retin-A will typically cost more if you purchase it from your pharmacy or dermatologist's office.

I use a small, pea sized portion on my face and another on my neck....(Don't leave your neck out of your regimen!)  If I haven't used the Retin-A for a week or two, I will start back by using it every three or four days, graduating to daily or every other day use.  I peel like crazy when I restart  this product and look a little "Night of the Living Dead" for a few days.  My skin becomes extremely sun sensitive and prone to burn when I use Retin-A.  Use a good sunscreen daily if you are using Retin-A....I repeat use a good sunscreen daily!

When I use this product faithfully, my skin has a rosy glow, is smoother, with some reduction of fine wrinkles and excellent reduction of age spots.


Here are my two cents on Retin-A.  Several years ago, my aesthetician told me the two most important products for the face were Retin-A and sunscreen.  Since then I have been a faithful user of both.  I started out with Tretinoin Cream, .05% for about a year, than moved up to 0.1%.  I used it every night for awhile but now use it every other night.  It took some getting used to...flaking at first...but that went away fairly soon.  The brown sun spots on my face are pretty much gone, and I use it on my hands with good results as well.

Last fall I asked my derm if there was anything better than Tretinoin.  She gave me a sample of ATRALIN, tretinoin 0.05% gel with a script and a coupon.  Even so, it was $75.00, more expensive than Tretinoin Cream, but my derm says she thinks it's better.  It is not recommended for people who have Rosacea.  I will keep everyone posted as to my results!


IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and is also known as a Photofacial treatment.  It can help restore a youthful appearance to sun damaged skin.  IPL delivers high intensity pulses of broadband light to the deeper parts of the skin.  IPL is recommended for the treatment of Rosacea, improving irregular pigmentation, fading dark sun spots and reducing fine wrinkles.


I have had Rosacea most of my adult life.  The center of my face, forehead, nose, two inches on either side of my nose, and the middle of my chin were always red.  Mostly I used make up to cover it up or ignored it.

About fifteen years ago I acquired a label to define it: Rosacea.  Having a name for it made me think that I could do something about it....As I aged I started fearing that having a red bulbous nose would do nothing to enhance my appearance.  I shared my concerns with my dermatologist who prescribed two creams to apply daily.  I did this faithfully for four months with no results.

After hearing that Photofacials could help Rosacea and could assist in evening out skin tone, I purchased an IPL Treatment on Living Social.

My experience was satisfying.  I have had only one treatment and my skin tone is more even and the Rosacea has lessened.  I'm keeping my eyes out for more Groupon or Living Social bargains because I see the visible results and want to pursue more of these treatments.

The recommended number of treatments is six.  They are expensive, but I think ultimately worth it.  My advise is to look for the deals!  I'm sure there will be more about this in future posts, because Teresa is mindful and diligent.

(Teresa's note: I have never observed Carmen's nose to be the least bit bulbous.)



Mr. Gordon's attempt to save the ENTIRE WORLD from Emperor Ming's merciless attack of the PURPLE DEATH resonated as I walked into my first IPL Treatment.

The treatment room was less entertaining than Dr. Zarkov's spaceship, but still quite nice, and Flash seemed more than moderately competent.  This was the first of two adventures with these treatments courtesy of the Groupon/Living Social folks.

After signing the liability waiver, that warned of reddened skin, possible death, and virtually everything in between, I was introduced to Flash and provided some additional cautionary tales.  The most interesting of these was that the darkened areas of sun damage would probably assume the color of "coffee grounds" after the treatment. Charming.

Even after the application of some numbing cream, the pulses still felt like a rubber band snap against my skin.  I have a pretty high pain threshold, so all was well.  Flash also had a method to direct cold air toward the areas that were pulsed; it was particularly effective against the moderate heat that was generated.

Results you ask?  Favorable.  Turns out the "coffee grounds" comment was wildly exaggerated, at least for me.  Skin was a little red, but certainly no more than would be expected after hearing conversation of a sexually inappropriate nature.  The damaged areas did turn darker, but I was able to walk in public without ridicule.  The negative results lasted less than a week, and my skin, overall, looked better and the damaged areas were less noticeable.  The areas of darkened skin were not, however, completely eradicated.  On to sessions two and three with a different provider.

Although I was happy with Flash I, I was drawn to Flash II by somewhat lower charges for a group of three treatments.  Office and provider were both professional, but the treatment room looked like Dr. Zarkov's ship interior hadn't been detailed in a while.  Couple of differences in the procedures.  Instead of the cold air, Flash II applied a cold gel-like substance that remediated the heat.  Very cold.....very, very cold.  The blast of cold air was better.  Also, the equipment appeared to be a bit older, but apparently still very effective.

One very notable difference was the bruise that appeared on my cheek bone immediately after the procedure.  Caused, as I was told, by a blood vessel or two that had wandered too close to the skin surface.  Happy to get them blasted, but I appeared to be the losing participant in a bar fight or the victim of spousal abuse.  I offered the choice of either explanation to my curious co-workers.  Happily, however, this unanticipated brutalization did result in the complete elimination of the darker streak that had taken up residence in that area.

Results?  Again, essentially pleased, but some of the darker areas still remained even after  a second visit with Flash II.  One more visit remains, and I'll have a little chat with Flash II concerning my expectations prior to powering up the light cannon.

(Teresa's note: I happened to see Dale soon after the bruised cheek bone incident....I suggested she might be well advised to find a lawyer to sue Flash II..... I can attest now, however, to the fact that in a short period of time, both the bruise and the large-ish age streak it hid, have completely disappeared!)


I have no medical training what so ever.  Zilch.  Zero.  Nada.  I'm not even CPR certified.

My opinions and those of contributors, are just that, opinions.

Most of my opinions are formed as a result of personal experiences and rigorous scientific investigation such as polling my buddies at lunch or Happy Hour.

I am not the shill for any product manufacturer...

If after reading a review on this blog you feel tempted to spend your hard earned money on a recommended procedure or product, check it out first with your medical provider or aesthetician.  Do your own research,  Use common sense.


  1. Ageist, Schmageist! I love the info, and Dale (whoever "she" is), did a fine job.


  2. Dale has been a great asset to the blog! We hope to hear from her again....