Monday, March 19, 2012

'Sonic Boom

The facts are these:

My skin, for most of its existence, has been on a Routine. I got through most of my teenage years with the usual zit dance parties (hosted by me, on my T-Zone). Freshman year, I had problems making eye contact in case somebody was checking out the nipple of a whitehead on my nose. I think around junior year I tried my first dermatologist to make things a bit easier on my stressed out teenager brain. But for some reason, senior year after graduation my skin went NUTS. It was like, "oh hey, you want to go to college and make friends and be normal? NOPE."

That was when I ventured to the dark side: Accutane. Have you heard of the stuff? It's a hardxcore pill that completely destroys acne, leaving behind some gnarly side effects: depression, flaking skin, back aches, dry eyes and acne scars. At the time, I was just concentrating on slathering foot cream on my face and not getting pregnant with a conehead alien baby. [Fig. A]

Fig. A

For a while, the treatment stuck and I enjoyed a few years of pretty nice skin. But then last year, my skin freaked out again. My new, cooler dermatologist took one look and offered me another round of Accutane. It was back to the nasty side effects that are nothing, frankly, compared to having clear skin. I could write a whole book about what having bad skin does to a person's self esteem. The weird thing is, it's not like I got acne from eating pizza everyday and slathering the leftover oil on my face. The stigma around it is incredibly weird, and it sucks, but ANYWAY…

So with my new realization that I was now a young lady with relatively nice skin again finally ohthankgodfinally, I started getting distracted by the side effects left behind by two rounds of Accutane. Namely, the flaky skin. It wasn't something I could fix with gentle exfoliating or a heavy duty moisturizer, so I turned to the thing I'd heard about for years and years and hadn't yet tried.

Enter, the Clarisonic.

And I quote:

"Used and recommended by spas and dermatologists, Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems use a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to gently, yet thoroughly remove 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt and oil than cleansing with your hands alone. Cleaner skin is the first step toward healthier skin. And healthier skin is smoother, more radiant and more beautiful. "

The deal is, for about $140, you can get a facial cleansing brush that uses sonic waves to sort of shake dirt and nasty crap outta your pores.

The "dermatologist recommended" stuff initially threw me for a while, because I had heard reviews that the brush encouraged acne. You see, if the brush irritates the skin or pushes around bacteria, it can really do some damage. Pre-Routine (the endless cycle of Accutane pills, blood tests for alien babies, topical treatments and sunscreens, some of which I still use), any kind of rough treatment on my skin could have irritated it and even scarred. Now that my skin has mostly recovered, I thought I was okay to use this lightweight tool on myself.

You put a little cleanser on your face and on the brush, then very gently let the brush do its job. After a few moments, it shuts off and you can wonderingly stroke the baby's bottom that is now your face.

It sort of sounds like a vibrator, so it helps to alert your roommate and/or boyfriend that you're cleaning your face and not having an alone quickie before bed.

I use it about once every other day, and after two weeks I had already noticed the pores on my cheeks and around my nose shrinking. My forehead and temples feel soft and smooth. My skintone is more even, and the little things I used to put concealer on have faded. Most importantly, the flaky skin around my nose is essentially gone, and even the fine little lines around my eyes are much more shallow. [Okay, okay, I'm 24—one good night's sleep and those lines are gone.] I can't believe this thing did what it said it would do, and it hasn't made me break out or irritated anything.

A few things to note:
-Always, always clean the brush head off and let it dry outside of the bathroom
-Replace the head about once every 3 months, which I haven't gotten to yet (it's only been about a month, crazy)
-Don't make circles with the brush—just let it go and enjoy

There is a cheaper knockoff of the brush by Olay, which you can get in drugstores for about $20-40ish, I think? I read reviews on both brushes before buying, but in the end I don't want to mess around with my skin. The Olay brush doesn't use the same sound waves, so it could be doing more harmful scraping, and that worried me.

Is it expensive? Yes. So are moisturizers, and fancy cleansers and endless prescriptions and all the other shit I've bought and endured to get to this point. My skin still isn't perfect. But if this brush makes me look and feel better, I'd spend any amount of money on it.


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