From the Pantry to the Bathroom: NOTHING! (Or, Listen to Your Boyfriend)

OK, so this doesn’t exactly conform to the format of FTPTTB in that I’m not about to reveal a moisturizer recipe that calls for olive oil and honey (although I’m sure you could use those ingredients for moistening purposes). Instead, my skin care tip of the day is: Nothing!

Remember, a few months ago, when I was complaining of that weird rash I had under my eyes after I stupidly used my diluted-vinegar-and-cinnamon concoction — originally intended as a hair conditioner — in place of toner? Yeah, a word for the novices out there trying to tackle homemade beauty products: cinnamon and delicate regions of the epidermis do NOT go together. Anyway, I was trying a bunch of different remedies to bring my under-eye area back to normal, including almond oil (nope), safflower oil (nope), vitamin A and E (nope), jojoba oil (nope) and my ever-beloved coconut oil (nope), and while most of these would kind of work temporarily, all it took was one shower or face wash (with or without any soap) for my skin to freak out again.

Now, my approach when it comes to health or skin problems is to try a natural remedy first; if that doesn’t work, I come crawling to my mother for some good ol’ Western medicine. Of course, I could have tried reconfiguring my diet — eliminating coffee, alcohol, yeast; introducing more antioxidants, lycopene and whatnot — but to be honest, I’d rather have rashy eyes and a glass of shiraz in my hands than a flawless complexion and nothing but water after an eight-hour day of work.

So my mom gave me some Cortate cream she had lying around the bathroom. Actually, it was lying around my sister’s bathroom, because she apparently applies this stuff liberally for no medicinal reason other than it gives off a nice “glow” (if you’ve read my book, you’ll know this is par for the course in terms of her logic … and, actually, it does leave a healthy-looking sheen, regardless of how fake it may be).

Now, although cortisone can be kind of sketchy in high doses, this stuff was only 0.5%, so I figured a few short-term applications of it wouldn’t kill me. And the result: It worked! Well, sort of.

It worked temporarily — I applied it at night and the next morning my skin looked great; even washing and towel-drying my face didn’t seem to hamper its efficacy. But the problem was, as soon as I tried to wean myself off the cortisone, the rash came back within days. Now, technically, I could keep using this cream on a daily basis for the rest of my life, but my gut kept saying, “Your eyes were fine six months ago and they didn’t require any drugs!” This was driving me crazy.

The funny thing was, every time I complained about this rash and went about applying yet another new oil or ointment, Jacob would say, “Why don’t you just leave it alone? If you didn’t put anything under your eyes before, why are you doing all of this now?”

He had a point, but I was sure that if I went to bed at night with rashy under-eyes and didn’t do anything about it, I’d wake up the next morning looking as though I’d contracted some horrible disease.

But the other day, out of exasperation, I decided to give it a shot. I had no plans to go out the following morning and, even if that changed, I had some concealer that would at least hide the redness.

Well, guess what? The boy was right. My eyes felt a little dry, but otherwise looked fine other than a few spots. Another few days of this, and they’re practically back to normal. See for yourself:


(This is right after I woke up, so I don’t have any makeup on and look kinda tired, but still — no rash!)

Moral of the story: Our bodies don’t NEED lotions, potions, creams and exfoliants. Sure, applying some type of oil every now and then (especially in the winter) helps against dryness, as does drinking plenty of water; and of course, if you have psoriasis or eczema, that will probably require some treatment, whether drug-based, food-based or both. But on the whole, it’s always better to opt for a minimalist hygiene routine — this benefits both yourself and the environment.

8 Responses to From the Pantry to the Bathroom: NOTHING! (Or, Listen to Your Boyfriend)

  1. I read your post and it was nice of you to share your experience in so much detail!
    Our bodies are designed to develop an immunity against all odd unless we are living extremely stressed out lives.
    In order to keep our skin glowing we need to keep our blood clean and that is done by good intake of plane water and daily green on our plates. Also small but daily intakes of oily nuts like walnuts and almonds help.
    Don”t know what you mean by a minimalist hygiene routine!
    Personally i like to hit the shower twice a day.. 🙂

  2. I have yet to notice any rashyness on your face my sweet. And yay for the reminder about Western medicine. Symptoms… not the cause 😉

    You shall be fine. As I always say- when the body gets what it needs… it all falls in to a fine healthy/healing balance.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Yeah… I’m a less is more kind of gal. I haven’t washed my face with anything in months, if not years (I’m sure there are a few instances… but can’t remember them). I never use lotion, makeup, etc. AND… I have flawless skin. (Except the freckles, which I like).

    Basically, my face gets washed and steamed in the shower (sans soap, and with just whatever water hits it by accident) twice a week. When I washed it every day, it was losing all of the oils that keep it nice.

    Less is more!

  4. Liz says:

    As a chronic eczema sufferer I agree, less is more. I only use cortisone it the itch is unbearable and just once at the start of a flair up. After that just unscented lotion to keep things from drying out. Also, if you can, try to convince your sister not to use Cortisone just because of the glow, it is really not good to use it unless you need it and that “small” dose is not so small when you are applying it to large areas of your skin.

  5. Elise says:

    I wash my face with either olive oil or a pumpkin bar soap ( Afterward, I use a lighter oil to moisturize and an all natural acne spot treatment at night if I need it. I’ve been following this routine for about two weeks and everyone has been commenting on how nice my skin looks. I usually have acne, so it’s a nice change to get compliments instead of being harassed by the people at the ProActiv cart at the mall.

  6. Desiree says:

    Just as an aside – Cortisone (or any steroid) creams should not be applied on the skin around the eye. The skin in that area is very thin and products applied there are absorbed into the skin and can affect your eye health. Steroid creams specifically are a risk factor for glaucoma.

    I only know this because my boss, who is a glaucoma surgeon, caught me applying Cortisone cream to my eyelid for allergies once. I got a very stern warning and an impromptu eye exam in the middle of work that day!

  7. Angelica says:

    Your body usually knows how to repair itself, it’s just hard to let go and let it do it’s job sometimes.

  8. Emma says:

    So that’s where the cortate cream went…

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