Christmas Gift Ideas: Health and Beauty

I know many moms have now managed to tick off items from their Christmas lists.  But if you are one of those who have yet to start shopping for presents, here are a few not so ordinary gift ideas for the health and beauty of your loved ones.

Gifts of Beauty  

I know we often say that we shouldn’t judge any person by the way he or she looks. I do believe this.  However, that doesn’t mean that we should not care about how WE look at all.  I’m not talking spending hours (and a whole ton of cash) on makeup and beauty treatments. I do think that we all should  at least have a basic skin regimen to keep our skin healthy. So here are some ideas for giving the Gift of Beauty.

Gift Certificates. Makeup is a tricky thing to give as a gift. So are bath gels, lotions, and perfume. Let your loved ones be able to choose the right shade or the right scent for themselves by opting to give them gift certificates from their fave beauty shop.

Salon Treat. It is every woman’s wish to be able to have an entire day of pampering (ehem-ehem hubby Jasper!).  Treat the ladies you love with a whole day at the spa. Give them a complete package of facial treatment, body scrub and massage, mani-pedi, and hair spa and they won’t ever forget how special you made them feel this Christmas.

Skin Care Packs. Bags, clothes, makeup…these are among the most often gifted items during the Christmas season. This year, give them something that would make them look beautiful both inside and out. For women my age (proud almost-40 lady here!), the Celeteque Dermoscience Advance Anti-Aging Line is heavensent. The entire line works on any skin-type, even for sensitive ones, and is very effective in making ones skin look years younger.  Make the beauty regimen complete by adding some Myra-E’s to your gift basket.

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Complete your beauty gift pack with some Myra-E and phCare products.


Gift of Health

We may have a slew of beauty products in our vanity table but if we are not healthy, all these would be for naught.  Here are some ideas which may seem unusual for gift-giving but are actually very great gifts to give to your loved ones.

Gym Membership. Get your loved ones a jump start on their fitness resolution next year.  A gym membership leaves them with no excuse not to exercise anymore. 😉

Health Kit. Who would ever give a basket full of vitamins and health supplements as a gift? Sounds weird, right?  But this kind of gift actually shows just how much you care about someone – and it’ll definitely be appreciated by the recipient. Unilab has come out with the Handy Health Kit which contains medicines that we all often use including Biogesic, Alaxan, Kremil-S, and Diatabs.

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The Unilab Handy Health Kit is something we all must have wherever we go. If your loved ones have tiny tots, throw in some Ceelin and Biogesic Syrups. These are among the medicines we always always always have at home. 🙂

Cetaphil and Aveeno for Mama’s Sensitive Skin

Keratosis pilaris. Another -is to add to my long list. Contact dermatitis, perioral dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, hand osteoarthritis.  Then there’s the occasional tamaditis and the seasonal neurosis.

With a long history of dermatitis and other allergies, I paid no special attention to the itchy rash that appeared on my back. I dismissed it as prickly heat which I was prone to suffer from during the hot days of summer.  However, when a couple of months had passed without getting any relief or seeing any improvement, I finally decided to see my dermatologist.

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Keratosis Pilaris, Causes, Treatment

The rough patches were mostly on my back so I really could not see them properly.  They would often feel itchy when the weather was hot which was why I thought they were prickly heat.  Unlike prickly heat though, the small bumps were not reddish.

When my dermatologist examined the rash, she explained that I had a condition called “chicken skin” or keratosis pilaris.  Although this is harmless and could be easily addressed with topical medication, it is, unfortunately, a condition I would have to deal with the rest of my life.

Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition characterized by small hard bumps that are often light-colored, hence, the term chicken skin.  They make your skin feel like sandpaper and may appear on your back, upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and face.

Chicken skin is formed when a buildup of keratin blocks the opening of a hair follicle.  Those with dry skin are usually more likely to have keratosis pilaris. Those with atopic dermatitis (*raises hands*) are also prone to having this skin condition.

My dermatologist prescribed fluocinolone lotion to be applied to affected area twice a day for no more than 7 days.  My skin showed significant improvement on the third day.  On the 5th day, my skin was smooth and soft already.

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Aside from fluocinolone, my dermatologist also told me to avoid using fabric conditioners on our clothes.  She recommended that I shift to cleansers formulated for sensitive skin.  She also stressed the importance of keeping my skin moisturized.

Skin Care for Mama’s Sensitive Skin

Even before going to the dermatologist, I had already tried Cetaphil Restoraderm and stopped using all other soaps at home. When I told her about this, she approved and said that it was a great choice and I should continue using it.

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Cetaphil Restoraderm(~845 pesos at Mercury Drug) is a skin restoring body wash that’s formulated for very dry itchy skin.  It’s soap-free, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and is gentle enough even on baby’s skin.  It contains Shea Butter (butyrospermum parkii butter) that moisturizes the skin.

Of course, it wasn’t enough to address my skin problems but I love how it moisturizes my skin so that I can do without lotion during the day when summer heat is at its warmest.  At night, though, I make sure to slather on Aveeno Creamy Moisturizing Oil.

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Aveeno Active Naturals Creamy Moisturizing Oil (575.75 pesos at SM) is my current favorite! My kids love putting it on my arms and legs (makes me feel so pampered every single time!) and say it smells like Playdoh (which is probably why they love “playing” with it).  My hubby loves it scent too.  Most importantly, it relieves my itchy and dry skin.  This Aveeno variant has skin-soothing natural colloidal oatmeal and skin moisturizing pure oat oil.

Since I fell in love with the moisturizing oil, I decided to try the Aveeno Active Naturals Moisturizing Bar (189.75 pesos at SM) too.  This soap-free cleanser also contains natural colloidal oatmeal that gently cleanses and soothes dry skin.  It leaves my skin moisturized so I can do without lotion in the morning.  It’s fragrance-free but during the first couple of uses had a faint scent that reminded me of a grain store.   It takes some getting used to if you love fragrant soaps. Aside from that faint scent of grain,  I’m also loving this Aveeno. It costs less than a third of the price of Cetaphil Restoraderm which makes it more budget-friendly.  The only downside would have to be its availability.  Only select supermarkets and drugstores carry the Aveeno Active Naturals brand. I bought mine from SM Supermarket.

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I grew up with Cetaphil and have been loyal to the brand for years now but I must say that I’m really loving Aveeno Active Naturals. They will certainly now be part of my skincare regimen.

Be Your #BestBeautiful Every Single Day

How many selfies have you posted in your social media accounts? I bet you’ve long lost count.  Admit it, we all love to show off our best pictures.  Now, government IDs are an entirely different story. More likely than not, you only whip them out when absolutely necessary. I have yet to meet someone who brags about her picture in a government ID.

I’m inclined to believe that these government offices have a conspiracy to take our pictures at absolutely the worst angles.  They seem to have this built-in sensor that detects our most awkward facial expressions and snap a picture just at that very moment. 😛 Don’t you just wish they have BeautyFace or Photoshop to edit those awkward pictures?

We can’t do anything about how they take our pictures but what we can do is not settle for anything less than beautiful.  A little preparation goes a long way.  No, you don’t need to get your hair and makeup professionally done before heading to LTO.  Neither would you need to slather on a whole makeup kit worth of products on your face.

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Watch the women in this video and find out how they did not settle for anything less than their best beautiful.

You, too, deserve to be your #BestBeautiful every day – even for an ID photo!  Let’s not settle for the ordinary and be our best beautiful always.  Share us your thoughts by using hashtag the #BestBeautiful!

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Just what I need to get ready for my Driver’s License 🙂

When Acne Isn’t Acne

For the most part of the year, I’ve been battling with breakouts (and breakdowns) which I thought were due to hormonal imbalance (which I also thought were causing my emotional breakdowns :P) Last Sunday, I finally found time to see a dermatologist.  Lo and behold, I found out that I’ve been using the wrong skin care products on my face!  AND I also learned that the acne I thought I had was not acne at all!

I really should have seen a dermatologist sooner and not experimented with just about all the skincare products I could afford.  Apparently, my self-diagnosis was just a big misdiagnosis.

Since I thought I had hormonal acne, I bought a tea tree cleanser which can help control my breakouts.  However, the doctor told me that tea tree oil was doing more damage than good on my skin (good thing I hadn’t had time to buy that new BB with tea tree oil I wanted to try).  She told me that salicyclic acid wasn’t a friend to my skin and I should avoid products that contain it.  It also turns out that I shouldn’t even be using moisturizers on my face.  I was already producing more than enough sebum to keep it moisturized naturally.  So what was causing the breakouts?  Dermatitis.

‘Tis a Thing Called DERMATITIS

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Perioral Dermatitis and Seborrheic Dermatitis to be exact. This caught me again in surprise as I’ve always associated seborrheic dermatitis with dandruff which I didn’t have – or so I thought. I didn’t have those white flaky  stuff we usually associate with “dandruff”.  Well, there’s another myth debunked!

Seborrheic Dermatitis isn’t just dandruff. It can occur not just on the scalp but on other parts of the body that tend to be oily such as creases of the nose, around the lips, behind the ears, outer ear, and the chest.  Have you heard of cradle cap in infants? That’s seborrheic dermatitis too.  Though she cannot pinpoint the exact triggers, it may be caused by stress, changes in the weather, excessive sebum production, or infrequent shampoos. The dermatologist said that this form of dermatitis is chronic (meaning I have it for life, huhuhuhu) but can be managed with proper skin care and healthy diet.

As for the other –itis, it resembles acne but it isn’t.  Perioral dermatitis is characterized by acne-like bumps around the mouth, on the chin, in the folds around the nose, under the eyes, and on the forehead.  It’s on the T-zone which is why I thought it was hormonal acne.  According to the dermatologist my seborrheic dermatitis could be the man cause for this.  It is also aggravated by toothpaste dripping on my chin.  Yah, I’m a child like that – letting toothpaste froth drip down my chin while I’m brushing my teeth. 😛 My using heavy skin creams and sunscreen makes it even worse – which is why I’m staying away from moisturizers for now.

New Skin Care Regimen

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For the next week, I’m on Tetralysal (lymecycline)  and Hydrocortisone+Erythromycin cream.  No more tea tree oil cleanser also. I’m back to using Cetaphil for keeps.  Cetaphil and Physiogel are the only cleansers the dermatologist recommends.  She also recommended that I change my shampoo to Head & Shoulders or Gard.  I’m to also use a ketoconazole shampoo once a week.  It has only been a couple of days since I’ve changed my regimen and followed the prescription yet my skin’s already visibly cleared a bit.  Hopefully, all the redness will be gone before Saturday.

Are you having problems with your skin too?  Please do see a dermatologist ASAP.  You won’t want to waste your money on skin care products that aren’t really suited for your skin.

Lightening Skin Care for Frugal Moms

Twenty-pounds ago, when  all I really cared about was me, myself, and I, not a month passed without an appointment with my dermatologist and a trip to the salon and spa.  Now with two little kids and a house to take care of, I neither have the time nor the money to have that monthly trip to the dermatologist and the salon.  That’s not an excuse to neglect proper skin care though.  Fortunately, I’ve found some budget-friendly lightening skin care products that help keep my skin healthy and fair.

Whitening Body Scrubs

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It may not be as relaxing as being scrubbed by a spa attendant, but the few minutes I’m able to spend exfoliating all over is good enough to relax and rejuvenate me. Among the scrubs I’ve tried, the Sutla Vanilla Yogurt Whitening Scrub and Asian Secrets Lulur Indonesian Whitening Body Scrub are my absolute faves.  The Vanilla Yogurt Scrub had me smitten at first whiff – I absolutely love its scent!  I find the exfoliating beads too rough though so I only use it on my body and not my face.  The Asian Secrets Lulur Scrub, on the other hand, has fine lulur beads that gently exfoliates and removes dead skin cells.  This one I use on my face once in a while.

Budget-wise, these two fit right in!  A 400g pouch of Sutla Vanilla Yogurt whitening Scrub costs only P150 (text 0947.896.8007 to order) and a 250g tub of Asian Secrets costs P130 (available in groceries, department stores, and almost everywhere else :D).

Sutla Green Papaya with Milk

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Although not as fair as Lucy Torres, my skin’s on the fair side too.  I’m already quite happy with my skin color but am prone to skin pigmentation so I still use soap with lightening properties.   The Sutla Green Papaya with Milk is my current favorite.  It contains green papain and milk extracts that gently exfoliates my skin and sloughs away dead skin cells.  This herbal soap is cold processed making it much gentler on the skin than hot processed ones.  Another plus factor is the vitamin A and vitamin D infused in the soap.  Skin TLC that makes skin fairer too.  This soap will cost you around P60 per 135g-bar (text 09478968007 to order).

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel SPF30

This has no lightening properties but is something I can’t live without.  I mean, what’s fair skin if it’s dry, right?   Of all the moisturizers I’ve tried, this is the only one that doesn’t feel heavy and doesn’t turn my face into a greasy mess after a couple of hours.  The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel has a progressive release system for long lasting hydration.  Moreover, it has SPF30. <3 It’s a bit on the pricey side though at P800+ for a 40ml bottle – but you do get your money’s worth.

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Belo Essentials Whitening Anti-Perspirant Deodorant


Dark underarms is a bane of Pinays.  I bet that 1 out of 2 Pinays have to take extra measures to prevent chicken skin and pigmentation in their pits. Sadly, I’m among the unlucky half. I’ve found an ally in Belo Essentials Whitening Anti-Perspirant Deodorant. It promises to effectively whiten underarms in 7 days but I didn’t really notice any significant change in mine when I first started using this.  Nevertheless, I’ve continued using it because it’s alcohol-free and lives up to the 24-hr protection claim.  How much does it cost? Around P90 only for a 40-ml bottle.

Priva Intimate Wash

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It’s no secret that most women are so concerned about how they look that even the body parts shielded from public view are given much importance.  Oh yes, we all want to look and smell good down there too!   I’ve shun away from feminine washes before as they were too harsh on my intimate area.  It used to be just plain ol’ Dove soap and clean water for me.  Although it provides gentle cleansing, it just wasn’t enough to make me feel confidently clean down there.  Which is why I’m sooooo glad that there are now washes that are pH-balanced and gentle on the skin.

I’ve recently tried Priva Intimate Washes and have not had any adverse reactions to either variants – no stinging, no rashes, no irritations.  Yey!!! for that. The Priva Skin Lightening and Cooling Intimate Wash has glutathione and natural strawberry extracts (strawberry! hmmmm…) that help lighten skin. The other variant, Priva Skin Firming and Cooling Intimate Wash, contains Witch Hazel extracts, collagen and Kwao Krua extracts that help improve skin elasticity and firmness and help retain moisture.  I use both variants alternately.  Both variants contain RevitaCool which leaves you cool and refreshed after every wash.  At around P140 for a 150ml bottle, Priva Intimate Wash can be included in your monthly grocery list without putting any dent on your budget.  Oh, but it could put a dent in the bedframe  *wink*.

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Those are my current fave lightening skin care products.  Are you using any of them, too?  What products are currently part of your skin care routine?