Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pregnancy Diary: The Second Trimester

Fourth and fifth month: I had to quit work in the middle of a training week. It was depressing at first but anything for the baby! The bleeding stopped and we were more convinced that all I needed was to rest. But it wasn’t easy at all. I had to be in bed at all times. I have bathroom privileges but I couldn’t take a bath standing, I have to do it sitting on a stool. I couldn’t even sit for more than an hour or else I’d bleed again so it also means that I can’t exercise and I think it made my body weaker! I decided to eat red meat again because my Ob-Gyn insisted me to do so. The baby and I gained weight instantly.

Sixth month: Everything’s been smooth sailing but I’m still on house arrest. I finished all the books I haven’t finished in a long time. I’ve had DVD marathons all day long and when I got tired of watching the telly, I started tuning in to FM station. I love a certain FM channel which plays classical music all day long. I’m used to doing my new routine now and it’s not that boring anymore. I found out that for two months, Tatay has been replacing my low-fat milk over full cream ones because he desperately wants me to gain weight. I started having low-impact arm and leg exercises.

Pregnancy Condition: High risk; Threatened Abortion, Uterine Contractions
Skin Condition: Dry and flaky all over
Medication: Ixosilan for uterine contractions, Utrogestan (Progesterone) for bleeding (orally)
Vitamins and Supplements:  Hemarate FA, Anmum Materna
Diet: Baby is a carnivore!
Fitness: Low impact arm and leg exercises on the sixth month

My skin’s dry and flaky all over that no amount of body cream or oil can soothe it. So I stopped using soap and used coconut oil and a loofah instead. After a week, my skin condition improved and its baby smooth again! I’d say that the fourth was the second hardest month for me. But I’ve learned so much from my second trimester. I think those were the months that we've prayed the hardest in our entire lives (we still do!) and it had brought us closer to God and for that, I’m very grateful. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pregnancy Diary: The First Trimester

First month: We found out that we’re pregnant and we were elated! But I was bleeding and having cramps during my second week so we had our first sonogram to have the baby checked. The baby is really small and we didn’t even see it and it was still too early that time to detect a heartbeat. We were told to wait for a month to see if the baby can survive the contractions. No vitamins were given that time but I started drinking Anmum.

Second month: We heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time and we were just so happy. I’m still bleeding but very lightly. We had our second sonogram to check if the baby’s okay. The baby is well with good cardiac and somatic activities but we found out that I have a low lying placenta so I was ordered to have a weeklong rest from work. I started taking iron and folic acid supplements. My Ob-Gyn prescribed Ixosilan for the uterine contractions. I suffered a severe case of face rash and couldn’t eat nuts, eggs, chicken, fish and shellfish.

Third month: It was second week of the month; I was taking a bath when I felt a gush of liquid ran through my legs. I saw a lot of blood flowing profusely. I was so scared that time thinking I had a miscarriage and we went to the hospital immediately. It was the first time I got that scared all my life. We had another sonogram to check if the baby is okay. Upon hearing the baby’s heartbeat, we were relieved. I was diagnosed to have a Placenta Previa, my cervix was 3cm wide that time hence the bleeding and I have UTI. Our Ob-Gyn told me that I have to stop working and be on complete bed rest until I give birth. Week by week we waited and prayed for my cervix to close.
Pregnancy Condition: High risk; Threatened Abortion, UTI, Placenta Previa
Skin Condition: Allergies, Dry and flaky all over
Medication: Elica for skin allergy (for a week), Ixosilan for uterine contractions, Crinone Progesterone (vaginally) for bleeding, Cefalexin for UTI
Tests: Sonogram, Ultrasound, Urinalysis
Vitamins and Supplements:  Hemarate FA, Anmum Materna
Diet: Vegetarian
Fitness: NA

It’s a bit surprising because during my last two pregnancies, all I did was throw-up. Going back, I thought it was the hardest part of my pregnancy. But I’m up for a bigger surprise.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sensitive Skin 101

I’ve always had sensitive skin; so somehow I became an expert on dealing with it. Don’t get me wrong, I still get the occasional zits and rash. I’ve also had numerous trials and errors and love-hate relationships with a great deal of drugstore, natural and organic products. I’ve learnt it the hard way and it’s true when you’re dealing with skincare problems that less is always more.

According to my dermatologist, sensitive skin can have hundreds of causes. The most likely culprits are alcohol in toners and astringents, surfactants in soaps and cleansers, chemical preservatives like paraben and propylene glycol, PABA and benzophenone in sunscreen preparations, the list goes on. And it could be internal as well like food, alcohol or hormonal and external like sun, wind, pollution, air conditioning or detergents. There’s also stress. Constantly being on stress slows skin cell renewal making our skin look sallow that emphasises under-eye circles (in short, haggard!).

But here’s what you can do give your sensitive skin its well deserved TLC:

Look for hypoallergenic and allergy tested products. Always do a patch test when planning to buy any cosmetic and facial product. A great and cheaper alternative to VMV is Physiogel Hypoallergenic. Their skincare line is pretty basic. All their products are non-comedogenic, contains no colourants, perfume and preservatives (except their cleanser which has paraben). It’s widely available and works just as well.

Don’t use soap. It strips off your skin’s PH balance leaving it susceptible to irritation. Stick to cream cleansers as they have a rich consistency and leave a light moisturizing film.   

Steer clear of exfoliants (i.e.: toner, facial scrubs) and high-concentrated AHA creams. AHA are natural chemicals found in fruits, wine, milk and sugar cane. AHA, especially in high amounts is a no-no if you have sensitive skin. If you can’t avoid using products with AHA (like me ‘cause I use organic facial products), choose the lowest concentration you can get (from facial wash and toner) and use it occasionally. You can alternate it with your regular creams or cleanser.    

Avoid the sun as much as you can and protect your face with a physical sunscreen containing titanium dioxide instead of a chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens, especially if you have sensitive skin, can cause allergic reactions. We have a lot of organic sunscreens on the market, BB creams and tinted moisturizers that have ample amount of SPF as well. Look for make-up that has SPF to amplify your sun screen protection. Just make sure you’re using a sunscreen no less than SPF30 for everyday use and SPF50 if you’ll be out in the sun for a long time.       

Stop using any product at once if it’s causing your skin to breakout- regardless of how much you want it to work and how expensive it is. Ask around and do your research. Not because a product is high-end, means it’ll work wonders for your skin. You’ll be amazed of the choices we have on the market that are cheaper, efficient and works just as fine. Be smart on your choices.   

If your skin is in bad condition visit a dermatologist immediately. Don’t always rely on website information and advices of family and friends. What works for them might even harm your skin.  

Still, the best prudent solution to dealing with skin breakouts is to reduce stress, get enough sleep, stay hydrated and eat sensibly. In the long run, you’ll save a lot of money from buying skincare products you don’t actually need and your skin will thank you for it.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Organic What?

I just want to share my thoughts on green living after reading an article: It’s hip being green! Seriously, that made me laugh. I find it a bit shallow and it's comical and sad at the same time. But hey, we're all entitled to our own opinions so I better start talking now.

On sustainable beauty

I’ve read an interesting blog post about the “paraben-cancer issue”. If you’ve been into organic skincare products for some time now, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not the type of person who jumps into fads, cos for one, I hate following the crowd. But four years ago, I jumped into the organic skincare bandwagon and have never looked back. Well, I have my reasons and it’s not about cancer. I have sensitive skin and my skin reacts well to organic and natural products. Before, I had little knowledge about locally produced organic skincare products. I bought my skincare products in malls but then four years ago, I discovered the wonders of online shopping. When you buy locally produced products, you’re supporting our local entrepreneurs, helping local farmers and laborers make a living. Our locally produced organic skincare products are world class and way cheaper. It’s not purely superficial; it’s also about helping and being environmentally aware.

image via google

Organic, Free Range and DIYs

If you like salads, choose organic salad greens, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, et cetera as much as you can because they are usually eaten raw. Its okay if you can’t buy organically farmed vegetables and root crops (that you still have to cook and peel) on a regular basis because the ones sold in grocery stores are ridiculously overpriced. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly to remove excess bug juice. If you have a small garden space at home, make your own vegetable garden. There are lots of vegetables that are easy to grow. Take your pick from tomatoes to chilli peppers. 

image via google

If you’re not a vegetarian, (if you can) choose free-range meat and make sure your meat shop has a reliable and clean slaughterhouse system. Buy from reputable meat shops and avoid buying in bulk. It’s bad enough that it’s a dead animal and worse if you store it in your fridge for a long period of time.

image via google

Try to buy natural household cleansers. Choose the ones that are labelled biodegradable and packaged in recycled plastic or recyclable PET bottles (a favourite local brand of mine is Messy Bessy). If they’re a bit steep for your budget, concoct your own cleansers! You’ll be amazed by the wonders of baking soda and vinegar or our local calamansi. You can buy essential oils like tea tree, lavender, lemon and orange that you can add to your concoctions. It’s safer and it’s fun to do especially if you’re a DIY-kind of person. And your house will smell oh so heavenly!           

image via google

And on being wise: Reducing your waste output

Examine your closet methodically and start removing clothes you haven’t worn in a long time and keep the keepers. Buy clothes with natural fibres like cotton, wool and silk. Avoid following trends. Really invest in your wardrobe and stick with the classics that you can wear again and again. Learn to accessorize so you can avoid buying tons of clothes that’ll just gather dust in your closet.

image via google

Plan and prepare your meals ahead. If you’re tired of the office cafeteria menu, make time to cook your own meals; it could be a gourmet sandwich, a pasta dish, a simple rice meal, the possibilities are endless. If you can’t finish it, you can always share with a colleague or a friend. You get to save money, eat healthily and you avoid food spillage (plus the fact that sharing makes your heart swell).

image via google

Stop buying stuff you don’t actually need. Realize that there’s a big difference between necessity and desire. If you can, choose to live modestly.

image via google

But then again, to each his own! Trying to live in an environmentally-aware household is a matter of personal choice, not because it’s hip to be green nowadays. Honestly, it can be tedious and expensive but it’s a lifestyle choice we have chosen to follow, fad or not. 

Pregnancy Outbreak

I suffered from a severe case of allergy few months back. My face was red and had rashes all over, my eyes were swollen. My whole face was painful and itchy. I couldn’t eat eggs, nuts, chicken, fish and shellfish. It’s bad enough that it has chosen my face to be its settlement area. My face, really!? I had to stop using organic facial products then and that made me sad because it means using prescription and over the counter skincare products. My skin’s all healed now. Except that, I still couldn’t eat those mentioned above or else I’d still get the occasional skin reddening and itching.

I was told that the allergy is pregnancy related and given the proper treatment and precautionary measures, it will clear up eventually. My dermatologist prescribed a mild steroidal cream called Elidel that I can use to treat the perioral dermatitis. It’s an anti-inflammatory cream, priced at around P1500 and must be used within 12 weeks of opening. I used it for a week and voila; it looked like I bought a brand new skin. Seriously.

For months now, this has been my skincare routine:

I use Physiogel for cleansing, Human Nature’s Tomato Toner to remove further grime. Then I massage my face with BNHMS Baby Salve or Human Nature’s Sunflower Oil to moisturize. At night, before sleeping, I slather a generous amount of Physiogel Cream. Once a week, I use a wet nappy cloth or sometimes if my skin is behaving really good St. Ives Olive Scrub (just my nose).   

Boring, eh? But it works. I can use some organic facial products again and no more allergy breakout for me! I stopped using sunscreen for the meantime because I’m worried it might trigger the allergy back and since I’m still on house arrest I guess it's fine not to use any. But when I do which is the hospital (but then again we pass by the basement parking going inside), I use Maybelline’s Mineral Make Up w/ SPF 19 for a little sun protection.

Sleep and keeping yourself hydrated works wonder for your skin!
I love how my skin looks like now.

Can you spot any rash?

And this is how my skin looked like during my first trimester. Cool isn’t it? ;)