TCA CROSS, Days 0-2

TCA CROSS (that’s “trichloroacetic acid chemical reconstruction of skin scars”) is a well-established procedure for diminishing the appearance of atrophic acne scars. It originated in Korea, which is surprising to exactly no one given the Korean obsession with perfect skin.

Basically, most acne scarring forms sunken areas in the skin due to damage/loss of collagen. These atrophic scars are further classified as “icepick” (narrow/deep), “boxcar” (wide depressions with steep vertical sides), or “rolling” (rolling/undulating appearance of the skin). TCA causes coagulative necrosis of cells and collagen in the upper layers of the skin which causes sloughing of the damaged layers followed by repair/remodeling from the adjacent non-damaged cells, with increased collagen, glycosaminoglycan, and elastin leading to an increase in dermal volume, reducing the appearance of the atrophic scar.

The technique itself is straightforward: apply high-concentration TCA to the base of a scar until it frosts (reflecting epidermal/dermal protein coagulation and indicating that the TCA has penetrated to the desired depth), cover with an occlusive dressing, then let it heal. Avoid the sun and use some sort of anti-hyperpigmentation regimen, usually hydroquinone + tretinoin.

Still, it’s a procedure with non-negligible risks, chiefly related to the use of TCA (which its MSDS helpfully points out is hazardous to skin). So uh, don’t try this at home? (This is my official statement that I am not recommending that anyone else try this, just documenting what I myself did.)

Continue reading TCA CROSS, Days 0-2


Bareminerals Mystery Box Summary

It’s 3 AM and I should be sleeping, but I’m not at all sleepy because a few days ago I had a weird bout of hiccups that lasted on and off from about 11 am one day to 4 am the next, which was of course fantastic for my sleep schedule.

Every so often Bareminerals releases heavily discounted “mystery boxes” to clear out items that have been discontinued/repackaged/etc. This one was $40 with free shipping and was supposed to have a value of $235. More importantly, it happened to pop up when I had already lazily been contemplating an order so I could pick up my “free” birthday eyeliner (it’s totally free if you go to one of their boutiques).

Anyway, I’ve never bought one of these before, but between the birthday add-on and a 15% off code I figured I’d take the risk. I haven’t tried anything yet because I recently (like, about 30 hours ago) did a TCA CROSS on myself so my face is slathered in antibacterial ointment and/or ensconced in a sun mask (yes, I own that. No, I do not wear it outside). So this is really just an order summary. Anyway.

Continue reading Bareminerals Mystery Box Summary

Why this, why now?

Things I like:

  • finding good deals and calculating value-vs-MSRP for different theoretical purchases that I never make (and for ones that I do)
  • talking about beauty products I’ve tried
  • complaining about pseudoscience in beauty marketing
  • trying new products
  • replacing things I don’t love with things I do love
  • playing with my own appearance

I never know where to share any of this (Reddit? Hijack a popular blog’s recent post’s comment section?), so…now all of it will be dumped here.

As for why now (summer 2016), I’m holed up at my parents’ house for the next 6 weeks studying for a major exam, and I’m using the time away from other people to experiment with my appearance/beauty routine, which I want to document. Also, reading/writing/thinking about all of this is a nice break from studying.