I would be remiss if I didn't share my most recent mishaps with you. I mean really, why shouldn't everyone else learn from my mistakes? If you take away one thing from this, it should be skin care awareness.

Lesson #1 - Just because a Derm Doc is tenured and credentialed, doesn't mean he is properly educated in his field.

And yes, I reference "he" for a reason. I realize I may be a little overzealous but ... I truly look forward to visiting the dermatologist. I do. It's a chance for me to learn more about my skin and how I can best take care of it. It's also a chance to learn of the latest technology in treatments and skin care products. Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed by my last visit. Let me preface this by saying I recently moved to a new city and had to seek out a new derm doc. I thought I was doing all of the right things - asking around, researching online, etc. Apparently, that wasn't good enough. I found a nearby dermatologist who has 20+ years of experience in this particular practice. He's quite credentialed, as well. Honestly, he looked perfect on paper. He was far from perfect. On top of being a total dweeb (sorry, I really could not resist), he couldn't answer any of my questions - gave me that deer in the headlights look with responses such as "well, I am not sure what might have caused that...what do you think it could be?" Dude, if I knew do you think I would be asking you? Seriously, I had to answer my own questions. I walked away thinking "I know more than this man." Of course at the check out I asked, "which doctor would you recommend I see next time?" Response: "I can't tell you that." So I continue, "could you please tell me which doctor is most visited at this practice?" Response: "I can't tell you that." Are you feeling my frustration yet?

So I walked away with the scripts I needed and never turned back. That dermatology office won't be seeing me again. Next time, I will depend on my friend's coveted dermatologist. Lesson learned.

Lesson #2 - Don't use expired products. Ever. Seriously. I mean it.
You would think of all people I would realize the importance of an expiration date. I know to throw away mascara after 2-3 months. I know eyeliners aren't safe to use after 6 months. Why did I not realize that a liquid highlighter (my YSL Touche eclat) is no good after a year. Well, it might have been more like two ... for shame, for shame. So, because I hadn't used it, in like forever, I thought it would be a nice time to whip it out and highlight my inner eyes. Mistake. Big mistake. Almost immediately my eyes began to itch. And did I see or feel the signs enough to wash it off my face immediately? Of course not. So I proceeded to wear it all day, not having a clue what could be causing the skin around my eyes to itch. Later that night: the skin underneath my eyes began to swell and turn bright red. Next morning: red bumps, to boot. I looked like I had been double whammied in the eyes! Oh, and just in time for my company's quarterly regional meeting - thank you very much. (And sorry co-workers for not telling the whole truth - I was a wee bit ashamed.)

Of course I threw out the product and vowed to myself to actually practice what I preach. Bacteria can seep into products - and any product used around your eyes is more susceptible. Lesson learned.
I have been waiting for the day to publish this post. Waiting and waiting ... thinking all the while that I will have changed my mind about Botox by the time this gets published. However, I am actually more confused. I know that millions of people have this procedure done every day. I know it's safe, quick and easy. But I still can't bring myself to do it. I guess it's a good thing I don't give into peer pressure easily.

I have many friends who do Botox. And some who do it and choose not to admit it (and that's cool). Did you know that almost 3.3 million procedures were performed in 2005? That's a 16% increase over 2004. I can guarantee the numbers for 2006 will show a dramatic increase. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ranked Botox as the most popular physician-administered aesthetic procedure in the US for the fourth year in a row (surgical and nonsurgical combined). I am not surprised. Here's why:

For over 30 years, Botox has proven to be remarkably safe. It requires only a quick trip to the doctor's office, with little to no recovery time. I've read countless articles on dermatologists who administer this procedure on themselves ... and some for more than 15 years! So I figure, if millions of people, doctors and derms included, continue to inject poison into their face, it's got to be safe enough for me, right? Botox is also viewed as a preventative (which happens to be the swaying factor for me). Creases that have been worn into our skin by making the same expressions thousands of times are due to the contraction of a muscle under our skin in those areas. If we aren't contracting those muscles, we are actually preventing wrinkles from forming.

A word to the wise: Find someone who knows how to inject Botox properly. Practically everyone who is a doctor can perform this procedure. But not everyone knows how to do it right. If you are going to hop on board the Botox train, have it done by a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist (my vote would be plastic surgeon).

More info on Botox:

Definition
Botulinum is a bacterium (Clostridium botulinum) that produces seven different toxins that can cause botulism and is also medically used to block muscle contractions. Purpose Botulinum toxin injection is used in conditions of excessive and inappropriate muscle contraction, hyperhidiosis (excess sweating) in armpits and palms, spasticity (persistent states of muscle contraction), sphincter contraction, eye-movement disorders, tics and tremors, and cosmetically to treat facial lines and wrinkles. Botox has also been used to treat chronic muscle tension and migraine headaches.

Precautions
Botulinum toxin is produced from the bacterium that causes food poisoning in humans. High doses of the toxin can be fatal. However, doses administered therapeutically are so small that harmful effects are uncommon.

Potential side effects
Excessive muscle weakness at the injection site or adjacent muscles. However, these effects typically resolve themselves quickly. On occasion, patients report flu-like symptoms. A certain percent
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