Skincare and Makeup for Thyroid Patients/Super Dry Skin-Product Test

I’m on a mission to find the most hydrating medium-to-full coverage makeup for extremely dry skin…starting with drugstore brands.

If you’re in the same situation as I am I hope you’ll join me on this journey and let me know what has worked for you!

About me:

2 years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had my entire thyroid removed.

My life has been turned upside down ever since.

I once had normal skin texture with no redness,  hair that didn’t fall out, no dry scalp, and a body that responded to exercise and diet with the appropriate response (weight loss/muscle gain).

Those days are over, apparently… and 2 years later I’m just now starting to come to terms with it.

Lately  I noticed that my skin looked awful in cosplay photos- it was dull, dry, and made me look way older than I really am.

This made me seek out some new information and help on how to choose makeup that isn’t a heavily advertised Japanese BB cream.

I needed something that matched my skin tone and moisturized my now desert-like skin.

I’ll warn you- these images could be disturbing to those who have an aversion to dryness!

About the photos:

  • All applications are on a clean face with PCA moisturizer and Maybelline Baby Skin pore eraser primer underneath.
  • No undereye concealer except for the Skinfood that I had on hand. It’s the wrong color- I’m kinda new to this whole “color correcting” thing.
  • Photos are taken with my phone using the “daylight” setting on my vanity mirror
  • Today I bought Laura Geller’s Spackle primer, though I’m not sure it will make a difference in the end result.

A quick rundown of my situation:

  • Super mega crazy dry
  • Cool pale/classic ivory
  • Slight redness mainly on cheeks, chin, and nostrils
  • Current mood: embarrassed. Thyroid skin is such a hassle!

Skincare:

First things first. I needed a good skincare routine.

Seeing as I never had skin problems before and always just bought whatever the Clinique rep recommended (a generic, normal skin regimen) I had no idea where to start.

At first I was getting regular facials. I thought that was the first step. However, even with the hydrating facials I was left dry.

Then I went to the Korean district of Tokyo and blindly bought whatever the salesperson recommended.

He recommended sensitive skin products  without touching my skin. From a distance it still looks normal, so as you can imagine this was a total fail when I got home.

The only silver lining was that the kit included one of those super soft face brushes. I sold my failed skincare locally and moved on.

Then I bought a trial kit of PCA’s dry skincare products.

So far I’ve been able to stick with it, but I feel that there’s got to be a more moisturizing brand out there. If you have a suggestion, please comment! 

Makeup- the hunt begins:

Earlier I mentioned that my face is now dry. Unless you have a thyroid problem (hypothyroid, hashimotos, no thyroid, etc) then you may just be thinking “winter skin” level dry. Think again.

I am quite sure that my daily dryness is worse than the average person’s worst winter dryness day.

I started researching and found a few leads. I live on a remote military base with very limited products, so unfortunately some of the best suggestions online were nowhere to be found.

I did find a few to test, though.

 

1. Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating foundation

Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating foundation

The general rule of thumb based on my research is that if you have dry skin that you want to avoid a matte base because it will make your skin look dull and more dry. I found this to be true, but this was marketed as “hydrating foundation” so I decided to give it a try.

These are my notes from the application: 

 *Doesn’t blend well with dense brush

* Sits on the really dry places

* Feels nice overall, light and doesn’t feel tight

* Lasted about 2 hours before I felt like it got a dull, matte look (it was a soft-matte, after all, so I wasn’t surprised).

Verdict: Changed to Toss

 

2. Covergirl + Olay Facelift Effect Firming Makeup
My Notes:

*Exfoliated

Covergirl + Olay Facelift Effect Firming Makeup

*Same blending issue- doesn’t take the dense brush well.

*Used fair tone, might be a shade too light

*Doesn’t seem to cover redness or take the translucent powder under my eyes very well.

*Rubs off when I blow my nose , sweats off

*This felt dry and cakey to me

Verdict: Toss

 

3. Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex

 My Notes: 

Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex

*Blends somewhat with the dense brush. Had to finish with finger tips.

*Feels nice overall, light and doesn’t feel tight

*Kind of deals with my redness

*Has a seriously matte finish, though

*Most expensive of all the foundations I bought

Verdict: Toss

 

 

 

 

 

4. Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1 

I got frustrated and thought I was maybe imagining the redness I kept seeing so I did a half and half makeup comparison.

My Notes:

My right: Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup with tone correcting complex My left: Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless 3 in 1

*Half and half CG+Olay Simply ageless (my left) and Neutrogena (on my right)

*Hard to tell since I’m new to this whole makeup thing, but seems to look more hydrated/shiny/dewy compared to the other side.

*I liked the feeling of the CG, so I’m going to try it again with my new Spackle primer.

*It seems to have more unfavorable chemicals than I’d prefer

Update: tried it with the Spackle primer. Nice and dewy at first, but I felt a change after about an hour or 2. I’m going to give it a go today and see how it does. It’s not tight or flaky..yet.

Update 2: I didn’t realize it at first, but this is a scented product. The third time I tried it I didn’t use any of the other skincare items I was using before because I suspected they caused the tingly redness on my cheeks. Nope, this product made my cheeks kind of tingly and red all by itself.

Verdict: Changed to Toss

 

 

5. Covergirl CG Smoothers

My Notes:

Covergirl CG Smoothers

*Didn’t blend very well with brush. finished with hands.

*Dried really matte, feels dry, but not as dry as Neutrogena.

*Doesn’t help with tone evening, cheeks still red even before adding blush

 

Verdict: Toss

 

 


 

Here’s a few I want to try. They’re unavailable in my area, though, so I’m going to try to find them on Amazon.

Wishlist: 

  • Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse- I have tried this since this post and it’s kinda awesome- I’ll update this post later with photos and a review. 
  • Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid
  • L’Oreal True Match Lumi- I have also tried this. I feel it’s so-so, but still a keeper. I’m not a fan of the N1-2 shade, it’s kind of dark on me. I’ll update later on this, too. 
  • MAC Face & Body

 

Have you found the holy grail of foundations for us super dry skin types?

Do you have a favorite skincare brand that I should think about buying? Please let me know!

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How Thyroid Cancer and Hypothyroidism Changed My Body

Here’s a link to my post detailing my Cancer diagnosis and treatment timeline . I used to have a very predictable, dependable body. I knew how much exercise I had to do to work off that cookie I had at lunch. I knew how long it would take for me to recover from vacation/travel eating. I knew my body really well. Then I got cancer. I think an active list of my symptoms might not only help me, but might benefit someone trying to figure out their new life as a hypothyroid patient. I am not a doctor, so please track your own symptoms and discuss them with your doctor. Symptoms I have experienced so far:

  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • pungent body odor
  • brain fog/forgetfulness
  • language/writing problems

1. Weight gain After my other thyroid was removed I gained 10 pounds in a month. While I understand that 10 pounds is not much when compared to other thyroid patients, it is unusual for me. It is also a significant amount of weight for a petite person like myself. I am thankful for only gaining a small amount of weight, but I must note it as a way that thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism changed my body. I have lost 2 pounds since my RIA (radio-iodine ablation) mid- September 2014, but that’s the most my weight has budged.I have 8 pounds to go to be at my pre-cancer weight. I eat a calorie restricted diet and try to aim for high protein, low carbs. I eat a lot of fish, and soy. While soy consumption is controversial, my endocrinologist advised that I can eat soy, I just have to eat it 4 hours after taking my thyroid pill. Resolution (for now):  Yesterday (11/18) I started a 2 workout a day plan. I am not doing strength training, but have read that strength training/weight lifting might help with weight loss for someone in my condition. I don’t have easy access to weights, but I’m looking into how to change that. 2. Hair Loss After the second time my Levothroxine was increased I noticed that my hair began falling out. It isn’t coming out in huge clumps, but it does come out daily. I find it on my pillow, in my brush, in the shower, and in my bicycle helmet. This has never happened before. When I get my hair cut it is even worse, so I avoid going as often as I should. I had to explain to my Japanese stylist that I was taking medicine that made my hair fall out so he didn’t worry when he saw all of it come out as he cut. 3. Insomnia For the past 5 months I have been taking Levothroxine at night (per my doctor). I have never suffered from insomnia before, but I would lie awake for about 3-4 hours on average. Resolution: I decided to start taking my medicine in the morning (which is what is on the bottle) on 11/6.  The day of my first morning dose I had a lot of energy (ran/biked 2 miles) and I fell asleep within 30 minutes and had no nightmares. A week later and I still have had no more nightmares and no trouble falling asleep.

4. Nightmares

I would also have terrible nightmares every night. It became normal for me, but just a few days before switching to a morning dose my husband commented that I have had persistent nightmares. Over time I just stopped noticing.

Resolution: (see #3)  5. Pungent body odor I have tried many things to alleviate the body odor that has accompanied my thyroid condition. What was strange is that after I had my surgeries the odor was gone for a few months while my thyroid medication was very low. Once it increased to 125 mcg the odor came back. I don’t drink coffee, only 1-2 cups of black tea a day. I don’t drink much soda, maybe 1-4 diet sodas a month. I’ve tried washing my armpits with baking soda, stainless steel (smooth stone) soap, rubbing alcohol, lymph drainage massage, antibacterial body soaps, and all kinds of deodorant+ antiperspirant. I shower twice a day, sometimes more. One arm is stronger than the other, and it’s opposite the side of my body where the cancer was present. Very strange. I have tried a variety of laundry techniques, too. Baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, sun drying, boiling water, several different sports detergents and laundry scrubs. That worked for a while, but once my hormones start getting out of control the smell comes back.  Resolution (for now): I learned about transdermal magnesium chloride therapy while talking to another hypothyroid patient on Reddit. I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I bought a bottle on Amazon. I have been using it for 3 days, and my body odor is minimal, even while on my period. I did not ask my doctor about this, because he told me he does not believe that non-prescription methods work. He also did not believe that my strong body odor was related to my thyroid issues. I am not a doctor, but this is my body, and I disagree. Update 7/4/15: The transdermal magnesium spray was a game changer. I have been using it since the date of this post and am back to only 1 shower a day, no overwhelming odor (unless I drink cheap coffee), and I couldn’t be happier. My doctor still did not believe that this spray helped, but it worked for me.

6. Brain fog, forgetfulness, scatterbrain, thyroid brain I have always been known for my amazing memory and ability to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. However, after the most recent dosage increase I noticed I could no longer remember even the most basic of things. I repeat stories, I forget what I was doing, I have trouble completing work and household tasks. It is extremely frustrating for me. I have told my doctor, but the symptom remains untreated. I asked about taking ginko biloba, but the doctor told me  that it probably won’t work and that it isn’t FDA approved, and left the conversation at that. Resolution (for now):  I keep forgetting to take it (go figure), but I think that taking my Levothroxine in the morning has helped. I am still foggy and forgetful, but it seems like it doesn’t disrupt my life as much as it did before switching to a morning dose.Update 7/4/15: In May my doctor FINALLY listened to me (once my husband went in to the appointment with me- that’s a whole other blog post in itself) and increased my dosage to the next strength. I have had more energy, and less brain fog every day since then.

7. Difficulty writing/editing As a technical writer this is very difficult for me. My job involves writing, and having to proofread so diligently and STILL finding basic mistakes makes me want to scream. Writing and editing have always come naturally to me, but I can no longer do it in the same capacity that I could before cancer and hypothyroidism. Resolution (for now):  This one is tough. I keep making mistakes. I will keep making mistakes unless I am very careful with my editing. There are probably mistakes in this post that, even though I’ve combed over it a few times, I still don’t see. I just have to keep an eye on it and try harder.

My septorhinoplasty and thyroidectomy

In the spring of 2014 I discovered that my thyroid cyst from last year turned into a tumor and was growing steadily.

I am at an air base in Japan on my husband’s military orders, so first I had to go off base to a Japanese hospital to have the needle aspiration biopsy done because the base hospital couldn’t provide this service.

The surgeon at Yokota still needed to examine me first and noticed that I had a severely damaged nose from an injury I received in kindergarten. A girl hit me over the head with her heavy 1990’s lunchbox complete with an old, heavy thermos and my nose has remained broken ever since. After he performed some initial breathing tests I was amazed at the difference that being unobstructed made and he agreed to revisit my nose problem after I had some more work on my thyroid done.

The second appointment was a consultation at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo, about 2 hours one way by train. I had to visit the bi-lingual doctor, then the surgeon for the needle biopsy, then re-visit the first Japanese doctor so that I could get the results back in English. February and March were exhausting with the back and forth appointments.

The FNA (fine needle aspiration) here was an experience I’ll never forget because Japanese medicine doesn’t use anesthesia like American medicine does. The doctor looked at me and said “don’t breathe, don’t swallow, don’t talk”  before shoving he long, thin needle into the left side of my throat. The needle could have been short, for all I know-it just felt like it was a foot long. My brain had no time to register what happened, so the pain didn’t come until an hour later.

He gathered cells twice (he called the needle insertions “punches”) and that still only took 10 minutes; the same procedure took 45 minutes with anesthesia last year in America.

The FNA results came back clear for cellular cancer, but the doctors were concerned with what we couldn’t see so I was sent back to Yokota to biopsy the tumor itself.

Here is another difference between eastern and western medicine; the Japanese doctors did not want to remove any part of the thyroid and only wanted to only take the tumor, but all the American doctors wanted to take both the mass and half my left thyroid.

Now I was faced with the decision of the actual surgery. I received a referral to the naval base even farther south (about 3.5 hours by train one way) and it was the same process. A consultation, a return trip for the surgery, and a lengthy stay.

I was really frustrated with the idea that I would have to miss more work to go even further away so I emailed the ENT surgeon I first met at Yokota.

This was around late April and as it turns out my surgeon was set to leave Yokota Air Base in July, so that is why my referral was for the naval base. I was able to talk with the surgeon and get him to accept my surgery before he left- both of them, actually. We decided that he would do both the  septorhinoplasty and thyroidectomy at the same time. The  thyroidectomy took priority, of course, and would be the first procedure he would do for me.

My surgery was the morning of May 28, 2014 and this is the story of my surgery and recovery.

I have never had surgery before, except for having my wisdom teeth removed, so I was pretty anxious about being down for so many weeks.

Luckily all of our bills, deposits, and withdraws are automatic so I had nothing to worry about there. I highly suggest you put as much of your life on “auto pilot”  as possible, it will make your life so much easier.

I finished graduate school a few weeks ago, so I have no loose ends to tie there, either. I only had to get my work assignments and tasks set up so that I can easily have someone followup on my work.

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Wednesday after waking up from surgery

It took 3 times to get the IV into my arm, and my wrists have the bruises to prove it.

The last full day I remember is Tuesday, and that feels really weird to have lost so many days.

Immediately after the surgery I felt great, which really alarmed me because I wasn’t sure if that was the drugs, or if I really did feel okay. I was eating, walking, and sleeping relatively well. I had crackers that night, and the morning later was able to eat everything on my hospital tray.

The incision on my throat is fine, and I have minimal pain and discomfort. I can’t really put my head all the way back, but that’s no big deal.

My nose? That’s another story. I never expected the most painful and irritating of the two procedures would be my nose, even though I read about nose work beforehand and expected the itching. I’ve got both a nose cast on the outside and splints on the inside, and the itching is driving me crazy.

May 31 was the worst day for swelling so far because it felt like my nose was going to break my cast in two. I was able to get the swelling down with ice packs throughout the night. June 1 I was reduced to putting on gloves while I slept because I had been waking up scratching my nose and the rest of my body like crazy.

The next day I had to file my newly-grown nails down quite a bit just to avoid accidentally hurting myself. Benedryl isn’t dealing with the itching anymore, either, but luckily I had a prescription for itching already.

I’m taking my pain medicine on schedule, and have not needed to take the full dosage but a few times, so I’m happy with that.

Overall it feels like have serious sinus pressure and/or a cold because of the nose pressure, my need to carry around a Kleenex to catch drips, and having to sleep propped up at at angle so I can breathe.

The saline flushes 4 times a day has already become my least favorite thing to do during this whole recovery process.

By Sunday the bruising is starting to change colors from black to yellow. My nose cast comes off this coming Wednesday and I’m really excited about that.

I have had some light numbness on my left fingers since the surgery and have read that it might be a calcium deficiency, but I’ll wait for my doctor to monitor my thyroid levels to see what he thinks.

Wednesday 6/4

1 week post-op and I had the cast and splints removed today.

The ends of the splints are wider than my nostril is, so the initial pull was both painful and satisfying as it passed though. There there was the weird sensation of what felt like pulling spaghetti through my nose (that was the rest of the splint).

Then I had to experience that again on the other nostril. While it didn’t hurt enough to make me cry from pain, the pulling and tugging around my nose area made my eyes water and tears began to run down my cheeks.

Then the cast came off. I expected that to hurt worse than the splints, but the cast was no big deal. Immediately after everything removed I recognized how freely I could breath.

My doctor says that my recovery experience isn’t typical and that I am bouncing back earlier than most people do. Now this could just be him trying to make me feel good, but I wanted to mention it here since other people may have a harder time than I did.

I was cleared to go back to work as soon early as Friday and I will be back to scuba diving and will get to try sky diving in about 2 months post-op.

I asked about the light numbness in my fingers and he said that, considering I had 2 procedures that was about 4 hour long, that he thinks the tingle comes from how they position your hand tightly against your leg during the surgery and that the tingling sensation should go away in a few weeks.

While I know I am swollen, I see a big difference already- no crooked nose and no bump! And most importantly, I can breathe correctly!

DSC_3932

2 weeks post-op 6/11

Wednesday 6/11

Today marks 2 weeks post-op.

6/4 was the last day I used the pain medication, so I’ve been managing my pain very well. Most of the bruising is gone and I’m only left with some light yellowing on my cheek and the throat incision.

The numbness in my fingers is nearly gone and I’ve been able to crinkle my nose when I smile for the past few days, as well.

About 4 days ago I noticed a very strange droop/sag in both cheeks and I panicked.

It looked like I needed a facelift before I was 30. I emailed my doctor and he said it was likely just swelling and not to worry.

In the days since the swelling has indeed gone done and my cheeks are starting to look normal again.

I still have some swelling around my nose and cheeks and a little numbness on the tip of my nose, but I’m still breathing well and everything seems to be working out.

I did, however, get news yesterday that my biopsy results did come back positive for cancer.

The tumor had papillary thyroid cancer with a follicular variant. The doctors say that this is very treatable and My husband and I are staying positive and we both feel really good about it.

I’m scheduled for another surgery later this month to remove my right thyroid just to err on the side of caution. I’ll be on a thyroid supplement for the rest of my life, but it’s better than the alternative.

The other thyroid will be biopsied, as well, but it will be about another 2 weeks from the date of surgery to find out if they discovered any more cancerous tissue.

I will keep this post updated.

3 weeks, 2 days post-op

3 weeks, 2 days post-op

—————————–

Monday August 4

It’s August now and I’m recovering pretty well. The tip of my nose still feels pretty stiff, but it’s not painful or uncomfortable.

My second thyroid surgery was successful and I was told I am cancer free at the moment, so that’s great news. That scar is healing up nicely and I feel so much better without the cancer in my body.

I did end up gaining 4-6 pounds after the second surgery, but I am working on getting that under control. Sometimes a few pounds take more work to lose than double-digits.

Overall I’m glad to have had the procedures, even though surgery and recovery took up the majority of the summer. I’m having some trouble remembering that it is August already because it still feels like the beginning of summer for me.

I hope writing about my experience can help someone who is looking to have either of these procedures done!

If you’re about to have one of these operations done-stay strong. Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery.