Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skinny Minny

Before you get disgusted and stop reading, I'd like to stop all of you from ignoring this post based on it's title.  This entry has nothing at all to do with losing weight, dieting, hating skinny people, or anything like that.  It's about skin types.  OK, OK, it's still a "girly-girl" topic, but I'm a girl, I have skin, I went shopping recently, and I had an experience that I just had to write about.  Plus, nobody is forcing you to read further - but if you decide to - I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday was a good day.  I attended a very interesting lunch meeting, got to network with some of my female colleagues from different facilities, and was able to leave work at a reasonable hour.  Since I had recently bought a Groupon for The Body Shop, I decided to stop at the mall on my way home to peruse the store to see what kind of yummy smelling bath/body products I could pick up for a reasonable amount of my hard earned cash.  I don't often buy products from The Body Shop, because it's expensive, and I don't love any of their products enough to justify the costs.  However, before I bought the Groupon, I did some research on Body Shop products (literally entered "best body shop products" into google) and was intrigued by their line of tea tree oil skin care products.  I am very fortunate to have inherited great skin from my mom.  However, I do occasionally get a pimple, and, when I do, I have an incessant need to pick/pop/scratch it - usually rendering my typically clear skin red, blotchy, and scabbed for at least a few days if not an entire week.  I have a whole facial routine which includes application of a salicylic acne treatment to prevent those unwanted break outs.  However, when I do get a pimple, the use of more salicylic acid usually doesn't clear the offensive red intruder fast enough to prevent the death of my willpower to not pick, pop, or scratch the blemish.  So...when I read about The Body Shop's pure tea tree oil as a great, natural, spot treatment for unwanted pimples, I decided I'd buy the Groupon, get on the tea tree bandwagon, and put this stuff to the test.

So, Tuesday afternoon I wander into my local Body Shop and head immediately to the Tea Tree Oil skincare section.  I was approached by an employee who asked me if I needed help.  Now, typically, when I'm asked by store associates if I need help, I immediately answer, "No, I'm just browsing" because I really dislike feeling pressured to purchase something before I've had a chance to look at EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT in the store.  I wish I was exxagerating.  But, like I said, Tuesday was a good day.  And I figured there was no way in hell that any store employee was going to make me feel pressured. After all, I had nowhere to be except home making dinner...and that just wasn't as appealing as smelling my way through the 500 square feet of bath and body bliss. 

So, I said, "Yes" and here's how the conversation went:

Me: "I do need help.  I'm looking for the pure tea tree oil - can you show me where it is and tell me how much it costs?" 
Employee: "What's your skin type?" 
I'm sorry...but in my book answering a question with another question that has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with my original question is not acceptable.  But, I responded anyway.
Me: "I have combination skin"
Employee: "Well, tea tree oil products are really for acne prone, oily skin.  You have clear skin, why do you need that?" 
Me: "Thank you, I am lucky to have clear skin.  But I do still get pimples once in a while and I've heard that the pure tea tree oil is great as a spot treater." 
Employee: "Oh, OK, that would work for you as a spot treater.  For combination skin you should use this (pointing to the pink shelf) line." 
Me: "I'm not here to buy a whole new set of skin care products, I'm happy with what I use now.  I just wanted to try the tea tree oil for spot treatement.  By the way, do I need to be concerned about irritation with the pure tea tree oil because, my skin is pretty sensitive and tends to break out when I use harsh products and chemical sunscreens." 
She looks at me like I have five heads
Employee: "WAIT!  You just told me you have combination skin.  Now you're telling me you're sensitive.  So which is is?" 
Me: "Both, I guess.  So, how much is the tea tree oil?"

At that point I had enough and just wanted to get my tea tree oil and get out of there. 

Seriously, can someone not have combination, oily, or dry skin that is also sensitive?  And sensitive shouldn't be a type of skin care product anyway because, in my experience, every person is sensitive to different things.  I can't use chemical sunscreens at all - I break out in hives within 5 minutes of sun exposure when I have chemical sunscreen applied.  And some "sensitive skin" moisturizers include chemical sunscreens.  On the other hand, fragrances usually don't bother my skin.  In fact, I like using products that smell fresh.  And pretty much all skin care products that are labeled for sensitive skin are fragrance free.  When I do break down and buy something labeled for sensitive skin, I feel I am missing out on a part of skin care that I actually enjoy.  One of my favorite face wash products is Neutrogena's grapefruit cleanser.  It smells so fresh, it's like a burst of citrus in your face, and it makes me think of sunshine.  If you've never tried it, you should!  Especially on a morning when you don't want to be out of bed.  This stuff will perk you right up!

Anyway - I guess my rant is about labeling and marketing of products that are so exclusive.  Despite the major marketing companies trying to fit us all into boxes that can be easily labeled into no more than a handful of categories, we are all unique, and it's sad to me when people stop realizing that YES, I can have combination skin that is also sensitive to some things.  That doesn't make me a bad person, and I shouldn't be criticized for wanting to purchase a product that isn't specifically meant for "my skin type" because "my skin type" doesn't exactly fit the mold created by these corporate giants.  I use skin care products from all "type" labels, and I've found that mixing and matching products works best for me.  That's not a crime, that's being an individual. 

I am woman, hear me roar!

OK, even I agree that my last sentence was a bit over the top.  But I will NOT delete it! 

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