Written on July 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
As a beauty editor, it’s part of my job to lug home a bajillion products and test, try, swipe, soak, spray, spritz, apply, etc. to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Although there isn’t an inch to spare in my medicine cabinet due to my product hoarding, testing gives us key insight into the user experience. Now trust me; I get it—we’re not saving lives here, and there are far more dangerous jobs than that of a beauty-obsessed journalist writing about the mascara she can’t live without, but sometimes this testing could be considered, well.….an occupational hazard. Take, for instance, the time I suffered second degree burns from an at-home hair-removal wax kit.
To explain: I heated up the wax in my microwave according to the directions and although the bottom of the pot was thoroughly melted, the top portion never liquefied. This created a hard disk, which misled me to believe the entire pot was still solid. When I went to test this “solid” theory with the wood stick by inserting it into the jar, it pushed one side of the hard disk down into the liquid bottom and created a catapult-like effect that launched lava-level hot wax straight onto my wrist and arm.
Ouch would be an understatement. My reaction involved something more along the lines of a lot of text symbols like: $@#!%&@#!!!!!!
This is actually not an uncommon incident. Debora Heslin, RPA-C, who treated me along with Neal Schultz, M.D., a dermatologist at Park Avenue Skin Care, let me know that their practice sees many patients who come in with this exact issue, whether it happened at the salon or was self-inflicted at home. However, as a beauty editor experienced with not only using these kits, but also writing the directions on how to use them, I felt like a total dope for hurting myself so severely. On the bright side, I now consider myself an expert at all things burn-related (adding that to my resume!). Here are the best tips I picked up along the way:
1. Release The Heat: After arriving at my derm’s office, Heslin first froze the wax to make it easier to remove. This also helped reduce the heat stuck beneath the skin’s surface and it felt insanely blissful on my burn. I spent the next two days icing my arm on and off which helped ease the pain.
2. Keep It Moist: Heslin described that when it comes to skin treatments, usually less is more, but not when it comes to burns. She urged me to slather my prescription ointment on excessively multiple times a day, then later, I switched to BeautyRx Healing Balm ($9, call 855.BEAUTY.RX to order).
3. Don’t Suffer: In an attempt to act all cavalier about my injury, I told everyone I was fine, but the truth is a burn is a very different kind of pain and it hurts! It’s like a dull, pulsing sensation mixed with a stinging feeling, which is the strongest during the first few days. Heslin said popping a few aspirin is best for treating burns for its anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Cover Up: Protecting the burn with bandages and changing the dressings two to three times a day is the most annoying part, but it’s so important. It not only keeps your ointment in place, but it also protects your burn from dirt and germs that can cause an infection. I went through boxes of Johnson & Johnson Red Cross Mirasorb Gauze Sponges ($11, walgreens.com), Johnson & Johnson Red Cross Hurt-Free Wrap ($5, walgreens.com), and Band Aid Large Waterblock Plus Bandages ($5, walgreens.com). Although bandages are really not the chicest things to wear around for weeks, you just have to do it (when I had to attend a black-tie wedding, I disguised them with an oversized gold cuff bracelet).
5. Hands Off: As your burn starts to heal, it could be tempting to pick the dead, fried skin that is shedding off or mess with the blisters but it’s crucial not to touch. Your skin will heal without your help and you could risk worse scarring if you pick.
6. Keep It Clean: My incident happened right before I was headed to the beach so Heslin told me to keep my arm out of the sun, sand and ocean water. Shower water is OK and you can rinse it with a gentle soap and warm water when showering or bathing.
7. Milk It: No, I don’t mean make your boyfriend and your mom wait on you hand and foot due to your “very painful, badly burned arm” (though this kind of manipulation will work and you should use it to your advantage). Once the blisters have emptied, Dr. Schultz advised soaking the burn in equal parts skim milk and water. The milk has proteins in it that help reduce inflammation and the burning discomfort.
8. No Sunshine When It’s Gone: Once the burn is healed enough (meaning no blisters, shedding skin or scabs) it will just look raw and pink. During this stage, it’s crucial to keep it out of the sun, which can turn the pink pigments brown causing annoying hyperpigmentation which can be difficult to remove.. Apply an SPF of at least 30 to the area daily, reapply after swimming or sweating and cover it with a zinc-based sunscreen if outdoors for an extended period of time. Also, don’t reach for scar creams or patches right away—those are made for raised scars, which are more common from things like cuts or surgery. Plus, if you take really good care of your burn (like me!) you won’t have any scarring.
Listen, accidents happen. And even the most skilled person can flub when it comes to hair removal so follow the directions and use caution. If you get badly burned, see a medical professional and reference the tips above. Otherwise, you might just want to leave the tough stuff to the pros.
Written on July 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm , by Molly Ritterbeck
Maggie Gyllenhaal recently joined the Band-Aid, Neosporin, Johnson & Johnson Red Cross and Benadryl Brands to help celebrate the 125th Anniversary of an iconic staple for everyday care—the First Aid Kit. Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson got the idea for making the first commercial First Aid Kits due to a conversation he had with a railway surgeon on a Denver & Rio Grande Railway train in the late 1880s. The surgeon told Johnson that railroad workers were frequently injured, but were too far away from any medical help, and Johnson had the idea to pack his company’s sterile dressings and other products in boxes that could be kept near the workers to treat them in case of injury. Now, First Aid Kits ($10, target.com) are found almost anywhere from homes to workplaces to airplanes. At the celebration, we chatted with Gyllenhaal about Band-Aids, running and her tips for getting the haircut you want.
We’re celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the First Aid Kit. It fits into all different aspects of our lives—it’s perfect for the cook, the athlete, the mom, the adventurer, etc. Where do you find that it fits into your life?
“I definitely use Band-Aids the most as a mom, and Neosporin and stuff. I feel like it’s mostly with my kids.”
As a busy mom with a successful career, how do find time for yourself?
“I have almost no time to myself. Basically the only time is during exercise. So sometimes I’ll go for a run and listen to the news while I’m running. I try to take time for myself at night. I’ll go to dinner or listen to music. I’ll put my kids to sleep and go out. But during the day, especially with a little one… I mean I was exercising at this place where it would take 40 minutes to get there, I’d work out for an hour, an hour and a half, then come back home. It’s just too much time. My husband is a really big runner. He started to teach me about running, so I’ve been running lately. And then I walk outside my house. I can take a forty-five minute run, I feel like I’ve worked out and then I’m done.”
So is running your go-to workout?
“I’m a beginner. I’m a new, new, newbie. I’ve been doing this aerobics class that I really like, which has been great for my body because it’s so toning and strengthening. I was doing like an hour of cardio aerobics, which I had to work up to, but it made me feel so strong. So when I started running, even though it was very different and much harder I felt, I kind of had some strength already. So I’m a beginner runner, but because my husband runs—he’s a long distance runner—he runs such long distances, I started out running pretty far because I was with him and he was like, ‘Oh, we’ll just do five miles,’ so I just ran five miles. When I run by myself, I run about three and a half.”
Switching gears to beauty, we love your short haircut. Do you have any advice for somebody who is thinking about getting a big chop?
“I’ve always been someone who’s played with my hair and cut it. I have a hard time just growing it and leaving it a certain way. I don’t know; it’s not for everybody. I really like it; I feel really good. And I’ve certainly cut my hair in ways in which I did not feel good. I would say do not cut your hair short if you’re pregnant. And I say, think about it. That’s my advice. Make sure that you have a good hairdresser. When you get a short cut, you have to have a great haircut. And you have to cut it often. About every three weeks I feel like I need to do at least a little trim on my hair. And I would say, go and talk to your hairdresser, ask your hairdresser what he or she thinks about your face, the quality of your hair, if it’s going to work on you. I mean I cut my hair first for a movie and I had kind of a bowl cut, which was fantastic for the movie when they did my hair everyday. And when I got home, I was like ‘what do I do with this?’ I can’t blow-dry it so it’s shiny and perfect—that’s just not going to be me. So I need a haircut that’s very simple to maintain. But I think, take some time and think and ask someone who knows your hair.”
What are the beauty essentials that you can’t leave home without?
“I always moisturize, so when I get out of the shower, I always put on oil. I just stay wet and put oil on, and then sort of just pat it dry with a towel. And I always have lipstick in my purse because I’m a lipstick girl. It makes me feel good.”