Refresh for May Day #7: My Favorite Retinol Product

Any and every dermatologist will tell you that a retinol product is a “must-have” for a good anti-aging skincare regimen.  However, my skin is dry at baseline, can be pretty sensitive, and I already combat some at-baseline redness.  Therefore, I pretty much had ruled out including any type of retinol into my skincare for fear of worsening any or all of my above concerns.

Nope, I do not sell Rodan and Fields.  But, one of my friends from high school, who is a pharmacist by the way, does sell it and sent me one of these capsules as a sample and I have been hooked since!  This product has not only been completely tolerable for my stressed out skin but also remains very effective.  I highly recommend this to anyone who doesn’t already incorporate a retinol product into their skincare, and especially for anyone with sensitive skin.

Link to product provided below.  Images from Rodan and Fields website.

Rodan and Fields Night Renewing Serum.



Disclosure:  Nope, I very sadly don’t receive absolutely anything in return for this review.

Refresh for May Day #2: My Favorite Body Butter

Let’s talk body butters. These are thicker, richer older cousins of typical lotions that are built on a base of cocoa butter or shea butter. Honestly, a good body butter should have few other ingredients. Over the years, I have attempted to get on board with body butters but the texture has been overwhelmingly greasy or the scents off putting, or worse both. But last year (yes, also on a trip to Disney) I discovered Basin.

I get migraines with most scents (walking through the mall side entrance of most department stores will trigger a violent migraine as will being anywhere within a football fields distance of a Yankee Candle Co.) and the most notably thing about entering Basin was that the aroma did not make me run out of the store screaming “Save my head!” I tried the sample of the body butter in a few flavors and the texture was rich but not greasy and the smell was absolutely delectable. Notably, I headed out of the store that day with both the peppermint and the almond.  It was hard not to buy three or four more. None of the scents were off putting to my scent-sensitive nostrils.

Almond (and you will here more about this in the days to come in the Refresh for May series) is absolutely my favorite scent. It is an old stand-by for this migraineur who sometimes just can’t take the unscented everything from deodorant to cleaning products. The Basin Body Butter almond smell was the purest, most unadulterated almond smell I have ever encountered in something that was not an actually pot of muddled almonds, a bottle of amaretto, and a roll of marzipan. It really is amazing. The peppermint was also a very pure scent that had a nice cooling effect to boot.

I gave a tub of this body butter to a number of colleagues for holiday gifts this past year and the feedback was superlative for all scents and the unscented. This stuff is good. It cured dry skin ailments that had beleaguered some friends for years. I think it’s because this brand has both an abundance of cocoa butter and shea butter and little else. Alas, it is hard to come by in person. There is a store in Downtown Disney and on the Strip in Vegas. But you can order (like I did last week and if you bulk order and divide the shipping costs per containers it’s not that bad. IMG_3537

Refresh for May Day #1: My Favorite Foot Cream

All month, @surgeoninkicks and I are going to try to share one of our favorite “personal care pantry items” per day. This is to challenge us to get something on the blog each day for 31 days (don’t worry, we will still post what comes to us in fits and spurts in between patients on call or while sitting in the scanner) and to share some of our consumer favorites. As usual, all of these things are purchased on our own; we have no commercial supporters or endorsement. This is just stuff we love to have stocked in our vanities or make-up bags.

As a surgeon who has been on her feet more often than not for the last 15 years, and now as an aspiring runner, I need a good foot cream to ease the burden of a long day (and by day I mean 36+ hours on call) or the burden of a long run. I have tried the foot creams from Earth Elements, Aveda, Origins, and L’Occitane and have never been wows. But, last year, I found a sample tube of H2O+’s Softening Mint Foot Rub while staying at the Grand Floridian at Disney. I have not come across it at any of the other Disney resorts I have stayed as.

Softening Mint Foot Rub


This foot cream is the best. It has mint and menthol to cool along with lactate and salicylate to soften and exfoliate. I am obsessed.  I found a bunch of 2oz samples in the old packaging at TJ Maxx once and bought them all–all 20 of them. There is a flagship store in Chicago on the Mag Mile. Last time I was there I bought 6 tubes and checked a bag to hall them home. (Yes, they can be ordered online but the power of the find for someone who loves to shop must not be underestimated–note: this is why I don’t do Stitch Fix). I also love using it on my legs for sore muscles or to cool the skin after a wax/epilation. Based on the ingredients, it likely goes a long way to prevent ingrowns too.