Beautyknot ~ My Skin Care Diary

Archive for September 2011

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Continued from Part I……

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This is the ticket center for both castles, which also less than 5 minutes walk from our hotel. It is located in between Hotel Alpenstuben and Hotel Muller.

  Our hotel had helped us arrange the tickets, hence we saved the time for queuing.

The horse carriages of both castles will be departing and returning right in front of Hotel Muller.

Miss photogenic. She was so camera-ready.

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For Hohenschwangau castle, the horse carriage costs €4/adult, up-hill  and €2/adult, down-hill; or else 15-20 minutes walk is good option. For Neuschwanstein castle, up-hill €6/adult and down-hill €3/adult, or approx. 30 -45 minutes walk.

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On the way to Hohenschwangau castle

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We decided to get to Hohenschwangau castle by foot. The thing was, we had checked out the hotel and forced to carry a 3-4 kgs knapsack with our laptop in a very cold rainy day (my goodness, less than 10°C for sure because there were white fog came out from our noses and mouths whenever we breathed and talked), shamefully we were already out of breath by the time we reached the castle, lack of exercise in our daily life….

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Hohenschwangau castle is also King Ludwig II parent’s castle, where King Ludwig II spent his childhood here. Unlike Neuschwanstein, it is still private owned today. For both castles, we need to be part of guided group in order to visit the castle interior, photographing and filming are not allowed inside castle.

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Said goodbye to Hohenschwangau, we were heading to Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle. As we need to catch the train to Munich on 1pm, we took horse carriage to Neuschwanstein.

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Poor dear… they carried 15 people to the mountain at one time, I could imagine they were exhausting in cold drizzling day

We have to walk a short distance after got down the horse carriage

Hallo ~ Schloss Neuschwanstein

The main gate

The castle looked dusky and melancholy in non-sunny day

We were allowed to take picture at window

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Marienbrücke, Mary’s Bridge is where you can get the view of full castle. Take bus at Schlosshotel Lisl ( uphill journey €1.80 / downhill journey €1 / return ticket: €2.60), do expect long queue by the way. Then it is about 10-minute walk on a steep downhill path to the entrance of the castle. Regretfully, we did not have time for this, instead, I was viewing  full Mary’s Bridge from the castle.

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The front view and the side view of the castle

Downhill is easier and faster, and we got some “exotic fragrance” too

Oh ~ they do take good care of  horses, we saw them changing horses.

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Perhaps the Neuschwanstein in my pictures is not fairytale castle alike but definitely more realistic. Please refer to the Neuschwanstein castle in those postcards, it is stunning! Did I mention it is the inspiration of Disney’s castle?

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If you like fairy tale, these castles are definitely worth visit. There are many 1-day tours departure from Munich to both Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. I have planned to explore different view and wanted to hike the surrounding hill of the castle village, but the weather did not turn out as we expected, ended up I was being lazy and reluctant to go out. I did check the weather forecast of Schwangau few days before the departure (giving us idea what clothes need to be packed), knowing we would have rainy and colder weather during our stay, hence we were actually psychologically ready to sacrifice part of the itinerary. Not to say our flight from Bangkok had been delayed one day, otherwise we could have an extra (sunny) day for extravagant lavish Linderhof Palace and French Versailles inspired Herrenchiemsee Palace.  

 

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░   Useful link of King Ludwig II Castles  

Hohenschwangau Castle, Fussen

Neuschwanstein Castle, Fussen

Linderhof Place, Oberammergau

Herrenchiemsee Palace, Herreninsel

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

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………… Part III to be continued.

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Image credit: here

When talking about most extravagant castles and palaces in Bavaria, we must get to know the Bavaria King Ludwig II (1845-1886) , who also known as “Fairytale King” or “Mad King Ludwig”. Click the link to read more if you interested.

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Due to our very limited time, we only managed to visit two of the King’s castles, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. In fact, we were staying a hotel just at the hill side, getting to the castles was very convenient.

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Getting there:

We took the train route (Deutsche Bahn):: Departure at Munich airport – transit at München Hauptbahnhof (Munich central station) – arrive at Füssen. The one-way RB train journey took approx. 3 hours plus from Munich airport to Fussen, €15.50/adult (bought the ticket at ticket counter).

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A lot of corn fields along the journey to Fussen

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This is a beautiful lake near to Fussen, unless we rent a car or else it is unlikely for us to stay far away from train station

After traveling nearly 20 hours of transit flights and trains, we were finally there, Fussen.

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From Fussen bus stop, take Bus 73, 78, 9606 or 9651 to the mountain (around 10 minutes ride). Be aware, you need to check the bus schedule and see if the bus goes to Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein Castles (the first stop) because the buses might or might not pass by the Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein Castles depending on their schedule.

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When we arrived at Fussen in the afternoon, we just missed the bus to mountain. Since we had nearly an hour spare time to kill before the next bus, we stored our baggages in the station locker (€3/24hours max) and had a short explore to the Fussen town. Thanks to the very good weather, 28°C with mild breeze, hence I could have some bright sunny pictures to share here.

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Lots of hotels, restaurants and shops, also Tourist Information Center etc can be found in this small town. On the busy street, I saw some people were “peeping” at a door, only knew it was a small beautiful church after I took a quick glance too (and a quick snapshot ”b). Why everybody was so curious? Later we found there was a wedding held in the church because I saw many well-dressed guests and flower boy & girl! Although I did not meet or know the bride and groom but sincerely, may God bless their marriage with joy, peace and love.

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Phew~ we managed to check-in our hotel before 6pm. We were blessed because the bus was fully loaded and we almost could not get into the bus! The bus fare is €1.90/adult, or return ticket €3.80/adult.

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This is our hotel, Alpenstuben. The hotel location is simply excellent, located just around the corner of the bus stop, about 5 minutes walking distance. A family-run hotel, exceptional good services, very friendly staff and provides nice breakfast. Nothing can be better when we were warmly welcomed after a tiring long journey from another part of world. The reception area is actually a counter in their restaurant, no lift only staircase, warm room in autumn, room is small, suitable for those who are travelling light. Overall, pleasant stay.

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This is the romantic view from the balcony of our hotel room, we were on 2nd floor.

 

Night scene of the castle from my hotel room. That was thunder storming the night yet the castle seemed to be full of mystery…

 

Castle in early morning fog

 

Castle of the rainy day

 

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……… Part II to be continued

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What is in your mind when talked about Germany? High Technology? Art? Beer? Fairy tales? … or others.

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Our trip to Munich was fairly tight-scheduled, hence we could not be adventurous and ambitious, in fact most of the time I was just sitting in front of my laptop. Nevertheless, Bavaria was such a beautiful state that hardly to be ignored, not to say we were right in the world-known Munich Oktoberfest (16th Sept until 3rd Oct in 2011)!

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Our flight was BKK – HEL – MUC, I particularly liked the 2-seating arrangement (2-4-2 format for economy cabin), that said no one will be sandwiched in the middle if you choose the seat at the side. I just wish the bread and sandwich were not cold, especially there was already very cold inside cabin. Anyhow, except the main meal, seem liked the only food/drink to keep myself warm was either coffee or tea (I allergic to liquor). Despite I normally take juice and water for long-haul flight, I got myself hot tea this time. As I was extremely busy and exhausted thus caffeine would not affect my rest during the night flight.

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One interesting phenomena happened when we were on return flight flying from Munich to Helsinki in the evening. While we were still >10000 ft above the land of Germany, the sky of our right window turned dark faster than the sky of the left window. In other words, when it was still blushing, radiant sunset outside the left window, we had fully dark and black sky outside the right window. Interesting.

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For shopping, the VAT in Germany is 19% and the minimum spending amount to qualify the tourist VAT refund for non-EU resident is €10. However I did not know the actual refund rate because I did not claim any refund this time. Bought several pieces of lovely small wooden souvenirs and local groceries but those purchases might not be entitled to tourist tax refund as the stores had offered no tax-refund cheque.

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Image credit :  here

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The public transport network in Munich is well-established and easy to follow if you are familiar with the names and directions. It is mainly S-bahn (Metro, green logo) and U-bahn (Subway, blue logo). When arrive at Munich Franz Josef Strauss airport (MUC), just follow the green sign of S-bahn that would lead you to the train ticket counter and station. Although the Munich city has proper-connected bicycle lane but I noticed most Germans do not bike, they drive and use public transport normally.

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Well, I am scenic person and honestly Bavaria has too much spectacular natural scenery to offer. Basically we only spent 6 days in Bavaria, too little time I must say after deducted the time spent for other important things. Moreover, we lack of luck that had two rainy days during our three-day casual trip. All in all, I wish to visit Bavaria again and wanted to explore deeply those very beautiful medieval towns in good sunny day. Perhaps, more precisely saying, I promised myself will visit Germany again and dream to have a proper journey of Romantic Road !

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:: My itinerary ::

Part I  :  Starting the fairy tale journey

Part II : To the fairy tale castles

Part III: To the fairy tale town

Part IV:  Oktoberfest

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I get to know Korea VOV cosmetics long ago but know nothing about their skin care line. Generally VOV is Korean drugstore line, which having similar market position as Skin Food, The Face Shop, Missha, Etude…etc.

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Recently I got a chance to try this Snail ampoule cream for a week when I was stayed with my sister in last month. She had mild sunburn from a trip because she did not wear sunscreen while spending a lot of time in sun. Although she never a beauty nut but she also got worried those small sun spots, hence she asked a sales assistant in the Korea duty free shop to recommend her a skin care cream for her sun spots and this VOV ES:pair Snail Ampoule Cream was highly raved by the SA. Because the SA raved this cream like a magic miracle portion, my sister joked with a serious face that if the cream failed to work, she will fly to Korea and look for her. Haha, the SA seemed to be terrified a little bit and immediately changed her words “ oh…it also depends on individual skin condition….” Anyway, she bought the cream for USD29/50g and quite happy with it.

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My sister’s sunburn had recovered fully after a month and those small sun spots were faded greatly that hardly to be noticed in close distance after 2 months. Besides using this Snail Ampoule Cream daily, she had very minimal sun exposure in normal daily life so I believe all these factors helped her sun spots faded.

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The cream consistency is quite interesting. Lightweight yet moisturizing, glutinous and only small amount  required for each application. The cream felt hydrating on applying, it absorbed into skin quickly, skin was just smooth touching. Nice experience especially in muggy weather. Suitable for combination to normal skin type but not sufficient for dry skin condition.

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The main ingredient of this cream is Snail secretion filtrate. Snail cream made a big hit in Korea lately that many Korea brands have launched their “snail cream”. Frankly speaking, it sounds rather weird to me at the beginning, snail?     What is the benefit of Snail secretion filtrate for skin care? As the product did not mention what species of the snail secretion, hence no specified info can be searched but while doing my research online, I learnt that some western countries had used snail secretion filtrate in their skin care earlier than Korea. From various online sources, the secretion of the little mollusk contains glycoproteins, sugars and amino acids that can be found in human skin, which help to repair photo-damaged and heal the injured skin.

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click to enlarge for ingredient list

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As I only used it for a week, I couldn’t comment other than moisturizing factor. Speaking from my sister experience, this is gentle and soothing for irritated skin and it seemed easily lasts for a year usage!

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This stuff is actually belonging to my SO but I also used it from time to time (“b). To my surprise, I found it quite pleasant to use. My tube of Kiehl’s Mirco-Dermabrasion is nearly finished, and I was thinking to buy a gentle & natural facial scrub next that can be used more frequently; in the mid of searching a natural facial scrub, I just feel free and open to any facial scrub that available to be grabbed in my bathroom.

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It has fluffy texture and the scrub particles are very small and less abrasive, even my non-irritated sensitive skin can tolerate the scrub several times a week. In addition, it did not dry out my skin after wash. However, I do not notice any improvement to pores sizes.  

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Most L’Oreal skin care has very strong fragrance but this one is mild and pleasant. Hmn… I did not get the chance to examine the full ingredient list when I got my SO to purchase this (he trusted my opinion in skincare) as THB210/100ml was the only amount that he was willing to pay for a facial scrub. The full ingredient list was fully covered by a security sticker and technically we cannot remove the product security sticker before we paid for it, hence no guilty I introduced him a facial scrub with SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) ya? The truth is, there is no concrete evidence to date had proven SLES is harmful thus it is still widely acceptable by many cosmetics chemists, dermatologists and consumers. Anyhow, personally I will still give this product a miss if I know it contains SLES.

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*♪  Cleansing Power Indicator ♪ *


(Top: shimmering lipstick on)(Middle: Dampen the skin and scrubbing for 15 seconds)(Bottom: rinsed with water, patting dry)

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While I felt this is gentle for the sensitive skin, I was surprised to witness it has mild cleansing power in reality. From the above simple testing, the shimmering lipstick still largely remained after 15 seconds scrubbing with this L’Oreal Derma Genesis Pore Minimising Smoother. Yes, why do we need strong detergent for delicate skin? We are not crocodile. Glad to know some brands are working to improve their budget-line product and I know L’Oreal is not alone.


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Ingredients:

Aqua/Water, Kaolin, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Zea Mays Starch/Corn Starch, CI77891/Titanium Dioxide, Decyl Glucoside, Polyethylene, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Parfum/Fragrance, Capryloyl Salicyclic Acid, Citric Acid, Menthol, Phenoxyethanol, Salicyclic Acid, Sodium Bonzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum.

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I recently replenished 4 bottles of this essence because it went out of stock when I wanted to purchase it on my last trip to Malaysia. To my disappointment, I never knew the formula had been revamped because the packaging and ingredient list are remained exactly same for both old and new versions, until I opened the essence and started using it for skin then only I realized it felt so different from my previous Neogence HA essence experience!

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Compared to the previous version I bought and reviewed here (which I believe is 2009 version), the current latest version at the time of writing is 2010 Sept version. In the beginning I wasn’t sure why the essence consistency and result were dissimilar with my previous experience, hence I wrote to Neogence and Dr.Hung replied me that this Hyaluronic Acid Essence actually had been revamped 4 times (2008, 2009, 2010) since the essence first released. The newer version contains smaller molecule Hyaluronic acid.

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The main reason I decided to write a new review of this essence (2010 version) instead of put an update remark at the bottom of previous review is because they are two different essences for me. I felt bad if I did not make it clear.

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…*-*… Comparison of 2009 version and 2010 version …*–*…

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● Consistency ●

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I immediately felt the consistency of 2010 version was more watery. When I took the blog picture in my previous review of 2009 version, I remembered vividly the essence was not runny on skin. This new version is watery and very runny on skin, you get the idea in above picture.

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● Application ●

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As the newer version is watery, thus it is easier to absorb into skin compared to older version. This essence still has kind of  light slippery gel texture when massaging onto skin but it absorbed by skin fairly quick and did not require extra massage liked what I did to the older version. The newer version also leaves non-sensible sticky touch after application, in fact it seemed to be fully sipped into skin without leaving a trace. The following is comparison of Neogence HA essence (2010) and Juju Aquamoist HA essence (new packaging).

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Neogence HA essence VS JUJU's HA essence

Do you think any difference here?

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● Result ●

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I had used up a full size 20ml of the 2010 version before I shared my thought here. Apparently I felt the hydrating power of this new version was weaker than the older version because it did not smooth out my expression lines under eyes instantly as the older version.  For optimal result, skin MUST be dampened by toner/lotion first and then sealed with moisturizer after applying this HA essence. Unlike previous version which was very versatile that can be used at anywhere anytime. Eventhough I applied generous amount on bare skin, it simply failed to hydrate the skin for more than 15 minutes for my combination, slightly dehydrated skin in normal room temperature in tropical climate!  (My skin felt tight and dry lines shown again in 15 minutes) In addition, it did not heal the minor flaky nose either.

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Despite it lacks of line-filling ability, it still gives me bouncy soft skin when using together with toner and moisturizer  (I used it with Neogence HA series or REN face oil) but less pronounced compared with the older version. I was not totally convinced by the instant result unfortunately, eventhough Neogence claimed the latest version can hold the moisture up to 12 hours.

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pill up a little bit when applied a light BB cream after applying the HA essence

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I understand the molecule of Hyaluronic Acid for skin care can be varied (Please note I’m not talking those used for plastics surgery), technically the larger the molecule the better it holds the moisture, imagine a larger sponge can hold more water. On the other hand, the smaller molecule can be absorbed by skin more easily and helps to retain moisture in the skin instead of trapping on upper skin only. As such, theoretically smaller molecule is actually more effective to improve dehydrated skin in gradual manner. Normally a good formulated hydrating product will include both small and large molecular humectants.

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Comparison of HA and oil

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I knew skin care is not only a superficial job because our skin aged from skin deep but still, I don’t think I will re-purchase this HA essence again because it is no longer giving what I expected — act as line-filler. I bought it because  I thought it  is still the same formula liked the one I used previously, which  is excellent for instant fix in emergency circumstances, particularly for the expression lines under eyes in day time  (I used Retinol eye care at night).

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This newer watery version (2010) only lasts me around a month where the older version (2009) can last for approximate two months due to its thicker consistency, hence more pricey per ml for newer version although the normal retail price is still remaining RM89/20ml. In summary, the revamp is suitable for oilier skin type in tropical climate and make it more compatible with other skin care product, hence it is ideal as a hydration booster instead of  instant line-filler that I expected.

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Rating:  ….)))     Satisfied. Will not buy again.

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Ingredients:

Aqua, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone.

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Long, slim and sexy legs? Two of my best friends have beautiful legs as shown in the picture, well, they are both 5 feet 7 inches tall. I have given up the day dream because I had tried my very best to achieve slimmer leg since I was 13 to no avail.

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According to Dr.Scroll, this sleeping leg therapy is ideal for the relief of tired, swollen legs while achieving toned and slimmer looking legs. Support your leg with low compression level (measured by hPa, an universal measurement unit for pressure). The ankle area is designed flat, making it suitable for sleeping position. Lavender color facilitates sound sleep. Toe-less sock design releases heat during sleep and cotton fabric delivers superior comfort.

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It is clearly not made of 100% cotton but I do not know the exact fabric composition either. The Dr.Scholl MediOtto Compression Stocking comes in 2 sizes, M size or L size. I am rather short and have normal small feet, hence M size is right for me. It retails RM98 or S$46.90 in pharmacy, definitely  is a splurge especially you do not know if it really works. Anyway, due to few positive online reviews of this product, I bought it at RM78 during promotion many months ago and praying it helps to shape my calves.

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The compression stocking gives slightly tight and very warm feelings  to the legs especially if you are sleeping with air-conditioning or  in cool climate.  Do adjust the stocking  position to fit the design of toes, ankle and knee so different level of pressure can be imposed correctly.

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In medical treatment, compression stocking is inexpensive treatment of varicose vein and spider vein, aims to increase blood circulation and helps to alleviate symptoms caused by the veins, such as aching, heaviness, and swelling as well as help prevent worsening of the veins (source). However, over-the-counter compression stockings offer less compression than Prescription-strength stockings hence those may not be adequate for varicose vein treatment.

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Since this Dr.Scholl MediOtto Compression Stocking does not fit for treatment purpose, does it help to relieve tired, swollen legs while achieving toned and slimmer looking legs as the product claimed? In my experience, wearing it every night for few weeks seemed to temporary reduce Edema issue a little bit but I did not think my legs looked any different. For fatigued legs?  Excuse me, a warm water soaking or a simple leg massage could be more efficient.

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Besides, as I have sensitive skin and apply body cream at night, sometimes the legs sweat a little bit when the weather was getting very warm,  therefore the stocking must be washed every two days else my skin will feel itchy. Additionally, the stocking became slightly loose after stretching frequently, that is very normal resulting from wear-and-tear but in other words, it is not long-wearing since the pressure level imparted by the compression stocking becomes inadequate over a period use.  So you know why I did not enthusiastic about wearing it diligently after few weeks.

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In conclusion, the result is nothing fantastic. While I cannot tell its long-term effect, I can say one thing for sure, I will not buy it again.



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My apology

Hi, many things have been keeping my mind and time occupied these days, thus I need more time to response to all comments. Please bear with me, thank you.

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My Skin Profile

Sensitive, combination skin type, visible blood vessels, freckles, easily dehydrated, dry and having fine line undereye, occasional breakout, visible aging pores.

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