I Got Bit in the face

Adventures in being a skincare guinea pig, Books, reading and lessons learned, Skincare

There are certain sayings that I have always known and yet always disliked.

“It’ll come back and bite you in the butt’

Well, in my case, at the end of my week (and a bit) of trying to return to my Plan A skincare routine, I left London for a few days – spent some time in the English countryside, then ventured home to Geneva for a few days.

It was then that I got bit. In the face. Twice. By a mosquito. Or two. On a romantic dinner, perhaps. How pleasant a thought.

The charming lumps under my left eye and on my left cheek respectfully, are the evidence of the scene of a crime. But more than that, they are a lesson. Three, in fact.

  1. Your skin is part of you. Your body’s largest organ. It is there to protect you. It is important. But it is not one’s heart, liver or lungs. So as we indulge in caring for our skin, we remember that this aesthetic pleasure is a secondary one. Lest we make the pride and joy of our lives something that is inevitably, temporary.
  2. Anything can happen. Be prepared – and keep calm. One cannot plan for everything in life. (As much as we may wish to)
  3. Remember the lessons of the past. The hyperpigmentation work I had to do after overcoming pretty severe acne will be of use now in this, albeit, very small facial region.

So, so some pointed remedial action will be necessary in ‘Plan B’. The plan I am in the middle of constructing. This time I will bear in mind that change takes time. Ideally I should set aside a few months. But let’s try two weeks shall we?

Peace, love and joy,

Christiana

PLAN A: Returning to my Old Skincare Routine – A (very) comprehensive, step by step review

Adventures in being a skincare guinea pig, Life Essentials, Skincare

How did I ever keep up with this?

My MSc was hard. It was an intense year. Stress is what initiated adult acne for me when I was almost 19. And remained a constant catalyst for MEGA breakouts and skin mishaps. I will share my misadventures in skincare and repair another time. But adherence to this routine kept my skin clear, and pretty much amazing. After a few haphazard months; this is my return to the old routine. A few months have gone by. And my skin is in need of some TLC. For one week, I will try my old tried and tested – to see if it will help return my skin to its former glory.

So here’s the theory. Please note that I have, for reasons I may explain another time, what might be described as combination-oily skin. My skin was always very oily and acne prone. The major part of my skincare journey and the catalyst to my becoming more ‘skincare savvy’ and applying my scientific background to my personal skincare was dealing with very oily skin and SERIOUS acne. Having dealt with that, I now get away with additional moisture that I wouldn’t have before. That said – my skin type still leans towards being oily.

 

Morning:

Duration: 8 minutes

When I constructed this I decided to go light in the mornings to make it as quick as possible. The evenings are when I do the real repair. My morning focus is antioxidants to prevent sun damage and skin radical formation, light moisturization (especially in the spring, autumn and summer) as well as SPF cover.

Step 1: Wash

Garnier Pure Active face wash / Alchimie Forever Purifiying Facial Cleanser

Step 2: Air Dry then Pat Gently with a Thick Disposable Kitchen Towel

This is how I did it. And I explain why later in this article. If you plan to emulate this step, make sure to use and absorbent, thick towel that doesn’t break apart and transfer itty bitty bits of tissue onto your face. (Speaking from experience)

Step 3: SERUM!

I used the Skinceuticals Phloretin cf. THE NUMBER OF TIMES I LITERALLY SPILLED THIS! It isn’t cheap and I have spilled so many bottles of this. It actually once stained my walk in dressing room table. I might do a tour of my itty-bitty-serum-stained-walk-in if anyone is interested.

As for the serum – I can’t tell you what this does for me. Full transparency. Because I don’t know. But I didn’t want to alter any part of my routine. I have used a LOT of Skinceuticals products. I like the products but I hold some reservations here and there.

Step 4: Locking it all in

La Roche-Posay Effaclar duo +. Not sure why. It was recommended to me by an aesthetician a while back. And I like the smell. Voila.

Step 5: THE GOOD STUFF: Moisturizer

Even if you have acne, try not to skip on the moisturizer. It is important to keep your skin hydrated in some form as drying it out constantly (something I TRIED FOR AGES) tends to self-perpetuate a cycle of continuous sebum production. I haven’t read any scientific literature to support this claim – but I experienced it myself. I use Dermalogica Active Moist moist of the time and when I feel like a lighter moisturiser with SPF I use the Alchime Forever Protective Day Cream SPF 23.

Step 6: Sun Protection

Last but not least! Both my dermatologist and aesthetician admonished me to wear SPF. I would sit in the sun for ages without any coverage for years. I travelled around on summer vacations in the blazing sun without any sunscreen on my face or body. I just loved the sun and with my dark skin – thought I was somehow immune to the dangers presented by prolonged sun exposure. Oh, how wrong I was. Minimally from the standpoint of keeping my skin looking and feeling lovely.

Now I use SPF every day. My final morning step was using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Dry Touch. Forever a fave and a gem for those of us with oily skin who don’t want that “sunscreen sheen”.

 

 

Evening:

Duration: 15 minutes

Bearing in mind that this is my old (successful) skincare routine, without any of the new ‘last minute’ repair measures. Just stable, good and routine.

Step 1: Wash (again)

Washing my face. (Every night!!? YES. I did this every night. Despite almost never wearing make up. And I tell you that this works magic!)

Usually used the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming gel. I find this nice and gentle for the evening.

Step 2: Air dry my face and pat with a kitchen towel (again)

It’s a bit of a repetition game here. But routine is good. Right? I use a kitchen towel because when I had acne, I realised that I didn’t want to transfer the bacteria that might potentially dwell on a facecloth onto my face. This just seemed like the easiest option – outside of purchasing several facecloths and washing them at a frequency that would allow me to use a new one each morning and another new one in the evening. This is the ecological (and reasonable) choice. I was simply too busy/lazy for this. People still wonder why I have a roll of kitchen towel in my bathroom. But they never ask.

Step 3: SERUM TIME!

At a particular point in time I was layering on up to 3-4 serums a night! But in its unadulterated form this is what I did. I will be skipping one of these now as I no longer need it.

1. Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector – I would use this only on the areas where I was still trying to fade acne scars. (Incidentally – an aesthetician once told me that some of them would never fade – this routine conquered that!)

2. I then used the super gentle Alchimie Forever Pigment Lightening Serum. Fantastic for skin texture. I recommended this to friends, family and professors alike. Everyone fell in love with this and noted an improvement in tactile skin texture if they used it for a while. It also helps with mildly evening out the skin tone. This one is a true gem. Let the serums soak in here. There is no rush.

Step 4: Sealing it all in: Lovely, glorious acids

After this I used the Eneomey Stim Renew 8 – Anti-ageing Radiance Night Cream. This is actually the new version. The original one had the same chemical composition in terms of the proportion of the constituent acids but just different packaging and marketing. So not to worry if you happen to come across the old version. This is a little known product recommended to me by a very well known aesthetician. I started out by using this only over the dark hyperpigmentation spots but moved on to using this everywhere. It is very moisturising too – which is why I didn’t use it everywhere at first. But I later discovered that this night moisture does absolute wonders. Again, let this soak in. Do this whilst listening to an audiobook. I used this as my winding down time.

Step 5: Finally – Moisturiser

Maybe an overkilll. But I would always round this up with the Dermaligica Active moist once again. This is the best, all-rounder, light moisturiser for acne prone skin that I have used. If you have acne, ideally you should err towards a water based moisturiser. In the morning this will also avoid that 12pm noon ‘shine’ in the t-zone.

 

 

Twice weekly:

  1. Physical Exfoliation: Clairsonic Mia 2 or for something more gentle Alchimie Forever Gentle Refining scrub. (LOVE IT). I would replace this with the evening step 1. This is long enough already. I will talk about occasional masks and blah blah some other time.
  2. Acne (+ fine line) Prevention: The final part of my evening Step 3 about four – five times weekly was the Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Corrective Treatment. In Switzerland, 0.3 is the highest concentration one can obtain. In the UK, however, I know that one can obtain retinol up to 1.0 concentration without a prescription. (I appreciate the pump bottle of the 0.3.) I used the lowest concentration as this was sufficient to help me to keep my acne at bay (after it had cleared up). Depending on your skin and skin type this is one to introduce carefully and build up if necessary. If you use a retinoid (at any concentration) by prescription I would strongly advise that you do not use a retinol.

So, here goes! Wish me well!

P.s. I am only starting my week TOMORROW. The reason for this is because I had to reorder one or two of these because I realised they were not all in my arsenal anymore.

*Most of the links are (generally) in pounds. I just assumed this would be easier as I wrote this in London. (Although I am currently posting in Switzerland! Only home for a few days.) I will try to use international shipping sites where possible.

A New Era

Adventures in being a skincare guinea pig, Reflections, Skincare

And so begun my ‘quarter-life crisis’. Or, perhaps, begins.

After five and a half years, two degrees, one business, two blogs, and many memories – here begins my last 5 weeks in London. I have never been a Londoner. In fact, I have never really been fully anything. And my time in London has been spent largely travelling to get away from this wonderfully miserable, awfully magical city.

I ‘return’ to Switzerland. A brand new city – not Geneva, but the charmingly beautiful city of Lausanne. For my new adventure! I came to London at 18. And now, at 24, I am ready to move on. I have learned a lot, grown into an adult, bought my own ‘stuff’ and paid bills.

This, however, is about another journey. My skincare journey. My skincare story has been a long and winding one. So let’s just start here.

After my MSc, jumping straight into 5 months at a crazy, hectic job, almost two hours daily commute on the underground under the armpits of fellow Londoners during rush hour, poor self care, high stress and not nearly enough sleep – my skin is in shambles. Utter shambles and its true! At least I now know I have pores. (Seeing is believing, right?) And, to aid my 2014 nostalgia – the occasional forehead acne blowout party! As if that wasn’t enough – the heatwave, pollution, winter realisations that my oily skin is actually combination….. ? Wait what. As a self-proclaimed skincare connoisseur – the past year has taught me a lot. Serums serums serums. The ‘bloggers fave’ from the in-flight duty free catalogue that gave me a full fortnight appearance of a hass avocado. After only one use! (Talk about results) You know who you are. I bought two of you .And I paid in euros. But I was invoiced in dollars.

But now, I’m free. Two full working days of marvellous unemployment and I’m as anxious as ever. So what will I do with my skin?

PLAN A: Try my old skincare routine with adherence. Lets see what happens after a week, shall we?

Today I will take a photo and in one week, another. I will detail my skincare routine in steps. Let’s see if it works!

My Basic Theory of Skincare Routines

Life Essentials, Monday juice, Reflections, Skincare

Let’s not be silly.

I’ve been through it when it comes to my skin. (And emerged triumphant!)

Stick to a skincare routine that you can keep up with. If you can’t consistently use all twenty of those products that you felt obliged to buy at some point (and now feel obliged to use – we’ve all been there); condense it.

Make it work for you.

Ebay is your friend. You’ll be surprised what people will buy.

Cheers,

Christie