Category Archives: Beauty

Managing Eczema

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Eczema isn’t fun and certainly isn’t fleeting. Chances are, if you suffer from eczema, you’ve had it for a while. There doesn’t seem to be a permanent cure, so knowing how to manage it is probably your safest bet. Many unfortunate souls first experience eczema in infancy, and for others it appears later in life. A typical eczema sufferer’s skin can be very dry and tight, raw, red, cracked and generally irritated, as well as a strong sensitivity to the majority of skin products on the market, especially those that are scented.

I myself am no stranger to skin conditions. When I was 14, I had a bought of streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) which is pretty common and passes quickly enough. However, when it passed, Psoriasis flared up, which I have suffered with on and off in extreme cases for the past nine years. I have used every topical cream and oinkment, had UVB (ultraviolet) treatment at least once a year for several months until I finally had my tonsils removed in January 2012 and I haven’t had a flare up since. Fingers crossed!
I think my skin must have felt lost with the absence of psoriasis, as it decided that eczema was next. Rats. This proved to be pretty extreme too, with permanent patches for the last year on my forearms, elbow creases, neck and face. But the worst was the end of December 2012 and most of January this year, where I was bed bound and medicated, missing most of the Christmas festivities. So in summation (after all that rambling) skin conditions, at this stage, are a part of who I am.

If you can relate, you will know well how eczema on the face can be hard to cover. It can make you look aged, dull your skin and shake your confidence. Covering it with foundation just makes it look worse, and we don’t want that. After many trial and error cases (testing products that either dried out my skin or simply make it worse) and some serious spending, I finally found the ones that keep my face looking clear and healthy. I hope they can help you in some way too.

Cleansing
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Two of my good friends have glowing, gorgeous and enviable skin. I asked them what their routines were, and both didn’t say a lot. They don’t wash their faces every day, and normally only do when they wear makeup. I thought this was bizarre…but was willing to give it a go. It’s safe to say that it  really does make a huge improvement. Although the results were good, I couldn’t abandon the idea completely, so once a week, I exfoliate with the St. Ives Apricot Scrub (sensitive skin). If you’re using this over the sink and not in the shower, it can be hard to remove all of the exfoliating beads. This is where my Clarisonic comes in. A Clarisonic isn’t necessary  but I’ve had it for a couple of years now and it really finishes the job to make my face smooth. I cover my face with Cetaphil*, wet the Clarisonic brush and clean my face. It removes the rest of the apricot scrub, which will dry out your face if not totally removed, so ensure to thoroughly cleanse!

* I also use a small amount of Cetaphil to clean makeup brushes.

Nivea Pure & Natural Cleansing Toner – This product really surprised me, as most Nivea products irritate me and I stay far away from them. This doesn’t dry out the skin because it contains Argan oil. I use this to clean my face every day, and to remove my makeup when needed.

Sephora Super Loaded Age Defy Serum – I realise not everyone has a Sephora in their vicinity, but I mentioned this product because it’s fantastic. I apply it before bed and sometimes in the morning..but within moments of putting this stuff on, your skin tone improves and feels incredibly smooth. Skin looks brighter and feels instantly better. It doesn’t irritate eczema at all and gives you a bright, smooth finish. It’s around €30. I got it before Christmas and I’m still using it, a little goes a long way.

Bigelow Rose Salve – Again, not the most readily available high street  product (sorry!), but if you suffer from dry skin around your eyes, this will remove it as well as moisturise the eyelids in one night. It’s relatively inexpensive and from Bath & Bodyworks, but it’s easy to get online. Vaseline will do the same job too, this is just far quicker, especially if you have a night out planned. It’s great for lips and dry elbows too.

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Caudalie Beauty Elixir – There are mixed reviews all over the Internet about this product. It’s about €12 for 30mls, which for me, lasts about three weeks. Although it’s quite expensive, it’s great for refreshing and cooling the skin, and if you feel any sort of irritation coming on, it calms the skin and perks you up. I spray it on my face every morning and it’s great when you’re hungover. I don’t mind spending a little extra on something I know will work, and this definitely soothes sensitive skin. I have to restrict my sprays though, it’s a little addictive. I buy mine on Bath and Unwind, a great site brimming with beautiful products (and a beautiful layout to boot) that’s worth checking out. Free delivery too!

Aveeno Moisturising Lotion – I go through tubes of Aveeno like nothing else. This is the ultimate (and essential) product for eczema. I use it every single day on my body and face, it’s the best out there for skin conditions. If you have particularly itchy or irritating eczema, go for the menthol Aveeno. It soothes as well as hydrates, long after you put it on. It’s very affordable, lasts for at least a month, but varies from price to price depending on where you get it. If you’re from Ireland, McCabes Pharmacy regularly have Aveeno special offers, where a tube costs just under €4.00.

Coverage

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The key to keeping your skin healthy and irritation free without becoming a creepy hermit is to use something that doesn’t cake your face, filling it with troublesome products, sure to cause an explosive aftermath. If you want your skin to look it’s best, Origins VitaZing is the secret. I don’t know how this stuff works, but the results are amazing….no need for heavy foundation or powder anymore. None of that stuff.
Squeeze a pea sized amount of this stuff on your fingers (it comes out white with a blueish sheen) and spread all over your face like moisturiser. The result is glowing, tinted healthy looking skin. This product won’t irritate you, even if your skin is highly sensitive. It’s about €30.00 (£27.00) but invaluable for eczema sufferers. Think of it as buying a bottle of foundation. It’s around the same price, but it’s good for your skin, while making it look it’s best with minimal effort. A little goes a long way.

The reason Boing by Benefit features in this picture is because it’s a creamy and durable  concealer. I use it under my eyes, and it’s the only product that doesn’t irritate my eczema. It’s the only additional coverage I use along with Origins Vitazing.

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(Wearing only Origins VitaZing, Boing concealer underneath my eyes and a cream blusher)

My final recommendation is a product for those who are a little skeptical about investing in Origins Vitazing and feel more confident with additional coverage. No problem. This product is Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer. The reason this product is so great for eczema sufferers is due to it’s consistency. A small pot like the one pictured costs €40.00, but will last for what seems like forever. If you put a speck of this stuff on your hand, mixed with a small blob of your favourite moisturiser (Aveeno!) you have essentially just made your own brand of foundation which will cover your entire face, with what seems like an airbrushed effect, which will stay put all night. A long sentence, fitting for a long-wear product. I bought mine at the Space NK concession at Harvey Nichols Dundrum. Aucoin products are also available on Amazon.

Although the prices range greatly between my featured products, I find these work incredibly well for particularly bad eczema. My other tips to manage eczema are simply to drink more water, apply vaseline to the skin to the spots where you usually apply perfume if you don’t want to spray it on your clothing (this will minimalise blotchy patches . If you’re drinking alcohol (eczema’s enemy!)  carry moisturiser in your bag. Apply to neck, arms, legs and hands in the bathroom if you get the chance – it will stop a flare up from happening the next day.

Although not medically certified, I have plenty of personal experience in this area. If you have any questions regarding eczema or psoriasis, feel free to email me. I would be more than happy to help.

If you have tried any of the products mentioned, I’d love to know how they worked for you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

♥ ♥ ♥

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Avocado, the fruitful fruit.

There is no denying it. Avocados are delicious and satisfying, not to mention highly addictive. It’s a glorious thing to find enjoyment in something that’s incredibly good for you, without holding your nose and swallowing it down. (Cabbage, I’m looking at you.)

This magical fruit is like nature’s butter, with a long list of health benefits thrown in for good measure. Avocado contains over 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B and C and E, copper, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. These little guys help lower cholesterol, promote eye health, maintain a healthy heart, contain anti-aging properties, aid nutrient absorption, make skin and hair glow…so on and so forth.

On the topic of shiny hair, there are countless websites that post about using avocados in a homemade hair mask to do just that…and it really, truly works! Over at Lauren Conrad & Co.’s ‘The Beauty Department’, they posted a simple recipe that can be followed by anyone, which only takes a couple of minutes, half a ripe avocado and some olive oil. You can find the post here.

Here are a few extra tips not mentioned in many posts online that might help when applying your mask, from personal experience:

  • It goes without saying that you need a whisk to make this mask. Just make sure there are no lumps whatsoever in your mixture as not only will it get caught in your hair no matter how much you try to scrub it out, it will also get stuck in your shower drain!

 

  • If you have very fine hair, don’t do the mask before a night out. The olive oil weighs it down and it will be difficult to style afterward.

 

  • If you plan on leaving it in for some time and washing it out later, make sure you cover your shoulders if you have sensitive skin. Although avocado is a super fruit, it does irritate skin and make it itchy/red.

 

  • Wrapping your hair in an old t-shirt works a lot better than a shower cap. Shower caps are normally made of plastic, and get hot, soft and slightly melty when you blast them with a hairdryer. Stick to the t-shirt and you’ll get better results.

Enjoy your mirror shine hair!

♥ ♥ ♥

The moisturiser method

It’s the evening and you’ve just arrived home after a long day at work. You can’t wait to slip into your pajamas, take your makeup off and let your skin breathe. You open your bathroom cabinet and paw around, when all of a sudden you realise your bottle of makeup remover is dangerously empty, and probably doesn’t contain enough liquid to remove your full face of makeup, no matter how vigorously you shake. You thought it might stretch for one more evening, but you were wrong. You wish you were more organised, promising yourself you won’t let your preening products dwindle again, unless you find yourself penniless.

Either that, or in my case, your makeup remover is nowhere to be found. It’s gone, like the wind. It has somehow miraculously vanished while you were at work. (I still haven’t found it, and both Mother and sister deny all knowledge)

What to do, what to do. It’s not a pleasant experience when you have to leave makeup on. It blocks pores, dulls, exhausts and tightens the skin and for many the effects are clearly visible the next day. Having very dry sensitive skin the whole year round, I had to remove it with something…within reason, of course. I rooted in my cabinet and figured my best bet was moisturiser, as hand soap would definitely prove diasterous.

I wet a handful of cotton wool under the tap and applied Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser to my skin, using the cotton wool to clean my face. It worked incredibly well at removing every last inch of makeup! I first tried this method three days ago, and constantly forgetting to pick up makeup remover meant I continued with it all weekend. Today, to my surprise, my skin is glowing, and looks healthier than it has in a long time. Not even the tiniest bit of makeup was necessary.

I highly recommend it if you’re in a bind. What are some of your stumble upon methods that work for you?

♥ ♥ ♥

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