Friday, 20 March 2015

The Difference Between A Purge & A Breakout

When you have acne prone skin adding a new product into your routine can become a complete minefield. We are often told that things have to get worse before they'll get better but really that should only be the case with certain kinds of products. It's very important to recognise the difference between skin purging & a skin reaction. Although it might not be very pleasant, a skin purge should generally be seen as a good thing. Purging occurs when a product speeds up the skin's natural cell turnover rate. This allows anything nasty lurking underneath the skin to come to the surface & be cleared away. A negative reaction can be anything from just breaking out to redness, pain & rashes.

The only time you should experience skin purging is if you've used something with an active ingredient. By that I mean something acid or retinol based. Many skincare brands will mention 'active' ingredients in their products but unless it contains BHA or AHA it shouldn't make you break out. Some people also experience purging with the Clarisonic but after it gave me some broken blood vessels I no longer recommend using such a harsh method of physical exfoliation. I credit acid exfoliants with saving my skin and for the most part I've only had good reactions. My skin is very tolerant of strong acids and they're the only thing that makes a difference to my closed comedones. If you suffer from those stubborn little bumps under the skin, they will most likely never come to a head or disappear without the aid of an acid or retinol product. No purging is necessary for a chemical exfoliant to be considered beneficial. However I see so many people freaking out when they first try an acid exfoliator because it's given them a couple of spots when it might just be the beginning stages of a purge & their ticket to clear skin.

Everyone will react differently to products with active ingredients. Just looks at reviews of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo! I personally never experienced a proper skin purge until I tried Avene's Cleanance K. This hydrating cream-gel product contains salicylic, lactic & glycolic acid. The potent blend of acids obviously had a massive effect on my skin & unearthed clogs that years of using Alpha-H Liquid Gold had barely touched. When I first started using Cleanance K my skin looked like it was getting worse than ever. My chin & forehead exploded and new blemishes kept on appearing in those areas for almost three weeks. At first I had no idea if it was a purge or if my skin just hated the product. I started to doubt my unshakeable faith in acids but one day the purge ended. My horribly congested forehead became perfectly clear & smooth. Cleanance K became a holy grail product for me & then Avene discontinued it in favour of Cleanance Expert which annoyingly is totally lacking in acid content (end rant)! Anyway... in order to figure out whether your skin is purging or just breaking out there are a few things you should ask yourself:

1. Do you normally break out in that area?
If you tend to get acne on your forehead but a product gives you a breakout on your cheeks then it's probably not working for you. Purges mainly occur in your most congested areas as they enable the sebum plugs that were clogging your pores to break through the skin & become whiteheads.

2. What kind of spots are they?
By nature closed comedones are quite small. Therefore as they come to the surface, the resulting spot should also be on the small side. They often turn into whiteheads and feel firmer than those big & juicy blemishes. Gentle cleansing can pop the head & they'll disappear within a day or two with minimal scarring. If your spots look red & inflamed or feel painful then they're just breakouts.

3. How long have you been breaking out for?
Although purges can go on for a long time, they don't last forever. If you've been religiously applying a product for well over a month & your skin hasn't improved in any way, shape or form then it's time to give up. Don't wreck your skin any further, take your skincare routine back to basics and try something else.

On the flip side you can have a negative skin reaction to absolutely anything. It could be a new cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen or foundation - anything that goes on your face can cause irritation. In this case carrying on with that product won't make things any better & you should discontinue use of it immediately. Always make sure to only introduce one new product at a time as that way you can narrow down exactly what it is that's irritating your skin. Even if a chemical exfoliant is working on your blemishes & scarring, it can still aggravate your skin. A good moisturiser is a necessity after exfoliating & make sure you don't overdo things. A 10% glycolic acid peel every night is just gonna make your face sore.

In short, anything can make you break out. If it has no active ingredients then stop using it. If it does have active ingredients & things don't improve after a month then stop using it. But if you can power through that initial purge, the results are totally worth it!

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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Chunky Yet Funky Footwear

I don't think I've ever bought so many pairs of shoes at the same time before! Chunky platform soles are everywhere right now & I couldn't resist adding a few to my shoe collection. I'm only 5'4" and unfortunately I cannot walk in heels whatsoever. Put some stilettos on me & I'd probably only be able to take a few wobbly steps before giving up. Just call me Bambi. I find platforms so much easier & more comfortable to walk in. They give me some much needed height & I don't have to worry about falling over with every step I take. I went for a mixture of ankle boots & shoes because I needed a heel for every occasion. Here are my chunky footwear picks...

Public Desire Shay Black Cleated Sole Chelsea Boots

I think my platform obsession started with the Topshop Allsorts boots. I never really got the appeal until I tried on a pair myself. Despite being ridiculously high they were incredibly comfortable. However Topshop sold out of my size & I generally prefer leather boots to suede so I bought these ones instead. Public Desire have been killing it lately! They have so many awesome shoes available & they're all decently priced too. The Shay boots have that same super high platform as the Allsorts boots and are pretty much exactly the same shoe apart from the material. As these are so high I don't really wear them on a daily basis, they're more of a night out style. I love them all the same though & I'm proud of myself for actually being able to walk in them!

Public Desire Aria Black Ankle Boots

The Aria boots are like the little sister to the Shay boots. They have the same Chelsea boot style but the height is a bit lower and there's less difference between the platform & the heel. These are so easy to walk in! I even managed to wear them in the snow as the cleated sole stopped me from slipping over. I've been happily wearing them every day because they go with absolutely everything. These boots are definitely my favourite out of all the shoes I bought. I'm rather tempted to buy the new white version too!

Public Desire Maddox Black Faux Suede Double Platform Creepers

During my gothy days I used to wander through Camden Market lusting over pairs of Underground creepers. I ended up buying some ridiculous New Rock boots instead & wore them to death. Creepers fit in more with my current style so I finally decided to order some. Again these are from Public Desire as they did ones that come with a double platform sole. I have to admit I feel a bit like Harry Hill when I wear them but I still think they look fab.

Garage Shoes Bella Black Patent Chunky Tassel Loafers

I've always wanted a pair of patent loafers but I'd never found a pair that I truly loved before. The extra chunky rubber sole on this pair sealed the deal for me. I've been wearing these a lot lately when I'm out shopping. They're quite sensible looking so I feel like they would be appropriate for an office environment too. I love the tassel & fringe detailing at the front. Unfortunately the toe space is quite narrow so they do squish my feet a bit. I really love them though so I'm gonna persevere & stretch them out.

The Whitepepper Black Leather Gladiator Boots

As well as beautiful smock dresses, The Whitepepper also make some totally stunning shoes. I got these for half price in their sale & I couldn't be happier with them! Although they have a strappy gladiator style, they feel more like a Winter boot as my feet don't get cold in them. I like wearing them with tights or socks even though they have an open toe. They are brilliant quality & look lovely on my tootsies. I'm still waiting for The Whitepepper to do some kind of discount on their pink walker boots though. They are basically my dream shoes!

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Currently Loving #4

Barney Butter Cocoa & Coconut Almond Butter
This stuff is basically like crack to me. Barney Butter make the smoothest, creamiest & most delicious all natural almond butter you will ever find. I'm partial to their Cocoa & Coconut variety but they sell some really interesting flavour combinations such as Vanilla & Espresso and Honey & Flax. My go-to breakfast is porridge made with almond milk, mashed banana, chia seeds & good dollop of this almond butter. It tastes heavenly & I've gone through at least five tubs of it since discovering Barney Butter late last year. I normally order mine from The Protein Pick & Mix but it will soon be available to buy from Amazon. I can't even tell you how good this stuff is. If you love almond butter then Barney Butter will change your life. Not even exaggerating!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I think that Tina Fey is such an incredible woman so I had to check out her new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It has a similar vibe to 30 Rock but is generally a lot more positive & empowering. The show follows Kimmy who was kidnapped by a radical preacher and kept in an underground bunker for 15 years with three other women. They became part of a doomsday cult who were told that the world had ended but one day they are rescued & the preacher is arrested. Kimmy decides to leave Indiana & start a new life in New York. Despite it's rather odd concept, the show is actually really funny & sweet. Kimmy's roommate Titus is definitely my favourite character. His Pinot Noir video & viral TV interview had me cry laughing for a good few minutes. I'd highly recommend checking it out if you want a new comedy to watch. I'm so glad there's finally something to fill the 30 Rock shaped hole in my life.

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
I've always been a diehard Zelda fangirl. Ever since the release of Ocarina Of Time 3D I've been praying that Nintendo would also revamp Majora's Mask for the 3DS and last month my prayers were finally answered. In this game Link travels to a place called Termina where he is turned into a Deku Scrub by the Skull Kid who has stolen the evil Majora's Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman. The Skull Kid has interfered with so many other people's lives and it's up to Link to get the mask back & set things right again. Majora's Mask is very sidequest heavy as there are only four dungeons in the game. The thing that worries most people about this game is that you only have three days to complete everything before the moon falls down & kills everyone. However with the Ocarina Of Time in hand Link can speed up, slow down & turn back time in order to get everything done within the three day limit. The main mechanic of this game is the masks and Link can collect & wear a total of 24 masks to turn him into different characters. I never had a N64 so this was my first ever playthrough of the game & I can honestly say it's one of the best in the series. It's fast become one of my favourites along with Twilight Princess & Skyward Sword.

Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear
Ever since Sia's song Breathe Me was used on the final episode of Six Feet Under I've been obsessed with her amazing voice. I am completely in love with her latest album 1000 Forms Of Fear. The singles Chandelier & Elastic Heart are just so powerful, especially when combined with Maddie Ziegler's erratic yet brilliant dancing in the videos. Sia's struggles with addiction & depression have an obvious impact on her lyrics. I'm so glad she's on the right track now. Whenever I'm feeling a bit down her songs help to inspire me & I really enjoy watching her performances even if we only get to see her from behind. I find Sia's songs really fun to sing along to as well. Who doesn't love belting out Chandelier at the top of their voice?!

Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Eleganza
Isn't this the cutest little perfume bottle you've ever seen? I adore this scent & will be buying a full size bottle as soon as my bank account allows me to. Signorina Eleganza is a luxurious fragrance that celebrates femininity & seduction. It is designed to be a more sophisticated version of the original Signorina perfume. This is such an elegant fruity fragrance. It's girly yet grown up at the same time. It has fresh top notes of grapefruit & pear for a stimulating introduction, almond powder & golden osmanthus petals for a touch of indulgent luxury with base notes of patchouli & white leather. It's quite a strong scent & it lingers on the skin for hours. Utterly gorgeous.

Death Parade
Along with Tokyo Ghoul √A & Sailor Moon Crystal, the only anime I've been watching this season is Death Parade. The premise is that after death humans need to be judged to decide whether they go heaven or hell. In Death Parade this judgement occurs in a bar called Quindecim where the bartender Decim is really an arbiter. Two people who died at exactly the same time are brought together here to play a game. This varies every time with games like air hockey, darts, billiards & even Twister. Neither player knows that they are already dead so when they are told that their life depends on winning the game, it brings out a rather nasty competitive side to each person. These extreme circumstances reveal the inner darkness of their character and makes it easier for the arbiters to judge each soul. It's a really interesting anime as you want to learn more about these mysterious arbiters as well as seeing who will be reincarnated & who will be sent to the void.

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