Saturday 31 August 2013

Supplements For Hormonal Acne-Prone Skin

I know I write a lot of posts about skincare (& you're all probably bored of them by now!) but if you keep on getting spots then it's hard to want to talk about anything else. I've found some really great products recently and my skin has been looking pretty darn good... apart from my chin that is. My wonderful Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash has done a fab job of clearing up my blemishes but it hasn't quite managed to stop new ones from appearing on my chin. I'm an advocate of face mapping and I do think it's true that breakouts in certain areas can relate to internal problems. Spots on the chin and along the jawline are often due to a hormonal imbalance. I think there's a good chance that my blemishes could be down to my contraceptive pill but otherwise I'm fairly happy with it so I decided to look into other ways of fixing my hormones. As a massive supplement junkie my first port of call was to research which ones can help with acne. I went to Holland & Barrett to pick them up a few weeks ago and I've seen a marked improvement already. I've not gotten any new spots for the past week which has to be some kind of record for my skin! Here's a list of what I've been taking, how much to take and how they can help you:

Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil isn't especially known as an acne cure but this is a basic supplement that everyone should take regardless of your skin type. It is high in Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Vitamins A & D. Omega 3 can help to reduce blemishes and Vitamin A has been proven to help improve skin health. I've tried using a topical Vitamin A (Retinol) and it works really well. It can be a bit drying though so taking it internally helps too. I take one 1000mg capsule per day.

Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to your health but your body cannot make them on it's own, you need to eat food containing it instead. Fish is probably the best source of this nutrient but I don't eat fish at all so I have to supplement my diet with it instead. It is anti-inflammatory so helps to reduce blemishes. Fish oil is also known to help with depression, various mental health problems, bowel disorders and menstrual health. I normally take three 1200mg capsules per day, sometimes more if I'm feeling a bit down. I think three is enough if you just want them to help with your skin though.

Starflower Oil
I think this has made the biggest difference to my skin lately. Starflower Oil is sometimes known as Borage Oil. It's quite similar to Evening Primrose Oil but a bit more potent so this has been helping with PMS & my general moodiness too haha. The vital part of both Evening Primose Oil & Starflower Oil is another fatty acid known as Gamma Linolenic Acid. GLA is essential for the production of certain hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. This stuff is brilliant if you have any hormonal imbalances and I generally feel a lot happier since I started to take these. Infact every woman should take these. I take two 1000mg capsules per day which provides 380mg GLA.

Milk Thistle
This is something I've taken for years because it helps to detoxify your liver, perfect for binge drinking! I rarely had hangovers at university because of these pills. They also help to balance hormones. A lot of people with acne tend to have a sluggish liver so these can really help. I think Holland & Barrett stopped making this for a while, not sure if they've brought it back now but I had to buy my bottle from Health Rack instead. These pills have 125mg Milk Thistle Extract and I take three of these per day.

Zinc + Copper
Zinc supplements were something I only ever took when I had a cold because they can boost your immune system & promote healing but they are brilliant for the skin too. Skincare products containing Zinc are great for blemishes, hence why things like La Roche-Posay Serozinc or even Sudocrem can sort out spots. Zinc heals acne by carrying Vitamin A to your skin and by regulating your body’s hormonal balance. It also helps with skin renewal. The pills I bought come with Copper because it's very important to get the balance of these two minerals right in your body. Taken on it's own Zinc actually depletes the Copper in your body which can lead to things like depression & anxiety. These only have 15mg Zinc per tablet so I take two of them each day. Sometimes you have to ignore the instructions to get the right amount in your system. Zinc can become harmful at 100mg per day but as long as you stay under that you'll be fine. I find 30mg works well for me.

Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed Oil is a another great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It also provides Omega 6 & 9 but those aren't as good for acne. These capsules are full of fibre and have been known to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke & diabetes. I take one 1000mg capsule per day. If you're vegan, vegetarian or don't want to eat fish even in capsule form then these are a nice alternative to the Cod Liver Oil & Omega 3 Fish Oil.

I hope this is helpful to some people because my skin has improved so much since I started taking all of these religiously. I apologise if this post is a bit science heavy but I've tried to explain it all simply with my very limited scientific knowledge! I take all my supplements just after breakfast so it's become part of my daily routine. I know it seems like a lot of effort but I'm just used to it now. Supplements can get very pricey so you don't need to buy everything but the must-have items here are the Omega 3 Fish Oil, Starflower Oil & Zinc + Copper. Cheaper supplement suppliers like Health Rack are a great choice or the Holland & Barrett penny sale really helps with saving money. Obviously I'm not a nutritionist or anything but everything I take came from recommendations by health professionals & they've worked really well for me.

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Monday 26 August 2013

Birthday Haul

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens

Wacom Bamboo Fun Medium Pen & Touch Tablet

Pink Roses & British Antirrhinums

NEOM Real Luxury Organic Reed Diffuser / Orla Kiely Fig Tree Reed Diffuser

Necklaces from Kukee

Rings from River Island & Topshop

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge / Illamasqua Hydra Veil

I thought I'd show you some of the things I got for my birthday because I absolutely love everything I received & bought for myself. I've been lusting after the Canon 40mm lens ever since I got my 650D last year. It features the STM technology which means it doesn't make a noise when focusing during video recording. It takes some gorgeous pictures & I love how diddy it is. It's known as the 'pancake' lens and the size is a lot more manageable than my 18-135mm STM lens. I think I even prefer it to the 50mm one. I also got a new Wacom graphics tablet. I actually got a Wacom Graphire 2 for my 14th birthday but after 11 years it was definitely time for an upgrade! The medium one is a great size as the active area is bigger and it's the same width as my MacbookPro. It's great for editing in Photoshop and drawing in Illustrator. Graphics tablets are so useful for annotating photos too. My mum sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers from Waitrose and some new reed diffusers. The Orla Kiely one smells amazingly sweet.

I'd been wanting some new jewellery bits so I ordered some necklaces from Kukee and got some rings from River Island & Topshop. I'm still obsessed with midi rings and I'd been looking for those crossover River Island rings for months. For some reason it feels really rewarding when you finally track things down haha. I picked up the Emerge Cream Pigment from the Illamasqua counter in Selfridges when I went to Manchester. Bright orange isn't really a shade you'd think would work on the face but it makes for a wonderful under eye corrector. It's kinda like the Bobbi Brown Corrector, not sure which I prefer yet but it works really well. I was so happy to finally get my hands on a pot of Hydra Veil too! This was used on my skin before the Skin Base Foundation when I had my makeover and it's pretty amazing. Foundation sits so nicely on top of it as it just makes everything look smooth & fresh.

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Monday 19 August 2013

Twenty Five

Dress - Poppy Lux* / Hat - Topshop / Boots - Topshop / Necklace - Kukee
Bracelets - Black Tied & Ginger Pickle* / Ring - Regal Rose

I can't believe it's been a whole two months since I last did an outfit post! My self esteem has taken a bit of a nosedive recently so I've not really felt up to it. I haven't been buying many clothes either. I went a bit mad in the Trafford Centre the other day though so I'm sure I'll posting about those soon. Anyway another thing I can't believe is that I am now 25 years old! It was my birthday on Friday and I spent it in Manchester with Chloe. First of all we went to the Sea Life Centre because she loves looking at the fish in Pets At Home haha. It was pretty cool, we got to stroke crabs and there was this humongous turtle. Then we spent the rest of the day shopping in the Trafford Centre. I bought some stuff from Topshop, Zara & River Island before having a makeover at the Illamasqua counter. It's definitely worth joining some email mailing lists because I managed to get birthday vouchers for a free smoothie at Boost and a free meal at Barburrito. Victoria's Secret finally opened too so I was really excited to take a look. Even though it was my birthday their stuff was just too expensive to treat myself to. 3 pairs of pants for £27, really? Think I'll just have to pop some of their stuff on my Christmas wishlist instead. Then we met up with some friends and went to Yo! Sushi for my birthday dinner. The strawberry cheesecake mochi were so good!

So this is what I wore for our day out. I decided to wear this lovely lace dress from Poppy Lux. I'm obsessed with their clothes and everything is so affordable. This dress has now been reduced to just £29 so it's a complete bargain for something so pretty. I love the sweetheart bust and studded shoulders. It's incredibly flattering too & excels at hiding a food baby. Poppy Lux even put me on their homepage the other day which is totally awesome! I just paired it with my trusty pork pie hat and chelsea boots from Topshop. I got this necklace from Kukee the other day. I think it's pretty cute & it was only £2. I've been buying lots of new jewellery lately so I'll show you those with the rest of the stuff I got for my birthday. Thanks for all the lovely messages on Twitter, always nice to know people care ;)

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Sunday 18 August 2013

Elemental Herbology Cell Food

Elemental Herbology Cell Food* - £45

I've heard a lot of praise recently for many of Elemental Herbology's products so I was really excited to finally try something out for myself. Elemental Herbology produce powerful yet all natural products that are free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances or artificial colours. Sounds like a recipe for success to me! Cell Food is radiance boosting serum which is ideal for anyone with dull or dehydrated skin. It is one of their best selling products and with very good reason. They've packed fourteen active ingredients & six anti-oxidants into this cute little bottle and the highly potent formula of this serum really makes a difference to my complexion.

The serum itself appears as a thick white liquid and is dispensed using a pipette. I normally use five drops placed on my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin before massaging it in. Once applied it feels very light and soothing on the skin. It sinks in very quickly and the benefits are soon noticeable. My skin instantly looks a bit brighter and perkier. One of my favourite things about it is the scent. It's absolutely gorgeous! Very herby & slightly citrusy, it even smells like it's gonna do your skin some good. You're supposed to use it twice a day to see maximum results - before your facial moisturiser in the morning and after cleansing in the evening. During the day I've been using it under my regular moisturiser and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and smooth before slapping on my makeup. One of my favourite night time routines involves some Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and a good blob of Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins. They make for quite a rich and luxurious combo so when I first tried using Cell Food at night it seemed a little odd to go for something so light instead. To my surprise my skin hasn't missed the use of a night cream as this serum is hydrating enough on it's own. Elemental Herbology advocate letting your skin breathe at night and I must admit it does feel good to omit my regular creams, chemical exfoliants and oils. I still love them all but sometimes it's nice to go for something a bit simpler.

I really like the texture of this because it's adaptable to your skin's needs during both night and day. So even though it seems quite pricey you can save money on other serums by using it twice a day. Sometimes my skin ends up looking a bit shiny when I use serums but this gives more of a velvety satin finish to the skin. This makes it perfect for use under makeup. It gives your skin a fresh & hydrated feel without any greasiness. I started noticing a difference pretty much after the first day of using it. This stuff really makes my face glow and look more even toned. My skin tends to look quite sallow when I wake up but this has added some much needed radiance to my complexion and makes me look like I've had a good sleep for once. My face feels plumper too. While I don't think I'll ever be parted from Advanced Night Repair I really rate this for it's radiance boosting properties. You'll probably wanna give Cell Food a go if brighter, softer, calmer skin is something you crave. I think I'll be investing in some more Elemental Herbology products very soon! The Facial Detox mask sounds just lovely.

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Wednesday 14 August 2013

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash* - £23.20

There's a new cleanser love in my life and it comes from a brand that I've actually never tried before. Elemis are extremely well known for their spa treatments & products but with such a vast range of stuff available, I never really knew where to start. I've heard so much about their Papaya Enzyme Peel & Lavender/Apricot toners but instead I decided to go for their Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash.

This milky and lightly foaming cleanser is a joy to use. It feels very gentle on the skin and has a nice light floral scent - the kind of thing you would expect at a spa. It is part of Elemis' Anti-Ageing range but the formula has benefits for anyone with acne, scarring, blocked pores, uneven texture or dry patches. Plus it is suitable for all skin types. This is slightly different to your average cleanser though. As the name suggests it contains enzymes that buff away dead skin cells and stimulate your skin's natural cell renewal cycle. This leaves your complexion looking clear & radiant. It is completely non-abrasive and utilises lactic acid found in fruit enzymes which is a lot gentler than glycolic or salicylic acid. As this is effectively a chemically exfoliating cleanser it is very important to follow it up with a facial SPF product. I've been using two pumps of this, twice a day after washing off my Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil and then clearing it off with a muslin cloth or flannel. It makes my skin feel really clean, smooth and soft. Some other chemically exfoliating cleansers I've tried really strip the skin and leave it feeling dry & tight. This just sloughs off those dead skin cells without any dryness. I really like that it comes with a pump as it makes it so much easier to get out the right amount of product every time. This 200ml bottle is gonna last a long time as I've barely made a dent in it yet.

I've managed to clear up most of my skin using various chemical exfoliants and facial oils but my chin has been a bit more stubborn lately. All of my closed comedones seem to have migrated to this area and I've had a bit of cystic acne there too. I've also had some random dry flaky patches due to testing out a retinol product. From everything I've read about this cleanser it seemed like it would do my skin a world of good and after using it for a few weeks my chin is looking so much better. Infact my whole face seems brighter, smoother and clearer. This is one of the few products that actually has an effect on those tiny bumps under your skin. It's done a real number on my pores and they're barely visible around my nose. The surface of my skin has been completely refined since I started using this. Isn't it nice when skincare just works?

Elemis are such a popular & well respected brand so I'm not entirely sure why I've never used them until now. This cleanser normally costs £29 so the price put me off a bit but if you look around online you can often find discounts or gifts with purchase along the Elemis line. I got mine from Beauty Time Therapies where it's currently only £23.20. If my skin can always look this clear then that's a price I'm now willing to pay! If you want to try a chemical exfoliant but are concerned about using things like Liquid Gold, P50 or the Clarins Brightening Toner then this is a super gentle yet effective way to start. Let me know some of your favourite Elemis products.

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Monday 5 August 2013

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream - £28

I never really got into the whole BB cream craze. As much as I wanted to love them the coverage was always far too low and the shades were far too dark. The one I had most success with was the Dr Jart+ Water Fuse BB Cream. It was pretty nice but let's be real - that stuff was orange. Then along came CC creams. Again I wanted to give them a chance but none of them were light enough. The L'Oreal ones looked downright ugly on my skin. Luckily I decided to try out Clinique's version at their counter and it was love at first sight. CC stands for colour correcting and in my opinion this is why they're superior to BB creams - well this Clinique one is at least. This lightweight base is formulated with special optics that brighten the skin, reduce sallowness and eliminate redness. So even though the product feels very light on the skin and has low coverage, it appears to give higher coverage than it actually does. Plus it boasts SPF 30 UVA/UVB protection so this has easily been my favourite face product this Summer. I've literally not worn anything else for the past few months.

Being part of Clinique's Moisture Surge range, this product really delivers on the hydration front. As it is oil-free, it is suitable for all skin types. It gives my skin such a healthy natural appearance. The colour correcting powers this provides means I only need a bit of concealer & powder under my eyes when I wear it. I have some bad scarring on my chin right now but you can barely see any redness in that area. My nose is usually the first area to show redness as it does begin to break down on my T-Zone after a few hours. Otherwise the staying power is extremely good for something that's not a proper foundation. I was surprised at how well it held up during the recent heatwave. I tried using a primer underneath but my usual thick ones actually made it go patchy. Things like Clarins Instant Smooth & Benefit The Porefessional don't work very well with this. Something lighter like the Laura Mercier Primer or Hourglass Mineral Veil are better choices if you want to extend it's wear. I really don't think a primer is necessary with this product. You might want to powder your T-Zone if you have combination/oily skin though.

One of the best things about the Clinique CC Cream is the range of shades available. All my fellow pale faced girls out there will know that pretty much every BB & CC cream is too dark for them. One shade definitely doesn't fit all when it comes to base products. Clinique's offering comes in nine different shades and 'Very Light' is one of the best skin colour matches I've ever found. It's just perfect for me. My favourite way to apply it is with a BeautyBlender but it's just as easy to blend in with your fingers. If you like a light base or need something easy to take on holiday with you I'd wholeheartedly recommend trying this out. As someone who used to only ever smother her face in Estee Lauder Double Wear I never thought I'd enjoy wearing something this lightweight. I'm a complete convert from full coverage to colour correction & my skin is definitely thanking me for it.

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Thursday 1 August 2013

July Favourites

L'Oreal EverRiche Perfect Elixir Masque Spray
Whenever I go to the hairdressers I always get a Kerastase spray treatment mask done because it makes my hair feel amazing post-bleaching. It costs me £10 a time but it's so worth the money. I've always wished I could buy them for home use but unfortunately I can't seem to find them anywhere in the UK. Over here they're sold exclusively as in-salon treatments but if you're in America you can get them quite easily from Amazon. Kerastase are actually a L'Oreal brand and I think that this spray mask in their new EverRiche range is a pretty good dupe for those expensive little vials of hair magic. You simply spray this liberally all over your hair after shampoo & conditioner (after shampoo if you have fine hair) and then rinse it out a few minutes later. This stuff makes my hair feel like silk and my hairbrush glides through my hair afterwards. This product is designed for people with dry or very dry hair so it's perfect for me. It doesn't make my hair feel greasy at all, just incredibly well conditioned. I really like the whole EverRiche range but this is definitely the star product.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc
This Caroline Hirons approved toner is incredibly hard to find in the UK. Currently La Roche-Posay only sell it in France. I was desperate to try it out so I ordered some off a French website only for my order to be cancelled a few days later, boo! Luckily a few eBay sellers have caught onto the hype and have started importing them, much like they did with Bioderma a couple of years ago. I ordered two bottles for £25 including postage which is a little more than I would've paid to order them from France but French customs are notoriously dodgy so I'm happy to pay a little extra to order them from UK sellers. This stuff is really fantastic. It's basically a zinc sulphate solution in an aerosol can. It works as a toner for oily skin, on razor burn, on nappy rash - so it's great for soothing loads of different skin irritations. I use it as a hydrating toner either on it's own or after an exfoliating toner. It feels really moisturising for a toner and has been a lifesaver during the recent heatwave. It has reduced the redness in my face and helps to calm blemishes. If you're not planning on visiting France anytime soon, then I suggest you order one of these off eBay ASAP!

Vaseline Cocoa Radiant Spray & Go Body Moisturiser
I think I've moaned on here about how lazy I am with moisturising my body quite a few times now. As someone who is prone to eczema I really should do it more so when I saw this in Boots it instantly caught my attention. This product is a spray can moisturiser (been loving my sprays this month!) which makes the onerous task of moisturising a complete doddle. This moisturiser is instantly hydrating and penetrates deeply into the skin. It makes my skin feel amazingly silky & soft. It is quick to absorb so there's no waiting around to get dressed afterwards. This is a Summer essential for perfect pins. As it's in a can it feels very cooling so it's great for hot, tired legs. There are two other scents available but I couldn't resist the chocolateyness of this one.

Artdeco Eyeshadow Base
I received this in the July BeautecoBox and have used it every day since I got it. This is the best eye primer I've ever tried. It keeps my eyeshadow on all day long with no creasing whatsoever. Eyeshadow and pigments seem to blend better over this too. It contains Vitamin E so it's a good choice if you have sensitive eyes or eczema. It is also formulated with Bisabolol which helps to neutralise redness. The pot it comes in seems quite small but I've barely made a dent in mine. I like the packaging too as I prefer to apply my eye base using a brush.

Crabtree & Evelyn Lily Hand Therapy
My friend got me this as a present and I absolutely love it. The scent is the most gorgeous thing with extracts of lily of the valley, peony, ylang ylang, magnolia and elderflower. It's made from shea butter & macadamia oil and it leaves my hands feeling super silky soft. It is formulated without any nasties and contains myrrh extract to condition nails & cuticles. Crabtree & Evelyn make the most amazing hand creams & scrubs. I was obsessed with their Gardeners Hand Scrub a few years ago. I keep this in my handbag so I can have it with me all the time, lovely stuff!

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