Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Perfectly Clear - The Perfect Guide To Clear Skin by Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Phillippa Lowe

Perfectly Clear - The Perfect Guide To Clear Skin by Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Phillippa Lowe

I have such a weakness for beauty books. Whether we're talking about makeup how-to manuals, coffee table worthy editorial style reads or beauty bibles, my inner bookworm can't get enough. A recent edition to my library is Perfectly Clear - The Perfect Guide To Clear Skin by Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Phillippa Lowe*. The father and daughter author duo are highly sought after and respected dermatologists in their own rights, so its only fitting that they would put together ac acne bible such as this.

Perfectly Clear - The Perfect Guide To Clear Skin is an incredibly informative yet easy to digest read on everything acne related - from the different grades of acne (with photos), to all the different triggers and how to treat and overcome them. As someone with acne, this is a great find as the book really covers everything you would want to know all in once place. It's come a little late in my acne journey (well I'm hoping so anyway!), but if you suffer from acne and are looking for information and advice, this book is an excellent resource. In fact, I haven't seen any other books like this before, so it's great that it comes from such experienced dermatologists like Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Phillippa Lowe.

It's easy to read and packed full of tips to increase the overall well being of your skin and to treat your skin both from the inside out with diet, and also covers plenty of information on the different types of beauty products and medical treatments that are effective in reducing and preventing the different types of acne. I was really interested to read that women who use oral contraceptives for many years often get adult onset acne due to the build up of hormones. This struck a chord with me as perhaps this is why I now have acne. Who knows?

One of the chapters goes into detail about other skin conditions which imitate and are quite often perceived as acne when in fact they're not. This is really interesting as the treatment is quite different, and incorrectly treating another skin condition as if it were acne could potentially make it a lot worse. There's also a really helpful section on factors that can make acne worse, and also how stress can be a major trigger and how to limit it.

If you have acne or even a slight interest in looking after your skin and protecting it from breakouts, Perfectly Clear - The Perfect Guide To Clear Skin by Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Phillippa Lowe should be on your reading list.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Spring Flats Edit

spring shoe edit

Although I do tend to wear boots most of the time, in the spring and summer I like to mix things up with some comfy flats. My style is pretty safe with jeans and oversized shirts, so a pair of flats is a simple yet chic addition to my outfits. I've added a couple of pairs to my wardrobe in recent weeks so I thought I'd share them with you guys.

I lusted over these Mango faux croc loafers for months before missing out on them in store. So it was then off to eBay and Depop for mass stalking before I grabbed these cuties from Helen's blog sale. I tend to reserve these for work, but they look so good teamed with black jeans and a smart blazer. They're pretty comfy for pointy shoes (which usually kill my toes!), so I'm looking forward to cracking these out more in the coming months.

Now onto the first of my newest purchases, and something that I've lusted over for many, many years now. It really was a matter of time before I caved and bought the Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats, but my word, they were worth every penny! The velvet on the outside is so soft and dreamy and I love the gold heel detail. They're so lovely to wear and I get so many compliments on them. I'm so scared of ruining them though so I'm saving them more for the weekend. They literally go with everything -I'm obsessed!

Lastly, I've not worn these yet but I picked up the Faith Atomic Black Ghillie Flat Shoes from ASOS. I'm pretty obsessed with ASOS at the moment, which is odd as I hardly ever shop from there (all change now!). I always find things look great on the models and when I try them on they're unrecognisable. That wasn't the case for these gorgeous flats and I'm going to get so much wear out of these, I can tell already. I'd love to get a pair of the Aquazurra Christy flats that these are clearly based on, but after buying the Kitty Flats and another pair of Isabel Marant boots in the same month (I have problems), I thought I'd try out a similar style first. I think there will definitely be a purchase made at some point before the summer....

What are your favourite spring / summer shoe picks?


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Sunday, 24 April 2016

My Roaccutane Diary #1

roaccutane acne skin diary

This post has been a rather long time coming but I really wanted to share my experience on Roaccutane with you guys. I've had acne for around ten years now, which seems quite crazy to me. I've done a few course of antibiotics over the years, with various degrees of success, but once the course was finished the blemishes always came back. When you're in your thirties and beyond, that's a little tough to deal with (if ageing wasn't enough!).

My breakouts tend to build up over the course of a few weeks, consisting of painful under the skin nasties plus your usual whiteheads (what a treat!), which then heal up and give me a month or so off until it starts all over again. My last major breakout was a few months ago, and after a few nights of being woken up in pain as I slept on the side of my face, I went to my GP and asked to be referred to a dermatologist.

I knew that I wanted to go on Roaccutane rather than try more treatments as my skin is pretty sensitive. After reading both Kate and Helen's accounts of their experiences on the drug, I knew this was the way forward. I didn't actually have any active breakouts when I had my first appointment, but the marks left behind certainly told my skin story. My derm agreed that Roaccutane was a viable route for me to take, considering the length of time that acne has plagued my skin. 

Roaccutane, or Isotretinoin to give it it's proper name, is not something to go into likely. Mainly what you hear about it is the long list of harsh side effects, but what outweighs that for me is the success it brings to a lot of acne sufferers. Roaccutane will most certainly cause birth defects if you conceive when under treatment, so for that reason I had to take a pregnancy test before my dermatologist would give me a prescription, and even then it's only a month's worth. Every month I have to go back with a  negative test in order to receive my next prescription. My GP took a blood test when I had my appointment with her so this speeded up the process.

I started off on 40mg of Roaccutane a day, which is calculated on your weight. I had my first dose on 8th March, so I'm almost at the 7th week mark. I didn't see any side effects until probably the fifth of sixth day, and even then it was some slight dryness on my bottom lip and itchy arms and legs. My arms and legs cleared up in a few days, but by then my skin had transformed to seriously sahara-like dryness. If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know that I have dry dehydrated skin anyway, so this was always going to be the worst side effect for me. I've also had some dull headaches here and there which are probably due to the dehydration that the drug causes. Literally every morning the first thing I do is chug a pint of water before whacking on the lip balm! That's then followed by lip balm probably every half an hour or so. I've since become a connoisseur of the lip balm aisle in Boots!

In my second month I'll be honest and say I found the side effects a bit much at times. On their own dry lips or a sore nose (it's mega dry folks!) is pretty do-able and not too bad at all, but when you've got split, bleeding lips, nose bleeds, rashy red hands and flakey skin that you can't moisturise enough all at the same time, it gets a bit crap. But, that said; not once have I thought I can't go on with my treatment. I've wanted clear skin for so long that I'm sticking with it. Things have calmed down for the last week so I'm much happier!

Onto the skin! So the first thing I probably noticed about my skin after a week was that it was a bit more red and irritated than usual, so exfoliating has been a no-no for sure. I'll talk in more detail about my current skin care routine in another post I think, but I've just made sure that I load up the layers and moisturising balms. Up until week six I didn't have a single spot which was amazing, but then I've had a few around my mouth for the last few days. Most people on Roaccutane seem to have breakouts early on before their skin heals, but I've not really had that. As a result my dermatologist has kept my dose as it is for the second month rather than increasing it. He was really happy with my progress so far but hasn't given me a timescale for my treatment. The minimum is four months, but some people can stay on it for six to twelve months. I'm hopeful my treatment won't be as long as that though.

I'm going for my next appointment in a couple of weeks so I'll keep you posted on how I get on. I've been sent a few messages on Twitter about my treatment and I'm really happy to help others if I can, so if you've got any acne or Roaccutane related questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or Tweet/email me.


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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Instant Effects - 'Cos we haven't got all day

Instant Effects

With hectic lifestyles and as beauty lovers we find ourselves with less and less time to spare on getting ready in the morning, but we still have the same beauty needs and desires. For me it's to have skin that radiates health and more sleep. Now, try as I might, it's only really make up or more drastic options that can fulfil this and that all takes time. And pain. I, for one, am a wimp so instead I have been putting the new Instant Effects* range through it's paces to see if it offered the quick fix I'm all but lusting over.

Instant Effects is a trio of target beauty solutions, aimed at targeting three specific areas of the face and enhancing them in as little as two minutes. Not only does the range offer extra time in bed of a morning, but with continued use it aims to yield even greater results.

Instant Effects

The range consists of Instant Eye Lift* for reduced under eye puffiness, dark circles and lines, Instant Lip Plumper* for a non-stingy plumped pout, and Instant Lash Volumiser* for voluminous, thicker eye lashes. Instant Lip Plumper and Instant Lash Volumiser get to work in two minutes, whereas Instant Eye Lift takes around 15 minutes to get to work. All three are clear textures that are super quick and easy to apply - it would kind defeat the object if it took too long after all...

As you can see from the before photo below on the left, compared to the after photo on the right, the results from the Instant Effects range are quite subtle, but they're certainly evident. Instant Lip Plumper I found to be a lovely light gel which hydrated my lips long after application, and close up you can definitely see a difference. As mentioned, it doesn't have that tingly sensation a lot of similar products seem to have. I've been really enjoying using this as it does enhance my lips and keeps them comfortable - exactly what I need now they are so dry!

Instant Effects

For me, Instant Lash had the least amount of impact. I do have naturally quite long and defined lashes, which is probably the one thing that I'm thankful for! On me this looked like a clear mascara, but its definitely visible, so I think on those that have short, straight lashes this could be an absolute winner.

The pick of the bunch in my eyes (pun fully intended), is Instant Eye Lift. This is an area that I really suffer with. I have genetically puffy eyes (thanks folks), and fine lines. Instant Eye Lift is essentially a serum so it provides a heavy dose of hydration and has definitely brought down my puffiness. It works by stimulating collagen production and encouraging cell regeneration. I've not been using this long but it's tucked away in my make-up back for afternoon touch-ups.

I think the Instant Effects range is well worth a try if you're after a quick yet subtle fix. I'm going to keep using these to see what further results the range brings so will keep you guys posted.

Do you think you'll be giving this a go?


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