Additions to the Skincare Cabinet | SkinCeuticals

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No matter my attempts at streamlining my skincare cabinet, I always find it full to the point that products become weapons – a bottle of Gunjeoir Neroli Face Elixir dropping on your head upon opening the cabinet is not fun! Each and every product in my cabinet has a status; some are an absolute daily necessity, others go untouched for months and there are some that have just joined the skincare cabinet family and are destined to be part of the former, and seeing as I’m of the philosophy that you can never have too many serums (I’m all about layering them up), these three superb serums from the doyens of skincare SkinCeuticals are a welcome addition.

First up we have my first dip into the sea of antioxidant/vitamin C serums – Serum 10*. With just 0.2% ferulic acid and 10% l-ascorbic acid, it’s a serum suitable for you sensitive skinned ladies out there and for those like me who are only just getting into antioxidant serums and want to gradually move onto stronger concentrations. Serum 10 is a great product to enlist in the fight against the impact of environmental aggressors such as pollution, UV rays, smog and smoke on your skin; perfect for those in big cities like London. It’s been almost two months since I’ve added Serum 10 into my skincare routine, and my skin has been significantly brighter which a few friends have picked up on. I’ve also noticed that the general tone of my skin is evening out which is amazing news because breakouts in the past have stamped their mark, and left my skin littered with hyperpigmentation.

Who do you know with breakout prone, sometimes oily and partially dry skin? It’s an affliction to to leave you eternally confused. Looking for something to keep my skin moisturised but also appeases the other factions of my skin is tricky, and apart from Olay’s Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir, the Retexturing Activatoris the only other product that can keep my skin truly moisturised without breaking me out. SkinCeuticals claim that using the Retexturing Activator is akin to a daily 20% glycolic acid treatment, and it’s a rather big claim for two reasons – firstly, glycolic acid is one of the finest, unrivalled chemical exfoliants in the market, and secondly my skin would never be able to tolerate glycolic acid of 20% strength on a daily basis without the harsh effects so my expectations of the Retexturing Activator were quite high when I first tried it. As usual SkinCeuticals doesn’t disappoint and within the first week of using the serum my skin was soft, supple, hydrated and I needed very little make-up; I hadn’t felt this good about my skin in an incredibly long time!

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The final SkinCeuticals addition to my cabinet is their new Resveratrol B E, another antixoidant serum but revolutionary in that it’s intended for night-time use and combats internal aggressors unlike Serum 10 which deals with the external free radicals. What’s also revolutionary is that it mostly contains antioxidant ingredient of the moment, resveratrol (which Refinery29 explain pretty well), found usually in grapes and knotweed and is complemented by 0.5% baicalin and 1% vitamin E. Coupled with Serum 10 I have high hopes for my skin, but I’ve only been using this for a few weeks and SkinCeuticals recommend a minimum of 12 weeks to notice a difference in density, elasticity, smoothness and firmness. Stay tuned…

Breaking the Break Out Cycle

If you’ve stuck by and have been reading Muslimah Beauty for long enough, not only do I thank you, but I also apologise as I’m sure you’ve become fully adjusted to my incessant complaining about my breakout prone skin by now! Funnily enough I was blessed with the gift of acne shortly before deciding to start this blog, and it was hardly ever something I experienced in my teens so while my friends were experimenting and blasting their faces with Clearasil, Duac and any other acne clearing product my quest for a ‘cure’ has been a fairly recent phenomenon. But after years of trying just about anything from Harley Street dermatologists to blue light lasers I’ve found that it boils down to two very simple things – great skincare and an even greater diet.

Acne is often a symptom of an underlying problem such as an imbalance of the hormones, and if this problem isn’t nipped in the bud your skin will continue to breakout. It took years for me to accept that dairy and gluten are not my friend and that my skin was better off without. I’d recommend investigating out why exactly your skin is breaking out and treating the problem rather than seeing acne as an isolated issue requiring its own treatment. But in the meantime I guess it’d be worth sharing what has worked for me in treating my own acne, however there’s just one caveat to this post – take into account that most of what I note is subjective and is due to personal experience; what works for me may not necessarily work for you however it doesn’t hurt to consider it either.

Diet

Years ago I read an article debunking myths concerning acne, and one dermatologist claimed that chocolate and other junk foods did not cause acne. I took that for gospel and continued to eat those foods oblivious to the effect they were having on my skin. While I may not hold a PhD in dermatology or nutrition, junk food has a causal relationship with my acne and no dermatologist can tell me otherwise. In fact I recently posed a few questions about the relationship between diet and the skin to renowned naturopathic doctor Dr Nigma Talib and she confirms my suspicions. “I have seen over and over again in my patients that diets rich in sugar and certain carbohydrate type foods (which eventually convert into sugar during digestion) can be a major problem for skin health. Not all carbohydrates are created equally. Carbohydrates that are processed and contain gluten can cause imbalances in your gut bacteria, which can in turn cause inflammation in your body affecting your hormones, which are your body’s messengers. If you continuously consume high amounts of sugars and harmful types of carbohydrates, your body will not be able to sustain the large amounts of inflammation and it will show up on your skin as various levels of congestion such as redness, acne, large pores, black heads and dry and pigmentation patches, not just increased inches to your waistline”. Key food culprits waging war on our skin include sugar infested foods such as cakes, cookies and ice-cream and also refined carbs like pasta and bread as they convert into sugar and essentially have the same effect on your skin as a chocolate bar. “Your skin is a reflection of your diet” Dr Nigma states.

When my skin was at its worst in 2010-11 with severe cystic acne, my diet was just abysmal and at the time I was adjusting to university life so takeaway pizzas, burgers, crisps and copious amounts of cheesecake were all I consumed. I’ve since made a conscious effort to rid my diet of refined sugars for the past 6 months, and my skin has completely transformed. Apart from the occasional indulgence (I am human after all!) gone is the junk and in are green smoothies chock-full of kale, blueberries, spinach, celery and spirulina, salmon, cottage cheese, lentils and nuts. “Your body has an innate ability to heal itself given the right diet” says Dr Nigma“The foods our bodies require for glowing skin requires a combination of anti inflammatory foods rich in vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. Anti-inflammatory foods not only helps keep your skin looking flawless, but help support insulin and blood sugar levels in your body”. Apart from the previously mentioned foods, some foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and omega fatty acids include turmeric, chia seeds, quinoa, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts and cruciferous vegetables such as brocolli, cauliflower and bok choy.

Skincare

Contrary to how many people approach treating acne, I personally find that nothing is more effective than a gentle approach. That means using nourishing products that’ll help to calm my skin such as Elemental Herbology’s Purify & Smooth Cleanser, the Gunjeoir Neroli Face Elixir*, Avène Thermal Water Spray*, Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser* and the Estèe Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum*. These are products I will generally use irrespective of my skin breaking out but when the spots appear there are products I add into my skincare routine specifically for treating the breakouts.

For fear of waffling on for hours I’ll merely list the acne treatments I use, but there’s something these products tend to have in common – their ingredients. Look for products loaded with zinc, aloe vera, glycolic and salicylic acid, witch hazel, sulfur, lavender, willow-bark, tea tree and benzoyl peroxide although I’d wouldn’t haphazardly slap on liberal amounts of BP as it tends to dry the skin out.

20140703-195415-71655338.jpg Origins Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads* and Blemish Treatment Gel*

Mario Badescu Drying Cream and Buffering Lotion

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel*

Simple Rapid Action Spot Zapper*

Aknicare SR Skin Roller*

Other products that haven’t been pictured but deserve equal adulation are the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Serum, Jan Marini Bioglycolic Cleanser, Bioderma Sébium AKN, La Roche-Posay Efflaclar Duo [+]* and Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

Morning Masks

When exams unfortunately make free time a luxury, the usual Sunday pampering sessions are a thing of the past forcing one to be more creative with time. Manicures on the bus, acquiring the impressive skill of applying liquid eyeliner in a cab mid bumpy ride without error and skincare multi-tasking… we’ve all been there. But with the absence of the face masks which feature heavily in my Sunday pampering sessions beginning to show on my face, that’s where another time creative stroke of genius came in – face masks in the morning. Now, it’s not quite as indulgent as laying back on the sofa all day while the mask works its magic, it’s a lot more frantic than that with it involving a quick slap of whichever mask you have lying around and continuing with your morning tasks whether that’s ironing your outfit, jumping into the shower or tucking into breakfast.

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My face mask of choice will greatly depend on how exactly my skin’s looking upon waking up in the morning.If the mirror greets me with dull looking skin there’s always the SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque* with its blend of kaolin, bentonite and hydroxy acids to get my skin into smooth, glowing shape especially before a big event. But with London’s recent weather not only confusing my decision to carry an umbrella or not whenever I leave my house, but my skin too, Liz Earle’s Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask* is just what your skin needs when it’s parched and in dire need of a shot of intense hydration. Considering it’s loaded with shea butter, something less thick may be of benefit if your skin’s particularly dry but also quite prone to breaking out, and that’s where Sampar’s So Much to Dew Midnight Mask* comes to the rescue. From a cult brand championed by Parisiennes across the channel, this mask may be intended to do its thing overnight while you sleep but in just one hour it’ll leave your skin instantly plump and supple making makeup application a lot easier.

Masks needn’t be limited to your face however; when sleep after a late night leaves you looking anything but refreshed, the Jamela Skincare 24k Gold Under Eye Masks* work wonders thanks to a formula of gold which is known for its rejuvenating properties, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and a host of antioxidants that come together to instantly brighten, plump up and smooth out the under eye area after roughly 15-30 minutes of popping on the pads – a miracle just before applying concealer.

Detoxing The Skincare Cabinet

A recent Instagram photo made me realise just how many of you ladies treasure your beauty cabinets, but it also made me come to terms with the fact that mine is a hot mess of facial oils, AHA’s, cleansers, spritzes, sprays and serums. My skincare switches on a daily basis depending on how my skin is on a particular day. So if I feel a breakout on its way I’ll bring out the clay based masks and something with glycolic or salicylic acid, but if my skin’s particularly parched then it’s nothing a good facial oil won’t sort out.

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The beauty cabinet in question

My approach to skincare has fared well for me, but after a recent breakout brought on by indulging in a bowl of mac and cheese (quite depressing when it’s your favourite) I needed something to calm my skin down rather than blasting it with every harsh and drying acne product under the sun in an attempt to get my skin to behave. I had a large host of products to choose from, but I stuck with a select few and my skin calmed down in time. Realising that regardless of my hoarding ways, I only need a few things to get me by so I bring you the contents of a more streamlined skincare cabinet:

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Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel* – Where do I even begin? The smell? Like roses. Ingredients? Pumpkin enzyme, vitamins A, B2, C and E as well as starflower oil rich in Omega 6. Texture? Ignore the word ‘gel’ in Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel as it has more of a balmy texture but without the oil and grease of a cleansing balm. Something else that makes it different to a balm is that it emulsifies upon contact with water which might be great news for your washing machine. I can’t be the only one that’s had enough of washing muslin cloths all the time, right?

Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser* – Foaming cleansers only irritate my skin further, but this olive oil based cleanser free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and synthetic dyes is perfect for sensitive skin. Gentle cleansers hardly do a good job of cleansing but it passes the mascara removal test so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads* – When you’re breaking out the first thing you should be keeping clear of are face scrubs, but what do you do when exfoliating works wonders for your skin? Glycolic acid. Gentle yet effective, the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads have been a love of mine for quite some time. A quick wipe after cleansing in the evening and and you wake up to breakouts significantly calmer and brighter, smoother skin.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion* – You couldn’t get me to commit to an eye cream until I recently discovered the Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion earlier this year. Although I feel it’s better for someone a little older, considering my terrible sleeping pattern this eye serum works wonders with it keeping the under-eye area moisturised and puffiness free. Heavy on the pocket but the tiny bottle has lasted me since May and there’s no end in sight.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II* – An improvement on Estée Lauder‘s previous ANR serum, this not only repairs the skin but it purifies and really soothes. Still testing this out as it’s a new addition to the cabinet so I’ll keep you updated in time.

Vichy Idealia Life Serum* – Another serum here and this offering from Vichy is enriched with LR 2412 and LHA. New beauty jargon aside, the former is a skin repairing molecule derived from the jasmine plant while the latter comes from salicylic acid which is probably why my skin always clears up when I use it.

Essence of Morocco Facial Argan Oil* – I’ve previously written about the Essence of Morocco Facial Argan Oil so I’ll be keeping this short, but it’s the one thing that’s made the most significant difference. Rather odd that a facial oil can work so well at soothing acne prone skin, but it does.

Estée Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50* – You’ve probably gathered just how into Estée Lauder I am by now. However the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads call for SPF as it may increase photosensitivity. The dilemma with SPF is that it can cause the skin to breakout, but the DayWear and my skin get along fine.

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