Using acids…responsibly ;-)

If you asked me what’s the secret to soft, radiant and blemish free skin, I would never feed you some tired line about drinking more water. Sorry Jennifer Aniston, it doesn’t work. The secret ladies and gentlemen is acids, alpha and beta hydroxy acids to be more precise.

At their most basic level, these products loosen the bonds that hold dead surface skin cells together. The skin cells shed off imperceptibly, and reveal newer ones beneath, which are less damaged by environmental factors like sunlight and pollution. Over time, it diminishes lots of little things that make a big difference: dullness, congested pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a cleanser, toner or exfoliator that launched recently, which doesn’t contain some form of acid, whether its glycolic , salicylic or lactic. Look out for these acids in moisturisers and serums too.

For a lot of people who’ve dabbled in acids, there is a general consensus that acids are the key to good skin and their goal is to work their way up to higher strengths to continually see improvements. 

The problem with this approach is that your skin continually improves but plateaus at a certain percentage and will only regress if you introduce higher strength acids. Underneath the surface, your skin will be incredibly inflamed and bumpy. You can’t feel the irritation nor see it, until you look at your skin under direct sunlight. 

Would you believe that acids are now being vilified for causing irritation? It’s clear that the resultant irritation that comes from using acids is due to human error, you need not join the non-acid exfoliation movement if you follow the guidelines below.

 One acid step in your routine

As you now know acids could be in anything, check the ingredients list to eliminate the possibility of layering acid on top of acid unintentionally. Toning is the step in which most people use an acid product,hence the term acid toning

Switch things up so your skin doesn’t build tolerance.

Every once in a while use a different acid so that your skin doesn’t build tolerance to any one of them. You should ofcourse test for reactions before applying product all over your face.

Leave higher percentages for the doctors office

Concentrations of upto 15% glycolic or 5% salicylic are best administered by specialists. Personally I’d never use such high concentrations on my face, perhaps on my body and even then I’d be cautious not to over-exfoliate.

Buffer the drying effect of acids with a moisturiser

Some acid products can be quite drying and this causes irritation. Following your acid product with a moisturiser should solve that problem.

Consider products like NAAP

Even after following the above guidelines, some people’s skin might still be too sensitive to handle acids. Never fear, that’s the reason NIOD has formulated the Non-Acid Acid Precursor.

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How to oil cleanse

It’s been a few years since the oil cleansing method craze first took off. I was going through my archives when I realised I’ve never written a cheat sheet on how to oil cleanse. And because the internet is full of oil cleansing horror stories, here are some guidelines you can rely on when dealing with various types of oil cleansers.

Emulsifying Balm/oil Cleansers

It’s hard to go wrong with these, Clinique has aptly named their range ‘Take the day off’. 

Basically what they do is dissolve the dirt, oil and makeup on your face then rinse clean with water.You’ll find the emulsifying feature pretty handy, especially on nights when you just want to take off your makeup and roll into bed.

 These are excellent as makeup removers but can also be used for your second cleanse if you don’t have a skin cleanser.

Non emulsifying oil/balm cleansers

Like dissolves like, so any oil that you safely apply on your skin can also be used as an oil cleanser. It will bind to dirt just like an emulsifying cleanser would, but taking it off is rather tedious because it doesn’t turn milky on contact with water.

You would be wrong to think every store bought oil cleanser is the emulsifying type. There are many non-emulsifying types and they don’t come cheap either, a total rip off if you ask me.

On the subject of taking off these oil cleansers, most people will ask you to steam your face then wipe clean with a hot face flannel. Not only do you risk broken capillaries doing this, but on swiping your face with a cotton ball and some toner, you’ll realise that your face is far from clean. 

Everything comes off with something, so don’t give up on your oil cleanser, simply use a foaming facial wash to take it off. For good measure use a face flannel to distribute the product all over your face then rinse clean.

Oil Cleansing on the cheap

If I haven’t made it obvious already, you can make your own oil cleanser. There are many recipes out there, just be careful when dealing with essential oils, coconut oil and castor oil. 

Personally I use almond oil and two or three drops of my Dr Organic face serum. As with other non-emulsifying cleansers, it’s no match for waterproof mascara, hence I only use it on a bare face.

In the fight against blemishes, wrinkles or any other skin issues you might be facing, oil cleansing is just but one tool in your arsenal. Don’t neglect other areas of your face care routine.

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How to ruin your skin

I love recommending products and giving people advice on what to do with their skin. Often it helps.

But because of undiscovered (or undisclosed) allergies and sensitivities, my advice doesn’t always work. If I truly wanted to ruin your skin though, this is what I would ask you to do.


1. Use baby wipes to take off makeup

My issue with baby wipes is that they contain mineral oil. That’s the reason they take off makeup so well.

You might have heard already that petrochemicals (like mineral oil) can cause cancer, that’s not the reason I hate mineral oil though. I hate it because it’s difficult to absorb, you put it on your skin and it just sits there waiting to cause breakouts. 

2. Homemade oil cleanser

Oil cleansing with a tincture of oils formulated by you is a bad idea. You can’t mix and match essential oils as you wish, it requires training. Essential oils can be lethal if used the wrong way. 

But since you want to ruin your skin don’t listen to me, make your own oil cleanser. It won’t emulsify with water like store bought cleansers do, that means you’ll have to use a hot face flannel to take it off.

3. Steam with a hot flannel

Steaming skin, especially with abnormally hot steam, can worsen redness and potentially result in broken capillaries that show up as thin, spider-like lines.

Go ahead and use a hot face flannel to take off your homemade oil cleanser.

4. Use SPF moisturizer at night

Never mind that taking off SPF is the sole reason some people double cleanse every night, put on your daytime moisturizer at night. It will only increase your chance of irritation and stinging, especially if you have dry skin with a damaged moisture barrier.

5. Scrub your face

For this you will need an apricot scrub or a clarisonic with a less than gentle attachment brush. Scrub away.

6. Get a back alley facial

A back alley spa is the place where they’ll damage your skin in all the ways you missed before.

They love to scrub skin, if you’re lucky you’ll also get an aggressive acne extraction and a nice soothing massage with an essential oil which hasn’t been adequately diluted.

7. Repeat 

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Minimalist skincare

Have you heard of minimalism? I chanced upon this word while binge watching extreme cheapskates on youtube so I did some research on it.

Minimalism is intentionally trying to live with the things that you need only.

While minimalism isn’t what the people at extreme cheapskates are practising, I still don’t like the sound of it. I’m of the opinion that you should get yourself whatever you want, you are worth it.

I know we can’t always buy what we want for ourselves or our loved ones, but a lack of generosity in people really puts me off. You might not have a lot, but how you spend what little you have is really telling. 

Without further ado, this would be my bare minimum if I had to scale down my current skincare routine.

Big tub of lotion or body butter

I would use this as a moisturiser and to take off makeup. 

I have used this on my face before and it did not cause any break outs (despite having shea butter).

One more reason to buy a big tub is that you might get a freebie like I did. Who doesn’t want free deodorant?

Body wash

One gentle enough to use on my face. I would use it as my second cleanse cleanser.

Face flannel

When second cleansing with my body wash, I would use this to help dislodge dirt from my face.

Exfoliating gel

In the absence of an acid toner, which can be expensive, this would suffice as an exfoliator. 

You might be thinking of getting a scrub instead, but it wouldn’t yield the same results.

This sums up what I would get in terms of skincare. I haven’t neglected to include a sunscreen as part of my routine, I have left it out in favour of mineral makeup which would serve a dual purpose (and is much safer than chemical sunscreen).

If you are at a place in your life where taking austerity measures is necessary rather than optional remember this,

“Despair and hope are yin and yang.  One cannot exist without the other. Hope without despair is hollow and dishonest.”

Just hold on, better days are coming.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Shopping lists

It takes a lot of restraint for me to stick to my shopping list.In an instant I’ll decide to buy a salt scrub instead of a soft brush, an in shower body lotion instead of a regular lotion, two body washes instead of one, and a bunch of other things that aren’t even substitutes for anything on my list.

This year I’m kicking that habit by making shopping lists that remind me why I’m buying a particular thing instead of another. This is my first.

1. Cerave SA body lotion

I don’t know what I’d do without an acid toner for my face. It’s hands down the best way to exfoliate. Sadly, they don’t make enough acid products for people who want to exfoliate their bodies. So I’ll have to make do with this lotion targeted at people with chicken skin (KP).

The main ingredients in this lotion, ammonium lactate and salicylic acid, work together to both soften the skin and exfoliate. 

2. pixi glow tonic

I’ve been wanting an AHA toner for a while now. I don’t think I’ll go wrong with pixi glow tonic. It has such a huge cult following, besides the price is right.

The active ingredient in this is gIycolic acid. I have an oily complexion and salicylic acid works great for me, but a little variety couldn’t hurt.

3. Nivea deodorant stick.

Another product I want is this elusive nivea deodorant stick.

The formula does go on clear, provides good protection, and a clean scent. One downfall of this deodorant is that it contains aluminum. I’m not particularly sensitive to aluminum compounds so I’ll give it a try.

4. Soft brush

Soft bristle brushes are ideal for assisting in sloughing off the outer layer of dead skin cells. When used for dry brushing, they can also improve the appearance of cellulite.

Here’s another fun way to use it.

5 .Snail gel. 

Smearing snail gel all over one’s face sounds like a gross thing to do, well to someone else other than me.

Snail Gel boasts a wide range of anti-aging benefits including softened wrinkles, smoother skin, antioxidant protection and improved hydration. 

Dr organic combines Snail Gel’s unique ingredient Helix Aspersa Muller with a proprietary blend of bioactive, natural and organic extracts. I imagine this helps with the smell, I don’t suppose snail gel smells very nice. 

NB: It says on the package that no snails are harmed in the harvesting of snail slime.

6. St Ives spray lotion

It’s pretty hot out in January (I live in a tropical country), so this would work great as a moisturizer if I had normal skin. Sadly my skin isn’t normal ;( My face might be oily but the rest of me is a dry desert that drinks up several bottles of lotion a month. 

To be honest, this doesn’t moisturize a whole lot.But going forward, I want to use this when in a hurry and for hard to reach places like my back.I could also use it for moisture top ups through out the day.

God forbid I have any trouble finding any of these items, I’ll just buy a bottle of wine, I need it for the vitamins.

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carbonated water facial 

​We spend a lot of time debating about what are the best formulas to put on our faces when it comes to cleansers, masks and serums. However, we do not often think about the type of water we are splashing our faces with. The most you might think about is whether you should use lukewarm water, cold or hot. What about the kind of water? What about switching your tap water for something a little bit more, well, fancy? Say carbonated mineral water.

Carbonated water cleansing has been all the rage in Japan and South Korea for quite some time now.I’ve always hated that fizzy water that often comes in a green bottle, so why not wash my face with it?

But first things first, what do experts say about washing your face with carbonated water?

“Carbonated water has been reported to cause vasodilation (dilated capillaries), which would improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin,”explains dermatologist Dr. Emily M. Wise.“However, there have never been any studies in dermatology literature to validate the specific claims made by this trend.” 

Celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville agrees. “The bubbling sensation of carbonated water can give the perception that the water is acting as micro brushes to help cleanse pores and remove dead skin (because you feel a’tingling’ effect), but that is not the case.”

 Washing my face with carbonated water reminds me of the time I used this beauty formulas face mask.
It billows up like a bubble bath, covering your every pore with a thick layer of grey, soapy suds that seemingly arise from nowhere. It didn’t do much for me but honestly, I only bought it for the bubble action. 

Without further ado, here’s how you wash your face with carbonated water. 

Step 1:
Choose a carbonated water with absolutely no artificial scents or coloring. No lemon, lime or any flavorings, either; you want pure carbonated mineral water.


Step 2:
Fill a large bowl with half regular water and half carbonated water. You want a 1:1 ratio.
Step 3:
Dunk your makeup-free face in the bowl and hold for 10-15 seconds.

I added my own twist by using the water to rinse away my facial cleanser instead of dunking my face in a bowl. I also used the undiluted carbonated water to tone my face. You probably shouldn’t do this if you have sensitive skin. 

Verdict 

The bubbles when  paired with said cleanser actually do a nice job of cleaning out my pores. I performed this facial on myself last night and woke up to glowy skin this morning. 

Would I do this on a regular basis? Washing your face with carbonated water on a daily basis is prohibited. This also has the potential to bring underlying pimples to the fore. I wouldn’t use this when I feel a break out coming on. However, I will keep some carbonated water on hand to use as a toner on days when I want to give my acid toner a break.

 Thanks for stopping by!

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Crazy skincare hacks 

​I love reading about unconventional beauty hacks on the Internet. A lot of them are pretty bogus, but every once in a while a little nugget of genius comes your way making all the bizarre trials you’ve done over the years worth it. Here are some of the ones I’ve found useful.

Body lotion as a cleansing lotion

Body lotion formulation isn’t much different from cleansing lotion. Upon that realisation, I don’t buy cleansing lotion anymore. In fact I’ve had better results taking off makeup with body lotion than with conventional cleansing lotions. I find  body lotions less emollient and less likely to cause breakouts. 

My current favourite body lotion to use as a cleansing lotion is this  Nivea q10. It also works great for its intended purpose. Honestly, I heart this lotion so much I can’t wait to tell you about it in a separate review.

Diaper cream as a sunscreen 

Incase you didn’t  know, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two mechanical barriers against the harmful UVA and UVB rays. And guess what? Diaper cream has zinc oxide as one of it’s main ingredients. You could totally use this as a sunscreen. Especially if like me you prefer physical sunscreen to chemical sunscreen.The only down side is that it won’t rub in like a good sunscreen would. 

Not sure what the terms physical and chemical sunscreen mean? This post I wrote a while back will bring you up to speed. 

Diaper cream as an acne treatment 

Turns out diaper cream has more alternative uses than just protecting your skin from the sun. Zinc oxide’s main beneficial properties relative to the skin include being an antioxidant, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Studies have suggested that zinc may reduce acne-causing bacteria counts, and that it may also reduce sebum and oil production- says an expert.

I’ve had a chance to use it and I can vouch for it. However I wouldn’t recommend this for severe acne. For that maybe you could try supplementing zinc into your diet. It’s been proven that most acne sufferers tend to have a zinc deficiency.

Head and shoulders shampoo  as an acne treatment



Head and Shoulders will work if you have what is called “seborrheic acne-prone skin”. This is a quote from the Eucerin site:

In seborrhoea, an increase in sebum secretion  causes excessive development of the lipophilic portion of the hydrolipid film. Most affected are skin areas with a rich occurrence of sebaceous glands: the face, chest, shoulders and back. Seborrhoea promotes skin conditions such as acne, seborrheic eczema and rosacea, as well as fungal and bacterial infections.

If you do try, make sure you get the Head and Shoulder Classic Clean without the conditioner in it.

Bio oil as an eye makeup remover 

Bio-Oil is a specialist skincare oil which contains the ingredients PurCellin Oil, vitamin A, vitamin E and natural plant oils like lavender and chamomile.

Bio Oil can be used as an eye makeup remover.To remove makeup, place a tiny amount of Bio Oil on a cotton ball. Using the wet cotton ball, use circular motions to wipe away your makeup.

The unique formula in Bio Oil also helps condition the lashes and eyebrows.

Methylated spirit for stretchmarks!

I’ve read so many glossy reviews about how well methylated spirit works for stretchmarks. The trick is to add spirit into your body lotion along with some body oil. I found this woman’s testimonial particularly interetesting, she’s known about this since 1999!

I’ve been using the glycerine and methylated spirit mixture since 1999 and I have minimal stretch marks. When I gain weight (as is the current situation) I use plain castor oil and methylated spirit on the redish/purple new stretch marks, in 6 weeks they are gone.

Thanks for stopping by!
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