Gross ingredients in skincare

Sulphates, parabens, alcohol and petroleum are much talked about and hated in the beauty industry, but did you know about this relatively harmless but gross ingredients in skincare?


Tallow is a hard, fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, which is commonly used to make soap and candle. Rendering fat is also the most common method of making glycerin.


Sperm whales eject an intestinal slurry called ambergris into the ocean, where the substance hardens as it bobs along. Eventually it gets collected along shores.

High-end perfumes from houses such as Chanel and Lanvin take advantage of the ability of ambergris to fix scent to human skin.

It was once thought the ambergris was ejected by mouth. As of now, the argument seems to be weighted toward the back end of the whale.

Snail gel

Snail slime (or its cosmetic name, snail filtrate) is packed with nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein, proteoglycans, and antimicrobial and copper peptides, all of which are commonly used in beauty products and proven to be beneficial for the skin. These elements help to protect the snail’s skin from damage, infection, dryness and UV rays.

Snail slime contains 91-98% water. The slime is filtered multiple times to increase its concentration and ensure its purity. Some snail slime products claim to contain as much as 97% snail secretion filtrate.

Placental lipids

The afterbirth organ that enables a foetus to grow in a pregnant female is a hot commodity. Although some skincare companies opt for sheep or pig placenta instead of human placenta, the prospect of putting placenta on your face is still gross.


Years ago someone had a brilliant idea to create a Sebum Reclamation System that would separate human sebum from soap and water in your shower water. Your sebum or your family’s aggregate sebum would then be collected in a vial then stored in the fridge.

He was working on the premise that people buy lanolin for its similarities to human sebum. If people wanted a product similar to sebum, how much better would they like their own sebum?

I can see the advantages but it’s just a bit too utilitarian, kind of similar to taking a dump in the vegetable patch.

Thanks for stopping by!



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 

Thanks for stopping by!





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.

Thanks for stopping by!


All products mentioned available at and

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. 


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!


What’s in your medicine cabinet?

Many people will never go to the doctor for acne, wrinkles, dry skin
and other similar problems that are considered cosmetic.

The good news is, you can safely use over the counter drugs (OTC) as your first line of defence before you consider going to the doctor. OTC is used in this context to mean medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription, from a healthcare professional.

OTC drugs are selected by a regulatory agency to ensure that their ingredients are safe and effective when used without a physician’s care.

If you suffer from mild acne and/or have wrinkles, today’s featured products may soon find a place in your medicine cabinet.

I do not guarantee that any of these will work for your skin, but if you’re going to dabble in drugstore products, I might as well point you in the right direction.

Benzoyl peroxide.

This medication is used to treat mild to moderate acne and is the current gold standard acne medication. It may be used in combination with other acne treatments. When applied to
the skin, benzoyl peroxide works by reducing the amount of acne causing bacteria and by causing the skin to dry and peel.

There are many benzoyl peroxide products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription.


I always thought 10% benzoyl peroxide was a behind the counter kind of cream, but recently I’ve seen several 10% bp creams on supermarket shelves.


The percentage of benzoyl peroxide ranges from 2.5 to 10 percent. Always start with lowest concentration, and work your way up if  your skin doesn’t respond.

Always protect your skin from the sun while using bp.

Tretinoin is retinoic acid in a pharmaceutical form. One of several retinoids, it is the carboxylic acid form of vitamin A and is also known as all-trans retinoic acid or ATRA.

It is available as a cream or gel common brand names include Aberela, Airol, A-Ret, Atralin, Avita,
Retacnyl, Refissa, Renova, Retin-A, Retino-A, ReTrieve, or Stieva-A.


The most common strengths are 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%.

Tretinoin is most commonly used as a form of acne treatment. It was the first retinoid developed for this type of topical use.Tretinoin is the best studied retinoid in the treatment of photoaging.

It is used by some as a hair loss treatment and is a component of
many commercial products that are advertised as being able to slow skin aging or remove wrinkles.

Topical tretinoin is also used to treat and reduce the appearance of stretch marks by increasing collagen production in the dermis.
Tretinoin topical opens up clogged
pores. The 0.05% strength you can
get over the counter usually only
open smaller cysts.

You can combine tretinoin topical
with benzoyl peroxide and other
skin care products for greater effect, but always consult with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Be sure to use sunscreen when you
are using tretinoin topical because it increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

When using tretinoin topical to treat wrinkles, remember to;

-use sparingly
-use only 2-3 nights a week
-combine with a super hydrating
moisturiser that is appropriate for the sensitive eye area
-always use sunscreen during the day
-avoid other irritating eye creams.

Remember that this information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider.

I have limited this post to acne fighting medication so as not to overwhelm you with a lot of information.

Later on we’ll look at other skin conditions. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Acne vulgaris (or simply acne ) is a long-term skin condition characterized by areas of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, greasy skin ,and possibly scarring.

Genetics is estimated to be the cause of 80% of acne cases. The role of diet as a cause is unclear. Neither cleanliness nor sunlight appear to be involved.

Germs do not cause pimples or acne. Pimples are formed when excess skin oil, called sebum, mixes with dead skin cells and clogs pores.

Once a pore is clogged, bacteria (called P.acnes) that normally live on your skin thrive in the trapped oil and rapidly increase in number. When bacteria multiply in a clogged pore, the pore becomes inflamed. Inflammation causes a pimple to look red and swollen.

You will agree with me that pimples don’t look the same on each person. Each lesion is placed into a category based on its characteristics. One’s face may break out in pimples that fall into more than one of these categories.

(At this point I should warn you about some graphic images below.)

Blackheads and whiteheads.

Oil, dead skin cells and bacteria block pores and cause small bumps called comedones. Comedones may be open or closed. If a blocked pore stays open, it can look kind of black and is called a blackhead. If a blocked pore closes up, the top of the bump looks more white thus it’s called a whitehead.


Papules and pustules.

Sometimes the pores get so irritated that their walls break. That causes bigger pimples that are called papules and pustules. Papules are hard when you touch them. A bunch of papules that are near each other can make your skin feel like sandpaper. Pustules are like papules except yellowish, liquid pus fills them sort of like a blister.


Nodules and cysts.

When blocked pores get more irritated, they get even bigger. They go deeper into your skin, too. They can really hurt. Nodules are hard. Cysts have pus and are softer.


Acne may be further categorised as mild, moderate or severe based on the number of lesions on the affected area.

Although pimples are not in themselves bad for overall health, living with them, especially if they are persistent and become a long-term problem can be as devastating emotionally as living with a chronic disease.

Lack of proper self help treatments only worsens the situation. If you’re tired of DIY home remedies then stick around for my next post.

In my next post, we will learn about treating mild to severe acne, the current gold standard product in treating acne and other ointments you may find useful for your medicine cabinet.

Thanks for stopping by!

Antibacterial soaps

Media advertisements press the point that bacteria in the home are harmful and must be eliminated by using any number of the antibacterial or antimicrobial products available.

These cleaning products are no more effective at preventing infection in the home than good personal and household hygiene
using ordinary soap, warm water and plain detergent. Consumers should avoid using these products unless they have a specific
medical reason to do so.

So far, analyses of the health benefits don’t show any evidence that ,triclosan, the powerful antibiotic in the soap, can reduce
the transmission of respiratory or
gastrointestinal infections. This might be due to the fact that antibacterial soaps specifically target bacteria, but not the viruses that cause the majority of seasonal
colds and flus.

Skin Dryness.

The most widely found effect of antibacterial soap is dry skin. In fact, the American Skin Association advises people with dry skin to
avoid antibacterial soap. The powerful antibiotic agent in the soap strips the skin of its hydrating oils. Results can vary, ranging from mild itching and redness to irritation and flaking.

Other Concerns.

One of the skin’s functions is to release and absorb various chemicals and substances. A
Food and Drug Administration survey reported in the Los Angeles Times notes out of 2,517 participants of a urine study, 75 percent tested positive for triclosan. The FDA is unsure of
triclosan’s impact on internal organs, but laboratory animal tests show distortions in thyroid hormones. Infertility was also evident, as levels of testosterone and estrogen in the body were diminished.

Now that we have learnt all about soap, it’s only befitting that my next post be about moisturizer. Something you should always use after bathing.

Thanks for stopping by!