How retinols work

Retinoids first came to market in the early 1970s as an acne -fighting drug. Since then, they have also been used to treat psoriasis, warts, wrinkles and blotchiness caused by sun exposure, and aged skin.

Here’s the catch, with repeated use, retinol products begin to thin out your skin and will eventually make you more susceptible to UVA rays. If you’re not wearing adequate SPF all the time, with passing years you’ll have more melasma, more discolouration not to mention possible irritation. 

Retin-A, Reova, Accutane, they’re great drugs in that they work. Everyone wants to change the skin, everyone wants to prevent damage. But none of the products on the market we’ve tested prevent damage.

 When we tested Renova and Retin-A, they had an effect on wrinkles and age spots. The only problem with those drugs is that women’s skin is already considerably thinner than men’s, and these medications take off the top layer—so you’ve lost the first or second layer of your skin, and though your skin looks fresh and bright and great, it can actually get worse.

 Simon Erani, the founder and CEO of The Somme Institute in New York.

I share Simon’s sentiments about retinoids, although he does sound rather alarmist.

There’s a proper time to use retinoids, and that’s when you have visible signs of aging, don’t use retinoids before your time, unless you covet that wax doll appearance that long term users of retinoids often have.

As a preventative meausure against fine lines and wrinkles, use anti-aging products without retinol. Somme institute makes products like that, couple them with physical sunscreen and you will enjoy youthful skin for years to come.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+ Sensitive

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All products mentioned in this post available at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

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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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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All products mentioned available at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Chemical vs Physical sunscreen.

On my previous post, we discussed methods of prolonging your sun protection when reapplying your sunscreen every 2 hours isn’t an option.
A sunscreen that combines chemical and physical actives emerged as one of your options but I’ll tell you why I prefer physical sunscreens to chemical sunscreens. First, lets cover the basics on what chemical and physical sunscreens are.

What is chemical sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens work by scattering or absorbing the Sun’s rays. These sunscreens are absorbed by your skin and DO find a way into your bloodstream. Chemical sunscreens are formulated with  active ingredients like  oxybenzone,avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene,homosalate and octinoxate. These chemicals can be formulated in the lab but oxybenzone  occurs naturally in the flowers of certain plants.

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Chemical sunscreens aren’t very good at offering broad spectrum protection but they will prevent sunburn.
What are physical sunscreens?
Physical sunscreens are sunscreens that use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. These ingredients ‘sit’ on your skin and deflect the sun’s rays. They are able to deflect both UVA and UVB rays thus offer better protection than chemical blockers.


Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide occur naturally and are inorganic.

Titanium dioxide can be problematic for some people. (If you break out from mineral make up and physical sunscreen, titanium dioxide could be
the culprit.)

Zinc oxide is generally safe. It can be used on delicate skin and is a main ingredient in diaper rash cream.

Why is physical better than chemical?
Other than the fact that physical sunscreen offers better protection, the other reason you should avoid them is that, they are considered endocrine disruptors. Those are chemicals that interfere with the normal function of hormones. The hormones most commonly disturbed are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid.

Endocrine disruptors, like some ingredients in chemical sunscreens, can cause abnormal development of fetuses and growing children. They cause early puberty and premature breast development in girls, and small and undescended testicles in boys.
They cause low sperm counts and infertility. Endocrine disruptors that act like estrogen can contribute to the development of breast and ovarian cancers in women, and other endocrine disruptors may increase the chance of prostate cancer in men.

At this point you may be wondering, why do people use chemical sunscreen in the first place? Because they are easier to find and don’t leave you with a white cast.

To solve the problem of the white cast manufacturers now split titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to make them small enough to be absorbed by your skin. These small absorbable particles are called nano particles.

The effect these nano particles in your body hasn’t been studied widely yet, but in my opinion these are much safer than chemical sunscreens.

I have searched all over but haven’t found a suitable non-nano physical sunscreen. I do know that badgers and adorable baby make non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen but those brands are hard to come by around here. If you know of any other options please share.

If you’re wondering whether or not you really need sunscreen, take a look at this.

Thanks for stopping by!
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