Skincare routine for managing eczema

Filed Under (cleanser, mask, moisturiser, scrub, serum, skincare, toner, treatment) by rinnah on 23-09-2013

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Ah eczema. It’s the bane of my life and has been around for 17 odd years now – more than half my lifespan! It only became a huge issue for me over the past three or so years when various stresses in my life combined to push me over the edge and eczema started to affect my face. Naturally, I panicked and started running all over like a headless chicken, throwing money at any product that even remotely claimed to be for sensitive and eczema affected skin.

So I tried stuff from Dior, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome, Kiehl’s, Dermalogica, drugstore brands and even to the extent of buying many expensive natural/organic products from overseas to try and manage my skin. Sometimes it worked for a while and then it would stop working. Other times it just greatly aggravated my skin to the point where I started thinking I would never look ‘human’ again.

Dry skin
Waiting out a flare-up in December 2012

Anyway, the point of this blogpost is not to moan about how horrible eczema can be and how it affects me but to note down the following skincare routine – I’ve been following various permutations of this routine for the past 5 months and I think I’ve found the right combo that helps me in managing my eczema.

Back to Basics
Eczema flare-ups can last anywhere between a week to a month for me, depending on the severity of the flare-up and whether or not I’m on doctor’s prescribed medication. Symptoms of an ongoing flare-up include itching, swelling, redness, inflammation, weeping, crusting and even bleeding when the skin splits.

Whenever I have a flare-up, I stop ALL skincare to keep from aggravating my skin. I only wash my face with water in the mornings. Occasionally at night, I will use Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose gentle hydrating cleanser. I can get away with this very basic cleansing routine because I don’t use any makeup at all during a flare-up.

pai skincare camellia & rose cleanser
Image credit to Pai Skincare

After cleansing, I will apply calendulis cream from The Eczema Company on the patches of eczema. Calendulis cream is made from the calendula flower and is almost as effective as a cortisone / steroid cream and better in the long run as it is natural. This is so gentle I can even use it around and all over my eyelids, because the eczema tends to breakout there.

Healing and Treating
Once my skin has passed the swelling/weeping stage and starts drying out, it will start to peel. I will vaguely resemble either a bad sunburn victim or a reptilian creature, depending on how you want to look at it. There will still be itching, redness, inflammation, crusting, flaking/peeling and also bleeding when the new skin tears or splits.

No change to the cleansing and moisturizing routine from the basics above. I add on one extra step to aid with the healing process by using Leaders Insolution aloe vera sheet mask nightly, after cleansing with the Pai cleanser and before the Eczema Company calendulis cream. Once a week I will switch from using the Pai cleanser to Mario Badescu enzyme cleansing gel for some gentle exfoliation to aid in removing the flakes and dead skin cells.

Maintenance
After all of the skin flakes have dropped/peeled off, my skin will still have red/discoloured patches where the eczema outbreaks were. Sometimes the dryness and flaking will continue on these patches for a period of time even after the rest of my face is back to normal.

Sulwhasoo first care activating serum
Image credit to Sulwhasoo

As my skin gradually regains normality, oil production returns. Hello shiny nose! When this occurs, I will cleanse my skin with Sulwhasoo gentle cleansing foam in the night and use the Pai cleanser in the mornings if needed. I continue to use the Mario Badescu gel once a week for exfoliation and mild brightening effects. After cleansing I will use Sulwhasoo first care activating serum all over my face, followed by the Eczema Company calendulis cream on dry patches. At night I continue to use either the Leaders Insolution AC-dressing sheet mask or the Hyaluronic sheet mask after cleansing and before the Sulwhasoo first care serum. Which mask I use depends on whether I want to address redness (AC-dressing) or hydration (Hyaluronic) issues, but most of the time I will use the AC-dressing one as I find it is more effective for me.

Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask

Adding the step of a nightly sheet mask was when I really started to see major improvement in my skin in terms of healing time and also in spacing out the downtime between flare-ups. I must note though that my skin only seems to work with Leaders Insolution sheet masks as I attempted to use My Beauty Diary once and had a mild flare-up on the following day.

Adding the Extras
Once I’ve gotten my skin to the stage where I’m pleased with it, I usually start to add on what I term as ‘extras’ to my skincare routine. So far I’ve found that my skin seems to adore the Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure perfecting water and the TimeTreasure perfecting emulsion in addition to the first care serum at night. In the day time I use Sulwhasoo Renodigm Ex dual care cream for mild UV protection.

Sulwhasoo renodigm ex dual care cream
Image credit to Sulwhasoo

So that’s it – what I’m currently using to manage my skin. While each individual has unique peculiarities and what works for me might not work for someone else, I hope that this post may be of use at the very least to give hope to anyone suffering from eczema.

September 2013
Present-day in September 2013

Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask

Filed Under (mask, skincare) by rinnah on 18-04-2013

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I very rarely use sheet masks, or for that matter, any type of mask due to my hyper-sensitive skin. Well, I may have just found a mask that my skin likes!

Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask

This is the Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask. From the packaging, you can see that it claims to soothe skin irritation and redness, helps to reduce minor scars of troubled spots. Now I don’t have any visible scars on my face or troubled spots, but I do have skin irritation and redness.

I’ve been interested in natural skincare lately, and I was pleased to note that Leaders Insolution masks are free of parabens, mineral oils, silicon and artificial pigments. Less possibility of an allergic reaction is always a good thing in my books.

The mask is fairly saturated with essence and it feels sticky to the touch, maybe due to the active ingredient of snail secretion filtrate. I had no problem getting it to adhere to my face, but the cut-outs for the eyes, nose and mouth were slightly too close together for my face. It wasn’t a big deal, but it would have been more comfortable if they had allowed a few extra millimeters for people with *ahem* bigger faces. I don’t have a wide face, but it is rather long/oval so there was a good inch or so of my forehead that wasn’t covered by the mask. I did like that the mask was relatively transparent so you don’t end up with the scary ski mask look that some sheet masks tend to give their wearers. The quality and feel of the mask also reminded me somewhat of surgical wet dressings used in hospitals to promote healing.

I left the mask on for the duration of 20 minutes as advised. I did experience some minor tingling sensations, but as I didn’t see any allergic reaction I let it be. After you peel off the mask, you will see that a lot of essence still remains on the surface of your skin. You are advised to gently tap your face for a while to aid the absorption of the essence. I did that and found that even up to 30 minutes after taking off the mask, I could still feel a bit of the essence still on my skin.

Hydration – check. No adverse reaction – check. Comfortable skin feeling – check. I didn’t see any major improvement in redness or skin irritation, but as long as a mask doesn’t give me these two reactions I’m pretty happy with it.

I would probably repurchase this mask and maybe try out the other variants that Leaders Insolution has.

Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask retails for SGD 3.60 at Watsons Personal Care stores.

Directions : Cleanse your face and dry it, then refine your skin texture with toner. Apply the mask on your face and hold it for 15 – 20 minutes while taking a rest. Take off the mask and tap your face for a while. Leave it around 10 – 15 minutes and the essence will be fully absorbed. Recommended use of 2 – 3 times per week, 15 – 20 minutes each time. Suitable for daily use. For optimal results, please use regularly.

Ingredients : Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Betaine, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Hydroxyethylacrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurae Copolymer, Snail Secretion Filtrate, Terminalia Chebula Fruit Extract, Caesalpinia Sappan Bark Extract, Magnolia Obovata Bark Extract, Xanthan Gum, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ledum Palustre Extract, Ecklonia Cava Extract, Artemisia Capillaris Flower Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Saururus Chinensis Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Fragrance

Enavose : Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage, H2Osis Black Tea Quench Mask and Cellogist Youth Guard Cream

Filed Under (mask, moisturiser, scrub, skincare) by rinnah on 15-04-2013

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I first heard about Enavose when Beetrice reviewed their H2Osis Black Tea Quench Mask last year. It sounded really interesting and went onto a long list of “Products I’d Someday Like To Try”. Lucky for me then that over the months in 2012, I’ve accumulated samples of three different Enavose products from my monthly Bellabox subscription.

Enavose samples
From left to right: Enavose Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage, Enavose H2Osis Black Tea Quench Mask and Enavose Cellogist Youth Guard Cream

Enavose Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage

Probiotics are microorganisms beneficial for perfect skin health. This gentle exfoliating gommage contains a balanced level of good bacteria to eliminate dead cells and comedones, unblock pores and strengthen the skin’s outermost layer to defend against aggressions and bacteria. Supported with bitter almond acid and a soothing flora blend, this renewal gel maintains the skin’s natural moisture barrier and gives new radiance and softness as tired skin is nourished.

Enavose Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage

I like this Gommage a lot! It feels gentler than scrubs and exfoliators and my skin certainly looks brighter and feels wonderfully soft after. I would definitely repurchase this once I manage to work my way through the rest of my (ever-growing) beauty products stash.

Enavose Black Tea Quench Mask

The ultimate hydration haven for thirsty and dehydrated skins, our quenching mask uses Sweet Black Tea to release a profusion of moisture and vitality that deeply replenishes skin’s moisture. It harnesses the power of skin to retain higher levels of water, leaving it feeling velvety soft, incredibly supple and invigorated. Feel the surge of immense moisture and be better equipped to defend against damaging environmental forces.

Enavose H2Osis Black Tea Quench Mask

I followed up using the Gommage with the Black Tea mask. At first I was wondering if it really did anything, because I couldn’t see it, couldn’t smell it and didn’t feel anything. But when I rinsed it off, I was blown away by the combination of the Gommage and the mask. My skin feels clear and soft and refreshed. This is a mask that my finicky, sensitive skin likes. Another definite repurchase for the future.

Enavose Cellogist Youth Guard Cream

Receive the ultimate in protection with this ultra luxurious treatment. Expertly concocted to nourish skin from deep within, the cream bolsters skin’s natural restorative mechanism and effectively fights against environmental stresses. A powerhouse antioxidant trio of Rice, Pomegranate and Resveratrol works in synergistic harmony with our exclusive technology to rejuvenate, firm, hydrate and restore collagen production.

Enavose Cellogist Youth Guard Cream

I used the Youth Guard cream after the Black Tea mask to seal in the moisture and woke up the next morning to lovely, refreshed skin. Not too oily either because I didn’t have a shiny nose. I didn’t use it for long enough to determine whether or not it really has rejuvenating qualities as claimed, but it felt really good.

All in all, I like Enavose’s products and my skin does too, so I’ll definitely be revisiting this brand in the future.

Enavose is available online at their webstore. The Probiotics Exfoliance Gommage retails for SGD 35.00 (80ml), the H2Osis Black Tea Quench mask retails for SGD 59.50 (30ml), and the Cellogist Youth Guard Cream retails for SGD 99.50 (30ml).

Fabulous Finds August 2012 Box

Filed Under (bodycare, cosmetics, fragrances, haircare, lotions, mascara, mask, mask, serum, shampoo, skincare) by rinnah on 29-08-2012

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Remember my previous post on the launch of Fabulous Finds in Malaysia? Well, another month has rolled around (so quickly!) and it’s time to peek into the August 2012 box.

Fabulous Finds logo

This time around, the melon pink box was couriered to my doorstep and just in time too, arriving before the Hari Raya holidays were in full swing. As the theme of the month went, I was looking forward to saying hello to “Fabulous New Discoveries”.

Fabulous Finds August product list

Here’s a list of what you can expect inside your beauty box – I particularly like how clearly Fabulous Finds lists the usual price of each product. To borrow Domncroxd of Belle Demoiselle’s term, it’s like a menu, only in this case not of food but of beauty products.

Fabulous Finds August box

For the month of August, Fabulous Finds outdid their July box:

  • Empro Brown & Black Mascara (full sized)
  • Jurlique Balancing Day Care Cream
  • Lanvin Femme Couture
  • My Beauty Diary Facial Sheet Mask (one piece)
  • Olive Hand Moisturising Cream
  • Skinz Infinite Youth Recall Serum (full sized)
  • Wella SP Repair Shampoo and Mask

Colour me impressed! That’s seven different items to test drive (eight if you count the Wella shampoo and mask separately) and two of them are full sized products. There’s also a MYR 10 cash voucher for Beaubelle products and a 50% discount voucher for a Jurlique facial treatment. When you consider the fact that subscription to Fabulous Finds is only MYR 35 a month and includes courier delivery to your doorstep, that, my lovelies, is a real bargain! :D

There were not so many well known, higher end brands in the August box as compared to the July box, but still these are brands that people should have seen before and are easily found in Malaysia. Maybe the next step might be to expose Malaysian beauty lovers to overseas niche brands? I’m looking forward to finding out in the coming months.

For more details or to subscribe for the September box, visit Fabulous Finds’ website here.

Note : The product/service in this post was provided for consideration by the brand itself or a PR firm. This does not affect my review in any way and do refer to my disclosure policy for further details.

The ArglyDuckling

Filed Under (bodycare, cosmetics, lip balm, lotions, mascara, mask, moisturiser, nail polish, skincare) by rinnah on 04-07-2012

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I grew up with proper, old-fashioned storybooks in my childhood days. The standards – Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, The Three Bears, Goldilocks – you name it, I’ve probably read it. (My age is showing, isn’t it?) :P

And who could forget The Ugly Duckling? The story that promised you that one day, you would turn into a beautiful swan, loved and revered by all.

Well, some enterprising folks here in Singapore have taken the traditional fable and given it a right modern twist. Say hello to the ArglyDuckling online boutique. Where everyone (not just us girls) can look gorgeous if we want to, with just a little bit of effort and patience!

Right now, ArglyDuckling carries some niche, exclusive and hard-to-find brands in Singapore, like Blinc, Ciracle and Nature Girl to name a few. I was recently invited to a preview of some of the products and brands that they offer and I certainly was intrigued by more than a few!

argly duckling

I have plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure (together with my mini commentary/first thoughts about the brand or product) so mosey along after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Kitoko Kalani Lingzhi Regenerate & Radiant Face Mask

Filed Under (mask, skincare) by rinnah on 25-05-2012

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A kind colleague bought this face mask for me and urged me to give it a try as she had noticed the poor condition of my skin during eczema flare-ups. I was initially hesitant to use it during the worst period of my flare-up, but once my skin had calmed down as much as I could possibly hope for, I decided to give it a go even though I was very nervous.

kitoko kalani lingzhi face mask

First off, I’ve not heard of this skincare brand before. A quick Googling told me that the brand apparently is from Japan but made in Taiwan. The packaging looked really good though, natural looking brown paper and simple pictures. Very zen-like indeed. Not like the kawaii-type packaging favored by Japanese or Korean skincare brands.

When I opened the packet, what immediately struck me was how very ‘wet’ the mask was. It was thoroughly soaked in essence and the mask also felt of a thick and good quality, especially for a throwaway mask. So far so good.

If I had a single gripe about this mask it would be the close placement of the cut-outs for the eyes, nose and mouth. Not everyone has a small face with eyes, nose and mouth closely set together. Because of the closeness, it was a stretch to get the mask placed properly and even then I didn’t feel that it fit my nose area properly (yes, I have a rather prominent nose) and I had to drag the eye area down slightly to accommodate my nose.

The mask went on smoothly enough and I loved the icy-cold feeling against my skin that I immediately got. Predictably enough, after about 2 minutes in, my sensitive skin began tingling, but only at the areas where I still had a bit of eczema flareup. The tingling sensation was only mild and I continued to enjoy the mask for about 20 mins (which was longer than the prescribed 10 – 15 mins). Even then, the mask was still wet enough for me to rub the essence all over my neck and decolletage area and even my arms.

My skin definitely looked brighter and refreshed and it had an immediate smoothing effect on pores. I still had redness on the eczema affected areas of my face, but it did look slightly calmer and better hydrated.

All in, I’m quite liking this Lingzhi face mask and would definitely repurchase in the near future.

Kitoko Kalani face masks retail for SGD 3.90 and can be purchased online at www.kitokokalani.com.

Description : Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Stem Extract, also known as ‘Lingzhi’. It has the most active polysaccharides among medicinal plant sources, which is crucial in the body’s ability to heal wounds and produce the ground substances of normal tissues. Lingzhi contains ergosterols, complete proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, helps to regenerate skin, leaving skin nourished & radiant. Lingzhi is a high source of polypeptides, it has the capabilities to penetrate deep into the epidermis to revitalize the skin cells, nourish the skin’s subcutaneous tissues, and promote blood circulation. Added with soothing Aloe Vera Extract, restores skin moisture and alleviates reactive skin. Helps reveal a youthful-looking, nourished, and radiant complexion.

Directions : Remove makeup and cleanse skin thoroughly, smooth mask on face, leave on for 10 to 15 mins. Remove mask and gently massage to enhance better absorption.

Ingredients : Water, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Stem Extract (&) Propylene Glycol (&) Water, Glycosyl Trehalose/Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Methylparaben, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.

Skin Factory Eye Dream Honey Patch

Filed Under (mask, skincare) by rinnah on 08-02-2012

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Finally, I have gotten around to posting my first review of a product I received last year in the November edition of my Bellabox subscription! (I am seriously behind on all of my posting.)

skin factory eye dream honey patch

Skin Factory’s moisturising Eye Dream Honey Patch will hydrate, repair and soothe your entire eye area while working to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and eye puffiness. The combination of essential ingredients including honey, Syn-ake and witch hazel leaf extracts will leave your eyes feeling brighter and refreshed.

After a long period of partying and feasting which began even before Christmas and carried over to New Year’s and then to Chinese New Year, I was in the mood for some pampering over the weekend and decided to try out this under-eye patch. The instructions said to keep in the fridge for better effect, but since I had no immediate access to a fridge, I used it straight out from the packet.

The patches are made of hydrogel and shaped for the under eye area. The flexibility of hydrogel means that the patches conform and adhere well to your face. I liked that the sticky gel texture made the patches stick to my face without fear of having it fall off, plus the fact that I could comfortably use my glasses with the patch on. I did find that the patch itself is quite big as it covered not only the under eye area but also extended to the top half of my cheeks.

Initially for the first few minutes after applying, I could feel a slight stinging sensation. Not sure if it was the active ingredients at work or my sensitive skin, but since there was no redness or adverse reaction, I let it be. About 40 minutes later, my under eye area certainly felt tighter once I took off the patches. The slight puffiness I had before was reduced and my skin did look smoother. Of course, since this is only a mask I don’t expect the effects to be lasting but it did feel quite nice at the time. Heh.

I would consider this eye patch treatment to be nice to have at hand for those days when you’ve been working hard and need to relax but it’s not a must have.

Read other blogger reviews here :
Life Little Tales

Directions : After washing face, apply toner. Opening the package, peel patch from plastic liner and apply eye patch under eye area. Remove after 20 – 40 minutes. Best kept in the fridge before usage.

Ingredients : Water, Glycerin, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Honey Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), 1.2-Hexanediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, TDipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Hydrolyzed Collagen

Packaging : 4 masks

Recommended retail price : SGD 15.00

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