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

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).

Vanity Trove February 2013 Box

Filed Under (bodycare, cosmetics, haircare, lotions, mask, moisturiser, primer, serum, shampoo, skincare) by rinnah on 04-03-2013

Beauty boxes have been around for some time now, but the trend only touched our shores as recently as last year. Vanity Trove has been operating in Singapore and just started with their inaugural Malaysia box last month.

Naturally, I wanted to see what was in the box. ;)

First off, I really like the packaging – the sturdy box with a slide out drawer makes it easy for me to reuse it to house my ever growing cosmetic stash. I reckon I’m going to stack it up in multiples of three to make my own ‘chest of drawers’.

vanity trove february

Here’s what you would have gotten if you subscribed for the February box :

  • Wella SP Colour Save Shampoo and Mask
  • Oriks Wild Ginseng Stemcell Twister Essence
  • Oriks BB Cream
  • Benefit POREfessional
  • B.liv Off With Those Heads Blackheads Sebum Gel
  • Di Palomo Tuscan Rose Hand & Body Lotion

Seven different products, of which 3 were handy travel sizes and the other 4 were sample sizes. I’ve always held that beauty boxes are a good way to test out which products are new to you without having to commit to a full size. This concept works for me because of my finicky skin, but it’s also a double-edged sword cos I never know if the products would be suitable for me. In any case, I do like getting a surprise every month and usually spread the product love to my family and friends. (For this month’s Vanity Trove, my mom snapped up the Di Paloma hand lotion, simply because it smelled so lovely. *wink*) As for me, I’m most interested in trying out B.liv’s blackhead sebum gel because of my unending war on blackheads – why don’t they ever go away?

If you’re interested in signing up for your own Vanity Trove, just check out their website.

VT get started card 2 R1-01

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.

What I bought from Macau

Filed Under (cleanser, cosmetics, lip balm, moisturiser, serum, skincare, toner) by rinnah on 16-11-2012

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Happy Friday all! :D

It’s been a rather packed November for me so far and there’s still more to come as November ain’t finished yet!

I started the month off with a company trip to Macau and took some time off the following week to return to Malaysia over the Diwali public holiday. All that travelling meant that I didn’t spend more than 5 days in any one country over the past 2 weeks and yes, my skin did act up a bit. :( Hopefully with a little bit of downtime in the next week or so I’ll be refreshed and ready for my next travelling stint!

While I was in Macau for a whirlwind 3 days at the beginning of the month, I managed to squeeze in a fair bit of shopping even though I visited only 2 shopping spots – the Sasa in the Venetian Macau and a small Bonjour at Senado Square (I saw a second, larger Bonjour also at Senado Square but ran out of time!).

Dior Macau haul

First up is my Dior haul – I’m very into the Capture Totale range right now after incorporating the One Essential super serum into my night routine. What better time to stock up on mini sample/travel sizes of the Capture Totale range than when you’re at a Bonjour store? Heheheh.

Ever since I returned from Macau, I switched over to using the Capture Totale range exclusively together with L’Oreal’s Youth Code range and so far, my skin’s loving it! (My purse may not love it so much though…) Now if only I could score a sample of the One Essential mask somewhere… :P

Sasa Macau haul

This is the rest of the stuff I managed to get my hands on – the Shu Uemura eyelash curler also came from Bonjour, the L’Oreal Youth Code Luminize from Nuance-Watson (because it’s not available in Singapore or Malaysia), Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin (I blame this impulse purchase on Paris B’s review – on hindsight I should have just gotten it from Lush Singapore), Revlon Just Bitten lip balm stains (this one I blame on Kahani’s review – I picked up four more for Toughcookee by proxy! #evurl shopping FTW! and cleared the racks at Sasa) and a Clarins gommage that intrigued me.

I should be all shopped out for November but… my company is sending me to Hong Kong for a seminar at the end of the month, which means MORE SHOPPING! :P

I promise I’ll be good for the rest of the year after this month (only one more month left in the year anyway). Heh.

My First Haul from Boots Pharmacy Thailand

Filed Under (moisturiser, retail shopping, serum, skincare, tips and tricks, travel) by rinnah on 23-10-2012

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So I made my maiden trip to Bangkok, Thailand on a work-related visit last week. Even though my trip was for work, I still managed to squeeze in some time to check out the pharmacy wonderland that is Boots Pharmacy, or Boots Retail Shop as they are known.

Boots Retail Shop

Boots is very much like your local drugstore Guardian or Watsons with a slight difference. The majority of products at Boots are mostly housebrands, under a variety of lines and brand names. Having never had access to Boots before, it was like stepping into a whole new world for me. I tweeted that I wanted to buy the entire store but lack of time and luggage space was a very big factor that stopped me from doing so. Anyway, I had to buy something from Boots just to say I’d been there. :P

Boots Thailand mini haul

I think I was a good girl and valiantly restricted myself to just the 3 items of skincare you see above. I’m still on my hydrating craze, so I picked up three different moisturizers from three different ranges.

  • Boots Simply Sensitive Anti-Redness Serum
  • Boots Fragrance Free Moisturising Cream
  • Boots Sakura Blossom & Lemon Whitening Day Moisturiser (I was suckered into buying this because it smelled so good)

It’s been a week since I came back from my trip and I’ve already started on the Simply Sensitive Anti-Redness Serum and I’m loving it! Time to stock up on another tube (or two?) when I have to head back to Thailand next month. :D

Quickie shopping tip : If you’re going to be buying Boots stuff in Thailand, unless absolutely necessary, buy from the stores in the city outside the airport. Strangely enough, the Boots Retail Shop in the duty-free area at the airport sells their products for between 10 – 50 baht more compared to the city area.

Reviews will hopefully follow shortly!

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 »

Introducing Fabulous Finds – Malaysia’s first Beauty Box subscription service

Filed Under (beauty, bodycare, cleanser, cosmetics, events, lotions, moisturiser, online shopping, powders, services, skincare) by rinnah on 27-06-2012

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If you’ve ever enviously looked on while our beauty blogging sisters in UK, US, Australia and Singapore talked about the beauty box subscriptions available to them, fret no more! Starting from now, Malaysia has its first beauty box in Fabulous Finds.

fabulous finds 01

For just RM35 a month, you’ll get 4 – 5 deluxe beauty samples from high-end and niche brands in a pretty box and delivered to your doorstep via courier.

I was invited to the launch of Fabulous Finds last Saturday and had a preview of the July box. What’s in the box?

As a nail polish hoarder, my first thought on seeing the pretty melon-pink box was, ‘Yes! I can keep more polishes in that box!’ :P because that’s how I’m storing my ever-expanding collection of polishes.

fabulous finds 03

Inside the box we find:

  • Beaubelle Clarity Brightening Cleansing Exfoliator
  • Beaubelle Gorgeous Multi Defence Protection Cream
  • Burt’s Bees Cranberry & Pomegranate Scrub
  • Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey Body Lotion
  • Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturising Cream
  • Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Iris Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy
  • Lunasol Skin Fusing Powder Foundation
  • Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil

I was quite pleased with the brands represented in the first ever Fabulous Finds box – well known brands do a lot in reassuring me and I like that they were not your average drugstore brand but yet not so high-end so as to make them inaccessbile.

The deluxe beauty samples in the box were pretty decent too, and there was one full sized product in the Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy tube which if you buy retail is about RM25. Also, the Beaubelle products, Benefit’s POREfessional and Lunasol powder were travel-sized.

The subscription point of RM35 is reasonable in my opinion, and not likely to break the bank for a boxful of pretty surprises. I personally like to think of my beauty box subscriptions as little monthly presents to myself for being a good girl. *cough* :P

fabulous finds 02

But you know what really made me like Fabulous Finds? I like that the founder, Hui Ling (that’s her in the picture above), really believes in giving back to the community. Did you know that each box is packed with care by women from disadvantaged backgrounds? This gives them the opportunity to gain employment and supplement their income even though it may not be able to provide them with a full-time income.

I’m really looking forward to see how Fabulous Finds progresses with their subsequent boxes and am more than happy to support a homegrown, local business.

You can subscribe to Fabulous Finds’ July box for just RM35 before 14 July 2012 as the boxes will be mailed out by courier starting 15 July 2012. There are only 180 boxes for July so you’ll need to be quick to reserve your box! Subscribe at the Fabulous Finds website here. Only available to residents of Malaysia.

If I assembled a Beauty Box…

Filed Under (cosmetics, lip balm, moisturiser, nail polish, serum, skincare) by rinnah on 01-06-2012

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A group of blogger friends and I were discussing the recent beauty subscription box phenomenon in the region and we kind of got to wondering what we would put into a beauty box, if given the opportunity.

Me? I didn’t know what I wanted to put in. So I went with personal favourites or things I wanted to try.

estee lauder advanced night repair

First, let’s start with the first serum I ever tried – the revered Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Repair Complex. Briefly, this gives me rejuvenated skin every time I use it and is a regular staple in my skincare routine.

by terry eclat de rose sheer tinted moisturizer

Next, I’d put in By Terry’s Eclat De Rose Sheer Tinted Moisturiser for that natural no make-up look that every female covets. Why this brand? Because it’s rather luxe and expensive and not easily obtainable. Heh.

fresh sugar lip treatment

Next to cross my mind was Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment for soft, kissable lips. Nevermind that I’ve not yet tried this (even though I’ve picked up it up in Sephora a few times already and then put it back). A girl can’t have too many lip balms or lip treatments in her purse or drawer.

shu_brow_pencil
Image credit to Paris B, who kindly allowed me to use her photo which shows off the famous ‘samurai sword’ cut.

Then I’d include Shu Uemura’s famous Hard Formula brow pencil, plus a voucher for their famous Brow Atelier service. It really is true that your brows frame your eyes and can open up your facial features if nicely shaped.

cultnails_seduction001
Image credit to Temptalia

Finally, let’s add in an item that could be a hit or miss, depending on whether you like it or not. It’s a purely selfish choice, driven by my current obsession with nail polishes – Cult Nails limited edition Seduction. Because it’s pretty and eye-catching and every girl should have the opportunity to own a duochrome flakie polish.

I realize that the stuff I’ve chosen may not be liked by all but hey, everyone’s got a different idea of perfect, right? ;)

Here’s what my blogger friends would put into their beauty boxes:

What would you put into your beauty box? Do tell in the comments!

My current skincare favorites

Filed Under (cleanser, moisturiser, serum, skincare) by rinnah on 12-04-2012

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Since I got back from my Hong Kong holidays two and a half weeks ago, I’ve been experiencing a period of relatively good skin condition. I’m not sure if it’s attributed to the slightly cooler, rainy weather we’ve been having (less inflammation) or the recent changes I’ve made to my skincare routine.

You see, I was worried that the colder weather in Hong Kong might dry out my already irritated and dehydrated skin even more, so I added a heavier moisturizer/serum combination and continued it even when I returned. So far (touch wood) my skin seems to be loving it.

My skincare routine (April 2012)

Here’s what I’ve been using in the morning and evening:

Morning
- Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser
- Estee Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Barrier Fortifier serum
- Estee Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Creme

and

Evening
- Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
- Dermalogica Overnight Repair Serum or Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum

That’s it! I know, it’s an extremely simplified skincare routine, but so far my skin seems to be thriving on it.

What makes my skin happy, makes me happy. :D

For a bird’s eye view of what type of products others incorporate in their beauty routine, do check out the reader comments at Paris B’s post here.

Santaverde Aloe Vera Creme in Medium

Filed Under (moisturiser, skincare) by rinnah on 20-01-2012

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This has to be one of the most expensive moisturizers I’ve ever used.

Santaverde Organic Aloe Vera Medium Cream

When I bought the Santaverde Aloe Vera Creme in Medium, I was desperate to find a product that would work on my sensitive, eczema prone skin and thus was willing to throw money at the problem if it helped solve matters. So I used this at the height of my eczema breakout last year and ended up with two completely different opinions about this product.

Firstly, the good stuff. I love this for short term use. It’s wonderful when my skin is relatively normal – which means those *rare* periods of time when I have no eczema breakouts, no dry flaking spells, no sensitized redness. It doesn’t contribute to extra oil production on my oily t-zone and makes my skin feel comfortable. Unfortunately for me, my skin doesn’t behave itself all the time.

But…(you knew there was a but coming, right?) when my skin is misbehaving and breaking out in patches of rashes and what not, I hate this cream. It stings my eczema patches (I thought aloe vera was supposed to help calm!) and that in turn makes my skin turn red and irritated. I’ll also find that the cream formula becomes too rich for prolonged usage because I developed painful pimple bumps underneath my skin’s surface in the areas that supposedly need more moisture (my dry flaky cheeks). Not fun yo!

What’s a girl to do?

For now, I’m keeping this cream in my office to use as the air-conditioning tends to dry my skin out. And I use it very, very minimally, mostly on my hands and neck. Such an expensive hand lotion! :(

Would I repurchase this? No but only because it didn’t suit me.

Yes factors : Organic ingredients, smells great, handy size for travel, keeps skin soft and moist
No factors : Too rich for dry skin in the long run, expensive, not easy to find – currently available in Singapore only via Pure Tincture

Description : Pure Aloe Vera juice and valuable oils from seeds and fruits provide your skin with moisture, protect and preserve elasticity and suppleness.

Directions : Apply twice daily after cleansing and toning to face and neck.

Packaging : 30ml

Recommended retail price : SGD 73.00

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