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

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!

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.

What’s inside my Bellabox June 2012

Filed Under (bodycare, fragrances, lotions, serum, skincare, toner) by rinnah on 21-06-2012

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june bellabox

I think of all the Bellaboxes I’ve received thus far, I’m liking the June Bellabox most of all. :D

Themed the Summer Upgrade box, I was extremely psyched to find out that June’s box included sample/travel sizes of the following products:

  • Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
  • Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner
  • Ralph Lauren Romance
  • Biotherm White D-Tox BB Cream
  • Biotherm Lait Corporel Body Moisturizer
  • Lancome Blanc Expert Derm-Crystal
  • Lancome Genifique Youth Activator
  • Shu Uemura Whitefficient Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil

Whew! That’s quite a bumper box of goodies! :D

So far I’ve already dug into Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and you can betcha I’ll be purchasing this once I’ve finished up my sample. I’ve already been using Ralph Lauren’s Romance perfume, so having a travel vial allows me to keep it in the office.

Do you have a Bellabox subscription already? Or does this box tempt you to sign up?

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.

Back To Basics “Rescue Me” Precious Oils Intensive Face Serum

Filed Under (online shopping, serum, skincare) by rinnah on 03-02-2012

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Rescue Me Precious Oils serum
Image credit

In conjunction with my earlier review on the Back To Basics “Flower Power” 3-in-1 Cleansing Powder, I also trialed Back To Basics “Rescue Me” Precious Oils Intensive Face Serum. I’ll have to admit that I approached this oil-based serum with some trepidation, having had a previous experience with facial oil from another organic brand that irritated my eczema breakouts.

This special blend of the purest natural oils and essential oils is formulated to nourish, rejuvenate, heal and fade scars, soothe sensitive skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

I found the Rescue Me serum was quite gentle, but I noticed that immediately upon application, the patches of eczema on my face would turn red and feel warm. This would dissipate after a while, but it was slightly uncomfortable while it lasted. This is not unique to the Rescue Me serum though, as I have come to the conclusion that my eczema does not play nice with oils.

Leaving my eczema problems aside, the Rescue Me serum does a nice job of moisturising my dry cheeks, but I found it to be too much for my oily T-zone. I would wake up feeling that I needed to wash my face and after a couple of days, the over production of oil resulted in the formation of one or two pimples at my nose. I found that I needed to experiment to find the right number of drops to use (around 2 drops) and areas to apply (on my dry cheeks only). I also found that my skin was happiest when I used the Rescue Me serum every other day or so instead of nightly.

I think those with dry skin would benefit the most from this serum.

Yes factors : Does a good job of moisturising dry skin, organic ingredients
No factors : Might be too rich for oily skin, not compatible with certain types of eczema, short shelf life, only available online at the Back To Basics Naturals website

Ingredients : Organic argan oil, organic pomegranate seed oil, wild crafted sea buckthorn berry oil, essential oils of rose, sandalwood, rosewood and lavender.

Packaging : 10ml / 3ml

Recommended retail price : MYR 180.00 / MYR 60.00

Note : This product was provided to me for consideration. This does not affect my review in any way and do refer to my disclosure policy for further details.

Bellabox November 2011

Filed Under (branding, conditioner, cosmetics, haircare, serum, shampoo, skincare) by rinnah on 30-11-2011

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I was uber excited at first to know that Singapore was getting a local version of the sample box trend that’s all the rage in US, UK and Australia.

Bellabox delivers the latest deluxe beauty products to your door, brand new and exclusive for you at SGD 15.00 a month. We handpick and deliver 5 of the most luxurious beauty products to hit the market. Discover new products you will love, and make new purchases with confidence.

I signed up for Bellabox about 3 months back during the preview before their official launching, but only received my first Bellabox this month after a long saga (I had multiple issues with ordering and the online payment via PayPal that resulted in my missing the cut-off date for the first edition Bellabox in October). I was pretty frustrated with the technical problems that put me on the sidelines watching other bloggers and Singapore beauty lovers tweet/blog/write about what they got last month so I guess my expectations were rather dampened by the time the November Bellabox arrived.

Nevertheless, there is always a thrill in receiving a package and opening presents. :)

Bellabox outer packaging

Your Bellabox experience starts when your pink Bellabox is delivered to the doorstep via Singapore registered post.

Bellabox within a box

Inside the pink Bellabox packaging sits another, smaller glossy box containing the sample products for the month, all nestled in confetti packaging. These products are custom selected for you based on the profile you fill up when you first register for the service.

What's in the November Bellabox

Here’s what I received in November’s Bellabox:

1. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Trollop
2. Duchess Marden Damascena Anti-Wrinkle Serum
3. Korres Guava Body Butter
4. Skin Factory Eye Dream Honey Patch
5. Davines Melu Mellow Anti-Breakage Lustrous Shampoo
6. Davines Melu Mellow Anti-Breakage Lustrous Conditioner

Of all the products, I’d say that OCC’s Lip Tar and the Davines shampoo/conditioner set seem most value for money. After all, considering that 1 tube of Lip Tar normally retails at SGD 18.90, you’ve already gotten back the price of your monthly subscription. I was a mite disappointed with the size of Korres’ body butter sample sachet though – just one sachet seems rather miserly to me. Surely they could have coughed up another sachet which would allow users to better decide whether or not it works for them in more than just one or two uses.

All in, the jury is still out as I’m rather ambivalent about Bellabox at this point of time and will wait to see what’s in next month’s Bellabox before making any judgement calls.

Read other blogger reviews here :
Beetrice – October Bellabox and November Bellabox

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