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.

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

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.

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.

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!

What beauty related stuff do you keep at work?

Filed Under (bodycare, cosmetics, heels, lip balm, lip gloss, lotions, shoes) by rinnah on 01-05-2012

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The idea for this post was generated from a random chat with Beetrice (during work hours! :P ) one fine day and I got the idea that it would be fun to see what kinds of beauty related stuff people would keep at work.

I tend to go for the minimalist approach where possible, but soon found out that what I considered minimal was a whole lot more than what some of my beauty blogger friends had (which is nothing! Paris B, I’m looking at you!). But then again, some of the stuff I’ve listed aren’t strictly make-up or skincare related. I’ve just included them because I consider them to be part of ‘beauty at work’.

Are you ready for the virtual tour? Heheh.

Essentials that I need at hand on my workstation :
- Box of tissues (for my sinuses. Atchoo!)
- Avène Thermal Spring Water spray (to combat the drying effects of the office air-conditioning)
- Small standing mirror (to check myself out; also a gift from the lovely Syen)

Hidden away inside my drawer, tucked inside a pink cosmetics pouch from Daiso :
- tiny DKNY Pure Verbena scent spray (from one of my Bellaboxes)
- Liese Juicy Shower Hair Fragrance Spray (for those days when you eat out and come back smelling like a kitchen)
- Folding comb (also picked up for a song at Daiso)
- Oil blotting papers (I ‘fess up, I have two types – both powdered and non-powdered)
- Lip balms (not one, not two, but four! Estee Lauder Lip Conditioner SPF15, Mentholatum Pure Softlips in Honeydew, Pangea Organics Lip Balm in Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom, and Maybelline Lip Smooth in Rose – the last one is a tinted lip balm)
- Lip products (mini Smashbox Lipgloss in Buff, Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Rose Pearl, and Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum)
- Assorted medication (for the sudden fever, cold, allergy, headache/migraine)

Also hidden inside my drawer but not in the cosmetics pouch :
- Small tub of Vaseline (original petroleum jelly type, not cream or lotion)
- Santa Verde Aloe Vera Creme in Medium (doubles as face and hand moisturiser)
- Crabtree & Evelyn India Hicks Island Living Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy (a gift!)
- A’kin Lavender, Geranium & Jojoba Hand, Nail & Cuticle Creme
- Vitamins (Blackmores Cold Combat, and Scott’s Vitamin C Pastilles)
- Shoe shine sponge (part of a travel toiletries set)

And last but not least, something I consider essential to beauty at work for me… uh… four pairs of high heels under my table.
- Aldo Doyscher heels in black leather (super love them – my Louboutin dupes!)
- Rockport Luciana pumps in sandstone (a new addition bought on sale…)
- Lewre work pumps in black leather (my go-to regular shoes)
- DMK peeptoe heels in camel (when black just won’t match my outfit of the day)

So, what do you keep at work that’s beauty related?

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:

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


- 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.

Estee Lauder Lip Conditioner SPF15

Filed Under (cosmetics, lip balm) by rinnah on 09-01-2012

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I’m pretty sure this lip conditioner has been around, for like… forever? :P

Anyway, I just had to snap up this oldie when I saw it selling in Bonjour Hong Kong for a mere HKD 18.00. (Which works out to about SGD 3.00 or MYR 7.50 thereabouts.) Do note that I got mine in the old packaging (dark blue tube) instead of the new packaging (gold tube shown below) which might account for the discounted price.

Estee Lauder lip conditioner SPF 15

The lip conditioner looks like a lipstick. It’s housed in a very traditional looking lipstick tube and even shaped like a lipstick, which makes it easy as pie to apply. But if you ask me, it makes this lip conditioner look and feel rather aunty-ish.

There is no smell and no taste but it does feel rather oily to me if I slick too much on. It also feels like it will make your lipstick slip and slide if you use this underneath but it could well be a godsend for those lippies that dry out your lips. I tried it under my Revlon Colorburst lipgloss and it provided a comfortable base (even though lipglosses don’t really need bases).

I like that it has SPF 15 sun protection as most lipbalms don’t have any inbuilt sun protection at all. Better some than none! :)

While I wouldn’t say that I adore or love this lip conditioner, I find that I prefer it over my Vaseline Lip Therapy on days when my lips aren’t super cracked. I keep it in my office drawer for daily use and it’s one of those good-to-have-on-standby-but-not-essential kinda product to me.

Yes factors : SPF 15 protection, easy to apply because of lipstick form, does a good job of hydrating lips
No factors : Looks a bit old-fashioned, may be oily if too many layers are applied, pricey

Packaging : .13oz/3.8g

Recommended retail price : USD 16.50

Read other blogger reviews here :
Bun Bun
A Girl – Beauty Views
Jeweled Thumb

My Women Stuff Readers Choice Awards 2011

Filed Under (branding, contest, events) by rinnah on 01-11-2011

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In the words of Barney Stinson, it was LEGEN… wait for it… DARY!!!

I truly didn’t imagine that a random conversation on Twitter with Paris B would become the epic event (in Beetrice’s words) that was My Women Stuff Readers Choice Awards.

mwsawards stickers

There are more pictures of the event, so keep on reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Estee Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Barrier Fortifier serum

Filed Under (serum, skincare) by rinnah on 12-08-2011

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I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to trying this product. Now, if I’d just bitten the bullet and got myself a sample or two of this baby, I wouldn’t have had to endure so many months of dry skin!

estee lauder hydrationist serum
Image credit

Estee Lauder’s Hydrationist Moisture Barrier Fortifier is supposed to be an ultra-hydrating serum for all skin types and I picked up a travel sized version (7ml) of Hydrationist during my holiday in Hong Kong recently.

I had been battling awfully dry skin as a result of a long running eczema flare-up on my face and seriously, it is no fun going around with a face that’s covered with a red, irritated rash and dry peeling, flaking skin that makes me look as if I had permanent sunburn.

Enter Hydrationist.

To be absolutely sure that my skin wouldn’t feel overwhelmed when faced with a new product and especially a concentrated serum, I used this on its own with no other moisturiser.

With just one use, seventy percent of the minor flakies disappeared overnight, leaving just the really badly affected areas. With the dryness addressed, the redness and irritation in my skin started to reduce gradually.

By the second day (day and night use), only two stubborn dry patches near my eyes remained and my skin was almost back to normal.

On the third day, the area size of the dry patches near my eyes had shrunk by half and the rest of my face was back to normal.

By the fourth day, the dry patches around my eye area had improved so much you could barely see the dryness unless you looked up close and personal.

As if that wasn’t enough to sell me on the serum, Hydrationist also works on spots, because I had two tiny red hard pimples forming under my skin on my cheek (which was dry to begin with and the pimples had developed as the result of attempting to use a cream-based moisturiser to hydrate the area). After using Hydrationist, they softened and resolved by itself within 2 days. No popping involved!

What can I say? My skin adores Hydrationist! I’m never going without a bottle of this serum as long as they keep on manufacturing it.

I do have a minor gripe about the packaging though – the travel sized (7ml) version has no pump – it comes with a screw top cap that is secure for travel – but it makes it a bit harder to control the amount of product used each time. But I’d gladly put up with the hassle in order to keep this skin saver around.

Yes factors : Hydrates skin without feeling sticky or oily, works miracles on dry dehydrated skin
No factors : Expensive, not easy to control amount of serum used in the travel-sized version

Packaging : 50ml

Recommended Retail Price : MYR 210.00 (50ml)

Read other blogger reviews here :
Paris B

A miniature haul from Hong Kong!

Filed Under (bodycare, cosmetics, fragrances, lip gloss, lotions, moisturiser, retail shopping, skincare, suncare) by rinnah on 25-07-2011

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Ah Hong Kong! How I miss shopping there already… and I’ve only been back for a week. :P

Being a total newbie (it was my maiden trip to HK), I was totally unprepared for the bright lights and myriad stores. But I was lost the moment Kahani introduced me to Bonjour.

When she showed me the section on sample/travel sized products, I was completely sold on the concept and there was no turning back. The majority of the stuff you see in the picture below is from Bonjour, with a purchase each from Sasa, Harvey Nichols Beauty Hall and duty-free at Changi Terminal.

Hong Kong miniature haul

In no particular order, I came back with :
1. Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Rose Perle
2. Steam Cream
3. Lanvin Marry Me perfume miniature
4. Talika Lipocils Expert eyelash serum
5. Lancome Hydra Zen Neocalm detoxifying moisturising multi-relief anti-stress gel essence
6. Lancome Hydra Zen extreme soothing moisturising cream-gel
7. Lancome Genifique Youth Activator serum
8. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex serum
9. Estee Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Barrier Fortifier ultra-hydration serum
10. Dior Capture Totale One Essential skin boosting super serum
11. Diorsnow White Reveal essence
12. Shu Uemura UV Armor high protection face cream SPF 50
13. Shu Uemura Deepsea Hydrability moisturizing gel cream
14. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm
15. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial micro serum
16. Laniege Water Sleeping Pack_Ex
17. Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale exceptional complete care serum
18. Clinique Take The Day Off makeup remover

Whew! That’s a lot of miniature stuff, methinks! :P

And did you notice anything about the list above? It’s mostly skincare with a heavy slant towards hydrating stuff and anti-aging stuff.

I’ve been lemming quite a number of these serums for some time now, so yes, I am one very happy camper. Let’s hope that my sensitive/problematic skin takes kindly to me experimenting in the next few months!

How I wish I had access to these miniature pretties in Singapore or Malaysia all the time…

Read other blogger notes on shopping in Hong Kong here :
Paris B

Estee Lauder Staff Sales

Filed Under (cosmetics, sales, warehouse sales) by rinnah on 19-07-2008

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I can’t think of a better way to re-launch my reviews (and other consumer-related stuff) blog at this new domain than to blog about this year’s Estee Lauder Staff Sales. :o)

Firstly, I have to thank my fellow blogger Beetrice for the invite to the Estee Lauder Staff Sales. I didn’t know that I was holding on to a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket until I read about the good bargains, crazy queues, massive hordes of people and some near-obsessed females practically begging on different blogs/forums for an invite. Some of these coveted free but limited invites were also being sold for a nice sum (enough to feed my little Kelisa with one tank of petrol) before the event day.

Estee Lauder Staff Sale 2008 invite

I had originally planned to be there early, say around the ungodly hour of 6.30am, exactly one and a half hours before the doors were scheduled to open at 8.00am. Kiasu? Yes. I am female AND Malaysian after all. Haha. I was a bit late but all was good in the end because I arrived at exactly the same time as Beetrice, around 6.55am. The sight that greeted me was nothing short of amazing/shocking. I wonder at what time did these people start lining up?

The crowd waiting to get into the ballroom

Due to the overwhelming size of the crowd and possible crowd control issues, I’m glad that the organizers opened the doors early. Even though the sales was only supposed to begin at 8.00am, by around 7.30am they were already letting the people in. And, the lines moved quite rapidly and without incident, save for one or two people who tried to jump queue by hopping over the barricades. Ish. Malaysians never do learn, do they?

Didn’t manage to take any photos inside the Grand Ballroom because I was too busy trying to grab the stuff I wanted. *grin* Best-selling stuff went really quickly and there was limited stock too. Bobbi Brown sold out within half an hour and the better/popular skincare products for Clinique and Estee Lauder also finished quickly. I just managed to sneak one of the last few jars of Clinique’s Repairwear Contour firming cream for my mom. Needless to say, mom was quite happy with that and the two Clinique lippies that I gave her (the colors suited her better). As for me, I bagged myself a nice enough stash of 6 glosses (Clinique & M.A.C.), Estee Lauder’s Idealist skin refinisher and DKNY’s Be Delicious perfume. Let’s just say that the damage to my credit card was quite hefty. Hehe.

People patiently queuing up to go in

I think overall this year’s event was pretty well organized and I would go again next year if I managed to get an invite. When I left around 8.40am (approximately 1 hour after I got in), the queue to go in now stretched down the stairs and all the way out onto the street. Yikes!

Pictures and reviews of the products bought will be done as soon as I can draft ‘em!

Edit : Beetrice has also blogged about the sales (and her loot) here!

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