Tuesday, 6 January 2015

New Year, Old Me!: beating the Delta Blues, plus pea-sized ponderings

A petit pois, would you believe! ~ Source: fr.academic.ru
Well, it's Twelfth Night, and the decorations are finally down. The Christmas tree didn't go easily, I might add. For I managed to smear the sofa again(!) in unidentified black organic matter as I staggered round the room with it, for all the world as though I were attempting some over-ambitious caber tossing stunt - minus the actual tossing. Except in the sense of throwing the tree out, I mean. Then as late as last night there was one final and spectacular festive malfunction, when I spilt a quarter pint of warm chicken dripping over the kitchen worktop, from where it promptly poured down the fridge door and onto the floor. That took some (neat Fairy Liquid-infused) mopping, I can tell you.

But this post is about skin - my skin, not the chicken's, though it was involved in the whole messy fiasco in a minor way. Yes, I wanted to recount more of my adventures as I explore the world of skincare - or indeed report on my dermatological adventures generally - for I appear to be at an age where my face is increasingly doing whatever the heck it likes in new and alarming ways, even as I make halting attempts to corral and tame it...

For example, I woke up on Sunday morning and instantly felt sick. Okay, I did finish off some rhubarb crumble at gone midnight while watching Breaking Bad, but it really wasn't that - it was more from shock than anything. For in the bathroom mirror I caught sight of the worst sleep creases ever - so much so that in my panic I was afraid they weren't sleep creases at all, but something rather more sinister and permanent. A deep latticework of grooves - nay, trenches - was etched all down one side of my face, from the edge of my eye to the jawline - I looked like the Nile Delta after a particularly bad drought. Okay, so the photo below is of the Colorado River Delta, but you get the idea.

Source: news. azpm.org

Now I have been experimenting with lots of different skincare products lately, so I wondered if the precise combo I wore to bed last night (an Olay Regenerist serum topped off with a Lidl Osiris anti-wrinkle cream) might have triggered an allergic response. But then logic kicked in and said that in that case the other side of my face would have been affected too.  Anyway, I googled the problem and tried the recommended techniques for making the lines go away - slapping my face to bring the circulation back, cold water, moisturiser, massage - even jumping up and down waving my arms in the air, haha. About an hour later, my face was back to normal, but it gave me a very bad turn. As I was making the bed later I noticed that the pillowcase looked suspiciously rumpled, so for once I must simply have slept soundly in one spot! As it happens, a fumie friend in Canada gave me a beautiful silk pillowcase for Christmas, designed to preclude these very instances of bedding-related facial engraving, but of course it would be on a pillow in the other room at the time.

My theory of an allergic reaction was not so daft though, as I am constantly switching between products, bringing new ones onstream, and trying them out in different permutations, even on different parts of my face. As I have mentioned in past posts about this quest to find my perfect skincare regime, it is a matter of constant trial and error to find what works for your own multi-faceted skin type (I am OSPW in Leslie Baumann's classification ie 'oily, sensitive, pigmented and wrinkled'). And you are of course supposed to persevere for about 4 weeks minimum with each thing you try before judging whether it has had a good effect or not - ideally longer. But at my age I haven't got enough time to give everything on the market that might be suitable for me a 4 week trial - in this or that combination to boot - for we are urged to layer different products on our skin for maximum effect, even if we stop short of the full 10-17 step Korean beauty regime. I might not emerge from this current testing phase till I am 70, by which time it really would be too late. 

And also, when you are using several products with anti-ageing and/or other nutrients in them, it is hard to disentangle where precisely the good benefit of any of them is coming from. Or even whether it is down to that present combination OR the cumulative effects of other past product trials finally bearing fruit. You know, like when you can't get the cork out of a bottle of cava, and then it comes out first time for the friend you pass it to in desperation, but only because you did all the leg work first. Well, you and the grippy tea towel you will also undoubtedly have used. So there is that conundrum - how do you really know something is working? Frankly, I am better at just telling you something feels nice and doesn't irritate my skin. I think if anything the bony bit at the top of my cheeks, just under the orbital eye area, is looking more cross-hatched lately. Maybe it is fed up having this kaleidoscope of new stuff slathered on it, and is protesting accordingly. And sometimes the combination of things I try does sting rather, and I lie in bed wondering to myself: 'Now is that good stinging or bad stinging?'

Which brings me to my other point....about portion control. I have always found it difficult to estimate how much of any given product to put on my face. I suppose with a classic moisturiser it doesn't matter - not so much as to look greasy, say - but with serums, which are super concentrated with an array of active ingredients, if you've chosen them well, a little goes a long way. I was dimly aware that a 'pea-sized' blob is the standard amount to apply, but this doesn't seem to go very far, and I don't think my head is unduly big. I could use a pea-sized amount on my eyes alone, indeed with the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair eye serum I have, that is in fact the deal. So how can a pea-sized blob be sufficient for a much bigger area?

Source: tips.stayhealth.xyz

I consulted Tara of Olfactoria's Travels, who is shaping up to be a bit of a personal skincare guru to me at the moment - a role that gained further momentum when she acquired Sali Hughes' new book, Pretty Honest, for Christmas - and she told me to blend the blob in my palms and smooth the serum on that way. I had dimly heard of doing that too, but the one and only time I tried it the cream stayed mainly on my hands. So Tara suggested spreading the blob evenly across a few fingertips on each hand, and I must say that is working better. I still skimp on a few areas but I am not overusing it at least. I sense that potent things like serums could do you a mischief in excess, and historically I may well be guilty of that. And maybe I do have a big head after all. No, don't answer that. ;) Or....hold on... I could be using the wrong gauge of pea. After all, there are garden peas and petits pois for starters (see above).

But gradually, gradually, I am drawing up a list of products which I have rigorously qualified as all right for my skin in comfort terms, and most likely on balance to be beneficial. More than that I cannot say. Though whether I will stick with them long enough to find out is anyone's guess! I am with skincare a bit as I was at the start of my perfume hobby - there are so many formulations out there and I am fired up to try as many as possible - which of course from a financial point of view is a non-starter, as you can't 'buy samples' from an equivalent to Surrender to Chance, nor is there a swap scene on the same scale - for hygiene reasons, I imagine.

My latest discoveries (suitable for my oily to combination mature problem skin!)

Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum 

Can be used day or night, is very silky and easily absorbed. Highly recommended by Paula Begoun in Beautypedia. Mainly based on peptides as far as I can gather.

Clinique Superdefense SPF20

This I have yet to get my hands on, but it is a daytime eye cream with a good level of sunscreen yet gentle enough for use on the eye area - always a tricky combo. Again, it gets the highest rating on Beautypedia. I would of course rather they spelt Superdefence with a 'c' over here, but I will overlook that.

Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator

This I have on order and it is going to serve as a night cream - and a daytime moisturiser if I remember to add sunscreen - it seems that it could also safely go round my eyes. Here is the Beautypedia review, albeit you would expect it to be glowing!

Source: Paula's Choice

Then I am still using Resist Skin Transforming Multi-Correction Treatment, which is classed by Paula's Choice as a 'special product', and which goes on before the serum and/or moisturiser. I use that on my chin in particular, topped off by Effaclar Duo +, the Rolls-Royce of spot zapping gels. Now that I can say from experience, having used it for over a year now at a guess.

The other thing I have learnt from my reading is that oily skins may be able to get away with serum + sunscreen rather than moisturiser ie, I am vindicated in thinking that I find it unpleasant to layer as many products as someone with dry skin - the last application of moisturiser just sits there on my face like slush on a kerb.

Oh, and meanwhile, Tara is going to investigate another 'product of interest' from the Paula's Choice line and one by Indeed Labs, so it will be interesting to get her feedback on those, even if we have different skin types. I am also curious to try the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Tara is very struck on, when I feel ready to jump back into the retinol fray. The ROC equivalent - supposedly for sensitive skins - was one of the creams that stung on me, though as I say my portion control may well have been off. And they do say no pain no gain..?


  1. Great post, V. As you know I am trying to get my own skincare regime together so I'm learning along with you, but it was very nice to be called a guru! It's fun to share info.

    Love the "slush on the kerb" analogy. So true! I'm coming to terms with bothering with 2 layers, I can't imagine what the Korean 10-17 step routine is like. How much earlier would you have to get up in the morning?! I think serum plus sunscreen would be a great option for you.

    Really looking forward to testing out the Paula's Choice products I have on order and the Indeed Labs serum once I can get hold of it.

    I think portion control is important to avoid a reaction. Spreading across your fingertips and then dabbing on the face is probably the way to go. Paula does stress how overloading the skin can lead to problems.

    I'll have to think of a way to send you some of my Redermic R or wait till I've nearly finished it and send you the remainder. Retinol makes such a difference and as I've said, the La Roche Posay doesn't sting like RoC did to me also.

    1. Hi Tara,

      I think this 'learning in tandem' is a good way to go - plus it spreads the cost of investing in these potential hero products. I must say Korean women's complexions look flawless, but all those steps would tip me over the edge. Hey, sometimes I can't even be bothered to floss.

      It is a big relief to know that I am not at fault for failing to tolerate a lot of layers of product. I kept buying all these day creams that were far too heavy for my oily skin, but didn't realise how very tailored the skincare market is. I just thought that if Red or Good Housekeeping magazine said it was a top buy, it would be great for anybody. Which as I know now is a ludicrous mistake. I

      And I think I have overloaded my skin in every sense, also with overly large peas. Some were getting on towards grapes or even small satsumas.

      I will try the Redermic R at some point. Maybe I could send you one of those little plastic travel pots with the final leg warmer(s) and you could put a teeny blob in there. Or I could just bite the bullet and buy my own tube?!

    2. If you already have one of those travel pots then do send it with the leg warmer or else I'll come towards the end of the tube in another month or so.

      I too had not thought how important it is to target your skincare and know exactly what you are seeking to achieve with each product. A revelation!

    3. T, I do have one I am pretty sure - you only need to put a pea sized blob in it, obviously! ;)

      I have been doing further research today - addled my brain with it really - more around cleansers this time. I do genuinely believe that when I was young the products were more aggressive and less well formulated, so you may have done yourself a mischief using them, if you even felt the urge to. We were so much more cavalier about sun and skincare generally - as we were about sugar indeed. And today there are lots of 50 somethings with the fillings to prove it!

  2. Oh gee, I'm going to have to start calling you Pauline.

    Meanwhile, no such thing as "good stinging". If it stings you have either used too much, applied it before your skin was completely dry after washing, or your skin is too sensitive for that product. I think with the retinol it was indeed "portion size". You may want to try it again, but using less and starting with once a week.

    I use and love the Olay Regenerist serum, but in the fragrance free version (you know how Paula is about fragrance in products). I use it instead of any heavier moisturizer. (Note: there's a typo in your Olay label below this post).

    I plan to start using a hyaluronic acid cream as it helps "plump" the skin by retaining and attracting moisture so should help with bed-face.

    Do keep us apprised of your skin-care experiences. And all the best in 2015.

    -- Lindaloo

    1. Hi Lindaloo,

      Thanks for the typo alert - good spot, and now fixed.

      Haha, I know I sound like a complete Paula Moonie, don't I? I did check out reviews of these products on other sites such as Amazon and Makeupalley, but I keep coming back to the more 'scientific' analysis of the products' ingredients on the Beautypedia site. The fact that Paula endorses other brands - albeit a relatively small subset of what is on the market - is to her credit.

      I think I must be able to take a bit of fragrance - whatever is in the version of the Olay serum I have is perfectly congenial. I am in love with the silky smoothness of this serum and how well it is absorbed. It is a shame I need sunscreen as well, as I would love to just wear this.

      Now Tara is on a bit of a hyaluronic acid hunt, and that is the nature of the Indeed Labs product she will be investigating. I certainly need everything going to help with bed-face - this one was seriously shocking!

      All the best to you too in 2015.

    2. As for a "Paula Moonie", her books and Beautypedia site are where I learned the most, too, along with Leslie Baumann's book (especially the section on rosacea). I do read a few beauty blogs but mostly for the pretty colour swatches.
      Birgit is a Paula's Choice fan and I think she has mentioned those are the only skincare products she uses.

      I strongly share the belief in the fewest products possible, although I'm thinking of trying the occasional Korean mask that Victoria raves about on eaumg.

      As for sunscreen, I am not at all diligent about that -- I find the mineral-based ones tend to have a very white cast and the chemical ones make my skin feel really hot and uncomfortable. Sadly, I look silly in hats, so shade is my friend.

      And life goes on.

      -- Lindaloo

    3. Hi Lindaloo, at the risk of also sounding like a Paula's Choice zealot, she does do a moisturiser with a mineral-based sunscreen that includes a sheer tint, preventing the white cast. I have it on order.

    4. It's called Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30.

      Excuse me jumping in, V!

    5. Lindaloo, well, I seem to be on the right track then, as someone also with (localised) rosacea. Those two sources do seem very authoritative compared with the 'puffier' end of beauty blogs. Though as you say, they can't be beat for close up shots of colours, and are my go-to resource for lipstick and eyeshadow inquiries!

      I hope that once I find something for each aspect of a fairly simple facial routine I will be happy to just stick with it. I doubt very much whether my skincare interest has the same 'legs' as my love of perfume, inspired as it is by more utilitarian concerns.

      Sunscreen I have been completely reckless about my whole life till...um...last year? I hope to get hold of the Resist product Tara mentions above, which came up in both our investigations as 'a good thing', but have many bits of moisturiser to use up first. As standalone sunscreen goes, I can really rate Skinceuticals SPF50 (or 30 or whatever factor you need). This was a tip off from Katie Puckrik on whose face it was quite undetectable. Sure enough, even on my greasy skin I can apply it after serum and it doesn't add much additional shine. So it seems I can do serum + that sunscreen (but no other I have tried) or - if I get that Resist cream above in due course - serum + moisturiser with a decent SPF in it. As I have sorted for my eye area already in that Clinique cream mentioned in my post, which I have yet to acquire. ;)

    6. Tara, please jump in anytime, as you always have useful titbits to add to the debate. Guru contributions are positively to be encouraged!

    7. Ha ha! Great. Thanks V.

    8. Thanks, Tara. Always happy to hear your recommendations.

      -- Lindaloo

  3. Well I don't really do much with skincare, for better or worse I generally just use the cetaphil moisturizer and call it a day... but I got a real kick out of that Korean ad. "please, don't put just any water on your skin! Only the best water (goes) on my skin!" (Unless the word for water is also used as the word for serum or something, I don't claim to be fluent!). Occasionally I think about going to the Korean cosmetics store, but I know I'll just end up with a hundred products I won't use. My mom always hounds me to take better care of my skin though, a true Korean she must be!

    1. Hi Sun,

      Thanks for giving us an insight into what that ad said. How funny! I found a lot of similar images on the Internet, including a couple for some strange little facial massage tools, whose use may or may not have constituted one of the many steps, hehe.

      I like the fact that you have Korean antecedents, yet are more casual about your own skincare regime - I guess they need some counterweight to the crazy obsessing! Plus you are much younger and can probably afford to kick back a bit, dermatologically speaking. ;)

    2. Well - as my mom always tells me, if I want to look good when I'm *older* than I need to take care of my skin now. And I have to admit, my mom looks really great for her age. For what it's worth, though, my mom doesn't use a ton of Korean skin care products (some BB cremes and sunscreens). She uses a lot of emu oil products on her face these days. Have you ever tried any emu oil products? BUT - I just got this korean nose pore strip in a swap and I tried it out and I was really impressed, so I might actually go to the Korean cosmetics shop today and browse around. I also need a good exfoliator because I feel like my forehead skin is getting bumpy...

    3. Good for you for taking skincare seriously at your age - my mother didn't encourage me to do that particularly but it was another, much less health-conscious time.

      I have not heard of emu oil, no! Sounds rather exotic. The nose pore strips are a good idea, I haven't used anything like that before.

  4. Fun! (I find skincare fun, what can I say..:-)). I had a pretty great skincare routine around 4 years ago. Then I got lazy. The past year I have been obsessed with skincare and (natural) makeup again. At one point a month or so ago, my skin looked the best it has in a while,g and then I got greedy and 'overloaded' my skin and of course my skin rebelled..lol. Now I am back to paring down and using products that I know work really well on my skin.

    One of the things I loved best about my skincare routine early in my 'skincare madness' days years ago was the process of 'emulsifying' a water based hyalaronic serum with an oil with my finger tips- that made the mixture very spreadable (similar to what Tara suggests, I think). Also when my skin is moist (usually by spraying rosewater or similar hydrofoils/toner), I find I can use much less serum-type product..:)

    1. aah- too many typos (baby in one hand and one finger typing..lol)..I meant hydrofoils not hydrosols..

      i just realized it was autocorrect not a typo..:)

    2. arrgghh- I meant 'hydrosols not hydrofoils'..I give up!! :D

    3. Hi Lavanya,

      Don't worry about the typos - the hydrofoil one was excellent! And hydrofoils do cause quite a big wake after all so not entirely off-topic as you were speaking of sprayed rosewater in the same breath. And the fact you are commenting at all with a baby in one hand - and a toddler doubtless not far away - is a pretty remarkable feat in my book.

      Interested to hear about your skincare 'j*****y' - there, I avoided saying it. I am sure I am guilty of overloading my skin at the moment during this frenetic testing phase, as there is a compulsion to pile on the layers of wonder product to get maximum combined effects. But I think I may be slowly learning my lesson on this point.

      My ears also pricked up as you were explaining your serum spreading strategies. I had noticed that on slightly damp skin - more by accident than design - the serum goes further, but does it have the same efficacy that way, does anyone know?

    4. Yes- my skin was looking near perfect when I decided to test a few more products. Plus we were traveling at the time- so not sure what to attribute the skin rebellion to..:)

      I have read/heard and experienced that damp skin helps oil based serums to absorb efficiently and better. With water based serums (even though I am sure I've read it somewhere) my theory is based largely on empirical data. I have found that my face is more hydrated and glowy when I start with damp skin. (you can even spray cold distilled water )..But recently I did have a similar question about whether using less product have the same efficacy. What I usually end up doing is using a bit more than the recommended amount but on damp skin..lol. That way I get all the benefits..:) But seriously I am sure if you are following the amounts mentioned in the instructions you should be good (but on damp skin). Also recently, based on a tip, I have been waiting a bit after my moisturizer to apply makeup and that also helps allow the skin absorb all the goodies.

    5. Oh, travelling might have added an extra level of stress, or maybe it was the combination of the two factors.

      I have spent some time reading up on applying things to damp skin - actually it was cleansing balm, not serum, and there the advice was only to put some on dry skin. If I find out more about serums and moisture I will get back to you! I know they say it is the way to go when applying body butters and lotions to other parts of the body - don't they say it locks the moisture in? And of course there is this happy spin off of making the product go further.

      Oh, I do try to wait for the various products to be absorbed before doing some other part of my routine, like putting on makeup - that is a very good tip.

    6. yes- it makes sense to applying cleansing balms and oils on dry skin as you want the oils in it to dissolve dissolve the grime/makeup..

      Ok- back from some 'google sleuthing' about damp skin and serums. Apparently damp skin is 10 times more penetrable than dry skin which makes it better at absorbing the actives in serums!..:D

    7. Oh and I meant to wish you- Happy New Year! and hope you had a good christmas too?

    8. Happy New Year to you - this time last year I was kipping on your sofa in Holborn. ;) Had a great Christmas, thanks - some amusing misadventures related to that are featured on the blog.

      And thanks for undertaking that extra bit of sleuthing. Today for the first time I applied my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum to damp skin and it went on much more easily, with no dragging of the delicate skin round my eyes! Funny that the bottles don't mention that as a tip in the application instructions. Well, they barely mention the pea-sized blob, most of them, so it is up to the customer to figure out how much to use without overegging it.

  5. Aaaaa, so that's how the pea size blob works?! I always wondered about that because when I put a pea size amount of anything on my face, it's never enough. :)

    1. Hi Ines,

      It's been a revelation to me, truly. And I am still not convinced it's enough, and even in the last day or two have been known to add an extra 'baby pea' to get my eyes done as well, or whatever.

  6. Have you thought about consulting someone like Caroline Hirons? I suspect it's expensive, but will probably save you a lot of trying. OTOH trying can be fun, I know. As I said before, I do like the LRP stuff and for the oily skin type the new Zinc toner is supposed to be excellent. Other brands I like are REN, Clarins and Liz Earle.

    1. Hi Sabine,

      No, I hadn't thought of that, and though I didn't know she did one-to-one consultations, I have just been and read a load of blog posts by people who have had one, which was quite illuminating in itself. I had read lots of Caroline Hirons' blog posts too and already added fish oil and probiotics to my diet, but am reluctant to lose the alcohol, sugar and dairy. Plus I don't drink all the water she recommends. I fear she might tell me to do things I wouldn't have the commitment to do, and possibly steer me towards some expensive products I can't currently afford. But I would love to have a consultation in principle, and £65 is good value - if you follow her advice, that is. ;)

      Oh, Get Lippie was raving about that zinc toner on Facebook recently, so it is on my radar, as well as Paula's Choice 2% Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid Exfoliant. Am using the BHA equivalent from LRP at the moment, but am curious to try the PC one now.

      I use Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish routine every morning to wash my face, though Bioderma Sensibio at night to take make up off. Liz Earle is a definite keeper. I have a REN exfoliating scrub, you have reminded me, which I really should use, and a few odd samples of Clarins, plus a foundation.

    2. I have to say that I have started to do the drinking lots of water thing, and it does help. Won't get rid of the wine and the gin any time soon though....
      Another REN product that is worth having a look at is their 1 minute facial. While I usually don't believe in minute miracles, it is actually good, just not for my dry sensitive skin.

    3. Oh, well done - I just hate drinking water on its own when I am not thirsty - sparkling or otherwise. I really have quite a small inherent thirst, if you know what I mean.

      That REN 1 minute facial sounds good. Anything quick is a plus in my book!

  7. Hilarious but excellent post as usual. My skin care regime has been the same since I was 16 and my mum gave me my first bottle of Oil of Olay ( I seem to have dim memories of it being referred to as Ulay back in the day in the UK). It came in a heavy glass bottle with a black top which appealed to my teenage sense of aesthetics. I still use it as I approach 60, although sadly now, plastic has replaced the glass. I have added the Regenerist serum but they are the only 2 things I bother with. Very occasionally I've tried other things - I was into the Biba skincare line back in the day but mainly just bought them for the marvelous black bottles (and of course, the trip to the Biba store was an experience in and of itself.) I still have 4 of the bottles and the smell of the hand cream still lingers, transporting me back to days of mini skirts, gogoboots, bell bottoms and Mary Quant eyes. I've dabbled with a few other products over the years - mostly centered on the eye area as puffiness is the bane of my existence face wise. I've veered off into "folk lore" too on this particular j*****y (haha - I'm watching the current season of the ridiculous The Bachelor although it pains me to admit it) and have tried everything from cucumber to cold teabags to Preparation H. Each time, I've come back to Olay products.
    I am trying to resist the urge to google Leslie Baumann and Paula's Choice as I don't need to fall down another rabbit hole and so will spend the next few minutes after sending this post reciting the manta "if it aint broke..."

    1. Hi SallyM,

      Good to hear from you! Thanks for your kind comment and for telling us about your beauty regime. Oil of Olay was indeed called Ulay back in the day and my mum was another user. For a while after her death, I kept a bottle of some unguent, which might have been that indeed. I think she also dabbled in Helena Rubenstein, though I can't recall what now. And it is not a brand you hear about so much these days.

      What version of the Olay moisturiser are you using now? - there are so many variants it seems. Glad to learn you are also a fan of the Regenerist serum.

      Oh, and I love The Bachelor! Though I haven't seen it in ages, as I don't have Sky TV anymore.

      I think you are wise to avoid falling down this particular rabbit hole - I am finding it quite stressful trying to make sense of the wealth of often contradictory information, and can only do it in bursts until I have steam coming out of my ears (not even related to a facial ;) ) and have to withdraw from the fray.

  8. Hi Vanessa,
    I'm having a similar skin obsession at the moment having broken out in huge spots (the type that make your face swell up and don't come to a head for a fortnight) before christmas. This is topped off with very dry cheeks and (unnecessarily) angry broken capillaries that look like the 'red weed' scene in the old War Of The Worlds album insert. I've spent A LOT of money in the last couple of months on trying to sort it out.

    First off was a trip to the docs who prescribed oral antibiotics and suggested that as I'm still using an, albeit low dose, of anti-depressants, he'd be willing to refer me to a dermatologist 'if my broken veins were causing me severe low esteem', this was accompanied by a wink. Well, being as I love my puddle coloured eyes I can say that my appearance doesn't cause me any suicidal thoughts! However, I'm seriously considering embracing the situation to get some free laser therapy to reduce my red wino appearance which doesn't seem fair with my relatively low incidences of booze-hounding.

    In the meantime, I have discovered some amazing day cream from Elemis that I bought to sort out the oily bits - Hydrabalance Cream. It's extremely moisturising for a product that is supposed to balance combination skin. I'm really impressed. In combo with the antibiotics things seem to be improving.
    I also used to use Nuxe anti-aging moisturisers which amazingly you can buy in combination skin formulas, unusual being as anti-aging stuff seems to be usually very rich. You'd love the smell of them, lots of natural floral fragrance, neroli-tastic.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I don't have your unfortunate capillary issue but I can totally relate to your big spots, having suffered from cystic acne more on than off for 40 years. Am in the midst of a post-Christmas flare up too. I am back on the antibiotics after giving them up for a month or two - the results were just too bad without that suppressant, though they don't completely cut it even so. Having tried a load of different ones, I get best results with oxytetracycline.

      I say go for that treatment if they are offering it. Broken veins must be quite a downer, and the NHS may be on its knees before long so use it while it's there!

      Those moisturisers you have found sound wonderful, and I am glad they are working for you.

  9. I want to second "bad stinging" notion. In my opinion, nothing skin-related follows the "no pain, no gain" rule.

    I keep postponing my visit to a dermatologist and meanwhile I try to use as little of everything as I think possible. Always sunscreen. Sometimes serums but always moisturizers.

    The scent in a product is very important to me. I could probably tolerate a completely scent-free product but not just fragrance-free that smells "naturally."

    Thanks to you I changed my habits regarding eye creams - I started lightly touching the area with much less product than I used t. I have no idea if it changed anything but I think of you almost every time I apply an eye cream. Now I'll be also thinking about peas... :)

    1. Hi Undina,

      Further reading on the subject of stinging leads me to believe that a degree of tingling is acceptable - ROC actually mentions this on the back of its retinol cream for sensitive skins - but I am sure out-and-out stinging is a no-no. When I used to use powerful benzyl peroxide creams I knew at once I had overcooked it. That was before I had done half the research I have done now.

      I think ideally serum, moisturiser and sunscreen are the perfect combo, but it depends how much stuff you can tolerate at one time on your skin - in my own case, not a lot!

      I was amused and flattered to learn that I had an impact on your eye cream application technique and that the very act reminds you of me! I also have a few 'Undina triggers' round the house, most recently, the hat you returned, which I have now adopted in the colder weather.

  10. Wow. Everyone has written so much. I have been extremely lucky in as much as I inherited good skin. Yes, it is definitely genetic I did however inherit total insanity so you know, swings and roundabouts. I have spent the l st six months using Lancômes Advanced Génifique Youth Activating (!) Concentrate. A pea sized amont would do you four days. You need so little it´s amazing. I was with Tara in Selfrdige´s last July, the day before meeting you actually, where the amazingly in and extremely generous SA assistant gave me about 10 samples to try. I bought it once I had run out. I love it and will buy it again, I don´t think in the number of euros I have to shell out, just in cookies. No where near as painful. For the rest I just slap Nivea moisturizer or sometimes Clarins on. When I have it I use the Lush Celestial Cream at night. Lovely stuff. Bussis xxx

    1. Hey Val,

      Insanity and good skin sound like a feisty mix, but insanity is better than dullness in my book. I will look up that Lancome product you like, as it is not on my radar. I agree that thinking of the price in terms of cookies is a good ruse for minimising the damage!

      I am also a fan of the cheaper Nivea moisturisers, I must say, which I can use near my eyes. I have a light one with SPF 15 and an oil-free one with nothing else and they do feel and smell nice and are completely non-irritating. The Lush Celestial cream does sound heavenly too, as well it might, hehe. ;)

  11. I have been using Jason Pure Nature Creme C-Effects on my face - not sure why, just saw it and figured it might work. I'll keep tabs on your skin posts - am interested in learning! Thanks Bonks!!!

    1. Hi Carol,

      Not sure we have that brand over here, but hope that it's a winner for you. To be truthful I am just muddling along with all this skincare lark, but one or two 'good practice' aspects are falling into place, so I am glad if you find those helpful. ;)