How I Got Rid of Chronic Cystic Acne

The first time I noticed I had acne was when I was 14 years old. I struggled with acne on my face, chest and back the rest of my teen aged years and into my twenties. I tried every cure people told me about, from Aloe Vera to sulfur soaps but nothing worked. The bumps were always there. Another thing that was always there were the insults. Some of them out of malicious intent but some out of sheer ignorance. Anyway, that is another topic for another time.

Today I want to share what I did to get and keep my acne under control.

The first time I ever saw my acne go away was after a treatment prescribed by my dermatologist in 2013. I had had it and decided to try the dermatologist route. He prescribed Deriva which is 0.1% adapalene. It is same ingredient in Differin.

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Along with the Deriva Gel my dermatologist also prescribed a benzoyl peroxide cream which acted as and antibacterial to help heal breakouts more quickly. I do not remember the exact name but they are relatively easy to find.

My skin care routine consisted of:

1. Washing my face with a salicylic acid based cream cleanser that cleansed my face without drying it out

2. Next I toned with a gentle toner.

3. After washing and toning at night applied the Deriva gel,followed by the benzoyl peroxide cream. In the mornings I skipped the Deriva gel since wearing it in sunlight could cause skin irritation

4. Finally I moisturised with an oil free moisturiser.

5. About twice a week I did a lime juice mask to lighten the dark spots that old breakouts had left. Which just consisted of plain old lime juice that I applied to my face and rinsed off after about 15 minutes.

For the first time since I was fourteen years old I did not have to worry about the way my skin looked.

That all changed when I got pregnant towards the end of 2013. I was no longer able to use the Deriva gel because of the possible contraindications with my baby.

Needless to say I did not have the smooth, glowing pregnancy skin. My acne was not horrible however, and I was so focused on having a healthy baby that I did not care what my skin was doing. After giving birth I still was not able to go back to my old regimen because I was breast feeding and there is a posibility that any chemicals I used on my skin could get into my breast milk.

A few months later (early 2015) I started taking birth control. Yasmin to be exact.

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Not too long after, I  started noticing a significant reduction in my acne. For the most part now I have clear skin except when I allow myself to get dehydrated.

In addition to taking birth control, my current regiment consists of:

1. If I am wearing makeup I use either coconut or olive oil to break it up and wipe with a baby wipe before I start cleansing.

2. Wash with a gentle cream cleanser. I am currently using the Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser Mask which I mentioned in my last favourites. I have recently started cleansing with the Vanity Planet cleansing brush, which helps to cleanse my face better than my hands alone can

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3. After washing I tone. I am trying out a new toner which is the Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner with alpha and beta hydroxy acid.

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4. The next step is to treat with Neutrogena on the spot, acne treatment.

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5. At night I moisturise with the Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Night-time moisturiser and in the mornings I moisturise with the Clean and Clear Morning Glow Moisturiser with SPF15.

 

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6. I stopped using lime juice for a while but a few days ago I started using it once a week for brightening and exfoliation. I also physically exfoliate once a week using the exfoliation brush that comes with the Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush.

This is how my skin looks at the moment. Unfortunately I do not have any blog worthy before pictures of my bad acne days to share. I was not thinking about sharing this with the world back then. (Goes to show how hopeless I was).

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I hope you all find this informative. I am planning on incorporating more anti-aging products into my skin care so I will do an updated skin care routine soon. Let me know in the comments whether you struggle with acne and what you are doing to keep it at bay.

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How I Trim my Hair to Keep my Ends Healthy and Retain Length

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, my hair is currently recovering from over a year of bad hair care. As a result I find that I need to trim more often than I normally would if my hair was in tip-top shape. I really need to start keeping track of my trims so that I can use the frequency of my trims to gauge the improvement of my hair. So for record keeping this  trim was on  Saturday, May 14. Now on to the meat of the matter.

How to Know When Your Hair Needs a Trim

Signs that your hair needs a trim include:

  1. Thinning – the ends of your hair are see-through or significantly thinner that the top-middle sections of your hair.
  2. Dry ends – the ends of your hair refuse to stay moist and look trashy (denser than the rest of your hair) especially after washing
  3. Tangled ends – the ends of your hair  tangle easier  than usual making it difficult to comb through the ends.
  4. Split ends – hair strands start to separate/split

How I trim

I always trim my hair when it is dry. Dry hair makes it easy to identify and trim away damaged areas without over trimming. I also make sure that I trim my hair in good (preferably natural ) lighting again to make sure I trim only what needs to be trimmed.

The most important thing when trimming is to make sure you are using shears that are made for trimming hair and are only used for cutting hair. It is better to not trim than to trim with dull, damaged scissors.

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Once you have proper scissors, good light and dry hair you are ready to trim. As with everything I do to my hair, I trim in sections. I usually part my hair down the middle and start sectioning off about one inch sections, working from the back of my head forward.

Using a fine toothed comb, I comb through each one inch section to get the hairs as straight as possible. I then run my fingers down and hold the hair taut right above the point at which I want to cut. Holding my scissors horizontally I trim across as straight as possible.

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Even though I  trim small sections, all the strands in each section do not come down to the end of the section. In order to ensure I do not leave out those shorter ends, I twist the section, run my fingers up along the twist and trim the ends of the points that flyaway.

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I repeat until all my hair is trimmed.

The Search and Destroy Method

Using the method I described above you will get rid of almost all your damaged ends. But sometimes a few might slip through the cracks. Between trims, I do the search and destroy method to find and get rid of any split ends I  missed when I trimmed. It entails physically searching through the hair for split or damaged ends and trimming them. I usually do this when I have my hair down, and  It doesn’t really need much planning. You don’t need to do it in one sitting and you can do it while you are watching TV, or anytime you have a bit of free time to ferret through your hair.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned a thing or two. Thanks for reading! Oh, and sorry about the foggy pictures!

 

 

 

 

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My Current Favourites: Skin Care, Beauty, Hair and Fashion

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I wanted to do a favourites for the month of April. But, by the time I found myself with time to put this post together, too many days had gone in May and it was no longer appropriate.  So I decided to make it a current favourites post. Without further ado, here are the things I am  enjoying at the moment.I love the idea of making great product recommendations so that you guys do not have to go through all the trial and error that I do.

Skin Care

I have two skin care faves and the first one is  the Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser Mask.

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I have been intending to buy a mask for the longest time because I needed something to suck the excess oil, white heads and black heads out of my pores. I ran out of cleanser recently and was looking to repurchase my usual cleanser and spotted this two in one mask and cleanser and since I love a deal, I had to get it. It’s two products for the price of one! And I have been loving it so far, even though I have only used it as a mask once, I have been cleansing my face with it two times a day for about three weeks and its a great cleanser. It does have tiny beads in it but it is not abrasive at all and best of all it cleanses without drying out my skin.

My second skin care  favourite / obsession at the moment is the  new Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush.

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Hands down it is the best decision I have made for my skin. I have been using it for about three weeks and I am loving the changes in my skin. I am going to do an in-depth review later on with before and after results etc.

Hair

I like everything that I use in my hair but I have been loving the African Pride Shea Butter Miracle Moisture Intense Silky Hair Moisturizer.

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Funny enough this moisturiser is for mixed textures, so transitioners and naturals but it works great on my hair and leaves my hair feeling really silky. To think I almost did not buy this product.  I looked at in the supermarket and left it but had no choice but to go back because I was completely out of moisturiser and it was a Sunday when all the beauty supply stores were closed. I have been pleasantly surprised and I am happy about that.

Beauty

I have one beauty item to share and it is the Cover Girl Clump Crusher mascara.

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This mascara gives me volume and separates my lashes like no other. I hate the look of clumpy spider lashes so this one is perfect for me because it make my lashes stand out without clumps.

Fashion

I have one fashion related Item that I am really enjoying at the moment and it is my Aldo Tote Bag that I bought on Thredup.com for cheap!

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It is just the perfect wear to work bag. It has lots of compartments so I can organise and separate everything I want to carry and it is big enough o hold my laptop. Whats more I love the snake pattern details and the gold hardware.

Side note:  if you do not know about Threup.com yet you need to check it out. It is an online thrift store that sells pre-owned, brand named clothes and accessories like my bag above for ridiculously low prices. Check them out if you want a great deal, plus you are doing the planet a favour by using  things that would otherwise just add to pollution.

Those are all my favourites at this time. I hope you find it helpful. Let me know if you enjoy this type of post in the comments!

Shop This Post:

Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser Mask

Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush

Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara

 

 

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Summer Shades

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Summer is right around the corner in the more temperate climes, but here in Jamaica it is always summer and I thought I would share with you a few sunglasses that I purchased recently. I am a squinter, if there is such a thing as allergy to light I have it. I can barely open my eyes wide enough to not bump into other people and objects when I am out in the sun.

So when I ended up with one pair  of sunglasses recently I knew it was time to restock.

Since I was purchasing some other bits from Forever 21  I decided to just throw in a few pairs of sunglasses and enjoy the free shipping. Of-course I added a lot more to my basket than I ended up picking, but in the end it came down to practicality with a little style thrown in.

This first pair is in the cat eye style, enough to be stylish but not too exaggerated. I chose the sort of brass handle because it would go well with the mostly gold accessories that I wear. It is nice and neutral and is great for casual days.

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The second pair I chose is in the wayfarer style with just a hint of cat eye. It is quite chunky and sturdy and I choose it mainly to wear for work. I was thinking of getting an aviator, but a remember how many of them I had broken in the past. The sturdiness of this pair will stand up.to the all the falls and squeezes its likely to get while I am working or travelling to and from work.

It is a neutral black with a small slice of gold hardware at the top of the frames (yes I love gold). So I still get a little style mixed with the functionality. I love how big the lenses are for maximum  sun blockage.

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The third pair I bought is definitely the most stylish of the three. It has the Dior vibe that lots of bloggers are wearing. The handles have a brown wooden/animal print look that makes them cool but neutral at the same time. I also love the olive-green tint of the lenses. I can picture these shades jazzing up so many casual summer outfits.

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Shop this Post:

Black Cat Eyes with Brass Handles: All similar styles sold out.

Black Wayfarer: Similar Here

Navy Green and brown cat eye: Similar Here

These might last at most a year before the get scratchy but they are cheap so no complaints. They would have served their purpose.

I hope you all enjoy this type of post. Let me know if you would like me to make more fashion related post!

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How to Obtain and Maintain Your Hair’s Moisture-Protein Balance

It has been a whole week since I have posted on my blog and I did not want anymore time to pass without addressing Moisture-Protein Balance. I have done an entire series on breakage prevention techniques but I didn’t single out moisture-protein balance as a way to prevent breakage because it factors  into other areas such as deep conditioning and moisturising.

Our hair is made up of keratin which is a protein. This protein breaks down through natural wear and tear as well as from chemical and physical  processes like combing, straightening, dyeing and relaxing. It is therefore important to replace the protein that is being lost through these processes to prevent the hair from becoming weak and eventually break.

However, replenishing protein loss alone does not by itself keep your hair healthy. Even though protein makes your hair stronger, by itself it is useless against preventing breakage and so moisture in the form of water is very important. In order for your hair to be able to withstand manipulation and wear and tear it needs to be elastic. Adding moisture as well as protein makes your hair not only strong from the protein but also flexible. Water adds an elastic quality that allows the hair to be stretched and bent without snapping and breaking. So the two go hand in hand and I had to learn the hard way that you cannot just choose one and wing it.

The Moisture-Protein Balance Test

Okay so you try to incorporate both moisture and protein based products in your regimen but you are not sure if there is a balance between the two. There is a simple test that you can do to find out:

Take a shed strand of your dry hair, hold it with both hands and stretch it gently. There are four thing that can happen:

  1. It snaps as soon as you stretch it. This means that your hair is lacking both protein and moisture because it is neither strong nor elastic.
  2. It does not stretch but does not break easily. This usually indicates that your hair has enough protein but not enough moisture.
  3. It stretches but snaps. This usually means that your hair has enough moisture but not enough protein.
  4. It stretches and does not snap. Perfect! This is the result you should aim for and usually indicate that your hair has both the correct level of moisture and protein.

If you try this test remember that even a healthy strand of hair is fragile and if too much force is applied it will break. This is not a tug of war so be gentle. Also you might want to try stretching different sections along the hair strand to get a more accurate picture because the area closer to your roots might be giving great results but it can be different toward the ends that are older and more worn.

How do I maintain Moisture-Protein Balance?

If you read My Current Hair Regimen and How I Prep my Hair for A Relaxer:Part 1 you will realize that I incorporate a strong protein treatment into my regimen once a month. I also ALWAYS follow this strong protein with a moisturising treatment to prevent my hair from becoming brittle. Protein can be incorporated in different ways and I use either a protein or moisturising leave-in depending on how my hair is doing.

Let me say that this was one of the most confusing concepts for me to grasp when I started my hair journey and it is through trail and error that I have arrived at a routine that works well for my hair. Also, please remember that each head of hair is different and our protein and moisture needs may differ. A good place to start is a once a month strong protein treatment like I do, then try increasing the frequency and see how your hair reacts. If your hair becomes dry, straw-like and hard then you might have used too much protein. Hopefully it doesn’t cause too much damage if this happens, and that is why it is important to follow-up with a moisturising  deep condition. You can also try adding protein in smaller portions through leave-ins, mild protein deep conditioners (like the ORS Replenishing Conditioner) and  moisturisers if you feel like you need a protein boost between strong protein treatments. I like the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-in for moisture and the Zimmi Orion Thermal Sheen Booster for a protein Leave-in.

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My go to strong protein treatment is the ORS Hair Mayonnaise.

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The moisturising deep conditioner I am loving at the moment is the Elasta QP DRP+11 which I recently did a review on.

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I hope you find this informative and not too confusing. As always if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below. Until nest time, happy hair journey!

 

 

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