This month, I’m talking all things skin. The good, the bad, the ugly and everything-in-between. And as we come into these wintery cold months- what better way to connect than over this gloriously purposeful, sometimes frustrating, dry/oily/normal/combination, protective barrier.
As someone who has gone through the ‘Am I still getting a break-out in my thirties?’ absurdness, I am so excited to be sharing this with you here. Let’s get into it friends ;)
Kate: If the skin is the communicator for what’s going on inside your body (or mind), mine is an open book. No feelings being bottled up by my face. As soon as anything’s going wrong inside me, it lets me know via a scaly, red, bumpy little treat called Perioral Dermatitis. Mainly between the nose and the upper lip, this bodily blighter has plagued me for the guts of a decade, now. And it’s one of those ailments that’s only vaguely understood (at least by any skincare experts I’ve ever consulted, or stalked online); some say it’s dietary, others hormonal, but also that its triggered by the junk in commercial skincare and, surprise, surprise, stress.
Luckily, I can take my pick - any and all of these delights make their mark on me, in the form of a very attractive reptilian mustache, uncoverable by makeup, incurable by anything topical. Though, after much searching and genuine mental anguish (First World Problems, obviously, but there’s something unavoidably depressing about an unidentified section of gross, bang in the middle of your face), I have narrowed it down to a few key triggers and cures.
(1) Wheat (and to a lesser extent, other grains): my greatest foe. On an allergy test I come up fine, but (especially very refined, or non-fermented) wheat wreaks havoc with my digestive system, leaving me bloated and feeling amazingly glam; then after about two weeks it starts to show up on my skin, one scale at a time. So, mostly I avoid it, which is hard, considering sourdough bread with a kilo of butter is the best thing a human could eat. I also try to give my gut some backup by taking Biokult probiotics, and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar shots, when I can muster the courage. A more pleasant alternative is Kombucha, which I plan to get back into making; not only is it delicious, but it gets me just a touch tippled first thing in the morning, which helps with the craic of getting two boys out to school.
(2) Stress: not sure if I’ll ever combat this one. An extremely high fortune teller in Byron Bay, Australia, once told me that I would never be happy in modern society; that I was made for a life with nothing but chickens and children as my daily work. So, for now I’m just doing what I can; like subscribing to the Calm app, but never once using it and choosing what’s repeatedly voted one of the top five most stressful jobs in the world, event planning.
(3) Very cheap, or very expensive skincare; basically, anything with perfume, sulphates, silicon… anything synthetic, really. More on this below.
(4) Pregnancy: obviously. The scales were off the charts during both pregnancies, but if my bullet-proof contraception methods (I swear) are anything to go by, this won’t be an issue again.
(1) Astaxanthin: the actual elixir of youth and beauty (I use Bioastin 12mg). It’s a carotenoid, found in marine plants, shellfish and salmon and has broad health benefits like relief of pain and inflammation, eye health, cell cleansing and (sound the trumpets) healthy skin. Not only does it increase hydration, give you an internal suncreen (for the first time in my life, I can actually achieve a golden tan, rather than the burn-freckle combo) but it also happens to fight off my scales very effectively. If I’m lax on my Astaxin (Astax-lax) consumption, they’re bound to appear within a few weeks. If I see a few bumps appearing, I double-drop for a few days and that will see them off.
(2) Skincare: basically, anything you’ll find in the health shop, that’s not overly laden with essential oils. My go-to cleanser is Lavera Basis Sensitive Cleansing Gel, followed by a simple rosewater toner - this doesn’t have to be anything specific, just the large bottle of pure rosewater you can pick up in the chemist. I use Trilogy’s Age Proof Daily Defence Moisturiser and Ive just started using an eye cream (Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Eye Cream), though I’m not entirely unsure that this isn’t bringing on a bit of eye scale (oh yes, the Perioral also hangs out around my eyelids, sometimes), so I may revise. At night, I leave my skin naked, unless it’s feeling particularly dry, in which case I massage in some pure argan oil, which I also use on my nails, lips and any dry patches on my body. Always handy to have a bottle of this around; it makes for a great hair treatment, too. I use Jason Shampoo and Conditioner (because the SLS and silicons in all the big brands irritate the aule face, too) and diluted Dr Bronners as body wash.
(3) Cosmetics: this was a trickier quest. Most of the health shop brands either look rubbish, or look rubbish. Nude by Nature is a gorgeous collection of products, created by the leaders in glowy skin, the Aussies. I use the Liquid Mineral Foundation (lovely sheer coverage that evens skin tone really nicely for one so light), along with the Perfecting Concealer; Cashmere Pressed Blush; Sheer Light Illuminator for a bit of glow; and the Natural Illusion eyeshadow trios, which I’d love the texture of, even if they weren’t so kind to my skin. Lippie, mascara and brow pencils are whatever give me the most oomph, as these areas aren’t fussy about chemical content.
So, while I’d love to have the type of skin that looks fabulous, no matter what - my husband could clean his face with the horrible anti-bacterial wipes we keep by the toilet for little willy dribbles, and it would still look annoyingly perfect - when I’m feeling philosophical about my health and mortality, I am grateful that it keeps me on track, when I’d otherwise fall into periods of self-neglect pretty regularly. Nothing like vanity (rather than the prospect of numerous life-limiting diseases) to keep you eating well and away from toxins.
Thank you to the d-i-v-i-n-e Kate for allowing me to share here!
p.s. Kate is the talent behind the utterly gorgeous Love & events. If I had any sort of soiree, event, elopement, wedding, anything- she is one of the very few women whose taste I trust implicitly. Go have a peek for yourself here! x
*Top photo by The Campbells