Category Archives: Skin Concerns

What kind of acid is in your toner?

Acid Toners Madara Alba Botanica AcnedoteSo I am still on my way to achieving smooth even complexion. And I think it’s time to talk about probably the most under-rated skin care product ever – a toner…and one of its key ingredient that I am sure most people don’t even think about – an acid. In my skin care routine toners are one of the most important steps, I know most people ignore toners all together thinking it’s basically a clear liquid that does nothing! How wrong…If you find a well-suited toner for your skin, it can be a real game-changer in terms of how your skin looks. But you really need to know your ingredients and what will work best for your skin!

Based on their formulation I divide toners in two groups for myself – “pleasure” toners and “treatment” toners. In pleasure toners category I have all sorts of refreshing floral and herbal waters, they are available in abundance and mainly come as sprays/mists. Just pick the one with the most attractive ingredient list for you and you are good to go. Overall, nothing too difficult there.

Treatment toners are basically the ones formulated with some sort of acid. They can be very-very tricky, well at least for me. These kind of toners are not designed just to refresh skin and help absorb moisturiser, they can significantly reduce fine lines and post acne scars, improve skin tone and even fight skin inflammation. The effect depends pretty much on the toner’s formulation, the type of acid and its concentration.

Most of the acids are used in toners because of their powerful exfoliating properties. In some of the mainstream toners, you will find the whole cocktail of acids and they will be quite strong. However natural and organic brands usually tend to produce milder toners. I personally prefer very mild toners. While acids can really improve skin’s tone and texture, there is one huge downturn. Exfoliating acids actually remove top skin layers and make skin much thiner. This in turn makes skin really vulnerable to envrironmental damage especially from sun exposure. Hence if you use toners with powerful acids, you can easily end up with skin hyperpigmentation.

Now, few words on the type of acids one would usually expect to find in the ingredient list.

Glycolic acid seems to be very popular acid used in mainstream beauty toners and it’s the one I would personally stay away from. It’s burny, it’s strong and I think it’s not necessary at all. I understand that it is one of the most effective in short run, but I am not convinced that it’s safe for your skin in the long-run. I’ve done a couple of peels with glycolic acid some years back and my skin has become so sun sensitive that I need to where hat all the time now…and apparently that’s not only me!

Lactic acid can be found in both mainstream and natural toners. It’s quite mild, yet effective acid praised for its moisturising and soothing properties. It’s also a very gentle exfoliant. Again, some people are sensitive to it, so prior testing is a must. I would not pick products with Lactic acid at the top of the ingredient list as I find them to be too strong, but that’s just personal preference. Madara has a selection of really wonderful toners formulated with Lactic acid. They are suitable for everyday use too.

Salicylic acid is used mainly in anti-acne toners and astringents because of its powerful anti-inflammotary properties. I find this acid to be quite controversial as some people really like it and some people really hate it. I have Alba Botanica Acnedote astringent with 2% Salicylic Acid and I find it effective, but use it only occasionally to treat active acne as that stuff is really strong. I use it only overnight as it’s better to avoid sun exposure with Salicylic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is my favourite and is becoming more popular! It’s actually quite different from the acids I mentioned above as it doesn’t exfoliate skin but on opposite repairs and regenerate skin cells because of its unique molecular structure. Because of its replenishing and healing properties this acid works great for sensitive, irritated and acne-prone skin. It can also help with scars, fine lines and dry skin. There are many great toners enriched with Hyaluronic acid like Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner.

There are also many other acids that you can find in the ingredients list of your skincare, but most of them are used as preservatives (Citric acid, Dehydroacetic acid etc). They don’t offer much benefit, but can still cause skin reaction and sensitivity, so bare it in mind when you choosing your products and always test them first before applying all over the face.

Emergency Skin Rescue Routine

Skin Rescue Routine - CV Skinlabs & Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

My skin has always been on the sensitive side, especially my cheeks. Usually if my skin is not happy about something, I get lots of small blemishes and by now I know pretty well how to deal with that. But a couple of weeks ago, I went through a completely new thing for me in a form of the most horrible burning red rash around my chin! To say the least I was pretty shocked as I didn’t do any funny experiments with my face at that time and I’ve sticked to quite safe skin care routine recently.I don’t know the exact reason for that rash, but I blame all the chocolate I’d eaten over the few weeks before Easter (the way too-too much that any sensible person should ever eat)!

Anyway, there I was…very much lost as I had no clue what to do about it and all my skin care products only seemed to cause more irritation. First thing, I’ve stopped using all my usual products, as though all of them have very clean ingredients, most of them are formulated with essential oils and they are not the best way to deal with severe skin irritation.

Luckily, I’ve been using CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray for quite a while now mainly post waxing and I knew that it’s the most powerful anti-inflammotary product in my stash. That was one of the first products that came to my aid. Quick note: if your skin is prone to any sorts of inflammation/irritation I would strongly suggest to consider using CV Skinlabs products, they are a bit pricey, but they are in the league of their own in terms of how effective they are to calm and sooth skin. All CV Skinlabs products are free from essential oils and packed with very powerful natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, Aloe Vera and reishi mushroom.

I applied Rescue & Relief Spray for a couple of days as the only face care product. I also switched to Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Liquid Castile Soap as it is one of the most mild cleansers I have ever come across. Actually I wash my little dog with it, I hope she doesn’t mind too much that I am using her stuff…For the first cleanse, I simply used pure grapeseed oil as it is such a fantastic oil and it’s very easy to remove with facial tissues.

In addition to all of these I got CV Skinlabs Rescue On-The-Go Kit (finally available in the UK!!!). It contains small Calming Moisture and Restorative Balm tubes. I’ve been eyeing this set for a while, as I’ve tried the samples of these two products. I didn’t want to purchase the full size products as it’s not something I need on the regular basis…only in emergency and they go a really long way.

While CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray, Dr. Bronner’s Soap and grapeseed oil have kept my rash in control, on the next day after I got my CV Skinlabs kit and applied Calming Moisture, all redness was almost gone! I think it disappeared completely after 3 days, but I continued with the routine for another week just to be safe. And now my skin feels very happy again. I should also mention that I cut down my chocolate and other sweets intake too! It’s not Easter time any more, so I am back to my normal not sugary eating regime. I guess I will think twice next time before over-indulging in something…Hopefully my advice can help someone else with sensitive skin, prone to severe rashes and irritations.

Routine Summary

Morning: cleansing with Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Liquid Soap, CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray as a toner, CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture as a moisturiser only if my skin felt quite tight.

Evening: 1st cleanse with grapeseed oil, wipe it off with facial tissues, second cleanse – Dr. Bronner’s soap, CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray as a toner, Calming Moisture as a moisturiser and CV Skinlabs Restorative Balm on my lips.

Skin whitening and tone correcting

Skin Whitening and Tone Correcting

I am sure every one of us wants to have perfect smooth skin…Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with such gift and many have various skin concerns. I’ve noticed that my review of Dr. Organic Royal Jelly Collection is quite popular and many people are particularly interested in their Whitening Cream. It looks like skin whitening and tone correcting are a big issue and that’s why I would like to share my own experience. I hope it will help some other people on their way to a perfect even complexion. I would not say that I am interested that much in skin whitening though, more in tone correcting. But these two could be very similar issues for many people.

I have two main concerns with my skin in terms of its tone. Firstly, I have post-blemish red and brown spots that take a quite a long time to vanish. I occasionally have skin discolouration around my chin area as well.

Secondly I have a major tanning issue. My natural skin tone is light-medium with neutral undertone, but my face gets tanned so fast compare to my neck. I need only 10 min under the sun and my face will be quite tanned. I would not mind it at all but the contrast between my neck and face can become quite striking! And my tan really stays on, it takes ages for it to come off!

So my skin tone correcting mission is to get rid off post-acne marks and prevent/remove too much tan.

Skincare

The first obvious step to deal with any skin imperfections is skin care products. There are many advanced whitening creams and peels available on the market. But I am not even going to talk about them. Ingredients in some are simply shocking and I don’t understand why products like these are even allowed to be called skin care (a poison would be more suitable name). I would never use anything what can bleach my skin and would never advise anyone to do so. I understand that some people especially with darker skin tones are prone to extreme hyper-pigmentation. But in my head using bleaching creams and peels to improve skin colour just doesn’t work.

Let’s leave the drastic nasty products, and talk about more realistic options. Unfortunately, there are not many skin whitening & tone correcting natural products. If you don’t mind to use mainstream beauty products, I would go for Asian brands then. Shu Uemura has got excellent whitening range, it’s very effective and is not so harsh on your skin.

I think that it’s very important to understand that there are no natural ways to achieve much whiter skin than your natural skin tone. In this post I am talking only about discolourations that are caused by some kind of damaging external factor. And that’s what I am addressing with my skin care routine. I have discovered 3 natural skin care products that work for me. Dr. Organic Whitening Cream, Trilogy Botanical Lightening Treatment and Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum. The latest helps with discolourations caused by inflammations (blemishes, irritation). It helps to reduce any sort of redness and heal skin. I think this product is really great option to prevent discolourations in the first place as well as correcting skin tone. You can read my full review of this pretty amazing product.

Dr Organic Whitening Cream (read my review) is good for improving skin tone and reducing discolourations especially post-blemish. I think out of three, this one is the most effective against post-acne marks. I use it quite a lot on my back and chest and almost all dark spots are gone now.  It does not actually whiten the skin though.

Trilogy Botanical Lightening Treatment is a great product for restoring natural skin tone and removing tan, of course it does not do it over night. I think I went half a tone lighter in around 3-4 weeks. So in terms of general skin whitening this is the best products, again it won’t change your skin tone dramatically, but will definitely restore some of the damage done by sun and environment.

There are also a huge number of acidic toners, brightening cleansers, peels and scrubs available. I haven’t personally found any effective ones. I stay from peels, feel very cautious about scrubs and don’t use very often. Regarding acidic toners – my skin is very reactive on acids, I can stand a bit of salicylic acid, but most of the time acidic toners just worsen my chin area discolouration.

Sun Protection

Another important issue to consider is sun damage. Actually sun light is one of the major threats to any skin type, but if your skin is prone to pigmentation, you should avoid sun exposure at all costs. Any kind of skin pigmentation will get worse under the sun, and some skin discolourations are a direct result of sun damage. I wear sunscreen most of the time. During the winter if it’s not too bright I go for spf15 or spf20, but when it’s sunny I always use high spf. I really love Alba Botanica Green Tea SPF 45 Sunscreen (you can get 10% off with my code balance10), it is really effective, does not leave white marks and the ingredients are reasonably clean too. I know many natural skin care producers say that you don’t need to use spf higher than 15. Well, from my own experience I would say that it’s absolute rubbish! Obviously, it’s said by someone who hasn’t experienced skin pigmentation. If I wear spf15 in bright sun, my face will be tanned so fast and I will have a huge discolouration around my chin area. So I prefer my spf45. Hat is another great thing, last summer I was wearing hat all the time and I intend to do so this summer too. As a bonus it prevents you from getting heat strike and saves your hair from sun damage too!

There are also a couple of DIY tricks. Some people recommend applying lemon juice on your skin, I am not too keen on it personally. But I like to use chamomile for skin lightening. My face got so tanned a couple of years ago and I removed it quite well with ice cubes made from chamomile tea. Basically you just brew very strong chamomile tea, pour it into ice-cube form and freeze it. Roll one ice-cube around your face in the morning for a few weeks and you will see a difference! Chamomile has got very good lightening properties.

I know it’s a lot of text, but I hope it will be helpful as I understand that skin discolouration and pigmentation is a real pain. I think I got it easy with my skin, there are much worse cases and I can only wish to anyone affected lots of courage, confidence and success!