Avène Akérat 30 – my experience with Keratosis Pilaris

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been sporting rather unsightly red, itchy bumps on my upper arms and the back of my legs. As a child, I even had these bumps along my jawline, but they have thankfully disappeared since.

Only in the past few years have I learned that this skin condition is called Keratosis Pilaris and that it is caused by overactive cell-turnover that leads the pores to clog up with dead skin cells.

Now this issue has never been so bad that I’ve ventured into visiting a dermatologist, but it has resulted in an strange habit of picking my upper arms, which is a hard thing to get rid of.

Regular exfoliation does help a lot (I’ve talked about my preferred method of Dry Brushing before), but a while ago I have found a topical skincare product that has made the biggest difference – the Avène Akérat 30 Cream for Localized Areas.

Avène Akérat 30

This is a treatment geared towards KP that helps to soften and exfoliate the skin and reduces the clogging of pores. I usually apply this to the backs of my thighs and upper arms after every shower and before I use any regular body lotion.

So far, I have found that (in conjunction with dry brushing) the texture on my skin has changed for the better and there are not as many dry spots on my arms for me to pick. My skin still is slightly red, but I think that this too will reduce over time. The important thing with a treatment like this is to use it continually, and I will happily do that as it has not irritated my skin or caused the issue at hand to become worse.

Avène also do a body lotion in this line that is geared towards extremely dry, KP-prone skin, so I might try that out as soon as the treatment runs out.

If you’ve had any issues like this, I highly recommend the Avène Akérat range. Also, feel free to leave any tips on Keratosis Pilaris if you have experience with it and have found products or treatments that have worked for you.

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Bioderma Sensibio Spray – Sunburn Relief

Although I am not one for sunbathing, summer is is always the time to catch a bit too much sun and looking slightly more rouge than usual, especially when wearing shorts, sundresses, and sleeveless tops.

I can thankfully say that by now I know how to avoid sunburn, but the new freckles and my face and shoulders do let me know that skin damage via sun exposure is a real thing.

Bioderma Sensibio Spray

If, by any chance, there is a bit of a burn going on this summer, I have found just the thing – the Bioderma Sensibio Dermatological Water. This is an ultra-soothing water-based spray that instantly cools and calms down aggravated skin without any added fragrances or other irritating ingredients.

You might say that this is a glorified thermal water spray, but even though I haven’t been burned this summer, this has found its firm place in my skincare routine as a spray toner. I use this after acid toning to soothe the skin and it has really helped in keeping redness and inflammation at bay.

I also like that it comes in an aerosol can that dispenses a nice, even mist without leaving my face sopping wet. You could also use this on any type of scrape or razor burn to calm down itchiness or soreness as it is super refreshing and completely irritating.

So while this spray might seem like a bit of a princess products, I would highly recommend checking it out as it is truly multi-purpose and as gentle as can be.

A Quick Update

Update

Hey guys!

As you can see from the picture above, the state of my hand is not one that facilitates typing, so this is just a quick little update to say Hi and tell you that things might be a bit more quiet than usual around here in the next few days.

My surgery went well and though I have been a little out of it this past weekend, I’m feeling much better. So I will be back very soon with a lot of new posts and exciting updates! See you soon!

Paul Mitchell Thickening Shampoo and Spray

When a hair product says ‘thickening’, I’m usually the first one to pounce in my ongoing quest for a flowing, voluminous head of hair. So quite recently, I decided to pick up a few products from the Paul Mitchell Thickening range – the Lemon Sage Thickening Shampoo and Lemon Sage Thickening Spray.

Paul Mitchell Lemon Sage Thickening

First of all, the smell of these products is gorgeous, it’s fresh, zingy, and slightly herbal, which I love, without the usual whiff of cleaning product that citrus-scented beauty products usually have. If they made a fragrance of this, I would probably be in front of the line to get it.

Unfortunately, this is where my praise ends, as I didn’t have much luck with this range at all.

In my honest opinion, they should probably rename the shampoo into ‘Clarifying Shampoo’, as it is very cleaning and does strip the hair of any product buildup. However, much like the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, these clarifying formulas wreak a bit of havoc on my colored hair and have stripped it quite a bit. Also, instead of leaving my hair light and bouncy, I found that it got greasy again pretty quickly and lacked the promised volume.

The Thickening Spray also didn’t deliver a lot of volume but provided a good amount of hold. I now use it more as a detangling product, which, when brushed out does not leave my hair crispy and weighed down as it did when I used it as more of a styling product.

All in all, I don’t think the Paul Mitchell range (or any thickening range) is the one for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will probably fare a lot better with using a nourishing shampoo and leave the volumizing action to my styling products.

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion

I have talked about my love for acid toners before and the most recent of I’ve tried out is the Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion. This is the toning step for the most sensitive of skins in the Clinique 3-Step Skincare range, so I thought it would be a safe bet in terms of gently exfoliating the skin.

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion

I use this at night after cleansing and swipe it across my skin on a cotton pad. The formula is somewhat thicker than a straight up liquid and even though the nozzle is pretty wide on this, I haven’t yet made a mess during application (knock on wood).

The active ingredient here is Salicylic Acid, which I generally like as an ingredient for cleaning out pores and fighting blemishes.

I can’t really say I’ve seen as much difference with this product as I’ve done in the past with, for example, the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. This toner really is for sensitive skins and doesn’t interfere with the rest of my routine, but I think that in the future, I would rather go back to some of the other products I’ve tried than repurchase this.

MAC 227 Eyeshadow Brush

With make-up brushes, as with anything else beauty related, I tend to go through phases. I love a certain blush, lipstick, or brush for a while and then I usually move on to something new and exciting.

There are, however, a few tools and products that have truly stood the test of time, and the MAC 227 brush is one of them. I don’t think this brush is something that you absolutely need, but I have owned for a few years now and I can honestly say that I love having it in my collection.

MAC 227

It is a large, paddle-shaped eye shadow brush that makes it super easy and quick to sweep a color all over the lid. While it isn’t so perfect for blending, it makes applying eye shadow in a pinch a real treat. I even once had a MAC make-up artist apply concealer with this brush, which looked absolutely beautiful. Shape-wise, the 227 would also be great for contouring smaller areas like the nose, or do a really sharp contour on the cheekbones.

What I like most about it is how well it has held up. Unlike some of my other MAC brushes (I’m looking at you, 109…) there has been virtually no shedding with this one and it has remained as soft as ever throughout a shedload of washes.

So, if you own all of the holy grail MAC brushes and are looking to treat yourself, I would say go for the 227. It might not be one for the most intricate eye looks, but it is a multifunctional, high quality beauty tool.

Dry Brushing

While my face is producing a ‘natural glow’ like a champ in this heat, the skin on my body is still as dry as ever and demands being slathered in body lotion and oils regularly.

Being as sensitive as it is, I really have to watch out for added fragrance or harsh ingredients in my body products, so by definition, a lot of scrubs tend to aggravate my skin and turn it an unsightly shade of red or – even worse – produce itchy bumps that feel like something between a rash and a sunburn.

In an effort to forego any dodgy products, I’ve turned towards Dry Brushing, which is, simply, brushing my body down with a dry massage brush before taking a shower.

Dry Brush I came across a detailed post about this by Helena of Brooklyn Blonde, who does an amazing job of explaining both the benefits and the process of dry brushing.

Basically, you just take long strokes towards your heart across the whole of your body (leaving out the more delicate parts obviously) and the rinse the dead skin off under the shower. The first few times, I found the brush to be a bit harsh, but if you adjust the pressure to your liking and take it easy at first, it’s actually a nice ritual and my skin has never felt this soft and taught before. I’m not sure if the claims of reducing cellulite are really true, but I found that the overall texture of my skin has improved a lot. It’s also nice to know that I’m not sending any additional chemicals down the drain by using a scrub and I would think that a brush is the most economic of exfoliating options.

Dry Brush_2

I picked my massage/dry brush up at a health store, but I’ve seen them at the drugstore too, so finding one you like shouldn’t be too big of a hassle. Just make sure that it has a nice grip and isn’t made too cheaply.