Skin Conditions 2

A good percentage of us struggled with acne/pimples while growing up. I know I did. During my secondary school days, I could hardly remember a day I looked into the mirror without having to pinch one area of my face or another. My face looked so much like a bumpy Nigerian road.

Every 28 days or so, the top layer of skin cells are shed and replaced with new ones. But if for one reason or the other they don’t shed properly, there’s a tendency for the dead skin cells to clog the opening or pores on the skins’ surface, resulting to whiteheads and black heads depending on the depth of the clog. Acne is then formed when this clogged area is infected by bacteria.

Acne breakouts could be as a result of;

  • Stress: Sleep and rest should not be taken for granted, there’s a reason why it’s called ‘beauty sleep’. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep daily enables the body and skin to work at their best. Try not to worry and stress about situations you can’t avoid.
  • Hormones: For females, there are certain times in a month when you can’t help but notice zits all over the face. Sometimes it creeps to the chest, back, shoulders and upper arms and can be painful too. For teenagers, acne is also a reality for a good number of years because of the level of hormones raging on the inside. Once there’s a surge or plunge in hormones within the body, most times it results to changes on the skin which may include acne.
  • Pollution (Oxidative stress): UV rays and automechanical fumes are two major sources of free radicals which put the health of ones’ skin at stake. Taking care to ensure minimum exposure will go a long way in maintaining optimum balance.
  • Improper skincare regimen or hygiene: When one is ignorant of their skin-type and products that work well for them, they stand a chance of not giving their skin the best care that it needs. Try not to under-do it or over-do it.
  • Poor diet: Eating a balanced meal, alongside green leafy vegetables and fruit most often reflect on the health of our skin. Carbonated and processed drinks should be avoided and replaced with pure water.

 

To treat or avoid acne breakouts, one can

  • Exfoliate; for me, this is the most important step. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. With little or no dead skin cells to clog pores, it’s safe to say that there’ll be less and less breakouts. Care should be taken not to exfoliate too frequently as this may affect the skin adversely.
  • Adopt a skin care regimen suitable for your skin type.
  • Use anti-inflammatory products: this can be in form of supplements or topical creams. Anti-inflammatory products are almost always antioxidants, so this will help a lot combating oxidative stress. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide are a few of the supplements and/or topical creams that can be used to control acne.
  • Eat balanced meals, fruits and vegetables, drink lots of pure water.

 

Any questions? Type in the comment section below. Also like our Facebook page @roseebynwaka for more ‘behind the scenes’ info.

Essential oils and your skin

I started to appreciate essential oils only recently when I began adding them to my skin care routine. Basically, essential oils are highly fragrant and volatile liquids that have been extracted from a plants’ essence. This is to say that essential oils are oily extracts from flowers, leaves, seeds, roots and/or peels.
Essential oils usually come in 10-15ml bottles. Because of their little containers, I once considered them quite pricey, but I’ve found that a little goes a very long way as they are highly concentrated. Believe me, they are worth every dime.
There are a variety of essential oils, each recommended for a different skin or body need. As regards skin care, these are my absolute favorites:
Lavender: From the Latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’, this essential oil is commonly used for baths probably because of its calming and sedative capabilities. I like to add a few drops while steaming my face or soaking in a tub. You can also dilute a few drops in water and spray over the skin after being under the sun for a while. Either way, the feel is heavenly!
Lemon: This essential oil works well as an astringent. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a rich citrus fragrance and leaves the skin feeling clean and fresh. Oily skin types benefit hugely when this essential oil is included in the skin care routine.
Peppermint: Very rich in menthol-type compounds, thereby leaving a cooling effect on the skin. Works well to relieve scaly skin. Also good for acne and dermatitis-prone skin. Simply add a few drops to your moisturizer or mix with a Carrier Oil and massage into affected areas.
Rose: Is one of the most precious of essential oils, as it takes approximately a metric ton (1,000kg) of rose petals to extract 7fl.oz (21 cl) of oil. Aside from its calming and mood-uplifting qualities, this essential oil serves as a natural carrier oil as it increases the ability of the skin to absorb ingredients it comes in contact with. Adding a few drops to your toner helps to smoothe out and soothe acne-prone skin. A few drops of Rose essential oil and coconut oil during your facial steam also works wonders.
Chamomile, Ylang ylang and Frankincense: I usually find these essential oils as a mix and match with other oils. Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and is well recommended for irritable skin while Frankincense is rich in anti-oxidants, combating ageing process. Both are wonderful for dry and mature skin. Ylang ylang on the other hand works best for oily skin as it leaves it calm and balanced. Add a few drops to your toner or moisturizer or use for your weekly facials.

Essential oils can also be used alongside carrier oils. Carrier Oils work to increase the skins’ absorbing capabilities. When mixed with essential oils, the effects are faster and deep-reaching.
Note: Some essential oils are contraindicated (not to be used) during pregnancy, so do well to read the label before purchase or use.
Which oils have you used? Which would you consider your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below. Also sign up for our newsletter for more tips and freebies.

Get motivated

A few days ago, a friend of mine visited after a long while and we had some time to catch up. We talked about the days we lived together, how we strived with our entrepreneurial ventures and especially our counterparts back then.

You see, a few months into going entrepreneurial full time, I met my husband, got married, changed location and was pregnant: so the stories she recounted to me brought back memories and I couldn’t help but have mixed feelings.

“This person is doing so well”

“This other person is into this and that and seems to have found their calling there”

“So and so has expanded to places unimaginable”

“She has gone international”

I was indeed happy for them but I could not help but wonder where I would have been if I had not moved. But one common thing about these people struck me: CONSISTENCY.

They all woke up in the morning and took a conscious decision to go after their dreams: again and again. They made plans and followed through on executing them. They deprived themselves of certain ‘comforts’ but chose to sacrifice repeatedly for the cause (their dreams) they believed in. Days turned to weeks, weeks into months and 4 years down the line, my friend and I are discussing them as success stories.

What is holding you back?

What’s your excuse?

Family? Your spouse? Your kids? Fear of failure or rejection?

If only you can take a step, just one step closer to your hearts’ desires on a daily basis. Commit to giving an inch and watch it turn to feet, give a feet and it may just become yards, yards to miles and miles to that contentment and satisfaction you’ve always lived for.

I pray and wish that you would!

See you at the top!!!

 

Your skin and pregnancy

During the course of pregnancy, several things happen. Such happenings include psychological, hormonal, emotional and most especially physical changes. It’s quite easy to overlook what is going on on the inside but one way or the other, it translates to what is seen on the outside.

As relates to the skin, being pregnant can take its toll, most times due to the increased nutritional demands. A mother-to-be can experience one or all of the following.

  • Varicose veins: This occurs as a result of increased blood circulation, which relaxes the walls of the valves in the vein. In some cases, they may become swollen, itchy and painful especially towards the last weeks of pregnancy. Try not to stand for so long and while sitting, always elevate your feet, avoid crossing them.
  • Chloasma: This is also known as melasma or mask of pregnancy. Increase in estrogen triggers excessive melanin production which in turn creates pigmented patches on the face and body. One day you have soft, glowing and radiant skin, then the next day, you look toasted! Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen will keep one from getting more patches. Chloasma fades within 3 months of childbirth.
  • Stretch marks: These usually start appearing during the second trimester. As the name implies, the marks appear around the tummy, breasts and thighs as a result of the skin (collagen and Elastin) being stretched excessively. This condition can be controlled by massaging oils rich in vitaminE over the marks.
  • Oedema: Swollen legs and ankles are as a result of fluid gathering in the lower extremities. Elevating the feet while sitting and gently massaging in an upward motion towards the heart helps a lot.
  • Other allergies: Because of increase in several hormones, certain allergies may (re) surface. Allergies may include eczema, acne, psoriasis. Apart from the recommended skin care during pregnancy, nothing more can be done in most cases. The skin usually clears a few weeks after childbirth or breast-feeding.

For the face, do well not to skip applying a night crème as this helps to balance the skin. Avocado, argan and aloe-Vera based products work really well. Also try to get a facials treatment often to release facial tension.

For the body, avoid using soaps that may dry out the skin and always massage rich oils over stretched parts. Having a pedicure/foot massage from time to time also helps prevent oedema and varicose veins.

What other skin condition did you experience while pregnant? Let me know in the comments section below.

Top 3 ingredients I avoid in skin care products

When picking out skin care products, I’m pretty particular not just about the expiry date, but also the ingredients on the label. I already shared with us my must have ingredients in a previous post, so today, I’ll be sharing ingredients I avoid and why.

  1. Alcohol: Have you enjoyed a bottle or two of your favorite alcoholic beverage recently? Did you feel thirsty after a while? This is because alcohol has a tendency to dry up or dehydrate cells. Those with oily skin seems to favor cleansers and toners with alcohol in them because it gives them this crisp feel right after applying them. But truth is, it strips the top layer of the skin of all protective oils, thereby, causing the skin to produce even more to replace that which has been wiped out. This is not to say that all skin care products containing alcohol are bad, just do well to avoid those that have Alcohol Denat as their number one ingredient, that sting when applied or evaporate very quickly when exposed to the skin.
  2. Mercury: This ingredient is mostly found in antiseptic soaps and ‘skin lightening’ creams, serums and ointments. It works by inhibiting the formation of melanin (the natural color of the skin), resulting in lighter skin tones. Mercury is so potent that it also affects the people around whoever applies or uses it and in a negative way. Side effects include hair loss, drowsiness, weakness, depression, burning skin sensation when in humid or air-conditioned environment, itching, stinging and redness of skin over time. As if all the above is not enough, it also exposes the skin to sever sun damage. Look out for calomel, mercurous chloride, mercuric, mercurio as these are synonymous to mercury. If any of these names is listed as an ingredient on a skin care product, I avoid it!!
  3. Hydroquinone: In the US, Hydroquinone is a recommended ingredient in skin lightening BUT for particular skin conditions, in regulated quantities and for a specified period of time. Even at that, many people still suffer from the side effects which may include: skin dryness and cracking, excessive redness and irritation, blistering and blue-black darkening. These side effects also leave the skin more sensitive to sunburn and over time, more prone to skin cancer.

These 3 ingredients are an absolute no-no for me when picking up skin care products. What ingredients do YOU avoid? Let me know in the comment section below.

 

Your skin and the sun

Someone once joked that the sun needs to stop showing off as it remains the hottest thing on earth. I totally agree!!

It’s no secret that your skin gets a good dose of vitamin D from the early morning sun, but how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between nourishing your skin and keeping it from premature ageing and burn?

There are six skin types in relation to the sun and burn risk. These skin types are categorized based on the concentration of melanocytes (cells that give the skin its color) on the surface of the skin. Knowing where you fall will go a long way in helping you reduce any skin damage caused by the sun.

  • Type 1; People in this category have VERY fair skin, very light blond or red hair, are prone to freckles and have green or blue eyes. Europeans easily fall into this category. This skin type hardly tans (always gets burnt and very prone to skin cancer) and TOTAL sunblock should be used.
  • Type 2; Skin in this category burns easily and tans with difficulty. Hair can be blond or light brown and eyes are blue or brown. Should use SPF 20 and above. Total sunblock can be used on delicate areas.
  • Type 3; Skin sometimes gets burnt but tans very well. Hair is light brown and eyes are brown or green. Sunscreen with SPF 20 is ideal for this group.
  • Type 4; People with this skin type are usually found in the Mediterranean region. They have dark brown eyes and hair. Their skin rarely burns and tans easily and they are less likely to develop skin cancer than skin types 1 & 2. But with continuous exposure, their skin will age prematurely and become saggy. Sunscreen with SPF 15 is recommended.
  • Type 5; Skin in this category are not as vulnerable to UV-related ageing or skin cancer but this doesn’t mean care shouldn’t be taken. They have brown to light black skin and should use sunscreen with SPF 10 if they have to stay out in the sun for an extended period.
  • Type 6; This skin type is typical to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. They have darker black-brown skin, black-brown eyes and hair. The skin hardly ever burns. For prolonged exposure, use SPF 8.

When using sunscreen, lavishly apply on areas not covered by clothing a few minutes before heading out under the sun, but do well to avoid staying out between 12 noon and 3 o’clock: this is when the sun is at its hottest!

After unexpected or prolonged sun exposure, use an after-sun soother. Aloe Vera works very well. If you have the real plant, just snap off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the affected areas. Or choose an after-sun product based on Aloe, just make sure Aloe barbadensis is the first ingredient on the label.

If you fall into Type 5 or 6 skin type and you seem prone to sunburn, you might need to re-examine the ingredients used in your skin care products as it may be eroding the protective melanocytes on the surface of your skin. Better still, visit a certified dermatologist.

Did you get value from todays’ post? Let me know in the comment section below.

Skin conditions 1

Few days after my daughter was born, I noticed some rash-like appearances on her face. Before I could do anything about it, it had spread to her scalp and was ‘chewing’ off her hair. We sought medical assistance and used some prescribed topical medication to no avail, for months my daughters’ skin looked like a rag dolls’.

Much later, another pediatrician advised that we retrace our steps, she inquired our daily patterns of caring for our daughter and recommended some changes.

Until then, I didn’t know eczema was hereditary. I always viewed it as a ‘dirty disease’. It never occurred to me that certain conditions could be responsible for flares-up and above all, I didn’t know it doesn’t have a cure.

Eczema is a form of dermatitis (inflammation of the upper part of the skin aka dermis). Most times it occurs as a form of allergy, it’s your skins way of telling you that it doesn’t like whatever you’ve been exposing it to. In my daughters’ case, it was the heat. Being born mid-February, I would still cover her up in thick overalls, mittens and a cap and of course, her bath water had to be a certain temperature because that’s what ‘everybody’ advised. I didn’t realize her skin wasn’t getting enough ventilation.

Like I mentioned previously, eczema is hereditary but it requires ‘unfavorable’ conditions to trigger it. Such triggers may include heat, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, topical applications as in certain soaps and creams and/or stress. Remember that old wives tale about sharing clothes? You can dismiss that myth because eczema is not contagious but be sure no liquid is seeping from the inflamed area.

Not up to a week after applying the ‘no heat’ treatment and adequate moisturisation (eczema-prone skin is usually dry and requires extra moisturizing) on my daughter, I couldn’t believe the positive changes. Her skin cleared without any scars but her hair which had fallen off in patches took longer to grow out. She’s 3+ now and yet to have a relapse.

 

Are you prone to eczema? Does someone in the family have it? Have you ever taken note of what flares it up in your case? Hit me up in the comment section below.

 

My weekly skin care routine

Some days ago, I let you in on how I pamper my skin daily. From washing to cleansing down to moisturizing. Today, we’ll be seeing a weekly pamper routine.

Maybe because I’m blessed with good genes, I never took skin care seriously until I became a mother and approached my 30’s. Suffice to say, things were not the way they used to be, but with proper and regular care, I’ve been able to keep things in check.

Because I have a flexible work routine, I can afford to spoil myself on weekdays: usually on Wednesdays but any day you choose is fine.

Here it goes;

  • Cleansing: We’ve talked about cleansing previously, so we’ll be skipping it on this post.
  • Scrubbing: After prepping the skin by cleansing, next is scrubbing! I love to use a scrub with tiny rounded beads preferably Jojoba beads: this ensures proper exfoliation and doesn’t leave tiny cuts on the skin like several microdermabrasion versions. Scrubbing removes the dead skin cells that accumulate on the skins’ top layer, this immediately visibly brightens the complexion.
  • While scrubbing, I like to apply pressure on areas where I’m white and blackhead-prone but I avoid the delicate eyes and lips region. I also scrub my neck then I wash off with warm water.
  • Steaming: Pour boiling water in a bowl, add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil or leaves of your preferred herbs (lemon grass works wonders), place your face above the steaming bowl with a towel over your head to keep the steam from escaping. Turn your face from side to side making sure all parts of your face are properly steamed and that you can breathe properly.
  • This process opens up your pores and allows it to get unclogged and this is the only time you are allowed to pop any pimples or pull out any stubborn blackhead. The steam from the essential oils or herbs also penetrate the upper layer of the skin to work the wonders you intended.
  • Toning: Using a cotton pad, swipe the face with your favorite toner to soothe and calm your skin down. For more on toning click here.
  • Masking: Using your favorite mask, cover the entire face (except your lips and eyes) and following the instruction on the label, leave to dry or set for the amount of time. You can place slices of refrigerated cucumber over your eyes while your mask is on to hydrate the eye region and DON’T FORGET TO RELAX. Peel or wash off as instructed. This process helps to actively slow down and in some cases, reverse the visible signs of ageing on the face.
  • Moisturizing: We are back to one of the most important processes in skin care. Depending on the time of day and your preferred products, do well to keep your skin properly hydrated. More on moisturizing here.

 

Do you live in Lagos? Would you like to enjoy a free facials experience? Let me know in the comment section below.

Tips to avoiding bumps while removing hair.

Every other week, I pull out my tweezers and get to work on my facial hairs. Once upon a time, I used to dread touching them because I had heard such a lot about hairs.

“Don’t shave them, they’ll come back with a vengeance” (I wonder why this doesn’t apply to the hair on the head or under the arm)

“Don’t use razors, it’ll give you bumps”

“Use shaving sticks only”. And so on.

And I believed what I heard because most times I would have unsightly bumps under my arms and around my neck. Fortunately, those days are long gone.

 

What do I do differently? I avoid the following:

  • Shaving cold; I try to warm up the part to be shaved. For my face and under arm, I either use a warm towel directly or stand under a warm shower for a few minutes. This opens up the pores, softens the area and makes the process an effortless one.
  • Don’t ask me how I warm up ‘down below’. Use your discretion!!!😝
  • Not using a cream; Honestly, I don’t do this often, because some of the hair removing creams I know smell so awful and I end up looking like an Egyptian mummy especially when I want to shave my legs and arms. But when I do, I prefer to use my cleanser, yes, it’s creamy and alcohol-free and smells great too.
  • Shaving in any direction; This is the major culprit when removing hair from the body. When tweezing, hold the skin taut, grab the errant hair with the tweezers and pull in the direction of hair growth. Same applies with razors and shaving sticks. If you don’t do it this way, you run the risk of having in-grown hair (growing back into the skin instead of outwards) which causes bumps and/ or infection and eventually scars or keloids.
  • So, when next you are removing body hair, observe the pattern of growth and follow suit. For under the arm, go radial from the centre (upwards, downwards and outwards from the centre)
  • Not moisturizing; Moisturizing after removing hair is very important. Your skin has gone through some form of trauma and it needs to be soothed. Alcohol-based products should be avoided after shaving because they sting (if you have cuts, which you most probably will) and they dry up and dehydrate the area.
  • Your goal is to first seal your pores by applying water as cold as you can bear, then the next is to make sure any cuts you have heal very quick to avoid infections. Aloe Vera-based products work well here, and it helps to keep your skin hydrated and supple.

 

Do you have facial hair? How do you avoid bumps while keeping your skin hair-free? Let me know in the comment section below.

Basic makeup hygiene 2

 

If you are a makeup lover like me, then you must have a wide range of products in your kit. From foundation to powder to all shades of shadows and blush and creamy and matte lipsticks. You know na !!😜 Of course, you’ll also have some favorites that you use on special occasions, you literally hoard these items so they don’t finish so quickly, maybe because they are a bit more expensive than the rest.

Be it as it may, ALL these items in your kit have a shelf-life: they do expire!!!😁 I’ve had people brag about how they’ve had an eye-shadow palette or lipstick for 5 years! What??? They say to me ‘Nwaka, this is my special occasion foundation. I don’t joke with it o! I’ve had it since 2013!’

Please read further and be properly informed. Below is a basic list of makeup products and their stipulated shelf-life unless otherwise stated.

  • Foundation (liquid or cream) – 2 years
  • Lipsticks – 1 year
  • Eye-shadow (powder) – 2years
  • Concealer – 2 years
  • Mascara – 4-6 months
  • Blush (powder) – 2 years
  • Face powder – 2 years

Have you ever wondered why certain makeup products come in really small containers? Concealers, pressed powders, eye shadows and even some foundations? The above is the reason why. What’s the point having a huge bottle of foundation sitting on a shelf in a makeup store for 6 months and making it to your kit only to expire in another 18 months because you use it only on special occasions?

So, kindly go through your makeup kit this weekend. Be honest and give your ‘dead’ and smelly makeup products a befitting burial, don’t give them out: just bury them in the Lawma container outside your gate. They’ve added so much value to your life and deserve a rest.

You’ll also be doing yourself a favor by not using expired products on your face. Just imagine how grateful your stomach will be if you constantly feed it with expired juice or milk?

Do well to rid your kit of all stains or pencil marks as you wish other products goodbye, find covers for those beloved pencils too and keep them sharpened always.

Lastly, don’t share eye pencils and lipstick and mascara wands with friends: cold sores and conjunctivitis is real. Find out how to safely share in the previous post.