Aug 26, 2011

Lactic Acid Peels

No down time
Cost effective

Cannot really think of any major con's to Lactic Acid peels

Personally I love Lactic Acid peels from MUAC (makeupartistchoice)

They come in 3 strengths...40% 55% and 65%. I started with the 40% and am now going to purchase the 55%.

When you first start it is suggested you only leave the peel on for 3 minutes which I did but quickly progressed to the full 7 minutes. Now this got me thinking that due to the fact that I tolerated the 40% with ease it would be wiser to purchase the sample size so as there would not be any waste.The sample size from MUAC is sufficient for approximately 6-10 facial peels and very cost effective. 
The sample size contains enough for 6-10 peels which is plenty for you to be able to see if you will tolerate it or not. You could on the other hand purchase the 55% straight off and just leave it on for a couple of minutes and slowly increase the time.
It is very tempting(if you are anything like me)to leave the Peel on for longer than the suggested 3 minutes due to there being no initial discomfort but I strongly advice you against it. I done this on my 2nd peel and it felt fine whilst on my skin but it caused a couple of minor burns the next day (ouch)!

Area's I found to be more sensitive to the peel:
Very top of the cheek bones near the eye socket may want to remove the peel from this area after a few minutes.

Neck and decollete.....both became very irritated and remained so for about 5 days therefore I have chosen not to apply to these areas in the future.

  • Apply with your finger tips or a q tip either works very well
  • Purchase the sample size as there is enough for 6-10 full facial peels and is very cost effective 
  • Only use as much as is needed to cover the area's you are addressing (no need to saturate)
  • Use a stop watch (I use mine on my cell phone) as it is very easy to leave this on too long.
  • Recommend usage: once a week for 6-8 weeks for optimal results.
  • It is not necessary to purchase the 'prep' solution.
Remember to 'prep' your face before and after the peel...MUAC sell a prep lotion but this is not necessary to buy as it has the same ingredients as Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel can be purchased just about anywhere BUT nearly all witch hazel has alcohol in it which is very drying to the skin. Thayers sell 'alcohol free' witch hazel which is readily available at Whole Food store's. If you do not have a store close to you Thayers Witch Hazel can be purchased online at 

Is it necessary to prep the skin?
Yes! The reason this is a necessary step is so as the skin is correctly balanced and it allows the peel to work better...the purpose of using the witch hazel immediately to remove the peels is so as to neutralize the peel and stop it continuing to penetrating the skin.

Another alternative to witch hazel is baking soda just mix 1 tsp with water until dissolved. I make this to a watery consistency (usually 3 tsp of distilled water and apply it to the face with a cotton pad. This does the exact same job as witch hazel and the majority of us have it readily at hand in the home.

Be aware that when you do apply the neutralizing solution on your skin after the peel it WILL sting! This is not unbearably painful but you will definitely notice it...the first thought when this happens it to think that something has gone 'wrong' with the procedure but I promise you this is absolutely normal and will happen each time you apply.
I thought my skin was is reasonably good condition before I started using the peel due to the fact that I had been using Retin A which exfoliates pretty well but I was very surprised when the day after my first peel I had patches in some areas over my face where the peel was lifting old skin that the Retin A had not exfoliated, which pleasantly surprised me.

Lactic Acid peels are not a deep peel but they are a perfect introduction prior to trying the TCA peel which I am going to give a 'attempt'once I can arrange the down time that will be necessary....I will update you once I decide to give it a try!

Aug 22, 2011

Skin Care Journey Part 3 Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)

Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)

Claims to lighten skin tone and brighten overall complexion and is proven to be one of the most effective topical skin lighteners out there.

Initially I was a little reluctant to give DIY Vit C a try due to the fact that I felt I was already placing enough products on my skin and did not want to complicate matters by adding another concoction:-) but I am very pleased that I did.
Due to the fact that Vit C oxidizes and becomes unstable and totally ineffective when exposed to sunlight, is the main reason it is so important to make your own serum (which is very easy). OTC serums containing Vit C are not only very expensive but also ineffective once opened and  exposed to the elements.

 Tell tale signs that your Vit C has oxidised is that it will take on a yellow tint.

The benefits of making your own Vit C Serum are:
  • Very cost effective
  • You can make a fresh batch daily or weekly
  • It is always fresh (therefore always effective)
  • Very easy to make
  • Formula can be adjusted to you personally
How much you make is of course up to you. I choose to make a fresh batch every couple of days but there are others who choose to make enough for a couple of weeks and if that is your choice remember to place it in a dark container and also place container in your bathroom drawer so as to keep it as fresh as possible.

L Ascorbic Acid is applied in the a.m underneath makeup before anything else is placed on the skin. It is a potent antioxidant and helps not only lighten and brighten the skin but also helps sunscreen to do its job so much better. Once it penetrates into the skin it can stay there for up to 72 hours.

I personally found L Ascorbic Acid really does 'brighten' your skin and I noticed a significant improvement in pigmentation due to sun damage within the first week of using it along with my other skin care products which I described in Parts 1 & 2.

DIY Vit C Serum Recipes

Formula needs to be between 10% & 20% to be effective

1. Dissolve 1gram of L-ascorbic acid in 5 ml of water (preferably distilled), in small glass container using a stirrer. Make sure it is fully dissolved before proceeding to next step.
2. Add 5 ml of glycerin and mix.
3. Put in a sealed jar, (not clear glass as this allows light in, and light degrades vitamin C.) Store in cool dry place.

Alternatively, you can also make your own Vitamin C face cream or body lotion (I personally prefer this method)with the following:

Mix 1/8th tsp L Ascorbic Acid with 5 ml distilled water and stir until completely dissolved.

Add the above to 5ml (1 tsp)of your favorite unscented cream or lotion(I choose to mix this with CeraVe moisturizing cream)and remember to only make enough for a maximum of two weeks (preferable one week)so as to maintain the integrity of the Vitamin C.

I purchase my L Ascorbic Acid from it dissolves very easily and shipping is fast.

Update 10/27/11
Recently I have been adding the above recipe to either CeraVe or Cetaphil 'Lotion' rather than the cream as I was finding the cream a little to heavy especially under makeup.The consistency is perfect!


Aug 17, 2011

Skin Care Journey Part 2 Hydroquinone 4%

Like so many out there I have sunspots, uneven pigmentation, liver spots, age spots....whatever it is we wish to call them from years of sunbathing without adequate protection (if only I had listened to my mother)! Retin A will not reduce sunspots BUT the reason I have found it imperative to use Retin A whilst using Hydroquinone 4% is due to its exfoliation capabilities, allowing the skin to efficiently absorb the HQ (Hydroquinone)making is more efficient. 
Sunscreen Importance
Without doubt sunscreen is important no matter what products you are applying to your skin but when using Hydroquinone/Retin A combo it becomes imperative! You can work for months reducing pigmentation only to have 'bounce back' issues if you do not protect your skin from the sun and I have more information coming in the next few weeks in regards to the 'never ending' search of the 'perfect' sunscreen.

Hydroquinone without doubt, has some controversy attached to it and there is a lot of 'scare mongering' out there, but after much research it appears that any issues that have risen from its usage seem to exist only with those that apply it to large areas (their entire body) for long periods of time(years)in high percentages. I personally found that Hydroquinone 4% combined with Retin A/Taz lightened my spots quite dramatically but appeared not to show any improvement after a period of 4 months.
I then became 'determined' to see if I could find anything else I could incorporate into my skincare routine which would help with the 'much improved' but still existing sunspots and that is when I came across Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)and I will discuss that in another thread in the coming week.


I received my Clarisonic in a swap on MUA (makeupalley) and immediately fell in love with this incredible skincare tool!

As I use Retin A and Taz I wanted to give this a try in the hope that it would help with the occasional 'peelies' I experience and I am happy to say that I am very pleased with the results.

However, it is very easy to get 'carried away' with this piece of equipment and over use it. The Clarisonic uses gentle pulse waves supposedly 300 sonic movements per second! Stupidly, I felt the need to give this beauty tool some additional help by using circular movements whilst on my skin and also applying this is where the problems can start! I cannot reiterate enough that the Clarisonic does 'not' need any additional help as it is very capable of doing the job on its own:-)

As to 'how often it should be used' it really is a personal choice. When I began using the Clarisonic I used it on a once a day basis slowly increasing usage to twice a day (morning and night). However, I did find that to be 'overkill' and have now chosen to use it 4 times a week in the evening only.

I must add that on the occasion's I haved used my Clarisonic in the morning 'prior' to applying my foundation my makeup always applies so much easier and looks flawless.

Aug 16, 2011

Eyelash Growth Serum

Oh how we all love long lashes!
I started my Careprost journey about nine months ago and have had amazing tiny drop of Careprost is enough for both eyes and the bottle should last you at least 6 weeks.

Careprost is the generic of Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic 0.3%) at only a fraction of the cost. This product was originally created as an eye drop for glaucoma patients and it became apparent that all patients who were using the product had a significant increase in lash length.

For cosmetic purposes it is applied along the lash line on a once a day basis. I started to notice a significant increase in length around the six week mark with my lashes reaching there optimum length by week 14.

Once optimum length is achieved you can (on the suggestion of the manufacturers of Latisse) reduce the usage to 3 times per week.....I tried this and found that I lost some length (which of course I was not happy about)! and decided that I would continue using it every day.

There is some controversy in regards to eye color change......personally I have never met or heard from anyone that this has happened to and when applied as directed to the lash line for lash growth this should not be an issue.

However, I did notice a small amount of irritation during the first 3 weeks which was isolated to the upper lid, but this was not at all bothersome and soon passed.

Overall I 'love' this product and will continue to use it indefinitely.

Application Tips

Apply with a thin liner brush which can be purchased at any CVS or Walgreens.
Place one small drop onto the indent on the upper outside lid....this is more than adequate for both lash lines.
Keep the brush clean.
The product can be applied either in the morning or evening as it drys very which ever one works for you.

Skin Care Journey Part 1 Retin A & Tazorac

When I initially decided to take it upon myself to take better care of my skin I first introduced  Retin A and this by far is probably the most important long term product anyone can use.
I can remember vividly just how confusing the whole process became when I first began my 'serious' skincare routine but hopefully the information below will help you eradicate some of the unnecessary 'mistakes' I made along the way!
Pro's of Retin A & Tazorac
Reduces existing wrinkles (Yay)!
Holds off aging of the skin (wrinkles) with continuous use
Easy to apply
Very cost effective if purchased from ADC
Takes at least 5 months before you notice a significant difference in existing wrinkles
Makes your skin extremely sun sensitive therefore it is imperative that you use a good sunscreen
When you first start using Retin A or Tazorac it can take a little time to get through the initial 'peelie's' but this can be helped by manual exfoliation such as a moist wash clothe in the shower, but the best thing I have found is the use of a Clarisonic. Unfortunately they are quite expensive but got mine through a swap on the MUA board and I am so glad I did as this alone makes my skin look flawless when I apply my foundation.
If you have normal skin i.e no acne, not excessively dry or oily the 'cream' is by far the best way to go as the gel is more for acne sufferers and can be very drying.
Start with the lowest strength (0.025%) then if you can tolerate this increase to the 0.05%.
It is not necessary to increase up to the 0.1% (the highest) as it has been proven that using the 0.05% is as efficient but less irritating.
Retin A and Tazorac must always be applied in the evening due to the sun sensitivity issue.
When you remove your makeup and cleansed your skin try to always leave at least 30 minutes before applying the Retin A...this is something that originally I did not do and at one point I was going to quit completely as I could not stand the irritation... but once I followed this simple '30 minute'rule everything just fell into place.
When you first start with the Retin A you can weaken the formula more by 'buffering'...all this means is mixing equal parts of moisturizer to Retin A before applying.
Start by applying twice a week then slowly increase to every other day.
I have been using Retin A 0.05% for over 4 years now and have recently changed to Tazorac 0.05%...
When I first started on the Retin A I originally jumped straight in with the 0.1% and boy was that a mistake! My face peeled continuously and was red raw. I decided (on advice from a friend) to use the 0.05% and only apply it every third day and everything calmed down and I finally started seeing results:-)
Gel Vs Cream
The cream causes less dryness....remembering that there is a difference between the 'flakies' (peeling) and dryness.
The Gel is more drying and appears to be mostly used by those who suffer with acne.
Percentage Controversy!
There is the 'big' controversy as to what percentage we should use. Professionals advice that if you have never used Retin A before you should start off with the lowest which I believe is 0.01% then jump to the 0.025% then the 0.05% then the 0.1%. After much research and trial and error I have found that it is not necessary to start off with the very lowest because you can create a gentle introduction to Retin A by doing the following:
Below is how I have worked the Retin A over the years to what I feel enables me to get the best results:

I Started with 0.05% (gel or cream which ever will work best for your skin)
Apply the 0.05% first wait 5 minutes then apply your regular moisturizer (this is called buffering)
Do this every third day for one month.
If you are not having any irritation other than what is meant to happen when using Retin A bump it up to very other night.
Do this for a couple of weeks.
If you think you are again tolerating it well start using the Retin A one evening without the moisturizer then alternate with.
Do this for a couple of weeks until you think you can tolerate the Retin A without buffering.
After much research, it has been proven that jumping up to the full strength of 0.1%  is not necessary as the 0.05% has the exact overall long term effect but with less irritation, hence why I decided to stay on the 0.05%.
After approximately four years on the Retin A 0.05% I started to look into Tazorac which is a retinoid but a different formula and started to notice that many were raving about it so I started asking some questions. One lady on the board said that sometimes after a few years on the Retin A you can start to notice that the initial repair starts to slow down (keeping in mind that the long term use of Retin A truly does stave off the signs of aging) so long term use is the key here. I decided to give Tazorac a try and I am so pleased I did as it has given me a much needed boost to my skin care routine and has taken me into the next level I had been looking for.
Tazorac comes in either 0.05% Gel or 0.1% cream but considering Taz is stronger than the Retin A I decided to try the gel as it was of a lower strength (Tazorac gel does not have the same drying effect as the gel Retin A)

Here is my routine when I first started introducing Tazorac:
Wash and remove makeup
Wait at least 30 minutes (this is very important because if you do not you will become very irritated) then apply Tazorac.Wait 30 minutes then I applied a moisturizer
I started off doing this twice per week only and slowly increased it to every other night over the next month.
So far I have not had any irritation nor excessive peeling but this may be due to my skin already be accustomed to the Retin A use.
Of course this is what worked for me and I was (am) continuing to work on sun damage, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture...all the usual aging things with the intention staving off the ageing process as long as I possibly can!