Honey

RECOVERY – POST TRAUMATIC FACIAL

One fine Saturday morning, I was incredibly excited for a Pro Biotic facial (which I purchased from Gilt). I was so looking forward to someone caressing my face, performing extractions to improve the texture of my skin, thoroughly clean, relax and rejuvenate with some facial massage. The facial looked appealing and perfect for my skin.

As I walked in, the place looked peaceful, clean and welcoming. I was led to the room and asked to fill a basic form with skin background, conditions and concerns. This was followed up with a brief conversation about my skin concerns, to which I promptly responded I needed to resolve some underlying build up congestion which has not surfaced at all. Also gave a full history of why it happened and how I was able to resolve to a degree. Then I had couple of obvious hormonal spots on my chin and jaw, along with some usual white heads and blackheads around nose area.

Anyway the facial commenced, and my first yellow flag was she didn’t go beyond my face, no neck, shoulder or chest. I let it pass and on the face all felt ok until the point we hit extractions. I have high pain tolerance however these extractions were most painful in my life! The tool used and technique sucked and left my skin bruised and traumatized for a couple of days.

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Some red flags I should have picked up on: she was poking and prodding on the same area, she was also poking and prodding in areas which weren’t ready, she went close to milia (big no-no, given she isn’t a dermatologist). She continued with the facial, with mask, light massage, high frequency, blue and red light and exclaimed voilà! She suggested to take my time as I get up and get dressed. I tipped her (not sure why?!?!!!) and left the place wanting to see my skin in proper day light. I was horrified, the first pic I took as I sat in the car. With daylight brightness (clear sunny day), it tones down the redness in the pic.

I immediately noticed my skin is bruised, bumpy, traumatized, red, severely irritated, and didn’t want to even touch my face. The bumps were areas or spots where I had no active surface spots (pustules), these were under the skin congestion spots (nodules) that she had a field day with. From the ruthless extractions, my skin felt warm. I felt like my inner radiator was lit, like hot flushes (not a good feeling). Fast forward to Day 3 after the facial, and I had started to possibly notice scarring (from brutal extractions) and extremely dehydrated skin. Anyway so fast forward to how I treated. Mantra was simple yet methodical, and identified ingredients my skin needed to be fed.

As a part of this post, the focus here should be ingredients that soothe, heal and nourish the skin, not so much the specific product used. Having said that, I will include the specific products I used, but I recommend focus on ingredients and dig through your stash.

Mantra: Soothe, Calm, Heal, Repair, Nourish, Replenish, Resurfacing

Day 1 (post facial) – As soon as I reached home, I gently cleansed my face with cleansing milk because I wanted to get rid of the products she applied on me. Generously spritzed zinc spray (La Roche Posay Serozinc) to soothe my irritated skin. Followed by that I placed a cool hydrating sheet mask and rested for a bit. With this my skin temperature was under control and didn’t feel the hot flush. Post mask, again zinc mist, hydrating serum and basic Jojoba Oil. The same evening,  I followed the exact same routine.

Step 1 – Soothe, Calm, Hydrate – Calm the skin from that trauma

By this point, I knew my skin’s barrier was compromised, vulnerable and not resilient. So aim of the game was soothe, calm and hydrate while gently building a resilient barrier again.

Ingredients Focus: Hydration – Hyaluronic Acid, Zinc, Aloe Vera, Calendula, Chamomile, Turmeric (best anti inflammatory), Fermented Essence to pat in, and High Frequency.

I continued with some high frequency at home every couple of days to help heal the skin.  Slowed down on massaging the skin because it would instantly go red and not stand the lightest pressure either. My skincare routine for next few days included:

  • Cleanse – Milk Cleansers and Gentle Emulsifying Balms (because I didn’t want to use washcloths)
  • Masks – Raw or Manuka Honey based (Mahalo Petal Mask, AveSeena Beauty Active Mask, Amala Beauty Brightening Mask, Leah Lani Mermaid Mask, The Body Shop Ethiopian Honey Mask)
  • Tone – Fermented Essences (Whamisa, Missha FTE Mist, SKII), Zinc Spray (La Roche Posay Serozinc)
  • Serum – Hydration serums (Hyaluronic Acid, along with Humectants such as Glycerin, Vitamin E, Sodium Hyaluronate – salt of Hyaluronic acid with smaller molecular size allowing deeper penetrability, Yeast extracts).
  • Sheet Mask – Soothing, Calming and Hydrating essence sheet mask (SKII, Whamisa, A by Bom, Blossom Jeju, Dr Jart+, Bonvivant)
  • Moisturisers (for day) – Barrier repair formulations (Priori Barrier Repair Complex, Skinmedica & Dermalogica)
  • Balm (for evening) – Linoleic acid rich oils, Amazonian butters like Uccuba, Murumuru to improve skin’s elasticity and resilience. Along with essential oils like German Chamomile (soothing), Turmeric (anti inflammatory) (Mahalo Balm, HHW Marakata Balm). You have to ensure that your skin can withstand the essential oils given it is compromised and sensitive.

By this point, sensitivity, irritation all minimized and I can continue re-building skin’s barrier with little more than a Hydration serum. Below pic is clicked exactly a week later. You can tell, surface and texture is not the best, it felt tight, scars starting to show, and a long road to recovery.

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1 Week Later…..

Step 2 – Replenish, Heal – Address the dehydration and surface dryness. ReBuild skin’s barrier again.

At this point, while irritation has subsided, it continued to feel tight, flat/pale, and overall an unhealthy appearance.

Ingredients Focus: Still a strong hydration focus with Hyaluronic acid with Humectants however, now I incorporate Antioxidants such as Green Tea, Resveratrol, Vitamin E, Squalene, Coenzyme Q-10, Caffeine.

I slowed down on high frequency this week, and started light massage to get the blood cells moving and keep the lymph drainage going. We don’t want stagnation which would have slowed down the recovery path. While most of the routine remained same, the new additions were around light massage, gentle exfoliation and patting in a number of layers of essence:

Routine:

  • Cleanse – Milk Cleanser, Angels on Bare Skin (my version which is finer in texture, also contains Goat Milk powder, No lavender and very gentle on skin)
  • Exfoliation – Fruit Enzymes (Basics on Enzymes) Skin was ready for mild exfoliation, not aggressive with physical or strong acid (Skin Juice Facial in a Jar – combination of AHA and enzymes, PCA Revitalizing Mask – papaya enzyme, Rejuvi Exfoliating Mask – papaya enzyme, Dr Lewinns Reversaderm).
  • Tone – 7 Skin Method involves patting in the essence 7 times, but you can determine how your skin is absorbing it. Can be limited to 2-3-4-5 times as well. It immediately addressed the skin’s tightness, surface dryness and lackluster appearance. Skin was bouncy like water bed. This can be layered in with hydration and antioxidant serums and while skin was damp, I applied an oil or balm (Whamisa, Blithe, Missha FTE Mist, SKII).
  • Serum – Hydration (Jordan Samuel Hydrate, MD Sun Hydration, Twelve Beauty, Sukin Facial Recovery Serum, Auspect Vitamin B Serum)
  • Sheet Mask
  • Oil or Balm while skin is still moist from mask

Dehydration and surface dryness were dealt with by this week with really good results. The 7 Skin method from Korea, immediately plumps the skin and sealing with a balm captures all goodness (creating a hydrolipid layer on skin). To check the hydration levels, I would pinch my skin to check how quickly it bounces back, or try not applying any products immediately after cleansing or shower. If it felt tight and craved product I knew the condition persisted. The skin was ready to take on more, so I introduced actives.

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Step 3 – Repair, Resurface Address the spots that came to surface, and Introduce Acids.

For the spots that surfaced, I extracted only if they were ready or left them alone. I wrapped my fingers around Intrinsics Silken Wipes and gently pushed them out after steaming my face. The main thing was not cause my skin any more trauma. Its not the end of the bloody world, if someone sees me with a spot or two!

Now here is the key of how I introduced the actives, because we all know, the easiest way to compromise skin’s barrier is over exfoliation. But also important to build an acid mantle again.

Introducing acids and retinol was a well thought out, methodical strategy which involved the molecular size of acid (penetrability in skin) along with ph level (how gentle or aggressive it would be) which would determine if it would irritate my skin or gently treat it. I included the actives through varying stage such as acid toners, masks, serums or treatment creams.

Acid Progression Meter –  Detailed post on Basics of AHA’s

Poly Hydroxy Acids – Least irritating (Zelens PHA Pads – uses Lactobionic PHA)

AHA (in order of smallest or largest molecule – determining penetrability in the skin)

  • MandelicColleen Rothschild Radiance Serum, Naruko Dermalane Mandelic Acid Sheet Masks and 20% Radiance Serum
  • Citric – No Standalone Product, as a part of Acid Combination
  • Tartaric – No Standalone Product, as a part of Acid Combination
  • Malic – No Standalone Product, as a part of Acid Combination
  • LacticKate Somerville Clinic to go, Bravura London Lactic Acid Peel
  • GlycolicAlpha H Liquid Gold (operates at ph of 2.5)

BHA (Salicylic Acid) – to avoid further congestion (Bravura London Salicylic Acid)

Acid Combination (contains a balanced formulations of all AHAs) – Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads, Biologique Recherche P50, DermaDoctor Kakadu C Intensive Vitamin C Peel Pads with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E (+ boost of antioxidants).

Retinol – Introduced to my skin when it appeared my skin was comfortable using Lactic acid and ready to progress to Glycolic acid. I needed to ensure I was not experiencing any surface dryness before I incorporated Retinol in the mix. Started with 0.15% which was gentle enough (Skin+Pharmacy Retinol with Hyaluronic Acid Wipes) and progressed to 0.5% (Skinmedica Retinol Complex).

Routine:

  • Cleanse, Double cleanse only if I’m wearing full face of makeup with sunscreen.
  • Exfoliation – Enzyme exfoliation with steam, Chemical+Physical exfoliation (detailed post on products).
  • Mask – Four to five times a week, sounds crazy but has significantly helped my skin bounce back. Started including stronger clay masks but added couple of drops of oil so the skin doesn’t dry and reverse all the hard work.
  • Acid Treatments – starting with 2 times a week and based on how skin responded, I increased to 3-4 times a week
  • Hydrating or Soothing Toning Mist
  • Serums – Exfoliation Serums (good balance of AHA’s and BHA with some moisturizing ingredients aid in resurfacing the skin to reveal fresher, brighter, even toned skin). Resurfacing Treatments are concentrated forms of AHA’s and Retinol to resurface and revitalise the skin. Used strictly as a treatment, once or twice a week (SkinBetter AlphaRet Overnight Treatment, Cosmedix Define, Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro peel). Retinol Serums  (separate postDrDG Ferulic+Retinol, PTR Retinol Fusion, Colleen Rothschild Retinol Complex, La Roche Posay Redermic R).  
  • Sheet Mask (optional)
  • Oil or Balm

By thoughtfully and carefully introducing actives in the skincare routine, my skin showed significant signs of improvement in terms of texture, tone and overall brightness. The surface dryness was completely gone by creating and maintaining a strong hydrolipid layer on skin (applying an oil or balm while skin is damp from essence)

Step 4 (ongoing) – Repair, Resurface (Addressing Scarring)

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Week 5 progress  Skin looks Good (with makeup)

Yes, her poorly skilled technique of extractions has left me with scars. As I slowly incorporate stronger acids (DrDG, Alpha H, Neostrata, Naruko Dermalane) and gradually build tolerance for stronger actives again, my skin will slowly but surely bounce back. I know this last step will take weeks before I see visible improvement in tone of the skin. Will continue with more sheet masks as well, exfoliating masks as skin regeneration is crucial.

While most of my routine has bounced back to it’s usual self with strong resurfacing actives (including AHA and RetinolAlpha H Beauty Sleep Power Peel), I’ve had more focus on Pigmentation Serums which have high concentrations of Niacinamide (Vitamin B3). It’s the powerhouse ingredient. Absolutely fabulous for spots, red blotchiness, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Other ‘natural’ ingredients to look out for are: Licorice, Arbutin (natural derivative of hydroquinone derived from plants, including Bearberry, Blueberry, and Cranberry), and Kojic Acid (Manyo Factory Galactomyces Niacin Treatment, Auspect Skincare Vita B Serum).

Other very important aspects which have been crucial in this recovery are:

  • Massage, getting my skin moving, improving the blood circulation is important for lymph drainage and skin to heal. Several videos on YouTube on how to massage either by hands or jade tool or roller for Gua Sha. The underlying point is get the blood circulation moving (avoid stagnation) and flush toxins from skin.
  • Always and Always be guided by your skin, it speaks to you and you need to listen, understand and adapt. If its reacting and going red, you’re not doing something right, it feels tight – you’re dehydrated and possibly surface dry, over producing oil – you’re stripping it off good healthy fatty oils, breaking out in certain spots – either to do with your diet, gut health or overall health. This list could go on and on, but it is very important to understand why your skin is reacting in the way it is.
  • Your Insides Reflect Outside – What you put in your mouth and how you digest it has HUGE impact on your skin. Having the right balance of enzymes, acidity/alkalinity and fluids is utterly the baseline of solid skin health. I’m not telling anyone to quit dairy, or go gluten free for your skin….let your skin tell you how its coping with your habits.
  • Supplements, in addition to my usual Vitamin D and Fish Oils, I added Hyaluronic Acid supplements on Lady Hirons suggestion and it has worked for me. Not saying this is for everyone but check with your doctor. Get regular blood work done. Again this reflects on the point above.

Well this is it for now, by no means am I aiming for perfection but I would like to get to a place where I find it comfortable again to step out without makeup.

HHW.com

xx

 

Review & Comparison: AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask

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Since I declared AveSeena’s HoneyActive Beauty Mask as May Lindstrom Honey Mud’s younger cousin the review and comparison post was inevitable. I’ve been using AveSeena for a few days now and I’m ready to spill the beans.

A uniquely thick, decadently rich beauty treatment, designed to offer natural nourishment leaving the skin looking illuminated and full of vitality. The brand claims, Delicious pure honey-based mask enriched with sublime botanicals smells sumptuous upon application, while gently releases the face from impurities with a sense of creamy smoothness and silky comfort. Based on my experience, I agree with every word in their claim, its honey heaven, decadent and intoxicating smell transcends me to milky smoothness on skin.

Anyway, lets dive in the specifics of the product, packaged in a classic violet miron glass jar. This treat smells very similar to Honey Mud, i.e. cocoa velvetty aroma wrapped around fresh orange blended with beautiful floral. Formula is decadent honey mixed with cocoa absolute, clay, lush oils and botanical extracts. Also the colour of the product is identical to Honey Mud.

Note: Click here for my Review on May Lindstrom The Honey Mud 

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For both these masks, the heart of formulation is enzyme rich Honey, purifying clays, moisturizing oils and healing plant oils and botanical extracts. Main differences between the two honey based product reside in texture and consistency due to the choice of ingredients in the formulation. The use of type of clay and oils explain the density of AveSeena’s clay mask. Below I have dissected the formula based on category of ingredient. Also note the order of ingredients is same as well.

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud

Honey Mel (Honey) Raw Honey
Clay Kaolin Clay White Halloysite Clay
Oil Coconut Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil Macadamia Nut Oil
Other Witch Hazel, Colloidal Silver
Essential Oils

 

Cocoa Absolute Oil Cacao Absolute Oil

Sweet Orange Oil

Ylang Ylang Oil

Vanilla CO2 Total Essential Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Frakincense Oil

Myrrh Oil

Extracts

(Fruit & Flower)

Orange Fruit Extract

Orange Peel Extract

Lavender Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract

Cardamom Seed Extract

Gardenia Flower Extract

Apple Fruit Extract

Apricot Fruit Extract Hibiscus

Rose Mallow Extract

Clove Flower Extract

Jasmine Flower/Leaf Extract

Vanilla Fruit Extract

Tuberose Flower Extract

Spiked Ginger Lily Extract

Plumeria Flower Extract

None
Preservative Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Another Major Distinction in the formula is the use of essentials oils versus botanical extracts. AveSeena developers believe the use of essential oils in a formulation wouldn’t allow very sensitive skin types to explore and enjoy this mask. They perform their own extraction on botanicals with their proprietary technology (which they cannot provide deets on). In saying so, Honey Mud has Witch Hazel and Colloidal Silver which helps soothe and purify the skin.
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Next up is the comparison on Texture, Performance and Results on skin. 

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask May Lindstrom The Honey Mud
Texture & Consistency Dense, firm, very mildly grainy for very very mild exfoliation

Think of honey based body butter

Air, light, smooth whipped like a pudding.

Airy thick lotion, think meringue mixture.

Mixing with Water Both the masks feels exactly the same on skin once few drops of water is mixed. It spreads and emulsifies nicely. The clays allow the milky emulsification while drawing impurities.
Results SAME – soft, nourished skin, healthy skin
100ml

$67

$90

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Both these masks can be very versatile in use and can be used multiple ways:

Morning cleanse – Scoop some goodness out of the jar and schmear all over the face. It’s not possible to massage this for long. Take a few drops of water and it starts emulsifying and can be massaged longer. Gently cleanses the skin, wonderful for sensitive skins.

Stand Alone Mask – Same step as above, except leave it on till I finish my other chores. However if you’re lucky and don’t have other chores to do, lay back and wander away in your thoughts. Few minutes later wash it off and skin is plump, hydrated and feels clean. Both masks will not dry on skin where you’d need a chisel to remove.

Boosted Mask – Mix couple of drops of serum for more boosted treatment on skin. AveSeena recommends their own serum however I’ve tailored serum based on skin concern and need.

Mix with other powdered masks – Spoonful of any powdered mask concoction, such as spoonful of May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver (TBS) or Mahalo Care Pele Mask, or any other powdered mask concoction. Apply the mask with a brush, sit back or do whatever that is therapeutic to your mind while this rockstar couple does magic to your skin. One look at my skin and it radiates, it’s firmer, pores appear tighter, overall texture is calmer.

DIY Mask: Like I mentioned in my Honey Mud post, if you’re hesitant to spend that much or have a limited budget here is an alternative: white kaolin clay powder, 1tbsp raw honey or manuka honey, few drops of witch hazel toner, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, a drop of any essential oil (optional). To boost the results, you can also use milk or yoghurt (lactic acid bacteria help with overall radiance).

Personally, I would happily walk past Honey Mud knowing there is another comparable, equally fine performing product with stellar ingredient listing at a competitive price point. Why would I want to fork out additional $23? In addition, for many the formulation differences may also be a deciding factor, i.e. essential oils or botanical extracts for your skin.

Of course it really comes down to personal preference and brand loyalty for some. I have my own thoughts on that, and this is certainly not the post to express that. What are your thoughts?

HHW.com

xx

Disclaimer: I was gifted the AveSeena Honeyactive Mask.

Worker B Raw Honey Face Wash

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The Worker B face wash is one which has garnered decent attention from me and IG peeps. I’ve had several questions about its texture, consistency, smell and performance. Well here I am finally……

A little background about Worker B brand, a group of passionate beekeepers and artisanal skincare formulators who have harnessed the potency of bee-created ingredients straight from the hive. As beekeepers ourselves, we are immersed in the inner workings of the beehive. This knowledge is vital to selecting our exceptional local team of honeybee experts who foster healthy, pesticide-free beehives thus providing our worker bees with a happy, thriving home. This allows us to source bee products – raw honey, beeswax, propolis – directly and make certain that we are using only chemical, antibiotic and pesticide- free ingredients from non-migratory beekeepers, ourselves included! Personal relationships with local beekeepers and, clean, sustainable bee products combine for the most effective skincare.

We all know the endless benefits of honey for our well being and skin. Lets straight dive into this delish cleanser. It claims to clean the skin while doing some good for it. No Soap or Sulfates. Made from raw honey, maintaining the beneficial enzymes from raw honey. Packaged in 5oz glass bottle with black twist open lid. The second you bottle the bottle, you can instantly smell the gorgeous honey. No added colour, no added scent or essential oil making it a perfect choice for sensitive skin.

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The texture and consistency is of raw honey however not sticky. The ingredient list will explain why…..

Ingredients Raw Honey, Organic oils of Sesame Seed, Avocado, Grapeseed, Rosehip Seed and Wheat Germ, and Worker B Propolizer Tincture

So the oils help the product move and schmear all over the skin. And no the oils don’t emulsify, but help nourish the skin. The inci list is simple, straightforward, no fillers, no gimmicky, novelty, or small proportion ingredients. Also, there is no addition of water, petroleum products, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan.

This cleanser would be perfect for absolutely ANY skin especially sensitive, eczema or rosacea skins. With the addition of tiny bit of water, the cleanser spreads smoothly all over the skin. I give a light feathery massage and then rinse with water. If you’re oily skinned, definitely take it off with a hot cloth. Leaves skin incredibly moist (humectant properties of honey) that I could go without a moisturizer. Of course this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the versatility of this product. As a standalone cleanser or mask (leave on for 20-30-40mins), or mix with clays or muds (personal favourite mix with May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver or Odacite Synergie Masque).

All in all, I believe for 5.0 oz at $36 you can’t go wrong with this price tag, ingredients and serves excellent value for money and skin.

HHW.com

xx