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Seeking Skin Care

Ciao Everyone! It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the things going on in my life, so I am here to tell you about my latest nemesis – hormonal acne. I’ve been battling for a few months after adjusting to a change in my contraceptive pill and now that things are slowly calming down, I wanted to share my skincare story, and tips I’ve learned along the way.

A Blemish A Day
Problematic skin feels like the worst thing in the world when you have it. Whether you suffer mildly, monthly, or exist in a constant ‘no days off’ blemish battle, we all have a common enemy…
There is no telling how acne will make you feel, but not feeling okay about it, is okay. I wanted to be open and honest as I feel I owe it to anybody reading or suffering – acne has made me feel bottom tier. I went from not wanting to look in any reflective surface, to constantly checking a mirror to see if my face had miraculously healed in a matter of minutes. My acne was in no way severe, but it has still affected me in a way I could never have predicated and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Read Between the Bumps
All is not lost. Although acne will likely be an ongoing battle, there are so many things that can help. The first? Getting to know the skin you are in. Explore what it likes and what it reacts to. We all know the 3 contributory factors that play their part in complexion: Hormones, Diet and Stress. If you study these individually you may be able to pinpoint your triggers which gives you a great indicator of how to treat them.

Balancing Act
My acne is mostly hormonal. It rears its ugly head as a response to too much or too little of any given hormone. One thing to note: I am on the combined contraceptive pill containing hormones intended to help regulate levels, but depending on the amount your body naturally produces it’s effect can vary. If you aren’t on the pill you may still be susceptible to imbalances at certain stages of your monthly cycle.

I’ve had a few experiences where missing my pill, changing my pill or doubling up on my pill has left me a big blotchy mess. As women we all know our body reacts in weird and wonderful ways all the time. Progesterone and Oestrogen play a massive part in controlling sebum production in your face, so variance within those levels can result in acne.
Although everyone will have different symptoms, research suggests women between 22-35 who experience acne are likely suffering from hormonal imbalances, so this is a good place to start your discovery if you fall into that category. And what to do if you think you are suffering from an imbalance? Speak to your doctor, do some reading. Whether you are on the pill or not, both should suggest the best ways to rectify your levels. After seeing my own doctor, I am now on a new contraceptive pill that has different levels of the same hormones which has seemed to help massively a month in.

On the Rum
If I could eat like I was preparing for a marathon every day I would! I love my food. But knowing that diet plays a massive part in skin health, stress and energy levels I (emphasis on try because it’s so hard!) try to maintain clean eating habits. I guess it’s all about balance. The main culprits come as no surprise – sugar, dairy and alcohol. Although I haven’t axed any of these completely, I have significantly reduced my intake and have already seen improvement in the clarity of my skin. My complexion is brighter, lighter and feels so much more hydrated.

My advice to anyone looking to mediate acne by diet would be to start small and make a few changes rather than going T-Total. Diet can be one of the hardest things to control especially as we all live such busy lives, but I truly think it plays a monumental role in keep our complexion crystal clear.

Cut to the Cleanse
Women are to Beauty Products as Men are to football – Loyal! You will most likely have a cleanser or face wash that you have been loyal to for years – like I did. I have used Clinique’s Foaming Facial Soap since I was a teenager and although I used the type specifically for oily skin, I started to question if it was right for me, or if there was something better. My Doctor recommended Cetaphil (which I will mention below) and it’s one of the best moves I have made. The clarity in my complexion even after one use did not go unnoticed. Cetaphil is also around £7.99 so its a win win.

Our body and our skin is ever changing, so what has once worked for you may no longer, especially if you are having new issues. Most Beauty-Counter products have high volumes of chemicals and soap, both of which will be harsh and drying. Although you want to limit oil production, anything too drying may aggravate existing acne as your skin will produce excess oil to mediate.

Age Before Beauty
Invest in an SPF you can wear every day. I know, in London?! Research shows that even on a cloudy day sun beams still fall on your face, and if we aren’t prepared we aren’t protected. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells, so exposure can cause premature ageing, and also aggravate acne. Those of you with oily skin will know, most SPF’s are thick, oily, and can actually break you out instead of protecting you. Explore the options for Oily skin, and be prepared to spend a bit more money on a good one. I’ll add my favourites below!


A Penny for your Products
Below is a list of all the products that I have personally tried and tested on my acne that have helped massively:

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
2. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1%
3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+)
4. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
5. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
6. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine SFP50

If anyone has any questions please feel free to drop a comment! Good Luck on your Skincare journey!

Elena xx

Berry & Honey Muffins

Ingredients

2 Large Ripe Bananas
250g Porridge Oats
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1-2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries
Raspberries
(Make it as fruity as you want!)

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease a 12 dip muffin tray.

In a blender, add the oats, bananas, Eggs, Greek Yoghurt, Peanut butter, and Honey. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunky bits will just give the muffins extra bite).

Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chia seeds.

In a pan, add half the blueberries and raspberries that you want in the muffins, and heat up until runny. Once hot, marble the fruit through the Muffin mixture.

Spoon the mix into the muffin tray. Add the last of the berries on top, as these will slowly soften whilst in the oven.

Place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes! (Check and 10 minutes and then leave them for an extra 5).

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Simple Spaghetti From Scratch

Ingredients

6 Large Eggs
600g Italian 00 Flour

Method

Empty flour onto a board (you can use a bowl if preferred) and make a dip in the centre. Beat the Eggs and then pour into the dip.

Slowly working from the inside towards the outside of the dip, mix the eggs with the flour, running the mixture through your fingertips.

Repeat this until the Eggs and flour have combined and you have dough!

Knead the dough thoroughly, as this will allow the ingredients to develop to make the perfect pasta.

Once finished (your dough should be a silky texture) you will need to leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before rolling it out and fashioning into shapes.

Some people like to use a pasta machine, I do have one at home, but this can be done the traditional  way.

kitchen-aid-pasta-maker

If you do have a machine, then take a lump of dough (no bigger than an apple) and run through the machine – it should be on the widest setting. Do this for all dough and repeat the process 5 times.

Tip: Make sure you dust with plenty of flour so this doesn’t stick, keep sprinkling if you see it getting stuck.

This rolling process means you are working the dough, the ingredients are combining and perfecting your pasta.  If you can, try to work through all the width settings on the machine, as this will ensure you pasta is stretchy and lump free.

Once you are satisfied, roll the dough through the machine into a rectangular shape, then fold in half, and in half again until you have a square of dough. For the final time, run your ready made square through the machine until you have got a long golden piece of dough!

Now – you can choose the shape and width you like. Cut and shape away! Try to do this within a minute of rolling out the final piece.

Tip: If your dough becomes too dry, this is an indication that you may need to stop playing around with it, pasta dries out very quickly.

After either hang on a spaghetti tree or place on individual trays.

Cook and Enjoy!

Elena xxx