A Skincare Workshop: Face Mask Fun

Thought i’d share a little of what I learnt on Saturday 13th May, when the lovely Suzie from Soothe-Me hosted her wonderful Skincare Workshop in London Fields. I love getting back to nature wherever possible when it comes to beauty (because why not?).  I adore the products and love the philosophy of this East-End natural skincare brand ever since I stumbled across it last December.

“[Soothe-Me was] Created as a ‘natural alternative to big brand, mass-produced skincare. Soothe-me is designed to act like ’natural health food for the skin.”

We spent the morning learning about some of the beautiful ingredients that are used in Suzie’s award winning products.  After swatting up on a variety of clays and essential oils we were let loose to have a go at conjuring up our own bespoke face masks and hydrosols using what we had learnt to inform our choices. SO much fun.

So what does a Clay mask do?

They are brilliant at cleansing and improving the texture of skin by gently polishing away dead and dull skin cells. It’s best to leave a clay mask on for about 5-6 mins.

What is a Hydrosol?

They are a flower water and more specifically, a bi-product of the process used to make an essential oil. Therefore, a hydrosol contains a small amount of the essential oil (as well as the properties of that essential oil) benefitting your skin! You can spritz a hydrosol across your face after cleansing to hydrate and prep the skin for moisturiser. You can also add hydrosols to clay and turn it into a lovely face mask!

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I mix 1 heaped tsp of clay with approx 2/3tsp hydrosol to make a face mask

(add water until it looks like a paste)

WHAT CLAY IS GOOD FOR MY SKIN?

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Rosacea Friendly Face Mask

PINK CLAY – A gentle clay that re-balances the skin. Perfect for delicate and sensitive skin. The minerals in this clay help to refine and reduce the appearance of pores.

YELLOW CLAY – Another gentle clay, this is very smooth in texture and has wonderful healing properties. Excellent for dry skin and helping to ease symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.

GREEN CLAY – Really good at drawing out those pesky impurities! The most ‘absorbant’ and ‘drawing’ of all the clays. Tightens and lifts the skin (a mini face lift – hello!) Perfect for skin prone to breakouts and oily complexions.

RHASSOUL CLAY – Has a creamy texture and is great for dry skin. It can help draw out impurities and is known to tone skin and improve its resilience.

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Mixing the clays together to make a face mask for sensitive skin!

HERBS AND HERBS: TOP 3 ESSENTIAL OILS

So we also looked at selection of essential oils and hydrosols, discussing their benefits for the skin. Here are my favs! These are particularly perfect for reactive and sensitive skin types like me (Hi Rosacea peeps!)

GERANIUM – Suits all skin ‘types’. Rejuvenating and ant-inflammatory properties. Balances the skin and has a lovely uplifting aroma.

LAVENDER – Helps to balance the skin’s oil production levels. Soothes redness and irritation. Contains ant-septic properties. Has a lovely calming aroma.

ROSE – Calms redness, hydrates, soothes and balances the skin’s PH levels. Has a beautiful sweet, floral aroma.

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WHAT DID I MAKE?

ON THE DAY

So on the day I blended 1tsp Yellow Clay with 1tsp of Rhassoul and added some geranium hydrosol to turn it into a paste. Skin felt soft and glowy! I was slightly red for about ten mins but was told this is completely normal as the Rhassoul boosts circulation and brings the blood to the surface of the skin.

FACE MASK & HYDROSOL TO GO

We then got to mix some clays together to take home, so i thought i’d mix 1 part Pink Clay, 1 part Yellow clay and 1 Part Rhassoul to get the most of all three worlds! I thought this blend would be good at balancing, soothing and purifying my skin in one go.

My hydrosol was made up of my 3 favs…Geranium, Lavender & Rose. I spritz it onto my skin most nights before bed. It has a lovely floral aroma and my skin feels soft and happy whenever I use it.

Thanks for reading – Hope this was useful!

Herbs and Herbs x

Suzie has another workshop coming up on 4th June 2017 in London! If you want to learn more in depth about natural skincare and make some fun products I highly recommend popping along.

There’s more information on her website www.soothe-me.com

 

Rosacea tips: 3 things I wish I’d known

Hey guys!

Been thinking lately how much a skin condition has the potential to consume and dictate your life. At the same time I also thought “but it doesn’t have to if you know what you’re doing and have the right knowledge” and THEN I thought, well I write a blog and have the Herbs and Herbs Instagram account dedicated to my rosacea journey… I should probably write something!

Over the last few years I have honed in on what helps me and I wanted to share 3 top tips I really wish someone told me when I first developed symptoms 5 years ago… Hope this helps!

  • 1 – Don’t physically exfoliate such a sensitive and reactive area of skin. It can cause flare ups and irritation. There are other ways to refresh your complexion and give your face a deep cleanse.  For example, I use natural clay masks every once in a while. They are very good at drawing out impurities while gently cleansing and rejuvenating the complexion.  I really recommend Soothe-Me Skincare Pink Clay and LUSH Catastrophe Cosmetic. Both are super gentle, but super cleansing and softening.
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Rosacea friendly face mask

  • 2 – Some ingredients in your skincare can cause unnecessary flare ups. Have a good look next time you are buying that new cleanser or whatever it might be! I am always careful when trying new skincare, but I feel confident and knowledgeable about what works and doesn’t work for me whilst choosing. I avoid products with Alchohol Denat (it’s too ‘stripping’ of my skin’s natural oils), Witch Hazel, anything too zesty like Citrus (lemon, lime etc) and surprisingly sometimes… Aloe Vera. How do I know when my skin isn’t happy? It starts to feel hot and tingly and turns blotchy. When this happens I’ll spritz some of my LUSH Eau Roma Water on a cotton wool pad and dab over my face. Then i’ll pop some La Roche Posay Rosaliac moisturiser on and normally my skin cools down quite quickly.
  • 3 – You CAN control your symptoms. Admittedly, there are and will be points when you feel like you are cursed with having red and blotchy skin forever. If like me, you get the rosacea spots, it can really affect your confidence. You must never give up on your quest to find what helps ease your rosacea symptoms! Whether it is a trip back to the doctor to tell them you need more guidance (I asked to be referred to a dermatologist and it was the best thing i ever did), or using the internet to read up on things like natural remedies and reviews of skincare products…it all helps and steers you in the right direction one step at a time. I’ve also found there is an amazing support network of people on Instagram who share some brilliant tips on how they control their rosacea. I often tag my posts with #rosacea and you naturally get talking with people who suffer from the same condition. It’s great!

Would love to know if you have any top tips you like to share!  Feel free to email me through my contact page or follow me on Instagram 

 

Herbs and Herbs x

Herbs and Herbs: The Laser Diaries

Hey guys!  If you already follow my Instagram page herbsandherbs you will know that I recently had laser treatment on my cheeks in an ongoing effort to help control my rosacea.

What is laser treatment? How can it help rosacea?

A Vascular laser emit’s wavelengths of light that are targeted at the tiny vessels found just under the skin.  Heat from the laser’s energy builds in the vessels causing them to disintegrate. This type of treatment can greatly reduce visible redness and help to manage the red ‘bumps’ and pimples some rosacea sufferers experience too.

Why do I have laser treatment?

I am very lucky to be able to have my treatment through the NHS in the U.K after being referred by a dermatologist.  I was having a particularly bad time with it a couple of years ago.  Day to day both my cheeks constantly felt hot, itchy and were visibly red and blotchy with spot like bumps. It felt really uncomfortable and sore. I became very self conscious of what it looked liked and it massively affected my confidence.  Simultaneously, the stress of going through a hefty break up made my rosacea flare ups the worst I had experienced.

I was basically at a loss with what do next because in my mind I had tried everything; antibiotics, topical gels from the doctor, experimented with a gluten free diet, trialled a mountain of ‘gentle’ skincare products…the list goes on. Nothing seemed to be helping my rosacea in a way that made me feel in control of it. That’s when I asked to see a dermatologist.

After being on the waiting list for a good 7 months I met with a kind and incredibly understanding dermatologist in London. He knew how much this was affecting my day to day life and mentioned the effectiveness of Laser.  After a long chat he said he would refer me to a laser clinic, but mentioned it might not be possible to get it on the NHS with all the cuts that were being made.  By some miracle not too long after I received a letter in the post with an appointment to have my first laser treatment in July 2016. I had a while to wait but I was overjoyed and felt incredibly grateful.

Where am I at with my laser treatment now?

At the start of April 2017 I had my third laser treatment. I had to take a week off work and hide because my face puffed up like a balloon and my cheeks were very bruised!  I thought I’d share some photos with you to show how my skin has healed over the last couple of weeks post laser treatment. Very happy with the results so far. It is definitely helping calm the redness on my cheeks and I don’t have epic flare ups on a regular basis anymore. Anyway, here are some photos… If you’re squeamish maybe look away now!

For the first two days, the purple bruising developed as did the swelling:

Then as the week went by the swelling calmed and the bruising slowly healed…

And a week after laser my skin looked like this:

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It’s now been about two weeks and my cheeks are still a little red but hey, that’s rosacea for you! I am so happy knowing that it’s not half as aggressive as what it used to be and that I can confidently cover little bits of redness up with make up.

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This is me yesterday at brunch with a pal. See how much it’s healed in such a short space of time? I’m amazed. Skin is fascinating.

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Thanks for reading! Rosacea is a tricky one but i’m starting to feel in control of it.

Herbs and Herbs x

Rosacea and your diet

Lots of people have been asking me recently about what I do to help control my rosacea.  I wrote a post a little while back sharing skincare tips but thought i’d share some advice today on what helps me in terms of diet.

What is Rosacea?

For those who don’t know or who suspect they may have rosacea, this is what it is:

Rosacea is a poorly understood, long term skin condition that mainly affects the face. It can start with mild flushing and redness of the cheeks.  Symptoms can develop further and some people experience burning and stinging sensations, spots and permanent redness. You can calm and control symptoms of rosacea but you cannot ‘cure’ it.

Eat Foods That Contain Healing Nutrients

You read about the obvious ‘triggers’ that can offset a flare up; spicy food and alcohol etc but there are lots of positive steps you can make to keep your rosacea and skin looking at its best. Here are a few tips that might help you…

Food rich in Vitamin C

We need Vitamin C for a healthy, fully functioning immune system. An immune system that is functioning well ensures that things like blemishes, scarring and skin heal properly and efficiently. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant which defends our skin from damage.

Best sources of Vitamin C include, broccoli, blueberries, kiwi fruit, blackberries and dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach.

Vitamin E

Another source of powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation and supports skin growth and repair. It’s also anti-ageing, woo! I replaced cow’s milk with almond milk a couple of years ago and i haven’t looked back since. My rosacea really doesn’t like dairy.

Best Sources of Vitamin E include: Nuts (almonds contain the most apparently), Spinach, sunflower seeds, avocados and olive oil.

Other nutritious and beneficial things I incorporate into my daily routine

  • I drink Green Tea which contains anti-oxidants
  • I drink Chamomile Tea which is caffeine free and contains anti inflammatory properties
  • I try and drink lots of water.  Skin needs moisture to look and feel its best. By drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, the nutrients in our body are effectively and efficiently delivered to where they are supposed to be. As a result we look fresher, we feel better and we ARE healthier.

My Triggers:

Too much caffeine

Cheese

Alcohol

Cow’s milk

Cream

Everyone’s rosacea is different so see what works for you, but I hope this little post helps in some way if you are finding it tricky. Thanks for reading!

Herbs and Herbs x

The Power of Matcha

I love green tea! I think we all know this… There are tons of health benefits associated with sipping on a cup daily and on top of that I really love that slightly woody yet refreshing taste.  Didn’t think it could possibly get any better… then my friend told me about matcha. Cue photo of me holding a cup of matcha…

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What is Matcha?

Essentially, matcha is a ‘super’ version of normal green tea as it contains well over ten times the nutritional value of a regular cup. Green tea is packed full of flavanoids  – “okay so what the hell is a flavanoid?” I hear you say… They are powerful antioxidants that protect and defend our body from cellular damage. So imagine the amazing super hero power a cup of matcha has over regular green tea!

How is it harvested?

Unlike green tea, matcha green tea bushes are grown under levels of shade which boosts their chlorophyll content and gives matcha it’s bright green colour. The chlorophyll is packed full of nutrients.  When it’s ready, the leaves are hand picked, dried and ground down into a fine powder.

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Where can I buy matcha?

Most health food stores will sell matcha. I’m currently sipping on Pure Chimp’s matcha green tea and I’m loving everything about them. Amazing value, premium quality matcha and free delivery can’t be bad! They even give 5% of their profits to charity. I’d highly recommend them to anyone wanting to try matcha for the first time.  Pure chimp give you lots of ideas on how you can use your matcha powder. I normally use three parts almond milk to one part hot water and whisk in half a teaspoon of matcha to make a yummy matcha latte!

Rosacea and Matcha

If you love coffee but have rosacea, try giving matcha a go. High levels of caffeine sometimes trigger rosacea flare ups. Now while matcha does contain caffeine, it’s far less than a cup of coffee. What’s perfect about matcha is that it still contains enough to give you the energy boost you need to get your day off to a good start. What’s more, unlike matcha, coffee does not contain any notable health benefits. I love anything rich in antioxidants because I know it will be protecting and defending my skin, which is super important to me and my rosacea.  Give it a go! It’s really worth it.

Happy Matcha Drinking everyone!

HerbsandHerbs x

Herbs and Herbs: Yoghurt mask to soothe rosacea flare-ups

When my cheeks start to feel as if they’ve been cooking under a grill for an hour I know that my skin isn’t on best form. I start to feel really warm and even my ears can go red! Glamorous, I know…

I don’t know if these pics above do it justice, but when I took my makeup off after getting home from work my face looked really red and blotchy and my face was on fire. Sometimes it’s the ‘feeling’ a flare up that drives you mad; it’s uncomfortable.  I kid you not my nose went all Rudolph red at work that day too..!

Clearly my rosacea was having a tantrum and I needed to calm it down. I tend to drink lots of water when I feel my skin start to misbehave and it definitely helps reverse the burning sensation.  Here’s what I did next…

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Mmmmmm..this is the greek yoghurt and turmeric face mask I made in 10 seconds flat. I had seen this homemade mask on Instagram a couple of times and thought i’d give it a go! @ladyrosacea uses this to calm her rosacea and @soothemeskincare has also featured it on their Insta as a soothing mask.

Here goes…

 

The lactic acid in yoghurt effectively ‘exfoliates’ away dead and dull skin cells leaving behind soft, cleansed skin. The turmeric is anti-inflammatory and just what I needed. From the second I applied the mask i can honestly say it felt very cooling and took away a lot of the heat.

I left the mask on for about 5-7 minutes and washed off with warm water. My skin felt very soft and far happier than before.  Finished off by spritzing my favourite rose and lavender toner water from LUSH followed by the Skin Calm Cream by Soothe-Me.

Will be using this home made mask again for sure.

Herbs and Herbs x

 

Calming homemade face mask for sensitive skin

Decided to have a go at making my own little face mask using ingredients I love for their benefits on the skin. When I’m choosing a mask I normally look for something based on the following effects…

  1. Anti inflammatory 
  2. Soothing
  3. Hydrating

 

Ingredients:

1/2 banana mushed up

1 tsp chamomile water (I infused some buds in hot water and allowed it to cool)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp oats

1 -2 tsp honey depending on how ‘thick’ you want the texture to be

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ready for action..

 

Once mixed together I massaged the mask into my skin and left it on for about 10 minutes.

 

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so glamorous right now

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let me take a selfie..

 

When I washed it off I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Skin felt soft and seemed refreshed!

 

Herbs & Herbs x

Herbs and Herbs: Top 5 things to avoid in a rosacea skincare routine…

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Me… minus the make up! I follow a really simple skincare routine that helps keep flare ups at bay.

DON’T EXFOLIATE THE AREAS WHERE YOU HAVE ROSACEA. Typically, rosacea appears on the cheeks, nose and forehead but it can vary from person to person. My rosacea is predominantly on my cheeks with a little bit on my forehead.  As tempting as it may be, exfoliating will not scrub away the redness or rosacea ‘spots’ you may have. In fact, it will only exacerbate the problem.  Exfoliating and scrubbing the skin will irritate and cause skin to flare up more. In some cases it can also break the little capillaries that lie under the skin too.  People with rosacea tend to have quite pale/ delicate skin and i’ve found over the years that the best thing we can do for it is to be gentle and use lots of soothing skincare that focuses on reducing inflammation and protects against the day to day stresses of life (weather, pollution, UV rays..)

AVOID SKINCARE PRODUCTS CONTAINING ‘ALCOHOL DENAT’.  It’s an ingredient used in lots of skincare (particularly in products aimed at ‘oily skin’) because it’s super effective at absorbing  oil and…well, anything on the surface of your skin really! Alcohol Denat helps to leave skin with that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling after cleansing. I noticed my rosacea would get really dry and itchy after using products containing alcohol denat, so I stopped and it helped!

AVOID USING WITCH HAZEL. As amazing as witch hazel is for spots, rosacea ‘spots’ are totally different and can not be banished using this ingredient. Witch hazel is an astringent and it is commonly described as an irritant for sensitive rosacea prone skin.

AVOID SOAP BASED CLEANSERS.  Soap, although cleansing, is not the best method of removing the day’s make up and grime from your skin. It effectively strips your skin of all it’s natural oils and I find that it leaves my cheeks feeling really dry, tight and inflamed.   As i’m sure you’re all aware by now, I am a BIG fan of oil based cleansing.  A tiny bit of coconut oil massaged into skin, gently removed with a damp cotton wool pad or flannel is such a lovely and soothing way to cleanse the skin…and although there is no soap involved it’s super effective and removing dirt and grime I promise!

DON’T USE AN OVER THE COUNTER SPOT CREAM. If you have the little red ‘bumps’ on your cheeks, don’t be fooled! These are not ‘spots’ or ‘pimples’ in the traditional sense and they can’t be treated in the same way as acne.  If you suspect you have rosacea (flushed cheeks that can be itchy with raised bumps) go see your doctor and they can prescribe you with a specific rosacea cream.  I use one called ‘Soolantra’ and it’s really amazing at taking down flare ups when they crop up.

Soothe-me

I’m on a never ending quest to find the best remedies and skincare to help treat my rosacea.  It’s actually being rather well behaved of late (phew) but i’ll never say no to anything that claims to help soothe and calm my skin.

I stumbled across a beautiful East-London based skincare brand called Soothe-Me at the Sutton House Christmas Market in Hackney last December.  They had a brilliant selection of skincare products on display with lots of lovely fresh testers to try, but my eyes were instantly drawn to the word “rosacea” on one of the moisturisers. After having a little chat with the aromatherapist and founder of Soothe-Me I purchased Skin Calm Cream. I’ve been using it for about a month now and I am very happy with the results! Would definitely recommend to anyone who suffers with rosacea. It leaves my skin feeling moisturised and soothed. When I wake in the morning my cheeks look calm (minimal redness, no itchiness and no dry patches) and skin feels soft.  What I love about the cream is that it’s made from natural ingredients and it’s really simple and stripped back.

What’s in it?

Evening Primrose – brilliant at retaining skin’s natural moisture content

Shea Butter – deeply moisturising and rich in the essential fatty acid oleic acid

Horse Chesnut Extract – said to beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. Can help heal broken capillaries.

Lavender Essential Oil – Calming and soothing on the skin

Have a little peak at the website for a list of all the ingredients.  I’m sold with this product and it’s such a bargain at only £7.99!

Herbs and Herbs x

Tis the season..

Cheese, cheese and more cheese.

Red Wine, mulled wine, prosecco.

Late nights, Parties, sleep deprivation….

It’s CHRISTMAS!

Such a fun and sociable time of year, but who is feeling a tad broken already? I’ve had quite a long week and with a couple of Christmas parties to top it all off I feel in desperate need of a little detox now. My rosacea really doesn’t get on well with too much alcohol or dairy so this time of year can be when my skin flares up a bit if i’m not careful. Here’s what i’ll be doing/ avoiding over the festive period to keep my skin as happy as poss:

  1. No coffee in the morning! Instead i’ll be drinking Green tea all the way. It’s the healthier option and still has a bit of caffeine to get the day going.
  2. Night in with a nice clay based Face mask to cleanse away all the partying and late nights 😮 I’ll probably use my fav mask from LUSH ‘Catastrophe Cosmetic‘ because it is super effective at making my skin feel fresh but it’s amazing at soothing and calming redness too. Full of anti-septic calamine powder & anti-inflammatory chamomile blue essential oil. Little tip… if you have rosacea like me, I would avoid a mask that exfoliates as that can irritate skin further.
  3. Drink a truck ton of water to hydrate and stay alert.  Sometimes my rosacea can be triggered by alcohol and I get little red bumps appear on my cheek. It tends to be when I drink red wine and prosecco in particular (if you have rosacea too, maybe stay away from these beverages). Drinking a substantial amount of water really does help prevent this from happening as much. Sounds so simple I know, but when I do drink, having a glass of water here and there keeps irritated skin at bay.
  4. Avoid cheese. My rosacea really, really doesn’t like cheese 😦 which is such a shame because I LOVE cheese. Admittedly, I do have a little bit from time to time  because, well it’s CHEESE, but I really notice a difference in my skin when I’ve over indulged. I get spots, my cheeks become aggravated and feel hot and red.
  5. Make a healthy smoothie! I’m thinking something full of anti-oxidants and Vitamin C to boost my flagging immune system….. maybe kale (a super food, full of vitamins), ginger (anti-inflammatory), blueberries (powerful anti-oxidant), oranges (vitamin C!) and chia seeds (excellent source of protein and omega 3). So yes, I’m going to dust down my smoothie maker and make myself a good ol’ smoothie!

Let me know if you have any tips to stay on the ball over xmas and new year!

herbs and herbs x