Min's Beauty Equipment: October 2013

Wednesday 30 October 2013

How to Get Rid of Frown, Glabella or Furrow Lines on Forehead - Alternative to Botox

I wrote an article about derma rollers where I shared my experience in keeping my frown or furrow lines on forehead at bay. Glabella lines are usually the first wrinkles on our forehead that we start to notice. They don't just make us look older, they make us look angry, therefore, I thought those forehead lines or the two number 11 furrows deserve an article of their own.
Frown, furrow and glabella lines
Furrow or glabella lines

If you are happy to age gracefully, you don't need to do anything, but if wrinkles do bother you, then there are a few things for you to try out.

One of the solutions that we all know about is Botox. It relaxes muscles which results in smoother skin; the wrinkles soften and once they reappear they return as less severe.

The next possible solution is training your muscles. This will not reverse the effects of ageing, but it may help keep the muscles relaxed; the deep forehead wrinkles will become less noticeable and the new ones will appear to be less sharp.

When I type in the words "get rid of frown lines" on YouTube these are the results that I get:

Training the muscles is the most popular advise, whether it's by using a sports tape, frownies or some sort of facial exercise. 

Botulinum toxin, or Botox, is the other popular solution in getting rid of lines on forehead which was talked about before. I have not seen anyone suggesting to use a needle though, therefore, let me call this recipe my little invention. I like the look of surprise on my friends' faces when I mention the treatment, but then they ask for what I did, because they want to give it a go (even my husband, but ssshh about it…)

I got my inspiration from derma rollers. They work by stimulating production of collagen and elastin, thus, making skin renew itself. So, I decided to have a go, but with a needle.

All you need is an ordinary sharp sewing needle and a sterilising solution. Make sure the treatment area is free from make-up and clean. Sterilise the skin and the needle, then gently puncture the wrinkles multiple times. You don't need to go deep as this would sound scary and might have some unexpected consequences. It's worth applying a serum and a moisturiser after the procedure. Skin is particularly permeable after needling, therefore, if there is any goodness in your skin care products then this is the time when your skin will absorb the most of it. Make sure you do the treatment before going to bed as the needling will make the treated area temporarily red. Wear sun cream with high SPF the next day.

Befor and after pictures
My forehead lines four years ago
(at the top) and now (at the bottom)
I did this a few times a week for a few weeks, then stopped, and did nothing for a few months. I wanted to see whether the result was temporary or permanent (the skin swells temporarily, thus, causing it to even out). Some of the furrow or frown lines on my forehead are still visible, but only to me, whereas before anyone could see the number 11 wrinkles on my forehead. So, I am convinced that at least some of the result is permanent.

There are some mixed views as to how often derma rollers should be used. Some people claim that one should use them less frequently than once a month to give skin a chance to renew itself instead of hurting it without letting it heal properly; others claim that a couple times a month or, if needling is done on a very superficial level, then as frequently as one likes. I used it a few times a week and it all worked fine for me, but you must use your own judgement if you decide to give it a go.

Here I am sharing my video that I uploaded on YouTube. It's called "How to get rid of frown lines between brows, glabella wrinkles, alternative to botox". There is nothing there that I have not written about in this article, however, if you prefer to watch a video instead of reading, this is just another option.

Upon finishing my article, I would like to ask if you have heard of any weird or unusual ways to get rid of your wrinkles, whether it's crow's feet, forehead or glabella lines.

Also, do you find my tip strange, weird, unusual or absolutely normal? Would you give it a go?

Update to the article on 17 December 2013

I have prepared another video on YouTube where I demonstrate how I do the needling in the area between eyebrows. You are welcome to watch it. The video is below.

Update to the article on 7 March 2014

This is a video where I show that I don't have Botox myself. I got blamed for having had Botox, so I wanted to prove that I don't. Also, I am making one more important point that I want you all to know. This point is important for maintaining your forehead area free of wrinkles.

To make your lives easier I have found this amazing device and added it to my blog so that you can purchase it straight away without leaving the site. This derma stamp is a real time saver and it's perfect for someone starting out with skin needling - not as harsh as a derma roller can be, but not as fiddly as a single needle; definitely worth some consideration. The picture is of a 3mm needle size derma stamp, so your needles are likely to be shorter.

Monday 21 October 2013

Dermaroller Therapy and Skin Needling

What is a derma roller?

Derma roller vs medieval torture device
A derma roller compared to a medieval torture device
Derma roller is a hand-held rolling device with lots of needles. It is used to rejuvenate ageing skin, reduce the appearance of scars, improve the texture of the skin and for a lot more.

According to Daily Mail, it resembles an antiquated torture equipment, which I found rather hilarious. If we zoom in to a photo of a dermaroller, the similarities are obvious.

I cover a lot of things in this post, however, please read the other article which discusses things you need to know BEFORE buying your first skin needling device.

How does skin needling work?

Skin needling or micro needling works by making tiny wounds in the skin. As the outer layer of our body heals, collagen and elastin production is stimulated, which helps us fight ageing. Appropriate size needles must be used for this to happen. If only very short needles are used, production of collagen and elastin may not be effected. However, it will then allow deeper penetration of cosmetic products, such as serums or anti-aging face creams, which in turn may produce some positive results.

What should you use a derma roller for?

A typical derma roller

Micro needling can be used to smooth out scars, wrinkles, improve the texture of the skin, i.e., minimise the pores in some cases. It can also be used to reduce stretch marks, cellulite and even thinning hair. Rather impressive!

When should you NOT use skin needling?

You should avoid using the device if you have one or more of the following:
  • active acne
  • active herpes infection
  • fungal infection
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • moles
  • skin allergies
  • any open wound, etc.
Do not use a dermaroller if you have any problems with skin healing.
Follow special instructions if you are pregnant or lactating. Always consult a doctor if you are not sure about whether you should be using the needling device or not.

How frequently and how to use a derma roller?

1mm titanium microneedle derma stamp,
usually used for more difficult to reach
and delicate areas, such as around eyes
Do your treatment before going to bed as your skin is likely to be very red after the needling. You certainly do not want to go out for at least a few hours after the needling session. You may need to use makeup to hide the redness in the morning, but it depends on how aggressive your treatment was. If you roll the device gently a few times only, your skin is likely to be fine in the morning.

After you have sterilised your dermaroller and the outermost layer of your flesh, some numbing cream may be applied on the treated areas, but it is optional. Personally, I have never used any numbing cream, but a sterilising solution is easy to acquire. I got mine at Boots for approximately £5.

The procedure does hurt a little bit, especially if a derma roller with longer needles is used, so the aggressiveness of the treatment depends on your tolerance to pain. Usually a derma roller will come with instructions on how to use it, but you can just simply roll it on those areas that you want to rejuvenate the most. It is advised to roll up to ten times in each direction: up and down, and across.

The same applies to treatment frequency; some sources claim that a derma roller with needles of up to 0.5 mm may be used as often as one likes, but frequency of needling with longer needles needs to be around once a month. The longer the needles, the less frequently a derma roller should be used.

You can apply a serum and/or a moisturiser during or after the derma rolling treatment. This will give you maximum benefit as your skin's permeability is particularly high during or immediately after the procedure.

In the morning a sun cream with high SPF is a must, i.e., SPF 30 or more. If it's a hot sunny day, then a sun block should be used, or, even better, plan your treatment when the sun is not at its hottest: on a cloudy day or in winter.

Do not use a derma roller with irritating products, such as retinol cream, especially of high concentration. Avoid steam, sauna rooms and high temperatures after your treatment. Do not use scrubs, exfoliating products, microdermabrasion for around a week after skin needling.

Do not share your derma roller or stamp with anyone.

Needle sizes

Different uses attract different needle sizes:
  • Any size needle can be used for cellulite reduction. 
  • Needles of size starting from 1mm should be used to reduce stretch marks.
  • 0.5 to 1.5mm needles used for anti-ageing. 
  • 0.75 to 1.5mm - for acne scars.
  • Deep scar removal from 1.5mm needle size.
  • Hair restoration 0.2 to 0.5mm.
  • Pigmentation treatment 0.75 to 2mm.
  • For increased nutrient absorption for face needle size up to 1mm should be used.
Ideally, derma rollers or stamps with 1.5mm needle size or even longer needles should be left for physicians' use.

Does it work? Dermaroller results, before and after pictures

I am a huge fan of derma rollers, and became one before even acquiring my first device. How can this happen? Well, I'm impatient, and figured that any sharp needle should be a reasonably good approximation of the genuine article. There was no specialist treatment involved and I did not have a derma roller, but I could see the technique was working.

Dermaroller before after
Before and after pictures: my forehead four years ago(at the top)
and now (bottom picture) after using a needle and a derma roller
to smooth out the wrinkles
I had these annoying two lines (glabella wrinkles) in between my eyebrows which had started appearing when I was only 27, so I targeted them. You are welcome to read my other article called How to Get Rid of Glabella or Furrow Lines Between Eyebrows or watch my YouTube video on How to Get Rid of Frown Lines Between Brows. After sterilising the needles and the treatment area, I punctured the problem wrinkles multiple times. I did this a few times for a few weeks, then I stopped. After a couple of months of not doing anything the wrinkles did not come back, so I was in awe. I cannot say that the lines are fully gone, but they've definitely faded, and no one, except me, can notice them now, whereas before they were easily visible.

Now a dermaroller and a derma stamp are permanent fixtures on my make-up table. I love these skin needling devices. Given my sensitivity to pain, I usually have only a short session once or twice a week before going to bed. My skin looks smoother and I believe at least some of the effect is permanent.

Botox alternative

For those who have never considered botulinum injections for line smoothing this may sound crazy, but I know at least a couple of girls that have been addicted to Botox since their mid or late twenties.

So, for all those young Botox fans I would h
ighly recommend to replace that expensive habit with skin needling or a derma roller.

Firstly, the needling smoothes out the wrinkles. Some of the dermaroller effect is temporary due to swelling, but there is also some genuine anti-ageing effect, which is permanent.

Secondly, you will save yourself a lot of money and you will reverse some of the effects of the ageing process; botulinum toxin injections, however, only produce temporary results and they are very expensive.

Here I have added my favourite device that you can buy straight from my blog. This derma stamp is a real time saver if compared to a single needle, but it's not as harsh as a derma roller can be. It's perfect for someone starting out. Definitely worth some consideration if you are serious about getting rid of your lines.

Friday 11 October 2013

French Women Skincare Routine and Tips That Keep Them Gorgeous

I came across the article in Daily Mail about French women, their skincare routine tips and tricks, and why they always look so chick. Below you will find the parts that I thought were particularly interesting and relevant to my anti-ageing skincare and beauty blog.
French women skincare
French skin care routine: article from Daily Mail

It is no news that French women always look very elegant. Surely part of the elegance may be attributed to their good choice of clothes, hairstyle, make-up and cosmetics, but there is more to it. So, what's the secret?

The biggest secret ingredient is their discipline. Right from an early age they are taught to look after their skin. They are not taught beauty routine at school, but it goes from generation to generation - from mother to her daughter.

At the age of 12 French females start to properly cleanse their skin and start applying anti-ageing moisturisers and creams at 30.

All French ladies go to a dermatologist. Annual appointment is a necessity, not a luxury. After they are examined for melanomas, they are given tips and advice about the best skin care cosmetics and products.

Many of the doctors recommend baby products because they are gentler on the skin.

Here in the UK everyone is led to believe that we need an eye cream. There, across the Channel, no woman uses it, nor their skin doctors ever recommend it. [Sadly, I spent a fortune on eye creams. Some of them were given as a free gift with a purchase of an expensive moisturiser]

Vitamin C and Retin A that are prescribed by a dermatologist are very effective and they are a must in fighting ageing for every French. You can read about Retin A effect on skin under the section called Active ingredients. Retin A is nothing else but vitamin A.

Don't ignore the decolletage area. If Retin A does not work, have a mesotherapy treatment. A therapist pumps some vitamins and hyaluronic acid with micro needles into the problem areas. Typically, the procedure should be repeated annually. It reduces crow's feet and wrinkles in other areas.

French women skin care regimen often involves making their own exfoliators by mixing almond oil with sea salt. And most of the ladies have a bottle of argan oil that they use all over.

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Monday 7 October 2013

Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 Review - Best Anti-ageing Treatment for Beginners

Why retinol?

When you start worrying about ageing and think that you need something more than just a moisturiser for your skin, retinol cream should be your first choice. You can start with a retinol cream that is weak, then progress to a stronger version of it, then go to a dermatologist to get a prescription retin A cream and only then start doing something else.

What is retinol?

Retinol is a form of vitamin A. Retinoic acid is the active ingredient, i.e., the ingredient that does all the goodness to your skin. Retinol is not the active ingredient but it converts into retinoic acid once applied onto the skin. Retinoic acid is the strongest form of vitamin A. It is very effective and, therefore, is only available by prescription. Only a small proportion of retinol is converted into retinoic acid, therefore, creams containing retinol are not considered to be pharmaceuticals and can be sold over the counter.

What does retinol do?

The ingredient increases cell turnover in the top layer of skin, so it makes skin look better. It also affects collagen production, but the effect is small. If you want a cream that works on deeper layers of skin, you need to go to a dermatologist and ask for a prescription treatment containing retin A.

Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 cream review - my experience

Skinceuticals Retinol Cream Review
Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 cream 
Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 cream is a good first choice in fighting ageing, but it is even better if you start with 0.5 or an even weaker version of the product. Starting with a weaker cream helps your skin adjust before using a stronger one.

Today I am on my fourth day after applying Retinol 1.0 cream, but I will start my review right from the beginning.

I am in my early thirties. I have never used anything strong or stronger than an ordinary moisturiser or a serum, so using Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 cream is my first serious attempt to fight my slowly ageing skin. I bought the cream on Amazon for around £54. Now, only a couple of weeks later, it is selling for £41! Well, never mind...

So, what happened to my skin after application of the cream? The product was applied before bed. My face looked absolutely normal in the morning. I applied sun block before going outside as retinol cream makes skin sensitive to UV light. In the evening my face felt a bit red and warm, so I wondered if it was due to sun or it was the cream having a delayed effect.

The second evening after application my skin was even more red and felt tingling and dry. It also had a burning sensation when I was applying vitamin C serum on my face. My husband noticed that I was doing something to my skin.

Review: peeling skin from retinol
Peeling skin on the third day after application of Retinol 1.0 cream
The third day my face started to peel, but it was peeling very gently. I could see very thin pieces of skin on the surface of my face.

Now I am in my fourth day and I cannot see much of a difference from the day before, except my skin does not feel tight anymore.

So, did it work? I don't know yet. I will write another article once I know if the cream was effective on my skin. I will keep using it maybe once a week to start with. Once the skin adjusted, I may start using it twice a week and eventually every day before bed.

Does Retinol 1.0 cream work?

The reviews of the product are very good with occasional person complaining about the redness or peeling of the face. Usually more extreme side effects occur to those not following the instructions, i.e., applying the cream on two or more consecutive nights or not wearing protection from the sun.

The result reported by most reviewers is positive, i.e. more even, clearer skin tone, smaller pores, fading lines, reduction in acne breakouts (which I have already witnessed too!). Some people claim that the long-term effect is noticeable after approximately a year.

The problem with this cream is that it leads to cosmetically enhanced appearance with only a tiny improvement in the deeper layers of the skin which is responsible for collagen and elastin formation.

On the other hand having our skin look smoother, with less or no blemishes, smaller pores and no acne is sometimes all that we need to make us happier. Once this is not enough then we will start looking for stronger ingredients.

Bear in mind that retinol creams should not be used by pregnant women as high concentration of vitamin A may lead to birth deficiencies.

Did the cream work for me? (This is an update to the article)

Today is the 20th of October, i.e. it has been almost 2 weeks since I applied Retinol 1.0 cream on my face for the first time. Since then it has been applied to my face three times in total.
Review of Skinceuticals product: red blotchy skin
Skin after the use of Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0. 
Red patches above the lip appeared after excessive amount
of cream was used. The skin peeled leaving redness
underneath. The area above the lip looked worse than
in this picture as the photo was not taken immediately after
the skin peeled.

Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0 has made my skin a little bit smoother, but not a lot. It's possible that I will see cumulative effect once I have been using the stuff for a few months. So, it's still early days.

The major benefit for me is that I stopped having acne outbreaks. I do not have nasty acne, but I do get a few annoying spots several times a month.

One important thing to note: do use only a tiny bit of Skinceuticals Retinol cream, otherwise, you may peel a lot more than you expect: the third time a lot bigger lump of the cream was rubbed into my skin. The outer layer of my face peeled not once, but twice. The peeling skin left red patches underneath, thus, making them peel again. I had to use lots of foundation to hide the redness. The healing process was a lot longer than I had wanted. So, be wary! For those with darker skin, using too large amounts of retinol may leave their skin patchy.

This is a second update to the post

Today is the 11th of November. I have used the cream 5 times so far. The good news is that I started seeing the difference once my skin healed after the last application. The improvement is very mild, but visible. I have large pores on my cheeks; they appear to be slightly fading. Hopefully, this is not a placebo effect. I will keep on updating this post.

Another thing I would like to add: if you are like me, i.e. you have never used anything stronger than an ordinary moisturiser or equivalent, then go for a weaker version of this cosmetic preparation, don't use Skinceuticals Retinol 1, go for Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 or even weaker cream instead such as 0.25. Peeling skin is really annoying, you may simply give up before your outer layer of the face has adjusted to it. Once you are used to retinol, then go for a stronger version.

My review on YouTube

I prepared two videos for those who prefer watching instead of reading. You can also find the videos on YouTube. This is an old video and it is my first one. I look horrible there but please don't criticise me too much, I'll try to improve. :)

This is my second video, where I am talking more about my personal experience as opposed to generic retinol benefits.

Update to the article on 23 September 2014

I have been using Skinceuticals Retinol 1 cream for approximately one year now. However, I used it very very infrequently, on average, once a month. My skin did get used to the cream, but I still need to be careful with how much of it I apply on my face. If I feel that I applied too much I quickly put some serum on and a few minutes later I apply a face cream or a moisturiser, this way I avoid nasty looking and too badly peeling skin. I still get a tiny bit of desquamation, but what I get now is only very slight peeling, nothing as bad as in any of the pictures above.

If you are worried about the peeling skin, don't worry too much, your skin will eventually adjust to retinol. Also, you will slowly learn how to apply only a tiny dot of the cream.