Guest Blog | A little advice from someone who just kept getting it wrong!

Guest Blog | A little advice from someone who just kept getting it wrong!

It may be obvious whilst reading this article that, not only is it the first one I have ever written about myself, but I am also by no means an expert on this subject; However, after 3 years of reading beauty and advice blogs, watching YouTube videos and following advice from people who are also not experts, I have decided that it’s about time I put my two pence worth in!

I would like to think that you may find what I have to say somewhat useful, or at least you’ll have made a few of the mistakes I have and have a laugh at me ?

I am 41 years old, well, 41 and 10 months…. (I still struggle with the fact I am actually that age) I run a small business and I have two step kids who live with me and two little dogs. I am always ridiculously busy and rarely wear makeup anymore, apart from on the rare occasions my partner and I find some alone time and venture out of the house together.

I was under no illusions that I had been very lucky with my skin, considering the abuse I have put it through over the years.

 

I abused sunbeds from the age of 24 to 30, drank far too much alcohol through the years, and only quit smoking two years ago after 25 years! Most days I thank the gods that I don’t look like a raisin! Most people placed me early 30s and my mum was always telling me how lucky I was to have her genes! Then it all changed…

Up until about three years ago, I had no skincare routine to speak of, other than taking off makeup with a baby wipe before bed and washing my face with shower gel in the shower or bath. I didn’t own a moisturiser, had never exfoliated and was fascinated with the multitude of little bottles and “potions” that my friends had on their dressing tables and in their bathrooms. I used to refer to it as useless expensive slap.

Then 3 years ago my family & work life changed dramatically; Although the circumstances and details of what happened would be a very long article in itself, the short story is that I was suddenly unemployed for the first time in my life and became a full-time mother overnight to my partners two children, who were also going through a traumatic time. Due to the kids moving in I was unable to go back to work full time, so I started my own business, something which I had wanted to do for a while. Possibly the most stressful time of my life to do this but sometimes you have to just jump, and I had no choice. All of this stress on top of a chronic pain condition and plenty of sleepless nights started to take its toll on my skin. I started having issues I had never had before, eye bags, dry skin, red patches, and spots.

The first person I went to for advice was My Mum. She recommended Clinique as something she has used for years, so off I went to buy my first collection of little potions and bottles!

Not knowing what I was doing or buying, I bought what my Mum had recommended and started my new skincare routine. Expecting my skin to be restored to its former glory suddenly, I was very disappointed when it didn’t work for me at all. I found it caused my skin to become tight feeling and dry.

I gave up with the Clinique and turned to YouTube. I could spend the next five pages detailing the products and techniques that I used, so I’ll give you the short version.

I tried expensive brands and cheap brands, home made concoctions including honey and baking soda face scrub, porridge face masks and even raw egg and toilet roll! 

Having always had oily skin, the one thing I stayed away from was oily products as I though this would make the problem worse. Although my nose and forehead were still very oily, I now had issues with the rest of my face being very dry.

I finally settled on a couple of products I got from Lush! A moisturiser designed for oily skin, a cleansing milk and a toner spray that I found helped stop my make up sliding off my face after a couple of hours.

Although these products helped with the dry skin patches and tightness, I still had the bags and now on top of that my pores seemed to be getting larger and I had developed two red itchy dry patches either side of my nose.

Next time I went to to the Docs for a routine appointment I mentioned the red patches and was told it was eczema. I used the cream prescribed but after 2 months it was still there.

Having always had oily skin, the one thing I stayed away from was oily products as I though this would make the problem worse. Although my nose and forehead were still very oily, I now had issues with the rest of my face being very dry.

I finally settled on a couple of products I got from Lush! A moisturiser designed for oily skin, a cleansing milk and a toner spray that I found helped stop my make up sliding off my face after a couple of hours.

Although these products helped with the dry skin patches and tightness, I still had the bags and now on top of that my pores seemed to be getting larger and I had developed two red itchy dry patches either side of my nose.

 

Next time I went to to the Docs for a routine appointment I mentioned the red patches and was told it was eczema. I used the cream prescribed but after 2 months it was still there. These red patches really started to get me down, I even bought a concealer called Dermacol which was supposed to cover up everything from scars to tattoos! Although it covered the redness, the dry bits and the lumps were still visible. I had got to the point where I had stopped trying to get rid of it and started trying to hide it, this meant more and more makeup, which with my larger pores and concealer needed under my eyes to hide the bags was starting to make me look too heavily made up and beginning to cause spots and blackheads.

I was at the end of my tether with my skin and came to the conclusion that the stress in my life had aged me irreversibly and it was all downhill from here.

It was then that I confided in one of my clients, Sue owned a beauty salon, and I was managing her website and social media for her. She was clearly an expert in her field and I told her the problems I was having and what I had tried to do about it. Sue recommended I try a skincare brand called [ comfort zone ]. A brand I was familiar with through working with Sue, but after nothing had worked, I had given up.

Sue, Owner of Gorgeous Nail & Beauty Emporium in Bexley says:

After talking skin with Diane for a bit on the phone and understanding that she has extreme dryness and open pores (often a sign of skin screaming for fluids) I suggested we start by using the [ comfort zone ] Hydramemory system supported through the Essential cleansing range to work on rehydrating and to aid her skin.

I took Sue’s advice and started on phase one of the plan she had recommended. I started with [ comfort zone ] Hydramemory and an essentials cleansing kit to see how I felt about the products and find which was better for me. I cleaned my face and moisturised before bed, and again every morning and stuck to it, no excuses!

Within two weeks I had seen a considerable difference. My cheeks and forehead were no longer dry and tight, and my pores were getting smaller. When I did wear makeup, it wasn’t soaking into my pores and caking up under my eyes after a couple of hours as usual. 

Discovering to my dismay there was no miracle cure to remove these eye bags that seemed to have taken up permanent residence, I started going to bed earlier and drinking more water, cut out some bad and processed foods from my diet and tried to eat more fruit and veg.

Although my eczema and redness around my nose had calmed down a little and wasn’t as dry and rough as it had been, it was still not shifting, but still, I refused to follow advice and put oil on my face.

Eventually, last week, Sue sent me a sample of [ comfort zone ] Renight Oil. Seeing as I had tried everything else, I just went with it.

Putting oil on my face before bed just felt weird. I got into bed and tried not to touch my face, but the urge to touch it and wipe away the oil was too much. I was amazed when I did that it seemed to have soaked in and there wasn’t the slippery wet sensation on my fingers I was expecting.

The next morning, I was surprised at how soft and smooth my skin felt.  Hearing Sue’s voice in my head about giving it a chance, and knowing I was not seeing anyone that day apart from the dogs and kids, I applied more of the oil to my patches either side of my nose before I started work.

 

THAT WAS 7 DAYS AGO! NOW THE REDNESS AND DRY PATCHES HAVE ALL GONE!!

My skin is soft, smooth and I can leave the house without makeup again. When I do wear makeup now, it’s minimal and no heavy concealers and powders needed

I am addicted to my Renight Oil now and couldn’t live without it, after just a week.

Sue Says:

We have now swapped Diane to Remedy for more sensitive skins, and we are now working towards nourishing and soothing, hence the recent addition of Renight Oil.  Renight is excellent for nourishing and will leave skin silky soft and rejuvenated.  Overnight or on non-make-up days, giving Renight time to penetrate uninhibited will give your skin a boost that benefits it for days.  Rich in anti-oxidants it will help your skin barrier fight back.

I guess my conclusion here would be to speak to a professional. Don’t get me wrong, I have learnt a lot from YouTube and beauty bloggers such as mastering the art of contouring which eluded me for a long time, and how to tame my ridiculously frizzy hair, but when it comes to skin, everyone is so different. I almost gave up and assumed I was getting older, and stress had ruined my skin. I was ready just to accept my skin was past it, and that my luck had finally run out. Until I took the advice of someone, who was able to advise me properly and create me a plan, not just a quick fix.

I love the fact that the [ comfort zone ] range has solutions for all skin issues, and that I can swap and change my skincare depending on how my skin is feeling that day. Being able to do this was great during the recent freezing weather, as I am a slave to central heating and the contrast between the extreme cold and the dry heat at home meant I needed to protect my skin.

As silly as it sounds, being happy in my own skin again has given me the boost I needed to look after the rest of my body, as I now know there is hope and I am definitely not past it by a long shot!

Toner: What is it and why do I need one?

Toner: What is it and why do I need one?

Previously, toners were known for being very drying and were used to strip very oily skin, nowadays a great toner can be an essential part of an effective skincare routine.

A good toner, packed with antioxidents, can be the perfect way to restore, soothe and moisturise skin. The right toner can enhance your skin’s surface, giving it what it needs to look fresher, smoother, can reduce pores and help soothe redness.

[ comfort zone ] Remedy Toner Spray. with a soothing and fortifying action, is recommended for skins which are sensitive, sensitized and prone to redness. Easy to use, with just a simple press you receive a spritz of minute particles which provide an immediate sensation of relief.

Ideal during sun exposure or during the day in closed environments subject to central heating and air conditioning, to provide relief, rehydrate and protect the skin.

Spray the product directly onto face and neck, or on to cotton pads, after cleansing and during the day as required. Leave to evaporate naturally.

For information on our [ comfort zone ] Expert Care Facials please see our website.

Help! Embarrassed by my nails! Day 8

Help! Embarrassed by my nails! Day 8

Here’s an update from our client on her progress as she follows Sue’s advice to reach her goal of nails she can be proud of…

Client issue: sore, cracked skin around fingernails, nails split and flimsy and won’t grow as very weak and break off.

Here’s a reminder of how the nails and fingers were looking on day 1

After only 8 days of following Sue’s advice, here are the results:

What a difference! Our client says:

I cannot believe the difference! I am so pleased and will continue to follow Sue’s guidelines to maintain and improve the results so far!

Help! Embarrassed by my nails! Day 4

Help! Embarrassed by my nails! Day 4

Help! Embarrassed by my nails! Day 4

In case you missed it, catch up on our clients nail issues here. Here’s an update from our client on her progress as she follows Sue’s advice to reach her goal of nails she can be proud of…

Client issue: sore, cracked skin around fingernails, nails split and flimsy and won’t grow as very weak and break off.

Here’s a reminder of how the nails and fingers were looking on day 1

“For the last 4 days I have been following the advice Sue gave me on the first stage towards my goal of normal healthy nails and fingers.

Every morning, once I have got myself ready for the day, I brush a cuticle oil on all my nails and finger tips. I then rub it for a few seconds and head to work.

During the day I have been using a nourishing Shea Butter hand cream mixed with a few drops of [ comfort zone ] Renight oil from a sample Sue gave me.

At night while watching the TV, I use the cuticle oil and hand cream again, and I made sure I wore rubber gloves when I was doing the washing up.

I am very happy with the progress so far, I still have a way to go but seeing the difference so quickly has spurred me on.

My skin is healing, it’s no longer sore and feels softer, I’ve stopped catching it on my clothes!

I ordered a decent nail file block with a buffer and polisher (should be here tomorrow!) so I’ll be able to keep them filed back to try and minimise the snapping and breaking.

I will continue with this routine over the next week and see what happens, but as you can see from the photos there’s a marked improvement! Thanks Sue!!”

Help! Embarrassed by my nails – Where do I start?

Help! Embarrassed by my nails – Where do I start?

Client issue: sore, cracked skin around fingernails, nails split and flimsy and won’t grow as very weak and break off.

What the client says:

“I have a job that means I am very often showcasing ideas to clients on laptops and iPads; I am so self-conscious of my hands that I can get distracted by worrying that people are looking at my hands rather than what I am pointing to!

I don’t bite my nails, but they won’t grow. My skin around my fingers cracks and is often very sore. My nails seem to grow in layers and split once they get to a certain length. I don’t wear nail polish as it seems to emphasise the sore parts around my fingernails and to use nail polish remover stings so bad! There no point me getting a manicure either as polish peels off in a couple of hours! What can I do?

Nail Salon Bexley

Sue says:
“The first thing we need to do is nourish the nails and heal the skin. Cuticle oil is a great way to treat weak, brittle nails. We use Dadi Oil at Gorgeous, (£4.50 for 3.75ml) a luxurious natural nail oil which absorbs quickly and penetrates deep into the skin and nail, and smells fantastic! 

Follow with a high-quality hand cream packed with nutrients such as luxury Dadi lotion which will moisturise without being greasy, nourish the skin and help soothe any soreness. 


While you are nourishing and healing, keep nails filed and sort to prevent breakage and splitting. Use a good quality file such as a smooth feel file (240 grit) or glass or wooden file, like the Exact file from Artistic Nail Design. 

Cheap emery boards and heavy grit files are too much for a natural nail, especially nails that are weak, and will open the keratin fibres at the free edge causing flaking, delamination, splitting etc. Remember when choosing a file, smooth is your friend!

IBX nail treatment bexley

Once your skin has healed, and your nails have been nourished, I recommend an IBX treatment. 
This treatment will penetrate the nail with a toughening agent; this fuses together the nail’s top layers to improve nail plate integrity and help your nails grow longer and stronger.
A good manicure and a gel polish will help to protect the nail, and also encourage you to cease any picking or skin biting habits you may have, as your hands and nails will look great and you’ll want to keep them that way! Never peel off gel polish at home as this can be very damaging to nails.”

So, first of all, we are going to spend two weeks nourishing and soothing while healing the skin. Here are the before photos, we will update progress regularly to show how we progress with helping this client reach her goal of nails she can be proud of!

Here we are on day 1: