Peptides- Overblown hype or a worthy skincare addition?

The research on peptides has exploded in the last few years and while some peptides are falsely marketed as the next coming of Jesus in the skincare community, there are a lot of remarkable peptides that are worth adding to your routine.

So, what the heck are peptides? Basically, they are fragments of protein found in your skin and are made up of amino acids (water-binding agents). Proteins are the building blocks of skin. So, think of peptides as the bricks that help your skin stay intact. No peptides = loss of firmness, appearance of wrinkles, texture changes, and skin that doesn’t bounce back the way it used to when you were younger. Peptides are the teachers of skin and you definitely want those bricks in the wall!!

I recently found out not to buy peptides that come in a water-based formula because the peptides become unstable. Another surprise is that peptides are vulnerable to attack by enzymes present in our skin and they can break the peptides down to the point where they become ineffective. The horror! But science is a wonder and chemists have been able to produce synthetic peptides in a lab, which are engineered to be more stable on and within skin. Therefore, lab engineered peptides are able to survive and thrive on the skin and help target aging skin concerns. Hooray!!

There are a plethora of amazing peptides on the market right now, and more and more are being made in labs. While they are definitely something that will help your skin keep its bounce long-term, they are not miracle workers; your skin still needs other ingredients to operate at optimal levels and it’s never going to replace cosmetic procedures (Debbie Downer over here) no matter how much we wish they could.

So, are peptides worth the hype? In short, yes. There are lots of peptides that are definitely worth incorporating into our skincare routine but there are some peptides, like copper peptides that are over-hyped and over-priced. So keep that in mind when you’re on the hunt for a peptide product. Great peptide serums are out there, like The Ordinary Buffet serum, their Matrixyl 10% serum, and Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster. The Ordinary Buffet + Copper 1% Serum won’t be one I purchase because from everything I’ve read, it’s a good skin-restoring peptide but not worth all the buzz it receives.

Peptides are worth the skincare investment and I’m loving the effects they’re having on my skin. Want to discuss more with me? Head on over to my instagram, talk to me and the rest of the mod squad in The Ordinary and Deciem chatroom, or leave a comment on this post. Love hearing from you.

Much love XX

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The Lowdown On Antioxidants

Your skin is a part of your body, ladies and gents; it needs a variety ingredients to thrive and antioxidants are a big part of keeping your skin barrier strong and protected from environmental pollution.  There are a plethora of great antioxidants for your skin but I’ll only cover the ones that have worked for me and are a part of my skincare arsenal.

EUK 134 aka Eukarion-134

Euk 134 is a very innovative and cutting edge antioxidant.  There isn’t a ton of peer-reviewed research on it, which I am a big fan of but sometimes I’ll ditch my skin care prudeness and try something new.  The research I’ve read describes this antioxidant as a powerful scavenger of free radicals and eliminates hydrogen peroxide.  It protects the skin against toxic compounds, reduces redness, and protects the skin against environmental and UV aging, which leads to premature photoaging.  EUK-134 is supposed to be even more powerful than vitamin C, so I use it in the morning before sunscreen.  Even though this antioxidant has been around for a few years, it wasn’t readily available in skincare.  That is, until The Ordinary launched it in 2017 at a whopping $8.80 CAD!! The texture of this formula seems oily but it’s the propanediol, which is a skin conditioning agent and a humectant.  It takes a little while to fully absorb, so I work a little on my hair before applying my sunscreen.  Have I seen any visible improvements from EUK-134? No.  I don’t suffer from redness but I do want to protect my skin from environmental pollution and UV rays.  It doesn’t break me out, so I’ll keep using it.

Green Tea

My most favourite antioxidant of all.  Love drinking it and looooove it in skincare.  Green tea is yet another powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals, binds to said radicals and deactivates them before they can cause harm.  Winner!!  This amazing antioxidant is full of polyphenols, which are a class of bioflavinoids and have been shown to have anti-inflamatory and antibacterial properties.  It’s great for acne-prone skin and for those of us looking to prevent and treat the signs of aging.  Paula’s Choice uses green tea in almost all of their products.  One more reason I love this brand.

Resveratrol

If you love your wine (I don’t but that’s because of a prank my italian nonna played on me.  Another story. Another time) then you’ll be happy to hear that you’ve been ingesting resveratrol which is such an amazing antioxidant.  Resveratrol also scavenges free radicals and encourages your skin to pump up collagen production.  I first started using resveratrol in my skincare regime through Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging skin care line for normal to oily skin.  I use the Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner and the Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 in my morning routine.  Both are packed with resveratrol and they are holy grail products in my bathroom cabinet.  Another awesome product with a high-hitting dose of reservatrol is The Ordinary Reservatrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% serum.  The Ordinary’s Reservatrol is sourced from 100% derived Japanese knotweed, which contains high levels of trans-reservatrol.  Red grapes, traditionally used to produce reservatrol must be converted into trans-reservatrol for them to be effective. Japanese knotweed contains mostly trans-reservatrol, so it goes to work much faster in the skin to fight the baddies (free radicals). I use this serum at night, after my water based serums and before azelaic acid.  Works like a charm.

Ferulic Acid

Yet another antioxidant that fights the free radical bullies that wreak havoc on our skin.  Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant found mostly in bran but also coffee.  It helps your skin against environmental assault and can help vitamin c and e work better.  I can not use vitamin c in my routine as it causes blackheads and breakouts for me but if you’re down with vitamin c (yeah you know me) then please add The Ordinary Reservatrol + Ferulic serum to your arsenal.  You won’t be sorry.

That’s my lot.  Hopefully this post helps you realize just how important antioxidants are to the well-being of our skin.  Got any favourites? Leave them in the comments below or tag me in The Ordinary and Deciem chat room. I’m always on the hunt for new favourties.

Much love XX

My Acne and Ageing Journey- The Hydration Edition (Part 2)

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My quest to find the right type of hydration for my cray, cray skin began two years ago.  I had finally found the perfect combination of actives that worked great for my skin but it still felt slightly dehydrated. Oftentimes, my skin felt tight but was still oily in the centre of my face;  I had flaky patches from using retinol (normal by the way) and my moisturizer wasn’t cutting it. If your skin is anything like mine, you know how frustrating it can be to find products that hydrate your skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.  I’ve got awesome news: they are out there and they work!

Hyaluronic Acid

I was blind to your powers but now I see the light! Hyaluronic acid is my hydrating superhero because it deeply nourishes my skin without all the drawbacks that I sometimes find from using certain moisturizers. So why do I bow at the altar of hyaluronic acid (did I go too far there?)? Because it’s THE ideal way to deeply nourish and hydrate oily and dehydrated skin.  One gram of hyluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water! Hydration heaven! Our bodies are filled with this moisture-binding goodness but as we get older, we begin to lose it and as a result, our skin begins to lose its firmness and that lovely plumpness we had when we were young and naive. Another amazing benefit of this light and fluid ingredient is its ability to guard against environmental stressors, like using harsh ingredients, abrasive skincare tools, or too much sun exposure.  Adding hyaluronic acid to your routine can help protect and replenish your compromised skin barrier.

Hyaluronic Acid Products I’m Loving 

Hylamide Sub Q Anti-Age is part of Deciem’s Hylamide core range.  It’s a multi-functional anti-age serum containing advanced hyaluronic complexes, which target both surface and below the surface hydration.  It targets loss of firmness, dynamic and fine lines, sagging skin, and textural irregularities.  I was very lucky to be gifted this product by my lovely friend Joanne, founder of The Ordinary and Deciem Chat room, and now I’m hooked! Sub Q Anti-Age serum leaves my skin feeling plump, hydrated, and bouncy.  I’m already on my second bottle and I certainly see an improvement to my skin.  It’s definitely pricier than The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum, which I’m also a fan of but I do think it’s worth the price because it targets below the surface hydration, unlike Buffet, and has more anti-aging properties as well.

Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA is described by Deciem as a “hyper-strength rehydration serum with 5 forms of hyaluronic compounds with varying molecular weights.”  Fancy talk for packing a lot of hydration.  Does it deliver on its claims? Yes siree it does!  I add three drops of this viscous serum to the Sub Q Anti-Age and woah Nelly! My skin is in hydration nirvana.  I began to add this serum in place of my beloved The Ordinary Hyluronic Acid +B5 serum in the wintertime because my face was still feeling a bit tight. TO Hyluronic Acid is great but it wasn’t enough for my skin during the wintertime and it does tend to pill on me, so I’m happy to spend a bit more for the added hydration and more elegant Hylamide version.  If you’re not willing to spend more and you live in a more humid climate than I do (slightly jealous of you), definitely try The Ordinary version.

Other Hydrators for Oily and Dehytrated Skin I’m crushing on

Squalene- The only oil-like skin hydrator my skin craves is squalene, which is naturally found in our skin, like hyaluronic acid.  It’s not an oil and thank the skin gods because my skin hates them oils!  Squalene is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and helps prevent loss of hydration.  The Ordinary has an amazing 100% plant-derived squalene in its long skincare line-up.   I add 3-4 drops of it into my moisturizer at night and my skin still feels lovely and hydrated (not greasy) the next morning.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors +HA is my favourite nighttime moisturizer.  It is so nourishing and delivers a combination of amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid.  All of the ingredients used in this moisturizer are essential skin nourishing ingredients that help our skin retain water and help our skin stay healthy, replenished and restored.  Acne-prone skin is actually very sensitive, so using a moisturizer like this one will help calm the skin and keep it balanced.  I only use about a dime-size amount mixed in with my squalene but play around to find the right amount for your skin.

Skin is finicky and needs a combination of skin loving ingredients to perform at an all-star level.  We’ve covered active ingredients like niacinamide and retinol, and hydrators.  Next up, antioxidants! See you soon 🙂

Much love Xx

My Acne And Aging Journey (Part 1)

Acne at any age sucks but having acne-prone skin in your thirties is the pits.  Plus, you’re having to deal with the early signs of aging at the same time.  So, do you target the acne or do you use products whose main objective is to fight aging skin?  Thankfully, science-based skincare companies like Paula’s Choice and Deciem have many products that target both acne and anti-ageing skin.  Hallelujah! I’ll cover the four main active ingredients you need in order to achieve lovely acne-free skin.

My skin was an absolute mess before I created a skincare regime that worked to balance my skin and keep it happy.  I tried everything. Prescription oral antibiotics and creams, Proactive, natural skincare, the oil method; you name it and I’ve tried it.  I wrecked my skin (and my self-confidence) in the process and I was desperate to find a skincare line that actually worked and wasn’t based on BS marketing and new age gobbledygook.  It wasn’t until I started doing some serious research on the internet that I finally found a bevy of skin ingredients that were proven to work for my skin concerns.  I had nothing to lose. I was at my wit’s end but I now felt like I could make knowledgable decisions about what to put on my skin.

So, what the heck do you need to balance out that acne-prone skin and keep it healthy and happy, while targeting the signs of aging?  A good BHA, niacinamide, a retinol product, and azelaic acid are great multitasking products that help balance our moody skin and fight the signs of ageing.

BHA And Its Wonders

BHA or beta hydroxy/salicylic acid is a leave-on, oil soluble exfoliant that gets rid of surface dead skin cells AND unglues all the gunk inside your pores.  It’s perfect for acne-prone skin that is also prone to clogged pores and blackheads.  BHA is also anti-inflammatory, so it’s great for sensitive skin. Does it have anti-aging properties? I’m glad you asked!  BHA also helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles, evens out skin texture, and can keep your skin from looking dull.  My all time favourite BHA is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Gel because it soothes and lightly hydrates my skin, while getting rid of clogged pores and bumps.  I use it twice a day but if you’re new to BHA, go slow. Start using it every other night for a few weeks, then every night, and slowly incorporate it twice a day when your skin has adjusted.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) 

My skin can’t get enough of this life-changing ingredient.  It’s in my toner, in my serum, and eye treatment.  It’s a glorious multi-tasker!  It helps minimize my pores, evens out my skin texture, fights fine lines and wrinkles, and lightly hydrates my skin. Yay! You can use niacinamide in multiple products without worrying if it will sensitize your skin, and it works well with AHA/BHA, vitamin C and retinol.  It makes friends with everyone.  I am currently using The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and loving it.  I also use Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Toner, which contains niacinamide among its cocktail of skin-loving ingredients, and Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Firming Line Minimizer on my smile lines and around my eyes.  Obsessed with both products.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinols are skin whisperers.  Incorporating a retinol to your routine will result in a dramatic improvement to the skin’s texture and firmness.  They also help minimize the look of pores and pesky bumps.  Moreover, retinol products work in tandem with other active ingredients like BHA and niacinamide, helping them perform even better than just by their lonesome.  Remember, start slow and always wear spf 30 or higher when incorporating active ingredients into your routine.  My two favourite retinol serums are The Ordinary’s 1% Retinol in Squalene and Paula’s Choice Retinol 1% Booster.  Both are great for acne-prone skin.

Azelaic Acid (dicarboxylic acid)

My 2017 holy grail has got to be The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension.  I will never be without it! Azelaic Acid is both an antioxidant and a very gentle acid.  It’s great for both rosacea and acne prone skin as it helps to clear bumps and reduce swelling for both skin concerns.  It’s also great at decreasing follicular plugging, which is just a fancy way of saying that it keeps your pores clear.  Finally, azelaic acid works on pesky hyper-pigmentation and brightens the skin.  Winning!

So, start implementing these phenomenal ingredients in your skincare basket and enjoy the results! Your skin will thank you. If you have any mores questions or want to learn more about these fab skincare brands, check out The Ordinary And Deciem Chat Room. Fabulous information and awesome people sharing their favourite product recommendations. I’m a moderator there, so drop by and say hi 👋🏼

PS: Stay tuned for part 2 of the series where I tackle hydration.

Much love Xx