Category Archives: Information Skin

Information on all things skin. Designed to be a friendly ‘non expert’ guide to skincare + medical skin conditions.

Information Skin: IPL Experience

At the end of 2012, I had given up with treating and living with Rosacea using just skincare, and doctors appointments. I took things into my own hands. Doctors didn't think my condition was bad enough to warrant a referral to a dermatologist, and makeup is only a temporary fix. When you have rosacea it's not just about the redness, the boil type spots and 'how bad things can look'.

Similarly to suffering with Acne, you become incredibly self conscious and as sufferers will know, psychologically living with Rosacea it can be incredibly difficult to live with, not only when you are in the later stages of life (as is most common) but also when you're in your teens / early twenties surrounded by friends and magazines showing you a definition of the flawless face. Frustration after frustration, and the thousands of pounds spent on makeup, skincare and antibiotics etc over the years, 2013 brought me IPL.

From February to September of 2013 I was undergoing Intense Pulsed Light therapy to help treat my rosacea. I was excited that something would actually show me results and I was finally talking to people who knew what this skin complaint was, and understood how to get rid of it. In early 2013 I had paid £600 for 6 sessions of IPL and it was time to take some serious action.

I tried my best throughout the process to document stage by stage, and even got round to writing a couple of posts related to each session here. If you do want more information on IPL, you can find that in those posts. Here I really want to summarise in photos and text my experience as a whole.

The pictures aren't pretty, so please accept my apologies! Please take a look further down the post, to see in photos the changes in my skin. This is one of the reasons I started blogging to share this experience and am so glad if I can help anyone, who maybe in a similar situation or interested in these treatments.

Firstly, I have only used 5 of the 6 IPL sessions. The results for me were not really what I expected - my skin just didn't react enough, and the pain that IPL began to cause my skin was just not comfortable or pleasant and I remember during one session being close to tears, as I began to feel like  rosacea was just taking over my life - pretty much feeling bad for myself.

 The more inflamed your face is the more painful it will be when that ping of light targets that vein or area, I thought it would get better but it just didn't and the results were, compared to what I was told would happen, quite disappointing. In my case of targeting rosacea with IPL, it didn't work and isn't for my skin.

The experience is kind of like an elastic band being ping'd on your face, 15 times over depending on your complaint.  Sometimes they even felt like tiny injections. For me, for now I am trying to avoid the million and one things that can trigger rosacea flareups and manage the condition with great skincare. You can see my current morning skincare routine here.  Whilst I do think my skin has improved slightly from Sept to now, I would not say the IPL was solely responsible for that, which I thought it would be from the start.

As this is my review, and just a summary of my experience I really recommend before considering IPL you have a skin patch test and a full consultation with a skin specialist. It can be used to treat many different skin conditions.

Morning Skincare Routine

The day starts much better when the morning has begun with a good facial cleanse to wash off the sleepiness and start a fresh for the day ahead.

Whether you are starting a new routine as part of your 2014, or love to see peoples products and methods (yes I am with you...) lets get started. 

The morning cleanse is just as important as the evening - knowing this mantra is the first step to a good routine. Morning cleansing removes any product from your night time routine and gently refreshes the skin ready to absorb more wonderful products properly. You'll feel more awake too! 

I keep things simple in the mornings;

I take my Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Cleanser, squirt a 10 pence sized amount on my fingers and massage into my dry face. Sometimes I add a little water, because my skin does drink this cleanser in - but for the most part I gently distribute this round my face, really giving the product time to work. I like to leave this cleanser on for a couple minutes if I have the time, so will brush my teeth in between or something. 

Once ready to be taken off, I take an Emma Hardie clean flannel (pictured) and dowse with warm water. I use the muslin side of the flannel to give my skin some mild exfoliation whilst removing the product. Once I have been over my face, confident that all cleanser is removed and my face feels soft and ready to go, I grab for a towel and dab dry. 

If you suffer from irritated skin such as rosacea or have sensitive skin - never apply an extreme temperature of water to your face, ie. use a hot flannel and then go to freezing water. 
A happy warm medium is what your skin is most comfortable with, and for that your face won't go burning red! Also be sure to dab and pat the skin dry, your face will show irritation if pulled about.

Time for a powerful serum to combat the day with. I like to use Indeed Lab's Hydraluron or the Silver Serum, from the Skin Shop. I find alternating between products ensures your skin will never get complacent (ideal if you have a lot of products!).

The Hydraluron contains hyaluronic acid from the Netherlands that can attract 1,000 times its weight in water and draws moisture from the atmosphere ensuring hydrated skin. This is super affordable and a huge impact on the market in 2013. 

The Silver Serum is a newer product which I purchased from Victoria Health and it seems to work well. Like a probiotic drink for the digestive system the Silver Serum promotes good skin flora great if your skin is susceptible to bacterial break outs. 

I pop either of these on my skin, and wait a couple of minutes until I feel the product is no longer tacky to touch. 

The final step for this routine is to apply moisturiser. I have a love hate relationship with moisturisers. I know the importance of a good SPF, but always find the texture too much on the skin and my eyes are very sensitive to getting SPF near them, (looking like your crying in the office on a day to day basis is not a good look). To combat this problem I am currently swapping between the IMAGE Universal Moisturiser (I think this has been replaced by the linked product) and the Estee Lauder Day Wear, which is quite thick in texture and smells like cucumbers both have SPFs of a good factor in them, but the IMAGE i would say as it has a higher SPF, is thicker and the SPF's texture is more prevalent.

If I won't be wearing makeup then I slather either on, but if I am going to go ahead with foundation etc then I apply moisturiser sparingly (so my face foundation won't just roll of on top of the moisturiser) and then apply my favourite primer ready for foundation. 

I hope you enjoyed this routine, and for those with sensitive skins this has really worked for me over a good period of 6 months. If you would like to read a review on any of the products do let me know. 

Watch out for an evening skincare routine that will be up on later in January! But in the mean time what makes up your morning routine?

Information Skin: Rosacea

Information Skin is going to be a new series of posts on NLMORGAN which focus upon different aspects of the skin. For instance the series will look at different conditions, how the skin is made-up and how can care for it better. As always please feel free to comment & share your thoughts on any of the posts. 

Read with caution: These posts will have an informative base than being a light read, and of course they might feature some photos of skin conditions! Also this is not intended to replace anything a skin specialist could tell you etc because I am not a professional, just a blogger with a skincare passion!

The first in the series is a topic close to my heart: Rosacea.

Rosacea is a common skin disease that is known to be hereditary, and women are way more likely to suffer its symptoms than men, especially after their 30s way up in to the 60s.  

What is not common is for me as a teenager to develop and go through the different stages of rosacea, that perhaps someone of 40 would be going through when I am around 18. Rosacea has been the centre of me spending so much money on skincare that never really worked, that I feel I really could help others out there to deal with Rosacea without spending money and listening to people give the wrong advice.

This post will help explain a bit more about Rosacea, from the research I have done for personal benefit over the years. 

The main give away that someone maybe suffering from rosacea is facial redness. You may look permanently flushed, embarrassed or like you have yet to recover from a long work out. Rosacea is typically more common in the fair skinned (like myself) and has four stages to its severity. 

What is Rosacea & the four stages: 

Essentially those with Rosacea are suffering from an enlargement of the blood vessels in the face, and this enlargement can leave an inflammation of these blood vessels, creating what is known as inflammatory rosacea which leaves papules and pustules (raised bumps) on the face. Whilst normally any form or stage of Rosacea only affects the central portions of the face such as the forehead, nose and cheeks it can occur elsewhere on the skin, and can even include the eyes. 

The four stages below help to identify the symptoms of Rosacea. 

Stage One: This first stage is a mild form of rosacea. There maybe a permanent redness on the face and visible thread veins on the skin's surface. Whilst the skin will look red, it may also feel hot, burning or perhaps itchy and can also become dry. 

Stage Two: In addition to stage one where there is permanent redness the actual texture of the face will change in stage two, and this brings the development of a papular / pustular form of Rosacea where the skin is speckled in bumps, what seems to be permanently for some. This is due apparently to the sheer amount of inflammation having no where to go from the veins, so these spot like papules appear. 

This stage is often mis-diagnosed as acne or an acne / rosacea kind of combination - however rest assured if anyone has been diagnosed with this form, like I was some years ago - Acne Rosacea should not be treated with your typical acne products (this includes your Benzyl Peroxides, Salicylic Acids & Vitamin A treatments). All the acne products aim to take away a bacteria, exfoliate the skin fast and strip any oils from the face. Acne Rosacea sufferers do not suffer because of an oily / bacteria ridden face, in fact bacteria has nothing to do with this form of Rosacea, instead the skin should be treated gently, and left feeling comfortable. 

Stage Three: This stage is most commonly seen in males with Rosacea, where an enlargement of the nose is visible, this can mean skin around the area, and on the nose thickens, with nodules and bumps appearing, with more thread veins being apparent on the skin's surface. 

Stage Four: Ocular Rosacea is associated most with stage four, of course you can have more than one stage of Rosacea at one time, but one may inevitably lead to the other. If rosacea sufferers experience grity, irritated or red and sore eyes this could mean Rosacea of the eye has developed. Further on Occular Rosacea can also cause blurry vision or complete blindness.

Causes & Triggers of Rosacea 

The annoying thing with rosacea, is that no one really knows what causes it. 

I believe it is a genetic condition that if someone in your family has it, then you might be at risk of developing later in life. One thing is for sure though, you can't catch it from someone, but on that same note - not knowing what starts it mostly means you can't really ever be completely rid of Rosacea. 

Having rosacea means a lifestyle change to be honest. If you care about how your face is going to look without makeup then you have to take in to account the things you need to do to calm your Rosacea down. This I have learnt after quite some years of battling the 'I just want to be like everyone else..'

I remember reading a leaflet on Rosacea once, and the list of triggers were overwhelming, I almost felt like I couldn't do anything without a flare up. But not everyone suffers from the same trigger. 

Sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, heavy exercise, alcohol consumption, hot baths / showers, cold weather, spicy foods, humidity, indoor heat, some skin care products and cosmetics, hot drinks, medications, medical conditions, some fruits & dairy products plus many more, can trigger Rosacea off. 

Living with rosacea is about finding your triggers, and cutting them out. This can be hard though especially at my age of 22, I want to be able to go to the gym, or go for a drink with my friends and experiment with skincare and makeup without knowing my face will look like it has severe sun burn all year round. Covering Rosacea up too with makeup, also has its difficulties at times, when the bumps can ruin your skins complexion. Talking of sunburn, it is so important, more so than those without Rosacea to apply a good SPF 30 + sunscreen to the face before going outside, as the sun exposure is one of the highest to trigger Rosacea. Lying in the sun does not cure Rosacea, it just damages skin more. 

Some scientists have recently revealed that the Demodex Mite, could have something to do with Rosacea. I did have a read up about this, but found that I freaked myself (and my friends! Sorry Jen!) out way too much about the potential that these mites are reproducing on my face & causing the itching, bumps & redness. I have also not opted to put this topic in this post because Google can help you out with a quick 'demodex mite' search, as this post is going to be long enough.

Dealing with Rosacea

As cliche as it may sound, when you realise or perhaps are diagnosed (make sure it is by someone who knows what they are taking about) with any long term disease whether it something as awful as an illness to something like rosacea knowing that it's never going to go away is the best route to take first of all. 

You are going to have the days where you just want to hide under your duvet and never look in the mirror, but knowing there are things you can do to help your Rosacea calm down is something worth looking into, especially for anyone like myself who has spent an absolute fortune on people that dare I say it really don't have your best interests at heart, apart from how much money you are willing to part with. 

Some sufferers respond well to a series of antibiotics from your GP, to take down the inflammation, other use things like Alpha Hydroxy Acids to combat irritation. Metronidazole and other topical treaments can be applied to the face to take down the inflamaation and any papules or nodules which have developed. For many though, seeing success is difficult with these methods. It can definitely feel like an up hill battle - especially in the UK, where seeing a Dermatologist is not as easy or as simple as in the US. Of course though you can go private here, and I would think about it - especially if your doctor is making you feel like you are wasting his time, or that there is nothing else he can do. Your health, both physical and emtionally should be his priorty - whether he thinks your Rosacea is clearing up or not.

The use of laser and light procedures to treat this condition is now something that is coming popular and appealing to those with Rosacea, which can bring great results - but unfortunaltey cost you a few hundered pounds for a few sessions.

As a Rosacea sufferer, who has done a lot of research, used a lot of medications and saw little results, I have decided to go for a series of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy sessions with a private Dermatologist, after I became fed up of being given different skincare regimes that were not suitable for me, and my confidence also began to suffer, as makeup wasn't even covering the damage and people began to question 'What is that on your looks sore?' 

I wanted to create this post to share experiences, I had a lot of deliberation about posting it, as I am by no means saying 'TAKE MY ADVICE' here but for people who have never heard about Rosacea, people who have Rosacea, or people that know people with Rosacea I wanted you to be able to have a read about a condition which can really effect quality of life, if you let it. 

I know this post is super long, but I really wanted to include everything I could.

I am going to be doing a series of posts on my experience with IPL - so keep checking back too!

For those who have any form of Rosacea and are suffering, drop me an email / comment! 
I would love to message you, and exchange experiences.