REVIEW – Neutrogena light therapy acne mask

If like me you’ve had troubles with your skin since you can remember you’re probably feeling a little blah when it comes to trying new skincare routines or treatments.

I was very much the same. How many skincare products can you use before you realise you’ve probably spent more money on products that don’thelp or worse cause more breakouts? I’ve tried all the ranges and brands that are suppose to stop any future outbreaks, reduce size of pores, kill the bacteria that causes acne etc etc but nothing overly seemed to work. People always say to let your skin breathe so I’ve tried that too, but letting your skin breathe is kind of hard when you’re insecure about your face because of the acne.

Applying make up becomes a little difficult because let’s face it (excuse the pun) you can never really hide that rubbish. You can see the pimples and you can definitely see if you have any scars whether they be elevated or cratered. It’s a never ending cycle of disliking your face without make up and feeling like people may see that you’ve tried excessively and for quite a while to hide the blemishes.

I’ve tried changing my diet, didn’t make a difference.

I’ve tried chemical peels, aggravated my skin further.

I was at a loss of how I was going to make my skin better and in turn feel better about myself. My mum, as all mums do, cottoned on to my predicament when I was a lot younger than I am now, and has always picked up lotions and potions and tried to make it better for me. So, in turn it had to be her that found my solution.

The Neutrogena light therapy mask sounds a little daunting but it’s a very simple concept. You get a mask that makes you look a little phantom of the opera-esqe and a pod shaped mechanism called the activator. The activator is a set timer that powers the mask for thirty treatments. It’s recommended that you use the mask daily to see more effective results. The mask has a mixture of red and blue lights that target the bacteria that causes acne. When the two colour spectrums come together they displace the make up or the bacteria making it unable to penetrate the skin. It also therefore targets existing acne, killing the bacteria and reducing the spot size pretty quickly.

I’ve been using it for 10 days and I haven’t had a new breakout at all. It’s managing my pigmentation from the acne and rapidly making all my skin the same tone. The only issue is my scars but after 10 days I think it would be overly optimistic to think they would go too. I’m honestly astounded by the results.

I would 100% recommend this to anyone who has acne. Hopefully they’ll create a HomeKit for those who suffer with body acne or blemishes. I should imagine it would also benefit those with certain skin conditions as well.

Light therapy is usually big bucks if you go to a salon, so to have the opportunity to sit at home and do it for 10 minutes each day for a minor cost of £39.99 (you do have to replace the activator after 30 sessions) is a no brainer.

It’s also available all most retailers and stays roughly around the same price mark.

Overall, I think it’s something you should definitely try if you have pains getting rid of the lodgers in your face. They’re moving out.

CA x

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A very honest letter to my younger self.

Hello sweet,

So you’re a teenager and you’re full of hormones. You don’t know much about me, but I know you so well. You’re very different to me but also very much the same. Most people would think you were an extrovert as you’re always in the conversation, never giving a damn, always pulling a prank or being a clown. But that will change, you’ll go through secondary school with the belief that in order to be someone you need to be popular and conform. You’ll be bullied by a girl so incredibly insecure about herself that she’ll make you hate your appearance, but you will get over it when you leave school. When you leave school you’ll realise that everyone ends up the same way in the end and that popularity doesn’t equal friendship, and so will she, so don’t hate her for what she’s done, she’s learning too.

Boys are like yo-yos to you for a bit. They bring you up and they drop you down. Yeah our first relationship is completely fake, I’m really sorry for the pain you’ll go through. Your whole relationship was a lie and I wish you knew so you could have saved your virginity for someone who cares about you more. Mainly because of this you brush the good ones away for a bit and you lose someone really great. Luckily for you he’s a top man and he stays your friend for the foreseeable future, he helps you through some seriously dark times and he truly is your counterpart, just not romantically.

I hate to break it to you but you really cocked up college. You did two years of AS because you messed around in the first year and then you gave up and went into the world of work. It’s a good job you love to work. You work more and more and move from jobs roughly each year and a half until you find something new that excites you and can’t wait to get stuck in.

Don’t believe what people say. You’re very naive to things and you subject yourself to other people’s opinions so often that they start to forge your opinions too. You will lose a lot of friends when you find yourself and you’ll be distraught that people don’t stick around and spend time with you on birthdays but you will realise that unfortunately that’s becoming an adult and you will meet people that will stick by you. I promise.

There’s some big events that happen too. You find out you have another half brother and half sister. You spend some time with them a couple of times a year for a few years, but now you’ve grown and you don’t stand for 80/20 relationships, it needs to be equal effort. So for now you’ll wait to see if they come to you.

You’ll meet your dad. The man you thought abandoned you and never wanted you. Well, he does want you. He’s just a scared man that thinks you will reject him. But you don’t, because growing up with just your mum you’ve learnt to appreciate family and embrace anyone that wants to be part of that. Along with your dad you’ll meet his side of the family, auntie, cousins, nan, step mum and step sisters and it will completely overwhelm you. Don’t worry there is no rush. Just enjoy the small things.

You find love. The kind of love you have dreamed of, and you move back home after leaving at 17. You’re saving for a mortgage and you’ve got a wonderful man and extended family. Shit gets really bad for them but you stay close and you give all you can because that’s what families do. Who knows if you will be with him forever but it’s been almost a year here now and that will astound you. Again, enjoy the small things.

Your anxiety and depression will go up and down and you’ll realise that it’s not something you will remove. It’s part of you and that’s not always a bad thing. It builds your character. Sometimes it will kick you and knock you down but you will always stand up straighter and stronger with the love you have around you. You get rid of your terror nightmares. Yes, really. You only have nightmares when you’re stressed. You’re learning to love yourself properly. Fully. Every part.

This letter isn’t to scare you about the bad things. You do so well, you drive and you know who you are. You have wonderful friends and family and despite the death, trauma and permanent damage from things you will always fight.

Because you are a fighter.

And there is always happiness.

Remember what Dumbledore says in Harry Potter, you will love by it.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Take care. Love yourself. You’re doing so well. CA x

“Am I Crazy?” II

So I published the first chronicle. What did you think? A brief introduction into what on Earth is going on in my little bean head. To be fair to you, I’m still not fully sure. All I know is that my brain isn’t coping quite as well as I’d wanted it to right now so I’m being brave and seeking help (again).

I wanted to blog every step because I think it’s important. I think it’s really important that regardless of my gender, age, ethnicity and whatever other features they want to base mental health stats on, people can read something and think “yeah I agree” or “I had that feeling earlier” or better yet, sees that it is a struggle for someone else but that you can get help, and does so.

Let’s start with the obviously big elephant in the room, depression. Some throw the word like it’s the same as being sad, and it used to infuriate me until I realised that it’s by no fault of their own that they have never understood what depression is and the fact that it’s not just one emotion and definitely not just being sad. I’ve watched videos about how depression is a black dog that follows you around like your shadow or a big black cloud that follows you around. That’s not my interpretation though.

I think it is whatever the hell it wants to be. Sometimes I forget I have it. That sounds crazy in itself right? The medical definition of depression is “prolonged low mood for a period of two weeks or more” so naturally you’d be right to think you kind of have to be sad 24/7? Right? Not always. Depression is different for each person.

It’s smiling and joining in, hiding away and declining contact.

It’s eating very little if at all and it’s eating so much you make yourself nauseous or physically sick.

It’s not getting out of bed for days on end and it’s bounding our straight away just to make someone else happy.

Depression manifests itself in many ways and we can’t always prevent the illness. But we can show people we love them. We can hug and talk and laugh and all those things we find so trivial on a day to day basis. Because those things are the things that might bring someone away from the edge, further from the trigger, you get where I’m going with this…

My depression is up and down. Some days I hate everything and I starve (unintentionally) myself and stay in bed. Other days I’m happy to do everything for everyone else, some days I’m strong and I think “I’m gonna be selfish today like all my doctors have always told me” and then I feel guilty. Food can be a curse as your appetite is like a yo-yo so you never know where you stand.

My other pain in the ass attribute to my depression is insomnia. Isn’t insomnia a b*tch?! I mean seriously, who invited her to the party.

Insomnia is my worst friend. I say friend because she’s incredibly loyal to me and she rarely lets me down. But she is a complete nightmare and I severely dislike her presence. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for David Attenborough, that’s all I can say.

Like a perfect set of twins, depression has a sibling that likes to pop in every now and again. You’ll find that a fair few people who have depression also have anxiety. Anxiety has a whole umbrella of different types and I couldn’t possibly speak for those who have different types of anxiety to myself. I have mixed anxiety and usually I am trigger by crowds, waiting, confrontation, shouting and clinical spaces (to name a few). My hands are pretty much permanently clammy and I have headaches quite a lot. One of my main physical symptoms is a wonderful stammer and I live up to the phrase “cat got your tongue”. As many do, I’ll get the knotting in my stomach, sweats, hot and cold flushes and fight or flight response when entering an anxiety attack, if I don’t respond to my body then I hyperventilate and enter panic.

Despite having regular anxiety attacks I have only had one panic in three weeks (woo!) and I’m pretty good at hiding things in public or removing myself/avoidance. But I realised that doing that can’t always be the answer and so I’m going back for help.

Due to recent events I believe my PTSD has flared resulting in the anxiety and depression being bad. Talking therapies help me to process and programme my brain (talk therapies are brilliant if you’re an analytical person) so fingers crossed when I see the team in March I can have another referral to a higher level MH practitioner and have this as my last stay in the system.

I will update further once I have attended an appointment but until then, “Am I Crazy?” Chronicles part II is complete.

CA x

Facehate. That’s a thing right?

I am a 24-year-old woman. Why am I still having facial skin care issues at this age? Scrap that, why am I having so many body skincare issues at this age? Because I’m human and not Photoshopped. Not that easy convincing yourself that you’re not that bad-looking though is it?

I have had struggles with my face and skin care routine since I was a young teen. Admittedly at 15/16 I wasn’t as concerned as I should have been about removing my make up and cleansing my skin and with that came blemishes and blackheads. I used to be so insecure that I would sleep with make up on when friends were round, even if I had known them for years, I’d never leave my room without foundation and mascara at least and you’d be lucky if I ever arrived anywhere on time due to it.

I have used more chemicals than you could imagine and probably altered my skins pH levels so many times it doesn’t know what the hell is going on, but I have finally found a regime that works for me and I am rapidly clearing my skin.

Mario Badescu. I had never heard of Mario Badescu until I saw it by chance on BeautyBay when I was looking for make up. I figured I might as well try it considering I’d tried most big brands to little satisfaction (Garnier, Simple, Nivea) and it wasn’t too expensive for the amount of product. My first purchase was the ‘acne starter kit‘ which composed of a toner, a sample of drying cream, an oil free moisturizer and a facial cleanser. I used the cleanser every day and alternated between the moisturiser and toner. The drying cream was used twice a week on problem areas and around my nose (hello oily!) to help dry out spots and blemishes in turn making them go down quicker and removing excess oil from my face.

After about two weeks I started seeing a difference in my face.

I’ve since then purchased the drying cream in a larger tub as it’s brilliant as an all over cream in a thin layer or to spot on areas. I’ve also purchased the drying mask which I put on before I go to bed at night and the buffering lotion which is also superb for acne and blemishes.

I’m still not brave enough to go out without make up but I started this blog on the premise that it would help me improve on my self-love and hopefully help others, so it’s only fair that I do the scary things publicly too! Below is two images, my face when it’s made up to how I like, photo ready and camera angles how I like and natural, no product and lots of imperfections, I’m currently blessed with a few hormone spots and the rest of my face is discolouration, pigmentation and scarring.

 

 

This is the first time I have posted completely make up free with no filters so please be kind! I will learn to like myself for all my guts and glory, right now I’m not quite there but some days, I don’t feel quite that bad either!

I have started venturing into the world of home made skin care and plant based, and will be doing some videos in the upcoming months about my skin care journey and products I am making/using.

However, with all of this, I still believe that the most important thing you and I can learn is to embrace ourselves for what we are, not to penalize ourselves for what we are not.

CA x