Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Skin Care Bites: Dealing with Adult Acne Update!

Soon after I wrote about my daily regimen to manage my breakouts due to hormonal imbalance, I was forced to make a change on one of the items on that list. 2 weeks after, I ran out of Acnedote Astringent and couldn't find it in stock in all the Healthy Options branches here. 

In desperation, I decided to grab a bottle of T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel Astringent and another bottle of Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner as temporary substitutes. I didn't do my usual due diligence of researching the products and reading through threads of feedback. I just needed to fill that gap in my skin care routine, thought that I'll likely won't go wrong with natural products and GOT LUCKY.

Since then, I've noticed some positive changes: skin is somewhat smoother, brighter, younger and just better overall since I started incorporating those products in my regimen. I also do not seem to need to put on that much makeup now (liquid foundation is easier to apply and I seem to need to apply less of it! yey!). Others have noticed too (insert blushing emoji here), hence, the feeling of validation and wanting to share the results with others out there who are still trying to find their magic combination of products. 

Personally, I found the Acnedote Astringent a bit harsh (it has salicylic acid, after all)  but I stuck with it because I felt it was part of my regimen that seems to be working. Having used these gentler and more effective "alternatives", I think I will instead be stocking up on these two. 

I have only been using these two witch hazel products for a month (quite religiously morning and night) but I'm just thankful that they complement the other products I'm already using and altogether, gave me results which exceeded what I usually expect from products to give such as short period of time. Usually, you need to be patient with skincare products so it's always a pleasant surprise to stumble upon underrated products like these!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shoe Obsession: Sam Edelman Kris

I've always found it funny when people comment "take my money" but the expression totally applies to the moment I saw these babies from Sam Edelman. 

Sam Edelman, please take my money and send me a pair in size 6. Thank you. 


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Skin Care Bites: Dealing with Adult Acne

I'm that type of person who doesn't normally go to the dermatologist. I do, however, suffer from occasional adult acne and surmised that it's due to hormonal imbalance -- usually, one to three will appear around a couple of days before my period -- something I dread every month! I'm sure a lot of women can relate, right? So if you're like me who has tried everything (from salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, clindamycin, cortisone shots, etc.) and is still looking for things to "try", I'd like to share some of the products that are giving me good results right now:

1) GNC's Evening Primrose Oil 1300 - Since my problem is mostly "hormonally-triggered", I searched for a [preferably natural] supplement to address that & stumbled upon EPO (sorry, I can't recall the site now) and looked for a reputable local source. I got mine from GNC but found other choices at Healthy Options. I took 2 capsules every night for 2 weeks but have since reduced my intake to 1 capsule every night. According to various online sources, EPO supports hormonal balance and may also help with the ff:

  • PMS: Women with PMS may have impaired conversion of linoleic acid to gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Evening primrose oil contains GLA and may reduce PMS symptoms.
  • Skin care: Supplementing with evening primrose oil can supply anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are missing in many people with eczema; EPO may also improve blood flow to the legs and heals or reduces the size of venous leg ulcers.

2) Alba Botanica's Acnedote Deep Pore Wash - Active ingredients are witch hazel and salicylic acid. I've been using this for more than a year. Before this facial wash, I was using Cetaphil face wash for oily skin. I still switch between those two but mainly use Acnedote.

3) Acnedote Deep Clean Astringent - Active ingredient is also salicylic acid and I use it after the deep pore wash. Before trying this, I personally was not a fan of astringent since I had a bad reaction years before. It may be too harsh for those with sensitive skin tho. I apply this before bed and every morning.

4) YSA's Erythromycin Lotion for face and body - This was recommended by the YSA resident dermatologist after I got cortisone shots for my cystic acne a week before our beach trip. I apply this with a cotton ball after Acnedote astringent at night and every morning to affected areas (or entire face) and I've noticed pimples disappear and heal faster. I also apply this to some stray body acne. I just finished my first 100ml bottle (which lasted me 1 month and a half) and purchased my second bottle (got the 200ml already) last week. To be honest, I've never come across erythromycin in my extensive research for acne treatments but now that I have, I dont think I can live without this one.

5) Garnier Milky Lightening Dew Toner -I buy it from Watson's or Mercury Drug. I use this to help accelerate the lightening of some leftover acne marks or any hyperpigmentation. I am also counting on the skin smoothing effect that it promises to deliver. I apply it generously with a cotton ball all over my face and neck before going to bed. I can say that within a month of using it, I've noticed very promising results (more than Clinique's Dark Spot Corrector has ever given me in the 2 years I've been using it...sad to say). 
A huge acne scar on my cheek has started to lighten and indeed, my skin has become a bit lighter and smoother. Yey! 
Word of warning for gals with oily to combination skin (like me): since this it has a "hydrating agent", you might wake up with a shiny mug (pretend I said that with a British accent haha!). 

6) Cortisone shots - I've only tried this once and yes, coz it sort of counted as an emergency to me. I had my period a week before our beach trip and I was desperate to be rid of a couple of cystic pimples that came with it. I'd like to look at my vacation photos and smile...not cringe, right? It hurt a bit but I'd gladly endure the pain again if ever I had an event and an uninvited guest shows up again. Actually, I've noticed that the spots I had injected didn't leave me with nasty dark scars/marks which is usually a guaranteed thing had I left them alone.

What I've learned from my 'struggle' is that you need to do your research, know your skin, learn all the risks and possible contraindications, be patient with the products that you try (I had to be extra patient with Derm-A's tretinoin and it paid off then), other products you use together does matter, avoid touching your face as much as possible and change your pillowcase often! 

Hope you find what works for you, too! =)

(pictures sourced from the web; ysa erythromycin lotion pic from

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Gadget Bites: My SJCAM SJ4000 with WiFi Review

I've had my SJCAM SJ4000 for 3 months now and I can say I am totally happy with it. It's not without its flaws -- bugs such as having to reset the date and time each time you swap the battery out and having to set the timer or other settings each time you power off -- but I can live with those rather than shelling out $150 and more for the real thing. After all,  I'm no adrenaline junkie -- you can profile me as an occasional traveler (esp to the beaches here in the Philippines) who likes adventure from time to time (like surfing in La Union/Baler, climbing mountains like Mt. Pulag, trekking rivers during dry season, camping, and biking trails with my reliable Cannondale MTB). As much as I enjoy getting down and dirty, I am also a woman you enjoys dressing up for girls' night out and hanging out with my cats and dogs. 

After months of research of what action cam I will get and the best price available from local and international suppliers, I finally got a package with the ff: 

  • SJCAM SJ4000 with WiFi in blue
  • 32GB Micro SD card class 10 (max. capacity that SJ4000 can accommodate)
  • Extra battery (no brand)
  • Battery charger (dock)
  • twist and lock stick
  • floater
  • carrying case/pouch

So what have I exactly put my SJ4000 through? We've taken it along to 3 beach trips -- one road trip to Laiya, a company outing and a Boracay trip with a bunch of friends -- and a business trip to Japan. That's not counting the numerous get-togethers and family events in between. During our Boracay vacation, I even took it with me when I jumped off a cliff (We went cliff diving at Magic Island). I have yet to take it along a trail biking trip because I have haven't been on my mountain bike all summer (LOL!).

A friend also took her GoPro Hero 4 Silver (the one with the touchscreen LCD) to Boracay and it was good to be able to compare the two (I'm not delusional. I know my SJCAM is not on the same level as a Hero 4!) in actual to find out what I could be missing. Except for the slightly better features and menu, the picture quality was not that far. The Hero 4 Silver's images appeared washed out but brighter (less dark and less 'shadowy') which is why I actually prefer the more saturated and sharpened images of my SJ4000 (note that I only set image size at 5MP & not the full 12MP size that it can deliver). It could be just be an issue with her GoPro's settings and it's nothing that any image editing app can't fix. 

The video quality is better with the GoPro (as expected). My SJ4000's vids seem 'choppy' at the 720p & 30fps I prefer to set it at (if that explains it & I didnt want to deal with the larger file size). The Hero 4 Silver's was smooth and brighter, as well. I loved the touchscreen but then you can't really use it with the waterproof case (well, duh). One thing I wish the SJ4000 had are preset for 3-second timed shots -- which the GoPro has -- and because I use that feature a lot. 

Both had WiFi and can connect to and be controlled by our phones. GoPro app seemed easier to use, as well. Another thing that GoPro is better at displaying: timed shots are shown as an album so the file list looks less cluttered -- not individual shots like in SJCAM.

 I suppose some people will nitpick on the issues that SJCAM has and some will get a GoPro because it looks cooler (yep, I still use that word haha! and I would totally get one to look cooler if shoes became a lower priority than gadgets) to have one rather than a "copy" from China, 
but if you're someone who's not sure if the action cam is for you, the SJ4000 will provide as close an experience to the GoPro, IMO. Then you can decide easier in investing on a GoPro (be it the base model, HERO, or the highest rated one). 

For me, it's reassuring to know that I don't have to commit yet because I have a cheaper alternative that I can experiment with first! 

Tho I am now thinking of upgrading to the latest SJCAM model -- the SJ5000+ :-) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weaved Beauty: New Zara heels

From the new collection...
After seeing these on their website, I knew they had to be mine.

Funny how often that happens =)