12/04/2014

My Roaccutane Experience: Month 2 & 3


 Roaccutane

Here I am with the second post about my Roaccutane journey! It's been exactly 3 months since I started taking it. I'm still on 30mg a day, but I will probably ask to up the dose next time I see my dermatologist as it's going so well! It's insane. I would have never imagined how quickly it would have worked - I'm just hoping my skin will look this good when I stop the treatment too. But let's be more detailed, shall we :)

As I have said in my first Roaccutane experience post, my skin started clearing up about three weeks into the treatment. During the month of March I have had three (yes, only THREE) pimples, and that was probably because I wasn't eating very healthily. I pretty much have only scars left, which is just insane to think of... Yes, because when you wake up every day of your life for almost 10 years with at least one breakout on your face, you get used to it. So this whole 'no breakout situation' is completely new to me!

My skin has definitely been dry, but not drier than it was in the first month. My morning and evening skincare routine are exactly the same - I wash my face using Avène Antirougeurs Anti-Redness Dermo Cleansing Fluid, then I apply a thick moisturizer my dermatologist gave me (it's a local product so it's no point in me telling you the name). I know some people on Roaccutane have to moisturize multiple times throughout the day - that's definitely not my case. I would say my skin has gotten incredibly drier compared to what it was before, but it's rarely flakey or tight. Applying moisturizer before putting on my makeup is mandatory, otherwise the dryness will show through.
To take my make-up off I'm still using the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish hot cloth cleanser and Bioderma, and they don't irritate my skin very much at all and substitute make-up removing wipes beautifully.

Lips - My lips have been dry but not extremely flakey; I've been using the Bionike Proxera Lipogel lipbalm, which feels more like an oil rather than a lipbalm and smells like MAC lipsticks, which is amazing. It's worked very well so far in giving back my lips some needed moisture :)
Nose - The tip of my nose is driving me insane - no matter how much moisturizer I put on it, no matter when I apply it, it won't do nothing! It's so noticeable when I put foundation on, I hate it!
Hands - I got a weird rash on my hands from mid-February to mid-March, but it's completely gone now. My dermatologist said it was a normal reaction that many people experience during Roaccutane.
Eyes - My eyes get a little bit dry during the afternoon, especially if I have a lesson at Uni or I'm studying.
Body -The only other part of my body that is drier than normal are my underarms and arms, but nothing major. Despite not being super dry, my body skin is definitely more sensitive and that's a problem when it comes to shaving. I usually wax my legs and underarms, but I'm scared it will hurt too much - if you've been on Roaccutane, how did you shave? D:

I haven't been experiencing any other side effects: my blood levels are fine, I'm not feeling any more depressed than I normally am (haha), no headaches. I'm so, so, so happy that the treatment is going so well and I do hope with all my heart it will go even better!
Feel free to ask me questions and tell me about your experience in the comments below ♥

05/04/2014

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

After managing to use a light-coverage foundation for two years, about 5 months ago my acne got so bad that I decided to switch to a more heavy duty product than my beloved Chanel Vitalumière Aqua: the Make Up For Ever HD foundation. I have been using it for a long period of time now and I have fallen in love with it!

I was looking for an oil free, long lasting product, but most of all I wanted something that would cover up all the redness and scarring on my skin: the Make Up For Ever HD Foundation seemed to tick all the boxes. This foundation's coverage definitely is very high, but what I like about it is that it doesn't look fake or cakey - it looks like real skin. It almost gives a glowy, non-flat finish. And on some very good skin days, I can even skip concealer!
Despite having such a high coverage, it doesn't have a thick consistency: it's almost runny and it doesn't feel very heavy on the skin. For that reason, I like to apply it with my hands by patting it on the skin - that way I can concentrate more product on my problem areas and less where I don't really need it. I tried to apply it with the Real Techniques Expert Face brush when I first bought this foundation, but I found the coverage was less intense and the effect was less natural. Also, for some reason the product clinged to dry patches like crazy, so for me the best way is to apply it with my fingers.

Back when I bought this product, I wasn't on Roaccutane (read more about that here) and my skin was oilier than usual, so I had to powder after max three hours after applying my make-up - it was driving me insane. Thankfully, now that my sebum production is being controlled by Roaccutane, I can wear this foundation for more than 12 hours, which is a dream come true. It wears really well and it find it tends to disappear a bit on certain areas only after many hours. 

On the whole, I would definitely recommend the Make Up For Ever HD Foundation to those who have hyperpigmentations, blemishes and things like that, not so much to the lucky girls with already good skin! The only 'con' about this product is that it need a good moisturized base underneath, because it tends to cling to dry patches. The shade selection is great -it comes in 26 shades-, so I bet there's one for everybody. What's not so great is the price which is pretty high, but I am willing to pay a bit more for such a good product. Also, I've been using it since October and it's not nearly empty yet!
Overall I am really enjoying my Make Up For Ever HD Foundation and I would absolutely repurchase it if I was not hoping to not need it at the end of my Roaccutane treatment ;)

29/03/2014

Redecorating My Room: Part 1

About a month ago, I decided I had to change some things in my room. My bedroom probably is my favourite place in the entire world, but I felt like I could organize it a little bit better: I only come back home every two weeks and to find a pretty, tidy room is the best feeling ever for me. I need a cute little space to study and relax in, since life in Rome is so stressful.  
As soon as I was finished with my exams mid-February, I took a morning off from everything and give my bedroom a little restyling - hopefully it will inspire you to do the same :) 

bedroom decor

I liked how my books were organized before, but I was running out of space - if I had bought one  more book, I probably wouldn't have known where to put it. They were stacked two deep, so they were often hard to find. I decided to move them to a set of shelves that were already on another wall of the room (blog post coming on that soon!) and move the content that was there to these ones. Much more organized, huh?

bedroom decor

On the first shelves I put two Glossybox boxes where I store little bits and pieces, a Starbucks cup full of little memories and covered them with two pretty flower crowns I made a few years ago. On the background you can see a portrait of myself when I was 10, taking part in a rhythmic gymnastic competition :) I know I could fit so much more on this shelf, but it looks nice as it is, so I am probably going to leave it like that for now. 

bedroom decor

The next shelf is another pretty useless one, but at least it's nice to look at! I have a Ladurée recipe book there, together with a Ladurée tea box and a simple embroidery work I did during the Winter holidays. I love keeping a few quotes here and there in my bedroom - it's the place where I spend the most time when I'm at home, and they keep me motivated :) 

bedroom decor

The fourth shelf I left as it was before, with my foreign fashion magazine collection. I like how the white spines look together! The next shelf is filled with cardboard magazine organizers, in which I keep extra stationery, binders etc. I picked two packs of IKEA Flyt magazine files for super cheap, covered them with brown paper, glued some string around them and tied a little bow in the front. It took a few hours to do the whole process, but I couldn't be happier of how they turned out!

bedroom decor

I didn't make any change to this corner of my room, but I wanted to show it to you anyway :) I like to pick flowers from places where I go on holiday to, let them dry in a book and frame some of them. These, in particular, I picked from Sicily and Greece ♥

I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my room, and that you can take some inspiration from it. I believe that improving in the space you live in always has positive consequences! 

22/03/2014

A KIKO Combo

 kiko nail polish

After a long, long time, last week I went into KIKO and got out of the shop with two nail polishes. I hadn't bought any nail polish from the brand in such a long time, mainly because I had this idea of KIKO nail polishes being goopy and taking ages to dry up. And if you have been shopping at KIKO since they opened, you know what I'm talking about!
However, I decided to give their nail polish range a chance again and picked up #372 Nude and #215 Pearly Light Pink. The best part about KIKO is that they have such a huge variety of shades of every product, but surprisingly it was easy to choose only two nail polishes: I'm always on the hunt for new pretty nude shades! 

#372 Nude is a very close dupe to my favourite nail polish ever, Essie Sand Tropez - that's the reason I picked it in the first place! They look almost identical, but KIKO Nude is just a tad more pink. In some lights it looks more like a a pastel pink rather than a light beige.
Thankfully, the formulation has changed since I first tried KIKO nail polishes years ago: the formula is creamy and opaque, just a little bit streaky but nothing that can't be fixed; it also dries up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best wearing power: it doesn't chip, but it starts to show tip wear in only about two days. 

The other nail polish I got is #215 Pearly Light Pink, which I'm absolutely in love with! It's a very light almost white pink shade with a pearlescent finish - it looks very much like mother of pearl, which is exactly the reason why I got it. I love that it's opaque in two coats - these kind of shades are often very sheer. I think I will get a lot of use out of it in the Summertime :)

What do you think about KIKO nail polishes? Have you ever tried them?


18/02/2014

My Roaccutane Experience: Month 1

 roaccutane

I started my Roaccutane -or should I say, Isotretinoin- journey a little more than a month ago and I would like to share my experience with you, in hope that it will be helpful to any of you. 

Remember I'm not a dermatologist, a doctor or anything like that; I am just going to tell you what my experience was and what I'm going through right now. I may use the wrong medical terms and explain myself not too well - I'm sorry for that, English can be a barrier sometimes.

Firstly, a little overview on my "acne story". I have had breakouts ever since I was 12; first only my forehead, then only my cheeks. For some reason, I had never went to a dermatologist until September 2012, when my spots started leaving red marks on my skin. I always knew that my skin problems were caused by hormonal imbalances, which I had tried to treat using the pill when I was 13 or so, but that made me gain so much weight that I always refused to take it again despite my period kept on being irregular.
My dermatologist put me on folic acid to try and solve the hormonal problem and at the same time I had glicolic acid peelings done on my face until June 2013. They worked really well, to the point I had almost no scars left; the folic acid worked as well, until September 2013 when I moved to Rome to attend university. Everything got worse: maybe because of the change, maybe because of the stress.. who knows. My acne and scarring got so bad and my period so irregular that and I decided to take the pill again and start Roaccutane.

Roaccutane's active ingredient is isotretinoin, the purest form existing of vitamin A. What Roaccutane does is dry up everything in your body - your sebaceous glands, most importantly. Your skin is supposed to get super dry and stop producing sebum. In 70% of the cases, it cures acne forever. It's quite a controversial treatment, because it has numerous side effects - the most dangerous one is that it's teratogenic, which means that if you get pregnant while on Roaccutane, the fetus will be seriously damaged. There has also been rumors that it induces to suicide, but my dermatologist assured me that it's all rubbish, apparently.
Before starting to get Roaccutane, you have to take the pill for a month and get your blood test taken, to make sure that you are not pregnant (so pointless if you're single like me, haha!). You also have to take blood tests every month, to check that the levels in your blood, like cholesterol and transaminase, are ok.

I started taking Roaccutane on January 9th 2014 and I had never in my whole life been more determined to do something, even if the side effects were so scary. My dermatologist put me on 30mg for four months; I just finished my first one and the results are already amazing. I started getting chapped lips within the first week; it's the most common side effect and it's nothing that some lipbalm can't solve. They're not flakey, they just feel tight.
Around day 20, I started using eye drops as my eyes began to feel a bit dry; but I think that that could also be because I was studing pretty much from when I woke up to when I went to sleep. At the same time, my skin began to be sensibly drier. Usually, if I woke up at 8,30 AM and didn't apply any make-up, my face would start feeling very oily at around 4 PM; if I applied foundation, I had to powder after 3 hours. After 3 weeks of using Roaccutane, my foundation would stay exactly the same for 13 hours. As of right now, after a bit more of a month of use, my skin basically doesn't produce any sebum anymore and I feel like I'm in paradise - everyone who suffers from severe acne can understand me.
I currently have only one or two spots -and that could also be because it's that time of the month-, but there have been several days when I had none. None! That hasn't happened since I was 12 years old!

I had my blood tests taken a few days ago, and the levels haven't changed. My dermatologist said I'm doing pretty good, considering I'm experiencing only the 'normal' side effects. I will probably keep on 30mg for two more months and then go on 40mg on the last month. I am so happy this is going good so far, and I hope with all my heart it will go even better!

I will update you again next month :) Have you ever tried Roaccutane? What was your experience like?