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What is polymorphic light eruption (PLE)?

Giant Hats are the way to go – Etsy Link

What is polymorphic light eruption PLE?

As promised a few weeks ago, polymorphic light eruption presents as a very extreme form of heat rash or prickly heat.

It is where the UV rays from the sun cause an allergic response within your skin related to your immune system.  It often starts as the sun starts to get stronger during the Spring and usually affects areas that have been covered up the most during the cooler, months. Although there is no direct genetic link, often people who have PLE with also have other family members who suffer. 

Generally, women suffer from PLE more often than men and can start at any age, but usually before the age of 30.  It is not contagious and mostly affects those with fairer skin.

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms can range from a light rash, all the way through to bright red blisters filled with liquid.  It can be painful and noticeable and really affect quality of life for some who suffer severely.

In many cases, it does disappear within 7-10 days – the average holiday length!!

You may be able to have some sun desensitisation prescribed by a doctor which includes low level exposure to UV over a period of time…. think low level and controlled sunbeds, but this does not work for everyone as it is almost impossible to replicate the exact effect of the sun on every individual person.  This also must be repeated every year as the desensitisation wears off in the winter.  Topical steroid cream can help in the short term to heal a broken skin barrier, but is not a long-term solution.

You can see me coming a mile off now!  Sun safety is so important, and sticking to those all-important guidelines will help reduces your symptoms.

Out of the sun between 11-3, wear a giant hat, SPF 50 on exposed areas and cool breathable clothing. Products containing vitamin E will help repair the skin and sooth the itch. Both The Universal Balm and the original facial oil contain vitamin E and are perfect for replenishing the skin.

Facial Oil Customer Review – have a listen.

Have a wonderful last few weeks of summer – enjoy the sun it is our friend, but just takes some careful handling!

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What is prickly heat?

Cactus or prickly heat?

What is prickly heat you may ask.

Quite simply – prickly heat is an allergic reaction to the heat.  Biologically, when you sweat as the temperature soars, your sweat glands become blocked.  Sweat is unable to escape the body and leaks into the skin causing redness, soreness, a pin prick sensation and very often a rash.

Other names for it are heat rash, sweat rash  or miliaria.  It can start slowly, but rapidly cover the body, and can remain even when the temperature comes down.  When you spot those first signs you can feel like it’s game over for the summer.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-rash-prickly-heat/

Things that cause prickly heat include high temperature and humidity, excessive sweating caused by physical activity, tight synthetic clothing, fever from illness and bandages.  Watch out – it can start at any time in your life – what joy!

Some medications may also increase the risk of heat rash such as beta blockers, and particularly pertinent for us skincare lovers, the use of prescription strength retinol called isotretinoin.

Treatment for your prickly heat

Options for treatment depend on your general health and the symptoms.  Low level treatment options include wearing loose breathable fabrics which allow air to circulate.  Other options include actually attempting to lower your skin temperature, cool showers, or a cold compress.  Nettle supplements have proven to contain a natural anti histamine and may help when you’re in the middle of an episode.

Using a once a day high quality SPF will help as well as reducing your use of thick skincare creams etc.  You may be able to help by taking a low dose antihistamine in the run up to your holiday – and for those brave enough amongst us – a very diluted Dettol wash can help prevent bacteria that contributes to a prickly heat rash!

Save your summer!

Love Ellen xXx

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What’s the deal with antioxidants?

What are antioxidants? Antioxidants this antioxidants that – something I hear all the time when I have a second to take note of the 100s of skincare adverts we are see.  But what are they, why should we care about them and where will we find them in our skincare products?

Here’s the tea – (green is best!)

Antioxidants are naturally occurring in vitamins and minerals which help protect the skin against damaging aspects of our environment. This includes UV rays, free radicals (that’s a blog I’ll write for another day) so I’m talking about pollutants in the air, chemicals, cigarette smoke which attach themselves to collagen in your skin and suck the life, soul, and party out of them. 

Antioxidants are really one of the most important ingredients in your skincare products – because oxidative damage is invisible, and EVERYWHERE.

We’ve talked a lot on here about various vitamins, and what they mean for your skin – and this blog connects really well.

Vitamin blogs

I think the important ones to keep our skin protected are Vitamin A, C and E.  They contain the widest range of antioxidants and will work the hardest.  Your hero in my products – is apricot kernel oil. Its my go to in the balms and covers such a wide range of skin issues, radiance, protection healing amongst others.  Sweet almond oil – with soooooo much naturally occurring vitamin E – your skin barrier will be repaired and protected., found in the facial oil

Antioxident rich serums are your best bet for intensive treatment for your skin – both fixing your skin and preventing further damage.

But you know what to use day to day to literally block those free radicals – its that SPF!

Let me know if you’ve learnt something below!

Love Ellen xXx

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Vitamin C – and I’m not just talking oranges

Vitamin C is one of the best ingredients that you can include in your skincare routine to help brighten your skin (think dark circles be gone) even out skin tone (sun spots – banished) and protect your skin from day to day damage.

What is Vitamin C

It s a powerful anti-oxidant, which, when used as an ingredient in your skincare routine can take your skin to the next level – improving fine lines, hydration and overall quality.  Neutralising free radicals in the atmosphere (your absolute skin nightmare). It calms inflammation and skin stresses which contribute to aging the skin (think a stressed skin cell)

Vitamin C for skin

Because of this – it needs to go into your AM routine – give it the chance to help fight off those nasties.

I’ve got super sensitive skin…can I still use Vitamin C?

If you use it correctly – think little and often, Vitamin C shouldn’t cause any issues or flare ups. However, if you know your skin is of the easily offended type introduce it gradually. By that, I mean twice a week to start with and use a product with a low percentage concentration (10% and under)

What does it look like on and ingredients list?

Vitamin C is a master of disguise and we all know that INCI (ingredients lists) are great at hiding the vital stats!  It can go by the name of

L Ascorbic Acid – the chemical name

Vitamin C Ester – it’s a non acidic version of Vit C and so is a good option for sensitive skin

Ascorbyl Phosphate – a weak form of vitamin C and can be dissolved in water – hello serums

Nikkol VC-IP – Vit C complex which goes into oil based products – hello moisturisers

But of-course girls – it takes consistency!  Nothing happens overnight – expect to see changes after 6-8 weeks of use.

Where can you add it –

Cleanse first, once in the morning – see link – This is a must!

Vitamin C Toner – see link Pixi Vitamin C Tonic – I LOVE this but its not for the faint hearted/skensitive type

Hydrating Mist – See link – The Body Shop Vit C Mist – you know I love mists and this is where my Vit C journey started – its a great entry point product.

Serum – see link – another Pixi product I love

Vitamin C Moisturiser – see link – I love this super cheap moisturiser – I don’t spend loads on moisturisers and this does lovely job

If you have any Vitamin C products you would like to suggest please do in the comments below.

Love Ellen

xXx

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That filter life – it’s not your fault!

That filter life – it’s not your fault! Let’s choose TO NOT go along with that narrative – because you know what – flawless skin DOES NOT exist.

Does flawless skin exist?  Well frankly – the answer is no – our rational minds do, our heads do – but we are BOMBARDED on the daily by pictures, graphics, videos that have been airbrushed by a computerised programme. Literally a robot – we have gone way beyond a graphic designer matching a skin tone and blurring out blemishes.

That filter life comparison

As you know I try not to use filters on my Instagram, I may use a joke one occasionally – but I believe me it’s important for me to be open with my followers and customers with what I use, how I use it, and the results it gives.

https://the-skincare-connection.co.uk/shop/

And don’t get me wrong – I get why people use filters – I understand why . The filters or filter users are not the issue here – it’s the narrative we are shown and listen to everyday. I know so many people that wouldn’t dream of posting an unfiltered picture, or something that wasn’t ultra flattering for fear of how people would respond, something isn’t right here.

That filter life Khloe
Khloe Kardashian – whilst airbrushing a photo air brushed out half her necklace.

Those who follow me – know I am a fully paid up member of the cult of Kardashian, Housewives are my heroes and the E! Channel has been a permanent fixture on my watch list for years, I have always known this is entertainment – these people have 10 – strong glam squads, I’m lucky to have a 10 minute glam session!

That filter life

If I hear another celebrity say “the secret to flawless skin….?” followed by an image  of them stroking their own face and holding up a mass produced, 50% water product, probably tested on animals I’m going to scream.  It is just not a realistic ideal for us to live by.

That filter life Katy
Katy looks amazing in the left hand pic – but the right hand pic is what we are fed.

How can we ever aspire to look like something that a robot has produced?  I’m not saying I don’t want to target my brow lines, or work on some areas where I have some pigmentation – but I seriously would never expect my skin to be flawless – how can I? there are too many variables that actually make a HUGE amount of difference in our skin health.  Sleep, stress, hormones, nutrition, I could go on.

Does anyone you know have a flawless personality, or a flawless body or a flawless face, and you know what – that’s ok – it’s cool!

Remember the filter life is not one to take totally seriously, and its not your fault!  I have added a video to this blog of an app that changes the face the picture of which I took at 7pm on Friday 1 October 2021 after a day of work – no make up, a cold coming and a slight allergic reaction to my new puppy – hello realness!

A subtle change using the Remini app

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Best oils for skin!

What are the best oils for your skin and keeping your pores clear? Words you might hear but not sure what they mean – comedogenic and noncomedogenic products, oils or ingredients.

Put simply these are skincare ingredients, or properties of an ingredient that block the pores (comedogenic) or those that do not block the pores (noncomedogenic).

Get familiar with ingredients lists, start off by having a look at what you have in your skincare stash, you will, over time notice some oils, and ingredients cropping up over and over.

Comedogenic ingredients and oils have a scale of 0-5, zero meaning the ingredient will not block the pores and 5 meaning they can block the pores.

See graphic below which shows the best oils for your skin and their comedogenic rating.

The Comedogenic Scale

A comedogenic rating of 1 signifies a slight chance that the oil will clog your pores.

A comedogenic rating of 2 tells you that the oil will not clog pores for MOST people, but some will begin to notice clogged pores or a “purge” in some cases.

A comedogenic rating of 3 is where a lot of people will break out using this oil, but a lot of people may not break out depending on their skin type.

A comedogenic rating of 4 suggests that MOST people will break out using this oil unless they have a good tolerance for it. This largely depends on a number of skin type factors.

A comedogenic rating of 5 is basically a guaranteed chance of breaking out. Very very few people can tolerate oils labeled as a 5, but they do exist!

Let’s have a look at some of my favourite and best oils for skin and ingredients from The Skincare Connection products and how they work on the scale – can you spot any newbies?!

Apricot Kernel Oil


Comedogenic Rating– 2

Apricot kernel oil is a favorite oil among those with combination to dry skin types. It absorbs into the skin well, is anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, and anti-bacterial which makes it a valuable ally against acne causing bacteria.

Features in The Universal Balm, Mother and Baby Balm, Facial Oil

Calendula Oil

Comedogenic Rating- 1

Calendula oil is a carrier oil that has been infused with calendula blossoms, and as such, it is difficult to determine its comedogenic rating. If you can find it infused in sunflower oil, you will have the added benefit of sunflower’s anti-bacterial properties which would make it an effective acne treatment.

Calendula itself is a very healing herb for the skin. It decreases redness, inflammation, and heals varicose veins, bruises, hyperpigmentation, and soothes dry, itchy, irritated skin.  Its my favoutite and you will see it in many, many skincare products.

Features in The Universal Balm, Mother and Baby Balm, Facial Oil

Fractionated Coconut Oil


Comedogenic Rating – 2-3

Fractionated coconut oil is often used when the solidifying properties of pure coconut oil are not desired. It stays liquid and is therefore useful in homemade massage oils, roll-ons, and other oil-like preparations.

It is more suitable for dry skin types but may clog the pores due to its high caprylic/capric acid content which itself has a comedogenic rating of 2.

It has a lower comedogenic rating that coconut oil because it has had its long-chain triglycerides removed which makes it less oily – check your ingredients lists – fractionated is cool!

Features in The Universal Balm, Mother and Baby Balm

Hemp Seed Oil (this is my hands down favourite for overnight repair)


Comedogenic Rating– 0

Hemp seed oil has amazing skin softening and moisturizing properties that are perfect for those with oily sensitive skin types. It also reduces redness and inflammation associated with acne breakouts and is a great treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and dry, itchy skin. This oil has really balanced my skin’s oil production, and that’s really saying something because I normally have VERY oily skin. Well tolerated by all skin types. This oil should be kept in the fridge.

Features in Facial Oil

Jojoba Oil


Comedogenic Rating– 2

Jojoba oil is a holy grail acne treatment for many because it mimics the consistency of our own sebum. It has a light moisturizing feel and absorbs well into the skin. Most skin types tolerate jojoba well but will often experience a “purge” of toxins when they begin using it. Normally, this purge will end in a few weeks, revealing clear pores and revitalized skin. This oil is more suitable for oily skin types as it helps balance the production of excess oil.

Rice Bran Oil


Comedogenic Rating– 2

Rice bran oil is a mild oil that is perfect for sensitive, mature, or delicate skin and has one of the best sources of tocotrienols. It also has some impressive UV hindering properties that help protect your skin from the sun and if often added to sun care products.

Safflower Oil


Comedogenic Rating– 0 (high linoleic only)

Safflower oil has a silky feel on the skin and is highly moisturizing. Its high linoleic acid content makes it a perfect oil for the OCM as it will help break up blackheads and other impurities in the skin. It absorbs easily and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.


Sunflower Seed Oil 


Comedogenic Rating– 0-2

This is a great oil to start out with if you’re unsure about where to begin. Most skin types respond well to sunflower oil as it helps keep your skin balanced and moisturized while fighting acne causing bacteria. It’s also great for fighting the signs of aging!

Sweet Almond Oil


Comedogenic Rating– 2

Sweet almond oil is a great oil to use for dry acne prone skin due to its emollient properties. It’s great for regenerating skin cells because it penetrates damaged cells and softens them allowing for better hydration. Sweet almond oil is suitable for sensitive skin types that are dry and irritated.

Summary

Whilst I don’t expect you to make notes on this blog or remember the percentages off by heart(!) I hope it explains the choices I have made for the ingredients in the products, why and how the products work, and how you can get results from plant based natural skincare, using the best oils for skin.  Not everything thing has to be filled with harsh chemicals.  

Ellen xXx

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Skincare Routines – KEEP IT SIMPLE

Hoping that you don’t see the phrase “skincare routines” and eye roll the screen!

I want it to be something you enjoy, explore, and want to be a part of your day – certainly not a chore.

So, I’m here to help you KEEP IT SIMPLE. If you follow skincare accounts on social media, or read in the glossies – you may feel overwhelmed, 17 step Korean skincare anyone? (I do like 7 skins method – that’s a blog for another day) but realistically we just don’t have the time, and you know what – the stamina. Have a look at the graphic below to help you with your absolute basic morning options.

Skincare Routine
Cleanser

CLEANSER

An oil based cleanser will help clean and clear any residue of dirt that maybe remain from the night before and prep your face for the next stage…..

 Toner
Toners

TONER

A simple toner – exfoliating or not, plant based or not – depending on how your skin reacts…keep your eyes peeled for the most beautiful toner from The Skincare Connection coming soon.

mist
Hydrating Mist – you know how I love them!

MIST

Allow your toner to dry – then mist so that your skin is damp ready to receive your serum!

Skincare Routines Serum
Serum – spend your big money here

SERUM

Serums are your potions – working the magic, usually in small, glass bottles – pick your serum to help with your specific skin issues – hydrating, fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, rosacea

Skincare daytime oil
A simple day time oil or moisturiser

DAY OIL/MOISTURISER

By now you’re ready to get on and glow! Simple and straight forward you want to start wrapping things up, get your SPF on and then your make up. We have got the most high quality, but incredibly simple day time oil on the way for you. I love a facial oil, and am determined to help those who are fearful of them understand that they DO NOT make your make your skin more oily – its just not that superficial.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this skincare routines blog – links in the blog for products you may want to by especially our cleansing balm – the hero Universal Balm

Love Ellen

xXx

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Wholesale Baby Massage Oil – New Born Skincare to Support those who support families

The baby massage oil has recently been a runaway success for me here at The Skincare Connection. Working also in the birth world, with families that have recently had a baby, I have connections with some amazing service providers.

Baby Massage Oil

Believing that my product was beautifully formulated and perfect for a new born skincare product, as well as legally tested for safety and efficacy, I offered the oil to one very local baby massage group.

Little Yoga Warriors has been a loved and well respected community of families taking part in classes run by Jess Rothenberg – herself making a 180 from her previous career to offer a wide range of classes including baby massage, pregnancy yoga and sensory classes.

So impressed with the baby massage oil, after trying many other options herself, she now consistently uses The Skincare Connection baby massage oils in her classes, and is happy to recommend The Skincare Connection products to her clients.  

 The combination of organic sunflower seed oil (the most commonly utilised baby massage oil) with golden jojoba, has a texture that feels wonderful for both the baby and carer, it skinks in quickly and effectively without leaving a greasy residue, the oil penetrates the skin pores without clogging them, allowing the skin to breath freely at the same time rejuvenating itself with the oil’s moisturizing effect.  

The colour is bright and golden – as indicated by the name, something else that the parents love to see, it really is a step up from the more regular oils out there. I am fastidious about products that go onto new born skin, i.e. no nut oils or fragrance, the combination we have in our product has proven time and again to help soothe, nourish and relax when used in conjunction  with baby massage techniques.

Little Yoga Warriors is based at the Little Warrior Studio in Kent – details below

In addition the following classes across the country use The Skincare Connection Massage Oil – please see links and social media below –

Early Connections Instagram – Baby Massage based in Hampshire Early Connections Facebook

www.calmingtouchbabymassage.co.uk classes in Medway

Sophie Thompson @the.mothership.baby.hub classes in Totnes Devon

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The Journey So Far July 2021

The journey so far….

January 2020 – who could have predicted the following 18 months – I’m certain almost no one.

The plan to launch The Skincare Connection in April 2020 was set in stone, as things developed throughout February and March – I questioned whether it was the right thing to do, should I postpone, should I forget it altogether.   Feeling the sense of community support growing, people were keen to help independent businesses – I knew I had to push on.

April 1stcame and went with fantastic local support, I will remember that hot spring vividly driving round and delivering skincare to customers that had come to me via Instagram.  In those first weeks, the Mother and Baby balm stormed off the shelves, I was making new batches weekly – the formulation was a winner for little ones suffering with eczema and allergic reactions.  Also, the balm was perfect for soothing dry, cracked and broken skin from all the hand washing our skin was becoming accustomed too.

I took part in the first WonderList event after reading about it on Instagram – this was a brilliant opportunity for me to get the brand out wider than my own Instagram page – it was such a brilliant experience, but huge learning curve – I didn’t have enough stock ready, my packaging left a bit to be desired, and I had it pointed out to me by my friend that I had been folding the boxes inside out!!

After this and across the first Summer – I look back on my self-designed labels and CRINGE – they were awful and bad quality – things had to change if I wanted to push the brand further.  A wonderful independent designer – Hazel, based in the Philippines helped me with a rebrand – I was amazed, we conversed over email, she got the brand straight away, sent me a mood board and colour palette – I loved it and could really see how it could open up for future products.  Another skincare formulator recommended a label company that could print the type of labels I need for oil based products and I really felt like things were moving!  Wonderful brand photography by Stacey @ Ivitamay Photography and my own skills in photographing helped with Insta!

Two more WonderList events including a storming Christmas – I am hopeful that this year I will be able to get out and sell face to face as well as online.  Never being a retailer before I have learned so much, marketing, branding, goals, targets, stock the list goes on!

Running a business is full of ups and downs, and there are days when I think I would love the security of a salaried job, but my passion for helping people and providing fantastic quality products keeps me going, its true when people say, every time and order comes in, a small business owner does a little dance!

Ellen xXx

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Nothing New in 2020!

Nothing New in 2020!

Did I do it – you are wondering? Have you been thinking of my struggles all year?!

As I scroll through my Depop purchases – (5) and eBay winning bids (6) that’s 11 things I have bought this year. As the temperature dropped in Autumn, and my skinny jeans became threadbare – I did dip into Sainsbury’s for some new ones and as we went into the second lockdown, some new leggings – but I tell you cost per wear both have repaid themselves fivefold.

I won’t go into every purchase, that’s boring, but they did cover a range of clothing: jeans, tops, a coat, fitness and yoga wear and all mid-price designer. No shoes, no underwear, no swimwear, no nightwear.

depop Paige Jeans RRP upwards from £100 bought for £16 Feb 2020 (puppy not included)

I did continue to buy for my children and have often thought have I replaced a bit of spending on me with spending on them, but when I give it some thought. I think the answer is no. I have always been a bit stupid about dressing them and have many a friend I have passed clothes and shoes onto.

During the main lockdown in March/April/May, I wondered if I would be lured back into the buzz of online shopping, but I wasn’t really, there were other things to focus on!

As restrictions lifted and shops began to open again, I ventured into some local charity shops to get some bits and bobs for the house. I enjoyed that shopping for all the reasons you can imagine! Good for me, good for others, everyone’s a winner!

I have indulged a little in new skincare options lotions, potions, serums and creams and have really enjoyed that. I wonder if I will ever be released from the buzz of the spend.

Towards the end of the Summer, I wondered if a little shop up would pep me up after a long lockdown and long summer, but pushed through and joined the gym instead….that’s blog for another day! I think the pandemic has helped, there was no longer an option to pop into the shops or use that as an excuse for some time out of the house, so I had to find something else to do!!

Dennis Basso Faux Fur winter coat RRP £245 bought for £14 from Depop

I can confidently say that my whole approach to shopping and spending money on clothes has done a complete 180 degrees. I can’t see myself going for a “shop up” or splurge in the near future, If I see something I like or a trend I like, I always have a look on Depop or Ebay and without question – there will be something available on those platforms to buy. I’m not saying never say never, but my thought process is now totally different. For my birthday and Christmas this year – I did have a few bits bought for me, and once I asked my mum to give me a pair of joggers she had and I would buy her a new pair – but she said no!!

It’s difficult to quantify the impact on my finances, I wouldn’t have a “clothes budget” so to speak (perhaps I should have had one!) so I can’t say how much I have saved, but think it could be somewhere in the region of £1000-1500, but that is a guess. I am pleased though, as I know I have been able to use that money elsewhere – during what has been a difficult and worrying year.

Would you try it? For a few months or a year? I would love to hear if you have done anything similar or planning to – I would definitely give it a go!

Ellen

xXx