Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox and teeth grinding…what’s the deal?

Botox…a polarising word to say the least, and the funny part is most people aren’t actually 100% clear on what Botox is or what it can be used for.  There’s a stigma associated with it, despite it being widely used for therapeutic purposes, and it has taken the blame for all sorts of odd looking famous faces.  One of the uses that has become more popular recently is for teeth grinding and clenching and overall jaw slimming.  So what is going on?

“Botox” is the name of a product produced by Allergan, and is the most well-known version of botulinum toxin, a prescription drug that can be used to reduce muscle contraction or movement when injected into the area to be treated.  Originally called Oculinum (doesn’t sound as scary as Botox, does it?), it was used to treat strabismus (cross-eyes) by reducing the contraction of overly active eye muscles that were unbalanced and pulling the eye off to one side.  Patients used to joke that they were back for the “forehead smoother” as this tended to be a side effect of the treatment.  An enterprising ophthalmologist named Jean Carruthers was the first person to treat a patient for “frown lines”, and along with her dermatologist husband, they have been pioneers on the cosmetic use of Botox and co-author thousands of medical papers on the topic.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox is used for many cosmetic and therapeutic concerns, including frown lines, “gummy” smiles, crow’s feet and migraines.  Some uses are FDA approved, and other are classed as “off-label” (not specifically FDA approved for that particular use, but may be used by relatively widely by clinicians).  Licensed use varies from country to country, and gets updated as evidence grows.

Botox works to relax muscles by reducing contraction (and YES, you can paralyse them if you give too much, dosage is very important), and this is why is can help teeth grinding and clenching, and the pain associated with this when injected in the masseter muscle (largest and strongest of the jaw closing muscles).  It can also reduce the width of the lower face if this muscle has grown bigger from so much use (just like any muscles do with exercise!), by stopping the patient from essentially taking that muscle to the gym every night (and day, if they clench during the day too).  Similar to how you don’t maintain a six pack if you’re not doing the sit ups, you won’t maintain a large masseter muscle if you’re not over-exercising it.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Teeth grinding or clenching (clinically known as bruxism) can present with a number of signs, such as an excessively large or swollen muscle (not very common), worn, fractured or chipped teeth, ridging along the sides of the tongue or inside the cheeks and jaw, facial, neck and tooth pain.  Stress, injury, pregnancy, lack of sleep, excessive use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, and nutritional deficiencies can all be contributing factors, but unfortunately the cause is not always clear – which means the treatment can be tricky.  Often a stressful period can spark an episode of grinding, or worsen an existing habit to the point the person starts experiencing pain or other problems.  A night guard is still the standard fix – which is great if that works, as it’s simple, straightforward and cost effective.  The trouble is when this doesn’t work: the patient can’t wear it, takes it out while asleep, or still experiences pain.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

My patients typically present with either pain or worn (or fractured) teeth due to excessive activation of the masseter muscle and heavy forces on their teeth.  I have even seen a patient fracture a titanium dental implant due to excessive biting forces.  Some people don’t have any symptoms, and are totally unaware of clenching; while others have been taking prescription painkillers for months or even years due to pain.   A night guard can be great as preventing damage to your teeth, but rarely will it stop you clenching, and I have found some patients complain of the pain related to it increasing.

Botox injections for teeth grinding and jaw slimming are still classed as “off-label” by the FDA, but have been used since the early 1990’s with relative success.  Personally, I was wearing a night guard for 17 years, and still suffered from jaw pain, especially when stressed.  After a particularly stressful few months, botox injections were a game changer for me – I felt like my sleep improved and the pain vanished completely.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

Botox or botulinum toxin A is a prescription drug for a reason, it should be administered by a trained healthcare professional and may not be suitable or predictable in certain cases – however, I have had wonderful results personally, and with many, many patients to date.  If you think you may be clenching or grinding, you should discuss it with your dentist, and consider the solutions available to you.   If you’re suffering from jaw pain, or have trouble wearing a night guard feel free to email me at jennifer@thedailyglow.com to arrange an assessment.

Botox and Teeth Grinding | The Daily Glow

My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The 5 best face masks for glowing skin

My obsession with skin care runs to the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to face masks, but not every mask is made equal – and some can do more harm than good. There are enough masks available to confuse the most seasoned skin care addict, and some target skin function in longer term, while others are ideal prep hours before a big event. I’ve put together a list of my top 5, to deal with the most common skin complaints.

 

  1. Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque: just like Ronseal, this one does exactly what it says on the tin.  Post-exams, post-festival or during wedding season, this one will bring a bit of life back to your poor, ashen face (but please make yourself a cocktail of dioralyte, berroca and vitamin C too).  Those of you with easily clogged pores should be careful with over doing it (although I find I can apply it once a week, after exfoliation, without any issues) and if you have dry skin a hydrating booster or spritz of a hydrating mist can really maximise its power.  A pricey enough one at fifty yo-yos, this has been a staple of mine for about 8 years now and generally lasts a good 10 months each time.
  2. Cien clay mask:  yes, from Lidl, and for a total cost of 69 cent  for two sachets – which I find gives a good six treatments if I use it only on my T-zone (and you’d have to be seriously oily to need it all over, unless god love you, you’re a teenager).  This mask contains zinc and white clay – perfect for minimising the effect of an acute breakout or keeping blackheads at bay for those prone to them. (Note for non-oily skins – I am currently testing out the other ones Lidl has available)My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  3. Patchology posh peel pedicure:  Okay, so this one is actually for your feet, but it makes the cut because it can fully be used in place of a pedicure!  I discovered this recently while in Italy, and I think it may have blown me away more than any face mask to date.  Genuinely.  As an almost daily runner, getting my feet summer ready is not usually something I attempt myself – I leave it to the experts as it involves a lot of heavy lifting.  However, this year I was up to my eyes in studying and thesis-ing, and my exam was in Italy so I never made it to the nail salon (is it even called a “nail salon” in Ireland? I feel not everyone would get the Red lotus reference though) before my flight.  Post-exam shopping involved getting lost in Sephora for a couple of hours, and this was the best reward.  I haven’t ordered from niche-beauty.com before, but it was the first site I found that had this mask and sold to Ireland…and have already clocked up a fair bit of time browsing as I write this.  I would highly recommend using this mask at least a week before you’re planning on parading your feet in public, as there is a bit of a gross, flaky period (apologies again to Aideen, and all of Positano and Sorrento).  But it is worth the manky few days (maybe don’t wear your favourite socks) – you will be left with baby soft feet, I promise.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  4. Garnier moisture bomb sheet mask:  just like the Cien one, this sheet mask is a heavy weight champion for under a fiver.  It’s ideal the night before a big event, especially a photo shoot or a wedding, when you need make up to sit onto skin easily, and stay in place all day.  This mask deeply hydrates your skin, and can help prevent any dry, uneven patches of foundation – especially if your coverage is a little heavier than usual.  One worked of warning for oily/easily clogged skins though: once a week max!
  5. Radial snake oxygenating & cleansing mask:  This mask is for immediate use before an event/night out etc and really seems suitable for all skin types.  Charcoal helps unclog and minimise the appearance of pores, without any need to steam/squeeze/pull off a pore strip.  The bubbles (which can be quite alarming, please note that when they say bubbles…they mean bubbles!) have what seems to be a similar effect as an oxygen facial – everything looks plumped and glowy for about 24 hours.  I didn’t find this had any long term effect on the skin,  but the instantaneous result was like an extreme version of Beauty Flash Balm, and lasted all day – so definitely great for a short term boost.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

As a self-confessed mask addict, I would love to hear what your go-to mask is – or if you’ve tried any of the above? Always on the lookout for a new one to try!

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Butter and coffee – and mental clarity

Bulletproof coffee has been a fad for a few years now – with its main presence of social media consisting of videos of butter being blended with coffee and coconut oil.  It has been claimed to promote weight loss, improve physical performance and seriously boost energy…but do any of these claims actually stack up?

The original bulletproof recipe came from Dave Asprey, the bulletproof executive.  I started following Dave’s blog years ago, when he was experimenting with anything and everything that could make him more productive, and before his coffee recipe became a thing.  He has spent a serious amount of time and money trying out different sleep patterns, diets and exercise (among other things), in an attempt to discover the most efficient and easiest way to feel as healthy and energetic as possible – so he’s not advocating spending every hour in the gym and eating only green plants, but instead trying to “biohack” his body for maximum results, with the least investment of time and energy necessary.

I started drinking bulletproof coffee after reading Dave’s book, Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks, last May.  I had started a new job, and was studying part time, so I was looking for a way to focus more clearly and for longer – and one that wasn’t going to take up a tonne of my time, as I didn’t really have any to spare.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

I now have bulletproof coffee (and usually only bulletproof coffee) for breakfast, and have converted some of my nearest and dearest to it too.  There are a number of variations on the recipe, but I have the following:

  • one large cafetiere of coffee
  • a tablespoon of butter
  • a tablespoon of XCT oil (a fraction of coconut oil, consisting of medium chain triglycerides and completely flavourless)
  • a spoon of collagelatin protein powder

I blend all of this together in a nutribullet and drink it on the way to work.  With this I take omega 3 fish oils and Coenzyme Q 10 – because they are apparently best absorbed if consumed with fat.  I’ve noticed a big difference in mental clarity, as promised, and both my mood and blood sugar appear to be more stable.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

 

Blood sugar

Previously, I was the type of person that had to eat regularly, or I simply couldn’t function.  Having patients that ran through my lunch could be a big problem sometimes, and I would feel pretty awful if I didn’t eat when I was supposed to.   I have seen the difference that bulletproof coffee has made most clearly in this area – missing my lunch is unfortunately a regular enough occurrence, but once I’ve had my coffee, I no longer become foggy-headed or as tired as I did before.  I’ve had days when I haven’t had the chance to eat until after 5pm (not something I’d recommend), but have almost forgotten I missed lunch because the impact has been minimal.

 

Mid morning slump

This has all but disappeared – that crash that I used to experience after regular coffee (particularly on an empty stomach) no longer sends me looking  for toast/chocolate/anything that looks vaguely appealing around 11am – although if there’s a delivery of donuts from Aungier Danger in the staff room, I am not responsible for my actions.

 

Mental clarity

Avoiding both the mid morning slump and light headed moments have obviously improved how well I’m able to function, but on top of that, my head just feels clearer anyway – and I find it so much easier to focus, and for longer periods of time   The way I’ve really noticed this is that when I have porridge or toast as well as my coffee, I don’t have that same clarity.  This is, I think, down to the carbohydrates in the said toast or porridge.  Reducing carbohydrates or calories can promote a fat burning state called ketosis, in which your body gets energy from fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose.  The XCT oil in the coffee contains exogenous ketones, and, along with reducing carbs, can help your body to burn fuel from fat instead of glucose – something that is gaining popularity in both fitness and health circles, as it can supposedly increase mental clarity and promote fat loss.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Weight

I haven’t noticed much of a difference weight wise, although I would imagine if you have a big problem with cravings throughout the day (and have a job that allows you to eat while working), this could have a big impact on unwanted weight gain.  Some of my friends have found it fills them up though, and they tend to snack less as a result – and they can eat at their desk etc.

 

Have you tried bulletproof coffee, or any version of it yet?  Or do you have a go-to breakfast that is as quick to make?  I’d love to hear what keeps you focused throughout the day, and especially if you’ve your own variation of the recipe above!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The best supplements for glowing skin

While I do try and follow a healthy diet for the most part (weekly Wow burger habit not withstanding), and I don’t believe you should be too reliant on supplements, there are a few things I find hard to get enough of solely from food – and really recommend for that added glow.  And, with Black Friday approaching, it’s not a bad time to stock up on them.

 

Fish oils and omega 3

So what’s the deal with the omegas?  Do you need 3, 6 and 9?  No. Omega 9 is not classed as an essential fatty acid (which means your body can make it from other things), but you do need to make sure you’re getting enough 3 and 6 as your body can’t create these .  The Western diet tends to be heavy on omega 6, but not so much 3.  Omegas 6 and 3 work best when consumed in a ratio of somewhere between 1:1 and 5:1, however, many of us tend eat 15-16 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 – which throws this way out of balance.  Corn oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and nuts and seeds all contain plenty of omega 6, but you really need to look to oily fish, along with flaxseeds and walnuts to get your omega 3.  (How many times can you say omega in one paragraph?)  I’m not great for cooking fish (or meat for that matter), so I take a fish oil supplement daily with my bulletproof coffee.  Omega 3 helps boost brain function, decrease inflammation (essential for glowing skin, regardless of your initial complaint) and improve skin moisture – sorely needed with the central heating I’ve been blasting over the past 24 hours (how am I so surprised every winter when it gets this cold?).

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

Zinc

Low zinc levels have been linked to acne, as I’ve mentioned before, and whenever I run out of it for long enough I get white flecks on my nails – another sign of zinc intake being less than optimal.  Zinc picinolate and zinc sulphate are the more easily absorbed forms – I’ve stuck to zinc picinolate (out of habit, I know where it is on the shelf)and find it works well.  Certain medications or a copper deficiency can be negatively affected by zinc supplementation, so do check with your doctor first if either might affect you.

 

Gelatin and Collagen protein powder

Vegetarians and vegans look away now – collagen protein powder appears only to come in animal based form (however, if you do come across something similar that is plant-based, please let me know).  It is dairy free though, which I like, as the more common whey based protein powder can cause a skin flare up.  I’m currently taking the Bulletproof brand of Collagelatin, which is sourced from grass-fed cows, and has a similar nutrient profile to the oh-so-fashionable “bone broth” – basically loaded with amino acids and collagen that can benefit your skin, joints and bones, and help with weight management (it fills you up).  But it is a hell of a lot easier to prepare than broth – I blend mine in coffee, and have also made raspberry jellies with it (not quite as time intensive as bone broth – have you seen the advised cooking times for that stuff? 12 hours appears standard.  Ain’t nobody got time for that – incidentally though, Dunnes Stores do a decent one in their fresh foods/fridge section).  Gelatin can also facilitate healing of the lining of your stomach and reduce inflammation – and can reduce wrinkles and cellulite – so once again leading the way toward clear, glowing skin.

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

 

Currently I take the above supplements every day (or I will be again as soon as my order from discountsupplements.ie arrives – I am running low) along with magnesium and a B vitamin.  This is the combination that I have found works well for me, after a lot of trial and error – I wouldn’t recommend that recipe as an across-the-board combination for everyone, but I’d love to hear what you would recommend, and please mail me if you’ve any questions about brands or formulations.

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Are your hands giving you away? | The Daily Glow

Are your hands giving you away?

Anti-ageing treatments and complaints about skin, and fine lines and wrinkles tend to be primarily focused on the face, and while this can certainly give your age away (while draining your confidence), another tell tale area can be just as obvious…but tends to get forgotten very easily – your hands.

The skin on your hands may be thicker than that on your face (the delicate skin under your eye can be as thin as 0.3mm), but it tends to be subjected to far worse treatment, and can end up looking quite mismatched, especially if you’re taking good care of your face.  Just like your face, your hands are usually exposed to the elements, but I certainly don’t take as much care of them as I do my face.

I know a girl that works in the skincare industry that has the most beautiful skin on her face – and I mean air-brushed, has-she-used-a-filter-in-real-life, completely envy inspiring skin – who has hands that appear to belong to a chain-smoking washer woman in her seventies…the contrast is almost freaky.

So how does this incredible discrepancy occur?

  1. Forgetting about your hands

Obviously enough, if you take immaculate care of the skin on your face and completely disregard that of your hands, you’re likely to end up with two different results (it’s like two different people essentially, with totally different skincare routines).  Sunscreen of course should be extended to your neck and hands, and I now tend to wipe any excess of serums, moisturisers etc on the backs of hands during my skincare routine.

Are your hands giving you away? | The Daily Glow

2. Mistreating your hands

Washing dishes in hot, hot, ouchy hot water, constant hand washing and glove wearing (the glamorous side of my job), shampooing your hair in hot water, lifting weights, exposing your hands to sunshine, cold temperatures and wind.  The onslaught our hands are exposed to on a daily basis is quite surprising when you actually think about it.  It’s easy to even just plain wash your hands in much hotter water than you would wash your face with (lukewarm, yes?!) and almost impossible to remember to moisturise as regularly as you really need to.  I have recently started carrying around a tube of Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour cream as it works as both a lip balm and is fantastic for dry cuticles, but actually applying it is proving to be a slow habit to form.

Are your hands giving you away? | The Daily Glow

3. Manicures (sorry!)

Yes, I know manicures involve taking care of your hands…but if you are a serial shellac or gel manicure addict, you are exposing your hands to regular doses of UVA rays – and it is specifically these UVA rays (as opposed to UVB) that are responsible for skin damage and the signs of ageing like pigmentation and wrinkles, along with skin cancer.  I have cursed not being able to wear nail varnish in work (or the fact that I’m not supposed to anyway) for years, but it has saved me some unnecessary rays as I simply couldn’t justify getting a gel manicure for a weekend, only if I was going on holidays.  Just 12 visits to the nail salon is all that is required for detectable DNA damage to take place – which let’s face it, is pretty easy to achieve.  I’m not suggesting quitting long lasting manicures forever, they can be amazing for holidays (especially active ones like skiing), but at least be aware of the damage you are causing, and decide for yourself when it’s worth it.

Are your hands giving you away? | The Daily Glow

Have you noticed any ageing of your hands?  Because of my job, I have struggled with dry, neglected hands for years , and would love to hear any ideas or products you have for keeping yours in good condition – and specifically looking below the age of seventy.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

The Daily Glow | 5 things a dermatologist would never do

5 things a dermatologist would never do

I am most certainly not a dermatologist…but you may have realised I am obsessed with skin and skin care, and have been lucky enough attend postgraduate training run by some excellent derma, with decades of experience (and never require caffeine of any nature to stay wide awake and attentive for the entire course – dentistry would have been a hell of a lot easier if I’d had the same passion in university!).

I recently had some training in Obagi Medical skincare, and having started using the products myself, it’s safe to say I am obsessed.  If you haven’t heard of it, Obagi Medical is a line of medical grade skincare (prescription only) created by world renowned dermatologist, Zein Obagi.  So along with the skincare line itself, I learnt many other pearls of wisdom form trainers and fellow trainees alike.  Below I’ve outlined the basics that seem to permeate every course or lecture I’ve attended on skin health:

5 big no-nos for healthy skin

1.Washing your face with hot water – tepid or lukewarm only please.  Hot water can break down your skin’s pH barrier, which not only leaves your skin more prone to infection, breakouts, dry patches etc , but also can interfere with the absorption of active ingredients – so that super expensive serum you bought may not even penetrate your skin to let you reap its benefits.

2. Over exfoliating – this also breaks down your skin’s natural protective barrier, leading to overly sensitive, reactive skin, that like the in above point is far more prone to all the horrible skin problems that I see on a daily basis.  Before complaints like pigmentation and uneven skin tone can be treated with active ingredients (prescription products), over exfoliated skin always needs to be brought back into balance, and the skin’s barrier repaired – which can be frustrating for clients with confidence-knocking concerns like melasma and pigmentation as it delays treatment.

The Daily Glow | 5 things a dermatologist would never do

3.  Going without SPF – I’m aware I don’t shut up about sunscreen, but did you know even the light from your phone and laptop can damage your skin and contribute to premature ageing?  Yep, so even if you work in a windowless dungeon (and very sorry if you do), SPF is still a good idea – but only some of the newer ones will provide IR (infrared) protection.  The newest TINT Sunshield from Obagi is one I’m aware of, but I’m on the lookout for more.  Also something to note, when flying, the atmosphere is much thinner, and the UV radiation consequently much stronger – so eye and skin damage can happen more easily (this one really was news to me – it was actually an eye surgeon that told me he wears sunglasses when flying for that specific reason, so here goes trying to make looking like Bono cool).

4. DIY blackhead removal – this is possibly one of the worst things you can do.  Picking and squeezing spots and blocked pores can result in scarring, pushing bacteria deep into the skin with consequent breakouts, and larger pores – which means more blocked pores, blackheads and pimples (is it just me, or is the word pimple way more shudder-inducing that spot?).  Salicylic acid based washes and toners  can be useful, but get yourself to a decent facialist if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to squeeze.

The Daily Glow | 5 things a dermatologist would never do

5.  Loading up on sugar – I’ve mentioned before that Beyoncé’s dermatologist , Dr Lancerconsiders an apple a treat, due to the sugar content of it (yes, you read that correctly, and it’s a bit of a hardcore stance, even for me) but the message it sends is pretty clear…cut back on the white stuff.  Fructose and glucose link with amino acids in the collagen in your skin, forming appropriately named AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which UV light also contributes to.  These AGEs impact your skin negatively (just like UV light), and basically mean skin ageing due to sugar consumption.  So life is short, and I won’t be quitting sugar completely anytime soon – but cutting back on the sugar you don’t need (like cereal bars) and reserving it for the stuff you really want (like burgers and brownies!) is a good idea if you don’t want to end up with leathery skin – despite wearing sunscreen!

 

 

Have you anything to add to the above? I’ve learned so much about skin health from the most random of sources, eye surgeons not withstanding, and I’d love to hear any tips you have to share.

<img src="5 Things a Dermatologist would never do | The Daily Glow“>

Beauty sleep – how to get the most out of your night

An ever-so-slightly compulsive multitasker, I love being able to get things done while doing something else (clearly I’m aiming for “coolest person the year” 2017 to add to my 2016 accolade).  So breakfasts I can bake while I’m out running, or decent face masks that I can wear while flying (without freaking fellow passengers out – I mean the ones that look like moisturiser when they’re on) have a special place in my heart.  Following on from my non-resolution of getting up on time, while I am actually asleep, I like to get as much out of the hours after sunset as I can.

The Daily Glow - Sleep

Invest in silk
I have already mentioned how sleeping on your face can cause a number of wrinkle-related problems, and I am slowly managing to change from a regular face planter to a poised sleeping beauty (I hope). A silk pillowcase can reduce some of the face planting effects, and also promote frizz-free tresses. The number one question I’ve had in relation that entire post was where to get the pillow cases, so below is a list of some recommended suppliers. I bought both my eye mask (if you think eye masks are overrated, try a silk one before you really decide) and pillowcase in Australia a few years ago, so I haven’t tried any of them myself yet – these are recommendations from friends.

  • www.holisticsilk.com This is a pricey enough option (£55 plus delivery from the U.K.), but the designs of the eye masks are amazing – particularly good as presents for those people that literally have everything.
  • www.theethicalsilkco.com A bit more reasonably priced (€45, plus €6.50 delivery. Warning: they do a lot more than just pillowcases and eye masks, so you could be in very real danger “justifying” the delivery charge and buying right, left and centre – don’t say I didn’t warn you) and the company was founded by irishwoman Eva Power, if you like to buy Irish.
  • www.homestoreandmore.ie The cheapest of the lot (2 for €25) and also an Irish based purchase.

I have found a silk eye mask to be my best friend in the aforementioned sleeping on my back attempts – there is something in having my eyes covered that makes it just about okay to not burrow into the pillow as I doze off, so you may want to check out those too while you’re at it.

Update: I found my actual eye mask eye mask on amazon.co.uk – and it’s not going to break the bank.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Hydration
I tend to have gloves on for most of the working day, so I always come up short when it comes to drinking enough water.  Combine that with working in air conditioning or heating, sweating it out at the gym and having an active social life (aside from January – silly season got me again this year) and I am forever trying to hydrate.  Adequate water intake is crucial for clear skin and headache-free afternoons – in fact mild dehydration is said to be the number one cause of midday fatigue (not hunger, despite my stomach’s notions).  By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so trying to make a habit of drinking water rather than waiting for your body to remind you is the best way forward.  An American survey showed that 75% of the general population are chronically dehydrated.  Drinking later in the evening is sometimes inconvenient (I tried this, getting up in the middle of the night every couple of hours is not for me, but have a go if you really want to), so I’ve found one way around it is to bring a pint of water ) with me when going to bed (usually with a chlorophyll supplement in it, as in the photo below – Dublin City council’s water supply may not win awards, but it’s not green) – but leaving it to drink first thing in the morning instead. This way I feel like I’m not actually starting on a deficit, and am more likely to remember to drink water throughout the day.

The Daily Glow - hydrate

Overnight oats
This one saves my a€€ when I have not managed to get up on time, but still need to have breakfast (I always need breakfast, I am not a nice person without it).  I make it in a glass jar (or take away coffee cup – I hate buying coffee without my Keepcup, but sometimes I’m stuck and cave, so I always re-use them if possible) and usually take it with me, but you can make up a big batch for 2-3days and keep it in the fridge. You need:

  • Oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • Milk – I use almond milk as I try to keep dairy milk to a minimum because it affects my skin, but you can use whatever type you like.
  • Yoghurt – greek gives a really nice texture, and you don’t need a flavoured one unless you have a very sweet tooth. You can use soya or coconut for a vegan version.
  • Vanilla protein powder – I do use a dairy based one for this, simply because I have yet to find a vegan one that tastes remotely nice (any recommendations very welcome on this one!)
  • Frozen raspberries

Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt and protein powder to a bircher muesli type consistency. Add the raspberries, which will defrost overnight. You can add cinnamon, chopped walnuts, brazil nuts, blueberries or anything else that takes your fancy. I’ve made a number of different flavours, including “Pumpkin Pie” with puréed sweet potato, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger – which although delicious, was pretty time-consuming to make, so I tend to revert back to chopped banana (add in the morning – black banana oats its not so inviting, no matter how hungry you are) and walnuts, or raspberries and flaxseeds.

The Daily Glow - overnight oats

How do you make the most of your beauty sleep?  I would also love to hear any tips you have for better sleep – I’m a terrible insomniac at times, which makes most of the above null and void!

winter skincare tips

Winter Skin Prep: 4 tips to glow your way through the festive season

Halloween (and the jazz weekend) are behind us, so it is 26 days until Christmas FM goes live, and totally acceptable to start planning for silly season!  Winter is not aways the most extreme experience in Ireland (aside from the “Big Freeze” in 2010, followed by what felt like endless flooding) but there is a big enough change to warrant reassessing your skincare routine if you’d like to avoid dry, flaking, grey skin…

suncream in winter

Moisturise like it’s going out of fashion
Simple and straightforward, but you’d be surprised how easily people forget to switch to a heavier day cream or more moisturising foundation until after dry, flaky patches appear.  Nip this one in the bud before it’s an issue, by adding in an extra step or switching one of your current products for a more heavy duty one.  As with anything moisture-related, oily skins beware, and dry skins may need to combine a few steps.  Some of the below may work for you:

  • Switching your cleanser to a non-foaming or cream cleanser – Cetaphil(available in most pharmacies, Boots, etc) is cheap as chips and one of the most gentle available.
  • Using a hydrating toner or this spray from La Roche-Posay (to be honest, any of the French pharmacy brands do great ones), you can also carry this with you to spritz on during the day or on a flight (but it may not work with your make up – trial and error is the only way to find out I’m afraid).
  • Change your foundation or tinted moisturiser – I use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturiser year round, but tend to stick to the oil-free one for summer and the regular one going into the winter.
  • Suncream is still your friend – yes I know it essentially rains in Ireland from October to April and there’s not exactly a stretch in the evenings, but the factor 50 is still good for protecting your skin from wind and cold alike, and moisturises at the same time. I have finally gotten around to trying the much lauded Kiehl’s Daily UV Defense and I am in love (thanks again Ali!).
  • Don’t forget about the rest of you – coconut oil is my go-to body moisturiser, and although it can be a struggle getting it out if the jar on a cold winter’s morning, it’s worth it.

winter skincare - moisturise

 

Keep Exfoliating
Dry, rough skin can be impossible to cure with moisturisation alone – dead skin cells on the surface can prevent the best face cream in the world from reaching its target. Gentle, daily exfoliation can be necessary for some skin types, while others will find once to twice a week is plenty. I’ve noted my love for Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (available online and from beauty salons) before, but a good old facecloth can work very well too.  Drier skin types may benefit from the following cleansing routine:

  • Apply Cetaphil or another cream cleanser to dry, clean (ie no make up) skin
  • Massage in gently
  • Use a dry facecloth to remove the cleanser
  • Tone and moisturise as normal

 

Dry Body Brushing
This is one of the best habits to make before the festive season gets into full swing. Legs tend to get forgotten about once we start bundling up in layers, and although you may find your tan fading slightly quicker, realistically we all know we’re going to be reaching for the St Tropez asap now that Halloween is over. I have mentioned how to go about this before but here’s a quick recap:

  • 5 minutes brushing, before you shower/run/go to the gym etc
  • Start with your feet and brush in firm, circular strokes, working your way upwards towards your heart
  • Ditto for the arms, back, torso
  • Avoid any broken skin
  • Do not use on your face or décolletage
  • Daily brushing does make a big difference to skin texture, and has been noted to improve the appearance of cellulite – and combined with regular moisturising will ensure the said St Tropez glides on smoothly.

winter skin care

 

Up your omega intake
Moisturising from the inside out is one of my favourite tricks for fighting dry skin throughout the winter, especially if your skin is as sensitive as mine and has a freaker if it is drowned in rich creams to prevent dryness (which ridiculously will happen without said creams – sometimes you really just can’t win).  Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids – this means our body cannot make them, and therefore we need to get them from our diet.  The Western diet is usually abundant in omega-6, but you might be missing out on sufficient omega-3. Omega-3 converts to EPA (eicospentaenoic acid), which improves skin moisture and can decrease inflammation (both are very useful for eczema, acne and other skin complaints).  There are some pretty good omega-3 (fish oil) supplements on the market, but increasing your intake of oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and flaxseeds can have the same effect.  2 tablespoons of flaxseeds contains a considerable 3500mg of omega-3, so you could even eat a vegan diet and still knock your intake out of the park.  Flaxseeds can be added to most bread mixtures, granola or mueslis, and even smoothies.  I like to use flaxseed oil on salads and in smoothies, or sprinkle freshly ground seeds on my porridge.

 

Obviously the above list is not exhaustive, but I have found these techniques are actually worth the effort.  If all else fails, you can always fake it, but I would really love to know if you’ve tried any of these  – and if you have your own essential steps for glowing skin all winter long?

highlighters and strobing - the key to glowing skin

Highlighters, the key to glowing skin – 3 of the best and how to use them

Thanks to Kim K and the community of Instagram make up artists, contouring has made a serious name for itself.  If you haven’t heard of it (you will soon,  because I’m pretty sure “kontouring” has plans for world domination), a brief explanation is the use of darker and lighter shades of concealer/powder/bronzer etc to emphasise cheekbones, slim noses and jawlines, and generally just emulate Victoria Secret models.  When done well, contouring does have it’s place, and photographs very well – however, for a trip to the shops or everyday living (without scaring children) it can a)take way too much time, and b) involve truck loads of make up – not exactly resulting in a natural appearance, and this can be particularly ageing for older skin.  “Strobing” is a newer entrant to the arena, and it may be the preferred choice for a daily glow (soz, couldn’t help it) as it mimics the luminescence of younger skin – you could call it anti-aging make up.  Strobing is essentially contouring without the use of a dark shade, and tends to involve more sheer products, resulting in a dewy, radiant appearance in real life.

So what do you need and how do you use it? There are 3 products that I go between, and have found they tend to suit most skin types – however, oily skins take note, you do have to be careful with application as an all-over-post-spin-class-face-beam is not what we’re aiming for.

  • The basics:
    Strobing entails using highlighter to emphasise the points that light naturally hits (so going overboard in an attempt to resemble Kate Moss is not really going to work if your face shape is totally different – I feel your pain though).  You can identify these by looking in the mirror with overhead lighting – generally the areas light falls on are the cheekbones, the brow bones, just above the brow, the bridge of the nose and the top of the upper lip.
  • Liquid or cream highlighters are best used either under or straight over you base – liquid/cream before powder in most cases.  Patting it onto your cheekbones before tinted moisturiser or a sheer foundation results in a lovely subtle glow, that becomes more apparent with flash photography – solving that “which is more important Insta or IRL” dilemma.
  • Limit the highlighter to the area – less is very much more, as a reflective face is not going to accentuate any cheekbone and can just look downright weird/sweaty.
  • The “C” shape around the outside of the eye is a very popular area to highlight – it gives a dewy, youthful look to the face and is the easiest introduction to strobing
  • You can experiment with different areas as you get used to it – the cheeks, inner eye corner and even chin can look really lovely when highlighted, but are much easier to mess up and result in a post-gym appearance instead.

Strobe Cream
A.K.A. the idiot’s guide to strobing – this is both the easiest product to identify and apply. MAC is where you’ll find it and it comes in two sizes – the travel size is ideal for first-timers
and not a huge investment (I currently have both sizes, the larger of which resides in my bathroom, while the other is a constant in my handbag).  Strobe cream doesn’t have any shimmery or glittery component, which makes it suitable for all ages, skin types and occasions. It can be mixed with tinted moisturiser for an all over glow (but as before, oily skins be careful with this), purely used as a highlighter, patted sparingly on top of heavier powders to give the impression of dewiness (one of the few times you would use liquid on top of powder in your make up routine – but pat it on v gently so as not to mess up the base you just finished!) and even used on collar bones for a natural sheen.strobe cream glowing skin make up

High Beam
One of Benefit’s staples, High Beam has a slight shimmer, and can sometimes give an unflattering whitish hue to the area if used with a heavy hand. It has a superior highlighting effect compared to Strobe Cream, so it can be a better choice if you’re really looking for accentuate those cheekbones, particularly if you have dry skin. Use sparingly, you honestly only need a couple of dots along the highest point of the cheek, and one on the inner corner of the eye if you’re looking to highlight this.

Mary Lou-maniser
Powder highlighters can still give a more natural appearance than full on contouring, and are probably more suitable if you need full coverage foundation with powder to set it. Mary Lou-manizer is a dupe for the much lauded “Soft and Gentle” by MAC, and about €10 cheaper.  It does have a slight shimmer in it, but is not sparkly (something to avoid for everyday life on your face at least, unless you are 6 years old).

highlighters and glowing skin

There are literally hundreds of highlighters on the market – I have used Wonder Glow by Charlotte Tilbury, Moon Beam by Benefit (which has a warmer, more golden tone than Highbeam), Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick and Matte Baked Radiance powder by Laura Mercier and they are all pretty good, but I find myself returning to the above 3 time and time again.  So once again, any favourites you have – please let me know, my make up cupboard is almost bursting but I always seem to find space for more if glowing skin is promised!

the best anti-ageing cream

The best anti-ageing cream in the world

Yes, I have found it and it has been confirmed as the best anti-ageing cream that exists by any expert, dermatologist or cosmetic doctor I have ever met.  Every textbook on aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine I have ever read also agrees with this choice.  And guess what?  You’ve already heard of it!
So what is this magical cream I speak of?  Sun cream.  Yes, despite all the research, the thousands of dollars and efforts that are poured into the billion dollar anti-ageing industry, the best cream for slowing the hands of time is the unassuming suncream.

Suncream protects your skin from the myriad of ways the sun can damage your skin – wrinkles, enlarged pores, and loss of elasticity – due to a decrease in collagen.  UV exposure degrades existing mature collagen and impedes the formation of new collagen, and it can cause hyper-pigmentation due to overactivity of melanocytes (the cells involved in tanning).  Suncream can protect from windburn and extreme temperatures as well – anyone who cycles to work knows it’s not usually the sunshine that does the damage in Ireland.

the best anti-ageing creamSo what if (like most of us), you haven’t been saintly with your sunscreen application and you already have some, if not all, of the above complaints?  Sunscreen may still be a large part of the answer.  Protecting your skin from damage with daily sun/wind/cold protection gives it a chance to heal and try and reverse the damage.  And, as I mentioned above, the new collagen that your skin produces can form much better.  This protection is also absolutely vital if you want to avail of other anti-ageing treatments, like serums that target hyper-pigmentation, chemical peels and IPL, which all leave your skin more vulnerable to UV rays.

why you should wear sun cream

Sufficient application of sun protection is where we all tend to fall down – best intentions notwithstanding.  I mean, do you really need daily sun protection when you live somewhere like Ireland?  Yes.  I know it’s a bit depressing now that the summer is over, and we are all starting to look paler and by January that “paler” has become an unflattering shade of grey (combined with the many excesses of the festive season – it doesn’t get much worse from a skin or general life point of view, as far as I’m concerned), but the glow you might obtain from a sunny afternoon is the park fades quickly, leaving behind it enlarged pores and an uneven skin tone.  The texture and tone of your skin are so much more important in achieving a true lit-from-within glow and so much more difficult to fake, no matter how good your make-up skills are (remember Tanning Mom anyone?).  Suncream is also fantastic for drier skin in the winter – it is one of the best moisturisers when skin starts to flake from the combination of central heating and cold temperatures.

One shot glass is recommended to protect the entire body.  For daily use in Ireland, the face, neck and décolletage (the décolletage is one of the most sensitive areas to ageing, and one of the hardest to improve, even with hardcore treatments like laser, chemical peels and botox) are the essentials – however, the backs of the hands can be an age giveaway, so if you are outside a lot, and not wearing gloves, pay attention to these too.  A full teaspoon is required to properly protect the face and neck, so you may need a little more than this to completely cover the exposed areas.  If you don’t have the required volume, you won’t actually be getting the level of protection declared by the SPF.  Sunscreen needs to be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure, so before your breakfast is better than just before you run out the door clutching you coffee in the morning.

suncream in winterA lot of moisturisers, tinted moisturisers and foundations contain SPF, so is this all you need?  Realistically, no.  The SPF on these is usually 15 or 20, and sometimes you may not be using enough of it to be even getting this protection reliably (unless you absolutely cake on 4 or 5 layers with a trowel!).  As SPF is not cumulative (SPF in moisturiser can’t be added onto the number contained in foundation – you only get the higher number of the two, if that), and SPF30 is the minimum you need, you have two choices:

  1. use a moisturiser with SPF30 or higher – and lather it on (maaaaybe not for oily skin like mine though)
  2. use a sunscreen instead of your moisturiser, I personally love the tinted SPF50 fluid from La Roche-Posay -it’s a very thin, light fluid and one of the few my skin can tolerate.

If you have oily skin, it can be tough to convince yourself that daily suncream is a good idea – I know I resisted winter application for years for fear of breakouts (I do avoid it occasionally when exercising and use a hat instead).  However, although the sun sometimes seems to help clear up spots, it hugely increases the likelihood of scarring where the spot was, and it leads to larger pores by destroying the collagen around them.  I am just back from a training seminar that specifically addressed the cause of acne, so there will be a post up next week on how to target this daily and manage to wear sunscreen at the same time.

The most delicate area of the face is just below your eyes – and, as most of us know,  very susceptible to dark circles, thinning skin and wrinkles – so I try to wear sunglasses as often realistically possible (without looking like a dope if possible, obvs) to protect this vulnerable area.

Do you wear suncream daily, and have you had any skin changes as a result?  I would love to know what brand everyone is using!