Information and Resources
Emla and LMX4
These are numbing creams available from chemists only (you may need to ask them to order it for you). LMX4 is a new product on the market and stronger than Emla, you don’t need a prescription for either but you must make sure you use it sensibly. Numbing certain areas of the face or SMALL areas of the body is fine, but applying a thick layer all over your legs for example is out of the question. Not only would you be absorbing far too much medication but it would also be too expensive. If electrolysis is painful then ask your electrologist to turn down the setting. There is no point in removing hair only to leave damaged skin, so numbing the skin purely to allow a higher setting is madness.
However for certain areas such as the upper lip, jawline and eyebrows Emla and LMX4 is very useful for those who find even low settings too painful. Apply a thick layer of the cream and then cover with a piece of plastic. Although total numbing is achieved in 1 hour I have found that even 15 minutes is enough to sufficiently lower the sensation of electrolysis to a comfortable level. NB Don’t use occlusive dressings to cover the cream, they don’t work very well. Also avoid clingfilm aka saran wrap. Use small strips of clear polythene, such as ziploc bags cut or torn into smaller pieces.
Available in 5g and 30g tubes at Chemist Direct, Express Chemist and Boots
Moisturisers do not suit everyone, especially the more expensive types that claim to combat several ‘problems’ all at once. A moisturiser should only be used if you have dry skin or when you are in a very harsh climate (extreme cold or heat). If you have normal to oily skin then you don’t need moisturiser, ESPECIALLY the oil-free types that clog up the pores horrifically. If you have combination skin then only use moisturiser on the dry areas. Never use a moisturiser that contains dimethicone or any ingredient ending in -cone. Astral cream and the original Nivea Creme along with small-label brands are ok. If you suffer from constant redness, irritation and a general unclear look to your face it’s very likely to be your moisturiser, even if it’s something like the Simple brand or Oil of Olay. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve advised clients to stop moisturising, or to switch to a basic cream, and it’s solved the problem. Some forget all about this and end up trying another highly advertised cream, only to break out again. It can be hard to go against the ingrained urge to moisturise all the time but the less you put on your skin the better.
If you have dry skin, dermatitis, eczema or you suffer from razor burn then I highly recommend Lansinoh cream. It is purified lanolin cream so even if you think you’re allergic to wool or lanolin you should be able to use it. Apply a SMALL pea-sized amount, rub in well and wait for 1 minute. Repeat if you need more, but a little goes a long way. (Use a bit more if using as a shaving oil).
You can buy Lansinoh from Boots, Waitrose and Chemist Direct in the mothers and babies section.
In addition to moisturisers I am also not very fond of mass produced facial cleansers. You may think you are using soap but if you are using a foaming product it will probably contain detergents (Sodium Laureth Sulphate or SLS) rather than soap. It’s cheaper but will disrupt the skin too much by removing too much oil. Your skin is not a carpet with a curry stain requiring deep cleaning, you are simply trying to remove makeup, dirt and excess oil when washing your face. Our natural oils have steroids in them to maintain a healthy appearance so a small amount is necessary. A mild soap is far better than foaming or cream cleansers. I recommend solid or liquid black soap from Shea By Nature, or Pears soap from any chemist.
Long wear or all day foundations and concealers seem to have a very disruptive effect on skin in my experience. There is no need to use such harsh products as makeup always settles in the skin creases due to natural movement (talking, eating). Better to remove the makeup midday and reapply if you require a polished look for your job. Again avoid makeup that claims to solve other problems, e.g. a sunscreen isn’t needed because the makeup is blocking out the UV rays already.
I am a big fan of mineral makeup, but not the imitations sold on the high street. Proper mineral makeup should be a loose powder applied with a brush in layers and buffed until you get the coverage you want. It may look chalky at first but after 15 minutes it absorbs some of the natural skin oil to give a very natural look. (If you suffer from acne then this makes it a very good choice.)