A change is as good as a rest…

…or so they say.

This is one of those posts that takes a little longer to write than normal. And has come about as the result of a lot of thinking, rethinking and even a little soul-searching.

Just recently my troublesome skin has been even more troublesome than usual. I’ve forgotten what it felt like to have periods of relative normality. I used to have flare-ups, punctuated by periods when things were a little calmer. Now, ‘normal’ is angry, raised, sore and itchy on my back, chest, arms and legs.

Things came to a head when I decided to renew my steroid prescription to get a couple of weeks respite. I hadn’t used it since May and it had expired. This has been my habitual pattern for some time now. Use the steroids every 4-6 months for a couple of weeks. Experience 4-6 weeks of okayish skin. Slowly revert to ‘normal’ and then stick it out as long as possible before it starts waking me repeatedly at night and I give in.

Normally when I end up at the doctors I’m a bit wobbly, tired and tearful. This time I just felt really hacked off. I was fed up with being dictated to by my skin, fed up with feeling as if I was somehow to blame (perhaps if I just sleep more, eat better, have less of a life…). Then the GP looked at the flare up on my legs and said it didn’t look like eczema or seborrheic dermatitis at all. It looked like something else. I’m afraid I had a little paddy. No GP has ever agreed on what’s going wrong with my skin. I’ve had so many suggestions over the years and every single one of these conversations ends up with a steroid prescription and a feeling of helplessness.

Not this time.

This time I pushed back a bit. And as a result, I was referred to another GP at my surgery with a specialism in dermatology. He and I are now working together to try and figure this thing out. He thinks my upper body is affected by Seb Derm, but the flare-ups on my arms and legs are likely severe keratosis pilaris. Joy. He did refill my steroid prescription but he asked me not to use it yet. Instead, we’re trying out a new cream that uses both lactic acid and urea (and doesn’t contain too much horror to upset my skincare beliefs). And I’m sticking to simple plant-based body oils to keep my moisture levels topped up on the non-affected skin.

He also made me promise that I’d stop showering with any kind of detergent at all, even the really gentle, SLS-free ones. I’ll tell you more about how that works in a future post…!

And that’s my new regime. Indefinitely. I think it’s sort of working, but that doesn’t mean it’s a miracle cure and I’m some weeks away from drawing any conclusions.

And so I spent some time soul-searching. I’m a passionate advocate of green skincare and a big supporter of the incredible work being done by genuinely green brands. I haven’t changed my mind about the things I believe, I’ve just realised that my skin can’t tolerate constant chopping and changing. It needs simplicity and consistency. My skin and beauty blogging are just incompatible! Perhaps I had an inkling this was coming – just recently I’ve felt a little uninspired by the cornucopia that is my bathroom cabinets and a bit overwhelmed by the incredible amount of stuff I (‘m lucky enough to) have around.

So there are going to be some changes to NBC and I really hope you guys don’t mind if I take some time to figure it all out a bit. I can’t imagine anyone wants to read about using coconut oil to shower FOREVER 🙂 but I want to find a way to write interesting and positive posts without having an arsenal of “newness” to focus on. I will still be trying out new facial products (fortunately the skin on my face is still ok) but I’ll only change my routine occasionally.

I’m thinking that things are going to get a little pared back around here, particularly once I’ve worked my way through the backlist of things I’ve tried in the last few months. I want to spend a bit more time enjoying the brands I love the most instead of being constantly driven to try new things. I want to write more about aromatherapy. I want to find out if it’s even possible to be a beauty blogger if you can’t try new things all the time!

I have some ideas, but I’d also like to turn it over to you. I’m so grateful to all of you reading my little corner of the web and your comments and feedback make ALL of it worthwhile. What do you think? Would you like to read more on aromatherapy? Would you be ok with reading posts about products that I can’t try myself? Would you miss the shiny newness? Is there anything you’d really like to know about instead?

I’d love to know. And thank you, as ever, for reading.


northumberland____36 (soft glow)

8 thoughts on “A change is as good as a rest…

  1. One thing I learned in my many years as a blogger is that you have to do what is best for you/r health and if blogging isn’t making you shit rainbows then it is okay to take a break or to walk away. People who don’t do it will never understand the humungous time and effort and love that goes into every single post and won’t know that when you aren’t blogging you are thinking of blogging. It occupies your whole mind. But in the end you have to do right by your body and spirit and it sounds like yours is crying out for some respite and you are incredibly gifted and people will want to read about anything you have to offer…I know I am fascinated by Aromatherapy and would love to read about it and if you blogged about nothing else I would still be a loyal reader. Shit, I’m such a dorky information sponge that if you wrote about any random topic that I am generally uninformed about I’d probably read it just for further self awareness!

    I used to blog 7 days a week, 365 days a year…no breaks ever. I kept it up for over 5 years and in the end I just burnt myself out. Now I blog when I want whether it is 3 times in a day and then nothing for 2 months or once a week regularly for months on end. I decided to blog for myself and be less interested in who was reading because there are so many beauty blogs out there that I’d rather just put my thoughts out on the internet and share them with my friends than anything else. After years of events and samples and rigid scheduling this is enough for me now. Do what is right for you, we aren’t going anywhere. Especially me, I subscribe by email..so as long as you keep writing I will keep reading my email!


  2. Sorry to hear about your skin. It’s really hard when our health makes us so down. Have you tried seeing a Nutritional Therapist or a Naturopathic Nutritionist to help track back why this flared up? There are a lot of techniques and changes you can make working with someone like this which would help support the work you are doing with you GP xx Are you taking a good quality omega 3 oil? This may also help you. Bare Biology is fabulous and really pure. I’m about to do a post on this. On another note, I’d read your blog whatever. I love a blog which is diverse. There are a lot of beauty bloggers out their now and it can feel very competitive sometimes. As a fellow holistic therapist I’d love to read more aromatherapy posts and also about your journey with your skin as it may help lots of people. Having a break from blogging can be a great leveler and as daily polish says, we can end up being consumed by it all if we are not careful ! Sending you a big hug and hoping you feel happier soon xx

  3. I think you should blog about what you want to! I’d love to read more about aromatherapy – it’s something different & interesting! I find that my skin has been quite bad recently because I was trying out too many things at once during the #BeautyChallenge10 (as I was trying to use up as much as I could!) but it just affected my skin too much and I’ve only just (this morning!) gotten over a horrible outbreak of spots on my chin (not hormonal) through simplifying my routine. It’s definitely tough, because knowing so many other beauty bloggers means you want to try all the new bits & bobs but there’s loads you can write about without buying new things (something I’ve learnt recently!) I hope you figure something out to help with your skin, it sounds like you’re going through a hard time at the minute! But, I will definitely still be reading your blog 😀 xx

  4. Hi,
    I’ll continue reading whatever the topic but I do love your aromatherapy posts so I would definitely like more of those. I also enjoy more detailed discussions of brands and the people behind them. I’m not bothered about lots of reviews of new products to be honest as trying lots of new things makes my skin react and there is a limit to what I can justify buying! I actually would be interested in hearing about the coconut oil though. I hope the new regime is working out for you and I look forward to your next post! xx

    Ps, I want to try making my own lip balm. Do you know where I could get beeswax from?

    • Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for commenting. I’ll definitely be writing a bit more aromatherapy-themed posts in the future – it’s nice to see that a couple of people mentioned they’d be interested in that. As for the beeswax, I’m afraid I’ve never bought it myself and one of the suppliers I use for base ingredients (http://www.naturallythinking.com/categories/Ingredients/) don’t stock it. Not terribly helpful of me – I’m sorry! If I stumble across anything, I’ll update… x

  5. Pingback: Washing with coconut oil…forever | naturalbeautycabinet

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