Albinism in Your Skin

This one is especially for my friends in the Albinism community.  I think we can all agree that – while the blonde hair is a blessing – the translucent skin is a curse!  Especially when you have redness on top of that.

Covering up the redness with tan – do love this gúna though! It’s from Vanilla Boutique in Fermoy 

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I purposely keep my arms (in particular) covered.  The problem with translucent skin is that redness shows constantly – I know for me, it means my arms end up looking like someone has slapped me, and the rest of my skin is deathly white! I’m so conscious of it, and the only way I’ve covered it before is with a spray tan.  But constant spray tanning isn’t pracitical – or financially healthy!

So a few weeks ago, a friend gave me some bottles of a new skincare range that she’s been using recently – a range called Ocean Bloom.  Usually, I won’t try a new range even when I do get a recommendation – my skin is so sensitive and the smallest thing can set me off with a rash or reaction.  But I must admit, when I checked out the ingredients on their website, I was impressed.  Their moisturiser has an SPF – super important for someone with albinism because of our lack of pigment.  No parabens, no nasty sulphates or silicones – and all organic ingredients.  They don’t test on animals either.

It’s great that the Ocean Bloom range isn’t tested on animals – I also just think this pic is super cute!

So I thought “I’ll give this a go!”.

I started out with the moisturiser and eye serum.  Of course, I patch tested both first, and no reaction so I was ready to go.  Woohoo!

Within a week, there was a clear difference in the redness of my face, something I’ve always had trouble with and something I put down to my albinism.  The red pigment and hue in my face started to fade – not entirely – but noticeably enough.  I’ve been doing a bit of Google’ing, and seaweed (the main ingredient) reduces skin redness, inflammation, and is a natural way to hydrate skin.  So maybe this explains it?  All I know is the redness is going slowly, and I’m super happy about that!

Some pics I took of the moisturiser, just for an idea of the consistency

Similarly with the eye serum, the dark circles around my eyes are gone way down too!  Again, these circles are something I used to put down the strain on my eyes by everyday tasks – I’m sure you all know how difficult it can be to work around nystagmus.  I felt it was my nystagmus made these circles worse – there’s a lot of pressure on my eyes day to day.  So obviously I’m super happy with this too.  It’s nice and soft around my eyes too – again, I’m so careful with what goes near them because it’s important to keep them as healthy as possible.

When these results were so good after just a week, I started using some of their other products – the main ingredient in the range is seaweed from West Cork.  So it MUST be good for the rest of my skin, right?

Remember what I said about the redness in my face being reduced with the moisturiser?  Well, the body butter had the EXACT same effect! I can only presume its because of the way seaweed reduces redness?  Or maybe its because something soothing is on my skin.  Whatever the reason, it basically means I don’t have to keep my arms constantly hidden if I have no tan on!  R-E-S-U-L-T!!

I’m always the first one to share any good products I find – especially when it comes to something that helps with the lesser effects of my albinism.  Trust me when I say this really helped the redness on my face, that I think is mostly down to my albinism.   The same with the redness on my arms and parts of my legs.  It hasn’t disappeared, but there’s a huuuuuge reduction in it.  Hopefully as I keep using it, it’ll continue to reduce it.  I’ve noticed that my skin is a lot healthier in general since I started using the moisturiser and body butter.

My favourite delivery of ALL time!!!! How cute is the packaging?

I’ve included links in this post if any of you want to have a look at Ocean Bloom’s online store, you can.  If you guys end up trying these products too, please message me and let me know!  I think it’ll be really beneficial for people like me with albinism who suffer from the same type of redness.

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Smear 4 Smear – My First Smear Test

My letter from CervicalCheck arrived around mid-December, reminding me that I was due my first smear test soon.  These reminders are posted out to each woman in Ireland shortly after her 25th birthday – and I must admit I was surprised at how timely my “smear invite” arrived!  From what I’d heard from other friends, aunts, and my mum, I knew it would take something like 3 weeks to get the results.  So I decided to book in for mine in January, so as to avoid any unnecessary worrying over Christmas time.


So that was it – my first smear test booked. All I had to do was wait until the start of January.  I’d booked in with a female doctor at my GP’s practice, and I’d seen her a few times before for the inevitable “women’s problem’s” so I was comfortable with her.  I mean, your first smear test is kind of a thing, so you need to know whose doing it I think.


So anyway…. 2.20pm, just checked in for my Smear at my GPs surgery. I’m nervous, this is my first Smear Test. I hope it doesn’t hurt but I know it’ll probably be uncomfortable.  I’ve now lost the letter for my smear test with the tracking number on it. The panic looking for it today hasn’t helped my humour at all. Hopefully the doctor can still do the test with my PPS number and ID number for my Smear, which I was able to look up on the Cervical Check website – here’s the link, just incase you lose yours too.

Oh my nerves, I can hear the clock ticking behind me and everything. Now I’m starting to think silly things: should I take my socks off or leave them on? Does she know I’m blogging about this? I hope she won’t mind. What if I do it wrong? Ugh it’s a smear how could I do it wrong?!! The doctor is the one doing it, all I have to do is lie back, relax and… think about something else. Like what though? The gym, I’m going to the gym later so I’ll think about that. What if I’m sore after the test and I can’t go to the gym? Ok I’m not gonna think about the gym, I’ll just go in there and empty my mind.

It’s 2.29 and no sign of the doctor, but my appointment is at half past. I can’t handle the suspense of this I just want it over with….


I was called at 2.31, and out the door and all by 2.40…. What was I so worried about?  The female doctor called me into her room, and asked if I’d ever had a smear before.  I hadn’t.  So she explained to me how the test was done; that it would feel like a bit of pressure, and that I’d be waiting six weeks for results.  She asked if I was still happy to do the test and if I felt comfortable.  I did, but I was still nervous.

I lay back, and allowed her to do the test.  Its basically very similar to a pelvic exam, except that they use a little brush type instrument to take a few cells from the cervix.  I’m squeamish, and it didn’t bother me in the least.  It didn’t hurt either – like I said, it felt like pressure from a pelvic exam.  And that was it.  It was finished.


The reasoning behind writing about something like this was to try and normalise it for other ladies, and to take away the fear around it.  As you’ve read, I was so nervous – and it turned out I had nothing to worry about!


I’ll give an update on the Beyond the Blonde Facebook page when I get my results in a few weeks – but I’m not in the least worried.  Something to note though – a smear test only tests for cervical cancer or changes in the cervix.  It doesn’t screen for other gynae problems, like fibroids, or gynae cancers like ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer.


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2017 MUST Be Better

This year...

2016 was a really hard year, I think we can all agree on that.  I know from me personally it was probably the hardest year I have had to deal with.  But this is a new year so I don’t want to focus on the bad –I want to focus on the good that is to come.

If 2016 taught one thing, it’s that your perception of any situation is everything. The way you perceive a situation will dictate the way that you handle it.  So I knew it was important to go into 2017 with the positivity that I would carry with me for the rest of the year.  Start as you mean to go on – isn’t that what they say?


On Monday January 2 I did something I don’t normally do. I organised myself for the next morning; clothes selected, make up at the ready, handbag packed – I even picked out matching socks! For 2017, I wanted to make more of an effort with my appearance. I spent most of 2016 with my hair in a messy bun, makeup-less, and wearing clothes that didn’t even match at times. In 2016 sometimes I just didn’t care. But this is a New Year so I’m going to care more. I’m happy to say that this is one resolution I have kept up so far. And considering we’re only a week in, that’s longer than most of my resolutions have lasted previously.

The next day saw one of the more dramatic changes – a good 12 inches was cut off my hair by my stylist at Colours.  New Year, new me. I cant really describe what a big change this was, so I’ll leave you with the before and after photos instead.

...And after!
…And after!

The final change to bring into the New Year with me was to make my lifestyle healthier. I one to see a change in my body.  People think that I exude confidence. But those of you who know me will know that I suffer with depression and self-confidence problems. At times in 2016, this depression crippled me and at one point I allowed it to takeover my life. It affected my confidence; it affected my ability to work; it affected my relationships.  The talk therapy and the meds definitely help, but I felt I needed an overall lifestyle change.


So I have started a new health and fitness regime.  I signed up for a year with Dan Sweeney Health and Fitness. As well as tailoring a workout plan to help me tone up, I have also gotten a lot of guidance around nutrition and my food choices. From what I’ve read from others who struggle with their mental health, diet can have an effect on recovery too.  Just like it does with the physical health.  So today is the day that I do my first big food shop for the new diet.  I can’t wait to see the results –  physical and mental.




  • Just click the link here to see the this weeks Facebook competition  – valid until 13.1.2017

img_5363For extra news and up-to-date posts, make sure to follow Beyond The Blonde on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.