great minimalist blog from paris:
klean perspective

retinol skincare:

“Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations.” Stephen Hawking

I heard this question way too often: What works against wrinkles you already have? My current answer is retinoic acid and its derivates retinol and pro-retinols. Every other ingredient you find in common beauty products is not able to perform nearly as potent against implications of photoaging and acne as retinoids do: They are able to stimulate the production of Hyaluronic Acid and skin’s structural protein collagen. As we get old the production of both exhausts and only retinoic acid both stimulates their production again and stops the depletion (read here and here). Retinoids are way more antioxidant than Vit E (see here and here) and what I like most about retinoic acid is the supreme effectiveness of treating acne (see here). Prescription-free retinol, the alcohol form of retinoic acid (and pro-retinols like retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl linoleate) were said to be less effective than retinoic acid but newest developments go in the direction of encapsulation of retinol in some kind of microsphere to save it from oxidation but benefit from its low skin-irritant properties (read 1 2 3).

If you want to use your retinoid right the key to a successful performance is to know how to use your panacea:
-Start off slowly. Apply your product only once in 3-4 days or else in the acclimatization phase your skin peels off, itches and turns red.
-Retinoids never in combination with AHA/BHA since they make your retinoid less effective. Preferably use your chemical peeling a day before and not on the same day with retinoids.
-Avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding since they are teratogen, and therefore can cause birth defects. There are studies with rats which have shown increases in fetal skull deformations.
-Please stay out of the sun and if you are not already using one (which I sincerely hope you do) get at least a high quality SPF 30 sunscreen for everyday. Retinoids act less effective with exposure to oxygen and light (read here).

If you stopped reading halfway, here is an interview with famous dermatologist Dr. Murad explaining retinoids a little easier. Need a little help finding the best non-prescription retinoid product? Paula’s Choice’s Team did their homework and created a beautiful, long listing of the best products. With kind regards, Ea Birkkam


today: the grey comfort sweater




-read more about it here
-like? order it here

“Each one of us must carry within the proof of immortality, it cannot be given from outside of us. To be sure, everything in nature is change but behind the change there is something eternal.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

What do Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Wheat Germ Oil and Sharks (yes) have in common? It is not the beginning of a bad joke, rather a connection to a 30-carbon organic compound (Squalene/see here) whose saturated form (Squalane/see picture above) acts both as a very good emollient and moisturizer in cosmetics. Squalene is a clear, scentless and low-viscous lipid that occurs with appr. 5-12 per cent in the skin’s own hydro-lipid layer. Squalane however is not as auto-oxidating prone and the fact that it is non-toxic and non-irritating makes it a cosmetic ingredient almost too good to be true.

Sadly there is a downside. A lot of sharks are being killed for having high amounts of Squalene in their body, especially the liver, because they lack of a swim bladder and this is nature’s solution to reduce their body density (read more here). To dissociate from the cruel slaughter but still benefit from a great ingredient like it manufacturers prefer the term Phytosqualan in their products which points out the vegetarian origin. I really cannot wait to involve this compound in my lab actions, it is said to have a super silky and smooth feeling on the skin. I really like the way the molecule looks too, someone please make a silver necklace in this pattern. Excited, Ea Birkkam

today: deep ocean



Kevin Saint Grey







“While symmetry is a way of seeing things, I think minimalism is more of a way of thinking” Kevin Saint Grey, Interview with Slices of Silence

Clarity and symmetries. Los Angeles based Kevin Kwok (aka Kevin Saint Grey) is one of my all-time favorite monochromatic photographers. You find minimalistic architectural, landscape, and abstract images in his portfolios and it was hard to narrow my selection for this post to five photographies. With attention to both architectural and biological symmetry he captivates me with his pictures in a harmonic and free-of-distraction kind of world. In a great interview with Slices of Silence he points out on his studies regarding symmetry and how it affects the ambience of his work. You can find the Interview here, you might want to read the whole thing.

I sometimes wish to enter his photographies for serenity. In state of harmony, Ea Birkkam.

today: franz liszt ‘nuages gris’


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