As a society, we are absolutely obsessed with skin. To be comfortable with ourselves, we feel we need to have perfectly smooth, pore-less, un-pigmented and youthful skin. For many of us, that’s a reality that is painfully hard to reach, and at times difficult to imagine.
I’ve had acne since I was a teenager, and there have been times that it was difficult to look at myself in the mirror or leave my bedroom without layers of foundation and concealer on. Some people may say that I felt that way because I’m vain, but if you think that then you haven’t ever experienced severe acne.
After years of trying different products, diets, medications and routines, I finally feel comfortable in my skin. I am confident enough to run errands without any concealer and give my skin “off-duty” days every week when I don’t wear makeup at all. I’m by no means an expert or a skincare professional, but I wanted to share a few products I use as well as my routine in case it may help even one person reading this improve their skin and their confidence.
STEP ONE: CLEANSE
I cleanse my skin twice a day – once in the morning, with cold tap water, and once in the evening after I’ve removed my makeup using micellular cleansing water and a cotton pad. Once most of my makeup has been removed I start with an oil cleanser to dissolve any stubborn, waterproof bits that remain on my face. Many of you may shy away from using oil on your face, especially if you have oily skin, but I find that it actually helps control the oil secretion on my skin. After rinsing the oil cleanser off, I wash it once more with a very mild foaming cleanser. Look for a soap-free formula. Lather it up and gently rub it all over your face and neck, then rinse again. At this point, all makeup residue should be washed away, so you can move on to products that will help treat your acne. Next, I use a toner to balance my skin’s pH. I prefer products that are as natural as possible and free from alcohol, which dehydrates your skin and causes excess oil production.
STEP TWO: HYDRATE
Once I have cleansed and balanced my skin, I need to put moisture back into it. Moisture will keep your skin looking and feeling youthful, and most of us don’t moisturise our skin often enough. I didn’t even use a basic moisturiser until a couple of years ago, and my skin suffered a lot of sun and dehydration damage during my teenage years. So today, I start hydrating by using a vitamin c serum. Vitamin c is an antioxidant, which when applied to the skin topically may reduce wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation. I’ve seen a huge improvement in the texture and tone of my skin since adding this to my routine. You only need about a dime sized portion to cover your entire face. Drop it into the palm of your hand, gently rub your hands together, and pat the serum onto your face. Once my face is covered, I give my skin a few minutes for the serum to sink in, then I apply a moisturiser. Depending on whether it is morning or evening, I either use a day cream with SPF or gel moisturiser. At night, I prefer the lightness of a gel, but during the day I need SPF to protect my skin from damage. (In the mornings, I apply moisturiser directly after rinsing my face). I usually use about a quarter-sized dollop and rub it into both my face and neck.
STEP THREE: MAINTAIN
While the first two steps comprise my daily routine, there are several other products I use to maintain a clear complexion but don’t use as often. The first one is a gentle exfoliating cream. I typically use this no more than twice a week, so that I don’t irritate my skin. Look for a scrub with natural exfoliators like nut shells, fruit seeds or grains (because plastic beads get into the water supply and kill the wildlife). Use with warm water and rinse thoroughly. Another product I use is a clarifying or detox mask. After wearing makeup all week and running around a city full of air pollutants, my skin really needs a deep cleanse. I typically use this type of mask once a week, and use it per the instructions. A product I’ve recently discovered is the acne treatment cream listed below. I use this every day whether I wear makeup or not. I have noticed that it has really helped decrease the tiny bumps from congested pores on my t zone and cheekbones. I apply it a few minutes after my moisturiser in the morning. And finally, one of my favorite products is skin mist, a light spray packed with antioxidants and hydration. These products are relatively new, but I see more and more brands coming out with their own versions. Again, I prefer a product that is as natural as possible and includes antioxidants derived from fruit or other plant sources. I apply this as the last product in my routine, and then as often as needed throughout the day (over a made up or natural face).
I’ve been using a routine like this for over a year now, and have seen a dramatic improvement in the tone and texture of my skin, not to mention way less blemishes. That being said, I highly recommend that you visit a dermatologist for an evaluation of your skin. Everyone’s skin is unique, and they can help you figure out other products or medications that may help with your unique issues or concerns. I have also visited dieticians who helped me figure out what foods may be causing inflammation and contributing to my acne. Learn as much as you can about your own body and skin, as well as reading up on what common ingredients are and what they do to your skin.
I hope this helps you with your skincare routine and overall skin health, as I would love for you all to be confident enough in your skin to not feel the need to disguise it with makeup and concealer.