Skincare Misc.

Lessons from my skincare journey

  • Skin type – oily
  • Skin concerns – oil control/sebum production, blackheads/whiteheads, improving skin texture, hyperpigmentation

My skincare journey has been something I have been experiencing for the majority of my life. Having developed acne at the age of 10, the ending of my young childhood, entering my preteen years, was the beginning of my day to day life of ‘bad skin’ and never ending insecurities. Going through middle school, high school, and college with a face covered with puss-filled bumps and dark scaring can really take a toll on ones confidence. But this post is not about that. Through my constant trials and errors, I want to share with you all the lessons I have learned throughout this skincare journey of mine.

Lesson #1

I do not need to wash my face multiple times a day. I have oily skin, so I used to always think that I needed to wash my face 2 to 3 times a day, especially on the days that I work out. I would wash once in the morning when I woke up, once again after my workout, then once again before I went to bed for the evening. But I figured out that I don’t need to do that. In retrospect, I was probably forcing my skin to produce greater amounts of oil throughout the day since I was washing it so much. Not to mention, I never applied a moisturizer because I knew that my skin would just be oily within the next hour or two after my washing and scrubbing.

On those days that I would wash 3 times, my face was practically spewing sebum like an oil geyser. I have literally had days where I go to the bathroom, blot my face with a paper towel, and it comes away as if I soaked it in a small pool of oil. Not even kidding. I’m not saying I have now found the cure to my oiliness but I have noticed that on the nights when I double cleanse, then just rinse my face with water the following morning (first warm water, then a cool rinse to seal the pores back up) my skin is more balanced throughout the day. I may become dewy-looking throughout the day but it’s never to the extent where I have to blot every few hours – or even blot at all!

Lesson #2

KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid. This silly phrase is something one of my teachers taught me back in high school. More does not equal better. Just keep it simple. Sticking with the basics can take you mighty far if you do it correctly. One does not need to have an overly extensive skincare routine in order to have beautiful skin!

I have come to the realization that my skin is very much like my hair: it wants to be left alone! Lol. My hair flourishes when I hardly do anything to it. But the moment I’m constantly playing in my hair or trying out new styles, it starts breaking off. My skin is pretty much the same. Having a simple routine with only a few products at a time has been the best thing for my skin. The moment I start layering many different products and clogging up my pores, my face becomes the headquarters of breakout central: blackheads, whiteheads, weird texture in certain places, and even those weird bumps that never fully come to a head; they just sit under the surface of your skin.

My current routine consists of a cleanser, toner, essence, and if I’m feeling fancy or need a moisture boost then I will put on a moisturizer. That’s it. The whole 10-step Korean skincare craze is NOT for me. Not saying that it’s a bad routine, I just know that my skin can’t handle all of that. It’s too many different products that do too many different things at once. Not to mention, my skin doesn’t need layers upon layers of moisture. one or two layers will suffice for me (the essence and a light face lotion).

I learned this the hard way. I’ve tried to layer my moisturizing products just like the 10-step routine or even the 6-step routine, and my face just does not absorb it. AT ALL! I ended up waking up in the morning looking like I slathered butter all over my face before I went to bed (and I tried this routine multiple times). So minimal products with only 1 or 2 moisturizers is what works best for me. The mud masks and sheet masks are for my pamper nights only and I do not own any heavy serums, ampoules, or face oils.

Lesson #3

Just because something is expensive, does not mean it is effective. I have had my share of cheap products as well as the more expensive ones (Proactiv, I’m looking at you) and they did not work. Certain brands make products that claim to literally create magic on your face and so you splurge on this product, only to find out that it either a.) does not work or b.) doesn’t work any better than a drugstore brand product. What makes it worse is that all the money you just spent on the product most likely doesn’t even go towards the ingredients or curation process; it goes toward the brand name and the building of that brand’s empire.

Ever since I have started buying my own products, I have never purchased a product that costs more than $40 and even that price makes me pause. I enjoy finding the things that are affordable yet effective. It may take some research or trial and error but so far, my skin is thanking me. And being a full-time grad student, my wallet is thanking me too.

Lesson #4

Follow your skin, not trends. Korean skincare is super popular right now. The 10-step routine is all the rage, anti-aging must be slapped on everything, serums are a must in skincare routines. The secret to pore-less baby skin? 1 sheet mask a day. And why stop there? Why not sheet mask morning and night, 7 days a week? 7 layers of toner? Of course! Let’s add that too. What is my point when I say all of this? There is always going to be something new. Trends change. And most times our skin does not.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Skin can change with age, the seasons, pregnancy, etc. But I guarantee that our skin does not change as quickly as trends do. When something works for me, I have learned that I need to just stick with it. Its okay to want to try something new every now and then. But if I’m constantly switching out my products for the next best thing or following a new skincare trend, I’m never going to know what is or isn’t working. And right now, I know what’s working.

When my skin is acting funny due to hormones or a random eczema breakout or something, that’s when I change out products. But I still have my all natural ride or die products that I keep in my arsenal. To make a long story short, I just listen to my skin. If it likes something, I keep it. If it needs something, I search for it. If it hates something, it’s going in the trash bin, no questions asked!

These are the major lessons I have learned in my years long journey so far. I love skincare and learning new things about my skin and body. Learning through trial and error is the only way I can present my best self. What are some things you have learned throughout your journey?

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