As far as skincare goes, I am no expert.
I couldn’t tell you about the benefits of this ingredient versus that ingredient, couldn’t break down the chemical makeup of a facial cleanser and explain how exactly it can help your skin.
What I do have is a little bit of experience, and a lot of trial and error.
For me, like many others, high school was when I first started noticing skin problems. Acne was my number one problem, but despite having dryness too, I tried to blast the acne away with the harshest products from Oxy and Clean & Clear. I just wanted my zits gone. I wanted to have beautiful, clear skin like this one girl in my grade, who never wore makeup and had beautiful glowing skin. (what a bitch, right?) I had a lot of issues with envy in high school. Not to say they’ve magically gone away now that I’m older.
In high school, I was thinking about the here and now. I wanted the fastest solution possible to get my zits gone. I continued to try different skin-clearing products, all promising a flawless complexion.
My skin did clear slightly when I entered university, only to horribly flare up my third year with dozens of bumps all along my chin area. I was so embarrassed by the bumps and so desperate to get rid of them that I fell right back into my pattern of trying every acne-killing, skin-drying product I could get my hands on. This backfired. Not only did I still have the acne, my skin was drying out as well. I felt like I was in puberty all over again.
In the end, the only thing that cleared up those bumps was a combination of a high-estrogen birth control and antibiotics. Fun fact: the doctor told me acne in that area of the face was usually hormonal.
Since my skin cleared up slightly, I’ve begun to rethink how I treat my skin. Instead of looking at the quickest solutions to blast acne, I’ve started think about my skin in the long run. I am only 22, but I’ve begun to think about how these treatments will age my skin, what my face will look like as I get older. (I’m really big on sun protection.)
With this frame of mind, I’ve slightly changed the way I treat my skin. I use hypoallergenic products, or ones safe for sensitive skin, to avoid any flare ups. Instead of hitting zits with a spot treatment, I use Bio Oil on them, to avoid drying out the surrounding skin and to prevent an acne scar from appearing. I always use a daily moisturizer with SPF. I try to make sure all of my makeup is removed before bed.
And yes, I’m even trying to drink more water. It’s a cliche for a reason.
I definitely don’t have perfect skin, but then again, who does? I’m happy with my skin right now. I live with zits as they come and don’t stress about getting rid of them right away. I’m not happy when I get them, but I accept them.
Having tried a ton of products in my short years of experience, I’ve found a couple that work really well for me and are the ones I keep going back to.
Kate Sommerville DTX Daily Cleanser
Are some cleansers really superior to others? I’ve heard all kinds of advice: only use natural cleansers, this brand is better than that brand, only use plain soap or even just water.
There are so many different cleansers out there that the decision to pick one is a little daunting. This cleanser by Kate Sommerville is probably my favourite that I’ve tried, but is it the best one out there? Probably not. It’s what has worked for me.
First of all, it’s really deep cleaning. If I miss any makeup from the excavation portion of the nighttime routine, I know the cleanser will get the rest of it. Secondly, while it really cleans, it still feels gentle on the face. Also, I like the packaging, and while that absolutely should not factor into the decision, it definitely doesn’t hurt.
I don’t just use this on my zits. I use it for almost everything now. I’m like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, just not with Windex.
Zit? Bio Oil. Scar? Bio Oil. A patch of stubborn dry skin? Bio Oil. Feeling down about he economy? Bio Oil.
It really works for me. That’s about it.
Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer
I’ve been using this moisturizer for years. I don’t stray.
It’s simple, scent-free and has SPF. The holy trinity.
And it does it’s actual job, as in moisturizing my face, really well. I find it’s the perfect balance of moisture without being thick or clogging. I use it every day and will continue to do so until it is discontinued/I die/something better is made.
Mario Badescu Facial Spray
This is a new fave for me. I’ve not been using this guy for very long but I already freaking love it. The spray has aloe and rose hips in it, so it smells really nice and it feels so nice and refreshing on the face.
I use it to: prime my face, set my makeup and refresh my makeup if it’s a long day. Also, it’s pretty dang cheap for the quality.
I previously used the Mac Prep + Prime spray for the same purposes, but I’ve been slowly finding replacements for every Mac product I have, and this is one of the best substitutes I’ve found so far.
Fresh Nourishing Lip Balm
I consider lip care to fall under the umbrella of skin care, so here we are.
Since winter is coming, I really need a heavy-duty lip balm that will keep my lips for-real hydrated, and not just sit on top of the skin only to be rubbed off five minutes later.
This lip balm, while a bit pricy, is the ticket. I’ve already used it so much that I know I’ll need to stock up before winter truly kicks in.
Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub
Similar to the lip balm from the same brand, this lip scrub will help me enormously when my lips become super dry in about a month.
Not only do my lips dry out from the cold, but I also wear lipstick all the damn time, which is pretty drying on its own. This scrub is really good at getting rid of any dead or dry skin and makes them look nice and smooth.
I consider this and the lip balm an apology from myself to my lips for the content lipstick abuse.