My Skin Journey and Lessons Learnt
I have been waiting to pen this down for awhile but I honestly didnt know where to start. I also don't have a lot of pictures as proof because I didn't know I would be writing this down someday. I just wanted to share this to anyone of you with skin problems because I want to tell you IT WILL BE OKAY. It really will. It might take time, patience and lots of trial and errors, but it will be okay.
Another reason in writing this is because I read a lot of ur comments regarding scarring and blemishes. I've read every single one of them and my heart goes out to u 💕
My process might result in a different result from yours, but these are the lessons I've learnt so let's go.
My skin has always been oily/combi and it was generally clear with occasional zits once in a while.
I was 18/19yo and experimenting with makeup at that time. I used a particular brand's BB cream and didn't know my skin was reacting badly to it. I continued using it for approximately 2 days and for the next 2 mornings when I woke up, there were these small headless bumps ALL OVER MY FACE.
I would wake up in the morning and find little headless bumps popping up all over my cheeks. Imagine my horror.
I had bangs at that time and didn't apply any makeup on my forehead so the problem was concentrated all on my cheeks. And that's how I came to realize it was the BB causing those bumps.
I didn't know what to do! Everyone was noticing them and I was so embarrassed. All I did was pile on more of the BB cream, without realizing that it was the source of the problem.
My mom was getting worried and brought me to a facial place. To be perfectly honest, that was my FIRST regret. I believe because of that bad experience,
I don't think the lady knew what she was doing. She took one look, claimed that my skin was clogged and proceeded to painfully 'unclog' my pores. Days after, my skin would be painfully red, scabbing but definitely NOT healing. She told me she had to clear the dirty stuff away for my skin to heal. And up till this date, I still tell people this is bullshit. Only aggravated skin stays red and swollen. That's a sign your skin is telling u it's NOT OKAY.
At that time, I was obsessed with makeup but NOT skincare. I didn't know how to take care of my skin. All my knowledge came from magazines and they are basically just advertising for companies after companies selling tons of skincare products you don't need.
So basically, my skin got bad to worse. I went from one facial place to another, trying out recommendations one after another without doing research beforehand or realizing what's actually wrong.I felt exhausted and ugly on a daily basis. I was suffering from terrible skin all the way in university but I had to just act okay. Some days, I didn't even want to go to class. I felt like the whole world was staring at my bad skin and my self-esteem plunged.
I was desperate and frustrated. I just wanted my old skin back, blemishes, oiliness and WHATEVER. It didn't help that I was also trying out products being advertised without doing more research. Second regret.
It also didn't help that ALL my relatives decided that my skin would be their topic of discussion every time I see them. For some reason, people think it's ok to tell you about your skin condition as tho you don't have a mirror. BITCH, I KNOW HOW I LOOK 🙄
I just wanted to stay home and cry every time I look into the mirror.
By then, my cheeks were breaking out non-stop. Each day, I would stare in the mirror and see new painful blemishes that wouldn't go away.
I started doing my own research because nothing was helping me and I refused to accept this was my 'fate'. I had okay skin before all these and I just wanted to go back to that. I changed out a lot of products and started by looking for 'better' brands of skin line.
I wanted something for my extremely sensitive skin. I remembered feeling so heart-pain as I purchased Avene for the first time. I bought their makeup remover, cleanser and something else I can't really recall. That was my FIRST step. I still had such a long. long road ahead of me. This is why up till this date, I ALWAYS double cleanse. I believe that's what helped a lot.
Makeup companies will stick a label and tell you their product is non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic doesn't mean shit. Don't believe me? Go google it.
'There are no approved or standard regulations for this phrase.'
Makeup do not contain natural ingredients that your skin can absorb and detox by itself. This means once it's on your skin, it has a possibility of entering your pores and clogging it, coupling it with bacteria and dirt.
This is why removing makeup nightly is advised because all the gunk will build up over time and clog your pores up. Well, there are some girls who are luckier and are born genetically with beautiful skin. I'm not one of those. I need to work extra hard.The only way I know how to minimize clogging of pores is by cleansing and exfoliation.
I wash my face twice a day and physical exfoliation 1x a week.
- Normal cleanser in the morning with cold water.
- Double cleansing in the evening because I wear sunblock and again, sunblock is a base which is again, made of chemicals, so I always use micellar water first (even if I DON'T wear foundation/bb/cc/any base) and then cleanser after.
I started realizing my skin was starting to get better with double cleansing. Now came the issue of scarring. I was left with PLENTY of scars, as you can imagine.
I admit - I was super impatient. I had already suffered from terrible skin for approximately 4 years at that point of time. I was done. I just wanted it to GO AWAY. I didn't want to be reminded of it. I wanted it to go.
So I made the mistake and bought ANY kind of products that promised whitening, brightening, & lightening of scars. From Hiruscar to SKII. I have them all.
I threw most of the older stuff out already, but I still managed to find some in my WHAT-TO-DO skincare box. I was changing stuff out so fast, you probably wouldn't even have time to blink. If something didn't perform a 'miracle' and whiten my scars, out it would go.
I mean, I have a BOX. Stuff of what didn't work would just go into that box.
I was going on one product after another hoping to find a 'miracle' cure for my scars. Anything that is advertised for scarring, I've probably bought it at some point or another.
A rare photo from....2010 and I do apologize for the quality. I couldn't find the original. I absolutely hated taking photos because of my skin and I would always be very reluctant to take pictures. Therefore, I didn't have many pictures of my skin condition.
Haha If only the iPhone 6s existed at that point.
It's really super grainy and blurry but u can somewhat make out the scars and it's marks on my face. It was obviously worse irl. (Pls don't tell me I'm imagining stuff. I'm just sharing here)
I eventually grew tired of trying new products that promised so much, but left my disappointed. I was no longer expecting miracles. At this point, my only goal was to maintain my skin at its optimal and treat it the best I could. I tried to cut out products with ingredients that weren't the best for my skin like, alcohol or SLS etc.
I started including facial oils in my routine, finding natural products that helped my skin regenerate and heal. I also educated myself on chemical exfoliations and how to rid black/white heads using that instead of extractions.
Bit by bit, my skin started heading for recovery.
Fast forward to August 2015. This is my last taken up-close picture, bare-faced.
I DO have scars and I STILL have existing scars. These are not surface scars but deep pitted scars. Scars from years of having terrible skin.
And this is my current update for 2016.
Aside from the obvious lighting discrepancies and erm, weight loss in 2016 (yay!), the deeper scars have kinda raised itself and they have more or less faded back to skin color.
I learnt a lot throughout these 6 years.
A friend of 8 years recently told me my skin was so much better and it hit me there and then.
IT WAS. It has gradually improved so much WITHOUT me focusing and nitpicking on it. It improved when I learnt to take care of it the better way, instead of buying everything companies advertised and then piling them on my skin.
Nothing happened overnight. There was no miracle.
Our skin regenerates overtime and sure, if you have the moolah, you can always get lasers and better external help to get faster results, but time is always needed for skin recover and this will eventually help scars and discoloration.
I also made sure to protect my skin from other damages to the best of my ability which includes using sunblock daily. Sunblock helps to prevent brown spots from occurring and scars from darkening. I double cleanse every night. I use products according to what my skin needs. Most importantly, I patch-test my products first and observe my skin closer whenever I try new products.
For DIY Home remedies that teaches you to apply lemon to reduce hyper pigmentation - I would say....think twice and maybe do a little bit of research first. I'm no expert, but acidity of a lemon might not be good for p.h balanced skin of 5.5.
I also made sure to do other things like change my pillowcases WEEKLY. I use sanitizer to wipe my phone down nightly, and I do my utmost best to NOT touch my face throughout the day.
I absolutely detested it when people try and touch my face. Idk where youur fingers have been so...please don't touch my face.
It has taken me almost 7 years to reach this point where I can go out bare-faced and not feel self-conscious.
I finally feel like I can love my skin without picking on it and staring at it non-stop in the mirror - nitpicking and feeling horrible.
I'm not dismissing any girls out there with skin problems. I'm truly not. My case might not be severe if you compare it to others who has it much worse. Sure. But I don't think there is any girl out there who doesn't desire clear beautiful skin. Skin problems are just a pain in the butt.
I love writing skincare posts because if it's just that one product that managed to help one person out there, then I am really contented.
I just gotta say, makeup is about enhancement. Makeup is not a mask.
When my skin was so bad, I quit base makeup except for a tiny amount of concealer. I didn't want to make things worse. I wanted to solve the problem at hand.
I still have my bad days. I'm still human. When I get hormonal zits, I exaggerate them in my head. But I do my best not to let them get in my head. I do my best to not pick at my zits cause that's one of the fastest way to leave a scar behind.
I hope this story was worth your time. I wanted to share this and tell any girls out there who's suffering that, it took me 7 years, it might take 2, 8 or 10 years for you but pls don't lose hope, don't lose confidence and don't lose your self-esteem. 💕