When it comes to my skin, I can get real specific nowadays. Two years ago I had acne that seemed to have erupted out of nowhere. I had enjoyed the majority of my teens and twenties with smooth skin so you can imagine the freak-out and panic-buying that ensued when the bumps and the marks came my way.
Let me tell you, my acne never got around to turn into the severe kind. You'll probably say it's a mild case or brush me off for being hypochondriac-like to a dismissive acne condition. But it was there and I didn't like it. It brought down my not so sky high self esteem even lower because it seemed persistent. Like many, I turned to the internet to self-diagnose and research on products and treatments, and it was a long, irritating aaand expensive journey. Let's save the story of that journey another time.
My skin used to be oily-combination and super resilient. As I approached my late twenties, I noticed my skin changing and I thought It would be easy dealing with it just as before. Nope. I had to resort to trial and error. Now I know my skin is combination-oily-sensitive, clog prone and easily dehydrated. We're talking facial skin here, ok? Here's what's working now.
Sensitive combination skin is tricky because being combination of oily and dry, I get different levels of each at different times of the month. If I get slightly off target in the diagnosis of this, being also sensitive, my skin either suddenly gets dry and flaky on the t-zone where it is normally oily and super oily and clogged up around the cheeks and jawline where my skin is normally dry. Wacky sh*t, I know. And also damn irritating. After the breakout subsides, I have some dark pigmentation and marks to deal with. Yay.
Mind you, this is not my regular skincare routine. This is default. I always have some form of these basic products which I switch around whenever my skin feels like it needs it.
Oil based cream works best because I like to play with makeup. I like it when one product melts everything off, even waterproof makeup. On dry skin days, I skip the second cleanse because this feels fine already.
Cleansers with Salicylic Acid or Lactic Acid has worked best with the least irritation or dryness. I don't use scrub products anymore, but I do use these with a cleansing brush as needed.
My skin can barely tolerate exfoliating toners so I stick to gentle toners with little no alcohol in them. If I do need extra exfoliation with a toner, I use one with salicylic acid or witch hazel extract.
The texture of my moisturizer has to be light but deeply moisturizing. I read the ingredients lists for such ingredients. My pores are clog-prone so I have to be careful. For day I use one with light sunscreen and at night I do without the SPF.
This is an absolute necessity for me since I was in grade school. I literally won't survive anything without lip balm. I'm wearing lip balm as I type!
This is where things get interesting and expensive! I use special treatments to enhance the benefits I get from my basic skincare. Like I mentioned earlier, I use different products according to how my skin feels on a particular day or week. My skin changes a lot with the weather and with my hormones right now. I'm no product whore but I like trying new products after extensive research before purchasing. Classic beauty enthusiast/nerd behavior.
A good clay mask is a staple for drawing out gunk from deep within the pores. I only use twice a week because it gets drying. And when I do get as dry as a cracked riverbed in a drought, I tend to use moisture masks depending on the degree of dryness or dehydration.
Hydrating serums with calming properties do me good because they absorb quickly and can be used alone or layered with other treatments.
With face oil, I only use this around my eyes and creases and very sparingly because of my clogging issues. When I do put oil on those areas, especially around my eyes, it does prevent wrinkles and I swear it makes my lashes grow thicker!
Mists are good for rehydrating skin throughout the day. This is especially important for me whenever the weather changes erratically as it helps my skin calm down and stabilize. It preps skin for makeup and it also sets makeup after.
Sunscreen is supposed to be worn everyday but I've yet to find a product with high SPF that doesn't clog pores when worn daily. I prefer SPF30 or higher only on days when I know I'll be out in the sun a lot. And it has to be PA++++ or else I'd still be susceptible to burning and aggravating existing dark marks.
Straight up Benzoyl Peroxide has been the best treatment for preventing and treating spots that I've ever used. Tea tree oil and others work too but not as efficiently.
The past years have been a rough on my skin. I was undergoing lifestyle changes as well. I was working more, working out more, travelling more. While it's been great experiences all around, my skin was suffering from it. This year that I finally decided to try and cut dairy and soy out of my diet. I seemed to have developed an intolerance over the years, so I tried at first and my tummy and my skin has thanked me for it! The dairy, I believe has been contributing to my suspected hormonal imbalances, of which, I was diagnosed only this year of PCOS and an overactive thyroid. So now, I've had to avoid all foods that cause problems with my hormones such as soy and dairy for real. I have to avoid goitrogenic foods as well. The upside has been my skin has never been this smooth and clear and glowing for a long time! I am loving this and I've even supplemented with extra antioxidants in my diet with beautiful results! My hair is doing great too! Sometimes I'll do some DIY face stuff with my food which works well too, just more messy and time consuming.
Overall, I think my maintenance is pretty low, if you ask me. I'm sure you've seen other women with a bathroom-ful of products and elaborate routines requiring attention to minute details and having glorious complexions to show for it. Those are beauty bloggers and that's their job of course. That's never been for me. I am, though, happy enough to share what I do know about my skin and what has worked, just in case someone out there might learn a thing or two as I have. I wouldn't be here sharing if other bloggers hadn't shared their experiences with their skin. Blogs have been my first source of information on how to take care of my skin after all.