|My clear, glowing skin. NO makeup.|
Clear, healthy and glowing skin is the dream of every woman. I know I have always wanted it more than anybody else. From my teenage days, when I started having serious breakouts up until the beginning of this year, I have always suffered bouts of breakouts. They come and go and keep coming. I have tried a lot of products. I am always willing to try new things, anything to help get rid of my acne. It didn't help my acne. Maybe, I wasn't patient enough, or probably the products were not the right ones for my skin type.
I have oily skin; with large pores and post-inflammatory hypigmentation [PIH]. The only part of my face that never gets oily are my under eye. Even my eyelids are greasy!
If anyone says there's one miracle product that clears acne, then that person is lying. In my constant search to clear and smooth skin, I found Paula's Choice and Skinacea. These 2 wonderful websites, packed with loads of never-before-seen information, helped me understand what the skin itself really needs and from there, I created a skincare routine for myself. One that have truly worked!
|My healthy skin skincare products|
STEP 1: Cleanse.
This is the most important step in all skincare. Start and end the day with a clean, fresh face. A good cleanser should be soap-free, have little or no fragrance, irritant-free, should remove makeup and should suit your skin type. Goodbye to days of "For All Skin Type" cleansers.
Oil-free formulas for combination/oily skins and creamy cleansers for dry skins. My favorite cleansers are:
- Clean and Clear Daily Pore Cleanser with micro-scrubbers
- Olay Foaming Face Wash [Sensitive Skin]
- Clean and Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser [sensitive skin]
- Clean and Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser
STEP 2: Exfoliate
This step was a major breakthrough for me in skin smoothing and resurfacing. That is why I never joke with it day and night. After just a week of using my first BHA lotion, I noticed smoothness on my face. All those tiny white bumps and blackhead disappeared!
So, I always exfoliate with a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) lotion. AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs are products that help remove dead skin cells.
My favorite is a BHA. Find out what works for you. Some people prefer to use either AHA or BHA alone, while others find that a combo of both works for them. The most common BHA in skincare is the beautiful Salicylic Acid. My skin tolerates 2% Salicylic Acid. I never use less. But that is my skin afterall. There are 0.5% and 1% formulations as well.
My favorite BHA lotions are:
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment [2% Salicylic Acid]
- Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Treatment [2% Salicylic Acid]
STEP 3: Treat
This step is where I spot treat. I have breakouts majorly on my chin, cheeks, nose and upper lips. Rarely do I have acne on my forehead and temples. So I avoid applying acne products to that part of my face.
Spot-treating, by the way, is applying the treatment to only where you have the problem and not your entire face. I always let my BHA lotion dry before applying acne treatment.
My favorite acne still treatments remain:
- Clearasil DailyClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream [10% Benzoyl Peroxide]
- Dr. Sheffield's ClearZit Acne Treatment Cream [10% Benzoyl Peroxide]
- Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment Cream [2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide]
- Mary Kay Acne Treatment Gel [5% Benzoyl Peroxide]
STEP 4: Anti-aging Serums
Who doesn't want to remain younger for longer? It could have been any serum but I chose anti-aging. Anything I put on my skin has to be more beneficial than just cosmetic. It's always better to start your anti-aging routine when you are much younger. Of what use is it to start an anti-aging treatment when you're already aged. That would be medicine after death! Lol.
Who else makes my favorite Anti-Aging Serums if not Olay:
- Olay Total Effects Instant Smoothing Serum [I love this]
- Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum
STEP 5: Moisturize & Protect
I decided to pick a moisturizer with suncreen to shorten the process, and it worked! I didnt want to apply a moisturizer first and then a sunscreen on top. That would be too much work. And did I mention, if you do not moisturize your skin, you will not see any improvement in your acne because dryness and redness will take over. In the end, it's your skin that is suffering.
Also, the most important way to keep a healthy, ageless skin is to wear a sunscreen. It is a MUST to wear sunscreen 365days in a year! As long as it's daytime, there's no excuse for not wearing sunscreen. That's how important it is.
My favorite moisturizer with sunscreen is:
- Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion with SPF15.
I haven't found another that I love yet. Till then.
|My Products in Steps 1 through 5.|
STEP 6: Supplements
This is not really a step but it is worth mentioning.
I was having breakout on my chin that was giving me so much concern. I decided to research on what could be the cause. This is where Skinacea comes in. I saw a face map that said Acne on the chin was a sign of hormonal imbalance. Not that I believed any of them, but she did mention taking fish oils helped with reducing acne due to hormonal imbalance and smoothening here skin all round.
What can it hurt? Fish Oil contains Omega 3s that are healthy for the body. I really don't have anything to lose by giving it a try. And like a drowning man, I clutched at the last bottle of Omega 3 Fish Oil I found at the Pharmacy.
In 4 days, my chin acne vanished leaving behind dark spots. It's 1 month from now, the spots have on their own faded and all my face and body smoother. I will definitely buy Fish Oil again.
|2 softgels of fish oil daily.|
SKINCARE MYTHS BUSTED
1. I must use all the range from one brand. The truth is: No one brand has it all. Your skin does not know whether you're using Neutrogena or Cerave to cleanse. Your skin does not know or understand the name of any brand; your skin only knows ingredients. Therefore, Ingredients are everything.
2. If it stings, it must be working. This is another huge lie many Nigerians are so used to. If it stings, itches or burns you, it is clearly a sign of irritation. Good skincare products for you must not burn, sting or itch.
3. Products in cups are more effective than lotion.
THE BIGGEST LIE OF THE MILLENIUM.
I wouldn't touch any product in a jar or cup with a 10-feet pole for 2 reasons. Firstly, the fact that you have to constantly dip your fingers into the jar already poses a hygiene threat to the product's composition. Secondly, if there are any active ingredients in a jar product, they would have been rendered ineffective by constant opening and closing of the jar.
Therefore, I would rather opt for product in opaque bottles with pump or tube. That way I am less likely to contaminate the product.
4. It smells so good therefore it must be good for my skin. NO! Fragrance and color are really unnecessary additives and major irritants in skincare. They remain what they are unnecessary. I would pick a fragrance-free cleanser over a fragranced one anyday, anytime. Remember, because it smells like grapefruit does not mean it contains grapefruit.
5. Natural or natural-based products are always better for the skin.
Whoever came up with this fallacy failed to note that every natural product has a chemical composition, a chemical structure. All natural products are chemicals that are gotten from natural (plants or animals) sources. And the ones we call "chemicals" are man-made. For example, pure lime juice majorly has ascorbic acid in it but many people's skin cannot tolerate it. Yet, it's natural. A natural skin irritant.
What we call products that contain "chemicals" does not necessarily mean bad product. This still brings us back to ingredients.
Besides, most brands that claim that their products are natural-based still use the so-called "chemicals" as preservatives. We all know natural based products can't stay fresh for long. So who is deceiving who?
Other irritants to look out for in skincare products include: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Menthol, Peppermint, Witchazel, Eucalyptus, lavender etc. This list is however inexhaustive. Do your own research. For more on ingredients, see here.
|No makeup on.|
If you look at my face, you will notice that I still have pigmentation but they have faded so well. And my acne scars are less noticeable. My pores are still large but for the all-round smoothness I now feel, that can pass.
The moment I stopped using my body lotion and bar soaps on my face and treated my face like an entity of its own, the progress was tremendous. And with beneficial, irritant-free products of course.
|That same day. With makeup on.|
Do you suffer breakouts?
What did you do to help curb the situation?
What's your story to flawless skin?
Let's hear it. I would love to.
Much love from me,