This is the beginning of My Skin Report. At first, I was a little reluctant to share it because my skin has always been my biggest concern.
Every girl has their own concerns, most girls I know are concern about their weight whereas for me, it’s the condition of my skin. So the thought of putting my bare face out here made me think if it will freak the living daylights out of you. But then I thought of the struggles I’ve faced throughout my adolescence and early adult life without much or any proper skin care advice, the taunting I had to endure and the lack in self-confidence, I guess sharing my experience and the acquired knowledge from my job as a Beauty Advisor and the research I’ve done, I want to help girls and women who are facing the same issues.
I was a late bloomer. So I started breaking out at the late age of 16 – 17 when most of my schoolmates were ending their breakout phase. It was about this time when I started getting terrible period cramps and light headedness and cystic acne started to make their appearance. My mother had great skin, so good that she never cared for facial creams besides a cleanser and never needed foundation. So when I started to get cystic acne, she was just as clueless on what to do with it as I was. I would get several bumps at the same time, some would even turn blue. Needless to say, I was teased about it by some of my schoolmates. To make things worse, in a desperate need to cover the hideous blue acne, I began to delve into powder foundations. I would pile it on everywhere I went, layer after layer and without the proper knowledge of makeup removal, my skin condition got even worse.
To further aggravate the lack of confidence, pharmacy aunties and facial spa promoters would rush to hand me brochures and would push me to buy their products claiming that they are ‘very good’ for all my ‘many big pimples’, all the ‘black scars’ and would happily point out every flaw on my face. But of course, none of these products helped and I just felt that these promoters were just trying to make money out of my vulnerability. I started to avoid certain sections of the pharmacy (I still do, but now mainly out of habit) and I wouldn’t dare walk pass a facial spa.
By the time I was 23, I had given up and succumb to the fact that my skin was crap that I just have to live with. I had become used to comments given about my acne and the many ‘advice’ that people have given me about my face. Slowly, I began to not give shit and started to skip using foundation on some days. Around this period, I started to meet the friends that I have now and they know how affected I am by my skin’s condition so my condition didn’t matter as much as it use to.
At 25, I found out that I have a condition called endometriosis which was what was causing my severe menstrual cramps and my cystic acne breakouts. Thinking that the surgery would clear the condition completely, I stopped taking medication and went on with my life. I started to learn more about basic skin care and especially, the right way to remove makeup (with cleansing oil) but I was still very adamant about using moisturizer thinking it will ‘clog my skin’.
Fast forward to 2012, two years after my first surgery, I was going through a tough phase and turned to alcohol to drown in my sorrows. I had also started classes in Makeup Artistry then and had to apply and remove makeup fast and repeatedly which irritated my skin. I drank milk in the mornings, during lunch and dinner because it filled me up as I was trying to save for tools and products to use for class. Seeing that I started breaking out more than usual, I took prim rose oil capsules thinking that it would help and applied gallops of Oxy Treatment on almost every area on my face. Unfortunately, all of these combined only made everything worse. Not only did I have cystic acne now, my face burned and became really dry and flaky. It got so bad that I went back to applying foundation daily (this time, I was better at concealing thanks to what I’ve learned from school). However, after I reduced drinking alcohol, threw that damned Oxy Treatment into the bin and heeded the advice of a friend who mentioned that milk might have contributed to the sudden outbreak, my skin became a little less heated but, the acne bumps would not go away. It takes a long time for my skin to heal from acne (still does!), can take months but the faster way will be through LED light facial treatments which you may have to fork out a sum for.
I was lucky. Because right after I graduated with a Diploma in Makeup Artistry, I got a job as a Beauty Advisor with Estee Lauder. It is from here, I’ve really started to understand my skin better, the proper skin care regimens and the different products for different skin types. In a twisted way, I guess I am very lucky and grateful that I have learned the two valued skills of makeup application from Cosmoprof Academy and skin care knowledge from one of the world’s biggest names in the Beauty Industry.
In the middle of 2014, I went through another surgery due to cysts from endometriosis. Cysts can and will come back if you stop medication without seeking your doctor’s advice and that was why I had to go through the second surgery. I am now on the jabs to suppress the condition but will be switching to pills soon to regulate my menstruation. Ladies with endometriosis tend to have troubling cystic acne due to hormonal imbalance. I’ll write a separate post on this so you can better understand it.
So, how do you analyse your skin? To be honest, no one knows more about your skin other than yourself. Only you honestly know how many plates of spicy Nasi Ayam Penyet you had, how many bottles of beer you chugged down at last night’s party and how much pressure you’re putting up with for that promotion. Many people have tried to tell me what kind of skin condition I have. Here are some that I have heard with regards to my skin.
- Oily Outside, Dry Inside – You will hear this quite often when you go for facials. They are actually trying to tell you that your skin is dehydrated and that you’ll need to drink a lot of water so that your skin will not release oils to compensate for the lack of hydration.
- Very Oily – My skin was extremely dehydrated and I would get oily particularly on my cheeks and nose to a point where is got so shiny, I could fry an egg on my face. Hence, most people would categories my skin as oily without noticing how the rest of my face was dry and flaky.
- Sensitive – Having acne prone skin does not mean it is ‘sensitive’. The term ‘sensitive skin’ has many categories on its own of which having clogged pores does not fall under the ‘sensitive’ category. If you’re vulnerable to acne, that makes you acne prone that can be caused by diet, stress and hormonal imbalance.
Let me show you my bare face (eeks!) as an example.
Skin Analysis: Combination to Oily Skin. My skin gets easily dehydrated and requires a lot of water consumption. Lack of water will cause my skin to produce even more oil which makes it prone to attract dust and dirt which results in clogged pores. Hence, I drink a lot of water and apply moisturiser every day and night to prevent my skin from drying out. I am also acne prone due to hormonal imbalance that is triggered easily by stress.
Skin Concerns: Excessive oiliness from open pores around the cheeks, occasional acne, pits in cheeks (from previous acne), acne scaring and future pigmentation.
Skin Goal: Bright, dewy, clear skin that gives out the right amount of radiant healthy glow without it looking like a greasy frying pan.
Please excuse the grossness of my skin. It has not been doing very well lately due to the switch of environment. You can see from the little bits of white heads that are popping out around the mouth area. I’ve recently been doing some research about some skincare products that claims to help with some of my skin concerns so I thought, “Hey, why not do a report on my skin’s progress to see if these things really work?”. And so, this has inspired My Skincare Report.
This series is to document my progress to clearer, dewy, porcelain skin! I will be reviewing the products that I’ll use according to my concerns and the results so that I can share my thoughts and experience with other ladies with similar skin issues. With diligence and determination, I’m sure we can achieve more beautiful skin despite what kind of skin type or problems we have. As Coco Chanel said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones”.
I hope that you have found this helpful and will follow me on journey to a clearer skin.