I rattle on about skincare enough on this blog to owe you, my readers, the skincare equivalent of my recent makeup post - in which I revealed the details of my relationship with makeup and it's evolution over the years. My personal journey with skincare has been a longer and more complex one, but I feel that providing you with an understanding of my history with skincare will place my skincare-related posts within a stronger and more identifiable context. I think there's something of a tendency within the beauty world to skip over the more unpleasant aspects of skincare - and whilst I can wholly understand that not everyone has issues with their skin, and not everyone wants to talk about them - I know that there are a LOT of people out there with skincare issues who look to blogs for the answers. As someone who suffered in silence with problem skin for many years, I know how good a feeling it is when you find someone with similar skincare story to yours and feel finally able to talk about your issues with someone who can relate to them. So I sincerely hope that if anything, this post will be the one which provides comfort and peace of mind to the shy, self-conscious, spot-prone teenager who spends her days trawling the Internet for skincare advice, as I once did.
Like most people's, my story is one of many ups and downs, and of learning by trial and error - if it's taught my anything, it's that perseverance and patience is key. As a teen I suffered from mild acne - mainly focussed upon my T-zone. Unfortunately, my quest to clear my skin began in the 'Teen Skincare' aisle of Boots (I have REAL issues with that aisle/name), where I subjected my poor face to the likes of Clearasil and Clean & Clear. With no other alternative/knowledge, I truly believed that the stronger the product the better, and adopted a daily routine involving gritty scrubs, drying foaming cleansers, and astringent alcoholic wipes. I also made the common mistake of assuming that having spotty skin meant I had oily skin, so I refused point blank to use any kind of oil/cream-based product or moisturiser on my skin. In stripping my skin of it's essential oils via the harsh products, and neglecting to replenish them sufficiently, my skin went into oil production override, which simply reinforced my belief that I had oily skin - a vicious circle.
At the time, I accepted that spots were a burden which you had bear through your teens, and that come my twenties I'd have clear, smooth, blemish prone skin - so for a long time I continued with this routine. I hated my spots, and they were a huge knock to my confidence and self-esteem during my teen years, but those were the years before skincare advice had made it's impact upon the mass market, and I'd never even heard of La Roche-Posay, or dreamed of spending more than £3 on a cleanser. It was only really when I started university that I became super super conscious of my bad skin, and my desire for change kicked me into full-on research mode (and so I discovered the world of beauty blogging!). I switched out my Neutrogena for an entirely LUSH-based routine in the hope that a simpler and more natural approach to skincare would work some magic. It did, and within six months my skin was a lot clearer and calmer, and I could go days without a blemish. I learnt that my skin was not in fact oily, but actually very sensitive, dehydrated, and as prone to dryness as it was to breakouts. As you can imagine, introducing a cream cleanser and moisturiser to my skincare routine was a truly defining moment.
As I explored the world of beauty blogging, I discovered new brands, techniques, and approaches to skincare - learning about different types of cleansers, skin types and concerns, the concept of double cleansing, the use of facial massage techniques, and most importantly the idea that a simple, gentle approach to skincare was so much more effective than the use of strong, astringent products better suited to cleaning my bathroom than my face. My skin's condition continued to improve, and I gradually introduced new products and brands to my routine - notably the likes of La Roche-Posay, Avene, and Soap & Glory. About a year ago, my skin was at the best it had been in years, when I suffered from a product-related breakout on my cheeks. I'd never previously suffered from many blemishes on my cheeks but these ones really lingered and I gained a lot of long-lasting blemish marks - something else I'd never really experienced before (I've written about my experience dealing with scarring/marks here). Soon after I really upped my skincare game and began using the likes of Antipodes, REN, Aesop, and Origins alongside my French skincare staples. Aside from scarring, my skin is finally at a relatively "normal" state. I'd still describe it as combination, spot-prone, and sensitive, but it's calmer and clearer than it's ever been and breakouts are few and far between and largely hormone-related.
I'm very aware that my skincare story is by no means over - my skin still isn't perfect, and probably never will be, but I've come to accept this and the fact that I'm not alone in my situation. I've learnt that you should treat your skin with care and respect - it is after all your largest and most visible organ, and that a gentle, nourishing approach will solve all ills. If you're at a loss for skincare advice, by all means comment below/email/tweet me - I'm no dermatologist, but would relish the chance to put what I have learnt over the years to good use. Alternatively, you can check out my skincare tips and tricks or my advice for building a skincare routine, and I've listed below a few products which really upped my skincare game. If you think you have similar skin type/concerns to me then do check out my skincare posts and in particular my skincare diary series.
I would also love to hear about your individual skincare stories, so write your own or comment below!
The game changers : La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo +, Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque, La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I., Clarisonic Aria, Pixi Glow Tonic, Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel, Trilogy Rosehip Oil, Origins Drinkup Intensive Overnight Mask, Soap & Glory The Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser, Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Mask, Lush 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion, Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum, The Body Shop Camomile Silk Cleansing Oil, Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.