So, it has been a very long time since I wrote a blog post and that is partly because it isn’t really something I enjoy anymore and partly because I was unsure if anyone enjoyed what I was publishing. However, recently, I have been asked the same question over and over again by different people in my life, from close friends, to work colleagues to people I hardly know at university.
I keep being asked “how do you take care of your skin? It’s been looking so good recently!” or something to the like of. I’m often left flattered and, in true Australian form, deflect the compliment in a seamlessly self-deprecating manner (if you know me, you know I am much better at giving compliments than receiving them).
There’s a bit of a long story with my skin. My whole life, I have had dry, sensitive skin and suffered from dermatitis (eczema) since I was a toddler. In the last five or so years, my skin has changed and become more of a combination but still leaning more towards the dry side. The exception to all of this was my forehead, and this is not uncommon.
I noticed six months after I left high school that my skin looked worse than it did when I was a pubescent teenager. I had small lumpy spots left right and centre across my forehead, popping up on my chin and the sides of my nose. Initially, I though these were pimples and treated them accordingly with pimple cream and home remedies. I began to accept that this would just be part of my life- I would never have the clear, flawless skin everyone had.
For the first time since I was 12 years old, I felt incredibly self-conscious of my face, specifically because it was bubbly and peppered with spots. I was confused because my skin was dry skin. Why was it suddenly oily? Where did these ‘pimples’ come from? I saw out the rest of 2017 with horrible skin. I’d cover it with make-up despite knowing this was not a productive method, but it made me feel more comfortable and confident. Looking back, it made it look worse.
In late January of 2018, I had well and truly had ENOUGH! I wanted these permanent pimples gone. They had been there since June 2017 and they needed to go. Everyone had beautiful, radiant skin without makeup and I was the odd one out. Even the boys in my life had nicer skin! I decided to investigate what was going on with my skin.
My Mum said it was my diet, my doctor said it was ‘just acne’- I had never suffered from acne and, while not wanting to go against someone with 10 years medical training, I knew that wasn’t an accurate conclusion of what was happening. So, naturally, I did what every millennial does: I Googled. I evaluated the many conditions and complaints out there on Vogue, various healthcare websites and cosmetic reviews. I concluded that these pimples were, in fact, clogged pores.
Clogged pores are caused by moisturisers that are too rich for the skin, frequent makeup application in the same spot and incorrect cleansing techniques. These bumps won’t go away with pimple cream because they are not pimples and the application of cream to them aids their longevity. It wasn’t going to be an overnight process to ridding my skin of these pesky little bumps, but, I needed to start somewhere. Here’s what I did to fix my skin:
- I sourced a charcoal mask.
Charcoal masks are ideal for treating clogged pores, oily textures and pimples. I recently wrote an article on this professionally for CLIQUE that can be read here which goes more in depth about why a charcoal mask is a necessity for your beauty cabinet.
I use the Origins Clear Improvement Mask. Personally, this was the holy grail for fixing my skin. If I had not discovered a charcoal mask, I truly believe my skin would still be a shamble. I noticed after the first application, that my skin was already feeling healthier- this sounds fake but do yourself a favour and give it a go. I apply the Origins mask twice a week on my forehead, t-zone and chin. It can also be used to dry pimples or prevent them as soon as they can be felt on the skin.If you’re suffering clogged pores like I was, purchase this product or a variation of it. Thank me later.
- I adjusted where I applied masks and moisturiser
My cheeks and temples were not infested with clogged pores, so, I still applied my usual hydrating mask to these areas. My Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask always leaves my skin feeling supple and hydrated after use. Obviously, it isn’t appropriate for me to use these in the oiler areas of my skin anymore so it is used more sectionally in dry areas of my face.
Now, this might go against the advice of a cosmetician or skincare specialist, but, this worked for me. I stopped applying moisturiser to my forehead for two months with the exception of sunblock when leaving the house. I REALLY needed to dry my forehead out as much as possible to help alleviate my skin of its impurities while continuing to keep the rest of my face hydrated due to my eczema. I use an Aesop Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream all over my face and neck which is intensely hydrating and a perfect pairing to the mask.
- I kept using a pimple cream for real pimples
While most of my bumps were clogged pores, I still had pimples pop up and still do. My go-to is the Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Pimple Cream. I have used this pimple cream since I was a young teenager and it is an overnight treatment that ensures a pimple is gone within three days’ maximum. It’s cheap compared to my other products so it doesn’t break the bank and, with only a tiny amount required, the product is quite economical.
- I hydrate my eyes NO EXCUSES!
Your eyes are the window into your soul and they should always remain hydrated. Again, this CLIQUE article goes more in depth about why you should hydrate your eyes. I have used the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye treatment since I was 16 and recommend it to everyone. You can feel the instant hydration in the skin and the noticeable difference within a week of your first application.
Recently, I have started to use the Mecca Cosmetica Bright Eyed Eye Masks twice a week too. These are helpful in aiding puffiness and dryness under the eyes. An eye cream is not required after the application of the gels as the moisture from them is more than enough and you do not want to risk over-hydrating this sensitive area and potentially causing swelling- the opposite of what is desired!
- I remove my make-up thoroughly
One of the hardest things about getting my skin into shape again was stopping myself from covering my bumps every day. Yes, it was very scary and I did feel exposed but I had no choice. I only wear makeup now to work (because I have to), on nights out and if I am feeling that little bit extra at uni. When I wear makeup, I ensure that in the evening it is removed thoroughly.
I swear by the Sephora Triple Action Gel Makeup remover. I have used this since 2015 and bought three bottles when I went to Paris last year as it seems to always be out of stock online in Australia. This removes most make up and when coupled with my Aesop Purifying Cream Cleanser or Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste, leaves my skin squeaky clean. Yes, there are times where I cheat and use Simple Cleansing Wipes and Aesop Facial Toner as my removal method but I follow this with a full mask, eye gel and moisturise treatment the next day.
This has been lengthier than I expected it to be so, if you made it this far, congratulations! Hopefully it answers any questions I’ve had about my skin and how it has improved over the last five months. It is not an overnight process and everyone has different skin. But, if you stick to a routine and put in the time and choose quality, appropriate products, it can work for everyone.
Image via Coveteur