This is somewhat of an embarrassing confession, since I am a qualified beauty therapist, but I have always struggled with my skin. As a child, it was eczema/psoriasis, worsened by wearing certain fabrics and dry Adelaide winters, and then it was acne. Like, really bad, teased for, bright red against super pale skin, acne. I know now it was because of hormonal issues like Hashimotos/PCOS, but I had no way of knowing that when I first started to experience problems.
When I was 11, I was prescribed an antibiotic for my acne, every day, twice a day, for about 4 years. Every time I went back to the dermatologist who brushed off my concerns, I was too shy to speak up for myself (something I still struggle with), and so I stayed on them. It utterly ruined my digestive and immune system and after a while I started to experience a whole lot of problems due to that, which I’m still trying to fix. If you’re wondering, it didn’t help my skin. At all.
That’s not what I’m writing about, though. What I’ve finally realised is that my skin never changed, really. It was always sensitive and dry, but the products I was using were dehydrating my skin and causing it to overproduce oil, hence the congestion. I thought: more oil? Need to cleanse more/deeper/harsher, right? Nope. That is a one-way ticket to dehydrating your skin, causing it to over-produce oil to counteract it.
In the past couple of years, as I experimented more with skincare and makeup, I found that I was reacting quite badly to certain exfoliants or changes in weather and diet, the most recent of which was entirely my fault, but I ended up having what seemed like an ‘opposite t-zone’: super dry t-zone, with normal skin on the rest of my face, where it was sucking up all moisture, including barrier creams, no matter how many layers I put on, while continuing to be flaky and painful. What??!! *insert Dali’s scream face here*
There are only two things that helped: remembering that I know what is best for myself, and Asian skincare – Korean in particular.
When I first heard about Korean skincare, I was like; “Tch, that’s way too many products, your skin won’t even notice the difference between one moisturiser and three/a serum/mask/sleeping pack”. BUT IT DOES!!! I cannot live without the products I’ve found, and steps I’ve started to take, and I was lucky enough (after doing much research) to find exactly what I needed on my first try.
Korean skincare, and asian skincare in general, seems to be a world ahead of their western counterparts, and it’s because they address specific skincare concerns, instead of a more general approach that has been typical in the west (although they are catching up – mostly by copying asian skincare trends). From demanding the best ingredients, to the least amount of irritation, sun protection, anti-ageing, etc, it takes a holistic philosophy. While there are specific concerns to be remedied, it’s a process that incorporates diet, sleep, overall health and wellbeing, in tandem with the actual products and usage. It’s all in the same vein of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Confucianism – prevention is better than the cure, and honouring your parents by taking care of your body, and something that was beaten into me studying beauty: it’s all about what you do everyday.
If you keep up good skincare habits everyday, or dietary habits or exercise habits, you can afford to skip this or that once in a while, or eat that doughnut *_* or whatever else. Likewise, it’s not about getting some fillers or botox after you’ve already developed lines – if you rely on quick fixes rather than a lifestyle you choose every day, no matter how much you pay for those ‘miracle cures’ for whatever issue, you’ll invariably have more to keep nipping and tucking, whereas someone who does keep up a daily habit suited to them will be able to achieve a much better outcome combining the two.
As always though: whatever works! If you find the most basic bar soap and water works for you, that’s fine! If you’re happy, you don’t need to change.
When I visited Japan in Winter, 2016, my skin freaked out, and the products I was half-heartedly using did not help. I know, I know, I should know better. In my defence, I don’t have a lot of energy at the best of times dealing with chronic illness, let alone being non-stop for two weeks in dry-ass winter weather, having packed no suitable clothes from my sub-tropical homebase. It took me over a month to get my skin to calm down upon returning, and I learned a very important lesson: to pay attention to my skin and my body, and not just keep blindly following something that worked for me in a different time or situation.
Photo one: Terrible, but it was the only one that illustrated what I’m talking about. Can you see the fine lines? What the heck?! I don’t even have them – they are literally just from dehydration O_O
Photo two: After using a more suitable regime and products for my skin concerns
I’ll be doing a series of posts on the regime I follow and the products I use and would recommend. My ultimate goal is yuri pibu: a Korean term for ‘glass skin’, or skin so clear and glowy it’s like glass, so that I never have to wear makeup again muahahah! One of the many things I’ve been discovering recently – I really hate the feel of makeup on my skin these days. I’m all about the long-term instead of quick fixes – and having limited energy, the less I have to do to get ready in the mornings, the better!
I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but life (surgery, recovery, school, holidays and work) have gotten in the way. So, stay tuned!
Thanks for reading,