As a pre-teen, my skin was SUPERB. Baby butt smooth. Perfection. But then again, the majority of kids have baby butt smooth skin. Neither of my parents had acne,… or any skin issues for that matter. Heck, they still have beautiful skin. My dad jokingly asks what pores are since his aren’t visible to the naked eye. I was expecting the same perfect skin for myself until… well.. puberty. I had HORRIBLE acne with it starting on my forehead, then somehow spreading to the rest of my T zone! YAY – not. No one taught me skincare. No one taught me how to deal with acne, because well, no one had acne or troubled skin. Then, I tried birth control pills to regulate my hormones, which cleared my skin (yay for miracles). Thinking that my acne was ‘cured’, I stopped taking birth control, but despite my best efforts to maintain my skin, it all came back and even worse than before. Slowly I tried to figure out what worked and didn’t work for my skin…
First, some basic info about me:
- Skin Type: Naturally oily, but now ‘normal’, living in a dry climate
- Acne?: Yes. Blackheads too! …yay?
- Prescriptions?: In the past, tried birth control and topical creams.
- How many steps on average in morning skincare routine: 3 basic steps (toner, moisturizer, sunscreen)
- How many steps on average in nighttime skincare routine: 4 basic (face wash, toner, serum, moisturizer), sometimes 5 if I throw on a mask
- Current skin concerns: enlarged pores, blackheads
Prior to moving to Alberta, where the weather is INCREDIBLY DRY, I was in Manitoba and in Ontario, where the climate is more moderate in terms of humidity, and considerably humid in the latter case. In the more moderate climates, my skin had always been oily. Blotting sheets were a necessity, and my saviour. Now, my skin has gone from ‘oily’ to ‘normal’, where I do not have ‘dry’ skin (i.e. no dry patches), and my oils are relatively under control. I attribute some of this to getting older and my hormone levels being more stable. Another factor that I must mention, however, is learning what my skin needs and understanding why it reacts a certain way.
As an acne-prone, oily-skinned kid, I was always under the impression that my skin was ‘dirty’ when it was oily, or that it was oily because it was dirty. Basically, in 15 yr old Lisa’s mind, oil = gross and disgusting. So I over-washed my face, didn’t use any heavy moisturizers, etc. LATER I learned that part of the reason why my skin was getting so oily was because it was dehydrated underneath the skin’s surface. So, my ‘oil glands’ were overworking to compensate for the lack of moisture. Since then I focussed more on drinking lots of water and on finding products to do that deep hydrating. My oil levels have improved since then.
Introducing the Clarisonic into my skincare routine has definitely helped reduce blackheads. I notice that when I don’t use my Clarisonic, blackheads are the first to make a return
Recent Skincare Routine
Skincare is right up my alleyyyyyy. As someone who suffered from acne, I became obsessed with skincare, trying to find the next new product to maintain whatever elasticity I have left in my skin, preserve my youth and give it a healthy glow. Below are the products I use every day and a brief description of what I like (and dislike) about each product:
- Bioderma Hydrabio H2O (@ NIGHT ONLY): To remove ALL makeup, with cotton pad.
- PROS: A cult classic. Can be bought at the drug store. Incredibly gentle. Odorless. Easy to use. Simple. Does the job.
- CONS: Not sufficient on its own to remove waterproof mascara. May work if you use a cotton pad and soak it with the micellar water and hold it up to your eye for a handful of seconds, but likely will require going back in after you wash your face with a Q tip, or more cotton pads to get the remnants.
- Clarisonic + Shisheido Perfect Whip Face Wash (@ NIGHT ONLY): To get a deep cleanse of your skin, down into your pores.
- PROS: The Clarisonic is a gem for blackhead reduction. Perfect Whip makes a beautifully thick lather that leaves your face spiffy clean. Perfect Whip is an asian cult classic. One of the must-buys when you go to Japan.
- CONS: When I first started using the Clarisonic, I think I was too aggressive on my skin, which probably didn’t do it very good. So the con is that to me, there was a slight learning curve. The Perfect Whip, though it works really well to cleanse your skin, it can seem a little drying, if you don’t apply moisturizer right away.
- Clinique 2 Clarifying Lotion: To remove any remaining dead skin cells and makeup/face wash residues.
- PROS: Makes my skin feel extra clean. Also an essential step in reducing blackheads.
- CONS: Smells like alcohol.
- Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence: A FAVOURITE in Korea. Known to rejuvenate the skin and make it plump and beautiful.
- No comment (yet). Haven’t used it for long enough to see effects. No cons yet either.
- SERUM TIME (@ NIGHT ONLY) – THIS IS DETERMINED BASED ON NEED. Does my skin tone look uneven, does my skin look dehydrated, does it need some nourishment, does it need some plumpness, is my hyperpigmentation looking especially bad today? etc.
- Fresh Seaberry Oil: LOVEEE it for when my skin looks like it lacks life and needs a burst of energy. Great way of nourishing the skin.
- Missha Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule: Not as popular as the First Treatment Essence, but still a relatively popular item, recommended by many Korean Youtubers.
- Like above Missha product, haven’t been using long enough to notice a positive or negative change.
- Centellian 24+ Madeca Micro Startoc Serum: Very rich. Gives my skin life.
- La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum: ULTRA HYDRATING. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Love the scent as well. Very refreshing.
- Shisheido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 40 Sunscreen (@ DAYTIME ONLY): To protect skin from harmful UV rays that ultimately contribute to aging of the skin and wrinkle formation, and worsening hyperpigmentation!!!! MUST WEAR DURING DAY!!!
- PROS: A little goes a long way. Can be worn under makeup, no problemo. Blends nicely on moisturized skin. Seems to do its job. Very lightweight – I don’t even notice that I have it on. Water proof!
- CONS: I personally don’t experience any cons, but I noticed when my dad wore it that it doesn’t spread/blend into the skin as nicely if you have more tanned and/or drier skin. Leaves a bit of a white cast.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: To moisturizeeee and keep all that moisture/serumy goodness locked in.
- PROS: A little goes a long way. Not greasy. Can be worn under makeup. Does its job. AFFORDABLE. Apparently great for sensitive skin!
- CONS: Doesn’t smell that great? But according to my friend, hers smelled great? Idk. Also, since it’s in a tub, it’s not the most hygenic to have to dip your finger into the product every time.
My main goal with my skincare is to make sure my skin is getting the nourishment and moisture that it needs so that it can have a healthy glow. But above all else, the most important things are to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and consuming a healthy nutritious diet. As Andy said, skin care IS self care.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to give me a shout! I love skincare, and am incredibly glad that I’m in a place where I can talk about what does and doesn’t work for my skin.