Hello everyone! I decided to put together a post about my tortuous skincare journey because I think I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re not feeling like reading my skincare rant, skip to the end, right before the pictures!
Okay, so, let’s start. In my teenage years I had really good skin: fair, homogeneous complexion; no issues except for the occasional pms pimple or weather related dry patch. Right after moving to the U.S., my skin decided to wage war against me (or against itself, actually). I started getting cystic pimples, weird deep blackheads everywhere, random breakouts of fifty tiny red pimples at a time.
Why?!?!? So, I spent six years (yes, s-i-x) trying to figure out what was up with my skin. Now the “fun” begins:
at first I thought it might be hormonal, switched to a birth control that was supposed to help, nothing changed;
then I thought it might be stress related, so I started working out more, taking nice hot baths, being more relaxed, nothing changed;
then I thought maybe I was dehydrated, so I drank more water and tried using hydrating lotion, nothing changed;
then I thought it could be related to my eating habits, so I tried eliminating dairy from my diet, nothing changed; then meat, nothing changed; then animal products, nothing changed; the only small improvement happened when I switched to a fully-raw vegan diet, but the results weren’t good enough for me to commit to such an extreme diet;
then I thought it could just be the infamous teenage acne catching up to me a few years late, so I tried getting facials, peels, et cetera, nothing changed;
then I thought it was because the products I was using were not the right one for my skin, so I tried at least fifteen different face washes and lotions, but most of them made my skin problems worse, so, nothing changed;
then I thought maybe my skin was sensitive to some cosmetic ingredients, but skincare products have so many that is really difficult isolating one, so nothing changed.
Finally, I was visiting my dad in Italy and I noticed that my skin was completely clear after only a few days. I thought about it: it wasn’t the dairy or the meat (I was eating cured meats and cheeses all day every day), it wasn’t my hormones (nothing changed during the trip), it wasn’t the stress (trips to Italy are not that relaxing to me).
It was the products that I was using on my skin. It took me a while to realize because it was all random stuff that my dad had bought for me to use there. Here’s how I came to my realization: I was using a shampoo from Pantene and I really liked it; I went back to the U.S. and I saw it at the store, so I bought it and started using it. My skin broke out almost immediately. I asked my dad to take a picture of the ingredients of the shampoo I was using in Italy and I compared to the one (same exact brand and name) I bought in the U.S., the list of the ingredients was completely different. I did some googling and it turns out a lot of ingredients that American companies put in skincare products are banned in Europe, so even if a product is sold by the same company with the same name, it has different ingredients in Europe compared to the U.S.!
I did some more research and I found out that one product that blocks pores and causes irritation and breakouts is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). I eliminated it from my shampoo and other skin care products and my skin improved significantly. I decided to get non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products and in a month I had the best skin I had had in six years. To get my skin to be even clearer, I decided to also get an OTC acne medication that wasn’t too strong. I also tried a few face masks until I found one I was satisfied with, and I did the same with makeup products.
It was very hard because many companies deceitfully label their products to make you think that they are natural or good for your skin, but they are actually not once you look at the ingredients!
Okay, now that I’ve explained how I got here, it’s time to share my skincare routine, please keep in mind that this works for my type of skin, which is sensitive, oily, break-outs prone, and dehydrated (I know, nice combo):
Face wash → Cetaphil – Oil Control Foam Wash (non-comedogenic) – I use it twice a day, before face mask
Face mask → Farmacy – Honey Potion – I use it twice a day, after face wash
Acne gel → Differin (retinoid) – I use it once a day, only at night, after face mask, before moisturizer (use a pea size amount, it makes you peel like crazy for the first month)
Moisturizer → Cetaphil – Oil Control Moisturizer (non-comedogenic) – I use it twice a day, after face mask
Hair care → ShiKai – Natural Everyday Shampoo & Conditioner – I use it twice a week
More hair care → Batiste – Dry Shampoo (I prefer the Original) – I use it every other day
Concealer → Clinique – Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer – I use it everyday
Foundation → AlmaPure – Satin Matte – I use it everyday
Blush → Tarte – Amazonian Clay- I use it everyday
So, here you go! Unfortunately, I don’t have any good before-after pictures to show you because I have been using an app called BeautyPlus to remove pimples from all my photos before posting them (I know, not cool, but we all got issues).
Actually, I do have two pics taken one month apart, but the “bad” pic doesn’t even remotely give you the idea of how bad my skin was because I had already started my new skincare regimen.
It’s all for today! I hope some of you will find this post helpful. Feel free to leave a comment about your skincare regimen and what helped you overcome skin-relates issues! I’d love to read your experiences!