Although I haven't had naturally horrible skin, I have experienced some pretty bad reactions to various skincare products in the past. I also have a terrible habit of picking at any spot of unevenness on my skin that I see, or feel. What I have come to realize over the past few years is that one of my most prominent values in life, happens to now play a huge role in my skincare: everything in moderation. That extra huge dab of acne cream is not going to kill the blemish faster, and washing your face 4 times a day will do far more harm than good. My skin is super sensitive and can be quite troublesome. I began to get small breakouts about 6 years ago, which started to get progressively worse a few years later, and now have begun to taper off. There are many factors which have an effect on the skin's overall appearance, some being internally and the others externally.
My Skin's Qualities:
My skin can become sensitive to high concentrations of:
- Vitamin A / Retinol
- Salicylic Acid
- Highly acidic food like tomato and pineapple
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Glycolic Acid
Here are the reactions I have previously experienced:
Vitamin A / Retinol-> Dry, red, scaly skin, mainly around the eyes
Salicylic Acid-> Dryness and redness high quantities
Fruit-> Small red bumps, somewhat like a rash
Benzoyl Peroxide-> Extreme irritation, dryness, peeling around eyes, mouth, nose, bleached eyebrows (great benefit, eh)
Glycolic Acid -> Dry, red, scaly skin, very sensitive and tight
AHA/BHA peels -> Nothing major, just increased sensitivity and clogged pores from excess oil
Vinegar-> Dryness and clogged pores
The interesting part is that nearly all "acne solution" skincare regimens (Proactiv, Clinique 3-step, dermatologist recommended gels) include some of the following: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinol. Use these ingredients with caution, and always patch-test before applying something all over your skin.
Here are some safe ingredients and products that work wonders at both clearing and calming skin issues- for most or all skin types:
Rosewater, witch hazel, clay, oatmeal, honey, cucumber, diluted tea tree oil.
Apple cider vinegar and some fruit acids have been advertised as natural pore clearing treatments. Since my skin is quite sensitive, this high level of acidity simply irritates my skin even more.
Although freckles are very cute, they are still sun damage and they are a telltale sign of vulnerable skin. Even now in the winter, I have tiny sun spots underneath my eyes and scattered across my face. They don't bother me at the moment, but I do know that in 10-20 years, they will be much worse, much more prominent, and definite signs of early aging. That is, unless I start to preserve my skin now. To avoid expensive procedures, I try to use a broad spectrum SPF lotion every single day, and I stay out of the sun when possible. I have begun using an enzyme mask a few times a week and I gently exfoliate every day using a Clarisonic brush. I also use a clay mask a few times a week, especially if my skin is quite oily.
This post helps put into context my skincare reviews and routines that you'll see on my blog. If you can identify with a similar skin type to mine, I'm sure your reaction to these products will be quite similar. Always remember that effective skincare will vary from person to person, so always consult a professional when deciding when, or if, to use different chemicals on your skin. I am currently experimenting with many different cleansers, toners, serums and moisturizers to pinpoint the routine that works best for my skin. Stay tuned for a breakdown of products which work best for my combination skin type.