This post is way overdue!
In all honesty up until about two years ago the term ‘skincare’ was not even in my vocabulary. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I rarely had any breakouts, some would say I was pimple free (majority of the time), in fact, I was consistently complimented on how radiant my skin looked. I never really wore makeup that much as I hate the feeling of foundation and concealer on my face. It was around my first year of university (I was 19 ish) and I noticed spots appearing on my forehead. I’m not going to lie I was freaking out, I watched countless YouTube videos, read numerous product reviews, and asked friends and family for advice but nothing seemed to be working. It was particularly frustrating coming from a family who all have flawless skin, without even trying may I add. My mum, for example, literally does not have a skincare routine whatsoever, she does not drink water as she ‘does not like the taste’ and has never wore sunscreen in her life. All she does is moisturise (which I mean we all do so no biggy) yet in my whole 22 years of living I have never, and I repeat, never seen her with a pimple.
Anyways, back to my journey…
I discovered that I had adult acne. I was consistently told that my acne was just a ‘phase’ and I’ll ‘grow out of it’, this was extremely disheartening as I was made to believe I must ‘wait it out’. My self-confidence was massively affected by my skin. I’ve been insecure about many things before; my weight, my hair- my overall appearance, but none of that felt remotely close to how terrible my skin was making me feel. I was extremely overwhelmed; this contributed to my emotional and social anxiety intensifying. When people look at you the first thing, they see is your face, I never really cared for this concept until developing acne. Being someone who was easily able to hide/disguise my insecurities when in public, and now facing one which was so visible became challenging. I was trying to hide it as much as possible but there’s only so much you can hide. I went from a girl who hardly wore makeup to it becoming something I heavily relied on, the girls I unfairly judged for wearing so much makeup was what I was becoming. KARMA.
I tried home remedies, the craziest being what can only be described as a concoction of baking soda, lemon, and honey – needless to say it did not go well. It got to a point where I was purchasing skincare products a couple times a month, and nothing worked, everything was too harsh for my skin.
Looking back, my expectations were way too high, what was I expecting when people on the cover of these products had one (probably edited) spot? I eventually started conducting more in-depth research into skincare products and what works for different skin types. I always knew that my skin was sensitive but until getting acne I never knew the true extent. On top of this, I was consistently getting rashes all over my body, and not knowing the cause. This was truly dramatic.
Things are now looking up…
My acne has cleared significantly. There is still a lot of progress to be made, my next challenge is clearing dark spots and blemishes left by acne. Dealing with this and being a person of colour is difficult, the health and beauty industry provide less products solely targeted towards catering to black skin. I’m sure I will need to educate myself even further on products that will work for my skin type- but to be honest I’m just glad my skin is not in the same state it was when I was 19. Nevertheless, changes in my skincare routine and lifestyle have helped restore my natural skin barrier that was ultimately destroyed due to harsh chemicals, UV rays and an extremely unhealthy diet. I’m not using the term unhealthy lightly.
Just to give you an insight a 20 nugget SHAREBOX from McDonalds use to be a starter for me, I would purchase takeaways multiple times a week. KFC, Dominos, Burger King- you name it I ate there, and not only that I was that person who would find discount codes so I could get more food. (Face palm). All these factors, whilst you may not realise it at the time, are having detrimental effects on your skin. These effects tend to be very timely and costly to rectify.
Let’s wrap it up…
The bottom line is skincare is all about commitment, responsibility, determination, and effort. It has been one hell of a journey getting to the point I am at now, and there were days where I felt lost and hopeless. The best piece of advice I can give is that every situation is unique, nearly everything in life is custom-made to fit the normal, so always take that into consideration when a product or routine is not working for you. Skin is SO remarkable. FYI it is likely that your skin, most of the time, will not fit the average- get used to it. A real struggle that I faced regarding my skin was putting too much pressure on myself and the products I was using. Naively I thought that if I used a product, it would work overnight, and I would wake up with clear skin. I’m sure you’re aware by now that this did not happen. I cannot stress the importance of being patient and educating yourself about your skin type. This will help you develop the knowledge of what will and won’t work best for you and ultimately the most effective strategies for tackling your problem areas.