Skincare journey

The Early Phase

I start having acne very on early age, I remember it clearly it is all started when I was in Junior high school. Small little bumps, lots of it, start forming on my chin. As time goes by, I have acne all over my face. It was red and painful. I was always embarrassed about my acne and I do not have the confidence to face people. When people stare at me, I know they were looking at my acne. I always got teased about my face, some boys mock me of being ugly. I don’t feel good about myself. My acne was pretty bad that my mom took me to a dermatologist. Back then there was this famous doctor that can cure acne, I forget the name. That doctor has so many customers that I have to queue until the middle of the night (I am not kidding). It was so late that I fell asleep. The nurse finally called my name at 23.45 pm, even at that hour a lot of patients still waiting for their turn.

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My skin in high school, I was 19 years old

The doctor gives me day cream, night cream, face wash, and toner. Sunblock is not popular at that time. Long story short, the skincare the doctor gave me works on my skin. However it is only working for like 2 years, and when I stop using the creams my acne comes back again. So I need to find another doctor to cure my acne. Again. I was far from skincare knowledge. What I know about skincare is whatever the doctor gave me and I choose to just go with it. I constantly change doctors, due to their creams that stop working on me after a certain time of use.

In my university year, I find a doctor that not only give me creams but also suggest a chemical peel once a month. Let’s call it “doctor S”. That chemical peel stings so bad, I feel my face was burning, it was so painful. For the sake of clear skin, I withstand the pain. Then days after chemical peel my skin will flake off and the redness is obvious. This time, doctor S added SPF to the acne prescription. I hated that sunscreen because it was so greasy, thick, and sticky. My oily skin gets even oilier. I do not like wearing sunscreen.

Then I must go to Australia to continue my study. I still rely on the doctor’s cream. When winter comes, my skin got so dehydrated but the day cream from doctor S is not enough to moisturize. When I am in Australia my breakout was not so bad, even though I still have acne on my face.

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My skin when I am studying in Australia in 2010

After finish my study in Australia, I come back home. Finally, after 3 years, doctor S stop working on my skin. Then I move on to doctor K, of course with the similar scheme; day cream, night cream, SPF, face wash, toner, all made by doctor K. With doctor K, he also gives accutane prescription to me. I love accutane, it really helps to get rid of my acne, my skin is getting better and glowing. I was so satisfied.

 

The Pregnancy Phase

I was pregnant when I am 27 years old. That time I was obsessed with reading everything about safe pregnancy. Among other things that an article mention that I should be careful with certain doctor cream from a beauty clinic, as it may contain harmful ingredients like hydroquinone or retinoid. I was too afraid to risk anything so I decided to stop all doctor K creams. Luckily I stopped consume Accutane months before I am pregnant. Accutane is very dangerous for pregnant women due to the risk of birth defects. The only thing I used was face wash. At that time I still have no clue about skincare routine.

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About three months I stop using those creams, my skin started to breakout badly. I had tiny bumps all over my face, I feel so ugly. My skin is so dull, oily, red and sensitive. I don’t know whether that because of my pregnancy hormone or because I stop using the creams. My neck has these black lines and somehow looks dirty as if I rub dirt on my neck and it cannot be cleaned with any cleanser or soap. Even when it got worst I still don’t know what to do about it, I don’t know what to put o my face to calm the breakout. In the end, I just let it be like that. The tinny bumps subside when I am 6 months pregnant, but my skin still looks horrible, dull and super dry. By the 7 months I finally tried out a natural product that has a safe ingredient for a pregnant lady, it was innisfree green tea seed oil. The oil helps to moisturize my skin and did not really help with my tiny bumps. Nevertheless, I continue using it after I gave birth. Then I added Innisfree green tea seed serum. It was a nice light serum but it did not do much for my skin.

The Time It Finally Got Better

I was a stay at home mom for 3 years, during that time I read a lot of skincare related blog. I started to learn about skincare. One of my favorite blog to read is https://fiftyshadesofsnail.com/ . Her blog is so informative and fun to read, it got me interested in skincare. I never use moisturizer other than the one that doctors gave me. I thought my skin was too fragile to try anything. After reads a lot of reviews, I decided to try the Clinique moisture surge and it turns out to be my Holy Grail moisturizer. I was 29 when I finally started to build my skincare routine. It took me a long time to build the whole entire skincare routine from cleansing to moisturizer stage.

 

The second thing I tried was sunblock. I was riding a motorcycle a lot and according to what I read it is important to wear sunblock whenever you got outdoor activity. So I use sunblock only when I ride a motorcycle, when I ride a car, I don’t use it. My first sunblock was Clinique Super City Block SPF 40. Since I am in love with the moisturizer, I decided to get sunblock from the same brand. I used to love this sunblock because it’s a tinted sunblock so it gives me a little bit of coverage. But it was too oily for my skin.

The bad thing was, I did not double cleanse my skin. So every time I use Clinique Super City Block SPF 40, I will remove it with only face wash. I am aware that it did not entirely clean my skin, but I don’t know what double cleansing is back then. After using SPF, went through dust and pollution (from riding motorcycle), of course, I got zits from not cleaning my skin properly. I did not figure it out until I read about the double cleansing method. I remember thinking “so that is why I keep breaking out after wearing that sunblock” duh!.

I was hooked into reading more and more about skincare routine and started to build my routine. I used to hate wearing sunblock because it is always either sticky or feels too heavy. From Fiddy’s blog, I discover Biore watery essence which was my ultimate sunscreen (well, before it got reformulated). You can check out my review of Biore watery essence old formula and the new one in this post The New Reformulated Biore Watery Essence

I found my favorite sulwhasoo gentle cleansing foam that is the best non-drying face wash for my oily skin. Up until then, my skin started to get better, my acne is still there but not as many as it used to be.

I will write a separate post about the key products to get rid of my acne

my skin now
my skin now

It took me more than ten years to discover what really works for me. I know having acne is a big problem and it can affect your self-esteem. I struggle for a long time too, people used to point on my acne and make a hurtful comment like:

“How can your acne keep getting worse?”

“shouldn’t you do something about your face?”

“why your face is red all the time?”

I still occasionally have hormonal acne on my chin, it is a tough one to overcome.  If you are having trouble with acne, do not give up. It definitely takes time to get rid of acne and build a suitable skincare routine that works for you. 

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