To be honest with you, I’m not really the best person to ask about or give any tips about skincare. At best, I only keep a very minimal and straight-forward approach when it comes to skincare and routine. I do keep some small products here and there, and made a short routine on night time and weekends but I don’t religiously follow an exhaustive step-by-step routine since I’m way too lazy and a little broke to have one. But, that is definitely not an excuse to skip the sanctity of this practice altogether, and I still believe that giving your skin the utmost love is an A1 decision.
Here are some tips, tricks or what-have-you that I can share about taking care of that skin:
KNOW YOUR SKIN’S CONDITION. I’m not sure how common this is, but I think a lot of people always miss this crucial first step — even I did. Knowing your skin type and its condition is very important because it will be your base idea on what kind of care, repair or damage control is need. It will also help you understand what products you should/n’t be using, what type of food you should be eating/avoiding, what causes you to break out, etc. It is still recommended to get it done with a dermatologist but in case it’s not in your budget to visit one, there are also free skin tests in some cosmetics stores or drugstores. From that, you can read up on your skin type and ingredients that work for you, as well as do patch tests to see how your skin reacts to certain products and chemicals.EAT CLEAN, LOOK CLEAN. I am a firm believer that whatever you put inside your body will manifest in your outside appearance. Meaning, if you are eating shit, you’ll more than likely look like shit. Let’s take genes out of the equation; your eating habits can have a huge impact on skin. I’m pretty sure you know that oily and salty food when it’s excessive, can cause some problems on the skin. It isn’t necessary to be a strict healthy food junkie but try your best to stay away from those two primary things. Sugary and nutty foods can cause breakouts too, because it overproduces sebum. ALSO, always keep yourself hydrated. I cannot stress this enough. Although cliché and you’ve heard it a million times in other beauty gurus, it is undeniably one of the most rewarding habits to introduce into your diet and routine.
GIVE NATURAL INGREDIENTS A CHANCE. Aside from food intake, I am also a believer of natural products. I know, I know — you think I’m just hopping on that bandwagon of millenials who are switching to brands that pride about being 100% natural but you know what, it makes perfect sense. Why would I put harsh chemicals on my skin? Not to say that natural ingredients will not cause any adverse reaction to the skin but, chances are slim to none. My favorite natural ingredients are apple cider vinegar, lemon, brown sugar, green tea, used coffee grounds and honey — really works wonders for your skin. I would say however, as a precaution to anyone reading this, that you should not be directly applying these said natural ingredients to the skin as they are particularly in higher dosage than the skin needs.
CONSIDER NATURAL OILS. I know it’s a matter of preference, but I love using oils as moisturizer before I go to bed and sometimes before I put on my makeup. It just feels a lot more hydrating for me than night creams which usually gives me the itch. And yes, to debunk your doubts, using natural oils don’t make you oilier or give you more breakouts. My favorites to use are Ilog Maria Royal Jelly Facial Oil and Tarte Maracuja Oil. I also prefer it than cream or milky ones since I have observed it to be more effective in keeping my skin soft and supple when I wake up. Just 2-3 small drops and you’re good to go.
DON’T GO HAM ON FRAGRANCE. As much as possible, try to stay away from facial wash or products that are heavy on fragrance and stick to fragrance-free or natural/light fragrance products. It may not be that apparent but fragrance is one of the leading causes for drying out, skin irritation and redness and of course, breaking out. A lot of products are used with fragrance either to mask an unpleasant smell in the mixture or just to make the product more sellable. My favorite brand to use for facial wash is Etude House Flavor of the Month/Mud mask or Ilog Maria Honey Glycerin Facial Soap. The Etude House facial wash is very light on smell, foamy even with just one penny-sized drop and effective on washing away dirt and gunk while the Ilog Maria facial soap has a deep, sensual but natural smell, lightweight and leaves the skin clean and dry without harming it.
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. Fair warning: I’m not a medical practitioner and with this, you REALLY should get yourself checked first before you try anything. I’m including it in the list purely because BCP took care of my skin ever since. If I go off of it, pesky breakouts will slowly start coming back along with longer, heavier and painful menstruation cycles. I have been through 5 different brands of BCP and the best for me when it comes to skincare reasons is Althea (from Trust) and Diane35 (from Bayer). Like everybody else, it was a matter of trial and error to find what works best for me, especially since most pills take at least 3 months of regular intake before it’s additional benefits become more apparent. The ingredient that helps keep breakouts at bay that you should look out for is: Cyproterone Acetate and a good combination of Progestin and Estrogen, which are all present on a combination pill. It definitely is not something you should try just out of the blue and needs to be consulted with your doctor first before anything, not to mention people have differing opinions about taking the pill due to its supposed side effects, but I think it’s worth giving a shot especially if your skin problems have to do with your hormones as well.FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EXFOLIATE. Exfoliating your skin is such an essential as you’re lightly removing dead skin cells and dirt or gunk that have deeply seeped through your skin. As much as possible, stick to products that have light and natural exfoliators like fine sea salt and stay away from either beaded or sharper exfoliator like parabens, apricot or walnut scrubs as they’re harsher and can cause more damage to your skin. My favorite light face scrubs are Lush’s Ocean Salt and Mask of Magnaminty, both in self-preserved options.
Takeaway? When I was much younger, my level of care for my skin is close to 0. I wasn’t much into cosmetics, and skincare products because I used to think it’s a pesk and a waste of my time. Plus, it’s not like I had incredibly bad skin problems anyway. But growing up, my thoughts about skincare slowly evolved and I have come to accept that whether or not I like it, the age where people care a lot more about this is here to stay. As is all other things in life, it doesn’t magically become better overnight. But is it worth it? Of course it is.