I only recently turned into a skincare junkie. When I was in my twenties my skincare routine consisted of using the harshest face wash I could find and stripping my skin of all its oils. I thought in doing this I ensuring that my face would not get greasy. I sometimes skipped moisturising because I thought I did not need it and my parched face, thirsting for moisture, looked like parchment. My metamorphosis into a goop fiend and skincare aficionado happened during my recent posting to the airport. I have to work odd hours and my job can be very stressful and this has taken a toll on my skin. My cheek erupted with painful pustules that never healed, painful cystic acne under the skin. My skin around the area darkened and it looked like I had done a hash job of contouring on my cheek. At thirty my skin refused to heal itself the way it used to. I neglected it through my twenties imagining that my good genes will always come through for me. But the weather and air here in Mumbai is nothing like it is in the hills where I grew up and I too fell prey to adult acne. This outbreak resulted in me conducting a frenzied and detailed research into how I could return my skin to its pristine state. I learnt some valuable things along the way.
The Double Cleanse: In order to ensure that our skin is cleaned of all the muck it is always better to double cleanse. What that means is going in first with an oil or balm cleanser and then a gel or cream cleanser. The oil cleanser draws out the excess oil and sebum from the skin while removing the sunscreen, makeup and other impurities. The gel cleanser removes all the remaining gunk. It is recommended to double cleanse at night only. The cleanser should be of a low PH so as it does not disturb the acid mantle. The Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser will do the job.
Use a toner: To bring back your skin to its happy state using a gentle toner that is non drying is ideal. Products that contain AHAs like salicylic acid and BHAs work best. The Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner will do the job.
Vitamin C: A vitamin C serum with its antioxidant properties protects acne prone skin and helps fade scars and hyperpigmentation. The Klairs Vitamin C serum is a good start.
Clay masks: Use a clay mask once a week to reduce congestion of the pores. It extracts impurities and reduces the size of pores. Do not put it directly on inflamed skin. Try a clay mask from Innisfree.
Pimple Patches are your friend: These are good at protecting inflamed spots from further aggravation. It also keeps away bacteria. Try Cosrx Master Pimple Patch.
Moisturiser and Hydrate: The more hydrated the skin is the less thick waxy sebum the skin is going to produce. Do not put on a layer of thick cream but put light layers of hydration. Moisturisers on top of serums and light oils do the trick. Use gel moisturisers with humectants like hyaluronic acid. The Cosrx Oil Free Moisturising Lotion is great.
Sleeping Masks: Sometimes lack of sleep and stress aggravate acne and cause dullness. A good way to combat this is a sleeping mask. A mask that contains honey which has antibacterial and antifungal properties is ideal. The Cosrx Honey Sleeping Mask and the Laneige Sleeping mask is great for acne prone, dull and sensitive skin.
Sunscreen: Acne are basically little wounds. Melanin is produced to protect the wound from the sun and that is how hyperpigmentation occurs. Use a lightweight sunscreen that will protect the skin. Avene Emulsion SPF 50 and Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF 50 is good for oily and sensitive skin.
Use products with soothing properties like aloe vera gel, centella asiatica, and honey. Benton Aloe Propolis Gel and I’m From Honey Mask calm the skin.
Use light oils like rosehip oil and tamanu oil that are ideal for oily and acne prone skin.
These are a few things I learned along the way. At first I was sure I would not stick to the regimen I had built for myself. From barely bothering to wash my face, a seven step process was a big leap. I was sure I would give up after a week but to my surprise I found going step by step to be rather therapeutic, and I looked forward to gleefully watching my makeup melt and my skin glow from being clean and hydrated. The trick is to keep at it and not expect instant results. I did notice results a month into it and even though I get the occasional hormonal outbreak it has drastically reduced and my skin heals much faster. I hope this helps some other soul who is at his/her wit’s end.
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