Acne is such an intrusive, problematic issue for most people. I mean, who wants to have acne? No one, I’m quite sure!
I battled quite a horrific hormonal cystic acne when I hit 25, 6 years ago. I was really stressed out because they kept coming by the day. Painful? It sure was. It was an eye-opening moment for me that I needed to take better care of my skin. Not just simply washing my face every day and slap on a moisturizer, for the sake of it.
Fast forward today, I’ve learned a lot of things during my skincare journey. And it doesn’t stop there, because I keep coming across new knowledge every day, experiencing different things and in general, a better understanding of my skin and health. That’s why, the sharing will never end for me, hopefully.
In all honesty, writing this post kind of terrifies me a little. Part of me wants to share it, the other is scared of jinx-ing what I’ve been doing to get into this point where I can say that my skin is at its best shape at the moment. But, I can’t be selfish because I hope that whoever reads this can find an enlightenment, or two 🙂
In the previous #TFCBeautyTalk posts, I’ve touched a few times about how skincare products aren’t the only ones that can improve the condition of the skin. Lifestyle holds a big part too. Having the right kind of mindset will definitely make a difference too.
1. BETTER EATING HABITS.
This started a year ago when I was in the middle of our wedding preparation. I know that I’ve always struggled with my weight and there’s only so much I could do in a short time. I didn’t want to get ambitious, so I simply started from the easiest, most-doable route I can go through. Keep in mind that I do cheat here and there, but it’s a huge change from before I started.
I reduced consuming white rice, noodles (both egg and rice), pasta, bread; heavy carbs in general. I generally can survive without white rice, but the latter were the tough ones. In order for me to keep sane, I switched to healthier options such as red/brown/black rice, Shirataki noodles (made out of Konnyaku) and Javara Gourmet Noodles (available at supermarkets). So, I simply started eating the side dish with these instead of white rice. Or even cooked them like a pasta dish. The Javara noodles aren’t the cleanest because it still contains flour but it has no egg.
The next one is less intake of sugar. Desserts. I am such a sweet tooth person so this was incredibly hard for me to do. Whenever we eat out, I had to order some type of dessert at the end of the meal, almost every single time. So I had to restrain myself. This also includes ordering plain water or regular tea instead of sweetened ice tea.
Less dairy. This is also quite a tough one but relatively easier. I still consume plain yogurt and Yakult for the probiotic, but I don’t overdo it. I definitely don’t indulge in yogurt as a healthy snack. I usually insert it in my morning smoothie. Probiotic is great for digestion. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can buy probiotic supplements instead. For cow’s milk substitute, I opt for almond milk (which is more expensive I know, but I don’t buy it often).
Also avoiding the usual culprits, fried food and overly-spicy food. Trust me, most people know which food that’s healthy and not. It’s a matter of change 🙂
Of course, eating more fruits and green vegetables. The general rule, more colors in my food!
Drinking plenty of water daily – do I even need to explain?
2. BETTER LIFESTYLE + ENVIRONMENT.
Few things that I notice are whenever I felt tired and didn’t get enough sleep, or less quality sleep, it will show on my skin. Not to say I excel at this because I’m such a night owl. I’m still trying to sleep early as often as I can (under 11.59 PM). But when I didn’t, I definitely don’t complain (or humblebrag) about the acne I have on my face LOL. #moreactionlesspreaching
Exercise regularly. This is an old song but it’s the truth. Exercise increases blood flow. Blood flow carries oxygen and nourishment to the body, skin included. Exercise also removes toxins. It releases endorphins, making me more relaxed and less stressed. My brain functions better throughout the day. It also makes me sleep more soundly too. I prefer to exercise in the morning because it feels great that way. I also make sure to cleanse my face afterward to prevent any grime clogging up the skin.
I also try to stay away from the polluted environment as much as possible, as simple as not being in a room or an area full of cigarette smoke. Second-hand smokers are always the unwilling victims here. Actually, I am that person who will tell people to not smoke when there is a no-smoking sign. Other places include anywhere that is full of dust and dirt as I am quite allergic to dust since I was little. Endless sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin (that will lead to flare ups).
3. HYDRATION + MOISTURIZATION.
It sounds incredibly simple and often undermined, because most people want the instant radiance and glow on the skin. Skincare products that offer hydration or moisture are taken as “just basic”.
They could’ve not been more wrong.
During the wedding prep, I didn’t want to mess around with my skincare routine so much. So I started to go back to the basics. Focusing on hydration and moisture. Not to mention using sunscreen every single day; which is a must anyway. This went on for months and months and my skin was thanking me for it.
The fact is, once I started to amp up these elements in my routine, I can see that my skin feels and looks a lot healthier. Stronger skin barrier. Whenever I have small blemishes, I noticed that it healed faster without me doing anything to it; not even using a spot treatment! Incorporating calming and soothing ingredients really helps to tone down inflammations on the skin, which can wreak havoc on my skin, whether in the form of acne, redness or irritations. This also includes cleansing the skin with regular/cold tap water, not warm water.
My aim here is to keep my skin balanced and protected, every single day. CLEANSE – HYDRATE – MOISTURIZE – PROTECT. I do believe that healthy skin fixes problems on its own.
Go ahead, check my #TFCSkincareSalad posts on my Instagram. Most of my skincare products are focused on these!
Here’s some of the products I enjoy using:
Hydrating Toner: BLITHE Vital Treatment 8 Nourishing Beans, Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner, Shiseido White Lucent Luminizing Infuser, Kanebo Chrono Beauty (Moisture Flow Rich Lotion and Frosty Gelee Lotion),
Serum/Ampoule: Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Asiatica 100, For Skin’s Sake Hyaluronic Acid Serum Concentrate, Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate, BulkAAA Permeative Treatment Serum (bought in Japan, sorry).
Moisturizer/Sleeping Mask: BLITHE Pressed Serum Crystal Iceplant, J.One Black Jelly Pack, TATCHA The Water Cream, Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel, Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, Lancome Energie de Vie Overnight Sleeping Mask, Clinique (Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly and Moisture Surge Auto-Replenishing Hydrator).
There are more products, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.
4. LESS CHEMICAL EXFOLIATORS.
No, I kid you not. I have reduced the use of chemical exfoliators (AHA & BHA) since the past year. If I have to put it bluntly to you now, I don’t think my skin can handle my beloved Sunday Riley Good Genes as much as I used to anymore. The last time I used it, I felt uncomfortable and sort of guilty, even.
I have come to accept that my current skin doesn’t need that potent exfoliating acids anymore. And that’s absolutely okay! I don’t feel that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because everyone’s skin is different. I’ve used exfoliating acids long enough to experience the wonders and also the risks that come with it. Not using that much actually kind of simplifies my routine too.
Then how do I use acids then? By incorporating them in small numbers. Milder products. This way, I get to reap the benefit of exfoliation without the unnecessary negative drawback. There are many mild exfoliating toners nowadays that offer gentle exfoliation while still providing slight moisture. That being said, I still use a hydrating toner afterward.
By using less, I get to strengthen my skin barrier and in return, fewer breakouts too.
5. STAYING AWAY FROM NEGATIVITY.
This is probably the most holistic aspect of them all. But I do believe the universe attracts what our minds are set to. When we think about negativity often, that’s what’s going to come for us. This goes vice versa.
I used to worry and complain about the little, simple things. I used to care so much about what other people think or said about me. And accumulatively, it’s wearing me out. Unknowingly, I was bringing myself down and other people around me too. I realized that this must change. It is definitely very tiring to nag and be unhappy all the time.
I also try to keep a safe distance with people who are giving bad vibes and often maliciously bad-mouthing other people (both their own friends or people they’ve never even met in real life). Sour and bitter people. It’s definitely OK to change social circles, especially if it’s not doing any good for the mental health anymore.
Circling myself in a positive and healthy, supportive environment has done wonders for my psyche. I am a lot happier, a lot lighter and I waste less time on unimportant things. More time for improving myself and spreading the same positive light to other people too.
Don’t just always take and receive, but why not giving it back as well. It is such a beautiful notion, don’t you think?
By being positive, I’m not saying that we’re not allowed to feel sad. That’s not the point, but rather trying to view trials, tribulations, and hardships from a different angle. There’s always something good that I can learn from my less-than-pleasant experiences, if only I’m willing to give it a try. Otherwise, how can I learn anything?
With all of these changes I’m making, of course, I still have acne here and there. I am still a human after all, with pores and imperfections. Acne is a normal thing to have. But the difference is, I’m more aware of what’s going on with my body and on my skin more than ever. Maintaining a cool head definitely keeps my feet grounded, helps me to think clearer and not hasting on making any unwise decisions.
I make peace with this reality. I am not perfect and there’s nothing wrong with it. The good, the bad, the flaws and everything in between makes me who I am. Without acknowledging them, I could never move forward.
There is one quote that I came across way back when from one of my favorite bands and always try to practice often:
Jump out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm clock!! You may also find it useful spending five minutes each morning saying to yourself: “Every day in every way I am getting better and better”. Perhaps it is a good idea to start a new day with the right frame of mind”. – Radiohead
And that really completes it ❤️
I wish you all well, from the bottom of my heart.