7 Skincare tips that saved my skin

As a teenager I had acne-free and smooth skin and not a single care in the world. I had no skincare regime and the only facial skincare product I owned at the time was a bottle of face wash.

All of this changed when I hit my 20’s and my once smooth skin quickly betrayed me with an abundance of hormonal and stress acne. To make things worse, those pesky pimples left behind dark spots that refused to fade for years.

In the process of trying to save my skin, I learned some valuable lessons in the past year that definitely made a difference in the appearance of my skin.

1. Be Consistent

The number one advice is to choose a skincare regime and be consistent with it. Avoid skipping steps in your skincare routine. I know we are all guilty of skipping out on skincare before bed some days because we feel too tired in the moment, but if you want results, you have to put in the time.

2. Let your skin breathe

The more acne, scars and marks a person has on their face is the more tempting it is to cover it up with makeup.  Makeup actually contributes to clogging your pores and causing more acne, which leads to a vicious cycle.

If it is possible, minimise the use of makeup. If you must wear makeup, ensure that your brushes and sponges are regularly cleaned and that you thoroughly remove any makeup from your face as soon as it is no longer needed, and follow up with a cleanser.

I gave my skin a much needed break from makeup for a few weeks and my skin showed tremendous improvement in the amount of acne I had. I admit I felt self-conscious at first but clearer skin was definitely worth it in the end.

3. Know your skin type

One of the biggest mistakes I made initially when I started my skincare journey was not using the right products for my skin type. Using products that are meant for oily skin on dry skin can strip the skin of the little oil it has and worsen its condition. Similarly, using products meant for dry skin on oily skin can lead to clogged pores.

It is also important to know what acne ingredients work best for your type of acne. Salicylic acid works well against whiteheads and blackheads while products with Benzoyl Peroxide work well against pustular acne.

Using salicylic acid on my papular and pustular acne for years showed little results. Once I switched to a product with Benzoyl Peroxide, I noticed a difference within one week of switching.

4. Hydration and moisturization is key

There is a difference between the two terms. Hydration means to add water while moisturization means to lock in that moisture. Why are they so important to your skin?

Dehydrated skin is dull and has more fine lines. It requires hydration and moisturization for the skin to plump up and be radiant and smooth. It is also needed for the repair of the skin’s barrier.

Hydration and Moisturization is achieved by drinking lots of water and using products with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides daily on your skin to add and lock in moisture. Your skin will thank you for it.

5. Sunscreen is a must

There is a common misconception that people with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen and that is false. Everyone needs sunscreen on a daily basis. Why?

Sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, fine lines and skin problems later on. Sunscreen is needed to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun and prevent wrinkles and discoloration.

It is advised to use a Sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects.

6. Stop touching your face

The more you touch your skin, the more you are introducing potential acne causing bacteria to your skin. Pimples can be very tempting to pick at and pop but this just leads to scars and more inflammatory changes. Trust me, I know. You should avoid touching your face at all costs, no matter how tempting it may be and use acne spot treatments for your pimples instead of picking at them.

7. Don’t forget to exfoliate

Gentle exfoliation is needed to resurface the skin, remove layers of dead skin, minimise pores and fine lines and leave your skin glowing. Exfoliation is a balancing act. Do it but don’t overdo it. Exfoliating your skin twice a week is the perfect balance according to experts and it will reveal more radiant skin.


7 Self-Care tips

Taking care of your wellbeing.

I’m sure you have heard the word Self-Care thrown around so many times, but what exactly is Self-Care. It is setting aside the time to take care of your own wellbeing whether it be physically or mentally and taking steps to ensure your happiness and reduce stress levels.

This year I embarked on a self-care journey where I actively invested time and energy into my self-care routines every week. Saying that self-care changed my life may sound like an exaggeration but it is not. Investing in my self-care made me a more content, healthier and less anxious person and I’m so glad that I did.

Here are a few self-care tips for those wanting to make a positive change.

1) Schedule some ‘ME’ time

The number one tip is obviously to make time for yourself and time to practice self-care. Just saying that you will do your self-care routine when you get the time is not enough. You need to set aside a few hours a week where you and only you are the priority, even if it means writing it into your calendar or phone as a reminder.

Set aside some alone time to drink a cup of tea on the balcony while watching the sunset, or take an evening stroll through the neighborhood while listening to your playlist, or lie on the couch and watch a feel-good movie. Do whatever makes you happy.

This past year I chose one day per week and dedicated 2-3 hours to just my self-care routine. This would usually be during my son’s naptime or after his bedtime on my day off from work. I made it a habit to squeeze in the time no matter what and reminded myself that it was a necessity.

2) Get the sleep you need

With so many things to do in a day and so little hours, sleep is often neglected. Sleep is a vital activity to maintaining your physical health. Your body needs that 8 hour reset in order to keep functioning at its best and keep going the next day. Give your body the 8 hours of rest it needs and it will thank you later.

To maximize on sleep, optimize your room and your body for sleep. Reduce your caffeine intake later in the day and make sure your room is a comfy and distraction-free environment. Set a bedtime and stick to it. An hour to your bedtime, you should start your wind-down process. You can dim the lights, take off the TV, take a bath, drink some chamomile tea and do a quiet activity till it is time for bed.

3) Get moving

Exercise is important for not only our physical health but also our mental health. It boosts our mood and reduces our stress levels. It also raises those feel good hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

Being active gets the blood pumping, keeps us fit and can even help lose some excess weight. Exercise doesn’t only mean cardio, taking a walk, weight training and sports, it can be yoga as well which has the added benefits of deep breathing and calming exercises.

This past year I became serious with my exercising and would squeeze in 3 workouts per week. Of course losing 28 lbs this year was an extreme plus for me, but I absolutely loved how exercising made me feel about myself and my body.

4) Pamper yourself

Take the time to run through your full skincare and haircare routines, get your nails done, take a long warm bath/shower and get a massage. You have only one body, take care of it and show it the love it deserves. Do this and trust me you will thank me later. Not only will you look good but you feel great too.

My weekly self-care routine religiously included a full skincare routine as part of my pampering session. Not only did my skin improve and look better, but I felt better about myself as well.

5) Plan creative activities/hobbies

Look for a creative and relaxing activity to do in your scheduled quiet time. Whether it be reading a book, drawing/painting pictures or writing in a journal. Find an activity that you love doing that brings you peace and joy, and do that activity in the scheduled ‘ME’ time that you should have had from the first tip in this blog post.

This year I reintroduced myself to painting and coloring in my spare time which is quite fun and calming. I’ve also taken up reading books once again and I can’t believe I ever stopped doing it to begin with. I absolutely loved reading books as a child and completely forgot about my love for reading when life became too hectic.

An important side note is that I actually started this whole blog page as part of my self-care. It started off as writing in a journal and soon became a whole blog website just for the fun of it.

6) Learn to say “no”

One of the things that can easily lead to stress is not knowing that it is okay to say no. You don’t have to stretch yourself thin and do things that are too much of a hassle or do too many things in a short space of time.

Learn your limit and try not to cross it. Prioritize your list of stuff to be done and remember to put your own wellbeing first and foremost. You should never feel guilty about prioritizing your self-care.

7) Don’t neglect your mental health

Forget the stigma that the world has of mental health. Your mental health is important and the necessary steps should be taken to take care of it. Too many people suffer in silence with their depression and anxiety. Seek out a counselor or psychologist or someone you can talk to about it. You have no idea how much talking about your fears and stressors can be of help. Bottling it all inside is a no-no and is a recipe for disaster later on.

I hope these 7 tips were helpful to you in some way and I hope one of your new years resolutions will be to take your self-care seriously. You won’t regret it.