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.