Let’s talk skincare. We all want perfect skin and there are so many factors to take into consideration to achieve it; diet, hormones, make-up, skin conditions, allergies… the list continues. Unfortunately we often have to learn the hard way what works for our skin, which products really get rid of our dark eye circles and what’s causing our skin to breakout or be oily in the first place. Now, age 23 I have the skin that I craved as a teen, with only occasional breakouts and no dry skin in sight. I’m a huge lover of Nivea and it works wonders for my skin, if you’re interested in my skincare routine it can be found here. However this wasn’t always the case so let me talk you through My Skin Story.
As a teenager I had the typical spot prone skin that was oily and full of white heads. Beautiful right! I tried everything to clear up my skin from Clearasil to Simple, face scrubs and steaming my skin, I used only face wipes to take off my make up, I barely drank any water and still nothing. When I put it like that it’s obvious that I wasn’t really taking care of my skin and the face washes I was using only made my skin breakout more often. It wasn’t until I was about 16 years old where I began drinking more than 500ml of water a day and started taking my make-up off properly that I started to see some differences. I suppose a large part of it was standard hormonal teenage skin and I didn’t listen to my skin enough to see which ingredients in the face washes were irritating me. I was happy with any product that promised to combat acne prone skin and get rid of blackheads. I must stress this isn’t enough and it’s worth visiting a doctor when you notice significant changes or problematic skin. Problems with your skin also impacts your confidence significantly as that’s what’s everyone can see when they look at you. It’s also so difficult to cover spots well (particularly if you’re young and inexperienced with make-up!) More often than not, covering up the spots actually makes them even more noticeable. I really don’t miss those early teenage years looking back on the fun of acne!
18 Years Old
When I hit 18 years old my skin seemed to have settled a lot more as I listened to what my skin needed. I noticed that I would get spots more often if I ate junk food or if I hadn’t slept a lot. I stopped using face washes and made sure my make-up was taken off properly, ensuring that I cleansed and toned my skin daily. I also used Sudocrem on my spots as soon as they started to flare up, rather than just any old spot cream. These small habits seemed to really give my skin the TLC it needed. When it came towards nearing the end of my schooling days and completing January exams, my Mum treated me to some new and luxurious make-up as a treat. My beauty dreams came true as I was treated to some Chanel foundation, powder and lipstick. The make-up was applied by a professional Chanel make-up artist and I felt glamorous; I remember that she even complimented me on what lovely skin I had. All those teenage acne angst filled years were truly over… I thought!
The next day I noticed a small breakout on my skin. I thought nothing of it, attributing it to hormones or lack of water. The days following I noticed that I was getting more and more spots. Realizing that this was now unusual for me, I mentioned it to my Mum who said we should go return the make-up as it’s clearly an allergy to the foundation. We spoke to the make-up artist who reluctantly returned my make-up insisting that she wasn’t the one who served us (as if that would even make a difference?) My Mum quite rightly said it’s not a treat to get luxurious make-up if it makes you break out and you can’t even use the product! In the end we got our money back and I bought some skin friendly Clinique foundation instead.
It was difficult to find some photos from this period, as I would have avoided cameras as much as I could. But I hope the below photos show you just how much an allergic reaction to make-up can have on your skin (P.S. Please excuse that Frodo ear in the second photo!)
As you can see here all of the spots were under the skin , so there wasn’t anything I could do (or what I knew to do about it). Naively I carried on using my Chanel powder over my Clinique foundation, thinking that it was just the foundation that I had an allergy to. Over the next few weeks my skin got dramatically worse. It suddenly clicked that I should go see a doctor and she confirmed that I had an allergic reaction to the make-up, most likely caused by the perfume in the products. She informed me that it would take about 6 months for it to clear up and I should immediately stop using any perfumed make-up on my skin. It was about April/May at this point, I think. In the Summer before I began University I went on a trip with all of my friends to Ayia Napa, Cyprus in July and was certain that the Cypriot sun would clear up my skin. I was sadly wrong. Nonetheless lo and behold come October my skin was back to itself and I started University with a mostly fresh and clear face.
Here is a little throwback of me over the Christmas 2017 (I’ve misplaced my camera’s HDMI cable so I couldn’t upload a more recent one that you haven’t seen before!)
After having a skin allergic reaction for about 10 months I’m very careful about what make-up I use. I occasionally wear Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation but I notice that I do get a spot or two appear the day after, despite following my normal skincare routine. I only realized that the Double Wear Foundation was causing me to break out more, when I was on holiday last Summer and used Rimmel’s Tinted Moisturiser instead of a full blown foundation. Whilst using the tinted moisturizer I noticed that my skin was looking a lot better. I went from always having a couple spots to deal with, to barely any which is mostly caused by the factors previously mentioned i.e. hormones or junk food! That’s my skin story leading us up to until about now. If you’re interested what make-up products I currently use, that are super friendly to my sensitive skin check it out on my blog post What’s in My Make-up Bag.