Monday, 5 May 2014

A little more about me: My skin

I can’t seem to get the lighting to balance properly on my camera in my crappily lit room, so apologies for the poo-grade iPhone selfies.

My skin: Dehydrated combination, super adaptive skin that is highly sensitive to heat and humidity, resulting to some major redness.

Used to believe I had severely oily skin, because my face was always an oil slick. I’d wake up with the blanket stuck to my face, so reflectively shiney I’m probably morse-coding my poor neighbours as I struggle to get out of bed for school. Since puberty I used products packed with alcohol and astringents to strip away all the oils, I’d blot my face constantly and I had even gone through a phase when I washed my face 3~4 times a day. Back then, Dehydration wasn’t a word often used in skincare, and certainly none of the SAs talked about it. Don’t remember when I started hearing about the need to hydrate (as opposed to moisturize), but I think it was around the time I was introduced to IPSA skincare, which made my skin pretty happy until I went to the UK (Sheffield) for university and the dry climate was a level my skin had not experienced before (ultimately leading to the eczema eruption the day I set my heart on getting a tattoo. Still haven’t gotten it, because chicken shit.)

Do I rock the Eww-Dew?

In the UK, I resorted to mid-moisturizing products for the face, and my body lived off The Body Shop Body Butters (after I recovered from the eczema using pharmacy sold eczema cream). Think I went through almost all the available flavours back then, finishing each dutifully. I remember loving the Mango and Passionfruit ones best, and swore by the Olive Body Scrub.

After moving to Taiwan post-Uni, I’ve had to look for a completely new set of products to keep my skin in bearable condition in the muggy humid heat. I had not experienced a South East Asian summer since immigrating to NZ when I was around 5 and I don’t remember the summers from before that age. It was a horrific nightmare for my skin. It’s like a stuffy, polluted sauna-oven whenever you walked outside, and then artic dryness when you’re indoors with the ACs on full blast. That drastic change in temperature and humidity had my pores clogged and zits just sprouted everywhere. Worse still I found out that I sweat crazy in humidity, as in I become a sprinkling fountain. So makeup either needs to be nonexistent or fully waterproof. I’m a scalp and neck sweater in high humidity, so antiperspirants are of little help.

Yeah, TMI much?

Anyway, my skin has settled somewhat, probably because of a mix of reasons from ageing, health, and the types of products I now veer towards. But two major issues still plagues me.

Firstly, redness. This issue is definitely linked to humidity (rather than heat alone), and only rarely if I went overboard with the exfoliant. I have to be more careful when I do have redness due to humidity, as I’ve found certain products that would normally work pretty well on me end up worsening my redness to the point of blisters, one product that comes to mind is Estee Lauder’s ANR. One Clinique SA told me that my redness isn’t the type suited for their Redness Solutions line, so instead I’m recommended to use calming, soothing products, and to keep hydrated. I also counter my redness with corrective makeup bases, usually those coloured green.

Right after night skin regime, I look a descendant of the Sith

Secondly, I have extremely adaptive skin. That is, to me, the real issue with my skin. Products stop being effective after a few months. Yes, I know a true test of skincare is to use it continuously for a month or three and yes, I know skin can change with the seasons. What I experience however, is that I might think I’ve found a decent product, it’s worked perfectly for half a year or more, in that time I might have even used up a full size and repurchased. Then out of the blue, It. Just. Stops. Working. Sometimes there’ll be the pin-pointable factors like climate or my period or too much KFC, but a lot of the time, it’s more like my skin is saying “yeah... is gettin’ boring here, go buy somethin’ new and shiney and slather that all ovah meh”.

On top of all of that, I also suffer from deep sinking, enlarged pores, which is partly linked to heat/humidity but mostly because I received really shitty advice from a so-called facialist during my teens, and she recommended that I regularly squeeze out my blackheads and sebum. Of course I learned too late that this would only worsen the issues with my pores. Now, I have the blackheads issue under control with BHAs and thorough cleansing, but the deep sinking-ness of my pores are more like scarring from the squeezing, and no amount of exfoliation or microdermabrasion has helped. I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about laser treatment for pores, but they all say it’s very painful, and again I’m chicken shit. I'll preserve your sanity by not showing you a closeup of my sun-deprived orange peel skin.

You might have figured, I’ve encountered very few products I might label HG status, and most of them are not skincare items. So please do indulge me in my tumultuous journey to try everything out there, and feel free to give me advice along the way!


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