I had a skin awakening when I went to South Korea in January. For ten days, I felt surrounded by what I can only describe as the most beautiful skin I've ever seen. Of course, acne exists in Korea, and wrinkles do appear; however, I was fascinated and inspired by the way Korean women take care of their skin.
From what I could see, they use products that are gentle on their skin and they focus much more on taking care of the condition of the skin, rather than drying out the skin with harsh products that we tend to do here. Also, the girls that I stayed with moisturize so well to prevent early wrinkles.
My skin has been a bit of a battle over the past two years or so. Nothing major, but I've had constant acne breakouts around my mouth and chin. Until now, I still am not sure what is causing it. I had quite good skin growing up; I never imagined I would have acne in my mid-twenties! I have been to see a couple of doctors (seven) with very little success - one doctor told me to go home, and I quote "eat chocolate" because food doesn't make any difference.
Enough of that! On to products that I use.
- Finacea (Azelaic Acid Gel, 15%) -
This was prescribed by a naturopath about two months ago. He was right when he told me that it's quite a strong product and it will make your skin red and sore, but after a month or so your skin will adjust. I was silly the first time I used it because I put a layer all over the lower half of my face and Mamma Mia! it burned! After about three weeks I was also getting extremely dry lips, but I noticed that my skin was really starting to clear up... So I stopped using it. Of course, two weeks later all hell broke loose again. This time round I have pushed through the pain, sore lips and very dry/flakey skin and I feel like I am starting to reach the other side. It still itches a bit, but I use a cotton bud and only put a dab on the spots that I have. My face is quite red, but the size and amount of breakouts have decreased. You have to bear in my mind that Finacea draws everything up, so for a few weeks you will have a lot of whiteheads, which makes me feel extremely conscious. I'll update in a few weeks!
- Weleda - Almond Soothing Facial Cream -
This is my newest addition to the family. It was recommended to me by my friend Aurora. It is fairly heavy, so use it with a light hand. The smell is very mild, only a hint of nuttiness. I got mine on special for $23 at Victoria's Health Store on Hornby Street.
- Clinique - Oh, Clinique Clinique Clinique... -
How I love and hate you at the same time. I want to believe in you because your 3 step system is so alluring, your bottles so pretty and you're French... but, you are also full of crap.
I had been using the 'Take the Day off' for about two months. Take the Day off has a balmy texture, and I literally was sitting on the sofa massaging this into my face throughout an entire episode of Call the Midwife. I took if off with a hot flannel and then I use the moisturizer. I like it, but after reading the ingredient list after two months, I'm not sure I want to keep on using it. Although the name is interesting, and a good example for teaching English! Phrasal Verbs... 'take off''.
- Michael Todd -
I've blogged about them before. They do not contain any parabens or triclosan, phthalates or sulphates, mineral oil, artificial colour or synthetic fragrance!! And, drum roll... not tested on animals. The Charcoal Detox cleanser looks scary, but it will leave your skin really comfortable and squeaky clean. The Kaolin Clay mask is also so so so good. After I use it, my skins is less red and very calmed. The Jajoba Charcoal Facial Scrub is designed for acne prone skin. I think the reason this is good for bumpy skin is because the granuals are not really sharp. You can rub this gently over the dry areas and it doesn't hurt. I only use it maybe once or twice a week.
- Kiehl's Skin Brightening Exfoliator -
This is the scrub I was using pre acne breakouts. Now, it is too irritating.
- Dermalogica - The Gentle Cream Exfoliant -
This is by far my favourite product. It has highly-active levels of lactic acid and salicylic acids, which sounds intense, but from what I've read, acids developed for the skin are the way to go. You leave this stuff on for 15 minutes, it tingles a bit, but it's not uncomfortable. The acids will eat away at all the nasty dead skin, and then you wash it all off. Your foundation will sit so nicely on your skin after using this. I would absolutely but this again.
- Arbonne - Intelligence Genius Nightly resurfacing pads -
Now, these are interesting. I had never used this brand before, but I was very drawn to these. You pour the little bottle of lotion over the pads and then you swipe them over your cleansed face at night time. They speed up your cell turnover, which can help with scarring and such. They leave your skin feeling so smooth and moisturized. They were pretty pricey, not sure if I would buy them again, but I like to try!
- La Roche-Posay -
I never quite know what I think about this brand. For me, it's the brand you turn to when you don't mind paying a bit more for something good. I have three products that I've bought in skin breakdown sessions. First off, the Compensating Soothing Moisturizer. I bought this as it is designed for skin made fragile by over-drying skin care. It is moisturizing, so I'd say it does what it says. Next is the Soothing Repairing Balm. This is for an array of skin maladies, for me it kind of leaves a dry film on the skin. I think this would be good on bites or chapping, but for my very dry acne, it's not something I reach for very often. Lastly, the Thermal Spring Water. this was a freebie with the balm. I don't get this. It's fancy water. I put it on and I don't notice anything. I think it would be nice at the beach to cool off your face.
- Castor Oil -
I've been reading about this oil for almost a year now and so I finally bit the bullet (I'm starting to run out of bullets!) and I bought it. It is a master oil at getting into your pores and drawing dirt and impurities up to the surface. You should mix it with another oil first, I used EVOO (Shoutout to Rachel Ray). You have to massage it into your skin, and then use a warm cloth to remove it. I also did a face steam and afterwards, and I promise I'm not lying, my face was a bit gritty from all the stuff that comes out. You shouldn't do this too often, but I think 2-3 times a week would be fine.
- Vitamin E Oil -
The reason I bought this was for scaring. I am so concerned about the marks that acne can cause, so I apply vitamin E oil to the affected areas usually every other night. The other nights I use argon Oil. Vitamin E oil also makes my fingernails beautiful!
- Apple Cider Vinegar -
I use about a 60% water to 40% apple cider vinegar mix in a spray bottle as a toner. Apparently it is good for ph balance. Who knows, I also love the smell.
- The Smim by The Face Shop -
This was a Korea purchase. My friend Hyomi recommended it. I usually only put on a layer at night. The metal tip is so cooling under your eyes. Not sure how good it is... I don't have very puffy eyes anyway, but I think it is important to keep the area hydrated.
In Korea, I also tried a brand called Laneige - I really wish I had bought the full sizes because these moisture samples (I had about 20!) are really lovely. Definitely Gangnam style.
- Make up For Ever - Mat Velvet + -
This was a disappointing foundation. Not because it is bad, but this foundation is really matifying, which is is good if you need extra oil absorption, but that is exactly the opposite of what I need. This is also one of the few foundation that is light enough for me, but even this is a bit too white.You have to work quickly with it, and I find that if you use a bigger blob (excuse the scientific vocabulary) you give yourself a bit more time to blend it in before it sets. I was convinced I had oily skin but I guess I don't!
Right now I have started using the Vichy + Dermablend cream foundation, but it has only been a week so I can't really say much. It's beautiful and I think I've found a good way to use it, but I'll do another post on that.
That's it for my skincare. I am sure this is very boring for a lot of people! Sorry about that! I will also say that most of the picture I put on my blog... honestly I cover up my acne with the editing programme. Nothing else, just blur the colour because nobody needs to see it! My dream is to have really clear skin by May 9th, my wedding day!