Let’s face it, no one has it all figured out the first time they explored skincare. Did we really know exactly what to do the first time we saw a zit pop up (mine was on the forehead)? Well chances are, we don’t! We relied perhaps mostly on an adult or someone more experienced to help us out. During my prepubescent time, internet was not really as what it is now. Information was not as accessible as it is now; I did not get to search, say, what aestheticians and dermatologists think about the dermaroller. Or, how long should I leave my enzyme mask on? Or is this XX clay mask suitable for oily skin?
We’re lucky to have the vast skincare information on the internet and we are mostly wise enough to weed out the unreliable ones and trust only the legit and dependable ones. Skincare knowledge is also available via social media platforms with much room for discussions and references. Well, let’s not drag this further and see which 4 beauty mistakes I made in my skincare journey!
I used to be a teenager with really, really oily skin. My first zits popped up when I was in Standard 5 and they got worse and worse from there. By fifteen, my face was like the surface of the moon – hideously bumpy and terribly grained. The boys in my class called me ‘Bulan’! So mean right! I hated it to the bone but I did not know what to do about it except cry my heart out into my pillow every damn night and cleanse my dirty “moon” face over and over again. I cleansed my face in the morning, in the afternoon after school, in the evening before going to the night prep class, and at night before I went to bed. I still remember it, it was the small blue Clean & Clear Gel Cleanser bottle I used. I cleansed and cleansed and wondered why lord, why was my face still oily?!
No one ever told me that I had stripped off my skin’s moisture too vigorously so my skin secreted even more sebum to regulate the moisture. Neither have I access to any books, the internet, or any reliable knowledgeable person to let me know that there is such thing as over-cleansing! Over-cleansing is when you wash your face too frequently. You’ll know you’re over-cleansing when your skin feels tight, squeaky clean, and/or your skin is getting even more oily. Well, if you’re a teenager and was feels hopeless about your oily skin, I do hope you read this and never do what I did, ever. “Over-cleansing can lead to ruining your skin’s lipid barrier and strip your skin of its natural oils”, said Dr Ronald Moy, dermatologist and founder of DNA Renewal. Now at the age of 30, I cleanse my face two or three times a day, sometimes less but never more. I also learned to look for ingredients that suit my then oily skin and I was glad I found these cleansers:
I was so glad to have found two cleansers below that really suit my skin. Though for now, I no longer use the Salicylic Acid cleanser as my skin type has changed from oily to combination skin type.
2. Not Enough Hydration
I never really believed in moisturizers when I was a teenager, not until sometime in 2014 or so when I came across an article saying that acne can be caused by dehydration too (it was a long long time ago and I can’t really recall which article, but God bless the writer!). Ever since then, I started looking for water based moisturisers and the ones that states “for oily skin”.
These days, we are more aware of the basics of skincare and we hear “hydration is the key” almost everywhere. We know to look for humectants, emollients, hyaluronic acid and so on and so forth. We also know about TEWL (Trans-Epidermal Water Loss) which according to Lexli, is “the loss of water from the skin to the environment”. This happens when water passes from the dermis through the epidermis and evaporates from the skin’s surface, causing your skin to lose water and gets dehydrated or dry out which can affect your skin barrier. The effects of TEWL can be heightened due to environmental extremes (e.g. low humidity and/or low temperatures – which is why dry skin is so prevalent in the winter), when the integrity of the skin is compromised (e.g. sunburn, skin conditions, injury, etc.) and also from topically applied products that dry out the skin. This happened to me when I was using acne treatment products and other sebum-regulating products which can be drying and increases water loss from my skin. Now this is where hydration and moisture come in to play. We can minimise TEWL by using hydrating products and mosturisers to seal in the hydration. These are the two moisturisers I have been using religiously as for now:
3. Not Removing Makeup/Sunscreen Properly
I am sure that everyone of you are familiar with double cleansing, but sadly, teenage me did not. I always knew that I have to remove my makeup properly, there is no question about that. But I only knew that I have to remove my sunscreen the same way a few years ago. No wonder I was struggling with acne for so many years, I haven’t been cleansing my skin properly! Oh my poor clogged and congested pores! Back in those years, we only heard of makeup remover wipes and oil cleansers. It is only recently that our options are widened and the market offered us micellar waters, cleansing waters, cleansing balm, cleansing sherbets and more. Here are some of the first cleansers I liked and won’t burn a hole in my pocket:
4. Not Reapplying Sunscreen
Ahhh a classic mistake! I used to be obsessed with getting the highest SPF sunscreens thinking that the higher the SPF, the stronger the sun protection it provides! How silly was I, right? Well according to Kimberly Mallett, research associate in the Penn State Prevention Research Center, SPF stands for sun protection factor. But that only specifically indicates the protection against the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that causes sunburn.
“Imagine that your skin normally begins to burn after 10 minutes in full sun without any protection. A 30 SPF sunscreen would provide 30 times the protection of no sunscreen.
That means 30 times longer before you start to burn, or in this case, 300 minutes. That’s five hours, so one application should do it for the day, right? Not so fast, says Mallett. She recommends reapplying sunscreen “every one to two hours when outdoors, especially if swimming or sweating a lot. Even if the sunscreen has a SPF of 100, claims to be sweatproof, waterproof, and provides all-day protection, it needs to be reapplied to provide optimal protection.”
Now, I always remember to use an appropriate amount of sunscreen in my AM routines. I usually use two and a half fingers length since I have a big face. I also apply sunscreen to my hands and arms. There is debate about how much sunscreen you should put on but I guess you should factor in your face size, the texture of the sunscreen, etc. Anyway, for me what’s important is that you reapply your sunscreen, okay? I used to loathe the whole process because reapplying sunscreen means I have to remove my makeup and reapply everything again. But now, more brands are coming out with sunscreen sprays. I have one now and it makes everything a whole lot easier! Check out some sunscreen sprays below:
I have a couple more beauty mistakes that I have committed along the journey but I am coming up with another article because that one is going to be more specific and include what products that I have used and would recommend to you guys. I figured I shoudn’t dump everything here in case I put you to sleep by reading my super lengthy article hehe. As for now, thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: all products linked here are based on personal thoughts. Of course YMMV applied here and you should choose which suits your skin best because not every skin is the same.