Self Care: Your Skincare Routine
Okay so here’s the thing. Self-care sounds all well and good, but you don’t genuinely understand how much god-damn hard work that shit is until you’re too tired to do anything. Skincare, as nice as the advertisements make it sound, sucks just a little.
Ladies, we know this. We understand fads in beauty and fashion, fads in skincare, whatever. You can’t honestly be expected to microdermabrase, glycolic acid peel, dry brush exfoliate, vinegar shine, mani-pedi, anti-age whatever the shit else the magazines come up with ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I can’t even keep my leg hair shaved okay? Keeping up with skincare – even the basic stuff – is genuinely all too hard.
Having said that, the concept of having nice skin is very attractive, especially when your body is working against you. Waking up and looking like a Yeti is exactly no help for anyone’s mental state or self-esteem. Unless that was the look you’re going for, then screw skincare and you do you.
We’ve talked about the spoons theory, and when it comes down to your beauty routine, simple is best – there will be no spending all 12 of your spoons on your skincare routine, no thank you very much.
Here is a very simple breakdown of different (cruelty-free) (I know, I’m sorry) ways you can look after your different, unique type of skin. Of course, they all lean towards simple and long lasting ways of keeping your skin healthy in the long run, and hence maybe slowing the clock a little. Having said that, you should always patch test, watch your skin for allergies and change your routine up every 5 years, as your skin will continually change.
A few general skincare rules
The best thing you can do for your skin is SUNSCREEN. SPF 50 has like .2% more protection than SPF 15, but all the serums in the world won’t undo what sunscreen can prevent.
Buy a good toothbrush. Go to the dentist. Keep your smile nice a white. (Bicarbonate soda + toothpaste once a week/month is a great natural cleaner).
Popping pimples is bad but so fun, so if you’re that person (cough me), make sure you wipe the area with medical grade rubbing alcohol before and after. And again when it stops bleeding.
The skin under your eyes has no muscle underneath it, which is why it’s so delicate. Do not, under any circumstances, rub or scrub at that area. Patting is good, especially with your ring finger, which has a lighter tap than the others.
Finally, never sleep with makeup on. Never.
I personally have very, very sensitive skin. Nothing cheap goes on my face, which sucks absolute balls. Natural ingredients are best for you, and for your bank account. Keeping what you put on your face to a minimum is also a priority. It’s pretty simple – you have sensitive skin, therefore you probably react to a) lots of products and b) lots of product. Make sure you always read the ingredients list before you go buying anything. By general rule of thumb, if what you want has more than 5-7 ingredients that you have no idea about (so, big long science names), then it’s a no-go.
The first thing I would say is having your skin checked out by a doctor. You can do this with your regular doctor, which is totally fine. There is a chance you could have something going on up there – like rosacea or kepular pillarus. I have the latter, and a little bit of prescription treatment from the doc went a long way.
As a general rule, try to stay away from harsh treatments too. Keep your glycolic peeling to a minimum (like once a week kiddies), only tone if you have to and steer clear of massive doses of Vitamin C, A or retinol.
Redness Prone Skin
Well hello! The first thing you need to know here is that there are lots of types of redness-prone skin. KP (the little dots on your arms), rosacea (big red ugly rash) are the most common two. I would recommend seeing a dermatologist for the latter, but the former can certainly be treated by your GP.
General beauty products, I’m sorry, won’t do what a doctor can do. However, there are a few that are relatively effective, calming and will work well with any other topicals you’re putting on your face. If you’re redness prone, you’re probably also super sun sensitive, so keeping your SPF on is a big thing for you.
I used to have really, really oily skin. When I was in high school, I had a fringe, which would get greasy just from my forehead. Gross. I was put on a medication called Roaccutane, which for my little body was a lot, and completely changed the chemistry of my skin. However, when I had oily skin the number one thing was taming the oil.
You want a cleanser, morning and night. Stuff that cream shit, you want a water-soluble, hardcore, wipe-all-the-oil-off cleanser. Then, I’ll forgive you for wanting a toner. You tone the shit out of your skin, go for it. THEN go the pimple treatment. Once that’s dry, sorry, you do have to moisturise. I know that seems stupid, but if you don’t, your skin is just going to try and replace that oil you got rid of.
At night, try a serum, if you feel like you have the energy for it. Not an oil, that would be very silly, you’ll reproduce that overnight. A night cream also helps sometimes, as does a makeup remover – where others can remove makeup and grime with their cleanser, yours should be strong enough that you don’t really want to hit your face twice with it. Try to keep the toner to once a day, you don’t want to stress your skin.
A note: it sucks and you feel like you have more face products than you have hair. All those combination skin hoes are talking about ‘just drink more water!’ I know you want to strangle them. However, the oilier your skin, the better it’s going to age. Just a thought.
Bonus try: RMS un-powder. This stuff is matte as hell and is super good for your skin. It’s a great alternative to a heavy liquid or a Boots/Priceline/Ulta mineral foundation, which are probably causing you problems.
You, my lovely friend, are the bitch no one likes. Wow did you draw the lucky card when it comes to skincare. You have a few dry spots, you occasionally need to exfoliate and your forehead gets a little oily. How rude.
I can be as derogatory as I like about combination skin, but for the very short period in which I transitioned between oily and dry skin, I was so envious. The number one thing you need to address is problem areas and treat them accordingly.
Exfoliating is your best bet for the dry areas on your face. A liquid exfoliator is great for this because it’s tough but it also can be used as a spot treatment, as opposed to the traditional liquids which tend to spread very fast.
For ye-old oily spots, a toner is a good choice, as it clears up most oil for the majority of the day. Don’t overdo it though – if you tone dry areas, it might not be particularly pleasant.
I would be sticking to a cream, wipe of cleanser and a micellar water for your cleansing, just because they’re generally better for your skin in the long term. A normal to dry moisturiser is also great, provided you make sure it’s light enough and SPF.
Go drink your water and deal with your problem areas.
Ah dry skin. Following the blissful days of combination skin, I ended up with dry skin.
Coming from the perspective of oily skin, and having made the transition in just a number of weeks, I was perplexed. My skin was so delicate to anything that went on it, and I had to readdress the issue of drying products. Why you ask? Because everything I owned was drying. So out went the heavy duty cleansers that dried my skin to paper, and in came super moisturising cream cleansers and fine exfoliators. I think I’ve forgotten what toner is like, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have used such heavy moisturiser.
I generally stuck to lightweight moisturiser during the day, but I used a heavy cream at night. Like, heavy heavy. For a while, when my skin was so dry it was peeling, I used a urea cream on my face, and vitamin E cream on my lips.
Remember with dry skin to be careful of your eyes, and to exfoliate gently. Dry skin cells will accumulate fast and dull your complexion. You could also try a light glycolic peel, if that so peaks your fancy.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading this section, you’re probably still school age, and that’s okay. I’m a huge believer in starting young (with skincare, that is) but the first thing you need to know is this: your skin is still changing.
I do not give two shits if you think you’ve got ‘adult acne’. Your body, and by default, skin, is still going through changes and developments – and it’s going to keep doing that until 23. You need to change and reconsider your skincare routine every year – buckle in.
First of all, assess which of the other categories you come under, and you can generally follow those rules. However, if you find that you have excessively dry, excema like skin or hormonal acne (aka mole houses on your face) (aka like me), then a visit to the dermatologist is in order. They’ll help you with more of your problems than any other Clearasil product ever will.
Try to steer clear of heavy retinoids creams until you’re in your twenties, at the very least, as they can be damaging to young skin. Don’t go near microdermabrasion tools yet, and for the love of god, stay away from chemical peels. Also? Box dye is a no-no. Try and do all the good things – bathe (bathe) in sunscreen, all year round, wash your hair every three days, moisturise the backs of your hands. Trust me, you’ll thank me.
So you’ve spent years bathing in sunscreen, you moisturised the back of your hands every day and kept your hair healthy. But unfortunately, your skin is still failing you a little – enter either very expensive surgery (no thanks) or a thorough skincare routine.
The reality of it is, I don’t know how to handle mature skin – I’m not there yet. However, I do love tweaking at my mums routine, so here are the top tips I give to her.
Retinol, Vitamin A and Vitamin C creams are your friends. If you can tolerate them (aka if you don’t have sensitive skin) you can ask your doctor for a medical grade cream, which will work wonders.
You basically need this; a soft, cream cleanser that you don’t wash off, a serum with anti-ageing properties, a light day cream with at least SPF 15 and a heavier night cream. You want to be fairly light with your eye area, and the skin around your eyes has no muscle under it and therefore is very delicate. I like to use my ring finger to pat product in, as it has less muscle force behind it, and therefore is softer by default.
Anything harsh, or used for teenage skin is a no-go. Just don’t do it. Make sure you exfoliate less regularly than you would’ve, as your skin cells are turning over less than they did. A silk or organic pillowcase is also much better on older skin.
Credits to Pinterest for the opening pic, and Cruelty Free Kitty for being the best resource ever