I covet flawless, dewy, acne-free and irritation-free skin like most, if not all, of us do. Over the years, my relationship with my skin has been complicated. As a teenager, I experienced non-intrusive pimples on my face but had severe cystic acne on my body. Sometimes, I would get a cystic pimple that was so big it would be too painful to even move that part of my body. In my early 20s, my skin was obnoxiously well-behaved – it was dewy, clear and presented me with little to no problems. People would often comment on how great my skin looked. Now that I’m in my late 20s, my skin has changed yet again.
Since January 2014, my skin has been dehydrated. A patch of redness/irritation started to develop on my right cheekbone. I figured it was the drastic climate change since I spent a month in Singapore over the break and returned to frigid Vancouver in the new year. I knew my skin was trying to tell me something so I made some lifestyle changes. I started to monitor what I ate (increase in green veggies, lots of water, cutting out unnecessary sugars), spent more time outside, exercised regularly and switched all my products (from my face wash to my laundry detergent) to natural/hypoallergenic alternatives. My new lifestyle definitely increased my energy. I was also less moody and less prone to anxiety (I’ve struggled with anxiety since 11). I even got great news from my optometrist – the degree of myopia in my left eye has been steadily decreasing and my right eye has been stable. However, my skin showed no improvement – it was as dehydrated as ever and the redness has spread onto both cheeks and even further down my right one.
I tried to keep things in perspective – I knew that the condition of my skin didn’t determine my worth as a person. But for all of us who have struggled with skin issues, we know that it still affects you on a emotional level. After all, your face is the first thing that people notice about you so it’s difficult when you have to deal with skin issues and feel less confident about walking around in public. I would fret night after night and I even broke down a few times out of sheer frustration. I wanted so desperately to know what my skin needed.
When my skin refused to clear up even after all the lifestyle changes, I knew that there was a piece of the puzzle I was missing. Eventually, the Boy told me to consult an expert like a facialist (I didn’t go to a doctor or dermatologist at this time because of other reasons I won’t mention here).
I wasn’t raised middle-class (though I do consider myself middle-class at this point of my life) so to me, facials are a luxury of the rich. I was fretting over money but the Boy reassured me that for my own sanity (I was truly at my wits end), I should see if a facialist could help.
I did my research and discovered that Skoah was the top recommendation on Yelp for facials so I took the plunge and set up my appointment. The person over the phone was really friendly and helpful. They scheduled me in right away and answered my questions over the phone.
My experience at Skoah was phenomenal. My facialist told me that I hadn’t been exfoliating which is why my skin was so dehydrated – my pores were clogged and products couldn’t absorb into my skin effectively.
I walked away with a new skincare regime which I’ve diligently followed for the past two months. I’ve had two facials now and since I signed up for a year membership, I have the oppurutnity to go in every month to make sure my face is taken care of. I’m so beyond grateful that my skin woes are mostly fixed. My next appointment is later this month and I’m greatly looking forward to it. It truly is self-care for my skin and mind. (*this is not a sponsored post. I just like them that much*)
As for the redness and irritation, they still persisted. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it until I went for my yearly eye check-up last month and my optometrist told me that my eyes were inflamed and dry due to allergies. Finally, I understood why the skin on my cheeks were irritated. It also made sense why I woke up feeling terrible and sniffing constantly for the past few months. Sure enough, when I went to visit our family doctor later, she told me that the air in Vancouver has been particularly terrible this year because of the long spring we’ve had. I guess my body decided it was time to acclimatize to Vancouver’s four seasons…about 8 years too late.
Overall, I am mostly happy with my skin now. With proper care and exfoliation, my skin is hydrated and looks healthier throughout the day. I still have a persistent rash on my cheeks from seasonal allergies but since I can’t control pollen levels in the air, I try not to fret too much anymore. My facialist recommended a serum to keep redness at bay and it’s been helping slightly. I’ve also been using The Boy’s triaderm prescription which has helped reduced inflammation, itchiness and redness. I do not recommend using random prescriptions but in my case, I researched and patch-tested it before using it in small amounts. The redness on my face is still there but there’s been a significant improvement. I still get allergy rash attacks on my chest and neck but I mostly have it under control now. As for my congested nose, I’ve found that a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a glass of water three times a day helps keep my congestion at bay.
Skin is a living organ and I know that many things affect my skin including water intake, diet, exercise, fresh air and now, seasonal allergies. I still get upset when my skin breaks out or becomes irritated. Even at 25, it is still a struggle for me to consistenly love myself and my body when things are less than perfect. The best thing I can do is continue to eat healthy, exercise and remember that my outside doesn’t affect what makes me great on the inside. After all, true beauty shines from within.
I hope my skincare story helps those of you out there who also experience skin issues – acne, irritation etc etc. Know that you are not alone and that worrying about your skin doesn’t make you vain or self-involved. We all go through health issues and skin issues is just one of many challenges.
Share your skincare story with me if you want! Let me know what challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them.
all my love…syah xo.