That’s how bad I looked when I was in college.
My face was oily, splotched with red marks here and there, spotted with scars and acne.
I wish I could say my disastrous face was the result of long overnights finishing school projects.
But the truth is, it was all caused by my excessive vanity.
I was born with fairly good skin that was just a little oily.
But I was discontented with how I looked and I became so addicted to trying everything and anything I saw on those TV commercials that promised to give you that glowing, smooth, white and clear skin.
I tried one product after the other hoping to look like those flawless commercial models who always seem to have such rosy cheeks.
Until one day, I looked in the mirror and I was shocked to find a pimply-faced girl staring back at me.
People who saw me would exclaim in disbelief, “What happened to your face?!”
I was devastated. All of a sudden, I longed to have my old face back. It was far from flawless but at least it was clear.
I learned the hard way but I learned the lesson well: Beauty comes from simplicity.
After my self-created disaster, I resolved to go back to basics and simplify my beauty regimen. And it has worked for me ever since.
Every time I become tempted to try a new beauty product, I remind myself of that pimply faced girl in the mirror and I stop in my tracks.
Since I’ve recovered, I’ve maintained my great skin all these years and some have asked me what I’ve done to achieve it.
Of course, different skin types have varying needs and what I did may not produce the same results for everybody. But I’d like to share them with you just the same.
1. Wash your face sparingly.
Since I had such oily skin, I used to wash my face three to four times a day thinking that it would get rid of the oiliness. What I didn’t realize was each time, I was stripping my skin of essential moisture causing my oil glands to go crazy. As a result, my skin suffered from the oil overdrive and pimples popped all over my face
Now I just wash my face twice a day, once in the morning and once before I go to sleep. When my skin gets oily in the middle of the day, I just use some good ol’ tissue or oil blotting paper to get rid of the excess oil.
2. Follow the three-step beauty regimen: cleanse, tone and moisturize.
I used to scrub my face clean everyday and then pile on the astringent or the toner. I always skipped the moisturizing part because I thought that since my face was already oily, putting on moisturizer would just make it worse.
But then I learned that each step had a purpose.
Unless you apply heavy make-up everyday, you can cleanse your face with just facial foam or facial soap. Ease up on the facial scrubs and just use them twice a week. Over-scrubbing leads to drying, oil glands go crazy… you get the picture.
Some of the best facial washes I’ve used were from L’Oreal Pure Zone and Dove. The scrubs that worked best for me were from L’Oreal’s Pore Minimizing line and Olay. But the best (and the cheapest) product that really did it for me was the Squalene soap. It was the only soap I used when I was first starting to treat my acne and it worked really well. It used to be a staple in my bathroom but it was quite hard to find it in the grocery so I used other facial washes eventually. But whenever I find these Squalene soaps, I stock up on them and use them for both my face and my body.
I used to skip toners when I get really lazy until I learned what their important purpose is. Toners help to clean up the remaining impurities that your cleanser didn’t wash away and to restore the balance of your skin. The best ones I’ve tried were from L’Oreal and Nivea. Now I’m using the one from Face Shop’s Arsainte line.
The last and most important step of course is to to restore the skin’s moisture. The key lies in choosing the best moisturizer that suits your skin type. Most skin care products indicate whether it’s good for dry, oily or combination skin. Since I had oily skin, I chose moisturizers that felt light on my face, were easy to apply and were smooth to touch.
For the longest time, I’ve been loyal to L’Oreal’s Skin Refiner moisturizer. I tried the new Olay Total Effects when it came out in the market, but it felt too heavy on my skin so I switched back to L’Oreal. But then I found Face Shop’s Arsainte line. I’ve been using it for months now and I think I might be an Arsainte convert for good.
3. Remember to moisturize the skin around your eyes.
The skin around the eyes is one of the most neglected parts of the face. When I started getting serious about my beauty regimen, I made it a point to always use an eye cream. Eye creams can be really expensive especially with all those anti-wrinkle variants around. Personally, I’ve been using Nivea’s Q10 eye cream and it seems to work fine. I can’t say that it has caused my wrinkles to disappear because I started using eye cream even when I still had no wrinkles. But I can say that it has helped prevent a lot of lines around my eyes.
Trial and error beauty
I got great skin through trial and error of different skin products. With the slew of different beauty products today making all these promises and showing such well-crafted MTVs and commercials, it becomes so confusing to choose which one really works.
But what I learned for sure is that it doesn’t matter how expensive or how popular a brand is. You’ve got to try it for yourself to find out if it works. And once you find what works for you. stick with it. You don’t even have to buy every product from one skin care line or brand. You can mix and match as long as it does good for your skin.
A word of caution though: if you’ve got a severe case of acne due to genetics or hormonal imbalance, it becomes a whole different story. Of course it’s best to consult a genuine dermatologist who can prescribe proper medication or the best acne treatments for your specific condition.
It may be tempting to skip a visit to the derma thinking it will save you the unnecessary expense. But self-medication may cost you even more if it backfires on you.
My final beauty tip: just be happy and nurture your inner beauty.
A happy disposition always helps to ensure a lovely face.
I learned that the more I obsessed and stressed about how my skin looked, the more pimples showed up. So I took it easy and just followed my skin regimen as best as I could.
Instead of worrying about how I looked (or what other people thought about how I looked), I shifted my focus from the superficial to the internal. I opted to nurture my inner beauty by building my self-confidence, exploring my other interests and just becoming the best version of myself.
Until one day, before I knew it, I looked at the mirror and saw that my skin was as clear and healthy as before.
I said “Goodbye, pimple face!” for good and said “Hello!” to the simply beautiful me.