My skin journey has been a long and rocky one, and by no means is it over yet.
In the seventh grade, I developed major scarring and discoloration on my face, caused by my spending hours in front of the mirror after school, popping the hell out of teenage breakouts with dirty hands. I would try and pop even the smallest little bump on my face. I was addicted to seeing that white crap come out of my pores. TMI, but let’s face it, you know you love it, too. After torturing my skin day in and day out, I would suffer from intense hyper pigmentation. Yikes! It was a messy, messy cycle.
I was suddenly uncomfortable in my own skin, horrified with the way I looked, and yet I couldn’t stop picking. I would wear a thick layer of foundation to school every day, and feared the possibility of anything or anyone touching my face; the slightest touch could wipe away any foundation and expose my scars.
One good day, after all this time fussing and picking, I decided: “This isn’t an existence. I need to fix this!”
I was the only one who could change my situation – no one else could fix my skin for me but me. I wanted better skin, so I had to fight my urges to pick. Point blank. After school, when I’d get home around 4 PM and finish my afternoon snack, I’d grab my little Dell laptop and Google “how to make pimples go away” (LOL). Unfortunately, at that age, I was pretty gullible. I’d believe almost anything I read. I would put any and all drug store products on my face in the hopes that one would make my skin miraculously heal. My dad would cave easily if I asked him to take me to CVS to get a new pimple cream. Was he happy to spend another $16 on a spot treatment? No… but he saw and respected how adamant I was about exploring my path to clearer, healthier skin. Shout-out to supportive fathers!
When I got to high school, I took my skin care routine to a new level: masking. I loved ripping open one of those cheap little individual packets of goo and smear it on myself the second I got home from school. I’d essentially leave it on until dinner to prevent myself from picking my face. The second I would reach for my pimples, the mask would act as a barrier between my fingers and my pimply target. My brother would crack jokes about my different blue and green face masks - every day was a new color, a new solution. Soon, my senior year of high school arrived, and I was preparing to leave for college. Little did I know that once I moved to New York, my skincare knowledge and arsenal would grow by leaps and bounds.
As you may have read in other articles, I got my true skin care start when I interned at NYLON Magazine. The Beauty Editor at the time and I struck such an immediate bond, and I’ll forever feel grateful for her willingness to answer any and all of my skin care questions. If I was lucky, she would give me a product that she got sent doubles of, or that she had already tested! My jaw would literally drop to the ground when she would hand me high-end products for breakouts. After years of trial and error, I’d salivate just at the thought of one miracle product saving my skin.
Now, as I’ve grown comfortable with my knowledge and experience, I have a new approach. I treat breakouts with a clay mask or tea tree oil, all while keeping my fingers crossed so I won't touch my face. I’ll occasionally pick- it’s a difficult and tiresome habit to break. I try my best. I also came to learn that liquid exfoliants and acids, (yes acids heheh) are a beautiful weapon... More on that below. ;)
Everyone’s face is different, and finding the right products that work for you is a time-consuming journey with lots of experimentation. It’s impossible to get it right the first time, and as we grow and change, our skin will have different needs. It’s a long road, but well worth the trek.