Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Best Skincare Tips I've Ever Learned - The Philosophical

In the last post, I discussed the best practical tips I had learned about skincare in my almost five years of blogging and three years of commitment to a variety of trial-and-error skincare routines. In that time, my knowledge on the topic has increased exponentially - as well as my realisation that it will never be enough and something that I will always have to read up on more. However, one of the things that has changed the most in that time is my attitude towards skincare and my skin itself.

I used to think of skincare as a battlefield and my skin as a foe that was always out to defy me - something I had to best. Having imperfect skin stressed me out intensely as, foolishly, I thought that once I was no longer a teen, my problems with my skin would end. Imagine my shock and horror when this hypothesis was quickly debunked and proven to be 100% not true.

Admittedly, I've never had terrible skin. In fact, in retrospect, I actually fared rather well compared to many of my peers. But, as the case is with many of us, the bar I set for acceptable for myself and for others was quite different. Imperfection has never been good enough for me and, yet, I am incredibly flawed by standards even less strict than my own and, so, I've always felt lacking. My skin was just one thing I could focus on with the belief that I could, and would, improve it. Or, rather, I would perfect it.

And, so, I did silly things. I nicked the prescribed creams and face washes that my brother may not have been bothered using but had, in no uncertain terms, not been suggested to me by a doctor. I attacked any blemish with tea tree oil, zit creams and treatments, again and again, day after day, willing them to go away. It was a constant battle. When one batch would heal, hormonal shifts would ensure another quickly followed. Even when it stung, even when constant use of those creams desensitized a part of my face and left me with severe pins and needles for a fortnight, even when I thought the better of it - I attacked my skin in pursuit of perfection.

Of course, the stress that this all caused was utterly counter-intuitive and one of the worst things I could have done to my skin (stress is a big cause of breakouts). But I couldn't stop seeking perfection.

Then, I don't know how or remember quite when, I had an epiphany, a Eureka moment. It may have been while reading about skincare, I'm not sure. But I realised that skin is delicate and fighting fire with fire was just going to burn everything down. So, I stopped. I treat breakouts, sure, but I actually rarely use targeted blemish treatments anymore. Instead, I try to make sure that my skin is moisturised, isn't irritated and is happy with me. And the funny thing? The blemishes heal faster than they did with any spot cream - even with the noticeably slower turnover rate of skin renewal that I now have at twenty-five.

Hands down, the best product? Sudocrem. That magic gem of our childhoods. Soothes, heals, protects. All those buzzwords meant to sell the product to parents worried about nappy rash and bumps and bruises? Turns out that our skin likes them too - who would have guessed?

Skin isn't our enemy. Blemishes aren't the end of the world. Perfect skin doesn't actually exist. Imperfection is okay. Keep these things in mind and you'll be fine. I know my skin is clearer and happier for it.

I'm never going to have "perfect" skin and that's okay. I'll probably always have blemishes that even makeup can't cover fully.


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