MY SKIN STORY | PT 3
BY MARIA THATTIL
It’s been two months since Part Two of My Skin Story, and I think I’ve given new meaning to the concept of ‘building suspense.’ Truthfully, I have been very busy. Juggling my corporate and blogging careers is no easy feat, throw a relationship, friendships, a needy dog and exercise into the mix, and I am just getting by without compromising my need for sleep. But I love it, and wouldn’t have it any other way. And because it has been 8 months since commencing on my skin healing journey, I am well versed in the ups and downs and you can rest assured, I’m not advocating for any quick fixes.
In Part Two of my Skin Story, I shared my first meeting with Belinda Hughes - a Melbourne based skin therapist whose entire skin philosophy is building healthy, sustainable skin for life by using organic and natural products and treatments. Since that first facial in September 2018, I have been seeing Belinda for facials regularly every 5-7 weeks where we go through a process using high quality professional products packed full of potent antioxidants.
Every time I see Belinda, we have passionate conversations about the industry and acne - and this constant education enables me to brush through makeup and skincare with a fine toothed comb. As a sufferer of comedonal acne that is triggered by cosmetics, I too used to fall victim to inaccurate claims and deceptive marketing - even after I became a qualified, professional makeup artist back in 2015. The lack of information and regulation is scary, simply put. For my readers and followers, the biggest learning that I would impart is to pick and choose who you trust. Understandably, it’s tricky to navigate what is genuine and what is sponsored. Every day, I see ‘influencers’ and self-professed ‘beauty experts and bloggers’ advocate for brands that have all the right buzzwords in their marketing collateral that you would want to hear. Natural. Organic. Hypo-Allergenic. Detox. Superfoods.
I have seen them post about these brands, using these buzz words in their captions and reviews after trying the product for a few days and essentially rewriting in their captions, the same statements that the brands have included on their blurbs. It is hardly a trustworthy, expert testimonial if it is just a regurgitation of what the brand has claimed. You need to consume ads with a grain of salt and be extra careful when it comes to skincare. Because the reality is, if you have acne prone, hyper-sensitive skin, you need to find one brand that works for you and stick to it. And if you see an influencer or blogger claiming to suffer from the same skin issues, but also posting multiple brands and claiming that they help with said issues, it’s likely that something isn’t adding up and the integrity of the post should be questioned.
Acne prone, hyper-sensitive skin is going to react to cheap, low-quality formulations. Not all natural, organic ingredients are good for your skin. In fact, some can actually cause blockage of the pores or strip your skin causing inflammation. Educate yourself, and choose wisely.
As a young woman, my experience with acne is fairly recent, and began when I was 23. I managed to navigate my teens with clear, unblemished skin, but three years ago, started experiencing redness, irritation, congestion beneath the skin and periodic breakouts. Hormonal activity was a contributing culprit, and bi-annual blood tests have proven that I occasionally suffer from hormonal imbalances which serve as a trigger. However, the bigger culprit is cosmetics and skincare. I didn’t know the risk of being uninformed of what I was putting on my face. Adult acne in women is growing in prevalence, and it is my opinion that this is the result of increased use of unsafe cosmetics and skincare. I now frequently consult with Belinda and a licensed aesthetician in Chicago - Mayra Puma - on what brands are acne-safe, and I regularly share them on my Instagram.
Working with Belinda, Mayra and Rococco Botanicals, my corrected skincare regimen has brought out the congestion in my skin in a transitional phase, enabled my skin to slowly balance itself out and restored it’s health. Roccoco Botanicals (RB) is the skincare brand that SAVED MY SKIN. When Belinda told me she hadn’t seen anything like it in the market – I didn’t know whether to be concerned or in awe. 8 months in, the latter was justified. RB does not believe in using peels or Benzoyl Peroxides to treat acne in-salon. Their philosophy is to keep the skin barrier in tact and selectively using anti-inflammatory active ingredients.
My new regimen is detailed below (Cleanser - Exfoliant - Vitamin C Serum - Moisturiser), what I use and how I use it.
1 - PORE CLEANSING OIL
What is it?
A cleansing oil that removes impurities, pollution, makeup, and congestion from the skin.
Contains a balance of polar and non-polar lipids to remove waxy resides in the skin.
Removes all makeup - waterproof included.
How is it used?
AM/PM - I apply 2 pumps of the oil to my face and massage it into my skin for 2-3 minutes. Massaging the oil enables me to soften and remove impurities in my skin, stimulate circulation and get lymphatic fluid moving out of my skin to reduce puffiness.
After the massage, I wash it off with warm water.
2 - PURIFYING TREATMENT ESSENCE
What is it?
A toning spray that contains a White Willow Bark (a natural form of Salicylic Acid).
Gently exfoliates skin and keeps pores unclogged without irritating or stripping the skin.
How is it used?
AM/PM - Post cleanser, I spray this onto a cotton pad and wipe it onto my dry face.
3 - CLARIFYING C SERUM
What is it?
A Vitamin C serum designed specifically to unclog pores, reduce pigmentation and reduce the appearance of red marks.
Contains ceramides to keep the skin supple and hydrated.
How is it used?
AM/PM - Post essence, I apply 1-2 pumps of this gently onto the skin as I would a moisturiser.
The formula is dark in colour but applies translucent.
4 - DECONGESTING POREFECTION CREAM
What is it?
Designed for oily and break-out prone skin, applies with a matte finish so it is comfortable to wear.
Antibacterial moisturiser to keep skin hydrated and eradicate impurities.
Contains a natural form of retinol to encourage healthy turnover of skin to keep the surface smooth. It has really helped reduce the appearance of comedones on my skin.
How is it used?
AM/PM - I apply 1-2 pumps of the moisturiser onto my skin. Suitable to be applied under makeup - even for oily/combination skin types.
My regimen has been very consistent for the past 8 months and it has been effective to find products that suit my particular need. It is worth noting that there are products within the RB range that are better suited to different types of skin and different skin conditions. Before self-medicating and deciding to use the products I outlined above, I highly recommend that you see an esthetician or contact the brand directly to inquire about what they would recommend for you.
Healing acne is a journey. Depending on the kind of acne you suffer from, you might find that the healing journey isn’t a linear, upward trajectory. For me, I still have periods where I incur breakouts, or increased comedones in the texture of my skin, and it can be the result of a hormonal imbalance, sampling and reviewing new products or periods of stress, poor eating and lack of sleep. The way I deal with inflamed, irritated skin is to minimise my cosmetic use, drink lots of water and stick to my strict regimen - and my skin always clears up within a one to two week period.
The experience of acne can be debilitating - physically, emotionally and mentally. But it is my belief that thorough education, patience and investing in quality skin care is key to initiating your healing journey. Acne is personal, it affects people differently and there are different forms of it - the one thing that is common to acne sufferers is that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you. If you are an acne-sufferer reading this, I hope that sharing my experience has helped you.
Whilst my Skin Story Series is formally at a close, I will continue to document and talk about skin and skincare on the blog and share new learnings, education and experiences with you. Transparency and honesty is what I promise you.