Let me start by saying, the pressure is real and EVERYONE wants to actually be a 100% on top of their game.
And for some reason, this brings a lot of joy to my heart. Gone are the days when skin care and “beauty” was solely reserved for ladies who wanted to look good for .. (insert what you’re used to hearing in this case). Now, men are hopping on and paying more attention to their skin as well.
Also, quick disclaimer: these are the things that worked for me. If you have tried to no avail, I would strongly recommend seeing a dermatologist.
Trigger warning, I’ll be sharing images that some might find uncomfortable to look at (acne, chicken pox blisters, enlarged pores).
I’ve shared some skin related posts a number of times here , here and here and some more back in the day but its funny how they still apply. Especially this one about “The Skin Underneath The Glam” and I think it could be a good read to see where I was coming from and how far I’ve come.
Let’s have a bit of story time shall we?
I have oily, sensitive skin and for the longest time, my skin has always seemed to have a mind of its own.
From having allergies and terrible flare ups (still do but I’ve learnt and am still learning ways to control this), to having terrible acne in puberty that people loved pointing out; hello junior school bullies, to hormonal acne, to NYSC camp life and then to top the cake, I had chicken pox in 2018. I wondered constantly, who did I offend in my past life? Can’t a girl just thrive without all this wahala?
In the puberty phase, there were friends and family who, because they didn’t know better, thought the solution to my constant acne was to pop them each time they popped up (pun intended). And you guessed right, I was gifted acne scars that till date have refused to move on in life.
A brief visual aide to show you what I’m talking about;
From my early teenage years till I was about 16/17, I tried about everything in the book. From “nixoderm” to “skineal” to “funbact A”, it’s a wonder my skin didn’t pack up on me.
I also saw some doctors back in the day and the solution I was given was steroids; both oral and topical, that was it. Imagine for a moment what that would come with in terms of impact on health.
I’ll admit it did the job, for a while, until I got resistant to the dosage and had to keep making gradual increases till I had enough.
In 2016, I finally found a dermatologist who wasn’t determined to pump my body with more steroids but actually listened to my complaints and gave me steroid free treatment and educated me on the basics we all often overlook.
Along this journey, I can’t begin to count the number of times I shared the journey and responded to the messages that were filled with questions like; “what’s your secret?” “how is your skin this good?” etc. When in all honesty, it’s not as “good” as it could be. I’m left with scars from acne, chicken pox and I still battle with acne that comes with periods, ovulation and stress.
Now to the part you’ve all been waiting for, what I did to go from 35% to where I currently am.
Knowing my skin type.
As cliche as that might sound, if you don’t know what category you fall under, choosing products won’t be so easy. Imagine having to prepare for an exam but you have no clue as to what paper you’re meant to write. There’s no way you’ll be able to give it your best shot.
I grew to understand what category my skin fell under thanks to my dermatologist, and looked for routines, DIY’s that would work well with it. I knew what ingredients in products to look out for and how to avoid worsening of flare ups.
So if I need to select products, I make sure they cater to sensitive skin, perfume free and make informed purchases.
If I start to talk now ehn, it’ll be as if I want to shake tables. You can’t expect to put junk and nutrient lacking foods into your body and expect your skin to be #goals.
My instagram clan knows how colorful my plate always is, as I constantly share my kitchen BTS and meal preps in my instastories and even have a food page up at Uyai’s Kitchen.
Some changes I made to my diet included;
– cutting dairy out. I have switched to plant milk and I am not looking back even though, I sometimes crave a good ‘whole cream milk’ in cereal meal every now and then.
– swapping processed carbs to less refined ones. I’m talking whole grain pasta, more oats, wholegrain and seeded bread. Yes, I’m one of “those” people.
– tons of fruit and vegetables.
– watching my fat intake (saturated and trans fat especially).
– and upping my fluids intake!
I’ve put my degree in nutrition to better use for preventive and holistic care, not just in clinical management.
(Shameless plug: you can contact me for meal plans and nutrition consultations at a fee 😉 )
Not only does this help my skin, my health has seen an upgrade too!
This is almost self explanatory and one of the most talked about steps in the history of skincare. I exfoliate physically as the chemical technique doesn’t appeal to me. Yet.
I have stuck to Mayanga scrubs for shy of over 3 years and believe me when I say I’m not looking at switching anytime soon, I’m serious!
I literally love to go into the shower and have a full rubdown with the “honey coco” scrub and come out feeling like “the original baby girl” and topping all of that goodness off with the “Olea” daily skin nectar by Mayanga.
Not to rain on your parade but, when last did you; change your sheets, sanitize your phone screen, wash your make up brushes, change that handkerchief/ face towel that’s permanently in your pocket/ bag?
If you have to think about the answer, then it’s time to point a finger at the person in the mirror.
I make sure these are done weekly and I don’t use handkerchiefs/ face towels because I never really liked them.
Try to include new changes like; hand washing more frequently, cleanse the items that are in direct contact with the skin especially the phone screen and pillow cases.
If you visit my apartment right now, you’ll see the sanitizer that makes it way around, the disinfectant wipes in my kitchenette and bathroom, and my little sanitizer bottles in my bags. Some might think I’m being extra but hey, with the amount of microbial load going round and how antibiotic resistance is climbing daily, I can’t be too safe.
I’m on top of this table. I’m almost always awake till 3am and up by 9am (during holidays). I attend classes on time mummy, I promise.
I remember how my skin would be able to show when I didn’t get any proper rest and people would be asking if I was feeling well or not.
I try to get in at least 6 hours of sleep daily by taking a short nap (when I can) during the day and topping that off at night.
Limit the Experimentation.
I have had my fair share of experimenting as you can tell, but one thing I noticed is that, once I stuck to the products I used for the past years, after 6 months or so I began to see improvement.
I don’t believe/ trust those instant result products that promise results in 7 days or less because, that is absolutely scary. So, wait it out.
If after a month or so you don’t see improvements, you might want to consider seeing a dermatologist.
And that’s all. I hope you see now that I never really had any “secrets”, just consistency and consistency. This skincare game/ journey is not for the faint hearted!
But, recently, I have made a proper routine I follow to the Tee that is like a modification of the 10 step Korean skincare routine that has helped in reducing the eye lines and the overall appearance of my skin. And as a means to get feedback, I’ll send a little summary of my current skin care routine complete with products to you on one little condition;
Leave a comment and let me know what you think?
Or what your routine currently is? etc.
Love and light,