I don’t think I ever was or ever will be completely satisfied with the state of my skin. I was the person who the dermatologists assured at sixteen that the acne party on my face will stop when I reach twenty. When that didn’t happen, I was told that the breakouts will magically settle when I got married. Before that auspicious occasion in my life, I was diagnosed polycystic and that was my bittersweet Aha! moment. I finally knew that I could blame my ovaries for my mostly flared up appearance, but I also couldn’t do much about it.
I am fighting a constant battle with PCOS and insulin resistance and have enough scars on my face to tell that tale. Even at the age of thirty five, I suffer from the occasional painful, cystic breakout. And while the best way to keep a clear skin is to exercise, eat clean and drinks lots of water, we all know that it is not something we enjoy doing. Blaming your genetics is much easier, so that’s what I do.
Over the last few years, I have been seriously inclined to taking care of my skin. And since fighting acne has become second nature to me, my main concern now is premature ageing and that is what I always focus on when researching or shopping for skincare. So quite unfairly, I always overlook the products I permanently have in my stash, which to some extent, help me when I breakout, prevent acne or keep me looking good and hydrated. I have had these products for so long that I have stopped thinking about them, yet I can’t survive without any of them. I am so used to these products that I even forget to mention them when discussing skincare with friends and family. So today I decided to celebrate these groundbreaking products that are an essential part of my skincare regimen but are also a victim of my oversight.
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
I suffer from clogged pores around my chin area and that is also where I mostly get acne. I also have uneven texture around both sides of my chin which annoys me more than I can ever rant. This Charcoal Mask from Origins acts like a magnet to pull out gunk and toxins from the pores of your skin. I have been using it for almost two years now and I see a significant difference in my chin area after every use. I wouldn’t say that it has permanently fixed my texture issues, but I can see a visible improvement in the way my skin feels and makeup goes on right after I have used this mask. Since it dries out the rest of my face, I use it as a target treatment on only the areas that look clogged and I think it has helped keep breakouts at bay. I try to use it once a week on the weekends or before a special occasion. I wet my face, apply a thin layer of the mask, wait for it to completely dry and then wash it off in the shower or with warm water and a wash cloth. This is a must-have product for me and I think this tube will last me a very long time.
Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil
The Clarins Blue Orchid Oil has a very firm position in my skincare, yet I always forget about it when I travel and end up mentally kicking myself for the oversight. Essentially this is a rebalancing oil for dehydrated skin. It restores moisture in the skin and gives it a radiant, healthy appearance. For me, this oil has been instrumental in repairing my skin from the terrible condition it was in a few years ago. And while it might sound horrific to use oil on acne prone skin, the way it works is by rebalancing the hydration content in your skin which prevents your pores from secreting excess oil and causing acne. I used it every day for a year during my bad skin days and saw great results. Now that my skin doesn’t breakout as much as it used to, I use this oil once every few days, especially after I have used the Origins Charcoal Mask. I also use it mixed in matte foundations to lend some glow to my skin and also as a targeted treatment on any dry patches I get after a spot has healed. This is probably my third bottle of this oil and I see countless bottles of this in my future.
Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask
As we age, our skin loses its moisture content and elasticity and starts to appear dry and flaky. I have seen my skin type change from oily to combination-dry over the last few years. My forehead and cheeks are very dry and the harsh, desert climate of Riyadh certainly doesn’t help the situation. This soothing and hydrating Cucumber Gel Mask from Peter Thomas Roth is a five star product if you suffer from dehydrated skin, which most of us do. And using it is a treat in itself. It is a cooling gel-like mask that has a very calming effect on the skin. It is gentle enough to be used on irritated skin and active spots. I use it once a week (daughter’s mood permitting) and leave it on for ten minutes before washing it off. My skin feels baby soft after every use and there is an obvious reduction in the dry patches on my skin. I suppose whatever your skin type, you will benefit from this mask. The tub is huge which means you get great value for your money.
La Roche-Posay Effclar Duo (+)
A dermatologist prescribed Effclar Duo (+) to me ages ago when I got terrible acne as a reaction to a product I used. I remember that it really helped calm down my skin back then and I have always had a tube of this in my drawer since that episode. Basically it is an anti-imperfection cream which fights acne and reduces hyper-pigmentation resulting from breakouts. I don’t use it every day, but once a month when my skin is refusing to cooperate or a lone spot decides to make a surprise appearance, I whip this out and use it in place of my moisturizer for a few days. I feel that it calms down the spot, prevents it from infecting the area surrounding it and also helps healing the skin without obvious marks. Who wouldn’t want that?! And unlike other acne treatments that appear determined to scratch off your entire face along with the spots, this one is very gentle and moisturizing. If you suffer from cystic acne on a regular basis, I would recommend that you give the entire Effaclar range a try.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is well known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a small bottle of Tea Tree Oil from The Body Shop in my skincare drawer, but I often forget to mention it to people suffering from breakouts. As soon as I feel a spot coming under the surface of my skin, I apply a drop or two of this oil to the target area. In some cases, it heroically kills the spot before it dares to emerge on the surface of my skin. Otherwise, it heals the spot within a day or two and it subsides without causing any further ugliness on my face. Whether you regularly breakout or not, every girl should have tea tree oil in her skincare stash, because as we all know, spots have a tendency to make a sudden appearance when a special occasion is approaching and you need to look flawless.
Flexitol Heel Balm
Yes, I know, this is not about my spotty face. I am not as obsessed with my face as this post is making me appear to be. I also worry about other parts of my body, like my feet. If you have ever lived in a desert climate, you will know how terribly dry your heels can get. And the only way to combat this extreme dryness is to lather your feet in a thick cream and cover them with socks for all of eternity. I can’t, for the life of me, wear socks for more than a few minutes. As a result of this my heels are perpetually dry and cause my pedicurist to shake her head in disappointment at every visit. My sister brought the Flexitol Heel Balm for me from Canada (yes, I had to get international aid) and she promised that if I used it regularly, it will get rid of the elephant like skin on my heels in a few days. She was not exaggerating, it is really very effective. Even more so if you cover your feet in socks for no more than thirty minutes after applying this balm. I will admit that I forget it to use it most days because my showers are mostly a mad dash while my daughter is watching TV. But when my feet start to look terrible or I am afraid of what my pedicurist will say, I use this balm for a few days and see great results.
Based on my long history with skincare trial and error, I can say that these are all good, well rounded products and you don’t necessarily have to have acne (or scaly feet) to use them. For the most part, they help keep your skin in a good condition and are also great combatants for any unforeseen crisis on your face. Thanks for reading.