Transforming your skin – Damaged to delicate, dry to dewy
A childhood of being a carefree tomboy, secure in the fact I didn’t care about being a girl or being pretty, I had let myself be baked a solid earthy brown
I used to have pretty bad skin. It would be dry, scaly and bumpy … I’m not talk about skin places that we expect to be a little rougher than normal, but it was my face! A childhood of being a carefree tomboy, secure in the fact I didn’t care about being a girl or being pretty, I had let myself be baked a solid earthy brown until I turned 15.
And then I fell in love.
And then, I truly looked into a mirror and was slightly alarmed by the condition of my skin. The comments at Hong Kong make up counters indicating I had skin of a 30 year old (at 15!) were slightly alarming. It’s been almost 10 years since that fateful period of time, and through many trials, I’ve finally come to fairly harmonious relationship with my skin. It is soft to the touch, delicate in texture and smooth to look at overall. Best of all I keep it in this condition using few expensive products, mainly because they rarely worked for me.
So here, for all who are interested is how I transformed my skin over the years.
#1 Oil is your friend, not your foe
Want to lock in moisture, deliver key vitamins to your skin? Do it with oil. I’ve used a variety over the years, coconut, macadamia, olive, rice bran, sunflower, avocado, almond. To be honest they are largely quite similar in their ability to provide consistent and long lasting moisturizing ability. I would say rice bran and sunflower are oils lighter in texture and more rapidly absorbed, but being so have a less long lasting effect in protecting your skin against dry air. I rank coconut as a medium consistency with macadamia and almond as thick. Avoid avacado, it smells green and not pleasantly so. I would say my favourite is macadamia because it has a nice light scent and my skin and the air in Sydney is very dry in general, so a thicker oil is generally in order.
When people dislike using oil as a moisturizer, it’s mainly due to the greasy sheen and slick skin-feel that the application of oil leaves. There’s actually a really simple remedy to that, which is to apply during the shower … and then rinse and rub your face with hot water after applying!
You should really apply after say, five minutes in the shower because the heat and steam will plump up your face skin which is naturally a little bit absorbent. Then when your facial skin cells are plump and happy with water, you lock that moisture in by applying a generous slick of oil (say a small teaspoon) and give it a good rub into your face, then a final stage wipe your face under the hot running water to get rid of any excess. I promise you, you will leave the shower without looking shiny, but with dewy, delicate skin.
Given that using oil in the shower will pretty much guarantee that no matter what you do to your skin beforehand you’ll still have some pretty nice skin, it doesn’t matter excessively what you cleanse with. That being said, I do like to clean with a good shake (5-10 drops) of rice vinegar. Rice has many good properties that are considering skin-friendly and the vinegar is a delicate enough to not be extremely offensive to smell. I also like the fact that patting vinegar on to dry skin and leaving it there while I brush my teeth with my eyes closed, I know that the acids in the vinegar are doing a delicate peeling, loosening dead skin cells and devastating bacteria, this all helps to achieve a brightening effect on the skin. After teeth brushing, I thoroughly rinse off the vinegar and apply oil. As a side note, I tend to vigorously rub the oil around my nose area to press out any accumulated sebum, I rub until the nose feels smooth, this guarantees no pimples and no bumpiness that tends to build up around the nose.
Scrubs are great for the body. And the face as well. As a facial scrub, my new favourite is a shake of nutmeg in more generous pour of oil. Nutmeg smells gorgeous and is very fine which is great for the delicate skin on the face. I actually think nutmeg has some anti-depressant properties as I literally felt uplifted and refreshed after smelling nutmeg steeped in water, your face will have a delicate spice scent that is very, very pleasant.
For a body scrub I’ve mixed brown sugar in coconut oil (pour in enough warmed oil to cover the sugar and mix to a sticky consistency) and to ward off ants I add enough drops of eucalyptus oil to smell the eucalyptus and scoop it out with a cinnamon stick. The scent is more refreshing than anything else but this scrub leaves your skin feeling amazingly soft, as always I recommend applying after being in the shower for a few minutes.
I love Vaseline. Above oil, sugar scrubs, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that will leave your skin feeling baby soft than an application of Vaseline prior to sleeping. Now that thick, greasy consistency can be hard to bear, so I’ve kept it very light. I would rinse my face with warm water and maybe some vinegar if I’m in the mood, then scoop half a little fingernails worth of Vaseline out and pat it mainly under my eyes, smooth it over my nose, forehead and brush it across my cheeks. Such a thin layer doesn’t feel unbearable to me and when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to stroke my skin. Because, yes, it feels baby soft.
This is the one expensive skin product that I sometimes use, ideally once a week. I use Apivita facemasks and they can really make your skin feel pretty amazing for a few days at a time. I tend use these when I’ve had a long day in the sun or I’ve completely skipped my skin care routine for a few weeks in a row. I love the sea lavender, prickly pear or the royal jelly. This is rich, fantastic smelling and nourishing stuff. I am a little worried about the chemicals and non-natural ingredients in these masks (or any masks for that matter) but the results are definitely there. I would definitely say this is not an essential step, and in fact if you can stand it, you can actually achieve the same effect by rubbing more Vaseline on your whole face before sleeping.
I can honestly say I'm pretty happy
It's taken me a while to get my skin to where it is and I can honestly say I'm pretty happy. I know how to troubleshoot, what to do when I get a few rough spots, when to let go and know it'll all turn out fine. I went through this with a lot of worry and trial and tribulation, and I'd like to know that someone, somewhere out there can get these same results without going through a whole bunch of heartache (and spending a whole bunch of money which can be better spent on say, delicious brunch).