I’ve been dealing with acne ever since the start of puberty. At 21 years old, my skin has been through a lot. Although my skin is not the best, I would say that it has come a long way already. Through the years, I’ve picked up some insights and lessons from my mistakes and experiences. You, too, can practice being more attentive and observant over your own skin journey to help you figure out what would work best for you.
Here are eight lessons I learned as I dealt with acne that I would like to share with you:
1. Over-cleansing is a recipe for disaster
I have an oily skin type. When I was around 13, I got this soap that had salicylic acid, which was meant to help me address my whiteheads. Each time my skin got a tad bit oily, I thought I needed to wash my face to prevent more whiteheads. Let me tell you this, my skin became so dry and itchy. I learned that just because my face was oily or shiny doesn’t mean it's dirty. After that, I just stuck with cleansing my face twice a day.
2. What worked for others may not work for you
I have an older sister. Instinctively, I thought that the products she used because she has good skin would be good for my skin as well. That did not happen. I was dealing with acne, and the products she used were not targeting my problem areas. Other products even made me break out.
3. Try out new products one at a time
When introducing new products to your skincare routine, it is best to do it one at a time. This is to know what products work for you and what does not. I tried changing multiple items in my skincare routine at the same time. I ended up thinking all of the products were not fit for my skin, but in reality, it might've been just one product.
4. Listen to your skin
Some products would indicate you can use it once a day, twice a day, or three times a week. Although it is important to listen to the directions listed on the product, you should also listen to your skin. I used to think I needed to use my toner that contains chemical exfoliants (e.g., AHA) every day. At first, my skin was doing well. As time passed, however, it started to sting. My skin was getting too sensitive. It turns out I didn't need to use it as often as I was using it because my skin didn't need it that much anymore. Now, I do it every other day or thrice a week, depending on how my skin is feeling.
5. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
This took me a long time before I realized that I needed to moisturize my face. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need to use it because I was oily already anyway. Little did I know, my cleanser and toner were stripping moisture from my face. My skin felt taut afterward, and throughout the day, I was getting really shiny and oily. Ever since I started putting moisturizer on, my face became less oily. I just make sure that the moisturizer I use is oil-free and suitable for oily skin.
6. Know who to listen to for advice
I experienced people telling me that I might be lacking sleep, I need to drink more water, or I’m not washing my face properly. Acne can’t be gone by just drinking water or getting eight hours of sleep. It’s not that simple. It’s best to do your own diligent research on what you can do. For serious cases of acne, you can visit your dermatologist for some expert advice.
7. Be aware of what causes your breakouts
I learned that it’s important to know our triggers. I noticed that eating eggs and drinking whole milk makes my skin break out after a couple of days. Hence, I lessened my intake of eggs and opted for soy milk instead. I also noticed that during that time of the month, no matter what I do, I always have new pimples. It’s good to know these triggers, so we may know how to address them or remind ourselves that sometimes, it is out of our control.
8. There will always be good and bad days
As stated previously, a few days before that time of the month, I start getting some acne breakouts. However, there are also days wherein my skin is glowing to the point that some would even compliment my skin. Having clear skin one day and getting a breakout another day is perfectly normal. I learned to accept this and it helped me treat myself better.
I still learn new things about how to deal with my acne-prone skin every day. It's a work in progress. We should remember, however, that having acne does not make us any less of a person. That's one of my biggest takeaways. We are beautiful with or without acne. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to other people who have flawless skin because they may have a different skin type. They have different genes or hormones than us. Hence, it is best to just focus on our own skin journey. We need to be good to ourselves and learn to love and accept our skin.