I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Don’t worry: Clearly, I’m going to choose to put up with the bad skin, since that’s less likely to change my life irrevocably and forever and provide a financial burden that I cannot possibly afford... unless I have to adopt a really, really high-end skincare regimen. But since I switched to another contraceptive pill a couple months ago, my skin has regressed by years, and not in a good way.
I’m talking bad teenage spots, not smooth youthful skin. Apparently, the pills that are better for your mood are worse for your skin, but that’s feeling slightly ironic right now, because these breakouts are definitely getting me down.
The spots are concentrating their attack on my chin, and I heard that’s a hormonal thing, so I’m blaming the pill for sure. I know some people suffer much worse than me, and this isn’t serious enough for me to seek treatment or anything, so I’m handling it over-the-counter.
Sadly, for my strategy of throwing my limited funds at the problem, my skin seems to operate a staunch anti-intervention policy. It does not like change. Partly, I think the problem may be the difficulty of actually identifying my skin type and knowing which products to buy. Do the vast majority of people not identify as combination? Where do I belong?!
Thankfully, I then happened across what seems to be the holy grail of skincare ranges for me. I’m sure I’m in good company when I am a devotee of makeup wipes, as opposed to anything more expensive/complicated. I was in the supermarket, loitering disconsolately in the toiletries aisle and contemplating their own brand variety, when Simple Oil Balancing Cleansing Wipes (they're called Spotless Quick Fix Cleansing Wipes over here) caught my eye.
The company prides itself on being tailored for sensitive skin, avoiding irritants, artificial perfumes and dyes, as well as being hypoallergenic and full of vitamins. They have a good image; a beautiful close-up photograph of three of my friends on the beach in Croatia, looking dewy, sunlit and fresh was described as "like a Simple advert," and that’s a look I wouldn’t mind emulating.
After my first excursion into having a proper regimen dashed my hopes, I was prepared for disappointment, but I was pleasantly surprised. The wipes started to make a difference immediately, and I’m not exaggerating when I say within a week I’d received compliments on my skin from several different people. Naturally, I went out and grabbed more products!
Simple's Hydrating Light Moisturizer was next. I’ve been wary of certain moisturisers in the past, as I feel like they might actually exacerbate spots; but since doing my research, I’ve found the error of my ways. Apparently, this will actually work to prevent my skin overcompensating by producing excess oil. I still apply it fairly sparingly though, concentrating on dry areas.
The Simple Kind to Skin Deep Cleansing Face Mask (pictured on my very own face) is designed for use once a week or so. It seems to reduce redness and make my skin more even, and of course it makes me feel fancy. It hasn't made it over to the US yet, but you can (and should) find it on eBay.
I’ve also been trying a couple of dietary/lifestyle changes to help these improvements along. First and most obvious, drinking all of the water all of time. You all know this. For you smartphone users out there though, I’ve found an app that really helps me with my ultra-hydration goals. It’s called iDrated (PUNS!) and it’s very simple: You put in the water that you drink and it tells you the percentage that you’re hydrated and prompts you to drink every couple of hours, as well as rewarding you with tiny medals in case you, like me, are a child who needs tiny virtual rewards to do something as simple as drinking lots of water.
Another well-known tip is wearing as little base makeup as possible to let your skin "breathe," if you can put up with maybe having less-than-perfect-looking skin.
Last but not least: chamomile. It’s an ingredient in many of the Simple products, but I’ve also been nicking chamomile tea bags from my boyfriend’s stash (he decided his tea and coffee habits had gotten out of hand and he needed to switch them out with a healthy alternative at least some of the time). Apparently, both topical and ingested chamomile can help with skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, and it’s been authorised for use in medicinal baths in Germany since 2011.
Since I don’t have a bathtub, and I’m not going to tape a load of teabags to my showerhead, I’m sticking with cuppas for the meantime. If you want to take this up, do be careful to watch out for any allergic reactions though, as apparently they’re not uncommon.
Anyone else had experience with hormonal bad skin? What have you tried?