skincare lessons

By now, you can tell that I am pretty skincare-obsessed. From those I interact with here and on Instagram, I know I am not the only one. Although some simple rules were passed down to me at a young age from my mother, I have learned a lot from doing my own research. Today, I am going to share a few mistakes that I have made on my own skincare journey. It has been a trial-by-error learning process for me in most of these cases. I hope this is helpful for you.


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Not changing products as you age

As we age, our skin undergo changes that impact hydration levels, elasticity, texture, brightness, etc. Aging skin experience slower cell turnover rate among other changes. For me, my skin type changed from normal-oily to normal-dry. I also had less consistent breakouts and more hormonal breakouts. To adjust, I started to use products that better met my current skin type by adding hydration. In addition, when I was teenager, I would use benzyl peroxide cream to treat my acne. Do you remember the ones that would come in tubes and if you weren’t careful, would stain your pillowcases? Now, benzyl peroxide is not as effective for me and causes my skin to be quite dry. I find that I respond to salicylic acid better (did NOT work for me when I was younger). To address pigmentation, fine lines, and uneven texture, I added retinol into my skincare PM routine (my favorite is this one), which has made a big difference.

Not switching up products based upon skincare needs at that time 

Pre-skincare obsessed, my skincare routine would consist of one product per skincare category (if even that). However, just as skin needs vary with age, it also varies depending on the season, the climate, or with traveling. During colder months, oily skin may normalize a bit more, allowing for less potent oil-combating cleansers and serums that may leave the skin dry. Certain times of the month can leave the skin more prone to acne, which can be spot treated during those times only. If the skin is looking a bit dull due to stress or weather, add in a brightening product. Now, not everyone’s sanity (or budget) can juggle so many variations within one category. My advice is to start small; have a moisturizer for daytime and then a slightly more emollient one with active ingredients for the night time. Think about your major skincare needs (i.e. fine lines, pigmentation, dullness, etc.) and choose two multi-tasking serums that combined will address them all and alternate as needed.


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Not reading up on the interaction of active ingredients

This is a big one. When you begin to use products with stronger ingredients, it is important to ask and/or read up on them.  Prior to doing the research, I would layer products and ended up with redness and irritation that I determined was a sensitivity to the new product. Although I do have skin sensitivity, thinking back, some of those reactions may be the result of mixing non-complementary products (i.e. niacinadmide with vitamin C). Combining certain active ingredients can boost effectiveness, negate each other’s effectiveness, or cause an irritation so it’s important to know.

Not using moisturizer if you have oily skin

Yes, moisturizer is applicable to everyone, even those of you with oily skin. Oily skin will produce more oil when it is dehydrated. When replenished, the skin becomes balanced and produces less oil. So, drink water and apply moisturizer in the AM and PM. Opt for a lightweight gel moisturizer that’s oil-free. I like this K-beauty one!


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Not removing makeup before bed

This one’s a given, right? By now, we all know that leaving makeup on overnight can clog pores, cause breakouts, accelerate the aging process, etc. Well, I have made this mistake embarrassingly too many times. After a late night out or whatever the reason, you don’t have the energy or motivation to remove makeup…especially eye makeup. On those nights, I cut myself some slack. I don’t double-cleanse and layer on the toner, essence, and serums. Instead, I’ll quickly remove my makeup with a cleansing toilette, wash my face, and put on night cream. Traces of eye makeup are removed with micellar water-soaked cotton pads.

Not wearing sunscreen EVERYDAY…and reapplying

Unprotected, prolonged sun exposure can create photodamage to deeper layers of the skin. They manifest as pigmentation and brown spots with age. I explain at length about how to choose a sunscreen and often neglected areas that are vulnerable to burns in a previous post. Just as important as applying sunscreen, reapplication is just as necessary. To simplify the process, I use a loose mineral sunscreen for my face/neck and a spray for my arms. A sunscreen stick can also be a convenient alternative.


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Not being consistent with a skincare routine

Lastly, stay consistent with a routine to see the benefits. Do your research on what products will meet your needs and test it out. It takes time for the effect of products to be noticeable. Of course there are exceptions, but usually there are no overnight miracle workers. And definitely, terminate use if you experience bad side-effects such as irritations.


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My current shelfie situation with a mix between favorites and new products that I am currently trying out; a little drugstore, some Korean beauty, a sprinkle of organic/clean products, and some mid to high-end.


There are countless additional lessons I could add to this list, but I think this is a relatively manageable one. Which skincare lesson resonates with you the most?

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am excited to share that next month will be Affordable August! Each week I will cover skincare, makeup, and clothing tips/reviews from a budget-friendly point-of-view. If there are any specific topics, you’d like for me to cover, please share and you might just see it here on the blog. 


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