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Love your skin!

Hey Stranger!

How are you today?

I am great! This family is very nice and the little girl is super sweet. She hugs me a lot and honestly, she told me I am one of the best au pairs she has ever had. I enjoy spending time with her, she is fun. I have her whole school schedule and I must say, it’s pretty tight but I wrote it down and I wrote my own schedule for when she is at school.

It’s been a week since I’ve started this job and it’s definitely better than aviation haha.

Anyway, yesterday I received my new laptop case and I am in love, it just looks so full of life! I also got my new phone case and I will receive my new iPhone 11 tomorrow. It will be red, it seems eccentric but I really want some colour in my life, I am excited! I won’t do any monthly payments because I don’t need that stress anymore and I am happy because this will be my first ever phone bought by me! I have had my current iPhone 8+ for three years now and it still looks brand new and works perfectly but I wanted a change. I first thought about selling it but my mom should have it and she deserves to have a good phone!

Also, I had my phone call with the doctor and he said it’s not osteoarthritis which I kind of knew. Long story short, every time I told the doctor about arthrosis, he kept correcting me saying ‘arthritis’. What all my MRIs from home said is: gonarthrosis. Here is the best definition I could find: ‘What Is Gonarthrosis?

Osteoarthrosis of the knee, known as gonarthrosis, is degenerative damage of the cartilage tissue covering bone surfaces. The cartilage layer has the important role of preventing friction and assuring smooth motion of the joint. Disruption of its integrity inevitably leads to chronic irreversible processes, decreasing the mobility of the joint and causing excruciating pains. Gonarthrosis is the main reason for surgical replacement of the knee joint.’ So, when I told the doctor about this term he didn’t know what I am talking about and he said I need to speak to another specialist to see what kind of treatment will be suitable, apparently surgery is one of the options... I have no idea yet when I will get in touch with a specialist so I will keep you updated but I am considering paying for at least basic private health insurance. I need answers!!!

Today is my day off so I finally have time to write and I will also go and meet another au pair for a coffee.

This article is about acne and skincare.

Few months ago I wrote about finally having a clear face after a decade of acne. I’ve had it all: puberty acne, then teenage acne, fungal acne and now I am still struggling with hormonal acne.

I have seen many dermatologists in my country, private ones, expensive and recommended ones and guess what? Absolutely nothing helped! They took my money and burned my face! I had some medication as well, antibiotics helped while I was taking them but then acne would come back... The last doctor wanted me to start Accutane and she had the audacity to say: given your weight, you can take plenty of pills. First of all, I wasn’t overweight but doctors back home always had to comment on this because I have curves and I am not skinny. Anyway, I was travelling back home and then to the capital to see this doctor and it was expensive, I was getting to the point where I was sure that I am going to try Accutane. I had my blood tests done and then I tried to contact that doctor and the way she told me that I could connect her again instead of phone calls to the her private clinic, ups, didn’t work! I took it as a sign and I changed my mind because for me, the side effects that she mentioned, they totally freaked me out.

My skin was considerably getting worse, I had huge and painful cysts on my chin and jaw. I was embarrassed! I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror, I couldn’t wash my face without feeling like I am ripping my skin off, I was red like a lobster because it was so irritated! Imagine going to work as a flight attendant with a face full of makeup and you still can’t hide the monsters! I couldn’t stand leaving my room when I had a day off, I didn’t want anyone to see me...

My depression was caused by many things but hormonal acne played a huge role! I hated people looking at me, I couldn’t maintain eye contact, I just wanted to be alone where nobody could see or judge me!

I stopped using the treatment from the doctor, my skin barrier was completely damaged. My skin was so tight and yet so oily, I could cook French fries in all that oil! All these years I thought I have oily skin but guess what, I don’t!

At the end of October 2019, one of my close friends introduced me to The Ordinary. She has mostly had a clear skin until quite recently, she went to a dermatologist and got a treatment that made her face explode with acne, everywhere! I feel really bad for her but they still haven’t identified what is causing it, she changed many doctors, she tried different blood tests, still nothing!

Anyway, after reading so much about The Ordinary, I ordered some products for a basic skincare routine ( I tried their Hyaluronic acid, squalane cleanser and azelaic acid and I didn’t like them but I still use Niacinamide from time to time, Alpha Arbutin for hyperpigmentation, 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil for extra hydration and looking forward to start using their AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution) and I will write it here for you as well. I mostly use Asian skincare products now. I won’t go into details about an advance skincare routine because you have to take baby steps! You need to start by changing your pillow cases every 2-3 days, ideally would be silk ones and I am trying to use them but I don’t sleep well on them.

Step 1: HYDRATION. Buy a gentle cleanser that is fragrance-free, make sure it doesn’t contain alcohol like denatured alcohol, ethanol, propanol, alcohol denat., methanol, benzyl alcohol, etc

I know this may seem like a lot of work but you want to make sure you really invest in your skin and that doesn’t exactly mean expensive products. You have to buy smartly. Stop buying things labelled as: acne cream, acne treatment, for acne prone skin, etc because they are harmful for your skin. Start focusing on hydration and repairing your skin barrier. My first cleanser was CeraVE Hydrating Cleanser, this one is very gentle but it may not be for everyone so I’d suggest buying a small bottle first. Use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid in the morning, the one that I use is Cosrx salicylic acid daily gentle cleanser. I also used a cleanser from Balea, very good but I can’t find it in the U.K., a month ago I bought Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Face Foam, I am in love with this product! Trust me, they will last a long time and price wise, I would say they are affordable!

I wash my face in the morning and then I wash my face in the evening too but I do double-cleansing. Have you ever heard of that? If not, double-cleansing involves using a cleansing oil, balm or micellar water to break down make-up, SPF and sebum on the surface of your skin first, then following it with a deeper water-based cleanse. Please check the ingredients, don’t just buy the first product you find! I use a micellar water from Simple (you can find it in the U.K.) and Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun Oil Cleansing (it’s imported from Japan so I wait even a month sometimes to get it) and then I follow with my cleaser. This is a major game changer!

Step 2: HYALURONIC ACID. I found this amazing explanation because I don’t think I could have explained it better: “Hyaluronic acid is often credited as anti-aging, but this isn't entirely accurate. It's more accurately described as skin-hydrating. Although HA won't erase fine lines and wrinkles, the extra moisture does help plump the skin, which makes those lines look smoother. Also, those crinkly-looking fine lines common around your eyes and lips are often signs of dry or dehydrated skin. Highly moisturized skin looks less crinkly and dewier.”

It is my holy grail, my favourite product! I apply it AM and PM, I use Rohto Hada Lab Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Solution, it lasts for a long time and I apply it on my neck and cleavage as well, it is also making my lashes longer.

I apply a tiny bit after washing my face, make sure your face is damp so it will absorb better.

Step 3: MOISTURIZER, my go to is Simple, I just love their moisturisers, the Hydrating Light Moisturiser is perfect for my morning routine and I like to add extra moisture in the evening so I go for something heavier such as Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser or La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm. If you really want pampering, then I highly recommend Hada Labo Tokyo Skin Plumping Gel, it is a bit pricey but it will still last for a long time and it feels amazing on your skin. I am patiently waiting to finish another moisturiser and then I will buy it again. Don’t forget to go down on your neck too! During your morning routine, you should wait at least 10 minutes after applying moisturiser to proceed to sunscreen.

Step 4: THE HOLY SUNSCREEN! How many times have you said that you don’t actually want to wear sunscreen because it’s greasy or it makes your skin shiny and break out? Well, that was me as well because I wasn’t using the right product! Since November 2019, I have been using sunscreen every day, even if I don’t go out but I found my holy grail. The most important part is to check the ingredients so no fragrance and no alcohol, especially if you have sensitive acne prone skin! Switch to asian sunscreens and you will fall in love! They are light, moisturising, fast absorption and leave your skin so smooth and not shiny! My favourite one is Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50, it has PA+++ = High UVA protection, it’s a Japanese sunscreen and once again, it can take up to a month to receive it but I only use this one on my face so it does last for a long time. You should apply 1.25 ml of sunscreen on your face and neck, I also apply on my chest because I don’t like redness, freckles and I also don’t want to have wrinkles there, not any time soon anyway. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours. If you are using makeup, make sure to leave the sunscreen on your face for at least 30 minutes before applying primer and makeup. You can use Garnier Ambre Solair Sensitive advanced face 50 spray, unfortunately it does contain fragrance but it’s very light and I still haven’t found a Spray Sunscreen that is fragrance free! I also used La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream but it’s only 50 ml and quite expensive. I haven’t tried any Korean sunscreens yet but I know that Purito has a good reputation.

I highly recommend buying The Korean Skincare Bible, it’s a great book that explains so many things! I am still reading it but you can learn about advanced skincare routines there. Remember, if you want to introduce any actives, try introducing one every 3-4 weeks, start with 1-2 a week. I might write a follow up article about acids and chemical exfoliation but for now let’s focus on repairing the skin barrier and hydration.

Anyway, you cannot fix the outside when there is something crying for help inside.

Skincare can’t fix everything so make sure you sleep at least 7 hours, you drink at least 2 l of water daily and focus on eating whole foods, nutrition can have a big impact on your skin! If you are stressed, acne might come back, you cannot truly control this but my best advice for you is to be patient, your skin will love this change and it will be grateful. You will soon start to glow! We shouldn’t aim for perfect skin but for healthy skin!

This is my longest article so far so I hope you find it useful!

Love you!

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