As a high schooler, I never really had any issues with my skin save for the occasional pimple or two during my time of the month. Then university happened and bam! My face exploded into a bumpy plain of painful cysts and craters. At it’s worst, my face resembled a chocolate chip cookie because of all the scars and bumps, but I eventually found the solution through repetitive trial and error. I do have to put out the discretion that this article is taken from my perspective, but am hoping that by sharing my experiences, I can help my readers find some clarity if they are going/have gone through the same thing.
Looking back, there were a number of factors that may have contributed to my acne:
- It’s normal and I just so happened to get it as an adult.
- My skin care regiment had become overly complicated.
- I started experimenting with make-up haphazardly.
Right around the end of my freshman year, I started getting 2-3 pimples a week, and so thought I could put an end to it by changing my skin care routine. Previously, I just used Olay Daily Renewal Cleanser, Eskinol toner, and Olay moisturizing cream. I changed it up and decided to try out korean skin care products wanting not only my pimples to go away, but also my skin to be more radiant. At its end, which took a full year and testing over 10 different brands, I had a 7 step routine that ultimately worsened my skin and put me from pimples to full blown acne.
So why, with so many beauty bloggers backing their results, do korean products not work on me?
The answer: Most korean products are catered to moisturize the skin, however, my skin only requires minimal moisturizing and I’m definitely not on the dry side. Adding in essence, serum, emulsion, and cream was definitely overdoing it. When I went back to my previous routine, my skin significantly improved, but not all the way. (While I don’t really understand the science behind this, the end of this article will explain how I came to this conclusion.)
(I was particularly obsessed with Etude House, but unfortunately, their collagen cream was a huge factor to my breakouts) 🙁
Another factor was my experimentations with different foundations and concealers. Because of the acne and scars left over by my korean skincare routine, I wanted to find one that had more coverage than the one I was already using, which at the time was the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. I should have never strayed, but as a makeup newbie, I wanted to see what else was out there. I came upon Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer, which I started using all over my face rather than foundation simply because it had the best coverage and hid all of my acne and scars without being too cakey.
Worst. Decision. Of. My. Life.
It basically broke me out worse than the korean skincare routine I had just stopped using. Obviously, I went back to Estee Lauder and that brought the number of new pimples down. However, I still had pimples left over and the scarring was so bad, I felt that I’d never be able to leave my room without make-up.
- My before pictures taken 2.5 years ago… And those were with coverage.
The Secret Revealed:
I went to so many dermatologists who recommended chemical peels, and oral pills – options I was not comfortable with. Finally and ironically, it was a Korean facialist who played a major role in helping me achieve clear skin. I went through ten facials with her and came out with not only pimple-less skin but glowing and radiant skin. Her routine was so simple, it was almost mind-blowing: Wash, steam, get rid of any pop-ready pimples, toner, a soothing clay mask and blue light therapy.
My savior’s name is Jenny and she owns Essen Skin located in Diamond Bar, CA. She was the one who told me that I didn’t need as much moisturizer as other people and explained that that was the reason why the typical korean skincare routine would not work on me – I was basically just packing on too much oil onto my skin effectively clogging my pores and forming large pimples and painful cysts. I’ll never be able to thank her enough. She’s amazing, and so very gentle. I highly highly recommend her if you live near the area and your skin needs a little pick me up.
It’s been a year since then, and I can happily say that my skin hasn’t had any major breakouts – just the normal pimple or two during my time of the month as mentioned before. (You can see I have a pimple on the lower left side of my face and right above my left eyebrow in the image above).
And while I haven’t completely let go of all Korean products, I certainly stopped using Korean moisturizers and instead use Cetaphil on days when I feel like my skin needs more moisture.
My current skin routine:
- DBH Beverly Hills Clear Complex Wash
- Etude House Wonder Pore Toner (morning)/DBH Beverly Hills Toner (night)
- Estee Lauder Essence
- Estee Lauder Eye Cream
Once a week:
No one can argue with the fact that simple is best, so be sure to treat your skin accordingly. Also remember that everyone has different types of skin, so do what’s best for yours.