skincare diary | January 2017

January 31, 2017 No comments


One of the goals I set for myself for this year was to start a monthly skincare diary. I initially thought of just creating a physical skincare diary, but I decided writing about it online would be better idea, as I could document and keep track my skin's progress more properly this way. Also, a lot of people seem to be curious about Asian skincare, especially the Korean multi-step skincare routine, so I thought it would be a good idea to share my routine since it follows the same format.

SKIN TYPE AND CONCERNS

My skin is hella oily. I found out last year that my skin is dehydrated as well. I rarely drink water (I usually drink just 2 or 3 glasses a day.... bad, I know), so this contributes to my extreme oiliness. My skin isn't sensitive and can tolerate stuff like BHAs and AHAs well, but it doesn't do well with coconut-derived ingredients – Lauric Acid in particular.

Ever since I entered my 20's my skin has become less prone to acne. But when I do get them, it's almost always the hormonal cystic kind, usually along my jawline. I'm prone to hyperpigmentation, and get marks really easily. I have fine lines starting to develop under my eyes, and around my mouth, but it's not a huge concern (for now).


My face at the moment. I took this photo 20 minutes after I washed my face with just water. Except for the huge zit next to my nose and a handful of new red marks left over from a bout of acne, my skin is under control. I just need to work on hydration because some parts of my face are flaky.

My main concern is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Without help from any products, my acne scars will take months or even years to fade. What's made it 100x worse is that I've been dealing with excoriation disorder or "skin picking disorder" ever since I was in high school. I've been doing it a lot less these days (by sheer willpower), but I still do it unconsciously at times. It's a huge problem because I get left with fresh red marks everytime. Though I have found that the things that have helped are 1) not looking at mirrors when I don't need to, and 2) having better skin overall (because I have less things to pick at), so I've been dealing with it better.

MY SKIN GOALS

The main goal is to get rid of my PIH completely, but I'd like to achieve an even skin tone and texture while I'm at it. My current skincare routine focuses on lightening PIH, adding hydration to my dehydrated skin, and strengthening my skin's moisture barrier.



MORNING ROUTINE

  1. Gentle, low pH cleanserCOSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. On days when I feel that I wake up with a not-so-oily face, I just wash my face with water. Also, I used to use Kojie San's Skin Lightening Soap, but I keep forgetting to repurchase. The Kojie San soap is NOT a gentle, low pH cleanser, but it's one of the things that's helped lighten my PIH over time so I keep coming back to it. (Plus it's super cheap.)
  2. pH-balancing tonerCOSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. Spray it on and pat into the skin. Even though my cleanser is at a low pH, my water isn't, so I need a balancing toner to prepare for acids. Some people suggest applying with a cotton pad to remove any residue, but the cotton pads that I use soak up too much product so I don't use that method.
  3. First essenceTonyMoly 2X First Essence. If you're wondering what a "first essence" is, it's a type of essence that's meant to go on first on your skin. These are usually more watery than most essences and are composed of very high concentrations of some kind of fermented ingredient. This one contains plant oil and fermented Vitamin Tree Fruit Extract for regenerating skin vitality. I notice that on days that I forget to do this step, my skin is just slightly less soft.
  4. Hydrating tonerHada Labo Shirojyun Lotion. Since I have dehydrated skin, I need products with a lot of humectants like hyaluronic acid to keep moisture in. I use the Shirojyun and not the Gokujyun because it contains arbutin (for brightening).
  5. EssenceBenton Snail Bee High Content Essence. It absorbs super quickly, so it's great even for days I have to put makeup on. This product is HG for me – it speeds up the healing of any scars and lightening PIH.
  6. MoisturizerHada Labo Shirojyun Milk. If I'm doing the next step, I wait 5-10 minutes for it to absorb.
  7. SunscreenBiore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 PA++++. I only do this step if I have to go out. I very rarely go out, but I never go out without sunscreen. I use the Biore sunscreen for days I have to be out and about, because it has more UVA protection. Also, it dries super quickly, so I can move on to doing my makeup without waiting that long. For days I don't need to wear makeup and can go out with a hat, I use the Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream* SPF50+ PA+++ (review here).



EVENING ROUTINE

(This is my routine when I wear makeup/sunscreen during the day. If not, I just skip to #3.)
  1. Point makeup removerBifesta Eye Makeup Remover. In my experience, this is the only thing that can remove my waterproof eyeliner and lip tint completely. Since I only need a few swipes to remove my eye and lip makeup, I use what's left on the cotton pad to remove the rest of my face makeup.
  2. Oil-based cleanserBanila Co Clean It Zero, my HG first cleanser. I use this to thoroughly remove left over makeup.
  3. Gentle, low pH cleanserCOSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. I know what you're thinking – doesn't that mean you'd be triple-cleansing?? Makeup remover, an oil-based cleanser, and a foam cleanser all in one routine probably seems like overkill, but since I wear pretty heavy-duty makeup, I don't want to take any chances! I make sure to moisturize well afterwards, so there hasn't been a problem so far.
  4. pH-balancing tonerCOSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner.
  5. Vitamin C SerumRohto Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence. Apply, wait 20 mins.
  6. BHACOSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. Apply, wait 20 minutes. According to COSRX applying this with a cotton pad is the best method, but like I said, my cotton pads absorb way too much product, so I just use my fingers.
  7. AHACOSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. Apply, wait 20 minutes. I find that my skin needs BHA more than it does AHA, so I've been using this just once a week instead of every other day like I did before.
  8. First essenceTonyMoly 2X First Essence.
  9. Hydrating tonerHada Labo Shirojyun Lotion.
  10. EssenceBenton Snail Bee High Content Essence.
  11. Sheet mask. Once a week (usually on the same day I do an AHA), or more if I feel like it.
  12. MoisturizerHada Labo Shirojyun Milk.
  13. Occlusive – Kicho Sheep Oil Cream. As the last step of my evening routine, I use a sleeping pack or cream to lock all the layers of moisture in. My HG is Mizon's Good Night White Sleeping Mask, but right now I'm using Kicho's Sheep Oil Cream* (review here), which I love just as much.

I realize that may be a bit too much to take in for some people, so here's a summarized version:

Morning routine Evening routine
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
TonyMoly 2X First Essence
Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk
— Wait 5 to 10 minutes —
Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence
Bifesta Eye Makeup Remover
Banila Co Clean It Zero
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
Rohto Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence
— Wait 20 minutes —
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
— Wait 20 minutes —
COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (once a week)
— Wait 20 minutes —
TonyMoly 2X First Essence
Hada Labo Shirojyun Lotion
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
Sheet mask (once a week or more)
Hada Labo Shirojyun Milk
Kicho Sheep Oil Cream

And that's it. As this is the very first entry in my online skincare log, this month's entry was more of an introduction to my skin condition and the products I use. I'll do this again at the end of next month, hopefully my skin will have improved some more by then. For now, I need to focus on hydrating, since that's what my skin badly needs right now. By hydrating, I mean drinking more water—at least 2L each day. I've downloaded a tracker to somewhat help me with this. Wish me luck!

By the way, if you'd like to create your own Asian skincare routine but don't know where to start, check this post by Fiddy of Fifty Shades of Snail. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm no skincare expert, but I'll try my best to answer them! :)

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