Why skincare matters & my AM routine (in Japan!)

Why skincare matters

Or at least why it should. And here is my, I hope not unhappy, story about coming to terms with it.

I’ve always used some basic makeup to correct a few flaws here and there or enhance points I have confidence with: such as lips and eyelashes. Even though I did tried some skincare products, many times suggested by my mother, I had never had any major issues with my skin so I didn’t really feel like I needed it.  Also, maybe because of the way skincare is marketed, usually models or celebrities advertising expensive sort of magic products,  I wasn’t much interested. Yet, during last three years when I had very little time for myself and especially now when I turned 29. I noticed increasing problems with my skin, like appearance of some fine lines (though not so fine!), more zits and signs of acne- like blemishes on parts of my face which had never been affected before. It started to take a toll on my confidence, my mental state and my overall health. I realized I had to ask my skin whether it was really healthy in the first place. Was there something I overlooked? Is there something I could do to help my skin? I’ve finally come to realize:

Skincare is not about being vain, but about being healthy.

And disclaimer, for me there is no problem with someone wanting to be or feel beautiful: on the contrary: I think it’s very important.

Skin is a our living (actually the largest!) organ immediately in touch with external world, which role besides many is to protect us from external infections. It breathes and it feels. Of course we all age and our bodies deteriorate, but I believe skincare has a potential to make us healthier.

Continuing my story, I decided I had to do something before it goes downhill, so I started my research on how to incorporate a healthy skincare routine into my everyday life. Skincare market is Huge, which can be quite overwhelming. It takes some time to study  basic skincare ingredients and understand what one’s skin really needs. For that reason, I believe it’s crucial to get to know your skin’s nature. I’d say my skin is combination type. Depending on environmental conditions and my overall state it can get very dry or extremely oily. It can be sensitive to some ingredients when works well with others. I think expensive products are not necessarily better or more effective than cheaper ones.

My morning routine

Though I feel it can be improved, this is my current morning skincare routine! (I’m planning to post my night skincare routine in a separate post).

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 Cleansing

Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser

Every morning as soon as I wake up, I use just a tiny bit of this cleanser and gently wash my face. Actually I like that it’s low foaming. After using this cleanser my skin feels clean and refreshed. Honestly I feel almost guilty, but I love love its scent! I know that sometimes aroma in skincare, even if natural, is not the best idea as it can cause irritation or other negative reactions. Luckily its aroma doesn’t linger and I haven’t experienced any problems plus using this cleanser is really enjoyable. Maybe next time I will switch to a non scent cleanser.

Balancing (toner)

La Roche Posay Effaclar H Rebalancing Hydrating Lotion

La Roche Posay has a few series of skincare developed for different skin types such as dry, oily, combination, sensitive.

I’ve noticed some La Roche Posay Effaclar products are slightly different from those in EU and US, but Effaclar series are available in all countries it seems. Yet some products and their formula vary, so I’m trying to check ingredients as much as possible. For example, Effaclar Duo, which contains 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, which helps acne treatment, isn’t available in Japan.

La Roche Posay Effaclar H Rebalancing Hydrating Lotion from Effaclar series contains salicylic acid and it is suitable for acne-prone, oily or combination skin. I don’t have severe acne, but I tend to have zits and blemishes from time to time.

I place this lotion in the palm of my hand or on a cotton and tap gently onto my face. It’s alcohol and scent free and has been working fine for my skin.

Treatment

Obagi C10 Vitamin C Serum

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and its role in collagen synthesis make vitamin C a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. However, the effects of vitamin C in the skin are not well understood due to limited research. This article discusses the potential roles of vitamin C in the skin and summarizes the current knowledge about vitamin C in skin health.
Content and availability

Vitamin C is a normal skin constituent that is found at high levels in both the dermis and epidermis. The vitamin C content of the epidermis is higher than the dermis, although the vitamin C concentrations in both layers are approximately equal to that of other water-soluble antioxidants, including uric acid and glutathione. Aging, however, causes a decline in vitamin C content in both the epidermis and dermis . Excessive exposures to UV light or pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke and ozone) may also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis

Many researches are defending Vitamin C’s benefits for our skin as above, so I decided to incorporate a Vitamin C in my routine. I’ve been reading information and reviews on several products and came across Obagi Vitamin C Serum which is available exclusively in Japan (there is also a similar version abroad by the same company). I’ve learnt that Obagi is a medical line which targets aging, pigmentation and dull skin. For a start, I went along with Obagi Vitamin C Serum 10, there are also 20 and 25 versions which have higher concentration of Vitamin C. It also contains Vitamin E which is another great anti oxidant and provides moisturizing. Usually I apply just a few drops onto my skin. It has a light yet quite pleasant sweet scent, which is mostly gone after serum is soaked into skin. After using it for a while my skin looks brighter. Since Vitamin C doesn’t work well with AHA and BHA as it may loose its efficacy, when I use Vitamin C I skip Effaclar lotion.

Treatment and Hydration

Sensilis B Respect Cream

This product was recommended to me by a pharmacist back in Portugal as a soothing cream with anti-aging and moisturizing properties, based on natural ingredients. I have been using this cream for about two years and I came to like it quite a lot.

Protection (SPF)

Sensilis B Respect Cream and some other cc creams I was using already contains about 15-20 SPF yet as I came to realize is not enough for my pale skin. I also used Uvidea XL  Tone-up Light Cream, yet every time I used it I noticed I had increasing number of zits. In addition it felt quite heavy on my skin, so I had to give it up. I like La Roche-Posay’s products, so I tried their Anthelios XL. This one is quite light and permeates quickly.

After 10-15 minutes after my skincare routine I apply a light makeup. I’ve also been doing some research in this field as I’d like to use more natural ingredients, so in near future I may review a few things, some of them by Japanese brands.

Balance!

I hope you liked my skincare routine! Since it’s very personalized I can’t give much advice and I believe everyone’s skin is different and needs different things. If you haven’t done so, please start to pay attention to your skin. Skincare routine doesn’t have to involve thousand steps and products: I believe it can be simple, yet effective.  Less is more! If you have major skin issues, please consult with a professional.

What are your thoughts on skincare?

Also I believe it’s important to realize that your lifestyle, right exercise, hygiene, eating habits and especially your overall and mental health go hand in hand with your skincare.

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