My Skincare Journey, Continued: How I Finally Stopped Picking My Face [Part 2]
If you haven’t read part one, it’s entertaining + a must before reading this post. Also, if you haven’t thrown out your St. Ives Apricot Scrub — please do so now.
Back to the story…
I had just turned 28 [#aging] + was considering getting a chemical peel. I looked up SpaDerma, per Kate’s recommendation, + saw that they also had LASER HAIR REMOVAL! This really caught my eye.
My parents had gifted me laser hair removal for my birthday literally 3 years prior for my dark hair bikini line + I hadn’t made any moves on it… partially because I was scared [even though I asked for the gift!] + partially because I didn’t do any research on where to get it done.
It seemed like a win-win. I could get laser hair removal and a chemical peel [maybe!]. I booked a consultation with Tara.
To be totally honest, as soon as I saw Tara I was like yup, she walks the talk. Her skin was absolutely flawless. I instantly trusted her. Even though I should have learned the lesson from the Chanel lady on not trusting someone immediately… seeing Tara’s skin + having the recommendation from Kate, I was all ears.
The biggest takeaways after that session was…
#1] It was time to fully invest in medical grade skincare — particularly serums + retinol. At the time, I was using medical grade moisturizer, cleanser, exfoliator , + occassionally an eye serum — but that’s all. I introduced Vitamin C, salicylic acid, + RETINOID! Full specifics coming later in the post, don’t worry ; ).
#2] I needed to exfoliate more. I was probably exfoliating once a week… maybe. With my skin, I should be exfoliating every other day. Everyone’s skin is different, that’s why it’s so important to work with a professional to see what’s best for you! You can experiment all you want [+ power to you if you do!], but for me — I’d rather work with someone who has had years of training + expertise, so that I can get to my desired results quicker.
#3] Tara recommended that I start with 3 chemical peels, coming in every 4 weeks… as well as starting my LASER HAIR REMOVAL! More on that in a different post, maybe ; ) The goal for the chemical peels was to treat my texture, acne, dark spots, + congestion — as you can see in my first photo, but my skin was thick… it was so clogged up.
I decided that I was going to go all in with documenting my journey, as I knew that this would eventually be a resource for others. Adult acne sucks [even moreso because I grew up hearing that acne only happens during puberty!] + I feel you if you are reading this thinking, “I’m not sure I believe that my skin/acne will get better.” The unfortunate truth [at least for me!]… it got worse before it got better. Be patient, take photos, + start the journey!
September 2018: The journey begins!
Prior to my first chemical peel, I opened up about my *picking problem* — I was at the point where I was picking my face almost every day. I would look super super super close in my mirror + pick at whatever I could find. The worse part: I would pick at the end of the day when I had a dirty face… with dirty hands. AND, the lighting in my bathroom was extremely bright, so it magnified every pore.
Finally, I realized I needed to find a way to stop picking. I had booked my chemical peel + Tara was very stern in saying that you could not pick on a chemical peel, or my face would get worse. I needed to kick the habit now. A couple things I did…
- Committed to 30 days of no picking
- Wrote a sticky note in my bathroom “Don’t touch your face — it’s beautiful as it is”
- Drew 30 little bubbles in my journal, + every day, I would fill in a little bubble when I successfully spent a day with no picking
- If I had the urge to pick, I’d put on a face mask
- When I broke the streak of no picking [which was typically every 5–7 days in the beginning], I started the 30 days over
- I think the longest I spent without picking at that time was 24 days — which was huge for me!
During this time frame I also completed 3 chemical peels… so my skin was turning over, + more delicate than ever. I was doing a pretty good job at the no pick challenge… until…
September-November 2018: Trying as best as I can not to pick!
After my longest period of no pick [24 days!], I picked at my checks. The craziest thing was: I thought I was doing a “good job” picking — I used tissues [instead of dirty fingers!], AND I only squeezed each spot one time. However, since I had gotten 3 chemicals peels in 2 months, my skin was extremely delicate… + my skin became INSTANTLY inflamed.
I woke up the next day, + my skin was even worse… it looked raw [see the photo below]. Thank god I posted it on instagram + Tara saw it… + told me to come in immediately. Usually when you have acne, chemical peels are the way to go… however, since my situation was more-so open wounds on my face, she performed microneedling to cause more injury to that area ++ start the healing process faster + build collagen.
I learned the hard way: your skin will react FAST + WORSE to picking after you have these treatments. It sucks because you also may develop more acne after peels [look up “purging after chemical peels”] + if your natural tendency is to pick, it can be very hard to resist. Please learn from my mistake — give your skin at least 6 months [if not an entire year!] to do it’s thing!
Since that day, I’m proud to say that I finally fully surrendered to not picking at anything, + trusting in Tara, my medical-grade products, + my skin’s own healing abilities. Tara shared that pimples typically go away after 7 days [max] if it’s not touched… if it’s touched, it will always take longer, AND there’s potential for a scar!
November 2018: Right before microneedling, 2 days after microneedling, 5 days after microneedling
It got worse before it got better, but — I kept my promise to myself: I would not pick my face. ++ it took a long time to heal the scars from that one day of squeezing, but eventually — the scars healed! Honestly, the biggest thing that motivated me not to pick was knowing that I had another treatment on the calendar every 4–6 weeks. I would also see some progress after every treatment, so I knew something had to be working. I’m so thankful for taking photos throughout the entire process, so I could see the true improvement from the very beginning — rather than just focusing on the acne + scars that I currently had on my face.
By April 2019, 5 months after consistent treatments, medical-grade skincare, + potentially the most important component: NO PICKING… I felt really confident in my skin. The best part? MY SKIN KEPT GETTING BETTER!
January 2019 to April 2019: The evolution of skin
*Something to note: my morning + evening routine was created by Tara. Like I said above, it’s so important to work with someone who knows your skin! I’m prone to breakouts + I have a naturally oily face. These products might not be best for your face!
Morning — Daily
- Step 1: Cleanse face with Glytone Acne Self Foaming Cleanser [I also love SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel]
- Step 2: Exfoliate, every other day! SkinCeuticals Micro Exolating Scrubor PCA Daily Exfoliant
- Step 3: Serums — both of these are expensive… but they do the job, so it’s worth it in my opinion! ++ you only need a tiny drop. I use both Blemish + Age Defense + C E Ferulic
- Step 4: Moisturize with PCA ReBalance
- Step 5: Sunscreen! EltaMD Tinted Facial Sunscreen… I’m seriously obsessed. I can never go back to not wearing tinted now!
Evening — Daily
- Step 1: Cleanse Face with Glytone Acne Self Foaming Cleanser
- Step 2: Retinoid /Retinol — I like AlphaRet Rejuvenate Overnight Creamright now, but I’ve also used PCA Skin Intensive Clarity Treatment
- Step 3: Eye Cream— Neocutis Lumiere. I don’t think it matters if you use eye creams in your morning or evening routine… ++ honestly, I think eye creams are one of those products that you notice later… like years later. I like it at night because I use it as an “undereye mask” — I dab a layer under my eyes + let it soak in all night long ; )
Masks — Every Other Week, Or As Needed
- PCA Skin Detoxifying Mask: dirty pores, blackheads
- SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque: calming, hydrating, reduces redness, smells so good
- Glytone Acne Tinted Spot Treatment: spot treatment on active acne!
- Skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels: reduces puffiness, *I store them in the fridge + use these only when I look exhausted
- *I’m in the market for more masks, so if you have any that you love… let me know! Would love a brightening mask!
Other Tools I’m Loving
- Facial Steamer: oh yes, oh yes. I just got this + I’m so excited! I’ll be using it at night ++ then apply a mask on after. It feels amazing, especially in the winter!
- Jade Roller: DIY facial massage ; ) — don’t forget your neck, too! It looks so pretty in the bathroom, too. #LymphaticDrainage
- Gua Sha: I prefer the Gua Sha over the Jade Roller, because I like more intense “scraping” for my facial massage… lol. This set comes in three shapes which is nice, + it’s great for other small parts of your body that feels tight. I use with cocoa butter, + then wash the butter off
- Ice Roller: Finally got one of these — it’s like a cold shower to your face!
Morning + evening routine essentials
Products made a huge difference to my skin, but I don’t think I’d be where I am now without treatments [TY TARA!]. PART 3 will be on my treatments… ++ I’ll be answering any other questions you have!