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 inflammed.
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 moreso 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!
More Like This:
- Part One Of My Skincare Journey
- Skincare Routine With Carla Jian
- All About Skincare With Aya Muramatsu
- Tara Leggero: Medical-Grade Skincare, Having A “Picking Problem” + Sunscreen