A simple change …

Left photo: June 2015. Dubai Airport, UAE. Path filter applied

Right photo: October 2016. Westfield, San Diego, CA. No filter applied.

GET A PAPER AND A PEN! I want to share with you the story of a life changing routine. Back in 2013, while I was studying in San Francisco, I visited a dermatologist for a skin irritation problem due to over exfoliating. I used an exfoliating product daily. It burned my face. I looked like an irritated baby butt. I couldn’t go out or practice any of my daily activities. It burned like hell. I covered my face in Vaseline and yogurt to calm the burning sensation down. It took almost a week to heal. My dermatologist recommended that I stop exfoliating and start moisturizing twice a day. It didn’t make sense. I was puzzled. The reason I exfoliate is because my skin is very oily in the T-zone! Wouldn’t moisturizing make the problem worse?! – or that’s what I thought!

Of course, like most patients, I ignored my dermatologist’ advice. I stuck with my exfoliating products. I never moisturized. I washed my face daily, that was it. I still had pimples and marks. My skin was still oily. I never stopped picking on my face. My husband (boyfriend then) always scolded me, every time he caught me touching my face. “Your hands are dirtier than a toilette seat” he always said. He tried to explain nicely how picking on my face, and scratching off pimples and popping blackheads leave marks all over. I kept trying to explain to him it’s impulsive! Maybe it was a stress coping technique. I didn’t know. I am not saying I was dirty! No. But I didn’t really comprehend how my habits contributed to my unclear unfair skin. I always just believed I was cursed with bad genes, and I will never have a fair and lovely type of skin!

During a normal day in 2015, and while I was shopping at a Boots pharmacy, a salesman approached me by the No7 section. I was shopping for a facial wash. He asked me if I needed help, then asked me what type of skin I have, then he made the remark that changed my life. He noticed I have a very oily T-Zone, and he thought I should moisturize twice a day. I’d think exfoliating dries up my skin! While it’s true for the next half an hour after using it, but my skin becomes so dry, it will excessively produce more oil, which means more pimples and blackheads! That was it for me. His words  reminded me of the 2013 dermatologist.

I started using No7 products; facial wash twice a day, day and night moisturizer, and a toner. For a bit I added an exfoliating product once a week. I never changed my routine for 9 months. I started to feel some changes, like clearer skin and the pimple marks surprisingly disappear shortly after I stopped picking my face. Now, I would never touch my face unless I wash my hands very carefully. I moved back to the States in the beginning of 2016. I was unemployed for the first 19 months. I had plenty of free time to try and er with skin and make up products. Every now and then I change a moisturizer or a serum. I tried different types of masks and samples since I am a Sephora Rouge. However, my routine never changed. The essential steps of facial care never changed.

My Daily Routine: (never changed) 

I started my day with washing my face with a foam facial product. I tried Murad’s, No7 and currently I am using Kiehl’s.

Then I apply a serum. I used a vitamin C serum and a vitamin E serum, and currently I am using a Hyaluronic Acid serum which I am in love with! It brightened my face and made my pores smaller! I then apply a day moisturizer. I prefer one with a sheer tint and SPF for the day if I am not applying make up. If I am applying make up I skip the moisturizer and use a CC cream and Unicorn Essence instead of foundation coverage.

After work or a day out, I have to remove my make up. I never use ready-to-use wipes. They’re a no-no! Always use a make up remover and cotton wipes. Then I repeat washing my face and applying the moisturizer.

Before bed, I repeat washing my face with the facial foam, then I apply the daily serum and a night cream. (This cream can be used day and night, but has no SPF)

P.S. Since Christmas 2017, I’ve been using Foreo Luna 2 for combination skin to clean and wash my face. This was the best decision regarding my skin care! I am falling in Love with it and you should too! It smoothes the skin and it deep cleanses without breaking your delicate skin! It massages the face and circulates the blood.

Non-dialy routine:

During my unemployment time, I also was introduced to facial masks and scrubs. I tried many products that I wasn’t really happy with. I don’t want to confuse you, so I am not going to list them. But I will tell you about some other products I use routinely, yet not daily.

I use a facial mask once a week, usually Sundays, before my night routine. It’s a drying mask. I also use a glycolic gel, instead of the daily serum, every Monday and Friday night before bed. I apply it before the night moisturizer. On Tuesday and Thursday, instead of the daily cleanser, I use a glycolic cleanser. For a quick fix of popping annoying white heads, use a drying lotion.

I am only guilty of not using a toner. I want to. It’s in my plan to incorporate one. I always use it on and off, only when I feel lazy and not wanting to wash my face. (OOPS! Busted!) I know it should be used daily, but I am not going to lie to you. I don’t!

As you can see in the pictures above, my before and after face! I still don’t have the most amazing fair and lovely skin. But my routine is surely worth it! I noticed the change. People noticed the change. And I have a better looking, smoother skin! I am definitely more confident about wearing no make up at work and with friends! Just remember, it all started with NOT touching my face, and a container of moisturizer.

This is solely my experience. I am not a beauty or dermatology expert!

Linah Sofi

🇺🇸 i teach | i paint | i blog - أُعَلِّم | أَرسم | أُدَوُّن 🇸🇦

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