Do you know the best way to care for your skin? It’s okay to admit it if you don’t. You aren’t alone. At age 30, I’m just starting to figure it out.
Growing up in Texas, I was as clueless about skin care as they come. I knew enough to use makeup remover to take off mascara, but that was it. My beauty “regimen” consisted of scrubbing a little water over my face in the shower and applying toothpaste to zits. You see, I was one of the annoying girls blessed with near flawless skin.
This blessing was also a curse.
Having good skin doesn’t offer much incentive to figure out skin care options. Instead, it leads to freaking out when a once flawless complexion turns flaky, broken out and red. Have you been there, too? Do you ever stare at the wall of beauty products in the store, wondering which – if any – could restore your skin to a condition that doesn’t make you cringe at your own reflection? If you’re like me, you went through a half dozen skin care systems at the drugstore before you understood none of them were going to work for you.
When you live in an area as hot and humid as Texas stays the majority of the year, you might decide only a professional opinion will help you clear up the mess you’ve made of your skin. For me, this meant a trip to the mall. Unfortunately, those pristine display counters and smock-clad beauty consultants are just as intimidating as the wall of beauty products.
So are the prices.
Once I found a sympathetic looking beauty consultant whose own makeup application didn’t scare me, I launched into my laundry list of beauty concerns. Breakouts, skin oily to the touch at midday, a ruddy complexion, puffy bags under my eyes…you name it. My skin care consultant listened with patience and informed me I was an oily skin type. She set me up with moisturizer, toner, and face wash before sending me on my way with a lighter checking account.
Like magic, the breakouts vanished. So did the oily feel on my skin. Unfortunately, tiny flakes took its place on my forehead and nose. New, more stubborn breakouts soon followed.
The fix? A weekly exfoliating scrub. Next was a daily scrub. After that, we tried a stronger toner. Perhaps I needed a stronger moisturizer? Sure, why not. We tried a combination of three at once, yet the flakes persevered.
For two years this went on and every beauty consultant insisted I just needed a stronger this or more of that. Finally, I visited the skin care counter on a quiet Monday morning with a simple question: Do I really have oily skin or is it possible I just live in the humid, soupy air that is Texas? After scrutinizing my skin for less than a minute, I had my answer.
No, I didn’t have oily skin; I just live in Texas.
So, for two years, I dried out my skin to the point of redness and annoying flakes because expert after expert missed the obvious. I ignored the intuition that told me I didn’t have oily skin because no one ever told me what I felt on my face wasn’t oil, it was sweat mixed with moisturizer. No one ever explained that the mystery breakouts I couldn’t control were an allergic reaction to the harsh chemicals used to treat oily skin. I simply thought all the oil was clogging my pores.
Within a few days of switching away from oily skin care products, the flakes, the redness, the annoying breakouts…They were gone. Every last one.
The important lesson for all of us to learn is that we know better when it comes to our skin care regimens than the experts. If we’d listen to our own doubts and speak up when we don’t like the solutions others offer us, we might not waste time with pointless products to treat conditions we don’t have. Hot and humid climates can leave an unattractive sheen on any woman’s face by midday. Sometimes, we don’t have oily skin.
Sometimes we just live in Texas.