The Skin Diaries, Pt I: Dear skin, what are you doing?

*The photo featured is back from when my skin gave me no shit whatsoever*

When I was 15/16, somebody asked me what I would change about myself if I could appearance-wise. My answer was immediately my skin. I’d been bothered by my skin’s appearance since starting secondary school.

At 11, I was concerned about the dark circles under my eyes. At 13, I was nearly constantly in tears at the acne that spread it’s way across my jawline. Throughout all of this I was bothered by my skin’s oily complexion.

When I got to college, my skin improved a l o t. I had a little more money due to part-time jobs and a (fairly) finance budget that I gave myself, which meant I could splurge a little on a skincare routine that worked and better makeup.

“FINALLY!” that little voice inside my head that drags me about my looks all the time screamed, “you don’t like fuck ugly without three layers of makeup anymore!!”

I thought I had gone through the teenage puberty thing and had my glo-up (that according to social media, everybody has at some point right? Nobody’s skin stays the same forever right?! Change was coming, RIGHT?) and that I’d never have to worry about my skin ever again.

But bloody hell was I wrong.

Since leaving university, I wake up every morning with a new spot and the one’s I’ve already got take weeks to properly disappear. My skin isn’t just oily now, it’s combination. I have an oily t-zone that means that I’m constantly pushing up my glasses at work, and my skin’s newly formed dry parts are all up for the leading role in Becky’s Acne Pt II: Flakier than Ever.

I even get dry hands now that mean I have to constantly apply hand-cream every few hours. SAD.

It doesn’t make any sense because I have a much more stable lifestyle now than I’ve ever had before. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so I have a regular sleeping pattern; I go to the gym; shop with all the other #adults for food that is good for me on a Saturday afternoon, and I drink at least 2 litres of water every day. So what the fuck is my skin playing at?

I let this get me down for a couple of months before deciding I’d had enough of looking in the mirror everyday and wondering how expensive a face transplant would be. I did some research and have since made some lifestyle changes that (fingers and toes crossed) have started to make a difference.

  1. Only eating wholemeal foods

    This is probably the easiest thing I’ve done out of everything. Rather than picking up white bread, pasta or rice – I pick up brown. It’s a super simple change to make, and makes complete sense as white foodsย trigger hormonal fluctuations and inflammation – both of which encourage acne – so it’s a no brainer really.

  2. Cutting down on dairy

    This is probably the saddest thing I’ve ever had to write. I’m a vegetarian and my fave foods are poached eggs with cheese or a m a s s i v e halloumi burger. I also don’t believe in denying your body things it wants. So did I cut out eggs and cheese? Absolutely fucking not pal. But I have started drinking soya milk rather than cow’s milk.

  3. Booking an appointment about the contraceptive pill

    I’m currently taking the progesterone only pill and have been for a few years, but I have an appointment about it booked for this Tuesday coming as I feel like my acne is perhaps being triggered by a hormonal change inside my body (not something I was anticipating in my early 20s tbh). From my own research, I feel like my skin would benefit from being on a different contraceptive, but as I’m not aware of all the options I wanted to speak to a professional before stopping taking the pill altogether.

  4. Changing skin products

    Since finishing uni, I’ve moved out of my parents’ house and now fully support myself financially. In the beginning, I was a little stingey with money and my skincare routine suffered because of that. I have since bought myself the seaweed face wash, moisturiser and toner from The Body Shop in order to start regulating my skin’s oil production. I have also re-purchased the Clearasil 5 in 1 spot treatment face wash, my absolute holy grail for getting and keeping rid of spots.

  5. Changing makeup products

    In a bid for my makeup bag to become cruelty free and vegan without having to spend a fortune, I started buying the thisย MUA colour correcting palette and it completely ballsed up my skin. I have since purchased another colour correcting palette which is still cruelty free but unfortunately not vegan – a compromise between clear skin and an ethical makeup routine.

  6. Researching vitamin supplements

    I spent a good few hours trawling NHS and other reliable websites in order to figure out if maybe my bad skin was being caused by a deficiency in vitamins. I still haven’t got round to purchasing the supplements I need, but I now know that I need to take 310 grams of Magnesium a day to help me sleep (sleeping better improves your skin), 0.6 grams of Vitamin A a day (Vitamin A is really good for acne and blemishes) and 25 – 100 grams of Vitamin D a day (I’ve been taking Vitamin D for about two years now, I don’t think I’d manage to stay away longer than 2 hours without it).

As you can see by the title, I’m planning on doing (semi?) regular updates on my skin’s progress – something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while for myself, so I figured why not upload it as inspo for others who are also struggling to improve their skin?

Let me know in the comments what you do to keep your skin clear – I’d love to know!

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