In the past two years, my skin has been dealing major blows to my confidence. This post is about what being comfortable in my skin means. It deals with acne, self-confidence, skincare and make-up and how caring a little more has given me a lot back.
Up until about two years ago, I never paid that much attention to my skin. I got my period when I was 11, but my skin never “exploded” on me with acne. Just the odd PMS spot, nothing major. I went on the pill at 15 and stopped taking it at 21, but still my skin didn’t seem to be affected.
My friends would tell me I had great skin, but to me it wasn’t even a compliment: it just happened. I wasn’t responsible for it, I hadn’t worked hard for it. I was just lucky it had never been a problem. Until it became one.
In 2016, mainly due to lack of trust towards someone I shouldn’t have been dating, I went on the pill again. I asked my gynaecologist to prescribe me a light pill, with low hormonal dosage, because I have depression and anxiety and the pill basically makes me want to die. Only two months later the trouble started.
Painful, swelling spots I had never had even during my teens started showing up under my chin and in between the start of my neck and my face. I didn’t know what to do about them. I went off the pill in the hope my acne would stop, but it got worse.
My acne became really bad when I was in Australia, maybe fuelled by the unforgiving sun. Despite all the skincare tips I followed, all the sports I did, despite going vegan five days a week, the spots stayed. They hurt, so I ended up popping them. My skin started scarring and my spots multiplied.
Doctors had no advice for me. “It’s hormonal, there’s nothing you can do apart from going on the pill,” was all I heard at the time. Although there are way worse problems than having shitty skin, not being able to count on something I gave for granted suddenly hurt.
Before 2017 I barely even knew what foundation was, let alone how to put it on properly. In 2017, I had to begin to wear it, at least at parties and showcases. I felt really ashamed. It sounds silly: having spots is not a crime, it wasn’t my fault. Yet they made me feel really ugly, I wanted to cover them up. Actual footage of me in my first attempts to wear make-up:
For someone who performed at pole dance showcases, went out a lot for reviews and to meet clients, and is a general egocentric exhibitionist, my skin was a huge blow to my confidence. I was worried about it and I felt helpless. I tried to go to the beach as much as I could, putting salty water on my face, but nada. My skin didn’t get better, not even when I left Australia and went back to my homeland of Sardinia.
Then my friend Lidia, a post-doc researcher an former beauty blogger, pretty much saved my life by recommending the one and only product that really turned the situation on its head. The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid is a daily exfoliant by Deciem, the beauty company that is taking London by storm. With stores in Shoreditch’s Boxpark, in Spitalfields Market, Covent Garden and in department stores like Selfridges, Deciem is becoming all the rage with millennials.
All it took me was a couple of nights in September in which I put The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid on my face and the spots had calmed down. My skin was more even, the scars were lighter and my face was glowing: I couldn’t believe it.
The Deciem Range
I’m not a beauty blogger or a make-up expert, so I won’t go into too much detail about components and stuff, because I have no idea. What I do know is The Ordinary range works for me, that it’s ideal if you know fuck-all about beauty but want good skin, and that it’s cheap. I’m a broke PhD student, but I can afford to pay £5.50 to look after my skin. Because that’s how much The Ordinary costs.
Since then, I’ve kinda become a The Ordinary addict. My friend Andy bought me more products from the range for my birthday and I’ve kept buying them since. I now use the
The Ordinary’s salicylic acid 2% solution on blemishes, the range’s 100% plant-derived squalane for hydration and azelaic acid suspension 10% to even out my skin and brighten my scars. I also use aha 30% + bha 2% peeling solution once a week, which uses a combination of Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) and Beta hydroxyl acids (BHA) to exfoliate the skin’s topmost surface. This product is a bit stronger than the others, so I go light with it but I still use it to fight visible blemishes and improve skin radiance.
Disclaimer: Deciem are not paying me for this post, or giving me any freebies. I legit just love their range as it’s changed how I feel about my skin. It’s affordable and high quality. I take it with me everywhere, because it’s also made in a format that’s perfect for travel.
Because The Ordinary range is made mainly with acids, I counter-balance it with something a bit more natural.
Urban Veda uses ayurvedic medicine, which harnesses the therapeutic power of nature and plants, to look after your skin. After completing a test to determine the skincare range I needed, I was recommended Urban Veda’s purifying range made with neem and botanics. I now use their Purifying Hydrating Toner, Exfoliating Facial Polish and Daily Facial Wash. The Purifying range uses neem, aloe vera and witchhazel to refine pores, mattify your skin and reduce oil.
Urban Veda is now available in Boots. It smells lovely and it’s cruelty-free, costing around £12/£14. It’s a huge throwback to Bali, when my friend Emma and I were given plant-based diets for a week to reflect our body type. That week was pure bliss. There’s something to be said about tailoring nature to your needs, and I’m a fan of programs like this.
As someone who performs at showcases, in music videos and has her first comp coming up (EEEK), I need my face not to melt down during showtime.
Before, I never would have cared about make-up. But after my weird acne spell, and after seeing how tired you look in showcase pictures without make-up, I caved in and decided it was time to learn how to make myself over.
At Stylist Live I received a make-over by the SportFX team and I’ve been relying on their range ever since. The brand is designed for active women who want to look good at the gym or while out clubbing. Maybe it’s not for people who do weird shit on poles for hours on end, but it keeps my face in check and still looks natural.
SportFX can be bought online and at Sports Direct. I use SportFX’s BB Cream and Duo powder in the light shades, both under £15, and I’ve now bought their make-up fixing mist for £6. They stayed on after twerking on chairs for an hour during a music video, so they must work at the gym too!
#2017 has been the year where I got more panic attacks than I ever knew I’d get, a year of limbo, #anxiety and uncertainty as I tried to make some pretty life-changing decisions. All that negativity can sashay away next year – so this is a vid of me ending 2017 in a pretty good way, doing what I love most: #twerking, humping chairs and floors for a music video in my @pleasershoes 😂 also, last #sundaybumday of the year 🍑
Some days I’m still very frustrated with my skin. It’s still not as good as it used to be, partly because my anxiety has skyrocketed in the past four years. Yet, also thanks to these products above, I feel a lot more comfortable about it. I have also started to feel a lot more confident with myself, my body, my appearance. Basically, I’ve decided I can only care so much. I will always be a perfectionist, but holding myself up to unrealistic standards doesn’t help anyone. What helps is having a beauty regime, which I never had before aside than 1) wash face 2) go to bed. I’m not 20 anymore, so it’s time to look after this face before it’s too late.
If you’re feeling low because of your skin, I’m afraid I’m not an expert and I can’t help you. What I can do is write about what works for me, and the above routine has so far. I hope this post can help others find a beauty routine that works for them and makes them feel confident, too.
***Urban Veda gifted me some products from their range for me to try them, but all opinions are my own. You can try them too by taking part in their competition! Simply follow the steps below to #win
1.Pop into your local Boots store, you can find out if yours is an Urban Veda stockist
2.Upload a picture of you and an Urban Veda product to social (Facebook,Twitter or Instagram) tag in Urban Veda Boots UK and caption with the hashtag #FindUrban
3.Receive your FREE Urban Veda products!
Tag in your friends below and share to spread the word! #FindUrban