My Skin Self-Misdiagnosis
Let’s rewind back to middle school, when puberty hit and with it came dreaded acne. I fought this for a few years and I do believe this was about the time my mom introduced me to good skin care using her favorite organic products. Looking back, I’m grateful to my mom for instilling in me the importance of taking care of my skin with gentle, safe ingredients. I used the products my mom used for awhile, but around the time my acne started to subside ( a couple years later) I’d decided that 1) the products were too expensive and 2) my skin felt very dry and the products I was using didn’t give my skin enough moisture. I was a frugal teen. I didn’t have allot of money myself and I didn't want my mom and dad to have to buy more product for me every few months. The products themselves were not really expensive, I just didn't want to have to spend money on skin care. So without any knowledge on the subject I determined I knew my skin type. Dry. I created my own minimalistic and very inexpensive routine. This was back before I even knew minimalism was a thing.
My beauty routine consisted of: splashing cold water on my face first thing in the morning, then patting it dry with a towel. Next I proceeded to message virgin coconut oil on my face. Thats it. Done. My evening routine consisted of the same, only cleansing my face with a Norwex face cloth. For the most part I had good skin—clear with blemishes only once in awhile. However my skin still felt itchy and tight. Sometime my face was a bit too glossy, not from sebum but from coconut oil—yikes. And I didn’t realize the cause yet, but coconut oil too near my eyes makes them water for hours. I have this suspicion as well that coconut oil, because its a stimulant, kept my mind going for hours at night when I was trying to sleep. To my knowledge there is no other evidence of coconut oil keeping people up a night...
Regardless, my mindset about my skin was wrong and so were my methods.
Fast forward a few years until I’m 21, the year my husband and I got married. I was still going about my same methods, when somewhere along the line I decided the way I was doing skincare was no longer working for me. Oh, that and the fact that my sweet husband really didn’t care for me smelling like a coconut every time I came to bed.☺️
That’s when I determined it was time to find some actual products again for my dry, tight skin. I tried several different brands, but not really understanding my skin needs it seemed to always be lacking something. Still too dry. Not enough moisture. I layered on amazing face oils. Even when I became a Beautycounter consultant I used very little moisturizer or skipping it altogether in favor or luxurious face oils, thinking that’s what was best for my dry skin.
It wasn’t until I was at my chiropractor one morning I noticed that the paper on the table my face had been smooshed up against was certainly not spotless. There was, in fact, a bit of oil on the unsuspecting makeshift blotting paper. Oil from my face. That was rather an eye-opening moment for me.
Upon returning home from my appointment I started researching everything I could find on skin types and my symptoms. And I found something that finally made sense. All these years I was trying to treat a skin type rather than a skin condition, because what I had was in fact de-hydrated skin not dry skin. Dry skin type is typically associated with aging skin and that was the thing that struck me as odd since I’d had “dry“ skin since I was in high school. It turns out dry skin and de-hydrated skin are often confused as the symptoms are very similar. The cause however is not. Dry skin is a lack of oil or sebum in the skin, while de-hydrated skin is a lack of water. Once I understood what my skin needed I could use the right products and use them correctly.
So for the curious, here's a few new steps I tried out: Number one, I started skipping my morning splash of water. Turns out tap water can dry your face out and it's not a necessary step in the morning. Eliminating cleansing altogether can help both dry and de-hyrated skin. Second, I started using a good moisturizer, and giving my skin enough of it. Maybe a little more than you're supposed too, but when you have extremely de-hydrated skin layering it on until your skin feels content just really seems to help. Third and final step, is sealing all that moisture goodness with a face oil full of lovely plant oils. After a couple weeks of doing this, my skin felt a noticeable difference. I keep to this basic routine. Some seasons I might add in weekly yogurt or honey face masks. Some seasons I might exfoliate or add a serum. But for the most part, this is what I've now been doing for the past three years. Finally I have comfortable skin. No more itchiness, extreme tightness, or dry spots. My redness has lessened too. Guys, my face used to feel so tight and itchy it distracted me constantly throughout the day, most especially in the Dakota winters. The relief, the change in my skin is an answer to prayer. The answer lay in the correct information.
Maybe my story can help one of you reading, or someone you know. Maybe you don't have either dry or de-hydrated skin, but I'd love to know what sort of skin conditions have you've found confusing and hopefully found answers to?