Skincare Stories: Kara
Growing up I was never particularly interested in skincare. I was more concerned with creating, spending time with friends, or playing The Sims. My mom wasn’t big on it herself and I didn’t have any other influences in my life who practiced it habitually. To be honest, both of my parents have pretty amazing skin. I noticed breakouts becoming more frequent and oiler skin in high school. My dad hipped me to his trick of using alcohol as a toner, something I now realize can be a bit stripping, but at that point it got the job done. I’d say that was my first introduction to any semblance of a skincare routine. I rocked with alcohol and Aveeno daily moisturizer for a few years, then decided to dive into a proper routine at the end of high school. I’ve always had rather sensitive skin. Finding myself a routine was rooted in scarring, nose pad marks on the bridge of my nose from wearing glasses since age 8, and hyperpigmentation that was left behind from hormonal acne and face picking. My mom and I went to Sephora and I was recommended Clinique's 3-Step system, #3. For a while this helped to manage breakouts and heal the damage that was done.
I learned about serums, the general order of morning and night routines, masking, and more. My top “concerns” now still include hyperpigmentation, along with texture and a sprinkle of body acne every once in a while.
Fast forward to college, I met a friend I now consider a sister, Alexa. She was way more into skincare than myself and I slowly started picking her brain. Over the course of our friendship and the years, I learned about serums, the general order of morning and night routines, masking, and more. My top “concerns” now still include hyperpigmentation, along with texture and a sprinkle of body acne every once in a while. I’m lucky and don’t have too many continuous breakouts; usually about 1 per month prior to my period, I have a suspicion that birth control may have something to do with this. My main scarring comes from ingrown chin hairs (annoying, but not the end of the world). I have naturally curly hair and wasn’t plucking properly for the past year or so, just breaking the hair off rather than getting it at the root. It’d become ingrown and leave a series of scarring on both sides of my chin. I’ve finally learned that I either need to sugar the area, be confident that I can fully pluck the hair, or not touch it at all. Truthfully, most of the time I’m the only one who notices that they’re there.
Now I’m pretty familiar with my skin’s likes and dislikes. I’ve got my routines down (for now) and am doing my best to use clean products, too.
In the morning I rinse with water, tone, follow with a vitamin C serum, moisturize, and finish with eye cream and sunscreen. At night I tend to dive a bit deeper with a proper wash, tone, facemask depending on my needs, then moisturize and finish with eye cream and oil. I love rolling or using a gua sha on my face over oil or a sheet mask. Though I’ve learned not to do this too late because it’s important to hydrate after using these tools. Something else about my skin, and most people’s, it loves water! Usually if my skin is looking especially sad, I realize I haven't been drinking enough water. Hydrating properly for a couple of days tends to restore things.
Some things I’ve learned in my short time here: pimples happen, sometimes at non-ideal times, but breakouts are almost never worth a breakdown. Listen to your skin and take things slowly, don’t overwhelm your face with dozens of new products at a time. And maybe most importantly, hydrate. You can’t slap on a bunch of products and expect a miracle when you aren’t taking care of yourself from within. Getting nutrients through diet and drinking enough water are imperative. I realize dark spots will happen, glasses marks are annoying, but at the end of the day I have skin that’s doing its job and protecting me. That’s what I try to remind myself when I’m having a moment. More often than not we’re the most hypercritical of ourselves, others rarely see what we’re nitpicking. A recent follow of mine has been Jessica DeFino, @jessicadefino_ on Instagram. Something she said that’s really stuck with me, “beauty is not a standard you have to meet before your real life can begin.”
Some things I’ve learned in my short time here: pimples happen, sometimes at non-ideal times, but breakouts are almost never worth a breakdown.