I have a track record of becoming obsessed with various things that are not food while I’m preparing for a competition. Grey’s Anatomy, finding the perfect vintage home decor at antique shops, researching John Does and high profile crimes like the Casey Anthony case, drinking sparkling water…the list goes on.
This time, I’ve become obsessed with Asian skincare. Why Asian skincare, you ask? Well, Asian skincare is different than Western skincare in that it emphasizes a multi-step routine that includes layering lots of natural, skin-loving ingredients. It’s about moisturizing, treating, and protecting. The best part? Asian skincare products, despite their high-quality formulations, are generally quite affordable!
My Skin History
But *record scratch* let’s backtrack for a moment. Since high school, I’ve had problems with my skin. At that time, I was using Retin-A Micro (tretinoin) for my hormonal acne. I actually can’t recall at all how bad my acne was or how well the Retin-A worked, but I’m pretty sure I used it nightly for a few years.
The next skin remedy I tried was after college. I ordered Proactiv and used it for a while before I realized that the part of it that worked was just the 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (BP) gel. So I unsubscribed from the auto-delivery service and would just re-up on my BP gel via eBay when I needed it.
After probably five years of using BP daily, I got sick of accidentally bleaching my clothes by touching them with my face, so I stopped using it. Turns out, though, it really was working because my acne came back. It wasn’t terrible…until I moved to the South from the Midwest. The change in climate and all the stress f*ed me up, man.
The Turning Point
As an avid Redditor, I knew there must be a subreddit out there that could help me with my skin woes, and I found it in /r/SkincareAddiction, where I first heard about the teledermatology service called Curology (aff.link) – formerly known as Pocketderm. It costs $20 per month for unlimited consultations with a board-certified dermatologist and a customized acne prescription shipped every three months or whenever you need a refill. So yeah, I was ALL. OVER. THAT.
My Curology prescription has improved the overall texture of my skin and helped to keep breakouts at bay, but I’m still struggling with clogged pores. I started to wonder what I was doing wrong, so I read more and more from /r/SkincareAddiction, and happened upon a link to /r/AsianBeauty, a subreddit devoted to sharing information about Asian Beauty (AB) products.
Since starting to follow Skincare Addiction and AsianBeauty, I’ve learned so much!
- I paid attention to my skin’s reaction to various products and figured out I have some allergies/sensitivities, like to chemical sunscreens and fatty alcohols.
- I can get rid of clogged pores with a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid.
- I don’t have oily skin, I have dehydrated skin that’s overcompensating by producing too much oil, which means…
- …my moisture barrier is compromised and I need to heal it.
- I need to wear sunscreen daily to prevent sun damage.
- The pH of products (especially cleansers) is crucial – between about 4 and 6 is closest to our skin’s natural pH. (link)
- People put snail slime on their faces for fun?!
Thanks to inspiration from this very comprehensive post from AB blogger, podcaster, and Redditor /u/SnowWhiteandthePear, I’ve put together a skincare spreadsheet to keep me meet my skincare goals: demolish acne, hydrate, and improve tone. My spreadsheet keeps track of my AM and PM skincare routines, the products I have tried and their results, and products I would like to try someday.
Right now my routine is a hybrid of AB and non-AB products and I think that’s just fine. So far, I’ve tried just a couple of AB products:
Holy Snails Shark Sauce is a custom serum with brightening, dark-spot-fading, and hydrating ingredients created by AB enthusiast Chel, from the blog Holy Snails. I guess it’s not technically AB, but it is definitely AB-inspired. Despite the name, it does not contain actual shark. I’ve been using this twice daily for a couple of weeks before my moisturizing step and have noticed an improvement in my skin’s hydration and a reduction in my hyperpigmentation from old acne scars. Buy it here!
Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Cream is a very hydrating gel moisturizer that includes hyaluronic acid to plump up the skin. I began by using it only at night but I like it so much that I’ve started using it in the morning as well. Unlike pretty much all other moisturizers I’ve tried, IT DOESN’T BREAK ME OUT!!!! I bought mine in-store at Walgreens believe it or not, but you can find it on Amazon for $5 cheaper.
To Be Continued…
I look forward to trying out lots more AB products, and I’ll be sure to share my opinions on them here on the blog! Coming soon: an unboxing and review of the Shara Shara box from Memebox, chock-full of skincare products from the popular brand Shara Shara.