October 2014 - April 2015



Being a bit sentimenal today; that quote is my absolute favorite quote for many many years and I write it in my calendar every time I get a new one. Facing problems rather than running away is just who I am and the base for this post. You have probably seen it already on my social media feed; but I totally forgot to post it on my blog! So in case social media isn't up your alley - here's what you missed :3 I did upload a skin progress picture a few days ago to show the progress I have made with my skin in the past half year. Honestly - I didn't think my skin had improved that much! If you look in the mirror daily, it is hard to keep track of improvements. That's why I always take pictures a few weeks apart, to be able to actually compare and see if what I'm doing is working or not. I was randomly browing old posts of  mine and was shocked to see just how bad my skin really was. I mean, I know it was really bad but since my skin has improved a lot, it was quite a shock to see myself like that. I certainly don't miss those painful times! I am hoping this post inspires anyone who is suffering from similar skin conditions and to remain always optimistic - you can do it! It might take a while and it might not be visible to you yet, but it can be done. :)

Now, I am slightly optimistic here as I still don't know what exactly caused that bad acne in me. It was very likely a combination of being stressed out, living far away from home all by myself, a new environment, water that my skin hated, air pollution and wrong skincare. Looking at the list, I can't even be mad with my skin. I am in no ways acne-free yet and I still get pimples but it is a thousand times better than when I started out about half a year ago. I remember how desperate I was to get rid of that terrible skin of mine and how it shattered a good chunk of my self-worth as I didn't exactly feel pretty. Keep on reading if you want to see my skin at its lowest point and what kind of changes I made that helped along the way. [Caution: Nasty images of cystic acne beyond this point.]


My skin at it's lowest point: October 2014 - December 2014

As I mentioned before, I am still not sure what exactly caused this bad cystic acne when I was living in Korea. My skin was acting up quite a bit when I was still living in Japan but it was nothing compared to when I moved to Korea. I am to this day convinced that something was weird with the water (it had a milky color and I had quite some hair loss going on while I lived there..) and that the crazy air pollution was something my skin couldn't handle well at all (I looked it up when I came back; Seoul has an air pollution index of 150 - 250 when Berlin has an average index of 30. Let that sink in for a second.) The heavy drinking culture in Korea didn't help much either as I have never been fond of strong alcoholic beverages. 

To keep it short; the exact reason for my acne has yet to be discovered. Although I still have a lot of hyperpigmentation, you can see that the overall texture of my skin changed completely - I am pain-free and totally comfortable going out without make-up which was long time almost impossible for me as it made me extremely uncomfortable. So what cleared up my acne? If you're looking for a single solution: There isn't one. Instead, small changes that I made added up to each other and it took me a while to figure out exactly what my skin wanted. Even if you have set-backs (I had many, believe me.) always try to be optimistic as that alone can have a positive impact on your skin condition. I hope this post will be helpful for anyone who has to suffer like I did and get inspired by any of the tips that helped me clear up my skin for the first time in years. :)

#1 Having a professional skin analysis done at the derm and discovering that I was treating my skin completely wrong - instead of oily skin I actually have dry skin (without any symptoms of dry skin, yes, that happens..) and dehydrated my skin big time by treating it with harsh acne medicine.

#2 Hence, completely changing my skincare routine from acne treaments and little to no hydration (my skin always felt greasy when I used moisturizers) to a multi-step routine with only little oil (derm said my skin is lacking hydration but my oil levels are top notch) and several thin, watery-like essences to give my skin proper hydration. As soon as I changed my routine my acne calmed down a lot and actually had time to heal as it wasn't busy keeping the hydration levels up all by itself.

#3 Discovering the COSRX BHA Skin Returning A-Sol - this is a wonder in a bottle for me. This calmed down my acne like no tomorrow and I still use it daily to this day.

#4 Getting regular treatments from a medical esthetician who extracts my clogged pores which can't turn into pimples if they're gone. Win-win. My skin is also a lot smoother afterwards! :3

#5 Cutting out cow milk out of my diet - I have never liked cow milk anyways so I resorted to soy milk for the most part. I am not insanely strict about it but I feel as if my skin was less inflamed when I didn't consume cow milk anymore.

#6 Eating more healthy - I am in no way someone who can proudly say to always eat clean or something. However, I am implementing more fruit and vegetables and a little bit less meat and sugar in my diet which makes me feel better in my body and that also shows on my skin.

#7 Realizing that mineral oil in foundations cause even more acne for me, so I got rid of all the foundations that contain mineral oil.

These are all the changes that I can think of! Remeber, everyone's skin is different and what worked for me, sadly, doesn't have to work for you. (And as I said, I am still struggling and the road to clear skin is still long.) A healthy lifestyle is always a good idea when suffering from certain skin conditions but also other factors such as stress, sadness or other psychological conditions might favor the acne - this was certainly the case as I just wasn't very happy in Korea. (long story.) If this post is helpful for even one person than I am already happy! :) If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the comments!

Good night! (It's 1:12 AM here. Have to get up early, sweet dreams!)
Lots of love,

Sam

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