Last month, I turned 28. Like most women, that’s not 28 years of nothing but wise choices in life and, well, in skincare.
I messed up a lot, too. I spent buckets on countless beauty products that ended up rotting away on my shelf because they never worked, picked on my pimples one too many times and used tons of toxic products that left my skin damaged and sensitive. But life carries on, just like that time when Channing Tatum got married.
Before more adds to the list as I approach my 30s, here are my Top 5 Skincare Regrets:
1. Hydroquinone Addiction
I wasn’t always an eco beauty, you know? When I was 15, I started using products with hydroquinone, a chemical ingredient that bleaches the skin, to manage all the sun damage I accumulated as a swimmer when I was a kid. Not only was I too young to use hydroquinone, I also didn’t know that it causes a huge rebound for some people and that I should NEVER go out without sunscreen while on it. I used it on and off for many, many years. Now, I’m paying for it with stubborn dark maps on my face.
2. I didn’t ‘need’ Sunscreen… or so I thought.
I’ve seen this over and over again in many “Biggest Beauty Regrets” lists. Need I say more?
3. Going for ‘Instant’ Pimple injections many times
I used to have yearly or bi-yearly (sometimes more) bouts with huge cystic pimples on my nose (which I later found out to be mostly due to dairy and beef). Each time, I wondered why of all places they had to pop out on the tip of my nose. I swear I could have put up a big “Grow here!” signboard on my butt cheek if that made any difference. Anyway, being Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer even in the height of summer and monsoon rains pushed me to go for Instant Pimple injections or Cortisone injections. These are steroid shots. I became reliant on steroid shots because I felt that nothing else worked. In the latter part of my steroid addiction, I found that a lot of my pimples became very tolerant to normal treatments and creams.
4. I picked, pricked and squeezed my big pimples
I’ve got small hypertrophic scars or keloid-looking scars on my nose due to my deep pimples when I was younger. I have a short strip of raised scar exactly where my nose wing meets my cheeks which some people mistake for post-nose-job scars! Although most big pimples really do leave scars, I feel that mine wouldn’t have been as bad if I stayed away from candle-heated needles and just let my pimple erupt and heal on its own. Two years ago, I discovered that applying manuka honey on a healing pimple reduces the scarring significantly.
5. Using ‘Unlabeled’ Products
While battling uneven skin tone and acne scars in the past, I was tempted to use “Unlabeled” products that promised good results. I highly suspect now that many of these products contained mercury because they lightened my skin and pigmentations too quickly. Now, part of my pigmentation — the part that never seems to go away — is faint bluish-black in color which, coincidentally, is similar to a side-effect of mercury exposure.
The bad news is, these are mistakes I’ve done in the past. They can never be un-done. But I am at least a self-certified expert pimple surgeon now thanks to #4! That must count for something, right? No?