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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Skin Care Goals for 2019

Hey guys! I'm back again today with another post! I had just finished my daily 60-minute typing practice over at Typing Club (highly recommended for those of you looking to start touch typing!) and I'm here now at my desk, trying to put together another (semi-coherent) post and trying to get the ball rolling.

I still can't believe I was able to finish yesterday's post in under 4 hours. No, it's not a very awesome feat. There are writers and bloggers out there who can whip out quality content within an hour, but I'm happy with my progress so far!

I'm just starting out anyway, plus, when did I ever manage to finish anything? The fact that I even finished a post is, for me, a matter of celebration that calls for ice cream and wine! I'm really enjoying what I'm doing and blogging has been an amazing experience.

Today I wanted to share with you my skin care goals for this year. Hmm, that might sound a little weird. Because who the heck sets skin care goals?! We usually associate the term goals with financial goals, travel goals, personal goals, all the important stuff. But skin care goals? Like, girl seriously, isn't that a little extreme?

Hey I feel ya!

Admittedly, I think this is the first time ever that I'm setting skin care goals for myself. I got the idea of setting skin care goals back in December so I can actually start to identify what my skin concerns are and target them one by one. Because like other skin care junkies, I have a problem with trying to restrain myself from carelessly trying out the latest stuff or being swept away by hype.

My approach to skin care has always been trying to go after what the latest products are, buying what is popular according to friends and family, and sometimes bloggers. But this is gonna have some drastic consequences for my skin's health because what works for others may not work for me. Everybody's skin concerns are different, and I have to learn to start asking myself if a product will actually benefit my skin. Will it help me to get from Point A to Point B?

If I want to treat the enlarged pores on my cheek area, per se, should I really be going after the latest face oil craze or hitting Sephora because I can't live without trying Rihanna's newest concealer release?

That kind of approach is the wrong way of trying to solve my skin problems and I bet my whole savings (Granted, it's not even a lot!) that come next year when I'm broke again and questioning my whole life, I'd still be nowhere near Song Hye Kyo-level of skin and THE STUBBORN PORES ARE STILL THERE. Arghhggh.

*smiles her knowing smile*

What I'm doing right now is ineffective and I have to smarten up for the sake of my bank account and sanity. It's fun to try out new, innovative beauty products but I have to start setting limits on myself and assess whether I truly need something or not.

It's a kind of minimalism in a way and I am down for it. Only get what you truly need. If you prefer the KonMari method, then only include what gives you joy and get rid of the rest. Or donate it, IDK. I haven't read the book yet but the point is, our skin doesn't need to be fed so many products.

This concept was discussed in Japanese esthetician Chizu Saeki's book which I will review soon, and on this recent article from The Klog about whether you should use all 10 products in a Korean 10-step routine at once. Our skin can do its job well on its own but in the areas where it could use a bit of help, the right kind of skin care can be the answer.

I am aware that I must address my own issues one by one. A specific kind of problem needs a specific, corresponding treatment. This is where setting goals comes in. I believe that by defining these goals for myself, I would have an actual destination in mind to get to. I'd be less tempted to skip my routine too as a result. It's always helpful to have an idea of where you want to go, so you don't just haphazardly try different methods to achieve some vague goal.

By setting these goals, I know what kind of products I need to buy and the kind of methods I need to focus on. So say for example, this year is all about trying to alleviate dark circles on my under eye area. Since my goal is all about the under eye area, I won't go around the whole year trying out the latest lipstick or something.

To target eye bags, I could set goals like getting into bed at 10PM and cutting down on booze. If eye wrinkles are a concern, I should probably focus on experimenting with different eye creams that could help stimulate collagen production and also making a commitment to be gentler on the eye area in general when applying products.

This approach should help me take my routine seriously. You'd think that a 19-year-old kid like me shouldn't be slathering on so much product on her face at such a young age. And frankly I wish I didn't have to as well. I would rather not touch my face if I can help it but the reality is that I used to practice terrible lifestyle habits that have really given my skin and my health a beating.

I didn't know how to properly care for my skin during my teenage years so I was always going after the latest sheet masks and slathering my face all over with an "anti-acne" toner which reeks of alcohol, all in hopes that I might wake up with all my skin nightmares gone. Of course, none of it ever worked. This is even made worse by my diet and non-existent exercise on top of constant stress and bad sleep.

I've neglected my skin for so many years and it has literally taken the backseat in my priorities. This is why despite my young age, I am already showing signs of premature aging, especially on my under eyes and cheeks. I don't look my age at all and my outer appearance suggests anything but healthy. And I don't want that. It's not even a matter of vanity anymore. I just want healthy-looking skin, period.

This really motivates me to dig deeper and educate myself about how diet, lifestyle, and the products we use all impact our health and our skin. Truth be told, I'm actually really desperate to stick to my routine now because I've been having chapped lips all winter long and it's annoying + painful af. The dry AC air isn't helping at all but instead making matters worse. I'm hanging wet towels around the room for real just to try and get some humidity in the air (courtesy of Miss Charlotte Cho).

To be clear, I am not shooting for unrealistic beauty standards like having pale, flawless skin or a pore less complexion. My ultimate goal is to achieve healthy, happy skin, and that's it. I want to help my skin to function normally and treat it like the actual body organ that it is, while enabling me to be confident and in control of how I look.

To do this right, I have to figure out where am now, where I want to go, and how to get there so I can start implementing an effective course of action. From a skin care perspective, the process goes like this:

  1. Identify the skin concern I want to address
  2. Describe the end goal or what I want to accomplish by the end of the year
  3. Determine the kind of products, methods, or techniques I will use to get to the goal
  4. Put the plan into action
  5. Assess my progress mid-year and at the end of the year
  6. Repeat next year

My Major Skin Concern This 2019 

This year, I want to focus on addressing Post-Inflammatory Erythema or PIE. Basically, Post Inflammatory Erythema is derma-speak for the broken or damaged capillaries caused by acne that appear on the skin as reddish scars and marks. These are the kinds of blemishes you usually see on lighter-skinned people and these are real persistent suckers that stick around even when the acne, or the actual bumps and inflammation are gone. Check out this boss article from Simple Skin Care Science if you want to find out more about it.

Of course, PIE is not the only skin issue I have. I just really want to double down on my blemishes and hyperpigmentation issues this year because I already managed to curb my acne as of last year. The major thing left for me to deal with now is the scarring that acne left behind. Thankfully, acne itself is mostly very manageable for me now, so it's not my major concern anymore. If you want to read more about my other skin concerns, see my skin profile page.

I always thought that acne is the toughest and most stubborn shit in the world to cure but really, once you correctly identify the root cause of your condition, and treat it accordingly, it will really go. They will go, go, go as if they didn't just occupy your face years prior.

And believe me, when that happens, that's when you'll realize that acne isn't the hardest thing in the world. It's those nasty, reddish-brown scars they leave behind that are the real problems. I have a lot to show for it on my cheek area, too and I want them gone, zapped, eradicated, completely wiped out from my skin by next year.

If you're someone dealing with acne, you would first want to know why you're having it. Try to isolate and name the cause. I'm not much of an acne expert so I won't elaborate on that but I'll be talking about my acne story and the things that helped me to minimize it in another post.

What I Want to Accomplish by the End of the Year

By December 31, 2019, I want to permanently leave all the scars acne left on my face for good and celebrate the new year with a clear, even complexion. It's been so long since I enjoyed that kind of bearing that I forgot how it feels like to walk around with clear skin. For so many years, I have grown to accept the fact that I will always have those nasty red brown scars all over my face and that my acne will never go away.

I want to take action and be more in control of my skin. I want to be able to visit Seoul with a healthy complexion because I know that skin care is a big deal for Koreans. Like many Korean women, I want to be able to take pride in how I take care of myself and having my skin to show for it as evidence. I'm super excited to start!

Products, Methods and Techniques I Will Use to Address These Concerns

To properly address PIE, I would have to be very diligent with sunscreen and include a lot of Vitamin C products into my routine.

Of all the skin care products that I really dislike, aside from foundation, BB cream, concealer, etc., all the things that require application on the whole face, is sunscreen. I just don't like slathering something all over my face. I feel like my skin can't breathe. I really don't like how sunscreen feels on my skin so I always skip this step most of the time.

And no, it's not a matter of not finding the right consistency or right kind of sunscreen for me or anything like that. I have tried out so many awesome sunscreens that aren't icky at all, and I have a few favorites already. It's just that I would rather not have anything on my face at all if I can help it.

I'm fine with a bit of aging here and there. I'm not super strict about that part. But it's not like I totally ignored the role of sunscreen in skin care. I am aware of cancer risks and this is why I've taken alternative steps to sun protection like this really badass UPF 50+ sun visor, wearing protective clothing and bringing an umbrella with me even when I am biking around.

The important thing here is not to get burned because if you get sunburned, you know that your skin cells have taken some damage, depending on how long you exposed yourself to the sun. And the more often we get sunburned, the higher our chances of developing melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

I know the visor and umbrella will not provide the kind of protection that a well-formulated sunscreen will, and I am aware that sunscreen is super important for skin health. I'm not too crazy about not going out in the sun, but I realize that if I really want the scars to go, I have to religiously apply my sunscreen.

I can't promise that I'll stay out of the sun this year, though I will wear sunscreen on my face. In fact, I made the commitment to go out for a walk on sunny mornings this year for at least 15 minutes to get my Vitamin D needs and clear my mind at the same time.

Another thing is I think I'll set up a more consistent schedule in terms of using chemical exfoliants. I plan to get started with AHAs at least once a week and raise the frequency as soon as my skin is used to it. Another good reason to slather on the sunscreen. I don't want to sabotage my efforts so I'll have to invest some money into finding an effective Vitamin C serum as well as sunscreen that I don't hate.

In the next posts, I'm going to talk about all the empties I have with me so far, decide which of them I would repurchase and which I won't, and I'll also show you guys my humble "stash". :)

Until then, take care! Bye!



P.S. I'm having second thoughts. Should I have called this post Skin Goals for 2019 or  Skin Care Goals 2019? What are your goals this 2019? Tell me in the comments below!

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