This post is the third and final instalment of a skincare series over three months (July – September – due to holidays, the project was completed in October).
The series is a gifted collaboration with In The Line Of Beauty, a Dundee skincare specialist service provided by Kezia Miskell-Reid.
Catch up on part 2 of my skincare journey.
First and foremost, this skincare series has been a joy to work on. Not just because I’ve received regular, gifted treatments (although, yes, that’s been very nice) but because I’ve enjoyed the process of working with Kezia at In The Line of Beauty (she’s a total dream) in finding out what my skin needs and, importantly, what my skins likes. I’m sad the project is over but I am excited to continue seeing Kezia now that we have sorted my compromised skin – now it’s time to explore skincare in order to get the very best out of my skin.
A QUICK REMINDER
When I first met Kezia my skin was not good. It was pretty bad actually. I had a nasty collection of spots and irritation which kept moving around my nose, mouth, and chin, and it was angry and often sore at times. I worried about it every day and, generally speaking, felt pretty shit about it.
Kezia and I worked together on finding out what was causing the problem and how to address it, giving ourselves a realistic time frame of around three months. By the time our project was coming to an end my skin had cleared up entirely and I absolutely 100% put this down to Kezia. Her genuine interest in helping me improve things, and her patience in finding out what worked and didn’t work (for me) meant that she wasn’t looking for a quick fix – she was invested in my skin and therefore my wellbeing. So many other skincare providers are not invested in (or interested in) their clients in this way.
BUT WHAT ACTUALLY CHANGED MY SKIN?
What was it that helped clear my skin up and make it better? In a nutshell, it was a basic skincare routine to which we gradually added other elements such as serums, and the use of regular light therapy (primarily yellow light for inflammation, red light for collagen).
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we had nailed my basic skincare down, so it now looks liked this:
- AM: Comfort Zone remedy cream-to-oil cleanser (sometimes), Caudalie grape facial mist, Comfort Zone remedy refreshing toner, NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream, Skin Regimen SPF30.
- PM: Comfort Zone remedy cream-to-oil cleanser, Caudalie grape facial mist (sometimes), NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream.
Then we added a serum – Skin Regimen Hyaluronic Acid (for hydration) in the evenings, and The Ordinary’s 100% Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil (for the joy of it, but because it’s directed at irritated skin that needs nourishing and soothing) twice a week instead of moisturiser.
About two thirds of the way through this process Kezia recommended we try the light therapy – eight minutes of yellow light followed by eight minutes of red – every two or three weeks. The results of this was both instant and longer term – immediately after the light therapy my skin was clearer and brighter and plumper, and around four days after the treatment my skin looked glow-y and youthful and bouncy for around 10-14 days.
THE THREE THINGS THAT MADE IT BETTER
For me, there were three major factors in sorting my skin out.
- Stripping back my skincare to almost nothing before reintroducing certain ingredients (notice I say ingredients rather than products) to figure out what suited my skin. For example, fragrances such as linalool irritate my skin, as do acids such as salicylic and glycolic. So I would try them for a few days to a week and take them out if things flared up. Likewise, when ingredients worked well for me (such as being fragrance and alcohol free, pretty much anything geared towards sensitive skin – even though I wouldn’t label my skin as sensitive) after a few days or a week I would count that as part of my routine to make up cleansing, toning, hydration, moisturising.
- NeoStrata’s Bionic Face Cream is a superstar product for me. Though it’s medically and scientifically focused with a great deal of ingredients, its purpose is to act as a very calming and inoffensive emollient. So, for me, it’s moisturising my skin beautifully (a pleasure to use) without causing any irritation but it has purpose in its formulation.
- LED light therapy. This has been a miracle worker for me. The yellow light (for inflammation) almost certainly is what got rid of my spots and ‘bad’ skin. It has been invaluable in my skin’s recovery and I will continue to use it as an add on to facials with Kezia or on its own as a remedy for flare ups.
SO WHY DID I ENLIST THE HELP OF A PROFESSIONAL?
Kezia has written a little note to explain why it’s worth taking time to focus on yourself with the help of someone who knows and understands skincare and skin products.
“Skincare isn’t confusing. What confuses us is conflicting advice, beauty influencers being paid to sell products, a new super ingredient popping up every other day… ultimately you confuse yourself by not knowing what, in fact, you NEED.
When I started in the beauty industry I knew my place was to work with people to help find their own path to healthy skin. A path where they learn what works with their skin and what doesn’t, where they begin to relate to their own skin and to understand why their skin behaves the way it does and not reflect on Instagram perfection in others. Comparing your skin to someone else’s skin is really not a good way to go.
With patience and an understanding that these things can take time Christina has reached a place where she will be able to pick a product up from the shelf, read the ingredients and make a valued and educated decision on whether this is a good addition to her skincare and this is massively valuable in today’s world of a gazillion million products.
It has been an absolute pleasure to guide Christina and help her get to grips with the reasons why her skin was having flare ups and treat her to the facial treatments that helped alleviate her skin concerns, without over stimulating and doing any unnecessary treatment.
The path to skin health can be frustrating, some ups, some downs, steps forward, steps backwards, BUT we will always get there together.
A huge thank you to Christina for trusting me with her lovely face, it has been a pleasure watching her confidence grow in her skincare choices. Skinmates for life. ❤️”
THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END
Kezia’s words are so relevant. In this digital world we live in we are being sold to constantly but we have a responsibility to ourselves to be as educated as we can be and not fall into the black hole of buying things just because someone we admire says they like it. Similarly, we need to remember that something might look pretty in its marketing campaign images but in reality it will sit in our bathroom cabinet untouched because it didn’t suit our skin or our needs.
I am often offered or sent samples to review as a blogger and for so many years I used these products without considering what’s in them. At one point I was using in excess of ten products at any one time in an attempt to address every single issue that everyone else was telling me was a concern. Issues like fine lines, pigmentation, brightness, hydration, aging – blah blah blah. We can’t avoid these things – aging is inevitable! Rather than try and stop it all, we need to do really consider our faces and needs and know what to address and when. I needed Kezia’s objective and skilled point of view to help me with this.
Perhaps this was partly to blame for my bad skin, but ultimately that blame lies with me for not having been educated enough, nor caring enough about myself and worrying more about what other people were doing and saying. Ironically, in an attempt to make my skin look its best, I hurt it.
Now I am confident in knowing which products will work for me. I wouldn’t have got to this point without Kezia. Her skills, expertise and genuine care for her clients is invaluable and what she has done for me has impacted my day-to-day happiness, and has created a way in which I can find enjoyment in skincare rather than feel overwhelmed by it. That said, I now know enough that I am able to dip in and out of my basic routine as and when I feel I need the products (for example, I don’t use the Caudalie grape water mist every day, nor do I really find I benefit much from the Hyaluronic Acid and instead I’ve GRADUALLY added in a (gifted) serum by Decree instead).
Basically, Kezia has guided me in finding my bathroom cabinet staples, and what to look for and what to avoid in anything new I want to try in addition to that. It’s a bit like finding out what shapes and styles suit you in fashion, and adding new bits around your capsule wardrobe to accentuate, accessorise and modernise your look.
HAPPY FACE, NOT SAD FACE
Yes, our project is over because Kezia has sorted out my skincare issues, but now it’s time to maintain what she has taught me and let her show me what else we can do for my skin without compromising on what we have learned. I’m excited knowing that my skin is in safe hands when I do fancy a facial or a new product. My skin and I now have a relationship in which we are both happy.
Images: Kris Miller.
Thank you to Kezia at In the Line of Beauty for gifting me treatments and products for our project over three months, but also a huge thank you to her for what I hope is developing in to a new friendship.