My Skin Journey #2: Update & Progress

Hello everyone! Long time no type/chat! For having wanted to make blogging more of a regular thing, I have not been productive on this task at all for a majority of the year. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m a lot more active there. (You can catch my day-to-day and regular, live skin check-ins on my stories). Anyway, I was actually inspired to write a legitimate post with an official update on how my skin is doing and what kinds of changes I’ve made (or haven’t) and just overall share what I’ve been experiencing lately and over the past seven-ish months. Let’s go ahead and jump right into it!

Let’s start with the changes I have made in my skincare routine.

Cleansing with a cleanser 1x day:

I started this 6 months ago in March. I wash my face in the morning with just water and use a cleanser only at night. I’m still doing this routine every day and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to cleansing with cleanser twice a day like I had been for so long before. Here are some key details I noticed:

  • After a few weeks of consistently skipping cleanser in the AM, my skin was slightly less oily. My face felt less “tight”, less dry, and overall felt a little more healthy. I am sure making this change helped me strengthen my skin barrier just a little bit (which is likely very damaged).
  • My skin looks healthier, feels a little more supple, and appears more hydrated.
  • I still have breakouts, but not as extreme as 6 months ago (pictures below).
  • I would say that overall, my skin is WAY happier now with this update to my skincare routine.
  • I believe some time after making this change, my skin type has changed slightly—I feel as though I am more combination than the usual oily (side note: my skin has been everything—sensitive, ultra dry, oil slick, basically everything). Right now, I have an oily T-zone and the rest of the areas on my face seem to lean a little more toward being on the dry side.

Skin Massage almost daily:

I had routinely done facial massages off and on for a few years now, but hadn’t for some time up until this year. I have a rose quartz gua sha massage tool that I picked up a few years back that I like to use on self care days when I have more time to dedicate to my face and skin. I picked up a rose quartz roller in addition to my gua sha tool because I thought it would encourage me to use it more often since it’s a little faster and more convenient for me to reach for. I started using a roller almost twice daily since June (about three months ago). Here’s what I found:

  • I have less puffiness in my face overall when I use it in the mornings.
  • I feel like it helps drain all the “toxins” from my face and moves them along properly. It may be more of the act of rolling things “away” that make me feel like it’ll help me get less cysts or mountains.
  • When I use my roller with my nighttime skincare, I feel like my skincare is absorbed better—especially my facial oils (which are expensive).
  • It’s also very relaxing in the morning before starting my day, and relaxing at night before bed. It just helps put me in a better state of mind.
  • Gua sha or the roller isn’t life changing or a miracle worker, but I enjoy the act of using them and what they do for my mental state as well as my face.

Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist:

I spontaneously decided to add this to one of my Moorea Seal orders during a sale to get free shipping and ended up falling head over heels for the product. I have been using this product daily for around 6 months now, beginning in March. I use this mist every day as part of my morning skincare and basically as my moisturizer for the day. For some reason I opted out of using an actual cream moisturizer or a proper moisturizer for day time because I felt like everything I had tried was just too heavy for my liking. I was using aloe vera gel (by Holika Holika or Nature Republic) as my daytime/daily moisturizer for years, but decided to go even lighter with this mist and haven’t looked back. For reference, I do have a layering skincare routine in both the morning and at nighttime. Here are the key points about this face mist:

  • It is definitely hydrating my skin, even though it’s only a mist. It’s light, doesn’t break me out or irritate my skin further, and is refreshing.
  • Seems to be a beautiful combination with my other skincare. For reference, in the mornings I skip cleanser and then tone > essence > facial mist > sunscreen. I have a very minimal skincare routine these days and it is definitely making a difference for me over time. I plan to do proper daytime and nighttime skincare routine posts in the future, but for now if you want to know more about the other products I use on the daily, check out my best of 2017 skincare post.
  • A favorite product all summer long and even when it was a little chillier in March when I first started using it, I still enjoyed it, but we’ll see how this fares in upcoming fall and winter months. I suspect I’ll need something a little more heavy duty.

Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA 3x a week:

I have been a fan and follower of Liah Yoo for some time, and was so excited when she launched Krave Beauty earlier this year. Her brand currently has two products available in the US and three in South Korea (includes her sunscreen). I opted to get my hands on her AHA toner and boy am I glad I added it to my routine back in May, about four months ago. I use it three times a week in place of my usual toner (Benton Aloe BHA) during my nighttime routine and don’t have a desire to use anything else—a new HG for sure. Here’s what I found:

  • My skin has cleared up more than it has in a year. I saw drastic improvement in my skin over the last four months, using this toner along with the rest of my usual skincare products.
  • The overall texture of my skin has improved greatly. This isn’t to say all of my textural issues are gone, but I am very happy with the result so far.
  • Breakouts and blemishes seem to heal a little faster and leave less scarring, now.
  • Kale-lalu-yAHA is not harsh on my skin, does not make me overtly sensitive, does not irritate, or exacerbate breakouts.
  • Very gentle, and very effective. Leaves my skin a little more glowy and is a great gentle, chemical exfoliant.
  • My skin really loves the ingredients in this AHA toner.

Before we get into the topic of diet and how it affects my skin, here are some snapshots to show you a visual progression of my skin over the last six to seven months.

February 2018

Back in June, I had a really wacky cyst that was just filled with stuff and it had been agitated for a week or so before it just busted open and I was forced to “clean it out”. You’ll see in more recent photos, it’s cleared up nicely. Pictured below is my right cheek. You’ll see a major difference between my right cheek below in June, and my right cheek pictured above back in February. In that four months, my skin was getting slowly better (at least in my eyes).

June 2018

Let’s fast forward to today. Here we are in September (about three months since the photos above) below. This is a reflection of my skincare changes and the slow, yet steady progression I see when I stick to a healthy diet (for my body).

September 2018

Can you see the major difference? Between February of this year and today, I’d say my skin has made leaps and bounds and I couldn’t be more stoked about this progress. It’s a huge change for me and has been so uplifting to finally see positive progress after so long and trying all kinds of stuff. I’ve been telling people this is the best my skin has been in about a year and a half. The photos taken today shown above, are unfiltered and unedited. I have eye makeup and product in my brows—the rest of my face is bare. My skin today isn’t perfect, but it’s SO much better than back in February and I couldn’t be any happier. This doesn’t mean that my face is completely clear, as you can see in the photos from today, I still have textural issues, red and blotchy areas, and some visible blemishes, but these are nothing compared to the mess that was going on in February. On a good day, I don’t have active blemishes and I’m left with just the usual textural issues (though they are a little lessened than six months ago).

Now let’s finally jump into my diet. If you’ve stuck around this long and are still reading, it really means a lot, thank you! I promise this portion won’t be too long and you’re almost finished! ❤️ I’ll go over the main points and details based on my particular diet. My diet hasn’t changed much at all for the last two years or so. For reference, though I eat vegan a majority of the time, I am not and nor do I consider myself a vegan. I just wanted to make that clear—what I am though, is definitely diary & egg free. That being said, I eat vegan because it’s easier to avoid dairy and eggs when eating out if I just opt for vegan options. I occasionally indulge in meat still, but even that is still in moderation. Here’s an overview for you:

  • I have been on this diet of mine for around two years, but have been a lot more relaxed with it this year.
  • I am dairy and egg free, entirely. On occasion I will cheat and have regular pastries or dishes with eggs and dairy such as pastas, dessert, etc. I definitely try to limit this indulging to at the most 1x a week but I will be honest with you, I struggle sometimes.
  • I started doing meal services. My boyfriend and I tried out a couple services—Hello Fresh and Green Chef (for me on the vegan option, since Hello Fresh only offers a vegetarian plan, but that doesn’t exclude cheese/dairy). We ended up getting rid of Green Chef because I got sick of the heavy themed “EAT BEANS ALL THE TIME”. Almost every meal I received was heavily beans based and I needed a little more variety for the money we were shelling out. Bonus for us was that this forced us to eat and cook more at home, which is super helpful to my diet since it helps me control what I eat. We’re still doing Hello Fresh, and whenever possible, I tweak recipes for my portion to exclude dairy and eggs.
  • I do eat meat still, but very minimally. If I have meat it’s usually something lean like turkey or chicken. I do sometimes have pork (my favorite), but I most definitely stay away from beef since it’s one of the foods that was high on my food allergy list. (Read about my food allergies in this post).
  • I eat seafood way more often than I have regular meat. I eat a lot of shrimp and salmon. I also indulge in sushi frequently, too.
  • I hardly eat bread these days since so much of it has eggs. I will occasionally have egg free bagels, but for the most part I have bread maybe a few times a month at most these days.
  • I avoid refined sugar whenever possible. I have a gnarly sweet tooth, and I go with Bakerita recipes for desserts or sweets without the guilt—you have to check Rachel out! Many of her recipes are vegan and even gluten free friendly.
  • I don’t drink alcohol. If I do, I enjoy ciders and white wines or rose. I’d say I indulge in a drink or two a few times a year.

Extra deets:

  • This isn’t diet related but I wanted to include that I began aerial yoga classes once a week for stress relief, stretching, and light workouts back in June and it’s done a lot for my mood and overall health, so I would assume this helps with my skin as well at least a smidge.
  • I’m trying to do more things to relieve stress. We all know that stress is a major cause of acne, and though I wouldn’t consider what my skin goes through just your everyday ol’ acne, less stress in life isn’t a bad thing.
  • My period – my breakouts and cysts/nodule acnes seem to get worse during my period. It usually appears a little bit before I’m supposed to start my period and I assume it has to do with hormones.
  • I haven’t been taking any supplements or vitamins this year, but I do want to start up probiotics, vitamin D, and C again. I was also thinking about collagen, too, but we’ll see.

Phew! So to conclude this post, I would say overall, I will credit my good skin progress to my diet over my skincare changes. I believe the combination of the two are harmonious and doing me a lot of good but I know for sure that my diet and food choices affects my skin the most as opposed to my skincare. Let’s say that while my skincare is amazing for me at the moment it helps with my skin a little—on the surface. While my diet helps and works on my skin from the inside. I hope you’ve enjoyed this update and that you’re all doing well.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in detailed morning and nighttime skincare routines! Also, if you’re taking supplements or vitamins, share in the comments what you’re taking and what you think about it! I’d really love to incorporate them into my diet again. Thanks for reading and until next time!