I’ve always tried to take care of my skin since a very young age. The skincare brand that I used at that stage (Jean Baré) had very good client service and when using their products, they offered a free facial and skin analysis every six weeks. Although the facial didn’t involve any special treatments but only consisted of a steam / scrub and a face mask, it was a fantastic opportunity to see a skincare therapist every six weeks. In this manner, she could keep track of your skin and advise you on any concerning matters.
I never realised (and cherished) the real value of these consultations. In the same time that I entered grown-up world and had to wean myself from mommy’s endowment, Jean Baré also changed their “system” to one where you no longer received these facials but rather bought packages which included your whole skincare regimen as well as more specialised treatments. So I stopped going because a (once-off) skincare package was too expensive on a first year article clerk’s budget.
I wouldn’t say that it was mistake to stop using Jean Baré, but the mistake was rather to stop seeing a skincare therapist regularly. I would still pop in at a branch and buy my products, but I started “self-medicating” my skincare because hello, I know my skin and I know what it needs. Big mistake. Really, really big mistake.
I was 24 at the time, still struggled with a lot of breakouts and just assumed that my skin will be an oily combination skin for the rest of my life. So I continued using products for an oily skin, and the more severe my breakouts, the harsher products I would use. I started using products from other ranges too, especially after moving to Meyerton from Pretoria (big city life to platteland). I wouldn’t say that I used “bad” skincare products, I just made a lot of uneducated decisions. I would read up on a product, pop into a salon and buy it without having a therapist have a check on my skin. Or even worse, I would order online. The products that I used during this time included products from Clarins, Clinique, Nouvelle Skin Care & Derma, Annique and Sh’Zen. All of these are great and I wouldn’t shoot down one of them as a bad brand. But I struggled with shine during the day like crazy. And the more stuff I used to get rid of it, the more I shined (in a bad way, haha).
Then came August / September, and I won a fabulous QMS facial at My Skin Spa, from Sarah over at Mascara and Mimosas. I met the lovely Carla, owner of My Skin Spa in Morningside, Johannesburg, a few weeks later. And my life changed. Literally.
Cara analysed my skin and prescribed a few products to me from Lamelle, a South African cosmeceutical skincare company. What I loved most about Carla was her absolute honesty and integrity. At that stage, I still believed that you need a whole shelf worth of products to achieve celebrity-worthy-skin. So I was prepared to whack my wallet and buy everything I needed to get my skin into a good condition again. But Carla refused to sell me “everything that I had read about” prior to my facial with her, and insisted we get my skin cleared with a few basic products and then take it from there. I will be forever grateful, because it worked. And in the few weeks that followed, I realised that no matter how many hours I spent on the internet reading up on various treatments and products, I might have knowledge on the product itself, but I didn’t have a clue about analysing my own skin.
It turns out that my skin was severely dehydrated. And at age 28 I had more dehydration lines than someone 10 years my age. To keep it short, dehydrated skin has a lack of moisture (water) and is a skin condition. Dry skin lacks oil and is a skin type. With dehydrated skin, your skin produces an excess of oil to compensate for the lack of water content in the skin, which has led it to being dehydrated in the first place. This explained all the shine on my face and the lack of good selfies these past couple of years.
It’s six months later and my skin is doing so much better. It’s still dehydrated, and I have a suspicion that it will take a while to completely reverse the damage that I had done by over stimulating my skin with products meant for severe oily skin. Although it would be ideal to do it on a monthly basis, I have every intention to see a skincare therapist at least quarterly from now on. I have since introduced a lot of new and different products to my skincare regime, and have had no bad reactions at all. The odd breakout here and there, but nothing to the level of the condition my skin was in six months ago.
The products I used in order to clear my skin: (prices shown was 2015 prices)
Lamelle Serra Cleansing Gel:
This gel-cream cleanser is the bomb. It’s soap and fragrance free and is a definite holy grail item for me. It doesn’t make your skin feel stripped at all, and yet effectively cleanses your skin from makeup too. It’s very gentle and is suitable for severely sensitive skin types. It was R175, I’ve been using it once a day and I’m on the last bit of the tube now, six months later. In the mornings, I just splash my face with water continuously for about twenty seconds, as if I was washing my face again, just without the cleanser. I use lukewarm water, more to the colder side, and I don’t use cleanser again. This is in order to prevent hot water and/or cleanser to strip my face from essential oils that my skin produced overnight. If I disturb that balance again, my face will just start producing more oil to compensate again, and it’s a vicious circle that starts from afresh.
Lamelle Serra Restore Cream:
This cream was created to restore the lipid layer of the skin by correcting deficient skin barrier function. It reduced my sensitivity, irritation and redness and definitely calmed my uncomfortable skin. It’s not overly rich and I used it twice daily without feeling any discomfort. My skin took to this cream like a fish to water, and I can see myself using this every three months or so for the soothing restorative action it has on my skin. I think it was about R402, and it lasted three months. I continued on to a different moisturiser after finishing my first tube of this, but went back to using Restore Cream after about a month. I don’t think my skin is quite there yet, and until I’m comfortable that my skin can function without it, I’ll continue with this little tube of dynamite.
Lamelle Correctives: Hydrating HA Serum Plus:
Lamelle’s correctives are used over a period of time when your skin is of need of extra care, like a boosting agent. This serum supplements your moisturiser and provides the skin with a high concentrated dose of hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid in this corrective is fragmented to ensure different molecular weight ranges and therefore penetrates your skin’s dermis and epidermis effectively. My skin definitely looked and felt plumper after using this, and I love that this is absorbed instantly. Really, really fast absorption here. Also, I could definitely feel the difference in the application and absorption of my moisturiser if I skipped the serum. It’s as if your moisturiser is also absorbed better and more effectively if you apply it after HA Serum Plus. This is a goody, it also lasted me three months and cost about R495.
I used only these three products (together with an exfoliator twice weekly and sunscreens in the mornings) for about 4-5 weeks. Thereafter I introduced another Corrective, RA Cream, to my nightly regime.
Lamelle Correctives: RA Cream
RA Cream is a blend of emollients, sage extract, L-serine amino acids, hyaluronic acid and retinoid. It must be applied at night and a broad spectrum sunscreen is advised for use when using RA Cream. This was my first introduction to retinoid, and although my skin was still so vulnerable to any change at that stage, I didn’t have any negative reaction towards it that one so often hear about when (first) using retinoid. I started off by only using this every fourth evening, after two weeks every third evening, then after another two weeks every second evening, until eventually using it every night. Although it doesn’t make your skin feel tight, it doesn’t provide that lasting moisturising feeling, so most nights I still applied Restore Cream after this. And since RA Cream also contains hyaluronic acid, I then only applied HA Serum Plus in the mornings.
I have since started introducing other products into my routine again. One by one and not too quickly, to be able to assess how my skin reacts to it. This is a brilliant range from Lamelle and I’m very satisfied with it, and I appreciate that it taught me to first go back to basics to clear up one’s skin. Had it not been for the facial I had won, I maybe would’ve still used various products without ever knowing which ones gave me trouble. I learned the following from my own mistakes:
The importance of going for a decent skin analysis at a trained and educated skin therapist. He/she must know what they’re talking about. No more consulting just blogs and magazines and making uneducated decisions regarding your skincare, and
I didn’t need a range of 10+ products to get my skin back on track. Keep it simple, sweat it out and give your skin the time it needs to go haywire with just the essential products. When your skin eventually adjusts and calms down, it will love you forever. Then you can slowly proceed to introduce the fancy smanzies again.
My skin is nowhere near perfect after this 6/8 month journey. I still struggle with dehydration, congestion, hormonal breakouts, redness and a little bit of sensitivity, but it is nowhere near how bad it used to be.
I hope that this post will lead you to make more educated decisions regarding your own skincare, and that you will not get demotivated going forward. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way 🙂
Do you also have a skincare journey, a miracle worker product or skin advice that can help others?