As someone who struggles with sensitive skin, I constantly have trouble choosing products suitable for my skin. It has been a journey figuring out my skin type and what works best for me. To contextualise, I struggle with both mild dermatitis and mild eczema. So, let’s talk skincare. In recent months, there have been a surge in online content about skincare routines. Most of which cater to specific skin types and brief explanation as to why having a proper skincare routine matters. As much as there are plenty of online content about skincare routines, I had trouble finding a skincare routine that could work for my skin type. Personally, I have never taken it upon myself to understand the importance. It was only in the last few months (and a trip to the dermatologist), that I started paying more attention to my skin’s reaction to certain products.
Skincare Is Genderless, But It Isn’t A One-Size-Fits-All Routine
Everyone, regardless of gender should have a proper skincare routine. Taking care of your skin isn’t feminine. Why should skincare be gender-based? Before we go on to share tips on handling sensitive skin, the first step is to identify your skin type. I would like to point out also, that there isn’t such thing as perfect skin or having the ‘best’ skin type. Having uneven skin tones and textured skin is perfectly normal. To start, there are five main skin types along with certain characteristics when identifying your skin type.
1. Normal Skin
People with normal skin have balanced sebum production. Meaning the skin is neither too dry nor too oily.
2. Dry Or Dehydrated Skin
Having dry or dehydrated skin is usually characterised by having a flaky skin texture or dull skin complexion.
3. Oily Skin
The main indication of having oily skin is when one has a greasy skin appearance. This type of skin may be more prone to acne. Having oily skin just means your skin is producing excessive sebum.
4. Combination Skin
As the skin type suggests, one with such skin type would have both dry and oily skin. For this skin type, the T-zone (the area around your nose, chin, and forehead) is oily whereas the cheeks appear dry.
5. Sensitive Skin
Once you’ve identified your skin type, figuring out what type of products to use on your face is equally important. Additionally, the effectiveness of each product is dependent on your skin type too. It’s a common misconception that all products would be suitable for all types of skin. So don’t worry if it doesn’t work on you, there is completely nothing wrong with your skin. Skincare routines aren’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all, so go ahead and try out what works best for you.
My Journey With Sensitive Skin
Growing up, my skin was always dehydrated and flaky but it wasn’t anything moisturising couldn’t fix. However over the last few months, my skin has been extremely irritable to certain skincare products and external factors such as the climate. Prior to the imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, I noticed that my cheeks appeared very flushed and had pin-sized red dots freckled around that area. In need of advice, I went to my mother who suggested using more natural products (i.e. home-made bar soaps and essential oils). They contain natural healing properties and are less harsh on the skin. However, all they did was worsen my skin condition.
Before deciding to consult a dermatologist, I tried doing my own research to figure out what my skin condition could be. From what I read and observed from my skin, I suspected I had rosacea. But of course, there’s an extent to whether my suspicions were right. And there were only so many ways to describe what I noticed about my skin. Eventually, I consulted a dermatologist and my suspicions about having rosacea was indeed wrong. Instead, he told me that I have mild dermatitis. Contrary to my mother’s advice about using home-based products, the dermatologist advised me to specifically stop using such products as they may be too harsh for sensitive skin types.
Cause Of Sensitive Skin And The Management Of It
As explained by the dermatologist, the reason why my skin was so sensitive was due to my weak skin barrier. In short, what a skin barrier does is protect your skin from harmful environmental pollutants. Given that it was already weak, naturally the home-made bar soaps I’ve been using as facial cleanser weren’t doing much justice to my skin barrier other than to damage it further. One of the suggested ‘solutions’ from the dermatologist and my online searches is to hydrate and strengthen my skin barrier. One of the ways to do that is by using carrier oils. As mentioned, carrier oils have natural healing properties and could improve skin appearances. But unfortunately, my skin was intolerant to some carrier oils such as sea buckthorn oil and rosehip oil.
Having sensitive skin also means my skin is sensitive to various ingredients such as fragrances. In other words, I have to look out for products that are labelled ‘hypoallergenic‘. In essence, the term hypoallergenic means the product claims to contain fewer allergens, lowering the chances of getting an allergic reaction. However, products made for sensitive skin are usually priced higher than products that are meant for normal skin type. It was a very frustrating process to test out what worked and what didn’t on my skin. After going through multiple changes in my skincare routine, it came a point I eventually stopped using any facial cleanser. I went back-to-basics and started washing my face with just water. And believe it or not, it actually helped reduce the redness on my face.
My Quest For An Alternative Skincare Routine
Desperate for a remedy, I decided to make one last attempt at finding a skincare product for my face at the pharmacy. Walking into the skincare section, I found myself looking at the Good Virtues Co.’s facial cleanser and facial mask. Its floral, vibrant packaging got my attention. I also noticed that their entire skincare range is infused with organic habbatus sauda oil (organic black seed oil). Curious, I decided to do my research on the benefits of black seed oil before purchasing. Among the different benefits it had, black seed oil is supposedly great for people with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne. This is because it contains anti-inflammatory properties and is also rich in antioxidants which helps repair the skin.
From my past experiences, carrier oils had caused more irritations to my sensitive skin. Whilst products that contained fragrances had caused flare-ups. Ever since I tried Good Virtues Co.’s facial cleanser and mask, I no longer experienced either problems. That’s a huge relief!
Looking To Switch Up To A More Affordable Skincare Brand?
At first glance, I assumed that Good Virtues Co. to be an international brand due to its vibrant packaging. But to my pleasant surprise, it’s actually a local Malaysian brand. Not only because it’s suitable for my skin but the pricing is also very affordable in comparison to big international brands (i.e. L’Oréal, Dove, etc.), taking into account the authenticity of the ingredients used as well. What’s great is that it doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances hence, it didn’t irritate my skin. Instead, it left a nice floral scent while keeping the flare-ups under control. Not to mention it’s parabens-free, SLES-free, is cruelty-free and is also halal.
There are numerous misconceptions around skincare routines. Especially the idea that using expensive products would guarantee more effective results. Skincare routines may mean different things to different people. It doesn’t mean that there’s an absolute way to doing skincare. So feel free to explore what works for you. As much as product reviews go, it’s still dependent on your skin type and what it absorbs best. If you have sensitive skin like me, checking the ingredients of the product is a must. Getting a patch test would also be useful in helping you identify the specific chemicals or ingredients in products that your skin is intolerant to.
Beauty And Confidence That Radiates From Within
Good Virtues Co. has a tagline that says ‘Celebrate Your Noor‘. Noor is an Arabic word which essentially means the inner light, a beauty truly worth celebrating. Women should celebrate their femininity and learn that there is more to beauty than meets the eye. Let’s not be disillusioned by beauty ideals like having fair skin or having clear skin because either way, your beauty should be defined by only you alone.
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”Kahlil Gibran, lebanese writer and poet
I am a big believer that when one chooses the right products to use, it will be reflected in the person’s self-confidence. I feel much less self-conscious about my skin condition when I’m not wearing make-up as I’ve found products that work on my face. Other than that, I have no regrets choosing Good Virtues Co.’s facial products as I didn’t have to look hard for it because it’s so readily available in any pharmacy.
Skincare Tips And How-To’s As A Beginner
If you’re a beginner looking for tips on how to start, there are plenty of simple skincare routines on YouTube. Although finding a skincare routine video completely similar to your skin type is rare, it’s still worth learning different tips and tricks from various people. Aside from YouTube videos, Good Virtues Co. has story highlights each for ‘tutorials’ and ‘skincare’ on their Instagram that contain interesting tips, and even steps to a proper skincare routine. They also often post mini fact sheets about their products and ingredients used. For more details on their other wide range of products, I would visit their website for product descriptions before I decide which items to try.
Again, it’s important to remember a few things. Skincare is definitely not a one-size-fits-all routine and aside from skin type, skincare routines may vary for different people due to climate and other external factors that are beyond your control. But finding the right skincare routine takes time and a lot of trial and error. And when trying out a new skincare routine, it’s great to remind yourself that it takes time for the results of your new skincare routine to take effect. Not to mention, it depends on the products you use or a change in your skincare routine as well. Read on here for the detailed list. The main takeaway about having a skincare routine is for you to feel more comfortable and confident in your skin.
Good Virtues Co. Has More Than Just Skincare
What I like best about Good Virtues Co. other than their skincare is the extensive range of products, from haircare to bodycare. Even when selecting a suitable facial cleanser, it appealed to me that each facial cleanser catered to a need (i.e. hydrating, brightening, etc.). If you’re interested and would like to explore their products, you can find them in most pharmacies and supermarkets such as AA Pharmacy, Watsons, Big Pharmacy, Tesco, Giant, and Aeon Big. Walk into any pharmacy and you’ll definitely spot them in their respective sections. If you’re more of an online shopper, check out Watsons Online, and Fashion Valet or their Good Virtues Co. website.
Personal Care Isn’t Just For Women
It’s a long standing fact that almost all men’s personal grooming products are derived from existing women’s brands. They lacked a masculine identity, if you will, that didn’t really appeal to men. In the next article, let’s explore the world of personal care for men, and how manufacturers are changing the way they market men’s grooming products.