I spent quite awhile trying to decide what my first post should be about. Should I do a review? Talk about a brand I love? Finally chat in-depth about dermarolling? There’s so many options but nothing really stood out to me as a premier post.
I’ve finally settled on doing an introduction. My assumption is that if you’re here at the beginning of this blog you know me from my Instagram page, so why would I need an introduction? Well, while Instagram is great for quick reviews and captions, it’s hard to get to in-depth thanks to character limits.
So hello! My name is Amberly. I’m 36, I have two kids, a cat, a husband and live in Rhode Island. We’re originally from the West Coast (hello Seattle!) but have relocated thanks to school and work. Prior to moving to Rhode Island the only thing I knew about it was that it was somewhere over on the East Coast…probably. Once we settled in and began to explore I discovered how beautiful The Ocean State is. I also learned what is now my favorite bit of useless trivia, Rhode Islanders refer to water fountains as bubblers, or bubblahs if you have the accent.
All of that aside, I know why you’re really here. My face. I know I know, I’m a looker. I try not to let it go to my head. I’ve been reviewing skincare on Instagram for about a year and a half now. I began with a solo focus on Korean skincare but have subsequently expanded out to any brand that catches my fancy. I am still a firm believer in the multi-step routine though, I’ve found through all my trials and errors that this is what works best for me. A typical routine for me will include a lot of lighter hydrating layers followed by a few heavier serums and creams.
My skin is dry and dehydrated, so I’m lacking both oil and water. Without the watery layers my skin begins to look dull and sunken. My pores stand out, my fine lines are more apparent, and my skintone doesn’t have the brightness it normally has. Personally I find hydrating to be the most important aspect of my skincare, I’d far rather skip a face cream then a toner.
To complicate my dry skin matters, I also have issues with oils. Many people swear by oils in place of creams and serums, but I find that straight oils to my skin break me out. There are a few out there that I’ve begun to love, such as squalane, but even then I need to mix it with a moisturizer. It’s a constant balancing act.
Now I wasn’t always dry. I in fact grew up with very oily and acne prone skin. I used to think I had sensitive skin, but in reality I had over-exfoliated and extremely dehydrated skin. I was a 90’s kid, so my knowledge of skincare was limited to the options in the Target skincare aisle in rural Wyoming. Since I had oily skin I felt my only reasonable course of action was to scrub it with an astringent toner and walk away. Or as I like to call it, the burn it down and salt the earth method of skincare. You can imagine how well that worked out.
My method in my 20’s was essentially the same as teenage me, though I did finally add in a light moisturizer. For cleansing each night I would aggressively rub my eyes with the palms of my hands to remove water proof mascara and liquid eyeliner. This led me to believe I had dark circles and enlarged pores. I didn’t. Improper cleansing was leaving the smeared remains of my makeup caked onto my skin. Oh, and I thought that the SPF 15 in my Bare Minerals powder foundation was all the sun protection I needed. Clearly 20-something me knew what was what. My oily skin continued to be oily and my breakouts kept up with a vengeance.
So how did I end up with dry skin? Two things. The first was pregnancy hormones DESTROYING my face. My last pregnancy did a number on my skin. I ended up with painful breakouts across my eyes, mouth, and back. My husband (who is a physician) was seriously concerned I had shingles. It mostly cleared up towards the end of the pregnancy, but that’s what led me to seek out better skincare. Discovering the existence of a dehydrated skin type made a world of difference. Once I began adding in watery layers my skin stopped producing so much oil and my breakouts became less severe.
The second factor was tretinoin. I signed up for Curology in April 2016 and was given an initial prescription of 5% MAP vitamin C, 4% niacinamide, and 0.012% tretinoin. By the time I was ready to try this I had already settled well into my new skincare philosophy of nourishing instead of stripping my skin. My skin had a difficult time adjusting to tretinoin, and I went from slightly oily to incredibly dry. My face peeled constantly, and at times would feel raw and burnt. When my skin became so irritated it hurt I would back off of the Curology and wait for everything to calm down.
Now it’s almost 2 years from when I began and I’m up to 0.05% tretinoin and my skin is mostly normal . I do still lean towards dry but not to such an extreme. My skin is incredibly thirsty though, I can layer as many hydrating toners and light serums as I want. As my skin drinks up these products it looks plumper and firmer, taking on that healthy glow. At 36 I feel that my skin looks better than it ever has. I’ve found products that I love, my skin is smooth and clear of acne, and even my fine lines have noticeably faded.
Now, there’s so much more to talk about. Why I use the products I use, what ingredients I prefer, how amazing dermarolling is. But this post is already getting rather long, so I’ll save all of that for another time. I plan on keeping at this blogging thing for a good long while.