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I was known for my flawless skin. Friends asked me for my skincare routine and strangers praised my mum and myself for similarly blemish-free skin. Truth be told, my routine was a single cleanser, the occasional masks and the rest is genetics. Before you think I'm humble-bragging, I'm not, because the key takeaway here is that it all happened in the past.
Wearing masks, coupled with stress over the past year have plunged my skin into bumpy, discoloured and pockmarked territory. And it's not just me, people have complained to various degrees about the skin woes masks have caused – enlarged pores and maskne being the most commonly brought up.
After learning how to deal with stress, plus trial and error with skincare for the past few months, I've worked out a routine that has worked for me in Singapore's weather. It's cleared my skin and kept the dreaded mask acne at bay, so I can now focus on reducing the marks that's left behind.
The routine was adapted from the 7/8/10/12-step Korean skincare routine, and dumbed down a little for slightly lazy people like me. In case you're suffering from the same ailments, here's my daily skincare routine for reference.
1) Wake up and wash with water only
Instead of stripping your skin off the oil that will protect it during the day, washing with water is a much gentler method to wake your skin up for the day. Gently dry cleaned face with a face towel.
2) Tone to remove impurities
I place my toner in the fridge, a trick taught by my mum that supposedly helped with reducing pore size. The toner I use has both AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) to really cut through the oil and purify my pores from within.
3) Protect for your daily activities
If I'm at home, I tend to just slap on a day moisturiser.
If I need to head out, I'll spritz on sunscreen.
1) Cleanse your face at the end of the day
It's important to clean off impurities from your face at the end of the day. I lean towards cleanser that don't give me the "squeaky clean" feeling because that would mean your skin has been stripped of its natural protective oil. Here are the two cleansers I use on a rotation basis.
2) Tone again
See point number 2 above on toner. I've LIVED for the SOME BY MI toner ever since discovering it.
I also treat my skin to an extra shot of hydration with an essence.
4) Serum for targeted spots treatment
I don't usually use serum, but have made an exception for particularly troubling skin issues. In this case, I use something to target the acne and spots left behind.
5) Moisturise as you sleep
I love Innisfree's sleeping pack series, and stocked up around two years worth of it when I last went to Korea. My favourite one is the Green Tea Sleeping Pack, but in Singapore, I can only find the Aloe Revital one, which is great nevertheless for soothing troubled skin.
Use these when necessary/as a treat
1) Pimple patches
Pimple patches are a lifesaver for overnight pimple eruptions. The ones I use are very thin and hardly noticeable when used.
2) Facial Masks
If there's a mask I swear by, it's Mediheal N.M.F Aquaring set, which is incredibly soothing on the skin. It's a little hard to find authentic ones in the market, so check that they are imported directly from South Korea. I found a set here for fans of Korean boyband BTS, with a box of 10 masks that comes with 14 BTS photo cards!
The soothing nature of bird's nest and the stimulant nature of citron tea and its essential oils can help can be good for the skin. If anything, they're also yummy to boot!
Skincare differ from person to person, and most often then not there is a lot of trial and error to go through and not to mention, plenty of wasted money. I hope that this particular roadmap for someone in Singapore who has conquered mask acne will be helpful for you!