Skin Quotes That Will Change Your Life: Mental Health, Skincare, Humor
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Hi, everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since the last blog post. Work and personal life has been keeping me exhausted lately. This article’s going to be a bit different than the usual stuff around here, but I think it’s an important one nonetheless.
Soooo…. I just finished reading rupi kaur’s “a sun and her flowers,” and…. wow. Never have I sobbed for so long and hard before from reading a book. Damn thing took me by storm.
There was one poem in particular that struck a chord with me and made me think of all of you, and I’d like to share it with everyone. It’s a fantastic reminder about why we’re on this skin journey in the first place: it’s not about chasing perfection. It’s about practicing self-love, so that we are better equipped to give and be vulnerable for others.
make mirrors out of
every reflective surface they pass
searching for something beautiful looking back
my ears fish for compliments and praise
but no matter how far they go looking
nothing is enough for me
i go to clinics in department stores
for pretty potions and new techniques
i’ve tried the lasers
i’ve tried the facials
i’ve tried the blades and expensive creams
for a hopeful minute they fill me
make me glow from cheek to cheek
but as soon as i feel beautiful
their magic disappears suddenly
where am i supposed to find it
i am willing to pay any price
for a beauty that makes heads turn
every moment day and night
—a never-ending search
Yeah, yeah. I’m cheesy and read poetry, and get emotional from time to time. Whatever :p
But I think this highlights an equally important dilemma I feel many skincare-addicts face. What is that you ask? Constantly chasing miracle cures and feeling hopeless when “nothing works.”
Dr. Robert Anolik, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, said it best:
“Even powerful prescription treatments can take a few months to really clear things up, and that’s our biggest challenge. People who get frustrated and don’t stick to their treatments get stuck in a cycle of trying and quitting too early, and feeling like nothing works.”
Fun fact: even Accutane, which is the most powerful acne medication in the world, can take several months to completely clear things up!
What I’m trying to say here is have some patience young-grass hopper! As long as the next week is better than the last, you’ll get there eventually. I promise you that. Plus your wallet will thank you in the long run. :p
With all that said, I’m going to use this opportunity to share several other of my favorite skincare-related quotes. These have helped me in dark times, have made me laugh when I was feeling down, have put things into perspective, and helped shaped my philosophy around skincare.
My hope is that these benefit some of you out there as well! Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
How To Think About Skincare.
The following quotes come from a dermatologist who did an AMA (ask me anything) on SkincareAddiction.
To quote them, “I treat people with skin disease. Most people will not need the specialized care that I normally provide. I work in an academic setting that sees fairly acute cases and rarely, if ever, see patients with ‘normal’ skin.”
Translation = this dude regularly sees some pretty severe stuff and probably knows his sh*t better than most beauty bloggers out there haha.
So what does he have to say about skin? Here are my 3 favorite quotes from him.
- “I am a believer in the ‘less is more’ philosophy of skin care and think that you can certainly get away without the use of any moisturizer at all. It depends on your skin composition as well as the ambient humidity. However, if you are wearing makeup that requires a cleanser to remove everyday, you will likely need to use a moisturizer, at least periodically, to prevent excessive drying. My recommendation is always to try and simplify the skin care regimen as much as possible. Acne is a modern disease and the skin takes care of itself for the most part. This will sound heretical to some Dermatologists, especially the ones who like to sell skin-care products ;)”
This “no moisturizing” concept might freak some of you out, but honestly I agree. And it’s something I came to appreciate after using CeraVe Cream.
As much as I love that moisturizer for it’s feel and healing capabilities, I have found that I cannot use it on it’s own for more than 10 consectutive applications before developing some micro-congestion that eventually turns into a breakout. This is why I cycle it!
In other words, I use it every night for a week, then I’ll take a night or two off to let my skin “breathe.” The same applies for vaseline. As wonderful and hydrating as it is, I can’t use it every night, otherwise it overwhelms my face.
I absolutely believe that you can excessively occlude the skin (at least in my case). It’s why I’ve never been able to pull off a multi-step Asian skincare routine without breakout out despite knowing that I’m not sensitive to any of the products I’m using individually.
To this day, I always try and limit my routine to 3 products MAX, either AM or PM and my skin has thanked me for it. Just something to consider!
2. “Everyone’s skin is different, and I mean this quite literally. The particular makeup of the normal flora on your skin is as unique as a fingerprint so anything that is recommended must be approached on an individual basis. There is no one-size-fits-all in Dermatology.”
3. “In the absence of disease, the skin does a perfectly fine job of shedding corneocytes all on it’s own, without any help of exfoliation. One of the primary goals of skin care is to maintain skin barrier function and exfoliation with harsh mechanical additives is working at cross purposes. The alpha-hydroxy acids are generally fine, but if you develop sensitivity they should be the first to go. The more the skin barrier breaks down, the more susceptible it is to insult from the outside.”
Again, couldn’t agree anymore! It’s why I’m always saying that slow progress is better than no progress. Chemical exfoliation is wonderful until it’s not. You really need to find the right balance when it comes to therapeutic agents like retinoids, AHAs, ascorbic acid etc.
If you’re stuck on the fence about whether you should do more or less — do less. Your skin just might be better off for it.
“The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again.”—The American Academy of Dermatology
In other words, don’t worry so much about getting the highest SPF or PPD sunscreen available if it means you won’t wear it because it’s a nasty goopy mess on your skin.
For most people an SPF of 30 and PPD around 15 will do just fine.
PPD, for example, doesn’t work linearly, so the difference between PPD 15 and 30 isn’t that dramatic. To put it into perspective. PPD 10 blocks approximately 90% of UVA rays, PPD 15 = 93%, PPD 20 = 95%, PPD 30 = 96%, so on and so forth.
“I put a real emphasis on moisturization and protecting your skin barrier, because that and sun protection are essential in your skin care routine. Everything else is just ancillary, and if anything, crap.”—Dr Dray, board-certified dermatologist and vlogger on the Tubes
P.S. if Dr. Dray ever reads this, sorry I chose that photo. I couldn’t help myself! 😂😂😂😂
“To treat your acne, you mustn’t treat it like an enemy, but like an injured friend.”—u/kruemelmonstah
I’ve said it elsewhere on this blog, but acne is a strange thing in that it must be killed with kindness. It does you and your skin no good to scrub harshly, rub, scratch the hell out of your face etc. Imagine someone has glued a baby to your face: treat it accordingly.
“Many of us are still struggling to find a routine that won’t break us out, but you just made me realize even if we break out, fundamentally our skin will be in a better position.”—u/triface1
In other words, you learn from your breakouts and flareups! There’s always a silver lining to every situation. Sure, you may have tried using rosehip oil and broke out, but now you can narrow your options down to find out what WILL work. Onward and upward!
“I’ve learned that you pretty much have to let acne runs its course. If you get a breakout, there’s only so much you can do until your skin pushes the blockage out on its own. Topical skin care products definitely help to refine your skin, but only to a certain extent.
Along with acne treatments, you just have to figure out what other things you can do to make your skin happy. You have to be calm (not-frustrated or angry), level-headed (mind-over-matter), and even somewhat scientific about treating your acne.”—Julie Lin from Skinacea (my skincare blogging hero. I would have never made this website if it wasn’t for her)
OMG! EMOTIONS AND STUFF.
If you cry easily, go get you some tissues right now. You’ve been warned.
“I have seen too many people see their skin issues as a matter of personal failure, a sign that they are not living ‘clean’ enough. ‘Bad’ skin becomes some kind of moral failure. That’s bullshit.”—the beloved u/YogaNerdMD, doctor and beauty blogger
“YOU ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF YOUR PARTS.“
What a friend of mine told me during the worst of my skin days. It means that you as a whole are far more important than any skin condition that plagues you. How could you be so silly to think that the red spots on your face would make me think any less of you? The same applies to any “flaw” we have. A funny toe, a crooked spine, an uneven smile, a birthmark etc.
Along the same lines….
“If we don’t look good, we don’t feel good. But looking good is not a prerequisite to feeling good.”—Infinite Waters
Translation = don’t let your physical appearance define how you feel!
This next one is from a redditor (u/msdrc), on the struggle of having skin issues:
“I went to an engagement party for a friend from high school this weekend. I could feel the eyes of all of these people, who used to know me as clear-faced, glued to my chin where I have unidentified, stubborn ass, texture-ruining closed comedones that are (fungal? follicular?) fucking impervious to all of my treatments.
It’s frustrating and self-esteem ruining, especially when the treatments themselves are adding more issues. I’ve postponed, avoided, called in, broke up with a boyfriend, and even changed my career path; all because of my fucking skin. It feels pathetic and even petty. I have no advice for you, only that I feel your pain and will join you and all of our fellow skincare addicts every day, in front of our respective mirrors, computer screens, and skincare aisles, in the fight for better skin.”
“There is a war beneath this skin.”—f.d. Soul
“the trick is knowing that this skin is yours and lovely.”—f.d. soul
“the wounds have changed me. i am so soft with scars my skin breathes and beats stars.”—Nayyirah Waheed
And the most important quote of them all comes from Margery William’s children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit:
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
And because I can’t leave you off with all these emotions, let’s end it on a high note with some…..
Quotes That Made Me Laugh.
“The first few weeks or months of using retinoids [or chemical exfoliants] it’s kind of like if you’ve never worked out a day in your life, and you’re starting a new fitness routine. You don’t jump on the treadmill and clog that bad boy up to 8 or 9 and go 10 miles. NO WAY JOSE! The same applies to skincare!”—Dr. Dray, board-certified dermatologist and vlogger on the Tubes
“(Breathes in) IF THE CAUSE OF ACNE WAS JUST NOT WASHING YOUR FACE NOBODY WOULD HAVE IT.”—u/quay-cur on the stupidity of people who tell acne-sufferers all they gotta do is wash their face to get clear skin.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that shit. Made me feel like this every time.
“Toners that have severe alcohol in them, you are literally just wiping the future off of your face.”—Jeffery Star
“Amazing stuff. I had super dry skin and now I feel like a smooth well oiled sausage.”—Random reviewer on amazon about urea cream
“Everyone thinks they have acne, until you actually get acne, and then you’re like OH SHIT.”—Grace Raymer
I’m sure we’ve all had that friend that’s like, “omg my skin is so bad! UGH.” And then you look at them and they have like one f*cking blackhead on their forehead. -_-
“Why does every western face wash say RECOMMENDED BY DERMATOLOGISTS!!! like which cooky dermatologists are they talking to??”—u/meguminMAGA
This next one comes from a reddit thread where people were discussing the brand Niod, which touts itself as “Skincare for the Hyper-Educated.” Lol
They are known to have very wordy descriptions of their products like “NAAP uses fermentation bio-derivatives and amino isolates that act as precursors to skin-compatible acids.” Reddit user u/bornonjupiter was clearly not impressed:
“Yeah everything about this brand made me want to scream. I guess I’m dumb as shit because I have no idea what the hell any of the products are supposed to do and there’s no way I’m reading the cocaine-fueled word vomit that goes with it. I’ll stick with Asian Beauty stuff – If I’m going to be completely confused by the marketing copy about a product, I want it to be because I can’t read the language it’s printed in.”
And last but not least….. an ode to sulfur from a fellow reader of this blog:
“My face seems to just love sulfur. Luckily, I adore how it smells. Reminds me of when I was in Iceland. I probably stink like a giant eggy fart to the rest of the world, but to me I’m a gorgeous volcanic waterfall, and that’s that.”—u/smallpaleawkward
I really like the way you write. Thanks for having this blog and the quality you bring to the internet!
:’) Probably the BEST post on acne I have ever come across on the internet. And I thought you wouldn’t ever out-do your fungal acne thesis lmao. F.C., you’re a star. I wish you so much joy – hope life/work eases up for you soon!
#smoothsausage for life!
I cry here!! :’) But thank you for every words you share, one of the best blog post I’ve ever read. Thank you again 🙂
Updated thoughts galore:
I love the way this blog commingles the emotional journey of skin conditions with practical solutions likely to improve them. It’s very important to identify, feel, share, and document the emotional experience out of self-love that you have expressed as the point of our journey:)
What an intense experience it has been learning these lessons and being transformed. I believe that people who go through the trauma of skin conditions (or have just suffered in general) are some of the most substantial, unsuperficial, nonjudgmental people in the world as I have seen this to be true. I hope I never again regret the things that may have led me to developing rosacea because of how much more appreciative it has made me on the inside. I also hope every anguished soul here gets to experience this peace and see the changes that it can make in our self worth and happiness(and it often improves the condition!)
We want to look the way we want to feel, therefore we want to look our best!!! but you are right, we are SO much more than our skin. We are every emotion, idea, memory, desire, thought, belief, and kind intention that lives beneath it. Once we deeply feel that, no person and no phony message that the media floods us with can take that away from us! Of course that shit still wears me out big time tho.
F.c. I hope that you end up greatly rewarded for instigating this heartfelt community of people who can both suffer and rejoice together throughout this experience and eventually gain a sense of freedom/homeostasis in the future.
Improving our skin makes us feel confident but it’s the love, joy, and humility we all find here that are the lasting gifts. I now see beauty in the ever perpetual pain and imperfection because of how it connects others and continues to prove that…
“Love never fails”
No quality could ever be more powerful. :’)
No matter how much pain we have to endure(lets face it…sometimes a ton of it), let’s never ever forget that or stop being gentle and loving people…
your student and friend…in spirit and heart,
P.S. The people in your actual physical life better appreciate the ABSOLUTE CRAP out of you or they are the worst and I’m mad at them. :)<3
Now I’m laughing and have tears in my eyes.
I really think the “less is more” approach is a sensible one, because some of us can get carried away and fall victim to the idea that we should be slapping on all manner of skincare products and ingredients because we think attacking our conditions from as many angles as possible will help, when in actuality it just overloads our skin. I’ve been down that road before, so I can relate.
What helped massively in my case was deciding to self-impose a few limits. For instance, I decided to limit myself to two actives for regular use — what resulted is that I’m a lot more careful and critical about what actives I use (are they effective while still being gentle and agreeable to my skin?). Now I just use azelaic acid and a BHA, and while I’m considering incorporating mandelic acid into my routine, it means one of the former two will have to go (likely the BHA, because mandelic acid is even gentler), because I want to stay within the “two actives only” limit. I used to use Differin on top of that, as you know, but I felt that the clear skin I got from retinoids just isn’t worth the out-of-whack skin barrier I’m stuck with when using them.
Another limit is that I only apply actives at night, so that my skin has a break during the day. Now after my morning shower I just apply Hada Labo Lotion and a sunscreen (Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence) and that’s it. I’m actually surprised how much that has reduced my skin tightness.
Learning more about Asian skincare helped me a lot, too, but it was only through cherry-picking the aspects of it that I found suitable for me. Personally, all those 10-step routines seem excessive, and don’t do any favours if you want a “less is more” approach. On the other hand, I did really like their idea of layering very light products, instead of just using the thick and heavy moisturisers typical of Western skincare. For me, simply layering the Hada Labo Lotion with the Hada Labo Premium Lotion at night gives me all the moisture my skin needs without feeling like I’m slathering on too much.
I spent so many years using harsh actives (like benzoyl peroxide and retinoids), and then having to counteract their harshness by using very thick moisturisers which clogged my skin. I never want to be in such a cycle ever again. This emphasis on gentle actives and light moisturisers has worked wonders.
This post is likely the best I have read pertaining to acne and skin troubles. It is the most refreshing, entertaining, and educational as well as realistic read which I can easily say for all of your posts F.C.! Funny thing too.. I am listening to Dr. Dray’s current October vlog as I read this! Multitasking 😀
I have gone back to a very simple and minimal routine and my skin has been in such relief and happiness over it. I had MONTHS of clarity only to find myself guilty of thinking I could handle more…nope. The Cerave cream was so great for me over the summer in combination with Squalane oil, both of which it now doesn’t tolerate for a day! I wish it could work for me but that’s okay. My skin now appreciates lighter hydration layers with light occlusives. Thanks so much for this post, you are da bestest! <3
I was wondering how did you get rid of your atrophic scarring on your cheeks? I really need to get rid of mines.
Thanks for this post fc. I really enjoyed reading it 🙂
loved this. thank you f.c. for all the encouragement.
Just wanted to let you know that I stumbled upon your blog about two months ago and the information on skincare and acne has completely changed my skin! I wish I had found your blog like 20 years ago, because I have been dealing with moderate to severe acne on and off for roughly that long (and been through all of its emotional effects and frustrations). I found out about Paula’s Choice about 13 years ago and I thought she was the source for all things skin related until I found this blog and skincare addiction on reddit. My skin is not 100% clear yet, but it is on its way there. I’m just wondering when you are planning on putting out that article about atrophic acne scars. This is, for me, the most upsetting thing about having acne since it is kind of complicated to fix and is often expensive to repair if you do not use at-home methods. Please publish soon!!! Thanks! 🙂
i think that i love you
Thank you, i love you and this. We skin people are really missing out on cultural niches and memes bc of the ‘shame’, yada yada, but i feel you’ve really made this blog a home away from home.
thank you so much for the uplifting post <3 i hope you're doing well!
I bought the book this morning after reading your post;). Very touching and nice one, I mean your blog post.
f.c. you are so adorable its just ridiculous.^_^
and um also…“If we don’t look good, we don’t feel good. But looking good is not a prerequisite to feeling good.”
Thanks for that. Needed it.
Thank you for a very informative blog/website that has really helped me through my fungal acne. I was wondering if you were planning a post on silicones… there seem to be many different types, and I find them in just about every skin care product and make up product. I think a post from you would be so very helpful to weed through this popular ingredient and its affect on acne.
Curious as to what you think of youtubers Rob Stuart and Greg (eczemahealing.org) and their thought process on healing the skin from the inside out?
Really lovely points 🙂
I’m a skincare lover but gosh sometimes we all take ourselves a little too seriously! Especially in terms of sunscreen and a routine, there’s no point forcing yourself to only do the ‘right’ things, only to end up using nothing at all instead! I’m all about learning the right way to do things but in the end it’s whatever you can do consistently and makes you happy that counts.
I’m still struggling with learning to leave my skin *alone* to heal even though I know it’s happier that way. Thanks for the fresh inspiration 🙂