The Ups and Downs of Skincare
Nick Malone opens up about his tumultuous relationship with his skin. He recounts past struggles, recent successes, and sheds light on his newfound perspective of all things skincare.
"Skinvestment": (noun) the process of investing time into your skincare routine to achieve healthy glowing skin
I’ve always been on a wild goose chase with my skin. My teens brought painful hormonal acne and a truly ridiculous level of oiliness, so I did everything I could to clean up and dry out. I relied mostly on antibiotic creams, and my skin responded by chapping, breaking, and flushing with angry redness. I was so relieved to be mostly clear of breakouts and I figured it was the lesser of two evils.
Naturally, that came back to bite me when my skin became more and more dependent on these aggressive ingredients every day. If I forgot to apply them even once before bed or waited too long to refill my prescription and ran out, the floodgates opened and I was left with dry, damaged skin that was even more inhospitable to my acne. It was the worst during wintertime in Chicago when way too often I’d randomly discover I’d been bleeding from a windburned whitehead on my face. I was embarrassed and frustrated, but the idea of going back to the drawing board made me feel helpless. Every over-the-counter skincare product I’d ever tried had barely made a dent in my issues, and I was totally overwhelmed by the options. Everything claimed to be the “magic solution,” the product that would change my life, fix my face, pay my bills, deliver me to heaven--the works. This made building an effective skincare routine on my own seem like a bottomless money pit, and a total crap shoot. Burning through my checking account, having greasy skin, and literal teenage zits in all my pictures? I’ll take the insanely dry and inflamed skin forever option, thanks.
At my first skincare consultation with SpaDerma in Lakeview, my aesthetician, Dan, earnestly asked if I’d come in for my facial with products already on my face. I was like, “Nope, I’m literally that oily on my own. This is why I came.”
A light at the end of the tunnel.
Dan was new to SpaDerma, but not to aesthetics, and his experience showed through his advice. We ran through the complete history of my toxic relationship with my skin, and afterward, I was given some of the most concrete, specific guidance on how to target my issues I’d ever been given. I received a list of ingredients that would soothe the angry redness I’d created, tackle the dryness without risking any greasiness, and target issues I hadn't even begun to think about like sun damage, aging, and texture. (I’d been doing indoor tanning for a few years before my first visit, so I had a lot of work to do.) Suddenly, having to sift through my options didn’t seem so impossible, especially since Dan was candid about the products he loved and the ones he didn’t care for. I started myself on a skincare regimen I was really excited about! For me, the formula was the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, the Neocutis Bio Gel moisturizer, and the Skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream.
The cleanser felt so gentle and plush, but left my face feeling like it’d been wiped clean of all the gross buildup from walking around the city all day. I was worried about being able to commit to multiple washes a day, but this product genuinely made me look forward to looking after my skin. I’d routinely struggled with breakouts after shaving, but the Bio Gel’s soothing effects really cut down on irritation after shaving--I didn’t have to panic and slather my neck in benzoyl peroxide to keep the acne at bay anymore--and the growth factors in the formula made my brittle skin feel much more elastic. The AlphaRet cream helped diffuse that redness I’d built up over the years, and shrunk my pores in the process. It didn’t take long to get hooked on the relaxing, tight feeling it left in my skin at the end of the day.
Since that visit, my approach to my skin has totally changed. Rather than basically beating my skin into submission with aggressive antibiotics, I’ve learned to meet my skin where it’s at. Even though I still struggle with breakouts, the time it takes to clear them up has been cut down to a fraction of what it had been. My skin is actually getting strong enough to heal itself rather than getting caught in the vicious cycle of breaking, bleeding, and marking my face, and it's been really nice to not have skincare feel so desperate.
A measured, patient, and guided approach from Dan has made my goals feel achievable. My weekend pics actually look presentable, and if that’s not worth the effort, really what is?