How I combatted my acne-prone, dry, sensitive skin

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At first glance, my skin may look clear with very little bumps. However, a year ago, my face was covered with moderate to severe acne bumps as well as well as both dry patches and oily spots. I thought: I must have combination skin. I tried all the skin products for combination skin, from Laroche Posay to Proactiv. Laroche Posay’s hydration serum eliminated my dry patches but did not improve my acne. Proactiv was just simply “style over substance”. I was quite excited when my mom presented me with the brand’s green tea scented moisturizer, only to be dismayed by the mediocre results (surprise, surprise, my acne worsened).

Midway through my high school senior year, I asked my mom to bring me to the dermatologist. He prescribed me with 20 mg of Roaccutane (Isotretinoin), and within half a year, my skin cleared with only occasional breakouts. Although my wild oil glands were finally brought to justice, it came with the side effects of extremely dry and sensitive skin (plus bloody noses!).

Therefore, I will be showing my fellow friends who are thinking about going on Roaccutane/Isotretinoin treatment or are already on acne medication on how to adjust your lifestyle and beauty/skincare regimen.

I. Roaccutane, aka Isotretinoin

The medication is prescribed by dermatologists to treat patients who have severe acne. Personally, I was prescribed with Roaccutane capsules and each capsule has a dose of 20 mg, though doses may vary for different patients with different levels of severity.

On my second day of going on the medication, I was welcomed by a nice, gory nosebleed (which is one of the most common side effects of Roaccutane due to dryness). The nosebleeds continued for a few months but became less common once my body was properly adjusted to the medication (plus drinking tons of water!).  I also got headaches, which was manifested through increased pressure in the head (or cluster headaches). I still get alarmed from time to time. So, on one routine visit to my dermatologist, I reported my headaches. His response? “Oh, okay. Just continue taking the medication.”

The only thing you can do to combat these side effects is drinking more water. WATAH WATAH WATAH. Water will not only decrease your nosebleeds but it will also cure your headaches. Dehydration is a cause of headaches (and fainting), so DRINK YO WATAH.

II. Skincare

As for the skin, many patients will experience dryness and even irritation of the skin of the body. My makeup would start peeling and cracking due to the dryness of my skin (it looked like the cracked ground during a dry spell), which is incredibly annoying.

I pointed the problem out to my dermatologist and I was sent home with a medicated moisturizer (which should only be used when skin starts flaking) and an over-the-counter moisturizer called Pelcare. Pelcare is (a German brand), I must say, a total life-saver. For someone will ultra-sensitive skin (I could not even use Physiogel (a skincare line renowned for its attention to sensitive skin) without gritting my teeth at the burning sensation of my skin during application), Pelcare is extremely gentle on my skin while eliminating 95% of all my dry patches. However, it does have a somewhat thick consistency which makes my face look extra shiny when the cream has sunk into my skin. Therefore, if you are trying to find a light yet moisturizing product, Pelcare may not be right for you. However, the product is perfect for times of crisis when your skin is screaming for hydration.

And when you do want to get rid of any pimples via topical medication, Differin worked great for me without causing any irritation.

III. Makeup

As stated above, my makeup peels and flakes due to the increased dryness of my skin. But when I use BB Creams, I tend to break out (even when the products are oil-free). However, the NARS Tinted Moisturizer seems to combat dryness without making me breakout. It also has SPF 30, which is a big deal for me because my dermatologist, ironically, recommended me to NOT use sunscreen (even though the skin becomes more sensitive against UV rays). This is because sunscreen may have chemicals that will attack the thinning skin barrier of my skin due to Roaccutane. However, the NARS Tinted Moisturizer, in my opinion, is perfect for those who are using Roaccutane. As a person with super sensitive skin, the added SPF in the tinted moisturizer has protected my skin against UV Rays while not leading any irritation for the skin.


These are the products that worked well on my ultra sensitive skin and this blog post is not professional advice…just personal experiences. Thanks for reading 🙂

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams Review

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Recently, I became obsessed with NYX Cosmetics’ Soft Matte Lip Creams due to its matte yet not over drying texture as well as its extremely pigmented formulas. So, I will be reviewing five shades today—Stockholm, London, Abu Dhabi, Cannes, and Budapest!

I first stumbled upon these goodies during a particularly uneventful day looking at makeup products (like I always do when I hit writer’s block as I attempt to write an essay on the constraints of the President’s executive power for class) on Amazon. NYX Cosmetics was selling a set of three lip creams and I purchased the set Stockholm, London, and Abu Dhabi. These are nude toned lip creams that enhance the plumpness of your lips rather than its tint (I am a chicken when it comes to vibrant colors. But I also have conservative family members who question my makeup choices all the time).

My favorite shade out of the three is Stockholm. It is a nude but it also has a subtle pink hue to it that brings color back to the face (I’m very pale). Simultaneously, it emphasizes the shape and size of my lips and creates an illusion of plumpness.

I also like Abu Dhabi, which has a more brownish shade. It goes well with bronzed makeup as it mixes well with the natural pink undertone of my lips. Although it’s on the bronzier side, it still looks quite natural without matching the color of my skin completely.

London came as a surprise for me as it pretty much wiped out the color of my lips with its solid earthy tone. It was a tanner version of my pale skin. For those who are brave enough to rock this everyday, go for it! Otherwise, I would recommend this shade for a makeup look for special occasions if you are more conservative, like Halloween (or if you are trying to blend into the sand dunes at your local beach, then you do you). However, a touch of lip gloss can help you recreate the popular frosted lips trend from the ’90s!

I bought the deeper and more vibrant shades Cannes and Budapest separately while I was window shopping in Hong Kong. I thought Cannes is perfect for those who want to add a pop of color to their lips. It is definitely on the warmer and brighter side of the lipstick aisle and definitely, an essential Elle Woods would own.

When compared to the four shades above, Budapest is on the extreme end of the spectrum. Its deep wine-like color gives the wearer a touch of maturity and extravagance that will suit well with autumn attire or makeup for a fancy formal.  However, this shade is also versatile as it is absolutely a great color for soul-sucking vampires.

I have extremely dry skin, so I would definitely apply a generous amount of lip balm before putting on a lip cream. I also recommend applying NYX’s own lip primer to smoothen the surface of the lips. If a thick layer of lip cream is applied to the lips, more product will be transferred to the edges of cups or any surface your lips shall touch. The matte factor also depends on how dry your lips are prior to application. Personally, I slather on tons of moisturizer which makes my lips look slightly glossy even with the lip cream on. However, if I apply another layer after an hour, my lips will look absolutely matte with no shine at all.

In terms of packaging, its small quantity of 8 mL is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is great for traveling if your makeup bag as it maximizes space in your makeup bag. On the other hand, if you are absolutely in love with these lip creams (and apply a few times a day), you will probably run out of product within two to three months.

But overall, I would give these lip creams an 8.5/10. As expected, my lips became a little dry as the product promises a matte application (so ladies and gentlemen with skin comparable to the conditions in the Sahara Desert, dunk your lips in thick lip balm before application). However, it does make my lips look big and the colors are gorgeous!


Why I hate the sea

Maybe “hate” is a strong word. It’s not like I “hate” the beautiful scenery and cool foamy waves. The sea and I…we just don’t mix well.

One: I can swim, but I don’t like waves. Swimming in your local pool and in the vast ocean are two different things. The pool does not have waves (maybe artificial waves, but waves that can be controlled) and a control freak like me would not dwell on being carried away by strong ocean currents that may lead to scenarios that are comparable to that of Open Water (it’s a disaster movie about a nice, adventure-seeking American couple served as human teriyaki for sharks)…

…which leads to my next point. Maybe once in a while, a kid bites your toe or a creep swims below you to get a better view of your stuff. It is still better than being eaten alive out in the open ocean. There are monsters in the ocean. Jellyfish can sting until half of your body turns numb. Sharks can drag you to the depths of the ocean and swing you around as its teeth make clean cuts on your body. Hell, maybe you will experience a Finding Nemo in which Marlin and Dory are swallowed by a whale. And no, you do not get to survive this ordeal via the whale’s blowhole.

Third: The maintenance. I have eczema-prone skin. Although sea salt is allegedly beneficial for sterilizing eczema wounds, I rather not have skin that burns whenever I’m out of the water or whenever I kick sand onto those pesky scabs. Also, commercials and billboards depicting swimwear models with wind-swept, salted, yet smooth hair, by no means, apply to my situation. Often, I find myself spending hours hopelessly trying to untangle my sandy, sticky hair with a comb. Bringing a conditioner along for the trip seemed ridiculous to my low maintenance family.

Worse of all, my dad grew up on Lamma Island, HK. I clearly inherited all my mom’s city girl mannerisms. But here I am, on a family trip to Phuket (where I am literally surrounded by sea), gulping at my family’s enthusiasm for the boat trip to Raja Island.

Oh, well. Guess I’ll just brave it out like any other trip to the vast ominousity that Mother Nature seems determined to haunt me with.