My HUGE skincare fail & how I fixed it

My HUGE skincare fail & how I fixed it

I love trying new skincare products. Some actives amazing on my skin, whereas others just don’t seem to do it for me. However, when everyone is raving about something, I just want to try it out, even if it’s risky. Well, this took a turn… Read all about my awful skincare fail and how I got my skin back on track in the end.

With great risk comes great reward… or not

I was always interested in vitamin C as an active. When it works, it’s said to brighten the skin, have antioxidant properties, be anti-aging and more. Sounds amazing, right?

Well, a lot of products get there vitamin C from fruits, just like you do when eating it. That’s usually not a problem, except for people with a sensitive skin like me. Fruit juices can be pretty acidic and it can be a real irritant, which is why I’ve always avoided it. However, one day I was gifted this vitamin C sheet mask and since I’d always been curious, I thought: ‘Let’s give it a try!’.

From bad, to worse

Whilst the mask was on my face, nothing felt wrong, but when I took it off, there was a little bit of irritation and redness. I therefore washed off the residue and put on a calming toner and a simple night cream, thinking the irritation would go down.

The next morning, I woke up with some spots on my face. They looked red and bumpy, a bit like pimples under the skin. There were about 4, which is a lot for me, but nothing to worry too much about. However, as the days went on, more and more came up, until I looked like a hormonal, acne-prone teenager (and even then my skin was never this bad). It hurt and felt itchy and I felt super uncomfortable, since I’d never had this problem.

Going to the doctor

A week went by and I decided to go to the doctor for help. I just knew something was up, since my skin was never this irritated. I am used to having hives or really dry skin every once in a while, but this was nothing like that. The doctor took one look and she knew right away what it was: a bacterial infection in the skin. She mentioned it was a good thing I came in quite early, since it could’ve spread even further. However, she warned me that I could have to deal with scarring in my face for a while.

She gave me some pretty aggressive antibiotics, which caused me to have a disgusting flavour in my mouth and feel pretty depressed whilst taking them. This depression, combined with a severely damaged self-confidence, really did a number on me, so I was not productive at all for two weeks. This was enhanced by the fact that I didn’t feel like eating, which if you read my blog a lot, you know I love, because of the flavour in my mouth. Luckily, the spots cleared up within the first week of taking the meds and I was ready for the next phase; healing the scars and hyperpigmentation.

Scarring and hyperpigmentation

When the bumps subsided, the scars and dark spots remained. Ironically enough, one of the most recommended treatments for hyperpigmentation is vitamin C, but you can guess about my feelings about that. NO WAY! So, I had to look for other alternatives that wouldn’t only heal my skin and reduce the hyperpigmentation, but also calm the skin and fit with my combined skin. In the beginning, I didn’t really dare to try new actives to help with this, so I stuck to some trusted favourites of mine: a gentle honey cleanser, a calming aloe vera toner and a hyaluronic day cream. I also used some bio-oil on my face once every 2 evenings.

When my skin seemed calm and recovered again, I wanted to reduce the hyperpigmentation. Therefore, I first swapped my night cream for the Tony Moly Panda’s Dream sleeping pack. This one does unfortunately contain perfume, but since I usually don’t really react to that, I was fine with it for now. The reason I chose this is because of the niacinamide, which helps against redness. It also contains some anti-inflammatory properties and some calming ones.

I also added two serums to my routine: the niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from The Ordinary for the same reasons as mentioned for the night cream, and the SkinHit Balancing Serum with Prebiotic and Postbiotic by Beauty Bay, to make sure my skin barrier got repaired and to stimulate cell renewal. Adding these into my skincare routine helped me to boost the health of my skin overall, which in the end also helped to clear and brighten it.

What all of this drama taught me

In the end, 5 minutes of masking cost me 3 months to really get my skin back to a healthy state. I can’t say it’s been fun, but it taught me a lot about skincare.

  1. If you know something doesn’t work for you, don’t push it. It’s not worth it.
  2. The health of my skin is very much tied to my confidence, which is something to be mindful about.
  3. Once again; whatever you put in your body affects not only your physical state, but also your mental health.
  4. Taking care of your skin barrier and using soothing, simple products might seem boring, but they can be the best choice.
  5. Weirdly enough, the whole thing revived my love for skincare. Having to really think about it and be strategic about it gave me the challenge I needed to make it fun again.

Now, I’d love to hear your skincare fails! What was your critical skincare lesson and how did you manage it? Let me know in the comments below. Anyways, I hope you liked this post. If you want more content like this, please subscribe and get my free e-book to help you save money. You can also find me on InstagramPinterest and Twitter, so you’ll never have to miss a new post.

Lots of love,

Lisa

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

19 Comments on “My HUGE skincare fail & how I fixed it

  1. Oh no! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with your skin, but it is good you took positive steps. It is good to explore other products to know what is good for your skin. I have just brought a new foam cleanser and it seems good so far. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Lauren.

  2. I’m so sorry you had to experience such a horrible reaction, there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. I’ve got incredibly sensitive skin and find the only range of skincare that doesn’t cause irritation is Simple. I refuse to use any other brand as I know my skin will hate me for it. Simple have a really good vitamin C serum, it’s new and I’ve already used one bottle. Thank you for sharing your story with us and being so open and honest. Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

    • That’s a great tip, I might try the vitamin C from simple. Hopefully that works better for me. And of course! I just want people to be careful with actives or at least be able to help themselves when something goes wrong. Our skin is just too valuable not to.

  3. I have oily and acne prone skin and my skin can be super sensitive. Last month I decided to change my skincare that I’ve been use for years and got pimple here and there. I haven’t visited a doctor yet. I did a lot of research before bought a new skincare set for my skin type + 3 serums (acne spot, niacinamide, skinpair serum). I hope the ones that I bought now is good for my skin 🙂 Thanks for sharing this x

    • Changing up your skincare can of course always lead to a little bit of purging, especially when you’re introducing some actives, so I wouldn’t worry too much yet! Especially when it’s just a few spots now. My story was an extreme haha, doesn’t usually happen. What made you change it up?

  4. I have very sensitive skin so I am always really weary of using anything; it’s so easy to put a face mask on and think nothing of it until you end up with issues. You dealt with this so well as coping with the depression and antibiotics will not have been easy. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • Yeah usually I’m quite careful as well, but I really missed the mark on this one… it’s a good reminder to be careful! And thank you, the side effects from the antibiotics were pretty bad indeed, so I was so glad when I was done with them.

  5. Wow! That’s quite the wild ride just from a sheet mask. Just goes to show everyone’s skin is unique to them for sure. I had an “oily” type of reaction to a mask that contained donkey milk once. Which, the oils make me break out but I didn’t need any medical intervention thankfully.
    Thank you for sharing your experience! I learned a lot about skin care 🙂

    • Hahaha yeah it was a wild ride for sure! But wow sounds like your skin reacted quite strong to donkey milk as well! Usually donkey milk is supposed to be soothing right? And I’m glad you learned something 😁 I hope you’ll never go through this!

  6. What a scary and upsetting experience. I’m so happy to hear that your skin is back to a healthy state. I love The Ordinary products and it’s great that you like their serum. One of my skincare fails was over-exfoliating which ruined my skin’s natural moisture barrier resulting in so many break outs. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much and yes, the Ordinary really saved me. And exfoliation can be really tricky as well, to find the right strength of products and the right frequency. I hope you’ve recovered now as well?

  7. Oh no 🙈 that sounds an absolute nightmare and so glad to hear your skin has now recovered. I make a homemade face mask which is great for my sensitive skin.

  8. Thanks for sharing Lisa and glad your skin recovered. I’ve also known vitamin C to be useful. Sometimes when a product works for someone else we force it forgetting that we are all similar but different.

    • Yeah vitamin C can be an amazing ingredient, but apparently not for me in these quantities. Lesson learned! But I wouldn’t want to discourage others from trying it if they feel it could benefit them. I’d just recommend to start carefully!

  9. Oh no, poor you! My skin is super sensitive so I rarely try new skincare products. I only use Simple facemasks which make my skin feel great x

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