When I was a teen I didn’t exactly treat my skin all that well. You know how it is, you’re hormonal, you’ve got no idea or control over what’s happening to your body, you have acne and enough grease on your forehead to cook up the school dinners. Blogs didn’t exist, my only skincare advice sources came from Mizz magazine and the trials and errors of my friends and I. Looking back I could cringe at some of the things I used to do to try and clear up my skin. From rubbing used teabags all over my face to toothpaste face masks, picking and popping, scraping, I shudder at the memories!
Quinoderm for acne was the holy grail product that all my friends swore by. It was a 10% benzoyl peroxide topical treatment. Oh sure, it got rid of your spots, along with about 10 layers of skin! It burnt something shocking - which in my infinite teen wisdom, I suffered through because I thought the burning meant it was working! Nope. It succeeded in ruining my skin for years. I had so many scars because I abused tubes of this stuff, convinced I just had to stick with the burning and snake-like shedding because surely clear, acne free skin was under there, somewhere, right?
The choice is clear. Well, everybody else was using it, and the kids in those cheesy tv ads (who let’s be honest, hadn’t been teenagers for a while and probably had 2 inches of pan stick on their face!) looked so happy and popular. So Clearasil was snuck into the weekly shop. I scrubbed my face so hard, applied a few layers of Quinoderm, bit my tongue for a while until the burning stopped and hoped for a clearer-skinned tomorrow. Nope. I swear, going back 10+ years, everything related to acne treatment was just designed to melt your face off.
More is better
I went through a phase when my skin was at it’s worst, where I was convinced I just wasn’t using enough products on my face. Why use one face wash when I could use two? Exfoliate twice a week? Try 7 times. Topical treatments, let’s throw a couple of those on, as well as some toothpaste before bed, because why the hell not? The more I covered my face in lotions and potions, the worse my skin got, but that had to just be a coincidence right? Because without a zillion products, surely it would be even worse? I was so friggin clueless back then!
Skin type hype
In my head, there were only two skin types; beautiful and clear, or greasy and spot ridden. Dry skin? Normal? Oily patches? There was no grey area, and when my friend with extremely dry skin recommended an ultra-rich moisturiser for my extra oily skin, well, if it worked for her, it was bound to work for me, right? So that was snuck into the weekly shop trolley too. Of course, it all ended in tears when my skin just got shinier and spottier.
Spots = dirty skin
That’s what the kids in school would say. Well, if you’ve got spots, clearly you don’t wash your face, you can’t afford soap, you must be disgusting. Not true. But try telling your 14-year-old self that. Of course, the popular kids by some divine intervention never had a spot, or they wore make-up to cover them up, but I never saw it that way. All I saw was that there was something very wrong with me! Back then we didn’t have YouTube beauty guru’s or blogging beauty bibles to refer to, we didn’t have highest rated Amazon reviews or a 3 months before and after photo journey. We had the promises on the packaging and whatever got the biggest ad spread in Smash Hits that month.
Looking back, I didn’t stand a chance when it came to skincare. It took years for me to realise that less is more, that I had to give products time to work, and not everything would work for me just because it had worked for someone else. I’m so glad I managed to grow out of these bad skin habits eventually!
What kinds of crazy things did you do to your teenage skin?
Until next time,