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If I can achieve clear & flawless skin, so can you.


BEAUTY, Beauty Articles, Featured | by — February 11, 2012

For the first time in my life, I am finally able to confidently proclaim that I have good skin!   My skin is more evenly toned than ever before that I am brave enough to avoid foundation, my pores are clear without needing a daily dose of Clarisonic, and my skin so luminous that even the sheerest of BB creams makes my skin look “made up”.

Further to my previous post on “How to achieve skin so radiant it’s a shame to cover it up“, so many of you were eager to know MORE (as though I was holding back) about how I managed to over haul my problematic skin into flawless skin, that inspired me to write up this post.

The tips I have for you today are the labour of trial and error (lots of it), research (from trusted fellow beauty bloggers), determination (there’s nothing more motivating than prepping for wedding), and adapted for my normal/dry skin type.   Achieving flawless skin does not happen overnight and in my case it took 2 years.   If I had known what I know today, I’m sure it wouldn’t have taken quite as long as 2 years, but I guess that’s the “beauty” of hindsight. 😀

1. Start with a clean & clear complexion

Before addressing all other skin issues, the most important step is to start with a clean & clear complexion.   By eliminating breakouts caused by build-up & bacteria, you’ll be able to see your skin for what it really is & determine which targeted treatment to proceed with next.  Skin that’s clear and regularly exfoliated maximises the absorption of other treatments.  When your skin is in distress, it can be difficult to determine the source of breakouts & you may mistakenly blame it on the wrong product.

  • Daily gentle exfoliation:  I start my morning with a non-foaming enzyme cleanser  (eg. Trilogy Age Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream  ($39.95 AUD / 150ml) or Pod Liquid Detox ($60 AUD / 150ml) which gently breaks down dead skin cells and and brightens skin.   Twice a week, I’ll use Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($83.50 AUD / 50ml) which micro-exfoliates and brightens skin.  I find that daily gentle exfoliation has proven more beneficial for my skin in that it also reduces redness & prevents dehydration.
  • Deep cleansing is as much about double cleansing, as it is about regular deep cleansing.  If your skin is oily or prone to being clogged up, use a clarifying toner (eg. Clinique Clarifying Lotion) and purifying masks to keep pores clean.  Now that my skin type is dry, I treat my skin weekly with Alpha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask ($ 63 AUD / 100ml), a fast acting multi-tasking mask that contains 15% Glycolic acid for deep exfoliation, but also hydrates and skin instantly feels clear, radiant and plump.  Every 2 weeks, I’ll pause the glycolic acid mask & alternate with Clarisonic, using the sensitive brush combined with a finely grained scrub for a deep cleanse, especially on days after I’ve used foundation.
  • Less is more with base makeup.  It’s easy to get addicted to covering your flaws with heavy coverage makeup.  The irony is that the path to clear skin is to wear less of it.   The less foundation you wear, the easier it is to keep your pores clear, and you’ll get fewer breakouts caused by clogged skin.  It’s sounds so simple & yet most of us are afraid to take the plunge away from foundation.

2. Give your skin a chance to be flawless & listen to your skin

There is nothing more frustrating when people ask me for tips on flawless skin, but refuse to wash their makeup brushes or even use a cleanser.  Your skin won’t stand a chance of becoming flawless if you’re inflicting bacteria onto your skin.   I’m fortunate to not suffer from severe hormonal acne, and these simple lifestyle changes have worked for me.

  • Know which foods cause your skin to breakout. For me it’s excess sugar, spicy food and highly processed food (eg. instant noodles).  If I get a breakout after eating these foods, I blame myself and avoid those foods until my skin recovers.
  • Go to bed with clean hair & change your pillow case regularly.  Think about it – your skin is not going to be happy nesting on a pillow that is contaminated with a build up of dust and pollutants that have transferred from your hair to your pillow & ultimately your face.  Not to mention saliva build up.
  • Drink plenty of water.  My skin doesn’t look its best if I get slack with drinking water. Dehydration lines emerge & my skin doesn’t look as radiant.  Thankfully I don’t mind the taste of plain water & on most days I manage to get through 8 glasses a day.  If you’re the type that loves to procrastinate at work, use that moment as a reminder to pour yourself a glass of water.
  • Keep your hands clean & away from your face.  Wash your hands before applying skincare or makeup, and avoid leaning your face / chin on your hands that have been contaminated with bacteria from your keyboard. 

3. Nip your breakouts at the bud

  • Prevention is more effective than cure when it comes to breakouts.  At the first signs of a breakout, I followed Go Hyun-Jung’s tip to wash my face with salt water.   In just 2 days they disappeared without kicking a fuss.
  • Salicylic acid should be applied not only on the pimple, but the entire affected area as well – a tip I learned from Wayne Goss from Gossmakeupartist.   I apply it even when I’ve washed the area with salt water, and also after removing blackheads from my T-zone area.  I use Naruko’s Tea Tree Oil Out Targeted Acne Treatment.
  • Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion also works really well in drying up broken pimples, particularly large & nasty angry ones.  But I haven’t needed to use mine for months, now that my breakouts disappear with just salt water and salicylic acid.

4. Invest in high performing brightening skincare

It’s not everyday I am totally blown away by a brightening skincare range.  But Dermalogica’s ChromaWhite TRX Pure Night ($142 AUD / 50ml) – a lightweight night cream, and ChromaWhite TRx C-12 Concentrate ($165 AUD / 30 ml) – a brightening serum, have truly taken my skin to another level of clarity.  Acne scars fade AMAZINGLY FAST & my skin looks milky, bright and evenly toned – something I never thought I’d be able to have without undergoing professional treatment.  When I took a break to try brightening products from other brands, my skin lacked the same radiance and needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to switch back to Dermalogica again.

* * *

So there you have it!
I hope this helps you on your quest for flawless skin.
I’d love to know which miracle products & skincare tips that worked for you!

12 Responses to “If I can achieve clear & flawless skin, so can you.”

  1. Marianthi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Your skin is lovely and hopefully I will get there too!!

  2. Denise says:

    what a great post!!! Your tips and advice are spot-on and much appreciated! I already change pillowcases regularly and started to drink more water this summer (something I was really bad at!) and your advice is excellent! I really want to try an enzyme cleanser/exfoliant one day since I think they can do a great job and I’m very curious about them!

    I agree that wearing less or no foundation makes it easier to keep our skin clear. thankfully, I hardly wear foundation. 🙂

    thank you for this post!

    • Yishan says:

      Thanks Denise! Make sure you choose a cleanser that’s suitable for your skin type.. Enzyme cleansers and exfoliants are great for congested skin, but might be too harsh on ultra-sensitive skin.

  3. Elsie says:

    Hi Yishan, I’m interested in trying salt water to wash breakout areas. How exactly do you do it? Do you use sea salt or regular salt? What ratio of salt to water do you use? Do you just rinse the affected area with the salt water? (I also came across this http://shimmerkisser.blogspot.com.au/2009/07/using-sea-salt-to-fight-acne.html which has some suggestions for a salt wash).

    Thanks 🙂

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Elsie, I’m quite lazy so I simply wet the skin with warm water, then sprinkle on a few salt crystals on my palm and press it onto the affected area. The warmth of the water will dissolve the salt, and I rinse off after once it’s all melted.

  4. George says:

    Yishan, I do love this post but I have easily clogged pores so I am scared to try brightening serums. What has been your experience on this?

  5. Joyce says:

    hi Yishan!

    this is such an inspiring post!!! My wedding is in 35 days- and my problem is oily/combination skin with enlarged pores and a generally sallow appearance… I’m deliberating between the Dermalogica’s Pure Night & ChromaWhite TRx C-12 Concentrate and Estee Lauder’s Cyber White brightening serum (which you blogged about in April) and SKII, which one would you recommend the most??

    thanks in advance!

    • Yishan says:

      Hi Joyce! How exciting that your wedding is only days away!! Between EL Cyberwhite and Dermalogica ChromaWhite, I recommend Dermalogica as it’s still the fastest working whitening serum I’ve tried that fades acne scars. As for SK-II, unless you know for sure it works for you, I wouldn’t experiment with SK-II right now as many people experience breakouts from their products. Another skincare I’m loving at the moment to brighten dull skin is emerginC Vitality Mask – check out Chasing Elixir’s review with before & after shots! They speak for themselves. http://www.chasingelixir.com/emerginc-vitality-mask/

  6. […] Mask, as my skin concerns back then were clogged pores and dehydration.  Aside from my beloved Alpha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask, which is great for refining the skin texture, my skin has been much more prone to lacking lustre […]

  7. […] professional everyday, which means no bludging from makeup, using foundation on a daily basis after giving it up years ago and contouring my eyes to make sure they look well defined like I’m on top of the […]

  8. ml says:

    My best advice esp. for olive and dark skin is not to use any sort of lightening cream. Use some lemon juice regularly, that is all you need. Lightening cream/lotions and potions will damage your skin.

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