Frugaling Your Way to Smooth and Healthy Skin

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Skin care and the quest for clear skin are two things I've devoted significant energy to, specially in my old beauty blog. With my oily and acne-prone skin, I experimented with countless products just to get clear, smooth and artista-like skin. Ten million years later, I'm still nowhere near an Anne Curtis complexion but you know what, it really doesn't bother me anymore because I have long learned to accept what I've been dealt with in the genetic lottery pool and work with it, instead of vainly trying to change it into something it's not and will never be.

But to be perfectly candid, part of my acceptance stems from the fact that I am no longer as pimple prone as I used to be. Sure my skin is still oily and my large pores still dominate my face, but since I can't do anything to reverse that part of my genetic make-up, I have learned to live with them and blot as needed. However, the same cannot be said about acne and pimples. Those motherf*ckers can be eradicated and this is how I was able to wallop them into submission without spending truck-loads of money:

  1. Know who the skin experts are- I'm talking about those who studied about skin for a good decade, a.k.a. your friendly, neighborhood dermatologist. I used to self-medicate by following the advice of magazine editors, bloggers and commercials. My favorites were products with claims of sopping up oil, clearing skin of pimples and preventing shine. As it turned out, those products or a combination of those products were too harsh for my skin leaving me with even more pimples and a fragile self-esteem. As a last resort, I went to a dermatologist who prescribed a gentle cleanser (Cetaphil), anti-bacterial toner and spot cream. The total bill for the consultation and skin meds, excluding Cetaphil, were roughly Php1,000, which is about the price of the fancy toner peddled by magazines, which incidentally did nothing to clear my face despite its hoity-toity pedigree.
  2. Know what products to spend and scrimp on- the general rule is to scrimp on products that will be washed off and to spend on those that will stay on your skin. I've gone to about half a dozen dermatologists in my lifetime and they always prescribe a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil or Physiogel. There are more expensive cleansers of course that promise a thorough or squeaky clean, but I find that it's the cleanser and toner combo that really does the trick in getting skin clean. For the toner and moisturizer, I've found my holy grail (HG) products with VMV's Superskin 3 Primer Toner and Spring Fresh Oil Free Nourisher, products specifically formulated for oily skin. Those can get pretty pricey though, with the toner costing about Php600 and the moisturizer about Php900.* When my VMV moisturizer ran out, I tried replacing it with the Celeteque moisturizer which has always worked for me before. But about week into using Celeteque, I already regretted my decision since my skin felt rough all over with dry patches to boot. That was when I knew that I would be going back to my VMV moisturizer, to hell with the cost.
  3. Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock- For the record, I do not aspire to have fair skin since I'm already happy with my slightly yellowish skin tone and would even kill to have a sexy tan. But every morning, I apply Biore's SPF 50 facial milk after smoothing on moisturizer. And then top that off with Pond's Age Miracle BB cream with SPF 30 protection. Sunblock today will prevent wrinkles and nasty age spots twenty years from now.
  4. Watch what you eat- Just remember that garbage in = garbage out. What you feed your body will inevitably reflect on your skin, because although skin condition is partly genetic, what you take in will also have an effect on your skin health. That means less process foods and sugary treats and more of the food that Mother Nature created. I have a lot of work to do in this aspect though, because I just can't seem to say no to sweets and rich food. But I am trying, so cut me some slack (uy, defensive!).
  5. Exercise- If you're on a budget and can't afford pricey facial treatments or the newest It-product that promises unicorns will come out of your pristine and fairy-tale like pores, the next best solution is to put on your running shoes and break a sweat. Not only will a 20-30 minute run purge out toxins and other nasty gunk which would otherwise wreak havoc on your complexion, it will also clear your head, manage your stress and keep you healthy. Win all the way!

These days, I pay attention to my skin for all of 3 minutes per day, or 5 if I have a wayward pimple, whenever I do my morning and nighttime skin care routine. The products I use are products that I have come to rely on because of their proven efficacy, without regard to their price points. This just goes to show that price really shouldn't be the gauge of how well a product performs and that as consumers, we must be more discerning of the products and services we patronize with our hard-earned money.

*I usually luck out and chance upon a VMV sale so I get it a 30%-50% discount. Also, if you buy the whole cleanser, toner and moisturizer set, you can get all three for about Php1,500, effectively getting a tube for free. I'm thinking that the next time I run out of toner or moisturizer, I'll just wait until I can buy both at the same time so I'll get a cleanser for "free", which I can then sell or give out.