Everyone has a label, and sadly, these labels define us. It’s like being in a clique back at school. All the girls with dry skin to one side, the girls with normal or combination skin to the other and finally, the girls with the oily, problematic skin to the centre. Yes, the spotlight is on our shiny foreheads and it’s time to take a stand against what has felt like an ongoing battle we’ve had to fight since the dawn of puberty.
Finding the root cause of my oily skin will take us digging a bit deeper, so discovering my severe acne was actually being caused by my hormones while lying spread-eagled on my gynaecologist’s examination table six months ago. I know what you’re thinking – ‘there’s dermatologists for that’. Well you see, in my case it wasn’t that simple.
I first visited a dermatologist when I was 15 years old. It was the same treatment and diagnosis any other hormonal teenage girl would get, some good old Roaccutane for my terrible acne. This notorious skin medication is known for its extreme side effects including dry, fragile skin, aching muscles and even increased risks of liver inflammation. I was desperate to get clear skin so I overlooked these with hope.
Bringing us back to how my gynae helped me realise my skin was acting up because of my hormonal shifts, which stimulate oil production in my body, resulting in the growth of bacteria being trapped in my pores. Our skin naturally produces sebum – a substance made of fats needed to maintain a healthy balance of moisture. However, too much sebum on your skin leads to clogged pores, acne, blackheads and skin irritation, and that’s the slippery slope my skin was up against.
Little did I know that there’s always been a local brand which could help cleanse and clear my skin safely and affordably – the Justine Oil Control range. I tried out the Oil Control Deep Cleansing Face Wash and the Oil Control Anti-blemish Facial Scrub in unison because us oily skin girls are meant to wash our faces twice a day and exfoliate at least 3 times a week. These two products worked a charm.
The face wash is formulated with phythol and extracts of milk thistle which help improve skin tone, balance the skin's natural oil flow, and protect the skin against environmental stress during cleansing and exfoliating. The scrub contains Ecuadorian ivory palm seed powder – a natural exfoliator – that removes dead skin cells and reduces excess oiliness, an ingredient I was especially impressed by.
I’ve always been a bit wary of toners. I guess it’s the strong alcohol-like smell which has put me off. I find that they tend to be harsh on my skin, but the Oil Control Deep Clarifying Toner did the complete opposite. I like that the whole range has a common ingredient pool such as milk thistle extract and pythol, which help remove any last traces of excess dirt and oil, while also mattifying and purifying my skin.
Gone are the days when you’d have to travel all the way to the spa to get a well-deserved mud mask treatment. The Oil Control Menthol Mud Mask contains naturally derived clay that helps gently exfoliate dead skin cells, control sebum and absorb excess surface oil, leaving my face feeling clean and refined. The menthol cools my skin down if it’s irritated and leaves my pores feeling unblocked and breathable.
And finally, to complete my new Justine skincare regimen, I use the Oil Control Mattifying Gel Cream which is a lightweight, instant skin hydrator which leaves my skin feeling supple for up to 8 hours. No more clogged pores and au revoir to breakouts.
My oily skin journey certain hasn’t been easy but has taught me so much about myself and my body. I would have loved to skip trialling all the stuff that was doing my skin more harm than good, but I don’t think I would have gained as much insight on skincare as I have. It’s kind of like the old saying, ‘you have to kiss a bunch of frogs before you meet your prince’, whereas in my case, I had to go through a whole bunch of products before I found my one true love – Justine.