Setting the right expectations with your skincare.
Written By Dr. Pooja Shah Talera
Photography By Prokhor Minin
Skincare can be magic. But get onto the bandwagon knowing its limitations and understanding your skin inside out.
READ TIME: 8 minutes
Starting a new skincare product or routine feels like a new dawn, a new promise to yourself, an exciting selfcare journey that you are about to embark on. You undoubtedly have great expectations from this splurge and many questions too. Will it work? Will it heal my acne, erase my wrinkles, even out my skin? Will it live up to the industry hype? Will it be rejuvenating, restoring, refreshing, renewing and whatever other intelligent sounding verbose vocabulary the industry uses? Basically, can I dare to be bare?
I can relate to all of this and more. I vividly remember spending my first salary on a bunch of cosmetic and drug store products. I felt like I had splurged and indulged. I was so excited I couldn’t even get past dinner. I opened up all the boxes, arranged them neatly on my shelf and dived straight into it. I woke up the next morning so ready to admire myself in the mirror with that dewy, fresh, naked skin. However I was so thoroughly disappointed that I wanted to immediately go back to the sales representative and return all these expensive liquids and creams. But then I dialled my senior from college who was a dermatologist in training. “Do you have a rash”, she asked hurriedly. I said, “No”. “Do it for 30 days’, she muttered before hanging up. You guessed it, 30 days later and my skin started to surprise me.
My knowledge, routines, approach, methodology and beliefs have come a long way since then.
- But the single most important thing I have learned is knowing your skin inside out is paramount before you get into a relationship with your skincare because routines are not gospel truths set in stone. You need to be intuitive and know when your skin needs more and when it needs less. Also, what works for a famous blogger, may not work for you. A product the industry swears by may be disastrous for you. So you do you.
- Then comes goal setting. Your skincare needs to improve your overall skin health, so start with the basics. If you don’t have a decent cleanser on your shelf, maybe that is the first thing you need to get instead of an expensive vitamin c serum. Once your basics are sorted out, you can build and layer to tailor to your needs. And be real with your goals. Aging timelessly is a beautiful goal. Trying to completely get rid of a scar that you had 20 years ago is almost fool hardy. And hold that over enthusiasm, because that is a guaranteed way to skin that is over treated, bruised and angry.
- And then you have the 2 sisters - consistency and patience. It’s virtually impossible to get your routine down to pat every single day. But as long as you are doing it 80% of the time, you are good to go! Your natural epidermal cycle is anywhere between 30-50 days, so give your skincare the time to work its magic.
- The last is limitations. Skincare today is a beautiful marriage of science, technology and old school traditions. But all of them still have their boundaries. And it’s important to know what your skincare can or cannot do so that you can save yourself disappointments. Is it going to erase all the wrinkles? No. Is it going to completely even out your tone? No, that's biophysically impossible. Is it going to improve your skin health? Yes. Is it going to make you more confident about being naked in your skin? Definitely yes.
And I don’t mean to be a grandmother. But no amount of skincare can offset suboptimal lifestyle choices. I see skincare as an investment, just like how I invest in my gut, my mental health, my personal growth. So maybe what you need right now is a great haircut that frames your face or a new workout routine. Go on, do that. We will still be around when you are ready to shop all skin.
A common question I get asked in my practice is, will I need aggressive treatments or invasive injectables for my skin to look better? My answer is always do what makes you feel better. Perfection for some can be no wrinkles, perfection for some can be feathery crinkles. Some don’t mind the occasional zit and for some it's a panic manic emergency. And all of it is alright. There are no rules that you need to follow or standards you need to live upto. You are more than your skin.
You will find these principles and ideologies underpin our website. And just in case you are lost, you can always come back to this post for some clarity. Happy shopping!