When I was 18, the future of my skin did not bother me. In fact, I never once considered it. I was more worried about appearing fat (even though I was never fat), or getting my crush to notice me. And so the years went by, I was quite content with my skin for the next 10 years, even though it was never really flawless or enviously radiant. I went on to get married and have children. Now at 42, I look possibly 50. So I started seeing my skin doctor to see if I can reverse some of the signs of aging. Droopy skin, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Fortunately after 6 months of following every single instruction of my doctor, I see a difference. But I often wonder if things would have been different if I started caring for my skin earlier.
The young and youthful really do not need a lot to look good, and if you are wondering if you are caring enough for the future of your skin, here are my beauty regrets to learn from.
Not Applying Sunscreen
Firstly, I never thought sun protection was that important. Plus, being a medium skin toned asian chinese, I never really got burnt during my time out in the sun. I played outdoor sports actively, and later on I indulged in water sports which kept me out in the tropical sun for most of the day. I went on beach holidays where I sunbathed. When I felt the sun was too glaring for my eyes, I covered them with my sunnies.
Later on I felt bad and tried using some very light sunscreen. I thought any sunscreen would be better than nothing right? Wrong.
Apparently UVB rays emitted by the sun is cancer-causing (trust me, I spent my tertiary school years in Australia). But there is also something called UVA rays, which is the chief culprit of all the skin changes to do with aging, such as sagging skin and wrinkles.
Now I use sunscreen religiously, but it is not because of what you think. The skin damage is already done, I have premature wrinkles around my eyes, mouth, forehead and I have pigmentation on my cheeks. Sunscreen is now vital to ensure that all the hard work I am putting in my skin (more on these later) will not be put to waste.
So make sunscreen protection part of your basic skincare regime from the beginning. Buy a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (SPF 50 and above is best). Use it daily and reapply every 2 to 3 hours if you are out in the sun a lot during the day.
Using Double Eyelid Tape
Being the single eyelid teen who was learning to experiment with makeup, I used cosmetic tape to fake double eyelids! Applying the tape to the delicate eyelid skin was one thing, peeling them off was probably the most damaging. Now I have loose skin around the eyes, on top of my naturally hooded eyelids. Eye cream was another deadweight for me. To be fair, a lot of eye creams at that time seemed to be too heavy or oily. So I gave up! If only I heard of lightweight eye serums.
So now I am having alternate SmartX Lite and the Neogen PSR treatment done to tighten the skin around my eyes, it seems to be helping with the wrinkles and fine lines. But I suspect I might need upper eyelid blepharoplasty to fix the severe droopiness later on.
Not Treating Acne Properly
If only I heard my skin doctor 25 years ago instead of today. The best treatment for acne scars is no acne in the first place! Deep acne scars need protracted treatment with lasers minimally, and it is really difficult to completely smoothen some of the very bad ones. So my advice would be to see a doctor and start on a cure for acne such as prescription creams or oral medications, and some acne banishing lasers before they irreversibly scar you.
Not Starting On Skin Tightening Treatments Earlier
Oh you heard about my sagging skin when I talked about not applying sunscreen earlier. If you do not want to ever consider a surgical facelift or the slightly invasive threadlift at my age or later, there are non-invasive skin-tightening treatments that stimulate your skin’s ability to produce collagen and maintain the youthful firmness, such as Ulthera or Thermage. I regret not starting on these in my thirties. Now I do the Trinity Facelift Program at SW1 Clinic once a year to prevent my cheeks drooping south further. The results are promising. I do these under sedation by an anaesthetist so my doctor can really crank up the power and target the areas that really matter (and usually really hurt).
So there, my 4 beauty regrets unveiled. As the saying goes “I regret taking such good care of my skin – said no one ever”. It’s never too early to start!