The instant I smeared snail cream across my face was the day I knew I had made a full commitment to beauty as a ritual. I didn’t always have a skin care routine though, and beauty for me at one point didn’t go beyond a few swipes of eyeshadow and a rosy hue of lipstick. As the eldest daughter of six children, the concept of self-care felt selfish to me. But everything changed once I got sick.
This past February marks my 10th year as a lupus survivor. If you’re not familiar with what lupus is, it’s an autoimmune condition in which the immune system is overactive, causing it to attack the body’s cells, tissues, and organs. When I first learned about lupus, it sounded horrifying. Ten years later, I’m much more knowledgeable about what that means for me health-wise and in my beauty routine.
As the eldest daughter of six children, the concept of self-care felt selfish to me. But everything changed once I got sick. Ten years later, I’m much more knowledgeable about my beauty routine.
Sun Protection Is a Must
Wellness became my priority. Once I learned that exposing my skin to sunlight can spark lupus activity, I began to take sun protection more seriously. Now, I wear sunscreen with SPF 50+ religiously and make sure to check that it has both UVA and UVB protection.
Multi-Steps For Multiple Skin Issues
My quest for healing from hyperpigmentation took me on such a wondrous journey throughout the vast world of skin care. Searching for a way to even my skin tone after dealing with the worst acne breakouts is how I stumbled upon Korean skin care.
I have oily T-zone, acne-prone, combination skin. Using the 10-step Korean skin care routine as a guideline, I tested and tried dozens of lotions, serums, and potions until I found what worked for me. I use both an oil cleanser and a foaming cleanser. I have several different toners—some are exfoliants while others are hydrating. Then there are my serums—I have one for different types of needs. Some focus on minimizing pores, brightening skin tone, targeting acne, and boosting moisture. I also have various creams with different textures—gel creams for summer wear and thicker creams to target dryness in the winter months.
Sometimes there are moments when the skin on my face will get flushed—it sort of looks like blush, but in actuality, it’s when lupus flares up and causes a red rash across my nose and cheeks. When that happens, I tend to skip using AHAs and BHAs and focus on using skin care with calming ingredients like snail mucin, aloe, tea tree oil, and centella asiatica. I even keep some sheet masks in the fridge so it can have a cooling effect on my irritated skin.
Cleansing for Slow Days
On days when I’m fatigued and my energy is low, micellar water is my best friend. It’s like a quick fix for cleansing my face when I don’t have the strength to stand up for a multi-step skin care routine. I follow that with a Japanese fermented rice toner, niacinamide, and a moisturizing cream of my choice. I can only get away with not doing a proper cleanse for a few days unless I want acne knocking at my door.
When it comes to hair care, it’s so easy to forget that our scalp is skin, too. It should have a routine just like our facial skin does. For me, I have a rigid scalp and hair routine because lupus causes seborrheic dermatitis. So that means steroid scalp injections from my dermatologist to calm inflammation, squalene oil to moisturize my scalp, and hair care products with lots of soothing ingredients.
I’ll be real with you, I was a bit worried to share what wellness looks like to me through the lens of someone living with a chronic illness. But I hope you now have a better view of how flexible beauty can be and know that even in your darkest moments, you can carve out a ritual that meets your own needs.