If you would have told me back in 2011 that in 2018, I’d be consistently rotating 15 skin products on my face, I would have slapped you with my $2.99 CVS acne cream. Times have changed, and I can mostly credit that to an overly aggressive saleswoman with perfectly-preserved skin in Whole Foods Tribeca who must have known there was a curious 20-year-old in need. I was perusing the vitamins, thinking that maybe a pill could help cure the Big Dipper of spotty pimples around my eyebrows and temples. Turns out, Boiron Sulphur pellets actually did work, but that’s not the direction I’ll take this story. I’ll take you to the core of the reason I now read into skin care; I’ll take you to Aisle 2, where I allowed this overly aggressive saleswoman to do her job and try persuading/brainwashing (what’s the difference again) me into her line of expensive skin care products.
She sat me down in front of a large machine that looked like one of those colorful Apple desktop computers that were in school computer labs back in 2003. Please place your chin on the sheet and look forward. The Apple computer, I mean face scanner, scanned my face at every angle and when my results printed out from the side, she, in her totally rehearsed sales tactic strategy, gasps and says,
Sir, your skin has more UV damage than 93% of the population.
Ok, but how much of the population have you really tested on your face scanner here in Aisle 2 of an upscale grocery store in lower Manhattan?
Regardless, it was a wakeup call. I had spent summer after summer, really my entire life, never using SPF. Using SPF in the middle of Indiana is such an uncommon concept – you only need to wear SPF when you’re at the beach, right? Again, I wish I could slap myself with some $2.99 CVS acne cream. When you grow up in a city where 1) going to the tanning bed after high school is a hobby, and 2) the only class is middle-class, investing more than $5 in a skincare routine is something to be scoffed at. An almost pretentious act. Your skin, whether blemish-free or full of blemishes, will be your skin, and your life will move on. I guess that’s one way to look at it?
Hearing that my skin was more damaged than most people’s made me reconsider what I was doing to my skin in the first place. Or rather, what I wasn’t doing to my skin. Now I didn’t just have random pimples popping up, I had skin that was bound for wrinkles, discoloration, and really, the point of no return. Also, do I even have to mention that UV damage is the main cause of well, the big C word?
I never did end up buying her skin care line, but I still remember this as the moment that I started actually caring about taking care of my face. The other moment was probably when our YouTube channel started picking up speed, and I 1) found myself staring at my face on a daily basis while editing videos and photos, and 2) started to be recognized in random places like Aisle 2 of a random Whole Foods. Aside from this being a medical issue, is it so bad to simply want fresh-faced healthy-looking skin?
It took years of experimentation, and honestly money, to find what works and what doesn’t. I’ve used homeopathic sulphur tablets, which worked. I’ve used pure organic witch hazel as an astringent/toner on my skin, which didn’t work and just burned my face. I’ve used pure tea tree oil, without diluting it, on pimples, which didn’t work and only caused them to be more inflamed. I even remember rolling my eyes at skin care products that cost more than $4; The Indiana in me saying:
I’ll just go with the cheaper one. They all do the same thing, right?
But how could that be true when one product works so well for my skin, and one would be the reason I had pimples in the first place? I think it all comes down to the following:
The Damon Dominique Skin Care Routine
Use lukewarm water to rinse off the dirt from my face. This is followed by a cleanser (see my recommendations below), that I gently, and I repeat gently, rub in circles, especially around my eyebrows where I tend to get pimples. I leave the suds on my face for at least ten seconds to let them soak in (or at least mentally) and I rinse with slightly colder water. I use lukewarm water at first to open my pores, allowing for a cleanser to get a deeper clean, followed by colder water to constrict the pores. I’m aware I sound like a dermatologist. I follow this with a thermal spray.
Once the above has dried (or been dabbed off my face), I apply a serum – and any serum. I’ve used anti-aging serums, moisturizing serums, brightening serums, $60 serums, and $6 serums – and literally every serum I have bought, has been one I liked. For this reason, I’d recommend starting with a cheaper serum off Amazon or the clearance aisle of a T.J. Maxx, and experimenting after that.
Apply moisturizer. This is where I went wrong for so many years. You need to know your skin type, and the way to find out is to look at your skin first thing in the morning. Are you shiny in certain areas? Are you dry? Where are your pimples? From here, you need to find a moisturizer for oily, dry, combination, or sensitive skin. I’d generally recommend always using a sensitive moisturizer, with no funky fragrances, artificial colors, or random things like glitter? Why would you even…?
Apply SPF. Yes, you can buy a moisturizer with SPF in it, but they tend to feel chunkier on your face – like you’ve added 4lbs of cake icing to skin that was feeling great. I use a separate moisturizer and a separate SPF, that way I can apply the same moisturizer at night. Some SPFs leave a whitecast, the white streaks on your face, and the only one I’ve found that doesn’t do that, and feels light, is the one I’ve listed below.
Pimple cream. You know what. Some days pimples just happen. You can’t stop living your life for your skincare routine, and sometimes that results in you going to sleep with a full face of the day’s grime on it. Sometimes you just felt like eating a greasy cheese pizza, followed by french fries and a Coca Cola. It be like that sometimes, and… oh well. Your skin will repair itself eventually… with some acne cream.
EXFOLIATORS & ACID PEELS
Giovanni D:Tox System Purifying Facial Scrub → https://amzn.to/2OqX3X7
Anthony Glycolic Exfoliating and Resurfacing Wipes → https://amzn.to/2Ot2OUj
Kiehl’s Epidermal Re Texturizing Micro Dermabrasion → https://bit.ly/2xh1D3W
Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate → https://bit.ly/2xjOQhf
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment → https://bit.ly/2NlC2Rq
Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment → https://amzn.to/2xpu7HQ
Boiron Sulphur Pellets → https://amzn.to/2xjRF1B
Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate → https://bit.ly/2xlgpGN
Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution → https://bit.ly/2MEn6bO
*Check out the skin care products at T.J.Maxx, Ross Dress4Less, or Marshalls
Perricone Md Neuropeptide Eye Therapy Cream (got for $15 at Ross Dress4Less → https://amzn.to/2pgc82M
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25, Natural Mint & Shea Butter → https://amzn.to/2pfYZH4