When I sat down to write about my skin journey, the first thing that came to mind were names — Peter Thomas Roth, Dior, La Mer, Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, and Skinceuticals, to name a few. Names that have found homes on my bathroom shelves over the years. To say I’m a bit of a product junkie would be accurate, and while many of those brands have been key players in my skin journey, many of them I couldn’t give a proper review on today even if I tried. My skin journey hasn’t been one for the books and it is one that I am still navigating, but it has certainly been one of exploration and one that time, research, self-awareness, and constant market innovation continues to guide.
In high school I struggled with the hormonal acne that takes hold of most teenagers, and by college it became a bit worse. I found myself grappling with pimples and occasional boils, as well as uneven skin tone. As a broke college student, I would scour the internet for “homemade” remedies to large pores, stubborn zits, painful boils, and perfectly radiant skin tone; many of these included eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, and sugar.
As most of you can probably guess, these ingredients didn’t exactly achieve the desired results. Neither did the late nights of studying or going out with friends, when I’d come home and go straight past the bathroom sink to bed with a face full of makeup and dirt from the day. I found the sugar scrubs often irritated my skin, the coconut oil made me break out two-fold, and the olive oil made me that much more…oily. I ended up gravitating towards makeup to “fix” (or rather, cover up) my skin concerns.
I spent hours on the internet — a Google search leading to an article about skincare, leading to a link for best products, leading to another link on “get that perfectly poreless skin”...
It was post-college when I finally had a serious paycheck coming in that I started to get serious about my skincare routine. Like many girls and women, I’ve strived for that perfect, poreless, smooth, glowing skin that we see in magazines, on Instagram, or in the movies. In my pursuit for this flawless skin, I spent (and occasionally still do) hours on the internet — a Google search leading to an article about skincare, leading to a link for best products, leading to another link on “get that perfectly poreless skin”... and down the rabbit hole I go. The “holy grail” products that beauty editors and bloggers swore by promised the hope of that beautiful skin I had been looking for. And so, instead of taking a look at what my skin truly needed, I purchased items based on what another person’s skin needed.
But what happened more often than not was the products were used a handful of times and then pushed aside to make room for the newest “holy grail.” While I enjoyed good skin with this approach through much of my twenties, it came with some pitfalls: it was expensive, it wasted products, and it never helped me learn what skin type I had and what it was MY skin truly needed. Were these years of decent skin because of the products I was using, the food I was eating, or just simply changes in my own body?
[Using “holy grail” products] was expensive, it wasted products, and it never helped me learn what skin type I had and what it was MY skin truly needed.
As I rounded out my twenties and turned the corner into my thirties, my skin started to see changes. Hormones still wreaked havoc on my chin and forehead from time to time, but I also started occasionally getting small hive-like bumps around my cheeks, and dark areas began showing up above my lip and on my forehead — which I later found out was the onset of Melasma.
I became frustrated with the changes that age brought and my focus turned towards truly understanding my body and my own skin. While I’ve learned a lot about skin types, the different root causes of skin problems, key ingredients in products, and the importance of always wearing sunscreen, I never could quite pinpoint my own skin type. Sometimes I thought it was dry, but then I would have one day where my skin was shiny by noon and it made me completely question again: “Is my skin type oily? Is my skin type combination? Is it the product I used?”
Atolla takes this hard data coupled with my skin concerns and it tailors a product that is for MY skin, not someone else’s.
It was Atolla that finally did something to address the problem that we all probably knew but couldn’t quite grasp or understand: we are not pigeonholed into one skin type our entire life. So many factors play into our skin, like the weather outside, the foods we eat, the hormonal changes our bodies go through, and countless more. I fell in love with Atolla for so many different reasons, but the main one was this: it told me if my skin was oily or dry, if it had the right moisture levels, and even what pH level my skin was — and it didn’t box me in to this one skin type for three months worth of product.
Atolla takes hard data coupled with my skin concerns and it tailors a product that is for MY skin, not someone else’s. The monthly format allows my skincare products to change as my skin changes. It forces me to be disciplined in using it daily and helps me to be more aware of the different conditions or food that may be affecting my skin each month.
While no product is a miracle product, this one has become my “holy grail.”
While no product is a miracle product, this one has become my “holy grail.” It helped me realize that it was tree nuts causing the small hives on my cheeks, it evened my skin tone, it kept those little pimples at bay, and it has given me the confidence to go out with no makeup — which would have been unimaginable ten years ago. And as I go into my thirties, the three lessons I take with me are:
- Less is more
- Patience is key
- Everyone is on their own skin journey
- Lauretta L. (Arlington, VA)