Expensive skin care is worth the splurge

Nikol Slatinska

Getting acne was a traumatic experience. Eleven-year-old me was just living life, totally oblivious to the gift that was my flawless, baby-smooth skin. Then, one day, I looked in the mirror and noticed an ugly red splotch on my cheek. The pimple only bothered me slightly; I figured it would be gone in a couple of days. Instead of going away, however, I got another one. Then three more. And then, the zits spread onto my forehead.
Within two months of getting my first pimple, I was panicking. My mom had observed the warzone on my face as well, so she took me to the Dollar General near our house to find a solution. Unlike me, my mom had never had acne as an adolescent, which is why she thought she’d be able to find a quick cure for my sudden breakout in the $5 skin care aisle. I placed two face washes in our basket: a St. Ives apricot scrub and some random Clean and Clear formula that promised to rid my face of any impurities.
The next morning, I practically jumped out of bed with excitement. Making a dash for the bathroom, I grabbed my esteemed Clean and Clear cleanser and lathered it onto my cheeks and forehead. Imagine my surprise when I rinsed the foam off and found the inflamed whiteheads still marring my scowling face. Of course they won’t be gone after one wash, I told myself, Give it time; they’ll definitely be gone in a week.
That week turned into six months, until a year had passed since my first attempt at getting rid of my blemishes. During that time, I tried just about every product in the drugstore, but my acne only got worse and became my biggest insecurity. Finally, I convinced my mom to let me try Proactive after seeing countless commercials for the expensive, cylindrical green bottles on television. I hate to sound like one of the celebrities who gets paid to talk about the miracle that is Proactive, but it worked. My forehead cleared up after a couple of weeks of beginning my new routine before the realization hit me: I can’t expect my skin problems to go away by using cheap products.
Unlike other things, good skin care is something worth investing in. You can buy inexpensive clothes, but if you style them well, nobody will know the difference. You can wear drugstore makeup and, if you apply it tastefully, look better than the YouTube beauty gurus who spend $40 on an eyeshadow palette. Even a cheap car can do its job effectively and get you from point A to point B; however, I’ve found that chronic skin problems like my acne and scarring seldom go away by using low-cost products whose main ingredient is salicylic acid.
Obviously everyone’s skin is different, but cheap skin care products are generally designed to provide a quick fix to stubborn problems. That’s why they contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and glycerin. Benzoyl peroxide purposely dries out the skin in order to kill acne-causing bacteria and is also a bleaching agent, which results in dry, irritated skin and discolored pillow cases. Glycerin and other alcohols commonly found in skin care, including SD alcohol and denatured alcohol, also quickly penetrate and degrease the skin, stripping it of its natural moisture and anti-bacterial properties. This leads to infection and, eventually, even more acne than you started out with.
While pimples are sometimes a result of hormonal imbalances and, therefore, difficult to prevent and get rid of, I feel that it is important for anyone with problematic skin to invest in quality products that are gentle, nourishing and made from natural ingredients. Unfortunately, those brands are more often than not on the pricier side, but I feel that the result of healthier skin is well worth the price. Good products, combined with a well balanced diet and plenty of hydration are, I believe, the keys to clearer skin.
Although I sometimes break my own rules by eating junk, not drinking enough water or using a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment when I need a quick fix, my skin has come a long way since that fateful day in fifth grade. To anyone as insecure as I was, my advice would be to research and identify your skin type and what ingredients would work for you. Read lots of reviews before purchasing products and really just try to avoid $5 apricot face scrubs.