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Mercury skincare survivor: How I treat my damaged skin

For the past few years, there was a high rave on whitening skincare products. Those products claim to whiten the skin and make your skin flawless in ONLY A FEW DAYS. It’s called rebrand products, also known as “product timbang kilo”. How can you tell if a product is a "timbang kilo" product? The products come with cheap and junky packaging, colorful or yellowish cream, and no ingredients list displayed on the packaging. It was so popular back then... because we did not have much exposure or access to skincare knowledge. 

Just like other women that have the desire to look beautiful, I was one of the "timbang kilo" victims. I was born with tanned skin and suffered from teen acne. So, it was easy for me to be tempted by their fake advertising. I purchased the "timbang kilo" product and tried it on for a few days. And Yes, it works! My skin had never been this flawless and white, ever! I was over the moon!

When I found out about its harmful effects, I did try to stop using the product and change to another option. But, I couldn’t abandon it! Because every time I stopped using, my skin would start to get these tiny rashes and bumps. So I continued to wear it for like three years.

Until one day, I had terrible pain on my face. It hurt so badly that I couldn't get up from bed. Not to be dramatic, but yes, it happened! I proceeded to visit a clinic to see a doctor and got some medication. I remember the doctor even advised me to be more careful after this and most importantly, NO MORE "TIMBANG KILO" PRODUCT! Yes, I regretted it. A realization that hit me hard.

After taking my medication, I thought it was over because the pain was gone. But the effects did not just stop there. I started experiencing a chain of reaction that was so extremely unbearable! First of all, my skin surface was now too thin that it was badly wounded. It was so painful. Next, acne continued to grow all over my face. Acne, acne and more acne!

At that moment, I relied on anyone and everyone’s suggestions and tips, whatever it took to heal my skin. Yet, none of it worked. I wasted all my money, time, and energy until one point, I felt like giving up.

But life must go on.

After a few years of struggling, I became  older and wiser. People also started raising awareness of harmful mercury products, sharing right information and scientifically proven skincare knowledge. I did not want to wait any longer, and so, I decided to take baby steps and started from zero. I started to dig as much information and knowledge as I can, and watched tons of YouTube videos. 

How I treat my damaged skin

1. Repair the skin barrier

To solve a problem, first, we need to tackle the root of the problem. As for the skin, gaining a healthy barrier is everything. There is no use in spending on expensive skincare if our skin barrier is damaged. A healthy skin barrier will protect the skin externally from harmful elements like toxins, pollution, and irritation that can cause many skin problems. While internally, it prevents the skin from losing its moisture.

To repair the skin barrier, always look for ingredients like Ceramide, Cholesterol, and Fatty Acid. These three ingredients can cooperate with our natural lipid barrier to make sure the protein block is strong enough to hold each other.

2. Build a strong basic skincare routine

Before going further into any skincare routine, make sure to have a basic skincare routine first. A strong basic routine is a skincare routine that does not cause irritation to the skin and does not break you out. It consists of a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and most importantly, a sunscreen during the day. Building a basic skincare routine is not easy as you will need to trial and error multiple times before you find the products that work well on your skin. But trust the process, because when you get there, it is worth every penny.

3. Vitamin C serum for antioxidant

Antioxidant has been my holy grail ever since I discovered it helped fade my dark spot and pigmentation. I also love how it promotes collagen production so my skin will maintain its elasticity and stay plump all day. In fact, it was a Vitamin C serum that healed the wounded skin I got from the mercury side effects. If you are a beginner, start with a lower percentage of Vitamin C. You can also go for a Vitamin C derivative that has less irritation to the skin.

4. Stay hygienic and healthy

Ever since I fed myself with skincare knowledge, I learned that personal hygiene is also crucial for our skin’s health. I developed habits like changing the pillowcase every three days, avoid touching my face with dirty hands, and regularly washing my makeup tools. A healthy lifestyle also contributes to healthy and glowing skin; reducing sugar intake, eating more fruits and veggies, exercising regularly, and drinking enough water to stay hydrated.

My current favorite skincare product

I am so glad that I met NIHON skincare! It has been my favorite skincare product since I start using it last year. It really helps with my acne and dark scars! What I love about NIHON is the simplicity of the product that only needs a basic routine for you to have flawless mochi skin. NIHON skincare contains Retinol, Niacinamide, Vitamin C, and many other quality skincare ingredients that helped repair my skin from within and prevent it from breaking out. I started off using the NIHON Brightening Face Creme & NIHON Soothing Facial Cleanser. Then, as my acne reduced, I started using the NIHON Mochi Skin Set

Even though my skin is not at its best, but overall, I am happy with the result. I realized that skincare is not just a routine, instead, it is a journey for us to explore from time to time.

Most importantly, choose a safe and certified skincare product because our body is precious and only we can take care of it.