By: Katherine Kelly
Photos by: Caroline Geithner
Hi, my name is Katherine and I’m interested in what beauty means to different people. Click here for the previous edition of this series.
Peri Beckerman: A sophomore in the College majoring in Linguistics and Minoring in Italian and Theology. She is the Vice President of the Tai Kwon Do club (she just got her blue belt) and the Special Events Chair of the Tapin’ Jacks Club. She also has 20 half siblings (from a donor father).
KK: How did you get introduced to the world of skincare?
PB: I got acne when I was 9 and it was pretty bad. At that age you don’t really care about your skin, but my parents were worried that I was going to end up with scars on my face later in life, so they took me to see a dermatologist. When I was 11 I had laser surgery for a couple of years because the acne was so deep in my skin that topical treatments alone could not combat it.
KK: What did the laser surgery entail?
PB: I would have to sit under UV light for an extended period of time in order to kill the bacteria deep within my skin. Although it seems like a lot, I’m thankful that I did it.
KK: How has your skincare routine changed post surgery?
PB: Now my routine is a lot more about prevention. I take 3 different prescription medications. Two to balance the oils within my skin and one to make sure that I don’t develop a resistance to the other two medications (*She laughs). I also learned from seeing my dermatologist that I am allergic to aloe, which unfortunately is in so many skincare products on the market. I realized that my skin often times is an indicator of what I am going through. If I am stressed or not eating right, it is reflected in my skin, so it made me more aware of changes within my body.
KK: What are some of the favorite products?
PB: My prescription medications have worked the most consistently since I started to get skin issues, but if I am treating myself, I enjoy my Dirty Works Mud Mask. I find that it dries my skin out, but in a good way. I like products with charcoal in them, like Biore’s charcoal cleanser because it heats up on my skin and I can feel it really deeply cleaning my pores. I like exfoliating with my Foreo Luna, but I can’t do it everyday because that is too abrasive for my skin.
KK: What is something that you have learned going through this long process of finding what works?
PB: For me it helps to have a routine. Taking makeup off the end of the day and washing my face makes it feel like I am taking charge of something. This might be a little metaphorical for skincare, but if you look your best, you feel your best and you can do your best. It helps me feel in control of my life.
Hanna Chan: A Junior in the College, majoring in Women and Gender studies and minoring in Chinese. She sings with Grace Notes and hosts the radio show, “I found it at a thrift store,” which discusses how people find love and passion in their lives through different means. She enjoys producing black and white photography, journaling and making her own music.
KK: How did you get introduced to skincare?
HC: When I was 10 or 11, my mom would talk about it. She was into fashion and investing in beauty. She would warn me about wrinkles and told me to wash my face. I studied abroad in China when I was about 15. When I came back to my boarding school in the US, the difference in the climate and the pollution caused my skin to break out. I was trying tons of different products and finally my mom took me to the dermatologist. I tried a lot of prescription washes and topical lotions and that definitely helped but it was a long process.
KK: What was it like going to a boarding school when you were going through this process?
HC: It was really hard because I was never alone and I could never “go home.” There was the constant pressure of always being around people and feeling judged by everyone.
KK: How did your mom influence the way you approached skincare?
HC: She grew up in Hong Kong when there wasn’t a lot of medical intervention like now. Luckily, she never had problems with her skin when she was young, so when I developed acne at a young age, it worried her. She already had an interest in fashion and beauty, especially learning about anti-aging effects, so she helped me find dermatologists who could help me.
KK: What are some of your favorite products or brands?
HC: I swear by the Clairisonic Mia (the portable one). I love the tretinoin cream prescribed by a dermatologist. The biore pore strips for my nose. I find that a lot of drugstore brands have pretty similar effects, but I definitely always trust Neutrogena. I also really trust Murad. I enjoy the Sephora face masks every once in a while. But honestly some of the best things I have learned about my skin aren’t from the products I use. I realized that my skin looks the best when I don’t wear any skin makeup (especially from the drugstore), as well as when I drink water, eat well, and use sunscreen.
KK: What is a lesson you have learned from your experiences?
HC: Definitely going through the whole process of having bad skin and feeling self-conscious about it made me aware of how I judged other people’s outward appearances. It is disappointing how much emphasis we put on our appearance, so I try to remind myself to be kind to people about those things. Honestly, when people tell me now that I have good skin, I wish they knew how much work goes into it because it isn’t easy. Considering all the time that I spend on my skin day and night, I definitely lose sleep, but it’s worth it.