A Skincare Epiphany from Bali

How sunblock, double cleansing and hydration made me photo ready

Shot by Steph, Batu Bulong Beach, Bali.

Just last week I took a spontaneous trip to Bali with a bunch of fun loving photography enthusiasts from a local Instagram community; SGIG. With my passport in hand, many outfit changes in my luggage and a lot of sunblock, I embarked on an adventure with 11 strangers, hoping for the best.

The trip was serendipitous and a much-needed break, we ate lots of good food, saw beautiful sights and attempted to immortalise the beauty of Bali through our lenses. Naturally, as conversations flowed and curiosity arose, it did not take long for the group to realise that I am a dancer by trade. Following that realisation, my anxiety was ignited by well-meaning wishes to photograph me by the stunning beaches in Bali. But having suffered cystic acne for over 6 years, the idea of having a camera in my face till this day is a cause of my sweaty palms and nervous senseless stutters. So instead I smiled, stuttered incoherently and thank them for their willingness to photograph me but politely declined.

I went home to the villa that night and took off my make up, double cleansed and prepared for bed. I casually looked into the mirror while applying my Vita C Gold Serum when it suddenly struck me that I am now brave enough to face a mirror.

In the past whenever I had to get ready for performances, I would put on my make up without looking into any mirrors. As hard as that sounds, I much rather put on my make up blindly than having to look at my skin in the mirror at all. I would go on stage with uneven winged liners and patchy foundation brush lines and lived with it. Well, that’s until my friends got frustrated with my sloppiness and helped me with my make up. I piled on foundation to hide pigmentations scars and layers upon layers to cover indents on my skin and because I sweat buckets when I dance my acne issues persisted until I finally found a dermatologist. Together, we made sure I had the right products to remove my make up thoroughly every day and also explored monthly chemical peels treatments to upkeep the condition of my skin and to prevent an acne relapse.

It has been a year and a half since my last severe acne breakout and since then I found that one of the most important rules to regaining the health of your skin is to be consistent. These days I live by a few simple rules to keep my skin clear; applying sunblock, double cleansing, moisturising and drinking lots of water. The road to better skin definitely requires some patience and determination but it with the right products and a healthy lifestyle it is definitely possible.

As my skin turned around I found that my confidence was heightened and I witness a change in the way I danced. The freedom to express came with a new sense of conviction and strength that I had not experienced before. Though beauty is only skin deep, I find that something inside of you lights up when how you feel on the inside matches what you see in the mirror. As cliche as this sounds, the glow that everyone is looking for comes from continuous self-work both on the inside and out.

Shot by @saintimnot (Instagram), Pandawa Beach, Bali.

I realised that I wanted to commemorate the progress I’ve made on my acne journey. So on the third day of my trip to Bali I said yes and had a few cameras pointed at me that day.  

That day was one for the books.

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Steph’s must-haves for Bali:

Miel Honey™ Cleanser

Vita C GOLD™ Serum

Radiance Fluide™ Hydrating Emulsion

On Steph’s to-try list:

Mineral Booster™