I reached out to Liv Tozzi, a client of mine, to write the following blog post about her skincare journey. I love hearing about Liv’s story because she approaches her skincare routine holistically. I tell many people that reach out to me about problematic acne to assess their diet, lifestyle, and environment. Our skin reflects our overall health, and natural products will of course help your skin, but when there are serious bouts of prolonged inflammation, something bigger is at play! Read on to hear what Liv learned on her journey towards acceptance, and a full on healthy glow:
Acne is no stranger to me, she’s been with me since I was 9 years old, and, boy, does she love to stick around and show herself off. It’s been a nonstop journey for me, but 11 years later, I think I’ve finally started to understand my skin, which has come with such a strong passion for skincare and educating others on how to find their glow!
Being 9 years old with acne was not an easy thing. The only steps I knew to take care of my skin’s condition was to wash with whatever face wash my mom got me, and viola my skincare routine was finished. Was it a good and effective one? Absolutely not. In all honesty, I was probably making it all worse for myself. I had no idea what to do. The years went by and the acne stuck around, going with me wherever I went. Around the age of 12, things got a lot harder for me. I had developed body dysmorphia, anxiety, slight OCD, and had major depression. My attitude and how I felt internally really was showing in my skin, which led my doctor to put me on Accutane, a vitamin A derivative meant to treat acne. It treats acne by drying it out and putting your skin in a terrible condition that it was never meant to be in. My skin was drier than the desert, my lips were cracked and bloody at times, and I still felt terrible about myself, all because of the way my skin looked. I was at a loss, and I just gave up and started to cover it with as much makeup as possible. More years passed and my acne felt manageable, but in 2018 my skin went crazy on me. It was highly inflamed, painful, and just straight up irritating. I could not figure it out. I invested in so many products claiming to banish my acne, and yet I wasn’t getting the results I so desperately wanted. Nothing was working, so in addition to seeing a doctor, I did some research on the ingredients in the products I was using. I was shocked.
In my research, I found out that the majority of the products I had been using were consumed with “fillers”, instead of ingredients that were beneficial and helpful for my skin. Fillers are considered an ingredient used to create color, texture, and bulk to a product, (ie solvents, dyes, inactive ingredients, etc.) meaning they are basically no good for your skin. Not only did I learn that, but through my doctors visit I was able to figure out that I am allergic to wheat, making me gluten free. This intolerance which was actually the leading cause to most of my acne. Learning these two specific things changed my entire outlook on skin care as well as self care.
Over the next few months, I spent hours researching brands, skincare tips and different routines people were doing in order to figure out what I needed to change in this area of my life. I would sit in my room for hours on Youtube and other websites trying to learn as much about skin care as I could. I was transfixed, I loved it. Over time, I learned about the Korean 10-step skincare method and decided to adapt that method into my own routine. Korean skincare products are far more diverse and focused on ingredients than Western-made products, and I was amazed at the results I was seeing through other people. I began ordering products from Korean brands and I began noticing a big difference in my overall skin’s health. I still had inflamed and irritating acne, but I was glowing more and I could tell this was just the beginning of my skin’s transformation. One day while I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw a friend of mine had posted about Shop 5th Dimension, an organic herbal skincare brand, that had aided in her skin's healing journey. I wasn’t very familiar with handcrafted organic skincare products, but after seeing my friend’s transformation and reading about the brand, I decided to try some of the products. Using organic and herbal products gave my skin a sense of life that it lacked before. I felt very calm and centered every time I would wash away the day’s dirt with Shop 5th Dimension’s Mystic Mud Cleanser, and finished it off with Sub Rosa Serum. My skin was literally glowing from the inside out. With these two products to start off my routine, I was starting to set myself up for success rather than more disappointment.
During this time, I was still eating gluten not realizing the effect it was having on my body. I told myself that as long as it wasn’t gonna kill me, I’d still be able to eat gluten every now and then, which was a lie, because I was eating gluten every day, basically causing more irritation and inflammation in my body. When I finally got around to kicking the habit and eat what I wasn’t allergic to, that’s when the real magic happened. I started to feel better about myself, and the time I was taking out of my day to focus on and pamper myself really started to show in my skin. Changing my diet and giving myself proper love and care was what I desperately needed all along. Not only could you see the difference in me physically, but you could see I was changing internally as well. I became kinder to myself and less judgmental. I came to accept my skin and it’s imperfections, and there was an underlying passion for something that you could tell was new and exciting for me.
Using a mix of Korean-made products with organic, herbal products in my routine has created the perfect skincare routine for me and my skin. When applying the 10-step method into my routine, it gives me the chance to set everything aside and focus on myself. I get to give my skin the love and attention it needs to be able to thrive and glow! Ever since I began this journey, I have been encouraging others to look into their skin and learn what their skin is trying to tell them! Skincare doesn’t have to be for those who suffer with acne, it’s for everyone. I think that’s what a lot of people forget, that skincare isn’t about acne, it’s about your skin’s health and focusing on yourself. Every time I leave the bathroom after my skin routine, I feel at ease and at peace with myself. My routine varies from day to day, it all depends on what my skin needs that day and what products will work best for that problem I’m facing. I try to have fun with it and learn something new about myself each day. Skincare is selfcare, and selfcare leads to self love which is the best thing to have in this life.
Here’s a look into my skincare routine:
Water based cleanser or cleansing water (depending on time, and skin’s condition in the AM)
Toner (hydrating/calming, or exfoliating/balancing/hydration, or I mix the two) I apply this by patting into my skin with my hands, sometimes a cotton pad.
Oil (Sub Rosa for blemishes/hydration, I also alternate other oils that I have in my collection)
Moisturizer (light or heavy, depending after oil)
SUN SCREEN, SUN SCREEN, SUN SCREEN!
Toner (depending on skin’s condition)
Moisturizer or oil
Oil cleanser (Mystic Mud for bad days when I need a deeper clean, otherwise I alternate)
Water based cleanser
Physically exfoliate or chemically exfoliate (scheduled days)
Toner (hydrating/calming, or exfoliating/balancing/hydration, or i mix the two) I apply this by patting into my skin with my hands, sometimes a cotton pad.
Essence, Serums aka the treatment step. Layering products from lightest to heaviest. (alternating between vitamin C essence, Lunar and Solar essence, and treatment serums)
Oil (depending on skins needs)
Moisturizer or sleeping mask (if needed after oil)
I like to massage the oil into my face using my hands to drain the lymphatic system almost every time I put it on, ranging from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. I use gua sha scrapers or a jade roller as well, which is a great tool to help with puffiness! Throughout the week I also like to use a bunch of masks, whether they be clay, mud, or sheet masks. One of my all time favorite detox masks to use is the Star Dust mask by Shop 5th Dimension, along with her newly released Serpentine Mask!