How I got problem-free skin

20:25 Naija girl next door 31 Comments

Hello people,
This is a brief history of my skin and its struggles. I'll also share my skin regimen so that you'll understand my experience with the black soap I recently bought. It will be in a separate post later this week.

   Skin type: Sensitive skin, prone to dryness when irritated. Especially my face.
     Before my teens I used mild toilet soaps, and Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula on my face and body and everything was okay.
     Then I started reading teen mags and got into my head that I was too grown, and that the way to perfect facial skin was to:
1. Go oil-free. Oil was said to be a huge no-no for face.
2. Do the cleanse.tone.moisturise.exfoliate-once-a-week routine with a range of products.
That was the wrongest approach for my skin type.

  The long road to great skin
Ignoring that I had no skin isues I started experimenting with all sorts, including products for acne that I didn't even have. All I had were the very few, occasional pimples that were cycle-related and the size of pin pricks, but I was in my know-it-all, want-it-all teenage years.

The result of my experiments was skin that was dry, tight, with flaky patches and very uneven complexion.
  I finally realized that simple is better (what an epiphany) and did a 360 back to the toilet soaps and Palmer's cocoa butter formula.
 Unfortunately, my skin had been sensitized and reacted to just about anything I washed with.
It looked okay but really, my skin felt totally stripped and dry. Smiling and yawning felt like I was stretching my skin to tearing point. Medicated soaps worsened the matter. Tetmosol in particular gave me chemical burns all over my back, and shower time had me yelping with pain. The exception was Dettol skin care soap but it still dried out my face.

I thought the solution to the flaky patches was scrubbing. I tried apricot scrubs from Eden and St Ives and they made my face feel smooth initially, then raw again. The Palmer's helped a little because it was thick enough to smear and hide the flakes.
  The height was when I reacted to baby soap. What?! Couldn't take it anymore.

  Turning point
 I eventually googled (google is my best friend) and learned that for my skin, the fewer the ingredients the better.
 I also learned that the squeaky clean feeling is bad for my skin. I started gravitating towards products that said 'natural', 'organic', 'botanical' and had a shorter, more familiar ingredient list. Boots Botanics was one of the best lines I ever used for my face but availability here was a problem.
Jergens Naturals saved my body skin after a body wash with too much fragrance caused a bad reaction. The Jergens Naturals lotions state the percentage of natural products contained, always over 90%. Even on days I showered and skipped lotion, my skin felt fabulous and not in the least dry. I used the Skin Renewing one.

   As for washing, I prefer body washes to bars but I can't use them on my face.
I really wanted something I could use for face and body so when I found the Olay Ultra Moisturising bar with Shea Butter I was glad. It was lovely. I used it continously for a very long time, but the bar softens into mush long before it's used up so I stopped.

I also used Olay face moisturiser spf 15. I've always been particular about using moisturisers with sun protection to prevent sunburn, which = uneven complexion.
      I finally came across St Ives paraben-free body washes and I fell in love.
   At some point I had a thought. Why use products containing natural, organic stuff when I can go straight to the source? I went back online to look for pure, natural stuff that do the job of packaged goods.

  Here's my skin regimen now.
Cleanse: I wash with honey. Yep, just pure, natural, unadulterated honey. I moisten my fingers with water, massage a small amount into my face and rinse off with water. Honey is a gentle cleanser and leaves my face feeling clean and fresh and far from stripped.
To remove makeup gently I use baby wipes.
 I reacted to a couple of brands but I found Huggies and it's now my boo thang. I like all three I've tried.

Moisturise: After washing with honey at night I use one drop of whatever oil mix I have. It's coconut and olive presently but I've used other mixes and my skin loves just about any natural oil. It feels lovely, not greasy at all.
In the day I use a moisturiser with Spf 15. Right now it's Aveeno naturals and it's been good but I discovered that natural oils and butters have spf (though lower) so this is my last bottle of moisturiser. I just bought a new pressed powder with spf 30 so I really don't need it.
  I hardly ever scrub or use masks but on the off chance I feel like it, a bit of granulated sugar or salt + honey or oil does the scrub job. I've used a bentonite clay mask a few times and I like that too.
For my body I've been using St Ives paraben-free washes and follow with the same oil mix.
 My favourite wash is the oatmeal and shea butter, followed by the Indulgent Coconut. They are so decadent and moisturising. love 'em.

Unfortunately they contain some chemicals I prefer to avoid: sulphates, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazilinone.
I'm sad that I have to give up the body washes ( I can't promise I'll never use them again if options are lacking).
It's the search for a replacement that led me to my recent black soap purchase. More on that in a coming post.

 My skin is the best it's ever been on this very natural regimen. It's clear, moisturised and soft.
Pics taken with natural light, no makeup or filter used
 One of the best things about this regimen is how one thing can be used from head to toe The same oil mix goes in my hair too. You know I love products that multitask.

What skin issues do you deal with and what works? Please share with me below.


  1. I love that St Ives body wash. I learned that a simple regimen for the face works best. I rarely change my regimen because I have sensitive skin as well.

  2. Wow, you have really good skin. I wish I could apply your routine, but my skin is very different. Very acne-prone

    1. Thanks Yvette, it's good that you understand your skin type. I had to learn from bad experiences

  3. My face is oily/sensitive. God av I tried so many 'things' on my face. I use st. Ives body on my body. Can I still use ure regimen even tho myn z oily? Pls help!!!

    1. Hello Peace, sorry about the issues. I got reader mail after this post and someone said she actually has the same regimen as I do. She has oily, acne-prone skin and said her face has cleared up within weeks. So what I think is- try and see.
      What I believe for sure is that there are natural remedies for every skin type. If this doesn't work just search online for natural remedies for oily skin and you might come up with gold. Wish you all the best!

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  5. Great post! Your skin looks beautiful. i have normal/combination skin and I've never had to deal with acne...just cycle related pimples and some black spots i got when i "got into my head that I was too big for all that" and started experimenting too. We girls and our wahala. lol
    I use sea salt/brown sugar mixed with olive/coconut oil to exfoliate my whole body and I use black soap too... buy all the ingredients and mix them myself...add a few drops of peppermint oil or lavender oil....bliss!! I use the black soap on my whole body and face for all my baths and follow up with coconut oil(i only use coconut oil after my night bath though and i use it on my hair too!) skin has always been soft but not this soft!
    I'm just looking for a good moisturizer with adequate spf for my face and body...scared of natural oils during the day cos' i'm scared it might lead to burns.
    Any ideas on the moisturizer front?

    1. We girls have wahala true true. Lol. Your body scrub recipe sounds scrumptious, I'll try it. Why not get a sunscreen to use after oiling? I haven't tried any but I know seba med has some

  6. your skin looks blemish free to me.when it comes to hair and skin care keeping it simple is the way to go.nice post

  7. Lol..thats how I got bumps on my acne free face(in my quest for flawless skin!),after using one soap a friend recommended that worked wonders for her.funny enough the bumps disappeared as soon as I stopped using the of bodies being so different!.... simple is best my dear.cant wait for your review on the black soap..only use it for my hair(which I like). thinking of using it on my body too.its all natural (at least from the ingredients listed).love reading your blog Sandra

    1. We buy skin troubles for ourselves, it's crazy!

      Thanks a lot Ada, love having you here.

  8. Hi, I think methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazilinone are preservatives and not sulfates

    1. Hi Jen, yes they are.
      I think I get where the confusion came in. "They contain a sulphate, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazilinone". The sulphate they contain is Sodium laureth sulphate.
      I should have written "They contain sodium laureth sulphate, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazilinone"- all among the chemicals I'm trying to cut out.
      Hope this clears it up.

  9. I'm jealous of your skin Sandra. Period!

  10. I'm going on a shopping spree! My skin must be flawless before I finish nysc

  11. I also have sensitive skin. I use Dr. Bronner's baby mild castile soap. I prefer the liquid but it also comes in a bar. I use it on my face and body. Some people use it as a shampoo. Its worth looking into. Great blog!

  12. Team natural. Lovely skin Sandra.

  13. Hi Sandra! I'm so happy I stumbled across this post. I have been searching for raw honey for a while and I saw your reply on Natural Nigerian's site. I can't wait to call those numbers after work. Hopefully they will be able to send some to Abuja.

    About your honey regimen, I would like to know if you use it daily to replace your regular soap or once/twice a week. These spots have to go, lol! Thanks!


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  16. Hello,I love ur skin, it's so beautiful,pls I have naturally dry skin and am dark in complexion, pls I need help on the perfect products to use,tnx a lot...

  17. Nice blog. Bleu Beauté products are natural, organic and designed for health and beauty care. We are always working towards bringing latest and quality products in antiaging and healthy skin products. We make our products with love and care. Our products are sourced with finest raw ingredients all over the world. Shop now.

  18. Controlled production of sebum prevents oiliness on face and this avoids bacteria from reacting with sebum on outer layer of skin. how to get rid of pimples

  19. Melanin is the purpose why our skin has shade. I also found out that Kojic acid cleaning soap is an awesome treatment for skin troubles like Melasma, freckles or even the ones dark spots left via zits scars.

  20. I'm currently using St Ives coconut and orchid body wash and it making my skin really dry plus I also have uneven skin tone.
    What can I use??... I'm so frustrated because I have tried alot of products and none has worked for me.

  21. We have the exact same story, I used to use toilet soap and Vaseline lotion cocoa butter and my skin was smooth and amazing, up until ss2 my classmates always told me I haven't got puberty yet because my skin was so smooth but right now, I still haven't found what will make my face clear and it's so annoying, I've tried black soap, Shea butter it still dries my face out and cause dry pay he's and stuff and I'm tired, I currently returned to my toilet soap but I'm going to use pear baby oil as my moisturizer if it works because sincerely I'm confused

  22. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. house of nappies