Skin Barrier 101
Full Name: Ciarra (see-ARE-uh)
Occupation: Preschool teacher by day, content creator by night
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Skin Type or Concerns: Hypersensitive, oily and acne-prone
Life motto: “Wear what makes you feel like Beyoncé” -Me
Fun Fact: I have a black belt. I think most people are surprised when they learn that. Does that count as fun?
Hey! I’m Ciarra and I’m a grown-ass hot mess. In my free time, I create content that aims to normalize all bodies and identities in hopes that more people will learn to celebrate themselves as they are. No changes required.
When I was young, it was difficult to find positive images of people who look like me. Have you ever heard that phrase “You can’t be what you can’t see”? If there had been more people like me being celebrated, I might have come to love myself much earlier in life.
My Skin Journey | Let’s start from the beginning
Through trial and error (more “error” than I’d like to admit), I’ve deduced that I have extremely sensitive skin. Because of my years-long acne battle, I just thought of my skin as “problematic”. At a certain point, I had so many blemishes that there were too many to count. My face was constantly broken out and sensitive to the touch. I was desperate for answers so I took to YouTube for advice.
I found Liah Yoo’s channel and her recommendations and research-based approach really helped me. Basically, I learned from her that less is more and to “listen to my skin”. Now that I've educated myself a bit on skincare and skin health, I realize that my acne is a result of inflammation and irritation. My skin isn’t perfect and it may never be, but I'm proud of where I am on my journey. I’m able to listen to what my skin is telling me and adjust to meet its needs.
Skincare Products I Can’t Live Without
Being unscented is a non-negotiable requirement for anything that touches my face so everything on this list is safe for those who may be allergic too. I really like:
IOPE - Derma Derma Gentle Skin Water
Innisfree’s Gentle care for sensitive skin concentrated serum
Lacto-biff probiotic capsules (taken orally)
A jade face roller (stored in the refrigerator for extra cooling effect)
My Current Skincare Routine
Unscented is a non-negotiable requirement for anything in my routine. I’ve also eliminated as many steps as possible. I rely on only the basics to ensure I don’t agitate my skin.
I remove dead skin from my skin twice daily with IOPE - Derma Repair pH Balancing Cleansing Water on a cotton pad. I find that anymore exfoliation will irritate my skin, causing breakouts.
KraveBeauty Oat So Simple Water Cream is my current moisturizer. I like that although its a water cream, the formula is just emollient enough to provide hydration all day (unlike many others, ahem).
I don’t always remember but I try daily to slather KraveBeauty’s The Beet Shield Daily Antioxidant Daily Fluid on my face, neck, forearms and hands. I keep a second bottle in my work bag in case I forget to put it on before leaving home. Protecting my skin from UV rays helps prevent signs of aging and hyperpigmentation from acne scars. Bonus: It’s the only sunblock I’ve ever used that doesn’t break me out.
Sunglasses! I’m really vigilant about signs of aging around my eyes. The glasses help with that and make me look cooler than I am.
Nightly, I repeat the first two steps. Pretty simple!
What #PressReset Means to Me
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of ‘Press Reset’, is doing some kind of restorative action to recenter. I’m highly anxious so this is something I must practice daily.
How I #PressReset Beyond Beauty
Depending on my mood I may, take a long shower, sing Adele ballads, massage my face with my chilled jade roller, eat a sweet treat, go for a walk or just take a nap. If I REALLY need to get centered, I might do all of those things.
What I’ve Been Loving
I’ve been really fascinated by makeup trends like ‘glass skin’ and ‘igari makeup’. As a result of the aforementioned influences, my makeup feels incomplete to me without brows and blush. Lately, Glossier Brow Flick and 3CE Take A Layer Multi-pot have been my faves to finish any makeup look.
I don’t read often but You Have the Right to Remain Fat by Virgie Tovar really changed my world. It’s short but powerful. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable with their body.
I’m always a bit behind the times when it comes to music (and not in a cool, vintage way). I’m currently into Billie Eilish, Adele, Doja Cat, BTS. But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Sia, M.I.A., Sleigh Bells, Feist, Jewel, Boyz II Men and ABBA.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel lots for leisure in my adult life (but not nearly enough, if you ask me). My favorite cities so far are Portland, ME and Copenhagen. They both have elements of city life with cool art scenes and restaurants but in a small, easy-to-navigate sprawl. I have tentative plans to go to South Korea soon. I have a feeling Seoul will make it onto my list of favorites.