Hey hey, Daniela here! Usually, I am behind the camera/computer crafting stories here at KraveBeauty, so being an interviewee is quite special for me. Alas! I am thrilled to talk to you about my acne struggles: accepting and rocking my flaws and how #PressReset became my way of life. Spoiler alert: I have some wild skincare tips to share, as well!
Full Name: Daniela Tesfaie
Occupation: Content Director at KraveBeauty
Location: New York City, USA
Skin Type or Concerns: Acne, hyperpigmentation
Life Motto: Dare to be yourself!
Fun Fact: I am OBSESSED with horror movies and witchcraft :3
My Skin Journey | Let’s start from the beginning
Acne is a common condition but, often times, I felt very alone struggling with it. And I guess that was the hardest part of it. Both of my parents have perfect skin, most of my friends had perfect skin and, even, I only really started struggling with breakouts way past my teens.
I’ve always had a blemish here and there as a teenager, but nothing major. When I turned 19, I moved to the US, and everything about my skin changed. I started getting huge cystic acne, my skin would scar and develop dark spots anytime I had a blemish (something that had never happened to me before)... And I had NO idea what was going on with my body.
Everybody would FLOOD me with advice: oh, it’s hormones, oh, it’s food-related. I visited countless dermatologists that would prescribe me harsh treatments, antibiotics, hormone treatments (which I refused to take), and all of that left me feeling more and more confused and lonely. Why is this happening to me?
How could I treat my skin if I do not know what the hell is going on with me?
I was desperately searching for an answer for three whole years before, finally, I met my esthetician, Bonnie. She was the first person who did not jump to conclusions and, instead, asked me a ton of questions first.
Are you allergic to anything? Do any of your close relatives have acne? Are you on any medication that could influence your hormones? What is your diet? What products do you use?
It turned out that my acne is totally genetic, and as such, it will always be a part of my adult life. There is no “cure,” as it is just a result of how my body naturally operates and a lot of it has to do with skin cell turnover rate. Bonnie clarified for me that, on a daily basis, my skin is producing more new skin cells than it sheds, which end up clogging my pores. Couple that with using acnegenic makeup and skincare, oil production, stress, and you get a perfect concoction for regular acne.
As soon as I understood why I was getting acne, everything changed. I had no trouble accepting it as a part of me and instead began to embrace it. My skin is doing its thing, and all I needed to do was to learn to listen to it and catch up with it.
I became very passionate about learning about acne-prone skin, clogging ingredients and the beauty industry, which eventually led me to start writing reviews as DEADLY VISION (I even started a YouTube channel this year!) and becoming the Content Director at KraveBeauty!
My struggle with acne has allowed me to learn a lot about myself and about self-acceptance.
Skincare Products I Can’t Live Without
I know it’s a lot, but I actually have five:
Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser: As a skincare and makeup junkie, I tend to try a lot of different products, but I always, ALWAYS come back to my Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser. It is truly all you can possibly need - gentle enough to use in the morning, great to use as a first cleanse to remove makeup at night, affordable, and fun to use! I actually bought this cleanser on the first day it launched (before I started working at KraveBeauty) and have always had it on my shelf ever since.
Kale-Lalu-yAHA: In the past year, I graduated to paying more attention to the skin on my body and Kale-Lalu-yAHA has made all the difference in how smooth it looks today. I get occasional breakouts on my back and, actually, my butt, heh! And it has helped me reduce these breakouts and made my skin glowing and smooth. I love using it on my shoulders, chest, and neck too to keep my decollete area looking youthful!
Face Reality Acne Med 10% and Iluma Intense Lightening Serum: These two products are my absolute HOLY GRAILS for keeping my acne at bay and helping me deal with hyperpigmentation. Face Reality is a clinic that specializes in acne and all of their products are 100% acne-safe, and Acne Med is Benzoyl Peroxide-based. A lot of over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide treatments contain clogging ingredients, but this one doesn't and it truly transformed my skin. The Illuma Serum is full of natural extracts, is oil-free, and lightens my hyperpigmentation like nothing else. I cannot live without these two.
And… the weirdest one: ICE CUBES. Yup, I know, everyone takes a double-turn when I say that, haha! Ice cubes are your cheapest remedy for acne. Regular icing of your pimples and your face helps to reduce existing inflammation and prevent any future ones. I’ve been icing every day for the past 3 years, wherever I go, and it truly made a difference even in the appearance of acne I get nowadays.
My Current Skincare Routine
- Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser
- May Coop Raw Sauce (Emulsion)
- May Coop Raw Eye Contour Cream
- Image Skincare Illuma Lightening Serum
- Tatcha Water Cream
- FaceReality Daily Lotion SPF 30
Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser (to remove makeup)
- PCA Skin Acne/Oily Face Wash (as a second cleanse)
- Face Reality Acnebeta-C Toner
- Face Reality Acne Med 10%
- Image Skincare Illuma Lightening Serum
- Face Reality Clearderma (Cream)
- May Coop Raw Eye Contour (Cream)
- Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
- Kale-Lalu-yAHA (on the body)
What #PressReset Means to Me
This is always my favorite question in the series because it could mean so many things to so many people!
To me, #PressReset means tuning out the noise and listening to your own voice inside. It is a philosophy of becoming introspective, learning about oneself, and showing the outside world the middle finger, haha! To #PressReset is the first step in becoming you, and to finding what you are truly about.
How I #PressReset Beyond Beauty
I’ve always felt different.
As a mixed girl (I am half-Russian, half-Ethiopian) growing up in Moscow, Russia, I’ve been constantly reminded of the fact that I wasn’t like the others. My skin was always darker, my hair was wavy, my body was curvier… And when I started struggling with acne and hyperpigmentation when most of my friends and family didn’t, I felt like I would never, ever fit in.
My struggle with acne was one of the first things that inspired me to #PressReset on listening to everyone around me and just start embracing my own body. It was vital for me to tune out the noise, to stop comparing myself to the world outside, and start appreciating the fact that I am different.
The acceptance of my skin’s condition eventually led to my acceptance of my body, my personality, and even of my mixed race. Today, I do not want to “fit in”. Today, I dare to be myself!
What I’ve Been Loving
Stress is inevitable when you launch a new product (I’m looking at you, Great Barrier Relief), so my skin has been acting up quite a bit in the last few months! Whenever that happens I always turn to my trustee foundations from PRIIA to make sure my makeup is not making it worse. It is a true underdog brand and a blessing for anyone with acne-prone skin. Every single product they have is targeted for acne-prone skin, and every ingredient is as pure as it gets! They have the most acne-safe pigments I know of. And the coverage is BOMB without looking cake-y at all.
My soul is very ready for summer, so I’ve been listening a lot to Arbes. They are a soft, Australian indie-rock band, but their tunes carry a lot of character and really help me to get in the creative mood. My go-to album by them is Swimmer.
My favorite book of the moment is, hands down, “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution” by Sara Marcus. It is a very unfiltered and personal take on the Riot Grrrl Movement - a radical feminist punk uprising, of sorts, that took place in the 90s and has truly pushed all gender norms and changed the conversation about feminism forever.
As a feminist, I was incredibly touched and yet shocked by how relatable all of the struggles these women were facing are to this day. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who is interested in music, arts, and feminism, men and women alike. Really, we should've been able to #PressReset on mysogyny and patriarchy yeeears ago (see what I did there, eh eh?), but if you're still confused, I highly recommend this book! :D
Want to learn more about Daniela? Follow her on social media:
#PressReset Diaries is a monthly series on KraveBeauty’s blog that spills the tea on the all too real skincare journeys of members in our community. Tune in to learn about their experiences, routines, and what #PressReset means to them.