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Beauty Through a Journey of Skincare Products

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Every woman has traversed awkward journeys through skincare, but we hardly reflect on the deeper questions. What insecurities were we battling? Who influenced us to select certain products? What did our skincare choices say about our self-image? In my case, each skincare product I interacted with reflected a pivotal milestone in how my body image developed. 

1. Turmeric powder and sandalwood

Without an older sister, my middle-school self relied on my mother and grandmother’s skincare advice. My mother and grandmother wholeheartedly loved me, so I trusted their solution for my hyperpigmentation: turmeric powder and sandalwood. Using our rubbing stone, I would concoct a thick, orange paste, and delicately pat it around my mouth overnight. Even after three months of usage, I didn’t see a difference in my complexion, but this phase symbolized the power female figures can have in our physical appearance. The good intentions of my family gave me hope, so I continued this practice. When did I stop? When negative comments from peers shot down my confidence.   

2. Napkins soaked in milk

In high school, my friend knocked reality into me when she bluntly claimed I was “very ugly” for having dark eye-bags. Women have always been judged for their physical appearance, but it cuts deep when it comes to features you never noticed before. After enough tears and frustration, I researched natural remedies to lighten my under-eyes. One was soaking napkins in milk and placing them over the problem areas. I wasted 1 cup of milk per week, all with no benefits. 

This moment launched me into an intense world of insecurity, leading me to baseless, primitive techniques of eradicating a natural phenomenon: eye bags. It embodied how others’ opinions can trap us in irrationality.

3. Fair & Lovely

Fair & Lovely is an infamous Indian skin cream, marketed to whiten the skin of melanated women (perpetuating colorism/eurocentric beauty standards). As a 14-year-old coping with her “ugliness,” I didn’t care: I just needed to remove my hyperpigmentation. Fair & Lovely was my first transition away from natural skincare because I wanted a “stronger” product. On day three of using the cream, my skin broke out, and by day five, I received my first batch of permanent scars. 

The skincare industry thrives on women’s insecurities, using beauty standards of cultures to fuel itself. Fair & Lovely was my first harmful, incompatible skincare product, both on a physical and systemic level. It enlightened me to how skin-whitening companies use my and others’ insecurities to their advantage. Young girls, including myself, were not safe from these tactics. 

4. Scrub Pastes

If I thought Fair & Lovely gave me horrible breakouts, nothing could beat my experience with scrubs. I believed that removing the upper layer of skin could give me a blank slate. I used various pastes, and each took less than 24 hours to breed bumps and bruises. Although the previous skincare products couldn’t penetrate my skin, the scrub penetrated too much. What I thought could heal me caused more damage.

When we are too harsh on our imperfections, we act on unhealthy, harsher solutions. We think that removing our imperfections can solve our problems, but scrubs taught me how I egregiously handled a delicate item.

5. Moisturizer and sunscreen

For the entirety of my teenage years, I fell down a rabbit hole of natural and artificial skincare products, all being ineffective or leading to negative results. I felt I had to take more extreme measures with each product to correct my past mistakes. With every breakout and backlash, my skin was trying to send a message: she was operating just fine.

The beauty of the human body is its self-regulation. There are rare times when we need to intervene, but we don’t realize that our skin is a beautiful, self-driven organ. She knows what she’s doing, and she’ll fight back if you try taking over.

I dropped every remedy and stuck with two items: moisturizer and sunscreen. I provided my skin only with the fundamentals because it had everything else taken care of.


As women, our self-image goes through many waves, but ultimately, we must trust our bodies. I’ve learned to appreciate my face for how it functions because, by those standards, it is perfection. My hyperpigmentation can’t be repaired, and my break-out scars will be constant reminders of my previous battles, but I admire it all. My skin had protected me this whole time, and that itself surpasses any beauty standard society has placed on me.

Gayathri is a third-year Biotechnology major and director of the UCD Her Campus Digital Media team. She loves to write, work out, sing, and sleep (college students need more of that nowadays). When not indulging in her boba addiction, she likes to wind down by watching hilarious Youtube vids with a hot cup of tea.