If you’re a regular reader (which you probably are, since you’re reading this now) of Female’s website or print magazine, then you probably already know that I love my skincare. I follow a 10-step regime and use about 20 products a day, including masks and lip treatments, and have been doing so since I was a university student in Tokyo about a decade ago.

However, earlier in the year, my skin started acting out. Not only did I suffer from a few bouts of allergies, which resulted in my face breaking out in hives, but my complexion seemed to be in a constant state of irritation, leading to blotchiness and redness. And if that wasn’t bad enough, about a month ago my eczema, which usually only flares on my body, spread to my face. A small patch of redness about the size of a 20-cent coin appeared near my jaw area.

Now sensitivity and allergies are nothing new to me. But to have a constant barrage of attacks, from inflammation to allergies and eczema, really took a toll on my skin, and to be honest, on my pride. After all, I’ve always had relatively good skin and a clear complexion, thanks in part to genes but mostly due to diligence. But I was stuck in a situation that no amount of hard work could help.

After trying a whole host of over the counter remedies, from soothing serums to calming moisturisers, and removing products like toners, scrubs and mask from my routine, my skin seemed to calm down but that pesky red patch of eczema remained. Finally, I went to a dermatologist to get steroid cream to apply onto the affected area. After a week of application, as recommended, the redness seemed to subside. However, after a few days, it came back which led me to visit my dermatologist for a second, stronger dose of steroids.

While my complexion has more or less stabilised, it has given me a greater appreciation for my skin. I used to always believe – and tell all my friends and family – that you just have to work hard, use the right products and be conscientious to achieve good skin, never realising how lucky I was.

Some things are simply beyond your control, like allergic reactions or flares. The worst thing you can do when encountering a skincare problem is to run out in a panic and start using a ton of new, and strong, products. Instead, try paring down your regime, eating clean and getting more rest. And if need be, seek a professional like a dermatologist. The process might be long, but always remember, slow and steady will win you the race (to good skin).

Main image: Showbit.com

Like this? Check out VS Angel Taylor Hill’s secret to her gorgeous bod and glowing skin, actress Lily Collins’ guide to beauty and the 10 most exciting upcoming beauty launches at Sephora