...And how to get it right.
On account of genes and such, I had plenty of resilient skin, dark enough to manage the tropical heat and both humid and dry heat, very unlikely to break out, about two shades too dark for ‘wheatish’ standards in India. (Though if you put a bunch of people in a room with a paint shade card and asked them to each choose a shade they considered ‘wheat’ or even ‘-ish’, I reckon there’d be as many wheatish hues as people. It's just a term that denotes -- ‘not fair, like a Kashmiri/Chitrapur Saraswat/Parsi/Sunny Leone, but not dark also ya!’). But if you were blessed with fewer chips on your shoulder about dark skin then you get to enjoy the pleasure of skin that does its job well (apart from keeping your insides in): few breakouts, only the occasional zit and a more rapid than average recovery from the grey look of too little sleep.
The thing with this hassle-free skin is that one’s general smugness and lack of sympathy for acne emergencies of friends don’t consider the urban pollution we expose our skin to or how that affects aging. Its all very well to see gorgeous vegan silver foxes on social media, running through fields in ultra-designer robes but when I begin to believe that's what I’m going to look when I age...hmm....maybe time for some lifting of veils. Aging well and combating the effects pollution does take giving our skin attention. It isn’t the generation of our grandparents with less technology and more activity and lots of pure ghee. Having said that--and I hope you’re not already jumping into an auto to get to the nearest spa—we’re still back at the question, what's too much and what's too little? Here’s my entirely absurd suggestion: just as much as your skin needs and not more than makes you happy.
So let's deconstruct that.
Though others may be experts on skincare, you’re the expert on how your skin feels. So when it feels dry, moisturize. And when your skin feels in need of TLC, give it the whole treatment, which includes sleep and good food as much as it does a facial or an oil massage. But if you regularly clean your face each night and moisturize, or cover even 6 of those 12-steps, consider you’re doing enough and if it's not working as well as you were promised then perhaps it's about some other elusive things like peace of mind and being comfortable in your own skin (pun intended!)
Then doing more isn’t going to give you that youthful glow you crave. The little something to combat urban life is as much about cultivating a positive attitude as it is about getting grime off your face after a long commute. So instead of a routine that is stressful or makes you crazy, do what makes you happy...and if that means taking more care, get to it!