ASD and how that affects my skincare habits and reviews aka ASD Friendly Cosmetics
I am on the Autism Spectrum (the AS part of the ASD. D standing for disorder). If you want to be specific, I have Aspergers but I often also say I am Autistic. Either of the three are correct in my case, and I switch between them on a regular basis depending on the flow of the sentence/whom I talk to.
This is not going to be a post about ASD in general or my experiences with it. I will do that somewhen in the future. My writing relationship is: when it comes, it comes and so far it has not.
I have battled for a very long time to finally get my diagnosis and I also have such wonderful things such as Depression and Anxiety, more you can read about here. Unlike Depression though Autism is not something I have an issue with. It is also not something I want to eliminate but rather find out more about, and to what extent it is a part of me. In the time that I have know that I am Autistic I have found out so many interesting things and how that affects me in my daily life. Interestingly enough it has quite a bit to do with my skincare habits and the way I review products. Everyone has their cosmetic preferences of course, yet having SPD, (Sensory Processing Disorder that often comes with ASD) or sensory issues as I like to call them, can bring quite a new perspective into how I choose my cosmetics.
As you might have read here, Johnny Clyde is also on the spectrum and has his own set of sensory quirks that have been a fountain of entertainment for me. Not because I enjoy when he suffers but sometimes he is just so cute when his sensory issues get in the way of trying out new things as seen in the video below. I mean, how can one resist a husband who occasionally acts like a kitten? And in case you wonder I don't spray him with stuff all the time for my own amusement.
So his opinions will be included here since every one is different and two points of views are always more valuable than one!
Lets get to it then. I will start with something that I have comparatively little issues with yet Johnny Clyde cant really stand.
As seen above the topic is sprays.
And Mists of course, lets not forget those!
I find sprays to be quite practical and because of that I generally accept that mild discomfort they give me. The issues I have with sprays are actually similar to Johnnys only that it doesn't bother me as much as him. They are often wet (a big nope from my part. See why below), can touch/tickle skin in funky ways and clog the air around you so that you can not breath and have to flee with arms wobbling to fresh air safety. And yes, that is indeed what I do when I use sprays. I cant say that I don't enjoy that part.
Johnny said that he hates the feeling of water droplets hitting his skin ( absolutely! yuck!) which is what he feels when he gets sprayed.
|Yep that is exactly how it feels! Darn water drops...|
I really tolerate mists much better than sprays. I had a hard time finishing Innisfrees Canola Honey “Mist” since it has the biggest wettest droplets ever and its spray mechanism is atrocious. To be honest I bet there is still some left in the bottle since I just toss it in the corner every time I use it, out of spite.
By the way the Mist I am using in the video is my beloved Holika Holika UV Wonder Shield reviewed here. If you have issues with sprays but prefer fine mists then try to get products in spray cans. The chance of getting an almost non noticeable mist is much better with that kind of packaging than regular spray bottles. One of my favorite is Holika Holika (they seem to have nice mists!) Good Cera Mist.
Water is a big no no for me. I just don't like it. I mean I love swimming and bathing but showers are no good. Neither is rain. I mean I love rain but I can't stand getting hit by those pesky droplets. It's not wet it's moist and moist is just gross. Not the word but the feeling. I have read in ASD related forums that other people have issues with water or moisture too, so I am not alone. *phew*
If I already have a 30 minute fight with myself to finally go shower (of course I have no bathtub) because I dread the water hitting my skin, you can imagine I try to avoid similar sensations with my skincare. It also adds to my water phobia that my skin is so dry it shrivels up and starts itching just at the thought of getting wet.
|That is pretty much me in a shower.|
Sheet masks is a big one.
They are often super wet and that is not a comfortable feeling for me at all. This is also the reason I much prefer Hydrogels since they are moist but more like a watery gel and not soaking wet.
I still use sheet masks since I own some but it is certainly not a spa moment for me. The ones I have I got as a gift and use them since they do really help my dehydrated skin get some needed moisture.
As you might have read before (here for example) I avoid using water on my face.
This is not due to a sensory issue but because of the drying quality of water. Since my skin type is very dry I have no issue having a “waterless” routine, and not getting wet at night during cleaning is just a sensory pro for me. If I do one day find a cleanser that requires water and leaves my skin as moist as non water cleansers I am likely to switch to that.
My favorite sheet mask so far is Innisfrees Royal Jelly mask which has a creamy essence which is less wet than most masks and also lovely on dry skin.
Johnny has a different reason why he does not use sheet masks.
He used them once and had such a hard time with it on his face I haven't even offered another to him since.
Johnny has this thing where he can't breath when his face is soaking wet. I honestly don't know how he loves using foaming cleansers since they require a lot of water (aka not breathing while washing). I might film him while washing his face one day since I find it incredibly fascinating. He does this little dance with the water where it looks like he is drowning in the sink coming up gasping for air rhythmically.
I guess if that is all you know when you come in contact with water, yet you love water, you just accept it as a part of life.
Obviously I knew this part of him, yet I did not expect the reaction when I gave him his first (and last) sheet mask. Since the mask was so wet he had trouble breathing, wheezing for ten minutes trying to get used to the feeling of the mask. I eventually took it off him since he looked so miserable (and adorable but I promise I am not a sadist!). His skin doesn't require sheet masks so I thought that ordeal is really not necessary. In the end though, no one really NEEDS sheet masks, right?
|Not really the most pleasant thing in the world|
Another big issue is scent.
Johnny has no issues with scent but in this case I am scentsitive for both of us.
I have a very developed sense of smell. I can smell the faintest scents and often identify them if I know what they are in the first place. Since I can smell such faint things (to the point where others can’t) many things linger much much longer for me than most. Also many scents are not pleasant to me since I seem to have an issue with many artificial smells as well. I can handle strong natural scents much better than non natural ones for some reason ( I have the same issue with taste actually) so many skincare products give me some sensory issues since companies love masking “unpleasant” scents with fake “good” scents. In this case I rather prefer a “bad” natural one such as many acids have.
No issues there.
Many scents also give me a headache which is a big reason why I use no perfume or incense. There is some exceptions but to get to those I have to smell a lot of things that will give me a headache for hours and it is just not worth it. That being said I love scents that I consider pleasant (such as this heavenly smelling sheet mask which makes it worth being wet for) but they are rare. So if you read my reviews I usually rank scents on how strong they are and have even stopped using some because they were too strong or gave me headaches. Two examples from the top of my head are the Face Shop Mango Seed Heart Volume Butter and Nuxes Dry oil.
|I always avoid perfume counters like my life depends on it!|
The biggest issue out of all of these is the film dilemma. Not movies but a film on your skin kind of film. I had huge issues when I was younger with this and sort of got used to it but I still have my beef with products that don't sink in 100%. Johnny hates this layer on his skin, as he calls it, as well.
Fortunately he has normal skin so he doesn't need as “potent” cosmetics as I do but unfortunately products sink in a lot less than they do on my parched skin.
I basically stopped using western hand creams because none I try seem to actually sink in completely. Everyone I use make me feel like my hands are gross and dirty and I have to wash it off. If you have similar issues with hand cream you can give Etude House creams a try. I have used a few so far (like this one) and they are all watery and pleasant to use.
It is hard to explain how sensitive someone can be, but a good example is that I used to not be able to wear nail polish a few years back because I couldn't tolerate the feeling of the polish on my nails. I had instances where I created nail art on myself as a teenager (because fun!) and once it dried took it all off again. As I said it is hard to explain.
Now many products (especially the ones targeted at dry skin) leave a film on the skin on purpose and some because they are in my opinion cosmetically inelegant.
I think a big reason why I prefer Asian creams so much more to Western ones is that even the thicker kind often have a more watery feel than the Nivea type texture you find in most Western creams for dry skin. They are more efficient in dealing with my skin type and feel much much better when applied. I was actually using Queen Helens Cocoa Butter (in the bottle) for about 10 years exclusively for my entire body since it was the only product I could tolerate, since it actually absorbed completely. The issue with that is that for my super dry skin it only works when I am in a Tropical climate and when in Europe I still suffered of itchy dry skin. But the feeling when adding the really heavy stuff that is considered appropriate for my skin type is not worth the outcome.
Especially since the outcome wasn't even good. I still ended up having dry skin either way.
|Just seeing this makes me cringe so much|
I love oils and I hate oils. Since I was little, oil was smeared on me due to my dry and sensitive skin. But most oils just feel completely awful on my skin since they just sit there having a tickle party. Luckily I have found a few oils that are quite wonderful in terms of “dryness” and fast absorption time. My favorites at the moment are Graymelins 100% Natural Facial Oil and The Saems Harakeke Seed Oil.
Another product type I used to avoid like the pest was sunscreens. I guess I am lucky that I grew up during times where people actually thought that Black or Brown people don't need sunscreen. I don't remember instances of having to use sunscreen as a kid but I do remember seeing my white mother applying it to herself while in the sun unlike my black dad who never looked at a sunscreen before.
I say luckily since I wasn't tortured with said products but knowing what I know now about UV rays and photoaging I guess it wasn’t really that great after all. The good news is that there is Asian sunscreens and they are really really different to most western ones. There are some that are so non sunscreeny when it comes to texture that if tested blind one would think you were being smeared with bits of cloud (talking about you my beloved Biore Watery Mousse). One of my Korean favorites is Etude House Sunprise Super Aqua Sunscreen since it is non greasy and very fast absorbing.
|Wouldn't it be great if sunscreen application was always this fun!|
The reason for this post is that maybe other people on the Spectrum might find it useful to read about certain cosmetics that may or may not trigger sensory issues with them.
The other reason is that it might give non Spectrum and non Sensory Sensitive people a little bit of a perspective on what my descriptions actually mean. For example I found the scent of Papa Recipes AHA to be quite strong, yet Sam from Colorcrrush describes it as scentless. In that regards half the things I give Johnny to smell, so he can help me describe them for the reviews, are completely scentless to him. I don't think I have ever come across a truly scentless product, not even Cleansing Waters to be honest.
So basically don't be surprised to try out items I review and really disagree with my scent descriptions. It can also widely vary with the textures too. I sometimes read reviews of products I have already used to see how people deal with the textures and films they leave and they are either not mentioned at all or described as pleasant/fast absorbing. After all everyone is different and some are more sensitive to certain things. And when it comes to textures and scents I happen to be very critical.
I do hope that this was even remotely interesting for you and I would love to hear what quirks and preferences you have with your cosmetics.
If you are on the Spectrum please let me know how you deal with your sensory issues!
And if there are any ASD related questions feel free to ask away.