What makes someone "beautiful"? Is it the symmetry in their face? The shape of their eyes, the fullness of their lips? Is it the gentleness in their manner, maybe the way they speak?
For Matthew Baldacchino, it's inner happiness.
Matthew is a dental surgery student at the University of Malta. He loves baking, playing the guitar, and he puts an effort in looking after himself. At 19 years old, he exudes confidence and maturity when asked the question: what is beauty?
"Beauty is composed of inner happiness, the personality of the person, and how good the person feels in their own skin."
To him, beauty isn't only skin-deep or something you see at face value. Beauty isn't determined by outward appearance and neither is it validated from an external source. Beauty is something you determine for yourself, with how you feel about you.
Dental surgeon-in-training Matthew Baldacchino, 19, practicing fillings on a dummy head.
GLOW FROM WITHIN
He wasn't always confident of himself growing up. Matthew shares that he only started taking care of his skin in 2018, when he noticed that his face was very oily and acne prone. He experimented with products from different brands that he bought from the pharmacy, until he eventually came across a YouTube video that mentioned Korean skincare. It piqued his interest, and his skincare journey took a turn for the better from there.
Matthew takes a mirror selfie with his K Beauty skincare favourite
"My skin only got better through this journey, I felt more confident, healthier, and my friends all noticed my new glow! I felt the best difference with K Beauty. Not only are the products superior quality, which shocked me at first, but the fact that you are basically getting premium skincare which costs a lot in comparison, at a more affordable price."
Even though Matthew saw great improvements in his skin, he admits that he was shy to mention skincare to his friends at first because a lot of people associate skincare with femininity—that it's not for men. (A fair assumption, as most of the advertising we see for skincare is targeted towards women.) This prompted Matthew to confront his beliefs regarding social gender norms, and despite being against them, it wasn't easy even for him to overcome the prejudice.
"Everyone should be allowed to feel comfortable taking care of the largest organ in our body...the skin!" says Matthew. And why shouldn't they? Not only does having better skin give you more confidence as you feel healthier and cleaner, it's a matter of personal freedom: Everyone should be able to feel better and enjoy taking care of their skin, or do whatever they want to enjoy, really—regardless of gender!
Taking care of oneself should be a personal priority, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, or race. Because when you feel healthy and feel comfortable in your own skin, that's when you really start glowing from within. And this inner happiness is knowing that your opinion of yourself is what matters—not anyone else's.
A POSITIVE MINDSET
"Life is beautiful," Matthew says. "But it does love to throw challenging stuff at us."
Although bright and chirpy, Matthew has had his fair share of naysayers. He has had people tell him that he might not make it through his chosen path of being an MDS student. He's even had teachers tell him that he should just give up. His answer? Don't just take the challenges quietly sitting down—challenge them back yourself!
"It isn't always so easy, and sometimes I too, fail. But this only teaches me valuable life lessons which make me a stronger person."
Goal-oriented and driven as Matthew is, he also knows when to step back and take a break. He loves playing the guitar. One of his favourite things to do is baking, as it allows him to connect with his grandma who passed away a few years ago. He says he learned a lot from her, and he now considers baking as one of his passions.
But his deepest passion is in helping people and making sure their quality of life is better after consulting and seeking their treatment. For him, going into dental surgery is a constant reminder that he is indeed a capable person—no matter what other people say about him. His goal in life is simple: to make people happier and feel better in their body, whether it's through dentistry or sharing skincare tips.
Matthew is a dental surgery student at the University of Malta
Matthew's parting message is that of self-love and pursuing dreams:
"Don’t think about what others are thinking about you. Your opinion is the only one that matters! Pursue your dreams. It will get hard and unbearable at times but trust me, your future self will thank you for it."
We wholly agree with Matthew on this: It's so important for us to go on a journey to learn how to embrace our true self, and to be proud of who we are and have enough confidence to start walking our own path. Although not an easy feat, it is an entirely doable one—just start. Slowly, even in small ways, give yourself some love, some credit. Because you're more capable than you think, and more beautiful than what the mirror shows you.
FOLLOW MATTHEW'S SKINCARE ROUTINE
The skincare I currently use is simple but extremely effective and I’m really satisfied with it! This has taken a few trial and error attempts to see what I enjoy using, and what might not be for me. Whatever products you choose, remember people are different and whatever works for me might not work for you. So don’t be afraid, venture out and explore!
Why I love it: Helped me reduce my acne drastically in a matter of weeks, less breakouts and the acne is less aggressive. It was a crucial component to start achieving the clear skin I have always dreamed of, and big plus is that it foams up really nicely!
Special ingredient: Salicylic acid - keeps pores clear and chemically exfoliates the skin with each cleanse, helping prevent acne
Why I love it: Chemically exfoliates the skin and helps in preventing acne while also reducing oily skin, thanks to the tea tree it contains. It also prevents wrinkles and keeps the skin hydrated!
- AHA: exfoliates the skin preventing acne
- BHA: anti-inflammatory properties and hence it is perfect for oily, clogged pores and infamed acne.
- PHA: antioxidant helps protect collagen in skin and hence prevents wrinkles.
Serum: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
Why I love it: Extremely moisturising with just 1 pump, and absorbs really quickly into the skin.
Special Ingredients: Jeju Green Tea extract and Green Tea Seed Oil both help maintain skin’s hydration and pH balance and allows moisture to be maintained for longer.
Serum: COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum
Why I love it: Amazing at clearing acne prone skin! Really recommend this one, clearly visible results within weeks and it’s the serum I’ve been looking for to achieve clear skin and maintain it! No sticky feeling and absorbs really quickly.
Special ingredients: Calms down active spots with the help of Centella asiatica, clears post-acne marks, and recovers scars and uneven skin tone with the help of niacinamide.
Moisturiser: GREEN TEA BALANCING CREAM EX by Innisfree
Why I love it: Beautiful moisturising and it complements the serum. Moreover, it is extremely light and leaves your skin nourished without a greasy feeling, perfect for the summer months!
- Jeju green tea which is rich in amino acids and antioxidants which replenish the skin’s moisture levels.
- Cocoa butter which creates a shield to maintain hydration and regulate oil levels.
Morning routine additions:
Why I love it: Very light sun protection that doesn’t cause breakouts and it has amazing coverage and protection.
Special ingredients: Superbiotics which moisturise the skin, soothe it and also restore its resilience by the supplementation of these beneficial good bacteria (probiotics).
Night routine additions:
Balm cleanser (double cleanse): Clean It Zero Balm Cleanser
Why I love it: It leaves your skin feeling extremely soft and hydrated, definitely not stripped off and dry. Using this after a long day, especially after using sunscreen really helped me achieve clean and clear skin.
Special ingredients: The vitamin E and C are a great addition to this cleanser and they definitely help in maintaining the skin’s health and brightens it.
I first tried the famous double cleanse using this product and I must say I’m glad that I started doing the double cleanse (first using a balm oil based cleanser and then the normal cleanser afterwards)! My skin feels much cleaner after a long day of wearing sunblock and being exposed to all the harsh elements such as air pollution. I highly recommend it for any skin-type but especially acne prone and oily skin!
Why I love it: Very nourishing and unlike most overnight masks, it absorbs extremely well and does not leave the skin sticky which can be very annoying!
Special ingredients: Rice extract which brightens and nourishes dull and tired skin.
Big thank you to Matthew for sharing his story with us and for dropping his skincare routine, along with really useful insights on his favourite products and their active ingredients. May he continue being the beacon of happiness in many, many more people in his life!
🧁 See what Matthew is baking over at @mattsbakes 😋