Ok, brief introduction here. I'm a long time lurker, 23 y/o Asian male, had acne since high school, and alternated between clear skin and breakouts. I did some research but couldn't really find anything specific to Asian skin types in the forums, so I've decided to record and share the results of my findings and the skincare regimen that works for me. This is specifically for East Asian skin types (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), and geared towards Asian guys. Since I'm just a single individual, this has no statistical significance, but you can view it as an anecdote. I'm planning to get the Sciton Profractional Laser to treat my scars next year. From what multiple dermatologists told me, I only need 1 treatment. So in a year I'll write my experiences about that, haha. (Unless some newer laser come out).
1. Cleansers: For the Asian skin type, you want something that is hydrating and alcohol free. Many Asians with oily skin tend to get cleansers that dries them, and those cleansers tend to contain alcohol. Sure it may remove the shine for a bit but since it dries the skin the sebum glands have to produce the oil again, and sometimes they over produce. To counter this, you want a hydrating cleanser or something that will not dry out the skin.
A. Purpose Oil-free and Alcohol Free cleanser (CVS has a similar product that's essentially the same, it's 100% oil and alcohol free, won't dry your skin, and good for sensitive skin.) These come in a clear plastic bottle, and is transparent.
B. CeraVe Hydrating Wash: this is also a pretty good product, hydrates and doesn't dry out your skin. A bit more expensive than the Purpose.
C. Johnson & Johnson Baby Wash: These are super gentle. Good if you don't require something special.
Wet face with warm water. You want to lather and make sure it bubbles before you start washing your face with it. It's more effective if it's got bubbles. After washing, either air dry your face or use a microfiber cloth to pat dry. The microfiber cloth is pretty cheap, you can find them for $1.
2. Toner: Why do you want to use a toner? A toner will refine the the texture of the skin, as well as clean anything that isn't washed away by the cleanser. You want to use something that won't dry you out, so nothing with alcohol. Something hydrating would be the best. You also want to use high quality cotton puff for make up to apply the toner. These are fairly cheap, about 300 pieces for $1. It calls it cotton puffs but it's essentially a super thick cotton tissue in a small size.
A. L'oreal Hydrafresh Toner: hydrating, alcohol free.
B. Neutrogena Cleansing Toner: This works, but not as good as the L'oreal.
Wet the cotton tissue with the toner and wipe your face with it. Use an upward motion for your face, and horizontal motion for your forehead. This is to prevent wrinkles when you age. You can use downward motions too, as long as you follow the muscle contours. Wait approximately 5-15 minutes for the toner to dry and be absorbed before applying topicals or moisturizer.
3. Moisturizer: Avoid moisturizer that advocates it fights acne. These tend to contain ingredients that dries out the skin such as BP, salicylic acid, etc. You want a gentle cleanser. Try to avoid the ones with SPF. If you need sunblock, get a separate sunblock.
A. CeraVe PM facial moisturizing lotion: the only real difference between this and the CeraVe AM version is that the AM version contains sunblock. I recommend the CeraVe PM because you can use it both in the morning and at night, but you can't use the AM version at night.
After the toner dries/gets absorbed, apply a thin layer of moisturizer to your face. Best way is to apply: a spot between your eyes, 3 spots on your forehead, 1 spot under each eye, 3 spots along each cheek, 1 on the tip of the nose, 1 above the upper lips and 1 on the chin. Then just spread it over your face. Wait about 10-15 minutes for it to get absorbed. Depending on the moisturizer, your skin, and the environment it may take longer. Generally 10 minutes is enough. Sometimes it can take as long as 30 minutes. You have to judge when it's absorbed.
4/2B. Topicals: This step will either go after toner or moisturizer, depending on your topical. Asians want to avoid topicals with ingredients that is overly drying. This means stay away from 10% BP or anything you find in a drug store with the federally allowed maximum amount of active ingredient.
Possible products that you might use & tips on their usage:
A. Sulfur products: These tend to be more effective than BP and less drying. One that worked pretty well was the Clearasil Daily Clear Adult Treatment Cream (Tinted). Use after toner, before moisturizer.
B. 2.5% to 5% BP: To be honest, BP isn't good for Asian skin, but will do if you only have a few acne. Use after toner, before moisturizer.
C. Tazorac: Ask your doctor. Use after moisturizer.
D. Retin-A: Ask your doctor. I don't really know much about this, but for maximum absorption, I'd think you would use it after toner, before moisturizer.
5. BB Cream: Personal opinion varies on this, but it's an effective product that moisturizes, provides sunblock, and act as a protective layer between your skin and the environment. It also helps to heal your skin. I use it. many Asians use it. Celebrities use it. Apply it in the morning, wash it off at night. Make sure to use a cleanser that can remove makeup. (The Purpose Cleanser will do this). Asian guys, you want to get the ones that focuses on moisturizing. Girls probably want coverage and moisturizing BB creams.
6. Sunblock: If you don't use BB Cream, or if your BB Cream has weak SPF and you want something stronger, get a gentle sunblock. I don't really have a recommendation for this. Just make sure it won't dry you out.
A. Shampoo & Conditioner: I wash my hair everyday. Shampoo first, rinse off, then apply conditioner. Wait for 1-3 minutes before rinsing off and washing my face in the shower. It's important to finish washing your hair before you wash your face with cleansers or some conditioner residue may be left on your face. Try to avoid conditioners with too much oil since oil will block hair follicles and cause hair loss later on. Some people don't wash their hair everyday. I don't really know too much about this subject. As long as you finish washing your hair before your face then it's good I guess.
B. Sleep: Skin regenration and growth takes place during sleep, between 10PM and 2AM. Since that's pretty impossible for most people, I would just say sleep early and rise early when you can. It will definitely make a difference. If you pull a few all nighters, your skin will look bad no matter what.
C. Diet: You want to eat food that won't stress out your liver. Your liver is the detox machine, anything that stresses it out might reflect on your skin. Avoid food that is too strong/stressful: excessive alcohol, super spicy food, food with high grease and fat content. Take Omega-3 and supplements with collagen, those are good.
D. You have to understand what is causing your acne. Generally there are 2 reasons: 1 is because your skin has a problem, the other is because your detox system has a problem and your skin is reflecting it. Type 1, where the acne is purely a skin problem, is easier to clear and control with topicals and antibiotics. Type 2, where your skin is breaking out due to your detox system being stressed, is harder to fix and requires self-discipline and time. Once oyu get your detox system under control, you'll probably be acne free from that point on. If it sounds like I'm preaching holistic health solution, it's because I am.
E. Inflammation & hyperpigmentation: Red marks tend to stay longer on Asian skin than other skin types due to the amount of melanin in the Asian skin type. The only thing you can do is wait for it to clear and fade. After the inflammation clear you can use some hydroquinone products to lighten it if you get hyperpigmentation. Ambifade is a pretty decent product for that.
F. Scarring: Lasers and Peels. Nothing else is as effective, simply due to the nature of the scars. (Unless you use makeup to conceal it, or silicone injections). What you can do is try to avoid promoting mild acne into severe acne by proper cleaning and skincare, and that will hopefully result in a shallow scar. A shallow scar is much much easier to fix than a deep scar. You really should see a dermatologist about scars.
A while back there was a fad with some kind of stupid powder grounded from some herb in one of the forums (I forgot the English name of the herb, powder, and I think it was in Red marks and hyperpigmentation forum). Since my Dad was on a trip to China, I asked him to get some from his friends (all pretty high up in the municipal hospital chain, one guy is the director of 2 municipal hospitals.) He did bring them back, and asked me what I was using them for. I told him i was going to paste it on my face. Guess what he told me: "You need to be careful with that stuff. If you do it wrong or put too much your face will basically rot away." The bag of powder now sits in a closet somewhere unopened. (One of the guys wasted half a day getting it for me, apparently the hospital didn't stock it so he had to go out and buy it, refine it, and then ground it. It's great to have the entire resource of a hospital when you need it.) The lesson is: always do more research before committing to anything, and the same thing applies to everything I just wrote here. This is only a collection of what worked for me and my personal experience, and has 0 statistical significance. If you do try some of these steps, please research your skin type, allergies, etc before trying the products. I'm only trying to share my results in the hopes that some may benefit from it, and also because I found very little information catering to Asians on this forum.
Whew...I think this is the longest post I've ever written in any forum. Not bad for a first post?
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