This will be extensive. Because regimens are very specific to individual needs, I will give as many details about myself and the products I use. Hope i help someone out!
I am a mixed woman: african and eastern european. Warm/tan skin, very oily, very sensitive (once rested my head on subway wall for some cockamamie reason and developed cystic pimple literally 1 hour later), but skin heals relatively well. Also, my skin is very thick with very deep pores if thats makes sense. I've just completed my under-grad degree and live on my own- so very high stress environment. Try to eat healthy- could be better. Exercise/run a lot, and sweat tons- not because i work out so much but because i am just sweaty kind of gal...ha
I've tried many, many products...I finally realized acne is not my underlying problem. First and foremost I have super sensitive skin that does not react well to certain types of chemicals and other processed or natural ingredients. I will start with my current routine and end with products I deem as failed endeavors.
Scenario: wearing makeup (brand to be discussed later), just got home after 10 hour day OR its simply night time...
1) MAKEUP REMOVAL. CVS Brand oil-free, anti-oxidant, makeup removing, pre moistened toilettes. Only use when I've been wearing makeup for long period of time (8+ hours). I wear makeup pretty much 5-6 days out of the week, but sometimes only have it on for 3-4 hours. IF NO MAKEUP ( or didn't wear it for too long) go to step 2
2) CLEANSER. Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Splash Away Cleanser. This creamy textured, and super foaming cleanser is very good at removing dirt and oil. Not particularly harsh for me, but can be stripping. I use other things to counter the drying effect. If I have not been wearing makeup I use cleanser alone. If yes then definitely use cleanser with a facial scrub pad- got it from drug store for like $3. Its white, round and has kind of brillo pad texture. Have to be very careful or it will completely slough off your skin in a damaging way. Scrub with duress according to your own skin's texture, ie) more thin = less pressure, more thick/rough = a little bit more pressure. At any rate always be gentle****
3) TONER. Either Murad Clarifying toner for acne, if my skin feels very greasy/dirty. OR warm organic green tea bag (after having made the tea) if my skin feels dry/depleted
4) SERUM. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair that I have mixed with raw organic honey (about 4 ANR: 1 honey proportion). Advanced Night repair is nice, but I feel that the honey really does the trick. More about honey later.
5) MOISTURIZER. Murad skin perfecting lotion. nice hydration. I believe that the honey I use in my regime boosts the hydration though
Scenario: the next morning...
1) CLEANSER: Murad Clarifying Cleanser for acne. It has salicylic acid so I use it as a preventative cleanser to help my skin get through the day better.
2) ACNE TREATMENT: Murad Exfoliating Gel. I use very little because these harsh chemicals really aggravate my skin. I use large circular motions to spread the tiny amount of gel to my problem areas (cheeks, chin, and forehead). If I use this little amount it is actually quite effective
3) MOISTURIZER. The same Murad lotion with a couple of drops of ANR. Again lotion is nice, and the ANR is to further protect my sensitive skin from irritating environmental factors. I use day and night eye creams/serums too but I won't go into that since its not acne related.
4) SUNBLOCK. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Faces. Its a sunblock made for babies/kids with sensitive skin (oil free, tear free, paraben free, etc) and it has SPF 50. Before finding this I rarely used any sun protection. Chemical sunscreens stung and broke me out severely, plus I have darker skin so I thought I could get away with out this step. Well... I didn't realize how many of my skin freakouts were caused by the sun...it is truly shocking how irritating the sun's rays can be, even for darker skin like mine. This sunblock does NOT break me out, and I even wear it when i go on long runs outside- its also pretty freaking sweat proof. It does leave a white caste so do not use too much. Have to rub/blend in well if you have darker skin like mine. With my powder makeup on top, however, its lovely
5) MAKEUP. Estee Lauder Double Wear Mineral Rich Loose Powder. I hate foundation as most varieties will break me out. Even if no breakout my skin just feels suffocated and gross. I only use concealer under my eyes (also an Estee Lauder brand) and find that concealer will also aggravate my skin if used elsewhere. This powder is light but still provides nice coverage. At the moment I have healing skin. No fresh pimples but many half way faded post-acne marks. I am not sure how suitable this is for someone wishing for more coverage. If it helps I used to use the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light foundation when my skin was a lot worse. It was pretty good, but again I am not a foundation girl and I have changed my regime since last time I used it; so I cannot say wether is it particularly irritating to acne or not.
Lastly...next section is about various products I don't necessarily use everyday. Then again, I might use for several days in a row. Its really more of a judgement call. I listen to my skin and use as I feel I need to. So when my skin feels....
REALLY DIRTY/OILY- Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque. I really like it and don't find it too drying. I have very oily skin and thus use this about 4-5 times a week.
TOO THICK/DULL- Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. Its nice at exfoliating but I think its too harsh to use anymore than 1-3 times a week
TOO DRY/ INFLAMED/ JUST PLAIN IRRITATED- Raw Organic Honey Mask. I truly love using honey as a mask and in my green tea. It is so calming and hydrating. This is natural and quite gentle for my crazy sensitive face. As a result I will use this anytime my skin needs a boost, ranging from 1/week to 3/week (depending on how stressed/freaked out my face feels) and keep in mind that I always have a bit of honey in the ANR serum.
ONE PRODUCT/NOTHING AT ALL!! Sometimes my skin needs a complete break either because it feels pretty good on its own or just annoyed at everything. in this case i'll either use no additional products after cleansing or at most one (like a moisturizer or thin layer of mint julep masque to wear to bed).
~THINGS I HATE~
Murad Sulfur Acne Spot Treatment- I don't know if i use too much but it just makes my skin worse
Proactive- just way too harsh. I just hate it...sorry I don't mean to offend proactive fans
MAC Foundations, Powders, Concealers- i strongly believe MAC products gave me deep cystic acne that has taken years to completely heal. Before using it (all through teens, up to about 22 y/o) I had very mild acne and didn't even need makeup- I'm talking great clear skin with occasional zit; still quite oily/shiny though. After using MAC for about a year I finally realized my newly terrible skin was the result of this makeup. Even after I stopped using it, it took a long while before all of the gunk was purged out of my skin. Again I have very thick skin with very deep pores!
Estee Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Serum- actually im on the fence. I suspect this clogs my pores but Im not sure. This current regime is giving me great results and I have not experimented with this serum recently after cutting it out a few months ago...I'm kind of scared to try it again
Ok well that's all. I realize many of these products are pretty expensive. I truly don't think the amount one pays necessarily translates to quality or bona-fide results. I have spent lots of money looking for improvements...an amateur mistake. I have some of these "higher-end" products but when they run out I'm pretty sure I will look for cheaper but comparable substitutes for most of them. Thankfully some of the most effective ones, the honey, mint julep masque, green tea, facial scrub pad are the cheapest anyway. Good Luck to all
Edited by KarinaTzarina, 07 May 2012 - 04:39 PM.