I am 24 years old. I had little to no acne as a teenager, but once I hit 19-20 it was like acne-karma came around and hit me hard. My skin is dry (I also live in an arid climate), but often will get very oily on typical summer days on my forehead, chin and nose.
My acne is moderate-severe. It depends on the time of year. Winter is especially bad for me, and summer seems to be the best.
I have used: Proactiv, (2.5% and 10%), Murad, Philosophy (purity and the acne cleanser), Clean & Clear acne kit, AcneFree (original and severe), and the list goes on...
I've used many harsh cleansers and kits on my face. What it really comes down to, I think, is that I have sensitive skin and didn't know it. I started (my version of) the regimen three weeks ago and my acne is gone. I mean, non-existent. Really. I still kind of can't believe it, and am waiting for my skin to be like oh wait, just kidding, you DO have acne. But for now, I'm enjoying the clear, age-appropriate glowy skin free of redness and bumps. Here's what I did.
Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser/Makeup remover - I thought this would be a terrible mistake, that it would cause me to break out even worse. But it actually healed my dry, flaky skin. And it took off a bunch of gunk that I'm pretty sure I had been missing every single night when I tried to take off my makeup. Just slather some on over your makeup, rub gently in circles, let set if desired, then wipe off with a cotton pad/tissue/clean cloth.
Purpose Gentle Cleanser - the cold cream took off all of my makeup and really left my skin clean, so this is just sort of an extra step to make sure the cold cream is completely removed. (Side note: I do sometimes leave the cold cream on all night long, and wake up with the babiest-softest skin ever, HOWEVER, I do also notice that when I do this I will get a couple minor little teeny bumps randomly - which is fine, because I can cover it, but just beware that it's a trade-off. But I definitely recommend if you are trying to heal severely dry skin like I was.)
Neutrogena Spot Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide) - so I only use this every couple of days now, but at first I used it twice a day. Just slathered it on like sunscreen. It did cause some peeling - but nothing like the peeling I experienced before, and it wasn't noticeable which was such a relief while getting ready for work in the mornings. What I use now, twice a day, is:
Witch Hazel/Tea Tree Oil Toner - I now use this after the purpose cleanser to tone - which is a vague term, but what it did for my skin was give it that glow that I was after for SO long, that the benzoyl peroxide sort of diminishes. It evened out my skin tone and made it so that I could actually step outside the house without makeup. I made this myself, with regular witch hazel from the first aid section (not the more expensive one in the face wash aisle because really, I was not trying to add MORE weird ingredients into my regimen) and tea tree essential oil from Whole Foods (I already had this at home).
RECIPE: 1 travel sized bottle filled with witch hazel and 20 drops of tea tree oil. That's all. I also made a travel sized spray bottle with only witch hazel and spray it on my neck, chest and back to dry up any pimples that start to emerge.
The last thing I do, which I only do because I know it's good for my skin in the long run, is add:
Cetaphil Moisturizer: I will be honest, when I use the benzoyl peroxide it is necessary to use this as I can feel my skin drying out after the 10 minutes of letting it "oxidize". However, after I use the toner, my face feels SO good that it's easy to forgo this step - but I don't. I have suffered from dry skin, and know well enough that skipping moisturizer is just not going to help my skin, now or later.
For makeup, I use Revlon Primer in color correcting (the pink tinted one), and then Bare Minerals makeup over it. Simple, flawless, and looks natural.
I have also been using Queen Helene Mint Julep masque about once a week. It doesn't irritate my skin and leaves it feeling very soft. I don't know if it helps "bring out impurities" like it claims, but it is the first mask that hasn't made me break out or irritate my skin. And it's relaxing and fun.
So there you go. That's what I did. I will update with before and after pictures a little later when I can upload them!
Edited by emilyt, 22 September 2013 - 09:49 AM.