So, I just wanted to do a quick update on my skincare/makeup. Funny thing is that I don't come back to acne.org when my skin is doing pretty well, but I think I should contribute because this regimen works for me, and because these makeup products work for me. I'm basically on the Daniel Kern Regimen (DKR) but I'm not using any of his products. I'm using other products to substitute for what he uses: Acne.org Cleanser: Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser Acne.org Treatment: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Acne.org Moisturizer: CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion Acne.org AHA+: Alpha Hydrox 10% Enhanced Cream Acne.org Jojoba Oil: Elma & Sana 100% Golden Argan Oil Here's my daily regimen: AM Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Cream 10% Glycolic AHA Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Creme For Face SPF55 MAKEUP Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation MAC Studio Finish Concealer Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder PM Kose Softymo White Cleansing Oil Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion Non-Daily Products: Occasional/Weekly Products: Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Treatment - for extra watery moisture and salicylic acid; substitutes for AHA in my regimen Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub - for extra exfoliation Other occasional base makeup: Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation Alima Satin Matte Foundation Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream Blush/Highlight/Contour: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Nars Orgasm/Laguna Blush Duo Laura Mercier Illuminating Powder
I'm super excited to announce that my skin has been consistently clear and non-irritated for about a month now. The products I'm currently using have slowly weaned its way into my regimen - I'm starting to realize that skincare is a delicate balance of taking care of your skin - really listening to it on a daily basis to improve it overall. As a result, instead of completely switching products or starting completely new regimens, I've slowly incorporated the products into my regimen - especially with acne treatments. I'll discuss the strategy I used to treat acne after I tell you my skincare regimen. I do want to point out that my strategy involved a lot of experimenting with products before finding the right regimen. AM La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Creme For Face SPF55 MAKEUP Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 MAC Studio Finish Concealer PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub [very gentle scrub with salicylic acid and AHA] Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash Mask [use as a mask in the shower, has kaolin clay and salicylic acid] La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser [gentle cleanser after the mask] La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion Strategy A. The overall strategy is this: gentle, gentle gentle. I can't stress this enough. The basic health of your skin with or without acne needs to be healthy first before fighting acne. It can't be irritated. I went through a round of prescription acne meds before realizing that the meds, although it eliminated acne, wrecked the health of skin so badly that I needed to go back to basic sensitive skin care products to fix that before focusing on treating acne again. My skin, though clear of acne, was dry, scaly, peeling, super sensitive, irritated, and red. It was so bad that it hurt and stung to touch or even to wash my face. I had to turn to Cetaphil and Cerave to restore my skin health. Then I focused on acne treatment. For the acne treatments, I needed to use products that were good for sensitive skin so that my skin wouldn't get irritated and break out from that irritation. I focused on (1) gentle cleansing (2) hydration and (3) light, skin friendly makeup. All of these products are very gentle on the skin (aside from the Effaclar Duo, which initially irritated my skin because I was getting used to BP). Remarks: (1) The La Roche Posay cleanser is a basic, gentle cleanser; the scrub is extremely gentle as well (the acne stress control line is actually really gentle for sensitive acne prone skin), and the mask is occasionally used in the shower for heavier - duty unclogging and pore cleansing, and even then is still very gentle on the skin. (2) Hydration is key to keeping the skin in great condition. Suprisingly, the Neutrogena 3-in-1 Treatment is not only acne fighting, but also extremely moisturizing. It has a watery gel consistency that puts moisture back into the skin with no greasiness. Applying the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion after that locks in that watery moisture. The CeraVe lotion is also the best lotion I've ever tried: it has a thicker gel consistency than the treatment but also adds in moisture and locks it without greasiness. Both the treatment and the lotion are easily absorbed and leaves my dry combination skin well hydrated without any greasiness or dryness - a perfect balance. (3) I chose light mineral powder makeup to allow my skin to breathe and heal while being relatively easy to remove at night. Paired with a full coverage concealer that's well blended, my skin looks more evened out. For heavier overall coverage, I go for my Alima Pure mineral foundation. B. Exfoliate/Disinfect My derms have all prescribed me a combination of prescription exfoliants/keratolytic and antibiotics/antibacterials (bacteria eliminating drugs). Acne is caused by a clogged pore full of sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria. Exfoliants get rid of dead skin cells, and antibacterials eliminate bacteria. The only issue remaining is sebum/oil control - which for me wasn't a huge problem once I found out how to manage that through my moisturizers (stated above). Therefore, I decided to use a combination of an exfoliant and an antibacterial: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide: one for the day and the other for the night. It's been effective. C. Patience One thing that I've learned over almost a decade of fighting acne is that skin changes don't take a few days - it takes weeks and months for long term results. Also, new products don't necessarily help with fighting acne in the short term - generally some acne products worsen acne before treating it. As I mentioned before too, that I had to go through several products for my strategy to work - to test out products on the skin and its interaction with other products as well. As a matter of fact, I'm still in the transition of switching out and incorporating products into my skin care routine in order to further improve it. I'm going to switch out my La Roche Posay cleanser for Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin. It's another gentle cleanser, but it contains a bit pumpkin seed oil, which will probably have mildly better makeup removing qualities. It is also soapless and sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate (detergent that causes some irritation for some people) free. I'm also going to be adding another exfoliant - Alpha Hydrox 10% Enhanced Cream. From my experience chemical exfoliants (as opposed to physical exfoliants like scrubs) are much better at gently exfoliating skin. My skin also needs it because despite that my acne has cleared up, I'm still getting some plugged blackheads and pores as well as some dry skin. I'm hoping that the 10% AHA will fix that. I don't know whether I'll be using this in the AM or PM though - I'll have to figure that out. Either use it every other day and alternate with the Neutrogena treatment, or use it every other night and alternate with Effaclar Duo. Here's what I hope to be my newer improved regimen: AM Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment OR Alpha Hydrox 10% Enhanced Cream CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Creme For Face SPF55 MAKEUP Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 MAC Studio Finish Concealer PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash Mask (hopefully I won't need these anymore) Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo OR Alpha Hydrox 10% Enhanced Cream CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion
Current Regimen: AM Avene Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Pure Argan Oil Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 If I use cosmetics AM: Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (makeup), last step of AM routine PM: Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil White (makeup remover), first step of PM routine PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel Pure Argan Oil It's been a couple of days since I've started to use the AHA/BHA gel on my skin at night. It looks like I'm either just breaking out or purging - I can't tell because either way I'm breaking out. I'd expect that from an exfoliant anyway... But I'll see how it goes for a week.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash (with AHA and salicylic acid) La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Avene Hydrance Optimale Legere Light Hydrating Cream Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PM Kose Softymo White Cleansing Oil Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Avene Hydrance Optimale Legere Light Hydrating Cream That's it. I have no active acne. I do however, have under the skin acne that is deep. I can feel it, but overall my skin has gotten much more even toned due to using the BP twice a day again. I'm planning on using an exfoliant as a night routine to get rid of the flakies and dry skin that I have, both to exfoliate overall and to exfoliate dead skin cells from acne. The solution? An AHA/salicylic acid combination. I just ordered Peter Thomas Roth's AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel, which has both 10% glycolic and 2% salicylic acid to do overall skin exfoliation while treating acne. By themselves, the percentages are pretty high; usually 10% glycolic acid lotions/creams/treatments are pretty potent, and 2% salicylic acid is the most you can find in skin care products. Hopefully by using this, my skin will be exfoliated (no more flakies and dry skin!) and my under the skin acne will purge through. I also ordered organic argan oil because the moisturizer I'm using isn't moisturizing enough for my skin, given that I'm using BP. I kind of like building my own skin care regimen. This is fun. Also, now that I'm going to get an exfoliant, I won't need a scrub anymore. I need a gentle cleanser with no active acne fighting ingredients. I'm currently deciding between Avene and La Roche Posay. It's insane how much my skin has cleared up from BP alone. I'm really happy.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash (with AHA and salicylic acid) La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub (on certain areas only) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Avene Hydrance Optimale Legere Light Hydrating Cream So I went back to using the Effaclar Duo twice a day instead of once - it seemed that my acne came back faster when using benzoyl peroxide less. I wanted to wean off of BP for a bit because of the dry skin that came with it, and also so that I had an opportunity at night for my skin to undergo chemical exfoliation via AHA and BHA, but I'm not using the AHA treatment at the moment. My acne has gone down the past couple of days after upping my BP dosage to twice a day now. I'm also using MUFE HD foundation nowadays, applied with a MAC 187 (stippling brush). I dunno if I like it enough to buy a full size version - I'm still deciding between this and Lancome's Teint Idole Ultra. The MUFE evens out my skin very well - since I don't plan on going full coverage, just for evening out my skintone. We'll see. I might also switch out my cleanser and scrubs. The whole reason why this regimen started 56 days ago was because I wanted to use Neutrogena's Acne Stress Control products to combat acne. They're very gentle products, but they haven't been strong enough to give me the results that I wanted for my skin. I'm also going to go entirely for non-drugstore skincare items now, just because I haven't found a drugstore item that has been a complete savior to my skin (except for Neutrogena's 2-in-1 wash/mask from the UK, which I can't get).
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash (with AHA and salicylic acid) La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub (on certain areas only) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Avene Cleanance K Cream-Gel (with AHAs glycolic and lactic acid) So I started using the benzoyl peroxide only during the day and started using Avene's cream gel at night to get rid of the dry skin and flakies, which AHAs tend to fix by chemical exfoliation. It's what the DKR suggests - BP for the day and AHA at night - so yeah. Avene's helped fix up the flaking skin and has definitely helped exfoliate the past two nights that I used it, and my skin isn't as irritated as a result of using BP once a day instead of twice a day. At the moment my skin looks pretty good- active breakouts are nonexistent at the moment, and my acne has diminished a lot. I still have a few scabs here and there, and some hyperpigmentation, but my skin looks good. I even went to Sephora yesterday with no makeup on and asked for skincare products that help treat acne and the assistants looked at my face and were like "What acne?". Haha. I had to explain that I'd been using BP for about a week now. We'll see. I think what I'll do is stick to the DKR with different products a bit longer, switch out my cleanser for a gentle cleanser with no acne treatments in it, and see what happens. I'm also thinking of getting Estee Lauder Double Wear or Double Wear Light foundations to even out my skin. I need to repurchase my MAC concealer... But when I think about it, I actually haven't bothered with wearing any makeup lately, especially since it's the summer and its hot, so I don't know if it's worth buying anyway.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub (on certain areas only) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide and 0.4% LHA) It's been only three days since I started using the Effaclar Duo from La Roche Posay but my acne and bumps have lessened dramatically. I still do have small acne here and there, but I think I'm going to continue to use it for a week and see what happens. I figured that from using the Effaclar Duo I'd get the same reactions that most people got while on the DKR - extremely dry, red, and irritated skin that needs super moisturizing. As it turns out, that's how my skin has been for the past few days because of Effaclar. Although, the irritation, redness, and peeling skin isn't as bad as I thought it would be, given my history of BP sensitivity. Not going to lie though, the burning sensation is not pleasant after I apply it. But because of that I had to go back to using Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion - a moisturizer I somehow always go back to because it's gentle and moisturizing on sensitive skin. As for the scrub, I've been using it sparingly only on patches of skin where there's patches of dry peeling skin. I have to gently exfoliate with this - given that both the scrub and cleanser have Menthol, an irritant that gives that cool feeling, and AHA and salicylic acid, I have to be extra careful not to scrub or cleanse for too long because too many acne treatments and an irritant can cause extra sensitivity. So right now, my skin's clearing up due to BP, LHA, AHA, and salicylic acid. I'm starting to rethink my skincare routine - I've been using mainly exfoliants in the past as a topical treatment because I was sensitive to BP, an antibacterial. Now that my sensitivity is lowered and I can use BP again (with some burning pain though) I might start to incorporate antibacterial topical treatment in the form of BP on top of exfoliating acne treatments. This way, my acne can be tackled in two ways - by exfoliating dead skin cells, and by killing the bacteria that cause acne. I'm seriously considering the DKR, as it uses BP and AHA in the regimen. But I'm also seriously considering La Roche Posay's Effaclar line, as it uses BP, salicylic acid, and LHA. The DKR is cheaper in cost, but I think I'm going to go for La Roche Posay because it's got years of research behind it. (It's not that I think DKR products aren't good, but it isn't created by a doctor... plus I'm tired of always choosing the less expensive option, and then finding out it doesn't work for my skin). However, if my skin gets used to the BP soon, I might start using Acne.org's AHA on top of it to get rid of the flaking skin. I'll see how I do on the La Roche Posay Regimen first though.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash + Sephora Facial Cleansing Pad La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo I tried a sample of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo last night. It's an acne treatment consisting of Benzoyl Peroxide and a Salicylic Acid derivative called LHA. Here's what it says straight from the La Roche Posay website: Key Ingredients Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide [5.5%]: Powerful acne medication in a unique format to deeply penetrate pores, clear blemishes, and minimize potential irritation. Micro-exfoliating LHA [0.4%]: Precise cell-by-cell exfoliation to stimulate cell renewal, smooth roughness, and gradually even skin texture. 6x more effective than salicylic acid alone. I put a thin layer of it on my entire face last night, despite knowing I had a sensitivity to BP. Surprisingly, instead of feeling my whole face burn and seeing it turn red, I only had a tingling sensation for about ten minutes on small parts of my face - my chin and around my nose area. I'm really surprised given that there's 5.5% BP in this, when I'm sensitive to even 2.5% in most products. I'm going to continue to use this as a treatment twice a day. It actually looks and feels like a lightweight lotion and absorbs quickly without feeling sticky at all. I was browsing La Roche Posay (which has my favorite sunscreen, Anthelios XL) for acne products at a Duane Reade store and an SA came up to me asking if I wanted to do a skin analysis. She used a device that took closeup pictures of my face in certain areas, and a computer analyzed the results and recommended products based on the analysis. I left with samples of Effaclar Duo and Anthelios XL 60 (YES!). I was recommended to try LRP's Effaclar's Foaming Gel wash, Effaclar Toner, and Effaclar Duo. After researching, I found that the gel wash was a gentle cleanser with a short ingredient list, with no active ingredients that are used as an acne treatment. The toner contained two ingredients: LHA (lipohydroxy acid), a micro-exfoliator, and Capryloyl Salicylic acid, a BHA derivative, to fight acne. LRP's clinical studies and reports have shown that LHA does help reduce acne (you can even read them on the website). Effaclar Duo's ingredients are clear on what it does for acne. Effaclar's Gel Wash and Toner have been given iffy reviews from Makeupally and Acne.org, but Effaclar Duo looks consistently good. I'm thinking of trying the skincare from La Roche Posay's Effaclar line; specifically the ones I was recommended. Some of their products differ from the European version (most likely due to differing laws on drugs that can be used in products in the US vs Europe). So far, the only products I've encountered with US-European differences are with the Anthelios 60 and Effaclar Duo. The European versions of these have a sunscreen formula called Mexoryl and lack benzoyl peroxide, respectively. I'm going for the US versions. The thing is, I think that with most skincare regimens that are sold over the counter (ProActiv, Neutrogena, AcneFree), there is a tendency to use both an antibacterial (BP, sulfur) and an exfoliant (salicylic acid, AHA) to treat acne. The same goes for the skincare regimens I was given by both of my dermatologists. Antibacterials/antibiotics on one hand (benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin phosphate, sulfur, minocyline, doxycycline) and exfoliants on the other (retinoids like Differin and Retin-A, and AHA). Even the DKR recommends using an antibacterial, BP, with an exfoliant - AHA to target bacteria and dead skin cells - two things that cause acne besides sebum. Another thought that I have is to test if I really am still sensitive to BP. I believe that I still am, given that I still had a tingling feeling when I used the Effaclar Duo. If I'm not, I'm all for using benzoyl peroxide products, since it is the most powerful/effective topical antibacterial acne treatment next to sulfur (which is expensive). If my sensitivity is gone I'm all for using the DKR. If not, I'm going to stick with Effaclar because it's still gentle enough on skin despite sensitivity to BP.
I mentioned yesterday that my acne has gone much worse, and after mulling it over I realized that I had been eating a lot of meat and more oily/fried food recently. Unfortunately, it wasn't something I could avoid, given that Chinese family members like to put stuff on my plate and expect me to eat it. (You can't decline, it'd be rude!) So I'm going back to my vegetarian diet again. Hopefully there won't be dinners that force me to eat things I'd rather not. Also, while I list that I use mineral foundation as my makeup, the reality is that tend not to use makeup at all so I can leave my skin bare and clean. Although I have been using mineral blush from Alima pure. Today however, since I'll be seeing friends for dinner, I hid my acne under a bit of (more like a lot of) makeup today - in fact I'm using a BB Cream called Missha M Signature Real Complete BB Cream. The LONG ingredient list would seem horrendous to most acne prone users, given that it's got silicones, hydrogenated stuff, isopropyl compounds, and oil, but it covers well for me. I also used my mineral foundation on top to set the BB cream and further even out my skintone, as well as use blush to give back a healthy glow. All in all, my face looks a lot better. Since I hadn't worn full coverage foundation/makeup recently it was really surprising to see how my face looked like without acne. It's a really strange feeling - I have nice facial features, but I felt that when I was looking in the mirror my acne overshadowed those features and all I saw at the end was an ugly face. It really sucks though, to feel ugly unless I'm wearing a mask of makeup.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash + Sephora Facial Cleansing Pad Josie Maran Argan Oil Makeup (optional) Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder I dunno what happened but my skin went bonkers after this weekend passed. That was what... the past 4 days? I have breakouts all over my face - my pores clogged up and I have bigger under the skin acne as well as more and bigger whiteheads and blackhead. I also got large acne - the kind that hurt when you touch them - as well. It's gone HAYWIRE. I don't know what happened. The only thing that changed in my skincare routine was that I ran out of my La Roche Posay Sunscreen and started using Eucerin. When I think about it now, I remember that I ditched my Eucerin sunscreen because it broke me out previously, but I started using it again only because I thought that at that time, there wasn't enough evidence to show that it was solely the Eucerin that was breaking me out. Now I'm pretty sure of it. However, my diet may have changed as well since I started moving from a vegetarian diet to having gradually more meat within the past week. The change in sunscreen and diet is enough to convince me to cut back on meat and more towards fresh fruit and vegetables again. Hopefully my skin will clear up soon.
Regimen: AM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 PM Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash + Sephora Facial Cleansing Pad Josie Maran Argan Oil Makeup Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder Comments: HEEEELLLLO. So I guess I don't really have much to say other than that I started using Argan oil about 3 days ago on my face at night instead of Cetaphil, since I felt that it may have been breaking me out (there's a reason why I used to use Cetaphil and quit using it). I got a sample of it from Sephora after a friend suggested that I use it to help clear up my skin. I apply it to damp skin and take care to use only a little since it goes a long way in moisturizing my skin. Funny enough, my skin did clear up - and my complexion improved. My face is definitely less red and more one color. My previous acne is fading and I only have one or two active pimples at the moment, and no painful big ones. However, I do still have a lot of under the skin bumps, which I'm a bit disappointed about. My family has commented that my skin looks a lot better though. My face is definitely less oily than it used to be when I was using Cetaphil lotion. However, I've been noticing that my acne near my hairline - specifically on the sides of my face and the edge of my forehead - have bigger under the skin bumps and don't clear very easily. My nose has also become more clogged - maybe due to the argan oil. I'm not too sure yet - I got another sample yesterday so I could try it out for a week before deciding whether it's worth getting. I have also noticed that my nose is getting more clogged and I got a whitehead this morning there. I dunno. I'll continue to see how this works.
It's been two weeks since my last post about my transitional phase. Here's my regimen currently: AM Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 XL sunscreen/Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 after I run out of Anthelios PM Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion Note: I'm also starting to use Sephora Pore Cleansing Pad; its a silicone pad with small fibers that help exfoliate/scrub the face. Using it with a cleanser gives a really good wash and helps remove makeup more effectively. I started using this a week ago. How's my face look? My skin's looking really even toned right now. As in, my whole face is one color. Skin color. no redness or anything. Which is really great! My under the skin acne bumps have reduced tremendously in size. The past two weeks have seen some really huge acne emerge, and those are gone now. However, I still have under the skin bumps, and its still raging with small blackheads all over my forehead, temples and cheeks. It's better, but not gone. I found Neutrogena's Scrub and Cream Wash to be gentle on the skin - neither stripped my skin of moisture, even though I use them both daily. I also started using Sephora's Pore Cleansing Pad with the cream cleanser, and it's really helped get rid of some stubborn blackheads on the sides of my face. In the shower at night, I basically use the cream cleanser and spread it all over my face, and then using a circular motion, I massage the pad over parts of my face and focus on areas that really need it. The blackheads on the sides of my face have disappeared since I started using this pad. I'm not completely satisfied with my skin, but I'm happy to say that I'm more comfortable going outside without any face makeup to hide the redness or spots on my face. I'm not too happy with the under the skin bumps, nor am I too happy to see some large pores on my cheeks, but it's loads better than it used to be when I was doing Retin-A. New Diet? One thing that I've noticed in the past is that whenever I eat a lot of fruit, especially grapes, oranges, apples, and other juicy fruits, my skin tends to clear up tremendously. Because of that I went on a vegan diet a few months back. I didn't detail what I ate, but I detoxed for about 4-5 days. On days 1 and 2 I ate only apples - about 7-8 a day. On days 3-4 I drank only orange juice - a quart per day. Other than these things, I had tea and water. The next few days I ate salads and stuck mostly to raw vegetables. The result was that my stomach felt a lot better, my skin cleared up alot, and I lost a bit of weight. I was really happy because my skin hadn't been that clear in a while. I'm also going on a diet again - this time just a vegetarian diet, with a low allowance for animal derived products, and as little dairy as possible, with huge amounts of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruit. I had a blood test done by my doctor when I came back, and the only abnormality present was that high iron was found. Given that I'm East Asian, I was told that even the normal range of iron amounts for American standards were already pretty high for Chinese people, and so my mother suggested that I detox by avoiding meat. Her theory was that high iron = acne. I'm going to go along with it. I'm tired of western methods, especially after Retin-A wrecked my skin. Maybe eastern traditional and holistic approaches will work for my acne. Also, given my diet, I'm pretty certain that food and digestive health have something to do with acne as well, so I'm trying it out. We'll see how that goes.
I think it's pointless to continue counting if I'm not on the same regimen anymore. I'm in a transition phase with my skincare routine at the moment. Let me summarize what happened between February and now, July. After the whole previous organic apple cider/olive oil regimen on DAY 205 in February didn't work out for my skin in the long run, I gave up and bought Neutrogena's Visibly Clear line, which consisted of Visibly Clear 2in1 Wash and Mask Visibly Clear Gentle Exfoliating Wash Visibly Clear Stress Control Daily Scrub Visibly Clear Spot Stress Control 3in1 Cleansing Lotion The only two I regularly used was the Scrub and the Wash/Mask, which worked wonders for my skin and helped clear up acne. I would use the scrub in the shower, which felt amazing- it has a menthol cooling sensation, and felt more like a cream cleanser with microbeads. I'd slowly massage it into my skin for about 15 seconds and wash out, pat dry my face, and apply the mask immediately after. The mask is a white clay mask and also had that same refreshing feel when applied to my face. I'd rinse it off after about 2 minutes. After showering, my face would look and feel amazing. As for the exfoliating wash and cleansing lotion (toner), the wash felt more like a harsh scrub and the cleansing lotion irritated my skin and dried it out. I decided to go for these given that these products have a combination of alpha hydroxy acid; more specifically glycolic acid (AHA) and salycylic acid (BHA). AHA and BHA are both chemical skin exfoliants that help get rid of dead or unnecessary skin. AHA is great for overall skin renewal, but BHA is great for acne because it interacts with oil better and helps break up pore clogging. I got back from the UK last week and brought the products with me, but I'm running low on them. I needed to find the US equivalent to these Neutrogena products. I only wanted the scrub and the 2in1 wash/mask. I found the scrub under the US name Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub. Same ingredients, different name. Unfortunately, the 2in1 Wash in the US has benzoyl peroxide as the acne treatment, and not salicylic acid. My skin is severely allergic/reactive to BP, so I couldn't use it. However, I started searching for a cream cleanser with acne fighting properties, since it is gentle to skin but also treats acne. I found it in Oil Free Acne Stress Congrol Power Cream Wash. The US products have AHA and BHA. I'm hoping that these two products can help my skin. I've recently been using the remainder of my scrub and wash/mask from the UK and my skin has cleared up considerably after neglecting it for a few weeks. I made two changes to my skincare, which was using Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion at night, and my La Roche Posay Anthelios XL 60 sunscreen in the morning. I figured it was time to take a gentle yet effective way of combating my acne with drugstore products. Retin-A, though effective, was harsh and had wrecked my skin completely to the point that the damage was far worse than just having acne; I ended up with sensitive, dry and peeling skin that took 2-3 months to heal. I had to end up taking care of the dryness and sensitivity before I could really return to using acne products. I didn't have a consistent skincare routine for the past few weeks because I'd been moving and traveling in the UK, leaving me too busy, but after returning to the US and settling down, my new routine is as follows: AM Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 XL sunscreen/Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 30 after I run out of Anthelios PM Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion Makeup: Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation If I'm wearing makeup, my PM routine will replace the scrub with a cleansing oil. At the moment I'm finishing up Shu Uemura Skin Purifier, then will use my sample of Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, and then I'll move to my full size Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil White. To be honest this routine seems a little bit harsh on the skin already, but I'm hoping that the hot humid weather and Cetaphil will make up for the harshness of the already gentle (but acne-fighting) skincare products. I guess we'll see.
FEB 11, 2011 Just woke up, and my face is so soft and so much smoother! I'm crediting my skin to my new diet, apple cider toner and olive oil (see previous post). It's amazing! I can even wear a sheer layer of mineral makeup and my skin would look normal. I wanted to do a bit of a review/share my thoughts on the following products and sort of record my thoughts on the products so that in the future when I look back, I can read what I wrote about these products and reevaluate their efficacy based on the other factors, such as current weather, which affects whether my skin is combination dry or combination oily (humidity plays a factor too). Right now my skin is dry dry dry. Dry to the point that I need dry skin creams (thank you Cerave Cream). SIMPLE Kind to Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel (UK bought) INFO: This is a great basic cleanser - I would compare this to its US counterparts Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, which are both gentle cleansers and also recommended by dermatologists (including mine). THOUGHTS: Simple is known as UK's #1 cleanser brand. This cleanser is a gel wash that applies onto the face with a cooling effect and creates a gentle lather. After rinsing, my skin feels clean and soft. This cleanser definitely does not strip skin of its moisture, and doesn't leave any residue on the face. A great UK alternative to the Cetaphil and Purpose Cleanser! EUCERIN Sensitive Skin Everyday Protection SPF 30 (US bought) INFO: This is my go to sunscreen, after I stopped using La Roche Posay's Anthelios XL SPF 60 because the weather was getting colder, and my skin was getting drier. This is actually quite a nice sunscreen that easily absorbs and spreads on the skin. It is moisturizing but it isn't as thick as most other sunscreens are (ahem Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 30). I'd actually describe it as having a thin consistency with moisturizing properties. THOUGHTS: I wouldn't recommend this to those with oily skin though, because I looked like a slimeball when I wore this in the heat (which causes my skin to get oily). It also has a bit of a whiteish cast, which I don't like, but it's not noticeable unless you take pictures. I do find that I have no problem with the cast if I wear makeup on top of the sunscreen. UNE BEAUTY 100% Mineral Foundation (UK bought) INFO: I'll start off with the basics: Dermatologically Tested, Formulated to Minimize Allergy Risks Ingredients: Mica, Zinc Oxide [+/-(May Contain): CI 7707 (Ultramarines), CI77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI77491, CI77492, CI77499 (Iron Oxides), CI77891 (Titanium Dioxide)] This is a loose powder foundation that you basically swirl, tap, and buff into the skin with a powder brush. I bought this as an alternative to my Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation, which I left in the US (*cries*). I brought the Laura Mercier Mineral Foundation with me instead and I don't like it as much because there was barely any coverage. I looked for a minimalistically formulated mineral foundation similar to Alima's and found UNE Beauty in a UK drugstore. I tend to be allergic to bismuth oxychloride if it is listed in the main ingredients (thanks for wrecking my skin, BareMinerals), but if it falls into the +/- category in the ingredient list, I don't react to it (example: Laura Mercier's Mineral Foundation). The +/- category means that the presence of the ingredients listed after it have negligible amounts. REVIEW: I like this foundation - been using it for almost a month! It's a light to medium coverage that is somewhat buildable and doesn't cake up. I haven't broken out from it, despite changing my skincare routine. I'd recommend this to people with acne prone and sensitive skin if you want coverage with minimal ingredients, and as an alternative to Alima Pure, which contains only Titanium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, and Mica or any minimalist formula. I would not recommend this to anyone with a high Bismuth Oxychloride sensitivity.
To whoever reads this, I'm really sorry that I went MIA for two months. December smacked me with a pile of papers and exams from college. After that there were many preparations to be made to go study abroad, and then settling in once I'm abroad. The exciting news is that I'm currently in London until June. My skincare regimen has changed since the last two months. Here's my new Regimen: (Some products here are from the UK. I'll denote where I got it.) MORNING - Simple Kind to Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel (UK) - Apple Cider Vinegar Toner (It's homemade! Read how I made it below.) - Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Eucerin Sensitive Skin Everyday Protection SPF 30 (US) - UNE Beauty 100% Mineral Foundation and UNE Beauty Skin Glow Pencil as concealer (UK) NIGHT - Purity Conditioning Cleansing Lotion (UK) - Apple Cider Vinegar Toner - Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Cerave Moisturizing Cream (US) EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE - Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2 in 1 Wash/Mask (UK) but is similar to Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask (US) - Neutrogena Multi Defence Gentle Purifying Scrub (UK) Since my last post my regimen has changed a lot. The Retin-A Micro was not getting rid of my stubborn acne anymore, and it was peeling, scaling, and drying my skin to the point that it's become damaged and would require probably at least 6 months to recover. So on top of acne, I had dry broken skin to heal. The challenge now was finding products that moisturized well but were non-comedogenic. I've since decided to go a different route and drop the prescription medications, and try a new, holistic, natural, and gentle approach of dealing with my acne by (1) cleansing from the inside out, and (2) using 2 homemade miracle products! Cleansing from the inside out means eating right. My diet now is mostly a detox diet, which is mostly vegan and excludes wheat products. However, I make an exception to seafood because it contains skin friendly ingredients (and tends to be more organic and free from chemicals). I also have green tea twice a day now. As for skincare, I've been trying out two new miracle products that have improved my skin texture and acne in less than a week. The first product is extra virgin olive oil. The Cerave Cream was not moisturizing enough for my dry skin, and though many people are afraid of using oil on acne prone skin, I went ahead and did it. I did research and found that EVOO has a very low comedogenicity level, meaning that it has a very low likelihood of clogging pores. It's been 6 days since I've started using it as a moisturizer, and I'm not breaking out from it - my stubborn acne is actually disappearing. Also, my skin is becoming softer, less dry, and more even toned. I'm even beginning to see a natural skin glow. The way that I apply it is to pour a dime to nickel sized amount on my palm, gently rub it into my palms and fingers, then dab and rub the oil all over my face. A little olive oil goes a long way, since it tends to be a thicker oil. The second product is the homemade apple cider toner. It was first mentioned here on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e--d_n073pc, who used to have serious acne but now swears by natural remedies to cure acne. It's an apple cider vinegar toner and scrub/mask. I have stopped using the scrub/mask though because it was too harsh on my skin. However, I continue to use the toner morning and night. The toner consists of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts green tea. I added a half a lemon's worth of lemon juice for an extra kick, since it contains an AHA - citric acid, which chemically exfoliates. It sits in my fridge when I'm not using it, and will last for two weeks. I'm going to continue this diet and regimen for a while and see how it goes, but I'm feeling optimistic.
I just washed my face with St. Ives Apricot Scrub and my Benprox 5.25% Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser. My face BURNS. It's super sensitive now and I think I did an exfoliation overload the past few days. My skin is scaly and peeling like crazy - there's giant scaly patches on my face... T_T I tried on an azelaic acid sample from my new derm... and my skin burned. I am NOT using it. I put on my CeraVe Cream after washing off the azelaic acid and my skin burned worse from the cream. Oh my... So the lesson/moral is that I overexfoliated the past few days. I'm laying off on the Neutrogena Stress Control Scrub. I'm laying off on scrubs and anything with salicylic acid too. I'm going to let my skin heal from the patches now, and then take care of the acne. Right now the acne isn't too bad; its the peeling and dryness that's driving me insane. Does anyone know a good non-comedogenic facial moisturizer that's not Cetaphil or Cerave?
Current Regimen AM 1. Benprox 5.25% Benzoyl Peroxide Wash (and maybe Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control, Power-Clear Scrub, if skin is peeling) 2. La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Sunscreen 3. Doryx 150mg doxycycline PM 1. Benprox 5.25% Benzoyl Peroxide Wash (and maybe Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control, Power-Clear Scrub, if skin is peeling) 2. Retin A Micro 3. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Current Skin: The bumpiness on my skin has gone down a lot; my skin feels a lot smoother now, and texture wise it feels soft and moisturized. Appearance wise, my skin has evened out a lot; the redness and pigmentation has been reduced to the point where I feel comfortable not wearing any makeup nowadays. While I do still have quite a lot of blackheads and bumps mostly along my jaw and towards the cheeks, the bumps are skin colored and aren't very noticeable. It still bothers me though that my acne is not 100% gone; more like 80%. It's that last 20% that never seems to go away and frustrates me to no end. Then again, my skin has been peeling off in thin layers these past few days, and I know that means my skin is finally exfoliating and getting rid of acne. Maybe I'll see if my skin gets any better the next few days. Why the Frustration? The dermatologist who prescribed me this regimen three months ago is no longer covered by my insurance, so I had to meet with a new derm three days ago. This new derm, who I will call Derm number 3, prescribed me a whole new regimen that involved new prescriptions and skincare products. At this point I'm pretty frustrated because (1) she didn't even listen to my previous skincare routine and (2) asserted that every dermatologist has a different way of treating acne, and insisted that I go with this new regimen that derm 3 prescribed. I think most of all, I'm frustrated, sick, and tired of trying so many new regimens - I just need ONE that will work, but I feel like right now I'm still experimenting and trying to figure out what that one regimen is. New Regimen Derm 3 decided to create a regimen focused on getting rid of the pigmentation as well as treating for acne rosacea. Here's the new regimen, prescribed by Derm 3: AM 1. Neutrogena Oil Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Wash (2% Salicylic Acid) 2. Glycolic acid toner - suggested Peter Thomas Roth's AHA toner 3. SPF - suggested Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Face Lotion 4. Doryx (doxycycline 150mg) (she initially wanted to take me off of this, but only prescribed it after I told her my acne flared up after not taking it for a month.) PM 1. Sumaxin wash (sodium sulfacetamide 9% and sulfur 4%) 2. Ziana gel (clindamycin phosphate 1.2% and tretinoin 0.025% OR Finacea gel (15% azelaic acid) Here's the breakdown on these meds (I'm generalizing here, but it's a good idea of how they work): AM Salicylic Acid (BHA) - exfoliant Glycolic Acid (AHA) - exfoliant (& helps reduce pigmentation) Doxycycline - antibiotic PM Sodium sulfacetamide - antibacterial Sulfur - antibacterial Clindamycin Phosphate - antibacterial Tretinoin - exfoliant Azelaic Acid - antibacterial & exfoliant (& helps reduce pigmentation) So the point here? She's putting me on a pretty complex system of bacteria fighting meds (antibacterial and antibiotics) and several different kinds of exfoliants. Derm3 did have some good suggestions to make and I might incorporate some of this new regimen into my previous one, which looks like (I'm only pointing out the acne treatments): AM Clindamycin Phosphate (antibacterial) Doxycycline (antibiotic) PM Benzoyl Peroxide (antibacterial) Tretinoin (exfoliant) Ever since I added the Neutrogena Stress Free scrub, which is salicylic acid (exfoliant), my skin's been clearing up faster these past few days. The verdict? Add more exfoliants. I'll update when I decide which exfoliants to get from my new regimen.
Current Regimen AM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30 3. Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 4. Doryx 150mg doxycycline PM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Benprox 5.25% benzoyl peroxide wash 3. Retin A Micro 4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Skin Status My skin texture is now significantly less bumpy! I'd say about a 50% reduction in bumpiness, which means a good amount of the blackheads are gone from last week. As for acne, it's been reduced significantly. While I do still have a lot of small blackheads all over my face, it's definitely an improvement from last week. The blackheads gather mostly around my chin and jaw, and a bit upwards towards the cheeks. I usually put Retin-A all over my face, but I do a second layer in that area to help it heal faster. The post acne pigmentation has definitely faded to the point where my face just looks red but not blotchy. So I guess it's a good thing! At least my face is even in color (bah, tomato face). I still suspect that my skin is still purging itself of acne because of the doxycycline. As I recall a few weeks after taking it in August I remember that doxycyline didn't work as fast as the minocycline I took a year or two years ago. I'm guessing that I'll have to wait another week to see if my skin is clear by then. I really do hope so. By next week I'll have thanksgiving break and I'll have more time to post here about my skin. (YES IM GOING BACK HOME TO NYC!! SHOPPING TIME) Mineral Foundations: Alima and Laura Mercier Partial Review So I got my Alima mineral samples last week! They're really fast with orders and shipping. Not to mention that their packaging is fantastic! They take the time to wrap up packages; they put my foundation jar samples in a cute little wax paper bag and sealed it with a sticker of a bird, their logo. They also threw in three samples in a plastic bag - I got an eyeshadow, blush, and a finishing powder. The colors work well on my skin color. I also got a handwritten "Thank you" on my order form, and a small pamphlet introducing the company. Super cute! ALIMA On to the powders. I have been matched to an NC30 in MAC. This weekend I went the mall and went to a MAC counter to do foundation swatches to confirm it. Right now, now that I'm losing my tan, I am definitely an NC30, if not a bit paler. So to be safe I'd estimate my skin color to be NC25-NC30. I ordered samples in Beige 3 & 4 and Warm 3 & 4. My best match was Warm 3. I'm Asian, and my skin has strong yellow-golden undertones when I'm tan in the summer, but it loses the yellow undertone towards a more neutral to beige undertone. Warm 3 was yellow enough to match my skin, but not too yellow enough to make me look like an oompa loompa. It was also just light enough in color. Warm 4 was too dark on me, and Beige 3 and 4 were ashy looking. They were a tad bit too pink. Coverage wise... not the greatest, but it did even out my skintone. My acne and blemishes were still visible, but as a whole my face was less red. I was honestly a bit disappointed in the coverage, because I thought that it would at least be a medium coverage, but the coverage was light at best, even after layering 2-3 times. The good thing is that this didn't clog my pores. LAURA MERCIER I originally got a Flawless Face Kit from Sephora in the foundation color Natural Beige, but after searching in message boards and MakeupAlley.com, I was convinced that the color would be too dark for me. I ended up going to the mall to exchange for the color Real Sand. I even asked an SA in Sephora to match my foundation - turns out I'm Real Sand and Tender Rose (if I want to go lighter). So that's that. I'm using Real Sand right now. So I originally applied the LM foundation with the brush that came in the kit, but in all honesty it's a terrible powder brush and doesn't pick up very well. I pulled out my BareMinerals Full Flawless Face brush and used that instead (even though I don't like it either). I just got my E.L.F. Kabuki yesterday and washed it - I'll start to use it tomorrow. With powder foundations, it's important to also have the right brush to apply it. Aside from the brush problem, the coverage was also pretty light, although it felt a bit more "thick" than Alima. I felt like I had nothing on my face when I wore Alima, but I felt like I had a layer of something on my face when I wore LM. Regardless, the coverage was slightly better than Alima's but I would still call it light coverage. I think though, when I start using a better brush, I might be able to layer more foundation more effectively, and it might give better coverage then. It didn't break me out. TENTATIVE VERDICT Just from my week long experimentation with Alima and Laura Mercier, for now I'd go with Laura Mercier for the little extra coverage, though I'm not willing to give up on Alima just yet. They're both the best rated foundations on MakeupAlley with a loyal customer base. If people like it that much I'm convinced to try them both for a bit longer. That's all folks. See y'all around.
Current Regimen AM Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Fougera Clindamycin Phosphate 1% Lotion La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Sunscreen Doryx Doxycycline 150mg PM Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Benprox 5.25% benzoyl peroxide wash Retin A Micro 0.04% tretinoin gel CeraVe Cream Skin Status Lots of small blackheads, bumps, and small acne on my cheeks, forehead, and especially my chin. I have a lot of scabs in my chin area from where inflamed acne erupted. There's a lot of small red post acne pigmentation on my face - it's everywhere! So my face looks red in general. Meh. So today is the sixth day back on doxycycline. I took it for a month, then stopped taking it for a month because I couldn't get the medication until a few days ago. Since I've started taking it, I've had 3-4 giant painful acne that hurts when you lightly press them, although they're slowly deflating and almost gone now. There hasn't been much change in my skin from the last time I posted, except that I'm breaking out even more. Maybe since starting doxycycline again, my skin is starting to purge out all the acne again. If so, I'm optimistic - I can't wait for the day when my skin is smooth and bump free again. I'm such a makeup junkie. Within the past few days, I've ordered makeup from Alima Pure, Sephora, and E.L.F. Cosmetics. I think I go on shopping sprees like this when I'm not too happy with my skin. Ah well... I'm actually trying out some mineral foundations, which will be less harsh on my skin, and easier to apply and remove since I'm breaking out again. The foundations I ordered have rave reviews on MakeupAlley.com, which is pretty much the ultimate place to find decent reviews on a lot of cosmetics. I actually haven't had really good results with mineral foundations in the past, but I think after researching a bit I want to try them again. I didn't really try out recommended brands for sensitive acne prone skin to begin with. My past mineral foundations/powders include BareMinerals, L'Oreal's Bare Naturale, Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Face Powder, and MAC Mineralize Natural, which all have broken me out, some more than others. Hopefully something will click with the new ones I got. From Alima Pure I ordered mineral loose powder foundation samples (Satin Matte Foundation). I've heard great reviews about them here on Acne.org and MakeupAlley.com. The ingredients don't contain talc or bismuth oxychloride, which are known as possible irritants for those with acne prone and sensitive skin. (Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947) Mica (CI 77019). May contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499). Nothing more.) There's over 65 shades to choose from as well as creating your own custom blend. The way you choose your shade is to order a few shades in sample jars, try them out, and then order the full size sample or request a custom blend of shades. Given that the full size is only $20 and a GIANT jar of powder, it's really economical. I'll review them when I get a chance, and I might order the full size if I like it. From Sephora I ordered Laura Mercier's Mineral Flawless Face Kit. This mineral foundation has high ratings on MakeupAlley and is also recommended by quite a lot of beauty bloggers. It does contain Bismuth Oxychloride. (Ingredients:Ingredients: Pearl Powder. (+/-): Mica (CI 77019), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)) However, since it's been so highly rated, I'm willing to give it a try. If I don't like the mineral foundation, I'm just going to use everything else in the kit instead. From ELF I didn't order any face products. (It's too cheap to convince me to buy any of their face stuff) BUT I did get powder brushes for applying mineral foundation. I got the Studio Face Kabuki Brush and Studio Powder Brush, which is actually a dense flat top brush. I'll see how these work out on the aforementioned mineral makeup to come (although I'm getting a brush in the Laura Mercier Kit. Well, it doesn't hurt to have a few extra powder brushes). Anyway, cheers for now. Hopefully the next time I blog my skin will have cleared up a bit.
My doxycycline arrived! I'm returning to my original regimen tomorrow. My face looks terrible right now... blackheads, large pores, red marks, and scabbing, and acne just raging right now. I think I'm not gonna wear makeup tomorrow.... But back to my regimen! AM Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Clindamycin Phosphate 1% Lotion Eucerin SPF 30 Sunscreen Doryx doxycycline 150mg PM Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Benprox 5.25% benzoyl peroxide wash Retin A Micro 0.04% CeraVe Cream
Current Regimen AM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Eucerin Everday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30 3. Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation and Physicians Formula Talc Free Mineral Wear Face Powder (no more Rimmel) PM 1. Shills Cleansing Oil 2. St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub (only if I need it) 3. Benprox 5.25% benzoyl peroxide wash 4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (no more Retin A) Yup yup. I'm not gonna be using acne treatments until my skin heals from peeling skin, scabs, and broken skin. This healing comes first; I'll deal with the acne later. AND GOOD NEWS! My prescription for doxycyline is coming in this week so I'll be able to get back to the regimen again... after my skin heals. Skin Status Texture: Generally smooth skin, but very small little bumps that look like milia but a bit bigger in size; my under-the-skin acne is back. Acne: My entire face is riddled with small bumpy blackheads. I'm still breaking out on my chin, where I have the most acne scabs as well. Appearance: Lots of red post acne pigmentation, but since I have very small acne all over my face, my face just generally looks red. The redness has been going down these few days though. There's a few places with broken skin from acne and very small scabbing. The peeling skin is 80% gone. Feelings: I'm a bit more optimistic; my acne is still there but its now coverable with makeup because the peeling skin, scabs, and broken skin are disappearing. In general my skin is clearing up. Foundation Changeback I switched back to my LM Foundation. Rimmel's two foundations weren't full coverage, made me an oily mess, and were actually clogging my pores. I realized after this weekend, (when I fell asleep with my LM foundation on) my skin has cleared up (weird). I switched back to Laura Mercier's foundation because it hasn't caused an oily mess these few days. I think switching my sunscreen from La Roche Posay to Eucerin made the difference, the former sunscreen being more oily than the latter. I'm also applying my foundation and powder differently. I'm applying my Laura Mercier Foundation with a MAC 187 Stippling brush (I stipple and swirl the foundation on my face) and I'm applying my Physicians Formula Powder with an Ecotools Bronzing Brush (which is a thicker kabuki brush really) instead of a standard powder brush. That way my face gets better coverage and the powder is more evenly distributed. Absolutely no acne meds? I'm not using Retin A Micro right now (actually for the past couple of days I stopped). I need my skin to heal first before I screw it up with acne medications again. Right now I still have peeling skin and scabs from acne that I need to heal. I think Retin A is the culprit for the peeling skin. Retin A worked ten times better and actually got rid of the dead skin when I was still taking doxycyline. Bottom Line I've realized after almost a decade of experimenting with acne products, the bottom line is that I feel that you have to listen to what your skin is telling you. After weaning out the acne meds these past few days to let my skin heal, it's looked a lot better, and I've realized that dropping acne meds in the past to let my skin heal has also worked. Anyway, here's my two cents on listening to your skin: 1. Use gentle products on your skin. I think that most people tend to think that harsh products - ones that dry out your skin, burn, make your skin red, irritate, or just make your skin look and feel bad in general - will get rid of acne. This is a MYTH. You should stop using products that irritate your skin because then your skin will end up having to heal and deal with the irritation AND the acne, and so acne sometimes becomes worse. Some gentle dermatologist recommended brands include Cetaphil, Eucerin, and CeraVe. I would recommend asking your derm or researching for specific brands and products for your skin type. My skin texture has improved from using gentle stuff (and I'm still surprised by this). 2. Less is more. Generally speaking using less products on your face is a lot better for your skin; that way it can heal better and improve faster. Using additional masks/scrubs/pills/oils/other remedies may interfere with the current regimen that a derm has given you, or with the acne medications that you are given, or just irritate and stress out your skin. Going makeupless also helps too (not that I follow this though, I'm still too vain to give up makeup and therefore require cleansing oil). (On hindsight my mother has given me so much shit about wearing makeup - she tells me if I want my acne to heal I can't wear any. But it's a dilemma because you don't want other people to look at your face weirdly.) 3. Be regular. Having a set time and a set regimen is key. Once your skin starts using products it gets accustomed to it, so breaking that cycle of regularity may cause your skin to not be ready to deal with whatever products you're using at the wrong time of the day. For me, since I've been regularly going through my regimen everyday, if I do my PM routine about four hours earlier than I usually do, the acne medications aren't as effective. (Weird but true). Taking your pills at the same time everyday helps too, 'cause your body gets used to it. 4. Eat actual food that's good for your skin. Veggies, especially leafy greens, and fruits are really good for your skin. My mom, who's an expert on chinese medicine, asserts that you have to make sure that your digestive system is healthy if you want good skin, because if not the result shows up on your face. Her belief is that if your digestive system is clean and clear, then your skin will be too. As much as Dan and a lot of people say good diets have no effect on your skin, I am a firm believer of dieting for skin. I basically just eat a lot of fruits and veggies all the time, and drink a lot of water. And when I eat badly... it shows up on my face via redness or acne. And skimp on the processed foods and go more natural since those don't have chemicals. That's pretty much all I can think up of now. I'm not really a firm follower of these steps really - they're sort of general guidelines to follow anyway. Being a college student doesn't allow me to have time nor the money to get fresh food (it's not cheap!) but it is something that I do keep in mind when taking care of my skin. Anyway, that was a really long post. I hope whoever reads this finds this interesting or helpful or positive. To whoever's reading, good luck on your journey as well! Cheers 'til next time.
I've decided not to use foundation for now. I hope I'll be brave enough to go barefaced Halloween Weekend. aaaaah! My acne is so bad! At least I can use some eye makeup tricks to detract attention away from my face and attract attention to my eyes... muahahaha. I. Need. Sleep. College sucks.
Current Regimen (starting today) AM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Eucerin Everday Protection Face Lotion SPF 30 3. Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation OR Rimmel Stay Matte Skinpure Complex PM 1. Shills Cleansing Oil 2. St. Ives Apricot Face Scrub 3. Benprox 5.25% benzoyl peroxide wash 4. Retin A Micro !SPOT TREAT ONLY! 5. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Why the regimen changeup? My face is just getting terrible - scabs, peeling skin, acne everywhere - red, inflamed, some cystic, and some scabbing. It's a nightmare - I decided to hold off a lot on the medication and just let my skin heal with minimal meds for now. My face is just a giant mess of redness and scabbing and red spots. The under-the-skin acne is back, and blackheads are everywhere. I got Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion because I realized my skin is now a lot oilier now that I haven't been taking doxycycline, and the La Roche Posay makes me look shiny. I got St. Ives Apricot Scrub because Retin A Micro isn't sloughing off the dead skin effectively; instead it's leaving giant areas of skin that are peeling but not coming off. With the doxycycline my skin exfoliated really well. I got Rimmel's Foundations because I saw reviews and heard that they were pretty decent foundations, especially for the price (they're $7 or $8, don't remember). Both of the foundations, which I got yesterday, are non-comedogenic and oil-free. My current foundations (Laura Mercier Oil Free, Paula Dorf Oil Free, Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer, and MAC Face and Body) were not cutting it. I ended up an oily mess at the end of the day, and my foundation sloughed off so I needed something with oil control that wouldn't transfer. I'm only going to medicate with Retin-A-Micro on my forehead and temples, which doesn't have peeling skin. Hopefully the acne will clear up a bit tomorrow.
Current Regimen: AM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Benprox 5.25% Wash 3. Fougera Clindamycin Phosphate Lotion 1% 4. La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid 5. Makeup/Foundation: Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation (Sunny Beige) PM 1. Shills Cherry Blossom Cleansing Oil 2. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 3. Benprox 5.25% Wash 4. Retin-A Micro 0.04% Gel 5. Cerave Moisturizing Cream Skin Status My face is terrible. Red spots and acne everywhere, blackheads and whiteheads galore and peeling skin from the Retin A. I can't even cover up the acne correctly with foundation because of this. I'm feeling a bit frustrated at this point because I've been off of doxycyline for a month now, and it's obvious that the doxycycline really did help fight the acne on my face. Under circumstances that I can't explain, I haven't been able to get the meds and it's been really frustrating for me because I've tried to do all I could to get them. Today I bought St. Ives Apricot Scrub to help exfoliate some of that dead skin that Retin A has been giving me (though my skin is great when I'm on Retin A AND doxy) and Eucerin's Everyday Protection SPF 30 Sunscreen. I think my La Roche Posay sunscreen might be the culprit to my oiliness these past few weeks that I haven't posted, and I'll start using the Eucerin tomorrow. I've been feeling more and more like a shut in these past few days since my skin has gotten so bad again that I don't want to go out and face people. I feel myself falling back into that pattern of scrounging for acne products and foundation at drugstores to cover up my face. It was really compelling to buy a new foundation for me today (Revlon Colorstay was on sale for $8!) but thankfully I made myself leave before I could do it. When it comes down to it, I know that most other foundations will just end up clogging my pores and making my acne worse. The Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation isn't cutting it this time with my skin being in this condition. Not only do I have acne and clogged blackheads all over my face, I have inflamed acne and peeling skin - which really just makes the worst base for any kind of makeup or foundation. My flaky skin is highlighted with foundation and my acne barely covered, even with my MAC Studio Finish concealer on. I also have these really odd miniscule red spots around my eyes now too - not sure where it's from. I think the fact that I can't even cover up the acne appropriately bothers me more than how my acne looks, 'cause at least when you have bad acne you can cover it up pretty well if you don't have broken skin, inflamed acne, and peeling skin like I do. F*CK. Why is acne so frustrating? My skin sucks.
Current Regimen: AM 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 2. Benprox 5.25% Wash 3. Fougera Clindamycin Phosphate Lotion 1% 4. La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid 5. Makeup/Foundation: Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer (Sand) and Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation (Sunny Beige) 6. Doryx 150mg PM 1. Shills Cherry Blossom Cleansing Oil 2. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser 3. Benprox 5.25% Wash 4. Retin-A Micro 0.04% Gel 5. Cerave Moisturizing Cream Status Skin acne wise is clear- except there's a couple of scabs from acne and a handful of red spots from breaking out this week. I've been really stressed out and not sleeping and drinking way too much coffee this week so it's not helping a lot with my skin. On the bright side, my skin is pretty clear aside from that. The Retin-A Micro has been pretty harsh this week on my skin though - I have some pretty visible dry skin and peeling on my cheeks. I should use a better moisturizer (La Roche Posay is actually a pretty light moisturizer) but at this point I kind of don't care - my midterms are coming up so I don't really have time to worry about that. I also have not been taking my Doryx (doxycyline) for a week now. It might account for the earlier breakouts. Since my prescription can only be filled in New York under my insurance, I haven't been able to get my meds since I'm in school in Connecticut. It's nervewracking! My skin needs meds to stay clear! I don't know if any of you guys have had to wean off medication, but it's hella nervewracking when you do because you want so badly for your skin to be clear that you're not willing to stop using medication even when your derm tells you to. I don't know, it's making me nervous that not taking my meds for almost three weeks (since I can't get my pills until the 20th) might mess up my skin, and I'm scared that it won't keep me clear after three months of this treatment. But eh, I'm helpless at the moment; I've tried everything I could to get the meds ASAP. Any sunscreen suggestions? I think though as the weather is getting colder that I might have to switch SPF moisturizers - there's even dry skin around my eyes despite that I use eye cream and don't use Retin-A Micro around there. It makes sense, you know? This sunscreen that I use is a LIQUID sunscreen; it's a super light moisturizer. For heavier moisturizers I'm thinking getting either La Roche Posay's sunscreen milk or Shiseido's creamier sunscreen. I'll have to see though, Shiseido sunscreens usually have this light reflective stuff in it that makes my skin glimmer- not sure if I like it. I'm leaning towards La Roche Posay because their products have formulations that are supported by years and years of dermatological research (its also a listed skincare line under Loreal Group, which has so much money it can fund labs). I am open to any other suggestions though! And if it's good and cheap, even better because La Roche Posay and Shiseido have really expensive moisturizers ($25-$45 range). Well, that's pretty much it... 'til next time.