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A little info on my skin before I start...very dry & sensitive. I haven't really had chronic or severe acne, but several extended periods where I would breakout pretty frequently. Prone to clogged pores...I was never really the type of person to only get one or two big pimples on their own, it was usually many small ones that brought friends :lol: . My skin was sometimes almost clear, but almost never totally clear.

Even though I've used many of the same products for a while, I've gotten really strict about my skincare routine and habits in the past month and a half or so. I've made some really simple changes that have cleared my skin up completely. I honestly NEVER thought my skin would look like this, or that I'd see results so quickly. Anyway, I'm not claiming any cures or miracles as everyone's skin is different and reacts differently. However, I thought some people with similar skin might benefit as well.

Health-wise

  • Drinking alot of water, as much as is feasible (8 glasses at the very least). I know everyone says this, but it honestly makes a difference. The more the better.
  • Cutting down on caffeine. I was kind of a diet soda addict before but I barely drink anything besides water now.
  • Lots of exercise
  • Making sure to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep most nights

Habits

  • Keeping a roll of paper towels under the sink and using them to blot my face dry instead of regular towels
  • Always washing my hands well before touching or putting anything on my face...Even though alot of people say not to use your hands (because of bacteria), I don't like using makeup sponges for putting on makeup because for me it looks alot more natural when I use my hands plus there's less waste. Always washing my hands right before and drying them with a paper towel, though, I've never had a problem.
  • Making sure to always wash my face after putting in hair products. Definitely important if you use stuff like gel. The only time I've gotten a pimple in nearly 2 months now is twice from accidentally letting something from my hair get on my face
  • Changing pillowcase every 4 days...I use one side one night, then the other the next, then turn it inside out and do the same the next 4 days. lol. Sort of like changing them everyday but not as annoying.
  • Avoiding picking/squeezing/touching my face at all costs. This sounds obvious but for people like myself that tend do it as a nervous/compulsive habit, I understand how hard to stop. But my skin's truly benefitted from not doing it.

Products/Treatments:

  • Wash my face morning and night with Olay Moisturizing Face Cloths. Help to exfoliate very gently and doesn't dry out my skin at all.
  • Klaron (sodium sulfacetamide 10%) lotion from the derm morning and night after washing, before moisturizer. Great stuff for people with dry and/or sensitive skin, as Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid are too harsh for me to use regularly and Klaron doesn't dry out the skin at all.
  • I do use BP occasionaly if I do happen to get a zit but ONLY a little for spot treatment, and only if it seems big enough to warrent it. Also making sure to moisturize well prior to putting it on.
  • For moisturizer, morning I use Kiss My Face 8% AHA Moisturizer (they also make 4%, which I suggest starting with if you've never used an AHA) and after it sinks in, a little bit of Avon's Moisture 24 and Silkia Camellia Oil (amazing stuff). At night, same as morning except Neutrogena Healthy Skin Night (also has 8% AHA and they make a sensitive skin version with 4%) instead of the Kiss My Face.
  • Occasionally, like once a week, use an aspirin mask. take a few uncoated aspirin, drip just a few drops of water on them (very very little, just enough to dissolve them b/c too much water makes it too thin) and give them about a minute to soften, and add about a tablespoon of honey. Leave on about 20 minutes, and as you rinse it off, rub in very gentle circles to exfoliate a little.

I think this is an area more than any other that varies greatly from person to person. My advice is to use minimal products and brands/products that you know personally work for you. As tempting as some things sound, try to use use new products with caution and only if you think it's worth it. In other words, if your routine aint broke, don't fix it. *btw A really great resource for product ratings and reviews is makeupalley.com. Boys, don't be scared away by the name. They have a million categories and pretty much every skin care/hair care/personal care/cosmetic under the sun. Helps to find products that tend to break people out, cause other kinds of reactions etc.*

Supplements

  • Multi-vitamin (1 morning, 1 at night)
  • Hair, Skin, Nails Vitamins (2 morning, 2 at night)
  • 50 mg Zinc

    I've also started taking Vitamin E and Fish Oil but until last week, it was just the above ones

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Nirerin thank you for taking the time to write this great post. I think a lot of people underestimate the damaging effects of picking pimples and touching your face in general. For example, even if I let a whitehead totally mature and start to dry up, I usually pull it off leaving some exposed, unhealed tissue behind. I think dried whiteheads act like a kind of scab, protecting the skin that is healing underneath. I had several whiteheads on my forehead this week that I just let heal until the dried pus fell off my face naturally. This resulted in red marks for 1-2 days, and now I can't even recall where these pimples were. Red marks that last longer are often times the result of an interrupted healing process I find.

Some other good habits that you mentioned are:

1) Always washing hands before touching face

2) Washing face after hair products - this also goes for the shower, always wash face after the hair

3) Washing pillow case. Now I know that for me acne and dandruff go hand in hand. Extra dead skin cells that might not even be visible all over your pillow case touching your face every night is definitely a recipe for disaster. I'm really interested to start washing my pillow cases more often.

Another thing I would like to add is shaving. I'm a big proponent of straight/safety "old school" razors which cause less irritation and less ingrown hairs. I would also invest in some quality shaving cream such as that found on the Nancy Boy website (google it). I haven't tried it yet but it is meant to be amazing and the ingredients (I looked them up myself) are really good according to zerozits.com.

Lately I've been wondering whether shampoos can influence acne. I think I'm going to look up the ingredients in my current shampoo on zerozits to see if they are good. Does anybody have any recommendations for simple shampoos with minimum fragrances and skin irritating ingredients? Although I wash shampoo off with cleanser every time after I use it, I still think small amounts could be left on my skin.

The last thing I really want to try is exfoliation. Can anyone recommend a good baby brush in the UK/Europe area? I really want to try Romeo's exfoliation method on my areas that are prone to blackheads. Also, should manual exfoliation ever be tried in whitehead prone areas?

Oh, and just in case anyone was wondering, I have mild/moderate acne with occasional flareups. I originally used DKR with BP twice a day but that proved to be way to irritating for my skin. It helped, but my face was never completely clear. I gradually switched to BP once a day at night and recently I went through a two week spell without one zit in my problem area (although there were still tiny zits in other areas)! Hooray!

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