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It really works!

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My skin is looking better than it has in a long time. I'm quite pale, with oily skin which turns red very easily from irritation. I used to have moderate acne with some cystic acne. I have very mild acne right now, with old marks/shallow scars. I do wear makeup whenever I go out, so I'm sure it has contributed to my problem, but I would break out regardless.

But as of now, I'm very happy with my skin. It's dramatically more even and soft and smooth, completely transformed from what it was. And I'd like to share this in hope that it might help someone else, after all the struggle I've gone through.

I'm going to put my regimen/list of products, and also some important rules that I follow to ensure minimum irritation/maximum benefits.

Morning routine:

Wash with Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing lotion (a good fruit enzyme cleanser)

Wash with Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash (it's very important to cleanse twice)

Tone with Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner (gentle, soothing, non-irritating)

Moiturize with Mario Badescu Control Moisturizer for Oily Skin (this helps keep oil at bay, and contains Balsam Peru, which is an antiseptic used to promote healing)

Night routine:

Wash with Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing lotion

Wash with Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash

Tone with Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner

Moiturize with Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer (A soothing, light moisturizer which smells so good, the honey acts as an antiseptic)

Every other night, I skip the moisturizer and use Mario Badescu (can you tell I'm a fan?) Buffering Lotion, which is an excellent non-irritating spot treatment, the only spot treatment I've ever found that actually works. I use the spot treatment on an "as needed" basis, so I don't always have to do this every other night.

I also use Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (a minty sulfur mask) twice a week.

And sometimes I make a lemon juice and egg white mask (once a week is best), which really works wonders at retexturizing the skin. (however this can sting a little if you have active acne)

Rules (a list of dos and don'ts):

- When cleansing, make sure to spend at least 30 seconds with each cleanser rubbing it gently all over your face.

- I can't stress this enough - USING MASKS IS ESSENTIAL in cutting down on oiliness and keeping skin clear. Both of the masks I have listed are important in this routine.

- When washing DO NOT SCRUB with the wash cloth, be gentle to your skin - it's already irritated enough with acne

- When drying skin, be sure to use a gentle patting and dabbing motion, do NOT rub

- DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE during the day. This one is hard for me, unless I'm wearing makeup, but it's incredibly important.

- DO NOT pick or squeeze unless it has come to a head at the surface, then CAREFULLY make any extractions, but make sure you are clean and disinfect the area when you are done (I do extractions before washing or toning)

- MOISTURIZE your skin. I know most people with oily skin probably think it's crazy to add more oils to the skin, but trust me, the reason your skin is producing so much oil is BECAUSE the surface is so lacking in moisture (due to harsh cleansers). When I moisturize, my skin is far less oily than it would be without, and it cancels out the negative effects from the salicylic acid in the cleanser.

- Take vitamins and exercise regularly (essential to a healthy lifestyle in general)

- Don't beat yourself up emotionally, we are all human and are prone to imperfections. Love and take care of yourself.

I hope this helps anyone who might read this. I've tried everything from prescription pills, retin A, ProActiv, etc. This is the healthiest, least irritating routine I have found. Being diligent with this routine is so important and it has helped my self-esteem to finally have more normal skin.

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