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The right cleansing & regular masks keep me clear

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Just thought I'd share this info with people here. I have known about this site for years, and I've seen many different solutions, some are absolutely insane and unhealthy - but I do understand the frustration and psychological pain people are going through to find a solution.

I used to get all types of acne, including cystic acne. I've gone to a dermatologist in the past and tried all the expensive prescriptions. I've tried ProActiv, I've tried it all. But here is a simple solution that works for me.

A little background info first: I am 31, I've had acne since I was about 14, I take a birth control pill (which has helped in many ways), and I do wear makeup daily. I exercise often, take my vitamins, and try to eat a balanced diet. It's important to be healthy in all aspects, as a part of skincare. I also like to take detoxifying tea supplements, although I don't know how much it helps physically; but regardless, they are relaxing and help to reinforce my thoughts of staying healthy.

And the regimen I use:


Cleanse - first with Mario Badescu (highly recommend this entire line of skincare) Enzyme Cleansing Gel, then cleanse with Neutrogena Acne Wash. The first cleanser is a very gentle AHA cleanser, but it is important for me to cleanse twice, and cleansing with Neutrogena twice is very harsh - you don't want to further damage the skin.

Tone - with Mario Badescu Alpha-Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, a gentle citrus based toner. MB has many great gentle non-alcohol toners; you can experiment to find the one you like best. It's important not to strip the skin too much, and this toner helps replenish moisture and normalize the skin, as well as gently exfoliate. It helps ready the skin for moisturizer or other treatments.

Moisturize - with Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer. Again, you can experiment with moisturizers, but be aware of which ingredients can clog pores. This moisturizer contains honey, which is naturally anti-bacterial, as well as a natural humectant which helps lock in moisture. It also contains orange extract - a natural exfoliant. The goal here is to protect the skin from overdrying due to the harsh Neutrogena cleanser. Even (and especially) if you have oily skin like I do, you need to moisturize it, otherwise your skin will overcompensate and become even oilier. The moisturizer also preps my skin for makeup.

Mario Badescu products are carried at Ulta, or you can purchase online directly or sometimes cheaper on Ebay. The products are indeed pricier than drugstore products, but they are better for your skin, and they last a very long time. They also have a line specifically for acne, but I'm trying to go the "gentle" route since my skin is so sensitive. You can try to find suitable drugstore alternatives, but be very aware of the ingredients and what they do. I like MB products because the ingredient list is always minimal, usually natural, and I know what the ingredients do.


Cleanse as above, mask, then tone. I choose not to moisturize at night unless I feel that I really need it (in the winter usually). In which case I use either the Honey Moisturizer, or Orange Protective Cream from MB.

MASK - Every other night, I apply a mask. Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask is wonderful for acne. I can't rave enough about it, and the fact that it is so affordable. The only downside is that it's hard to find (for me), although I finally found a Walgreens that carries it. You can also just buy it online easily.

The other mask I like to use is a mixture of egg whites and fresh lemon juice (NOT bottled) from half a lemon. I beat the egg white and lemon juice vigorously, then apply with a cotton pad. After 15-20 minutes, I wash it off, then apply toner. For some people this mask can sting, especially if you have any open wounds - but I usually don't. It makes the skin tight and reduces the size of pores. The lemon juice helps naturally exfoliate. I keep the extra covered in a small bowl in the fridge for future use. I would make a new batch every week.

I alternate these masks, doing one of the two every other night. On the nights I don't use a mask, I cleanse and tone, then I use a spot treatment - another Mario Badescu product: Buffering Lotion. This stuff WORKS. It's the only spot treatment I've found that actually works. It almost instantly reduces redness, and it's the only product that works even on cystic acne (which I get on rare occasion). If I have a very stubborn spot, I put it on morning (before moisturizing) and at night and it's usually gone within a few days. It's a miracle treatment! It can also be applied over the entire face if needed, but it is potent stuff and is meant be used every other night.

Some keys to this regimen:

BE CONSISTENT. If having clear skin is a priority, you must be diligent in your skincare. This is a very easy routine so NO EXCUSES.

The masks are a key element, my skin has improved dramatically from using the masks diligently. My skintone is more even (I barely need makeup), and the spots I do get are minimal.

BE GENTLE. As Dan has stated in his regimen, being gentle is important. When you dry your face, pat the skin gently, do not rub.

If you'll notice, the products in this regimen focus on exfoliation. Some people like to use scrubs to aid in this, but I have found they are too harsh (walnut shell powder is harmful). And the scrubs that use little plastic scrubbers are very bad for the environment. So I choose to stay away from scrubs, and focus on chemical exfoliation - provided by the salicylic acid in the Neutrogena Acne Wash, and the natural citrus and AHA's in the other products.

Another helpful hint - DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. Throughout the day, I find that I will break out if i touch my face, that includes leaning my face on my hand, etc. A dermatologist explained to me that it is a combination of the pressure against the skin, and the bacteria introduced to the skin which causes irritation and contributes to breakouts. I try to do things to keep my hands busy and away from my face.

An extra treatment that I have started recently, and I highly recommend this as maintenance for those who have their acne mostly under control is micro dermabrasion. This is for me to help get rid of minor scarring/discoloration, and it actually helps keep my skin clear as well, since it is a session of heavy exfoliation.

I hope this can help someone. I've struggled with this for years, and finally found something that works, and I finally feel good about my skin. It's important not to beat yourself up about it, and just be as diligent as possible about taking care of yourself. That includes keeping stress under control and staying positive. Exercising and a good balanced diet will help in this.

Thanks for reading, and take care!

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