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Manual and Chemical Exfoliation

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Hi everyone

I finally decided to post something after years of lurking. I just turned 30 this year and I am so tired of still obsessing about my skin after 15 years of battling acne. I've cycled between cysts, whiteheads, pustules, blackheads and generally congested skin on every part of my face. I also suffer from hormonal acne as I always have some new friends appear during my time of the month. What makes things worse is I'm a chronic picker and I am prone to hyperpigmentation since I have darker-toned skin (I'm of Filipino decent).

A sample of things I've tried:

Proactiv: Helped for a bit but dried my skin out and eventually the breakouts came back.

Neutrogena acne facial washes: Worked alright but nothing special.

Dermatologist visits/Prescriptions: Worked okay in high school/ college but would rather not rely on this long term.

Retin-A: Didn't notice much of a difference. Somehow made me feel greasy though it's supposed to dry you out.

Ortho-cyclen/Ortho-Tri-cyclen: Still broke out but reduced acne slightly. Was difficult to remember to take on time.

Honey and Aspirin Mask: Made my face smooth but didn't get rid of acne.

M2 Mandelic Acid/Malic Acid Treatment: Helped but didn't get rid of acne.

Monthly trips to an aesthetician: Definitely helps but too expensive to go more often.

For the last five year, I've been seeing the same aesthetician on and off (sadly, I had to move for grad school and can only see her when I visit home) and she finally helped me figure out a solution that works for me and hopefully for some of you.

First, a proper diet is important. Limited dairy (no milk!), limited beef, and lots of veggies. Since I get hormonal acne, getting extra hormones from cow products is no good. If I eat beef, I try to make sure it's organic, free-range stuff. I've been trying to eat a lot of kimchi for its fermented food benefits.

Second, and what I know has actually gotten rid of most of my breakouts, is getting rid of dead skin on my face. I use both manual and chemical exfoliation for this. Jan Marini products seem to be making the biggest difference in my skin, namely the Bioglycolic cleanser and Bioclear cream. I started using these at the same time after my most recent stress induced breakout (it was really severe) and since then, I have not been this clear in years. It's been two months and the few blemishes I've gotten are fairly small and if I have the discipline to not touch them, go away without incident.

Here's my routine:

I wear some heavy duty makeup (Revlon ColorStay) to lessen the appearance of my hyperpigmentation so as soon as I get home, I remove it with exfoliating cleansing towelettes. I use the Target brand ones just fine. Later in the night, on dry skin, I apply a thin layer of Bioglycolic cleanser all over my face and leave it on until I shower. It usually varies between 5 minutes and a couple of hours. I don't really notice the difference in time but I think my skin is pretty strong from years of putting all sorts of things on it. Sometimes it stings if I do it immediately after I use the towelettes but it is an acid after all. Once in the shower, I take the cleanser off with a warm terrycloth face towel, avoiding the eye area. Make sure you wipe it clean (not too rough) and don't just wash it away with water and your hands. The towel helps remove the dead skin the glycolic acid just worked on. As soon as I get out of the shower, I apply the Bioclear cream while my pores are still open. The Bioclear has 2% salicyclic acid and other helpful acids and helps deep clean the pores.

A couple of times a week I also use a papaya exfoliating mask to further speed up the skin renewal process. I know that this seems like an awful lot of exfoliating but it's been the only thing that has kept me clear for this long and I can finally start to deal with the hyperpigmentation and not the breakouts.

The Jan Marini products are pricey but I bought mine on ebay for less and a little bit goes a long way. Some cheaper alternatives seem to be Aqua Glycolic for the Bioglycolic cleanser and Paula's Choice BHA for the Bioclear treatment.

Sorry for the long post. Just hope that this might help at least one other person get clear because I know the pain that acne brings. Good luck!

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