Skin Care – What Works For Me

I promised long ago that I would blog about my skin care routine. Well today I feel brave enough to post photos of myself without makeup on. I rarely leave the house without putting concealer on because I feel so self-conscious about people staring more at my red marks than at me. Here is a photo of me this past summer, on a good skin day, with no makeup on:

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For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you know that I’ve struggled with acne since I was in my teens. In high school and college, I had severe cystic acne – the kind of HUGE bumps that are underneath the skin and you can’t do anything about. That was fun. (I’m not brave enough to post those photos, sorry guys.) I’ll also get the occasional red bump, which I’ve learned not to pick at or try to “pop.” The cystic acne has gone away thanks to benzoyl peroxide and fewer teen hormones, but the red bumps still like to make an appearance on occasion.

Because acne has plagued me for over 10 years, I have scars on my face. Some are indented, so it looks like someone took an ice pick to my face. Others are simply red spots, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I won’t bore you with anymore details, but suffice to say my face is not baby smooth.

I’ve been experimenting the past year with my skin care routine, and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.

Things that DO NOT help me:

  • Proactiv – saw no noticeable improvements
  • AHA chemical exfoliant (glycolic acid) – this caused my cystic acne to return
  • Antibiotics – these actually did help, but they also screwed up my digestive system, so these are a no-go for me
  • Chemical peels – these were too harsh for my skin and are too expensive in the long run
  • Stress and sugar – when I have too much of either of these, I break out

My current routine:

Morning
– Oil cleansing method – massage coconut oil into T-zone
– Dove soap – gently wash off coconut oil
– Benzoyl peroxide face wash – this controls my cystic acne and is MUST for my face
– Benzoyl peroxide spot treatment
– Light moisturizer with SPF
– Under eye cream

Evening
– Salicylic acid cleansing pad
– Occasional facial mask, as needed
– Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid (salicylic acid chemical exfoliant) – this keeps my whiteheads at bay and helps reduce the appearance of scars
– Vitamin C serum
– Light moisturizer

Here are some photos of me without concealer; I’m posting these “before” and “after” photos to highlight how long it takes my face to heal from acne. The photo on the left was taken five weeks ago; I was still experimenting with the AHA exfoliant, and it made my skin go crazy. The photo on the right was taken this morning; my scars are fading and I’m feeling beautiful!

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*Quick note on the oil cleansing method: if you read my blog post about my hair care routine, you’ll remember that oil is GOOD for your hair and scalp. Well, oil is also good for your skin! If you have oily or combination skin, then cleansing with an oil might seem counterproductive. However, oil dissolves oil and can actually keep your face from producing too much and becoming “slick.” Cleansing daily with coconut oil has helped my chin out tremendously; I might experiment with other oils in the future. Message me if you’d like more details.

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