Well, if you had asked me not too long ago what I had been using for skincare, the list would have been super long.
Since visiting a dermatologist (the lovely Dr. Sapra) for the first time last month, my skincare routine has changed drastically, and is perhaps, a little less glamorous.
Talking with Dr. Sapra helped my come to a major revelation: I don’t just have hormonal acne, I have acne-acne. Like real acne. Like Anna’s teen acne.
Since I can’t go on birth control (estrogen could give me a stroke since I have a history of migraines), Dr. Sapra said my options were to try topical treatments, but there was a 50% chance I would need to go on Accutane to get rid of the acne completely.
Accutane still feels a little drastic to me right now, so I’m giving the topicals a go for three months, then we will re-assess the situation (my face). Plus, since I’m in the child-bearing age range (ugh, I know), my GP didn’t think it was a good idea to have the drug in my system (in case you didn’t know, Accutane can cause major birth defects).
Toner (for the most part) has been eliminated from my routine as the medications need to be the first thing applied after cleansing the skin.
So I’m going to tell you what I’m using now, and whats been shelved until further notice.
Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleanser
This is definitely the strongest cleanser I have ever used, and it hasn’t been total smooth sailing–this cleanser is pretty potent, and with the Clarisonic (see below), a bit of the foam dripped into my eye area, causing my periorbital eczema to flare up. Not cool. There was also a suspicious itchy rash on my neck. Trusty Protopic cleared it up pretty quickly, but still, gotta be careful.
The cleanser itself is a fairly thin gel that contains AHA and LHA acids (lots of salicylic and glycolic) to help exfoliate and prevent congestion. I’ve also noticed since using it that I’m less oily in my T-Zone in the afternoons. The cleanser leaves no residue, and for me, it isn’t super drying (surprisingly).
Dalacin T is riddled with alcohol (it makes my eyes water and my nose hates it), but it seems to be helping. Applied every morning, this topical antibiotic helps to fight the bacteria that causes acne.
Biologique Recherche Crème Dermopurifiante + Gel ADN were my moisturizers from before, and have remained the only combination I’ve found that properly hydrate my dry skin without inducing oil production.
Babor’s Argan Nourishing Cream goes around the eye area and on my neck.
Clarins Lip Oil which has become a staple in my routine–my lips have not flaked once since I’ve been using it. I’ll dab on a bit before leaving the house in the morning so that if I want to wear lipstick, my pout is hydrated and smooth.
Chanel Le Blanc Tri-Phase Makeup Remover has been my go-to for first cleanses in the evening. Why? Because it isn’t an oil. I’ve tried to do my best to eliminate any extra oils that may be making their way onto my face, and this gel cleanser has the feel of an oil and removes face makeup pretty well.
La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Milk is only applied to the eye area to remove any stubborn makeup if needed. I wash this away with a washcloth.
Skinceuticals Cleanser with Clarisonic
Two things I’d pretty much sworn to myself that Id never use again: a foaming cleanser and the Clarisonic brush. But, since I wanted to kick my acne in the butt, I figured I’d put my skin in Dr. Sapra’s hands completely and go whole hog. He suggested going back on the Clarisonic, so I have. And you know what? My skin is definitely improving–it’s smoother and my blackheads and pores are smaller and less noticeable than ever.
Tactupump (this is only 3x a week) is a super strong benzoyl peroxide treatment. I was advised to keep my hair away from this cream, and to be wary of rubbing my face on clothing and bedsheets that could be bleached. It is pretty drying and makes my face feel a bit sore. At first I was applying it all over my chin, but when my skin was freaking out, a friend advised just applying small amounts to the pimples themselves. This works much better.
Vichy Aqualia Serum to restore moisture.
Babor’s Argan Moisturizer goes around the eye area and on my neck.
Vichy Aqualia Night Spa, which I was already obsessed with before, has now become a heavy hitter in my routine. I layer this on pretty thickly, my skin burns with dryness, and then before bedtime, I apply a bit more to my forehead, cheeks or any other dry areas. Skin needs to be hydrated to heal, and this product has become crucial in repairing my skin after these new drying treatments.
Clarins Lip Oil again to hydrate overnight. Not the best when giving goodnight kisses, but like I said, my lips have never been more hydrated or so smooth.
Optional bonus rounds
On nights when I don’t apply Tactuo, I’ll use Chanel’s Le Blanc toner or La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc as an extra layer of hydration before applying serum. Also sometimes use the LRP in the morning after Dalacin.
The Tactuo can make my skin really dry, flaky and patchy, so if my skin needs some TLC, I’ve been dabbing on Earth Tu Face’s Rose Face Balm to heal and protect the really raw and rough red patches, either at night pre-mask, or in the morning after moisturizer.
When my face is feeling really raw, sore, or just in need of some TLC, I’ll apply a layer of Biologique Recherche’s Crème Masque Vernix, which fortifies and hydrates the outer layer of the skin. It also contains antibacterial properties which helps if you have any kind of acne.
Shelved (for now)
Alpha H Liquid Gold
Biologique Recherche P50
Clarins Blue Orchid Oil
Babor Argan Moisturizer
Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant
Biologique Recherche Masque VIPO2