My Current Skincare Routine
My skin has been terrible, and when I get breakouts, they are scarring, painful cystic acne blowouts that I would get on my chin and on the sides of my nose. They generally occur with my monthly period, or just after. I am not one to pick them because when I did the scarring would be even worse. I was courageous enough to let my cystic acne take its course, but it made me never want to leave the house.
If you have read my Adapalene post from a year ago, you will know that my first dermatologist prescribed me that one cream, gave me zero directions, and sent me on my way. Not surprising my face never cleared up. Instead, I still had acne, my skin got flaky, peely, dry, irritated, and just plain terrible. I really resent my first dermatologist for doing that to me.
So, I stopped using Adapalene, and began trying a bunch of over-the-counter acne treatments, from Paula's Choice to natural, organic brands with salicylic acid and tea tree oils, and the whole gambit in between. I was using Josie Maran's Argan oil to try and heal my acne scars, but it made my acne worse.
Last month, I through in the towel, and made an appointment with another, new dermatologist near my house. She immediately looked at my face and said, "you have inflammatory acne". She then proceeded to outline an ENTIRE skincare routine from AM to PM, and was adamant about me switching out my current SPF (more on that later)! She put me on this skincare routine:
- A Gentle Cleanser. She gave me a sample of the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser -- Foaming Formula. I liked it very much, but decided to buy the cream formula because I thought it would be less drying. Love this affordable, and effective cleanser!!!!
- Benzoyl Peroxide/Clindamycin Acne Treatment. Benzoyl peroxide is a staple in any acne routine, but I was nervous about it because I had used OTC 5% benzoyl peroxide and it irritated, and dried my skin out like crazy. My derm prescribed me Onexton, which is BP and Clindamycin, an antibiotic. I was told to use less than a pea-size, every other day on areas prone to acne. It does make my skin feel a little sensitive, but way less than the OTC ones I have bought online. I have noticed a huge difference in my skin since using Onexton, and definitely recommend it. I'll continue to update you guys on my progress with this gel!
The hugest thing my derm said to me was that she did not believe in moisturizer and SPF. She told me use Cetaphil DailyAdvance, which is meant for sensitive, dry skin. I was reluctant to go back to Cetaphil, which I had used throughout my teens because I have read that dermatologists have some in with the manufacturers. In or not, this Cetaphil DailyAdvance moisturizer is amazing!!! It's cheap, it's moisturizing, and it has a pump. I don't know why I ever strayed from you, dear Cetaphil!
- SPF. This was also a huge thing for me!!! My dermatologist said I could choose between Cerave and Cetaphil for my moisturizer, and Cetaphil and Neutrogena for my facewash, but she said that she was adamant that I use the Elta MD UV Clear SPF she sold in her office. It was zinc-based, titanium dioxide free, and had niacinamide (an acne fighter). Later, I did some research, and found out that titanium dioxide, has been known to cause acne!!!! OH MY FREAKING GOSH!!!! I have been on this physical sunscreen kick for a year, and of course titanium dioxide is the #1 ingredient in physical SPF. Plus, it's in a bunch of makeup, and other SPF. I felt so stupid!!! I've been sabotaging my own skin!!! Anyways, I bought the bottle of Elta MD UV Clear in her office for $30, but found it on Amazon for $19.99!!!! I am stoked. I am never looking back, and NEVER using anything with titanium dioxide, again!!!!
- Remove eye makeup. I use waterproof mascara because my Asian eyelashes are straight like an ironing board. I researched makeup removers, but most of them contain comedogenic ingredients, or are not strong enough to remove waterproof mascara. Now, I just put a pump of my Cetaphil DailyAdvance Moisturizer on two cotton balls, and hold them against my eyes for 30 seconds, and then gently start swiping off my mascara. I love using my moisturizer as makeup remover. One, I know it won't break me out, and two, it is super effective!!!! Try it and thank me later.
- Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser. I wash my face in the shower with 2-3 pumps of this stuff. Love it, and never turning back.
- Toner. My derm didn't have any recommendations on toner, she just said that if I had something I liked that didn't break me out, I could use it. I am on my second bottle of Derma E Soothing Toner with Pycnogenol, and I love it. I discovered it though beautypedia.com. I have always been a fan of Derma E as well. I like it as a second cleanse to make sure I get any residual cleanser or makeup.
- Retinol. My derm prescribed Ziana, which is a retinol gel. It is freaking AMAZING!!! I had less adverse effects than with adapalene, but then, again, my new derm also gave me more detailed directions than my last incompetent derm. First, I started off applying it every third night; 30 minutes after I washed my face. Then, after two weeks, every other night, which I am currently still doing. I knew to switch to every other night when my skin started feeling more flaky. It sounds counter intuitive, I know, to apply the retinol more often when I started to seem more flaky, but I read online that if you do not use the retinol often it enough your skin will never build resistance and continually be irritated. Thus, you walk a fine a line between resistance and irritated skin, but just stick to your dermatologists directions like I did.
- Cetaphil Daily Advance. After my Ziana, has had a chance to dry, I pile on my moisturizer -- two pumps. I pat my face with it in an attempt to disturb my skin and retinol underneath. After my moisturizer has dried, I put another two pump layer on. Even with the benzoyl peroxide and the retinol, my skin is not dry, but rather glowing and almost acne free.
- Oral Antiobiotic. My derm, in an attempt to battle my inflammatory acne from the inside, prescribed me doxycycline, Acticlate. I did notice a blatant stop in my acne, but it was just TOO strong for my stomach. I began having ulcers and acid reflux. It was so terrible, I had to stop taking it immediately. If your body can handle it, I would definitely continue taking it because you WILL see results.
I hope this post was helpful. I am very passionate about my new regimen, and the results I am experiencing. I wish you guys the best of luck! Let me know how it goes!