Post-Sunburn Skin Problems

Sunday October 04, 2015   


I wrote this post then a day later made an appointment to see a dermatologist who has since started me on a prescription retinol gel. I’ve been on prescription acne medications twice before in my lifetime and I will say I’m very skeptical. They tend to cause my skin to get worse before it gets better. Of all the products listed below the only ones I can use now with the prescription gel are GLAMGLOW Daily Clearing Cleanser, Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation lotion, Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, and Roberts Florentine Rosewater Cleansing Gel. I actually go in for a facial treatment (& extraction) in a few weeks which I hope will help more than anything else has.

sand castles and beach umbrella

A few weeks ago I was visiting family on the coast. Out in the sun a ton and always wearing sunscreen. But on the last day I was careless and forgot to reapply sunscreen in time. I ended up quite badly burned; especially on my forehead. I haven’t dealt with a burn in years. In the past there wasn’t much issue but this time my skin was very damaged. I kept it moisturized but it still took about 2 weeks for the burn to actually diminish. Next was peeling. Followed by leather-like dark patches of skin left. And now? Well it’s a mess. It has caused a bad case of closed comedonal acne. I’ve never had this type of acne. It is very much out of control and stubborn to treat. My usual products were not helping clear it completely. It was only getting worse. So I started buying new things to try.

One of the things I purchased was Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel 5 pack and Pixi’s Glow Tonic. I was finally seeing a change after using them. But I felt the peels were too gentle as my usual Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment felt much stronger. So I bought the 30 pack of the extra strength formula.

Bad idea. The acne got worse within 3 days. I even had bumps in my eyebrows now.

At the same time I also purchased Fresh’s Rose Toner to calm my skin after cleansing but before moisturizing. It made my skin feel tacky though; not moisturized.

I also had a sample of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes (which I felt was helping clear me up as well.) And added Simple’s micellar water to my routine for makeup removal just in case I wasn’t getting a deep enough clean.

You see the problem here? Too many new products at once. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was helping and what wasn’t. Let alone was it too much exfoliating or too little? My face never felt dry or burning.

Well not until I ditched EVERYTHING and reverted back to my old classic Clinique’s Acne Solutions Kit. After using it since Saturday my acne is shrinking in size and amount. However… now my face is so dry and peeling in some spots. I’ve been keeping my mist diffusers directly pointed at my face to calm down my skin.

I don’t have a real point or message for this post. :) I’m not looking for random advice or a home remedy that worked for your sister’s sister-in-law’s half cousin 2nd removed. Just letting you know what’s been up with me lately. And besides my car being in the shop, work being busy, and the free time I fill with TV, ice skating, camping, and scheming, this has been on my mind on a near daily basis and something I’m still dealing with apparently.

I just ordered Paula’s Choice trial acne kit. Because Clinique is just too harsh for me these days. I also purchased Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub after seeing that Glamglow’s Youthmud Tinglexfoliate made it worse. However Glamglow’s Supermud Clearing Treatment was still really helpful in the larger acne spots that popped up every other day. I’m still using that one often.

GLAMGLOW’s daily face wash and Roberts Florentine Rosewater cleansing gel are the two cleanser I’ve been using for months. The gel is very mild and good for removing excess makeup while the Glamglow’s daily cleanser is like their mask in a lighter form.

Ole Henriksen night treatment and oil-free moisturizer had cleared up my previous small breakout months ago and I stuck with them since. I’d say the night treatment was about as good as Sunday Riley’s Good Genes without the lemon-cake fragrance!

This deluxe sample of Luna Sleeping Oil made my day when I got it. When I ran out of the sample my skin felt so dry because this was keeping it super hydrated. It erased red marks in a single night. Great for overnight repair. One of the very very very few oils I’ve tried that didn’t give me pimples.

Before my sun damage I wasn’t using any strict acne medications. I was using Glam Glow’s daily face wash, a MakeUp Eraser with just water, Organic Rose toner, Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment and Sheer Transformation moisture cream, and Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil every now and then. And I was clear. My skin looked near flawless. I had about 2 months of some of my best skin days in recent history before the sunburn.

While I’m frustrated on days that my skin feels uncomfortable, I’m not too bothered by it. My skin has always been extremely acne-prone. At this point in my life I understand there’s an ebb and flow to skin problems. I will also say that it’s become clear this year that my skin is in transition. The items that worked in my early 20’s are no longer effective. I literally removed them from my routine and saw 0 difference. I’m really interested in trying more glycolic and lactic acids and natural flower oils (though I’m acne-prone to others like castor, grapeseed, and coconut) now.

Every product mentioned above:
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Daily Peel

Pixi Glow Tonic

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

The Original MakeUp Eraser

Fresh Rose Floral Toner

Meishoku Organic Rose Skin Conditioner toner

Roberts Florentine Rosewater Cleansing Gel

Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

GLAMGLOW SUPERCLEANSE™ Daily Clearing Cleanser

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation

Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions Clear Skin System

Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Two Week Trial Kit



Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub

– loved product

Not related to skincare but a nice perk to having to order so many new products is this Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb free gift set I got with a Sephora order using a promo code. I like Flowerbomb but have never purchased a full sized bottle.


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18 Responses to “Post-Sunburn Skin Problems”

  1. Dana says:

    Clinique acne stuff is too harsh for me too. Have been curious about the Paula’s Choice…

    • jenny says:

      Wish I could have had a chance to use it before starting a prescription but I’ve sat it aside for when I hopefully get off the harsh prescription stuff.

      • Rachel says:

        I use Paula’s Choice 5% AHA and 2% BHA and I find that it works well for my very sensitive skin. I was also using Clinique’s 3 step kit but found later that my skin was building up a resistance to it (plus it contains alcohol!). I top it off with Hado Labo Gokujyun lotion and plain Jojoba oil. That works for ME but it sucks that you have to go through a lot of testing to see what works well for your skin!

        Also, shameless plug for: ..lots of neat advice in there!

        • jenny says:

          I felt the same way about Clinque earlier in the year that I had actually discontinued using it. I /think/ that’s the same stuff I ordered from Paula’s. I’m still on epidue until the prescription runs its course.

      • Dana says:

        Yeah I use Ziana and it both dries me out and makes me oily somehow. It’s so expensive so I would like to try some other non-prescription choices.

        • jenny says:

          I’ve used something in the past with similar ingredients as Ziana and I agree. I remember being extra oily while also peeling. So far being on epiduo has left me with mixed feelings. While some parts are clearing I’m also getting new and different zits than what I was trying to treat. I’m with you… I might be returning to less harsh choices once I finish this prescription.

  2. Jen says:

    omg are you me? I don’t know why but literally the first week of September, I started breaking out like mad AND I am having post-inflammation scarring (aka red spot everywhere). However, I don’t think I did anything different. I still have a lot of acne, it’s A LITTLE better now (although I currently have two big pimples right by my mouth). Still getting new acne. I recently just spent tons of money on new skin care products. Thanks for the reminder that I should introduce each product slowly. I’m mainly waiting for my Paula’s Choice BHA exfoliant hoping it’s going to help prevent new acne showing up and fade those nasty scars. :( Please have an update post when you figure what helps you!

    • jenny says:

      YESSS we are mirror images with this! I’m still on the fence about starting a strong prescription because I’m having some new bigger pimples now with it but at the same time nothing was completely working at the beginning of September. I’ll keep this blog updated on it. I have that facial in 2 weeks with an extraction for the first time ever so I’ll likely post about that experience.

      I feel my BHA products were working better than this benzoyl peroxide retinol I’m using now.

  3. winn says:

    I hope your skin gets better Jen! I think the last time I got sun burned was in school (forced to go on school camps etc) and the sun here is lethal due to the hole in the ozone just above our country… My skin was peeling off ; _ ; it was gross and painful. I think back then I had aloe vera gel which helped…… :x

    • jenny says:

      Yeah I applied aloe the whole healing time but while it soothed the burn my skin was still left in chaos obviously. I never had this outcome from a burn before and I have been burned worse in my lifetime so I dunno what really went wrong this time except age of skin? :/

  4. Thao says:

    *immediately reaches for sunscreen*

    That just sounds like such an awful experience. I’m sorry you have to go through this. But holy crap, that’s a lot of products. Then again, I also have a stock pile of products I’ve hardly used but bought during panic mode…^^;;

  5. oct says:

    my sister went through a similar period with her skin. she found the Peter Thomas Roth sulfur mask helped. she also found a good quick treatment at Skin Laundry in NYC. hope this helps!

  6. alyce says:

    I feel your pain ;(

    well, what I can say to skin problems and cosmetics is that the cosmetics has to balance the inbalance the skin has. and that usually has to do with the inbalance of the pH on the skin surface.

    you should try making black tea compresses. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant and soothes the skin which also helps with your sunburn. and it’s good to strengthen your skin surface. you can try it for a few days.
    a good brand for mild but effective skincare is Bioderma. try their oily skin line. I have very sensitive skin and I tried their oily skin line when I thought I had to kill bacteria on my skin. and it never broke me out. give it a whirl.

    I hope your skin will recover soon ;( good luck!

    • jenny says:

      I’ve heard such good things about that brand’s cleansers. I was given a prescription cleanser so I won’t be able to give it a try anytime soon but it’s definitely piqued my interest.

  7. darkmatters says:

    “I’m not looking for random advice or a home remedy that worked for your sister’s sister-in-law’s half cousin 2nd removed. Just letting you know what’s been up with me lately.”
    Not a very polite way of sharing your pain, but yes, we catch your drift…

    • jenny says:

      Sorry if this came across in a rude way; I certainly didn’t mean it to. Sometimes my typing fingers get away from me and I rattle-on a bit too much!

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