Skin Care Update

Wednesday January 13, 2016   

skincare products

Back in October I posted about my skin having a terrible acne flareup after a bad sunburn. Soon after I updated with thoughts on having extractions done at my dermatologist’s.

I posted a photo of my skin the next day. Here’s an updated version of then and now.

My skin cleared up in December finally. Along the way I tried a lot of different products, many which I did not like and will skip talking about. Benzoyl peroxide & salicylic acid did nothing or made things worse. And I realized I’m mildly allergic to benzoyl peroxide which I discovered after using the prescription cream my dermatologist prescribed me. My skin was dried out. So dried out that it was over-producing oil in an effort to save itself. The oily itchy bumps were a cry for help. I didn’t learn about this until my extraction day. The extraction itself was moot. Most of the clogged pores returned a couple of weeks later.

These are my current holy grail items. The products I purchased and saw real results. I had to add in a new item one by one. Test them individually to keep track of what was helping and what wasn’t. I was more aware of ingredient labels than ever before.

First comes calming

My skin was incredibly itchy whenever I’d sweat. Those red oily bumps were a nightmare under the florescent lights of an office meeting. The first thing I did was find a way to calm my skin. I fell in love with the 7 Wonders Caribbean Coconut Calming Mask available at Ulta. I bought countless numbers of them. At first I used them every day. Then every other day. And now sparingly whenever I see my skin looking a bit dry.

I also picked up a 100% rose water spray. Alteya Organics Bulgarian Rose Water. I had tried versions with extras added (aloe, herbs, collagen,) but the pure stuff was the only truly soothing spray I found. Luckily it was the cheapest as well! I can use this spray whenever I like for a quick moisture burst.

A face wash that works without over-drying

My old cleansers upset my skin so badly after the flareup. I tried out so many different cleansers with no luck. Then a friend suggested Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser. This stuff is so gentle. washes away clean, works with my clarisonic well, but doesn’t over dry.

When I wear heavy makeup I have always needed a double-cleanse or else my pores would clog. I started using NUDE Skincare Purify Cleansing Wash. It’s a jelly that turns milky and removes makeup really well without being harsh. When I started using it I saw a lot of my blackheads disappear.

Oil-free moisture

My skin has always been sensitive to oil. Not just mineral oil but celebrated oils such as argan or grapeseed. So for daily moisturizers I needed oil-free. These moisturizers are actually old favorites that my skin still liked. Eventually I’d like to return to an spf+ lotion but currently I’m using a separate spf when needed. Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation is the everyday lotion I use under makeup often after applying SANA’s Soy Milk Emulsion to my forehead and chin.

I use SANA’s Soy Milk Cream when I’m feeling a little dry on no-makeup days or at night and Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF when I’m going to be outdoors.

The real treatment

These are the heavy duty performers of my skincare routine. These are the products that gave me immediate positive results. I knew that if my skin needed moisture, and I didn’t respond well to oil-based daily lotions, I’d need to find some other way. I had a sample of Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil and it was the first oil that didn’t break me out. My skin felt so supple in the mornings after using this. Plus it faded my scars rather quickly. It’s a retinol with the added benefit of a moisturizing oil. I had a cleanser & a cream with retinol from my dermatologist but both of those caused my acne to get worse. I blame the other ingredients (a drying cleanser and benzoyl peroxide.) It is hands down my favorite product.

Next to tackle the bumps, texture, and clogged pores I tried a 5 pack of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta┬« Universal Daily Peel and liked it a lot. I used these every few days, maybe once a week now. Instead of using the Luna oil I’ll use this and the next day blackheads will be gone and any tiny pimples will be hurried along to heal. I tried the extra strength version but it was too strong and made things worse.

The last bane of existence were the big, swollen, giant pimples. I had 4 major ones on my forehead that lasted months. Every time they’d pop they’d just return again. I received the Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask as a Christmas gift and it was exactly the last phase my skin needed to overcome this huge ordeal. The mask pulls out clogs from deep in the skin. As disgusting as it sounds I know it works because as each zit came to the surface I noticed each had 2 or 3 layers of “clog.” You know… each time you’d squeeze it was like a whole ‘nother zit popped… gross. Gross but over. Seeing what felt like permanents zits finally heal and leave felt so satisfying. I still use this once a week. I have a few texture spots on my chin I’m working through eliminating for good.

The runners up

DHC’s cleansing oil was one of the many things I tried when looking for a non-drying makeup remover. I bought this little guy at Urban Outfitters. Very affordable. Works great. Nothing special but definitely works well.

The Tony Moly pore cooling mask I got at Ulta. It’s a pore-tightening mask so I didn’t use it too much because tightening = drying. But even though it’s a drying type mask I never felt like my skin was left too dry or stretched. It’s really softening actually. Was nice to use after my skin had initially calmed down some.

Final thoughts

This was just my skincare emergency journey and I know not everyone’s will be the same. I wanted to share what’s been working for me. My combination skin (oily t-zone dry cheeks) was in desperate need of deep moisturizing. For me the most important thing was retaining as much moisture as I could while adding in extra amounts.

I also know many of these items are very expensive. The type of product is what’s most important. The calming mask contains chamomile and coconut oil.

The Luna Sleeping oil can be broken down into 2 main parts; retinol and oil. So a good alternative would be a retinol serum plus a facial oil that your skin responds to in a positive manner.

The Omorovicza mask is a mud mask and I’d only recommend the splurge if your acne is the worst it’s ever been. Otherwise a good alternative would be to try the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s less than $10 and you could add a drop of tea tree oil or neroli in while mixing it up. I plan on picking it up myself when the Omorovicza runs out.

I did try some physical exfoliaters but boy that made things so much worse! Chemical exfoliters were much more gentle at attacking the texture. And as for Glam Glow I had to terminate using any of their products. They only made my skin itchy or worse after the sun damage. Before I had 2 of their masks and the cleanser and loved them but in a damaged-state my skin responded very negatively to all of their products.

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments. I’m not an expert, and everyone’s skin reacts differently, but if you think we have similar skin and have experienced a similar situation maybe my experience can help in some way. I’m just happy to report that I’m on my way to getting my old skin back!


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11 Responses to “Skin Care Update”

  1. Michelle says:

    I have the same skin type as you and have been looking for something that can moisturize the dry patches on my cheeks and chin. Which products would you say helped your dry areas the best? The Sana soy milk cream and emulsion or the Ole Henriksen sheer transformation?

  2. Katarina says:

    I had the same issue a couple of years back, around the 2013 holiday season. I had finished Accutane in early 2011 and my skin had been perfect right up until around Thanksgiving 2013 when I had the same thing happen — massive breakouts and no amount of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid would help. Out of sheer luck, I was given a gift vourcher for a facial for Christmas and the lady told me it was making it worse and that I needed to calm down my skin instead. Glad to see you found a routine that works, I’ll need to try some of these out if I find them in my country, thanks for the post!

  3. Susan says:

    Thank you for this post! I have been using SANA’s toner and moisturizer and found that it was light and hydrating. Just like you, my skin does not pair well with oil-based skincare products, so it has been a struggle finding something that could moisturize my skin enough.

    If you’re looking into any additional products, I found that my skin agrees (doesn’t worsen) with Muji’s sensitive skin line.

    Looking forward to more posts! I’m going to look into the products listed and see if these help (I’m still having little breakouts around the edge of my face).

    • jenny says:

      That’s funny you mentioned MUJI! I actually picked that up during a trip for use because I forgot my regular stuff! I agree. It was so light. I didn’t notice any adverse effects!

  4. Hannah says:

    Thanks for posting this Jenny!!

    I have to be careful about using facial products due to an allergy to Soy. I tried Burts Bee’s products before, and Aveeno’s. But those were the worst idea for me. :O

    • jenny says:

      Ah, that must be very hard to avoid! Soy even in beauty products is so prominent. Have you found anything your skin likes?

      • Hannah says:

        It’s a trial and error process. I check the ingredients, and I also try them on to see if they affect me or not. Makeup is much different. My face isn’t sensitive to makeup like it is with other skin products. I also try to make skin stuff at home, for example ways to get rid of blackheads on a nose.

        There was one brand of BB cream I tried that made my skin all red, hot, and itchy feeling. Other than that, I usually buy high quality makeup to make sure I don’t have problems.

  5. M says:

    So glad to hear that your skin cleared up! It looked really painful :[

    My skincare routine is pretty similar. I love the Luna oil! I’m 24 so I don’t necessarily see all the benefits from the retinyl ester, but it makes my skin feel so nice and greatly reduces my redness. I am also a huge fan of rose water toners. The ones I use right now are Andalou 1000 roses and Heritage Store. Sometimes I reach for the Thayers toner if I want a rose/witch hazel combination. I will pick up the Alteya one the next. I’ve been having a lot of luck with the CeraVe line when it comes to cleansers and moisturizers. My skin has loved everything I’ve tried and it’s so affordable! I also like to add in a few drops of Badger Damask Rose oil into my moisturizer when my skin feels particularly dry.

    I’m still trying to find some good masks and oil cleansers that don’t break me out or irritate my skin.

    • jenny says:

      Oh I like the drop of rose oil idea. I might have to try that as winter is so drying!

      I was hoping CeraVe would be a cleanser/lotion brand for me but it left me very itchy. I was using cetaphil for a while but the left over film it had still gave me a few constant pimples that I eventually switched off of it. I know those are 2 brands my dermatologist really recommended me at first.

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