I wanted to share an updated skincare routine, as my routine has changed quite a bit, and the difference between my skin now, and a few months ago, is night and day.
There is no exaggeration: my previous skin looked like the before pictures of a Proactive commercial. I had painful, cystic acne all over my face, and I was incredibly insecure about how I looked. Because of the uneven texture, makeup could only hide so much, and I was terrified of being foundation free. I spent meticulous time editing my skin in photos, and found myself getting frustrated constantly, because I was spending so much time and money on skincare, yet nothing seemed to work effectively.
I also had a lot of bad habits, regarding picking at my skin, popping and irritating pimples, and breaking open cystic acne. Bacteria would spread, and I would inevitably break out worse.
Even with makeup, the bumps were incredibly obvious. Foundation could conceal redness, but there's very little I could do about covering cystic acne.
That being said, I figured out a routine that works for me. I don't love sharing these photos, but I think that they are necessary to include, in order to explain that this is not a skincare routine for the girl who has always had naturally perfect skin, or the girl who thinks that one pimple is a bad breakout. I have chronic, cystic acne, and if I don't follow this routine carefully, and consistently, my skin will break out. I can't wash my face with soap and water and expect perfect skin. I can't leave my makeup on overnight without expecting consequences. Everyone's skin responds differently, but if you struggle with similar skin issues, maybe this routine could help you.
I am posting this in sync with an IGTV video I did on my skincare routine- the primary purpose of this post is to list and link products.
1. The Clarisonic Mia 2 + The Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Cleanser
I received my Clarisonic as a Christmas present when I was 15 or 16 years old. I used it on and off, but didn't become diligent about using it twice a day until recently. It has done incredible things for my skin. I use the Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Cleanser with my Clarisonic twice a day, and it makes my skin feel super clean and refreshed. Because this facial cleanser uses 3.5% Benzoyl peroxide (which can be a very drying, acne medication), I avoid the use of Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in any of my other products.
2. The Context Total Oil Cleanser
If you struggle with chronic acne, I'm sure the word 'oil' doesn't sound particularly appealing, but this cleanser has never caused a breakout for me.
I use this product twice a day, after using my Clarisonic, to remove any additional makeup or dirt. A good oil cleanser is soothing, moisturizing, and effective, and this one feels so nice on the skin. It's a good, relaxing cleanser to use after washing the face with a product as abrasive as a Clarisonic.
3. Curology Medication
If you have never tried Curology before, I could understand how the concept of this company could sound gimmicky. Curology is a custom skincare company, that invites you to take a skin quiz, and send over pictures of your bare face, so that a dermatologist can prescribe medication for your skin problems.
You can try your first month for free (just pay shipping), so I tried it out, and it completely changed my skin. I've been using Curology for two months now, and it has helped my skin more than any product I've ever tried has. I also love this medication because it is gentle, and does not dry me out, the way so many harsh, medicated acne treatments do. If you feel like you've tried everything, give Curology a go- everyone's skin is different, but it could work for you.
4. Skincare Radha Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil is great for creating moisture, and fading scarring. I became interested in incorporating rosehip oil into my skincare routine, after learning about it's healing properties, and how it could help fade my acne scarring. I use this oil twice a day, and my scarring looks so much better than it did a few months prior.
Also, because I use Benzoyl peroxide as my primary cleanser, I make it a point to use extremely hydrating, and soothing products for the rest of my routine. I figure, being acne free doesn't sound that nice if your skin feels so dry, that your face feels like it's going to fall off.
5. The Joanna Vargas Daily Serum + Angela Caglia Rose Quartz Roller
These two products, I like to use in sync. The quartz roller stimulates blood flow and increases circulation, while helping to penetrate serum deeper into the skin. This increases moisture, and color balance. The stone also naturally retains it's coldness, so it feels really soothing under the eyes, first thing in the morning.
At night, I like to use the same combination of products, but warm the stone up under hot water.
6. The Perricone MD Cold Plasma + Eye
This is by far, the best eye cream that I have ever used. It is cooling under the eye, and it has helped me immensely with fading dark under eye circles.
It is also designed to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, but at 21 years old, those are not a problem area for me yet. I don't think you need to spend this much money on a good eye cream, but if it's one that you're curious about, I definitely recommend it.
7. The Context Intensive Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
This is a very comfortable, enriching daily moisturizer, and I use it twice a day. It also provides SPF, which is a definite plus.
I've never quite known what else you could say about a moisturizer?
The Context White Charcoal Detox Mask
This is my holy grail face mask- the white charcoal in this mask activates when it touches the skin, and it makes the entire face feel hot (but not uncomfortably so). This is a mask, where you can actually feel it doing something for your skin. It draws out impurities, it deep cleans, and when I wash this mask off, I can feel the warming sensation mix with the exfoliation, and the skin feels so good afterwards.
The Perricone MD Pre:Empt Series, Refreshing Shower Mask:
I've been using Perricone MD's "Refreshing Shower Mask" for over six months now, and it is a critical part of my shower routine. This mask is pricey, but it's a bottle of gold. It is designed to be activated by the shower steam, and it makes the skin feel cool and tingly, but warm at the same time. It's incredibly gentle, and not at all drying, so I use it a couple times a week while I'm in the shower. I apply the gel-like mask right before hopping into the shower, and proceed through my whole routine (shampoo, condition, shave...) and then wash the mask off last. It leaves my skin feeling tingly, and soft, and clean- it's the best feeling.
Dermal Collagen Essence Mask
Of all the skin products that I am sharing in this post, these are by far the best deal. I use these Korean sheet masks that you can buy in a pack of 16 for $9.00. They are incredibly hydrating, and the skin feels super refreshed afterwards. I typically use these masks twice a week, and I love how cost effective they are.
Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask
I wasn't planning on ending on Korean skincare, but that's how this turned out. This carbonated bubble mask is the last skincare mask that I use routinely. It's a Korean product that bubbles on your face as you use it. When you wash it off, the skin feels intensely clean and soft. This is also a deep cleaning mask, but it's a bit more drying than the Context charcoal mask, so I only use it once every week - two weeks. That being said, I love this mask, and highly recommend trying it, especially for the price.
This routine has done so much for my skin. I hope to keep finding more, and more effective products, but as of now, this is the best my skin has looked in a long time. This photo is entirely unedited, and it's a huge improvement to all the cystic acne I was battling a few months ago.