I've gotten a ton of DM's from other people who have been struggling with acne. It made me feel better to know I'm not alone. I'm sharing all the products I used that helped improve my skin for anyone who wants to come back to it. You can skip to the end if you want to just have all the product links. They are listed at the bottom.
My skin started to develop acne in 2017 and progressively got worse. I went to multiple derms that just sold me their skincare product lines without telling me what I was buying or why I was buying it.
I would buy up dozens of skincare products use them for a week or two, decide it didn't work and move on to the next thing.
After I did the 25 days of Christmas, my skin was at the worst it has ever been. When we began quarantine in March like everyone else I downloaded Tik Tok. The algorithm created a skin care For You Page for me that introduced me to What's on Vi's Face, Ben Neily, Skincare by Hyram, and dozens more.
I watched all of them and for the first time I learned about skin care ingredients what they target and what ingredients I need and what to avoid.
Chemical Exfoliant (AHA & BHA) and Retinol
For Acne Scaring and Hyper-pigmentation:
Vitamin C, SPF, Niacinamide, Azelaic Acid
For Dry Skin:
THINGS TO AVOID:
Anything with fragrance and essential oils, witch hazel, St. Ives and other physical exfoliants, make up wipes, Mario Badescu, washing your face in the shower, tanning, not giving your products time to work, using too many products, not staying consistent, sleeping with make up or SPF on.
The transformation was slow, mostly for the acne scarring. My skin purged (meaning everything that was underneath came up to surface). The only part of the routine I changed over the past year was finding the right cleanser. I tried each for about 6 weeks at a time before I finally got to VaniCream.
It took about 6 months for my skin to see a noticeable improvement and for the scaring to fade. I still have scaring and I still have small breakouts. Skin will always be skin, it will always have texture.
I hope this helps!
Morning Skin Care routine
Step 1: Cleanser
Your cleanser you choose should be based off of your skincare type. My skin is very dry so I only wash my face once a day with a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin. I just use Lukewarm water to rinse.
Step 2: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an unstable ingredient so you need to store it somewhere cool and in the dark. Throw it out when it turns yellow. You only need a few drops in the morning. You must use SPF when using Vitamin C. I've used the highly praised SkinCeutical and I didn't see any difference between my skin using their $166 formal vs. the Soko Glam thats around ~$25.
Step 3: Moisturizer
I have very dry skin so I use an intensive moisterizer in the day time.
Step 4: SPF
Look for a chemical or mineral sunblock with at least SPF 30. I wear SPF everyday, rain or shine, even if I never leave the house. I also apply to my neck and hands.
Night time skin care routine
Step 1: Oil-based Cleanser
Once I began to double cleanse, I was shocked by how much make up, SPF and dirt stayed on my face after washing with cleanser. You can use Micellar water as well. Never go to sleep with your make up or SPF on.
Step 2: Water Cleanser
Again, your cleanser will be based off of your skin type. If you have acne, you'll want to look for one with salicylic acid. If you have combination, you can use the Cera Ve foaming facial cleanser. I went through about 5-6 different cleansers, the Vanicream was by far the best for my skin.
Step 3: Treatment
I alternate each night between prescription Retin-A and Paula Choice's 2% BHA liquid exfoliant. Again, don't exfoliate with St. Ives.
With both of these treatments you need SPF. You always need SPF!
Retinol is used to treat acne, fine lines, and signs of aging. Your skin might purge when you begin to use it. That's normal. Start with one day a week and a pea size amount for your whole face. As your skin adjusts to the retinol, you can then use 2-3x a week. It can take 6 months to see any difference from Retinol, but it's worth the wait!
Paula's Choice BHA is *Chef's Kiss* for people with acne. It treats acne, blackheads, skin texture. You'll want to incorporate this one slowly as well.
Step 4: Moisturizer
I used to buy every little bottle of Ordinary with each ingredient. Now I just try to keep my skincare routine simple. I use the CeraVe PM Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide. And that's it!
The links to all the products I use
Soko Glam's Good Skin Days Vitamin C
Etudes House 2x Barrier Intensive Moisturizer
The INKY List Oil-Based Cleanser
Cera Ve's PM Moisturizing Lotion