Happy Thursday, Magical Creatures!
About a month ago, I was complaining about how frustrated I am with my skin to my friend, Ally, who happens to be an esthetician. I was at the point where I felt like my skin would never be beautiful, no matter what I did to it.
I started getting acne my sophomore year of high school, and it hasn’t ever fully gone away.
One of the reasons is because I have anxiety, and stress faithfully produces acne no matter what I do.
Also, again as a result of my anxiety, I have a habit of popping and picking at my face relentlessly, which just makes it worse. I do it subconsciously, so it’s a hard habit to break.
Lastly, I have tried a thousand skincare products, but I always struggle with being consistent. Also, I never understand the difference between a good product and an expensive product.
Luckily, Ally is a licensed skin-care expert, and she helped me find some new products that really work for my skin.
step 1: cleanse
Ally gave me 2 different cleansers to try. At night, I’ve been using Dermalogica’s Dermal Clay Cleanser to get a really deep cleanse. In the morning, I use Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser as a refresher. I also use the Glossier Cleanser to remove eye-makeup.
From Ally: Hannah is an oily girl who is breakout prone. Knowing both of those things, I chose the Dermalogica cleanser to help keep her oil at bay. The clay is absorbing her leftover oils while the sage and cucumber is keeping her skin calm. You don’t want to use too many clay based products thinking it’ll help with the oils, because it could also be drying out your skin. The Glossier cleanser is just a good, everyday cleanse. It’s not a bad idea to have a deep cleanser at night, and a gentle one for the morning.
step 2: exfoliate & tone
Ally picked out Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a gentle chemical exfoliant and a toner. It comes as a liquid, or in “to-go” pads, which are way more convenient. I use the little pad after cleansing, paying particular attention to places where my pores get easily clogged to break down the trapped grime.
From Ally: There are two different types of exfoliants, chemical and physical. Physical exfoliants are usually the face scrubs you find in any store. St. Ives (a.k.a. the devil because it uses walnut shells to exfoliate the skin, which causes micro-tears and can lead to more breakouts and hyper-pigmentation) is a good example of a physical exfoliant. The Glow Tonic is a chemical exfoliant with a low percentage of Glycolic Acid, so it’s basically working by itself morning and night. I chose the Glow Tonic for Hannah because it’s not as abrasive as a physical cleanser, and our goal was to help with her breakouts.
step 3: moisturize
As featured in my last post, Ally suggested that I use Neutrogena Hydro Boost. I use a sponge (to discourage myself from touching my face) to completely saturate my skin, which feels so refreshing after using the tingly Glow Tonic.
From Ally: Being an oily girl and trying to find a good moisturizer can be hard. Some moisturizers can be too rich, which can lead to more breakouts. Others, however, can lead to dehydration, or flaky skin (fun fact: when your skin gets flaky in certain areas, it’s lacking water, not oils). With that being said, I chose the Hydro Boost for Hannah because its oil-free, it doesn’t clog your pores, and it has hyaluronic acid in it, which is something we naturally produce in our skin. Any gel moisturizer is going to be targeted for oily skin because they are water-based.
step 4: treat
Lastly, Ally told me I should try using a clay mask as a sleep-in spot treatment. I’ve been using the Freeman Feeling Beautiful Anti-Stress Mask at night to really clean out my pores, and dry up my active pimples. After my moisturizer dries, I dot it on my active spots and leave it on all night.
From Ally: I personally have been doing this whenever I have a small breakout and let me tell you, IT WORKS. The clay is going to help dry out that particular spot, and the sea minerals are going to keep your skin calm. You wouldn’t want to coat your whole face with this mask because it is very drying. Using it as a spot treatment on top of a good skincare regimen won’t irritate your skin because the process is so temporary.
Now, no skin routine is ever going to completely get rid of breakouts.
I’m prone to breakouts for a variety of reasons including increased hormones during my period, my oily skin, and the fact that I’m going through some high stress situations (job searching while having two jobs anyone?!?).
Naturally, this means I’ll still suffer from the occasional breakout. Here are some progress photos over the last 4 weeks. Sorry for the quality hair and facial expressions, at first I was just doing this for my own reference!
Also, I took all of these after my morning routine, which adds extra redness because I’ve been touching and washing and whatnot.
I think what I’ve noticed the most over the past couple of weeks is that I still get spots, but I they cycle through much faster, meaning I have less of them at a time.
The other thing I’ve noticed is the improved quality of my skin. It looks much brighter overall, not to mention a reduction of redness and rash-like acne. My skin rarely looks splotchy anymore, which used to be a constant.
Here is a photo of me on my best skin day over the last month, in some really great lighting.
I am so grateful to Ally for giving me another chance to do skincare right, and for her contributions to this post! Any of you who live in Warsaw, check out all of her services at jThree Salon on Center St.
On another note, I officially accepted a full time job this week! I’ll be the Office Coordinator at High Alpha.
Glitter and Rainbows,