To say that skincare for aging, acne-prone skin is a challenge would be an understatement! I am always trying new skincare products and inevitably have to stop using them because my skin breaks out. I rarely feel comfortable sharing my negative experiences about skincare on the blog, because, my pores clog so easily that it’s not fair to the companies creating the products. Anyone else feel the same? Today’s post covers skin products my skin has loved, so read along and bask in the glow!
Note: I started writing this post as a huge conglomerate of products across skin, hair and makeup but it grew out of control, haha. #beautyhoarder This is the first of three installments of beauty products I have loved this summer.
Anti-Aging Skincare for Acne-Prone Skin
According to In Style magazine, charcoal is the “caviar of pore-treating ingredients.” It works like a vacuum to suck up excess oil that’s clogging pores and makes them appear larger.
Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimizer. After reading the rave reviews of this charcoal cleanser, I decided to try it out. I definitely have clearer pores because of the repeated use of charcoal, but I feel that the sheet mask (later in this post) did more for the blackheads on my nose. I think it may have been the niacinamide (vitamin B) in the mask. Only time will tell, but I like that I can use this quickly in the shower. This has finally banished the last of the persistent bumps under my skin.
I didn’t realize my skin was looking so ruddy because I wasn’t exfoliating. I have found that for me, sensitive skin (acne-prone skin is sensitive skin) tends to misbehave if you exfoliate too often. I aim to exfoliate 1 – 2x a week between my physical exfoliation with my Clarisonic, and chemical exfoliation with the next product.
Pixie Glow Tonic 20% Glycolic peel pads: A couple of nights a week, I swipe on this glycolic peel after my post-workout shower. I rinse it off after a few minutes. It helps slough off dead skin cells and allows all my other skin products to penetrate my pores better. I’ve used both this and the Pixie Overnight Glow Serum and both work great. My overnight serum ran out, but as soon as I go through these pads I will repurchase the overnight serum, as I feel that it did a better job in half the time. I use the pads 1-2x per week on nights that I don’t use my Clarisonic.
When my friend, Laura, sent me a mini-facial kit I was excited to try out this new line of products from the creators of Proactive. The mini facial kit contained a few days’ worth of the Redefine Night Renewing Serum, Enhancements™ Micro-dermabrasion Paste, and the Redefine Lip Renewing serum. I was so impressed with how soft and smooth my face and lips were after sampling all three products, I went ahead and (receiving a discount as a Preferred Customer) ordered the regimen my skin so badly needed: Unblemish for acne-prone skin.
Rodan + Fields Unblemish: This is a Multi-Med® Therapy solution, which combats the entire acne cycle from different approaches that, together, makes a formidable acne foe. This Regimen helps unclog pores, calm your complexion and keep acne from making its appearance. Its sulfur and clay cleanser is amazing and surprisingly does not have a pungent smell that sulfur typically gives off. I use the clarifying toner (which contains mild Alpha Hydroxy acids, green tea and aloe) with exfoliating cotton pads and it always picks up pore-clogging residue. The Dual Intensive Acne Treatment is the set’s miracle worker for my skin. Benzoyl peroxide* is one of the only medications that my acne responds to, and it’s the reason I keep restocking this regimen. My skin has been the clearest it’s been in nearly a year!
Hada Lobo Skin Plumping Gel Cream. When I first started using sulfur, the skin on my neck became dry and nothing in my arsenal helped. The skin on your neck is very delicate and, since it is not oily like my T-zone, I knew I needed something hydrating just for this area. I received a sample of this moisturizer from an online purchase and fell in LOVE. This is one of the ONLY moisturizers that has never broken me out. It has hydrating hyaluronic acid in it and I swear it works overnight on extra dry skin. It’s only $14 so it’s a great bargain!
Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Serum: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! My only experience with serums before this was the one from my Clinique trial kit. It was meh. Sure, it felt nice but I didn’t see an impact. THIS product, however, ohmygod. I received a 3-day sample (that I stretched to a week) in one of my Unblemish replenishments and fell in LOVE. As an oily girl I have ran (RAN) away from anything “hydration” in the title since it always meant I would have 2 weeks of breakouts after a couple of uses. But since I did feel that my skin needed hydration, especially overnight, I decided to try this serum created by dermatologists I trusted.
I love how soft and hydrated my skin feels right after I apply it to my freshly-washed skin. But most importantly, since my skin is now hydrated, my pores look smaller! Hallelujah! It’s not meant to be used as a moisturizer, since the glycerin in it can be a little sticky until you layer another product over it. I follow it up with the acne treatment on the nights I don’t follow it up with the vitamin C serum or the retinoid (below).
Anti-Aging and Antioxidants
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%: This is my first experience using a retinoid and I have to say, I am impressed! Since I didn’t know how my skin would react with a retinoid, I decided to try this inexpensive one from The Ordinary. I have woken up to brighter and plumper looking skin, which truly gives meaning to the term ‘beauty sleep.’ Plus it costs less than $10!
The Ordinary “Buffet” Serum: I purchased this multi-peptide serum based on the reviews on the site. I have to be honest…perhaps I haven’t been consistent or paying attention, but I regrettably cannot say that I have noticed a difference in my skin. However, I used most of the product before I started exfoliating my skin again, so this may play a factor in my experience. Since it is safe to use around the eyes, I will have to see what it does to the faint fine lines I’m seeing under my eyes.
An antioxidant, such as vitamin C, and an oxidizing agent, like benzoyl peroxide, cancel each other out by neutralization so you’re better off not layering the two. Use them separately to reap the maximum benefits.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%. Coming in under $15, this is a steal of a vitamin C serum! I previously another vitamin C serum, and while it did help discoloration of my skin, I didn’t feel inclined to repurchase when other inexpensive brands are out there. This product has a slight emulsification when layered over another serum, so allow it to dry completely before continuing with a moisturizer or a sunscreen during the day (a MUST! if you’re using vitamin C!).
JULEP Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil: After receiving this in my Posh Voxbox I have loved using this facial oil. Since it is essentially an antioxidant, I use it whenever I’m not using the Unblemish benzoyl peroxide acne treatment. I only use a small amount (1-2 drops). The fragrance is one of my favorite things about it, but I’ve noticed that my scalp (believe it or not) produces LESS OIL when I use this facial oil. Mother Nature is an oddball.
Collagen Peptides: I recently learned that you can ingest collagen for your hair, skin and nails. I’ve had skin issues since before puberty, and my weak and brittle nails have always flaked and peeled. Earlier this year, one of my hair strands cut through one of my nails (painful!) and I knew that biotin just wasn’t cutting it. I have noticed a HUGE difference in the strength of my nails! They no longer peel or crack, even after I ran out of biotin. I also have a curly halo of “baby hair” around my head, so I know the collagen is working!
For a few months I have been using the youTheory brand of collagen with great results. In about a week of taking the tablets, my joints felt more at ease. The downside was I had to take six (6) pills every day to reap the benefits, but I was willing to give it a go for all its benefits. Vital Proteins was kind enough to send me their Collagen Peptides to try out. This is a water-soluble formula of collagen. I have used it in my morning coffee and evening green tea for about two months and I can attest that it is absolutely tasteless in hot liquids! It’s easier to consume than tablets, but the tablets will remain my go-to especially for travel. Definitely give one of these a try!
Miss Spa Charcoal Clarifying sheet mask: (not pictured) This was my first experience using a charcoal mask, and at $2.99 a pop at Target or your local drugstore, these masks pack a lot of bang for their buck! Plus, since they recommend using it only once a week, the slight splurge is worth not having the hassle of messy charcoal everywhere. I applied it to my face in bed and did not rinse off the residue. My pores were smaller, my skin smoother, and the blackheads on my nose lifted on their own — no strips needed!
Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask: If you suffer from acne, and I have for years, sulfur is one of those age-old minerals that definitely should have in your stash. Sulfur does wonders for acne and has been used in acne skincare for centuries. Years ago I would stay away from it because it can stink like rotten eggs, but modern-day sulfur acne treatments hardly have a sulfur scent. After reading the reviews on Sephora, I immediately purchased this mask during the summer splurge sale. I applied it after washing my face with my Unblemish sulfur acne wash and left it on for 30 minutes, and followed it up with the R + F Active Hydration serum.
Sorry for such a long post, but I’m glad I split up my beauty faves because this allowed me to discuss what I love about these products in detail!
Ever since using the Unblemish regimen in conjunction with weekly masks and physical and chemical exfoliation, I find that my skin is more responsive to anti-aging skincare. Unfortunately I realized this after I gave up on that Clinique line so I have no idea how well it would work for me now.
Tell me, what are your must-have skincare products?