January 15, 2013

About Face - Skincare Regimen

My first memory of even thinking about my skin is when I was studying abroad in Manchester, England. Hello, adult onset acne! I tried a tea tree oil face wash and moisturizer, but it just didn't work. Although the stress of being away from home and a poor diet may have been to blame as well. As soon as I landed state side, I had an order in for Proactiv. I maintained that regimen until the age of 29 when it seemed to lose it's effectiveness, or maybe my skin chemistry changed. Either way, I needed to update my products. I tried every Neutrogena, Loreal, Garnier, and Oil of Olay combination of washes, toners, masks, and moisturizers, but nothing seemed to work. I needed something that controls oil and acne, but since I am approaching 30 (13 days and counting), I also needed moisture to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Since I've been around the block a time or two, I figured I would share what has worked for me.

In the morning, it's recommended to use the gentle cleaners and lighter moisturizers or serums.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This was my first face cleanser, due to my mom's influence (who has been using it for 40 years), and it will likely be my last. It's soap free and gentle, but effective. If you've never used it, you might be turned off my the lack of suds, but that means its not stripping your face of the good oils and that's a good thing. It also works as a eye make-up remover if you're not using waterproof varieties.
After bleaching every towel and pillow case I ever owned, I was happy to be prescribed a topical gel for the treatment of acne that was not a benzoyl peroxide. It's not nearly as drying yet is still mattifying, and with insurance, it can be acquired for $25 (a heck of a lot cheaper than Proactiv).
Dr. Victoria Barbosa Moisturizing Cream
The dermatologist that changed the life of my skin makes this moisturizer, but it's likely similar to other light, oil-free options. 
I'm a bit of a product whore and will take the advice from any sales person at Sephora and I'm happy I listened to the one who recommended this one. It's creamy and heavy, yet sinks in quicker than anything I've tried. They key when applying eye cream is to pat it along the orbital bone - no closer than that to your eyeball.

At night, you should clean deeper, moisturize more, and kick your wrinkles' butt!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover
I use waterproof mascara and need something heavy duty, but don't want that oily feeling even after I wash my face. This option provides just that. I hold a cotton square over my closed eye for at least five seconds to allow the solution to soak into my eyelashes. The worst thing you can do is tug and pull at the under eye area since the skin is as thin as piece of Kleenex (not the lotion enriched ones either)!
Cetaphil Oil Control Foam Wash
This is a relatively new formula from the folks at Galderma corporation and it's another winner. As a foam, you get the suds that the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser doesn't provide. The active ingredient is zinc and it aids in acne prevention, plus I've found my skin much less oily half way through the day.
Clarisonic Mia
The biggest game changer in my arsenal. It provides such deep cleansing and removes make-up, dirt, oil, etc. from the day, so that any serums and moisturizers will work more effectively. With all that money spent on products, why not ensure that they work as well as they can?
While retinols were created for acne, the benefits for wrinkle prevention keep them in rotation for both concerns. I highly recommend receiving a prescription because the ones sold over the counter are a very low dosage and essentially, a waste of money. Be sure that you use a heavy moisturizer and ease into it by using it every third or every other night until your skin adjusts.
Coconut Oil
This step might be the most surprising. Yes, this is oil, such as one that you can throw in a skillet with veggies. Coconut oil is antibacterial and therefore, helps with acne prevention, but is incredibly moisturizing. But, how can an oil do that? A common misconception is that oily skin is over moisturized, but it's exactly the opposite - oil is produced when you strip your face of oils! While the introduction of this at nighttime means that I have to wash my pillows a bit more frequently, the pros far out weigh the cons.
Bag Balm
A mother's influence strikes again with this balm is oh so good at moisturizing my lips. It was developed to prevent cow's udders from the cold (weird, but you'll get over it) and works so much better and lasts so much longer than Vaseline. If I put it on at night, I still wake up with some on.

Do any of you use these products? What works for you? 

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