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skincare routine

Beauty, Skincare

Current evening skincare routine

DSC_8336Last week, I shared my morning skincare routine, and now I’ll walk you through everything I do to take care of my skin at night.

If I’m wearing makeup, the first step is always oil cleansing. I’ve been using the Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil for about a month now, and I do like it. I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price tag since it doesn’t work any better or worse than the other oil cleansers I’ve used that cost one fifth of what this does. After oil cleansing, I always use CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to remove any leftover residue from the first cleanser, and to make my skin squeaky clean. I do still love and use my Clarisonic Mia, although I try to use it only once or twice a week. I cringe when I think back on all the over-exfoliation I used to put my skin through!

Once the cleansing is over with, I make sure to wait a bit until my skin is completely dry before applying my tretinoin .025% cream. Over the winter months, I find waiting any more than 10 minutes to be unbearable, even though I think waiting 15-45 minutes is recommended. I’ll usually wait about five minutes after applying the tret before moving on to the Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. I should confess that I haven’t used it for about a week, and I haven’t seen much of a difference. I’m not sure if this stuff actually does anything or if it’s just rose-scented aloe water. My last step is to moisturize with CeraVe PM, aka the best moisturizer of all-time…maybe. I can’t help but think back fondly on my Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask. I still have half a tub of it, and it’s been calling to me recently! Lastly, and I didn’t include them in the picture, but I usually slather the area around my mouth and nose with Aquaphor or the Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum to try to keep the flaky skin at bay.

Next on my skincare agenda is to find a toner and to try to FINALLY work in some of the products I got for Christmas into my routine.

Beauty, Skincare

Current morning skincare routine

amskincareThings have improved greatly since my last skincare post. The main thing I did, and I recommend this to anyone having an acne flair-up, was to pare my routine to the bare essentials. I went back to my standbys from summer, Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask and CeraVe PM, and used pretty much nothing else for a couple weeks. Once the new breakouts stopped and my skin was healing, I felt comfortable slowly adding back in one product at a time. Around this time, my dermatologist prescribed me Erythromycin, an antibiotic. Thankfully, this doesn’t break me out like the dreaded Clindamycin, but I’m not sure it has improved anything as of yet either. I’ll be trying the lotion version of this soon though, because the gel is extremely drying, and it balls up on my skin whenever I put products on top of it. After the antibiotic, I use Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. I looooove the scent of this. It’s a strong, but very natural pure rose scent. I’m not sure if this does anything for the skin other than add another layer of moisture, but I’m happily using it every day. I’ll follow this up with the CeraVe PM, and I’ve recently started using the Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream again. I was using this for a few weeks in December/January, but I thought it might be causing congestion in my forehead. I’m trying it out again now, but in case I find that it actually does break me out, I’ve repurchased the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen. The only other product I occasionally use in the morning is the Be The Skin Non-Stimulus Face Polisher. For a few weeks, my skin would be so extremely dry in the morning, the entire area around my mouth and nose would be covered in flakes (so sexy). The Face Polisher does an excellent job of gently sloughing away dead skin and prepping it for cleansing and the rest of my routine.

The past couple months of trial and error have been frustrating, but also enlightening. I’m continuing to learn what does and doesn’t work for my skin, and it’s comforting to know that there are a few products out there that I can 100% rely on.


Tretinoin 12-week update

If you’re not interested in reading detailed accounts of skincare routines or seeing really unflattering pictures of me and my acne, this post probably isn’t for you!

I’ve now been using Tretinoin .025% for about 12 weeks. I tried to take progress pictures with some regularity, but it ended up being kind of sporadic/whenever I remembered/whenever I could recreate the lighting of the first picture (majorly failed on that point). I also didn’t take down notes or anything, but I made plenty of mental notes along the way.


First four weeks: This is probably when I saw the most “action”. My skin was very dry, and flaking a lot around my nose, mouth, and chin. From all the accounts I read elsewhere online, this was completely normal and to be expected. Sometime during the first few weeks, the top and sides of my nose became extremely oily. It still remains this way today. I’m not sure if this is because of the Tretinoin or simply because it’s summer, and this summer in New York has been hot and humid as hell. My skin typically gets oily throughout the day in summer, but I can’t remember it being this bad before, so it’s probably mostly the Tret. As far as acne and the overall appearance of my skin I did start to see improvement during this time. The pores on my nose started to clear out within the first week or two, and I started to see a decrease in new clogged pores and closed comedones. In general, the skin on my cheeks started to look tighter and less bumpy.

Four to eight weeks: I saw the most improvement during this time period. The closed comedones along my jaw line started to heal and go away, and for a few weeks I had absolutely no new ones showing up! The breakouts on my cheeks basically stopped as well. Other than being very oily, my skin was pretty stable. During this time, I switched from using a combination of CeraVe PM + CeraVe Sunscreen in the morning, to only using CeraVe AM, which was the original recommendation from the dermatologist. I’m pretty sure this had a negative effect on my skin in the following weeks.

Eight weeks to today: Nothing catastrophic has happened within the past few weeks, but I haven’t seen much improvement either. I’ve had a couple of cystic breakouts along my jaw line, and a couple small breakouts on my cheeks and near my temples, which has been pretty disheartening. Strangely, I feel like the pores on my nose look worse. I keep telling myself that it’s because it’s been so freaking hot the past month, that my skin has gotten overly oily, leading to clogged pores. I hope I’m right and that I see improvement again soon. Also, the skin around my eyes has been inexplicably dry the past few days. It’s actually been flaking off around my inner eyelid area, and in the area right underneath my lower lash line where I have a wrinkle/eye bag thing. I have no idea what that’s about, but I’ve been trying to clear it up with extra CeraVe PM and Vaseline. The lack of improvement during this time period may have something to do with me being sick for over a week in the beginning of July and AGAIN the last week of July (I’m STILL battling it). My nose definitely looks a lot more red and veiny, I’m guessing because I’ve been blowing my nose literally 20 times a day for two weeks now. Ugh. Being sick in summer is the actual worst thing ever.

Overall: The two biggest things I’ve noticed are the very noticeable decrease in closed comedones along my jaw line and the speed with which any new breakouts heal. Before Tretinoin, my breakouts would usually cause me trouble for a week-10 days before they would reach the scabby/healing phase. Now it’s down to maybe four days. Everything seems to heal so much faster, I love it. I’m curious if anyone else has had sort of a “plateau” phase at around 9-12 weeks. A lot of people see the most improvement at 12 weeks, but I would say mine was at 6 weeks. I’m definitely going to stick with it for the foreseeable future, and hopefully I’ll see improvement when I’m not sick and when the weather isn’t so hellish!