Hello beautiful people! It’s been a loooooooonnnnggggg time since we talked about something other than thoughts and feelings on here. Since sharing my skin journey and skincare is the main reason I started this blog and is always something I enjoy sharing, I really want to get back into posting lifestyle/skincare related posts.
So this is going to be the first post of a new series on my blog that I’m calling “Skincare Sunday”. I’m not going to post every Sunday, but if I have something skin-related to talk about I will be posting it on Sunday!
It has been 2 years since I stopped taking Accutane (read my Accutane story here). Since then, my skin has gone through a lot of changes. My skin started breaking out again about a year after and since then I’ve spiraled back into the desperate use of topical treatments.
The last time we talked about my skin was in my Post-Accutane Update back in July. In that blog post, I talked about using a 1% tretinoin cream that my dermatologist prescribed for me. The thing about retinoids is that they usually cause the skin to become worse before it gets better. This is because the retinoid is bringing breakouts that were under the skin to the surface. This is usually called the “purge” or “initial breakout”. It’s actually awful if I’m being comletely honest with you. Your skin is flaky, red, sensitive, and breaking out. So shortly after my last skin care blog post went live, I decided to stop using the retinoid because I didn’t want to deal with the side effects anymore. And let me tell you…that was a huge mistake.
My skin went haywire.
After a month of crazy breakouts, I decided to try the Tretinoin again. I started it on October 13th, 2017 and have used it faithfully every night since. The initial breakout was hell and lasted for a full month. After a while I started noticing breakouts in places that I had never had breakouts before, like along my hair-line and on my neck. I decided to do some research on my own and talk to my dermatologist. After doing both, I found that there is an ingredient in the cream Tretinoin, called isopropyl myristate, that can clog pores and cause breakouts in some people. After learning that I was probably one of those people, I asked my dermatologist to switch me to the gel version which does not contain this ingredient. My derm not only switched me to gel, but to the tretinoin micro gel.
The micro version is formulated with microspheres and while it is the exact same active ingredient and treats the skin in the same way, it releases into the skin more slowly allowing the Tretinoin to be more effective and have less side effects. My derm also prescribed me a topical Clindamycin to get the remaining acne under control and reduce inflammation.
With these two prescriptions, my skin has changed dramatically. It actually looks a lot like it did while I was on Accutane. My skin is clear and my pores look smaller. The only real issue with my skin still is some hyper-pigmentation, some scarring, and some peeling still from the retinoid.
The products I’m using to keep my skin clear and counteract the side effects from the Tretinoin look very similar to what I was using in my last update. I’ve tried a lot of high-end and drugstore items, but I seem to always come back to these products. My routine tends to sway more drugstore. I really don’t believe you have to spend thousands or hundreds of dollars on skincare to have beautiful skin. I think you just have to choose the correct combination of active ingredients and be consistent.
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, 6 Ounce – This is the OG acne wash. There’s no-nonsense or thrills. Just a simple gel cleanser with 2% salicylic acid
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration – This has been the one high-end product that I’ve tried and kept in my routine. I didn’t think I was going to like it so I bought the smaller size, but oh. my. gosh. You guys. This stuff is amazing. Its thick and creamy, but sinks into the skin almost immediately. It has 0.50% colloidal oatmeal which locks moisture into the skin. It also has licorice root extract that brightens the skin. Its free of parabens, colorants, harsh chemicals, and fragrance. I’m obsessed and will be ordering the huge tub of it.
- Pond’s Dry Skin Cream – If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know Pond’s saved my skin during Accutane and I haven’t been without it since. If my skin is really dry and peeling, I will use the First Aid Beauty first and then Pond’s on top. I also grab Pond’s in the middle of the day to get rid of any dry patches that have snuck up on me.
- Prescription Clindamycin
- Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask – Fun fact: Benzoyl Peroxide is an antibacterial that bacteria doesn’t become resistant to. This leave on mask has 2.5% which is really all you need (in studies higher percentages only showed an increase in irritation, not acne improvement). I pair this with the Clindamycin to speed the healing of current breakouts and prevent future ones.
- CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50 2 oz with Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide and Ceramides for Broad Spectrum Sun Protection – Sunscreen is important. I wear SPF 50 everyday. So should you. And that’s all I’m gonna say.
- Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water, Sensitive Skin – I really love makeup. You can often find me wearing a full face of it. To get all of that gunk off at the end of the day I have tried a whole mess of stuff, including oil-cleansing, makeup wipes, and facial cleansing cloths. BUT my absolute favorite method is micellar water. Particularly this one by Simple. Its super gentle and doesn’t leave my skin feeling parched or stripped. Since I use it every night and usually use a lot of it, it’s really important to me that it’s affordable. This one is about $9 at Walmart.
- Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Wash Cleanser for Normal To Dry Sensitive Skin, 13.5 fl. oz. – This may be my new holy grail gentle cleanser. It is super creamy and doesn’t have any harsh ingredients. It contains Niacinamide and Ceramides (which your skin loves). It leaves your skin hydrated and clean, and that’s all you really need your nighttime cleanser to do.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
- Prescription 1% Tretinoin Micro
- Prescription Clindamycin
- Pond’s Dry Skin Cream
Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed seeing my skin update and skincare routine! If you have any skincare or product questions, please comment below and I will comment or post a blog in this series to answer them!
*As always, I am not a dermatologist. I just wanted to share what I’m doing and what’s been working. Please talk to a doctor before starting any of the prescriptions I mentioned.