Dermatologist Day, that is.
So, cystic acne is a MOTHER to try and manage. Being in my 30’s and having acne is not something I was warned about! I mean, aren’t I supposed to be past the pizza face stage in life?? Whether it’s hormonal or something to do with my diet, I cannot figure out. Believe me, I’ve tried.
I was even praised on my facial cleansing routine, even though it isn’t making a lot of headway in clearing up my face. Tone and texture are good, but these damn spots, man!
I was let down gently, that despite my efforts, it’s a problem that has to be worked on “from the inside out”. So yes, I will be limiting dairy, sugar, etc. I will also be taking two different oral medications, Bactrim and Vibramycin. While much safer and not as aggressive as something like Accutane, I’m assured I will see improvement rapidly. Which is great, considering how easily I scar and get hyperpigmentation. I will have a pink/purple mark for MONTHS after I have healed.
Something else that I’ve been prescribed that I highly recommend any adult incorporate into their skin care routine is Retin-A. (Tretinoin Cream) Over the counter Retin-A products are fine, but you will just not get the results as the medical grade kind.
It not only helps clear the acne, but also the scarring and any fine lines you have accumulated. I wish I could say it is affordable for everyone and easily obtainable, but it isn’t. Well worth looking into, but not in every person’s reach.
For my active breakouts I was given Clindamycin. Great stuff!! It will dry up a spot before it “comes to a head”, if you know what I mean.
Something that’s in most pantries that will work similarly (though obviously not as well) is regular old apple cider vinegar, used as an astringent.
All of these products and medications are drying to the skin, so you are going to need a heavier moisturizer than you may be used to or currently using. Sunscreen- all over– is something you cannot skip. The oral medication I mentioned makes it very very easy to burn. (Like a fair skin girl like me needed help getting burned, right??)
The skin care/cleansing routine I mentioned being praised for above, I will share! All but one product is extremely affordable and have made a world of difference. I posted on instagram a while back about the trio of products I use every single day.
My skin didn’t look this good even as a teen or in my twenties. (minus the breakouts of course, I’m talking texture and tone)
My skin type is very dry. Like, flaky dry. I get a ton of redness around my nose and mouth. My eyelids and undereyes get “crepey” and dehydrated. My pores can become very visible, very quickly.
These three beauties have taken care of all of that. I can see regression if I even skip ONE night of this routine!!
(I like this one)
I remove my eye makeup before anything else to reduce tugging, pulling, and scrubbing too harshly around the eye area. Some skip this step and just use their cleanser to remove it all, but I really wouldn’t! I realize “oil free” eye makeup removers are the thing right now, but I really like the oilier, more lotion like products. I’m about to wash my face anyway, so I’m not concerned with any residue. I’m more concerned with being as gentle as I can around my eyes. I let the remover soaked cotton pad rest on my lashes for close to a minute before I start wiping, to really dissolve any mascara.
Step two; product recommendation one:
A cleansing oil. Not soap. Not a cream or gel cleanser. Dermalogica Precleanse is an hydrophilic, oil based product. This product is not “high end”, but its also not “drugstore” price range either. I find it at Ulta, drugstore.com, and sometimes Amazon. A little goes a very long way! This stuff, when used as directed, can even dissolve makeup. It is intended to remove any dirt, oil, and sebum from your pores. This goes a long way towards preventing breakouts and blackheads. Not to mention it does not strip your skin, causing it to dry out.
The way I use it is with *clean*, dry hands and a dry face. I use a quarter size amount(my skin is very dry and tends to absorb some) and start working it in circles all over my face. I linger on areas around my nose, chin, and forehead. This is really great to improve circulation in those blood vessels and give your pores a deep clean! I will do this for one to three minutes. Really, the longer the better.
A YouTube beauty gal I follow turned me on to this product, and I could just hug her! Video and her channel here. A wealth of information to be found in her advice and experience! Tammy(uppiesbeads59), I love ya!
Now with the water! Once or twice a week I will use an exfoliating pad(holy crap are these good!) like these, wetted down to work the oil into a milky lather. I don’t use a lot of pressure. Just gentle circles. This removes any dead skin and gives such a clean, smooth texture. Every other day of the week, I simply wet my hands and work it into that milky consistency, again just gently emulsifying the product for a good minute or so. Rinse or wipe with a flannel or very soft cloth. This product can even be used on the eye area. I’ve never had any burning or irritation.
Toner. I cannot sing the praises of this stuff enough. So simple, so traditional, and wowza. Witch Hazel! Specifically Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner. It’s alcohol free and comes in a variety of combinations for different skin types. I looove the rose water toner. It’s hydrating, and gently removes any leftover “yuckies” you worked out of your pores with the cleanser. This step is really important to locking in that moisture and prepping the area for your night cream or spf moisturizer.
I wish I had a super amazing, all natural recommendation to knock your socks off here, but thus far I have had the best luck with regular old Pond’s moisturizer! I know, right? I have been using Pond’s Rejuveness as an all over, eye cream, and neck cream. It doesn’t “erase” lines per-say, but it will plump up and hydrate the skin for a much better texture.
For those lines and any scarring, I always finish off with a good Retin-A cream.
It’s time to pass out now, and I have but one more tid bit of advice. Get yourself a silk or satin pillowcase! You will thank me! My hair was a frizzy MESS every morning and I was starting to get creases on the side of my eyes and mouth from being a “side-sleeper”. I’ve woken fresh faced and frizz free since switching.
So far, I’ve liked this case the best. It has a zipper on one end, so the case doesn’t slide off during the night. I’ve washed it weekly and hung it to dry and it’s still like new.
For progress and posterity’s sake, I’ll add a pic of the current state of my cystic acne MESS and check back in soon, after I’ve had a chance to work the new medications into my routine. Get ready for the ick. Zero filters, with flash. I’m sorry. HA!
There is scarring at the corner of my mouth, active breakouts, and highly pigmented scarring on my neck from a recent breakout.
My pores and redness are much better than they were in my twenties, though. I only wish I had started really taking better care of my skin earlier! So to any of my 20-something and under readers, start now! Even the best cosmetics money can buy aren’t going to take care of your “canvas”. You get one body and one life, take care of it! 🙂 Loving yourself begins with caring and taking time for yourself.