This will be a detailed post on my current skincare, which is for my adult acne prone skin. I will tell you my situation, and what is working for me at the moment. It's not the only skincare I use, after all I am a beauty blogger and I test out a lot of products, but these are my must-haves!
I'll also list all the products at the end of this post with links to where you can purchase them if you're interested.
Never in my life did I think I'd be dealing with acne in my 30's! I'm 31 years old and struggle with hormonal acne due to a hormonal imbalance (for those that aren't aware, I have Cushing's Syndrome). In my teens I had the occasional pimple here and there but my skin was pretty clear for the most part, and that continued into my early 20's. Then everything changed when I was 23. Since then I've been dealing with acne.
If you've been a long time reader of my blog, or follow my Instagram, then you've seen many before & after pics of my skin (usually showing the coverage of foundations). It's no secret I have problematic skin. I'm not ashamed, embarrassed or afraid to post my before photos. Why? Because acne effects so many people, of all ages, and it's very common. Nobody should be ashamed, embarrassed or afraid to be seen with less than perfect skin. I often get asked "well then why do you wear makeup?" and it's simple: because I want to! I have always enjoyed wearing makeup, and now that my skin is problematic it becomes even more fun because I can turn my flawed skin into flawless skin with the power of makeup. If you don't think that's fun to do on yourself, then maybe we look at fun in different ways. I'm just fascinated with the power of makeup!
Even though I am not ashamed of my bad skin, I'm still taking steps to improve it (there is only so much I can control; the rest is up to my hormones). Throughout the past 8 years of daily acne I've tried countless acne products from various brands. I learned very early on that I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide, so I have to avoid all products that contain that ingredient or I'm going to cause a lot more problems (hives, swelling, redness, puffiness and pain).
Truthfully, nothing has fully worked where my skin is 100% clear. I still get acne, and will continue to get acne so long as my hormonal imbalance is still in full effect. It's just part of the deal when you have a hormonal imbalance. BUT, I can tell you what has been working for me in terms of keeping my skin as clear as possible.
It all started by trying, yet again, another 30-day acne kit. This time I chose the Dr. Dennis Gross line because I know I love the Alpha-Beta Peel, and there was a moisturizer I used that I really loved as well. Little did I know this would be be THE kit to change my skin for the better.
In the kit you receive four products: a foaming cleanser, a moisturizer, acne treatment pads, and an overnight mask. I am incredibly lazy when it comes to skincare but I still tried to follow the usage for the products every single day. I did miss a day or two here or there, but overall I did a good job of using it as directed.
I used the cleanser 1 to 2 times a day. If I had makeup on I would use Philosophy's Purity Made Simple cleanser first, to get off all my makeup (including eye makeup; I love that cleanser for that purpose) and then follow up with the Dr. Dennis Gross cleanser. I really like the cleanser because it's a foam and does a great job at cleaning out my pores.
I don't recommend using the Dr. Dennis Gross foaming cleanser for makeup removal, especially if you're like me and use long-wearing products; it just doesn't break it down all that easily and you'll waste more cleanser than needed. The Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser is the perfect makeup remover. It melts it all down, even eye makeup (and doesn't irritate my eyes at all), leaving no trace of makeup behind.
I used the acne pads every day, twice a day, for 10 days (as directed), then once a day every other day. Honestly, these pads are saturated so I felt like a single use per pad was a waste. In the kit each pad comes in individual foil packets, so what I did was use one side in the morning, put it back in the foil packet, and use the other side at night. Just make sure you don't leave the foil packet open (so it doesn't dry out). I just folded the top over and put something on top that would keep it from unfolding. You could also use a hair clip, paper clip or binder clip to keep it closed. So I was able to get double the usage from the acne pads in the kit just by using them twice, making sure to use one side for morning and one side for night. The full size acne pads come in a jar, not foil packets, so if you want to re-use them (which I do 99% of the time), I left the foil seal half on (the seal that you open when you first get the product; just leave part of it on). Then I would use one side of the pad, and the clean side would always be the side that was face down. I would then use the clean side at night, or the next time I used the pads. This saves a lot of money, since you're getting double the use!
The moisturizer I used mostly just in the morning. The mask that is in the kit is meant to be used as night, so I don't think they specify using the moisturizer at night. I know I didn't use the moisturizer at night except for maybe 2 or 3 times. The moisturizer is wonderful! It has perfect hydration, absorbs nicely, and wears great under makeup too!
The mask was a surprise to me, because I didn't think it was something you wear overnight. I thought it would be just your typical mask that you wash off after 20 or 30 minutes (can you tell I didn't do much reading about this kit before buying it, other than making sure it didn't have benzoyl peroxide in it). And honestly, I kept forgetting to use it. I slept with it maybe 3 times total. The rest of the product I used on a friend who was suffering from really bad back acne; he used it maybe 3 times and then the product was all gone. But, from the few times I used it, and seeing my friends results too, I can say it's a pretty effective mask. When you apply it, it becomes invisible (unless you apply way too thick of a layer) and it dries down, so you don't have to worry about it getting all over your pillow. Then just wash it off in the morning. They say you can apply a very thin layer in the morning and use as a mattifying moisturizer/primer, but I never did that so I can't speak on that option.
After I ran out of the kit, I re-purchased the cleanser, acne pads and the moisturizer. The moisturizer is the most expensive product that I re-purchased; it's $78, but I'm willing to spend the money if it works... and this moisturizer works at both moisturizing and helping prevent acne. At first I had only purchased the cleanser and acne pads, which was good but I wasn't getting the same results as I did when I used the kit. I knew the moisturizer had to be the missing key to my skin success, and it turned out that was the one product that made me start seeing the better results that I expected to see from when I used the 30 day kit.
In addition to the Dr. Dennis Gross products, there are a few face masks I enjoy using weekly.
One is a very special mask from Valley Green Naturals - their Dead Sea Mineral Mud Masque! I'm a mask addict, and this mask seriously is one of the BEST for clearing out your pores. If you have congested skin, this mask will take care of it! I've already written a full review on this mask, so I won't go into too much detail in this post - CLICK HERE if you want to read up about it and see pics of the mask.
I also love the Anokha Red Sandalwood and Neem Clarifying Facial Mask, which I've also previously written a full blog post on. CLICK HERE to read that post and see pics.
And a newer addition is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask. I already love the Kate Somerville EradiKate spot treatment - which is also one of the must-have skincare products at the moment.... and actually of all time. I've used this for years and I swear by it. I just can be lazy and forget I have it, but I swear it works! The mask does great things too, and feels good on your face. When you first apply the mask to your face it has that light pink tone that the EradiKate treatment has, and is a creamy consistency. Soon after it starts to foam up and that's the part that feels good. To me, it feels like a mini massage of oxygen bubbles on your face. If you've tried the Bliss Oxygen Mask, then this is a similar feeling. You only leave the EradiKate Mask on up to 10 minutes, so it's an easy and quick treatment. It washes off really easily too.
I know everyone's skin is different, so what works for me may not work for you, but I can say that these Dr. Dennis Gross products are the main ones that have changed my skin for the better. I do recommend trying them, since I have had such great success. I would recommend not going right in and purchasing the full sizes. Instead, go with their 30 day kit because the investment is low and you will see results if it's something that will work for you.
The three face masks I mentioned are great additions to any skincare routine! And the EradiKate spot treatment is great to use on active acne. I use it as an overnight spot treatment and wake up with less inflamed, less red, acne and some spots that were coming up have calmed back down completely.
Click on a product name below to go to where you can purchase these products. Keep in mind you can find most of these products at multiple retailers, just Google them if you don't want to shop at Sephora or the brands websites.
- Dr. Dennis Gross 30-Day Kit - $45
- Dr. Dennis Gross All-In-One Cleansing Foam - $36
- Dr. Dennis Gross One Step Acne Eliminating Pads - $38
- Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra Pure Oil Free Moisture - $78
- Valley Green Naturals Dead Sea Mineral Mud Mask - $19.99
- Anokha Skincare Red Sandalwood & Neem Clarifying Facial Mask - $30
- Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment - $24
- Kate Somerville EradiKate Mask - $54
- You can also get the Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment & Mask duo at Sephora for $74
Now let me know what you think...
What acne fighting products worked best for you? Have you tried any of the products mentioned above? Discuss in the comments below!
xoxo with love & beauty,
xoxo with love & beauty,