Hello, everyone! It’s been a LONG time since I shared my current skincare routine. Let me start off by sharing my skin type: I have combination AND acne prone skin. These are the regimens and products that work well for me and my skin! Just keep in mind that what works for me may not work as well for you if you don’t have the same skin type.
The last time I posted about my skincare routine, I was using a full regimen of Drunk Elephant skincare. After investing a lot of time learning about my skin (and my adult acne), specific skincare products, and product lines, I decided to stop using DE. Are the products bad? No, not necessarily. I think there are some good DE products. There are, however, many brands and products that have higher efficacy and targeted action with clinical evidence to back them up. I also have since learned that the “skincare cocktail” that they encourage can actually decrease the product’s ability to get into your skin and work to its fullest extent. I also think that DE is a great brand for people who are newer to skincare. They sell a full range of skincare products – cleansers, antioxidant serums, exfoliating serums, moisturizers, etc. It’s easy to get everything you are looking for in one location.
Another thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that the terms “clean”, “organic”, “chemical free” or “nontoxic” don’t really mean anything for quality or efficacy of any product. There are no defining standards to designate a product as any of those terms. And beyond that, there is no significant evidence that these products are more effective, safer, or have a better user experience. I’ve also learned that the EWG may not actually be the best or most reputable place to get safety information.
Do I think it is important to make decisions that support our health and wellbeing? Of course I do. I don’t want to do anything that could cause potential harm to my body if I don’t have to. However, I do think this “clean” culture has created unnecessary fear. Skincare products in our country are inherently safe. They go through rigorous testing and, for some brands/products, extensive clinical trials. They are created in ways that prevent contamination (like mold and bacteria) and increase longevity without losing efficacy. Many people actually find “clean” skincare more irritating; they are formulated with comedogenic ingredients and sometimes contain essential oils. If you find a “clean” product that works well for you, great! But don’t feel ashamed if you find conventional or medical grade products that work just as well (if not better!).
Especially after dealing with adult hormonal acne for the last few years, I personally understand the drive and desire to find products and/or treatments that truly work. Formulation matters. Ingredients matter, but not in the way that some ingredients are “bad” and some ingredients are “good”. I have learned that it is important to establish a trusting relationship with a really good esthetician and/or dermatologist who can guide you towards products, adjust your routine, and do treatments that align with your skin goals. They are well educated on how skin functions and which products work best in alignment with your personal skin. Don’t be afraid of conventional medicine! It works.
Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned when it comes to skincare: TIME is your best friend. Skincare products can’t give you overnight results. It takes weeks, if not months, of consistent use to see results. Be patient and be persistent!
Ok, let’s get into the goods!
The first step in both of my skincare routines is to wash my hands! Sounds intuitive enough, but this is such an important step. Starting with clean hands will prevent unwanted bacteria from spreading over your face.
The next step is cleanser. In the mornings I love using this Warming Honey Cleanser from iS clinical. Honey is a naturally antibacterial and antifungal. This cleanser also includes gentle exfoliation with papaya enzymes, helping to gently buff away buildup and dead skin cells. Since I use exfoliation serums nearly every night, this helps to lift the cells that have been exfoliated. In the evening, I start with an oil based cleanser to remove makeup, SPF, and buildup from the day. This step is ESSENTIAL. If you don’t do a primary cleanse to remove all of the above, you won’t actually be cleansing your skin. I use this Pore Cleansing Oil from Roccoco Botanicals. I either use the Gentle Cleanser from ZO Skin Health or the Oxygen Infusion Wash from Skinbetter Science. I tend to gravitate towards the Oxygen Infusion Wash when I feel like my acne is trying to make a resurgence.
**You do need to purchase Skinbetter Science through a referral from a dermatology office or Med Spa**
After cleansing comes treatment, or serums. Generally speaking, you want your products to be applied from thinnest to thickets and from interventional to protective. You want the serums next to your skin that do the most work for you!
In the morning, my serums focus on restoration and protecting my skin barrier. Without a healthy and functional skin barrier, all your other treatments will fall flat or cause your skin to freak out. I love the Dieux Skin Deliverance Serum. This bad boy is packed with peptides (to address and prevent fine lines), niacinamide to enhance skin barrier and prevent excess oil, and cannabinoids. Yes, you heard that right – cannabinoids – to help calm and soothe the skin. Following that, I use the Ceramide Booster serum from Roccoco Botanicals to promote that healthy skin barrier.
In the evening, my serums are targeted towards exfoliation and cell turnover to prevent unwanted buildup in my pores that eventually causes acne. I rotate between a few different products. I use my Apostrophe retinoid serum 2-3x/week. This personalized “virtual” prescription is provided via an online consult with a dermatologist. You upload your health history, skin goals, and pictures of your skin. The dermatologist will then prescribe the appropriate treatment for you! I didn’t want to take oral pills, so my dermatologist prescribed me a topical treatment that includes Tretinoin (a retinoid), Clindamycin, and Spironolactone- all ingredients to target, treat, and prevent acne. I use my Alpharet Clearing Serum from Skinbetter Science 2x/week. This retinol serum is combined with salicylic acid, which helps to clarify my skin and maintain cell turnover to prevent buildup. I use my Alpharet Peel Pads 1-2x/week. This light at home peel offers a little extra exfoliation “oomph”, speeding up that skin cell turnover even more. Finally (whew!), I use the ZO Skin Health Acne Control 1-2x/week. This 10% benzoyl peroxide product treats and prevents acne. Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) can be sensitizing to some people and can cause dry, flaky skin. But it is SO effective against acne, especially the stubborn, closed comedones that I tend to get along my chin. So, I only use it a couple times per week. Make sure you use a white pillow case and don’t wear colors if you use this product-it can bleach! A lot of people will use BPO as a spot treatment, but this works best if you apply a light layer to the entire area you get acne.
The next step in the routine is moisturize. In the morning I like a moisturizer that sits well under my sunscreen. I have been using iS Clinical Reparative Moisture and it is really nice. It’s light, absorbs quickly, and keeps my skin moisturized throughout the day. In the evening, I use Dieux Instant Angel. This moisturizer is IT. It’s creamy and incredibly moisturizing without feeling thick or goopy.
The final step in my routine only occurs in the morning (and throughout the day for reapplication!) – Sunscreen! This is arguably the MOST important step in my routine. It is not only integral to prevent skin cancer, but it also prevents premature aging. I have been using Elta MD UV Clear Tinted. It makes my skin super glowy and gives ample protection no matter the weather or season.
The best investment you can make in your skin is wearing sunscreen every single day, without fail!
On occasion, I will use a face mask to unwind and relax. But of course, I want my mask to be doing something great for my skin too! I love using either this Sulfur Mask from Roccoco Botanicals or the Pore Purifying Clay Mask from Revision Skincare.
WHEW! We made it! I’ve linked all the products I use below. It might seem overwhelming to build a skincare routine. I can’t reiterate enough that seeing a professional (esthetician or dermatologist) can make a huge difference. They can help give you the backbone for a great regimen.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend!
Until next time,
Step 1: iS Clinical Warming Honey Cleanser
Step 2: Dieux Deliverance Serum
Step 3: Roccoco Botanicals Ceramide Booster
Step 4: iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion
Step 5: EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 46
Step 1: Roccoco Botanicals Pore Cleansing Oil
Step 2: ZO Skin Health Gentle Cleanser OR Skinbetter Science Oxygen Infusion Wash
Step 3: Apostrophe serum OR Skinbetter Science Alpharet Clearing Serum OR AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads
Step 4: Dieux Instant Angel Moisturizer
Miscellaneous Treatments and Masks
Roccoco Botanicals Sulfur Mask
Revision Pore Purifying Clay Mask