I always imagined that my life would be different if I lived in place that didn’t average 74 percent humidity. Namely, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time controlling my oily skin. Unfortunately, I do live in a place like that, and I have no plans to leave the wet, hot air of Florida anytime soon.
After spending more than 15 years using drug store products, visiting the dermatologist, and my Sephora hauls, I finally know what works for my hormonal, acne-prone skin (and I’ve become a quasi-skincare consultant for my friends).
I’ve been fighting acne since I was 12, and now know that a combo of chemical exfoliants and moisturizing ingredients keeps my skin clear and healthy. Each morning after hitting the snooze button three or four times I start out by washing my face with Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser, a mild face soap recommended to me by my Curology dermatologist (more on this soon). I follow up with Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. I’ve been using this product for years and I consider it one of my few must-haves — it calms redness, clears pores, and prevents breakouts without making my skin dry. It works best if you let it soak in before applying anything on top, so now is when I start getting dressed. Then, it’s time for moisturizer and the base for my makeup. Now that it’s summer I like to avoid heavy moisturizers, so I use Missha First Treatment Essence Mist. It’s formulated with fermented yeast (like the much more expensive SK-II products) and makes skin feel fresh.
At the end of the day, I take off my makeup with Banila Co. Purity Cleansing Balm. This is a new product for me, but I’ve used cleanser balms for years and I love this one. Double cleansing is a must, so I follow up with the Free & Clear Cleanser I use in the morning. After my makeup is removed and I’ve showered, I use Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. There is so much hype around this product and it’s all true. I went through a purge period when I first started using it, but after a few weeks my skin cleared up and now I can’t imagine a routine without it. P50 smells like vinegar, but it exfoliates the skin, balances pH, and hydrates so the stench is worth it.
The next step in my routine varies—sometimes I’ll do something special like apply a sheet mask for moisture (I love Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask) or I use Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Lemon Peel. I’ve only been using the Neogen peel for a few weeks but I already know I’ll be repurchasing. It’s both a chemical and manual exfoliator, and it smells so sweet and lemony. Since I started using it I haven’t been breaking out as often and it makes my skin so soft.
Once a week I’ll apply a mixture of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay and apple cider vinegar. It’s drying but I can tell a difference in my skin if I skip this. Mixing with apple cider vinegar is a must—water just doesn’t have the same effect.
And now, the product that’s made the biggest difference in my skin, a mixture of tretinoin (a form of retinol), clindamycin, and azelaic acid, prescribed to me by my digital dermatologist. I’ve used Curology, an online dermatologist, for close to two years. After a short quiz, you’re connected with a dermatologist who prescribes a customized formula. I started with a different formula than I use now, but after talking with my dermatologist she added tretinoin to my formula and that’s when I saw the biggest positive change in my skin. My breakouts slowed from daily occurrences to just a few times a month, and my dark spots faded. I’m happy knowing it’s fighting against future wrinkles, too.
The last step before I head to bed is moisturizer. Since it’s summer and my skin doesn’t need extra moisture, I use the Missha Time Revolution Essence Mist again all over my face, making sure I get my neck and eye area.
Maybe it’s because I grew up with bad skin, but I think that taking good care of your skin and creating a base to build on is an integral part of a beauty routine. When you start with healthy skin, makeup something you want to do, rather than something you feel you have to do. Instead of using your products to hide imperfections, you can play with colors and highlighters to enhance yourself. And that is just so much more fun.
By using this link to begin your free Curology Trial, I receive a discount on my next order. All my opinions are my own and authentic!