Sunday, December 29, 2013

My current skin care regimen

I'm 29 years old and female. I have combination skin ever since puberty. However, I didn't get a lot of acne during my teenage years. It was like a few at a time and they would always heal somewhat quickly. After I went to college, that's when the bad acne first started. I had three separate episodes of bad breakouts from 20 to now. So, my bad skin has been with me for about nine years. During these years, I have changed my routine a few times. Now, my skin care regimen is perfect for my mature acne prone skin type.

I wash my face twice a day with the Neutrogena deep clean cream cleanser. Long time ago, I heard that for oily or combination skin, you should wash your face two times a day to remove all the dirt and oil build up. At one point, I was washing my face three or four times a day. That actually made me even more oily because the skin would compensate for lack of moisture by producing even more oil. I have been using Neutrogena deep cream cleanser for three years now and I really like it.

I use St. Ives apricot scrub about twice a week. This product seems to work better when I use it in the morning. Not only it deeply cleans my pores and exfoliates my skin, it also gives me a boost of energy to start the day. One of the main reasons that I use the St. Ives apricot scrub is that it clears up my blackheads temporarily.

In the morning, I use makeup to prep my skin for the entire day. It really helps me with my acne condition in addition to giving me confidence. I have been using the Bare Minerals brand skin care and makeup for three years. So, I have lots of confidence in this line and its compatibility with my skin. Here are the steps of my morning makeup routine if anyone is interested. I use the Bare Minerals eye cream around my eye area to keep this sensitive patch of skin hydrated and free of wrinkles. Follow up with combination / oily skin moisturizer all over my skin. This light moisturizer is ideal for my skin because it keeps me moist without leaving me feeling heavy. I now firmly believe that a moisturizer is essential for acne prone skin. I let the moisturizer soak into my skin before putting on the oily skin primer. This product helps absorb excess oil production and acts as a shield between my skin and the makeup that goes on top of it. I give it a minute or so for the primer to completely dry. My foundation color is called golden fair and the formula is matte. It is so important to get the matte foundation vs the original for oily skin. I have first hand bad experience with the original formula. After that I contour my face with my bronzer. I finish the look with mineral veil for its added SPF protection.

After I clean my face at night, I just want to let my skin rest for the night. However, I do use prescription medicine on active pimples that I might have at that moment. I use an antibiotic cream called Clindamycin to speed up the healing process. On top of that, I use Tretinoin gel to peal that part of the skin and help it heal faster. Whenever you use Tretinoin, you should always protect your skin against the sun because this medicine makes your skin more sensitive to UV damage. My morning makeup routine already has sufficient SPF protection.

I hope this routine gives you a good foundation to develop your own skin care regimen. Next blog entry, I will post pictures of what my skin looks like with and without makeup.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What are all the problems associated with acne – it's not just the pimples

A lot of people that are not affected with acne will say things like, what is the big deal with acne? Well, there are many bad things associated with acne prone skin. Let me explain all the problems that are related to acne in details. For those of us that suffer from this condition, we are all too familiar with the following things that I'm going to talk about. Get ready, this will be long!

Oily / combination skin – Acne is a condition due to oily or combination skin. There are excessive oil production on our faces, pores get clogged and pimples pop up on our skin. The oily or combination skin is usually inherited from your parents. For most cases, it's genetics and you can't really get rid of the problem from the root. When your parents have acne prone skin, you have a higher chance of inheriting the same type of skin. For example, I got my oily skin from my dad. Oily or combination skin is not all bad. Due to excessive oil production on the skin, we will not age as fast as other people.

Dull complexion and large pores – Those of us with oily and acne prone skin also have dull complexion and large pores. We will constantly develop blackheads on the nose; I haven't found a way to permanently get rid of them. It may not be possible for all I know. This is again due to the nature of our skin and excessive oil production.

Scarring – This is one of the worst things associated with acne. We might be very embarrassed with a big red pimple and made the mistake to pop them. Depending on your skin, you might end up with a scar. Some people will develop severe acne and scars may not even be preventable. These scars on our faces will forever remind us of the damage that acne did to our appearance. With various laser treatments and chemical peals, we might be able to get rid of scars with hundreds of dollars.

Emotional damage and other people's reactions – Acne damage our skin and self esteem. Lots of people look at our skin. We feel it and know it even if you don't say anything. Some people will say something to us like why don't you take care of your skin better?! We try lots of things to make our skin better. But not everything works and some medicine actually make our skin even worse. There are other things people say that are even more rude. Can you just wash your face? If it's simple like that, we will gladly do it.

Flare ups and we don't know when it will get worse again – Most acne sufferers experience sudden flare ups that are very hard to predict. You might have very clear skin the day before, and suddenly your face erupts with two big pimples. That will just ruin your day and your appearance for a while. Some big pimples take a long time to go away and you will just have to cope with it. For most people, popping a pimple is bad thing because it might leave scars. So, you can't even touch it!

Cover up – While women can conceal their active acne and scars with makeup, men do not have the same option. It is generally not accepted for men to wear makeup. It makes it hard for men with acne because your face is exposed for everyone to see and judge.

Now, I hope everyone understands a little bit of what a acne sufferers go through on a daily basis. I'm not talking about just the puberty years. Some people suffer from acne for 10 or more years. Next time when you see another acne sufferer, hopefully you won't be mean!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bare minerals original vs matte for acne sufferers and acne prone skin

About two months ago, I made a mistake that irritated my skin horribly. I purchased the Bare minerals original foundation instead of the matte formula that I always use. Without even realizing this mistake, I started using the original formula and noticed a slight sheen on my skin. I suddenly realized that I bought the wrong foundation. So, I thought no big deal plus I don't want to waste the money. Big mistake.

My skin started to slowly but surely get worse. I noticed lots of tiny bumps on my forehead. But I am so cheap that I didn't even think the Bare minerals original formula is the problem. I guess I just didn't want to waste the money by throwing it away. Being stubborn is a bad thing! So, my skin got pretty bad with about 10 inflamed whitehead pimples on the forehead and a few on my chin.

Long story short, I finally decided to stop using the original foundation and went back to the matte. My skin is now healing and most of the pimples disappeared from my face. It's just amazing to me that original bare minerals foundation irritated my skin that much. On the other hand, the matte foundation was just perfect for my acne prone skin. I wanted to write this post so that you guys should stick with the matte formula if you have oily or acne prone skin.

Tea tree oil and acne treatment

Many acne sufferers are familiar with benzoyl peroxide. Some love it; others hate it. This active ingredient works extremely well against mild to moderate acne. I have used it in the past and it accelerates acne healing by killing the acne causing bacteria. Lots of over the counter and prescription medicine have benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. However, it seems to irritate skin in a very unpleasant way. In the past, I have used this as a spot treatment. It feels burning when I apply it on the skin and leaves me very itchy. A few years ago, I got another prescription topical medicine for acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide as an ingredient. It it very effective but burned my skin. So I can't use it because of its horrible side affects. I'm sure lots of you are familiar with my experience.

According to some researchers, tea tree oil works similarly to benzoyl peroxide but without the harsh effect on skin. So of course I want to try it. I went to my local Target and got a bottle of pure tea tree oil. I was very excited to find a natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide and tried it out on my acne immediately.

The smell? Tea tree oil has a very strong smell that other people can definitely pick up if you use it during the day. It's not really unpleasant to me, but just very strong. I actually don't mind it at all. It's hard to describe the smell. Some people actually like it. So, it really depends on your personal preference.

Did it irritate my skin? Surprisingly, no. My skin is extremely sensitive and very easy to irritate. However, the pure tea tree oil did not really irritate it. But most people recommend diluting it with olive oil to get your skin use to it. I was too impatient to do that!

How well did it work against acne? That is the most important question. It does work similarly to benzoyl peroxide because it dries out the acne and kill the bacteria. But not as fast. I did see improvements with this treatment. My pimple shrunk in size. It is a natural treatment for acne so don't expect it to work as fast as benzoyl peroxide.

In conclusion, I really like pure tea tree oil. It is a natural treatment for acne which is always better than harsh chemicals or prescription drugs. The part that I really like was that it didn't irritate my skin at all. I am very happy about that! I think you should definitely give it a try because it's inexpensive and readily available in many stores.