I’ve always dreamt of having a clear, acne-free skin. Believe it or not, I struggled pretty bad with acne at the age of 17 til I was 20. Those were my peak years when I was struggling with the change in environment and weather.
Back when I was in humid Singapore, I had tons of tiny clogged pores, acnes and acne scarring. And it’s all because I wasn’t washing my face like I was supposed to, in addition to the lack and wrong usage of acne treatments and PICKING ON MY PIMPLES ALL THE TIME. I was also Proactiv – remember those informercials you used to see on Channel 5? Yep, got sucked into that. Worst facial wash for me ever.
It wasn’t until I moved to the US and had access to various different make up products, then I realized the application of make up on an uneven/bumpy skin looks horrendous. So that was how I began my acne treatment, because I simply looked myself in the mirror and saw all that foundation settling on my bumps. I visited dermatologists, who have given me harsh treatments -retinol- or have suggested lazers; I’ve used the most expensive skincare products in the market (eg La Mer) to the cheapest drugstores ones and none of them worked!!! Well, some of them did but one problem occurred after the other.
Frustrated, I tried researching best I could and educate myself on what works on me and what doesn’t. Up til today, I still swear by the products I used and will probably never change it (unless needed), but they always say “don’t fix what’s not broken”.
Literally these 3-4 products are what I use on my face on a daily basis! The key to combatting acne is to be as simple as possible with your skincare. Everything is a process that takes patience, especially with balancing your face oils so no more acnes will be formed. 🙂
First off, I would suggest knowing your skin type – sensitive, oily, combination, dry. (You can google how to differentiate each skin type) Oily or combination skin types are more prone to acne. After that, pick a cleanser to suit your skin. I will remove all my make up with the Bioderma cleansing water, my holy grail of all facial cleansing waters! It doesn’t dry out my skin.
Next, I “listened” to my skin while finding the perfect cleanser and settled for SHU UEMURA’s high performance balancing cleansing oil.
Another product worth mentioning is LUSH’s Dark Angel, it doubles as a scrub so I use that to exfoliate my skin as well. It is a charcoal-clay based product which will turn into a paste when you mix it with a bit of water. I use it every 3 days.
My approach to combatting acne is to be as simple and gentle and calming to my skin as I possible can. I always hear people recommending toners that are so harsh to the skin and these products usually contain a high percentage of alcohol. I would not suggest that. Remember, my philosophy is to be simple and gentle, in this case, the aloe vera toner from Mario Badescu is my perfect toner.
This product can’t be purchased online, but I love this serum from a brand called Skeyndor. It was recommended by the dermatologist I always get my facials from and it really did help hydrate my skin. My skin is dehydrated yet sensitive, so I try not to use too many products with tons of chemicals. I used to go to Carla Skincare for facial and opted for the normal (hydrating) facial as I have combo skin. The acne facial is good too if you have oily and acne skin.
Another serum I like using it the SK II facial treatment clear lotion on top of the Skeyndor serum. I use it twice or thrice a week and my skin seems to love it.
Recently, I’ve been trying out The Ordinary skincare and the Mario Badescu Vitamin C serum. The thing about serums is that you can’t see immediate results but when you do have a proper regime and stick to it for a while, you see your face glowing and healthy. That’s what I love about serums. But I try not to use them everyday as my skin may get too used to the serum and will stop working. Updates on these serums will be posted after a few months of usage.
Even though you have oily skin, you still need to find a moisturizer to suit your skin for it to feel hydrated! I always hear people eliminating moisturizer because they think they don’t need it. Having a moisturized skin prevents your skin feeling like it needs to produce more oil because of the dryness and of course, don’t forget to keep a look out for NON-COMEDOGENIC moisturizers which won’t clog your pores. I love First Aid Beauty’s Daily Face Cream which is safe for sensitive skin! At night, I would use a heavier cream like the Chamomile Night cream from Mario Badescu.
I came a long way from having dark spots all over my face which I had to cover everyday with BB cream and concealer, and at the age of 17, what did I know about make up? All I knew was to pile layer after layer of make up, and it only made my face worse.
Now here I am writing to you about my skin journey. I know many of you are probably googling quick remedies to acne or how to cure acne, but the truth is… you can’t. Acne is something so natural that there really isn’t a cure to it. Sure, I’ll have a spot or two at that special time of the month, but really, all you need to do is know your skin better, listen to what it likes and what it doesn’t like. Acne or no acne, you need to know what products YOUR skin is suitable with. I know it’s a hard process but it’s definitely worth it. Good luck and please share your tips and acne journey!
So far, I’ve tried:
La Mer, First Aid Beauty, Shu Uemura, SKII, L’Occitaine (Skincare), Proactiv, Lush, Peter Thomas Roth, Dennis Gross, Mario Badescu (Glycolic Acid Wash – love this but too harsh), etc etc.
Some products to mention:
Peter Thomas Roth (Therapeutic Sulphur Masque)
Weird enough, my acne improved after I use sulphur. If I’m not wrong, there are a number of anti bacterial used in acne remedies such as using benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acid (Glycolic acid) and sulphur. My face doesn’t react well to benzoyl peroxide and alpha hydroxy acid but does well with sulphur. I’ve tried glycolic pads which worked for a short while but then was too harsh on my skin, and I don’t want to further thin out my face surface too! Yikes. So sulphur was the way to go! Good product to mention is also Bare Mineral’s blemish remedy – works better than the Mario Badescu for me.
CURE (Exfoliating gel)
I love this! After all that acne treatments, you need to exfoliate to reveal the new skin and get rid of the layer above. This gel, once set, will do that. All you need to do is rub it on your face and tiny balls of skin will be “stripped” off. Works wonders and super gentle.
Kanebo’s SuiSai powder
This is a recent find for me and super underrated in my opinion. The packaging is super practical. It’s basically a powder used as a cleanser, but I use it twice-thrice a week as I feel like it can be a mini exfoliant session as compared to the CURE. No breakouts from this, highly recommend. Perfect for travel as well.