I am one of the lucky ones: I have adult acne. I remember as a teen thinking that by the time I graduated college, I wouldn't have to worry about breakouts anymore. Ha! Here I am, nearing thirty, and still dealing with acne. In fact, until recently I was getting more breakouts than I did in high school. Below is the routine I've found that's working for me now!
Anyone who knows me, knows I just love researching things. From celebrity couple origins to cults to hair styling, I spend a lot of time learning random thing. It's a big part of why I love doing our podcast, because it allows me to justify falling down rabbit holes of researching. I am the same when it comes to skincare. I know all about different molecular structures, pH balance, acids, retinoids, retinols, layering... the list goes one!
My vast knowledge of skincare has come from being plagued with problematic skin my whole life. About my skin: My skin is normal to combination (oilier in the Summer), acne-prone, and EXTREMELY sensitive. I have to be very careful with body lotions, laundry detergents, fragrances, etc. because I break out in hives very easily. Same goes for my face, I get rashes, bumps, dry patches, and acne from so many products, it's hard to know what the culprit is sometimes.
That being said, finding a good skincare routine that is gentle enough not to freak out my skin, but effective enough to keep acne at bay, has been quite a journey. I discovered The Ordinary a few months ago and it has changed my skincare game.
If you're not familiar, The Ordinary is a relatively new skincare brand that is supposed to sell scientifically-based formulas at a low price point. The formulas are sensitive-skin friendly, don't have fragrance, and are generally no-frills.
Below is the routine I've found that works best for me.
Hyaluronic acid serum applied on freshly washed, damp face, all the way around the eyes
Niacinamide applied once face is dried off and the serum is absorbed
Tinted moisturizer with physical sunscreen (chemical sunscreens break me out)
*A couple times a week, or before a night out, I will wash my face then apply a glycolic acid toner and a moisturizer before my makeup. It's good to switch things up! Just always be careful to research product interactions, you can't use glycolic acid with niacinamide or retinol, for example.
Face wash (really massage it in and get everything off)
Moisturizer (I alternate, whatever I have) applied when face is still wet
Face oil mixed with moisturizer only if my face is very irritated or dry
Aquaphor applied in corners of eyes, around nostrils, and in corners of mouth (this protects these sensitive areas from the Differin)
Differin gel (now available over-the-counter) applied once face is dried off and the moisturizer is absorbed
Benzoyl peroxide lotion (safe to use with Differin) applied on any breakouts or congested spots
Intensive lip balm (it's necessary to use a very good lip moisturizer when using Differin)
If you don't have acne-prone skin, but want to revamp you skincare, I still suggest looking into The Ordinary. They might have a perfectly good alternative to something you love for a lot less money... winning! And, if you email them your concerns, they will email you back with a personalized regimen they recommend just for you, so you don't have to turn into a faux-dermatologist like me. However, if you are interested in learning more about skincare, my three favorite resources are: ttSandra, Caroline Hirons, and Dr. Dray.
The one thing I haven't settled on is a good eye cream. I can never tell a difference from using one and they can be so expensive, it's like throwing money away. Do you have one you love?