lil-bee: the glamorizer

How I healed my chemical burns
Saturday, April 13, 2013 | 9:29 AM | Comment ⇢
As promised, a healing post for what worked for me. These things helped me completely heal my burns in a week but that being said, its important to understand that my burns weren't that extensive (though they certainly looked it to me!) and so this process might take longer to work on you. I also have dry skin and since my methods of healing involve oil-heavy moisture masks, if might not be appropriate for someone suffering from acne, etc. I was also at home during this entire week and was thus able to do these things (I was on Easter break) but if I had school, this process would have most definitely taken longer (not to mention, be embarrassing too!) so yeah. 

This is what I used for the healing: 

Emu Oil (I used Emu Oil Well's Rosehip Emu Oil) 

Hyaluronic Acid (I used Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Essence) 

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly 

Sheet Mask (I washed an old used one I had from Asia a while back; I washed it and kept it in the fridge) 


This is what I used to complement the healing: 

Avene Thermal Spray

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume 

Pierre Fabre Dexeryl Cream 

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash

This is what I did:

1. Right after washing the chemicals off my face (make sure to neutralise the acid!), I sprayed some cool Avene Thermal Water and lightly rubbed in some HA (thats Hyaluronic Acid) with some Emu Oil. After that absorbed, I layered a thick mask of Cicaplast, reapplying every few hours when it dried down. Before going to sleep, I rubbed in the remaining Cicaplast and added a thick layer of Vaseline in my face, concentrating on the burn patches, and put on the Sheet Mask on top, sleeping with it. I repeated this for the first three/four days, after which patches were pretty much healed (the angry red turned brown, skin was less dry and tight and in pain). In the mornings, I'd wash my face was a gentle cleanser to clear up the Vaseline buildup.

2. After my face healed a bit more, I stopped using the Vaseline and used my gentle moisturisers throughout the day. The Lipikar has nicotinamide which builds strong skin (it can tingle though so I waited till I was healed) and the Dexeryl is a gentle eczema cream. While I personally used the Elemis enzyme wash a bit too fast, I would recommend using it towards the end - 4th/5th day for me, when the brown patches would randomly come off themselves (the enzyme accelerates this peeling process). And that was that.

I think the key to this is patience, moisture and healing ingredients. And if you go out, you MUST use a strong suncream. Its preferable to not expose your delicate skin to the sun, but not everyone can be on a break so .. this is also why I think the best time to do a peel would be Friday evening so you've got the weekend at least and can protect your skin when its at its most fragile state. You also need to make sure you don't pick at your skin (like I did :/) as this is almost always lead to hyperpigmentation and maybe even worse (scar tissue).

*I starred the Biafine as even though I have heard AMAZING things about it, I didn't personally use it during my healing process (it arrived too late) but have included it as its supposed to accelerate healing. It is a French pharmacy product, prescription only in the US, I believe. I got it off Ebay but I'll be sure to stock up on it when / if I go to France. There are two variation of this - Biafine and Biafine ACT. They are both aimed at burned skin, though Biafine is more medical grade and for more serious burns so I'm assuming its the stronger of the two.

So if you are thinking of going for a chemical peel, be careful, be wary and be prepared! I hope this helps.

Status Updates ..
Sunday, April 7, 2013 | 9:09 AM | Comment ⇢
.. for my Chemical Burn:
[I'll keep updating this post throughout my healing period]

8 - 9 Hours After Peel

It was time for bed so I finally decided to rub in the thick layers of Cicaplast Baume I had kept slathering over my face since the peel. My red patches have turned into brown scabby patches. Very noticeable. I mean I knew this would likely happen, though I guess part of me was still in denial and thought it wouldn't happen to me. Hope it doesn't get worse tomorrow. Mum is gonna KILL me if she finds out.


The Next Day ~ 20 Hours After Peel

I was so scared that mum would see my face that I couldn't really sleep all night lol. Was drifting in and out and having some weird funky dreams (as I always do) and finally drifted properly out at 8:45 ish. Mum was still asleep, snoring loudly. I looked at myself on my phone camera and freaked out - things looked BAD. Tried to lie still and hide my face. Was playing dead like this till sometime around 11 or 12 and then fell asleep.


Afternoon ~ 24 Hours After Peel

I woke up again around 2 pm (I know //). The brown patches had gotten darker overnight and I had more patches visible today in the sunlight then last night, especially since the rest of my face is back to being its normal pale colour. Heard mum coming up to call me for lunch so I quickly ran to the bathroom with all my ointments and what not. Washed face (was tempted to use my Elemis Tri-Enzyme cleanser to get rid of the brown patches but resisted), sprayed Avene Thermal Water, put on Hyaluronic Acid (Hada Labo's Moisture Essence EX), emu oil & Cicaplast Baume. Skin was tight and slightly burny. Mum was getting suspicious so I finally rubbed some BB cream (Missha Perfect Cover in 27), put on a scarf and went downstairs feeling scared. She looked at my face a bit funny and asked me what I put in it as it was looking a bit off so I told her to stop being silly and that it was just an ointment. Quickly went upstairs to save myself from her suspicions.


Late Afternoon

Face was feeling itchy and dry so I knew I had to take everything off and put on a thicker moisturiser. Found out that mum some club event to go to so was thinking of hiding out till she left. She started getting suspicious and annoyed (I'm supposed to be doing my essay and I work at the dining table) and I was getting panicky about how to hide my face from her. I read that you can apply a thick layer of Vaseline petroleum jelly and that sounded really soothing to my dry skin right now (I could use my normal creams - La Roche-Posay's Lipikar Baume and Avene's Cold Cream but decided against it as Lipikar kind of stings [due to nicotinamide] and Avene needs to be rubbed in and I didn't wanna put myself through that) and I decided to go find some after washing my face with cold water and my cleansing oil. At some point mum came back up so I had to hide my face and run to my room without her seeing or getting suspicious. I was SO scared. Thankfully I made my escape downstairs after putting on all the different creams & oils while she was busy praying. I then put a thick layer of Vaseline on my face and hid my face by putting on an old sheet mask from Thailand that I had kept refrigerated. My skin feels nice and cool without the earlier tightness and hopefully it will heal up nicely. Still need to buy some Biafine just in case this happens again (hopefully not) and to speed up the process. Hopefully mum won't get suspicious if I wear the mask all day, including to bed. Just need to get through tomorrow morning and then I'll be safe while she's at work!



Kept my face under layer of Vaseline for the most part, keeping it covered with the sheet mask when people came near me. I like the mask, it keeps the Vaseline in place while protects fly-away hairs and other things from getting into contact & it keeps my face nice and cool. After Asr / Magrib (evening prayers around 7:45 pm), I washed my face with cold water (didn't get rid of the Vaseline) and after my emu/HA (hyaluronic acid) combination, put on a thick layer of Cicaplast and stayed mask free for a while. Parents came back around 10 pm so thats when the mask went back on, after a thin-ish layer of Vaseline. When it was time for bed, I finally rubbed in all the potions and lotions and felt like skin was doing a bit better. Initially washed with my mild Purity (from Philosophy) cleanser and saw some patchy bits coming off (TMI, sorry) so got over-excited and used my Elemis enzyme cleanser and rubbed around the brown patches till they came off. While some of them are smooth / flat (but still red), one particular under-scab(/brown patch) reveal left me with a raised sort of patch of red. I really should have waited till tomorrow morning, or even the day after, to do the cleanse and now I'm worried it will form a scar / thicker scab. Hope my Biafine arrives fast! After cleansing, put on everything + thick layer of Vaseline + sheet mask and am planning on sleeping with it on. Will wake up at dawn for praying and hopefully when I lift the sheet, I won't be greeted by angry brown patchlings. I swear I'm too impatient. Also, more concerned about mum finding out then potential scars. Idiotidiotidiot.


The Next Morning

Woke up dreading the mirror when I took my mask off, which stayed pretty put all night. Looked in the mirror ... its not scabbed! Thank God for that ... though I'm going to be wary and not get all excited because the day is young and anything can happen. I wanna let me skin breathe a bit so I'll probably hold off the Vaseline till night and just keep applying Cicaplast and some HA throughout the day, especially since I don't have to hide from mum. Patches, while not scabby or brown, as still pink & one of them is still a bit raised, so scarring is possible still .. we'll see :/ patiently waiting it out this week (and hoping my Biafine arrives soon) while trying to rush do all these essays :O


Late Afternoon ~ 48 Hours After Peel

I had a chance to examine the patches closely and oye .. it looks real bad. The patches are all red and leathery and I'm SO scared that they will develop into scars / thick scabs that will take me forever to get rid of :( I'm such an impatient buffoon. I really should have waited till today morning, or heck a few days from now, before deciding to forcefully peel  off the brown skin before the skin underneath had a chance to heal. I'm hoping these fat layers of Cicaplast and Vaseline will protect it enough and I'm religiously staying away from the sun (like I do anyway) so hopefully hyperpigmentation will be minimal (none?). I'll need to use some of my Vit C as soon as I can, but till then I've been loading up on Vitamin C supplements with MSM every morning. Man, I don't even wanna think about the acne I could break out with due to all these comedogenic layers I'm slathering myself in ://



I've had a layer of Cicaplast on my face the whole day (no mask though) and having a fat layer without rubbing it in really helps keep your skin hydrated and moisturised. I think this is key in healing facial wounds of this type as dryness can lead to the formation of marks. I'm hoping this minimises my chances of getting scars and lets the skin heal relatively quickly (when I looked at the mirror the few times I rubbed my cream in, the marks looked less red, but who knows, maybe I'm hallucinating what I want to see). Few hours before bedtime, I put a thick masque like layer of Cicaplast on my face though and put the sheet mask on 3 hours later to help my skin soak in the Baume. I plan on sleeping with it on, but since Cicaplast is thinner (and therefore more slippery) than Vaseline, I don't know how this will work out. I'll let you know tomorrow.


Late Afternoon ~ 72 Hours After Peel

So as I suspected, the mask was too slippery and I had a lot of trouble manoeuvring around when I went to sleep (I do that a lot. I can also only sleep on my side / stomach so yeah .. MESSY) and the moisture leaked out onto my arms. When I woke up, the mask had someone come off my face when I was moving around in deep sleep and ended up under my pillow?! So anyhow, when I woke up my face was dry since it didn't have the Vaseline cover like before. When I went to wash my face, more of the skin was peeling off so I thought it was time to do my enzyme wash again and all the skin came off relatively fast, revealing nice, new HEALED skin underneath. As for the raw red patches, they are still red .. though slightly less so but they do look like the weird tightness you get on healing skin. This tightness usually develops into hard brown skin so yeah ... I most probably will end up with marks. Hopefully not bad ones, but you know. I just wish I had waited even one day, heck, even 8 hours of sleep would have made a huge difference. I guess I was really lucky that it wasn't half as bad as it could have (should have) been and that it healed fast (because it wasn't that damaged to begin with) with my slathering layers. Thankfully I didn't have school so I could do this lol. I guess I'll update if I notice any changes to the patches (one of the red ones look a bit brown today, but as not dark / scabby), if not, it will be a new Heal Post. My Biafine also hasn't arrived yet .. bit late, but its good to have it on hand just in case this happens again (touchwood inshAllah not). Ciao for now x


A Week Later ~ Final Update

Okay so late update on my skin people. The patches have turned brown though thankfully there were no raised scar tissues so thats one good thing I suppose. I looked at my starting pictures taken a few hours after the peel and damn ... I really did get off quite easy. Its frustrating that I could have healed with no hyperpigmentation if I hadn't touched my skin so aggressively but what is done is done I suppose. The Biafine also finally arrived, only 5 days too late so I don't really know how effective it would be in the healing process. It is a drier formula, like some eczema creams I've tried (diprobase) and unlike Cicaplast or Vaseline, it dried fairly quickly when I put some on my face as a thick layer. I would definitely use an oilier base, like HA & emu oil before trying to use Biafine as its kind of hard to rub around and might be painful when I've got fresh burns. I guess I have to wait and see how it performs if I get burned again which hopefully won't happen! Guess thats it for now. 

Healing Chemical Burns ... the stupid things I do to myself
Saturday, April 6, 2013 | 2:47 PM | Comment ⇢
Sometimes I do the most stupid things that make me go d'oh and hit my head. I look back at my deeds and think … what was I thinking?! The answer comes back to me as a blank. I wasn't thinking at all.

Usually this non-thinking is limited to silly things, like when I was 9 and wanted to have a fringe .. and decided to take matters in my own hands. I kept making it shorter and ended up with a little rectangular patch of hair, my own version of an astro turf. I'd call it can afro turf but it was more spiky than fluffy and I had to oil it up and force it down with multiple bobby pins. Thankfully I only got stick for it from my mum (literally) and female cousins / 'friends' (losers preoccupied with such useless things) and since I mostly hung out with guys, it wasn't too bad. Well clearly, since I went on to repeat this mistake 2 or 3 more times (by the 5th time, I had gotten hang of it and knew how much to snip and when to stop).

Other times its a bit serious and usually involves my face (harder to hide). Like the time I tried to get rid of my manly moustache by using my mum's nair depilatory cream for facial hair, kept it on for too long and then tried to wax off the remaining hair and ended up ripping off my skin. Okay, that sounds worse than it was but I did end up with some hyperpigmentation (dark patches) around my mouth and couldn't even cover it up with make up during secondary school so …

But the worse thing I've done so far? The chemical burn I gave myself all over my face by doing the most stupid illogical thing ever. As you may be aware from my rushed skin routine, I'm kind of a big fan of chemical exfoliation over manual (which I still maintain is bad for skin) and of exfoliating my skin in general anyway. I've used glycolic acid toners (mild), AHA / BHA washes, enzyme cleansers, hot cloth cleansers, lactic acid peels and more recently, Retin-A.

Pretty much all the exfoliation I use is very basic / not harmful .. except the Retin-A  and the lactic acid peels, which both are very potent. I've used the lactic acid peels quite a few times, 10 times or so I reckon .. and used to do it once a week or so. Then I got lazy and stopped using it for a good few months (6 or so?) because I started up a new regime and wanted to test out how it was doing in treating my pigmentation. Retin-A is something new in my regime and its been around a month and some more since I started using it. I read up on it extensively (as I do most things to do with my skin .. the joys of having sensitive / eczema skin eh) and prepared my skin for months by slowly getting it used to Retin-A, first through a weaker derivative, Avene Triacneal, and then by using the lowest strength (0.025), buffering it up with creams, using a pea-size, etc. I've also stopped using other strong exfoliants / serums (such as my Vit C).

I started slow and I was doing good. After a while, I wanted to do a lactic peel since it had been so long and I felt like I got into grip with the Retin-A and my skin was ready. First time, it went very smoothly. So smoothly that I had doubts about if I had done the pre-wash correctly since it barely stung and I could keep it on the whole 7 minutes. So today, a week or less later, I decided to do it again. I can't remember, but I think the first peel was done with a day's gap between my Retin-A treatment at night. This one, wasn't. I did it a few hours after waking up .. so the Retin-A was very much still in my system & the results … they were ugly.

This is why this tops the list at one of the most dumbest things I have ever done to myself. I put the peel on and it stung like hell, no biggie I thought, since it does that at the beginning anyway. But I should have known not to be so over confident and put such a thick layer on because it did sting more than usual and most definitely more than the peel I did a week ago. Peels usually stop stinging after the first minute but this one got worse over time. I really should have washed it off after the minimum 2/3 minutes but arrogantly thought I could handle it for longer since my last peel was 7 minutes long (which was a stupid thinking since I felt like I hadn't done the pre-wash properly and still had residual eczema cream protecting me).

I can't remember how long I waited, but after 5 or 6 or whatever minutes of increasing pain, I looked in the mirror, saw some frosting / mild burning and ran to wash it off, pronto. And while splashing cold water to my face, I had moments of panic and almost had a full blown attack. The water was stinging, MUCH more than usual, and my face looked horrid. Parts of my face were frosty and swelled (which had never happened before) while the rest of my face was red (this is normal after a peel). Horror stories about chemical burns kept flooding into me while I soaked my face in a basin of cold water while thinking oh god, the acid is burning up my face, what if I die, what if I have a horrible burn and go blind?!

I managed to calm down enough to remember that I had to quickly neutralise the acid before doing anything else. I sprinted myself with some witch hazel (which neutralises your skin and restores it to the normal pH balance) and quickly looked at what I could do to damage control. As I read stories from people, I began to feel more calm because it didn't look like I damaged myself as much as many of the other people had. I was using a low strength lactic acid, which is the weakest AHA acid to begin with, I think, especially compared to glycolic acid. I quickly put on some emu oil and hyaluronic acid as advices, got my La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume out (its supposed to help with healing) and prayed my skin wouldn't get as bad as I read.

The one good news I got was that my burns weren't as extensive as other burns I'd read about and it was likely that it would heal in a week or so. I was hopeful that it wouldn't become too bad / obvious over the week (old skin is supposed to scab up and peel off as it heals) and I was glad I was still on easter break for the next week. All that changed when my mum saw my face.

She screamed out loud, asking me what I'd done and should she call the ER. I didn't even think she'd notice since my face gets a bit red sometimes and I didn't think it was that noticeable. Well, I looked at the mirror in her room (which has more sunlight) and kind of freaked out myself (inwardly). Rather than the even red I get all over sometimes, this time I had patches of red skin, very noticeable since the rest of me was all pale white. I guess till then I was sort of in denial that I really had given myself chemical burns and thought my skin would calm down after a while (I had been around 2 hours since the peel when I saw my mum).

I had to act nonchalant in front of mum cos otherwise I'd smack me up the head if she knew how I really got the burns and that they were indeed burns. I told her that this had happened to me many times because I have sensitive skin and was just the result of an overzealous exfoliation and that it would die down in a few hours. She wouldn't buy it but thankfully she had a wedding function to attend and so left me be, after tutting at my stupidity (that my dad happily joined in to).

Its been around 5 hours after the peel and my face / marks are still red & prominent, perhaps even more so now that the rest of my face is less red / back to its characteristic paleness. Whats worse is that some of the red has turned into a patchy light brown and I know my mum is gonna FLIP when if she sees it. I've been reading up on heal times / treatments on the net while spraying myself with cold Avene Thermal water & slathering on some hyaluronic acid + emu oil, before applying a thick layer of Cicaplast Baume.

I know it could have been MUCH much worse, so Alhamdullilah my stupidity didn't cost me much (people frown at 'only' leaving a day's gap between the Retin-A and peels … I can only imagine how they'd cringe if they heard that I only left a few hours in between - you're advised to leave at least 3 days to a week or so). I'm not too worried and I know it will heal inshAllah. What I am freaking out about is my mum screaming the house down. I've got to contend with her all day tomorrow (weekend) and Monday morning since she's going to the GP with me (and I swear I feel like she's going to ask the GP to subscribe something to me and force me to explain myself). I'll just have to cover it up a bit with some BB cream or something. Which isn't gonna be doing wonders for the heal time, let me tell you.

Will I stop doing these things to myself now? Well, I'm definitely not stopping the peels, though I WILL be MUCH MUCH more careful in the future, you better believe. I know many of you will be shaking your heads, but the peels have done wonders for me. Could I live without it? Yeah. But why not accelerate my journey to get rid of all my pigmentation when I can? What happened here was drastic, but entirely due to my extreme hit-worthy stupidity & I'm positive if I follow the rules, all will be okay. I'm just hoping it heals up fast and doesn't get worse overnight or I'll have to seriously reconsider using a peel for a long time lol.

I'll be dabbing myself with my healing combo and hopefully it will get better before getting worse .. and fast. I'll also have to think of ways to hide my face from my mum for a while. This is the hardest in the mornings when she comes to wake me up by pulling the covers off my face (this is how she found out about my eyebrow piercing and that was NOT a pretty sight oye). I'm worried it will get worse overnight and when she pulls the covers I'll have a face full of brown marks or something *gulp*. Hopefully not!

Have you been through something like this? Would you recommend anything more to speed up the healing process so I have minimal brown marks??? I know I will definitely NOT pick at it or anything and keep using what I'm using. I'm also planning on getting some Biafine cream (or Biafine ACT, which is weaker, I think) from France (online) as its supposed to be really good for healing. I'm hoping the damage isn't very extensive (Biafine is used for burn victims) but I'd like to get it sorted quickly either way. If it gets worse, I'll look and see if I have any hydrocortisone left from my inflamed eczema patches and put them on my burns in a day or two. I've also read that Preparation-H cream can help so maybe I'll look into that too. Do you have any other tips? Pray it goes well!

Skin Care Routine - Dry Patches / Mild Eczema (Seborrheic Dermatitis; Acne); Hyperpigmentation & Uneven Skin Tone
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 7:04 PM | Comment ⇢
This was originally posted on my personal blog, Welcome to Random Town; I decided to post it here as a start before I get time to organise everything and start on all the posts I've got planned up :)

Sorry for the most boring post title I have done ever but I thought let me make it relatively straight forward for someone if they have the same problems and want to Google for solutions. This is a long email I sent my friend because she asked me to recommend a face wash for her acne prone skin. These are things I'm currently using (hopefully I'll cover things I've used in the past that have helped in a post in the future) and they've really helped me go closer to the great skin I had before university happened and violated my face with spots and stress-triggered dry patches (I've got mild eczema i.e seborrheic dermatitis) and they've worked in a short amount of time. I haven't done a post in a while and I already had this done up so decided to post it up as is. Might change it to be more clear in the future. If you are facing any of the post-title-mentioned problems, this post might be for you :) 

Okay, let me start off with a brief about my skin! I've got very dry skin, with some patches of mild eczema, uneven skin tone that gets easily marked. I don't get a lot of acne Alhamdullilah but unfortunately they all cluster in the same place and I always get hyperpigmentation (dark spots / marks) so it looks really shit like a cluster fudge of acne. So below are the products I use which work for me - I'm mainly fighting with the marks left over from old spots and keeping my dry patches at bay / skin moisturised.  Everyone is different so there products might not work for you .. always google the product name with the terms 'review blog' (I always do this) and check out different blogs and what they gotta say .. and shop around cos products are usually cheaper online and once you find a vendor, you can always look for voucher codes to make it cheaper! 

These are the products I'm currently using right now that should also work for your acne prone / maybe slightly oily face -> Avene Triacneal at night, around a pea size but sometimes more since my skin is used to the slightly harsher ingredients now and nothing else at night [though I end up using some moisturiser a while after the Triacneal, right before bed, if I feel dry]; 3 pumps of UNT C Clarity (vitamin C) Serum in the morning (this STINGS like hell), wait for around 30 minutes for it to soak in and the skin pH to return to normal, followed by my creams. Important step that you must not skip, even if you have acne - USE SUNCREAM. Black or white, it protects from UVA/UVB (so essentially skin cancer) and also stops acne marks from getting work / darkening.

Search for Avene Triacneal online as its usually much cheaper, esp if you use discount codes / cash back. I've had mine for around 2 to 3 months and still not gone through the tube so it will last a while and is definitely worth it! The UNT stuff, I use their exfoliator and their Vit C serum is one of the best out there, highest % of Vit C allowed in any serum and extremely cheap compared to all other Vitamin C serums (most are around 40$ + for a lower % while UNT is $20). They usually have great deals and free shipping worldwide! 

Anyhoo so first up lets start with cleansing. We cleanse our face waaay too much, and this will catch up to us when we're old! Its best to cleanse your face once a day, usually at night so all the make up and grime is off and just wash with water in the morning .. helps keep dryness at bay! I have bare cleansers in the bathroom but I mostly rotate through three KINDS of cleansers - oil cleanser, cream cleanser and a very light foaming low soap cleanser. I use the oil cleanser pretty much every day, its amazing massaging it in and it takes make up off really quickly! I personally am now using Etat Pur's oil cleanser, you should check them out because they do some really good French skin care and the first order at least is cheap cos of free shipping and free samples! Anyway, you can even make your own oil cleanser, Google it because its really good! You can also check out this video about it :) -> .. the other cleanser I use like maybe once a week or when I feel like I need to exfoliate is a cream cleanser. I've tried different ones and they are all good, but specifically, I've heard AMAZING things about Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser. Speaking of that, muslin clothes are so awesome. I've stopped using exfoliators because they are so bad for your skin, and use a muslin cloth to basically take off all my cleansers. You can find cheap muslin cloths, just Google :) finally (but not the least), I use a foaming cleanser ONLY when I feel like I need extra clean skin. Usually oil cleansing twice and taking it off with a muslin cloth makes me feel clean enough so I don't usually need this as much :) for recommendations, I'm currently using Purity by Philosophy .. but its not really important for me I guess. 

A REALLY good cleansing method is using an Enzyme cleanser or peel. Basically its like a cream cleanser but the enzyme helps exfoliate your dead skin without any pushing and pulling because sometimes a muslin cloth can make your skin sensitive as well. One of the ones I've heard of is the Tri-Surfacing one from Elemis. That being said, I've recently gotten some stuff from this Taiwanese beauty brand I've heard A LOT of good things about (seriously, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese brands are super effective) called UNT that do some really good stuff for cheap so you might wanna check it out on their site and they've got some promotions atm as well :) and some really good oil cleansers too!

Most important thing is, don't over cleanse and also I think cleanser is least effective in tackling stuff like acne, etc. Because it doesn't stay in your face long enough to work (you are actually suppose to massage in the oil cleanser / cream / enzyme for around a minute and for enzyme anyway keep it on for a minute to work its magic) that kinda makes sense .. so I guess don't worry about it too much. A lot of acne specific stuff is very very harsh and ironically some of the ingredients might get rid of acne but make scarring worse because the ingredients like oxidise or something.

Moving on, after I wash my face, I always use whatever serums I'm using while my face is damp / wet-ish. This is because the skin is most receptive when your skin is wet so it absorbs quicker and gets in deeper. Gold star product for me is Avene Triacneal (it used to be called Diacneal if you wanna Google) which is a Retin-A like product with glycolic acid which helps clear marks and exfoliate skin. Its VERY effective at minimising pores, clearing up marks and drying up acne .. but the reason why is because it uses strong ingredients (but not necessarily harsh). I'm used to it so I use it almost every night, a pea size amount to my whole face while its slightly damp. Sometimes when I've got a spot or something, I'll put a tiny amount on the spot after using a pea size on my entire face. Because you haven't used these kind of products before, I'd suggest start off with once a week, before slowly working up to every other night / every night. For me personally, when I use Triacneal, I don't use anything else that night because it lowers how effective it is BUT if you want you can use it with other products. You gotta use it around 30 minutes or so after cleansing your face and using a light moisturiser just so you can ease into using the product  and don't use it on damp skin or its too effective! 

Other treatment kind of leave in products good for acne is the Effaclar Duo range from La-Roche Posay. I swear, Avene and La-Rocher Posay, both French brands, are like my skin care lovers. Their stuff is SO good, slightly more expensive but worth the price because they are so effective! These treatment things need to be used at night because they exfoliate skin and therefore make you more sensitive to the sun. Another great item, and the first one that introduced me to the world of glycolic acid (a really great AHA exfoliant) is Alpha-H's Liquid Gold. Check out amodelrecommends because its her top product. Its great but expensive .. and I feel like for me at least, I've got more stronger products (like the Avene) which do the same thing for cheaper. Anyway.

Like I said, I pretty much use Triacneal, and on its own, at night, every night BUT if I feel like my skin is peeling too much then I'll let it rest a while and not use it / layer up my face with 4 serums and a thick cream (not even exaggerating .. this is WHY people say they can't tell when I tell them I've got eczema). Thats the other thing, these chemical exfoliants are great because you aren't physically scratching at your skin like grainy exfoliators, but the bad thing is that they can be a bit too good at their job and cause peeling as your dead skin sheds itself .. they also penetrate the skin better than normal exfoliators. Its best to take it slow because you don't want to over exfoliate so you should start off slow. The peeling can get to some people, but this is where the muslin cloth and cleanser can some in handy and really get rid of the peeling dead skin. Another great and more gentle way is to use an enzyme cleanser.

On to .. moisturiser! This is my daytime routine after washing my face with water! I use a few treatment serums but obviously I have dry skin so I use thick moisturiser on top. You can have dry skin that gets acne, like me, and you can have oily skin as well, combination, dehydrated (which is different from dry), etc. But regardless, ALL skin needs some moisturisation. So on this department unfortunately I can't say much for your skin type but try and look at different beauty blogs for their advice :) I know the Effaclar range (which targets acne) do some moisturisers, cleansers, etc. In fact, I'd highly recommend checking out their site and looking at their products on the Escentual site which has the cheapest La-Roche and Avene stuff online (not counting the deals Boots sometimes runs).

The MOST important skin care item EVERYONE needs is sun cream. Every person, black, brown or white, needs to use SPF 30 or higher to protect against UVA and UBV. Sun makes our acne worse in terms of the scars and can cause hyperpigmentation because acne products are strong, they leave the skin more exfoliated and therefore more vulnerable to sun damage. This is so important to stop premature aging, hyperpigmentation and loads of other stuff! Any product you use, you won't fully reap the rewards unless you use SPF! Now not all SPFs are made equal, some have oxybenzone that can actually oxidise and make marks worse. Some sun creams I found that don't use this is Number 7's Anti-Dark Spot cream I think its called .. and also, the Anthelios range by La-Roche Posay. I always use around 40 - 50 SPF.

Finally, a really good product for amazing skin is Vitamin C serums. They are really effective and therefore really expensive but I use the C Clarity from the UNT Taiwanese brand and it makes your skin glow :D amazing stuff .. though you gotta be careful with Vit C because if it gets exposed, it can get bad and oxidise (it will change color from clear to like a dark color when that happens) and damage your skin. But otherwise, its amazing stuff!

Soooo in last remarks, for acne, I would recommend the treatments I mentioned before, more the Avene as its stronger .. though depending on your skin you might wanna start off with Effaclar Dua first. The range also do cleansers, etc. In terms of bare minimals, I'd say one needs a good cleanser to get rid of make up / creams, etc .. I would lean towards oil cleanser or an enzyme one if you want a two in one cleanser and exfoliator; then for night time I'd use Triacneal; day time a good Vit C serum and my creams. ALWAYS USE SUNCREAM. This is so so important, I can't stress this enough!

ALSO, Effaclar Duo / Triacneal / Enzyme WILL sting. It shouldn't do it much, but there is a tingle for like half a minute or so if you aren't used to the products. Take it slow, remember that skin goes through a purging before getting better so you probably will get spots .. don't freak out because its getting rid of all of that from your skin before making it better so give it around 6 weeks to work its magic but I'm telling you from personal experience, I've had Triacneal for a bit more than a week and I LOVE it! Avene also do some acne stuff called Cleanance I think, and they tend to be cheaper then La Roche Posay so you might want to check it out. Remember to Google reviews before buying products, and looking for discount vouchers!

For oil cleanser, enzyme exfoliator and Vit C serum, I would highly suggest you try UNT! They've got a buy 2 get 1 free promotion across their site atm so you can get a 150 ml oil cleanser, 100 ml enzyme cleanser and a 35 ml vit C for £32, free shipping and you can try a free 5 ml sample .. and if you google price of Vit C serums, they are really expensive (the pure ones) .. and UNT stuff is REALLY good stuff at amazing value so I would highly recommend it :D you can try out these products -> (oil cleanser),*CLARITY (vit C) and (exfoliator)

Finally, this is an important page to read about how to use Triacneal, as even though it isn't a straight up retinol (its much weaker), its good to use the same progress / be careful :)

Important notes:

1. You use these products all over your face (and neck if you want. Vit C makes your overall skin brighten up / even up while Skin Foods whitens everything up so obviously if you use it over your neck both should lighten together rather than you ended up with a different coloured neck!) so the Triacneal for example would be a pea sized amount all over your face. If you have a particularly annoying big spot and you've used Triacneal enough to be able to handle it, after applying a pea size to your entire face, you can apply a tiny dot amount directly on your acne, this should dry it up in a few days

2. You are likely to get worse before you get better in terms of acne. This is purging as the products exfoliate and get all the impurities out so don't get freaked out if you start getting more breakouts after using following this as they should get better after around 4 weeks or so. If after 6 - 7 weeks you feel like there is no improvement (I suggest taking pictures like once a week or something in the same place, maybe your room, under the same lighting and camera settings as this helps compare progress) then I'm afraid its not for you though I've read most people to benefit from these products!

3. Its important to moisturise and exfoliate. Triacneal exfoliates your skin and this ends up with peeling as the dead skin is coming off. You can aid this through exfoliation (NOT grainy exfoliator as your skin is more sensitive, read my first email for more information about gel exfoliators!) so your skin doesn't get all peely and flaky. Because it exfoliates, the new emerging skin needs protection (SPF!!!) and moisture. Regardless of what kind of skin you have, get the right moisturiser for you. If you use the Tomato Serum and feel its moisturising enough with the SPF on top thats fine, only you know and feel if your skin is dry .. and if it is, find the right cream / lotion for you!

4. Suncreams are tricky as most leave us with a white cast, etc and a lot of them can be pore clogging. I guess trying different creams before buying a full size so it doesn't break you out. UNT does some nice suncreams too and since they are Asian Suncreams, they are famous for mattifying your face and controlling oil so might be a good option for you!

5. I know these products are expensive compared to drugstore products (well not the Vit C, effective Vit C with 20% Ascorbic Acids cost crazy amounts and don't work half as good as UNT!) but they are high quality and actually work. I tried different drugstore products earlier when I was younger but they just didn't work in the same way / as fast so I either had to buy more of them as they ran out quicker or I had to buy other products as they stopped working. So in the long run, instead of buying a new cream, it not working and buying another cream next month, a total cost of $30 ($15 for each cream), its better to buy a cream thats actually working for $30 from the start

Okay sorry for this huge essay but I hope it helps you!