lil-bee: the glamorizer


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 :) -> http://youtu.be/_uymyOoFGS8 .. 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 http://shopunt.com/ 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 -> http://www.shopunt.com/eng/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?id=1425&Name=FLORAISON (oil cleanser), http://www.shopunt.com/eng/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?id=469&Name=C*CLARITY (vit C) and http://www.shopunt.com/eng/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?id=456&Name=BRIGHTENING+EXFOLIATOR (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 :) http://www.skinacea.com/retinoids/use-retinoids-right-part-one.html#.UMpPVo4uCi8

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! 








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