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I thought I would write a quick skincare update for anyone who was wondering how it's been going. I'm still dealing with acne, but it's going down... slowly. I did change up my routine a bit as well. I have been doing more research and found some other products that I absolutely love so far.
Number one product I am in love with is the CeraVe moisturizing cream. There is a lotion that I got as well and I like it, but it's not thick enough for my face. I am now using it on my body after showers, which works great. But the cream in the pot is thicker and absolutely amazing on my face or any dry patches (like elbows). I mean, I'd probably use it on my whole body, but sometimes thick creams are harder to spread on larger surfaces and I'm lazy! But I absolutely adore this as a facial moisturizer. It actually makes my face more matte after applying, and it feels so good! I use it around my eyes as well. Most thick creams have made my eyelids puff up when I use them overnight, but not this one. It comes in a large tub (now with a pump, which is awesome), but I got it in a small travel size to test out first. I definitely recommend this moisturizer if you have dry skin like me and need something that isn't greasy.
I found a few great reddit groups that have so much good information. In case you are interested, do check out SkincareAddiction and AsianBeauty. I've been spending a lot of time on SkincareAddiction, but both seem pretty awesome. I learned a lot about the ph of your skin and why it's important in skincare. Here's a great article if you want to learn more on the subject.
I've also switched out a few of the "actives" I had been using. I decided to try for a stronger retinol cream, so I stopped using the Paula's Choice 1% retinol product. I thought it was an ok product, but when I started using it I did find a slight bit of itching under one of my eyes (it could have been from something else I was using, though), which usually means for me that it's causing an allergic reaction. It didn't get any further than that, though, so who knows. Now I am using tretinoin .025%, and I haven't noticed any itching. In fact, I haven't noticed much of any of the side effects people say you will experience when starting a prescription strength retinol. Most people say you will peel like crazy, but I haven't experienced this. I eased into it, though, starting with just 2-3 times a week, at night. It took me a couple of weeks before I started using it every night. The only issue I have come across is the "purging" which I believe I have been experiencing since starting retinol. It apparently causes many people to break out more than they usually do when they start (possibly due to the increased skin cell turnover), for a couple of weeks or more. You can read up on why this is if you are curious (do a search for "tretinoin purge" on the reddit group "SkincareAddicts"). I am hoping my skin is finally starting to calm down in that department, but I am still breaking out a little bit (not as bad though, crossing fingers!). I will say the tretinoin really helps speed up the healing process after a breakout, though!
Another acid I have been loving is the Paula's Choice 2% salicylic acid and the BHA9 for spots. I will say that the salicylic acid works much better when I leave it on to work for several minutes to an hour before applying my moisturizer. I notice every time I use the salicylic acid my acne goes down and the BHA9 as a spot treatment works wonders!
Recently I decided to add a new active to my routine. It's called azelaic acid and I've heard it is a wonderful skincare product. I read it is not available over-the-counter and that you need a prescription for it. However, I happily discovered an over-the-counter product called Melazepam which is for people who suffer from rosacea. It has 20% azelaic acid and is actually the same amount you will find in a prescription strength azelaic acid product. I have only used it a few times, but so far it has not caused me any itching or burning, which is what I read many people experience while using it. I'm also still using the .025% tretinoin at night and then will use the azelaic acid in the morning. I'll do a quick update on this post in a few weeks if anything changes with my skin while using the azelaic acid. So far so good! I have been taking photos, but I'm not ready to share any just yet. If someday I see a dramatic change in my skin, I might be willing to share photos. But until then, I'm still figuring stuff out!
Oh, another thought. If my current routine isn't working after a time, I will definitely look into seeing a dermatologist and will consider getting some type of oral antibiotic if it comes to that. I'm worried that the antibiotic would be a short term cure, but I know some people have had success taking it for only 2-3 months and that's all they needed to get their skin back on track.
P.S. Sorry for getting a little "off topic" with my skincare posts. I want to get back into talking sewing and other fun fashion related topics again, but I thought perhaps others who are dealing with adult acne like me may find this information helpful. And I know how frustrating it can be to deal with this on your own! And as always, feel free to leave comments on what works for you or any suggestions you may have. :)
Update 3/15/16: Okay so after using the Melazepam, I got a whole cluster of cystic bumps around my mouth, one on my cheek and on my forehead. I am afraid it might be the Melazepam (possibly some ingredient in it, not sure if it's the azelaic acid). So I decided to discontinue using it for now. :/ Working on fixing the situation with lots of salicylic acid!
Feel free to use my "refer-a-friend" coupon that will give you $10 off your first PC order.