REALLY Stubborn Blackheads
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Stubborn Blackheads! I've got combo type 1 skin (aka I burn if I just walk the dog around the block/usually wear the lightest shade in all brands of foundation) and am disabled so I only wash my face every other evening and if I've been outside. I've managed to erradicate any acne issues except old scarring (only get hormonal pustules) but I can't get rid of the blackheads/large pores and hardened sebum bumps under the epidermis which I've had since I was in high school (now in my late 30s)! It makes applying foundation/powder a nightmare. Always turns out uneven and flakey,no matter the primer/moisturizer. I prefer more green products but have no issues with retinols, etc just not parabens, etc. Should I use a peel, mask, scrub, other? I use my Clarisonic Plus and Purity cleanser nights and always after wearing makeup, would just adding in the Micro wash before makeup application work or should I try something else? TIA! -Alex
P.S. I've been to a dermatologist who sold me retinol pads similar to philosophy but stronger- liked the pads but they didn't help with the blackheads/pores. I also cannot tolerate manual extraction AT ALL. I've tried different places over the years and not only was it expensive, it hurt so much I soaked the table with sweat and left looking like a rabid cat attacked me. It also led to cystic acne flares each time and even rosacea so no manual extractions for this girl! I'd rather wait a month or two for an OTC product/s to work
Have you tried any enzyme/fruit acid peels? or serum/moisturizer that helps with "cellular regeneration" or skin "renewal"? I had a ~1-2mm ho le on my cheek from squeezing a blackhead in my teenage years and it was actually bottomless (I can't see the bottom even when I stretch my skin). I was on an enzyme mask and "renewal" serm/moisturizer kick for the last couple of years and now it's shallow enough to be just a dent and getting better. So they do help to bring junk under the skin to the surface, and I can see it's effect on whiteheads. Look for enzyme/fruit acid peels, and keywords like "renewal", "resurfacing", "regeneration".
I have tried Ren F10 when it first came out, now it's reformulated for mature skin I believe, and it really helped to jumpstart my skin. I didn't even know it was dry and dull (I have oily combo) until I saw my dewy fresh face the next day. Origins Brighter by Nature peel pad really helped to soften/smooth my skin and did lighten up the dark spot a bit. Something to keep in mind, try not to use Retinol and Glycolic/AHA/BHA together. They are both anti-ager and helps with skin, but they kind of cancels out each other's effectiveness when piled on top of each other (look it up online).
Look into Peter Thomas Roth's Beta Hydroxy face wash or the Anti-Aging wash (it has beta hydroxy and alpha hydroxy acids, in other words salicylic and glycolic acids) if the retinol prescribed to you didn't help clear out your pores froms sebum and blackheads well enough.
Though retinol does help with your skin's condition, salicylic acids (beta hydroxy acid) is primary in acne fighting/clearing products, glycolic acid (fruit sugars) helps with gently, chemically exfoliating skin along withe vening skin tone and helps to buffer the strength of the beta hydroxy.
I recommend you bring any products you're thinking of trying to your dermatologist to have them check it out and be sure it's something that is safe for your skin as there are many factors that go beyond typical breakouts or acne conditions and it's best to play it safe rather than sorry.
Both of those face washes are gel based so it should help penetrate oil and sebum better than a creamy face wash like Purity (which is a bit emollient and therefore takes more work to break down oil). Using it with your Clarisonic should help.
The treatment pads you were prescribed may work better along with either of the washes.
All the best! Again, check with your derm first before tinkering with any products since your skin condition is more serious!