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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Acne Investigation Diary!

Hey folks, I thought I would start an "acne diary" here reporting on my observations and experiences trying to get rid of acne.  I hate those days (which sometimes stretch into weeks) when my face feels like a battleground full of acne and post-acne marks and I either feel bad when I look into the mirror or spend way too long messing with concealers/foundation before going out.  


We've had so many posts here about what products to use to combat acne, but fewer posts about the actual causes of acne.  I think this is because it's so different from person to person, and also unless you have the patience of a saint it's really difficult to force yourself through the intensive trial and error needed to figure out WHAT is causing your breakouts.  And even then, it might be due to vague causes like "stress" or "environmental irritants" that you have no control over.


I'll try to update once a week or so, to report on what I'm currently adding (or removing) from my routine and what the results are.  I would also love to hear other people's personal experiences and maybe we can all learn from each other.


EDIT Apr 28:  Here's the new motto for those of us trying to isolate ingredients at the root of our skin problems:


So what do you do when your skin is freaking out and you don't know which product is causing the issue? "Quit everything cold turkey," advises Dr. Chapas. "Makeup, moisturizer, sunscreen—stop everything you're using. Try to use a mild topical hydrocortisone on the skin until your reaction goes down. Start adding products in slowly and use mild, fragrance-free formulas. Eventually, you'll find out what's offending your skin. If your skin continues to react, see a dermatologist."


thanks to krunce (is that pronounced "crunchy"?) for pointing me to the Victoria Stanell Beauty Myths article on beautylish!

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

@zeldahime, wow, sounds like you've definitely run the gamut as far as sunscreen experimentation goes.  I've also strugged with eczema and know how frustrating that is.  Would it be ok if i PM you for more details about your sunscreen experimentations?  


Also, just wanted to mention that my mom has never used sunscreen in her life, and her skin looks pretty awesome for her age (mid-70s).  Of course most of her adult years have been spent in Northern Maine so yeah not very strong sun up there either. Smiley Happy


Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Oh that's terrible. If you can't wear SPF, what do you use during the day to combat sun damage?


Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

@ beauty tester: Nothing unless you count wearing non SPF makeup just for the extra layer. Smiley Wink I've been using salicylic acid to try and combat the effects a little bit, but it seems lately that I've been overdoing it. Gonna have to back off a bit. Smiley Sad

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Have you visited a doctor or dermatologist about this? I mean I hate to see any of our BT users suffer because of reactions of sunscreens! Maybe a professional and help pinpoint what is safe to use and what to avoid.


I hope you find a happy medium/balance of product!

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

@zeldahime. Oh noes! I don't know about salicylic acid but I was just thinking about it as I browse I usual morning stuff and I saw an article that said antioxidants are almost as important in combating sun damage as sunscreen. Maybe it would help if you look into a day cream or facial oil that have lots of antioxidants?


Google "skincare antioxidant ingredients expiration refinery29" and it's the first article, which talks about how to get most out of it. Hope that helps a bit. o.O

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Oooo, on that note! Philosophy has their vitamin C booster powder that you can mix into serums or lotions to give a protective layer to skin to combat oxidation damage and free radicals!

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Neutrogena's sunscreen/suncare products are among the better of the drug store/mass brands on the market. I load up on bottles of their regular body sunscreen and mix it with my body creams every day!


It's good that you're narrowing down what you may be allergic or reactive to. That'll help a ton in the future when looking at new products!

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

UPDATE #2 -- March 17 (Happy St Patrick's Day!!!)


Wow, originally I planned to update more frequenty, but with skincare it really can take weeks before you notice (and can be certain of) any changes!


The big change in Jan was switching to an all-chemical sunscreen, and away from BB creams or other sunscreens with titanium dioxide (the two I had used were Clinique City Block SPF25 and Too Faced Beauty Balm SPF 25).  Then a few weeks after that I was still getting lots of clogged pores so I also stopped using any cosmetics with titanium dioxide as a main ingredient (*sob* ... my Benefit boxed powders... Smiley Sad boohoo)


Another major change in my routine, at the end of January I started introducing PTR 100% Glycolic Moisturizer, once a week, then eventually twice a week.  Now (6 weeks later) I'm using it every other day all over, and every morning as a spot treatment.




1. Since cutting off any titanium dioxide, I stopped getting those big, deep, cystic acnes.  They take a bit longer to develop deep underneath and can suddenly appear as painful spots, then slowly grow until they become a big huge mess.


2.  Even after that, I was still getting a LOT of clogged pores.  These started out as tiny bumps under the skin, which would then grow into big ugly red bumps/acne, even though I was using acne products like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid on them twice daily!


3.  The PTR 10% Glycolic has really worked wonders in controlling the acne, although it doesn't seem to stop pores from getting clogged.  What it does, is prevent the clogs from turning into huge honking red pimples that eventually leave very deep and long-lasting post-acne marks.  They either turn into small, manageable pimples, or become extractable.


4.  I believe the glycolic is also helping to fade post-acne marks a lot faster.





1.  Good bye titanium dioxide!!!!

2.  Glycolic acid is amaaaaaaaaaazing!!




How DO you reduce those clogged pores, anyway????


Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Oh no! I'm really loving my new Benefit Hello Flawless powder, it gives my face a beautiful finish, but I also have really sensitive skin. I didn't know if it was just from stress though because I've had a really rough week. I am going to try not using it  and see how much of a difference it makes. I'm totally going OCD right now looking up the ingredients of all my face products! Besides Titanium Dioxide, are there other ingredients that are known to cause breakouts?

Re: Acne Investigation Diary!

Hi Kiki,  the difficult thing is that breakouts are sooooo unpredictable.  What causes breakouts in one person could just as easily work for the next. Smiley Sad  That's why it's so hard to weed out the exact ingredient sometimes.  And even then, it's possible that breakouts are caused by something completely unrelated, like stress as you mentioned, or hormonal changes.  If you really suspect the Benefit powder (which looks so awesome and smooth btw), you could try going without it for a week or two, and see if any new blemishes pop up during that time.


Other things to look out for, rather than specific ingredients, is how much stuff you're putting on your face.  Further down in this thread there's some discussion about overloading on skincare products, and one of the posters MoreGun mentioned that her acne improved once she started minimizing her routine.  I think that's really important especially for those with oily/combo skin.


Hope that helps!  Maybe you could consider starting your own acne investigation diary to keep mine company. Smiley Happy


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