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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Best acne kit?

I have never posted here before, but I am DESPERATE! I have tried so many different products for acne. I'm 18 years old, and have dealt with breakouts nonstop since I was in middle school. Of course there were times where it wasn't AS bad, but bad enough. My main problem areas tend to be on my cheeks and my chin, however lately my forehead has been very broken out (didn't really used to be an issue before). I try to keep my hair off of my face, and it is my whole forehead, so I don't think that that is my problem. I have tried everything - drugstore products, proactiv, murad, etc. and even went to the dermatologist when I was younger. He had me try different mixes of drugstore cleansers and prescription gels etc. My mom says that I was on an antibiotic for a period of time as well, however I don't remember this. After spending long enough there, (I was still fairly young - probably in middle school, so I wasn't quite as diligent with my skincare routine), I gave up on the dermatologist because I didn't feel that I was getting any better results. I struggled with it all throughout high school. The last two 'sets' I used were Mary Kay and Clinique. Mary Kay seemed to work for a while, but it seemed that my skin got used to it after a while. As for clinique, it was too harsh for my skin. 


I have pretty oily skin, as well as a bit of redness and hyper-pigmentation. I'm ready to try something new, and hoping that all goes well. Even though I tried it before, I have thought about trying Murad again. I have seen some really good reviews, but there was also some people that absolutely hate it. I don't want to become one of those who use it for the full month and look a whole lot worse. I have also considered the Philosophy acne kit, the Peter Thomas Roth kit, and the Formula 10.0.6 kit. I have researched all three of these, and they all have mainly good feedback. 


Has anyone used these, and can say what they like? Or is there something else out there that I should look into?


Right now, I'm using Cetaphil foaming oil control wash for acne prone skin, a rotation of St. Ives apricot scrub and green tea scrub, a witch hazel toner, neutrogena naturals acne spot treatment, and a sephora moisturizer. 

I did use the Korres toner for a period of time, and really liked it - however the ingredients were comparable to the witch hazel toner I am using now. 

Re: Best acne kit?



So, I'm still using a gentle wash followed by a salicylic acid green tea wash that is very soothing for my skin. After that, I use a pore refining toner, followed by the same spot treatment, and now olay sensitive skin moisturizer with SPF. I am definitely noticing a difference in my skin - hopefully it will stay that way! 


I also use the Algenist exfoliator - it is sooo gentle and is not at all abrasive. My skin feels soooo nice after using it!

Re: Best acne kit?

that is exactly like my skin. what you need is this. get a leave on benzoyl peroxide gel for overnight and use it in breakout areas. it will take about 2 weeks to clear your skin mostly, you will still have small breakouts. to help with dryness use soap and glory clear here t-zone oil control daily moisture lotion. or cetaphil daily moisture once a day in the mornings.


I tried everything and only this routine made my skin as close to perfect as possible. you may have moderate acne like me, which is least common and hardest to treat. if you go on the proactive website they tell you descriptions of different kinds of pimples which is gross, but tells you ho to treat them. if you have whiteheads and others kinds like that, proactive does not help along with salicylic acid and antibiotics. also it is hard not to irritate redness, etc. the type of repetitive breaking out acne cannot be exfoliated or irritated too. finally, it can be hard for acne prone people to moisturize, but to make your skin look good not dry lather on non comedegenic lotion and it really wont clog pores or make you break out.


finally, for makeup, use smashbox hd definition liquid concealer with and apply it to larger areas where you break out with a sponge, then pat with your fingers. and use a concealer brush to get certain still uncovered blemishes. (after moisturizing in the morning). technically they say your not supposed to use concealer like this but it does wonders. use and laura mercier foundation too if you wish. finally, to control shine, use smashbox pressed powder or bronze lights bronzer if you wish. I wash my face with dove sensitive skin beauty bar in the nights and mornings before I moisturize. I use a murad clarifying mask once a week too.


I speak from very similar personal experience and I am double majoring in dermatology and cosmetology because of my own experience. I hope you consider these tips!

Re: Best acne kit?

Thank you! My skin really doesn't respond to benzoyl peroxide thogh, so I tend to stick with salicylic acid. I LOVE Laura Mercier but I haven't tried her foundation. I actually have two different foundations that I like right now, one from Estee Lauder and one from Clinique. I'm still searching for the perfect one, though! I use the tarte smooth operator loose powder to set my makeup - pressed powder never looks good on my skin, no matter how it is applied. It never even looks good when applied by a professional, honestly. I'm planning to try out the Murad clarifying mask. 

Re: Best acne kit?

I would highly recommend going to that website has helped me clear my skin so much. He gives a list of ingredients to avoid and has a regimen - the whole thing is based on treating your skin as gently as possibly to reduce irritation + the addition of benzoyl peroxide. The first few weeks your skin gets super flaky and red and itchy as you get used to the benzyl peroxide but it gets better! Before I started following that advice I had massive pimples all over my face that HURT even if I wasnt touching them and took weeks to go away. I'm still not completely clear but it is so much better and improving every day.


EDIT:  A word on the clarisonic - I don't think it's a good idea for acne. Basically it just creates more irritation. I caved and bought the MIA on ebay for 50$ and it made my acne worse. My skin is extremely sensitive, I get horrible breakouts from things like holding my phone against my face.

Re: Best acne kit?

Thank you! I had actually been using the information for my skincare routine for a while, but it just wasn't working for me. I learned through using this that my skin just doesn't respond to benzoyl peroxide. I had been using the Mary Kay Velocity line prior to that, so I had already been using bp before starting with the advice. I just ended up switching to a different moisturizer and cleanser.


I have actually just switched back to the moisturizer that I was using as part of that regimen. But, I have now added in a toner, as well as an additional face wash containing salicylic acid and a salicylic acid spot treatment, as opposed to using the bp. 


I try to stay away from brushes like that because I am afraid that they will irritate my skin - I am pretty sensitive sometimes too. 

This is a bit off topic, but..

If you haven't, you should try using headphones while talking on the phone! You can use regular ones, or ones with a built-in mic - just be careful because sometimes the built-in mics can be really pricey. If your sound quality is good you can probably just get away with using regular headphones!) I spend a lot of time on the phone, so I started thinking about how all of that bacteria could just be moving around on my face. I started using headphones whenever I'm at home, and I'm just really conscious to not press my phone up against my face if I'm talking while I'm out. I believe that it has made some difference in my skin - I don't know how much, but I like knowing that I'm reducing something that could potentially irritate my skin!

Re: Best acne kit?

Yeah I've just been putting everyone on speaker phone - I hardly talk on the phone it's mostly texting so you can imagine how much bacteria from my fingers is on there. So now when anyone calls I just put them on speaker right away.

Re: Best acne kit?

I used to break out and I have very oily and sensitive skin, but once I tried ProActive I noticed a big change quick. I always get compliments and you only have to use it max 2 times a week once you start clearing up. If you haven't kept up with using it, you'll notice that your break outs will occur. Make sure your make-up isn't so oily too. Esp. mac foundation. That stuff makes me break out. Don't suffocate your skin with too much products.

Re: Best acne kit?

I tried Proactiv in the past and it didn't do much for me, I'd be pretty hesitant to try it again as benzoyl peroxide products tend to lose their effect on my skin pretty quickly. 


Also, I do not like mac at all. Smiley Tongue 

Re: Best acne kit?

I've dealt with acne for more than ten years, and I'm still searching for the "miracle" products or regimen too! But I have discovered some products that do help. 


I've also tried a lot of the popular acne kits, including Proactiv and Murad, and both of them were horrible for me. I'm slightly allergic to benzoyl peroxide, so the Proactiv toner increased my redness and caused inflammation. Murad was incredibly harsh, and my entire face peeled off (literally) for weeks the second day I used it, so that wasn't good. I've also tried the Shiseido Pureness line, which I definitely don't recommend because it's pricey and does absolutely nothing. The Dermalogica line (sold at Ulta I think) doesn't work either, and neither does the Philosophy acne kit. I haven't tried the Peter Thomas Roth kit, but I have heard good things about that one!


Anyway, as far as facewashes go, my experience is that it really doesn't matter which one(s) you use as long as they get your skin clean. The important thing is to get all of your makeup off so that when you wipe your face with a cotton pad and toner afterwards, you don't see any yellowy or dark residue. If you see residue, that means there's leftover impurities still on your skin that could cause breakouts. 


Do you own a Clarisonic? I finally caved and bought one a couple months ago, and while I don't think it's a miracle product, I think that it has helped in keeping my skin clean and evening out the texture and tone. If you wear makeup on a daily basis, I'd say wash your face twice, the first time just using your hands to massage in the cleanser and rinsing it off, and the second time with the Clarisonic to make sure all your makeup is off. Even if you don't have a Clarisonic, I still recommend washing your face twice if you don't use a makeup remover first.


For toners, I agree with Manda in that you might be irritating your skin. 14% is pretty high an alcohol content, and you could be stripping your skin without your knowing it and it could be trying to compensate for the dryness by producing more oil and thus clogging more pores. I'd recommend maybe switching to something a little less harsh. I used to use Mario Badescue's Special Cleansing Lotion C and while it was cleansing, it also contained alcohol (I'm not sure the percentage) and that got a little harsh too. Right now I'm using the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion: and while it's super pricey, I think it's doing a good job of not stripping my skin but still cleansing it and keeping breakouts at bay. It's not perfect, and the price kills me, but it's doing a good job so far.


I recommend checking out Mario Badescue. Their products are pretty affordable and some have worked for me in the past. If you've ever tried Kate Somerville's EradiKate spot treatment, Mario Badescue makes a very similar one called the Drying Lotion. They also have a Buffering Lotion for cystic breakouts, and I find that one worked really well for me. They also have a Drying Cream with sulphur for drying up existing pimples, although I find that is a little too drying for me and can cause flakiness.


Oh that reminds me of something else: exfoliating! I agree with nebel that the apricot scrub you're using might be a little harsh and irritating for your skin. I've used it before, and I also found that it didn't do the greatest job of exfoliating away dead skin cells. Right now I'm using a combination of Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate and an Asian exfoliator called Cure Aquagel. ExfoliKate uses enzymes to peel away the top layer of your skin and get rid of sebum, which lessens bacteria and helps with pore clogging, but it can also leave your skin a little red. Be sure to follow the directions for this if you do get it! Cure Aquagel, on the other hand, works to purely lift away dead skin from the surface, and it really is an amazing product. You should look it up!


Sorry this was super long, but hopefully you find what you're looking for! (:

Re: Best acne kit?

Oh and I forgot to mention, if you're not allergic to benzoyl peroxide like I am, I've heard about a really good acne line by Jan Marini. You can read reviews 


I go to an esthetician because my breakouts cause me that much grief, and I've heard a lot of estheticians recommend Jan Marini's line. 


Also, if you have the time and money, I really really recommend going to an esthetician. It will be painful at first, but I promise that the results will be worth it. Extractions and cleaning out your breakouts will absolutely suck because they basically have to open up the pimples and extract all the pus and bacteria inside, but that's the most efficient and quickest way to get the impurities out. Then the products you're using can sink in more quickly and be more effective. But each esthetician visit is super super pricey, so it really depends on if you have the time and money for that course of treatment.

Re: Best acne kit?

No need to apologize for the length - I love getting this information! I do always wash my face twice when I have worn makeup, and sometimes even wash it twice in the mornings. I use a gentle cleanser, and then follow with a salycilic acid cleanser. 


I do not own a Clarisonic, but I do have one of those Olay.. like, motorized cleanser brushes, haha. I don't use it very often, though. I've been scared that it's going to cause more issues. 


I am definitely looking for an alcohol free toner, hopefully one more affordable that what you suggested :/  I love the Korres pomegranate one, but like I said it's a lot like the one that I'm using now. Many of the ones that claim to be alcohol free have a really, really strong smell that just makes it seem like it will be really harsh on my face.


As for the Benzoyl peroxide, I don't know that it really causes inflammation for me, but my skin tends to get used to it very quickly. It may work for a bit, but after a while my face just doesn't clear any more. I try to stay away from benzoyl peroxide, it doesn't do me enough good to make up for all of the sheets and clothes that it bleaches. 


Also, I live in a VERY rural area, so I don't think that there are any estheticians in my surrounding area.. as in, they'd probably be at least a good 3 hours away, just like Sephora Smiley Sad There are some big towns near me within 30 mins-an hour drive (even a college town) but.. they aren't big enough for Sephora. haha, so my only option would probably be the dermatologist, which is about a 30 minute drive from where I'm at. 

Re: Best acne kit?

I have sensitive acne prone skin too & what I found works best is a moisturizer with an SPF.  I find keeping my skin protected minimizes my breakouts, I also cleanse in the morning & evening, but I don't stick to one product for cleansing.  I think some SPF might work for you too!  My face used to be soo red, but the reddness faded dramatically after about 3 months of using a moisturizer with SPF.

Re: Best acne kit?

What kind of moisturizer do you use?

I was using the Olay sensitive skin moisturizer for a while, and I did like it. At the time, I was also using a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, which my skin got used to. I switched to the Clinique line, then back to more gentle products. Then I ended up using the cetaphil oil control moisturizer with SPF, but it made my foundation look like it was separating in some areas. So, now I'm back to the Sephora moisturizer that I LOVE; it makes my face feel sooo soft. I'm not opposed to switching back to an SPF moisturizer, though 

Re: Best acne kit?

One thing I am worried about is that you pointed out is this: redness. Redness tends to be a sign of irritation so, it might be something that you might want to look into.  For the Witch Hazel toner, does it include alcohol?  Alcohol can be an irritant which would certainly cause redness and irritation.


One question: Do you naturally have pinkness to your skintone or do you find the redness comes after washing your face/using products.

Re: Best acne kit?

It honestly seems as if my face gains the redness throughout the day. I do sometimes experience a bit of redness right after my skincare regimen, but I have always experienced this, no matter which products I use. I am always very gentle with my face, so I have sort of felt as if the main thing that could cause me to be red then is rubbing in my moisturizer, etc. 


The witch hazel does have natural grain alcohol (14%). Could you recommend an alcohol free toner? 


It really does seem that for some reason, my face becomes red during the day. Along the edges, my face has a more yellowish tone. Where I have the unevenness, mainly around my cheeks, is where I am primarily pinkish/reddish :/ 

Re: Best acne kit?

I'm 23 and am finally figuring out what works for me. I've tried proactive and have been to the dermatologist through my teen years and even within the past 3 months. I've tried oral and topical medicine. I've tried so many different face washes and I have now found something that works for me. First of all, I read about the honey and cinnamon facial. You take all natural honey (from an all natural produce store) and mix it with cinnamon (I didn't measure it out, just poured it into my hand each night- enough to lightly cover the face) and you put it on your face before bed for two weeks straight. It brings your acne to the surface, so don't be discouraged. It brings acne to the surface and when you wash your face, its like the acne comes out your pores. So it's better for your skin than popping zits. I recommended this to my 17 year old acne prone brother and he has seen amazing results. As of now, I'm using proactive face wash, for toner I use apple cigar vinegar which can sting so make sure not to get it in your eyes if you decide to try),  and for night time I use retinol. This is just what has worked for me, believe it or not the honey and cinnamon has worked wonders!! I break out significantly less and the pimples heal faster. I hope for the best for you, I know how damaging acne can be to your self esteem. 

Re: Best acne kit?

I have used a honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon mask before and I really liked it. That mask was meant mainly for acne scarring, though. How long do you leave the honey and cinnamon on your skin each night? And for regular skin care, do you use the proactive wash 2x daily, as well as the apple cider vinegar? What kind of moisturizer do you use with that? 

Re: Best acne kit?

For the honey and cinnamon mask, I put it on before bed and sleep with it on. It can be tough though to keep your hair out of it and you'll get honey on your pillow case but it washes off. So i leave themoney and cinnamon for about 6-7 hours, however much sleep Inight that night. For the proactive face wash and apple cider vinegar, I do that twice a day- once at morning and at night. For moisturizer, I use a generic moisturizer. Nothing special. 

Re: Best acne kit?

Okay, thank you. I will definitely be trying the mask.

Re: Best acne kit?

Hi, kristalann!  I understand your situation.  You are fortunate that you have so many more option today than I did in my day.  My personal opinion is that (if possible) find a different dermatologist and try again.  There is no one-size-fits-all for getting acne under control.  It takes time and different products, so it can be a slow and arduous process.  Birth control pills and two courses of Accutane were part of my treatment.  What I'm saying is you may or may not need more than a skin care kit (I'm not trying to scare you--I've just been there and don't want you to suffer!).  You're doing a great service to yourself by taking this first step here at BT!

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