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Post in Beauty Advisors


I am 18 years old and recently i have been breaking out horribly and my skin is really oily. I also have a dull complexion with redness and acne scars. I was looking into Origins and Philosophy products, but there are so many I don't know where to start! Could you recommend a regimen for me?

Re: Confused!!!

Hi, Bronwen56!


For starters, could you detail out a bit more about your skin and your AM/PM skin care regimen? Also, if you're using any weekly treatments/products like masks, peels, or scrubs, detail as to when in the week they fit with your regimen.


Aside from the recent increase in break outs, where particularly are the blemishes occurring? Are they localized and keep popping up in the same areas or does it vary? What type of blemishes are you experiencing (red/raised blemishes that are swollen and sometimes tender to the touch, whiteheads/pustular blemishes, blackheads)?


Have you recently undergone any changes via dietary habits, lifestyle, stress, or even environmental factors (moving, change in weather, etc.)? Skin is always undergoing changes and at the age of 18, skin is still very reactive and responsive while still in teenage years. 


Is the oil more so all-over or in certain areas of your face? Is the redness concentrated to any particular portions? Are you sensitive, reactive, or allergic to any particular ingredients or products? Do you have any preferences in formulation types, for example, do you prefer to avoid sulfates and parabens or do you prefer more botanical based formulas?

Re: Confused!!!

I used to use AcneFree which seemed to work well, but it bleached all of my clothes! So I stopped using it and now I use a Neutrogena salicylic acid face wash, Clearasil treatment pads, and sometimes lotion with sunscreen in it. I use these three products every day morning and evening. I also just moved back to Denver from my college in Massachusetts, so that might have contributed.


I have red, raised blemishes, particularly on my chin, nose, and forehead. The redness is kind of all over, I really just have a gross complexion in general. I also have some acne scars and my skin is just sort of dull everywhere.

The oil is pretty much all over. It's weird because I have never really had such a big problem with it. This summer it has just been terrible. My face generally isn't too sensitive, I have had issues with dry skin during the winter.


I was looking into Origins, because I have used some of their products before and I liked them (the charcoal mask was good). I also heard good things about Clinque.

Re: Confused!!!

The bleaching effect you saw from the AcneFree items was due to the line being heavily reliant on benzoyl peroxide.


Which treatment pads from Clearasil are you using in particular? I'm finding they have a Daily formula and Ultra available.


Right out the gate I'm going to say that it's crucial to apply sunscreen daily, regardless of whether your skin is perfect or problematic, sunscreen can benefit everyone. In terms of having skin be off its balance with oil production and blemish prone, skin is more susceptible and vulnerable to the elements. Sunscreen will help protect skin from UV damage which can make acne prone areas worse as well as post acne marks.


If your routine doesn't have a proper and consistent use of a moisturizer, it could be that your skin is trying to overcompensate by increasing oil production to try and hydrate skin. In turn this increase can lead to an over-development in oils which can clog pores and become problematic. Though it's understandable with oily skin that you don't want skin to feel any "heavier" with the use of a moisturizer, look for oil free, mattifying, or gel formulas to be lighterweight and also aid in controlling shine and managing production levels. What lotion are you currently using here and there?


I'm browsing the version of the Clearasil toner pads and they are quire heavy in the use of alcohol denate, this is a drying alcohol, commonly used in blemish or oily skin treatment products to cut down on drying time but can in excessive use dry out the skin and be very harsh. Though it sounds counterproductive, the use of blemish/oily skin treatment ingredients can often backfire if not used in proper dosage or time frames, leading to skin being overly dried and skin wanting to kick start that oil production into high gear. 


The trick is to know which alcohols are good and which are bad. Ethanol, SD alcohol, alcohol denat, propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol are all drying in excessive use since they help to cut down dry time/absorption time.


Good alcohols are emollient and help to smooth skin and include lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, steraryl alcohol, cetearyl alcochol, and behenyl alcohol.


With the face wash, you're getting 2% salicylic acid and the pads range in a 1-2% (daily has 1% and ultra has 2%). Though salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) is quite an effective ingredient against oil and blemishes for it's ability to regulate oil production and dissolve sebum trapped in pores to make purifying skin easier, consider how this ingredient is being utilized.


Though cleansers are now more infused with conditioning agents and potent ingredients more than ever, a cleanser is still firstly, a cleanser. With proper washings (washing/massaging product for at least 45 seconds to a minute at the minimum), effective ingredients can contribute to aiding skin; however, if you're cleansing is on the quick side, you're essentially washing product right down the drain. With having a higher dosage of SA in your face wash, the potency may be lost due to the fact that 2% doesn't remain on skin. 


It's possible the dulling in your complexion may be due to skin being dried out, but covering that up with an increase in oil. Excess surface cells can "stick" more to skin, causing them to build up, contributing to even more blemishes and a lackluster complexion.


You may reconsider your approach to skin care as oil can be addressed with ingredients outside of salicylic acid and then you can target the blemishes with salicylic acid alone rather than double dosing skin.


Boscia's Detoxifying Black Gel Cleanser is formula that tackles breaking down oil (traditionally gels work better than creamy formulas in terms of penetrating oil quicker), drawing out impurities (also utilizes charcoal like the Origins mask you had good results with), improves pore resiliency (artichoke extract), brightening/evening skin tone (vitamin C and licorice extract), and improving skin's texture (glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid derived from sugar enzymes that not only help to slough off excess surface cells, but also promotes healthier cellular regeneration). By having your wash still focus on the "cleansing" aspect (ridding excess surface oils), your face afterward can be then more receptive to treatments like for your blemishes as opposed to trying to cleanse/tackle blemishes in your first step, then again with the toning step.


Since you say the blemishes are more spread out around nose, chin, and forehead (T-Zone), consider a more gentle all-over treatment which can be applied to a wider area. Murad's Acne Clearing solution utilizes 0.5% SA but utilizes vitamins to soothe skin and redness, tea tree oil to combat surface bacterial, and retinol to promote the healing process. A product like this would be suited if you find that spot treatments are too tedious as blemishes are too plentiful.


In terms of spot treatments for pesky blemishes that pop up or a more direct approach to a problem site, try looking into a more concentrated dose/higher percentage of SA. Kate Somervlle's 24 Hour Pimple Punisher actually includes an AM and PM treatment. The AM side utilizes willowbark extract, which is a natural source of SA derived from botanical means), tea tree (again, anti-bacterial properties), and oat extract to soothe redness/inflammation. This aspect is more gentle to prevent oversensitizing skin while you're out and about in the day and exposed to more environmental and external elements. The PM side has 2% SA, green clay to absorb oil and draw out impurities, and a complex that reduces sebum production. This formula essentially "works harder" while you sleep, letting your skin regenerate and really make use of its potency.


In terms of morning moisturizers, if you're looking for UV protection and mattifying effects, check out the below options:


-Murad Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15, this formula feels a tad rich out the tube, but work the lotion between fingers before applying so it's not so thick. This formula is a big champ in tackling oil and mattifying skin.


-Sephora 8 Hr Mattifying Moisturizer SPF 20, Sephora's version definitely doesn't slack off, the texture isn't as dense as the Murad so you won't have to "work" with it as much to apply and the fact that it's SPF content is higher is a bonus.


-Philosophy Take a Deep Breath SPF 30, with another jump in SPF, this formula is more gel-like rather than a lotion, making it absorb easily to skin; however, this oil free formula isn't focused on mattifying, instead it's more about merely introducing moisture in a lightweight manner, helping detox the skin, guard against free radical damage and not make skin feel any heavier.


-Boscia Oil Free Daily Hydration SPF 15, this formula is on the lighterweight side of tackling oil, though it does contain silica and burdock root to absorb shine, it's not as intensive on the mattifying aspects like the Murad and Sephora, but it's texture is quite fluid-like, making it on par with the Philosophy ideal of not adding any more "weight" to skin but still hydrating.


For night time, you can still definitely opt into gel based formulas to keep things breathable.


-Boscia's Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel, this formula also helps to brighten skin with vitamin C and glycolic acid, sharing many commonalities with the gel cleanser recommended above


-Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Gel Cream Moisturizer, an oil-free gel moisturizer that packs a punch with sodium hyaluronate (a humectant that binds 1000x its own weight in moisture drawn from the atmosphere for continuous hydration without the heaviness), caffeine (stimulates and energizes skin), and the oxygenating formula helps to essentially decongest and detox skin.


-Dr. Jart Water Fuse Water Sure Gel, this formula walks similar ties to the Philsophy but also has anti-bacterial properties and works to strenthens skin's natural barrier and defenses as well.


Consider investing in the Origins Charcoal Mask again, other charcoal based masks are in brands like Boscia and GlamGlow. 


To address tackling dullness, consider an exfoliator/scrub used 1-2x weekly (if you end up using a mask, consider using one during one week and the other during the next or space them out at least 3-4 days if within the same week).


Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Acne Clearing Exfoliant is a gentle physical and chemical based scrub that tackles blemishes, oil, and skin's texture and tone. Physical exfoliants rely on physical particles to slough off excess dead surface cells that when lingering can dull the complexion, lead to rough texture, and clog pores while chemical based exfoliants (like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid) work topically to break down excess surface cells and below the surface by ensuring new and healthy cells are being produced to replace what is being removed up top. ExfoliKate Acne uses 0.5% SA, green clay to further draw out oil and impurities, phytic acid to brighten skin tone and target post acne marks, lactic acid (AHA) which is derived from milk enzymes/proteins that also soothe redness and inflammation, witch hazel to aid in constricting cell tissue which improves the appearance of enlarged/visible pores, and glycolic acid (sourced through ingredients such as papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes) to brighten, improve tone, and texture. Gentle jojoba beads are soft and won't tear at skin, providing that physical component, making it less abrasive on blemish sites but still efficient in evening skin's texture.



Re: Confused!!!

You are amazing! Thank you so much! I think when I started breaking out I freaked and tried to use the toughest and most drying stuff, which probably only made it worse. I'll definitely look into all of these suggestions!

Re: Confused!!!

You're too kind! I'm just happy to help! Smiley Happy


Though it's understandable to instantly want to tackle an issue when it pops up, keep in mind that slow and steady pays off by not overwhelming your skin to avoid exacerbating issues further or drawing new issues.


Since you also mentioned moving, I'm sure many environmental factors are also playing a part so try to make changes in your skin care regimen gradually, don't just flip everything in the same day. Try to ween yourself off products slowly, for example, begin cutting down the Clearasil pad use to every other day and begin utilizing a spot treatment on those days you're not using the pads, see how your skin reacts, if things change for the positive, phase out the pads entirely. Definitely gauge your skin and its reactions, be aware of how things may play in with one another, even keep a skin care journal to document changes (be they good or bad) and keep track of any thing that may contribute (diet, lifestyle, stress, etc.).

Re: Confused!!!

You have my sympathy, moves are very stressful.


Personally, I start and end the day oily so there are some key steps in my regimen. After morning shower (Dr Bronners tea tree castile soaps, a little goes a long way) I apply BareMinerals Blemish powder to my problem areas, then concealer/veil/foundation/veil. Southern summers are sweaty!


At the end of the day I typically need to apply witch hazel to clean up end of day oil. If it is around that part of my cycle where I break out in response to the hormones, I will make my own scrub out of brown sugar and olive oil to purge the pores and moisturize before bed.


If things get desperate, consider going to a dermatologist for an antibiotic to temporarily clear things up and give you a chance to balance out your skin. I would recommend against that step long term as it will not only purge the bad bacteria from your face, but also the good from your digestive tract and interfere with the effectiveness of any birth control you are using for a full month. If you aren't on the pill, there is still the chance that some hormonal changes that occur up until around 22-24 could be going on to spike the oil production you have.


Hang in there, and pamper yourself.



be something you love and understand

Re: Confused!!!

I actually worked for Origins for several years.  Their products are great, especially if you want natural skincare.  However, I would NOT recommend the brand if you're oily.  Their line for oily skin (zero oil) just doesn't compare, in my opinion, to other products out there (although I must admit my opinion is skewed because I'm allergic to some of the ingredients).  The Clear Improvement (charcoal) mask is great & the Spot Remover (spot treatment) are worth it.  Luckily, they're also two of the cheapest products they carry!  You may also like the Out of Trouble mask; it has salicylic acid to dry up blemishes & can be used overnight as a spot treatment if you have a really big/deep blemish.  The Dr. Weil line is intended for redness & sensitivity, but the Mega Mushroom products are best for dry skin, so beware.  The newer Mega Bright products help with brightening, but all of the Origins moisturizers (except Zero Oil & maybe Balanced Diet) are a bit much for oily skin... unless you aren't truly oily. I really wish they'd bring back Oil Refiner, it was a toner that had white china clay & was amazing... Moral of the story: look for ingredients like active charcoal or clay (to draw impurities from your pores) & salicylic acid (to dry up current blemishes & speed up the natural cell turnover process) for the oiliness.  However, be careful not to overdo it or you'll make things worse.


As for product recommendations...  I too have very oily, reactive skin.  I have to be careful what I use because I'm breastfeeding, so I don't want to overdo it on products (both to avoid over absorption of certain ingredients & because of the associated hormonal issues).  I use a biphasic eye makeup remover, a gentle cleanser (like Philosophy Purity), a mask a couple of times/week (Origins Clear Improvement), a toner to restore pH balance after cleansing & to clarify my pores of dirt & bacteria missed by cleansing alone (I can't remember the one I have at the moment, but I believe it has clay in it, you have to shake it up), I'm not currently using a serum but you may want to since serum penetrates the deepest & will give you the most results (we used to call it the "medicine" for your skin), & in the AM I use the Murad Mattifying Lotion with SPF 15 (it has tea tree which mattifies) and in the PM I use Josie Maran Argan Oil LIght.  I used to have very dry skin, so I really like the feel of the thick Murad lotion & the oil; they don't make my skin feel oily/greasy (after absorption) but they go on feeling like the heavy duty products I miss being able to use.  Oh, and just a basic eye cream too.


Sorry to write a book!  I hope this was helpful at least in some way

Re: Confused!!!

My best advice would be to save yourself a lot of time and money and go see a dermatologist who can help you with your breakouts.   You can probably receive a percscription strength tretinion that can clear you right up.  good luck.  

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