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Post in Oily Skin

Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

My skin is the bane of my existence. I have tried low and top-shelf solutions, all natural, Proactive, Acutane, creative visualization, raw veganism (ewwww) and nothing works. my pimples are small, around my hair and jaw-line. I also have a scattering of little flesh-toned bumps all over my face. My Clairisonic used to take care of those, but it seems it's not effective anymore. My skin is also VERY oily. I drink tons of water, don't smoke, workout regularly, have a relatively healthy diet, etc., and I get plenty of sleep. I do however, have a lot of stress (work 50+ hrs a week, in grad school). I've also started getting little pimples on my neck which never happened before. Currently I'm using the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber De-Tox cleanser, Proactiv toner and the Shisheido Ibuki moisturizer. It worked for the first few weeks, but now my skin is worse than ever and the moisturizer just feels sticky on my skin. 


I need help! It's so expensive to keep trying new products only to have them fail and the Sephora staff always recommends products specially formulated for acne but those harsh ingredients just dry my skin and make it itchy and more prone to breakout. 


Any suggestions for a gentle, effective regimen?


Thanks!!! XOXO

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

So this may seem counter intuitive, but you might want to try olive oil. I had really oily and sensitive skin that would break out all the time, and I came to the conclusion that my skin was so oily because I was constantly taking away all the naturally occurring oils. My face would then overcompensate by producing a lot more oil which would clog my pores. I use straight olive oil at night to take off my make up and I rinse away the excess. I don't use any moisturizer. If my skin feels a little dry right after then I'll dab on a little extra. In the morning when I shower, I rub the olive oil on my face and then rinse off. My skin has improved dramatically and I'm not spending a ton on products. Also, I don't get the 10 am oil slick on my face anymore.

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

See a dermatologist who specializes in acne asap. If you haven't, get a full blood test, full hormonal panel, full b complex (botion, b 12 etc), vitimn d and thyroid - note these aren't usually on a routine blood test must mention them to doc. 


The flesh bumps could be milia. It may not be acne at all, hence the blood test and doc recommendation.


Very sensitive is very broad..any clue of your skin triggers? If not, possibly see an allergist.


I'm hypersensitive with acne-ish - now not really acne - but seeing a good derm (which can take a few tries) made the difference, they said wash with soap to keep the skin mites at bay and gave a non acne topical. 


Patch tests, samples and knowing ingredients are your friends. You don't need to purchase from Sephora to have the 'right' products. I wouldn't go further into fixing yourself, it's going to up stress and possibly backfire. For me, as soon as the skin changed and after using products for 3 months continuously and no change, I would be at the derm.

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

Thanks for the advice!

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

I am seeing a derm in a few weeks. Haven't been since I was in high school when I went on Acutane. 


I think  right now the oiliness/itchiness/sensitivity is due to a lot of factors i.e., daily makeup use, over-washing (because of my work/gym schedule, I can sometimes end up showering 2-3 times a day!), and I am finding that typical exfoliation techniques tend to make my skin more irritated/inflamed, but when i don't exfoliate I get scaly. I am also terrible at touching my face through the day. 


I haven't ever really given my skin much thought as far as getting to know it and how it reacts because I couldn't really afford to do anything about it. But as I've gotten older and more financially stable, I'm really wanting some solutions because I'd like to know what's it like to have normal skin lol. 


Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

Skincare is so challenging and it can be very person-specific.


As it sounds like you're washing your skin multiple times a day, I would recommend looking at trying to find mild products (across the board) that use natural and gentle ingredients. I've never had acne issues, but my skin is really reactive and I struggle with redness. I've recently transitioned to the 10-step K-beauty routine, which has really helped the condition of my skin. Depending on what your skin reacts to, this might be something worth looking into.


As far as sensitivity to exfoliation goes, I would look at what you're using to exfoliate. Many people really dislike the irritation of a physical scrub. However, some types of sensitive skin don't react well to the chemical/enzyme exfoliants on the market (I can use a sugar scrub without a problem, for example, but Tatcha's enzyme powders give me welts/hives).


It all comes down to what you really react to personally!

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

Hey madc91,


I understand your conflict! It's hard to say exactly what will work for you because everyone's skin is so unique. Your breakouts can be stress induced, hormonal, bacterial, genetic, sensitivity, allergy, environmental to name a few etc. I also, have been one to buy a lot of products only for them to fail me, sometimes it gets frustrating. Something as small as an allergy to one ingredient in a product you are using can make a world of difference. After much trial and error, at present, I mostly have my acne under control, though not always. Like you, I also used a Clarasonic for a bit which seemed to help the problem, but the bumps returned. I only use it once a week now for exfoliation.


Products that I have found useful for my immensely sensitive skin: Dermalogica Cleanser (extremely gentle), Ole Henricksen Vitamin C moisturizer, and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (to treat problem areas, will take pimples away without scarring).

Re: Looking for gentle skin-care routine for oily/acne-prone/very-sensitive skin in 20s

I would recommend first off staying positive 🙂 Stress adds to your breakouts. I have oily acne prone skin and these are thing I've used that have helped me. First off Acne.Org has a great explanation of how to properly wash and apply serums/creams to your face to avoid irritating it. I skipped out on buying their products but the application technique has helped me alot.  I've also invested in the Dr Gross Steamer Solution which has been God sent. I actually found a next to new one on kijiji for 60$ . 🙂  Washing your makeup brushes after every use (annoying but think of all the dirt/bacteria/dust that builds up after every use). Changing your pillow cases twice a week. Now as for the Sephora products I'm using for a cleanser I use the Philosophy purity simple cleanser and the kate somerville goat milk moisturizer cream.  Keep it simple and then build up to adding more products to your regime.  Oh and I also have been using the Kate somerville hydrating gel before applying my moisturizer. Go to sephora and get samples of these products and trial it for a week to see how your skin reacts to it. 


I hope this helps 🙂 

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