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Looking for a New Skincare Routine!


Hi guys, 


For the longest time, I had acne-prone skin. I visited a number of dermatologists and was prescribed a lot of oral and topical medication. It’s pretty overwhelming, so I decided to stop with my oral medication and continue with the topical medication (Clindamycin gel and Tretinoin cream). Using this gel and cream causes my face to dry a lot, so I use just about a 1 cm each day for both.


My morning routine usually consists of Nature Republic’s Bee Venom Cleanser and Biore’s exfoliator, the rose quartz (but only 2-3 times a week). Then I apply my Clindamycin gel, my Nature Republic bee venom moisturizer, and lastly, my olive oil ampoule. I don’t see much affect with my skin with these products. I get minimal breaks out here and there but not all the time.


My night routine is simply the cleanser again, then adding the tretinoin cream, then neutrogena’s hydro booster gel. Sometimes I opt out of the gel and use tea tree oil. 

I feel like my routine isn’t helping with the dark spots on my face, also with the redness too. My face needs help 🥺


It doesn’t have to be Sephora products, any other product is welcomed. 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Hi @Raaae ! I have a few tweaks to your current routine that might help with the dryness and some of the redness. I'm not a dermatologist, so these are just suggestions to consider. 


1. Reduce use of the Biore scrub cleanser to just once a week, if even that frequent. I know Biore says it's a gentle scrub, but it could be irritating your skin and, in turn, causing more redness and dryness. You could reduce frequency for a month or 2, then perhaps increase it to 2 times a week once your skin's better tolerating your topical prescriptions. 


2. Apply tretinoin after your moisturizer. This will buffer some of that retinoid's irritating side effects, but won't stop it from working. It'll also ensure your skin is hydrated and moisturized before you add tretinoin. Just give your moisturizer a few minutes to sink into your skin and, once your skin's no longer damp, apply your retinoid. That's how I apply retinaldehyde at night. 


3. Try a different moisturizer and always apply it to damp skin. Sure, I could link to plenty of pricey options sold at Sephora. But some great moisturizers that can truly seal in hydration (prevent water loss) are simple drugstore options: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream, Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer (my daily AM and PM moisturizer), or perhaps some La Roche Posay moisturizers (I don't use them, but I'm told the Toleriane line is quite good). You can also check out Paula's Choice moisturizers; my mostly-dry combo skin likes their Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer and Omega+ Complex Moisturizer. 


If your skin loves shea butter, consider The INKEY List Peptide Moisturizer 1.7 oz/ 50 mL or the pricier (and more robust in terms of peptides used) Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer . A very good dupe of Protini is Acure Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream for $20. 


4. Be careful with the tea tree oil. Is it 100% tea tree (which I don't recommend), or is it a blend of oils like Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Balancing Oil 1.01 oz/ 30 mL ? Tea tree can be very irritating if used too frequently. Also, 100% tea tree oil is not a good occlusive moisturizer on its own, so you should still use your moisturizer on tea tree oil nights (unless the tea tree product you use happens to be a cream that does contain other moisturizing ingredients). 


5. For dark acne "scars" (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), consider azelaic acid. I alternate between Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster (which also contains a bit of salicylic acid) and The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% 1 oz/ 30 mL . You don't have to apply it to your whole face; you can just treat PIH areas. Azelaic acid attacks acne-causing bacteria and can lift those dark spots, plus it plays very nice with retinoids. 


6. Give it time: stay consistent with your topical Rx. I'm sure you've heard this from the derms you've seen, and you're probably rolling your eyes right now, but remember that results can take months. Some folks talk about tretinoin as if it's a quick miracle but, as you can attest, it's not. Stick with it and focus on reducing your dryness and irritation. 👍


EDIT to add number 7, which I can't believe I forgot: Wear sunscreen, minimum SPF of 30, each day your skin's exposed to sunlight, regardless of weather or season, and reapply it every couple hours. We should all wear sunscreen daily anyway, but especially when our skin is damaged, irritated, or excessively dry. Sun exposure without protection will only worsen those skin conditions. And no, a big floppy hat + sunglasses are not enough protection on their own—though they are a great additional layer! Even when I wear sunglasses, I use sunscreen all around my eyes. If you already use sunscreen, great! If not, it's an important habit to get into. 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Thank you for your help! I’ll definitely try these tweaks before using new products and see if there’s any changes. 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

@Raaae Hey love, 

i worked at sephora for 3 years as a makeup and skincare advisor and I would love to help. Before I recommend any products i have a few questions. 

1. After washing your face does your skin feel tight?

2. Are you sensitive to anything?

3. Do you have any preference With certain brands? 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Hi! My face does feel a tad bit tight after washing by my face. I haven’t explored enough to figure out what I’m sensitive to. I don’t have a specific brand or line I follow through with. 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Perfect! So your skin sounds like it’s dehydrating and compensating for the lack of moisture by creating oils in your skin. When their is an overreproduction of  sebum (oils) there always tends to be an acne problem bc acne bacteria loves living in these skin oils. I would start off with the farmacy face wash Farmacy Whipped Greens: oil-free foaming cleanser with moringa and papaya 5.0 oz/ 150 mL  and go in with a hydrating moisturizer  i use the Kiehl's Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cream  and love it! If you want something that will give you instant results i highly recommend purchasing thSUNDAY RILEY Good Genes All-In One Lactic Acid Treatment and add this into your routine right before your moisturizer and of course eye cream you can use any eyecream since this isn’t a concern of yours the OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème 0.5 oz/ 15 mL  is great! And of course don’t forget to use sunscreen in the morning and re-apply as needed throughout the day Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Sunscreen Serum PA+++ 1.0 oz/ 30 mL is the best! 

step by step 

1. Farmacy Whipped Greens: oil-free foaming cleanser with moringa and papaya 5.0 oz/ 150 mL 

2. Kiehl's Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cream 

3. SUNDAY RILEY Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment 

4. OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème 0.5 oz/ 15 mL 

5. Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Sunscreen Serum PA+++ 1.0 oz/ 30 mL 



Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Hi @Raaae! I have combination skin that leans a little bit more towards the dry side, but I think that my skincare routine really does help address acne and dark spots as well.. I'd say that it's pretty complete routine, but I don't have an SPF product in there right now since I've been at home so much. 


To get you started, my morning routine starts with a cleanser - I use Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser in the mornings, because I find that the pH level of it leaves my skin nice, soft, and not stripped of moisture. I tend to cleanse for about 30 seconds, even though a lot of people cleanse for a minute, since I really don't want my skin to get too dry! However, since you probably have oilier skin than me, I would recommend the Kiehl's Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cleanser 5 oz/ 150 ml, which is really good for people with oily skin since it really makes your face feel squeaky clean after using it!


After that, I move on to Neutrogena toner, which I love since it's alcohol free and doesn't strip my skin of too much moisture either. It's also really affordable - you really don't need to spend a lot of money on toner, since it's just balancing out your skin after cleansing.


Then, my skincare routine really varies depending on the day. If my face really needs that extra hit of moisture, I use the Glossier Super Bounce serum, since it has hyaluronic acid (which can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water). If my skin has a lot of redness, then I use Glossier's Super Glow serum, which is a Vitamin C serum that aims to reduce redness and brighten your complexion in general. If using both, I would use the Super Bounce serum first, and then the Super Glow serum. These serums are a little bit on the pricier side ($28 per 1 oz. bottle), but I do think that they're worth it, especially if you get them in the 3 pack that comes with the Super Bounce serum, the Super Glow serum, and the Super Pure serum (which I'll talk about later). You can get the set of 3 for $65 instead of buying each individually for $84, and during Glossier's one sale of the year during Black Friday, you can get them for under $50! While brands like The Ordinary do sell similar serums for a lot cheaper, I've found that serums from brands like The Ordinary tend to be a bit stickier and more abrasive (a lot of the time, this is because they've just put in the pure chemicals and haven't added anything to reduce tackiness or calm down the effects of the straight chemicals on the skin). 


If using a serum, I usually pat it into the skin and then roll out the excess all over my face using a  Herbivore Jade De-Puffing Face Roller . I used to see these things all over Instagram and thought that they were just fads, but I received one as a gift and found that rolling the roller all over your face is super refreshing, since the stone is so cold, and I really think that it improves overall blood circulation and helps the products you use absorb deeper into the skin! 


I moisturize with the CLINIQUE Moisture Surge™ Hydrating Lotion 6.7 oz/ 200 mL I've found that this is a light moisturizer that is great for use during the day, especially if you're going to wear makeup later, since it won't make your skin too shiny or greasy before applying makeup - I used to use the CLINIQUE Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ 6.7 oz Pump, but it actually made my skin oily. Despite having the words "moisture surge" in the name, the CLINIQUE Moisture Surge™ Hydrating Lotion 6.7 oz/ 200 mL is hydrating without being a complete oil bomb. I sometimes use my jade roller to help roll the moisturizer further into my skin if I find that the moisturizer seems to just be sitting on the surface of my ski


If I want some extra dewiness, then I'll use Glossier's Futuredew, which is an oil-based serum that is both hydrating and also acts as a highlighter due to the light-reflecting minerals in the serum. This serum makes your skin feel so soft and nourished and also super dewy and glowy without being too shiny. 


Finally, if I decide not to wear makeup for the day, I finish off with Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist 2.53 oz/ 75 mL  . It's super hydrating due to the hyaluronic acid in it, and also smells amazing (like a Watermelon Jolly Rancher). It adds the perfect dewy touch, if that's what you're going for!


You may be wondering, why are so many of the projects so moisturizing/hydrating if you have oily skin? Well, when my skin used to get oily, I would refuse to hydrate it a lot because I thought that it would make it even more oily, but actually, it's really necessary to hydrate oily skin because otherwise, oily skin will overcompensate by trying to "moisturize itself", which will only make your skin become more oily.


I also have a skincare shower routine. I'm weird, since I have sports practice in the afternoon, so I shower right after practice in the evenings before dinner, and I like to have a skincare routine after sports practices since my skin has probably come into contact with some dirt, sweat, etc. In the shower, I cleanse with Kiehl's Since 1851 Ultra Facial Cleanser that I mentioned before. It does feel a lot stronger than the Glossier cleanser, and sometimes it does feel like it's stripping moisture from your face, but it's really important to do a deeper cleanse after working out because your skin has probably come into contact with a lot of stuff that you want to get out of your skin.


After hopping out of the shower, I use Neutrogena's toner again, which will balance out your skin after using a harsher cleanser like the Kiehl's one. My skin sometimes acts up, and when it does, little bumps usually appear along my chin/jawline. If my skin is acting up, I use Glossier's Super Pure serum, which is formulated with niacinamide and zinc, which are both purifying agents for the skin. I find that if I use this serum, usually the bumps will be gone within a couple of hours! It's important to note that Glossier's Super Pure serum and their Super Glow serum shouldn't be used together, since when used together, some of the chemicals may react badly to each other.


I finish off my post-shower skincare routine with a bit of CLINIQUE Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly  It's a bit of a weird gel-texture that some people may find a bit off-putting, but I really like it because I don't want to moisturize my skin too much, and I find that this jelly feels really nice and cool on the skin while being hydrating, but isn't like a real moisturizer. I usually roll this out with my jade roller and finish off with a couple of spritzes of Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist 2.53 oz/ 75 mL.


At night, I use Lancôme Crème Radiance Gentle Cleansing Creamy-Foam Cleanser 4.2 oz/ 125 mL. It's similar to the Glossier cleanser in that they're both very gentle, except this one is a foaming cleanser instead of a jelly cleanser, and I find that it pairs well with the next step of my nighttime skincare routine, which is the Lancôme Tonique Confort Re-Hydrating Comforting Toner with Acacia Honey  This is the most gentle toner that I've ever tried, and it makes your skin so soft and smooth, which is nice right before bedtime. I roll this out on my face with the jade roller, and then use  CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Overnight Mask 3.4 oz/ 100 mL . This is basically a moisturizer, but when you wake up in the morning, your skin looks so nice and soft without being greasy! It's really a great product for oily skin. Then, as always, I finish off with a couple spritzes of the  Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist 2.53 oz/ 75 mL.


I didn't include any SPF products in here because they vary so much from person to person - some people like thicker lotions products, and some people like BB cream products - it's really all up to you! 


And that's basically my skincare routine! In my opinion, it's pretty affordable, since I buy most of my products in value sizes. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions! 

Re: Looking for a New Skincare Routine!

Thank you for sharing your morning, shower and night routine with me. After tweaking my products, I am looking forward to trying glossier’s like for super bounce, glow, and pure. I’m not as sure if my skin will react to these serums, but I’m willing to give it a try. Would you say using kiehl’s twice a day, day and night rather, would not be too much in stripping moisture? I am all for trying it out! 

Though I didn’t mention this in my post above, but I used to use Thayer’s witch hazel toner, but had a reaction.. wasn’t sure if that’s because of the face serum I started using at the time or the toner. But what’s your take on Thayer’s toner? Have you used it before and would you say it’s worth using? 

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