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Post in Skincare Aware

Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Has anyone ever had a similar experience after using any of these products?
The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc, The Ordinary Arbutin + HA, Dr. Jart Cicapair Cream, and Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb. As you might know or imagine, it can be so hard to pinpoint which parts of a regimen are affecting your skin so I welcome and appreciate any insight!

I first noticed this irritation on my cheeks last night and it's only worsened since. I've never had anything like this appear on my skin! It actually doesn't look quite as bad as it feels: swollen, tight, and not like my own skin. Unlike regular acne, the bumps are more spread out instead of raised, if that makes any sense. Before this happened, I developed two zits just above and below my mouth. I don't breakout often (below is my skin on a good day) so I took it as an opportunity to try some acne products that I've owned for some time but don't regularly use, as well as some recent purchases. I didn't use them all at the same time.


skin before the reactionskin before the reactionThe Niacinamide + Zinc I last used probably five days ago so I don't know if it would have caused a reaction within that timeline. I began using it last week in combination with the Arbutin + HA, then continued with just the Arbutin + HA every other day until two nights ago. That night, I noticed a zit growing so I used a generous dab of the Cicapair to spot treat, then continued with the residue still on my fingers to apply a light oil across the face, and finished with Belif True Cream. In the morning I rinsed with just water and last night I was too tired to cleanse.


I am a woman of routine and apart from these four products, everything stayed consistent with what I normally do to maintain healthy skin. I guess it's also possible that this happened due to some variable in the environment, but the most direct changes were in my products. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your thoughts!


#belif true cream aqua bomb

#dr jart cicapair tiger grass cream

#the ordinary niacinamide + zinc

#the ordinary alpha arbutin + hyaluronic acid

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

@jujubk Amazingly, I've used or currently use all those things! The Aqua Bomb is my go to moisturizer (combo/leaning dry) in the summer, it's a touch too light in the winter, I usually switch to something heavier, or use more facial oils for that extra dryness.


Now, the two Ordinary items. I love the a-arbutin-HA, I still use it to this day! I've never had a reaction to this and it really has lightened my dark spots (sometimes actually too much, I took a brief break because I swear my whole complexion was getting lighter!). The Niacinamide seemed promising and no reactions at first, but after using it for several weeks, I started breaking out! Like EVERYWHERE. Redness, bumps, textures, the works. Cut it out of my regime, and boom, problem solved. There are a few other ladies on BIC that have had similar experiences, so that would be the first thing I'd isolate/discontinue if I were you.


I might stop with the Dr. Jart too, if only because it's quite an enriched product and tiger grass is not for everyone! Restart once your skin feels more normal. Have you considered if you've got an allergies? The tightness/swolleness you described suggests an allergy, anything strange might have touched your hand/face?


I hope you figure it out, I HATE when my skin freaks out and I can't figure out why.


Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Thanks for sharing your experiences! This was the second time I tried to make the Aqua Bomb and Dr. Jart work but I think I'm just too turned off by the fragrance of the AQ to keep using such a light moisturizer, and I also didn't notice much improvement from the Dr. Jart and noticed it contains some potent ingredients. I might give the Niacinamide to my friend, who has less of an issue with dryness! I also try my best not to touch my skin but it's definitely possible.

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Hi there!


Have you added all of these new products at once? Suddenly slapping a whole bunch of new stuff on your face can seriously aggravate your skin, so try slowly introducing the items one at a time. TO Niacinamide + Zinc works great for me at controlling oil, reducing the appearance of pores, calming redness and healing acne. 
I haven't used the Arbutin, but I checked the website and some people say they use it for hyperpigmentation in targeted areas on their face, but that it can break them out. Hyperpigmentation is not really a big concern for me so I can't speak too much on that product.
As for the cicapair, I have the overnight mask and i LOVE that stuff. I wake up and my skin is calm and dewy. It has a whole lot of ingredients in it, and I find it very calming and repairing for the skin.
Belief aquabomb: haven't tried it, but I know a lot of people like it. I use Neutrogena hydroboost, which is a gel cream of a similar consistency. 


Your reaction could have been for any number of reasons, such as fragrance, but the most likely cause in my opinion is that you've used too many things at once, and your skin isn't a fan of it. I know it's fun to try out a whole bunch of new stuff, but when you pile on too many products, you end up doing more harm than good for your skin, usually. Your skin barrier has been compromised by adding too many new, active ingredients. Try to pair it down to 2 leave on products. Try the Niacinamide+Zinc serum in the morning, let it dry down for 10-15 minutes, and then apply a sunscreen. Then at night, try the cicapair, which will hopefully calm the irritation you're experiencing.

This is just my opinion, I'm not a professional.... Hope this helps! 

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

You're right. The Cicapair and Aqua Bomb came in a set I bought a while ago and I didn't feel they did much for me the first time I tried them, so probably a few months passed until I worried about them going to waste and wanted to give them another try. I didn't think it would be a big deal to try them again with two other new products within the same week as long as they weren't used at the exact time but it definitely seems like my skin was overwhelmed by all of these new things.


I'm still trying to figure out my skin type exactly - hyperpigmentation is also not a primary concern for me, though I did want to see if the arbutin could help fade some acne scarring and sun damage from years of going out with no sunscreen - and I think this experience tells me it leans drier/more sensitive with the occasional breakout. I heard great things about the Niacinamide + Zinc but I stopped after two uses because I found it drying. We really do need to take it slow and listen to what our body is trying to tell us!

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Hey @jujubk! Sorry to hear about what’s going! I haven’t used those products specifically, but I have had a reaction in the past to Ordinary products when I was using them in the wrong order (I was using things together that probably shouldn’t be mixed). I consulted their regimen guide on their website and managed to figure it out. I know that’s not super helpful, but as for the reaction, I know exactly what you mean. I used the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Cream Intense Hydration 6 oz/ 170 gas a morning moisturizer (it has colloidal oatmeal which soothes the skin and helps with the pain/tightness), and hydrocortisone 1% in the evening (for the redness, swelling and itchiness of the dry skin). The bumps started going away within a few days and after 6 days or so I could wear makeup on whatever was left comfortably. I honestly just picked up some polysporin hydroxortisone cream at the pharmacy and it was fine

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Just wanted to say thank you so much for suggesting the hydrocortisone! It's no longer itchy and it really cut down the redness/swelling! Did the bumps leave behind any scarring?

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Thank you! I'll definitely look into the Ordinary guide and the hydrocortisone. I've also heard good things about the Ultra Repair Cream although I tend to prefer tube packaging to jars. I think I'll make an oatmeal mask myself. Good to hear you only had to deal with it for a few days!

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

@jujubk i got the ultra repair in a tube! There’s a mini with a lip product for 15$ plus you can use your discount this weekend FIRST AID BEAUTY - Hydration Harbor. It says mini but it’s about 60ml and for just the face it lasts a good amount of time

Re: Skin autopsy - what went wrong?

Ooh, good to know!

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