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Weird combination skin please help

So I have very strange skin. My skin has always been very oily, acne-prone, redness-prone, and I've always struggled with large pores and black heads. I've been trying a lot of new products out lately mostly due to recently subscribing to Ipsy to try and clear it up more and get rid of some acne scars. But, every time I try a new products it starts working for a few days then reacts with another product in my skincare regime that I then try to replace and that new products works then reacts again. So far on my journey: I've found that the Murad salicylic acne control cleanser works wonders at clearing my skin tone up and my pores out, especially blackheads which I've never found anything to control, but it doesn't exfoliate so I'm left with a layer or tight, dry skin that eventually flakes off and looks disgusting, so to combat flaking, I use The Ordinary's AHA + BHA peeling solution. I don't like toners because I've never found one that does anything, so the only left is moisturizer. I cannot find a moisturizer that moisturizes and gets rid of all my dry patches without clogging my pores and causing my skin to flare up so I resorted to slathering my face with coconut oil and putting neosporin on the drier parts which reverses any positive effects of the solution and cleanser. Any moisturizer recommendations?

Re: Weird combination skin please help



The Murad Clarifying Cleanser is drying and full of irritants; it's not doing your skin any favors. It's not that it doesn't's that it's drying your skin out quite badly, and the rest of your routine can't compensate for that. BHA is a magical ingredient for blackheads, but I'd rather see you using it in a leave-on form instead of a drying cleanser. As for The Ordinary Peeling Solution, there's a balance you need to find...use it too often and it overdries your skin, exacerbating the peeling instead of clearing it up. And if you've never been regular with exfoliation before, it may just be too much for your skin...something that strong needs to be worked up to. For most folks, frankly I'd rather see a gentler AHA used on a more regular basis instead of a ridiculously strong formula.


As a fellow oily, acne-prone gal, here is my basic PM routine. I have a large sample stash and rotate some items in and out fairly regularly, but these are all great starter products, and I'm trying to stay budget friendly with the recommendations 🙂


Cleanse: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Cleansers don't have to be fancy or expensive, they just need to cleanse well without overdrying or stripping the skin. This one isn't just good, it's great.


If you are wearing makeup or sunscreen (and you should be wearing sunscreen daily) you'll really need to consider double cleansing (oil/balm first, followed by a traditional cleanser). Clinique TTDO balm is fantastic as a first cleanse. Wipes or micellar water could be an ok sub, but I really prefer a good balm or oil over those. 


Tone: I like an AHA toner daily to control the flakies. Start off once or twice a week, then build up as tolerated. Derma-E Glycolic Radiance Toner is a good budget option, or check out FAB Radiance Pads.


Treat: Salicylic Acid, aka BHA is your best friend for blackheads, and works best as a leave-on. I adore Paula's Choice (she has many formulations, from 1-9%; I use Resist 2% daily and the 4% once a week. 2% is a good starting point for many, and I think you'd be ok with it). For a more budget-friendly alternative, check out Stridex pads.


Moisturize: moisturizers are important for everyone, even us oily folks. Look for lightweight options. Clinique Dramatically Different Gel, CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, and First Aid Beauty Ulta Repair Face Moisturizer are all excellent choices.   


A couple of times a week, a clay or charcoal mask can help with soaking up excess oil as well. I really like all of the ones from the L'Oreal Pure Clay line.


That's a basic night routine...I also use essences, vitamin C, and retinol, but those are above and beyond what you need to get started on the basics. If you try a routine like the one above, and find you are still a bit dry/flaky, consider adding an essence (ELF's is excellent, with niacinimide, which is also a fantastic ingredient for pores) and/or a hydrating serum (check out FAB's; it includes peptides, which are fantastic for everyone). I've also found that 2-4 drops of facial oil mixed in with my moisturizer does wonders for helping to control my oil. 


For my AM routine, I would recommend an even lighter cleanser (like CeraVe Hydrating), non-acid toner, hydrating serum in the winter, moisturizer, sunscreen. You can add other items, like vitamin C or anything else you might want later, but get the basics down before going all out. 🙂 


Add new items one at a time, at least two weeks apart, but preferably 4 or more. It can take some time to see how one product works for you. Also, if you throw several new items at your face and start having troubles, you don't know which product is the culprit. It can take some work (and some frustration...I've been there), but the results are worth it once you figure out what works for you. Good luck!

Re: Weird combination skin please help

If you're finding success with the murad cleanser here's my home regimen for combo skin (I have a similar skin type)

-Clarifying cleanser

- Murad's Clarifying toner- Toners are amazing! This one in particular helps with oil control! But the other thing about toners is that the open the pores and prep your skin for the serums (or as Murad calls them step 2's) that impact your skin care concerns. Which means you use less product and the product you do use is more efficient! 

- InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment by Murad

- I personally like PCA Skin's Pigment Serum to address hyperpigmentation along with their Acne Clearing serum. PCA actually compliments Murad products really well!

- For night time I use Murad's nutrient water gel. Because it is water based it add hydration back into my skin without making me over produce oil. I also like ProActives Green Team Moisturizer which is designed for our type of skin. 

- SPF/ Day - I love the oil mattifyer by Murad. controls my oil throughout the day and doesn't clog my pores.

- For blackheads by go to is Proactive Black head diminish gel! This is like waving a magic wand over your black head s a BAM they are gone. No lie!


Keep in mind, whenever trying a new product, especially one that is high concentrate you skin may purge for a few days. This is normal. I am just trying out Jan Marini Skin Management system and this has transformed my skin as well.


Hope this helps! I work in skin care so this I can totally geek out on this.

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