Skincare Story: Acne to Eczema to Glow-Up
When I started my skincare journey, I had the oiliest skin imaginable and dealt with constant hormonal breakouts. I tried every brand Sephora had to offer- each one filled with more fragrance, essential oils, and/or alcohol than the last. My skin quickly became overwhelmed and I broke out into terrible atopic dermatitis which would become chronic. And bam! I had eczema. It was... a struggle, to say the least. I went from oily to combination, with flare-ups that got me so dry I’d flake. Unpleasant. But I learned. I switched to fragrance-, essential oil-, alcohol-free skincare. Cleansers with gentle surfactants. Less exfoliation and more nourishing ingredients. Added hydrating products to reduce the dehydration that caused my oily skin and keep my now-combo skin happy. I gave my skin at least 2-4 no-actives rest days every week. My skin slowly recuperated. Now my hyperpigmentation is fading and my eczema flare-ups are less common. I still get breakouts, but they’re less painful and less long-lived. A few products (such as PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Azelaic Acid Booster and The Ordinary - Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% ) are amazing for their role in reducing my hyperpigmentation, but I can’t emphasize enough how my acne and eczema flare-ups wouldn’t have improved if I hadn’t eliminated my triggers by switching brands. I stopped using fragranced brands like Origins, Fresh, Herbivore, Dr Jart, Tatcha, and Summer Fridays, and switched to biocompatible brands like Drunk Elephant, The Ordinary, The Inkey List, and Paula’s Choice. By taking out all possible irritants, my skin found peace. My acne reduced in frequency + intensity and I nowadays a combo of PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Niacinamide Booster and PAULA'S CHOICE - Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliator keeps them short-lived. Skin rest days are still important but I can’t emphasize enough that your skin is an organ and everyone should be treating it as such 🙌🏽
PAULA'S CHOICE-10% Azelaic Acid Booster
Empties!!! Best of 2020
ACURE - Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream A perfect gentle cleanse for dry, sensitive skin and does not feel like the skin is stripped at all. ll.ACURE - Ultra Hydrating Green Juice Cleanser Ideal for dry, dehydrated skin types. Very creamy consistency with a light lather effect. skyn ICELAND - Glacial Face Wash A creamy, clay type consistency that is ideal for normal to oily skin and offers a deep, refreshing clean. Kiehl's - Ultra Facial Cream Incredible cream. If you have reactive, dry, sensitive skin or are allergic to fragrance, give this a try. It feels like a light emollient texture and makes the perfect night cream if you are more oily. FIRST AID BEAUTY - Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream Another amazing emollient night cream rich with Peptides and ceramides to keep your skin barrier protected. Also fragrance free. PAULA'S CHOICE - Omega + Complex Serum Instant relief for a dry, compromised barrier. It pairs beautifully under a moisturizer if you want extra nourishment. This serum also has ceramides and fatty acids but feels light enough to wear during the day. Once again, fragrance free. I loved all the products mentioned and will not hesitate to repurchase them. Let me know if you love them as much as I did!
skyn ICELAND-Glacial Face Wash
Ingredient Breakdown: Ceramides
Ceramides are a lipid that already exist in the strateum corneum, the outermost layer of skin. In fact, your skin is made up of around 50% ceramides! Ceramides hold together skin cells, preventing moisture loss and retaining firmness. UV damage and pollution destroy the number and quality of the ceramides in your skin, leading to loss of the supple feeling of skin, decreased visible smoothness, as well as increasing the likelihood of sensitivity and irritation. I love using ceramides to address both my sensitivity issues (hey eczema fam!) and for youth-promotion. For sensitivity, it shouldn’t take long to feel and see results like reduced redness and increased smoothness, but aging skin should expect a wait time of months for fine line and firmness improvement. I have combination skin, so I love these three products for adding ceramides to my routine without being too heavy for my oily forehead and nose, but offering the hydration my dry cheeks and eye areas need! DRUNK ELEPHANT - Lala Retro Whipped Cream has been my favourite moisturizer throughout my super oily pre-niacinamide days and my super dry eczema flare-ups. It is fluffy and easily absorbed, but layers easily with extra hydrating and moisturizing serums. PAULA'S CHOICE - Omega + Complex Serum should be in every sensitive, aging, or dry skin routine. It is light but packs a serious moisturizing and soothing punch. I also recommend it to oily/combination folks when using exfoliants or retinol, to help reduce the likelihood of irritation! PAULA'S CHOICE - Hyaluronic Acid Booster is amazing. Everyone should try this, legitimately. Actual hyaluronic acid plus popular sodium hyaluronate offer light, soothing hydration while cholesterol and ceramide help to retain that hydration without oiliness. It’s perfect for treating skin issues like sensitivity, dehydration, and a damaged skin barrier from overexfoliation or retinol.
PAULA'S CHOICE-Hyaluronic Acid Booster
My Favourite Hydration/Moisture Products
Hydration and moisture are so, so important! I had the most oily skin for years and it never occurred to me to use a cream- so when I found my oil production subsiding a bit after introducing a hydration serum and moisturizer, I was amazed. Excess oil production can be the skin trying to moisturize itself via sebum. Here are my rec’s: PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Niacinamide Booster contains such a variety of humectants that I consider it a hydrating serum. Hydrating while also balancing oil production, this is amazing for every skin type. stratia - Liquid Gold is packed with emollients and some humectants, making it a good serum for dry skin and the perfect moisturizer for oily skin. DRUNK ELEPHANT - B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum helps to reduce oil production but primarily gives skin the hydration it craves. This is a good serum for all skin types but lacks the emollients to be a moisturizer. DRUNK ELEPHANT - F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask is the perfect cream to use after an acid if your skin is sensitive. It’d be a great moisturizer (thanks to squalane) for oily skin and is a nice add-on for dry skin. DRUNK ELEPHANT - Lala Retro Whipped Cream worked for my skin when I was an oil slick and it saves my flaky face when my eczema goes Sahara desert. This fluffy moisturizer is perfect for all skin types, though dry skin in the winter may need to add an oil. The Ordinary - Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a hydrating serum that is just what dehydrated and/or oily skin needs- however I’d caution users that hyaluronic acid can be drying if you live in an arid environment. It also doesn’t have the most elegant texture, so give it an extra minute to soak in! PAULA'S CHOICE - Probiotic Nutrient Moisturizer moisturizes without shine, managing to be rich yet soaking in very quickly. It may be a bit too light for dry skin in the PM but oily/combo skin will love it. PAULA'S CHOICE - Omega + Complex Serum If you have sensitive, combination, and/or dry skin, buy this. It contains emollients, humectants, and is perfect for soothing skin. Oily skin will also likely enjoy this serum for its surprising lightness, but in my experience it is too light to be used as a moisturizer.
PAULA'S CHOICE-10% Niacinamide Booster
Anti-Aging for Sensitive Skin
Now most people think of anti aging and grab products with a high amount of active ingredients in them to ensure they're getting the maximum amount of benefits The reality is that too many actives normally result in a damaged skin barrier that can only cause your skin to look further aged and fragile. For this reason, it's important to give actives a break and focus on soothing and gentle ingredients that will help sensitive skin looking youthful and fresh. Here are 2 examples of exceptional products that are perfect for gentle anti aging. PAULA'S CHOICE - Omega + Complex Serum I am fully satisfied with how nourished and hydrated my skin feels after putting this on. Some of the key ingredients include chia and flaxseed oils for those rich Omega fatty acids, which do wonders for your skin. This is also followed by olive oil and a bunch of ceramides. Perfect for a compromised barrier or overall sensitivity FIRST AID BEAUTY - Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream Also very impressed with this product. The perfect nighttime emollient cream to leave your skin feeling buttery soft and plump the next day. The formula contains shea butter, oatmeal, jojoba esters and peptides for the perfect overnight repair. I would 100% recommend these for people with sensitive skin, dry skin, or damaged skin. I will certainly be repurchasing these as well.
PAULA'S CHOICE-Omega + Complex Serum
Price Doesn’t Matter (Except That It Does)
Pause: price doesn’t matter in that it doesn’t innately affect the quality of the product. I used a (thankfully gifted) $160+ cult favourite serum and was comically underwhelmed with how horrible it smelled, how unpleasant the texture was, and how irritated my skin was despite the fact that I had used vitamin c serums just as strong previously. And then I look at a community-renowned $8 niacinamide serum that is, by all accounts, a decent serum... that my skin hated and I detested due to the tacky texture. I’ve used, and loved, skincare that ranges in price from $6-$300+, some gifted and some purchased with my own money. I’ve opted for lovely $15 moisturizers when I couldn’t afford my $60 favourites. I’ve paid extra for specific ingredients that are a bit more pricy. What I’ve Learned? Price means little to how my skin will like it. But price still matters. If your budget for skincare is small, your options similarly size down. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t good skincare in your budget. Of course, opt for prescription if you can afford it- 1% retinol from the most expensive brand can’t compare to a basic 0.0125% tretinoin prescription cream. Look at your skin, do a bit of research, and see where in your routine that you can splurge a bit, or where you can go strictly utilitarian. If you have access to CVS, they have 40% off coupons regularly and CeraVe is bangin’. If you’re international, check out the go-to The Ordinary who ships internationally, or go through CultBeauty to get ahold of similarly affordable brands like Versed and The Inkey List 💰 In the end, price really only matters in that it affects what brands you opt for and how large your routine is. You don’t need $110 moisturizers or $120 exfoliants, though they often offer better textures and more well-rounded formulas. Just cleanse, moisturize, and slap on some sunscreen, and you’ve got your bases covered 💕
DRUNK ELEPHANT-A-Passioni Retinol Cream
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