This post has been a long time coming! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I love everything skincare! From testing out products, to reading/researching it, or talking to others and giving out advice.
Before I dive into my skincare routine I’d like to talk a little about how I’ve gotten to this point. I’ve been lucky enough to have “normal” to dry skin most of my life with the exception of the occasional breakout or two. Flashback to the days I thought freckles were a problem (little did I know). My biggest “real” issue started in my 20’s when I starting developing what looked like a mustache! Yes you heard that right! Not the traditional hairy handlebar kind but more of a darkening of the skin above my lip. I remember noticing it for the first time while on vacation with my family in Italy. I was mortified. I immediately proceeded to cover it up (cake it on) with makeup. I’m sure that only made it look more ridiculous especially since I didn’t wear a whole lot of makeup back then. To the great annoyance of my family, I asked them constantly…”can you see it?!” I eventually went to see a dermatologist when covering it up just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Within minutes he diagnosed it as Melasma. In short it’s a darkening of the skin due to hormones, which in my case was caused from my birth control pill + sun exposure makes it much worse. So basically that trip to Italy soaking up the sun on the beaches of Sicily wasn’t a very good idea. It sure was fun though!
“Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle.” – Erno Laszlo
If my memory serves me correctly, after my first visit to the dermatologist I was prescribed hydroquinone which is a skin bleaching product then at a later time a different doc prescribed Tri-luma which is a combo of Retin A and hydroquinone. Both products were effective, however at the time I wasn’t consistent or very diligent about sun protection which is KEY. Plus hydroquinine isn’t something you want to use on a long term basis. I eventually stopped taking my pill which also helped a great deal and was prob the most effective. Well fast forward to when I got pregnant aka crazy hormones and the melasma came back except this time with a vengeance and on my cheeks. Needless to say, it was something that made me very self conscience so leaving the house without makeup became the new norm unfortunately. Not to mention by that point I was in my 30’s and now also had to deal with signs of aging. Oh the joys of getting older….
That first trip to the dermatologist began my journey and great interest in skincare. It was at this time I realized the importance of having a skincare regimen. Unfortunately, more often than not the dermatologist would prescribe a product without giving me clear guidance/directions on how to use it so I was forced to have to do a lot of my own research with some trial and error, which now brings us here (thank god for Google).
“The best foundation you can wear is glowing healthy skin.”
Cleanse: I’ve tried many and I mean many cleansers but the one I keep coming back to and recommend to anyone who will listen is the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. It’s a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip my skin. Plus it’s dermatologist recommended and affordable.
Treat: After cleansing my face I use my Skinceuticals C E Ferulic. Vitamin C provides visible anti-aging benefits, brightens skin and is a powerful antioxidant. It has helped tremendously to even out my skin tone and correct my hyperpigmentation. Also, it’s effective for a few days so I only need to apply this every 3rd day or so. This really packs a punch when I use it with my sunscreen by adding an extra layer of protection. If you don’t have a Vitamin C in your regimen you should!
On the days I’m not using my vitamin C, I use my Sunday Riley Good Genes which is a lactic acid that exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, revealing smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. It helps my fine lines appear more plump making my skin more radiant.
Hydrate: Hydrated skin instantly makes your skin look better. I love the CeraVe PM moisturizer. I use the PM one since I use a separate sunscreen afterwards. It has some really great ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide and Ceramides which all make for a a very hydrating moisturizer. Again, a great affordable option and gets the job done.
Protect: Without sunscreen you might as well not waste your money on all of the above. I cannot stress the importance of using sunscreen. This is by far the most important thing out of everything I mention here. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve gone through several of the La Roche-Posay Anthelios. I like it because it does a great job at protecting my face, it’s very lightweight and it’s almost like a primer since it works so well under my make-up.
Cleanse: At night is when I double cleanse…meaning I first use a cleansing oil to remove my makeup and then I use Cetaphil to cleanse my face. I’ve seen great results after I started doing this and the oil really adds that extra hydration. For a deep cleanse and exfoliation I love to use my Clarisonic. I credit it for making my skin very smooth and getting my face ready for my treatments/moisturizer.
Treat: I alternate between my Retin A and Sunday Riley Good Genes. Retin A (tretinoin) is a form of Vitamin A that helps the skin renew itself. Many say that it’s the gold standard in anti-aging and I would have to agree based on my own results. Basically the Retin A improves skin-cell turnover and the AHA exfoliates the dead cells revealing brighter, fresher looking skin. The combination of both makes for a powerful duo. Please note that you should only get Retin A with a prescription from your doc.
Retin A is also often prescribed to help treat acne which is actually why it was first prescribed to me. After baby #2 and my hormones wreaking havoc; I had gone to see my dermatologist because of hormonal acne. I had no experience with Retin A whatsoever except when I was using Tri-Luma several years prior. Again this time, I wasn’t given clear instructions on how to use it and had to learn the hard way. If you’ve ever used Retin A then you know what I’m talking about. Finally, after lots and lots of research and some mistakes along the way I figured out how to use it. Stay tuned for another post where I’ll talk more about the benefits of using Retin A and how to use it with as little irritation as possible.
Hydrate: If my skin is feeling dry then after my Retin A or Good Genes I’ll apply my CeraVe Moisturizer. Plus let’s not forget our lips! Every single night I apply Aquaphor Healing Ointment and I honestly can’t remember the last time I had chapped lips. I use this anywhere my skin is feeling a little dry and it works magic.
I don’t think skincare has to be that complicated yet it’s important to use the right products at the right time. I wish I had figured that part out a lot sooner because I would’ve spared myself some headaches and saved a whole lot of money.
My skin is no where near “perfect” because that doesn’t exist. I’m still dealing with some stubborn hyperpigmentation/melasma which will probably never go away unless I do a more intensive chemical peel or laser treatment but I’m not quite ready for all of that. The good news is I don’t have a mustache anymore (you win some you lose some)! Keep in mind this is what has worked well for me and you should always consult with a dermatologist on your specific skincare needs.
Here I am with a freshly washed face. The fact that I was comfortable enough to post this speaks volumes :)
Do you have a skincare routine? What are your must have products that work?