It’s almost a month (if you want to see my weekly update, please go to my IG stories highlight) and to think of it, I’m not even halfway there yet (sigh).
So, I can definitely tell you that Adapalene really helped my problem with oil plugs a lot. I had severe bumps on my left cheek and chin only, so I only apply the cream there instead of the whole face. First, it really help to push the existing oil plugs out, either they became blackheads or pustules. Then, it helps to stop the new oil plugs from forming. Of course when there are no more new oil plugs, my skin felt smoother. If I rubbed it now, I can feel lesser bumps.
On week 2, I decided to add Retinoic Acid as spot treatment. Under the name Vitacid (another local brand), it’s another prescription-strength topical skin treatment. From my point of view, it speeds up the progress (gunks up to surface, I mean). But I warn you, this is really potent, so please consult with your derm if you want to try.
I can’t wait until month 3! Anyway, here are my current skin condition.
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If you’ve been reading my blog posts and follow me on IG, you’ll notice one thing missing from my skincare regime. It’s Vitamin C.
First, I don’t enjoy Vitamin C serums turn brown due to oxidation. To think about my hard-earned money, and it turned bad easily, I don’t think so. And that oxidation process is obviously a destructive process, so if you put that on your skin, it will cause further skin damage. Ouch!
Second, Vitamin C is a great anti-oxidant, but it’s possible to become a pro-oxidant when in contact with metal/iron. Unfortunately nowadays, iron is a significant pollutant in the air and water (according to the FDA), and that means our skin comes in contact with iron every day. So, if we apply Vitamin C and our skin comes in contact with the air, it was like inviting problems to occur.
Last but not least, Vitamin C is one tough cookie to be mixed with others in the skincare ingredients list. It should never mix with AHA, BHA, Retinol, and Benzoyl Peroxide. If you’re a fan of layering skincare like me, better watch out and read ingredients list very carefully.
Moral of this post, my skin can’t take a topical Vitamin C, especially in concentrated serum format. It broke me out, caused redness and it tingled badly. So I did some research online, and I did find some interesting facts. Apparently, antioxidants in skincare are BAD when they are in concentrated form and disrupt the body’s natural ability to fight off bacteria.
TIPS & TRICKS:
Use Vitamin C in other format than serum for lighter percentage. Personally I use GOOD MOLECULES NIACINAMIDE BRIGHTENING TONER. It contains 2-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (number 6 on the ingredients’ list), a quite stable form of Vitamin C
Try the serum as a dark spot treatment only. Resist the temptation to apply it all over the face. I had great success with GOODAL GREEN TANGERINE VITA C DARK SPOT SERUM, that helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots.
What are their differences and which one to choose according to your skin problems?
My first introduction to this Vitamin A game, was Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.
Contains 1.0% Retinol, I was worried when I first applied it. Purging is like a nightmare, and I don’t think I can deal with it (at that time before pandemic). Turned out, I didn’t purge at all using this cream. I applied twice a week and it did bring slight changes to my skin. It made my skin smoother with less oil plugs and it did deflate acne. I kept going using this for almost a year, until I realized that my hormonal acne and whiteheads on chin area kept on appearing when I used this oil-based cream.
That’s when I decide to step up my game to Adapalene right on this pandemic moment. As I’m also in a saving mode, I was glad to find Evalen Krim, a local brand from Indonesia. It’s super affordable compared to an imported brand, and yes, I was surprised by the great result (so far). Currently I’m still on my Adapalene journey (read here for the early stages), but I can already see drastic change on my skin. Adapalene seems to push every closed comedones I have out to the surface. Scary at first, it was like getting a bad facial. But I learned throughout the process, they showed up fast but they will be gone fast too. And eventually, they all will get better in 12 weeks (max). So, cross my fingers and I’ll update on separate blog post.
Then, I found a YouTuber applied Retinoic Acid on top of her Adapalene in her night time routine. I was like, what? Double the A’s, really? But turned out, it worked for her and I certainly wouldn’t mind to jump into the same wagon while #stayathome all the time. So, now I also apply Vitacid 0,05% Retinoic Acid Cream as a spot treatment on top of Adapalene.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED:
It’s true when they said that Retinol tends to have fewer side effects than Retinoic Acid. It’s gentler, so if you just started in this Retinol game, start with Retinol first then you can upgrade if your skin can tolerate.
Both of Retinol and Retinoic Acid are vitamin A (under the same RETINOID umbrella), but Retinol contains a lower concentration of the active Retinoic Acid ingredient. Compared to Retinoic Acid, Retinol is about 20 times less potent. So if you feel (like me) Retinol worked too slow, maybe it’s time to fasten up. But don’t just take it from me, speak with your dermatologist first.
I believe Retinol is more ‘cosmetic’, while Retinoic Acid is more prescription strength that goes deeply into the skin to stimulate collagen production & increase cell turnover.
Adapalene is a synthetic Retinoid and it’s supposedly better tolerated than Retinoic Acid. From my experience so far, it normalized both of my skin struggles: keratinization and microcomedone formation.Everyone might experience different side effects, especially during the first few days of treatment. Just be patient, they are not magic in a tube.Always sandwich with a gentle cleanser and three step moisture method (water, humectant, emollient). I guess I survived not having super bad ‘retinization’ (redness, dryness, and flaking caused by Retinoid), because of this method.
This post is dedicated for my followers and readers who always think highly about my skincare budget (thanks but it’s not true).
I rarely purchased high-end products, if you can tell. I am more into K-beauty products, drugstore products and (lately) local products. And being a skinfluencer really helps on my budget a lot, especially if brands are sending me products that I can actually use (because they’re safe for FA) in in my skincare routine.
These are my current skincare products that I use everyday, and all of them in total cost me below IDR 2mio. Some of them are given to me, that’s how I save some money.
(Please note that prices may vary, most of them purchased on discount prices).
Tips on how to save:
Wait for discount, online or offline (trust me, there will be always that time).
Be a smart shopper on marketplace. Choose trusted sellers with the lowest price offered.
Trying a new product? Buy sample size first if available. Don’t buy share in jar/bottle please ( you might not know the hygiene of those).
Since July 29 2020, I’ve introduced Adapalene into my routine.
After a lot of careful thoughts and hundreds of YT reviews that I’ve watched while #stayathome, I finally decided to just go for it. Should’ve started earlier since the beginning of this pandemic though, so it might resolve my skin problems earlier. But, better late than never, right?
If you’ve been following me on my IG and reading my blog, you’ll know my never ending fight with acne, from fungal acne back in 2018 until adult and hormonal acne (especially on chin area) in 2020. I think I have tried mostly everything, AHA, BHA, LHA, PHA … you name it! I’ve used Retinol (Drunk Elephant) and of course they are all different in what they do. Over The Counter Retinol might has fewer side effects, but it takes several months to a year for visible results. Meanwhile, Adapalene, which is a Retinoid, is way stronger, making it an ideal treatment for acne.
I’ve had the urge to try Adapalene before, but never had the courage. The risk of purging heavily for 12 weeks, really put me off by that time (that was before this pandemic #stayathome situation).
But now, who knows when this pandemic is going to end? While staying at home all the time, I guess this is the right time for me to start Adapalene, with all its’ risks. If I have to go out, I’d wear mask anyway and cover the bad purging situation.
Since I’m on a saving mode, I decided to use a local Adapalene instead of imported ones. I’m using EVALEN KRIM ADAPALENE 0,1%, it’s very affordable (IDR52K for 10gr tube). They also have this in gel format, but after I saw some reviews, I decided to use the cream version. I believe cream forms are gentler with lesser side effects.
Now, I’m going to share with you guys my skin progress on week one (I will update again on month one, so stay tune).
DAY 1: Was the hardest, seriously. I was paranoid all night that I’d wake up with angry zits all over my face. But, turned out, NOT! Only two zits felt really itchy, red, swollen and ready to be pop. So I use acne patches on those two.
DAY 2: Apparently but those two zits with puss just didn’t budge with acne patch, so (don’t follow me) I decided to pop them. Of course, I left myself with two huge PIE aka red acne marks on my chin.
DAY 7: I decided to show my weekly (not daily) progress on my IG stories highlight. BTW, on day 5 I decided to apply Evalen every night for more speedy progress, since (thank God) I didn’t experience any bad irritation. Turned out, those oil plugs on my chin will either became blackheads or pustules. Which I think was great, because blackheads and pustules are easier to pop (either intentionally or unintentionally).
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
Start with every other night application for two weeks, than use it every night after that.
Don’t do it on daylight. Always apply at night time before bedtime only.
Better to apply and sleep with it in an Air-Con room.
I strongly suggest to do 3 step moisture method beforehand. Read here on how to do it.
Mix Adapalene with your moisturizer with 1:2. So one drop of Adapalene mix with two drop of moisturizer. This is a way to buffer Adapalene in order to lessen the effects of irritation and such.
Wait for your other skincare to dry before applying.
Avoid areas such as eyes, around the nose and lips.
Make sure you generously moisturize and apply sunscreen the morning after.
Stay away from physical or chemical exfoliants which can lead to over-exfoliation.
Be patient, just like pandemic, everything takes time to heal.
This is going to be a simple review, just because this moisturizer is that simple.
Simple ingredients’ list, simple packaging, and simple intended customers. Basically, those who want to simply moisturize without worrying that it’ll break you out or irritate you further. And the best part, it is safe for Fungal Acne! (Finally, a Krave Beauty product that’s safe for FA).
It fits right in to my current 3 Steps Moisture Method craze (thanks to Olena Beley who commented to my IG video earlier this month). Read here if you missed my post about Olena’s tips.
I use this as the final step of my hydrating steps, because it does contain Capric Triglyceride and Squalane, the perfect emollients to seal all in. And being on Adapalene journey, my skin also needs soothing moisturizer, so this just completes me, by having Oatmeal Extract as one of the ingredient. Yes, I also mix this with EVALEN Adapalene Krim 0.1% to reduce the concentration and lessen the risk of Adapalene’s side effects. And this moisturizer helped me a lot during my Adapalene’s nights (so far I’m only at week 1, but I’ll write about the journey soon).
Look at its’ luscious white and milky texture. It has no scent, and it just glides softly when applied. It also mix wonderfully with almost everything that I applied before it (actives, hydrating toner, humectant). It melts right away in contact with the skin, and absorb really well without leaving any film or dewy look.
It’s silicone free, gluten free, fragrance free and essentials oil free. For me personally, there are only two misses for this moisturizer, it still contains Butylene Glycol which has comedogenic rating (luckily it didn’t trigger mine). And the jar packaging. Being a practical girl, I don’t really dig plastic jar. It took a while for me to finally close the lid properly. I wish it comes in pump packaging instead.
Nowadays during this pandemic, I have more time to do sheet mask.
VOGUE once said, “7-day sheet mask challenge is the quickest way to jump-start your skin”. And Korean women are known to do it everyday anyway. So I decided to take this challenge using SNP Prep Peptaronic Ampoule Mask.
Why? First, they claim that this mask is safe to use everyday and 7 days in a row. Plus, they’re affordable for a K-beauty brand, priced at IDR 16,5K each. And, they’re available in Shopee, Sociolla, Lazada, and Tokopedia. Plus, they’re full of skincare goodies ingredients for moisture seekers.
Peptaronic comes from PEPtide + hyaluRONIC. Both key ingredients are mild, yet powerful enough to keep our skin well hydrated, protected from irritation and stress. This mask fills in extra moisture and smoothen skin with marine complex ingredients, from seaweed extract, spirulina maxima extract and hizikia fusiforme extract.
Let’s do this one sheet mask per day for 7 days straight and see the result, shall we?
Even though I stay at home (since March 2020), I can’t say that my skin look less tired. You know what they said, stress mind made stress skin. And having all the time in the world to stare at the mirror, I picked on my pimples. So that pretty much explained my red spots, but after I applied the sheet mask for 10 minutes, I can feel the extra hydration and less redness on my spots. I insert this sheet mask step in my morning routine, just because I feel too tired (of doing nothing) at night. And I did put them in the fridge for extra cool effect (it has been a hot summer days here).
DAY TWO: It lived up to its description and was, indeed deeply moisturized. And have I mentioned there was no dripping involved, even though it fills with lots of sweet smelling ampoules?
DAY THREE: Usually when I woke up in the morning, my skin felt dryer, but not anymore.
DAY FOUR: I can open and apply the sheet mask below one minute now. Because it’s sturdy and easy to work with.
DAY FIVE: My skin looks particularly brighter and more even.
DAY SIX: My skin felt soothed and resilient already
After 7 days straight of using the sheet masks as part of my morning daily routine (and some actives at night, of course), I can feel my skin tone brightened to a healthy, dewy pink tone. I believe, its’ smoothing and soothing properties also helped to lessen my PIE (Post Inflammatory Erythema) aka acne marks.
THOUGHTS: First, the packaging is cute with pastel pink tone and (thankfully) the sheet mask fits perfectly on my face. It is very important to find a sheet mask that fits, so I still can do my morning chores (replying my email and checking my phone). It contains lots of essences inside, I gladly apply the excess on my neck and my arms as well, to make it smoother. I found the essence texture a bit thicker than the others, maybe because it is an Ampoule Mask. It’s very hydrating, I can feel instant hydration even though I just put it on for 10 minutes. For dryer skin, you can leave it on for max 20 minutes. So after 7 days using SNP Prep Peptaronic Ampoule Mask, I feel my skin are well hydrated, become more plump and felt smooth. I guess it’s the peptide in their ingredient that keep my skin looking healthy and more glowing. I do recommend this for those who want to jump-start your skin quickly.
Been to Seoul, South Korea and what I saw there was really eye-opener. If you see the K-Drama and all the actors & actresses have flawless, poreless and unblemished skin, trust me, those who sold street-food as a living in Seoul, have exactly the same skin. They are fortunate to have such a blessed skin, it’s in their genes.
However, I do have to admit that their K-beauty skincare products are the best and highly-effective for toners, essences, hydration and sunscreens. They are also great at super fast innovation (new ingredients) and good-looking packaging. As for actives, personally I’d prefer the western brands, (again) based on my experiments.
So, here’s my round up for K-beauty skincare products that are safe for Fungal Acne prone skin.
ESSENCE: AMORE PACIFIC VINTAGE SINGLE EXTRACT ESSENCE, I’M FROM MUGWORT ESSENCE
TONER: SOMEBYMI AHA BHA PHA 30 DAYS MIRACLE TONER, DEAR KLAIRS SUPPLE PREPARATION UNSCENTED TONER
CLEANSER: HEIMISH ALL CLEAN GREEN FOAM, PYUNKANG YUL ACNE FACIAL CLEANSER
AMPOULE: CNP LABORATORY MUGENER AMPOULE, LEEGEEHAAM GROW VITA PROPOLIS AMPOULE (RENAME TO DR CEURACLE ROYAL VITA PROPOLIS 33 AMPOULE)
This post was inspired by Olena Beley’s 3-step moisture method.
Let me explain my current #stayathome battle: clogged pores especially on chin and left cheek, less hormonal acne, and no fungal-acne attack.
For your information, I still try my best to stay away from non-safe for fungal acne skincare products, just because I know that yeast are still inside our lovely skin, waiting for the right time to strike again. So do acne bacteria. But the one that constantly evaporating from our skin is water. They call it TEWL, Transepidermal Water Loss. Just drinking water might not help for this situation. We all need moisturizer for our skin, not to put moisture into them, but to prevent them from evaporating moisture quickly. And Olena said, “Hydrated Skin is less prone to clogging”.
While I still do my other skincare routine, I inserted her 3-step moisture method. It is Water, Humectant, and Emollient. I really hope that if my skin is hydrated enough, maybe my clogged pores problem would be solved for good. Let see, while I will update you guys in a month time.
Here’s how I do it twice daily now (I literally just started, so mind me):
Start with water, because we shall never use moisturizer on a clean, dry skin. Instead of plain tap water (which I’m afraid our local water contains lots of unwanted chemicals), I prefer to wet my face after cleansing with Hydrating Toner. I use Abill First Starting Toner (which contains just 4 ingredients and totally feels like good water) that I pour inside a mist bottle, to make it spread nicely rather than just splashing. Making sure skin is only damp not dripping wet.
While still damp, apply humectant. Olena recommended Hyaluronic Acid or Sodium Hyaluronate (its’ salt). I use two pumps of Vichy Mineral 89, which contains Sodium Hyaluronate instead of plain HA (later on this matter, as I just found out that some people are reactive to HA).
Then quickly apply a pea sized only of emollients to seal the deal. Olena recommended ingredients like Capric Triglycerides or Squalane. Mine is Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extreme Emulsion, which contains those two (Capric and Squalane, how convenient).