I sleep like this, yes like a grease-ball. Hydrate and moisturize are super important steps at night. Now that most of us are still half masked almost every day, taking extra care of our skin is a must.
Thanks to my carefully self-curated fungal acne safe products, I haven’t been dealing with fungal acne ever again (and God forbids). But, new problems arrived: blackheads on nose, maskne and big pores.
Instead of attacking them with more active ingredients, I decided to keep it simple. Cleanse, tone and moisturize, plus sunscreen in the morning. I’m just going to let my skin heal by itself, because I know they can (you just have to trust the power of nature, really!)
If you’ve been following me, I used to apply retinol on the whole face every night. But these days, I only used it on my chin and below the nose where maskne usually appears.
Here are my currently used products, the simpler the better.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist. I’m just happy to share my experiences and if I can help others achieving clearer and healthier skin, I might get a good skin karma in return.
In this post I’ll share the progress pics and the concoction of my so called ‘first client’. Just a glimpse of the client’s data: early 20’s, oily skin, cystic acne and blackheads (mostly on forehead and cheeks), definitely a Tretinoin Newbie.
WARNING: disturbing skin pictures ahead.
It was not easy to assure the client to use Retinol, because of the ‘Retinol Uglies’ that might happened in the first 4-8 weeks. Mine took 8 weeks to fully recovered, while my client already showed improvements (no more cystic acne) on 4 weeks time. Yes, it might vary to each person.
FYI, as an amateur skin coach, I worked on the my first clients’ skincare routine, and adding new products to be used based on my experiences with my own acne’s issues.
The Retinol Myth is true: YOUR SKIN WILL GET WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER.
Some important notes:
You need to be more patient and understanding when it comes to using Retinol (Tretinoin or Adapalene) for the first time.
Start with the smallest concentration of Retinol in cream form to reduce irritation and minimize ‘Retinol Uglies’. Using a pea-sized amount, any other day at night time.
Progress won’t happen overnight, but trust me, you will feel incredible when you see and feel the results.
Stick to the same routine and products for the ‘Retinol Uglies’ period.
Whenever the skin feel sore and uncomfortable, I recommend to use Thermal Water Spray generously and wait to dry by itself (do not pat).
I was thinking to do this skin coach thing professionally, if I succeeded with my ‘first client’. I’ll update you next month when my first client hits 8 weeks.
Let’s get to know the key ingredient in this range: ICELAND MOSS. They grow in the cold northern hemisphere and apparently widely known for its immunity, strengthening and anti-inflammatory effect.
Before we dive in to each product, I deliberately took the pictures of their ingredients list from each of the packaging, as lately I’ve been seeing a lot of beauty brands especially skincare, reformulated their formulas. Therefore, there might be different ingredients lists from older reviews on the net. Please note that these ingredients lists are accurate by the time I did this post. So, please make sure that you are aware of what ingredients normally work for your skin before trying out new products.
There you have it, now let’s get into each product.
If you prefer cleansing water with a moist effect, this is it. It contains 83% of Iceland Moss extract, instead of regular water, with additional natural extracts like Witch Hazel and Peppermint Leaf. It doesn’t leave any tightness, but it has a slight green herbal scent. They claim that this can be use as a no-rinse cleanser, but I still recommend to follow by second cleanser, especially if you have oily and sensitive skin. Always apply with cotton pads, and if you use heavy makeup, press for 5 seconds then gently wipe. By the way, from the whole range, it’s the only product which is safe for Fungal Acne. I also found out that this is great for cleansing makeup brushes too (if you are too lazy to use water and brush soap, this is your go-to, fast drying and it left makeup brushes with great scent). Price IDR 309K for 270ml
It promises to cleanse and protect skin barrier. With a thick and dense foam, it cleanses with a moisturizing effect. Normal to dry skin type will enjoy this creamy face wash. It contains 22% of Iceland Moss Extract, with no SLS, but it does contain fragrance. Somehow the scent reminds me of matcha/green tea. Price IDR 189K for 110ml
With a whooping 87% of Iceland Moss extract, this is a great alternative if we want to exfoliate without tightness or dryness. Even though it stated as a cream, the texture is more like a liquid balm. This reminds me of Cure Natural Aqua Gel, the best selling peeling gel from Japan, but this comes in more creamy texture. It felt so satisfying to see the clumping effect it created, perfect for gentle exfoliating purposes. Price IDR 339K for 150ml
Whatever you’ve experienced during Adapalene’s treatment: DON’T QUIT & NEVER STOP.
Scrolling through my posts in this blog, I realized I missed to update my Adapalene Journey. So I thought, I just compile them plus giving you an update on my skin condition these days. If you haven’t read about my first encounter with Adapalene, read here.
My last update in this blog was on week 8, which looked pretty good already. But I did update on my Instagram Stories, so you might want to check the highlights here.
So they said that Retinol Uglies aka purging due to Retinol will last for approximately 6 weeks, but I saw improvement on week 8. I guess my skin had a lot of closed comedones aka clogged pores, that’s why I presumed it took longer for my skin. Sharing you weeks after week 8, so you might have a greater glimpse of the purging situation.
Then one day, on June 2021 I stopped using Adapalene, because I had botox treatment (click here). Yes, after Botox you have to stop any exfoliation for 14 days. That was the beginning of another acne hell.
Obviously, I didn’t last for 14 days exfo fasting, on day 10 I decided to start using Adapalene again. After some research, I found out that we shouldn’t stop using Adapalene even though our skin got clearer. IT IS A FOREVER THING! Thankfully, it’s safe to use for a long run.
Lessons learned: DON’T STOP using Adapalene even though you already satisfied on the result. And please note that I also have other products in my skincare routine to help achieve my latest skin condition.
If you’ve been following my hauls recently, you’d notice that I purchased more cleansing products than treatment. That’s because I finished them quite fast, since I washed my face three times a day.
Yes, you heard me right. Three times:
in the morning straight after waking up (because I apply retinol at night and it made my skin feel burned somehow after I turned off my Air Conditioner).
later after I exercise under the sun (sweats mixed with bacterias, so better wash off).
and in the evening before sleeping time.
So, it is obvious that I aim for gentler face cleanser. I love my Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser, but I do like to try others. And I stumbled upon this.
This specific SKU is not available yet in Indonesia’s drugstores, therefore I purchased it on marketplace (IDR290K for 150ml). When I searched for information for this in their UK and US website, they don’t seem to carry this product. They only have CLEANSING FOAM sans the GENTLE. So I guess Avène only marketed this Gentle Cleansing Foam in Asia, but still it was made in France.
Disclaimer: on daily basis, I rarely wear makeup anymore since pandemic strikes, so I don’t use this as makeup remover, even though they claim it can also remove makeup. I do appreciate that they formulated this for Asian sensitive skin with only 10 ingredients on the list.
It is foamy, but it’s soap free, colorant free and fragrance free as well. And of course, it is rich in Avène Thermal Spring Water which clinically proven to be soothing and anti-irritating. I do recommend this if you have sensitive skin that’s easily irritated. It is really that good and gentle.
I love the soft cloud-like texture, it feels so luxurious when it glides evenly on skin. It’s also great if you like to dry cleanse: apply on dry skin and massage for about 30 seconds, then add a bit water for another 30 seconds, then rinse them off. Anyway, that’s how I cleanse my face with this wonderful cleansing foam.
It cleanse my non-makeup face really well and it didn’t leave any slippery feel. Don’t worry of this cleansing foam is going to make your skin tight and dry. It won’t. And as it was developed for sensitive and irritated skin in mine, my skin is loving it so far without any bad reactions. I’d totally purchase it again.
Ingredients (copied from Avene’s Singapore website): AVENE THERMAL SPRING WATER (AVENE AQUA), WATER (AQUA), SODIUM COCOAMPHOACETATE, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, CITRIC ACID, DISODIUM EDTA, LACTIC ACID, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM BENZOATE, SODIUM CHLORIDE
If you wondered why, well…I just had my Botox again after 5 years of Botox hiatus (watch my previous experience, here).
So what shall we do after Botox? Except the ordinary stuffs like don’t lie down for the next 6 hours, they told me not to use any exfoliants for 14 days. What?! No retinol, no BHA, no AHA for two weeks? Can my skin handle it?
Guess not! I gave up on day 10, LOL. WHY?? Scroll down and you’d know.
As you can see from both before and after pics as my evidence. Pores were clogged heavily and I could feel that bumpiness on my skin textures. Just like the days before I met my Retinol.
So, moral of this post is: EXFOLIATING your skin is super important. But as always, know your skin and their ability to handle exfoliant. Some might need it every day like yours truly but some might not. Remember, you know your skin best.
For now, I decided to start my exfoliant again with gentler acid, Azelaic Acid, not my usual Adapalene and Tretinoin. More on Azelaic Acid, so stay tune for the next post.
Yeay, it has been 12 weeks since my Adapalene journey. And I guess pictures will speak a thousand words, so here’s my before-after pics.
Please note that I do use Retinoic Acid on top of Adapalene for 12 weeks.
I just want to say that I’m glad that these prescription strength creams really worked on my hormonal acnes and closed comedones. Yes, the first 5 weeks was a nightmare and I almost gave up. But this pandemic really helped me, because all of the bad purging were hidden underneath mask. And FYI, based on everything that I read or watch in YT, Adapalene needs max 12 weeks to show its’ result. Mine already got better on week 8, fortunately. No more bumps and no more big zits. Big improvement shows on the chin area, while these creams won’t work on milia and sebaceous filaments that I have on my left cheek (might need another Cauter session after the pandemic is over-God knows when).
Am I still going to use both creams? Yes, to maintain my skin condition, but I’ll make sure I minimized their doses or use both every other day. Should you try it? Please check to your dermatologist first, because both are prescription-strength products and not everybody will have the same reactions and results. GOOD LUCK!