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!
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.
Wait, WTH is active? It is the ingredient in a product that addresses our skin concern. It has been proven in a lab by research to change our skin in each of its’ own way.
Check the ingredients’ list on your skincare products, and you might found familiar actives such as Vitamins (A, C & E are the most common ones), Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, AHA, BHA, and Benzoyl Peroxide.
Based on my experience, I’d probably recommend not to use any actives if your fungal acne is still flaring up. The simpler your skincare routine is the better. But, if you decided to add one to your regimen, based on my own personal experiences, I’d recommend these:
EXFOLIATING ACIDS Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid & Salicylic Acid. Lactic comes from lactobacillus which you might suddenly think of yoghurt. Well, this specific active might help to control the production of the yeast. Glycolic is a type of AHA (same like Lactic) that’s derived from sugar cane. Salicylic Acid is a BHA, known for reducing acne & keeping pores clear. You have to try which one is the best for your skin, though.
HYALURONIC ACID Also known as hyaluronan, it’s actually a substance that can also be found in our body and naturally produced by our body. It helps to hold water and keep our skin hydrated and plump.
NIACINAMIDE It is a water soluble derivative of vitamin B3, that help to visibly minimize enlarge pores, improve uneven skin tone and strengthen a weakened surface.
The downside of using active ingredients is the risk of potential adverse reactions, so it’s recommended to start with lowest concentration levels of actives.
Even though some actives are usually compatible with others, like Niacinamide with AHA, BHA or Vitamin C, better to go solo. Yes, use one active at a time due to FA attack.
Stick to the rules on when to apply each of them (day or night or twice in a day), do not go overboard.
Disclaimer: this is not a comparison review, but both are Vegan.
I agree when someone said “Serum is like the Couture of skincare”. And just in case you are still wondering, serum and ampoule are basically the same. Both belong to the same step, after essence and before emulsion/moisturizer. But I believe, ampoules are slightly thicker than serums, so in accordance with the thinnest to thickest rule, always apply serum before ampoule. And according to Director Pi, if you already use Essence in your skincare routine, you can skip the Ampoule.
ALPHA-H VITAMIN B WITH COPPER TRIPEPTIDE SERUM You know how I love their Liquid Gold, so when Sephora Indonesia had a (rare) sale, I know I have to purchase this too. This vitamin serum contains powerful natural antioxidant Chia to assist in plumping and hydrating, plus Ferulic Acid (extracted from Rice Bran Oil) to help diminish the appearance of uneven skin tone. And of course, it has Niacinamide (you know it’s my favorite too) and Copper Tripeptide (Copper with Amino Acids) to prevent premature ageing and promote elasticity.
They recommend to apply twice daily, but considering the hefty price tag, I’m using this at my PM routine. I can say this is the ‘do it all’ serum for me, for its’ ability to prevent moisture loss, regulates excess oil, boost skin immunity and reduce hyper-pigmentation.
Price IDR787K for 25ml
Full Ingredients List: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Niacinamide, Methyl Gluceth-20, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Wheat Amino Acids, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Lactobacillus Ferment, Copper Tripeptide-1, Hydroxyproline, CI 42090 (Blue 1)
ROVECTIN LHA BLEMISH AMPOULE I guess this launch earlier this year, but stay under the radar. But I believe this deserve some attention, people!
It doesn’t use purified water as their main ingredient, but they use 85% of Neroli Flower Water Extract, known to help soothe and calm skin with its anti-inflammatory properties.
As the name stated, it contains LHA, excellent yet gentle exfoliant (with pH 5.5) to combat clogged pores. So gentle, it can be use day and night everyday.
Texture is thick like a light gel, that’s why it’s easy to use as a spot treatment. But, I dislike the droplet as it’s slightly hard to pick up, and the size (it’s only 15ml). Other than that, I love everything about this ampoule. It instantly calms down the redness of a huge pimple within hours. Might be a bit sticky at the first application but after it absorb, it feels like nothing on my skin. Will definitely repurchase this, and using it only as a spot treatment.
And I remember my mom used to say when I was in my teenage years, “don’t worry, once you reach your adulthood, your acne problem will be gone” NOT!
After my 1st fungal acne attacked in 2018, me and acne problems is my kind of “new normal” skin situation. You name it, adult acne, stress acne, and last but not least chin acne.
First thing first, never be ignorant of what your acnes on your face are telling you.
If you see the pic above, acnes on your chin and around lip area, apparently are telling us that we have hormonal imbalance problem. It has been months that I’ve experience this, neglected all the signals that my acnes are trying to tell me.
Until one day, I had terrible tummy cramp for over two weeks. Starting from the first day of my period, which I thought was only an ordinary menstrual cramp. Well, after my period was over, I still have that bad tummy pain for a week. So I went to the doctor and had it diagnosed. After the 4D USG, it turned out, I have ADENOMYOSIS.
So, what the heck is that? Check out the pic below so you can get a pretty good idea.
Basically, it’s a condition of the womb where the cells that normally form a lining on the inside of the womb, also grow in the muscle wall of the womb. Yes, the womb gets bigger. On some, Adenomyosis can result in heavy periods (not on me thankfully). But, it sure can cause terrible period cramps, even before or after menstrual period. And no paracetamol and ordinary painkillers can tone it down. Some said, this condition comes with age (40+) and also C-section surgery (I had two, so yeah).
Chin Acne comes in various form, it can be blackheads, whiteheads, or cystic acne. In my case, they’re usually lots of congestions and some cystic acne. Because they’re caused by hormonal problem, obviously any topical treatment just won’t do. Adenomyosis caused estrogen imbalance, meanwhile we need estrogen to keep our skin clear. That’s why my chin acne just won’t heal no matter what kind of products I use. So, if a normal person’s skin got monthly pimples due to hormonal surges before period, I have them every day because of my hormonal imbalance (thanks Adenomyosis!).
If you’re having the same problems, better check and talk to your ObGyn, so he/she might suggest oral medication options. My ObGyn prescribed VISANNE for me.
When I googled it, it is used for the treatment of the painful symptoms of endometriosis. It really helps to reduce the pain without sacrificing estrogen level. And I saw better improvement on my face too after two months of consuming this. Yes, it took that long for them to clear up.
Talking about consumption, also try to start addressing the food and beverage you’re taking. Personally (even if it’s hard as hell), I tried to consume less dairy and sugar, also less fried food. 1000mg Vitamin C is also a must and I’ve been doing morning sunbathing to get my natural vitamin D. And yes, being at home for more than 2 months without no makeup on did help, too!
Even though this problem comes from the inside, but still you have to do proper skincare routine. Mine is quite simple: Cleanse, Tone, Chemical Exfoliation (with Glycolic, two times a week), Hydrate and Sun Protection (in the morning). And last but not least, Retinol as twice a week treatment. Here are a few of my favorites.
Please note that I also did some research online to do this post. Before taking any oral medication, please speak to your ObGyn.
not a teenager anymore (obviously!), I’m not treating my skin like one especially
when dealing with acne.
From my own
personal trial & error, ingredients that are comedogenic, like Butylene
Glycol, Cetyl & Cetearyl Alcohol and Tocopherol (Vitamin E), are a big no
no. And thanks to Dr Liv Kraemer (I’ve been enjoying watching her YT Channel),
since I stopped using facial oil (even though they claim it’s ok for acne-prone
skin, like rosehip and marula), I saw improvement on my skin’s texture. She
said in one of her videos, if you have acne-prone skin, the bacteria on top
would be trapped by facial oil, which actually formed more pimples.
fact that I’ve found recently, Centella Asiatica will not help if you have
acne-prone skin (thanks for this information, Dr Eche Idrus SpKK). Yes,
Centella is effective in treatment of wounds and even for cellulites. But not
for acne-prone skin, especially if they’re still raging like a bull.
So, with new
information that I’ve got, I’ve sort of revamped my skincare regime, by selectively
cutting out the above ingredients. Here are some new ones that have been taking
over my vanity.
And last but
not least, taking vitamins. Trust me, I drank lots of Roaccutane before, but it
felt wrong having so much chemical inside, so I decided to stop and switched to
vitamins instead. Anyway, they’re vitamins. But, mind me, these vitamins didn’t
fix my acne problem instantly, but I believe they’ll help from the inside since
I rarely eat healthy foods. Disclaimer: I’m not coming from a medical
background, I just wrote based on personal experience and what I’ve found all
around the net.
took two different vitamins. Two of vitamin B2 B6, and one vitamin D. Vitamin
B2B6 is very popular skin vitamin when they came from, Japan. They claim that
these vitamins combination will improve skin problems like skin irritation and
acne. If vitamins are not your thing, you can also get this vitamin B intake
from grains, soybeans, bananas and watermelon (which are known to have vitamin
vitamin D. Also known as “the sunshine vitamin”, because you can actually get
vitamin D while being exposed to the sun. But, since I rarely out in the sun (I
am horrified of the heat and the after-smell), I supposed my body is lacking of
vitamin D. Imagine to my surprise, when one day, I read that vitamin D
deficiency maybe a part of what’s causing acne or making acne worse. When I
asked Dr Eche Idrus SpKK about this, she said that vitamin D does have an
anti-inflammatory property and in some cases can reduce acne. As we all know,
milk and cheese are a great source of vitamin D (not too much or they’ll make
acne worse). Unfortunately for me whose sensitive to lactose, I can’t choose to
have dairy products as a replacement for vitamin D’s intake. And I believe my
fungal-acne won’t agree with me if I’m sitting under the sun to keep acne at
bay. So the only choice for me, is this Vitamin D.
Know what ingredients work well on your skin
Stay away from facial oil
Take the right vitamin(s) for your skin
Drink lots of water, infused ones if you are
not a heavy fruits and vegetable eaters.
Been in a very tough situation lately, I have to admit this is not a very good year for me. And I’m sure you’ve heard it everywhere, when you are stressed, so does your skin. Just look at my stress acnes!
I’ve been fighting them for about two weeks now, but I know I’m not alone. So I decided to do some research online and write down this post.
WHAT CAUSED STRESS ACNE? Obviously, STRESS. And if your skin is already acne-prone, stress can make acne worse. You see, hormones released and produced during stress will increase further skin inflammation. And for some people, stress will vigorously make them pick at their acnes which can cause bigger problem like scars and such.
WHAT DIFFERS NORMAL ACNE & STRESS ACNE? I personally believe stress acne is redder than ordinary ones, and doesn’t necessarily have pus in it. Sometime, it formed a painful cyst too. And also what I personally experienced, stress acne will show up on areas you’ve never had acnes before. I also experienced more blackheads and whiteheads.
HOW TO MANAGE STRESS ACNE? Seriously guys, if I told you not to stress over it and stay calm, you’ll kill me, right? I tried to manage my stress first, by hanging out with friends and trying not to bring work problems home. So, find your chill first, then try to handle the stress acne. First, drink more water, less caffeinated & dairy drinks and alcohol. Then, do basics skincare like cleanse, tone and moisturize. Don’t overdo things like adding more unnecessary steps to your skincare routine. Or worse, do cleansing more than twice a day. Remember to stick to your basic routine and products.
MY BASIC SKINCARE ROUTINE DURING STRESS ACNE
This stuff is MAGIC in a bar form. It’s fragrance and soap-free, doesn’t contain any essential oil and have honey in it (you know how I love honey).
The name said it all. It is a soothing toner, feels and looks like water. I’d recommend to stay away from exfoliating toner when your skin is stress. Choose a hydrating toner that’s light and alcohol free.
Why 89? Because it does contain up to 89% of natural origin Hyaluronic Acid. This will protect skin from pollution, stress and fatigue. And I chose hydration serum during my stress acne period, rather than my regular Niacinamide or vitamin C serum (it’s like taking a break from the hard stuffs). I also skip moisturizer after this, just because I feel this already helped with the hydration.
Long time favorite of mine. SPF in a gel form, easy to absorb, doesn’t leave any white cast and never broke me out. It’s super light in texture and good for makeup base too.
Don’t overkill your stress acne with spot treatments, especially those with tough ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. Trust me, they will look worse (looks more red & irritated).
Instead, try to hydrate your skin as much as you can. Personally, I love to spray my face with Avene Thermal Spring Water during the day.
And also, try to touch up your SPF during the day. Usually, I reapply every four hours even though I stayed indoor most of the time. Because I wear makeup, I like to use Kose Suncut Protect UV Spray SPF50+ PA++++.
Double cleanse if you have makeup on. My all time favorite is Banila Co Clean It Zero
Stay clear from anything acid and retinol while stress acne attacked. Treat them first with tender, love and care.
My first encounter with Pyunkang Yul was with their first and basic line, which comes in their iconic dark blue bottles. I’ve purchased their Essence Toner, Ato Cleanser and Mist Toner, and I love them all. What attracted me to this Korean brand at the first place? Some of their products only use minimal ingredients, and they removed all non-essential chemicals from their formulations. None of their products I’ve tried made me break out or worsen my fungal acne.
So, I am really excited when they just launched their ACNE line. Thanks to Style Korean, they sent me a box filled with ACNE line range, for their “Try Me, Review Me”. Well, as the name stated, PYUNKANG YUL ACNE specifically targets acne and claim to treat them effectively. What I love about this line, most of them are using Niacinamide and Centella Asiatica (two of my favorite and safe ingredients). Unlike their first line, these come in white packaging and bottles. Looks very Scandinavian.
So, what’s in ACNE line? And how to use them in the correct order?
Texture: almost runny, milky gel, produced light bubbles.
Feel: super clean and comfortable. Left my skin feeling matte but not dry/tight.
Scent: smells like plastic bottle, but not annoying.
Tip: be careful when you open the cap (if you put it on vertically), as it might slurp downward easily.
Feel: easy to absorb without leaving any stickiness and doesn’t create any foam. Cooling effect on skin and comfortable to use with round cotton pad. This is a mild exfoliating toner as I didn’t experience redness afterward.
Tip: try with cotton pad at first round, and do second round without (just pat them on skin)
All green checks on skincarisma.com.
Claim to fame: quickly soothing acne within 12 hours.
Really? Well, this works to prevent acne getting bigger. So, if you feel like that tiny bumps going to turn into a huge zit, zap this spot cream stat! I apply this at night, because it can leave a thin white matte stain on skin. This is a spot treatment, anyway. But don’t worry, it won’t make your future acne dry. It just flatten them away, seriously.
Don’t be fooled by the name, because it’s a moisturizer which comes in a clear gel texture.
Feel: light, easy to absorb, though a bit sticky but made my skin looks matte.
And in this heat, my skin loves this moisturizer. It feels cooling and great for oily skin. I think this is a good primer for my base makeup.
DRESSING MASK PACK
Everybody, this is not a sheet mask. This comes in four square sheets, just like if we want to do Toner Mask technique. Since I am used to do toner mask with my thin square cotton pads, these sheets are thicker, therefore easier to slip down while half dry. I recommend using this while lying down. Bonus, this mask pack is categorized as safe for fungal acne on skincarisma.com.
I wish I could leave them on for more than 10 minutes, but no. Follow the instruction on the product info is the best thing to do.
OVERALL REVIEW: This line is a potent acne barrier. After about two weeks of using them, my hormonal acne didn’t flare up, my fungal acne seems to be friends with the products, too. And the fact that they’re fragrance-free, helped. A lot. I also enjoy the simple four steps, cleanse, tone, treat and balancing. Sometimes, it’s best to practice a simpler skin-care routine (especially if you’re prone to acne and fungal acne like me). Because we don’t want to confuse our skin with too many products and ingredients at once, right?
Click here to buy PYUNKANG YUL ACNE, or you can check your trusted local online shops (I saw some on my favorite sis).
I didn’t remember when was the last time I had a 100% clear skin, I guess never. I do remember when my face was full of acnes back in my teenage years, it was so bad until I didn’t want to see my face on the mirror. But that was then and now is another different game.
After many trips to dermatologists, and they were just calming down my acnes but didn’t really make them disappear for live, I decided to take things by my own. So I search here and there, why my foreheads are full with acne-like eruptions. They’re not itchy, but quite disturbing because they changed my skin texture, which can’t be covered by concealer. Then I saw Kathleen Lights’ youtube video, about her problem with Fungal Acne or scientifically called Malassezia Folliculitis. I saw her video and be like…damn…that was the same like my problem. Then.. I watched Liah Yoo’s YT about Fungal Acne and everything sort of fell into one. It’s usually due to excess yeast which tend to increase during hot, humid weather, especially when we are sweaty. Living here in Jakarta, Indonesia with its’ crazy hot and humid weather really harm my skin. That’s why whenever I travelled to colder climates country, my face started to clear up. At first, I thought maybe it’s the water, but now I know, it’s the weather mixed with our own fungus. Yikes!
Then, I began my never-ending research about Fungal Acne. This post really helps me to decide my next step to treat them. Automatically, I switched and add stuffs to my skincare routine. I added some natural stuffs in between, like Raw Honey and Moroccan Rhassoul Clay (mixed with Rose Water) for facial mask.
After about a week, I saw better changes in my forehead.
Here are my heroes and game-changers (from L-R):
Natural Pacific Fresh Witch Hazel Pad Toner, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid and propolis (one of the powerful ingredients recommended for fungal acne). I used this as gentle exfoliator twice a week after water cleanser.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc. I spray this every morning pre-makeup even before I had fungal acne, and I increase the usage to twice a day now (morning and night before toner).
Natural Pacific Real Floral Toner Calendula. Beside calendula, it also contains allantoin which makes flaky & chapped skin smoother. This is my first toner after water cleanser to remove makeup residue completely and to calm and moisturize my angry bumps
Hadalabo Gokujyun Ultimate Moisturising Light Lotion. Currently doing 3 out of 7 toners skin method, this is my game-changing hydrating toner.
Nizoral Krem. I saw in YT, people will actually wash their face with Nizoral shampoo, but I don’t want take that route. I tried this cream which can be easily bought on my local pharmacy. Ketoconazole known to inhibit every species of Malassezia. Because I only have them on my forehead, I use cotton bud to apply Nizoral cream as the last step of my skincare routine every night.
Rosette Acne Cleansing Paste, a clay type of face wash with no artificial colors, oils and mineral oils (I purchased this in Tokyo, but I believe they have this in Singapore, too). This is my water cleanser.
Final say: This whole Fungal Acne disease made me more aware to read intensively on ingredients before I decided to purchase any skincare products (thanks CosDNA too for breaking down each of them). I’ll update you on my journey as a fungal acne warrior and will share you my complete AM and PM routine on my next post. Till then!