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.
They’re all skincare for sure, not to be mistaken with setting spray. With so many choices out there, do you need all of them? Read on to find out which one is more suitable to your own skin needs.
Face Mist: Their first ingredient on the list might be water, but usually contains additional ingredients like humectant or emollient. It can be used anytime of the day, to refresh your skin and/or makeup. Recommended: Hada Labo Gokujyun Ultimate Moisturizing Face Mist (it contains Sodium Hyaluronate, which is more hydrating than Hyaluronic Acid) Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray (great for maskne as it contains Hypochlorous Acid aka HOCL to attack bacterias and inflammation)
Thermal Water: Some of you called it ‘expensive water’, well…it is. But it’s not an ordinary water inside a can spray. It comes with high minerals which is great if you have dry skin and irritation-prone skin. Recommended: Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water (which has the perfect nozzle that sprays evenly until the last drop) La Roche-Posay Serozinc (thermal water with additional Zinc Sulfate and Sodium Chloride)
Mist Toner: It is what it is, a toner inside a spray bottle. It supposedly be used on clean skin after cleansing or double cleansing, to prepare our skin for the next steps (either serum or moisturizer). Recommended: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydrating Toner Mist (it has the perfect nozzle to spray evenly, and it’s not sticky at all) Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner (if your skin can stand essential oil and fragranced toner)
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
Self diagnosed, I think I might also have redness and irritation from over exfoliation, retinol and (too) high percentage of Niacinamide. A lethal combination that eventually weaken my skin barrier, triggered more inflammation and irritation.
And being an adult with acne didn’t help either. So, if you have Acne-Related Redness problem like me, read on.
I believe, it is best to identify the cause of redness first, in order to pick and choose your skincare products wisely.
A few tips:
Choose soothing and natural ingredients like aloe, oat, cucumber, licorice or chamomile that actually has been proven to calm redness.
I realized that I haven’t done this category, oops!
Personally, getting the right moisturizer is rather tricky, since I’m also very prone to clogged pores and breakouts. Therefore, I do pick my moisturizers wisely, to make sure they’re not just safe for Fungal Acne, but also for my clogged pores prone skin. And, it’s a bonus if they don’t leave any greasy or sticky residue.
Ingredients that I tried to avoid while looking for moisturizer, as they might be comedogenic:
Oils (avocado, coconut, the list is long)
Bad Alcohol (like Hexadecyl Alcohol)
Butters (Shea, cocoa)
Fatty Acids (Lauric & Stearic specifically)
KRAVE BEAUTY OAT SO SIMPLE WATER CREAM
This is my second jar by the way, I love it because of its’ minimal ingredients list. If you want a basic and lightweight moisturizer, this one’s for you!
If you check out the ingredients list below, nothing really icky there except fragrance and coloring. IMHO, it works for oily skin better due to its’ gel texture. For drier skin type, you might need another moisturizer on top to seal in the moisture.
Now, this is my go-to everyday moisturizer. Easy to find at local drugstores and affordable. It’s great that it has Panthenol inside, because it supports the healing of acne. It’s also a water based gel, therefore it supposedly prevents clogged pores.
Dr Sam Bunting said it is a multi talented acid and her most loved ones too.
After all those AHA, BHA, PHA, LHA that I’ve tried, I’ve decided to give this pore-cleaning acid a go. Especially after I did an exfoliant/retinol fasting due to Botox, read here.
Why I bought the gel instead of the cream format? Well, Dr Davin Lim once said that Azelaic Acid is best or most stable in a gel formulation. So I purchased this local product at Erha Apothecary for IDR 96,5K (30ml).
Why 20%? Since I’ve been using Adapalene for quite some time now, I believe that my skin can take stronger percentage of actives. It’s just my opinion, though. If you’ve never tried actives and took stronger ones, better start low.
How I incorporate this to my skincare routine? Twice a day, morning and night on clean and dry skin after cleanser and toner. I usually use two drops for the whole face. It absorbed so fast, let me tell you. Then I will apply moisturizer than finish with sunscreen (morning).
Why apply on the whole face? To get the full benefit, obviously! It’s not just great for congested pores, it also improves radiance and a good anti-oxidant. And unlike Retinol, I applied Azelaic Acid directly on clean dry skin without the help of moisturizer, because it is way more gentler than Retinol.
Plus points: it’s safe for pregnancy and breast-feeding, great for sensitive skin (because of its’ low irritant factor), it’s anti bacterial.
My thoughts: if you can’t deal with the purging of Retinol, you might want to try this. It might left a bit of a white cast and felt powdery if applied alone. But if you layer with serum and/or moisturizer, it’ll be fine. What I’ve experienced so far with Azelaic Acid, it didn’t make active acnes pop in one night like Retinol. It won’t make skin get worse first before it can clear up like Retinol. But it is slower in action, only for the patient ones. After two weeks of using AA religiously, I might say it brighten up my whole skin tone and it did treat my redness around my nose. I also can see my new acne marks fading (see before after pics below). So far, I’m enjoying using AA and considering it’s affordable and locally available, I guess I’m going to use this for 6 months (as recommended) and pause my retinol/adapalene treatment. AA didn’t completely make new acne stop (it’s not a miracle ingredient), but it did reduce sebum production and clogged pores.
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.