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.
Wow, what a cool word invention during this crazy time. Mask + Acne = Maskne. OK, so what can we do about it?
Fortunately, I don’t have this problem myself. I only went out four times since March 2020, just to have meetings for an hour or so. Other than that, I did all my things online. Shop online, groceries online and food delivery online. And I only spent like an hour wearing a mask, so yeah…I don’t have maskne, but I do have regular acne showing up during this pandemic.
But I can imagine those who have to wear mask all day, especially where I live here in Jakarta, Indonesia. The sun is blasting, it’s super hot and humid out there. Mask is not just suffocating us in terms of breathing, but also our skin. It’s like sweat + oil + bacteria trapped for hours on that mask-covered area.
Though I know we can’t get away with it (until God knows when), here are some skincare tips for maskne:
Change your mask whenever it gets moist. Personally, I prefer disposable mask, because cloth ones need to be laundered using hot water to keep it effective (and I don’t have the luxury of washing machine with hot water, so nevermind). So far, I use this KF94 mask that I bought online (not cheap because it’s imported from Korea), but it’s the most fitted and comfortable for me.
Use gentler skincare options. Use gentler cleanser, hydrating (instead of exfoliating) toner and avoid using harsh exfoliants (avoid scrubs, please).
Choose more soothing/calming ingredients and avoid actives if possible. Hyaluronic Acid is my best bet, but some people might love Aloe. Opt for LHA instead of AHA and BHA, it’s a popular alternative with less risk of skin irritation.
Texture-wise, opt for gel than lotion or cream.
Wait for all of your skincare to absorb first before putting on the mask. Do not rush, make sure they dry completely before you cover your skin with mask.
Let your skin breathe while it can at home. Avoid using sheet mask that might irritate them more.
Bid adieu to your favorite foundation. Why bother adding another layer that will suffocate your skin further? Opt for concealer to cover any spots, or use tinted moisturizer instead.
Summer or not, outdoor or not, sunscreen is a must. Even though there are some contradictions out there about how the spray one is not as effective as the lotion one, it’s all about personal preferences.
However, I do keep sunscreen spray for touch up purpose, as it’s more practical, especially on this pandemic situation when dirty hands are our biggest enemy. With sunscreen spray, we can just spray over makeup and no need to blot, let it dry by itself. They won’t mess up our makeup. Just make sure to close your eyes and don’t breathe in while doing so.
And by the end of the day, please take your sunscreen properly with your choice of first cleanser (mine will be cleansing oil). Please don’t just wash them with soap and water to avoid clogged pores.
OK, now on with the review.
KOSE COSMEPORT SUNCUT UV PROTECT SPRAY SPF50+PA++++
It’s a Japanese brand. Claim: maximum UV protection for complete full-body sun protection. Protect skin and hair from UV damage. Plus points:
comes off with soap
can spray upside down
can be used on hair and scalp
transparent, no mineral oil and paraben free
How to use: shake the bottle vigorously four to five times and spray evenly at a distance of 10-15cm. Price: IDR255K for 60gr
BANILA CO HELLO SUNNY WATER ESSENCE SUN SPRAY SPF50+PA++++
It’s a SoKo brand. Claim: shield & hydrates, enriched with ceramides to impart moisture & ensure sunscreen sticks effectively on skin. Plus points:
also infused with birch tree & spirulina extracts to help nourish & soothe stressed skin.
can also be used on body.
How to use: after fully shake the bottle, spray for 3 seconds from a distance of 20cm on skin areas exposed to UV rays. Price IDR370K for 150ml
First of all, (unfortunately) both of them are not Fungal-Acne safe. But since they’re sitting on top of everything, I don’t mind at all and both didn’t trigger my FA either.
Both come in an aluminium bottle, KOSE has small ball inside for easier shaking purpose. Obviously BANILA CO is more attractive in terms of packaging, just look at that bright orange shade.
Both also contain alcohol, which I believe to make them dry faster. But again, I don’t mind at all and they didn’t irritate or dry out my skin.
In fact, speaking of dryness, BANILA CO is faster to dry than KOSE.
But, in term of shine & glow, KOSE gives more shiny effect on skin (great for dry skin). For oilier skin, I think BANILA CO will work greatly.
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.
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Since I started blogging diligently from 2012, I’ve been learning a lot about ingredients that (sadly) didn’t work for my skin. I’m telling you, it needs a lot of trial & error to find out (but I guess it’ll be rewarding in the end). But, having oily skin that prone to clogged pores and such, it’s really that hard. Anyway, these are based on my personal experiences.
ANYTHING WITH BUTYLENE GLYCOL I’m telling you it is very hard to find a skincare product which doesn’t have Butylene Glycol in it. Apparently, it is needed to increase the skin penetration by other ingredients. Unfortunately, it has comedogenic rating based on incidecoder.com.
ANYTHING WITH CENTELLA ASIATICA I’ve discussed this with dr.Eche Idrus, Board Certified Dermatovenereologist from Makassar, Indonesia. If you have active acnes, forget this ingredient, as it might trigger more. Some people also might also experience irritation with this natural ingredient. But again, it depends on how our skin reacted to this. Unfortunately, on me, it just can’t.
ANYTHING WITH MINERAL OIL I’ve been having acne problems for most of my life, and mineral oil can exacerbate it. It’s true what they said that it clog and suffocate pores.
ANYTHING WITH DIMETHICONE Yes, it is the most common silicone used in skincare products. It’s great for makeup primer and such, but covering my sensitive pores is just not my thing.
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.
Sorry for such long hiatus. Dealing with a lot of things at once is no joke, people! Being physically and mentally healthy at this time is like liquid gold, don’t you agree? I’m trying to #stayhome as much as I can during this Covid19 outbreak (on almost 30 days now-and I didn’t even go out to do my groceries anymore). But doing nothing at home, literally can do serious damage to my bank account if I’m not careful. Online shopping is so tempting, don’t you agree?
As much as I tempted to try lots of new skincare products, I’d try my best to stick to the ones that work well. Here are a few of my favorite things if I have to repurchase during this hard time. Till then, stay safe and healthy.
Personally I prefer this rather than The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. I apply this on dry, clean skin followed by their B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum. I believe this helped my bumpy skin (due to close comedo) and it didn’t cause me any purging. The one thing that I don’t like is the expensive price.
It didn’t zap away pimples in one night, but it healed them well. This gel will help to reduce the redness and worked well on cystic acnes and those pesky little bumps too. Totally recommended, even though it’s not cheap for a spot treatment.
I pick emulsion rather than moisturizer because they are lighter in texture. This is my favorite emulsion, it contains minimal ingredients and safe for Fungal Acne. Hard to find here in Jakarta, but always restock when I travel abroad.
Refreshing, cooling, mattifying. What’s not to love about this Zinc Sulfate face mist/no fuss toner? Make sure to hydrate properly after this toner/face mist.
Being one of the pioneers of acne patches, they really stick like no other. If you have super oily skin like me and having trouble of sliding acne patches, this one’s for you. This works really well on extracting the puss out of matured pimples. And please guys, do not wear them under makeup, they still show.