MY ADAPALENE JOURNEY (MONTH 2 OUT OF 3)

Great, it’s October. It has been two months since I was on adapalene & retinoic acid treatment. Scroll down for the updates. 

I almost gave up on week 5. But somehow I kept going (just like my life during this darn pandemic). 

Well, week 8 was great.

No more big angry red zits, no more pustules. My skin texture are way better, no more small bumps. Another homework for me is to get rid of all the leftover red scars. Wish me luck, folks. 

One more month to go. I’m more than halfway to go, so I can do this! Will surely update on the final month of my Adapalene journey. Meanwhile you can check my IG stories highlight for weekly updates.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

MORNING AFTER ADAPALENE & RETINOIC ACID

Apologies for such long hiatus. Writer’s block, LOL.

In this post, I’ll share you what I currently use for morning skincare routine after using Adapalene & Retinoic Acid at night.

FYI, Adapalene & Retinoic Acid are two prescription-strength creams that will definitely open our pores, but they won’t exfoliate them. We still need help from exfoliating actives like AHA or BHA, in the morning. You can choose only one active in one product (like toner only or serum only), but if your skin can stand it, go all the way from toner to serum.

  • CLEANSER/MORNING MASK: SEBAMED CLEAR FACE ANTI BACTERIAL CLEANSING FOAM
    Contains Montaline C40 that will zap acne bacterias and Panthenol. 
  • TONER: HADA LABO TAMAGOHADA MILD PEELING LOTION
    This contains Gluconic Acid 
  • SERUM: DUVADERM CLARIFYING SERUM
    This contains 0,5% Molecular BHA
  • MOISTURIZER: SEBAMED CLEAR FACE CARE GEL & KRAVE OAT SO SIMPLE WATER CREAM 
    As you know I’m on my 3 Step Moisture Method, that’s why I’m using double moisturizer after natural moisturizer which is water. Steer clear of any actives in the moisturizers’ ingredients lists.  
  • SUNSCREEN: SKIN AQUA UV SUPER MOISTURE GEL SPF 50+ PA++++
    It has been my HG because it didn’t trigger my Fungal Acne & Comedo. 

PHOTO: SHINTA ROSVITA

FUNGAL-ACNE SAFE GENTLE CLEANSER

Since using Adapalene & Retinoic Acid as a daily nighttime routine, I have been using gentle cleanser as my second cleanser for my PM routine.

Why gentle cleanser? I just don’t want to over-do my skin. I want to balance between the prescription-strength treatment and the actual skincare. Cleansers that are too harsh, might disrupt the skin’s barrier function. And I personally believe there’s no need to use second cleanser with actives, especially if we’re going to use actives in steps after cleansing, like toner and serum.

Scroll down for my favorites with each of its’ pros and cons ingredients.

DERMA365 GENTLE CLEANSER

PROS: Panthenol, Glycerin & Oat Kernel Flour
CONS: Triethanolamine (comedogenic)

VANICREAM GENTLE FACIAL CLEANSER

PROS: Water & Glycerin
CONS: None, seriously!

SIMPLE REFRESHING FACIAL WASH

PROS: Triple Purified Water & Panthenol
CONS: Tocopheryl Acetate (poorly absorbed by skin)

ST IVES SOOTHING DAILY FACIAL CLEANSER

PROS: Panthenol & Chamomile Flower Extract
CONS: Tocopheryl Acetate (poorly absorbed by skin)

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

MY ADAPALENE JOURNEY (MONTH 1 OUT OF 3)

Time to update on my Adapalene journey.

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.

LEFT CHEEK IS GETTING BETTER WITH LESS PURGING & IRRITATION
NO MORE SMALL BUMPS REAPPEARED, BUT THE EXISTING ONES TURNED EITHER INTO BLACKHEADS OR BIG PUSTULES

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

VITAMIN C: LOVE OR LOATHE?

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.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

FUNGAL-ACNE SAFE DRUGSTORE PRODUCTS

Yes, I heard you. For my IG followers who asked me a lot about this matter, this one’s for all of you. These are mostly available at Indonesia’s drugstores (based on alphabetical list).

BIODERMA SENSIBIO H2O
DERMA 365 GENTLE CLEANSER
NAMEERA HYDRATING GLOW ESSENCE WATER
SEBAMED CLEAR FACE ANTIBACTERIAL CLEANSING FOAM
SIMPLE KIND TO SKIN MICELLAR CLEANSING WATER
SKIN AQUA UV MOISTURE MILK SPF50+ PA+++
URIAGE CLEANSING CREAM
VIVA ASTRINGENT CUCUMBER

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

HOW TO KEEP MY FUNGAL-ACNE PRONE SKIN WELL HYDRATED

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).

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

ACTIVES FOR FUNGAL ACNE

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:

MY GO-TO GLYCOLIC ACID

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.

MY GO-TO HYALURONIC ACID

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.

MY COLLECTION OF NIACINAMIDE

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.

TIPS:

  • 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.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

NO MASKNE, PLEASE

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.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

COMBATTING #STAYATHOME CONGESTION

So, we believe we’ve done a good and proper skincare, even when this world looks like it’s going to fall apart. But still, clogged pores are haunting our skin. Welcome to my club!

Whitehead, blackheads, comedo, whatever they name it, that’s our skin being congested. Thanks for the lethal combination of oil, dead skin cells, dirt, debris, and bacteria.

Read on to find out what’s the best & the worst thing that we can do to combat congestion during this crazy time.

SAY BYE TO COMEDOGENIC INGREDIENTS
You can analyze your skincare ingredients on cosmily.com to see if they are comedogenic or not, and then try to part with them gradually. Famous comedogenic ingredients: Butylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, Lanolin.

MY CURRENT SKIN SUPPLEMENT

INSIDE COUNTS
Over-active oil glands can also be triggered by hormones, poor gut health and diet. As much as I hate to say this to myself, try to eat more veggies and fruits. And limit those sugar intake (being a sweet tooth myself). You can also add supplements for skin’s health.

MY HG SUNSCREEN

WATCH OUT FOR THE SUN…SCREEN
Chemical UV-blocking agents might cause clogged pores. Yes, mineral sunscreens and waterproof ones might leave our skin with clogged pores. But do not skip them, like..ever. Again, I recommend to check the ingredients for non-comedogenic sunscreen.

SKIN TREATMENT

  • Always double cleanse at your PM routine. I use cleansing oil with high Linoleic Acid and cleansing gel as second cleanser.
  • Exfoliate. I prefer BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), a chemical exfoliator that will help loosen dead skin cells. Salicylic Acid is the most common one, so try to look for it in the ingredients list. If you are new with this, try the low dose first (0.5%) then gradually move up to 2%.
  • Use Retinol to increase skin cells turnover. It can also reduce our sebum production.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA