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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lately, having #stayathome with lots of time to kill, I’ve been watching a lot of YT videos. And there’s one that I’m obsessed with: @labeautyologist.
In this video, she shared The Ultimate Self-Care Skincare Routine for maximum hydration & product penetration. It’s like her version of 10 steps skincare routine. They’re really different from the renowned Korean 10 steps, and personally it gets me because I want my skincare products to penetrate well into the skin. Mind you, this routine will involve 4 times of hydrating toner and only one active in later step.
These are her steps.
CLEANSE It can be double cleanse (she’s more into oil cleanser for makeup removal than micellar by the way) and continue with second cleanser.
TONE Function of toner: to increase absorption. So, she recommends to gently pat the toner (hydrating ones) before the next step (which is exfoliation) to make it works better.
EXFOLIATE Not a chemical exfoliation, she prefers the one that we can apply and take off (like peeling gel and enzyme scrub). Do not scrub harshly, just apply gently then rinse off with water.
TONE Yes, again to increase absorption of the next step, which is….
MASK She chose a hydrating mask, a wash-off ones.
TONE She said hydrating toner works best with hydrating serum.
SERUM If your skin is prone to irritation, apply hydrating serum before serum with actives like Niacinamide or Retinol. This is the only step that allow us to use one active, so choose wisely according to your skin needs. If you’re using prescribed product from your derm, this is the step.
TONE Last toner, to push the actives further down into the skin.
MOISTURIZE This goes before oil because moisturizer is a mixture of oil, water and emollient. And heavier oils (except squalane which is lighter) will block the absorption of moisturizer.
OIL If you use squalane, you can mix it with moisturizer. But other than that, oil is the last step. If you live in colder climate or you have very dry skin, opt for occlusive to lock in water.
This is why I love skincare and writing about them. There’s always new techniques to try, to learn and made me excited to see the result.
Somehow, this new routine kind of reminds me of 7 Skin Method (remember the toner layering?).
Usually, I do my double cleanse step inside the bathroom and continue the rest in my bedroom (because I never put my skincare products inside the bathroom, except cleansers). As these new 10 steps required 2 more rinsing steps with water (after exfoliate and mask steps), the thought of going back and forth to the bathroom seems daunting and uncomfortable.
I guess I won’t be doing this everyday morning and night, but I’ll try to simplify the steps with my choices of products (mostly FA safe). And doing this in the evening seems more reasonable as we are more chill, yes?
CLEANSE & EXFOLIATE Trilogy Rosehip Transformation Cleansing Oil – for oil cleanse Tatcha The Deep Cleanse – it is an exfoliating cleanser, so I use this as second cleanser to skip step number 3 and 4.
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
MASK Freeman Deep Clearing Manuka Honey + Tea Tree Oil Clay Mask
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
SERUM Alternate between Me+ Niacinamide & Zinc Booster or Drunk Elephant A Passioni Retinol Cream
TONE Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
MOISTURIZE Eau Thermale Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion is my last step, as I try to avoid oil as most of them blocked my pores.
Disclaimer: I live in Jakarta, Indonesia with (you can say) a limited skincare products legally available in our retails.
Luckily, we do have market places choices with online stores that carry imported skincare brands. We just have to make sure they are legit and not fake. I do have some recommendations for online stores in market place that I usually purchased from, please feel free to DM me on my IG @shintarosvita.
Back to the topic, for those who asked me on products that they can easily get (especially for Fungal-Acne rookies out there) this one’s for you. Basically all you need is a good cleanse (first and second ones), toner, treatment and sunscreen.
If your Fungal-Acne is relatively new, I do recommend you to stay out of makeup until they heal. But if you have to put on makeup anyway, look for non-waterproof makeup and sunscreen, so you don’t have to use cleansing balm or oil as a first cleanser. Opt for cleansing water instead to remove your makeup (except for eyes, you might need a specific eye makeup remover).
Being a number one choice for me for such a long time, before they are legally available in Indonesia. Removes makeup like a charm and it feels like swiping your makeup away with water without leaving any oily residue. But still needs to wash with second cleanser and water, okay. Where to buy: Drugstores
It didn’t foam up much, but I love how it cleans comfortably. Comes in a milky-gel texture and without fragrance, this is a great second cleanser for Fungal-Acne prone skin. Where to buy: Style Korean Indonesia
No fuzz daily toner. Feels like water without tackiness and will lift any leftover from your first and second cleanser. Where to buy: I believe they sold this exclusively at Guardian Indonesia.
Combat fungal acne like a champ with sulfur. And this lotion contains 6.6% of Precipitated Sulphur. Where to buy: Pharmacies
You know how hard it is to find sunscreen that are safe for Fungal Acne, right? No worries, this sunscreen is safe, super affordable and doesn’t leave white cast. Where to buy: Drugstores
Obviously, before my first fungal-acne attacked in 2018, I didn’t even know which ingredients triggered them. But after the healing process, my whole skincare regimen has changed a lot. To give you a clearer idea, here’s my minimal skincare routine back in 2018.
Here’s my updated minimal skincare routine now, please note that these are during #stayathome periods (you’d be surprised, the more time I have the simpler the routine becomes).
CLEANSE: First thing that I apply in the morning, cotton pads soaked with warm water to wipe away oil residue and nighttime products. Then I cleanse with TATCHA THE DEEP CLEANSE, which I intend to finish before it expired. Luckily mine is a travel size ones.
TONE: I never skip toner, because I believe if I did, my pores will clog more. My current fave is EUCERIN DERMATOCLEAN CLARIFYING TONER, it’s not an exfo toner or hydrating ones, it’s a perfect daily toner that won’t irritate sensitive skin.
TREAT: I skip moisturizer in the morning, just because this #stayathome period. Instead, I do something that I rarely did back in the old days. AM Treatment! I dab on acne treatment and dark spot treatment on specific spots. My current faves: DERMA E VERY CLEAR SPOT TREATMENT (for pimples) and GOODAL GREEN TANGERINE VITA C DARK SPOT SERUM (for post acne marks). Both can be use on daytime, so I maximize this period to make sure pimples and dark spots are treated during daytime, too.
If I have to catch some sun in the morning (which I do lately every morning), this is my HG sunscreen: SKIN AQUA UV SUPER MOISTURE GEL SPF50+ PA++++. I admit it’s hard to find a new replacement for this. It’s not waterproof, so easy to clean with just micellar water (no need for balm or oil).
CLEANSE: I will use BIODERMA SENSIBIO H2O to cleanse my leftover sunscreen and continue with PETER THOMAS ROTH IRISH MOOR MUD PURIFYING CLEANSING GEL. I use the cleansing gel with my FOREO LUNA3.
TONE: As lazy as I can be these days, I only use ALPHA H LIQUID GOLD, alternating with EUCERIN DERMATOCLEAN CLARIFYING TONER.
SERUM: On my non-exfo days, I apply GLOSSIER SUPER PURE SERUM.
TREATMENT: I apply DRUNK ELEPHANT A PASSIONI RETINOL CREAM twice a week, topped with DRUNK ELEPHANT T.L.C FRAMBOOS GLYCOLIC NIGHT SERUM. I love this combination for my never ending clogged pores problem.
HYDRATE: Last step for PM routine is to hydrate, with my old time favorite, VICHY MINERAL 89 – SKIN FORTIFYING DAILY BOOSTER. I love this because it’s gel, absorbs easily and feels so light on skin.
Super glad that 2019 is almost over. Definitely not one of my best year, but I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it (LOL).
Just a quick update on my skin condition, I believe when I got older, my skin easily and rapidly reacted to skincare products. Bumps and adult/hormonal acnes are still easily appeared. The good thing is, I’ve managed to control my fungal acne come back with the right products. In fact, I didn’t suffer any fungal-acne breakout this year.
After trial & error here and there, I became more aware on what ingredients that actually work, or in the other hand, caused the problems. In my case, I try to avoid:
Butylene Glycol, because it might trigger comedones.
Centella Asiatica, because it’s not good if you are still suffering from acne or having acne-prone skin like mine.
Essential Oils or any facial oil, because my skin didn’t react well after using them.
So yes, it became harder to find skincare products for me. Other than avoiding non-safe fungal acne ingredients, now I also have to check those ingredients above. And trust me, it’s not easy!
This (much shorter) list is based on my own personal experience and after checking all the ingredients on cosdna and skincarisma. No worries, this list is mostly different from my 2018 list (with additional categories and check out my HG products with *).
Enjoy reading and happy holidays, folks! Make sure you spent your money wisely when it comes to skincare products (talking like a true champ, LOL).