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.
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.
Got a few DM on my Instagram about Retinol, so I guess I’ll answer them here while also giving you update on my skin condition.
Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist, so these are totally based on my own personal experience.
Q: If I successfully cleared up acne after using Retinol, shall I continue using it or stop? A: Based on my own experience, I tried to reduce the usage to once every night. So on non-Retinol night, I’ll use other actives serums like AHA or BHA (depends on my skin’s condition).
Q: Will the acne be back even after you manage to clear them out using Retinol? A: As long as I’m alive, I guess I’d still have acne hanging around. My mom used to tell me that after I passed my teenage years, my acne would clear up by themselves. Well, they didn’t. Hormonal acne on chin area are the worst for me, so they’d pop out uninvited, no matter how clean I cleansed or how diligent I am with my routine.
Q: What’s the correct order to apply Retinol on one’s skincare routine? A: First thing first, use it at your night time skincare routine. Mine would be: double cleanse, hydrating toner, Niacinamide serum (just because it works well with Retinol), moisturiser then Retinol. If you’ve been following me, you’d probably know that I use two types of Retinol, Adapalene as base and Retinoic Acid as spot treatment. Please don’t apply them on their own, at least you can do is to mix with your moisturiser after cleansing.
Q: How about the skincare routine for morning, after using Retinol? A: Best that you can do is to treat your skin gently in the morning. Cleanse with gentle cleanser, use hydrating toner, moisturiser and never forget your sunscreen (even if you are not out and about like me).
Q: What type of Retinol are you using now? A: Evalen Adapalene Cream 0.1% and Vitacid 0.05% Retinoic Acid Cream. Adapalene went first for the whole face, then Retinoic Acid as spot treatment (on acne and acne marks). Both are local products, so they’re affordable.
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.
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.