MY ADAPALENE JOURNEY (WEEK 1 OUT OF 12)

Since July 29 2020, I’ve introduced Adapalene into my routine.

After a lot of careful thoughts and hundreds of YT reviews that I’ve watched while #stayathome, I finally decided to just go for it. Should’ve started earlier since the beginning of this pandemic though, so it might resolve my skin problems earlier. But, better late than never, right?

If you’ve been following me on my IG and reading my blog, you’ll know my never ending fight with acne, from fungal acne back in 2018 until adult and hormonal acne (especially on chin area) in 2020. I think I have tried mostly everything, AHA, BHA, LHA, PHA … you name it! I’ve used Retinol (Drunk Elephant) and of course they are all different in what they do. Over The Counter Retinol might has fewer side effects, but it takes several months to a year for visible results. Meanwhile, Adapalene, which is a Retinoid, is way stronger, making it an ideal treatment for acne.

I’ve had the urge to try Adapalene before, but never had the courage. The risk of purging heavily for 12 weeks, really put me off by that time (that was before this pandemic #stayathome situation).

But now, who knows when this pandemic is going to end? While staying at home all the time, I guess this is the right time for me to start Adapalene, with all its’ risks. If I have to go out, I’d wear mask anyway and cover the bad purging situation.

Since I’m on a saving mode, I decided to use a local Adapalene instead of imported ones. I’m using EVALEN KRIM ADAPALENE 0,1%, it’s very affordable (IDR52K for 10gr tube). They also have this in gel format, but after I saw some reviews, I decided to use the cream version. I believe cream forms are gentler with lesser side effects.

Now, I’m going to share with you guys my skin progress on week one (I will update again on month one, so stay tune).

MY START FACE: OIL PLUGS ON LEFT CHEEK & CHIN
DAY 1

DAY 1: Was the hardest, seriously. I was paranoid all night that I’d wake up with angry zits all over my face. But, turned out, NOT! Only two zits felt really itchy, red, swollen and ready to be pop. So I use acne patches on those two.

DAY 2

DAY 2: Apparently but those two zits with puss just didn’t budge with acne patch, so (don’t follow me) I decided to pop them. Of course, I left myself with two huge PIE aka red acne marks on my chin.

DAY 7

DAY 7: I decided to show my weekly (not daily) progress on my IG stories highlight. BTW, on day 5 I decided to apply Evalen every night for more speedy progress, since (thank God) I didn’t experience any bad irritation. Turned out, those oil plugs on my chin will either became blackheads or pustules. Which I think was great, because blackheads and pustules are easier to pop (either intentionally or unintentionally).

TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:

  • Start with every other night application for two weeks, than use it every night after that.
  • Don’t do it on daylight. Always apply at night time before bedtime only.
  • Better to apply and sleep with it in an Air-Con room.  
  • I strongly suggest to do 3 step moisture method beforehand. Read here on how to do it.
  • Mix Adapalene with your moisturizer with 1:2. So one drop of Adapalene mix with two drop of moisturizer. This is a way to buffer Adapalene in order to lessen the effects of irritation and such.
  • Wait for your other skincare to dry before applying.
  • Avoid areas such as eyes, around the nose and lips.
  • Make sure you generously moisturize and apply sunscreen the morning after.
  • Stay away from physical or chemical exfoliants which can lead to over-exfoliation.
  • Be patient, just like pandemic, everything takes time to heal.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

REVIEW: KRAVE BEAUTY OAT SO SIMPLE WATER CREAM

This is going to be a simple review, just because this moisturizer is that simple.

Simple ingredients’ list, simple packaging, and simple intended customers. Basically, those who want to simply moisturize without worrying that it’ll break you out or irritate you further. And the best part, it is safe for Fungal Acne! (Finally, a Krave Beauty product that’s safe for FA).

It fits right in to my current 3 Steps Moisture Method craze (thanks to Olena Beley who commented to my IG video earlier this month). Read here if you missed my post about Olena’s tips.

I use this as the final step of my hydrating steps, because it does contain Capric Triglyceride and Squalane, the perfect emollients to seal all in. And being on Adapalene journey, my skin also needs soothing moisturizer, so this just completes me, by having Oatmeal Extract as one of the ingredient. Yes, I also mix this with EVALEN Adapalene Krim 0.1% to reduce the concentration and lessen the risk of Adapalene’s side effects. And this moisturizer helped me a lot during my Adapalene’s nights (so far I’m only at week 1, but I’ll write about the journey soon).

Look at its’ luscious white and milky texture. It has no scent, and it just glides softly when applied. It also mix wonderfully with almost everything that I applied before it (actives, hydrating toner, humectant). It melts right away in contact with the skin, and absorb really well without leaving any film or dewy look.

It’s silicone free, gluten free, fragrance free and essentials oil free. For me personally, there are only two misses for this moisturizer, it still contains Butylene Glycol which has comedogenic rating (luckily it didn’t trigger mine). And the jar packaging. Being a practical girl, I don’t really dig plastic jar. It took a while for me to finally close the lid properly. I wish it comes in pump packaging instead.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

BEST K-BEAUTY SKINCARE PRODUCTS FOR FUNGAL ACNE

Been to Seoul, South Korea and what I saw there was really eye-opener. If you see the K-Drama and all the actors & actresses have flawless, poreless and unblemished skin, trust me, those who sold street-food as a living in Seoul, have exactly the same skin. They are fortunate to have such a blessed skin, it’s in their genes.

ME IN SEOUL (CAN YOU GUESS WHERE I WAS?)

However, I do have to admit that their K-beauty skincare products are the best and highly-effective for toners, essences, hydration and sunscreens. They are also great at super fast innovation (new ingredients) and good-looking packaging. As for actives, personally I’d prefer the western brands, (again) based on my experiments.

So, here’s my round up for K-beauty skincare products that are safe for Fungal Acne prone skin.

ESSENCE: AMORE PACIFIC VINTAGE SINGLE EXTRACT ESSENCE, I’M FROM MUGWORT ESSENCE

TONER: SOMEBYMI AHA BHA PHA 30 DAYS MIRACLE TONER, DEAR KLAIRS SUPPLE PREPARATION UNSCENTED TONER

CLEANSER: HEIMISH ALL CLEAN GREEN FOAM, PYUNKANG YUL ACNE FACIAL CLEANSER

AMPOULE: CNP LABORATORY MUGENER AMPOULE, LEEGEEHAAM GROW VITA PROPOLIS AMPOULE (RENAME TO DR CEURACLE ROYAL VITA PROPOLIS 33 AMPOULE)

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

COMPARISON REVIEW: HYDRATING FACE MIST (ROSES)

OK, this is tricky, folks. If you ask me “do I need to buy face mist?”, I’d probably say “No”. Because, if you’re on a budget (like me), I personally believe that you don’t need to purchase one. You can easily create your own face mist by putting your regular hydrating toner inside a mist bottle, and voila!

But, if you currently using hydrating toner (the type that you have to pour from the bottle and pat), you’d probably will love using these for their practicality. Let see: pour and pat, OR spray and leave? Which one will you choose?

Both of them are Fungal-Acne Safe (yeay!) and roses scent fans, you can thank me later.

Let’s begin with:

TRILOGY HYDRATING MIST TONER

It’s a NZ brand

Claim: instantly delivers moisture to thirsty skin. Leave skin toned, cooled, hydrated and dewy.

Plus points:

  • Can be use as toner, makeup prep and makeup setting spray.
  • Great for hot humid climates

How to use: Hold at least 30cm away from the face and gently spritz. Allow mist to dry naturally. Or you can spray them onto a cotton pad and wipe.

Price: IDR410K for 100ml

HERITAGE STORE ROSE WATER

It’s an US brand

Claim: calms redness, tones & soothes skin.

Plus points:

  • Minimal ingredients: only two listed, Purified Water and Damask Rose.
  • Formula hasn’t changed since 1969 (very reassuring for me).
  • No coloring, no alcohol, no preservatives, no sulfate and phthalates.
  • Can be used as hair, scalp & body mist.

How to use: Hold at least 30cm away from the face and gently spritz. Allow mist to dry naturally. Or you can spray them onto a cotton pad and wipe.

Price: IDR65K for 59ml

MY THOUGHTS:
– Both of them use essential oils (Trilogy has 3 of them, while Heritage Store only 1), so if you are sensitive to essential oils, better watch out.
– Trilogy gives that dewy look more than Heritage Store (just like they claimed). Dry skin will love Trilogy for its’ hydrating ability.
– Personally, I love to put them inside the refrigerator, for extra coolness on a very hot day.
– Trilogy comes with a glass bottle, while Heritage Store in plastic.
– In term of sprayer, Trilogy is way better than Heritage Store, just make sure not to go overboard while spraying.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA

FUNGAL-ACNE SAFE TONER

Unlike some people who don’t think it’s important, I do enjoy using toner and will never stop using it.

Some use toner for that pH balancing purpose, but I believe my skin is clearer (free from oil plugs and such) when I use one. And I can definitely judge the effectiveness of my cleansers, just by looking at how dirty my (soaked with toner) cotton pads. I found it very satisfying.

Personally I prefer toner with no scent and water-like in texture.

Here’s some of my favorite Fungal-Acne Safe Toner, and I include the ingredients analyzed by cosmily.com (which I thought is more detail than skincarisma.com)

DEAR KLAIRS DAILY SKIN SOFTENING WATER
  • Literally like water with no viscosity, no scent too!
  • Perfect to use with cotton pads. No matter how I cleaned my face, my cotton pads will get dirty somehow when I use this toner.
  • Big size (500ml). Perfect size for toner fans like me, and it’s very affordable.
  • It is a gentle exfoliating toner, so I don’t recommend this for toner masking.
  • Great if you have whiteheads and sensitive skin. It didn’t sting at all.
  • No Butylene Glycol inside, so it won’t trigger comedo.
ABILL FIRST STARTING TONER
  • Same thing, literally like water with no viscosity and no scent.
  • Only 4 ingredients inside, which I love.
  • Can be use as first toner with cotton pads, or if you’re using exfoliating toner, use this as hydrating toner with no pads.
  • Or you can use it for toner masking, it is that gentle.
  • Affordable price but not much of my local online shops here carry this brand.
EUCERIN DERMATOCLEAN CLARIFYING TONER
  • Great daily toner, feels just like water with no scent and no viscosity.
  • To be use with cotton pads as first toner. Somehow, I always see dirt left on cotton pads when I use this.
  • Recommended for sensitive skin.
  • It’s a drugstore brand, but they don’t have this officially where I live. But some online shops do carry this from neighbors’ countries like Singapore or Malaysia.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA & SCREENSHOT FROM COSMILY.COM

COMPARISON REVIEW: SUNSCREEN SPRAY

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:

  • waterproof
  • comes off with soap
  • can spray upside down
  • can be used on hair and scalp
  • transparent, no mineral oil and paraben free
  • fragrance-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.
  • lightly fragranced.

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

MY THOUGHTS:

  • 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.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA