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

ADAPALENE, RETINOL, RETINOIC ACID: WHAT I’VE LEARNED

What are their differences and which one to choose according to your skin problems?

My first introduction to this Vitamin A game, was Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.

Contains 1.0% Retinol, I was worried when I first applied it. Purging is like a nightmare, and I don’t think I can deal with it (at that time before pandemic). Turned out, I didn’t purge at all using this cream. I applied twice a week and it did bring slight changes to my skin. It made my skin smoother with less oil plugs and it did deflate acne. I kept going using this for almost a year, until I realized that my hormonal acne and whiteheads on chin area kept on appearing when I used this oil-based cream.

That’s when I decide to step up my game to Adapalene right on this pandemic moment. As I’m also in a saving mode, I was glad to find Evalen Krim, a local brand from Indonesia. It’s super affordable compared to an imported brand, and yes, I was surprised by the great result (so far). Currently I’m still on my Adapalene journey (read here for the early stages), but I can already see drastic change on my skin. Adapalene seems to push every closed comedones I have out to the surface. Scary at first, it was like getting a bad facial. But I learned throughout the process, they showed up fast but they will be gone fast too. And eventually, they all will get better in 12 weeks (max). So, cross my fingers and I’ll update on separate blog post.

Then, I found a YouTuber applied Retinoic Acid on top of her Adapalene in her night time routine. I was like, what? Double the A’s, really? But turned out, it worked for her and I certainly wouldn’t mind to jump into the same wagon while #stayathome all the time. So, now I also apply Vitacid 0,05% Retinoic Acid Cream as a spot treatment on top of Adapalene.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED:

  • It’s true when they said that Retinol tends to have fewer side effects than Retinoic Acid. It’s gentler, so if you just started in this Retinol game, start with Retinol first then you can upgrade if your skin can tolerate.
  • Both of Retinol and Retinoic Acid are vitamin A (under the same RETINOID umbrella), but Retinol contains a lower concentration of the active Retinoic Acid ingredient. Compared to Retinoic Acid, Retinol is about 20 times less potent. So if you feel (like me) Retinol worked too slow, maybe it’s time to fasten up. But don’t just take it from me, speak with your dermatologist first.
  • I believe Retinol is more ‘cosmetic’, while Retinoic Acid is more prescription strength that goes deeply into the skin to stimulate collagen production & increase cell turnover.
  • Adapalene is a synthetic Retinoid and it’s supposedly better tolerated than Retinoic Acid. From my experience so far, it normalized both of my skin struggles: keratinization and microcomedone formation.Everyone might experience different side effects, especially during the first few days of treatment. Just be patient, they are not magic in a tube.Always sandwich with a gentle cleanser and three step moisture method (water, humectant, emollient). I guess I survived not having super bad ‘retinization’ (redness, dryness, and flaking caused by Retinoid), because of this method.

INGREDIENTS I AVOID

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.

PHOTOS: SHINTA ROSVITA, INCIDECODER.COM, LAMER