Mood Check: mild depression, no elevated mood, mild irritability, moderate anxiety
Sleep Last Night: 6.5 hours (took 25 mg of Seroquel at bedtime)
I figured that I would use these blogs to stay accountable with my moods and sleep. So, I’ll start every blog post with a check in of my mood and sleep.
Today’s post is going to be my current skincare routine.
While makeup is a huge passion of mine, I think sometimes I am more obsessed with skincare than makeup. Makeup will only look as good as the base it is put on. A good makeup day starts with a good skincare routine.
Firstly, I have the world’s best dermatologist in the world, whom I see twice every year. Each time, I get an acne consultation and once a year I get a full body check for any irregularities. My skincare routine encompasses both over the counter products and prescription oral and topical medications prescribed by my dermatologist. The key to great skin is consistency. My dermatologist can give me all the tools in the world, but my skin will not look good unless I do it every day and night.
I have multiple types of acne and the oral and topical medications work to address the different types. The main type of acne I had was deep closed comedones. These are small bumps that are deep under the skin and typically do not come to the surface. Most topicals cannot reach them, so the only real fix is to have acne surgery, in which a dermatologist makes a small incision each comedone and uses an extraction tool to remove the build-up. Topicals, like retinoids, speed-up the cell turnover process to help these comedones from forming. I also get deep cystic acne on my chin. Cystic acne is a deep, fluid filled sac that is usually formed from hormone fluctuations. These cannot be popped and can be quite painful. For large, stubborn cysts, a cortisone shot can reduce inflammation and redness within 24 hours. I also have rosacea, which can cause small pustules.
The oral medication I use is Spironolactone. I am on a high dose – 250 mg. – which is the highest that I can really go. If this did not work, I would have to consider Accutane, which would be an extreme reaction. Spironolactone is an anti-androgen drug, meaning that it blocks androgen hormones, which contribute to acne in women. Testosterone is an example of an androgen hormone. Spironolactone is also used to treat high blood pressure and it known as a water pill. Kidney function needs to be checked regularly as it also affects potassium levels. I get my blood taken and checked at least once a year. This drug works from the inside to stop the painful, deep cystic acne. I take 125 mg. in the morning and evening.
In the morning, I use azelaic acid. This has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This works to combat the redness and inflammation that the rosacea can cause. It also works to stop the small pustules from forming as well. Since this also helps encourage cell turnover, it also helps with acne scarring as well. I also use ketoconazole on my forehead. This is an antifungal cream. Sweating can sometimes cause an overabundance of yeast on the skin. This leads to small, itchy bumps across the forehead. I use the ketoconazole to prevent the yeast from overgrowing.
At night, I use a retinoid called Tazarotene. Retinoid is a form of Vitamin A. Retinoid works by speeding up the cell turnover on the skin. This process means that the pores stay clear of debris and acne, such as pustules or comedones, cannot form. Retinoids also help prevent the formation of wrinkles and considerably assists with the anti-aging process. You only need a small amount, just a pea size. Prescription strength retinoids are very strong. You need to build up your tolerance to this medication, using every other day for a few weeks before switching to everyday. You will experience a lot of redness, skin sensitivity and dry, flaking or peeling skin, possibly for up to six weeks while starting to use this. It is extremely important to use a thick, moisturizing cream to properly hydrate the skin. I use, what my dermatologist calls the “sandwich” method, in which I put a thin layer of a cream on my skin first, then my retinoid and I put a thick layer of cream over that. This does not affect the efficacy of the retinoid, but it does help with the dryness a lot. It is also important to use sunscreen, as your skin will be extremely sensitive to the sun.
The last prescription topical I use is Aczone. This has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties to further kill the bacteria that could lead to acne. It is not known exactly how but it works to decrease the severity and number of pimples and promotes the healing of the acne as it fades.
The rest of my skincare is over the counter products. I used to watch a ton of YouTube videos and have step after step after step of different products to use every night. But honestly, simplicity is what is best for your skin. A few simple, purposeful products are all you need!
I will start will cleanser. All my cleansers can be found at the drugstore. I alternate between two super hydrating ones and one with some benzoyl peroxide if I have had a particularly sweaty day. I religiously use either the Cera Ve Hydrating Cleanser or the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. They are both so gentle, clean your skin but does not leave it squeaky clean or tight feeling. These are especially great for when your skin is super sensitive from retinoids or retinol. I try to avoid using cleansing devices because it tends over-exfoliate the skin. Make sure to wash your skin for 1 whole minute. YouTuber Jackie Ania taught me that the Fresh Prince of Bell Air theme song is exactly a minute; so, sing that and you’ll know you’ve thoroughly cleaned your face.
After cleanser, my routine shifts if it is morning or night. In the morning, I will use my prescription topicals (ketoconazole on my forehead, azelaic acid on my cheeks and chin). Then I apply my eye cream. Typically, this is where I rotate different brands out and might spring for something more expensive. I do tend to use a different eye cream in the morning versus at night. Right now, I am using the Clinque Pep-Start eye cream. I do not think it does anything miraculous, but it hydrates enough. My under eyes are actually pretty good, no deep lines, darkness. I mainly look for hydration and this works enough. Next, I will use my Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream. This is a product I CANNOT live without. This is the only thing that truly hydrates my skin. It is a must have no matter what time of day, make-up or no make-up, in the house or out of the house. Any vacation, night away, this is the first thing I need to pack. If there is anything to buy from this post, it is the Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream. Lastly, I put on my sunscreen. Again, I do not have like a must have in this category. Right now, I am using the Supergoop Matte tinted 40 SPF. What I look for is a mineral sunscreen (I am allergic to physical sunscreens, so it needs to titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) that does not lead to further breakouts. The Supergoop one works well. If I am going to be in the sun, my go-to is MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème sunscreen, SPF 50. This soothes my skin, protects it and does not break me out. It is my go-to for being in the sun.
At night, if I feel my skin is a bit congested, some blackheads or some comedones, I will use the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. I wont use this more than a few times a week as it could cause over exfoliation with the use of the prescription topicals I use as well. Next, I fully believe in the sandwich method. My skin would be a peely, flaky, dry mess if I did not do this. So, I use a generous amount of the Cera Ve Moisturizing Cream. I give that a few minutes to sink in before putting on my topicals. I layer the Tazorac down first, using only a pea size amount spread over my entire face. Then, I use one pump of the Aczone all over my face. I give that a few minutes to soak in as well. Then, I use an eye cream. Right now I’m used the Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Eye Concentrate. I find this ticks the marks of keeping puffiness down and my under eyes hydrated, which is really all I can ask for. In a later post, I’ll talk about my holy grail eye cream that I truly think is worth it! Lastly I slather on a healthy amount of the Cera Ve moisturizing cream to finalize my skincare routine.
Also, morning, noon or night, the lip balm to end all lip balms is the Laneige Sleeping Lip Mask. There is nothing else like it. It will last forever and really keeps your lips smooth, hydrated and kissable!
This wraps up my skincare routine. Any questions, product recommendations or comments, leave them below!
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Stay well everyone xx