Skincare Philosophy

My journey with skin problems has lead me to a few conclusions that form my basic skincare philosophies. I’ll share this with you guys.

Please note that these tips/points are just what worked for *me* and everyone is different.

I prefer and always recommend to use a gentle, uncomplicated cleanser. Cleanser’s job is to clean. All I want it to do is clean my face without leaving residue or leaving my skin super tight feeling. I don’t use cleanser that has “fighting” ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, etc. I have sensitive skin, and sometimes all sensitive skin wants is to be left the hell alone. How could I do that if I had a bunch of extra crap in my cleanser?
Good Cheap Option: Purpose (either liquid or in bar form) – available at any drugstore for under $10.
Good But Expensive Option: Philosophy Purity Made Simple – available at Sephora, or pretty much any department store. Full size bottle is $20, but Sephora sells a small bottle for $10 that lasts a long time.

Spot Treatments
Love ’em. Give me spot treatments all day long. They’re fantastic.

Tea Tree Oil – For me, tea tree oil doesn’t do a dang thing. However, it’s nice to have around if I have a stuffy nose because man oh man will it clear your sinuses if you sniff it. ;) But that’s about all I use it for. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and for some people it helps fight off the bacteria that causes acne infections. My acne is primarily hormonal and tea tree has little effect on it, unfortunately. But if you are interested in trying it out there are a number of options available. Trader Joes has straight TTO in a bottle for about $6. They also make a blemish stick that sort of resembles chapstick or head on that contains the stuff.

Benzoyl Peroxide – FAB. Benzoyl peroxide is my friend. It has been my friend ever since my clueless 13-year-old self grabbed a tube of cleanser in a “pretty purple bottle” and proceeded to fry my whole face with 10% BP. Lol, that is not the way to go…I had dry as hell skin because of nuking the whole thing with such a high %. HOWEVER, my acne was noticeably improved! I highly recommend this as a spot treatment for active acne breakouts, but only at around 2-5% concentration.
Cheap Option: Neutrogena On The Spot – available at any drugstore for under $10
Expensive Option: DDF Benzoyl Peroxide treatment gel – about $20 something available at Sephora and many other beauty boutiques like PureBeauty (also contains tea tree oil as a natural antibiotic)
Prescription Option: Duac (also contains clindamycin antibiotic) – really freaking expensive

Salicylic Acid (BHA) – SA is a wonderful chemical exfoliant. It keeps clogged pores at bay. Pores being clogged contributes to them looking large. Squeaky clean pores will appear smaller. There is no way to actually physically shrink your pores. You may have larger pores just because of your genes. However, keeping them nice and clean will really help if large pores are a concern to you. I find it also helps fight off those flakies you can get as a breakout is drying up and healing.
Cheap Option: Neutrogena’s Acne Stress Control line – I use the scrub sometimes, and other times I use the 3-in-1 hydrating acne treatment, which is a gel. Each component of the line can be found at most any drugstore for under $10. There is also a liquid toner.
Expensive Option: Paula’s Choice BHA liquid, gel, or lotion. – $15+ at

Retinoids – Retinoids are prescription products containing vitamin A. I find them to be very effective at healing acne and acne scars, as well as evening out my skintone. Retinoid is a tiny bit drying, though.
Expensive Prescription Option (that’s pretty much the only way): Ziana (gel containing retinoid and clindamycin antibiotic).

I will admit I have been guilty of not using moisturizer very much. I used to have really really oily skin and thought I didn’t need to. The concept of my skin overcompensating for the lack of moisture by producing more oil hadn’t occured to me. However, that’s what was going on. Once I finally figured out that I’m allergic to chemical sunscreen and found a gentle moisturizer with no SPF, I was set. I have raved about it before, but I use Alba Botanica Sea Lipid Daily Cream. It’s available at any drugstore for about $15ish. It’s sorta expensive but you get a ton of it and it’s my absolute favorite. I don’t like the idea of SPF in moisturizer because then you need a seperate non-SPF moisturizer for night time. That seems silly to me. Why not just moisturize, and use sunscreen afterwards? Besides, you do not use enough moisturizer on your face to get enough sunscreen protection. Or at least I don’t…that’d be a heck of a lot of moisturizer all at once.

Well that’s kinda it…so far. When I say my ‘journey’ with skincare, I totally mean it. This is all information and opinion that I have accumulated over a few years. I’m sure my opinion will change again as I learn more, and discover new things. I just hope some of this information might have been helpful to someone. :)


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