I’ve written a lot about my acne-prone skin, food allergies that likely contribute to my breakouts, and facials to help improve my skin. So, I think it’s about time I finally share my skincare routine. I know everyone is different, and skincare routines are so individualized, but hey, maybe you’ll find some products here that might work well for you.
I’ll break it down based on the products I use in the morning, the ones I use at night, and the ones that are either spot treatments, or used just a few times per week. Let’s get to it.
1. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser
This is a natural pineapple enzyme cleanser that’s light and sudsy with a fruity scent. I use this right after I work out, if I’m not hopping in the shower immediately. Washing my face RIGHT after I work out is an absolute must! Otherwise, on non-workout days, I use it in the shower. I’ve been using this for probably 1½ years now, and it seems to work well for my skin.
2. Thayers Witch Hazel Aloe Vera Formula Astringent (Lemon)
I just started using this about 2 weeks ago. So far, so good! The scent is a bit meh, but it’s okay. Prior to this, I used regular Witch Hazel, which didn’t appear to work for me at all. And before that, I used diluted apple cider vinegar (1:1 ratio). I was on the fence about whether or not it really worked for me, but it’s a good natural way to go. I might return to using it just to see.
3. Kate Somerville Anti-Bac Acne Clearing Lotion
I began using this about 2 months ago when my typical go-to was out of stock for quite some time (super dislike when that happens). This contains 5% benzoyl peroxide, which works super well on my skin. However, I think it took my face quite a while to adjust, as I’d been using the other product for probably 10 years. I started out using this once per day, but when that didn’t seem to work, I increased it to morning and night – and I think it’s working okay now. This is a very light lotion and it goes on smooth, but it does feel a smidge sticky until it dries.
4. DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer
I’ve been using this for about 1½ years now, and I super love it. I originally decided to try it because it has a 2% concentration of Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), which I know works very well for my face. Several years ago a dermatologist prescribed a pill called Nicotinamide that I took twice daily for about 3 years. It worked beautifully, but my insurance stopped covering it, and without insurance it was about $400 per month. So, this has been a great alternative! This serum also has Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E.
5. Olay Total Effects 7-In-One Anti-Aging Sunscreen SPF 30
Before I got my first facial in December, I needed to add an SPF to my line-up. I use SPF in the summer, but not always in the winter (I know, I know), but with these winters in Michigan, I’m not usually outside for more than a minute or two. Anyway, this product has been a good addition. It’s oil-free, but even so, it’s a little more greasy than I’d like. I decided on this product because it contains VitaNiacin Complex which includes Niacinamide, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin E, along with Vitamin C.
1. DDF Glycolic 5% Exfoliating Wash
Glycolic Acid + Benzoyl Peroxide seem to be a winning combination for my skin, so this has been my go-to for nearly 2 years now. I’m a super fan of DDF products, as they’ve all worked very well for me. This is why I panic when they are out of stock for extended periods of time. This wash cleanses my face very well and smells decent, so no complaints.
2. DDF Glycolic Toning Complex
Absolutely love this product! When I do experience a breakout, I use this morning and night, as it’s the stronger option. I like when you swipe on a product and feel it tingle – makes me feel like it’s working wonders. And so far, it does! This has also been a part of my routine for about 2 years.
3. Kate Somerville Anti-Bac Acne Clearing Lotion
Like I said, I apply this at night too, since it’s what works best right now.
4. DDF Pro-Retinol Complex 3 Moisturizer
Another DDF product that I absolutely love. It’s light, super smooth, and makes me feel all glowy. When I didn’t use this product for a little while, I missed it!
1. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum
This precious little 0.5 ounce bottle is quite expensive! It has been a part of my routine for about 1½ months and it’s been wonderful. It’s technically an eye serum, but I use it on my entire face about 3 times per week, or every other day. I feel like it’s made a difference, so complaints from me.
2. Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask
I use this as a spot treatment, as needed. When I had a breakout after my first facial, I used this probably twice a day, morning and night. It did seem to help speed up the healing process, so that’s a plus. The container is quite large (5 ounces), and since it’s only a spot treatment, it might last me forever!
3. DDF 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Gel
This is what I mentioned using prior to the Kate Somerville product. It has been my absolute go-to product for nearly 10 years, and since I began using it, I’ve seen this product increase by nearly $10. Yikes! This was recently out of stock for SO LONG, but I snatched one up as soon as I saw it was available. So, I’ll return to using it again soon and will be able to better compare it to the one I’m using now, which is even more expensive. While I do love this product, it is quite sticky and not great under make-up, so I stick to using it only at night.
4. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Mask
This is a “pore-fecting” papaya enzyme mask. I use this when I feel like my face needs a decent exfoliation – maybe just a few times per month, if that. It smells yummy, is quite light, and only needs to be on for a few minutes. What I usually do it swipe it on while I have my morning coffee and then rinse it off in the shower.
5. Alba Botanica Oil-Free Green Tea + Aloe Moisturizer
This is another great moisturizer that I used for quite a long time. It’s really light with a fruity scent, and a little goes a long way. It’s super moisturizing without being thick and greasy, which is what I love about it. I used this after my second facial, and it probably helped my face to not peel. Super great option, just without SPF.
6. Burt’s Bees Mattifying Powder Foundation with Bamboo
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I HIGHLY dislike foundation of any sort, and I never ever used to use it. But with break out after break out this past summer, I was feeling like I needed some sort of coverage. I wanted something super light that I couldn’t feel on my face, and this turned out to be a good choice. I use a big brush to apply it so that it doesn’t go on too thick. Meh! I previously only used the NYC translucent powder, and I’d like to get back to doing that. I just have quite a few dark-colored scars that need to fade away first.
7. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
I know this is supposed to be a waterless cleansing option, but I just use it as an eye make-up remover. I originally bought it to use as the first step in removing my make-up at night, and I liked that it really did wipe all my make-up off, prior to using my actual face wash. But, I wasn’t sure if it was making me breakout or not, so I stopped doing that. It’s a great product to remove all make-up though, and I surely recommend it.
Okay, what a lengthy post! Whew-wee. Obviously, skincare is a huge thing for me and something I take super serious. I’ll be the first to admit that these products are not cheap, but they are so worth it! If you search around enough, you’ll find these products cheaper on some sites than others. I typically buy from Ulta Beauty and Amazon, instead of directly from DDF, for example.
Again, I’m not suggesting that my skincare routine will work for you, but you may find that you’d like to try some of these products. Skincare is such a finicky thing, and I know it’s hard to change things up once you find products that work. I’ve tried SO MANY products and have spent probably thousands of dollars, but I care deeply about what my skin looks like. It’s been a really rough 12+ years dealing with adult acne, and I’d be lying if I said my self-confidence hasn’t taken a huge hit over the years. And even now, but I keep on keeping on.
While this makes me fairly uncomfortable, here are a few recent, no make-up pictures so you can see my experience with acne. The top row is from the day I got my first facial at the end of December, and the bottom row is the breakout that happened about a week after the facial. As you can see, I absolutely have scars. Plenty of them, unfortunately. But I know there is light at the end of the tunnel because I have most definitely had great skin before!
I have so many pictures I can share, but I’ll wait to do that in another post since this one is so long!
And right now, my skin is in a good place and improving, which I am so grateful for! So, here’s to continued improvement and to getting back to using only translucent powder for some oil control. 😊