I have always had a problem with my skin. I have had acne and redness since I was in high school. I used to see a dermatologist religiously and took prescriptions and used topical gels and creams, and still had problems. I've tried every product at the drugstore at least once! It's taken me a long time to find a combination of products that did anything for me. My recent bout of breakouts has kinda been my fault because I haven't been sticking to my regimen as closely as I should have been. I recently decided to do some research about the two main ingredients in skincare so I could better understand what they did and how they worked. The two most common ingredients are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. The common school of thought on this is the right combination of these two chemicals will control and kill acne. Salicylic acid unclogs and opens pores, and the benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and helps reduce inflammation. Salicylic acid is most commonly found in the cleansers, astringents and moisturizers sold under the name brands "Clean & Clear" and "Neutrogena". Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in the "Proactiv" skincare line, found in all 3 basic steps of their skincare regimen. I think the best solution is to try one or the other: salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and see what your skin responds to better. I use mainly salicylic acid products from the drugstore, and when I am dilligent about my regimen I usually have acne-free skin. I'll always have mild redness and scaring from years of acne, but when these products are working right, I usually don't have active pimples.
HERE'S A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE OF WHAT I DO
STEP 1: CLEANSER
I use 2 products here: Both are Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing, the clear Facial Cleanser and the creamy Gentle Scrub. I cannot use a scrub every single time, so I use the clear wash in the morning and then gentle scrub EVERY OTHER night. That way if the scrub irritates my skin and makes it a little redder, I can heal and regenerate while I sleep. Don't get me wrong, it is one of the gentlest, yet most-effective scrubs I have ever tried, I just have very sensitive skin.
Both products have 2% salicylic acid in them to unclog pores and pimples.
STEP 2: TONER OR ASTRINGENT
Both names means the same thing: an alcohol-based liquid meant to soak down into your pores to help kill any bacteria and/or remove any lingering dirt that cause acne. I use the Clean & Clear Deep Cleaning Astringent that has 2% salicylic acid.
STEP 3: MOISTURIZER
I use 2 products here, both both on my face at the same time. My skin has two personalities: an oily forehead, nose and chin (the T-zone) and dry cheeks. On the dry patches I use Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control Moisturizer with 0.5% salicylic acid. On my forehead and chin (where the bulk of my pimples pop out) I use the Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion with 2% salicylic acid. I find the lower dose salicylic acid doesn't aggrevate my dry cheeks and I like the higher dose of S.A. where I breakout worse. I know, a bit high-maintenance, but it seems to work well.
STEP 4: ACNE SPOT TREATMENT GEL
I used to be a religious user of the Clean & Clear Persa-Gel with a whopping 10% benzoyl peroxide, but a few months ago I switched to the Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Gel and I like it. First, it doesn't have the toothpaste-like consistency of the Persa-Gel because it's a clear gel (yeah, it's a little orangey, but it dries clear), and it does shrink and fade pimples. It's more expensive but it seems to work faster. I'm impressed.
Ok, that was a really long explanation and probably too-detailed for some hard, seasoned skincare veterans out there, but if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Like skincare! Pretty much all the skincare I mentioned contains salicylic acid and that's becuase I think I repond better to salicylic acid since I do have such sensitive skin. Kits like Proactiv are strictly benzoyl peroxide, and they might work better for you. My advice: try one chemical first and see how it does. It's all about trial and error. I have ordered a Proactiv kit and I'm going to give it a try and see what it does for me. After I've been using it awhile, I do a few reviews of it and photograph my results. I hope this helped someone out there who has been suffering the same problems I've been.
|(I didn't mention the Loreal cleanser in the post, I just really love it)|
Loreal Go 360 Clean for Sesitive Skin, $5
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser, $8
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Gentle Scrub, $8
|Clean & Clear Deep Cleaning Oil-Free Astringent, $6|
|Neutrogena Rapid Clear Oil-Free Acne Defense Face Lotion, $9|
Clean & Clear Advantage Oil-Free Acne Control Moisturizer, $7
Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Treatment, $6
Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Gel Acne Treatment, $9
ALL PRODUCTS CAN BE PURCHASED AT WAL-MART, TARGET, KMART AND DRUGSTORES
AS WELL AS DRUGSTORE.COM
PRICES REFLECT WHAT I PAID AT WAL-MART