December 13, 2016

My Current Skin Care Routine for Acne Prone Skin (and Changing Weather)

This post is not sponsored, however it may contain affiliate links. I may gain a commission if you shop through these links. These views and opinions are my own and I will always give an honest review. 

Hey Love!

Are we ready for the holidays? I'm not! My sweet tooth and love of salty snacks are currently in a fierce battle, and have been even prior to thanksgiving (aka the "Inflate" setting has been on since November); I have done absolutely NO shopping as yet, which doesn't matter anyway because I have no clue what I'm getting these folk, and I just mourn every year how much of the joy I used to feel at Christmas time has evaporated.

But nothing a little Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, and Songs of Blackness can't fix amirite??? Comment below with your favorite holiday song! Maybe we have some in common!

Any who! Today's post *and* video is actually about my skin care routine. I get compliments on my skin ever so often, and I still struggle to accept these compliments because, believe it or not, I've been fighting acne for the majority of my life. I have finally reached a place where I feel my skin is manageble. Finally! And it hasn't been easy, and I've had to make plenty tweaks, adjustments and complete 180's along the way in terms of methods and products.

I make changes and adjustments for weather and skin concerns, however what I share in this post and video today is the routine that I've stuck to for the past few months with what I think are good results. This is basically the routine I've been using since April. However I'd say this routine has been in effect since September since that's when I returned to the US from Barbados. The climate there is quite different, in addition to which there are natural things there that I included in my regimen that are not readily available to me here e.g. sea baths/sea water (although I could make my own with store bought sea salt😕), humidity, fresh aloe, hot ass sun, and my grandfather's bush tea and bitters.

I highly recommend watching the video as I talk about WHEN and HOW I use these products. The blog post, however, will cover the benefits I've experienced from using the products more in depth, and what they are supposed to address (the WHY). At first glance my routine may seem intense and complicated but it has become second nature to me. When you've struggled to get into a skin care groove, a basic/foundational routine that you can build upon is truly a gift. So read along here as you watch the video!



  •  CLEAN YOUR HANDS.... WITH SOAP! This is my typical morning skin care routine so no matter what comes before, I make sure my hands are clean in preparation for placing them on my face. If you inadvertently scratch your booty in your sleep this is even more important for you. No judgement... I'm just sayin'! Inadvertently touching your face with dirty hands can lead to break outs and acne. I tend to fixate on pimples when I'm stressed, so I make an effort to never touch my face unless my hands have been immediately cleaned. This has been an underrated but very successful practice.
  • My custom oil cleansing face oil has been a part of my regimen since 2013/14. Initially I used it solely for oil cleansing when nothing else worked to treat a terrible bout of birth control related acne. However, I continue to use it in my routine to prep my skin before cleansing, a part of my make up removal process, and sometimes as a night time moisturizer. The ingredients in this oil have helped to accelerate healing of my acne blemishes, and has also improved the texture and tone of my skin. Not to mention it has aided in the regrowth of my edges over months of sustained use. I tweak the recipe depending on season and skin needs.


  • I started using Reviva Labs Rose Water Facial Spray more consistently within the last 5-6 weeks due to abnormal dryness, and it has helped with restoring my skin's hydration. I believe a good rose water spray will only add to the health of your skin (barring allergies/sensitivities of course). Here are all the ways I've found to use my rose water: 
    • Hydrating facial spray to replenish skin moisture through out the day.
    • On days that I decide not to use soap on my face due to dryness I may be experiencing, whether I oil cleanse or not, this toner becomes an important part of my cleansing. I spray on a cotton pad and wipe (as you see in the video). 
    • A toner to mitigate the harshness of my acne focused astringent.
    • A setting spray for makeup 
    • A part of my makeup removal regimen. I'll either spray it on a facial wipe for added moisture, or use it at the end as hydration before I apply moisturizer.
  • Masks: In my opinion there is no serious skin care routine without at least one mask... and not just any old mask, I mean the right mask for your skin type. (I'm no expert though so don't quote me on anything.) There are masks for pulling impurities out of the skin, while others provide boosts of nutrients for the skin. Get you a mask that can do both! (lol, just kidding... not really). I stuck to my Alba Botanica Even Balanced Deep Sea Facial Mask in this
    routine, precisely because it is less drying than my other purifying clay/mud masks, and manages to pull the gunk out of my pores without without leaving my face feeling like I let glue dry on it.

  • Cleanse: I've been using Alba Botanica Acne Dote Deep Pore Wash for over a year now. This 2% salicylic acid cleanser is especially effective when used in conjunction with other products from the Acne Dote line. I don't find it to be as drying as other washes I've used, praise Jah. However when I first started using this I made the mistake of only using the wash and spot treatment from this line along with products from other brands and an acne focused moisturizer from another Alba Botanica line. At the time I was also dealing with the worst cystic acne I've ever had. At the insistence of my mother, and with the unending onslaught of painful and embarrassing pimples.... 
  • I finally bought the Alba Botanica Acne Dote Maximum Strength Deep Clean Astringent. toner *cue the angels*. That one addition made a woooorld of difference, even with the moisturizer from a different line. My skin calmed down and with continued use over time (I'd say 2 months) I could see my skin improving, healing, and experiencing less breakouts. 
  • Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid has only been a fixture in my routine for 8 or 9 months. With consistent use I not only experience smaller pores, reduction in whiteheads and more glowing skin; my breakouts are more contained and less frequent (if at all). Please be aware that you must use sunscreen when using this product. It is a liquid exfoliant so it works to remove dead skin, that also means that you must take extra care to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Another thing I love about Paula's Choice is the fragrance free and gentle nature of the product. I expected this to burn on application, but it doesn't at all.
  • Borghese Curaforte is a product I've been using for 10+ years. It's a moisture intensifier and contains hyaluronic acid which bonds to the good stuff in my moisturizer and intensifies the benefits by helping it to sink deeper into the skin. So now that I've found effective products for treating my acne, Curaforte fortifies my efforts to maintain moisture.
  • Borghese Equilibrio does as the name suggests, and balances/normalizes the skin to help reduce excessive oil production. It's lightweight, oil free and supposedly mattifying. As an oily girl, I'm always skeptical about oil free claims because one monkey don't stop my oily-faced show! Becca everlasting matte primer this is not, but as far as moisturizers go I'm now in a place where I can leave home with no makeup and not worry too much about how greasy my face is going to get... unless I'm walking in midday Caribbean sun. And not even Becca saves you from that all the time. Because my next step is a moisturizer as well, there are some days out of the month where I skip either moisturizer if I don't deem it necessary.
  • Next I move on to one of two Alba Botanica products: 
    • Alba Botanica Acne Dote Oil Control Lotion (bought in Barbados at Jenn's near Redman's Village) which is similar to Equilibrio in that it is an oil free and oil control lotion, but different in that it contains salicylic acid to further address acne related skin concerns.      OR  
    • Alba Botanica Good & Healthy Oil-Free Radiance Cream again, similar to Equilibrio in terms of targeting oil production. However, this cream is for dry & sensitive skin, so while this is not generally my skin type, the cream is perfect for the days I experience dryness due to changes in my skin or the weather. It also works well if I'm experiencing sensitivity or wonky reactions to products that may not have agreed with my skin.

  • Last, and certainly not the least of all is my sunscreen, Neutrogena Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion SPF 55 *wipes brow*. I've already mentioned why it's so important to use sunscreen when using a liquid exfoliant. Protection from damaging UV rays isn't the only benefit. I will be the first to confess that this year was the first time I've gotten serious about SPF for my face. Yes, I've used moisturizers with SPF 15, but we know that's barely enough if we're going to be wearing it all day or under makeup. Of course some is better than nothing at all, but when I figured out I'd be staying for an extended time in Barbados I set out to find a high SPF non greasy lotion that was worthy of Bajan sun. After watching a Youtube review or two, I decided on this, and what I realized after using is the part SPF plays in keeping hyper pigmentation at bay. I'm one of those folks who believed that melanin is adequate SPF, however when it comes to my face, I've found that blemishes from acne actually fade more easily with the use of SPF. I'm not saying that spa lightens blemishes, but I do think it's likely that SPF slows down that hyper production of melanin that characterizes blemishes on darker skin. This lotion beats using Sunblock made for the body on you face... by far. It's not greasy, absorbs well, AND it does quite well under foundation; it does not appear ashen or with that ghostly mask some SPF creams leaves. Get you an SPF - winter, spring, summer or fall. Please.
That's it my loves! I know this was a reeeeeally long one but I just wanted to be thorough about why I use what I use on my skin, and what works for me, in the hopes that it would be helpful to you. If you decide to try any of these products let me know!

Remember, everyone's different, and skin care can be a game of trial and error. So just hang in there and keep trying until you find your regimen. Don't for get to keep an eye out at your local Marshall's, TJMaxx, Burlington and the like for these products.

Peace & Love,
Nik






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