Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Acne Skincare Showdown!

This horrible experience lately (going on three months now...) of tween-esque acne problems has really got me reflecting (and digging out) some goodies from my past. Now that my skin is starting to show signs of calming down it's a good day as any to share some of my favorite products that I have used out throughout the years and break down categories on drugstore and more expensive options. I feel like I've paired up some pretty even match ups and it's definitely worth it to check out a few of these for your arsenal!
These two are almost dead ringers for each other, except I must say that theBalm's mask leaves my face feeling more moisturized. The Mint Julep Masque is fantastic but it has a tendency to leave my skin feeling a little light and overly dry so always follow up with a good moisturizer (which you should be doing anyways!). These minty masks are fantastic for calming down angry red acne and feels very cooling on the face. I know most of the time people suggest charcoal or clay to draw out impurities but mint is really the unsung hero in the breakout battle. Mint helps to dry up acne and clean pores effectively and also has the added bonus of lightening acne scars. So go put down that black (or red) goo for the week and try out a mint mask instead!
For a nice dead skin fighting scrub I had to go with my St Ives Apricot Scrub which really got me through the dark days of high school. They've really expanded their product line now (green tea, charcoal, pink lemon?!) but I will always be loyal to the original apricot. Graduating from a manual scrub to a more sophisticated chemical(ish) scrub is one change I've made through the years. A new find of mine is this amazing enzymatic scrub that literally feels like it peels off a layer of skin with each use, okay not as scary as it sounds, but you get the picture. It's pricey but definitely worth it and it's incorporated into my weekly cleansing routine!
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to acne is the idea that exfoliating is the way to go. Yes exfoliating is great and helps slough off dead skin cells that clog your pores but too much scrubbing will have the adverse effect of irritating your skin and causing more eruptions. My answer to that is the use of a nice gel cleanser which will be easy on your skin but still get it clean. Sometimes I feel like cream washes are a little heavy on the skin while gel washes glides over and detoxifies. Both of these are great picks to achieve just this and it's definitely worth picking up one of these for anyone who wants a gentle cleanser!
Spot treatments are my jam. Miracle overnight potion has to be this outrageously expensive DDF treatment, but this Clean & Clear option is also a heavy hitter. I had to throw in an honorable mention because this newly discovered Vanished spot treatment literally shrinks a pimple overnight to be completely flat and also sucks all the redness away.
So I couldn't exactly find a high end splurge for moisturizer because all the drugstore stuff works fine! The most expensive one I could find that I tried was this Clinique which isn't even that much more expensive than my preferred Aveeno one I pick up at the drugstore! Any moisturizer out there with some salicylic acid will do the trick, but this is definitely a step people skip out on since moisturizing acne prone skin seems counter intuitive. This is actually the most important step because acne medicine and washes are all very drying and you need to remember to re-hydrate your skin as to not further irritate it.
Toner isn't something that I use consistently (gotta change that) but when my acne was bad it was definitely something I had to stay on top of. The Kiehl's toner drys out EVERYTHING, not the best for your skin but when you get desperate it is the best weapon in the battle. A solid drugstore alternative that I will admit I never used (I'm strangely allergic to Neutrogena products...) but I have heard great testimonials about is the Neutrogena astringent. I've definitely learned these past months that toner is not a step to skip. It definitely balances your skin and preps it to better soak up that moisturizer afterwards.

What are some of your acne fighting power players?

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