Time flies when you’re … taking care of your skin?
I feel like I’ve entered a new phase of my skin. Starting off, the asian-style skincare routine pretty much cleared up my lingering active issues. I’m still in awe, a bit. After about 2 weeks, the irritation/seb-derm around my nose pretty much disappeared, and I stopped applying the anti fungal.
Oil cleansing step is key for me
For a few weeks in July, I was feeling tired and unmotivated, so I was slacking on both cleansing steps. Big mistake! I didn’t see a recurrence of the seb derm, but I was seeing larger pores, more clogged pores, more unevenness, more whiteheads. After getting back on that train, things rapidly returned to the ‘new normal’ of … really nice skin???
On the Asian Beauty subreddit and on many skin care blogs, ‘actives’ refer to any ingredient that is clinically proven to treat skin in some way. The biggies are AHA’s (glycolic acid is the most common one to see in the US I think), BHA (salicylic acid is most common in the US), Vitamin C derivatives, and prescription drugs like trans-retonioic acid (aka Retin-A, Retinol, etc).
While my skin is at it’s most calm, I still have a lot of blackheads that get more and less clogged, depending on my cleansing routine. I still get occasional whiteheads popping up. And I still have a bunch of those little bumps, sometimes called millia that are like mini pre-whiteheads. It’s a clogged pore, but it isn’t irritated and it is well below the surface of the skin.
Since I don’t seem to have any active acne happening, I’d like to try to clear some of the lingering clogs, and possibly do some minimization of the acne scars that probably only I care about. I’m definitely on the more ‘mild’ side of the acne scarring spectrum, but I have a few deeper pit scars from a few really bad pimples on my cheeks. Again, probably I’m the only one who both notices and cares, but that’s how it goes, isn’t it.
To start out, I’ve been using more of the AHA+ from Acne.org. I’ve been using a generous amount daily in the evenings on my face and shoulders. The good news is that it seems to be surfacing some of the little spots. The bad news is that I do have a bit more in the way of small whiteheads than I think I would otherwise. So far, I’m willing to chalk this up to a ‘purge’ of existing clogs and not the formation of new clogs. Recently, I discovered that my AHA that I’ve been toting around for the last forever is *ahem* rather expired. That motivated me to order some new AHA and BHA products.
I’m starting a Korean product, Cosrx AHA Whitehead Power Liquid on my face, and have an American product, Stridex Maximum Strength Acne Pads, a 2% salicylic acid for either alternating with the Cosrx AHA, or starting after I’ve worked up to using the AHA regularly, I haven’t decided. Because these ingredients are pretty strong actives, most skincare communities recommend a) patch testing (which I’m skipping b/c impatient, I may live to regret this) and b) not adding a new product for at least 6 weeks. I’m not sure I can be that patient. I have a new sunscreen coming as well that is supposed to be more sweat/sebum resistant, so I will probably be throwing that in the mix as well.
There are two main issues that I may face.
1. Both AHA products are 10%, but one is not expired and also does not contain lidocaine (licorice extract) which is soothing, so it might be much stronger or irritating than I expect. I’m combating this possibility by being generous with my Mizon All In One Snail Mucin moisturizer.
2. I might react badly to one of the ingredients in either the sunscreen or the new AHA. I’m not really worried about reacting badly on my shoulders for whatever reason.