I went from n00b to “I’ll try everything”, within 60 days and now, here I am. Read on.
It’s going to be a long one. I made a list first, to post on my Instagram Stories. But the list got so long that Instagram crashed and I lost the list I’d typed out. So I thought it would be better to blog it. Document it for myself at the very least. Because 2018 is WAR on the acne on my face. I wanted to include photographs but I’ve linked to all the products and I share bad photos on my Instagram Stories all the time anyway. Cannot include those on my blog – blog photos need to be half-decent at the very least and if I’d waited to shoot, I’d never get around to publishing this. ( I keep a diary with dates when I started each product / treatment – it’s the only way to keep track of what’s being effective and what’s a waste of money. Currently, the products I’m using in my entire routine, cost about Rs. 8,000 per month, which is something I’m ok with as I’m starting out.
I have shared photos of my face without any makeup on on my Instagram stories. I don’t think I have the stomach to share them here on the blog yet. Maybe once I have a nice “After” photo, I will have succeeded at skincare and then I will have qualms sharing the “Before” photos. Sorry.
Wash face with Forest Essentials Kashmiri Saffron & Neem Delicate Facial Cleanser. Lasts about two months for me. ( I use it twice a day. ) Currently priced at Rs. 1,125.
Seven step Korean method with Kama Ayurveda Rose Water. Lasts about a month ( I use it twice a day ). Currently priced at Rs. 950. I have tried other Rose Water mists / toners, which are a whole lot cheaper, but I have not had the same effects with those. I don’t have data to prove it of course – but my skin texture feels better to me when I’m using the Kama product. Forest Essentials also had a Rose Water mist but that’s even more expensive at Rs. 1,125 currently.
The 7-step method is basically me spraying the mist onto my face, patting it onto my skin till it’s almost dry and then repeating – seven times.
Hydrate more : Humectant
Hyaluronic Acid. I buy from Skin Beauty Solutions, shipped from the US. Haven’t had to pay customs duty yet. This one had citric acid. They have another product without citric acid and with Vitamin B5, which I haven’t tried yet. I honestly don’t know if HA is doing anything to my skin but it’s only been 20 days since I started including it in my routine.
La Roche Poasy Toleraine Fluide as moisturizer. It’s light and will work for my oily / combination skin in Indian Summers. Currently available on Amazon, priced at Rs. 1,290 for the 40ml. No alcohol, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, no fragrance. I included it into my routine about 15 days ago and use it twice a day. One bottle should last me for a month.
Sometimes I spray Rose Water again after this and wait for it to dry.
Rosehip Seed Oil. 3 drops on my palm, rub the palms together, pat onto face and neck. Twice a day. Most of the products that I’m applying now are applied by patting and not rubbing. I’ve tried this one, available on Amazon – Rs. 300 for 10ml. I’ve also ordered another one ( Juicy Chemistry from Nykaa.com, which is Rs. 580 for 30 ml ), which I’m going to try as soon as the first one is finished.
Sea Buckthorn Oil. Same, 03 drops on my palm etc. I ordered this one from Amazon at first, loved the texture and the smell. Rs. 300 for 10ml. Finished in a month. Then ordered this one and it’s very orangey in color and does not smell the same as the previous one. Rs. 475 for 30ml. Not sure which one’s authentic. Tell me if you know please.
I had initially not included a moisturizer in my routine because I was using both these oils but I realized that I still needed actual “moisturizing”. So, oils are not enough.
Then I also currently apply a layer of the Egyptian Magic cream. It’s pricey but the ingredients warrant it I suppose. Rs. 2,575 for 59ml. Nice to seal in everything if I’m not planning to step out for the day or apply makeup. When I have to apply makeup, I stop after Rosehip seed oil and add suscreen before foundation. I think the Egyptian Magic cream will be too heavy for use in the Indian Summer season.
Since the above cream is quite a lot more expensive than I’d like, I’m planning to substitute it with regular Vaseline. It is not comedogenic and seals in the previous products better than the Egyptian Cream, in my experience. I’ve ordered the original blue seal version of Vaseline from Amazon and will start using it especially for my night routine. Rs. 450 for 250ml.
I tend to use high SPF ( 50 or more ) by La Roche Posay. From their Antihelios range. I tend to pick up 4-5 bottles from drug stores abroad, whenever I get to travel. Fragrance free, non-comedogenic, for sensitive skin, ultra light. The one I’m using right now is available on Amazon India but it is hella expensive at Rs. 4,200. My drugstore purchase cost me about Rs. 1,700. It is also available on CareToBeauty.com for about Rs. 1,700 but I have never ordered from this website, so can’t vouch for it. It seems to be there on Nykaa.com as well, for Rs. 1,450.
Drink : Attack those androgens – hormonal acne
I have also, just introduced Spearmint Tea into my routine – drinking it. This is the only one I found on Amazon that is purely Spearmint leaves. It can be strong, so you could try this one by TeaMonk, which is a blend of green tea and Spearmint leaves. Remember that Spearmint is Mentha Spicata. Not Peppermint, which is Mentha Pripeta. The former is also referred to as “pahadi pudina” in India. I brew 2 liters in the morning each day & drink it over the course of 24 hours. I’ve only started doing it last couple of days, so I’m not sure what it will do, if anything. Spearmint tea is supposed to bind androgens and hence, help with hormonal acne in women only. I’ve had my hormone levels checked and everything seems to be in order ( except the Hypothyroidism I’ve had since I was a teenager ), but I also have chin and neck acne, which seems to be hormonal. I also add 02 drops of Spearmint Essential Oil to 01 Liter of the blended tea. I don’t think applying the oil topically to the skin will do anything – from whatever I’ve seen / read online, it seems it wouldn’t do anything since it would be too late to tackle the androgens by the time they’re already reached the surface of your skin. I looked for Spearmint capsules but they not available in India and even the ones that can be imported, seem to be composed of Spearmint leaves – might as well drink the tea / water and get hydrated. I don’t drink a lot of water throughout the day, so this is a convenient solution.
Birth Control Pills
I have also just completed a one-month dose of Crisanta, which is a birth-control pill. I started this purely to try and see if it helps with the acne. The first week, I was depressed and low. Week after that was better because new acne stopped developing. The week after, I drink a glass of milk for two days consecutively, and new acne came up. This pill is supposed to be taken for 21 days, then a 7 day break and then the next month’s dose starts. Please read up carefully and weigh the risks of getting on a birth-control pill in consultation with your dermatologist / gynecologist. The last 3 days of my dosage were HELL. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I cancelled plans with friends etc. My breasts have been tender since day two of starting on the pill. It’s not a pretty option. I don’t think I want to take a birth-control pill in the long run to help me fight acne. Some clinical studies have tried to establish a link between hormonal birth control and the increased risk of breast cancer – Crisanta’s literature will also mention this on it’s pamphlet but there seem to many more studies disputing this as well. Basically, I don’t know. Ask your doctor.
I use a Glycolic foam facewash about 2-3 times per week. Always at night, to clean up the gunk from my face, before my night routine. I got this one from Skin Beauty Solutions. It burns a bit.
Once in a week or once in 15 days, I also do a chemical peel at home. I have ordered Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid from Skin Beauty Solutions and have so far been mixing all three to apply to my face. I am now starting to apply each acid, without mixing – so, I’ll do Salicylic this week, Lactic the next and Glycolic the week after. I use very high concentrations, and I’m thinking it might not be such a good idea in the long run. Please be very careful if you’re going to do this at home. Chemicals burns are still burns – painful, can get infected and your skin can get worse than it was before.
I don’t use the Glycolic foaming face wash at least 24 hours before or after doing the chemical peel.
Once a day, I also eat this Calcium + Vitamin D3 + B12 tablet and CoQ10 with Bioperine Capsules and Probiotic capsules. Keeping gut bacteria balanced is very important, in general for your body’s overall health. And it affects the skin.
My evening routine is pretty much similar to the morning routine. It takes a good 45 minutes from start to finish and currently I do have the luxury of doing this. To feel less guilty about spending so much time putting stuff on my face, I tend to listen to a podcast or an audio book in the background. But I plan to simplify the process as much as possible once my skin improves from its current situation. It had become so bad that even applying foundation was no solution. Acne bumps and scars would still be seen through it. It’s gotten slightly better now in that applying foundation clearly shows that my skin’s texture is much more even than before.
As much as possible, if I am not going out for work, I try not to apply any makeup. If it is a client event where I have to go and be photographed, then of course, I love the excuse to don makeup. But otherwise, I want to give my skin enough breathing space.
It would be cool to get to a point where I don’t NEED makeup. THAT would be EPIC.
Cutting out dairy – especially milk, was a good decision. Drinking those two glasses of milk, even though they were for experimentation purposes, was a VERY bad idea. Will be staying away from milk in the future. I like milk but I no longer know what I’m drinking – hormones, antibiotics, who knows. If the spearmint tea works out, will also ditch the birth control pills.
I also don’t eat a lot of bread / carbs etc. There’s nothing I’ve cut out of my diet 100% because I enjoy the occasional ice cream binge ( Haagen Dazs’ Belgian Chocolate does not break me out ) and the occasional French Toast ( bread baked at Sibang Bakery, South Point Mall, Gurgaon, is mostly ok, if eaten in moderation – I avoid mass-produced brands ). I also try to eat meat & chicken from FreshToHome.com ( they claim there’s no hormones / antibiotics although I haven’t tested any of the products ).
Scars & wrinkles are ok for the most part. I’m ok with the ageing process. But I get upset that at 37 years of age, I’m dealing with so many painful breakouts on my jawline and neck. What. The. Actual FUCK.
Had I been using ALL branded products, I’m sure my expenses would be at least three times what they are right now. So, I have that, at the very least, to be grateful for.
SkincareAddiction Sub-Reddit ( Lots of before and after photographs for people like you and me, who also share their routines and products that have helped them ).
Paula’s Choice ( The Expert’s Advice section. It’s my go-to whenever I’m trying to evaluate a new product. They mince no words if it’s a bad / harmful product and recommend alternatives, whenever available. )
Simple Skincare Science ( One of those places where the blogger has, very kindly shared scientific stuff for the lay person – in easy language ). A recent find thanks to Reddit.