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Beauty,  Life

Skincare Update

As promised, I’m here to give a little skincare update. I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride with my skin lately, and as such have tried so many things in the last year and even more so in the last six months. However, I want to skip to the good stuff that has actually worked for me!

A little background:

I’ve always struggled with acne. There are pockets in my life where I’ve had clear skin, but those moments were fleeting. I’ve never been able to get it truly under control, although I’m starting to feel like I just didn’t try hard enough.

These days, I’m like a dog with a bone. I’ve been in problem-solving mode for some time now out of sheer desperation to solve this problem. And I don’t plan to stop until I fix everything I possibly can.

I reached a tipping point with my acne last year when my cystic acne flared up in the worst way. It had been years and years since it was that level of bad. The entirety of underneath my chin was acne on top of acne. It was even worse than the photos I have in this post because I wasn’t documenting it at the start. I couldn’t even get myself to take photos of it. I’d been in and out of dermatologists my whole life and have never really solved any problems, so I was hesitant to see a doctor. I’d done all sorts of washes and medications ranging from Proactiv to Accutane (which I only did for a month after getting some terrible contact dermatitis flares). I didn’t want to see a doctor just to spend money on fake solutions, at least that’s how I felt at the time. I’m glad I did though because it drove me to a Korean beauty routine.

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I had never tried a full Korean beauty process, which is roughly 10 steps and very involved, but I was ready to literally try anything My friend Erin (who should really work in skincare because she’s more educated than most doctors I’ve met) gave me some info on favorite products and what she liked best. I adapted that to my Korean routine and filled in the blanks according to some research. I spent some real time making sure all the products I was using were environmentally safe and off I went!

The process started to show results in a matter of days. Absolutely no joke. I stuck with it for a few months and my skin was looking amazing, but my cystic acne wasn’t clearing up. If it wasn’t for that I would have began to feel very happy with my skin, but those looming cysts were killing me. I knew then that I had to speak to a dermatologist.

The first two dermatologists I saw were fucking terrible. They kept trying to peddle chemical peels and different washes and whatnot. I kept doing what they said until I finally brought up Accutane. I had never finished it and I felt better equipped with the knowledge of my Korean beauty routine to deal with the dry skin and whatever else might come my way. They acquiesced, but I ended up switching dermatologists one last time after them trying to push more chemical peels that I just couldn’t afford.

My new dermatologist is amazing. He’s so knowledgeable and no bull shit. Right away he knew he wanted to put me on Accutane and guesstimated my acne was hormonal and I likely had PCOS. He was part of what drove me to pursue more treatment for PCOS, which I will get into soon in a separate blog post. However, I will confirm that my cystic acne is definitely PCOS related and a combination of my skincare routine, Accutane and jumping on Yasmin and Metformin are making a big difference. It’s a true balancing act, which I will go over every detail next week.

So, I’ve been on Accutane for a few months now and the results are astounding. I still have a way to go and am still getting occasional breakouts, but the cystic acne is closer and closer to being gone. I’m feeling so good in my own skin for the first time in ages.

In my last check-up, my dermatologist told me I had the best hydrated skin he’s ever seen from a patient. You see, Accutane dries your skin terribly and you’re generally like a desert the entire process. However, this time around I had my Korean beauty routine to back me up.

When you’re on Accutane, you don’t even have to clean your face. The doctor says just moisturize and sunscreen. I don’t believe in that though. I did know that I can’t take my whole routine with me because things like Retinols, Ampoules, scrubs, etc can be very bad in combination with Accutane. So, I just brought the moisturizing elements with me and switched up a few products for maximum moisture. I wash with an oil-based cleanser, use moisturizer and eye cream twice a day (different products from day to night), sunscreen in the AM (not just my face, but any part of my body showing in an outfit), use coconut oil on my body after showering and lotion on my entire body at night. It’s all about that moisture! My skin is loving it while I’m on Accutane, so I’m walking around basically unaffected. Oh, and lots of chapstick and a nice facial spray to use throughout the day when you’re starting to feel dry.

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Once I’m done with Accutane (and hopefully cured of my cystic acne), I’m making an a-line back to my full Korean beauty routine. I can’t say enough good things about the process. My skin looked plump and glowy, the discoloring was clearing up, the bags under my eyes were slowly fading and I truly just loved the process. At first it was soooo irritating taking what felt like FOREVER to get ready in the morning and night. I mean, you have to do each step and wait for it to soak in. Ugh. But then something happened; I started to look forward to it. It was sort of cathartic to have time for myself and to put products on my face that I enjoyed. Once I applied the Konmari Method to my skincare routine, everything changed. If a product didn’t bring me joy when I applied it to my skin, I found an alternate. The texture needed to feel nice on my skin. It needed to smell pleasant. It needed to make me happy when I applied it. Then voila! I was happy to partake in this process, which is rather the point. In Korean culture, your skincare routine is meant to please and relax. I finally figured it out! And now I truly believe that everyone should ALWAYS begin and end their day with something they enjoy.

I hope this may have helped you in some way. Below is a list of every product I use for a full Korean beauty routine and my adapted moisturizing version for Accutane. If you would like to know more about a product (like scent, thickness, why I like it, etc.), comment your questions below and I’ll fill you in. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I’ll be sure to check in with another update once I’ve ended my Accutane journey.

 

This post contains affiliate links. Click to read my full disclaimer.

 

Full Korean beauty routine:

 

MORNING

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

Burt’s Bees cleaning oil – $18.76

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

BaeBody activated charcoal facial cleanser – $13.95

Step 3: Hydrating Toner

Insta Natural vitamin c toner – $13.75

Step 4: Essence

Seoul Ceuticals marine mineral plump & glow essence – $18.52

Step 5: Ampoule

Mizon snail repair intensive ampoule – $13.89

Step 6: Eye Cream

Kiss Red E anti aging eye cream – $19.99

Step 7: Moisturizer

Caudalie moisturizing sorbet – $39

Step 8: Sunscreens

Sephora 8hr mattifying moisturizer sunscreen (you could also skip moisturizer and just use this) – $12

Ocean Potion sunscreen lotion – $10.99

 

THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS NEEDED

Moisturizing Spritz: Caudalie grape water – $10

 

SHOWER

Step 1: Scrub (every few days)

Brooklyn Botany brown sugar scrub – $13.99

Step 2: Mask (I try to do one of each a week)

L’oreal Paris pure-clay mask – $6.64

Caudalie moisturizing mask – $39

Step 3: Moisturize (after shower)

Cococare coconut oil dry oil body spray – $10.61

Step 4: Heat Protect (for my hair because I usually blowdry)

TRESemme kertain smooth heat protect spray

I also love to use this comb as it’s the best kind to keep from damaging wet hair!

Cricket ultra smooth detangler comb – $6.45

Step 5: Hair Oil (once a week)

Beauty Protector protect & oil – $28

 

EVENING

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

Burt’s Bees cleaning oil – $18.76

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

BaeBody activated charcoal facial cleanser – $13.95

Step 3: Scrub (every three days)

St. Ives apricot scrub – $10

Step 4: Hydrating Toner

Insta Natural vitamin c toner – $13.75

Step 5: Essence

Seoul Ceuticals marine mineral plump & glow essence – $18.52

Step 6: Acid Treatment

TruSkin vitamin C serum – $19.99

Step 7: Spot Treatment

DRMTLGY 24 hour acne serum

Step 8: Retinol

Tree of Life retinol serum – $19.97

Step 9: Eye Cream

Kiss Red E anti aging eye cream – $19.99

Step 10: Moisturizer (I like to swap for oil at night for extra moisture)

Caudalie divine oil – $34.35

Step 11: Mask

Dermal collagen essence mask – $14.24 (I like the mixed pack because you get to mix up scents – do this every 3 nights)

Step 12: Foot Cream

Earth Therapeutics foot repair therapeutic balm – $9

Step 13: Body Lotion

Caudalie nourishing body lotion – $30

 

LIPS

Chapstick: Burt’s Bees beeswax lip balm – $10.99

 

Accutane routine:

MORNING

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

Burt’s Bees cleaning oil – $18.76

Step 2: Eye Cream

Kiss Red E anti aging eye cream – $19.99

Step 3: Moisturizer

First Aid Beauty ultra repair intense hydration skin protectant – $32

Step 4: Sunscreen

Sephora 8hr mattifying moisturizer sunscreen (you could also skip moisturizer and just use this) – $12

Ocean Potion sunscreen lotion – $10.99

Benefit dream screen spf 45 – $32 (only on days my skin is really dry) – sorry guys, but I don’t think Benefit is stocking this right now

 

THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Spritz: Mario Badescu facial spray – $7

 

SHOWER

Step 1: Moisturize (after shower)

Cococare coconut oil dry oil body spray – $10.61

Step 2: Heat Protect (for my hair because I usually blowdry)

TRESemme kertain smooth heat protect spray – $10.02

Step 3: Hair Oil (once a week)

Beauty Protector protect & oil – $28

 

 

EVENING

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

Burt’s Bees cleaning oil – $18.76

Step 2: Eye Cream

Elizabeth Arden crème hydrant – $55 (Pro tip: Sometimes you can find it at TJ Maxx for a fraction of that price!)

Step 3: Moisturizer

Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream – $22

Step 5: Foot Cream

Earth Therapeutics foot repair therapeutic balm – $9

Step 6: Body Lotion

Caudalie nourishing body lotion – $30

 

 

 

 

 

 

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