In this post, I would like to share with you, my dear reader, a story about how I found a solution for my post-partum hormonal acne.  I must admit that I hesitated writing on the topic because there are many reasons why you might develop acne. From my experience I know that acne affects your self-esteem; therefore, you want to try everything to for it to get better. But you need to take into consideration that what worked for me might not work for you. Besides, as I am not a professional, in this blog post I will share my approach to treating adult acne, introduce the products that I have used and discuss how they worked for me. Please do your own research to determine the products and ingredients that are most suitable for your skin condition. Here is how I found products that helped me to clear my acne without spending a fortune. 

I believe that a more expensive product doesn't mean a better product. Having taken this approach I was looking into active ingredients that were to be the key in tackling acne bacteria, unclogging my pores, balancing sebum and evening out the texture of the skin.

To begin with, I made my skincare routine as simple as possible, as the more I got frustrated with my spots and occupied myself with the tackling of them with different products, the more my acne was getting worse. Those who have acne will relate to that. My skin was not taking any balm cleansers or oils and it seemed that whatever I was using, from face wash to cream, was making the matter worse. It did not mean there was something wrong with the products I had been using, but I needed to put them aside for "better times" - when my skin was back to its normal state.

So I scrapped everything and started with the basics.

Step 1: Cleansing (AM and PM) – I think that cleansing is a very important step in a skincare routine that's why I pay extra attention to the ingredients in a face wash. Not only does it need to help remove impurities and grime but also be gentle non-foaming and not stripping the skin from natural oils or disturbing its barrier function.

You can also find it here.*

Therefore, I chose a Hydro Peptide Purifying Cleanser that I could splash off with water and did not need a warm flannel. As my skin was sore, I didn't want any exfoliation and I avoided using tools, such as brushes, sponges etc. In such a case you want to minimize all the chances of spreading or adding any source of possible bacteria.

As the name suggests, it is a peptide-based facial cleanser with salicylic and mandelic acids that help decongest pores and adds antiaging benefits; being in my late twenties I interest myself in this greatly.

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxide type of acid that is well known for exfoliating inside of a pore and, thereby,   helping to clear impurities that cause spot formation. This is definitely the ingredient to look out for in products for acne or spot prone skin. (I have finished using this cleanser a while ago, therefore the picture is borrowed from )

Step 2: Acid toning (AM and PM) – this is not your usual toner after cleanser type of step. Acid tonners are liquid exfoliants that have powerful active ingredients such as AHAs or in this case BHAs (salicylic acid). It is truly my best friend. 

After a lot of research, I came across Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Liquid Exfoliant. It has the highest concentration of salicylic acid that is available over the counter. That means you get the maximum strength without a prescription. Just as a side note, if the label of the product does not say the percentage of salicylic acid (or any other ingredient) in it, it is very likely to be less than 1%.

I truly love this product and it is my hero because after a couple of applications you can see a visible difference and this is exactly what you want – fewer spots after in the morning.

I have also tried The Ordinary 2% Salicylic acid; unfortunately, I haven’t found as effective as Paula’s Choice, which shows that the formula of a product is not less important than the ingredient itself.

I have gone through three bottles of this product and even though I don't have acne anymore I still continue using it when my skin is slightly more congested. Currently, I am using Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant. I will probably never be able to live without it.

Step 3: Serum (AM and PM) – other active ingredients that I have added to my skincare routine is Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1% by The Ordinary.  It was for the same reason that is the highest concentration of Niacinamide that you can get over the counter that I chose the product. Another reason was - amazing value for money. I found that products with Niacinamide at such concentration are quite hard to find or come with a high price tag. 

Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3, which is very effective in decongesting the skin and minimizing blemishes. Together with zinc, this product helps balance sebum and is a perfect match for acne/ blemish prone skin. 

Step 4: Moisturizer (AM and PM) – and these products go one after another not by accident. I will soon do a post on how to layer your skincare as it is also a very important aspect, especially if you love The Ordinary products.

For this step, I have chosen another hero ingredient which is rather hard to find over the counter, as it is usually prescribed by a dermatologist. I am speaking about azelaic acid. As no surprise, The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is the highest concentration that you can get without going to your dermatologist. (Please excuse the quality of the picture above I had to source it from my Instagram as my acne is gone and I'm using other active ingredients at the moment.)

This ingredient is proven to help clear acne, spots, and rosacea and it also has many other amazing properties such as evening out and brighten skin tone (that is also what you need after the spots are gone and you are left with a blue/red marks - hyperpigmentation), helps renew skin cells and is also an effective antioxidant.

Step 5: Sunscreen (AM) and oil (PM) – this is a vital step in any skincare routine, especially when using acids, retinoids or other active ingredients that make your skin photosensitive.

I have to be honest, I found it very hard to find a sunscreen that I would love to apply on my face every single day. Some of them are rather thick in texture, others leave a white cast over your face or give you breakouts.

But below are two that I love.

The first one is SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF 50 with universal tint – it is quite watery in texture, so very easy to apply, quick to absorb and it doesn’t clog up my pores (I have discovered lately it is not the SPF that clogs your pores, but not cleansing it off properly! Their formulas are made to last all day in order to deliver the protection from harmful sun rays) and also has a lovely tint that evens out skin tone if I don’t want to wear foundation.

The second one and, probably, my favorite is Temple Spa Self Defense SPF 30 for the face. It is very hydrating and light, contains vitamin C and E and comes with a pump applicator, which I love because it makes the application of sunscreen much easier and more hygienic, and it prevents products from oxidizing.

Oil (PM) – this step is optional, however, after the use of all these acids, applying oil is like saying sorry to your skin because it will nourish the skin and protect it from over-drying, which might lead to getting it sensitized.

I have chosen The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Oil because it is very good in removing the scaring that is left after acne or blemishes. I use only two drops warmed between my fingers and lightly pressed on the skin. When active acne was gone I was also using a twin-ball facial massager by The Body Shop to boost blood circulation and tone the skin. You can use any other facial massager or your hands to massage the face. Besides, it is quite a lovely ritual to have after all that you’ve gone through.

As you might have noticed, I don't use multiple products, I like to keep it simple and consistent, to give the skin time to do its best. Also, it is much easier to notice what works for the skin and if it reacts to any of the products.

And most importantly, I had to remind myself to stick to the routine and be patient and that it would definitely get better and acne spots would eventually fade away. And they did.

After I have dealt with active acne and my breakouts were under control, I looked into products and ingredients that can be incorporated into my updated skincare routine to deal with hyperpigmentation.  My journey to clear skin is definitely not yet over, but I shall leave this for another post.

* DISCLAIMER: All the links above are NONE AFFILIATE, this is not a sponsored post, everything is purchased with my own money.


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