My approach to skin care has gone through some major changes this year - and my skin is SO much happier because of it. Although it is still acne-prone, it feels glowing and smooth, not irritated or fragile.
The major source of these changes is Caroline Hiron's amazingly informative skincare blog (here are my 2 favorite posts - Acne & Routines). Although some of the products she mentions aren't easily available in Canada, the guidelines she provides are universally applicable. She emphasizes that acne-prone skin should not be treated like an enemy that needs to be dried out - but rather, nursed with moisture and care, to bring it back to health. She advocates the use of balm cleansers and hot washcloths for cleansing - this deep cleaning lifts off sebum, sunscreen and makeup - reducing your chances of clogged pores and blemishes.
My current skincare routine:
Apply SpectroJel and remove with a warm washcloth (rinse and repeat 3 times). Pour ProActiv toner on a cotton pad and spread all over my face, concentrating on blemished areas (the glycolic acid exfoliates and fades scars.) Finish off with Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture on my face and Kiehls Creamy Avocado Treatment on my eyes. Apply sunscreen if I'm going outdoors (I use the Vichy one on my arms & neck, my facial sunscreen is by Neutrogena).
Apply Clinique Take off the Day Balm, gently massaging into my eye area to lift off liner & mascara. Then I rub it in circles over the rest of my face to remove foundation and blush - paying special attention to areas prone to clogged pores (my cheeks & forehead). Rinse off with water. Put Spectrojel all over my face, rinse off with water and use a warm washcloth to deep clean all the product off. Spray Avene Thermal Water (*not pictured* - I've tried other thermal waters and they don't seem to have the same effect. This soothes and heals my skin and restores its pH balance). Apply Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture on my face and Kiehls Creamy Avocado Treatment on my eyes. Use Tactuo on acne-prone areas (this prescription cream contains benzyl peroxide and a form of retinol). I sometimes use a Kaolin clay mask like this one as a spot treatment.
Why a washcloth is better than the Clarisonic:
I was an early convert to the Clarisonic - I purchased mine in 2009 and have used it regularly since then (changing brush heads several times a year). It has some benefits - it removes all traces of makeup from my skin and prevents blackheads.
However, using a warm washcloth morning and night to cleanse has improved my skin in a way that the Clarisonic never did. The washcloth retains heat and gently deep cleans my skin while unclogging any congestion. It leaves my skin feeling plumped up and glowing.
I've gone from using the Clarisonic every night, to twice a week. Despite all of its sonic & deep-cleaning properties, I no longer think the Clarisonic is a necessity - but I'm HIGHLY dependent on my cotton washcloths (I picked up a HUGE stack at Costco so that I can wash and change them frequently).
Here's a picture of my cheek, taken this morning. Although there is acne scarring, you can see there is a HUGE difference from its condition this time last year.
Right now, I'm focusing on keeping it clear, but eventually I want to address the pigmentation and scarring. For that, I plan on using SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF. This highly rated antioxidant serum contains topical Vitamin C which reduces hyperpigmentation and improves skin texture. I will definitely post an update on how this product works on my skin.
Do you still use a Clarisonic? Do you find it effective?
DISCLAIMER: The Phloretin CF was provided to me by SkinCeuticals upon my request. The Vichy sunscreen was sent to me for consideration, but my opinions are 100% my own.