There are days when my skin becomes oily more than the usual. These are especially the days after guilty indulgences of cheese or ice cream or pizza. The sugar and lactose in these foods cause my hormones to go haywire. Accompanied by an oily, blemished face is a cranky and irritable mood. Great. It's never a good idea to give in to cravings carelessly.
Here is my arsenal; ready to serve on those days. I would like to think of myself as a strong person when it comes to self discipline; but in reality, I give in to my weaknesses more than I should!
Below, I've divided my kit into two approaches. One, more 'chemical' and the other, more 'natural'. I'm not a purist when it comes to the traditional sense of 'organic', 'natural', 'clinical' products, etc. In fact, I use these in my routine together and see the best results.
One thing is for sure though, please allow me this disclosure; my skin cannot tolerate a purely organic skincare routine. It just clogs me up or burns or dehydrates my skin. Well, that's me. It may be different for you. What I have here is what works and it must be exciting for you to curate your own fool-proof routine too! Please don't forget that I am not a dermatologist or aesthetician or even an expert! What I am sharing today was carefully curated through trial and error, and at the expense of my own face and bank account!
Thayer's Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner - an alcohol free toner with aloe vera, rosewater and glycerin. It purifies the skin, balances oil production and soothes/heals blemishes. I use this as a face mist on oily days and like to moisten my Beauty Blender with this to add some benefit to my makeup as it is being applied. I don't know if there is a science behind that hack but it seems to help control oil and gives me peace of mind that I am treating my blemishes despite having to wear makeup all day.
Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask - very potent and exfoliating AHA mask. I just do a thin layer every time and never leave it longer than 5 minutes to prevent a chemical burn (and when I say chemical burn, it's because of the chemical reaction of the glycolic acid on the skin. Glycolic acid can over-exfoliate the skin and leave a burn, similar to sunburn. It's actually skin damage, so we don't want that! This is not actually made of chemicals). The pure glow this leaves is legit! All dullness and clogging dead skin cells have been lifted away.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay - this is a very, very versatile clay. It's so versatile that maybe I should do a post on all the different ways I use it! But, specifically for blemishes, I use this mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar, Thayer's Witch Hazel and Lavender Oil. The mixture pulls out dirt, oil and clogs from the pores as it dries. Blackheads and whiteheads can be easily be extracted after this treatment. I like using a thin layer of this weekly for maintenance but I put on an extra thick layer when I am really oily.
Aura Cacia Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oil - This is my primary spot treatment. Thankfully, I no longer get any huge cystic pimples anymore. It may be hard to believe now because I've manage to make them disappear without a trace. All I get now are small pimples. When I put this on the pimples, they dry out by the next day and hardly leave any marks. I would caution you before you try this though, because this is a pure essential oil and it can possibly irritate you or cause an allergic reaction. Please patch test first before trying.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel - a cult Japanese peeling gel. You apply on freshly washed and dried skin, wait a bit and start rubbing gently in small circles. The dead skin and other nasties form little balls in a grossly satisfying manner. All those little dirtballs are then easily washed away with water, and fresh new skin is left. Regular once a week use of this helps treatments sink in and absorb better after, so blemishes are better prevented or heal faster.
Pond's Acne Clear Facial Foam - standard Asian foam facial wash. It has a very thick lather but is surprisingly not dehydrating to my skin. It dries up tiny zits and smooths the small closed comedones ( those itchy under-the-skin clogged pores) after a few days of use. I would not claim that this can clear up moderate to severe acne but it will probably be a good cleanser to complement an anti-acne regimen.
Pond's Acne Clear Leave On Expert Clearing Gel - I love this on oily skin days because it hydrates and treats blemishes at the same time. It is nowhere near hydrating enough for a typical day out or even at night time on my combination-dry skin but I have heard oily skinned ladies rave about this! Unlike a lot of anti-acne leave on gels/creams, this one does not dry out my skin thanks to its glycerin content, yet it is still effective in treating blemishes and heal them up faster. It contains Niacinamide too, which helps heal and prevent dark marks. Win!
La Roche Posay Effaclar A.I. - A French Pharmacy purchase, this one isn't available in the PH, sadly. Somehow, this combines Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide in one spot treatment. My skin responds well to both and I used to love me some straight up Benzoyl Peroxide gels like Benzac; but now I want to prevent dark marks and that one does leave me with some. Effaclar A.I. does not leave me with dark marks and is effective enough on more stubborn blemishes such as the cystic/hormonal kinds ( which I no longer get often...yay!). If you observe closely, you'll see that I'm only halfway through my tiny tube because I no longer need it as much.
In conclusion, I would just like to share that this arsenal is just a 'back-up'. My main anti-blemish regimen focuses a lot on my food, hydration, sleep and exercise. Mental health is also paramount! Gotta keep the stress levels in check! Once I made sure to keep those habits, my hormones have since leveled out and I hardly have skin issues anymore. It was a long and sometimes frustrating journey of trial and error for me but totally worth it. I would encourage everyone to approach acne-treatment/prevention, anti-aging or resolving other skin problems with a holistic approach. Apart from what you apply to your skin, be it organic or not (use what works well for you!), what we put into our bodies and a balanced lifestyle will help you reap more benefits from the products you do choose to use. Plus, it is better for your overall well-being too!
Good morning and have a great day ahead!