Sensitive Acne-Prone Skincare Routine
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
The journey to loving my skin has not always been easy. Since my senior year of high-school, I have struggled with both acne and sensitive skin concerns. Learning how to cope physically and mentally with the two, while also trying to combat them, has been a trip. I'm here to share my current skincare routine in hopes that it can help you in your journey as well!
If dealing with acne issues has taught me one thing, its to have a skincare regime. Both morning and night, I wash my face with CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Its a gentle wash with Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and Glycerin. It might look familiar to you, as CeraVe has recently blown-up on the skincare side of social media. I've been finding it harder to find in stores, so ordering online is the quickest option.
In the evening only, after I wash with the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, I go in with the CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser. This wash is much more intense. It includes 4% Benzoyl Peroxide, Hyaluronic Acid, and Niacinamide. I use this ONLY on tough acne-prone areas. For me, that's my chin and forehead. It's very drying, so I only use it once a day at night.
After washing my face, I apply the CeraVe Daily Moisturizer. Its very gentle and locks in the moisture. It's smoothing and has no fragrance, which is great for skin. CeraVe also has an AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion which includes SPF 30 and the PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion for evening. The moisturizer is great for all times of day and simplicity, but you can branch out to use the AM and PM products if you don't mind having more skincare.
While this is exactly a "moisturizer", I apply it at the same time. My doctor had recommended Differen gel a few years ago. At the time, Differen gel was just being made available without a prescription. Today, its gained popularity and can be found in most drugstores and online. I use the gel three times a week (Mondays/Wednesday/Friday) in troublesome areas only. Differen gel prevents acne by targetting clogged pores and inflammation.
I'll be honest. I haven't paid too much attention to this... I currently use IT Cosmetic's Bye Bye Under Eye Cream. I received it as a sample when I made a large purchase with IT Cosmetics online. It is cooling and does seem to smooth the area. But I am always open to suggestions. If you have one, please let me know!
Last but not least, prescriptions. It wouldn't be an acne-struggle if we didn't get desperate at times. Throughout the 8 years of my skin journey, I have sought medical professionals several times each year. If you are also struggling, I highly recommend seeing one as well.
While I don't love being on medication, sometimes it is necessary. Through my journey, I have been placed on birth control several times, taken oral pills, and used medicinal creams for my acne. All have worked well in some ways, and not so much in others.
Birth control was the most effective in decreasing my acne concerns; however, I never felt like myself and had powerful side effects. I experienced extreme sadness and a loss of interest, which didn't make me feel like myself. Oral pills we somewhat effective, but gave my face extreme sensitivity. I remember having to place a cold wash cloth to my face because it felt like it was on fire at times. Currently, I'm using a prescribed cream nightly in my troublesome areas. It has only been one month, so I can't give a clear outcome at this time. However, I am hopeful!
I'm certainly not for or against treating acne with or without medicine. I've of course at this point done both. But I would encourage you to do your research. Make sure to come to your doctor with specific questions and be very honest about your condition and experience. I go as far to bring in my current products to have the doctor review them.
Eczema is a group of skincare conditions. There are seven types of eczema that often present themselves with red, itchy, dry, patchy, colored skin. It is an extremely common chronic skin condition. There is no exact known cause; however, it is thought that genes and environmental triggers will develop the skin condition.
When I was 15, I was diagnosed with the Atopic Dermatitis form eczema. This is the most common type of eczema which impacts around 17 million Americans a year. Its chronic, meaning it will last a lifetime and may come and go through different periods of life.
My skin was perpetually dry throughout the winters, with conditions improving in the summer. It itched, became red, and would flake. At first, I was surprised to hear this was something that would last a lifetime. I was only 15 and lasting the rest of my life seemed impossible.
We tested new detergents, sensitive body wash, cold showers... the whole shebang! I was saddened when new patches would appear, as my arms are the place they seemed to be most frequent. I was embarrassed for awhile and would hide the areas of concern.
Once I was in college, I became more comfortable with the idea that it was a part of who I am. I began to test more detergents, body washes, lotions, prescriptions, etc. and have finally found products that work wonders for me and my skin.
Norwex Laundry Detergent - I have used this product for years. You need the smallest amount for each load, so the bag lasts me nearly 3 months. I strayed one time and my body broke out bright red and was itchy for several days. Even if you don't have eczema, I would recommend switching to a non-scented detergent.
Dryer Sheets - Scented dryer sheets are a HUGE no-no in my house. I've stopped using them all together. Sure, I may miss towels smelling like a garden of fresh roses every once in awhile, but its just not worth it to me.
Body Wash Products
Ahhh - the love/hate relationship I have with these products is unlike any other. When I was first diagnosed, I used nothing more than Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works shower gels. But those are extremely drying and heavily fragranced washes. They were absolutely destroying my skin and making my skin dryer and dryer with every use.
If you have sensitive skin, the first place to start is your shower. The top brand I would recommend is Aveeno. I have tried several washes. All are a little different. Some were better to me others, but each wash listed below was at least an 8/10 for my eczema care. I've ranked them from best to worse.
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash - Soothing Oat
Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash - Coconut and Soothing Oat
Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief
I am also including a wash from Native. I have recently been testing this one out and it seems to be going well. It does have a slight scent, but I use in moderation. They have other scents as well that I have yet to try, but am interested in.
My #1 moisturizer for all over the body is CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin. It can be used both as a body and facial moisturizer. I use it immediately after getting out of the shower to lock in moisture. It's under $15 for the 12 ounce bottle, which is a great deal. They also offer it as a facial and body moisturizing cream. Both products have over 40,000 reviews.
Before using CeraVe, I also really loved Aveeno lotions as well. Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion is a very soothing and rich formula for dry skin. It has natural shea butter and a triple oat complex. Its also unscented and was great on my itchy, dry skin. It's under $9 and has 7,000 reviews.
While skincare is a tough topics, its important to recognize its prevalence. Our skin is our biggest organ and we deserve to feel confident and comfortable in it. I've learned through the years that finding products and regimens that work well doesn't always happen over night. Its an uphill battle, that will ebb and flow. Eventually, we'll find what works well for us!