I won’t claim to be any kind of expert on skincare….no, not at all.
In the last couple years, though, I’ve really made an effort to at least do SOMETHING about my skin, after years of literally not even washing my face before bed. Eek. Someone should really mail out a neon orange postcard to everyone when they turn 25 that says, “If you don’t have a skincare regimen yet, START NOW! You aren’t getting any younger!!” 🤣
Anyway, so I missed the boat there and started more at like 35. Or maybe even closer to 37. Oops.
I do not love my skin. It’s just….bleh.
1) I have dark circles under my eyes, no matter how rested I am. (I’ve honestly had these since I was a kid. I don’t think they are going away.)
2) Now, in my (very) late 30’s, I’ve also developed some melasma- significant dark spots on my forehead, exacerbated by sun and heat. I spent a LOT of time getting really way too tan on vacations in my high school years (+ some tanning bed use…), which has led to some sun damage. Melasma is also caused by hormonal shifts.
3) On top of that, my skin has turned more oily as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve been struggling with some persistent adult acne for a few years. Not “horrible”, full face acne or anything, but kind of just always…there. One spot clears up, another shows up, etc. It is beyond exasperating.
4) I’m not too bad overall, in the wrinkle department (yet), but definitely have a lot of fine crinkle lines under my eyes when I smile.
I am so envious of people who have glowing, makeup free skin. When I first wake up in the morning, and am fully make up free, I swear I look like a dead person most days. (shudder)
Almost 2 years ago now, I went to one of those med spa skincare places. They prescribed a whole regimen of ZO Skin Health products, which were kind of $$ but also seemed nice. I enjoyed having a written out, personalized routine to follow. After several months of consistent use, some of my issues seemed to be improving, and some of the dark spots faded some.
But my skin is complicated. The anti-acne products (e.g. any products with salicylic acid) tend to be “harsh”, and tend to make my skin angry, inflamed and exacerbate the melasma! Exfoliants and other active products are meant to help melasma, but my skin has become increasingly sensitive over the years- and the exfoliants/actives seem to also make my skin flare up (more breakouts/ redness/ etc.). It’s like a big catch-22. What treats one issue for me worsens another….
I went to my primary doctor this past fall/winter, looking for help specifically with the acne (probably my most desperate issue), and she prescribed Tretinoin (high strength prescription retinoid- supposedly the “gold standard” in skin care for both anti-aging AND acne treatment).
I started using that (along with the other ZO Skin Health products). There can be an adjustment period to the retinoids, so, I tried to be patient and wait. I felt like I kept waiting….and waiting….for things to really improve…and while I saw certain improvements, overall, not really enough.
Leading up to our trip in March, and coming off a busy, stressful winter, everything seemed worse than ever. My skin often seemed like it was “inflamed”- just not happy. I wasn’t really sure if it was due to a certain product, a combo of them or something else…. so I decided to just STOP everything and kind of re-set. I felt like my skin just needed a break from any harsh or active products.
Now, after over 2 months of just using a gentle cleanser + simple moisturizer, I’ve started reintroducing the Tretinoin. I really do want to give it another try. (Actually, I want to go to a real dermatologist about these various concerns- but our health insurance claims we’re supposed to “start with our primary care doctor” for things like this. Eye roll. Apparently, my issues aren’t “serious enough” for me to warrant a derm visit?? I disagree….my skin has been a pretty significant stressor for me!) Anyway. I’m going to try again. Or at least go back to my PCP to re-discuss.
During this “break” period from any fancy products, I’ve been just using some very gentle cleansers and moisturizers. After reading a bunch of reviews re: products for people with easily inflamed/ sensitive skin, I’ve been using Cerave products! Just from the drugstore, but so far, I’m a fan. They are SO LIGHT and nice feeling on my face.
I traded out my expensive ZO cleanser for this one:
And at night, after my Tretinoin soaks in, I’ve been putting a layer of this light, airy moisturizer:
And recently, I swapped out my (also more $$) Colorscience sunscreen for this simple, also “ultra light” SPF 30. ($15 at Target. I found it repeatedly recommended in various articles about “sunscreens for people with acne prone skin”).
The two main skincare “holy grails” I keep seeing recommended everywhere, in every single skincare article, video or review I read are:
- Daily Sunscreen
So I’m keeping it simple and focusing on these big two right now.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at currently. Not using any other exfoliants, serums, or harsh anti-acne products, for now. Trying to keep it simple, drink a lot of water, eat a healthy diet, consistently cleanse my face before bed (I do this 100% of the time now), and hopefully, let my skin readjust to the Tretinoin. And moisturize. Oh, and SUNSCREEN every single morning. (Which sucks. Because, I love being tan!! 😫 But, I think I would prefer no dark spots and no wrinkles (oh, and no skin cancer) more, I suppose…..)
I am also going to hopefully get in with a dermatologist for some professional guidance!!
Anyone a skincare pro and want to share any tips?
I am grateful for watching this bird in my bird bath yesterday! It was the absolute cutest thing ever. It was fluffing its tailfeathers, splashing water around on its head and back…a regular old bath time. 🙂