Health, Life

Skincare- update

I wrote a post back in May all about my recent skincare woes.

The short version is: I have been struggling with acne and melasma pretty badly for the past few years. Despite trying what felt like countless different things (and lots of $$$ products from a MedSpa place), nothing seemed to work. I was basically at my wits end. (Skin issues can really grate on you/ be a constant underlying source of stress. It feels really bad to not be comfortable in your own skin….)

Just wanted to write a quick update that at the moment, my skin is the BEST it has been in years!! Praise the Lord.

I finally got an appointment with the Dermatology Clinic (a video visit, with an NP- quickest option to get in). For my needs, this was fine- I really just wanted to talk through my issues, anyway. They also had me send in a bunch of close-up, make-up free pictures ahead of time. (Let me tell you, those were some uh, really flattering photos. 😳)

Before seeing her at the end of June, I had recently re-started the .05 Tretinoin (high strength retinoid) that my primary doctor had prescribed. I’d tried Tret before but didn’t seem to get relief from my acne. Although, Tretinoin is complicated, because it can take quite a long time (like, MONTHS) to really see results, and, it can make things worse before it gets better. I kept waiting…and waiting…. not really seeing any drastic improvements, and unsure how long I was supposed to keep trying this…

So anyway, in June, I was on the Tretinoin already again, but still having lots of breakouts.

After seeing the Derm NP, she put me on 2x daily Clindamycin antibiotic lotion, and told me to continue the Tretinoin 1x daily, at night. (She said Tretinoin truly is the “holy grail” of skincare, and she felt long term, it would be my best bet, both for acne and anti-aging purposes.)

I also started using a gentle 2.5% over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide spot treatment, as needed (although I sometimes use it almost “preventively” at this point, in trouble spots).

She also prescribed Hydroquinone twice daily for the melasma (said to use for 2 months and then will need to take a break for 2 months- it can’t be used continuously.)

Note: *You’re not supposed to apply Hydroquinone and Benzoyl Peroxide at the same time, so I sort of stagger those. I usually rinse my face first thing in the morning and will use the Benzoyl Peroxide then, and then later in the day after I shower, I’ll use the Hydroquinone. I never use BP at night, because it can stain/bleach your sheets!!*

Besides my sunscreen and nighttime lotion, that’s basically my whole routine! And my skin is the absolute clearest and nicest it has been in several years. It had been constantly inflamed, irritated, breaking out, etc while using other harsher/drying “acne products” (like salicylic acid pads I got from a skin clinic).

After starting this regimen, it seemed to clear almost within days! I couldn’t believe it. She said she often sees great results with this combo of Clindamycin + Tretinoin in women of my age. I can’t tell you what a relief this has been.

This combo of products doesn’t seem to irritate my skin at all, or cause any dryness. (I may just be adjusted to the Tretinoin now, though- retinols often do cause significant dryness while people adjust to them. I had some at first, too.)

So, in summary, my morning routine, right out of bed is:

  • Rinse face with warm water
  • Clindamycin lotion
  • Benzoyl Peroxide (as needed- trouble spots only)
  • CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 (*It has to be the ULTRA-LIGHT, matte finish version! Their other, more widely available “a.m. lotion” felt greasy to me. I LOVE LOVE this ultra-light formula!! Has been perfect for me, and only around $15.)

My quick post-workout shower routine (usually later in afternoon) is:

  • Wash face with CeraVe Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser
  • Apply Hydroquinone to melasma/ dark spots
  • Re-apply sunscreen (Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30)

My before bed routine is:

  • Wash face (same CeraVe cleanser)
  • Clindamycin lotion
  • Let dry, then apply Tretinoin 0.05 lotion (retinoid)
  • After soaked in, apply Hydroquinone to dark spots
  • Cerave P.M. Facial Moisturizing lotion

That’s it! Super super simple- really just a few products. I sometimes put a little under eye serum on before bed, too.

My skin has felt light, fresh, soft, CLEAR, and overall just fantastic lately.

The jury is still out on how well the Hydroquinone is working for the melasma. The NP told me it doesn’t always work for everyone. I’m about 1 month in, and I think I am actually seeing some improvement. Melasma flares up instantly though if you’re in the sun, which is super annoying, because I…. like to be in the sun sometimes! Ugh. (It’s true, though- I noticed in San Diego my forehead totally flared up with dark spots after sitting on the beach, face uncovered, for a couple hours. 😦 )

The only bad thing is that, with starting multiple products at once, I don’t fully know exactly what is doing the trick. I think at some point I’ll have to cycle off the Clindamycin- I have a follow-up appt. in September, so, we’ll see. It seems like this combination is working so well though, so I wish I could just continue exactly as is….

My skin seems to like gentle, NON-HARSH products though. (So no more Salicylic acid stuff.) And lightweight, simple moisturizers. Loving my two CeraVe moisturizers very much.

That’s my update! Fingers crossed it continues.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for wi-fi!

3 thoughts on “Skincare- update”

  1. Oh good! I am glad your skin is doing much better. I have had periods where my acne was so so so horrific, I wanted to wear a bag over my head. It was especially bad during and after my pregnancy with Paul. Now my skin is as clear as it has ever been, and I think it’s mostly from not wearing make-up? I do have one dark spot, probably melasma? I feel like I developed it during pregnancy but can’t quite remember. But it’s not super noticeable since it’s by my temple.

    I mostly use beauty counter products and am glad I can use retinol products again (off limits when pregnant and BF’ing). I don’t use them as religiously as I should. I am best at using them on the days I wear make-up which is when I go into the office. When I don’t wear makeup, I usually don’t even wash my face at night but it doesn’t feel super necessary? We’ll see if that causes problems with time but I’m going on about 2-2.5 years of my skin feeling/looking good! I think for me, even a lightweight foundation causes problems. I started using a tinted moisturizer when I went back to the office in March and my skin started to break out. So I stopped doing that. I probably need to do something more about my under eye circles. I keep thinking/hoping they will go away now that the boys are sleeping better but I think I am prone to them for some reason, maybe because of my skin tone or maybe it’s genetic.

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  2. Yay! Skin woes can make everything else seem so much harder. I’m glad you’ve found a system that works for you.

    I love CeraVe products. I have tried more expensive products and always end up coming back to CeraVe. They really are the best!

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  3. that’s great to know that the regime is working! I’m looking for new moisturizers so will check out the cerave one. I’ve heard great things about this brand.

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