Last Fall I did about 2 months of Accutane medication for my acne, which talked about in this post with my old AM skincare routine. After watching some related videos on YouTube I thought it would be a good time to do an update how my skin has been doing after the medication. I also share which skincare products I've been enjoying lately. If there is no link to my review, it may be work in progress.
My Accutane experience
Like I mentioned in my earlier post I was a heavy user of acid exfoliants, but since starting Accutane (called Roaccutane in Finland) my skin turned into a peeling, flakey mess and I had to take a break from BHA/AHAs. I was fortunate and didn't get other bad side-effects from the medication, but you should consult your doctor first if you're considering the medication. The break from all exfoliants caused my blackheads to temporarily worsen, but most of them shrunk back to their usual non-prominent size (my trouble area is still the side of my nose). My lips were especially dry during Accutane, but it was a small price to pay for not breaking out. Within the past 1/2 years I've only had one pimple, which was still during the medication. I usually got break outs once a month before, but now I haven't suffered from the odd hormonal break outs either. I took Accutane with a low dosage for about two-two and a half months and after that my skin has been clear. I'm very happy with the results, but I pray I don't need to do it again.
After my medication ended my skin has been on its usual dry side. I've been layering more humectants with oils and beauty balms. The rest of my time and energy is going to anti-ageing and fading acne scars: I'm more diligent with my Vitamin C routine and I also went to see a doctor to get prescription for a tretinoin cream. I'm now using the tretinoin 0,05% about 3-4 nights a week. My skin is still showing sensitivity and looks like dry lizard's scales, right now I can't use acids even on my off-tretinoin days. Before tretinoin I had incorporated an acid alternative from NIOD and a mild glycolic acid toner into my routine.
Anti-ageing, nourishing with antioxidants, scar fading and adding moisturization. I try incorporating an active ingredient (such as Vitamin C or tretinoid) to both my AM and PM routines, layering with loads of moisture and antioxidants. I've used facial oils before, but in 2017 I've really gotten into eco beauty and obsessed with oils. I still do like my Asian skincare with sheet masks, essences and lotions, but I like to layer them with beauty oils and balms. I do rotate my products, but initially the routine stays the same.
A mild cleanser, Vitamin C, essence, hydrating toner/spritz, eye cream, serum, facial oil, cream/balm, sunscreen
I start my routine with a mild cleanser, such as Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing balm (review here) and remove with a warm cloth. I sometimes do a little facial massage because my eyes tend to be puffy in the morning. After cleansing I'm using an active: currently Drunk Elephant's Vitamin C serum, which I'm quite liking under my make up. I'll write a full review once I've tested it out a little longer. After actives I concentrate on hydration and protection.
My favorite essence so far is the Estée Lauder Bio Essence, but I'm also trying to use up my SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I'd normally start with the Bravura Calendula toner and add Hadalabo Gokujyun hydrating toner/lotion on the top, but while on tretinoid even this gentle toner stings my skin. If I'm feeling sensitive I opt for Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelator, which is a fine mist that doesn't irritate my skin and adds a layer of hydration. Pur~lisse eye cream gives some needed TLC for my eye area, but so far I haven't seen other benefits except added moisture. The cream itself has a little bit of light reflecting particles, but my dark circles look still about the same. After layering my skin with an essence and toner I'll add Kypris Antioxidant Dew or Josh Rosebrook Active Infusion (review here) as my serum step. They're both very nice and light under make up, plumping the skin with added antioxidant benefits. As my skin is severely dry, I might add layer of gorgeous organic facial oil by Max and Me. I still swear by my January Labs Revitalizing Day Cream (review here), but in the case a cream stings I'll move straight to my sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++ by Innisfree.
When it comes to body care I'm a bit lazier as I want to apply body butter on a damp skin but get dressed up quickly after showering. I like rich but fast-absorbing body butters with mild or no scent as I don't want it to interfere with my perfume. Right now I'm using a Kiehl's whipped body butter which I'm liking a lot texture-wise, but the grapefruit scent isn't my cup of tea. I exfoliate my body once or twice a week using a sugar scrub.
Double cleanse, facial mask (optional), prescription tretinoid (+ wait time 10-15 min), essence, hydrating toner/spritz, eye cream, serum, facial oil, sheet mask (optional) beauty balm
My PM routine is similar except I bring out "the heavy guns" while cleansing and switch up my actives. I start with an oil based cleanser such DHC cleansing oil (review here) or Heimish cleansing balm (review here). After bulk of my make up and sunscreen is removed I'll use a low pH foaming cleanser or January Labs gentle cleansing gel (review here). I aim to be fresh and properly cleansed, not dry or 'squeaky' clean. You can read all about my cleansing philosophy and methods in this post. On some nights I use a wash-off mask like the May Lindstrom The Honey Mud, but then I'll move to my tretinoid.
I apply my prescription tretinoid (Vitamin A) treatment 3-4 times a week + wait for it to absorb about 10-15 minutes or more. My aim is to work up my tolerance and use the cream daily for a while. This is my doctor's instructions - it all depends on the type and percentage of your Vitamin A cream and your personal skin sensitivity of course. After I've let the cream to sink in, I repeat my essence and toner step, apply the Verso eye cream, Kypris Antioxidant Dew serum and a facial oil - either Max and Me, Josh Rosebrook or Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil (review here). I finish everything with a beauty balm: such as Mahalo Rare Indigo, Mahogany Naturals the Blue Lover or Lina Hanson Global Treasures. Can you tell I'm obsessed with oils and balms? If I'm sheet masking, I'll do it before applying the balm. It's a personal choice do you prefer a sheet mask as your essence step or after serums and oils - personally I think it can help oils and serums to penetrate better.
I know my routine is quite extensive, but I love skincare and experimenting with beautiful products. For me skincare is also an essential part of my daily self-care ritual, a few minutes for myself while caring for the biggest organ of my body. I'm curious to hear are you as obsessed with skincare and what products are you currently loving?
Some products featured in this post were generously provided for consideration, others purchased with my own money. Regardless, my opinions are my own honest and unbiased views.