Confession. A little over a year ago I experienced one of the worst acne breakouts of my adult life. Absolutely horrendous. I mean cheeks, forehead and chin completely covered in pimples and dark acne marks. It happened as I was attempting to transition from chemical based products to all-natural products. I quickly learned, however, that as much as I wanted to be Erykah Badu, queen-mother of the earth, I could not, or rather my face could not function as a non-acne-giving entity without a daily dose of benzoyl peroxide. Once I figured this out, I took over Sephora.com in a crazed search of something, ANYTHING, that would bring my face back to some semblance of normality.
After comparing what seemed like hundreds of ratings and ingredients, I settled upon Kinerase Photofacials Daily Exfoliating cleanser for sensitive skin. I knew in order to reverse the damaged skin, I’d first have to exfoliate the dead skin cells so that new skin cells would form in its place. (Sidenote: This is still my go-to cleanser to this day and it’s kind of the best thing since Grace coconut water.)
I then incorporated Kimberly Sayer of London Botanical Astringent, into my daily routine. Finally, I embarked on weeks and weeks of thesis-worthy research on fade creams for my unsightly left-over acne marks. Why? Because my skin, if I haven’t mentioned before, will break out in .5 seconds. It only takes one lowly ingredient to sabotage an entire year’s worth of carefully orchestrated good skincare.
So after comparing ratings (again), reading blog posts, and cross-referencing against my list of acne-causing ingredients (which I pinky-swear promise to list in another post), I felt confident in sampling and subsequently purchasing Ole Henriksen’s Sheer Transformation, an anti-aging skin perfecting complex formulated to fade skin discoloration– acne marks, hyper pigmentation etc.– without the use of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals or phthalates. The biggest draw for Ole was it’s all-natural way of fighting skin discoloration, which certainly appealed to my Erykah Badu, Queen Mother Earth side. Needless to say, it did not break me out. Whew!
However, after using Sheer Transformation for a couple weeks, it became apparent that it worked better as a whole as opposed to a spot treatment, and I would need a stronger component to deal specifically with acne marks. And so the search resumed. This is how I happened upon a product totally out of left field (meaning you couldn’t purchase it at Sephora), Civant Skincare’s, Meladerm pigment reducing complex (pictured as main image of post). I researched (read googled) everything I could about Meladerm and found that even though there were one or two posts about the harmful effects of this product (which I cannot attest to, after using it for more than a year), there were way more positive reviews than negative. In addition, Meladerm was not only free of parabens, it was also free of hydroquinone, mercury and steroids and actually contained mulberry root extract, kojic acid, licorice extract (great for dark spots as well) and vitamins a and e, in addition to more good-for-you ingredients. I doled out the $60 and never looked back.
Now I’m pretty certain, my skin discolorations would have faded much quicker had I decided to use Meladerm and Sheer Transformation in the daytime and at night. Yet, even though I was assured of the non-acnenegic ingredients based on my thorough research, I still didn’t know what, if any, negative effects it would have on my facial parts if I mixed the two products with my makeup and primer during the day. And I damn sure didn’t want to chance another major breakout, since again my face has a mind of it’s own.
So instead, my nightly routine consisted of the following: Wash face with exfoliating cleanser using a poor woman’s version of a Clarisonic brush, an exfoliating facial sheet, tone with botanical astringent, apply benzoyl peroxide (DDF 5% gel formula with tea tree oil) to my problem areas, and spot treat with meladerm. After about 10 minutes (enough time to let the Meladerm fully absorb – as noted in the instructions), I applied Sheer Transformation on my entire face. Note: I have combination skin, so this particular routine worked during the winter season, when my face was dry, but during the warmer spring and summer months, I transitioned strictly to meladerm only for spot treatments and left the Ole Henriksen out completely, since my skin was often less dry and did not need as much moisture.
A year after adopting this new skincare regimen, I can honestly say my face has never looked better. Don’t get me wrong, I still get the occasional breakouts due to clogged pores when I decide to go to sleep without washing my face after a crazy night out or during my favorite monthly visit from you-know-who, but my face clears up almost immediately once resuming my routine, while minor marks often disappear quickly and/or are easily covered with concealer. I also still have a ways to go before I’m completely satisfied and confident in venturing out with absolutely no-makeup on my facial parts. Speaking of makeup, I have to mention that my skin has also benefited from switching to non-acnegenic/non-comedogenic and mineral-based makeup only (shout out to BareMinerals and my newest love sensation Cover FX Pressed Mineral powder, post soon come). In the end, the pain, frustration and newfound skincare knowledge have ALL been worth it.
Had I not experienced such a traumatic experience, yes trau-ma-tic, I probably would not have embarked on getting my blog out to the world as quickly and this post would be null and void. Hopefully, at least one person can and will benefit from reading this skincare diary of sorts. Lastly, major thanks to ThisThatBeauty for the inspiration via twitter. (I’m too much of a wuss to post pictures as she did, but I’m slowly, but surely building up my courage.) In the meantime and in between time, peace, love and good skincare.
Please visit the Advertising page to see our rates.