Skincare Snippets 2017-01: Starting on Actives
Hey everyone! Today, I decided I'm revamping the dormant Monthly Skincare Snippets tag. A monthly curation is no longer feasible for me because I don't have that huge a stockpile of skincare that I'm getting through. I think after about 3 years of seriously doing skincare, I'm at the point where I've learned so much about my skin that a monthly post will just be redundant.
After 3 long years, my key takeaway is that I basically have carabao skin on my face. It's very 'insensitive' in that I had less than 5 breakouts during my 3-year crazy experimentation period. The condition has been less than perfect, with bumps and flakes always hounding me, but that's peanuts compared to allergies, peeling, redness and permanent damage.
My other big realization is that cleanse-tone-moisturize routines can only do so much. I'm now opening up to the wonderful world of actives, which will again, take time to learn.
Does the topic of actives excite anyone as much as it excites me? The basics do their job up to a certain point, but It's the actives that can really take your skin to next levels oomph. I've accepted that flakes, bumps and dullness will never be completely addressed by generic commercial skincare lines, and am now looking into actual derma alternatives. It's pretty complicated, so I suggest just settling your basic routine first, and consulting with a derma about adding actives to your routine.
These days I'm down to a pretty good routine, which I'll edit once I hit pan OR edit if any of my actives fuck me up. I'm also sharing a little capsule review on each item, and my current 'actives strategy.'
Sikmulnara Perfect Rice Bran Lip & Eye Remover - I keep my cleansing steps up to two, maximum, but I just refuse to take off eye makeup with micelle water, cleansing balms or cleansing oils on a regular basis. I hate getting oil into my eyes and micelle feels like I'm ripping off a sheet of eye skin every time I use it.
Sikmulnara Perfect Rice Bran Cleansing Water - This is one of the mildest-on-the-skin yet toughest-on-makeup micelle waters I've ever tried. I don't really use it daily as I don't wear makeup often. I use it to take off makeup, so I don't really need it in the mornings.
Sikmulnara Perfect Rice Bran Cleansing Stick - It's a novelty item wherein my feelings aren't decided yet. It's pretty fun to use, and the stick is textured so there's some mild exfoliation. But I hate how soft and mooshy the stick gets after a few consecutive uses, and using the sides to get a rounded tip and avoid the water pooling in just feels so depressing. Rice Bran is great on my dry skin though, so I tolerate it. Rice Bran smells like either fragrant baby or smelly head.
Son & Park Beauty Water - This is a great somewhat-cleanser, skin refresher, and skincare prep. I don't know why people claim this removes milia and flakes. Hype girls need to take a seat and start actually washing their faces before attributing any life-changing effects to the first good skincare item they use.
Coyori Face Oil - It's not a straight up oil as it separates into 2 levels. What that is, I don't know. All I know is that Coyori's philosophy is all about using 'natural sebum' (i.e. plant oils) to supplement facial moisture. It has a great botanical smell and it's lighter than the lotion so I counterintuitively use it first.
Coyori Rich Hydrating Lotion - I love it. It's like thick water or 'uhog,' but has that super moistening feel. I wanted to do a fuller routine, but serum on top of this feels sufficient, actually.
Frezyderm Revitalizing Serum (AM) / Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (PM) - At this point in my journey, I think of serums to be skincare steps full of peptides. I really didn't read much into this, and am just waiting to be corrected by someone in case I'm wrong. I consider it still part of the moisturize group, but since the effect is such a step up, I'm putting it in Actives.
For the real actives with the potential to irritate, my dermatologist sister has recommended that I start with the weakest substance and taper the use until stability. 2 weeks on to the next active is a pretty good schedule, but I shouldn't hesitate to prolong the adjustment period if I get a bad reaction. We were debating for so long whether to place actives post-toner or post-moisturizer because I couldn't fathom the idea of 'diluting' actives on top of moisturizer; but she makes a point that hydrated skin takes in skincare very well, so I put my actives last, after about 5-10 minutes of letting my serum sink in.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% - I started this last 3 July. So apparently it's potentially highly irritating, but since I put 'daily PM' on my cheat sheet, I went straight ahead to using it every night instead of checking my first few applications carefully. My skin is fine. It felt stingy some mornings (about 3x in 14 days,) but there was such a positive, huge, immediate change that I forgot and just did it daily. It feels plumper now, and my flakes are fucking finally managed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this point, I have bumps left, which I'm hoping can be addressed by the next skincare item...
NeoStrata Bio-Hydrating Cream 15PHA - I started this last 17 July. PHA is fancy-pants patented AHA, as I've been told. 15% is pretty strong, too. I wasn't able to put it on daily (in the morning!) at first. My skin is finally getting adversely affected, haha! It stung when I used it 2 straight mornings, and I got tiny welts which went down in a few hours.
It took a week for me to get used to it, and I'm now doing fine with a daily dose. I'm still figuring out my reaction. The really small bumps on my cheeks and around the lip have calmed down, but my flakes are still bothering me. I'll have to give it more time for more conclusive feedback- there's still so many changes.
CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid - I'm going to start on BHA on 31 July, and I'm soooo excited. I'm really want to see how it affects my sebaceous filaments and other visible pores on the nose and cheek area. AHA is doing a good job though, so idk if I'll even need this by next week.
Sunscreen - I'm rotating through a bunch of sunscreen samples. It's all very boring to me, I don't even care about putting the brands of the sachets I have until something mind-blowing (e.g. Oclipse Sunscreen with Primer) comes along.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel - The only exfoliator I touch since I started using it. As a girl with tons of flakes and bumps: yes. Yes, yes, yes! I use it once a week but am using it more frequently as the AHA is peeling me like mad.
That's my current skincare routine and strategy. My major problem at the moment is dryness, flakes, bumps and visible pores. Currently, serum, retinoid and AHA are doing well with those. Once I see the full effect of BHA, I'll find the next biggest problem to attack and go from there.