Feb 3, 2009

Works for Me: Minimalist Skin Care

I had stereotypical skin as a teenager, including acne so bad that I successfully begged my mother to take me to the dermatologist, who prescribed an antibiotic called tetracycline. It didn't do all that much for me, though, and by the time I was in my first year of law school, I had a few pits and scars on my poor cheeks.

That was about the time that ProActiv infomercials started airing, and I couldn't resist. The amazing thing was, the stuff really worked. I had to experiment with the regimen for a while, and I discovered that the Repairing Lotion was so intense, it actually bleached my sheets and blankets where my face came into contact with them during the night.

A few years later, I started seeing my current dermatologist, who diagnosed rosacea, which caused redness and lots of small bumps. My dermatologist advised me to wash only with the mildest soap (Dove or Aveeno bar soap) and use a moisturizer called DML Forte.

I realized, though, that the bar soap was insufficient to keep the acne at bay, at least when I wasn't pregnant. (I have to say, my skin was never better than when I was pregnant. I feel it's only fair, since my pregnancies were rough in other ways.)

So here's the regimen I now follow:

Morning – Wash with Dove bar soap, moisturize with DML Forte
Evening – Wash with a benzoyl peroxide cleanser (like ProActiv Renewing Cleanser), moisturize with DML Forte

And that's it! It really works for me. I actually get compliments on my skin now (and I'm not even pregnant)!

Of course, my skin care regimen won't work for everyone. But since there are so many products out there, I wanted to point out that sometimes less is more. And, I worry that as I get older, a regimen this simple won't continue to work for me. So I'd love to hear from you: What's your skincare regimen like?

Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer.


Anonymous said...

Great post! I still haven't found a regimen I'm terribly happy with. Thanks for the tips. I might have to try some of what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

In the mornings I wash with Oxy and moisturize with Olay.

In the evenings I'll wipe my face with cleansing cloth, I use something called onyx, and then I use Oxy pads to clean the dirt, oil, and makeup from my pores.

About once a week I will use a seaweed type mask, which really helps my skin look younger. Everyone thinks I'm 21 or 22...I'm 27.

That said, sometimes I still get breakouts. It's mostly because of stress and hormones - according to my esthetician. She thinks because I'm not on birth control my hormones are out of control and that's the cause of my breakouts. I don't know. They're minor and don't happen all the time, so I haven't looked into it further.

However, I think simple is usually better in terms of facial care, not to mention, it's easier on your wallet. Some of that stuff is way to expensive and you're simply paying extra for a name.

annies home said...

dont forget hot water steams open the pores and cold water closes them so when cleaning your face you should use hot water to open pours use soap and then rinse with cold

Anonymous said...

i had similar such problems. it's good to know you don't have to use a million things on your skin. now if i could only find something to get rid of my acne scars...

Chief Family Officer said...

@goodolefashionsense - The ProActiv actually got rid of my scars. I wasn't expecting it and I don't know if that's normal, but it really wonders for me.

Anonymous said...

I've used Olay moisturizers since high school, and my mother said that Consumer Reports really rated their products high. Other then that, I use a St. Ives scrub every once in a while if my pores seem like they need airing, and even rarer, Avon's Renewal chemical peel. No soap, just water from the shower or water on a washcloth.

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Funny - this is the same thing I posted on today! I wash and moisturize with Clean & Clear products. Lately, I've stopped washing with anything other than water at night, though - and somehow, I think that's improved things.

When I was pregnant, I was a complete zit face. So I'm a little envious of your pregnant skin. :)

Unknown said...

I had a similar experience to OGWH. Six months post-partum, Proactive is still working for me despite my moderate-to-severe acne history.

I repeatedly saw a dermatologist throughout my teens and tried every antibiotic, cream, lotion there was. I was even on Accutane on/off for over 2 years (there was a limit to how long you can be on Accutane for a consecutive number of months). It would always reappear. Not only on my face; I had acne on my back and chest as well.

Combo birth control pills worked fairly well for me as I got into my 20s and my acne naturally improved somewhat. Then I went off them to get pregnant. I have to say that the combination of unsuccessfully trying to conceive for a number of months and reemerging acne was difficult to handle. But as soon as I got pregnant, my skin cleared up wonderfully too, and 6 months later, Proactive is all I need to keep my skin clear (no combo pill due to breastfeeding).

I have a friend for whom Proactive did not improve her acne. I have more of an oily T-zone type problem, wheras her acne was mostly on the cheeks and she tried it in her teens when it was still fairly severe. Perhaps there is a difference there. I have also had nurses and even my doctor question whether my birth date is accurate in their records because I look so young! I don't know if it's the proactive or the fact that my skin is so naturally oily, but I figure I deserve some sort of payback after all those years of acne!

Be aware of Proactive bleaching, though. Not only from the treatment cream, but also the wash itself. Many of my towels are bleached from drying my face after washing with the cleanser, and some of my sheets and pillows from the cream. Make sure your face is dry before you get dressed.

I will also be certain to watch my daughter carefully as she hits puberty, though, and I will do anything I can to prevent her from going through the same terrible experience I did with acne.

Dina said...

I used to use ProActiv, as well, and it really did work! But the bleaching began to make me worry about what it was doing with my skin. I *finally* (knock on wood) no longer have a problem with acne, though it took til I got into my 30s. I just use a mild cleanser, I do not have any particular loyalty. But I do use Oil of Olay moisturizer (the basic with SPF). I've tried more expensive brands and keep coming back to that!