About 10 months ago, I had a sudden acne breakout that wouldn’t go away. My skin was constantly irritated and inflamed, and when certain spots started to fade, new ones would pop up. It felt like a vicious cycle, with topical applications of Oxy Cover Cream (10% benzoyl peroxide) doing nothing to fix the issue. I began to get really insecure about my skin, especially with skincare being such a big part of my job.
I knew the cause was a skincare overdose of sorts, as my skin was just coming off a rigorous testing phase (trying out way too many different products in a very short span of time is somewhat of a job hazard).
I frequent the skincare addiction forum on Reddit, and decided to try one of the most commonly recommended products to use for bad acne. The problem? I couldn’t find it anywhere. I continued to comb through posts in hopes of finding any other tips I could. Bottom line was, I needed to completely simplify my skincare routine.
Eventually, with some more googling, I discovered that a store I used to buy cheap nail polish from stocked that raved-about product! Turns out this shop had now become one that sold everything gaining popularity in some way in the US. Castor oil for DIY beauty, the Aztec Secret clay masks that were number one on iHerb, Eos lipbalms, the Maybelline Fit Me range, all the nail art tools a girl could want, and even clear acrylic makeup storage boxes. The store which used to operate out of a warehouse in Ubi was now selling its products on Qoo10 as well as a brick and mortar store in Scape.
The product in question was a moisturiser by the brand Cerave. They also have a separate version for night time without SPF (the morning one is called the AM moisturiser while the night one is PM). These moisturisers contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which seemed to do the trick.
I went back to using my favourite cleanser (Purity from Philosophy), followed by a Hyaluronic acid serum from Hada Labo, and finished off with the Cerave products morning and night. It was a three-step routine that finally put my skin at ease. The hyaluronic acid serum helped keep my skin from drying out without using any extra moisturisers or serums or lotions, and the Cerave was problem free and didn’t leave any white cast behind despite the SPF in it.
It took about two months before my spots were almost completely gone, and I finally felt comfortable enough changing up my night creams and face washes. The before and after images below will give you an idea of the difference it made.
Image: My skin mid-March, early May, early June
While the Cerave AM moisturiser is out of stock at the moment, the PM moisturiser is fairly affordable and can be used with a separate sunscreen if you want to give it a try. The key difference is that the AM moisturiser contains a microfine zinc oxide which provides the SPF protection. If you’re looking for alternatives, the Cetaphil face moisturisers are gentle enough for sensitive skin without clogging your pores.
Keeping your skin hydrated is one of the most important things, but making sure your moisturiser is non-comedogenic is key. Keep an eye out for dermatologist-tested brands first and always switch up one product at a time so that you can track whether it’s working or making your skin worse.
If you're on the hunt for some blemish treatments to target acne, check out two of my favourite overnight fixes, a clear acne sticker that contains salicylic acid and tea tree among other things, and an all-natural organic blemish cream that won't dry out your skin!