Even though winter hasn’t officially arrived yet, temperatures have significantly dropped and we often switch up our skincare routine. We tend to use more hydrating creams and oils, to reach for richer ones and to layer more and more products on top of each other. But this year, I’m aiming to reduce the number of products applied on my face, while still trying to protect it.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with clogged pores since July this year. My skin didn’t like the then new to me face suncare product and as a result, I got severely blocked pores. I had consultations with several dermatologists, all of them said that it looked quite unusual, especially considering “You can tell you’re really taking good care of your skin” but the situation didn’t change. A couple of months ago, I was suggested to go to another dermatologist who said I probably needed Differin Gel and warned me that everything would look worse in the following weeks. Indeed, it got terrible. It’s the first time I’m facing something like this and now I understand everyone who thinks of giving up at some point but patience is the key word here. Two months later, I’m definitely seeing a progress although I still have a long way to go in order to have my good skin back.
I’m writing this post as a person who wants to share their experience, I’m not a specialist and we all have individual problems. I don’t even have the absolute right solution for my own issues, yet alone to try giving advice to someone else. Unfortunately, nowadays, we tend to overload on skincare products, to strip our skin and dry it out too much or to pile on heavy moisturisers that aren’t exactly the right ones for us. We need to find a balance and we need to find out what’s best for our skin in the exact moment.
In the past couple of months, the skincare routine I’ve been following can be described as simple. It may not seem like this on the photos but these are products that are on rotation, I don’t use them all at once. I’m trying to wear less makeup and to do it only a couple of times a week, I reach for mild, sulphate-free cleansers and I don’t layer too many products.
I’ve been suggested to do my evening routine 30 minutes after cleansing and applying Differin, so that the rest of the products don’t interfere with the retinoid.
My cleanser of choice in the last month has been the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser. It’s both, my morning and evening cleanser, it’s my second cleanse, I don’t use it to take makeup off with. It’s gentle, creamy (but doesn’t clog my pores), non-stripping and great for this time of the year.
Exfoliating and toning
Acid toners have been part of my skincare routine for years but because Differin is a topical retinoid, I’m trying to be a bit more careful with them now. At the beginning, my skin got really dry, it was peeling quite badly, it was painful and now that it’s finally better, I’m incorporating acids and enzyme peels slowly into my routine. I’ve used Vitamin C in the morning for the past few weeks (first, Clinique Fresh Pressed System and now Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum) and I’ve noticed great results, actually. My skin looks brighter and a bit smoother. I’m also using Pixi Peel & Polish twice a week in the morning, it contains Lactic Acid and fruit enzymes which makes it a mild exfoliant and I’ve been quite pleased with it, so far.
Mists and sprays are something I never skip because they feel refreshing and hydrating. La Roche-Posay Serozinc is great for combination and problematic skin while floral sprays like the L’Occitane Peony Perfecting Mist give a bit of a glow, as well. Pure rose water has always been an essential for me and having a bottle or two of it in my cabinet is a must. Also, Maya Water Facial Mist with Organic Acai is really soothing and full of antioxidants, it’s the one I often spray before applying a facial oil.
Serums and oils
Now, this is a step that I sometimes skip when I feel that my skin gets enough hydration from the rest of the products or I’m simply trying to avoid certain ingredients that day.
I used to use Lancôme Énergie De Vie The Liquid Care as a moisturiser but it is now my morning hydrating serum. It contains powerful antioxidants, it’s lightweight and works well with the rest of the products.
If my skin feels very dry in the morning, I’d use the Dr. Hauschka Day Clarifying Oil. It’s specially designed for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin and I sometimes add a couple of drops to my moisturiser.
One item that has really helped me in this battle is pure rosehip oil. I use it only at night and it saved my skin during the first few weeks with Differin Gel. If you’re not used to retinoids and your skin peels like mine did, pure rosehip oil is really soothing and calming and I can’t recommend it enough. I love my Clarins Blue Orchid OiI, as it has always been really nice on my skin but in situations like this, pure oils still would be the best choice.
I find that gels are working really well for the area around my eyes at the moment. Alverde Aqua Gel is lightweight, cooling but still hydrating and soothing. It’s also very affordable and contains great ingredients.
Synchroline Aknicare Cream is more for maintaining what’s already achieved, so far and for protecting the skin barrier function which is very important. It also has great hydrating properties without being heavy and at the moment, that’s the only product in my routine with Salicylic Acid which has been missing in the last few weeks. It’s still a bit new to me, so I’ll share more on this cream in a future post.
Although it’s winter and there isn’t particularly any sunshine in Norway, I’m still using my La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 (I probably need SPF 30 now, though). It’s so milky and lightweight that I don’t mind it, especially when I have to protect my skin.
Face masks are even more important for me now. I tend to use clay masks at least twice a week because they’re purifying and they balance out my combination skin. The two masks I reach for most of the time are Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub and this is a second tube from it and the other one is L’Oréal Pure-Clay Anti-Blemish Mask* which was launched in the summer and it’s one of my favourite masks in the range, as it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean without drying it out.
When it comes to hydrating face masks, I sometimes use up to five per week, especially when they’re sheet masks like the Bamboo Shot Mask from Erborian.
The most important thing for me now is to keep my skin calm and to remain patient in this fight. I have to say that water in Norway is quite soft and my skin always feels a bit better in Norway than in my home country or anywhere else in Europe, for example. So, I need to take advantage of this now.
Remember to never give up, it takes ages but hopefully, we’re on the right way to having healthy skin again. I still have days when I think I would never have good skin again and I feel like crying. Luckily, my boyfriend and my family always manage to say something specific (that my skin looks less red on that day or it seems a bit smoother, for example) to make me feel better and to believe that it’s going to change.
If you’re dealing with skin issues, I sincerely wish you good luck and if not, protect your skin and take good care of it!