Facing up to it...

Pimples and wrinkles? Really? Seriously, Mother Nature that is so not cool.

Over the years I have tried so many different products for my sensitive, break-out prone skin. And now that I am in my thrilling thirties I have a whole new issue to contend with-the wrinkles. Ack! Which means there is no more solving things with something harsh and drying (not that this was an awesome look even before wrinkle consideration).

With time and trial and tribulation, I have found a number of awesome products which seem to work well in symphony with keeping the acne at bay, and do not seem to accelerate the aging process while they do. All of them are affordable (I have seen enough 20/20/Good Morning America expose's about how you really only pay for the packaging and the perfume in the pricey products-I'm hip to it peeps.) Most importantly, all of them are kind to both the teenager and geriatric living beneath my epidermis.

In the morning I wake up my skin in the shower with good 'ole Neutrogena. There is actually an anti-wrinkle anti-pimple cleanser in this line (genius) but I found the scrub in that to be not as scrubby and there is a higher percentage of benzoyl peroxide in this particular scrub. There are lots of little beads in it, it feels really exfoliating and invigorating but not at all drying or brillo pad-dish and it leaves your face nice and soft.

I follow with some Oil of Olay Complete for sensitive skin on face, neck and chest. It is nice and light so my face does not resemble an oil slick by noon, and I like that it has sunscreen.

This eye gel from Mario Badescu helps to de-puff and moisturize around my eyes.

At night I am a firm fan of a nice warm washcloth and some Cetaphil cleanser. I don't use traditional one which is milky. I have found a clear one billed for "normal to oily" skin. Instead of buying those over-priced and environmentally unfriendly pre-soaped wash "cloths", buy a stack of real white cotton ones, and use those instead. They are much bigger, more soothing (a warm wet cloth covering your face at the end of a long day feels soooo nice-they have them in First Class on airlines-that's why people pay the big bucks), and have much better exfoliation abilities.

Once you use one, toss it in the wash, and use the next one. (Yeah...don't be tempted to dry it and use it again-it's best to keep the stuff you put on your face squeaky clean, same with the towel you use to dry your face-use it just for your face and wash it often. Oh, and protect it from your kids. *Shudder*

Anyway the wash-cloth/cetaphil combo works brilliantly. If I skip this part of my routine (and just use the soap without the cloth), I notice it almost immediately in the texture of my skin.

You really don't get all the make up off if you just swish cleaner and soap around with your hands. It just moves the make up around, really. There has to be something to wipe it all off with-trust me, I have been investigating this issue for years. The thing about the white wash cloth is that you will be able to tell when it is all off and your face is perfectly clean.

After this I finish up with Proactiv repairing cream. When my skin is feeling too dry I follow up with a little moisturizer on top of that, but generally the repairing lotion does the trick if I get it on soon enough after I pat my face dry. I have used Proactiv for many years. The results have not been that outstanding to be honest. I have found just as good (actually, better if you must know-sorry Proactiv chicks on the TV), results from the Neutrogena cleanser, and it is a lot more affordable. But I have always liked the repairing lotion. It is not too drying and it does seem to keep things under control so I will keep using it until I run out and then revisit my loyalties.

Since I'm old now, I have tried to be more consistent with using a night eye-cream. This one by Mario Badescu was given to me as a sample (they are awesome about giving generous samples) and I have been using it for months. A little goes a very long way. My mother taught me that you should only ever apply anything around your eyes with a patting motion and your 4th (ring) finger because it is weak and cannot pull at the delicate skin too violently. Huh. Who knew. Anyway, I obey my mother.

Tragically, pimples happen, peeps. And although this routine has done the best job so far of keeping the facial coast clear, the hormones-they are mysterious and powerful. When I do get a zit I use this wonderful amazing drying lotion. I saw it advertised for years and years in magazines as the amazing go-to solution for the stars when they got zits on Oscar night. (Egads!) It always looked intriguing to me but I never saw it at any store. When my sister came to visit we walked into a French home decor boutique of all places, and found a little display of Mario Badescu products including the mystical pink stuff. The lady there told us that you generally don't find it for sale at stores but they are online. You dip a q-tip into it and get some of the pink stuff that lives at the bottom of the bottle and plonk it on the spot. It's fun although you can end up looking as though you have chicken pox and have been at the calomine lotion if you get too carried away. (I hate to waste, and so I just dot it randomly around my face when I have leftovers. It's a look.) It is truly amazing. It gets rid of the spot but does not dry the skin around it or make the molehill into a mountain the way some on-the -spot acne products can.

I'm one of those people who does not feel dressed without my make-up on. A lot of make-up irritates my skin though, and causes me to break-out. I have recently found Almay pure blends foundation. It is 97% natural and eco-friendly. Very light and natural coverage, does not irritate or clog my skin at all. It comes in a neat little tube which dispenses far more accurately (and hygienically) then a bottle, and I am a fan.

Honourable mention goes to the honey almond scrub by Mario Badescu and for their Drying Cream (good for the sort of under the surface bumps). I have used samples of both and am super impressed. The are next on my list to try, is a MD facial mask. I really recommend that check out the Mario Badescu website. They are surprisingly affordable and Martha Stewart loves them. What more is there to say.

So that's what works for me-my little arsenal for dealing with the hills and valleys. Haha I just made that up-hills and valleys!...HA!...ahem..moving along.... As my dear mom has taught me, in the end, consistency is key. Whatever you decide to use just make sure that you use it every day- religiously. Sensitive skin is not forgiving to little lapses in routine. Even if you did stay up 'til past midnight to post your WFMW.

Here's to faces as soft and smooth as a baby's booty. And sticking it to Mother Nature. Wench.

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Jenny said...

I'm allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide. Bummer!

Samantha said...

I have the same problem--pimples and wrinkles at the same time. It's just not right! I don't have any "magic bullet" products to recommend--I'm currently using not one but two prescription products for my acne (just added the second one about a week ago... don't know how it will work in the long run) and I think a high-quality moisturizer is important. I tried a generic version of Proactiv once and found out I am sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, so that's out. But, I'm going to look into some of your other suggestions--thank you!

Kirsty said...

Hey Jenny and Sam check out the Mario Badescu drying lotion. They have Salicylic Acid which you might tolerate better?

Apparently Oil of Olay does everything that a more expensive brand does Sam-it has been rated similarly to creams like La Mer etc, but it really takes some experimentation. I have done all sorts of price ranges but keep going back to that one. :)

Wanda said...

Wow....great tips. I have never really had acne. But....I do get pimples when I'm stressin or PMS'n! They are not normal ones either. They are deep and hard knots under my skin. Here and there.
These will linger forever....and just look like I have a mole or something. I have one right now between my eyes that is driving me crazy!
I would love to hook up with your Mr. Mario! He sounds very helpful! :)

Heather said...

Thanks for the info!

Kirstin said...

Thanks for the tips! I just turned 40 in december and realize that I must do a bit more for my skin...pimples and wrinkles...not fun!

ukyankoz said...

Thank you for this post! I agree with you on Mother Nature - it's so not fair. I could handle acne in high school when it was all angst and crushes, but being all grown-up and having to worry about wrinkles and taxes and kids and mortgages and smoke alarms is NOT FAIR!

(I will definitely try some of these products. Right now I just use Clean & Clear, but it's so drying.)

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, you are THOROUGH! I use cetaphil, morning and night. I use oil of olay lotion in the morning, and an itty bitty bit of aveeno body lotion on my face at night (yes, really - I need a really heavy moisturizer at night.) Oh, and make up, it's Bare Minerals all the way. EVERYTHING else makes me break out. (Everything I've tried, anyhow.) I really like your washcloth idea, though. I might go get a pack of white workshop towels and cut them up...they're great for EVERYTHING IN THE HOME.

Jendeis said...

Thanks so much for sharing your routine. Must try some of these.

Tooj said...

I am sooooooo bookmarking this so I can hit the store up this weekend. This last pregnancy and nursing period has left my face thoroughly confused and blah. I have been fortunate enough to NOT NEED much of anything through my first 30 years, but year 31 is kicking my rear! Thanks!

Rachel said...

You must have a nice big area to store all of these items?? :) I obviously have problems with zits and I even feel like I am getting wrinkly now! I went to my doc and he gave me some prescription benzoyl peroxide stuff that costs me about $10 every 3 months and it works really well as long as I stay in the routine!! How true that is! I also use Olay to make sure I don't dry out too much. Thanks for all the tips on here. How much does that magical pink stuff cost?

Andrea said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday! You're a beast for being a long-distance runner! I don't think I could. =)

Trishamoongirl said...

Thank you for all the tips- and explanations as to why. I have been feeling the need lately to take better care of my skin, so so helpful!!

momstheword said...

Great post and great tips. The dermatologist recommended Cetaphil so I had my son use it as his face was breaking out really bad.

It was amazing and cleared it right up. It did take a couple of weeks as it brought all the yucky stuff out first.

I use the Almay too as my skin is very sensitive.