Though beautiful skin starts from what we put into our bodies, a little external help never hurt anyone. 😉
Since I discovered the glorious world of YouTube beauty videos many years ago, I’ve fallen in love with all things beauty–especially skincare. My skin is prone to leaving very dark marks behind after any blemish, and those marks tend to stick around for long time. When I had a particularly bad battle with acne about a year ago, I turned to a dermatologist & we sorted a lot of my struggles and I’m here today with skin that I love! It’s been an uphill battle for sure, but through a lot of trial & error I’ve landed on a skin routine I couldn’t be happier with:
I start off by cleansing my skin with the iS Clinical’s Cleansing Complex–this stuff is gorgeous & super gentle yet still very effective at keeping breakouts at bay. I can absolutely tell a difference when I don’t use this. It’s certainly worth the money in my book. I also found out about it because I read it’s Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s go-to cleanser, and who doesn’t want to use anything Rosie Huntington-Whitely uses?
Next up is this absolute lifesaver: Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. This stuff is stupid amazing. I had heard lots of buzz about this product, but the price tag kept me from buying it for a long time. Little did I know I was missing out on the one product that would solve my biggest skin issue! I have had some very dark and long-term marks that have plagued me for so long, and this product has lightened them exponentially. This is the reason I finally feel comfortable going out without makeup (and I hardly wear it anymore!)–there’s no better feeling than that. Be patient if you try it out–it takes time to make a difference, but it’s so worth it.
Another Rosie Huntington-Whiteley go-to (so I hear) is this lovely moisturizing sunscreen by Control Corrective. Sunscreen is important & beneficial for everyone, but especially those with dark acne marks/hyperpigmentation (me) & those using a high-intensity Retinol product in the evenings (also me). The sun can very quickly darken the marks you already have, and cause damage to skin made sensitive by Retinol products–bad combo. I use this baby as my moisturizer/sunscreen duo, as it’s very moisturizing on it’s own, non-greasy & has a beautiful SPF 30. Perfection.
Finally, I finish up with a light layer of L’Occitane’s Ultra Matte Fluid (it looks like they might not make this product anymore, but hopefully it makes a comeback!). When I moved to Pittsburgh for college, my oily skin was not having it with the humidity & I needed a mattifying superhero product pronto. I stumbled upon this and fell in love. It keeps my skin matte all day and is a great, smoothing base for makeup.
First & foremost, if I have any makeup, I remove it. I love removing eye makeup with coconut oil, and I tend to use makeup wipes or micellar water to removing any base.
Then it’s off to cleansing again! I use the same cleanser day & night, so nothing new there.
After my skin has thoroughly dried, I apply a pea-sized amount of 0.05% Tretinoin Cream (same as Retin-A) to my entire face, focusing on the areas with more uneven pigmentation. Strong Retinol creams like this one work intensively on turning over new skin cells as quickly as possible–this helps combat hyper pigmentation/discoloration, it dries out existing acne & creates a smooth skin texture. Now, this was a prescription given to me by a dermatologist & is some heavy duty stuff, so if you think it may help you definitely go see a dermatologist & get some info. I’ve been using this for over a year now & have seen a massive positive difference in my skin.
Next I apply the Kiehl’s Dark Spot Solution (the product suggests you use it morning & night as it helps quicken the effectiveness) and wait for it to dry.
Finally I apply the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion to seal the deal. It’s your basic moisturizer, very gentle & lightweight but moisturizing. My derm recommended it because of it’s soothing qualities, and it’s a perfect combination with the retinol. Done!
While this was my daily routine, I’ve got a couple extras I’d like to recommend that I use on a more infrequent basis but work wonders when needed:
This fantastic moisturizer (The Moisture Magnet by Mario Badescu) is a savior whenever I have dry patches. It was my daily moisturizer when I first started using Retin-A (seeing as Retin-A reeeeaaallllyyy dries out your skin at first), and now I use it as more of a spot moisturizer when needed. It’s SUPER dense in moisture, so it doesn’t wear very well under makeup, but is still my number-one dry skin fix.
I’ve been using the Murad Acne Spot Treatment for as long as I can remember having acne–so probably around 6 or 7 years. It’s just the best spot treatment on the market in my opinion. Whenever I’ve got a spot starting to pop up, I apply a dab of this and it’s often gone in the morning. It’s got 3.5% Benzoyl Peroxide, so if your skin reacts positively to BP, you’ll be in good hands.
Probably my favorite mask of all time, the Peter Thomas Roth Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Mask. About once a week or so, I apply this in place of my nighttime moisturizer when my skin is in need of some extra hydration & brightening. I was drawn to this guy because I heard it helped lighten dark spots, and while I don’t think it’s made a huge difference in that area for me, I have definitely noticed some improvements. I’ll take it! It gives me a ton of moisture, helps smooth out the texture of my skin, fights against discoloration, and makes my skin look happy. It’s pretty orange, so be sure to let it sink in a bit before hitting the sheets or you’ll wake up with orange goo all over your pillowcase.
My final suggestion is REN’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. This is some seriously impressive stuff. It’s a chemical exfoliant using glycolic acid, and the difference in my skin after using this is extraordinary. It’s glowing all over, smooth, healthy, beautiful, highly recommended. Now I’ve just got to get myself the full-size version!
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about these lovely products. They’re all tried-and-true, and I’ve repurchased almost all of them at least once–holy grail status for sure.
Please let me know in the comments your skincare favorites!! Share your secrets to your beautiful skin. Thank you for reading, and go make today pretty miraculous.
Disclaimer: These products work wonders for me, but they may not be right for you–if not, keep searching & soon your own holy grail products will find their way to you!