Acne & Acne Scarring: My Current Skincare Routine

Happy Sunday, loves! With summer fresh upon us, I wanted to do a post about my skincare routine because our skin is on full display as we’re spending more time at the beach or the pool on these super hot days. I do not have perfect skin whatsoever, I still deal with acne and I have a lot of scarring on my cheeks. But I’ve found a good routine and medications that keep most of my acne at bay and has been slowly reducing my scarring. It’s taken quite a while, I mean I probably starting dealing with acne when I was 16 and I’m 26 now. But I’ve learned that skin issues are nothing to be ashamed of! So I’m going to be fully transparent in hopes that some of my tips will help you if you’re dealing with the same thing I am!

As I mentioned, I started getting really bad acne when I was around 16. It had gotten to the point where I wouldn’t even leave my bedroom for breakfast without putting some concealer on and if I had friends sleeping over, I wouldn’t take my makeup off before going to bed. My acne completely destroyed my self confidence; I couldn’t face my own bare skin.

I went to a few different dermatologists that my doctor referred me to but it was a very frustrating process because I felt like I would see them once every few months just for the actual appointment to last two minutes as they quickly looked at my face and prescribed me whatever medication. I never felt like they took the time to listen to me or consider all the other factors that could cause acne: my diet, exercise, genetics, anything really! I was so frustrated that I just wanted to give up.

It wasn’t until last July when I came across Corrective Skincare LA after my favorite podcast That’s So Retrograde recommended them. I did some research on Yelp and read that they take everything into consideration when coming up with your treatment plan; this is what I had been asking for! I made a virtual consultation appointment with Maddie for the following week. During our FaceTime call, she asked me to share my diet and exercise habits and to show her all of the skincare and makeup products I was using at the time. Our consultation went over the thirty minute mark because she explained every single part of the process in extreme detail. She told me which products of mine were good (and why) and which ones had to go (and why). We booked an appointment for me to come into their studio and I was so excited to get started.

I’ve been seeing Maddie monthly since that initial FaceTime call a year ago. Corrective Skincare is located in Santa Monica so from where I live it takes me about forty five minutes to get there. Is it ideal? No. Is it worth it? Yes. My current treatment plan is extractions and an acid peel. An extraction is the process of clearing a clogged or compacted pore while acid peels dry out your skin so that it can shed and peel, which improves skin discoloration. When I first started going, the extractions lasted about half an hour. It’s not a pleasant feeling at all and can be quite painful but I noticed I started breaking out less and less. Now, there are maybe two to three extractions that I need when I go so it takes about five minutes. This has been one of my favorite markers of progress!

Here’s a pic of me after an acid peel. Since my acne has subsided, we’ve been able to focus more on my scarring and apply a heavier acid peel than we were when I had more acne. I know an acid peel sounds intense, but the kind I get is really just a little tingly/itchy! You can see we focus heavily on my cheeks which is where most of my scarring is. I’m not allowed to get my face wet for about two hours after an acid peel, but typically since my appointments are on Sundays I just leave it for the majority of the day. When I get an acid peel, I know my face will be super dry that week! The heavier we go, the more skin literally peels right off. It’s v satisfying.

I’ve also been using their products since I started going last year. Here’s my step-by-step skincare PM routine:

  1. Wash my face twice in a row with their Facial Shampoo. Double cleansing at night is very important to really cleanse your skin of any remaining makeup or oils from the day.
  2. Grab an ice cube from my freezer and glide it across my face (keeping it constantly moving) until the cube melts. This is a tip I learned from Maddie, the cold helps reduce redness and swelling from pimples while reducing their lifespan. It also just feels heavenly!
  3. Use the pHresh Correction Pads which contain 2% salicylic acid and 10% glycolic acid and is used to improve texture, fade discoloration and scarring by promoting skin cell turnover. Basically, it dries out your face so that dead skin can be replaced by new, fresh skin.
  4. Finish up by using the 10% benzoyl peroxide after I give the correction pads some time to dry.
  5. I don’t use moisturizer unless I feel that my skin genuinely needs it because drying out = new skin underneath = another layer of my acne scars gone!

I also use the benzoyl peroxide in the mornings after washing my face, but I was only able to do this recently as I’ve had to build up a tolerance for both of the medications. They make your face really dry when you first start using them; when I started I had to literally put Aquaphor in the corners of my nose and mouth because it was just so dry. Back then, I was only using these products every other night but slowly we’ve built it up to the frequency I use today. Now, I am not as dry unless I just got an acid peel in which case, allllll the skin is about to come off. In the mornings I typically use moisturizer before putting on some makeup, but sunscreen is a necessity! Never leave your house without sunscreen on, people! My current fav brands are COOLA, Sun Bum, and Bare Republic.

I also use these products pretty regularly, depending on what I feel my skin needs that week. Cocokind’s chlorophyll mask really boosts and purifies my complexion while GlamGlow’s Supermud Treatment Mask deep cleans and unclogs my pores. I also love Kopari’s coconut face scrub because it’s very gentle but helps me slough off the dry skin after a good acid peel. There is nothing better than how smooth my face feels after using this scrub, and it smells delicious!

Even though I do The Most when it comes to skincare, my skin is in no way cured. I still get pimples and I still have lots of scarring that needs to be healed. It can get frustrating because I know I do more for my skin than most people I know yet I still get acne, but I just imagine how much worse it would be if I weren’t doing these things. The best result I’ve gotten from this routine is that my face is crazy smooth with zero texture. When I do get pimples, they don’t stick around as long as they used to (and I know the ice cubes play a large role in this). I think, however, the biggest impact my skin journey has had on my life is that I’m no longer so incredibly self-conscious. I don’t wear makeup at home, I take it off before I go to the gym (very important, you do not want to sweat a face full of makeup into your pores), and I don’t feel the need to cover up if I need to run some errands.

In the end, I’m thankful for what my acne has taught me. I’ve learned that it truly does not matter. Most people will not notice your pimples because they are worried about their own things (your acne not being one of them, ever). Those who truly love you and care about you won’t care if you’ve got scars for days. The more you try to cover it up, the worse you’re making it and the longer it will take to heal. I consider my skincare routine as self-care time…Bachelorette nights must include a face mask and a yummy drink of some kind. Comment down below and share your skincare routine or favorite masks, I’m always dying to try something new!

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