Yes, I still get acne.
Yes, like a lot of people I’ve tried almost every acne product at the drugstore.
Yes, I’m allergic to benzoyl peroxide (if you haven’t tried products with this in it, you definitely should – it works wonders for those people who don’t break out in a rash like I do. After my allergic reaction cleared up, my face was immaculate for about 3 days which just made me wish all the more that it didn’t make me itch. I can’t even spot treat with it – not only does the spot I treat get red and itchy, the rest of my face did the couple of times I tried. Benzoyl Peroxide is the active ingredient in Proactive Solution but can be found in cheaper products as well. It’s simply not as prevalent as Salacilic Acid though so you have to look a little harder and read some ingredient lists.)
What have I started using that has helped me immensely?
– Microdermabrasion (there will be a later more detailed post about the various available products in this category.)
– Glycolic Peels.
Yes, both of these are marketed mainly to older women trying to combat fine lines and wrinkles. My face IS smoother but I didn’t really have any wrinkles to begin with so I can’t tell you if they worked for that.
I would say that this has cleared up my face about 95% as I still get the occasional blemish but I’m definitely not having the problem I was. I have noticed that if I stop using one or the other of the above I start to break out more like I used to (though not as badly as without either) so I think the key is the combination of the two to keep acne at bay.
Here’s my non-professional assessment of what this regimen is doing: The glycolic peel is helping my face shed the dead skin cells faster and the microdermabrasion is helping to remove the dead skin instead of letting it cling to my face longer and be the potential cause of the clogged pores.
Today I’m going to talk about 2 different glycolic peels. Both are 10% glycolic acid. A little background about my face: I have moderately fair skin that burns the first time I go out in the summer and then tans a little and freckles a lot after that. I have combination skin with an oily t-zone and my face rarely gets overly dry so although I have started using certain moisturizers, I can skip moisturizing and be fine.
I started out using L’oreal’s Dermo-Expertise ReNoviste Glycolic Peel Kit. It’s about $20 and comes with 8 “vials” of glycolic treatment, a “neutralizer”, and a moisturizer. I would recommend following the instructions the first time you use the product to gage your skin’s sensitivity. I would also recommend that at least at first, only apply at night so that you’re not immediately going out into the sun or applying makeup to your newly sensitive skin.
I was eventually able to get 2-3 uses out of each “1-use” vial if I applied it with my hand instead of letting it soak into a cotton applicator as directed. I was using it more often than suggested (twice a week is what it suggested, I was using it every other day.) It did still last me month as mentioned.
It does sting a little, especially the first few times. The neutralizer in the kit seemed to do really nothing and the moisturizer was kind of crappy. It didn’t make me peel excessively – no large flakes and my skin didn’t look like I had an extremely bad sunburn (my dad has had to get several professional glycolic peels on his face for medical reasons … he says that they are very painful.)
Towards the end of my 3rd or 4th L’oreal Glycolic peel kit I started looking for an alternative. Something a bit cheaper and something that didn’t come in a kit but I still wanted the same level of glycolic power or more….
That’s when I came across Alpha Hydrox Oil-Free Formula. It’s also 10% glycolic acid but it’s not a kit and it’s about $11 a bottle. I’ve had it for over a month now and if I had to guess, this bottle may last me a year at the current rate. Definitely a much better deal than the L’oreal. Again, follow the instructions the first couple of uses to see how your skin reacts – you are dealing with some pretty strong stuff here.
I don’t know if it’s a little less powerful or if my skin is simply getting used to me using this regularly but I did find that it seems to sting a little less than the L’oreal so I started using it daily after I wash my face in the morning and after I wash my face at night as well. Still no solar burn look or problems.
The Alpha Hydrox brand also has a 12% peel in their line and a 14% mask – I haven’t tried either because of the reviews. People have complained that the 12% formula, which isn’t oil free, has caused more acne and people have complained that the mask doesn’t fit their face well. Other 10%+ Glycolic treatments that I’ve seen seem to be in the $30-$60 range so I probably won’t stray too far from this regimen for awhile.
One thing I do want to try is to maybe find a more natural alternative to the glycolic peel. Maybe in a few months I will try Juice Beauty’s Full strength green apple peel and see how that compares.
I am still open to suggestions because I do still get the occasional blemish – maybe recommendations for spot treatments? I’ve tried various spot treatments with salacylic acid, teatree and withchazel with no success. I am so incredibly happy that I’ve found something that works as well as this does … now if only I could be 100% blemish free!