We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” as if the gloomy weather until recently is some type of harbinger to spring blooms and endless sunshine. It’s a pretty idea. For me (or at least for my skin), it just spells disaster. The constantly fluctuating temperature throws my combination skin into a confused tailspin (80 degrees one day and 45 degrees the next, thank you global warming). And as much I don’t like to admit it, my complexion has been utter chaos, so much so that I’ve raided my entire beauty stash in desperate hopes of trying anything and everything to soothe the onset of all your basic skin ailments. Thankfully after three weeks of experimenting, I’ve found the magic formula.
A caveat for all my readers: this isn’t to say that the following assortment of products will necessarily work for your skin. Every person is unique, and your skin may react differently. But taking into account each product’s ingredients and application in conjunction with one another, I have found that they have worked incredibly well for my own stubborn blemishes.
My current combination skincare regimen follows:
Kate Somerville Eradikate Mask
After dual cleansing (read more on this and 10-Step Korean skincare regimen here), I’ve started to incorporate Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment. All I can say is: it truly works. Granted, I did apply this nearly 5 nights in a row so make of that what you will. Even so, it didn’t dry out my skin, nor did it cause any unsavory side effects. This is in large part due to the 5% sulfur concentration, high enough to effectively kill pimple-causing bacteria yet not excessive enough to be overly drying. The only drawback to this mask is a semi-strong sulfur/ rubber scent- manageable but potentially difficult to stomach for those with sensitives noses.
Immunocologie Vital Clay Mask
For more stubborn blemishes, I spot treat with Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask. This is by far the most powerful clay mask I have used to date, and as such should be used with caution. Put too much on, and you risk completely dehydrating the dermis. But for the painful cystic-like bumps brewing under the skin, this can reduce the size dramatically when treated overnight. For an all over treatment, take care to apply only a thin layer as directed. I guarantee that even the most stubborn whiteheads and blackheads will come loose after using this.
Immuncologie Hyaluronic Serum
Immunocologie’s Hyaluronic Serum is the perfect complement to the clay mask. This lightweight serum’s star ingredient is sodium hyaluronate, a derivation of hyaluronic acid with the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. As this acid is naturally produced in our body, there’s usually no irritation to most users and works perfectly with our cells to improve moisture retention and plump up the skin. While there are many hyaluronic acid-based serums out there, I’m a fan of the Immunocologie version because it’s also formulated with Canadian Colloidal Clay, which balances out oiliness, and for my combination skin, every bit helps. It’s ideal for those who complain of oily and congested skin while suffering from dryness as well.
SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense
My golden goose has to be SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum, as evidenced by the nearly empty bottle in my photos. It has two key ingredients, first of which is 2% dioic acid. This reduces production of sebum and regulates production of melanin, all the while killing bacteria, one of the biggest culprits of acne. The second key ingredient (or ingredients, rather) is an effective combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA’s, of which there is a notable concentration of 1.5% salicylic acid), all of which penetrate deep into the skin and aid in exfoliating dead skin cells and reducing clogged pores. As for my personal experience, this serum always brings all of the deeper, stubborn whiteheads (you know the ones that inevitably turn to painful red mounds but are impossible to pop?) to the surface for easy extraction. It has never failed me and is nothing short of a miracle worker. A word to the wise – I avoid applying this to the entire face as it does contain a bevy of acids as well as denatured alcohol among its top ingredients, which can dry out the skin. Use this to treat problem areas or stubborn spots instead.
True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil
Finally, combat oil with.. even more oil. Interestingly, they actually help dissolve your skin’s sebum and regulate oil production. I’ve used True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil on and off for a period of time, but have increasingly relied on it over the past few weeks. This is a dry oil with a light herbal scent, and it’s perfect as a moisturizer or even a makeup finisher for a beautiful glow. I’ve always known the product is great (all organic, plant-based ingredients, emphasis on purity and quality, etc.), but not until it soothed my inflamed blemishes and flaky (yes, unpleasant as it may be, you heard me) skin did I become a true believer. It’s not a surprise given the first two ingredients in it are green tea seed oil and grape seed oil, both of which contain a high amount of antioxidants and consist of incredibly small molecule sizes (even smaller than the average human pore size) to penetrate deep into the skin.
To be honest though, much of acne has nothing to do with personal hygiene or your skincare habits. And that’s the most frustrating part. No matter how much brands can promise clear skin or glowing complexions, sometime’s it’s just not in the cards for the less genetically disposed (myself included). However, the right arsenal of products can make a big difference in preventative care and damage control.
For all those struggling with the changing seasons and the detrimental effects it may have had on your skin, I urge you to incorporate the above products into your skincare regimen and give it a solid go for at least a week. If you’ve tried any of the above or have any questions, I’d love to hear them in the comments.
As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!