I’ve always been very insecure about my skin. I started having breakouts when I was 9. My breakouts started out mild. Then puberty hit, and I swear it was like someone flipped a switch and my mild breakouts turned into severe cystic acne. It sucked! I tried every over-the-counter acne medication that I could find. After many years of trying everything I could get my hands on to no avail, I went to see a dermatologist. The dermatologist cycled me through several different prescription medications before prescribing Acutane. It was aggressive, but after 6 months my acne was mostly gone. Albeit, not entirely.
At that point, even though the breakouts were much better controlled, I was left with a lot of scaring. Not pigmentation scars either, textural scars! I’m talking rolling acne scars and boxcar scars. Which in my opinion are way worse because they’re harder to get rid of and can’t be concealed (and, yes my photos are retouched. I’m completely open and honest about that). Anyways, In addition to the scarring, I also have large pores and weirdly dry yet super oily skin.
I’ll be completely honest, I still don’t really understand my skin. I’ve only gone to an esthetician twice. Both times were at Avani Derm Spa in St. Louis, and I will say that I love it there! I mostly utilize the nurse injectors for botox and fillers. However, I literally have a list of treatments I want to try once I have more free time (right now my schedule still revolves around 3 very demanding little people which I thought would get better once Zain was in preschool, but somehow I was wrong)!
My 10 Favorite Skincare Products:
- Avani Derm Spa’s weekly Glow pads. I’ve been using these for several years now, and I honestly cannot go without them. They are that good! Most products even if I like them, I still experiment with similar brands just in case I find something that works better for me. These are definitely the exception. I use them every Thursday night before bed and occasionally twice a week if I’ve been wearing makeup a lot that week and my pores are getting clogged. They are hands down my favorite exfoliator. It’s one of those products that you see an immediate result and then it just gets better while you sleep.
- Skinmedica AHA/BHA cleanser. I love this cleanser. I’ve tried many different cleansers in an attempt to find a more cost effective alternative, but I ultimately always come back to this one.
- Skinceuticals HA Intensifier. I don’t like moisturizers because I swear I get more blackheads when I use them. This seems to provide some moisture without the dreaded blackheads.
- Ashley Nordman’s Peptide Balancing Toner. This is a new one for me, but I really like it and I’ll definitely be repurchasing it once I’m low.
- Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and Skinceuticals Serum 20 AOX+ are tied. I’ve also tried Ashley Nordman’s Brightening Serum. I honestly can’t tell the difference between the products, but I have noticed a difference in my skin since I’ve started using a vitamin c serum. Now, I always use medical grade vitamin c serums, but I will say I wish they didn’t degrade so quickly. I will continue to experiment in this category simply due to the price point and the fact that vitamin c degrades rapidly. Something to consider with vitamin c serums is you cannot use them in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide. I learned this the hard way! After a couple of years of using Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, I experienced a really bad breakout and picked up some benzoyl peroxide at Target. Without realizing the two products aren’t compatible, I used both at the same time and I ended up with redness in those areas each time. At first, I brushed it off, but after several days of this I started doing research.
- Avani Derm Spas Retinol Renewal 100 (the cream not the pads). I’m not super consistent with using retinols. I usually use it 1-2 times a week. The reason I like this one is because it is really smooth, absorbs into my skin well, and you can actually see the yellow hue. Retinol powder is yellow, so if your product doesn’t have a yellow hue to it then I’d question it’s strength.
- NuFace Trinity. I use both the micro current attachment and the red light attachment daily. I don’t know if there is any long term effects from this, but I do notice an immediate difference after using it. After using the micro current attachment, my face seems temporarily lifted. Especially in my eye area. The red light therapy attachment seems to plump my skin. According to research, red light therapy should promote collagen production. So, I’m hoping overtime there will be some lasting effects. Now having said that, I will still continue to use botox and fillers. I highly doubt this could ever really replace them, but I do think they synergy.
- Dermawand Pro. This may be one of those cases where I’ve just gone completely off the rails, but I do use this daily as well. It’s a combination of microcurent and radio frequency. What can I say, I’m really self-conscious about my skin, but I’m not ready to drop $30,000 on surgery just yet. Key word is yet.
- Epionce firming face mask. I like sleeping in this mask. It takes a while to fully absorb into my skin, but in the morning my face feels moisturized. Well, at least until I wash it. Once I wash it, I need to add the HA Intensifier otherwise my skin feels super dry until my oil glands kick in and go overboard. It really feels like a battle I can’t win. Anyways, I’ve yet to notice blackheads from this so I’ll continue to use this most nights. The only time I don’t use it is when I’m applying retinol. I don’t know how the two would interact so I just don’t mix them.
- Sunday Riley Saturn Spot Treatment Mask. This definitely works. It smells horrible though and I can smell it for several days after using it. It’s definitely a last resort acne treatment for me, but effective. I haven’t tried other brands yet, but I probably will.
- Bonus although not a skincare product, I thought I should mention it because it’s super cheap and really good! L.A. Girl Lip Plumper. It’s at Target if you’re interested. On me, it works better than any other lip plumper I’ve tried. I still love Dior Addict and Buxom, but this definitely plumps better!
If you’re curious about any treatments I’ve used previously or plan on in the future, feel free to ask. All of my skincare treatments and plastic surgery is through and will continue to be through Avani Derm Spa & Nayak Plastic Surgery (well except my boobs, that was another surgeon). Anyway, I’m pretty loyal at this point. The only way I’d go anywhere else if I wanted a non-facial plastic surgery.