5 AFFORDABLE products to heal acne scarring

“I just want to go to work without a face of foundation.”
Same, sis.

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At some point or another we’ve all been there. Acne scarring. The spawn of Satan.

Whether you’re cursed with hormonal cystic acne under your jaw, or pesky pimples you just can’t help but squeeze, your skin can get damaged.

They always said, “Don’t pop it! It will be way worse for you in the long run,” but who listens? We’ve all picked at our skin at least once. Some of us more than others (lol) and that’s why I’m coming to the rescue with FIVE relatively affordable products that penetrate deep to renew the surface of your skin and bring forward a fresh face.

Admit it, we all want to go to work/school without foundation – that’s the end goal. At least for me, it is a 2019 resolution LMAO

It pains me to even include a ‘before’ photo when my acne was active, red, and inflamed, but would this blog post hit home if I didn’t also show you my ‘after’ (which is really just my current skin status)? Probably not

Alas, here are the comparisons over the past 8 months.

August 2018

 

October 2018

 

March 2019

Okay, great, now that we’re past that. HERE is how I’ve healed my acne scarring.
Pssst – if you want to know how I cleared my acne, that full story-time is here on the blog, and also in this video.

The Ordinary rosehip seed oil – priced at $9.80

lrm_export_193894709444326_20190403_2009237954469464881425726208.jpeg– my absolute FAVORITE drugstore-priced hyper-pigmentation cure-all
This shit is magic. It has helped lighten my dark spots tremendously. I first heard about this product from Thataylaa, as she used it on her post-accutane journey to heal her scarring. When I heard it was under $10 – SOLD!
PROS
– nourishes the skin and is intensely hydrating
– relatively scentless (what little scent is has is not irritating)
– lightens dark pigmentation (leftover from acne scarring)
– organic and natural
– extremely affordable HEYOOOO
CONS
– I would recommend applying at least 30 mins before laying down for bed, as it doesn’t sink into the skin immediately (don’t want you to ruin your pillowcase)

Mario Badescu whitening maskpriced at $24.00

Contains kojic acid and extracts of licorice root, mulberry, and grapeseed to help maximize its brightening potential on your skin.

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Farmacy bright-on vitamin c face maskpriced at $38.00 – the most expen$ive, I know (but the mask above can be used instead)

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Contains vitamin c and fruit-derived AHAs to target brightening in your skincare.

I love BOTH of these face masks. They are my ride-or-die’s and I have repurchased each of them. I discovered the Mario Badescu mask in a trio kit for Christmas a couple years back. Similarly, I discovered the Farmacy mask in a Boxycharm. You never know what you’re going to fall in love with.I use both of these masks on my scarring interchangeably. I do not favor one over the other, but will say that at 2 oz of product (vs. 1.7 oz) and less $$, the Mario Badescu mask is more bang for your buck.

Pixi glow tonic tonerpriced at $15.00

This toner is a godsend. I noticed immediate results within a week of using. It smoothed the texture of my skin, and has noticeably calmed my redness + brightened my complexion.Unfortunately, when it comes to clearing cystic acne, this did not do the trick for me. HOWEVER – it’s worked miracles for evening my discoloration to get me back to that flawless base I was striving for ;)I kept a sort of “skin diary” when I first started using this and recorded my observations after 4 weeks use.

Tretinoin (topical Accutane)

lrm_export_193899588931114_20190403_2009286753632884032350483694.jpeg*prescription from my primary care doctor – price can range based on your insurance (pro tip: ask your doc if you can get a generic version, this is what I did to cut the cost into 1/3)

This is going to be my holy grail. I know that’s annoying, considering it’s a prescription. But hear me out.This is the main rock star when it came to clearing my cystic acne. Completely rid me of those pesky under-the-skin blemishes that just wouldn’t quit at closing time. lol. Furthermore, once my acne was cleared, I continued to use Tretinoin (still do).

Tretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that can be applied topically to treat acne. This shit will fucking BLAST the blemishes off your face. It’ll take awhile for the purging to settle down, but once it does, you’ll have brand new skin.
PS – My doc told me it’s one of the hottest items on the market for anti-aging.

I kept a “skin diary” when I first started this as well if you’re interested in the side effects.
Keep in mind: you must first consult your doctor about your skin concerns to see if Tretinoin is a good fit for you. You are also not supposed to use this if you are pregnant or trying to bake a baby in your oven (I didn’t want to forget to caution you!)

SO THAT’S EVERYTHING. What are your thoughts? Do you use some of the same products? Are you thinking of testing out any of these? This has been my ritual routine for 8+ months now and I have seen tremendous results. Thank you for reading along!

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
YouTube: youtube.com/katrinasm
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STORYTIME | Skincare routine, Topical Accutane & Skin issues | Katrina S

WHAT – IS – UP ??

FYI – first part of this video is me explaining my back story on developing adult acne and how it affected me
3:56 discussion on tretinoin & clindamycin
9:46 full skincare routine

I hope that someone out there can relate to my story and find strength in it being told. It’s definitely emotional to recap as this shit storm happened while simultaneously preparing for my wedding (lol @ life), but I was able to push through and I hope that message spreads to another person needing it.
Lmk if you have any good radiance/brightening serum and gentle (alcohol-free) toner recommendations.

MENTIONED IN VIDEO:
*blog post* 4 Week Pixi Glow Tonic Skin Diary – https://ksloves.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/pixi-glow-tonic-4-week-diary/
*blog post* 30 Days on Two Topical Gels – https://ksloves.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/my-skin-diary-30-days-on-2-prescribed-topical-gels/

TOPICAL GELS:
Tretinoin .025%
Clindamycin 1%

MORNING SKINCARE:
Purity one step cleanser
Clindamycin
Neutrogena hydro boost water gel or Alba Botanica green tea moisturizer

NIGHTTIME SKINCARE:
Purity one step cleanser
Mario Badescu aloe vera toner
Tretinoin
Neutrogena hydro boost hydrating serum
Tarte maracuja oil or The Ordinary rose hip seed oil

OTHERS MENTIONED:
Purity pore extractor clay mask
Farmacy bright on vitamin c mask
Mario Badescu whitening mask
Mario Badescu rosewater facial mist

MY MOST RECENT CONTENT:
NEW MAKEUP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY1gWkUUQ1s
DISAPPOINTING PRODUCTS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjvsXwqfgOg&t=117s
GRAB A COFFEE – REINA DEL CARIBE PALETTE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsJ9S…

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My Skin Diary: 30 Days on 2 Prescribed Topical Gels

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Wow. I can’t believe I’m actually writing this post and opening up every single skin issue I have to the outside world. BUT – that’s what blogging is all about, right? Sharing your observations and finding people who might be going through the same situation. If in any way this can help someone find the strength and perseverance to beat adult acne, THEN KNOW I AM CHEERING YOU ON. And if this helps encourage you to finally make that dermatologist appointment, I’m extremely excited for you.

Where to begin. So basically, here’s a general timeline of my skin and its conditions:

Teenager: no issues at all. I had typical breakouts any teenager has and my skin would go through phases but never anything that made me feel uncomfortable to walk outside without foundation covering me up.

Ages 20-23: same dealio. No big issues and very manageable. My skin has always been combination and never 100% clear but for the most part I would live my day to day life not worried about skin issues AT ALL.

Enter 24-25: adult cystic acne – out of nowhere. HOW FUN. I struggle with huge under-the-skin blemishes that are painful and rarely come to a “head,” for lack of better wording. My problem areas are my chin and jawline, and most recently the higher part of my cheekbones. It. Is. Miserable. As you can imagine.

And yes, I had been planning a dermatologist trip, but I wanted to test some products trial-and-error before I made that jump to spend money on a professional opinion. Plus, my mind kept telling me, “This is a phase, your skin will clear up. You are planning a wedding and have a new job, you’re just stressed!

So I tried incorporating a toner, a new organic skincare line, coming up with a regimen of weekly exfoliation and face masks. Nothing was working. In fact, month after month it was just getting worse.

This cycle has been going on for roughly a year where my acne slowly began to take control of my feelings, emotions, and self-esteem. Honestly, I’ve had enough of this shit and decided I’d speak to my doctor before seeing a dermatologist (in case she could refer me to someone in the area).

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My primary care doctor prescribed to me two topical gels:

  1. tretinoin – to use nightly
  2. clindamycin – to use daily in the morning

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And then I went on to do my research. For starters, both were hella expen$ive and I was not about to drop a couple hundred on facial gels that would probably last me a month. I wrote into my doctor’s office and they managed to get me a lower strength of tretinoin and a different brand of clindamycin and it lowered the cost for me #blessed
In the first week of using clindamycin daily and tretinoin every other night:

I feel as if I’m purging – and for the love of all that is good in the world I HOPE I’m purging. lol. It’s pretty shitty, but my blemishes are now popping up in places I don’t typically get them (apples of my cheeks, in between my eyebrows). They’re not super dramatic and I could manage covering them up, but I’m definitely noticing an increase in pimples in random spots.

Something positive I’ve noticed, no new blemishes in my TRUE problem areas (chin and jawline). I’m hoping this skin is healing. I also have very soft skin every morning I wash it, as if the top layer of my skin has been exfoliated to reveal smooth skin underneath.

Changes in scarring/pigmentation: none

Second week of using clindamycin daily and tretinoin every other night:

This was the week my skin started to peel. It was a strange sensation as I smoothed moisturizer over my skin after applying tretinoin (and yes, I let it dry for 20 mins first) and my skin started to pill like a sweater shedding its threads lmao. I felt like a lizard shedding its skin. From there I tried my best to pat my moisturizers/oils into my skin for better absorption and this way I wasn’t peeling skin as badly.

I took a “1 week” progress photo of my skin and can tell a noticeable difference of the redness/irritation of current acne/scarring I had. It is looking much less irritated and stressed. My skin looks a bit healthy as if it is healing.

Still no issues with the shitty hormonal acne under my jawline – which was my main issuee. Hallelujah.

Changes in scarring/pigmentation: none

Third week of using clindamycin daily and tretinoin every other night:

This week has been the BEST as far as the shape of my skin. I have been extremely happy with the way it seems to be healing. I can maybe notice the faintest fading of scarring, but nothing noticeable to anyone else I’m sure. I am still dealing with peeling every night I apply the tretinoin (and to combat this I am still patting moisturizers and oils).

The most incredible miracle is waking up every day and not having a NEW BLEMISH on my chin/jaw. What a world it’s been to not feel bumpy under my chin. I feel a lot more confident and even made a trip to the coffee shop sans makeup – hey, this is big for me.

The only downside to this week is the fact I got my period *sigh* and had one medium sized cystic bump on my jawline. Literally.. small-medium sized. The easiest blemish to deal with. Typically around my time of the month I’d be covered in hormonal breakouts along my jaw/cheeks. I’d also like to mention the 1-2 pimples I did get went away within a day and a half and didn’t linger like acne monsters typically do.

Changes in scarring/pigmentation: maybe some faint fading

One month of clindamycin daily and tretinoin every other night:

HO-LY. GUACAMOLE. I’m so glad I took photos to document my skin at the start vs 30 days in. The difference is dramatic. I am not confident enough to show before and after yet, so if it continues to improve the way it has been, be on the lookout for a 2-3 month update and some photos of proof. I showed a few close friends of mine the before and after pics, and here is the consensus:

  • noticeable difference in the diminishing of existing blemishes
  • my skin looks much less inflamed and irritated
  • certain areas of skin are almost completely rid of acne

I am EXTREMELY happy with where my skin is currently at. I do still deal with the occasional cystic blemish, but no where near the amount I was dealing with. It is so nice to only have to cover scarring and not large, painful bumps.

My skin still peels, so I will see if that continues to improve through the next 2-3 months. I’ve read it can take several months to truly transform your skin as well as rid of the peeling. I do plan to start using it nightly, but wanted to introduce my skin to it before I went HAM on the topical accutane, if you catch my drift lol

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So that’s that! I hope this is helpful to anyone out there – and please comment below if you’ve experienced anything similar. Would you like to see before/after photos and an updated post 2-3 months into using the gels? Lmk and I will keep documenting my improvement.

Until next time!

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
Instagram: ksloves
Twitter: ksloves_
Pinterest: ksloves_