Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Superficial Skin : Enemies & Friends

Stress is usually the #1 suspect when my skin strays from serenity (nice alliteration, right?) but now that my college days are (somewhat far) behind me and I'm no longer freaking over finals, ranting with roommates, or busying myself with boys, my skin has had the chance to calm down. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I've gotten smarter since my freshman days in college where I would slap just about anything on my face...ugh, I currently shutter at the thought!

Here's a (somewhat) simple post of what didn't help my skin in college and what saves it now!

Skin Busters...The Enemies!
Skin Busters
1. Mineral Oil - Rarely put in products now (phew!) but it can mostly be found in sunscreens, lotions, and makeup removers, so beware! Not all oils are bad (even for oily skin gals) but this one is certainly a pore-clogging whore. Stay away.
2. Silicone - Ever wonder why your primer was causing breakouts, perhaps, even though it was oil-free? This won't be seen on an ingredient list, but it's conspirators will; watch out for Dimethicone and words that end in "cone" because even though they can suck oil out from your face (which helps your makeup last longer), they can bring about breakouts with it. Silicone is meant to sit on your skin to keep in moisture, but it also keeps in any excess oil or debris on your face, clogging it in a secret, sneaky way. It doesn't make everyone breakout, but it created small whiteheads for me on my nose and chin. PRIMERS have a ton of silicone ingredients so that it has the silky finish and texture that most primers boast, but I'd rather opt out of primer (kind of sounds like optimus prime, hah! ok...I thought it was funny, anyway...) than worry about small, pesky whiteheads. Anyone know of a water-based primer that doesn't have this culprit?
WATCH OUT FOR THIS IN: Bare Minerals Prime-Time Primer
3. Parabens - These are nearly impossible to avoid, so like almost everything in life (except for coffee, shopping, and wrestling in the sheets), take these in moderation. They shouldn't harm you unless you already have skin issues, because parabens tend to only make matters worse without actually creating any issues in the first place. They won't cause the breakout, but rather, make it last longer if it is already there. I noticed this in college when I was using a foundation that had a ton of ingredients that ended in "paraben" (similar to silicone, it won't be listed alone but rather at the end of other big, fancy names) and my breakouts were getting worse instead of getting better, despite my routines to avoid breakouts. I actually use a foundation now that has parabens, but like I said, if there isn't a problem already, this one won't cause much trouble, and it really only creates an issue for your skin if the paraben party on the ingredient list exceeds one.
WATCH OUT FOR THIS IN: Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation

Skin Savers...My Best Beauty Friends!
1. Vitamin E - I noticed that when I started using a Vitamin E night cream at the beginning of this year, my face was cheery as hell. My combo skin practically turned normal and the issues were few and far between. This is great, too, for those gals that pop their breakouts and are left with scarring (apply pure vitamin E during those beauty-mishap moments). It helps with almost any skin issue. I just pop the gel pill and apply the stuff right to my face for a simple mask, but watch out..it has a gooey effect. For everyday vitamin-e use, I apply a night cream before bed.
LOOK FOR THIS: The Body Shop Vitamin E Night Cream, Pure Vitamin E Capsules
2. Salicylic Acid - Pretty obvious one, sure, but I apply this even when I don't have breakouts (just a thin layer every night). I was using so much benzoyl peroxide in college and it never worked for me. Why? The harshness of the product just made my irritated skin that much more irritated. You cannot overdo it when it comes to acne products; a little goes a loooong way in this case (something we all learn the hard way). I only use benzoyl peroxide now if I have one of those big, under-the-skin issues around "that time" and it helps eliminate it, but I never apply it to my entire face. I also use a 2% salicylic acid cleanser (Neutrogena Stress-Control) to keep my skin at bay.
LOOK FOR THIS: Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Wash, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
3. Birth Control - You may have seen me discuss this very briefly in my "Bag, Bitch" post, but it fits in perfectly here. I chose to take a birth control that actually has ingredients to help curb breakouts because I'm a vain son of a bitch and wanted them all gone, gone, gone! Almost all birth controls help with breakouts to some degree, but there are only a few out there that are designed for it. It takes a few months for your skin to adjust, and I'm not without the occasional breakout around "that time" but overall, it's probably my #1 weapon against bad skin; the more specific kinds actually help your skin produce less oil, eliminating pore congestion. "Talk to your doctor to see if birth control is right for you." Ok, commercial over, channel change.
LOOK FOR THIS: Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Tri-Sprintec (generic form of Ortho)

ALWAYS wash (always, always, always - yes, I'm talking to YOU late-night lazies. I've been there! Break the habit!) and ALWAYS exfoliate....gently. Your face needs attention but not aggression. If you're using a scrub for your daily wash, rub it in small, slow circles to avoid unwanted redness - it's a scrub for a reason, it can do the job without you pushing it! Daily exfoliation has helped my skin tremendously, too. I flip between Philosophy's Mircodelivery ($25) and Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant ($50). Both are extremely gentle and formulated for even the most sensitive skin - yay! I cannot go a day without using one or the other, truthfully. I swear on my twin brother by both products! (Why him? We used to say that to my parents when one of us did something and tried to get out of it; "I swear on my twin sister I didn't meeeean to!" Like the time he threw a hairbrush at my head when we were jumping on our beds as little tykes and my blonde hair turned ginger from all the blood...yep. Awesome. Side rant over.)

Now I want to to know what works for you or if there are any other culprits out there I should know about? I think I've said this in past posts, but I'd rather shell out on good great skincare products and be a cheap whore thrifty when it comes to makeup; a lot of drugstore makeup boats nearly identical (good!) ingredients without the huge price tag. My top three drugstore brands are:
1. Maybelline...have yet to use their products and find an issue.
2. Neutrogena...they're the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand for a reason.
3. Physicians Formula...gentle, paraben-free, and nearly organic (nearly, not completely).

So there you have it, my superficial rant on skincare busters and savers. Every face is different but it still helps to know what works for some, and I tend to enjoy reading posts like this, so why not write one?! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue :)

Until next time, farewell...


  1. Great article! I didn't know any of that info in the first section.

    My new favorite skincare product is Sisley Cucumber moisturizer. It's pretty expensive, but I love the way it makes my skin feel: soft and supple, but not greasy. They make a great night cream too.


  2. I love when you alliterate! =) I'm sad about Chanel Aqualumiere foundation though - have you tried teint innocence?

  3. Great review and post!! Super informative... love stuff like this.

    I need to try new things... I always stick to what I've been using for years... which isn't always a good thing!


  4. This is so wonderful reviw and tips!
    Thank You!

    xoxo Ra


Superficial Sanctuary


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