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Here’s How My Skincare Routine Has Changed After 2 Years

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Acne-Pustules-Skincare-Routine_2

Instead of beautifully packaged bottles of serums, moisturizers, anti-aging creams and the sort, my skincare drawer is filled with clinical-looking tubes labelled with medical terms to tackle my crazy skin (more pictures below). I have acne and sensitive skin, which was exacerbated by the terrible facial I experienced more than 2 years ago.

You can read my previous skincare post here: My Skincare Regime (March, 2014)

My skincare routine seems to be of interest to many, so here’s an updated post on the products I use on a daily basis, their functions, those that I use when an outbreak happens, and more. Please remember that I am not qualified in any way to give accurate medical and technical explanations. 😛 . All these are based on my personal experience, from a consumer point of view. Most drugs mentioned in this post are controlled and can only be prescribed by doctors.

I have so far seen two dermatologists, both of whom have helped a lot with my skin issues. They are Dr Joyce from JOYCE LIM CLINIC, and Dr Gerard from CLIFFORD CLINIC. Oh, actually I saw another skin doctor at National Skin Centre, which was a real waste of time and MONEY. I wrote about it on my Dayre: Doctors who don’t give a shit (Sad to know that many people have had bad experiences with lousy doctors too)

Acne-Pustules-Skincare-Routine_1

Skincare Essentials

Currently, these are the products I use on a daily basis, in the following sequence:

Acne-Pustules-Skincare-Routine_3

[1] Aknicare Cleanser

It states that it is a ‘solution for removal of excessive sebum from acneic and seborrhoeic skin’. It is a liquid cleanser specially formulated for acne. When my skin goes into unpredictable periods of super dry and scaly skin, I use less of this and switch to Joyce Lim Foam Cleanser (forgot to include it in the picture) which I feel is milder. When my skin recovers from the dryness, I use this Aknicare Cleanser. It cleans well and I think has helped to balance out excessive sebum.

This bottle is my third repurchase from Clifford Clinic. Mr Mode secretly used it and I wondered how I managed to use it up so quickly. Lol. So I bought a bottle for him, and wrote his name on it. *territorial*

[2] T2 Clindamycin Lotion

This is for the ‘topical treatment of acne vulgaris’. I dab it on affected areas and the tingly feeling can sometimes sting/hurt my super-sensitive skin, especially when it’s very, very dry. But I think I’m used to/addicted to that kind of pain. #sadlaugh

I was prescribed this by the NSC doctor, which Dr Gerard later confirmed as good. I guess that’s the only good thing that came out of NSC.

[3] Aknicare Treatment Lotion

This is a ‘lotion for acne prone seborrhoeic skin’. I dab it on affected areas after Clindamycin.

[4] Joyce Lim Antioxidant Moisture Infusion

This must be my sixth repurchase. It is lightweight, non-greasy, and is one of the rare few moisturizers that do not make my skin break out.

[5] Stieva-A Cream Tretinoin 0.1%

I previously used 0.01%, prescribed by Dr Joyce. Dr Gerard bumped up the dosage to 0.1%. I have a love-hate relationship with Stieva-A. It dries out my skin so bad I often suffer from peeling and scaly skin. At the same time, it’s precisely because it controls excessive production oil that helps in acne prevention.

[6] Aknicare Skin Roller

I roll this over affected areas. I find that the efficacy of this product declines with more use.

I Will Never Recover

When people see me on the streets or from pictures I post, they assume that my skin has ‘recovered very well’. They probably caught me on good skin days. My skin will NEVER recover from the effects of the facial, because I’ve been battling with new skin issues ever since it happened. In the past I had acne-prone skin but not serious, some sensitivity but not serious either. I could change foundations regularly without fear. I had some pimples here and there, but not to the extent of having to take medicines and use dermatological products LIKE NOW.

After the facial, my skin became hyper sensitive, more prone to acne outbreaks, becomes very dry all of a sudden, then very oily, can itch like crazy, and with every new product I try, I feel like I’m taking a GAMBLE. Even doctor-prescribed stuff can pose challenges.

My skin goes through erratic cycles of pustular acne, dry skin, oily skin, peeling skin. It’s a whole new level of skin issues.

This may look like normal skin to you. But to me it’s fantastic skin that happens rarely. I had to DIG to find a photo like that, and I do take pictures of my skin almost every day. It has become a habit.

Acne-Treatment-Singapore-Day-182---17-Jul

Most of the time, I’m battling skin issues such as this:

Acne-Treatment-Singapore-Day-156---20-Jun

I’ll be writing on how it feels to live with a skin condition in a separate post on. :(

For now, you might want to read my Acne Treatment Journey, where I documented my skin progress from January to April 2015 in a diary format. From when I wrote the post till now, my skin has gone through a lot of changes. I share a lot more of my skin struggles and daily life on my Dayre (@bunbunmakeup).

Products On Standby

Besides my daily essentials, I have these ready in case of outbreaks or when one product doesn’t seem to work for this variation of acne. Lol.

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[1] Stieva-A Tretinoin Cream USP 0.01%

0.01% from Dr Joyce.

[2] Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%

Dr Joyce prescribed this as a substitute for Dalacin T when it stopped working for me. Both are prescription medication known as a retinoid and is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris.

[3] Forban Cream

Foban Ointment 2% is used as a topical treatment for bacterial skin infections, including primary skin infections like: impetigo (a contagious skin infection forming blisters or red spots), paronychia (infection of the nail fold), folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles) and erythrasma (infection in skin folds in areas like underarms, groin and between the toes); as well as secondary skin infections like infected cuts and abrasions, eczema and contact dermatitis. Foban Ointment 2% prevents the spread of susceptible bacteria, relieving symptoms of the infection. (Source: www.inhousepharmacy.vu)

[4] Retacnyl Tretinoin Cream 0.025%

I think this is similar to Stieva-A. It is used for treating or taking care of photoaged skin, acne and additional problems which create problems in the development of the skin’s stratum corneum.

[5] Neo-Medrol Acne Lotion

This is a combination medication that contains two active ingredients: neomycin and methylprednisolone. Neomycin is an antibiotic that helps kill the bacteria that may cause or aggravate acne. Methylprednisolone is an anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce the redness and swelling associated with acne. Methylprednisolone is in a class of drugs called steroids. Methylprednisolone prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

[6] Desonide Desowen Lotion Corticosteroid 0.05%

This is ‘for the relief of the inflammatory and pruitic manifestation of corticosteroid – responsive dermatoses’. Desonide is a steroid. It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Dr Joyce prescribed this to bring down the initial inflammation/infection very quickly.

[7] Centellase Ointment 1%

For the treatment of wounds and ulcers, helps in fading scars too. But I don’t use this.

[8] Isotrexin Gel

This is ‘for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris’.

Isotrexin contains two medicines–erythromycin and isotretinoin. Erythromycin is an antibiotic and works by stopping the growth of bacteria associated with acne. Isotretinoin stops the formation of blackheads or whiteheads. Both medicines also work to reduce the inflammation that occurs with acne.

Isotrexin can cause skin to become more sensitive to all forms of UV light.

[9] Papulex Oil-Free Cream

This is a moisturizer for acne prone skin, newly prescribed by Dr Gerard. It is oil-free, non-photosensitizing, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free. Yet, it is still too rich for me. It gave me bumps which threatened to transform into pustules, so I stopped after 2 days and went back to using Dr Joyce’s moisturizer.

Other Treatments

Yay, finally, some products you don’t have to see a doctor for. HOHO. :)

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Uriage Thermal Water

Just recently, my neck started to itch for no reason. There are no bumps, just extremely itchy. Some kind of mild rash. I scratched till my skin peeled and bled! :( The Uriage Thermal Water helped to ease the itch and relieve some pain. Review: Uriage Thermal Water

Nexcare Acne Patch

Omg I need to share this wonderful invention with you! THIS IS MY BEST FRIEND.

Whenever I spot pustules (becoz they never stop at one -.-) appearing, I stick the acne patch on the pustule. Sometimes I even pop them. I know some people say it’s not good to pop whiteheads, but I use a sanitized needle and immediately stick the acne patch on. I leave the patches on overnight and also don’t mind going about my day with several stickers on my face LOL. They work like a sponge to absorb pus and oil from acne blemishes. When I remove them after 6-8 hours, the stickers turns white when all the oil has been absorbed. The pimple would be smaller, flatter, dryer, and there is no scarring. It’s an amazing product!

There’s the original version which is thicker and fun packs which come with star, heart, and other shapes. I am using the newer version which is thinner and comes with an applicator so I don’t get fingerprints on the sticker. I buy 2-3 packs every other week because I go through them very quickly.

Diet

I eat healthy and balanced meals. I’m lucky I never fancied oily, deep fried food that much, so I don’t feel like there’s a huge change in diet. I also make sure I drink at least 2 litres of water every day. Helps that my favorite beverage is water. =)

Eye Care

Since we are on the topic of skincare, I thought I might as well share some of the eye care products I recently and currently use.

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[1] Janmarini Age Intervention Dark Circle Eye Defense

There are 60 beautiful gold capsules that you twist open to get product for each use.

[2] Belif Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream

This claims to encourage increment in collagen production. I like the herbal and refreshing scent.

[3] Philosophy Miracle Worker

This is an anti-aging retinoid eye repair gel. It has a distinct silicone which helps to reduce appearance of fine lines around the eyes. I use it only in the day, don’t really want any silicone on my eyes overnight.

[4] Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye

This claims to revive tired eyes overnight and has a paraben-free formula that’s safe for sensitive skin. 

[5] Lancome Genefique Yeux Light Pearl Eye Illuminating Youth Activator

I love the unique rotating and massaging applicator which can reach even the most inaccessible eye areas. I used this down to the very last drop.

[6] Biotherm Aquasource Total Eye Revitalizer

I love the instant cooling feeling on my eyes when I apply this. My eye area feels refreshed and hydrated each time I use this. I always love looking at the mint-colored gel with hologramic purple hue.

[7] Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment

This contains maracuja fruit, vitamin C and advanced botanicals, rice bran, mango and coconut. Due to its richer texture, I use it only at night.

I think essentially all eye creams are not too different from one another. The ingredients and claims are pretty much the same – hydrate, firm, brighten. That’s why I’m not particular about eye creams – as long as I have some protective layer on, I’m good. If it has a thicker texture, I’ll use it at night; if it is lightweight, I’ll use it during the day. 

What I’ve listed above are skincare products I personally use and some were prescribed by qualified doctors. What work for me might not work for you. Get a doctor (the ones I mentioned are from Singapore) to help you, and don’t stop trying to find the right blend of ingredients that work for you. (It’s a neverending battle for me too, as you saw from above)

All the best! 😀

 

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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

  • Ashesela

    Argh I love reading skincare routine posts! Those acne patches sound way awesome!! I’m going to be trying Stieva A soon and I hope it turns out okay (bit scared XD). Wishing you the best!

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Perhaps you can start on a smaller dosage for Stieva first. =)

  • MedhatterSG

    Thank you for sharing your range of skincare products!

    Medhatter SG is an online health and lifestyle publication, do check it out as we are running a contest for free eyelash extensions worth $130!

    http://medhatter.sg/lash-out-with-eyelash-extensions

  • Cecilia

    Appreciate your sharing. I too suffer from acne, and it’s worse since I have oily t-zone yet dehydrated skin. Topical acne cream that works will usually make my skin flake.
    Anyway, have you measured your skin and product’s pH level to ensure they are in the healthy zone?

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Same! The same product that combats excessive sebum is the one that makes my dehydrated skin flake. Booo. That’s why I use a light moisturizer to help balance out the dryness.
      Where do I get my skin’s pH level tested? That sounds interesting!

      • Cecilia

        I did it the lazy way. Bought some litmus paper from qoo10, and tested the product directly while I am using them.
        I’ve read that ideal skin is slightly acidic and it will only revert to it’s original ph neutral state after half hour or more depending on skin condition. Thus if one is using a particularly alkaline cleanser (especially those foaming sort), your skin will be in a alkaline state for x period of time. And that time is enough to create havoc on your skin.

  • 50 Shades Of Snail

    Oh my God, I had no idea that you were still suffering the effects of that facial :( But you have such a great and positive attitude towards it all. Love your blog!

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Yeah, it’s a whole new set of problems. =( Thank you for reading and staying with me!

  • Jasmine

    Hi Juli,

    I totally understand how bad acne can be to the self-esteem. I struggled with acne for 14 years. It’s possible to have clear skin again. I achieved it after searching for a cure for 14 years. Previously, I suffered from depression and even refused to look at mirrors and take photos.

    Just wanted to point out some details here. I see some points that I am concerned with.

    1) If the cleanser that you are currently using makes you feel tight and dry, it’s not the right cleanser for you. It’s just too dry. It doesn’t mean that it’s ‘balancing out your excessive sebum’.

    2) Since you are into makeup, fyi, there’s a list of comedogenic ingredients in makeup that can cause clogged pores and acne. I have listed down those ingredients in a table. You can check out the table from this link : goo.gl/yWYKpo

    3) I have used Stieva A cream in different strengths before. I have a separate story on Stieva A creams dosage but I do not think it’s very convenient to share here. If you would like, I can share with you privately my experiences and which dosage helped me best. One of the dosage made my skin super sensitive and flush in the sun while the other was the one that was added in my regime to help cure my acne.

    Regards,
    Jasmine

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Oh that’s so cool! Thanks for the table of comedogenic ingredients. I’ll definitely refer to it next time I go shopping for stuff. Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

    • Jas

      Which stieva A cream works for u?

  • Lynlyn

    Hi Juli. Can I ask what are the oral medicines ur taking from the dr? Thanks;)

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Hello! Previously I took aldactone and doxycycline. Currently I’m taking dalacin. It’s better to consult your doctor. =)

  • Jaimee Silva

    Just found your blog this week. I haven’t read yet about this awful facial you had. However, I do share an adult onset acne – cystic and just all over. I too stopped wearing makeup for a few months. To this day I don’t know what caused it! Nothing made it go away and healed my skin like taking 6,000 mg of vitamin C. This was on the recommendation of a friend. I did research before. I was already taking 4,000 mg. Since June 2014 my skin has cleared up and healed a bunch! Also, barely any new breakouts!

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      I make sure the products I use are non-comedogenic. Thanks for sharing about the Vitamin C. Is it in tablet form?

      • Jaimee Silva

        Yes, I take 6 pills that are 1,000 mg each.

  • Hjelena Bear

    Your post is fascinating but I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the products and creams mentioned. I’ll have to read it a few more times to take it in!

    I’m looking at my own creams (NHS, UK so they didn’t cost anything) prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist after being diagnosed with acne vulgaris (literally ‘common acne’). Whilst they’re different brands, they’re still things like Differin 0.1% w/w gel, Skinoren cream with azelaic acid (I guess for the redness and bumps, which I use at night), and a clear gel with tretinoin for the day that isn’t too drying. These creams are just to be used on the spots, however, the rest of my face is a bit too dry for my liking and I haven’t found a good moisturiser for that.

    I’ve also struggled with finding a good primer, one that can reduce my pores and work with my foundations. I’ve read your recommendations for these, although where I’m living now I can’t always access those brands. So far,I’m not impressed with Mac’s Prep+Prime moisture infusion (makes no difference). Maybeline’s Baby Skin pore eraser was given to me by a friend and, whilst it was ok, but I don’t think it held my makeup well. I also tried Khiel’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, which is slightly tinted, but it seems to be too strong and slightly irritating to my skin.

    My only real succes with a primer was a simple Body Shop one. As a matt primer, their clear one is the best I’ve come across (except now, I want to get away from matt and would really prefer a dewy look). I got a sample of their 5-in-1 primer yesterday (didn’t want to buy it outright as it’s 5 times more expensive than the matt one). I’ll try to let you know how well that works.

    In the end I wish that I (and you) didn’t need to use all of this stuff! At the very least, it would be nice if we only needed to resort to them for the occasional break out. But you seem to be doing the right thing and, as long as you keep healthy with your diet and water intake, you’re giving your skin the best chance at looking its best.

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Haha, I took a long time to get this post up too! Yeah, wish we didn’t have to go through all these skin issues. =( Only people with skin issues truly understand how it feels. Keep going, friend!

  • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

    Hello! I actually just take whatever my doctor prescribes haha. Sometimes the products/meds work, sometimes they don’t, so I’m still trying to find a combination that will work for a long time.

  • http://lovesolive.blogspot.sg Miranda Lim

    Hey Juli!

    I suffered from all these things in the past you’ve mentioned especially from the effects from facial. I don’t understand why some people love to go for facial treatments?! They are very harmful for our skin in the long term and can cause scarring and larger pores and I’ve sadly learned the hard way. Like you I at first seeked the National Skin Centre for help and yup, it was a TOTAL waste of money because the antibiotics is just a temporary solution. I’ve seen a dermatologist from Tan-Teoh Clinic at Boon Keng and within a few months, their Tretinoin cream has helped to clear a lot of acne.

    I realise I have wheat allergy just beginning this year (…after living for more than 20 years…sigh…) and whenever the allergy awakens my skin is super dry, itchy and sensitive (I normally have oily skin) and I try hard not to scratch but sometimes can’t help myself so there’s a little bit of scarring. Right now my skin condition is like your first photo, but I have frequent breakouts especially during my period.

    By any chance if you’re looking for a good moisturizer, I highly recommend the Blanc Snail Moisturizer from Qoo10. This product has helped tremendously in balancing my skin’s moisture level. Its non-sticky, moisturizing but not oily at all. My skin stopped producing as much sebum and is less oily now. I’m also applying Vitamin C serum every night in hopes of clearing the old scars.

    I’ve done a little bit of research and found out that our skin works best at around pH 5.5. You might want to check out Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner from Qoo10. This is suitable for sensitive skin types. I don’t care about toners in the past but I came to realise the importance of it. Besides from clearing any residue and dirt from our skin, it helps to balance the pH level of our skin. Since then I’ve religiously used a toner before I apply other products.

    Also, I don’t go out of my house without applying sunscreen. After watching tons of videos about the harmful effects of UV rays, I was determined to use sunscreens. There’s no visible effect but I do believe a little protection goes a long way (especially after starting the Vitamin C thing). I use the Bioré UV Aqua Rich which has a gel-like texture. It is a light yellow cream/gel but after applying its transparent so it wouldn’t affect the color of foundation or makeup.

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Miranda. Sometimes I wonder if I have a food allergy too. I’ve been eating prawns my whole life but recently discovered that whenever I eat seafood, especially prawns, I tend to get a reaction between the brows and around the nose bridge.

      Glad to know you found a doctor that can help you with your acne condition. I also have managed to find one that has helped to stabilize mine. =)

      Yes I agree sunscreen is very important. Just make sure it’s non-comedogenic. I do like the Biore one too and did a review not too long ago. ^_^

    • Jas

      Hi, may i know what exactly currd your acne? Since u mention that antiobiotics is just short term? I have taken both oral antiobiotics and stieva A with a topical antiobiotic. However acne still comes back a lot.

  • Jas

    Hi, sad to know your experience at national skin centre was bad. Did u put on makeup during your consultation? Maybe he couldn’t see how it was without makeup. I have been to NSC many times also for my acne issues. All of them would take the time to examine my face before concluding the diagnosis. The doctor i remmeber was Suzanne, she was quite patient. Sometimes its the doctors that make a difference..

  • Girlrox

    Hi, I would like to know which topical creams are good with blackheads! I’ve been battling it for years now.

    • http://www.bunbunmakeuptips.com Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      I don’t really apply anything specific for blackheads so I’m sorry I can’t give you the best advice!

  • shxl

    hello, wanna ask if the acne patch works for cystic acne? i’m having a cystic acne break out since few months ago and i can’t afford derma.. :( i need home remedies cause i really can’t bear going out with my face red after facial (never done before but seen on blogs etc) and unable to cover with makeup..

    i’m using laneige whitening bb cushion and innisfree stick concealer. i’m a newbie at makeup too so i have no idea if they are ‘non-comedogenic’ or not, can you help me with it thank you so much!!

    my skincare:
    1) Biore Aqua Jelly Makeup Remover
    2) Laneige Multi Cleanser
    3) Byphasse toner
    4) Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence
    5) Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule
    6) Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum
    7) Melaleuca Oil T36-C5

    i used to use Oxy 5 but recently i’ve been getting too much cystic acne that i switched to tea tree oil but it seems to give me more cystic acne…not sure if it’s just purging the dirt since i’m using it for 2 days up till now only.