My Current Skincare Routine

What I use on my skin now that my face is clear |

Since my acne cleared, I have been less aggressive with my skin care routine. For instance, instead of using an acne treatment product every single day, I've cut back to once every two days. It's kind of like going into a maintenance regimen for post-acne skin care. With minimal active acne to treat, the idea is to maintain clear skin while preventing potential pimples.

Some people can grow out of acne or take a few courses of Accutane and never break out again. For most people though, acne is an ongoing battle. In my experience, there is no treatment that permanently clears your skin so that you never have to worry about acne again. The truth is, for people who are acne-prone, maintaining clear skin means always trying to prevent acne, even if your skin is already clear.

So, I would like to take a minute to share what I do to make sure my skin stays acne-free all the time.
My Current Skin

How my skin looks today

I don't use the exact same products on my skin from when I still had pimples, but the basics remain the same:

These are the only things I ever put on my face. As I get older though, I will probably try to wean my skin onto retinoids again for anti-aging benefits. As of the date of this writing, what I use on my skin is catered toward keeping my skin clear, as well as preventing wrinkles.

Here is my most current skin care routine that keeps my face 98% clear and under control:

NOTE: For reference, I have dry, acne-prone, clog-prone, pigmentation-prone, redness/flushing-prone skin and still get zits every now and then. The products that are crossed out are the products I used to use but don't use anymore. The superscripts mark when I have changed my skin care routine and link to explanations below as to why I added or removed certain products. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask by leaving a comment or sending me a message.

My Current Skin Care Routine

A.M. Routine:

P.M. Routine:


  • Daily supplements: omega-3 (fish oil), multi-vitamin, cinnamon extract8

Hygiene Habits

  • Every day: Wash glasses with old cleansers
  • Once every two days: Change pillow case cover
  • Once a week: Wipe down everything with alcohol pad (cell phone, keyboard, mouse, steering wheel, etc); Clean makeup brushes and other beauty tools; Clean room
  • Once every two weeks: Wash sheets
  • Once a month: Deep clean room and house

UPDATE 10/11/11:

1 I ran out of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and decided to see how my skin would react if I just used Albolene and water as my cleanser. So far so good! After not using Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser for 3 months, my skin is still pretty much the same. There has been no increase in breakouts or clogged pores. Some mornings I will use Albolene, but if I'm in a hurry or running late, I'll just splash my face with water. In the evenings, I remove my sunscreen/makeup with Albolene before jumping in the shower. Water from the shower seems to remove enough of the cleanser to make my skin feel moisturized but not overly greasy compared to when I just tissue off and rinse at the sink. Back to the top

2 Having used up my previous sunscreen, I decided to test out some other ones. I settled on Shiseido's Anessa SPF 46+++ Mild Face Sunscreen. It does not break me out or make my skin feel greasy or heavy. I like the finish (you can't even feel it on your skin) and it doesn't sting my eyes. The only downside is that you pay a lot of money for a really tiny bottle and Shiseido Anessa sunscreens are not available in every country.

You might notice that I use a lot of Shiseido products. It's not that I am loyal to one brand or anything, but I am averse to changing products when I know something works for me. Of course I get curious and sometimes want to try something else just to see if there's something better out there. But, usually these experiments leave me with more irritated skin and less money, so I try to stick to my rule of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Back to the top

3 I also wanted to see what effect the clindamycin gel was actually having on my skin, so I took it out of my routine for a few months. My skin was no different, so I stopped using clindamycin gel after I ran out since my skin seems indifferent to it. This is good news because it will save me some extra money! Back to the top

Update 8/30/12:

4 I ran out of my tub of Cetaphil Cream and started to use only Albolene as both my cleanser and moisturizer. My skin is actually liking this! The downside is that Albolene can get a little greasy, but wiping with a damp towel makes it feel a lot less heavy. I might go back to using a moisturizer though. Something like Cetaphil Cream just sinks into your skin faster and doesn't leave you feeling oily. Back to the top

Update 5/07/13:

5 I ran out of my Paula's Choice BHA and AHA treatments and wanted to experiment with other products. A friend of mine recommended Aqua Glycolic Facial Cleanser, which has 14% glycolic acid in it. I tried it out and ended up really loving it. It's gentle enough to not dry out my already dry skin (the BHA and AHA had a tendency to give me dry skin flakes on my nose), yet makes my skin feel soft and keeps the clogs at bay. The higher concentration of glycolic acid is actually not irritating because the cleanser is not left on your skin for as long as a treatment gel or serum. An added bonus is, you can actually use a thicker amount of this cleanser and leave it on your skin longer to be an exfoliating mask if you want a more penetrating treatment. With this cleanser in my arsenal, I did not feel like I needed to use additional BHA or AHA products. Back to the top

6 I am starting to use my DIY Vitamin C serum again. I fell off the bandwagon because I got lazy about making a fresh batch each week, but now that I have committed myself to being diligent about making and using the C serum, I am really loving the results. It seems to refine my skin, as well as even out pigmentation issues faster than exfoliating. If I could summarize what a Vitamin C serum does in one word it would be: brighten. The good thing is, the C serum sinks into my skin really fast, so it's easy to use and the extra step of applying the C serum does not add that much extra time to my skin care routine. Back to the top

7 I am always curious about super moisturizing moisturizers because of my dry skin. When I heard of the Elta MD Intense Moisturizer, I knew I had to try it. It has minimal ingredients and has a very similar consistency and texture to Albolene. You first splash your skin with water and then massage a tiny amount of the moisturizer into your skin. You wait for it to sink in and then pat off any excess. While I love me my Albolene, it can get a bit greasy. The good thing about the Elta MD Intense Moisturizer is it moisturizes without feeling heavy. A small jar of it has lasted me a very long time too, so it's definitely worth the money for me. Back to the top

8 I started to take cinnamon extract to help with my sugar cravings. Cinnamon has a lot of health benefits (too many to go into detail here) and taking 2 pills after I eat lunch really seems to cut down on my random cravings. And since I notice my skin looking worse when I eat more junk food and sugar, eating less junk food and sugar is making my skin look more consistent (versus getting random breakouts). Back to the top

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My Experience with Laser Treatments for Acne

Last updated: May 7, 2013

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