Kara15 Kara15
3 weeks ago

Thoughts on my cruelty-free routine?

Hi there! So excited to have found this site. The routine analysis feature is excellent. I have a lot of repeat ingredients in my routine and a high risk of irritation. I tend to use actives and exfoliators on an as-needed basis. Some times I get too excited to try too many products at once and my skin either gets a bit red or on rare occasion peels. Then I go back to basics and keep it simple with gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen. I wear sunscreen everyday, but rotate on the product depending on how I feel. The analysis warned I may not be getting enough sun protection. Is this because I state I use certain products every other day? In the mornings I usually just splash my face with water to cleanse. If I missed washing my face before, then I tend to use the earth science cleanser. I would say I have borderline sensitive to normal skin. I'm not really sure how to rank my sensitivity to be honest. I had rosacea on my cheeks when I was a kid, but seemed to grow out of it. I greatly suffered from acne as a teenager and in my early to mid-twenties. I still breakout monthly around my chin with 1-3 zits (yay hormones!) and occasionally on my cheeks and rarely on my forehead. I also tend to have a few closed comedones on my cheeks. Now I mostly suffer from acne scars and some hyper-pigmentation from the more recent breakouts. My skin used to be quite oily during the days I was terrorized by acne, but now it seems more normal to maybe a bit dry. I am also quite fair skinned, and notice occasional redness, particularly on my forehead. Not sure if this is just my skin colouring or due to sun damage or some sort of inflammation. My goals are to have clear, even, plump dewy skin, as well as to incorporate anti-aging where appropriate. I feel like I may be trying to target too much at once with too many products. Not sure how to balance all this. Should I remove something? Or keep doing what I'm doing? I am 32 years old and located in Canada. Cruelty-free products are an important value to me.

AM - Everyday
1
15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum The Inkey List - 15% Vitamin C + EGF Serum
2
Amino Acids + B5 The Ordinary - Amino Acids + B5
3
Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA The Ordinary - Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
4
Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment THE INKEY LIST - Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment
AM - Every other day
1
ADE Creamy Cleansing Lotion Earth Science - ADE Creamy Cleansing Lotion
2
Think Everyday Face Sunscreen - Naturally Tinted Thinkbaby and Thinksport Safer Products for Healthier Babies to Athletes - Think Everyday Face Sunscreen - Naturally Tinted
3
BB Perfecting Beauty Balm, Age Defying, SPF 30, Natural Tint Andalou Naturals - BB Perfecting Beauty Balm, Age Defying, SPF 30, Natural Tint
AM - Twice a week
1
SPF50 Face Lotion Sun Bum - SPF50 Face Lotion
PM - Everyday
1
Amino Acids + B5 The Ordinary - Amino Acids + B5
2
Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA The Ordinary - Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
3
Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment THE INKEY LIST - Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment
4
Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil ACURE - Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil
PM - Every other day
1
Gentle Moisture Non Petroleum Jelly Live Clean - Gentle Moisture Non Petroleum Jelly
2
Squalane Cleanser The Ordinary - Squalane Cleanser
3
ADE Creamy Cleansing Lotion Earth Science - ADE Creamy Cleansing Lotion
4
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% The Ordinary - Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
PM - Once a week
1
Retinol Inkey List - Retinol
2
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Welcome to WIMJ Kara! Super happy you find our tools helpful! Yes, it's possible that the tool hasn't picked up that you are using a sunscreen daily. I'd also check all the sunscreens that you are using to make sure they all provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection (on a product page for your sunscreens, check the "sun protection" sign - it should be bright green). I'd say your skin is sensitive because you are getting occasional reactions. Sensitive skin isn't really a type, it's more of a "state" - and too many products & actives can be the reason. So I'd say that finding a routine where you don't get any reactions would be a good priority. Every time the redness, peeling and other signs of an irritation happen, it means that there is inflammation going on in the skin, and it makes it more acne-prone and contributes to early aging for weeks after the reaction. It basically undoes all the good stuff we do with the actives.

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I've never had skin sensitivity described to me that way! Makes a lot of sense. I'll definitely cut back on the amount of actives I use at one time. Is it best to focus on products that address multiple issues you want to address? Or focus on one problem at a time? Thank you for your response. Much appreciated!

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My strategy is “saving” my skin’s tolerance for the most proven actives (for me it’s retinoids and ascorbic acid). The good news is that the best actives tend to be multitaskers any way (for example, retinoids work both against acne and for fighting photo damage, ascorbic acid is also good against photo aging and helps even out the skin tone, niacinamide works against acne, to restore skin barrier and also helps prevent early aging, azelaic acid also helps both with acne and the skin tone…). Maybe you could consider a re-set: going back to the most basic products and then adding your actives one by one in the order of how effective/targeted they are for your concern? (For me, retinoid is the top priority active, so I cut out all other stuff before if my skin gets dry / I suspect sensitivity before I’d stop using a retinoid) I am also wondering if going for a fragrance free gentle cleanser could be a good option for you - your current one contains citrus oils, they often contribute to irritation but don’t do anything good for the skin (they do smell nice though 😃)

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Thank you for all the advice! I'm definitely going to keep using the ascorbic acid and the retinol I have for now. I do like niacinamide, but sometimes I wonder if it's controlled my oil production too much? It could be something else though. I've actually been wanting to try azelaic acid but it's hard to find in Canada. I'll have to order it eventually :) I'll make a note for a gentler cleanser. It does specifically target dry and sensitive skin and leaves a nice smooth feel after, as its an oil cleanser. And you're right! It smells soooo goood :D I think the problems start when I use it along with other actives and it's too much at the same time. Definitely going to watch out more for that. The squalene from the ordinary I use most of the time will suffice for now while I go back to basics. Thanks again for you're help! I love this site :)

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Just realized the squalene cleanser is missing from my pm routine!

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There’s a dermatologist named Whitney Bowe who for a PM routine recommends what she calls skin cycling for best results. I think it makes so much sense! She says, after cleansing, Night 1: exfoliate with a chemical, not physical exfoliator. Then moisturize. Night 2: use a retinoid and then moisturize. Nights 3 and 4, don’t use any active ingredients but let your skin recover. Just use a moisturizer. Also I would use sun protection without the chemicals. They have been said to be very toxic.

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