Priscillaaaa asked to review her anti-blemish routine - the original post is here: https://whatsinmyjar.com/posts/766. And the "made over" routine is here.
--Issues with the original routine--
Priscillaaaa's original routine includes potent anti-acne actives salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid can exfoliate inside the pores. This helps to reduce clogged pores. Benzoyl peroxide can prevent growth of acne-triggering bacteria. The issue is that both of these actives can be irritating. With salicylic acid, it is important not to overdo it, otherwise the skin barrier can become weak. If this happens, the skin can be more prone to inflammation and irritation (and this can even lead to more acne). Benzoyl peroxide can also irritate the skin and cause dryness. It can also disrupt the skin microbiome if overused. On top of that, the toner in the original routine contains a high concentration of drying alcohol. It it better to avoid it, especially if the skin is prone to acne.
--Changes we recommend--
We kept both of the anti-acne actives from the original routine, and even added two new ones, retinoid and azelaic acid. Retinoids help reduce oil production, decrease inflammation, and regulate the skin turnover. They are one of the most effective ingredients against clogged pores and acne. Retinoids also have another benefit: they also help prevent early signs of aging. Another plus is that they do not disrupt the skin microbiome. This is why we prefer retinoids over benzoyl peroxide for a long-term anti-blemish strategy. It is still important to be careful with retinoids though. They can be irritating. The good news is that the irritation risk with retinoids decreases as the skin gets used to them. We chose a retinoid serum from Indeed Labs: it is a great formulation that won't break the bank.
Azelaic acid is a great gentle anti-blemish active. It supports the normal skin microbiome, can help reduce oiliness and inflammation. We added a budget-friendly azelaic acid serum from the Inkey List to the AM step.
To reduce the irritation risk of this potent routine, we removed the alcohol-containing toner and decreased the frequency for both leave-in salicylic acid and bezoyl peroxide. We also recommend to skin the morning cleanse, and only splash the face with tepid or cool water in the morning.
We also changed the cleanser to a one that contains milder surfactants. Priscillaaaa has a cleanser with salicylic acid in the original routine, and the new one we chose has it as well. Salicylic acid is less irritating if used in a cleanser. (Still, in case Priscillaaaa gets any signs of irritation when using the new routine, we'd suggest to switch to a mild cleanser without any exfoliating or anti-acne ingredients).
While we kept benzoyl peroxide in the new routine (LRP Effaclar Duo), we recommend Priscillaaaa to stop using it after a month or two, as the number of inflamed blemishes decreases.
Finally, we added a broad-spectrum mineral tinted sunscreen for the AM, and a solid but lightweight moisturizer for the PM.
The final routine is even more potent than the original one, but with a reduced irritation risk. Still, the irritation risk remains high, and we'd recommend Priscillaaaa to watch the skin reaction. If any signs of irritation (redness, flaking, strong dryness or tightness) appear, we recommend to pause the benzoyl peroxide and switch to a cleanser without exfoliants.
P.S.: If you'd like that we do a full makeover for your routine as well, post it and mention in your post that you'd like the help of the Routine Makeover Wizard! :) - we'll do as many as possible.