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What is breaking you out: the Skincare Ingredients You Need to Know About! + Bonus Review of ZenMed

what is breaking you out + skincare ingredients

“What is breaking you out?” is a question many of us ask ourselves whenever we see yet another dreaded zit pop up.  Is it that time of the month already?  Did I eat one two many slices of pizza the other day?  Or was it that new moisturizer I used?

With so many skincare products in the market, it’s hard to make a decision and find out what works best for you. What determines a good product from a bad one are the ingredients.  Better known as the sneaky culprit.  You think you’re skincare is helping your skin but what if your skincare is the one causing your breakouts?

Whenever we get breakouts, we’re always asking, “What is breaking you out?”  And with so many different culprits out there.  It’s sometimes hard to determine. But here’s a guide to help you on your journey.

What is breaking you out

Hormones, poor diet, stress, and your skincare routine are all possible culprits.

Once you’re pass that time of the month and you’ve started to eat healthier.  You still don’t notice that much change to your skin. Well, here’s when your skincare may be the problem.  Many skincare products, especially high-end ones, tend to have heavy fragrances.  These fragrances can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.

Lately, I’ve been way more careful with what I put on my face.  And I’ve learned very quickly expensive does NOT mean better.  I tried out the shisheido white lucent line recently and it broke me out. The line has a pretty strong floral scent to it and a list of ingredients I cannot pronounce.  Either way, my face was red, blotchy, and covered in little red bumps for weeks after using their cleanser one time!  I’m not sure what ingredient in the line broke me out but I’m staying far, far away from the brand now.

In skincare, I think less is more which is why I’m super excited to share with you my experience with ZenMed.

Zenmed products are paraben and fragrance free.  YAY!  I’ve been using their gel cleanser for months now and I’m happy to say that my skin feels clean and soft.  I know what you’re thinking a gel cleanser?  Most gel cleansers on the market are harsh and leave the skin feeling stripped and tight.  But this one from Zenmed is super gentle.  It cleans my skin without stripping it.  Plus, it’s pretty good at dissolving my waterproof makeup too.

Another product I love from Zenmed is there Skin protecting lotion with SPF 30.  The lotion hydrates my dry face and feels light on the skin.  It absorbs quickly too so you’re not left with a sticky film.

If you’re currently suffering from a random breakout, then take a look at your diet, stress levels, cycle, and skincare for answers.  If skincare is the culprit then take a look at the list below.  These ingredients actually cause breakouts in a lot of people.

The Skincare Ingredients You Need To Know

  • parabens (such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben) can clog pores or even mess with the hormones in your body
  • alcohol can dry-out your skin, leaving you with skin that feels raw and tight
  • fragrance irritates the skin
  • dimethicone (silicone product) clogs pores

For more information: check out this great blog post about Silicon vs. Silicone

**Disclaimer: I received the ZenMed products free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

Find Out How I Cleared Up My Skin in 1 Month + My Must-Have Skincare Products for Cystic Acne

clear skin in 1 monthI cleared up my skin in 1 month!  Is it possible?  Yes, it is! #Iwokeuplikethis can be a reality.  Clear skin is a combination of products and diet.  So find out what works for you.  To give you some ideas, check out what I’ve been doing this month.

For me, acne is not something new I’ve been struggling with it since my first breakout in middle school.  I blame genetics for my terrible acne.

But for the passed five years, I’ve had a pretty good control over it.  I didn’t break out terribly until last month.  My skin got progressively worst through the summer but by October/November I had clusters of cystic acne.

cleared up my skin in 1 month

One month later…find out how I cleared up my skin in 1 month and the products I’ve been loving!

cleared up my skin in 1 month

How I Cleared Up My Skin in 1 Month

First, my skin got used to the products I’ve been using so the Neutrogena on-the-spot cream with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide was no longer cutting it.

For more information about skin changes, click here!

I started using the Neutrogena Rapid spot treatment with 10% benzoyl peroxide and my skin started clearing up again.  The stronger treatment also dries out my skin so I have added a thicker moisturizer to my skin routine and a gentler cleanser too.

Because the 10% benzoyl peroxide is so drying, I’ve also incorporated hydrating masks and a serum with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.  The hyaluronic acid is perfect for hydrating and the vitamin C is great for brightening.  This is a win-win combo!

But my diet has also been a factor.  I’ve been dairy-free for two months now and my skin looks and feels so much better.

Dairy is packed with hormones and can cause your skin to create excess sebum.  This pore-clogging oil will produce acne concentrated in the chin and jaw-line.

For more information on what could be causing your breakouts, check out this article from InStyle!

My Current Must-Have Products

I cleared up my skin in 1 month with these five products:

First on the list is a 10% Benzoyl peroxide treatment gel.  This stuff works!  Sadly salicylic acid never did anything for my face and most of the products targeted towards acne is made with salicylic acid.  Where are my benzoyl peroxide folks at?  There are only three brands at the drugstore that are made with benzoyl peroxide: AcneFree, some Neutrogena, some Clean and Clear, and Up and up (target brand).

Next, I have my favorite serum of the moment.  DermaE concentrated vitamin C serum.  It has a ton of vitamin C to help your skin look more radiant plus an added bonus of hyaluronic acid for a good dose of hydration.

Another DermaE favorite is the Psorzema cream, which is a thick facial moisturizer that leaves skin feeling hydrated and soft without being sticky.  For extra hydration I love layering the Laniege water sleeping mask on top of it!

My gentle cleansers of choice include: Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm and the Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean cleansing milk. They’re both super gentle while also being really effective at washing my makeup off and all the dirt I accumulated throughout the day.

What are your current Must-have products?

The Benefits of Vitamin C Serum for Your Skin + Review of Jan Marini C-esta Serum

vitamin c serum

If you suffer from deep cystic acne then you understand the struggle.  Skin texture is virtually impossible to cover up and extremely hard to get rid of.  But the idea of at-home derma-rolling seems scary and unsafe.  So, I turned to serums.

Lately, I’ve been using the Jan Marini C-esta Serum.  This serum is packed with vitamin C, which is one of my favorite skincare ingredients!

The Benefits of Vitamin C Serum for Your Skin

Vitamin C is not just great for giving your immune system a boost, it’s also amazing for your skin.  Vitamin C increases collagen production which helps to brighten and tone your skin.  Your skin naturally becomes more dull as dead skin cells pile up and sometimes exfoliation just isn’t enough especially when you’re going through a breakout.

And if you have cystic acne, physical exfoliant can be too harsh and even painful.  So, an AHA or BHA toner will be perfect to gently exfoliate the skin without further damaging it.  Follow-up the toner with a vitamin C serum to increase collagen production and help your skin heal faster.

A high-quality vitamin C serum can also reduce the damage from UV rays and prevent premature wrinkling.  The Jan Marini Vitamin C serum is gentle and effective.  The serum is virtually scent-free so it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin.  Plus, the serum has hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin.  This serum is also packed with vitamins B and E so it’s perfect for every skin type.

For more information, on the science behind why vitamin C is so amazing for the skin, click HERE!

Before and After

This first photo is before using the serum.  You can see the texture of my skin especially on my cheeks and all the marks and scarring from past breakouts. My pores are also a whole lot more prominent in this photo.

vitamin C serum

This second photo is taken after a full month of using the Jan Marini C-esta serum.  My scarring is reduced and overall skin texture is smoother.  Plus, my pore size is reduced also! Just look at what a month can do!

vitamin c serum

Have you tried a vitamin C serum before?  Which one is your favorite?

**Disclaimer: I received the serum free for reviewing purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own.**

healing blemishes

The Key to Healing Blemishes Quickly: Cleanse, Tone, Treat, and Nourish

Is it just me or does it seem like blemishes comes in pairs?  Here’s how to treat those little monsters and help them go away faster!

The Key to Healing Blemishes Quickly

Healing blemishes can seem like a daunting task.  However, you can easily treat it with these four easy steps:

First step is cleansing.  When you cleanse well, your pores are clean.  Clogged pores are a major factor in skin breakouts. But be careful to not over-cleanse because you can dry out your skin be depleting it of all its natural skin oils.  The production of excess sebum is another major factor in skin breakouts.

After your face is clean, tone, tone, tone.  A toner with AHA or BHA helps chemically exfoliate the skin to improve skin cell renewal.  This will give you smoother and more radiant skin.  Once my toner is on, I like to apply a mask.

Masking can heal and nourish your skin.  One of my favorite things to do is double-masking.  I apply a purifying mask over my breakouts and a hydrating mask over the rest of my face.  The purifying mask extracts all the gunk out and the hydrating mask leaves my skin feeling soft and plump. Once I wash these masks off, I like to treat myself to a sheet mask.  They help my skin recover quickly from breakouts by balancing out the pH in my skin. Some of my favorite sheet masks have tea tree oil, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammation properties.

Once the serum has absorbed into my skin, I remove the sheet mask and treat my skin with benzoyl peroxide (another anti-bacterial topical cream).  Then, I apply a vitamin C serum and lock in all the goodness with a hydrating moisturizer.

What To-Do When You (Accidentally) Pop it

The key to healing blemishes quickly is to not pick at them.  But someimes, you can’t help yourself.  Once you’ve picked at your skin, it’s time to do some damage control.

Here’s how you can prevent the blemish from scabbing over.  You have two options:

  1. Acne patch
  2. Sheet Mask

I’m not a dermatologist and you might not want to disobey the rules on most masks (where they tell you specifically not to put on over open wounds), but I like to apply a sheet mask after picking at my acne.  It calms down the inflammation and helps the bump to smooth out.

My favorite sheet masks to use lately are from WHEN!They are super hydrating and calming to inflamed skin. Plus, the sheets are made of a soft cotton that feels super luxurious.  The pack always comes with excess serum that I love to apply all over my body.  Once my sheet mask is dried, I remove it from my face, treat the blemishes with benzoyl peroxide, and hydrate my face with a calming moisturizer.  Then I apply an acne patch over the popped blemishes and go to sleep.

In the morning, my skin feels softer, smoother, and looks more radiant.  Plus, the blemish has significantly decreased in size and looks less inflamed because the patch extracted all the gunk.  There’s something really gross and satisfying about pulling the acne patches off your face in the morning.  Or is that just me?

Share any tricks you have for treating a breakout down below!

*Disclaimer: I received the WHEN masks free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

The Best concealer for Acne and Texture One Zit, Three Concealers

One Zit, Three Concealers: The Best Concealer for Acne and Texture

There are TONS of concealers on the market from drugstore to high-end.  It’s impossible to choose just based on claims alone, so let’s give them a test shall we? Here’s a not-so-hot picture of my face with no makeup.  Just look at that planet!

best concealer for acne and texture one zit, three concealers

We look at the aisles and aisles of makeup in Ulta and Sephora and it can easily get overwhelming.  While we’re searching for the best concealer we may ask ourselves:

Which one can cover up acne?

Is this great at smoothing out texture?

Can it actually cover up redness and even out skin-tone without clinging to dry patches?

And which one can do it all?

Does the concealer that does it all, actually exist?  Let’s find out in this new concealer series: One Zit, Three Concealers!

The three concealers I’m testing out today are:

  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
  • SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer

The Best Concealer For Acne

best concealer for acne and texture one zit, three concealers

The Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer (Ulta and Sephora $29) takes the cake for this one!  It has high coverage that completely eliminates redness and covers up that planet on the side of my face.  The concealer does not look cakey or emphasize dry patches so skin still looks like skin.  Sadly, that means the texture on my skin is not smoothed out.

Pro: great coverage, doesn’t emphasize dry patches

Con: doesn’t smooth out texture

The Best Concealer For Texture

best concealer for acne and texture one zit, three concealers

The NARS Radiant creamy concealer (Ulta and Sephora $30) is seriously creamy, like your skin looks smooth like velvet.  The texture on my cheeks is less noticeable.  But the coverage is medium at best, so my planet is still visible and the redness is peaking through.

Pro: great for smoothing out texture, doesn’t cling to dry patches

Con: doesn’t cover up blemishes well (medium coverage)

The Most Affordable Concealer

best concealer for acne and texture one zit, three concealers

The SAEM Cover Perfection Tip Concealer has high coverage.  So, it covers up the planet nicely.  Plus, it does not cling to dry patches around my jaw line.  However, it does not smooth out the texture on my cheeks.


Pro: super affordable (Amazon $6), high coverage, doesn’t cling to dry patches

Con: not many shades (only 3), doesn’t smooth out texture

The Best Concealer Overall???

No concrete answer.  After looking at the photos, I’ll be using the Naked Skin or SAEM cover perfection for blemishes and the NARS concealer for texture.  The mixture of both will give me the perfect finish! But I have yet to find the perfect one…

Let me know which concealers I should try next by commenting down below!


Tag me on Twitter #onezitthreeconcealers #LillyRoseJL