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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?

Double Cleansing with Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleanser + Why you should do it

double cleansingDouble Cleansing has saved my skin.  It’s been two years since I started double cleansing.  I used to wash my face every morning and night with a “deep clean” cleanser but my face never felt clean.  Sometimes my skin felt tight and stripped of moisture.  However, it still didn’t feel clean and my toner pad definitely confirmed my thoughts because I could see my cotton pad soaked in toner turning a very unappealing shade of beige.

BUT I have found the solution in double cleansing.

Double Cleansing

The first step involves an oil cleanser.  This step is super important even if you have oily skin.  The oil breaks down your makeup and really emulsifies everything.  Plus, it leaves your skin feeling super smooth.

Lately, I’ve been loving the Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm.  It’s gentle and effective.  Farmacy Beauty products have great ingredients including: sunflower oil and papaya extract for radiant skin.

After you cleanse with an oil, use a gentle milky cleanser to really clean all the dirt and gunk your pores accumulated throughout the day.

Why You Should Do It

Yes, it’s an extra step.  BUT it’s well worth it because you get truly clean skin.  When your skin is clean, your pores are less clogged and reduced in size.  Plus, your skincare actually works better because it can absorb in to your skin rather than sitting on top of all the left over residue from a long day out.

Double cleansing breaks down makeup, oil, and dirt so your skin can look and feel clean.  Plus, the ingredients in Farmacy’s cleansing balm helps clean, nourish, and heal the skin.  It’s also important to follow up your oil cleansing with a gentle milky cleanser to wash away any excess oil and give your skin a deeper clean.  The oil breaks down everything on the surface while the milky cleanser keeps the pores clean without stripping your skin.

If you want to give the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Melting Cleanser a try, take 20% off your purchase with this code: Green81 (offer valid till October 31, 2017)

**Disclaimer: I received the Farmacy Cleanser free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

Skin Changes + Why It happens and My Old Favorites and Recent Hate Its!

skin changes products The Body Shop DermaE Neutrogena GlamGlow

Skin changes, real or myth?  Is it possible for your skin to change and your product favorites and holy grails to become hate its?  Yes!

Skin changes happen because your skin can get used to products and they can lose effectiveness over the years.  Since I just finished all my bottles of foundation, I thought this would be the perfect time to put this post together.  (Yes, I resisted the urge to buy more until I finished all the ones I had.  It was quite the feat LOL.  But I did it.  And I am on the hunt for another foundation.)

So, I revisited some old favorites and it turns out that they no longer look the same one me…

It’s so sad.  I comprised a list of my old favorites to recent hate its.

Why your skin changes?

Like your body, if you keep doing the same routine it no longer will be as effective as when you first started.  Your skin changes because it gets used to the products you’re using.  So your once holy grail skincare/ makeup products can soon become a “this kind of sucks” product.

How my skin has changed?

I used to be really oily.  My skin type was oily, but now my skin type is combination oily and dry.  Yup, dry patches on my jawline, mouth and eye areas.  And oily only on the T-zone.  My skin is a walking juxtaposition.

Makeup That No Longer Works

Since I’ve noticed my skin changes, I have found that quite a few of my old favorites just don’t look right on my now dry skin.  It blends weird, looks patchy, and clings to dry patches.

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation – this used to blend beautifully in to my skin and give me great coverage. But this foundation now clings to dry patches and looks like a mask on my face.
  • Ulta double duty 2 in 1 foundation- A great dupe for the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation, but now it looks cakey on my skin. And when I recently tested it out, this foundation actually made my skin feel itchy.
  • Benefit Hello Oxygen Powder foundation- When I had oily skin, this kept my skin looking matte and gave me decent coverage.  But now it looks like cake-face and clings to dry patches.  This foundation no longer blends into my skin instead it just sits on top of the skin.
  • Rimmel London wake me up concealer- I used to use the medium shade as a contour, but I recently found that the concealer breaks me out.  This concealer is sill great under the eyes, but I can’t use this concealer anywhere else on my face or I’ll get a nice patch of tiny little bumps.
  • Cover FX blemish treatment concealer- This is great for treating acne spots but it emphasizes the dry patches all around the blemish which draws way too much attention towards my breakout.
  • Almay Blemish concealer- Also great for covering oily skin and acne but the formula is way too dry for me now.
  • Physician’s Formula- I used to use this everyday in high school.  It never breaks me out, but when I picked it up again at CVS I found that the powder sits on top of the skin, looks dry and cakey, and sticks to dry patches.

Skincare That No Longer Works

Skin changes also affect my skincare routine.  When I continued using a lot of these products with my skin changes I noticed more dry patches and redness from my face all the way down my neck.

  • The Body Shop Tea tree Mattifying toner- This is way too drying.  My skin actually turned red because it was so dry.  I had patches of skin flaking off my cheeks and forehead.  I looked like I was going through a chemical peel.
  • The Body Shop revitalizing night cream- I think my skin has also become more sensitive to oils and scents because this moisturizer actually breaks me out now! This is so sad because it left my skin so soft and smooth.
  • Peter Thomas Roth sulfur treatment- I used to love anything that has sulfur in it.  But this mask does nothing for my breakouts.  It only dries out my skin and leaves it feeling tight and stripped of all moisture.
  • Kate Somerville sulfur treatment- My old holy grail breakout treatments!  I can’t tell you how many of these I went through.  But my skin got used to it and it doesn’t heal my blemishes like it used to.
  • Neutrogena spot treatment- My go-to treatment to prevent breakouts.  This cream is now less effective.  I used to apply this once a day and it was enough but now I need to apply twice a day for it to keep breakouts at bay.

Products that still work

  • Bourjois healthy mix foundation and concealer- This gel consistency glides over dry patches and gives me a light coverage that evens out my skin-tone without irritating my skin.
  • Rimmel London Wake me up foundation- A great light formula that still blends beautifully in to my skin for a dewey finish.
  • PUR cosmetics hydrafluid- My skin always looks fresh and dewey with this foundation.  It’s wonderful and doesn’t break down throughout the day.  But if you don’t like the dewey look, don’t forget to set it with powder!  The coverage is light to light medium.  The only down-side to this foundation is the color selection.  It comes in only five shades and none of them are the right color.  So, I mix the light and medium shades together to get my perfect shade.  (I’m NC 20 and NARS Fiji for color reference.)
  • Bobbie Brown Skin Foundation- My skin looks like skin with this foundation.  The coverage is light to medium and I love that it comes in so many shades!
  • NYX HD powder- I’m still in love with it.  It’s super affordable and makes my skin look poreless.
  • Hourglass Ambient lighting powder in diffused light- This powder doesn’t emphasize texture or cling to dry spots.  Plus, it gives my skin such a healthy glow!
  • GlamGlow Supermud Clearing mask- This mask draws out all the gunk and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft.  I generally have a few more spots after using this mask but it clears up very quickly.  This mask is great if you want to purge your skin of all the junk that gets stuck in it.
  • Tony Moly sheet masks- I love how soft my skin is after using these masks.  The tea tree mask is still my favorite go-to mask when I’m breaking out.
  • DermaE purifying cleanser- skin changes can be difficult and I am super glad that I can still use this cleanser because it cleans my skin without leaving it tight and stripped of moisture.
  • DermaE purifying mask- I use this mask once a week and my GlamGlow mask every 2 weeks to keep my skin clean!
  • Soap and Glory Peaches and Cream Cleansing Milk- I love how gentle this cleanser is and it removes any leftover makeup residue I have left from my makeup wipes.
  • Neutrogena Rapid clear (10% benzoyl peroxide)- It’s a little drying and I must use a good moisturizer, but no more breakouts!
  • CosRX Pimple patches- Lifesavers!  I have cystic acne and these patches suck all the pus out without leaving a nasty scar.  Plus, I don’t pick at my acne anymore because I have patches on them.

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.**