Grownup skincare regimen?
December 16, 2005 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm ready to put away the Sea Breeze. Help me choose a grownup skin care regimen that works.

I have tried many different skin care products, but I've never been able to find a regimen that I feel is effective enough (i.e. keeps my skin oil-free for a majority of the day, lessens the frequency of breakouts, just generally makes my skin feel "clean") to stick with for more than a few months. I would love recommendations for a full skin care regimen (cleanser, toner and moisturizer, at least) that works for oily, somewhat acne prone skin. Cost is not an object - I'm ready to commit. FWIW, I'm 24, female and running Windows XP.
posted by aebaxter to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think there's one thing that works for everyone.

What worked for me was to stop using everything except Neutrogena Fragrance-Free original formula (NOT the acne formula or the dry skin formula), and wash twice a day.

I think "stop using everything else" was the key part of this here; my skin apparently doesn't like a lot of additives and perfumes that are used in products.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2005

I've had good results with Proactiv. (I'm only 19, but it doesn't seem to be aimed at teenagers or anything.)

Incidentally, the Windows XP thing made me laugh for much longer than it had any right to.
posted by danb at 12:00 PM on December 16, 2005

I've also found that the older I get, the less my skin can handle. I stopped the astringent/toner cycle and started washing my face with just Cetaphil Facial Cleanser and then using a little (you don't need much!) Cetaphil moisturizer. I noticed a big difference within a few days. I also use a little Clearasil spot acne treatment at night. I was amazed at how much better my skin looked without the toner stripping all of the natural oils away.
posted by dual_action at 12:03 PM on December 16, 2005

Wash with Cetaphil. Cetaphil is amazing. As for "toner" -- I only use one when I really feel oily and when I do, I use Burt's Bees Garden Tomato, and for moisturizer there is Neutrogena (day time) and if you care about it, something like Kiss My Face Peaches & Cream w/ AlpaHydroxy. A good exfoliator isn't a bad idea; I use a Dove exfoliating wash once or twice a week, but someone else may have a more dearly-held suggestion on that point.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:07 PM on December 16, 2005

Ditto ditto on Cetaphil! I also love Clinique mild soap for routine facial washing. I believe the only thing that really works for existing acne (mild) is benzoyl peroxide cream. You'll find that every single product is "Maximum Strength"! No one seems to make "regular strength" and most of them give me a horrible rash. However, Neutrogena's benzoyl peroxide cream contains 2% to everyone else's 10% and it WORKS.
posted by peep at 12:16 PM on December 16, 2005

Ditto on the Neutrogena - I don't have too many problems with acne, but after living in a very arid climate for the past few years, I've learned to love gentle cleansers and good moisturizers. It took me a long time to realize that harsh washes and toners (Sea Breeze, Noxema, and co) made my skin oiler as a result, and a good moisturizer made it less so. (I sort of grew up estranged from all things girly).

I really like the new Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer, which is a moisturizer, light foundation, and sunscreen all in one. And speaking of grownup skin care, make sure your moisturizer has sunscreen in it.

If you want to splurge, I'm irrationally fond of Philosophy products, especially the Purity face wash, but I've had just as good results with Neutrogena.
posted by bibliowench at 12:28 PM on December 16, 2005

My regimen is simple and cheap: don't buy any products at all. Wash with hot water and friction. If there's visible filth or you've done something particularly germ-y, fine, use a little liquid soap. Otherwise, keep the crap off your skin.

Most people are repulsed when I tell them this but I've been doing it for fifteen years and it's great. I don't get zits or pimples. I do get lots of compliments on the softness of my skin (it's probably the most common remark from people lucky enough to have touched me). I always get asked what kind of soap or conditioner I use and I haven't met a woman yet who believes me when I say, "None. Soap and conditioner are gross."... until they go in my bathroom.
posted by dobbs at 12:31 PM on December 16, 2005

I second both Cetaphil and dobbs' "regimen." The less stuff I put on my face, the better my skin looks. I'll use Cetaphil at night to remove a days worth of grime, and wash with water in the morning to get off whatever the hell may be on my pillow.
Your body does an excellent job of taking care of your skin in most cases, so let it do its job for a while and see how it turns out. Just remember to drink a lot of water.
posted by Your postings will be signed with this name at 12:42 PM on December 16, 2005

like dobbs, i have never used anything on my face other than water. unlike dobbs, i'm a girl. but then, i've never had oily skin.

i have some friends with acne-prone, but not oily, skin who recommend Kiehl's. and my sister's dermatologist recommends Complex15 for moisturizer. i use it, too; it's very light and has absolutely no scent at all. it's just about the only thing that keeps my skin from being uncomfortably dry in the winter in these over-heated high rises.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:44 PM on December 16, 2005

Clinique soap (dry skin version for me, but it comes in dry, normal, and acne-prone formulations) and moisturizer when I'm rich, and Cetaphil soap and moisturizer when I'm not rich, and always (for about 15 years now) witch hazel as an astringent - cheap and gentle.

Anything else, even things that are supposed to be unscented, generally have too strong a smell for me or makes my face dry or red.
posted by jennyb at 12:44 PM on December 16, 2005

I have oily skin, and I love to use oil-absorbing sheets mid-day to get some of the excess oil off my face. I use Bath & Body Works sheets, but I know Body Shop and Clean & Clear makes them, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:54 PM on December 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Cetaphil. Mostly I find that the things that make a real difference in my skin are drinking lots of water, eating right, and critically, getting enough sleep.

Oh, and think about throwing a light tinted sunscreen into your daily routine. Your skin will thank you in 25 years.
posted by ambrosia at 12:57 PM on December 16, 2005

Response by poster: For all the people who are recommending Cetaphil (wow! it's nearly a consensus) - are you talking about just the regular Cetaphil or the oily skin version?
posted by aebaxter at 1:04 PM on December 16, 2005

I use just the "Gentle Skin Cleanser". It isn't made specifically for faces, but that doesn't matter since it works so well. Not to mention it is much cheaper than most other face washes.
posted by Your postings will be signed with this name at 1:21 PM on December 16, 2005

Kiehl's is your friend. The rosewater toner is one of my favorite things in the world.
posted by willpie at 1:22 PM on December 16, 2005

I have found that my skin needs more moisturizer (I'm 26) and whatever breakouts I get is my skin overcompensating for the extra dryness.
If you can afford it, I highly recommend Dermalogica. It's available at a lot of salons, a little goes a very long way, and it's been amazingly gentle but effective from my experience. I use the Special Cleansing Gel.
I am also a big fan of Shiseido and have found the people who work the dept. store counters to be very helpful (of course YMMV).
posted by like_neon at 1:41 PM on December 16, 2005

25/f/combination skin here. I use the regular Cetaphil with a coarse washcloth for exfoliation and the Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF 15 as needed. This doesn't quite give me the well-scrubbed exfoliation I became accustomed to when I was buffing daily with cotton balls soaked in Clinique toner, but it does prevent breakouts stemming from cycles of oil overproduction. I second the recommendation of the paper blotting sheets (the Body Shop ones with tea tree oil are good). Also, if you have chapped lips in winter, this lip treatment is good stuff.
posted by amber_dale at 1:50 PM on December 16, 2005

Purity by Philosophy is the greatest. I've converted at least a dozen to it. They don't believe in toners and claim their formula has a built in "toner". Plus their Hope in a Jar is divine but now I need a little wrinkle fighter and use Eucerin with Q10 to combat that. (I am notoriously bad about washing my face at night and the Eucerin is a day lotion, for night I am currently using Creme de la Mer which is $$$ (it was a gift) and boy is that stuff OVERRATED!!! Seriously, same as good old fashioned Ponds Cold Creme)

I also second the Cetaphil recommendations but I find that I need a little bit more and I like my skin squeeky clean. (Though it is always on Dermatologists top skin care lists).

I got really hooked to Mario Badescu's skin care line -- in particular, the botanical facial gel for daily cleansing and then the glycolic cleanser for twice a week for a deep cleansing. I follow the cleansing with his Special Cucumber Lotion which I love, love, love (seems to get the dead skin cells off). And finally the Eucerin as noted above.

Also, for the occasional underground painful eruption check this out, it is heaven.

And since you mentioned Seabreeze, I do love this Aveda Exfoliant which I put back into rotation since my cucumber lotion ran out. It smells good and feels great on the skin without that alcohol burn you might withdrawal from.

Lastly, because I hate to wash my face at night, I have found these to be heavenly.

/self-proclaimed product whore (I'd even link my old product blog but I believe it is verboten.)
posted by Lola_G at 2:04 PM on December 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

Also, watch products with alcohol, mineral oil and petrolatum. Other parts of your body may be able to handle them but not your face.
posted by Lola_G at 2:06 PM on December 16, 2005

Not a skin care product, per se, but I can vouch for the effectivity of Flax Seed. I have been putting it on my oatmeal in the morning and I have definitely noticed that my skin feel smoother and softer. It worked for my dad too with some dry skin he was having.
posted by jonah at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2005

"After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion."
posted by suni at 2:50 PM on December 16, 2005

I'm mostly a soap and water person myself (senstive skin that most products make worse -- though Neutrogena stuff seems to be good), but I have been using plain old witch hazel as a toner for ages, and it works great. Cleans off dirt and oil without drying the skin out excessively and seems to leave it feeling really soft, even when used at times other than just after washing. It's a lot milder than regular toners which sometimes are way too drying. I keep a baggy with a small bottle of it and a few cotton balls in the car or desk for touchups during the day.
posted by Orb at 2:50 PM on December 16, 2005


Both have done well for my 34 year old, semi-oily, breakout prone, OSX-using skin.
posted by clh at 3:23 PM on December 16, 2005

suni: Cute. I have a tendency to quote that at my friends when they start talking about their skin-care routine.
posted by Netzapper at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2005

Skincare is so different from person to person, but I'll throw out what I use because it isn't very expensive and my skin seems to like it. I wash with Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Cleanser morning and night, and I throw Clean and Clear Blackhead Clearing Scrub in the mix once a week for some deep cleaning and exfoliation. As a topical solution for breakouts, I use the Proactiv Repairing Lotion. Both of the cleansers are definitely not for sensitive skin, and work best on oily skin. Oh, and the Advantage cleanser smells awesome! I'm 25 and female, and I like this combo of products best after trying everything, including but not limited to that wall of facial products at Sephora.
posted by hannah09 at 3:43 PM on December 16, 2005

I'm with Dobbs. I get compliments on my skin (I'm 30 and female) and I tossed away the toners and the special cleansers and exfoliants ages ago. My "regimen" is as follows.

- To exfoliate, I use a cheap, *clean*, very rough Target washcloth soaked in hot water. I bought a pack of 10 or 12 wrapped in a ribbon and I use a fresh one each day.

- I use a very light moisturizer (Dove, cheap) with SPF.

- I never, ever, under any circumstances, get a tan or a sunburn or "a little color." There is no such thing as a healthy tan. I got a couple sunburns as a young teenager that caused allergic reactions, and I've stayed out of the sun ever since.

- I stay hydrated. I hate plain water, so I drink a lot of crystal light, put juice in my water, add lemon, etc.

- I quit smoking.

- I rarely wear makeup.

- I resisted the temptation to Switch. ;)
posted by xyzzy at 4:07 PM on December 16, 2005

netzapper: when somebody praises sufjan i hear bateman say "It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe.".. : D
posted by suni at 4:48 PM on December 16, 2005

I like Cetaphil bar, not the lotion. I like the way it foams up, the lotion doesn't. Also, Eucerin Facial lotion *every* day.
posted by 6:1 at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2005

I hate to be contrary, but I despise Cetaphil. It just doesn't feel like it is cleaning my face whatsoever. I do, however, adore Clearasil's plain facewash in the blue tube. Once a week I also use something that sucks the crap out of my pores - my favorite is Origin's charcoal mask.
posted by gatorae at 5:39 PM on December 16, 2005

Seabreeze has quite a lot of alcohol in it, and other tingle-inducing ingredients. I've tried a lot of products, but still haven't used anything that felt as refreshing as Seabreeze. I wonder if you can find other products with camphor and/or menthol.

One thing that does feel a slightly bracing to me is any toner that contains glycolic acid.

For a couple of years I've been using the original Proactiv line, which has benzoyl peroxide in the face-wash and anti-acne lotion. For me it's mild enough, and it works. They have another line that has salicylic acid instead of BP, for people who have better luck with that.
posted by wryly at 6:14 PM on December 16, 2005

Dove unscented cleans and is easiest on the skin.

While I've heard from dermatologists that supplements can be hit or miss, I have found the following helpful for my acne:

1) Flaxseed Oil (make salad-dressing out of it)
2) IP-6 (inositol hexaphosphate or phytate). It's found in Bran.

3) The single best for me is L-Theanine.

The common element of all these is that they modulate the immne system.
posted by INFOHAZARD at 9:12 AM on December 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

I second gatorae's comment about Cetaphil. I feel like I need to wash my face after I use it.

I had an acne-covered teenage/early 20's existence, and have learned a healthy respect for my "aggressive" skin. I do like/use the philosopy line, but have recently tried and become a mad fan of Stila's new skincare line.

Very basic cleanse/moisturize approach, no artificial fragrances, and the scrub is kick ass.

No affiliation, just a distant relative who works in "beauty" for a national mag and sends excess sample swag my way. I liked it enough to go pay for more.
posted by ersatzkat at 10:39 AM on December 17, 2005

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