My Skin Story & Updated Holy Grail Skin Care Products

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog post about my holy grail skin care products. Well, quite honestly many things have changed since then. Right around when I wrote that post, I started working part-time at a clinic that specializes in wellness and skincare.

Turns out that everything that I thought I knew about my skin was wrong.

Awesome right?

I’d always thought that my skin was dry, but in fact it’s unbelievably oily. All of the ultra-hydrating products that I was using on my skin? Yep, it was actually making my face situation worse.

Also around that time, my acne — which I talked about in the last skin care post as well — took a turn for the worse. I was having days that I didn’t even want to leave the house because I was so embarrassed about how disgusting I thought my face looked.

As you can see, I was very insecure about the mass amount of acne on my face at this point.

Granted, I had just graduated from university as well and was so lost that I felt like I couldn’t breath.

That combo? Yeah, not my favorite.

It’s taken almost 10 months, and finally my skin is clear, but not without a damn hard fight.

After countless facials, extractions, chemical peels and consultations with estheticians, I had a daily skin care regimen that was finally fitting with my newly discovered oily skin and what seemed to be constant cystic breakouts.

But even then, my skin just wouldn’t clear up.


I even eliminated dairy for 2 months with minimal results!

Finally, I made the decision to go and see a dermatologist and once and for all figure out what was going on.

Derm appointment day

Resulting from that appointment, I was prescribed a 1 month dosage of Doxycycline 100 mL, and 2 months of the same antibiotic in 20 mL. I was also prescribed a topical gel that would target my redness.

Even though I was very weary about taking an antibiotic for my acne, damn did it work. I started the first month off with the 100 mL and then went on the 20 mL for the remaining 2 months.

I saw instant changes in my skin from the antibiotics. The peaks and hills started to recede, the swelling disappearing along with it.

3 months on antibiotics

Finally, I felt like I could breath again.

By the time that I went in for my 3 month follow-up appointment, she told me that the 20 ml dose could be taken indefinitely and I am still on it today.

Now, along with my antibiotic taken twice daily, I have a fine tuned skin care regime that I have seen maintain my new clear skin.

My present day face!

This is what I use…


PCA Skin Facial Wash Oily/Problem ($33.00)


Why I love it: This cleanser has saved my oily skin. With its target consumer in the name, this foaming masterpiece is made for my skin type in mind. Formulated with Lactic acid (to moisturize), Aloe vera leaf juice (to purify), Gluconolactone (a gentle antioxidant that calms, provides moisture & promotes a clear complexion) it makes my skin feel clean without drying me out. plus, this baby comes with a sizable amount of product for what you’re paying, 7 fluid oz!
How to use: 

Step 1: Apply a dime-sized amount to damp skin.

Step 2: Massage into a light foaming lather.

Step 3: Rinse with warm water and a muslin cloth and.

Step 4: At night, double cleanse.

Step 4: Simply pat dry.


Thayers Witch Hazel, Lavender ($10.95)


Why I love it: Do I even need to introduce this legend? Thayers Witch Hazel is known and used by many for good reason, it works! I use this as part of my nightly routine after cleansing my face and before going in with any serums or face creams. Along with shrinking and closing pores, the addition of lavender has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to help cleanse skin, manage acne, calm sensitive skin and reduce redness and irritation. Plus, the lavender smells amazing. Rounding off the list of skin food is aloe vera, which soothes the skin, leaving a soft and blank canvas to continue the rest of your routine.

Check, check and check, I’ll take all of that please!

How to use: 

Step 1: Apply witch hazel to a clean cotton pad until thoroughly saturated.

Step 2: Swipe cotton pad across your face, focusing on areas of acne.


PCA Skin Nutrient Toner ($40.00)


Why I love it: PCA Skins’s pumpkin wine-based toner uses enzyme’s to eat away at the dead skin on your face while also introducing vitamins and amino acids. This pumpkin spice smelling product is used once a week along with your other toner to gently exfoliate and make your skin glow so radiantly that the sun will shield its eyes.

How to use: 

Step 1: After cleansing, moisten a cotton pad with a small amount.

Step 2: Apply in upward and outward strokes over the face and neck, avoiding the eye area.


Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender ($12.00)


Why I love it: If you follow Allure EIC, Michele Lee on Instagram, you will know the saying, “‘At 0:00 O’clock, we mist.'” I adore this Mario Badescu mist for when my skin is having a dull day, dry day (it’s winter after all,) or a general skin pick me up. The infusion of calming botanicals and lavender essential water deliver a soothing mid-day boost of hydration which leaves the skin bright.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be pretending my bathroom is the lux Allure office and my skin care fridge is full of dreamy products.

How to use: 

Step 1: Mist onto face and neck as needed.


Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($49.00)


Why I love it: If you thought Kombucha was only a refreshing beverage, you thought wrong. This ultra-light, fast-absorbing moisturizer uses nutrient rich fermented black tea to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The light feeling formula also fights against acne and has an SPF 30 to help protect the skin against sun causing damage.

Brb, I’m just here sipping on kombucha while kombucha casually saves my skin.

How to use:

Step 1: Apply dime-sized amount on face and neck.


PCA Skin Acne Gel ($50.00)

acne gel

Why I love it: Though my skin is regularly clear these days, I would be lying if I didn’t say that once in a while — especially around that time of the month — I do get cystic acne spots on my chin. That’s when this little guy comes in. Chock full of salicylic acid, azelaic acid, cinnamon bark, ginger root, green burnet root and licorice root extracts, a small dot of this stuff will bring even the most angry pimple to heel. 

How to use:

Step 1: Apply to any active acne areas and pat in.

Herbivore Jade Roller ($30.00)


Why I love it: A de-puffing miracle! I use my jade roller anytime that I see my skin is looking puffy or tired… so pretty regularly. This beauty ritual dating all the way back to 7th century China helps to firm the skin through gentle massage while also targeting the lymphatic system, the body’s main major detoxification system. A great pro-tip is to leave your jade roller in your fridge before using it. The refreshing coolness of the roller leaves you revitalized and really to get on with the day.

A Jade Roller Can Help To:
1. Improve elasticity of your skin.
2. Reduce appearance of puffiness and fine lines.
3. Ease facial muscle tension (unclench your jaw!)
4. Help product absorb into your skin better.
How to use:
Step 1: Apply a few drops of moisturizer, serum, or oil to your clean, dry face.
Step 2: Gently roll the jade up, down and across your skin in an outward motion until the product is absorbed.
Peace Out Acne dots ($19.00)
Why I love it: There is nothing better than going to bed with a giant zit and waking up the next morning to see that it’s already healing. Peace Out Acne stickers use salicylic acid, vitamin A and aloe vera to kick acnes butt, all while you’re dreaming of being on a yacht with Adam Driver. They recommend you leave it on for at least 6 hours to get the most benefits. It’s also grossly satisfying to see all of the gunk that it sucked out of your pores over night.
Or is that just me?
Just me then… cool.
How to use:
Step 1: After cleansing, apply a sticker, tacky-side down, on your blemish. For best results, wear for six hours.

Disclaimer: This my my experience with these products and in no way am I saying that they will work for everyone. Do your research and use the products with your skin in mind.

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