(Warning: I am not a dermatologist. These products worked particularly well for me, and while they were recommended to me by my dermatologist, I recommend you consult yours before you try these as well!)
Until about eight months ago, I had never genuinely experienced real acne. Sure, I would get the occasional chin pimple, but no serious breakouts. However, the universe has a sense of humour... so naturally, I developed adult acne amidst a raging pandemic.
If you've ever experienced acne, you know the blow it takes to your self esteem. Although I was often at home (or, if outside, wearing a mask), I couldn't help but loathe the girl staring back at me in the reflection. I would install myself in front of my bathroom mirror and dissect every pore and pimple, obsessing over what may or may not have caused it, whether I should pop it, whether I still looked how I did a year ago. Here is where my skincare journey began.
So I did the rookiest of rookie mistakes: I created a skin-care routine without consulting my dermatologist. After weeks of worsening break-outs, low self esteem and impulse skincare buys, I finally met with my dermatologist.
And boy did it help. She helped me draft a skincare routine that quite literally, changed my life. After being on it for about two months, I have decided to share the four affordable skincare products that transformed my combination skin.
Wait, are you really still using make-up wipes? If so, here's why you should stop, and use this instead.
This was the first Korean beauty product I bought, and it totally lived up to the hype. This cleansing oil is gentle, non-astringent, and most importantly, does not leave your skin feeling too greasy or too dry. It's perfect for days when you're wearing a full face of makeup, as it will seamlessly remove products (that's right, no rubbing!). This oil gently takes off even the most stubborn of my mascaras, fully prepping my face for the next step… Water cleansing.
2. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel ($14.99)
This cleansing gel is a god-send if you have easily irritable skin like mine. Initially a gel, once in contact with water, it becomes a silky foam that gently rinses away any dirt the cleansing oil did not initially eliminate. I used to think it was normal for my skin to feel taut and dry after water cleansing, but this gel proved me wrong. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and ready to take in some moisture…
Another K-beauty cult classic, my favorite thing about this toner is, believe it or not, its texture. Unlike most toners' watery feel, the Purito Calming Centella toner has a slight gel-like texture to it, which makes way for a pampering, luxurious sensation once applied to the skin. Free from astringent chemicals, this toner's slight herbal scent and cool finish will leave your skin ready to absorb the humectants the next product will provide.
4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Moisturizer ($22.50)
Ah! The cherry on top of my skincare routine, the Effaclar H moisturizer. This cream was particularly designed for acne prone skin, and it shows. It has an enriching texture, perfect for skin that has been through several acute breakouts and a pandemic. Although thick, it doesn't leave the skin feeling too greasy, but rather, it provides the perfect amount of nourishment for a damaged skin barrier.