The Crucial Step between Cleansing and Moisturizing

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We all know that having great skin is anything but easy. While most people experience acne in conjunction with puberty and being a teenager, some of us are lucky enough to also experience adult acne. ughhhhhhh. I have absolutely no idea why I've had more breakouts in my twenties than all of high school combined, but I can testify that after years of experimenting with my personal skin care routine, just one step has made all the difference. Let me just say that everyone's skin is very different, both compared to other people's and also compared to their own at different stages of life. The twins have great skin right now and have had a pretty clear complexion for years. Their skin is more sensitive than mine and less oily. I think this, combined with their face structure, is the main reason they are perfect makeup models and gurus. If this kind of pale, angelic skin sounds more like you, please visit our blog post detailing the twins' skin care routine!

My skin, on the other hand, is a bit more oily than the twins. I also tend to have stubborn little milia-like breakout patches on my face more often in my "adult" years than ever before. I sweat more in the gym, have a different diet, different sleep schedule, travel more often, and have various other stressors in my life that are different than theirs. There is no telling whether any of these factors, genetics, or plain old bad luck are what cause my skin to behave the way it does, but after a good amount of trial and error, I've found my own personal three-step skin care routine that keeps the breakouts at bay and has boosted my self-confidence in the meantime! If you think your skin sounds more like mine, please pay special attention to step 2 and I might just save you a lot of anguish in your beauty life ;)

1.) Cleansing / Exfoliating : I wash my face every night and after every gym session (the sooner the better) using Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash. This stuff makes my face feel so clean and residue-free, it's like I truly have a blank slate (facial-wise) morning and night. I recommend this for anyone who categorizes themselves as having oily or combination skin. I exfoliate only in the shower on days I am also washing my hair (every 2-3 days) with an exfoliating glove and/or St.Ives Apricot Scrub. It's a slightly harsher exfoliating cream, but works wonders for my skin cells, which regenerate extremely rapidly. This stuff is cheap and great, can't get much better than that.

2.) Tone! Tone! Tone! : Here's the step ya'll are missing! Toning your skin is that crucial step between cleansing and moisturizing that really does make or break a skin care routine. This is the one thing I was missing when I just could not figure out why my acne was lingering through so many cycles. Once I started using toner, my little whitehead patches dried right up and my pores shrunk within a week, but the real miracle is that now that I have been using this stuff for over a month, I'm noticing that my little post-acne scars and dark spots that I've had for years are starting to lighten up and disappear! I'm pretty convinced that this is the stuff that makes systems like Proactiv so effective and I'm thrilled to have found my little secret weapon, finally! I use Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight and Fade Toner. I recommend always sticking to the same brand across skin care products if you can, but I can also admit that Wal-Mart has a pretty dang good knock-off brand, Equate, for super cheap. For those of you who prefer all-natural products, Witch hazel is a miracle astringent/toner made from a shrub that you can also find at any grocery or drug store.

3.) Moisturize : Lastly, we should all know the importance of daily moisturizing. If you want your skin to look fresh, hydrated and healthy, moisturizing is key. I believe that this is the number one way to keep your face looking youthful for as long as possible. (I'll admit I'm a little obsessed with preventing wrinkles and dark age spots even though I'm only 23. You can never start too early!) I wear a moisturizer with a light sunscreen during the day, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, SPF 15, and a moisturizer with retinol at night. Retinol Surge from Amazon is the best bang for your buck in my opinion, the cream is just $17, it comes in a large bottle, and you don't need a prescription to buy it! You won't find a retinol moisturizer anywhere else with these kinds of reviews for less than $50.

I highly recommend that you try my program for at least two weeks and let me know what happens to you. It is not particularly hard or expensive, so no excuses! I even suggest taking progress pictures for yourself. I did take pictures, but I don't think that I am quite at the confidence level to share them with you on here yet! All I can say is the improvement was very gratifying. Fighting blemishes seems to be a constant struggle for way too many people and I love to hear honest reviews and suggestions that aim to help the whole community. I have seen positive results making these three steps a daily habit and hope to continue to perfect this routine along with my overall health in general.