Skincare is something that has become significantly more important to me over the past few years, and I believe it’s a huge part of overall health. Exactly two years ago at this time, I was going through a really rough time with my skin. It started on the 4th of July in 2016, and I had flare-ups over the next several months before I finally discovered that I had developed an allergy to an ingredient that was present in a ton of my everyday products.
I wrote two articles around that time, so if you want more specific information about what went down, click here for the introduction to my skin issues and how I found the solution. Then, click here for a later article I wrote about My Journey to Wedding Ready Skin. Here’s a little preview of what I went through below.
Since it has been almost two years since I wrote the first article, and over a year since the last one, I thought it was time to give you all an update on my skin and the routine I have found that is working really well for me. Again, I want to emphasize that this is what has worked for me, which does not necessarily mean it is right for you. I will always recommend seeing an expert first, such as a dermatologist and/or an esthetician, if you have any questions or concerns about your skin. I am in no way an expert on this, which is why I see both of those people regularly. : )
With that being said, I highly recommend my esthetician Rachel Naster if you live in the Kansas City area. In my “Journey to Wedding Ready Skin” article I talk in detail about the treatments that I have done with Rachel over the past few years and how amazing they have been for my skin.
In addition, I recently started seeing Dr. Rupp and his team at Dermatology Specialists of Kansas City and have had a great experience so far. My husband and I both just got our yearly skin checks there to make sure we didn’t have any suspicious or cancerous moles, and they also hooked me up with a few products to try, one of which I will talk about later in this post! (Disclosure: I was compensated monetarily by Dermatology Specialists of KC to visit and promote their practice, as well as their products, but all opinions expressed are my real, honest opinions, as always. I was not paid to write this post.)
Before I go into the products I’m using now, I want to give a little bit of background information. As I mention in my other skincare posts, I grew up with acne and tried every cream, pill, you name it, to get it under control. However, I haven’t mentioned in my previous posts that during the 18 months (give or take) leading up to our wedding I was taking a medication called spironolactone, which is essentially a diuretic, and in conjunction with birth control, a great way to treat adult female acne. I will say that this pill was very effective for me and I got great results from it. I worked my way up to 150 mg a day leading up to the wedding, because I didn’t want to worry about dealing with acne during all of our festivities, the actual wedding, honeymoon, etc.
Obviously, this is not a medication that you want to be on forever, so after the wedding I knew that I wanted to wean myself off. Since I was taking three pills a day, I slowly cut back to two a day, then one a day, then finally, none. This was a very gradual process over a couple of months. I was super nervous that I was going to have bad breakouts once I cut back, but much to my surprise, my skin didn’t change much. Now I have been completely off of spironolactone for several months and my skin is doing better than ever. This is not to say that I don’t ever have acne and breakouts, because I definitely do sometimes, but it’s much more under control than it used to be.
Side note: Rachel Naster also did my makeup for our wedding and she did an incredible job, and my skin looked flawless, mostly thanks to her. 🙂
I still attribute this massive improvement in my skin to the fact that I have finally invested both time and money into it by getting facials every couple of months and using better quality products than I used to. Most importantly, I identified and completely removed the allergen that was causing all of my really severe breakouts with the help of a dermatologist.
Now I’m going to talk about what my daily skincare routine looks like and share some of my absolute, can’t-live-without, favorite products with you!
First up: Rachel Naster Studio Foaming Face Wash
I use this face wash in the morning after I workout and in the evening before I go to bed. It’s great for all skin types, including dry and dehydrated, moisture and nutrient-depleted, dull and tired skin. It cleanses, tones and helps to remove makeup all at once. I personally favor foamy soap, and I love the way this feels on my face. It definitely locks moisture in and makes my skin feel great. The bottle also lasts a long time! Most importantly, it’s free of harmful chemicals, which is crucial for my sensitive skin.
UPDATE 12/17/18: I have been using the SkinCeuticals Foaming Face Wash for about a month and a half and I’m obsessed. I feel like it does a great job of removing my makeup and makes my skin feel great. Click here to purchase — $34 and lasts several months.
Makeup Eraser Cloth — $20
In the evenings, I use this Makeup Eraser cloth to remove my face and eye makeup prior to cleansing with the foaming face wash. The face wash helps remove some, but using this allows me to really scrub and remove as much makeup as possible, which helps me avoid breakouts. I love this cloth because you can throw it in the washing machine and reuse it, which saves so much money and waste from typical makeup remover wipes! It’s also gentle on my skin, unlike some of the alcohol-based makeup removers. I like using the black so my mascara doesn’t make the cute colored ones look all gross. ; ) Shout out to my friend Shelby Ditch for recommending these!
I talked about this product in my previous skincare post, but I’m still using it and loving it, so I had to mention it again in case you’re new around here! This stuff is pure gold and I am obsessed. It smells amazing, and can help with evening out skin tone, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, etc. I get mine from my esthetician, Rachel Naster, but you could also get it from the Image Skincare website. I apply this in the morning after I wash my face, and in the evening after I wash my face or after I apply my retinol cream. (More on that in a minute).
For years I avoided wearing SPF on my face during the day because I couldn’t find an SPF moisturizer that didn’t feel sticky, oily or make me break out. This is the first one that I’ve tried and absolutely loved, and I’ve been using it for 1-2 years now. For a long time I just used the matte (clear) version, but lately for the summertime I have been loving the tinted version. It provides the perfect amount of bronze color, so if I want to run errands or go somewhere without doing my makeup on the weekends, I feel fine wearing nothing but this lotion! I love the way it feels on my skin and especially the fact that it’s protecting me from sun damage. I cannot recommend this lotion enough!
Other details from the Image Skincare site: This oil-free, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen delivers high sun protection in a mattifying, antioxidant-rich base that’s perfect for oily and acne-prone skin types. Micro-sponge technology absorbs surface oils and gives skin a flawless, shine-free finish. It doubles as a protective primer to create a healthy glow before makeup application.
Since I don’t need SPF on my face while I’m sleeping, I use a different lotion in the evenings. Ever since my skin allergy issues, I have been using the Aveeno (or store brand) 24-hour moisturizing lotion and it works great for me. It’s obviously very moisturizing, and it’s gentle on my sensitive skin. Fragrance free, chemical free, all that great stuff. Best of all: it’s super affordable! It’s less than $10 at any store (Target, Walmart, etc.) and the store brand is usually identical (check the ingredients) and even cheaper. I also like using this as body lotion!
This retinol cream is the newest addition to my skincare routine in the past month or so. If you’ve never used a retinol cream before, it’s best to start at a lower level (such as 0.25) and work your way up to 1.0, as it can cause some dryness and irritation if your skin isn’t used to it. Back in my worse acne days when I was trying every topical cream out there, Retin-A was one of the things I tried. This was a prescription strength retinol cream that was prescribed by my dermatologist. It was effective, but very drying. I have been off of retinol for a long time, which is why I’m starting back up with the 0.25, and this kind does not require a prescription (but you might consider talking to a dermatologist or esthetician before starting it).
It is recommended to apply this in the evening after cleansing and toning and prior to applying your moisturizer. Again, if your skin is not used to retinol products, then start by using it only 2-3 times a week and slowly work your way up to daily use as tolerated.
Another thing to know about retinol cream is that it makes your skin sensitive so it’s extra important to use sunscreen on your face daily (as you should anyway) and/or wear a hat when you’re out in the sun. You also cannot use this if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Benefits of retinol:
- Enhances skin tone, texture, and resiliency
- Diminishes appearance of fine lines and coarse wrinkles
- May also help fight acne
Harley requested to be a part of this photo shoot. ; )
If you have never had a facial before or if you have any concerns about the health of your skin, I cannot recommend Rachel Naster enough. I tell people all the time that she is a miracle worker because I truly don’t think my skin would look near as good as it does today if it weren’t for all of her amazing help, advice and support throughout this journey. Even if it is something you can’t do every 6-8 weeks due to financial reasons, lack of time, or whatever it may be, I want to encourage you to try it out at least once. I think you’ll find that the investment is worth it, and it may help you to make your skin health more of a priority. I would also urge you to consider trying some of Rachel’s products or the ones that she sells (such as the Image Skincare line), because they are all great quality and obviously have her stamp of approval as a skincare professional.
Lastly, if you have not had your annual skin check (or ever had one) I want to urge you to get this done as soon as possible. Summertime is a great time to get checked since we tend to spend a lot more time out in the sun during these warmer months. I am extremely passionate about this, as both of my parents have previously had skin cancer. My mom was diagnosed with melanoma a few years ago and has a huge scar in her back to prove it. Thankfully, a friend of hers encouraged her to get a skin check and the dermatologist found it in its very early stages, so she is currently healthy and skin cancer-free. Skin checks take hardly any time at all, are completely painless, and could potentially save your life, so please don’t put this off! Again, the staff at Dermatology Specialists of KC are great and would love to see you for this. Otherwise, make sure you are protecting your skin daily by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen and wearing a hat/seeking out shade when you’re going to be outside for long periods of time.
I hope this post was a helpful reminder to invest in yourself, your health and your skin, and also gave you some ideas about some new products and things to try out!
Below: My skin now, exactly two years after all of my allergy issues — no filter! I am so much happier, healthier and more confident in my skin.
If you have any questions or comments about anything I talked about in this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via DM on Instagram @wellnessforthewin or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have linked all of the products above for you, as well as in the Like To Know It app, so go follow me there if you want to easily refer back to it!
Thank you for reading and have a great week!
#wellnessforthewin #skincare #selfcare #skinhealth #lovetheskinyourein