Johnnys Skincare Routine aka How He Went From Acneic Skin to Near Perfection
When I met Johnny I immediately noticed that he had the potential for great skin, but spots and milia made him look like he was just getting out of puberty. That was clearly not the case since at 22 you would expect that any teen acne would be on the way of clearing up.
Upon questioning his skin habits he confessed that he had used plenty of acne products in the past, including standard American drugstore products and Proactive.
All of these supposedly acne fighting cosmetics actually made his skin worse, so he gave up on them after a while. At the time he was washing his face with Dove body and face shower gel that a dermatologist assistant actually gave him (Sacrilege!). Well, I inspected the gel and was shocked why he would want to put that on his skin or why someone working at a dermatologist would recommend it. To the assistants defence, he never said to use it on the face and also I found out that it was free products they received from the brand. Go figure. I am not sure if this kind of propaganda is normal in other countries too.
|It may be hard to see but close up both of our skin were not in good condition. Mine was blotchy, flaky and I had lots of small spots. His had spots and milia with some PIH thrown in.|
The first step I decided to tackle is by giving the man some moisturiser. As someone with dry skin I can not even imagine living without one.
Unfortunately his skin did not improve at all and sometimes even became worse. Since I didn’t know what sort of product he likes I decided to procure samples instead of full sized ones.
Which means that in the first 6 months he used a variety of drugstore moisturizers that were all very questionable in their ability to hydrate without aggravating his skin.
Once I ran out of my own skincare I brought with me to the US, I had the same issues. Whatever I got form the drugstore just did not work.
My skin was dry and incredibly painful and on top of that it wasn't clear either and just looked a mess (in my standards).
I had to find another solution to get my and his skin back on track.
Now I realize that Johnny Clydes skin is somewhat sensitive. Similar to mine actually.
Back then I had no clue since the only way his skin shows its dislike for certain ingredients is by breaking out. Since he always had spots the only difference was a slight improvement or worsening of his skin.
I do have to say that simply having a routine did indeed improve his skin somewhat.
I finally convinced him to use a face appropriate cleanser after a while and exfoliate once a week in hope of managing the milia. It is funny since the only American product I actually liked (organics exfoliator) became his favorite product after the first use. To me that just shows that even if you are not into skincare, if you are using something that feels good and actually improves your skin, it might be enjoyable to use.
|Pretty much every time he used a drugstore product|
In comes Asian skincare.
As mentioned above my skin was a mess and I had run out of American drugstore options.
I then discovered the skincare section at a local Asian supermarket which thankfully had testers. I asked the worker there if I could make my own sample jars and test them at home.
Thank you dear employee at Uwajimaya! Thanks to your generosity my skin has changed completely! And not just mine actually.
The more I started getting into Asian skincare and the more my own skin improved I realised that there must be something special about these potions I was adding to my face.
I started slowly but surely sharing my own skincare products with Johnny, and just as slowly his skin started improving.
It took about a year to completely (well maybe 90%) swap all his drugstore products out for Asian ones but the change was very noticeable. He went from always having spots to just having spots occasionally.
His skin became softer and healthier looking and no more new milia came in.
So here is what I have found out about Johnny Clydes skin in the past four or so years.
His skin is normal. Meaning it is neither dry nor oily. Well actually, it can get flaky sometimes but never ever gets oily at all. Now that we live in a very dry climate it is sometimes dehydrated depending on the weather too. The thing is that even when he looks like a shedding snake his skin doesn't feel dry to him. Mine on the other hand starts feeling dry even before I get to the shedding stages.
So according to him he never feels his skin. It is just there. It is so weird for me to understand since I can always feel my skin. Sometimes it is dry, painful or moist but never not anything.
The only time he feels his skin is when you add oil to it. He can't stand oils whatsoever.
His skin is also sensitive. I actually have not found out if he is sensitive to a particular ingredient or just certain amounts or formulations. Besides BHA actually. He can handle it in very small amounts or every third day or so, but as soon as he gets too much his skin gets tender, pinkish and really small red bumps appear.
The sensitivity can show up in two different ways. One of them is acne and the other is burning.
He was using a German cream for sensitive skin which I thought he loved until he confessed that it slightly burned his skin. That taught me to always ask him how products feel (yeah he is weird like that and just accepts burning creams sometimes) and never to listen to what it says on the packaging.
When we moved to Germany I couldn't hardly bring any skincare so we were using about 50% German drugstore products. At the time his skin was better than ever but he still had the occasional spot, visible sebaceous filaments and PIH.
|Johnny after using "sensitive" moisturizers|
I noticed that his skin hated American drugstore products and tolerated German ones, but somehow loves Asian cosmetics. Obviously some are better than others but since his skin is verging on the gorgeous and on some days nicer than mine I thought I would share his routine with you all. He has been using more or less the same stuff for a couple of months now so it is the perfect moment to do so.
If you have similar skin, or maybe you have normal skin with acne and don't know what else to try any more here are a few tips that I apply to Johnnys skin which helped immensely.
Hydration galore! Normal skin needs lots of hydration all year around. Oils are important in winter too but not as necessary during the summer.
Layering several hydrating products gives the skin a juicy and plump look without being too heavy.
Gentle products regardless of the label. Even though it is mostly experimentation with his skin, I still try to get him products targeted to sensitive skin, but that doesn't mean others aren't gentle too. Either try things out or go by the ingredients list.
Actives are your friend! Actives are the final straw that keep Johnnys skin clear. I noticed that when he started using Mandelic acid he didn't have a spot in an entire month. Since the skin can be sensitive make sure to start with the smallest percentage available and introduce products slowly. For some reason his skin is ok using Vitamin C twice a day but acids need to be used sparingly.
|By 2014 he was already using a lot of Asian products but had not yet started using acids besides for the milia|
Try finding alternatives to drying foam cleansers. Johnny has been using PH friendly and gentle cleansers for about three months now and I feel like it has helped his skin stay healthy. Make sure the cleanser is gentle and non stripping. Gel, oil or milk cleansers can be a good option.
Listen to your skin! His skin seems easy going but is tricky. When he starts a new product his skin has to be monitored for any signs of sensitivity. If it shows any, the new products are stopped. To make sure it was actually a certain product and not just a fluke I make him re test them about 1-2 weeks later again. If the sensitivity appears those products won't be used any more. As mentioned above certain reactions could be also because of the way products were used or how often. He still uses BHAs only just once or twice a week instead. His routine is also quite flexible since it needs to be adapted depending on the dryness of the skin and the season of the year.
So finally after this odyssey of skin anecdotes, the actual routine!
Depending on what we are up to he uses either a gentle foam or powder cleanser.
They are both very gentle and non drying. They clean well including sunscreen.
I personally prefer the powder cleanser just because it is so practical and travel friendly.
It depends on what I am using but generally either an AHA or Vitamin C or both.
As far as AHAs go he has been using Papa Recipe 8% AHA Gel, an acid that I love actually.
It is effective yet non drying at all. Mandelic acid is my HG but we ran out a couple of months ago and this is another favourite of mine. When I am using my beloved fairy dust containing C20 he actually gets some too. The actives have really helped not only keeping his skin clear but also reducing the PIH and sebaceous filaments. I did notice that his skin responds better to AHAs than to Vitamin C (unlike my skin which goes bonkers over Vit C!) so I usually have them as the more important part. He uses actives every day or every other day depending on his skin condition. Using them all at the same time might be too much for his skin all the time and too long of a routine. So I generally just use what is available or if his skin looks like it might want to break out soon again maybe more than usual.
The acids are also used to diminish the milia (which it has done very successfully!) and makes sure no more will appear. Acids have helped reduce them so much I often forget they even were there from the get go.
Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
I really like this toner. It is very gentle yet hydrating.
This is actually the only product that we have used marketed for sensitive skin that I felt actually held up on its promises. I have previously reviewed it here.
Chosungah Villa de Garden Toner
He actually doesn't use this as a toner but mixed in with his moisturiser, the reason being that I put the cream in a pump bottle but it was too thick to use so I added the toner to make it more slippery and also hydrating at the same time.
It is gentle as well yet not as hydrating as Klairs. I haven't tested it extensively yet but it seems like a decent very lightweight toner. I think I would prefer it as a mist since I like thicker toners myself.
He has been using two serums in the past few months.
The Klairs Rich Moist Soothing serum and Ladykins Vanpir serum. Klairs just adds hydration and Ladykin supposedly boosts healing and soothing abilities. I prefer Laydkins Vanpir serum. I think it is gentle and actually does heal and sooth somewhat. Not overly so but I feel like both of our skins are calm and smooth when we use this.
When his skin is drier or dehydrated he uses Chosungahs Wonder Milk. This stuff is the bees knees, which you can read about here, and I am happy to say that it is also gentle and works great on normal skin. Even though he can't stand oils at all he has no complaints about Wonder Milk. It can get a little oily when applied too much of but used sparingly it sinks in quickly.
He has been using two products recently and they both happen to be milk themed.
Skinfoods Steam cream.
I bought this thanks to Samplehimes recommendation. This stuff is super smooth and creamy yet not very heavy or oily. It is a little too light for my super duper dry skin but for normal to dry skin it is perfect. This is also very gentle and a good basic moisturiser.
Donkey milk and argan steam cream.
I am obsessed with anything milk related, specially weird types of milks. I like this cream better than Skinfoods since it is a little wetter. I think it just has more hydrating abilities than Skinfoods. Skinfoods cream would be more of a last step in the routine, such as a sleeping pack or an occlusive and I feel like this is more of a stand alone type cream.
Once again I do like both products but I think the Donkey milk received 0.75 points more from me.
Nuganic Customize Sun Block Fresh
I don't have that much to say about this honestly. I mean there is nothing bad about it but it is a tad too oily for my taste. The good part is that it is gentle and has no white cast. When it sinks in it is pretty weightless but it just takes a minute or two to do so.
Sleeping pack or masks:
Johnny hates sheet masks since having a wet face makes him feel like he can't breath. As mentioned before he is weird and proud of it. So sheet masks are a no no.
When I notice that his skin needs more hydration I give him Ladykins Vanpir Water pack bout two to three times a week. He has commented that he really likes how fresh and watery it feels on his skin and I have to agree. It is super duper watery but in a pleasant way. This is how I would imagine sheet masks would be if they were in a jar instead. Just as the other Vanpir products this one is gentle too yet focused on deep hydration.
Johnny doesn't really care what he puts on his face, unless its oils of course, since he doesn't seem to notice much of a difference. So when he says he likes something without me asking, it really stands out to me. I guess that makes this sleeping pack a yes yes!
Spot treatments and extras:
COSRX BHA is used as a spot treatment for weekly pore cleansing and IF it looks like he is getting a spot then too.
Innisfrees Super Volcanic Pore Clay mask is also used weekly as part of the pore cleansing routine. Everyone can use some good ol’ Super Volcanic Pore masks since this stuff is absolutely fantastic! You can read about it and see some pretty pictures of pores here.
|The smoothness, the glow! Not perfect yet but well on the way.|
Lesson learned, some skin is weird and fussy but will love you forever for taking care of it and reward you with glowing goodness.
It is worth it to experiment, even if you have some duds on the way and sometimes it can take a very long time but the results are worth it! Always listen to your skin since it knows best.
I hope this tale might be able to help a few of you, dear Batlings, or maybe even make you discover new and intriguing products.
That is it for the day, so long and bon voyage!