Sparkle Addicts

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Skin Care Routine/Regime

The past year I have gotten a lot of requests to do a post about what I do to help keep my skin clear and glowing. The truth is, my skin has not always been this way. As a teenager, I had fairly nice skin, then developed adult acne later in my early 20's. Which of course was horrible. I tried a lot of different products to clear up my acne and they either didn't work at all or actually made my skin so much worse.

I would wash my face 2-3 times a day and was always looking in the mirror and picking at my face. I avoided wearing makeup on my face (but wore it on my eyes) because it made the acne look worse. I used all sorts of acne products that really irritated my skin and that was worse than just having blemishes. So for several years, I was very miserable as many of you have been or are currently.

So what did I do to help my skin? In December of 2009, I decided to drastically change my routine. I stopped using harsh acne products. I went from washing my face 2-3 times a day to only washing my face once a day. I stopped picking at my face. If I do happen to get a zit, I'll let it run its course and go away on its own. However, if I happen to get one that is particularly evil (meaning: large, painful and "ready" to go) I will apply pressure around the demon and let it come out on its own. There are right ways and wrong ways to "pop zits". Never scratch or use your nails to kill a zit. If it won't die from applying pressure, it's more than likely not "ready".

Here's what my skin looks like now:
Kissy face! :-D   Here I'm wearing chapstick and my sunscreen powder. If you've ever tried Physicians Formula Healthy Skin SPF 55 powder in Translucent Light, you will know it has NO least it doesn't on me.
I have posted pics of me without makeup before: Beware...the beast lives! J/K :-P

So I will be brave and show you what my skin looked like a long time ago. Sorry if this grosses you out.
I'm sure some of you are thinking "OMG, gross!" and some of you are thinking, "that's not that bad." My skin was very red and irritated. This was not the worst of it, but this is a picture I managed to take when I had the strength to do so. I never intended to show this to anyone. This was taken for me to track my skin progress in the various crap I was trying at the time. None of that crap worked obviously.

So here is what I do now.

Step 1.
I use Mary Kay Formula 3 Deep Cleanser and I ONLY wash my face once a day at night, to remove my makeup. I'm very gentle with my skin. I only use my fingertips and massage my face as I wash it.
Get it here: Deep Cleanser

Step 2.
Every other night after washing my face, I use this toner specifically as a Glycolic treatment as I don't believe in or care for toners. This is alcohol free but the acid still tingles/stings a little bit, but I don't feel like my face is on fire. I've done a lot of research and spoken to dermatologists about Glycolic acid (also known as alpha hydroxy and AHA) and it is the only thing that I can find that actually reverses signs of aging, rather than just minimizing the appearance of aging, like other crappy products. It improves skin texture and appearance. This stuff WORKS for me. Whenever I forget to use this, I can see and feel my skin getting weird.
My husband also uses this product. Although he's wimpy and says it does feel like his face is on fire. Just sayin'! :-)
I got it here: Glycolic Toner


Step 3.
This is the product that actually cleared up my skin! At night after washing my face and using the glycolic toner, I apply this Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion liberally and gently, to my entire face, eyes and neck area. I seriously LOVE this stuff! My husband and I both use this on our hands and face every night and morning. So when I get up in the morning, I do NOT wash my face like most people would do. I might splash my face with water, or use a clean cloth to wipe my face down if I feel a little greasy, but I usually don't. I wake up and just apply more of the shielding lotion. I also use this as my makeup primer and it amazing for that!
You can learn more about it here and purchase from here as well:

In the dry winter months, if I am feeling REALLY dry, I will apply Neutrogena oil-free Moisture for sensitive skin, on top of my Skin MD Shielding Lotion:

Below are products I use once a week.

Clarifying mask:
Once a week (usually Wednesday night), I use Mary Kay's Formula 3 Clarifying Mask. I follow the directions as shown on the tube.
Get it here: Clarifying Mask

Once a week (depending on how my skin is feeling/looking) I'll use micro-dermabrasion crystals to gently exfoliate my skin. I mix it with my cleanser so that it's not too harsh. DO NOT use the glycolic toner after doing this. Do one or the other, but not both on the same day. That would be bad for your skin.
I get mine from but the link isn't working right now for some reason...

This routine works really well for me but it may not work for you. Also keep in mind that it took over a month for my skin to adjust to the new routine, calm down and start looking/feeling nice. For months I was seriously touching my face all the time because it felt sooo good and I wasn't used to feeling smooth, supple skin.

Another important part of skin care is drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and eating healthy. I mostly drink just water and milk and never drink soda unless it's with alcohol, which I may drink 1-3 times a month, depending on the occasion. I stay away from fast food (ew!) and I normally cook at home from scratch so I know what I'm putting into my body. I take daily vegan vitamins and supplements to help if I might be lacking something in my daily diet. Which are these:

My credit card information was stolen from the website where I used to purchase these. Oddly enough I don't remember which website...but you can order them online or find them in some healthy grocery stores.

So now you know what I do with my skin. :-)  I hope this was helpful to you and I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions at all.



  1. This was some great information. I had clear skin for a long time with the occasional pimple around "that time of the month", but lately I've broken out more due to stress.
    I've been doing my best to drink more water so I've been flavouring it with herbal tea to get me in drinking mode.
    Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to post my progress too. :)

  2. I've had an akne too some time ago.. =/ It was terrible..

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing! I still feel like I haven't found the perfect night time moisturizer for my skin or the perfect 'anti-ager' so I'm thinking I should try that acid of yours but I'm worried it will burn!

  4. Skulda,
    Stress can be a factor in breaking out. For that part, exercising helps me relieve stress and helps me keep my mind off of anything that could be bothering me to the point of stress.

    Acne seems to affect most people at some point. I'm glad to have it out of my life...hopefully for good! :-)

    The toner I use is 15% acid, you should try the 10% instead and see if that is OK for your skin. :-)

  5. Phyrra,
    Oh! I just checked their store and they also have a 5% glycolic acid toner. :-) Maybe start there and go to the next level when you feel your skin is ready.

  6. Hi BLIX, what makes you interested in being vegan? I believe too, that you are what you eat, but I also struggle with wine and frozen pizza nights all too often and my face pays for it! Any advice to stay on track?

  7. >< I empathize with you! I get a lot of stress acne, especially around exam times. I do try to eat well (when my braces aren't killing my teeth and I am forced to live off noodles and soup and pudding). I try to destress by playing video games or knitting =)

  8. Very interesting! I generally have good skin but it's gotten a bit worse lately. The toner sounds great, but I have very sensitive skin, I'm allergic to something in a lot of skincare but have no idea what. I can imagine this would burn me :/

  9. Thanks for posting this! I've had some serious issues with my skin this winter, dryness and breakouts at the same time. I bought a glycolic acid gel serum a while ago and I hope it'll help. Haven't used it long enough to know yet.

    I also heard it's best to start with lower percentage of glycolic acid and if you feel like it doesn't help anymore, you can switch to stronger ones.

    How do you feel about hyaluronic acid serums? I like it as an extra moisturizer, kinda like a booster with my regular lotion but it's supposed to be anti-ageing too. Don't know if it actually reverses signs of aging though.

  10. Thanks for sharing that info, Blix! I get a 'monthly' zit and feel very fortunate to have behaving skin.

    I don't eat fast food either. I gave it up so many years ago, I don't know how many now. lol
    I just got off the soda (again) this year.

  11. Hi, been following the blog for sometime now, and I just have to comment (for the first time) to say I love your skin. It's hard to believe you used to have breakouts!:) Thanks for sharing your routine. I've tried SkinMD but it broke me out hard. Hope my adult acne can also go away soon.

  12. Thanks so much for this, it's very interesting to see how your skin has improved. I'm still looking for the right routine for my own skin. I've been dealing with acne for the last 15 years of my life as well as other skin issues. Now that I'm 25, I feel my skin changing so I think I need to experiment with my routine some more.

    Your skin looks great, thanks for sharing! <3

  13. I think I will need the glycolic acid toner, I just bought the peel so will have to first see how it works. Been struggling with acne since early teens and I wish now that I'm close to 30 it would bugger off.

  14. Love this advice. I have found that the "wash once, moisturize twice" regimen is the best for my skin also. The more moist my skin the less prone I am to breakouts.

  15. i suffer from the same type of acne. throughout high school, i only had small little pimples, but mostly clear. i went to college and the acne came out. i use silk minerals, which at this point, is the best stuff i've used. I too stopped washing my face in the morning.
    I want to try the glycolic toner. I was afraid before, since i didn't know where to start.
    thanks for the post.

  16. Uma Puma,
    I'm actually not vegan as I drink milk everyday and sometimes cook with butter/cheese. But I do tend to use a lot of products that are vegan. I would say I'm semi-vegetarian. I eat multi-grain cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. I eat fruit and veggies every day. I made it a sort of routine to eat 2 different fruits as snacks between meals (usually an orange and an apple or banana) and for my lunch I make a huge veggie stir fry with non-fat cooking oil and season it with a lot of spices. Dinner is pretty random at times but usually consists of potatoes or noodles and veggies. So I eat really well but yeah, frozen pizza is in my freezer once in a while.!
    Eating healthy is easy as long as you find things that taste good. I love food so I can't skip out on flavour.

    Stress can totally affect your skin. Doing what works for you to relax should help!

    Lillian Funny Face,
    I have sensitive skin and this does tingle on me. You might be able to try the 5% level without burning.

    Tell me about skin has been so dry this winter. It's horrible! I also have an acid treatment in gel form but for some reason, it doesn't seem to work as well as the toner.
    I have an under eye cream with hyaluronic acid but I don't think it does anything. It smells weird for sure though.

    You're welcome. I know eating certain foods and it causing acne is supposed to be a myth, and I believe that. But I have yet to meet someone who eats crap all the time to have really nice glowing skin.
    Fast food always makes me feel like crap so I know I should just stay away from it. Bleh. Soda seems to be a hard thing for most people to quit. I managed to get one of my guy friends to stop drinking it and he lost over 20 lbs. Woot!

    Thank you! Glad you came out and commented. :-) That's too bad it didn't work for you. Adult acne is so annoying and frustrating. I wish I had it as a teenager so I could have gotten passed it as a teenager like most people. I hope you can find something that works for you!

    You are welcome! When trying new products, remember to only introduce one new item at a time and give it enough time to figure out whether or not it works for you.

    You should try it if the peel doesn't work for you. Seriously, it needs to bugger off. Acne as an adult just seems like a cruel joke!

    Tonya C.,
    Dry skin is part of the acne problem in my experience. All the acne products I tried, dried out my skin which resulted in MORE breakouts. Which defeated the purpose of using acne stuff. So this routine is best for me.

    You are welcome! Over washing is a common skin irritant that most women seem to do. I hope you can find something that works for you.

  17. Great post, thank you! I was wondering if you have any advice for getting rid of blackheads? Mine just won't seem to shift, they're in my T-Zone, which is slightly oily :( In all other respects, I'm very happy with my skin as a result of finding a skincare regime which works for me, drinking lots of water and keeping a healthy vegetarian diet - just saying in case it's relevant to your opinion, if you could give it :)

  18. Your blog is a goldmine, and you are a rockstar! Thank you so much for posting your secrets. I had no idea glycolic acid existed. I can't wait to try it. I hope it will clear up my skin a little more and get rid of some wrinkles that are rearing their ugly head way too early! Have you tried any of the peels from either Sharon Marie or Skin Obsession? My skin is pretty sensitive, but I'd love a jump-start on a fix.

  19. Hey Sarah,
    Aw, thank you! It does help a lot of people's skin. Just make sure to start light and use a low percentage of glycolic acid. Then if it's not enough, go to a higher level.
    I have tried the Alpha Beta 30% combo peel from Skin Obsession but it was too intense for my skin. You have to be VERY careful with using these peels because if you aren't, you can cause skin damage/scarring. When you do a peel, you need at least a week for your skin to will look terrible for a while until the skin peels off. This is acid and it burns skin off to help generate newer, fresher looking skin. That's why I prefer to use the glycolic acid in toner form because I know my face won't fall off if I do. Start with the toner and see how you like it. Then go to a peel if you feel you need something more intense. Let me know if you have any other questions. :-)