Nighttime Skincare Routine for Hormonal Acne & Sensitive Skin

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Last Wednesday I posted my morning skincare routine. I recommend reading that post before this one because my whole routine works together to better my skin but if you don’t feel like reading that post I’ll recopy everything I said about my skin history here. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome a little over three years ago. Along with a lot of reproductive issues, my skin was suddenly breaking out for the first time in my life. I have tried EVERYTHING I could possibly think of to fight my acne and I’ve reviewed most of those things here. In December of 2018 I finally decided to go see a dermatologist. She confirmed what I already knew, my acne is caused by hormones and there’s really not much I can do internally to fight it as long as I’m actively trying to get pregnant. Acne medications are STRONG and you typically have to be on birth control to use them. However, she was able to prescribe me two topical treatments that have helped me so much. I thought that since I’ve now seen a dermatologist, totally reworked my skincare routine and I’m actually seeing results that I would do an updated skincare routine.

Some of these products I have reviewed before but I’m going to just review them again here and link to where you can purchase them. I’ve used all of these products for at least a month and some much longer than that. If I mention it here that means I do recommend it but I might swap it out in a few months if I find something more affordable or that will work better.

*My skin type and concerns are: combination that tends to be more dry, acne with scarring, blackheads and whiteheads.

The first column on the left was taken the day I went to the dermatologist on 12/12. The middle column was taken on 12/21 and was when I first noticed a significant difference. The last column was taken on 01/10 and I’m actually more broken out there because of PMS but it’s still an improvement.

My nighttime routine can basically be separated into two sections, in the shower and out of the shower. I use quite a few different products at night so that is how I will divide them up to review.

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  • If I’m wearing makeup I initially remove it with the e.l.f. Bounce Back Jelly Cleanser. This cleanser is $6.00 for 3.38 ounces. It’s very gentle on the skin, has a light coconut scent and does an EXCELLENT job at removing even stubborn makeup. This contains coconut juice, not oil, which is great because the oil can cause breakouts. I have not noticed any breakouts while using this. I do follow this up with regular soap just to make sure no makeup is left on my face.
  • Next I use a salicylic acid, a BHA. This type of acid helps to exfoliate your skin. My preferred salicylic acid is the Alba Botanica Acne Dote. I purchase this at WalMart for around $6.00 for 6 ounces. It contains 2% salicylic acid and is also free of parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. This leaves my skin feeling so clean and refreshed.
  • The next two products I’m going to mention are ones I’ve been using interchangeably. First is the e.l.f. Exfoliating Scrub. This is $5.00 for 5 ounces. This scrub is very gentle on the skin with a fine grit. It’s also very thick which makes it hard to squeeze out of the tube. It has a very light, almost nonexistent, scent. I do like this scrub and think it works okay but I prefer the Freeman Feeling Beautiful Apple Cider Vinegar Mask & Scrub. It’s $4.29 for 6 ounces, so a better deal. I feel like the grit is more effective at removing dead skin in this one compared to the e.l.f. scrub. The Freeman brand one can also be used as a mask, has an apple scent that I love and the apple cider vinegar can help with acne. I typically use a scrub every day but if you have very sensitive skin you may need to use one less than that.
  • Two times a week I use the Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Scrub. This is $23.00 for 3.3 ounces. A microdermabrasion scrub is supposed to be more intense than an average facial scrub and can help with scarring, which is why I use it. Vitamin C also can help lighten scarring. This is a pricy scrub but a little bit goes a long way and you don’t need to use it often. This smells lightly of oranges and has not irritated my skin. I do not use a regular facial scrub on days that I use this one.

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  • Once out of the shower I use a facial toner. I’ve been using the Mario Badescu Chamomile Cleansing Lotion. This toner is $15.00 for 8 ounces. Chamomile is very gentle on the skin and helps to calm inflammation. I will not be repurchasing this, however, because my Thayer Witch Hazel with Rose Petal Toner is only $7.00 for 12 ounces and it performs the same on my skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin purchasing the Chamomile Cleansing Lotion might be worth it but for me it’s not.
  • After the toner I use one of the medications prescribed for me by my dermatologist, Clindamycin Phosphate. This is an antibiotic used to treat inflammatory acne. It works by killing off acne causing bacteria and reducing redness and swelling. This has been a true miracle worker for me. Where as my pimples used to linger for one to two weeks this dries them up within a few days. It’s also very gentle on my skin and doesn’t burn or cause any irritation.
  • Next I use the second medication prescribed by my dermatologist, Azelaic Acid. Azelaic Acid helps clear pores, exfoliate the skin, reduce acne causing bacteria and helps to even skin tone. My Azelaic Acid is a 15% concentration and can only be gotten through prescription. However, you can purchase a 10% concentration from the website Paula’s Choice. Azelaic Acid has worked very well on my skin BUT my neck is every sensitive to it. Everytime I apply this my neck will be red and irritated. This does go away within a few hours but I wanted to mention it. The skin on my face does not react negatively for the most part but the acid does dry out my skin.
  • About a month ago I decided to incorporate a serum and chose the CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum. It is $19.00 for 1 ounce. This serum contains three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. While I did like this serum I didn’t see any noticeable results while using it and I went through this bottle quickly. I don’t think I will repurchase it but I’d like to find a more affordable alternative. It needs to be noted that CeraVe’s cruelty free status is debatable. The brand claims they’re cruelty free, which is what I go by.
  • I also recently started using a facial oil. I tried the e.l.f. Antioxidant Booster Drops. These drops are $10.00 for half an ounce. I really enjoyed using this facial oil. It was more of a “dry” oil and did not make my face greasy or cause breakouts. It really helped to moisturize my skin and I feel it helped the overall appearance. While I do recommend this, I ran out of this stuff so fast. I’ve decided to try the Pura d’or brand Argan Oil that is $20.00 for 4 ounces. I purchased this oil from Ulta but for some reason they’ve removed it from the website. You can order this oil from Amazon, however. When I update my skincare routine in a few months I’ll be reviewing this.
  • Next I moisturize my skin. Lately I’ve been using the Equate Beauty Dry Skin Facial Cream. It’s $3.00 for 6.5 ounces. This cream is paraben free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic. The Equate Beauty line is the WalMart store brand that makes dupes for name brands. This cream is a dupe for the Pond’s Cold Cream. Everything I can find online says the Equate Beauty line is cruelty free but use your own discretion when purchasing items from it. If you do decide to purchase from it, this cream is an excellent affordable moisturizer.
  • Lastly, I spray my face with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray. I’ve been using their newest one that contains aloe, sage and orange blossom. It’s $12.00 for an 8 ounce bottle. I don’t particularly care for the scent of this spray. I was hoping it would smell mostly of oranges but it smells mainly like sage with a hint of orange. I prefer their rose scented one and won’t purchase this one again.

That is my very lengthy nighttime routine. I’m still figuring out what works best for my skin but as of right now I’m happy with the results. I will be updating my skincare routine in March. I’d love to know what your skincare must haves are! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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