My hormonal acne skincare routine started because going through infertility treatments has had such a negative effect on my skin – enlarged pores (more than normal), breakouts everywhere (all different types), such congested skin… it was just so out of whack. No different than when you’re pregnant, there are so many ingredients we CANNOT use to combat acne during this time, I am limited in how to manage this skin. But I found a routine that has kept it calm over the last few months and I’m sticking with it (for the most part… we know I have self control issues with beauty products) 😉
In terms of my skin, it has always been very reactive/sensitive and acne prone. I’ve been mostly oily my entire life yet dehydrated.
My current skin wishes at 36 years old are to maintain clarity, brighten discoloration and keep the skin hydrated to prevent fine lines/wrinkles.
With that said, let’s roll into what this routine looks like…
This routine is VERY simple and looks something like this:
I wear makeup daily. Whether it’s a tinted moisturizer or foundation, there’s something on my skin and it’s important to deeply clean it all off, especially before bed.
A big believer in ‘double cleansing,’ I had to modify my old routine of using a cleansing balm/cleansing oil and then a second foaming cleanser.
My aesthetician made a valid point: in her experience, no matter how ‘clean rinsing’ a cleansing balm/oil may feel, it still could be leaving behind a residue that could be congesting pores.
So I still double cleanse now… just with a gel-based, simple cleanser.
For my first cleanse, I’ve been using the Skinceuticals Simply Clean Facial Cleanser which is perfect for oily skin.
It’s gentle enough for daily use and a little goes such a long way.
It’s pretty no-frills in terms of active ingredients, but I love that it gets the job done without making my skin feel tight or dry and it also isn’t filled with parabens (like my old favorite foaming cleanser from CeraVe).
For my second cleanse, I use Beautycounter’s Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser. This is also a gel-based cleanser, but it has little exfoliating beads in it which help buff off any dead skin cells or leftover makeup.
In the morning, I just use the Skinceuticals Simply Clean.
Still sticking to an alcohol free witch hazel, I now prefer the Humphries Alcohol Free Witch Hazel, as my old go-to from Thayer’s now is using artificial fragrance.
I tone in the morning and at night after cleansing and use these reusable cotton rounds.
For months, the only serum I could tolerate was a pure hyaluronic acid serum. I recommend keeping it REALLY simple if your skin is currently in active breakout phase and just use H.A.
My aesthetician’s at Sykes and Lanno make their own hyaluronic acid serum called ‘Balance,’ which I *highly* recommend… but I also tried a couple others I like, too. Not all H.A. serums are created equal – some have broken me out.
The Vichy 89 Serum feels amazing on the skin! I also have used and repurchased The Inkey List‘s hyaluronic acid serum and you cannot beat the $7 price tag. However… be sure you read to the end of this post, because safety may determine your selection for a H.A. serum that’s right for you.
In the last couple months, now that my skin is calmer, I added a skin brightening serum to help with the acne scarring.
I’ve used tons of vitamin C serums in the past, but decided to switch it up and see how other ingredients react on my skin and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum.
This serum is very lightweight, not greasy and a combination of 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES. I use it both AM and PM, about 2-3 drops right after the hyaluronic acid.
The only moisturizer I have used since June 2020 has been from my aesthetician’s office – a facial oil rightfully called, Calm.
It’s a proprietary blend of Squalane and Abyssinian Oils which are nearly impossible to clog pores – if anything, they reduce inflammation significantly and can minimize breakouts.
All I do is massage about 5-7 drops into the skin before bed, and 3-5 drops in the morning before SPF.
Squalane oil is SO GOOD for acne prone/reactive skin! It’s very helpful at reducing inflammation and I highly recommend ordering this facial oil from Sykes and Lanno. WORTH IT.
BUT… if you can’t for some reason, I feel good recommending Biossance’s Squalane Oil as an alternative. I will be trying this next just to find another option to recommend.
I still am very loyal and LOVE my Beautycounter Countertime Eye Renewal Cream at night. The best for crows feet/darkness.
When I started taking all the hormones for infertility, the first thing I had to cut out was my top recommended tinted moisturizing SPFs.
Even if they were mineral SPFs, I felt that something about these formulas was clogging my pores.
So, I found a couple that have been working VERY well and keeping my skin clear and protected.
Being that I am always concerned about my toxin load with my personal care products, you may be wondering how ‘clean’ this stuff is…
With this hormonal acne skincare routine, I have definitely pulled back from my usual Beautycounter skincare that I used and loved for almost two years. One day, I hope to get back to using more from my favorite clean beauty brand, but I’ve done my vetting and here is my feelings on the products I’m using now. Use your personal judgement to decide what’s best for you.
*a cleaner Hyaluronic Acid serum is the one my aesthetician’s make, Sykes and Lanno’s Balance Serum. Simple and scores a 1-2.
So that’s my very boring hormonal acne skincare routine!
Once a week, I still do my Beautycounter Charcoal Face Mask to draw out impurities and excess oils, and once a week I’ll still use the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel to help chemically exfoliate my skin. These are tried and true loves I’ll always be loyal to and never do me wrong 🙂
I do see my aesthetician about once a month, particularly during an infertility cycle (IUI or IVF) to mainly do extractions and keep things as clear as possible while I can’t use the normal acne fighting ingredients.
I hope this helps you see that you can still build a cleaner skincare routine without having to ONLY use ‘clean’ brands. And to evaluate your skin! My skin was doing amazing for a long time, but then you shoot yourself up with hormones and it alllll goes to shit. -__-
Please let me know if you have any questions.