Luckily for me, my mid-twenties have meant good things for my skin. I still vividly remember my struggles with cystic acne, starting back in my teens and persisting well into my early twenties. It was likely a combination of prescription acne medications and hormonal changes as I aged that eventually put an end to that stage of my life...for the most part, anyway.
Nowadays, my skin tends to remain breakout-free the majority of the time, with my trouble period being around that time of the month and my trouble area being my chin. Having tried more than my fair share of acne products over the past decade, I've finally narrowed it down to a small team of three products worthy of remaining in my pimple-fighting arsenal.
The gentle one // If you've been following my blog for a while now, you might remember back in the day when I used to use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo religiously. I'd apply it all over my skin, under my moisturizer, once to twice daily, depending on the severity of my acne. I don't use this one very often anymore, but it still holds a special place in my heart. It's light and gentle and doesn't tend to cause much dryness, even when used twice daily, as I did. In my opinion, however, it's not potent enough to be used as a spot treatment for pimples that have already surfaced, but the next two are.
The natural one // It's weird, because Osmia Organics Spot Treatment doesn't contain any ingredients I'd normally associate with fighting acne, as its key ingredients are evening primrose oil and a slew of essential oils. It's an oil housed in a tiny rollerball that is meant to be used only on spots, as its name would suggest, and not all over the face for preventative measures. Due to its slightly greasier consistency, I apply it only at night, and oftentimes, new pimples that could be felt brewing under the surface the night before are diminished and less painful by morning, often never surfacing at all. Although it has quite a strong herbal-scent, it's incredibly gentle and the evening primrose oil actually nourishes the skin, never allowing healing pimples to turn horribly dry and peely.
The strong one // Benzoyl peroxide has always been my spot-fighting weapon of choice, as salicylic acid tends not to be strong enough for me. With that said, one of my main qualms with benzoyl peroxide in the past has been its drying qualities...and the fact that it dyes my pillow cases and towels. Now, of course, there's nothing to be done about the bleaching thing, other than to switch to white linens, but Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Treatment Lotion manages to combine the potent acne-killing properties of benzoyl peroxide into a lotion that is very minimally drying. Although it can be applied all over, I use this as a nighttime spot treatment, similarly to how I use Osmia's. It's slightly more drying than Osmia's, but still considerably less drying than other benzoyl peroxide products I've tried in the past.
When I really need to bust out the big guns, I first apply Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, then layer Kate Somerville Anti Bac on top. Seriously. I wouldn't recommend doing this all the time, but sometimes you have no other choice, ya know? Although the combination of a lotion over an oil seems and looks odd, it seems to have additive spot-fighting effects that can't be ignored.
Here's to hoping that one day, I won't need a spot-fighting team in my skincare routine anymore, but until that day comes, at least I'll have these three products.