Although I had relatively clear skin throughout high school, I battled severe acne and extremely oily skin into my late twenties.
It was absolutely horrible. My blemishes were very noticeable, painful, and difficult to cover up with makeup. Over the course of several years, I tried countless skin regimens with big promises and next to no real results.
On one occasion, I visited a rather sketchy dermatologist, and was duped into purchasing about $400 worth of products from his own private line. Many of the items appeared to be manufactured on a larger scale with Dr. So-and-so’s name slapped on it. The next time I visited the office, I said I had a “friend” interested in the line and they wanted to know if they could buy them anywhere else. The dermatologist firmly stated that they were ONLY sold through his office. That turned out to be a total lie. When I Googled the product descriptions on the back of the bottles and tubes, I found the company that actually made the products and they were readily available online.
Another dermatologist prescribed me antibiotics that made me break out in hives, because I was apparently allergic to them.
For a few months I paid a lot of money to get facials at a Tampa spa, and used the Pevonia line – but again, nothing.
My skin was so oily, that makeup would start sliding after a couple hours of wear. Needless to say, I looked terrible in photos.
Now that I’m in my early thirties, I’m happy to say I’ve found a combination of several different products that work for my skin. The majority are very affordable, available in generic versions, and can be found easily at the drugstore or supermarket.
For everyone else out there who may be suffering from the same skin issues, I wanted to share what I use.
(Disclaimer: Not every skincare and beauty product will work well for everyone. I am simply sharing what works for me. Please consult your physician/dermatologist before trying a new skincare regimen. Also, I am not a spokesperson or representative of any of the companies mentioned below – I just love their products!)
NEOSPORIN: Early in our marriage, I remember griping about my skin woes to James. More than once, he suggested that I try to put Neosporin on my blemishes because it was meant to heal wounds and acne was a type of wound. The ointment contains three different antibiotics including bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B in a base of cocoa butter, cottonseed oil, sodium pyruvate, tocopheryl acetate, and petroleum jelly.
The first few times, I brushed it off until one evening I mixed a dab of Neosporin with the moisturizer I was using at the time and slathered it all over my face. Yes, it did make my face a bit slick and greasy. When I woke up the next morning, much of the redness from my blemishes was gone and the blemishes appeared less prominent. The next night I followed the same routine, and within four days my skin was almost totally clear. Since then, my skin has never gotten that bad again.
Now, keep in mind that the packaging does NOT recommend that you use Neosporin over large areas of skin. After that initial time period of using Neosporin overnight for a few days, I no longer do that. When I get a smaller breakout every once in a while, I dab a dot of the cream version of Neosporin over it, because it’s non-greasy and I can apply makeup over it.
There have also been concerns that long-term use of antibacterial ointments can lead to strains of bacteria such as MRSA becoming resistant to it.
ANTIBACTERIAL HAND SOAP: This is what I wash my face with twice a day, and use as body wash in the shower. It is seriously cheap! I purchased a couple of these smaller bottles with a pump dispenser, and refill them from a bigger jug. I have previously used expensive face wash, and this works better for my skin and costs a LOT less.NEUTROGENA OIL-FREE ACNE STRESS CONTROL TRIPLE-ACTION TONER: If this product is ever discontinued, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It usually runs around $5.99 – $6.99 at Walmart or Target and I always pick up two or three bottles at a time so I’m never without it. After I wash my face, I soak a cotton ball with this toner and rub it into my skin using circular motions. It doesn’t dry out my skin, and feels refreshing. Then I rinse my face again.
CERAVE MOISTURIZING LOTION: This moisturizer is non-greasy, but works as advertised, and is a reasonable price between $13 and $15. However, I found an equivalent generic Equate Beauty version at Walmart. It’s a few dollars less – coming in under $9. I actually squirt a quarter-size amount into the palm of my hand, shake some of the Neutrogena toner in with it, mix it – then apply to my face.
MARIO BADESCU SPECIAL HEALING POWDER: If I’m bumming around the house on my day off, or getting ready for bed – I will apply this powder to my face with a kabuki brush dedicated to this sole purpose. It’s a sulfur-based powder that absorbs oil and reduces redness. I find using this powder regularly keeps my oiliness in check. If I have a single pimple, I dip a Q-tip into the powder and generously cover it.
While Mario Badescu is considered a luxury skincare brand, with a day spa in New York City and fans like Martha Stewart – the pricing isn’t crazy. The powder is $12 and lasts for about two months. I also have a jar of the Special Hand Cream with Vitamin E – the 8 oz. size is $14.
REVLON COLORSTAY FOUNDATION FOR COMBINATION/OILY SKIN: This is another example of an affordable beauty product working better with my skin than other, super pricey options. I had previously used Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Oil-Free Liquid Foundation, Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation, and even Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua foundation.
To my surprise, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in the Combination/Oily Skin formulation beat all of the expensive competition. Unless I’m tan (which isn’t very often), 150 Buff Chamois is an identical match for my skin tone. The liquid is easy to blend, gives a nice matte finish, and has the best staying power out of any foundation I have tried.
It’s usually around $10 at regular price, and most drugstores and big box stores carry it.
REAL TECHNIQUES MAKEUP BRUSHES: To apply makeup, I absolutely love Real Techniques line of brushes. They’re so soft, apply product beautifully, don’t shed, and are a fantastic value. The large powder brush and blush brush were bought standalone, but the others were included in a value set. I use the buffing brush (middle) to apply foundation.
SKINDINAVIA MAKEUP FINISHING SPRAY – OIL CONTROL: After applying all of my makeup, I use Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray to set it for the day. To use, you shake the bottle and spray your face (with eyes closed, of course) about 12 – 14 inches away making “X” and “T” motions. Where I really notice the effectiveness of this product is eye makeup. Without it – my eye shadow, eye liner, and mascara were a mess at the end of the day.
Because I do my makeup, then have a 45 minute drive to work and back, it’s got to last at least ten hours. Since I started using Skindinavia, my eye makeup really stays put!
Out of all of the beauty items I am sharing, this one is definitely the most expensive – $39 for an 8 oz. spray bottle. This does last for several months, and when I order from the Skindinavia website, there’s free shipping and no sales tax. Plus, I get two bonus travel size bottles of Makeup Primer and Makeup Finishing Spray. For me, this is well worth the cost.
SALLY HANSEN MIRACLE GEL NAIL POLISH: Okay, so this line of beauty products isn’t necessarily meant for oily skin, but I have become a big fan and thought I’d share it anyway. When the gel manicure craze began, I bought a SensatioNail Gel Polish Kit for $50. The SensatioNail kit is actually pretty great. I was able to give myself long lasting, salon-quality manicures at home. The downsides were that I had to dedicate a couple hours to apply the polish, and another couple hours to remove – letting my nails sit in pure acetone until I was able to chip off the gel polish.
When I saw Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel nail polish out shopping one day, I bought a bottle of the sparkly gold “Game of Chromes” and another bottle of top coat for $7.99 each. I hadn’t read any reviews, and wasn’t expecting much. The brushes are wider, making application easier. I usually apply two coats of color, then one or two top coats. The colored polish will be a tiny bit sticky, even after letting it dry for 10 minutes or so. Don’t be alarmed by this. Apply the top coat, and before dipping the brush back into the bottle – wipe it off on a paper towel. This will eliminate any of the nail color from mixing with the clear top coat.
Once the top coat dries, it really does mimic an authentic gel manicure. I can go at least 5 days without any chips or dents. Then it removes as easily as regular nail polish. If you are someone who enjoys frequent polish changes, I would highly recommend Miracle Gel. The thing about the SensatioNail gel manicure is that it almost lasts too long, if that makes any sense. By the time it started to show wear and tear, I had a significant amount of nail growth. I was also kind of tired of the color and wanted to switch it out.
Hope you enjoyed finding out what some of my favorite beauty products are. I’d love to hear what yours are – leave me suggestions in the comments below.
See you next time!