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Lazy Skincare Routine for My Acne-Prone Skin

I know, the title sounds like a contradiction. Some people have told me that my minimal skincare routine is working against my acne-prone skin, however, I have found that my skin drastically improved after I stopped plying it with products that someone's sister's coworker's mom recommended. My relationship with my combination-type skin has been tumultuous – acne and breakouts started popping up from when I was 14. While it's never been so bad that I had to seek professional help, it was always there. Now, as a young adult, I've been hoping that maybe my adult skin and somewhat balanced hormones would help keep my skin consistently clear. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans for me – between switching birth control brands, taking my birth control pills late (that's on me) and the changing climate, my pre-existing flare-ups got worse. After sticking to a consistent routine and hundreds of wasted dollars, I've listed below the products that have helped clear up my skin.


As a girl who has not gone a single makeup-free day in the past five years, cleansing is a crucial step to going to bed with a clean face. I use the double-cleanse method, which pertains to two steps. The first step is taking makeup off with an oil cleanser or micellar water. I find that micellar water is drying to my skin and I don't like rubbing a cotton pad all over my face, so oil cleansing is my go-to. My holy grail is the Clinique Take Off the Day Balm, and I warm up a quarter-sized amount between my hands to melt the product. This will take off even the most stubborn waterproof mascara (which I only ever wear), and after you're done massaging it into the skin, this emulsifying balm will simply come off with warm water. The next step in a double cleanse routine is using a regular lotion or foaming cleanser, in which I turn to Dermalogica's Special Cleansing Gel. This cleanser doesn't strip or dry out my skin, which is the must-have criteria for the coming winter season.


Before my research, I always thought toner was another gimmick from the makeup and skincare industry, but to my surprise, I discovered that once I stopped paying attention to the fancy packaging and influencer recommendations, finding the right toner is imperative to care for your pores. Tea tree oil has been the biggest catalyst in clearing up my skin. You can buy it pre-diluted from beauty stores, but I've found it's the most cost-efficient and effective to buy the pure version. With my face and hands still wet from cleansing, I shake two drops into my hands, mix them with the water in my hands, and pat the product all over my face. Be sure to avoid your eyes, getting it into your mouth and don't use too much or it'll irritate your skin. I also use tea tree oil as a spot treatment to reduce swelling and discolouration!


My favourite moisturizer for day and nighttime is the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. As someone with oily/combination skin, this product is lightweight and super hydrating without feeling heavy on my face. This moisturizer looks great under makeup and keeps your cosmetic products blended throughout the day.


Twice a week, I use The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 5% + HA. As a veteran of over-exfoliating, this evened out my textured skin and brightened my complexion without having to scrub it. Chemical exfoliants have shown me the best results in achieving clear skin, and I've found physical exfoliants to be too harsh and drying on my sensitive skin. Be sure not to use too much of the chemical exfoliant, and slowly integrate it into your regime starting with once a week. I use this in my nighttime routine, in which I'll skip the tea tree oil step and proceed with my regular moisturizer. 

Skincare is such a subjective topic. Products that have worked for me aren't guaranteed to work for someone else, and there are a lot of external factors that contribute to acne and breakouts. Skincare problems in the past have taken a huge toll on my confidence and how I carried myself, and hopefully, these products help you as much as they have me.

Chrissy Hou

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Chrissy Hou is a fourth year student at Wilfrid Laurier University. When she's not neck deep in assignments, you'll find her making playlists, reading, or thrifting.
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