HALP - what do you do with your face?

HALP - what do you do with your face?


Hi Guys,

I am 28 and my skin has changed pretty dramatically in the last few months. I have combination skin (a pretty oily t-zone), rapidly enlarging pores and redness around my nose and under my eyes. I am developing laugh lines around my mouth and some very fine lines on my forehead.

Bit of background: I had been using Proactiv for acne since I was 17 until about 2 years ago, when I started playing around with different products. The problem is, I find skincare very overwhelming, and after becoming frustrated with breakouts and oiliness, I gravitated towards another easier regime. Its called Real-U, and I like it because its all natural and doesn’t break me out at all. Because there’s no exfoliant or toner in the regime, I think its just seriously clogged my pores and now I’m scrambling to fix it.

I went for my first ever facial (micro, 45 mins), and the technician wasn’t very helpful - she just said “use acids” - but which one?! There’s so many products, and I’m again naturally looking at sets (is Alpha-H any good) because I’m about to be on a pretty tight budget and I don’t want to waste money on products that don’t work. So I need some pointers on the following:

  1. What ingredients do I need to be looking for to help my combination ageing skin?
  2. Can you recommend any products to help?
  3. What is your regimen if you have similar skin?
  4. Do I need a night creme/retinol yet?

They’re just a few of the questions I have - if you have any other hot tips, send them my way.

Thanks for helping me out!


Hey cmbirch!

So, first off, I suggest you look around and find a therapist who will actually be helpful to you, educate you, be there for you with any questions or queries, and write you a full routine. A lot of people lose faith after a bad professional experience but I can assure you there are great therapists out there - I’m one of them! I can give you some advice here but honestly, finding a really good clinic (like a medispa or skin clinic rather than a waxing/nails salon) is key. Stalk their websites, stalk their facebook, stalk their instagrams. Find one where the staff are intelligent and knowlegeable! Believe it or not, we are actually very sensitive to budget concerns as well and we try not to overwhelm clients. I personally will also recommend outside of the ranges I sell if our products are too expensive.

So in answer to your question:

  1. I’d look for a cleanser that contains a mild concentration of salicylic acid (around 2%). I’d also look for a lactic acid lotion (around 10% concentration). I’d definitely be looking at a retinol, and I’d look for an enzyme exfoliant as well. Niacinamide would be a good ingredient for you to include too.
  2. If you’re budget conscious, I’d look at The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic 2% HA. Also look at Skinstitut - enzyme mask/exfoliant and their retinol would probably be suitable. Umm I can’t help you with a cheap cleanser but I personally love Cosmedix Purity Clean or Aspect Dr AHA/BHA cleanser.
  3. I have quite a similar skin to yours, but I’m 35. This is my routine:
    Clarins Cleansing Milk with Gentian
    Sukin toner
    Aspect Dr Multi-B serum
    Societe Triple C serum
    Ultraceuticals C firming eye cream
    La Roche Posay Uvidea XL SPF30.

Shu Uemura cleansing oil
Aspect AHA/BHA cleanser
The Ordinary 10% Lactic 2% HA lotion
Cosmedix Refine Plus serum
C firming eye cream
Aspect Dr Resveratrol moisturiser

Once weekly:
Skinmedica AHA/BHA
Cosmedix Pure Enzymes mask.
Sukin anti pollution charcoal mask
The Body Shop Japanese matcha mask
Aspect Gold probiotic mask
Also twice weekly I use Clarins Lotus Oil in place of moisturiser at night.
(yep I know it’s a lot of masks)

  1. Yes you need retinol, get onto it and stay on it for your entire life. Just make sure you’re wearing sunscreen as well.

For professional treatments, Hydrafacial MD would work well for you I think.