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When people find out I have Rheumatoid Arthritis they say “but, you don’t look ill”! If you knew me during high school and college this is actually pretty funny because it was not until college that I started taking care of my skin. Before that I washed my face in the shower and the only sunscreen I wore was during outdoor excursions. Occasionally, I bought facial cleanser but was too lazy to use it.
As a direct result of my negligence, I was plagued with scarring of pimples past. My forehead was three or four shades darker than the rest of my face, my cheeks and chin were peppered with hyper pigmentation.
When I was diagnosed with RA and prescribed many difficult medications, hyper pigmentation was no longer my main concern. My skin went into oil overload in an attempt to find balance, my eyes were puffy, and my eyelashes fell out. I was still hiding my disease and I did not want my body to be a dead giveaway.
I researched and tested product after product before settling on a simple and, in my opinion, perfect routine. My previously oily skin became more combination and I no longer broke out. Seriously, my last pimple was three or four months ago!
So, when people say I don’t look ill, I take the compliment and credit my fantastic skincare routine! Enjoy!
(Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Gel Cleanser)
After six years, Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Gel Cleanser has reached holy grail status. It is marketed as Neutrogena’s most powerful acne fighter but I find it more gentle than the brand’s other cleansers which always dry me out. I use this twice daily, year round and the cleanser balances my skin and gently clears it. Salicylic acid is a mild chemical exfoliator. In conjunction with other products this cleanser helps keep pigmentation at bay.
Unfortunately, the cleanser was discontinued and none of the other cleansers are remotely similar to it. I was able to snag six before the price sky-rocketed on Amazon but I don’t know what I am going to do after I’ve finished those! Honestly, this cleanser is so good I may buy it at that crazy price.
(Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum)
(Tea Tree Oil) – I buy mine at CVS but any drugstore carries it
Ah, Tea Tree Oil, my savior. After unsuccessfully finding a toner that did not strip my skin of essential moisture I turned to natural alternatives. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic which kills bacteria hiding in pores. Since starting tea tree oil my skin is more balanced and I no longer break out. When I get the stray pimple, it is much smaller and heals more quickly than before.
I always talk about the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum and am never without it. I bought this at the beginning of my anti-aging journey. I didn’t know what to expect since I still had “young” skin. However, within a week, my skin felt smoother and the edges of any spots blurred. A couple of years ago, in an attempt to cut costs, I did not re-purchase and my skin noticed the absence. I broke out and the texture changed. I learned from my mistake and I will never go without this serum again!
(Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator)
(Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains for Face)
The Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains are amazing. I am all about streamlining my skincare routine so when I heard about dry grains added to cleanser I was all over them. Unlike other exfoliating cleansers, I have full control over how harsh or soft my exfoliation is. I always exfoliate twice a week but if my skin is particularly sensitive one day I do not want a harsh scrub to make it more angry. And, since it is a dry ingredient, it does not spoil! I have had this bottle for two years! Keep in mind these grains are unrefined and abrasive. A couple of pinches of product is all I need for a effective exfoliation.
In general, I love the Caudalie line so I had to try the Deep Cleansing Exfoliator. The densely packed exfoliating beads are suspended in a thick cream that protects the skin from scratching. This is an abrasive scrub but my skin always feels baby soft after I use it. As an added bonus the particles do not get caught in my eyebrows or hair line!
(Caudalie Vinosource Cream Sorbet)
(Clinique ‘All About Eyes’ Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage)
The Clinique ‘All About Eyes’ Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage is my #1 holy grail product of life. I have genetically puffy eyes and one tear can swell them shut. When I started my RA medications my eyes became even more aggravated. My usual ice cubes and frozen spoons were no longer sufficient to combat my rabbit eyes. I heard good things about this eye massager and was immediately taken with the gimmicky metal rollerball. It does work, though! The fluid is cool on contact and the massage feels great. I swipe this above and below my eyes a couple of times then use a left over rollerball to continue the massage. With continued use I see a dramatic difference in the overall look of my eyes and definitely notice when I do not use it.
The only downside is Clinique frequently increases the price. I tried the drugstore alternatives and the Origins competitor. None held a torch to Clinique. They either felt like I was applying nothing at all (ahem, Garnier) or the rollerball was too far into the base and scratched the skin (sorry Origins). The ‘All About Eyes’ version is certainly hyped up but well worth the money.
Face moisturizer is the one thing I am not set on. I tried everything from Chanel to Olay and have yet to find anything I like well enough. If I had to choose I would go with the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. It is light but extremely hydrating. The product is some sort of hybrid. It looks and feels like a cream but when rubbed into the skin it emulsifies into water. Very nifty and fun to use! The lotion is non-greasy and has a very pleasant smell. A luxury I look forward to using every night!
(Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer – SPF 15) – I buy mine in bulk at Costco but all drugstores carry it, including Target and Walmart
(Chanel UV Essentiel Complete Sunscreen Fluid – SPF 30)
Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 is a hyper pigmentation game-changer for me. The active soy is effective in lightening my acne scars. Soy is a natural, light ingredient so results are not immediate but I see a huge difference. The scars are lighter and any new ones do not leave as dark a mark as before. I cannot imagine using anything else. The lotion also has instant brighteners so when the sun hits my face it appears smooth and radiant.
During the summer I need more sun protection than what the Aveeno lotion offers. Cue Chanel UV Essential Anti Pollution Complete Sunscreen with SPF 50 (I know they sell the SPF 50 during the spring and summer but only have the SPF 30 available). This is a very funny product. It is a light volatile fluid that provides physical UVA/UVB protection with titanium dioxide. I give the bottle a quick shake to mix the ingredients and smooth no more than two drops all over my face and neck. I am a little skeptical about physical sun protectants but if I wash my face properly in the evening I do not break out. The one ounce bottle is the perfect size to fit in a purse or pants pocket and it lasts all summer.
Well, that’s it for my face routine! I hope you like and want to try some of these products! Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.
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