2 Day Acne Turnaround Skincare Routine ft. Papa Recipe

Friday, June 3, 2016

Hi everyone, I thought I would share about the skincare I use to fight breakouts when they do happen. I've never really touched upon this topic on the blog before from a personal standpoint because it's a rare occasion - not a humblebrag - it's just that my primary skincare concern will always be balancing my skin's chronic lack of hydration and oils and, as it turns out, my skin is not that hospitable a place for bacteria propionibacterium acnes.

This routine should be helpful to others' whose primary skin concerns are usually not acne, but like me, are more focused around balancing the skin, whether it be through using primarily oil control products for those with oily skin, regular maintenance of normal skin, or moisturization for dry skin. I recommend these products for those who experience a flareup or two every once in awhile with a bout of MILD acne, things like clogged pores, closed comedones, and blackheads. This is not the routine for those dealing with cystic, hormonal and/or chronic acne. If you are dealing with any of these conditions, it's probably best to follow a dermatologist's advice, and not me, random internet person.

With that, I'll take you through my 2 day anti-acne routine that turns around my skin in no time!


We're about halfway through 2016 (time flies doesn't it?) and I've kind of renewed my New Year's resolution of doing yoga at least 3 times a week only I managed to unwittingly amp it up a notch and signed up for an unlimited class pass at my local hot yoga studio. Well, recommitted newbie as I was, I totally forgot that wearing sunscreen or makeup into a 105 degree fahrenheit would definitely turn my normally acne-free face into clog city. My first class was Tuesday, and the following routine was performed on Wednesday and Thursday.

If you see the photos below, you'll see that my left cheek (your right) has some lovely little closed comedones sprouting all over it. By day 2, after this routine, the sprouts have shrunk, and by day 3 they were virtually gone.

Closed comedones = acne without a head and/or acne with a white head, also known as whiteheads :-)

Disclosure: Some of the products featured in the post are stocked at sister website HappySheet.org They are marked with an asterisk. 


The main way I battle clogged pores is by first shifting from my normal routine, full of emollients and occlusives that may lead to further clogging (as a dry skinned lady a lot of my routine contains ingredients like silicones, stearic acid, fatty alcohols, and thick, rich oils), to my tried and true acne-fighting products.

The products that I currently have in my arsenal contain acne-annihilating ingredients like:

TEA TREE OIL/EXTRACT - derived from Australian melaleuca plant, which exhibits antimicrobial behavior and has been shown to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne. (Just have to add that it's not wise to use 100% teatree products directly on the face, that will completely irritate the skin).

AZELAIC ACID - is derived from grains, and is a triple threat, besides fighting acne, it's also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and so is great for sensitive skin as well. Azelaic acid at prescription strength can be obtained by consulting with a dermatologist.

SNAIL SECRETION FILTRATE - One of the components of snail secretion filtrate is glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, which is a closed comedone's biggest nightmare, in addition to glycolic acid, snail mucin extract is also composed of allantoin which is great for soothing sensitive skin as it heals.

CENTELLA ASIATICA (GOTU KOLA) - a source of madecassic acid and asiatic acid, is a native plant used in East Asian medicine that has antibacterial, anti-psoriatic, and wound-healing effects. (source: Paula's Choice beautypedia).

SALICYLIC ACID - a beta hydroxy acid that is oil and sebum-loving that penetrates into pores to bust blackheads

On top of switching out my routine, I also make certain to use a sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium oxide, wash all of my makeup brushes and applicators, and eliminate dairy from my diet until my skin returns to normal.

So pictured below is my revised routine:


Papa Recipe AC Trouble Toner

INGREDIENTS Water, Propylene Glycol, Beta-Glucan, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pinus Radiata Bark Extract, Wakame Extract, Soy Isoflavone, Chamomile Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Allantoin, Azelaic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Caprylate, Propandiol, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil

This is a watery pH adjusting acid toner that contains both alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids at a pH of 4. It's a very mild toner that doesn't dry the skin out despite the alcohol in the formula. It also contains almost every over-the-counter blemish-fighting ingredient besides benzoyl peroxide and sulfur which are both drying to the skin, so no harm no foul from my point of view. At the end of the day it's a decent toner and when I use this, it seems to suck the life out of my pimples.


Apieu Nonco Teatree Spot Patches

INGREDIENTS Acrylates Polymer, Propylene Glycol, Purified Water, Ethanol, Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Grape Seed Extract, Allantoin, Phytosphingosine, Polysorbate 80, Methylparaben

To be honest, I don't usually have hydrocolloid patches on hand and these are my first ones that I have tried. It goes without saying that as such, I don't really have enough experience to recommend these over other hydrolloid patches (basically, pimple bandaids). For me the main value was that having these little bandaids on my spots was a great blocking agent for when I felt the itch to poke and prod at my blemishes. There are many hydrocolloid patches on the market, of which I seem to have seen the most devotees swearing fealty to the ones by Nexcare and CosRX.

CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Power Mucin Essence

INGREDIENTS Snail Secretion Filtrate (96%), Betaine, Butylene Glycol,1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Arginine, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol

From an earlier full review which you can read here. "The Snail 96 spreads really easily and absorbs almost instantly into the skin. It dries down pretty quickly, after about a minute and I didn't feel like there was any film left behind. The skin is left looking pretty and dewy."

Papa Recipe Trouble Oil Minus AC Lotion

INGREDIENTS Water, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Trehalose, 1,2-Hexandiol, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Azelaic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract, Pinus Radiatus Bark Extract, Wakame Extract, Salicylic Acid, Arginine, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA

This is an extremely light and watery gel lotion that works great as a daytime moisturizer. It smells super fresh and is the product I credit most for the fast turnaround in treating the acne I was seeing just a few days ago.

ROW 3, L-R

Manyo Factory Galactomyces 10x The First Treatment Wrap Mask

INGREDIENTS Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (97%), aloe vera extract, witch hazel, chamomile flower water, chamaecyparis obtusa water, prunus meme fruit water,  glycerin, butylene glycol, chondrus chrispus, algae oligosaccharides, sodium hyaluronate, ceratonia siliqua gum, rosemary extract, scutelleria baicalensis root extract, phaseolus radiatus seed extract, jojoba seed oil, centella asiatica extract, guar gum, xanthan gum, chamomile flower extract, licorice root extract, green tea extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, lavender oil, 1-2 hexandiol 

An excerpt from my earlier review originally posted here, "It's a dupe in scent, and almost in wiggly hydrogel texture to one of my ultimate favorite hydrogel masks, the Whamisa Organic Flowers and Aloe Vera Hydrogel Mask. It's just simply amazing. I hopped onto Instagram right away to break the news (very typical of me to do when I find a mask jawdroppingly good...), and I'll just repeat myself here, because each time I use this mask, it feels like the first time... "
I chose to use this mask because of the centella asiatica to address the acne, and the myriad anti-inflammatory botanical extracts that also worked to soothe and calm the skin during the recovery period.

Skylake Hanbang Mask Pack in Trouble

INGREDIENTS Hanbang water (Mugwort Extract, Angelica Gigas Extract, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Angelica Dahurica Extract, Cnidium Officinale Extract, Puerariae Radix Extract, Angelica Tenuissima Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Iluna Helenium Extract, Polygonum Multiflorum Extract, Clove Flower Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Extract), Trehalose, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Wormwood Extract, Cypress Water, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Scutellaria Baicalensis Extract, Peony Root Extract

The main event in this mask is also the centella asiatica extract, and the reasoning is the same as for the Manyo Factory Galactomyces mask, why not tap into acne-healing and inflammatory calming herbs that are so almost commonplace in the Kbeauty sheet mask world? This is not my favorite mask in terms of aesthetics (paper cannot beat silk in terms of mask material and would ya look at that fit?) and sensation, but the results are calm even skin. It feels like a generation 1.0 mask - literally a sheet of paper soaked in herb infused water. I don't know that I recommend it, but it was one of the sheet masks that fit the bill that I had around at the time.

Ra+Gowoori Whitening UV Suncream

INGREDIENTS Water, Ethyl methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Beeswax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Adnosine, Xanthan Gum, Arbutin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Allantoin, Betaine, Antistatic, Resveratrol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance

I made the switch to a physical sunscreen just in case for the next two days to make certain that any discolorations from the healed acne would not result in discoloration or hyperpigmentation. This Ra+Gowoori sun cream I received in a 3B (Borders Without Beauty) Box was the only one I had around. It's not one that I recommend - my favorite physical sunscreen is the Oull Smart Sun Care Facial Red Ginseng Sun Mist which showed up in a monthly favorites post some time ago here.


It's been three days since the 'outbreak' and my skin is back to its original state and I'm back to the 'no news is good news' mode of kinseng'in.

Do you have an emergency skincare routine for acne?
What works for you?

Disclosure: Some of the products featured in the post are stocked at sister website HappySheet.org They are marked with an asterisk. 

Also, the Papa Recipe products are on sale now at HappySheet which is hosting a 15% off sale with code PRDay, now until Monday June 6th for those in the U.S. or Canada!

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