Last April, my skin started breaking out more than usual. It was an unfortunate mix of hormonal acne, a negative reaction to new products, and the fact that it's summer, so my oily and acne-prone skin was having a tough time adjusting. I suddenly had pimples in places I don't normally break out, which is always a warning sign that something is wrong.
To make things better, I figured I had no other choice but to give my skin a break—a detox of sorts. I decided to go on a "skincare diet," which is an ongoing trend that involves transforming your skincare routine into its most minimal state (read more about it here!). Below, I break down all the products I used and, of course, the results!
The "diet" skincare routine
Before starting the "diet," I had about eight steps total in my routine. It's a lot, I know, but I managed to trim it to four. I followed Dr. Raissa Pasion's advice of keeping a mild cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, albeit with a few personal adjustments. The products I eliminated completely were serum, exfoliating acids, masks, and products with synthetic fragrances and alcohol. Here's what my regimen looked like:
Of course, cleansing is a must and so I didn't change much about this step. I used a mild low pH gel cleanser in the morning, and at night, I took off my makeup with a cleansing balm and a foaming cleanser.
COSRX Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser, P540, Watsons
BANILA CO Clean It Zero Purifying, P1150, TriNoma; KIEHL'S Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash, P1725, Greenbelt 5
Most people would skip toner entirely for something like this, but since I had to eliminate serums, I wanted to at least get some benefits from a toner. For my morning routine, I applied a soothing toner from Origins with my hands. At night, I hydrated and sort of did a triple-cleanse with an unscented (very important) toner from Dear Klairs on a cotton pad. Doing both steps guaranteed that my skin would be damp and ready to absorb some moisturizer!
ORIGINS Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion, P2100, Lazada; DEAR KLAIRS Supple Preparation Unscented Facial Toner, P1150, Beauty Bar
Since it's summer, I wanted my skin to be free of anything heavy or oily in the day. Celeteque has a water-based gel formula I've loved since college, and it was perfect for the job. For deeper moisturization at night, Dermalogica's Skin Smoothing Cream is a gentle formula that also helps make my skin feel soft and supple.
CELETEQUE Hydration Facial Moisturizer, P150, Watsons; DERMALOGICA Skin Smoothing Cream, price unavailable, Rustan's
To prevent my acne scars from darkening and for general sun protection, Krave Beauty's Beet the Sun served me well as a non-greasy SPF. It wasn't drying either, so I was actually able to skip moisturizer when it's too hot out and use it as my only base before makeup!
KRAVE BEAUTY Beet Shield (formerly Beet the Sun) SPF 50+ PA++++, P1600, Go Bloom and Glow
Since testing products is essentially part of my job as Preview.ph's Beauty Assistant, downsizing my skincare routine has never been a priority for me—nor has it really been possible. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at how much a minimal regimen helped my skin recover from my massive breakout. Two weeks in, most of my whiteheads have already disappeared. Some had leftover scarring, but that's nothing exfoliation can't fix. Speaking of exfoliation, my skin texture dramatically improved despite not using any serums or my usual acids!
Although I wouldn't say that I'll keep this routine forever, I'm happy to confirm that irritated skin (at least in my case) requires less and not more. I'd definitely go back to this rotation of products the next time my pores start acting up. For a closer look at my progress, swipe right on the photo below: (Side note: the stickers on my face in the before photo are actually acne patches!)
Before and after going on a "skincare diet" for two weeks