About a year ago my face was at its worst. Today? It is okay!
Welp, good talk guys, cool check-in bro.
Ahh, who am I kidding, I can’t end there. Let me pull on my “I <3 Excruciating Detail” t-shirt and dive in.
After I wrote that last post, the first thing I tried from the recommendations in the comments was the 2.5% benzoyl peroxide solution from Acne.org. Not the whole system, just the BP — I already had other cleansers and moisturizers and didn’t want to pay for more. I think I shelled out $16 for 16 ounces, and I still have about a third of the bottle left. It arrived in the mail just in time for a quickfire challenge: two back-to-back multistate weddings. And… it came through. I barely had to fret about my face during that whole trip, which was liberating to say the least. Once I started using the BP, all the hormonal acne on my neck and jawline disappeared, and any other blemish I did get tended to be small and fade quickly. So, I kept it up. It’s been 12 months now and I still have the same routine.
I slather the stuff on in the morning after I wash my face and wash it off again at night. I keep a separate white towel to dry my face and hands whenever I touch the benzoyl peroxide, and so far I’ve mostly avoided staining our colored towels and sheets — I think the lower percentage (most formulations have 10%) plus washing it off before I go to sleep really helps. I moisturize after I apply it in the morning, if I remember (I don’t!), and after I wash off the BP at night. Other than that, I don’t do much else to my skin. I only put on face makeup if I’m going to a wedding or meeting a Kardashian for brunch. That’s not because I’m too cool for face makeup! It’s just something I reserve for fancy times.1
I want to stress that this post is not meant to be fervent pro-benzoyl peroxide propaganda. I am happy to have found a method that works okay for me, but clearly there is no one magic bullet product or system for everybody. I am mostly writing this followup because I love reading followups from other people, plus I’ve realized that the other parts of my routine need to change soon and this understandably fills me with some measure of dread.
By the time I finally arrived at the BP last year I had tried so many different things for so long that I was eager to hit the pause button. The BP had worked fine with the cleansers and moisturizers I was using at the time, so I gladly embraced my new method with open arms. No need to muck about with a good thing, right? Trouble is, the cleansers and moisturizers I was using then (and am still using now) may as well be made from the tears of the baby Jesus, they’re so expensive. Currently I’m running out of moisturizer so last night I went to order more and as I hovered the pointer over the “add to cart” button I suddenly had a clear vision of what I was doing. I was about to spend $44 plus tax and shipping on one scant ounce of baby Jesus tears, was what I was doing.
I’ve been avoiding the cold hard gaze of how much I’m spending on washing and lubing my face in part because I actually like the products. They have feel-good names like “Forest Mint Gentle Foaming Milk” and “Geranium Sap Purifying Cleanser,” which are names that help me feel better about my overall success. “I may be a chump with a forgettable career and a mostly empty passport but at least my face has been purified in
the waters of Lake Minnetonka foaming forest milk.” And yet this lifestyle is unsustainable! The hundreds of dollars per year I’m spending on geranium sap (?) could be going to something legitimately useful, like a water trampoline or a pair of brand new lederhosen or a jumbo pack of condoms.
So, I’m holding myself accountable. I need to reopen the self-experiments and find new face products to use alongside the benzoyl peroxide, which I am never gonna give up / never gonna let go so long as it keeps the hormonal acne away. In theory it should be easier this time around, since I have already found the key ingredient that controls my zits and now just need to find cheaper options to replace the other stuff. Which is where you come in. Crowdsourcing ho! If you like your cleansers/moisturizers, please tell me about them. Hell, tell me about them even if you don’t like them, I’ll lend a sympathetic ear. Maybe we’ll even get the baby Jesus to weigh in, I dunno.
1 I do, however, wear eye makeup every day, but that’s because I have hardly any eyelashes and I look spooky without it.