Unfortunately, I do not have any photo documentation of the past month so I guess you'll just have to trust my judgement.
Prior to last month's experimenting, my routine consisted of just washing with water, applying prescription creams and ointments, then using a moisturizer on my face and mineral oil/hydrophilic petrolatum ointment on my body. My current routine uses a cream cleanser, daily exfoliation with a konjac sponge, moisturizing toner, serum, my prescriptions, moisturizer, and finish off with an occlusive (Vaseline).
Before I break down the products I used this past month, remember this general rule of thumb when it comes to skin products: your mileage may vary.
What worked for me
- TFS Mango Seed Silk Moisturizing Toner - Every time I used this, I wouldn't have to worry about my skin drying out before the entire routine was finished. I love the way it smells and the fragrance doesn't give me a bad reaction.
- Konjac Sponge - One for my face, one for my body. Using it daily helped keep skin flakes at bay and thus much less picking at inflamed or scabby areas.
- Aloe Vera Gel - I'm still looking for the perfect aloe vera gel product but in general it's awesome for calming my skin in between (or sometimes during) my AM and PM routines. I currently have an empty bottle of Jason Aloe Vera 98% Moisturizing Gel. It left behind a clumpy residue so I will not repurchase that gel in particular.
- CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion - Where the hell have you been all my life, goddammit?! It's especially effective on my body right after getting out of the shower.
- TFS The Smim Fermentation Concentrate Essence - Hydrating, reduced redness and fine lines, and I'm pretty sure it cleared up the acne I was having trouble with (acne was not a huge concern for me before but I was breaking out a few months ago). The night cream is great, too. I would wake up with my face feeling soft, moisturized, and plump.
- Changing pillow cases a few times a week. Or just flipping the pillow over. Or replacing the pillow case with a cotton T shirt. Or laying freshly laundered towel on top of the pillow.
What didn't work for me
- TFS The Smim Fermentation Concentrate Cleanser - I don't know if it's a film, but it leaves my skin feeling squeaky like a white board after rinsing. Not a pleasant feeling for me. Still, I don't hate it enough to stop using it.
- TFS The Smim Fermentation Concentrate Eye Cream - I only used it for two weeks but I didn't notice any positive changes. It seems to have irritated my eyes and I would often wake up with eye discharge.
- Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Lotion - I have been using this lotion my entire life but as it turns out, I am allergic to wool alcohols. I mean, it makes sense...I can't wear wool, after all... The revelation came about through a process of elimination and finding out what lanolin is.
- The Body Shop Coconut Shower Cream - I just wanted try a soap-free body wash. It didn't seem to have any negative effects, but it didn't have any positive ones either.
- Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Body Wash - Moisturizing and my skin felt hella smooth after the first few uses. But after a week I think the fragrances decided to take its toll and my eczema flared up again. I actually love this body wash and wish I could use it. But my body...my body keeps telling me no...
- CVS Pharmacy Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide (SPF 45+) - I patch tested this and my skin reacted with redness within an hour. It might be the zinc, but I would be quicker to blame the other two active ingredients. Also it's probably old and I should throw it away.
- Sun bathing - I got a sun burn. I asked my husband if it looked too bad and he said no. Later that same day he asked "what's wrong with your face" and then poked it. I didn't know whether to cry in anger or pain.
It was a roller coaster of healing and damage but I learned a lot about my skin in February. In the upcoming month, I have some doctor's appointments (including dermatology) and I have picked up a few more products to experiment with. Big thanks to the skincare addiction website and subreddit, the skincare addiction UK subreddit wiki, the Asian beauty subreddit, and this blog post by SOKO GLAM's Charlotte Cho for teaching me the importance of reading the ingredients of a product.