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4.29.2015

Rosehip Seed Oil Review - The Acne Experiment

Rosehip Seed Oil Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment
In hopes of squeezing just one blog post out of April 2015, I've skipped over a few product trials that I should have reviewed before getting to this one. Besides, I know what you gluttonous hags want: my face with a ton of acne on it, right? Lots of grease, some tears, and a review of a fabulous holistic skincare treatment that is referred to, by some, as "liquid gold."

Due to it's high concentration of vitamin A, rosehip seed oil is the only natural product that is considered a substitute for retinol. My past experiences with Retin-A were nothing short of fantastic; my forehead has never looked as clear as it did during my Retin-A heyday. I remember having a dermatologist look at my skin under one of those magnifying dermatologist lights and say "Your forehead is clear." Also, "Is yous a professional gorgeous person? Wowy wow wow."

When I decided to get more natural with my routine, the Retin-A was the first thing to get the axe. Years ago I tested out an old bottle of NOW brand rosehip oil that my mom had kicking around her medicine cabinet. My experience was lackluster, but when I got real serious about my acne research, I realized my half-assed trial was probably closer to quarter-assed.

Not all rosehip oil is made equal. If you're looking for a high quality rosehip oil, look for cold-pressed, unrefined, organic oil that is from Chile. Because the oil has a tendency to oxidize, rosehip in a dark glass, airtight pump is ideal. Store it in the refrigerator to extend it's shelf life; rosehip oil will only be good for about a year once opened and exposed to air. By-the-by, "rosehip seed oil" and "rosehip oil" are the same thing. Rose oil, is not. As such, rosehip oil does not smell like roses.

I got a bottle of InstaNatural from my mom for Christmas and it sat in my refrigerator for 3 months before I cracked the seal. You don't have any clue how freakin' jazzed I was about this trial. I've read that supermodels and fellow professional gorgeous people love rosehip seed oil, and that Princess Shiny Locks herself used it when she was pregnant with the future king of the British Empire.

I'm drooling all over myself. I want this bad.

Ingredients:


Method:

  1. Obtain some rosehip seed oil. You're gonna look mahvelous dahling.
  2. Store it in your refrigerator until you can't hardly wait any longer.
  3. Choose a good place to spot test it. I chose my forehead because I have bangs. Yay bang.
  4. Clean your face and dry it as usual. I did my normal washcloth+water routine.
  5. Put a teensy tinesy bit of rosehip oil into the palm of your hand and rub it between your fingertips. I found just a half-pump of oil was plenty.
  6. Apply it to your spot test area. I only used it once per day during the forehead trial.
  7. If you're using an exfoliant while using rosehip oil, apply it at a different time of the day than the rosehip oil to minimize the chance of irritation.
  8. After 1-2 weeks, if you're feeling ballsy, apply it all over your face for another 1-2 weeks.
  9. Turn into a real princess.

Conclusions:

Before we get to the hot-sexy pics, let me say that rosehip seed oil does not smell like old fish or rotting flesh like so many people complained about in the Amazon reviews. Wanna see a dead body, kid? No, you don't Amazon reviewers, because it will surely punch a hole in your oversensitive olfactory bulb. Rosehip oil is darkish orangish in color, and smells like a multi-vitamin. It does not smell like vomit garbage or anything, I swear it.

The feel of the oil was better than I expected as well. It absorbs quickly, and is not super greasy - I'm sure this is due, in part, to the fact that I purposely applied the smallest amount possible while testing it. It's also due to the fact that rosehip oil is high in linoleic acid, which is a preferred trait for those with oily skin; FYI, for comparison fun, Rosehip has 44% Linoleic acid, Hemp has 56.48%, and Grapeseed has 70.6% (this blog post is very helpful if you want more information).

Please note: InstaNatural doesn't even recommend this rosehip for people with acne, but what the hell do they know anyway. My forehead trial was relatively uneventful, so suck it rules/comedogenic ratings.

Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil
"Forehead Trial" After = results after two weeks of testing Rosehip on forehead only

Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment

Yeah! I'M GONNA GET ME SOME soft, beautiful, amazing skin, that is naturally this way because I only use the oils of this plant, native to Chile. I applied it to my whole face for a day or so before I realized trouble was abrewin' in forehead land. Below you will find the fruits of that eruption:

Breakout from Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
holy hell.
While this fun was all happening, I continued the "trial" on my chin only for 2 weeks. Let me say, I was super excited anyway. The oil was so dry and luxurious and antioxidant rich that I convinced myself I finally found something my chin skin likes.

Perioral Dermatitis Rosehip Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Oil
"Chin Trial" - After = results after testing Rosehip on chin only
In case you can't see it in the after photo, I've aggravated the perioral dermatitis gods. I know it's the oil too, because I applied it slightly beyond my chin, and I had those little bumps slightly beyond my chin too. And just so you know, as I write this 3 weeks later, it is still messed up.

I'm giving this oil to my dog.

Just kidding I'm giving it to my Mom. She'll probably love it.

Next Up:  Probably that Neutrogena Face Wash, or a toner (I'm testing toners!)

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Special Note: I had a person in the comment section of a different blog tell me that rosehip oil is best used diluted with another carrier oil like Jojoba. I'm too afraid to try this oil mixing myself, but if any of YOU have experience with it, I'd love to hear about it.


Testing Rosehip Seed Oil on Acne :: Crappy Candle
Testing Rosehip Seed Oil on Acne :: Crappy Candle

3.30.2015

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

The first official traditional cleanser trial of The Acne Experiment was a weeklong study of Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser. I discovered this stuff on Pinterest over a year ago, before I knew anything about Paula's Choice; the green bottle and 99% natural ingredients were too damned alluring. When I saw that it's also sulfate free, and possibly the gentlest of Paula's face wash offerings, I decided it would be the most logical choice for the inaugural cleanser test.

Ingredients:
  • Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel (Water, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Glucose, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Glyceryl Oleate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol)
  • St. Ives Exfoliating Pads (water, lactic acid, glycerin, tocopheryl acetate, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, betaine, sodium hydroxide, polysorbate 80, polysorbate 20, DMDM hydantoin, fragrance)
  • Spot treatments as needed
Method:
  1. Obtain a few sample packets of Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser.
  2. Make sure your hands are clean, then wet your face with warm water.
  3. Cut the corner off one of the packets and put a half-dime-size amount of the gel in your hand.
  4. Lather it between your hands then gently rub all over your face.
  5. Rinse well with warm water.
  6. Pat your face dry with a clean towel.
  7. Use a small binder clip to keep the packet closed. You will be using this same packet for as long as possible, you cheap bastard.
  8. Apply additional products as appropriate.
  9. Make that one sample packet last for a full 5 days. Hot damn.
  10. Congratulate yourself for being such a economical/amazing human being.
Conclusions:

Despite how boring it is to dedicate a single face wash to an entire blog post/review, this was actually a super important trial for me. I say this because it was during this trial that I confirmed that foaming face wash gives me cystic chin acne.

Foaming Cleanser + Hormonal/Cystic Acne

Allow me to explain.

I have been using foaming face wash for as long as I can remember. I have no clue what I used in high school because I guess I blocked out that period of my life. I didn't actually have any acne issues until I was in college, so this point is moot. In college, I used Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, then switched to Cetaphil post college when the real world sat on my ribcage. About a year ago, I started using sulfate free cleanser for the first time (Trader Joe's All-In-One Facial Cleanser) in an effort to curb my Perioral Dermatitis (PD). I continued using the TJoes because it was gentle, cheap, and I heard it's actually $50 cleanser in a $6 bottle; it didn't make much a difference with the PD though.

Throughout these years, a decade in total, I've had continuous painful acne on my chin. It got particularly bad during my mid 20s, but I chalked it up to hormones, face fingers, and stress. No dermatologist or doctor I saw for acne gave me any indication that it was caused by anything else.

So here's the interesting part: 

For the last 10 years, the period of time when I had the least chin acne was during my very first Acne Experiment trial, ie the no face wash month. I didn't want to believe it could be "gentle face wash" that was causing this, so I tested the Trader Joe's cleanser again just before the Jojoba trial. For my efforts, I got two cystic zits on my chin within a few days. I still wasn't convinced.

I figured if something "ideal for baby too" still gave me chin zits, then my face must hate cleanser in general. So here are the results of the Earth Sourced Cleanser trial:

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleansing Gel Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleansing Gel 

POOF. Three cystic chin zits, where there were no cystic chin zits before. I'm like some kind of acne magician.

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before/After Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser "Hormonal Acne"

It's a shame because I was actually really enjoying the cleanser. It is very mild and didn't dry me out at all, so if you can tolerate foaming cleansers, I do recommend this one. I was also really looking forward to air travel with sample packets like a rich people do, probably. C'est la vie.

In conclusion, I'm both relieved and horrified. The skin on my chin is uneven and lumpy because of 10 years of cystic acne, and I did it to myself with ignorance. Holy hell.

Next Up: Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cream Cleanser (psych!) Rosehip Seed Oil

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PS:  This is my Paula's Choice refer-a-friend link which gets new customers $10 off their first order. I will always leave a refer-a-friend link on PC reviews, regardless of whether the product worked for me or not, because I know the brand actually does work for a lot of people. Plus discounts are tits.

This Cleanser Made Me Rethink My Hormonal Acne - The Acne Experiment
This Cleanser Made Me Rethink My Hormonal Acne - The Acne Experiment

3.25.2015

The Acne Experiment Guide to 10 Cleanser Types

Is my cleanser causing my acne? :: 10 Cleanser Types

Here's a fun bit of trivia: Your cleanser could be causing your acne. I know this because most of my "hormonal" acne mysteriously disappeared when I stopped using my "gentle, dermatologist recommended cleanser." Unfortunately, for those of us with acne-prone skin, most dermatologist know very little about OTC product formulations. There are a ton of cleansers out there and it can be confusing to navigate it all without some cleanser help.

Oh you lucky duck, I can be your cleanser helper! There are a whopping 10 cleanser types to choose from too:
  1. Traditional Foaming Cleansers
    Virtually every brand carries a facial cleanser that foams. Virtually every brand markets foaming cleansers to people with acne-prone or oily skin.

    The Bummer: Many foaming cleansers, especially those aimed at oily/acne prone skin, contain harsh ingredients or stripping surfactants that can actually make your acne worse.

    Recommendations: If you're testing cleansers, avoid ones that contain active ingredients such as salicylic acid or AHAs like glycolic acid. The reason for this is, if you break out while using a "medicated" cleanser, you won't know if it was an active ingredient causing it or if it was the cleanser itself. Additionally, treatments and exfoliants in cleansers aren't nearly as effective as a product meant to be left on for 20+ minutes. Important note: if you don't mind sulfates, avoid sodium lauryl sulfate and opt for it's milder cousin, sodium laureth sulfate.   Best Bets: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, Paula's Choice Hydralight Cleanser, Acne.org Gentle Cleanser
              CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser        Purpose Gentle Cleansing WashPaula's Choice Hydralight Cleanser  Acne.org Gentle Cleanser

  2. Sulfate Free Foaming Cleansers
    Most foaming cleansers contain "sulfates," a surfactant that foams spectacularly well. Going sulfate free was my first step outside of the traditional cleanser box. I had used Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel for years before switching to the much cheaper, and easier to find, Cetaphil. When I developed perioral dermatitis (PD), I discovered that sulfates may contribute to it, so I cut it out of everything I put on my skin (shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and facial cleanser). In my case, simply cutting out sulfates was not enough to fix all this (that is my face), but for those with sulfate sensitivity, it can be a godsend.

    The Bummer: Sulfate-free cleansers are not necessarily gentler than a sulfate-containing one. A "sulfate free" label is not a panacea; they can still break you out (they broke me out!)

    Recommendations: Remember that cleansers in this category still contain surfactants otherwise they wouldn't foam. Sulfate-free cleansers are also beloved by "natural" brands, but those products tend to be full of plant extracts which can be irritating to some skin. Stay woke.   Best Bets: Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser (my review), Trader Joe's All in One Facial Cleanser, First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay

            Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser    Trader Joe's All in One Facial Cleanser First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay

3.20.2015

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

After my inaugural "Look of the Day," I simply could not wait to jump into my sophomore effort. I got so much action on my first ever #lotd contribution to Instagram, that my head swelled to three times it's normal size.

While I was putting the finishing touches on this week's look, Greg came in to talk to me about something, but my back was to him. When I turned around and revealed my face, he couldn't stop cry/laughing. I'm happy to be your clown wife, Greg. He then asked me "did you do this because you watched The Craft yesterday?" Well, that's a trick question because everything I do is because of The Craft. Really, you should blame Greg for today's LOTD music video companion:


Actually, I was pulling inspiration from the 1920s. This chick is my muse:

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

These are my weapons of choice:

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2 :: Crappy Candle

First I lined my eyes with black eyeshadow (Mac Carbon) using an angled liner brush from Ulta. I've learned that if you line your eyes all the way around with the darkest shade possible, it makes them pop.

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

Next I lined the black line with some matte plum shadow (Mac Intoxicate - dupe: Shadowy Lady). I always commit to mistakes I've made. This has served me well in makeup and in life too.

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

I then put a lighter plum all over my lids (Forever in Florence from the Sleek Vintage Romance palette). It sparkles in the pan, but does not sparkle on the face.

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

You're doing it Peter! It needs to be darker though, so I added some more of the Intoxicate with the expert precision of a 3 year old.

1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

It's still not dark enough. So I added more. Then I added more. I have no idea how to blend so I added more.

Mac Intoxicate :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

For my lips, I applied a dark vampy lipstick (Nars Train Bleu) and avoided the corners because people had tiny mouths back then.

Train Bleu :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

I pulled my hair up into a bun because I have no idea how I'm too lazy to figure out how my muse did her hair like that. She must have a lot of hair. I also know people had thinner eyebrows back then, so I did this:

Train Bleu :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

It's my proprietary combination of NYX concealer + Smashbox eyelid primer. I can't use the primer for it's intended purpose because it makes my eyelids look like they're made out of leather, so I'm really happy that I got to do this.

I didn't want to look stupid so I didn't draw thinner eyebrows over my concealed eyebrows.

Concealer Eyebrows :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

That would be crazy.

Concealer Eyebrows :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2


That's it! I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Nars Train Bleu :: 1920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 21920s Chick Makeup #LOTD 2

See you next time!

3.13.2015

It doesn’t matter how good your idea is. It only matters how quickly you put it on the Internet.

It doesn’t matter how good your idea is. It only matters how quickly you put it on the Internet. #graphics
It doesn’t matter how good your idea is. It only matters how quickly you put it on the Internet. #handlettering


It doesn’t matter how good your idea is. It only matters how quickly you put it on the Internet. #crossstitch

It doesn’t matter how good your idea is. It only matters how quickly you put it on the Internet.

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graphic: 1 hr // dad video: 3 hrs // hand lettering: 2 hrs // dog video: 7 hrs // cross stitch: 3 weeks

3.08.2015

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads Review + Alternatives - The Acne Experiment

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

These are St. Ives Exfoliating Pads. They retail for about $5 and contain about 5-8% Lactic Acid. I want you to get super excited guys, because this is a cheap/effective/big-brand-name product. Get pumped and feel it down in your bones. Are you frothing? I hope you are, because St. Ives discontinued this product in January. I received a jar as part of a Christmas gift from my mom (yes, I had acne products on my wishlist), and about a week into my trial, I discovered St. Ives a-wasunt gonna be makin' em anymore. :'(

Despite this, I decided to push forward with the trial because these St. Ives pads are the only drugstore brand lactic acid face product on the market. Most exfoliants that you will find will contain glycolic acid; lactic is a gentler exfoliator and a good introduction to AHAs, and these guys only contain lactic (a rarity).

I first read about them on Reddit's Skincare Addiction sub; St. Ives is one of the top exfoliants they recommend (this is not to be confused with the Apricot Scrub which is terrible). Although they don't divulge the exact percent, the lactic acid content is decent since it's the second ingredient on the list, and the pH is 3.6 according to Paula's Choice. The pads also contain a few fruit extracts that aren't fantastic for the skin, but the bad ones - lemon/orange - are far enough down the list to be considered less problematic.


Ingredients:

  • St. Ives Exfoliating Pads (water, lactic acid, glycerin, tocopheryl acetate, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, betaine, sodium hydroxide, polysorbate 80, polysorbate 20, DMDM hydantoin, fragrance)
  • Spot treatments as needed - I used Manuka Honey (I use this), undiluted Tea Tree Oil (I use TJoes), and/or salicylic (I use this) spot treatments on existing blemishes throughout the trial.

Method:

  1. Clean your face. For me, that usually means a washcloth + warm water. I did not use a cleanser for the first part of the trial.
  2. Pat skin dry, then if your skin is sensitive, wait about 10 minutes before using the exfoliating pads. 
  3. Wipe one pad all over the face/neck/décolletage mornings and evenings. If irritation occurs, reduce application to evenings only.
  4. Panic when St. Ives discontinues the product and the prices skyrocket on Amazon to 3x the retail price.
  5. Cut all your pads in half to extent the one tub you have. Deal with it, décolletage/neck.
  6. Steal your mother's tub of St. Ives exfoliating pads. (She thought they were makeup removing pads, anyway.  What the hell, Mom.)
  7. Write well worded, finger-wagging letter to St. Ives about how irresponsible and stupid it is to discontinue this product.
  8. Write a letter to Trader Joe's about discontinuing their poutine. These people are savages.
  9. Once all this is done (it should take no more than 15-20 minutes), apply spot treatments as needed on existing acne.
  10. If you chose Manuka Honey, don't tell anyone you're putting honey on your face and they will think you have oozing sores.

Conclusions:

Of course I really like these dumb pads. It would be too easy for me to like a product that I could actually find/buy in 6 months. The exfoliation is very mild, my skin feels very soft, and they don't make my face super greasy like I was expecting (lactic acid is the most humectant of the AHAs and AmLactin made my face an oil slick). My skin was kind of "dewy" for lack of a better term. After the first two weeks, I reduced application of the pads to once per day (at night). Lately I've only been applying it to my chin once or twice a week (my POD is super temperamental). 

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads Before and After - The Acne Experiment
Before & After St. Ives Exfoliating Pads
Before = immediately following the PC Salicylic trial ; "Week 1" = 1 week using the St. Ives pads twice per day ;
"Week 2" = two weeks using the St. Ives pads twice per day

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads Before and After - The Acne Experiment
Before/After St. Ives Exfoliating Pads

You will notice that my skin still looks really really bad because of the salicylic acid trial. How do I know this isn't from the St. Ives exfoliating pads? First, my skin continued to improve while I was using them, and second, I wasn't getting the deep cystic acne I was getting with the SA. A lot of the spots on my forehead are still from the SA mess, and others are hyperpigmentations (that are still fading, even as I write this a month later).

Here's my forehead one more week after using St. Ives Exfoliating Pads (ie "week 3"):

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads/Lactic Acid Before and After - The Acne Experiment
Before/After St. Ives Exfoliating Pads
Before = after 1 month on Paula's Choice BHA (salicylic acid); After = 3 wks on St. Ives Exfoliating Pads AHA (lactic acid)

There is an improvement here, even if it can't be seen clearly in the photos. In the before shot, my forehead was lumpy to the touch, and in the after shot, the skin was much smoother and less red. This cements my idea that AHAs work better on my skin than BHAs do, and that not everything that is marketed towards acne prone skin is actually the best option for all acne prone skin.

I'm going to test out a few other products while using the St. Ives, then find a replacement. If you're interested in this product, this is what I suggest:
  1. It's likely that the bigger grocery chains and stores like target/CVS/Walgreens have already removed this product from the shelves - it's worth a look (especially the clearance section), but I doubt they'll have it. You may have better luck with small stores or independent pharmacies as they are less likely to cycle their stock as diligently. Check Big Lots if you have one nearby. I checked both and came up empty, but others (on Reddit) have been able to find them there.
  2. Buy the tubs online while you can. Amazon sells them, but the price is likely to fluctuate as the stock dwindles.
  3. The pads are only good unopened for two years from the manufacture date, so stockpiling 10 of them is probably not a good idea, unless you plan on cleaning your whole body with them. You can check the date by looking at the number on the bottom of the tub. The first 5 numbers are the manufacture date; my tub has "05313SU10" stamped on it, meaning they were manufactured on 5/3/13 and are only good until May of this year (2015).
Here are some alternatives to St. Ives exfoliating pads, from closest match to least similar:
  1. Silk Naturals Lactic Acid - 8% (only available on their website) - It has a pH of 3.5, making a very close match to St. Ives. If you have a swipe hankering, get some super thin ones and soak them yourself. The Reddit Skincare Addicts recommend these.
  2. Garden of Wisdom Lactic Acid 8% Exfo Pads - (only on their website) - These are literally the only other lactic acid pads I could find anywhere. The controversy is that the pH is considerably higher than St. Ives' 3.6 (it's 1.9), but I'm not convinced this is a bad thing.
  3. Garden of Wisdom Mandelic Acid (only on their website) - Mandelic is a lesser known AHA that is thought to be stronger than Lactic, but gentler than Glycolic. This sample is on my wishlist.
  4. Alpha Hydrox AHA (Glycolic Acid) Swipes - 14% (Amazon) - These have a higher % of glycolic acid, so they may be better for weekly use. This one is on my wishlist as well.
  5. Various Glycolic Acid products - You can find glycolic acid products everywhere. These are the brands I'm considering: Paula's Choice, Garden of Wisdom, Neostrata, Alpha Hydrox, Peter Thomas Roth, Acne.org, and Olay.
I haven't decided what to test first, but I'll let you know, in blog form, once I do.



--

PS: If all this exfoliation/BHA/AHA talk is confusing you, mosey on over to my chemical exfoliants guide


St. Ives Exfoliating Pads (Lactic Acid) Review + Alternatives - The Acne Experiment
St. Ives Lactic Acid  (Exfoliating Pads) Review + Alternatives :: The Acne Experiment

3.06.2015

My First Comic Book #LOTD 1

Hello and welcome to #LOTD (it means "Look of the Day"). I will post these on Fridays because I aspire to become a beautiful lady on Fridays. In this series, I will feature a weekly makeup and/or fashion look plus product breakdowns and tips, as appropriate. I decided to do this because I'm filling up Google with really unflattering photos of myself due to the Acne Experiment posts. This is an attempt to find balance.

Each LOTD will open with a music video to listen to while you read this, and maybe while you're getting ready for your night too! I'm watching Silence of the Lambs right now, so I chose "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzurus:


The inaugural LOTD coincides with my first ever comic book purchase. I decided on Issue 1 of Bitch Planet because Kelly Sue DeConnick is a boss ass bitch.

Bitch Planet :: My First Comic Book #LOTD

I've read comic books before, but this was the first I've ever bought on my own. Here's a closer look:

Bitch Planet :: My First Comic Book #LOTD

I'm wearing a shirt with little birds on it from H&M. It's one of my favorite recent purchases, but it wrinkles something awful. The railroad stripe jeans are from JCrew and the shoes are Vans.

My First Comic Book #LOTD

The lipstick is Nars Matte Velvet Lip Pencil in "Cruella"

My First Comic Book #LOTD

I'm wearing eye makeup too. It's a new palette I bought off Amazon by Sleek (Vintage Romance). If you're looking for inexpensive eyeshadow to play with, they make a ton of fun ones. Here's a closer look:

Nars Cruella :: My First Comic Book #LOTD

If you're going to do a cheaper eyeshadow, eyelid primer really helps. I tried this palette without it, and the shimmery eyeshadow fell off over the course of a few hours. I used a cheap-ass primer by ELF (seriously, it cost me 70 cents) and it helped with the longevity and color payoff a bit.

Nars Cruella + Sleek Vintage Romance :: My First Comic Book #LOTD

See you next time!

2.23.2015

Paula's Choice Salicylic Acid Review - The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Clear Regular/Extra Strength Exfoliant Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

I waited half a month to post this review. Was hoping the results would change retroactively? Perhaps. Whatever, no matter, I'm here now. Let's do this.

I did a Paula's Choice salicylic acid (PC SA) trial from the end of December through January, which is the longest I've tested anything consistently since I started The Acne Experiment. I went with Paula's Choice because they have a lot of options, have a money back guarantee, and seem to be aware of the standards in and the hype surrounding skincare. Think lots of evidence based product formulas, less flashy marketing, skincare buzzwords, or dewy skinned celebrity spokespeople. They also have 7 different formulas for BHA all-over daily face exfoliants, each of which is available in trial and/or sample sizes. (If you don't know what a chemical exfoliant or "BHA" is, go here.)

To minimize breakout potential, I limited this test to the two PC products with less emollient, simplified formulas. Both the extra strength and the regular strength "Clear" exfoliants are 2% salicylic acid (SA) and are silicone and paraben free. I tested them without cleanser and in conjunction with the Aztec Healing Clay. I was not using the mask daily.

Note on PC SA Exfoliants: The Clear Extra Strength and the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid are the same exact product. PC SA exfoliants are available in 1-2% SA concentrations, and as lotions, gels, and liquids. Lots of options, y'all.


Ingredients:


Method:

  1. Cleanse face with warm water and a wash cloth. Pat dry.
  2. Put about a dime sized amount of the Clear 2% Salicylic Acid Exfoliant in the palm of your hand, then apply it evenly all over the face. 
  3. Yeah I didn't use a cotton ball. I'm a cheap bastard and I refuse to allow a wad of cotton hog my products.
  4. If you do it this way, make sure your hands are freshly cleaned otherwise you'll be spreading hand germs and hamburger grease all over your face.
  5. Do this in the mornings and at night. Reduce to once per day if dryness or irritation occurs.
  6. Optional: Apply the Aztec Clay for about 20 minutes a few times a week prior to applying the salicylic acid.

Conclusions:

Remember how badly I wanted the Dr. Bronners to work? Multiply that by 10 because that's how much longer I was using this stuff for. We went out for a little over a month, and girl, I had blinders on the whole time.

Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliation Solution (2% Salicylic Acid)
Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliation Solution (2% Salicylic Acid)

Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliation Solution (2% Salicylic Acid)
Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliation Solution (2% Salicylic Acid)

Initially I though, oh hey, my skin is so soft! The pores on my forehead look fantastic in the mornings! I then learned that everyone's face looks better in the morning (puffiness will do that). I then thought, oh hey, the skin in-between those big ugly red marks looks super clear! The salicylic acid is totally getting in there and cleaning everything out! 

I convinced myself that I was having a problem with all the extra ingredients in the regular strength exfoliating solution and that the extra strength formula, which is simpler, would be amazing. This is the face of denial, girl.

Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliation Solution (2% Salicylic Acid) ; "Week 3" = after 3 weeks of the regular strength formula ; "Week 4.5" = after 1.5 weeks of the extra strength formula

Before & After Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength vs Clear Extra Strength  ; "Week 3" = after 3 weeks of the regular strength formula ; "Week 4.5" = after 1.5 weeks of the extra strength formula

It's conspicuously hidden by camera angles, but there's a red spot on the side of my nose in the after pics. It was a monster zit. I picked at it because nose zits give me flashbacks to my teen years, aka the period of my life when I first realized my nose was bigger than most of my peers' noses. I picked at it so much that I now have my very first rolling scar, and it's right on my bigger-than-my-peers nose.

My skin was not dry or tight while using either the regular or the extra strength exfoliants. I actually loved my skin tone while using them, which made it so much harder to admit it wasn't working. In all, I counted about 6 deep, angry zits from the PC SA trial, in addition to a ton of less angry zits that still left fun red marks for weeks. My lumpy forehead took a good two weeks to flatten after I stopped using this stuff. I kept at it because I thought it might not be purging, but purging is characterized by whiteheads; redness and inflamed "cystic" acne are a sign of a-no-good situation.

My face didn't like something in these products. Considering how (not) well the Aspirin experiment went, I'm inclined to think that "something" was the salicylic acid. I'd still use it as a spot treatment, but I don't think I'll be using it all over my face without exploring my options first. There are lots of other (exfoliating) fish in the sea. Until our next tango, salicylic acid.


Next Up:  St. Ives Exfoliating Pads

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PS:  I'm part of the Paula's Choice refer-a-friend program; if you're thinking of to trying their products, you can get a discount. You'll get $10 of your order and I'll get a "store credit" on my account. In doing so, take heart in knowing that you will help me fund some fun, long-winded acne blog posts and perhaps some future nose zits as well.

Paula's Choice Salicylic Acid Review - The Acne Experiment
Paula's Choice Salicylic Acid Review - The Acne Experiment
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