Regime or regimen: What’s your system?

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I can’t keep pretending I’m 24 and that my skin is doing ok with just a daily (or so) dose of Olay’s* Complete face lotion for sensitive skin. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the lotion — I still like it — but it’s no longer enough to do the trick. I don’t know if I’m eating something different, if it’s been the jogging in the cold weather, if it’s post-partum life, if it’s always been bad and I just ignored it before, or if it’s this prolonged winter, but my skin needs work. I mean, really, people. It’s a wonder no one has said anything.**

So, I am turning to you, Dear Readers, for some guidance. My research on the Google machine has turned up what appear to be a couple of general truths: (1) I really need to be exfoliating and (2) adding a Retinol-infused product might not hurt. The thing is, though, is that all I need to know? Because I still have a million questions.

Yesterday I decided to purge some of the contents of a make-up drawer and a shelf with facial products. I found, though, a product I thought I should get back to using. “Get back to using” is a bit of an overstatement as not much had been used. So, I splashed some warm water on my face and lightly scrubbed Dove’s Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser into my skin. I rinsed and applied the Olay staple. I thought, how often should I be using the exfoliator? The product says it’s to be used daily and specifically states, “Created gentle enough to use daily,” but is this true? Or would it be better to space it out? Or would it be better still to buy a heftier exfoliator that isn’t intended for daily use? I have no idea. I quickly realized, though, that my Dove product has been discontinued. I’m not going to get into when it was discontinued; let’s just say this product has clearly been on my shelf for awhile. Ok, so I need more info on exfoliation.

Today I headed to Walgreens (one of my least favorite stores but until they put a Sephora or a Target or – a girl can dream – an independent drug or make-up store on the Square, it’s Walgreens I find myself in to solve my daily product problems) for a Retinol product. At first, I headed to the small Roc section because the internet-verse suggested Roc for all things Retinol. I soon realized, though, that a million brands carry Retinol products: L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Garnier, Olay, and more. This was good and bad news. More choices should create price competition, which is especially helpful for ignoramus consumers like me, but more choices means more choices, which isn’t super helpful for ignoramus consumers like me who know little more than they are looking for something with Retinol. Ugh. After picking up and carrying around more than half a dozen products, I finally settled upon Neutrogena’s Rapid Tone Repair Moisturizer (Night). But now I’m confused. Should I put on lotion after I use this product? Can it go on when I get home from work (when I’m more likely to use it properly) or is it best to go on right before bed? Really, I’m in need of some serious assistance.

With these things in mind, I come to you. What do you use and how do you like it? What have you rejected and why? Do you feel like some products are good for some things, say anti-acne and anti-shine, but they create other problems like, say, flaking? No piece of advice or observation is too small. Please share your thoughts – I’m so interested.

In thinking about a skin care regimen, I almost always think of this priceless bit of dialogue from The Truth about Cats and Dogs in which Janeane Garofalo socks it to the woman working a department store’s make-up counter.

Make-up counter woman: We also have this new face cream which neutralizes the free radicals that attack the skin. Let me ask you: what’s your skin regime?

Abby (JG): My regime? The regime from which the radicals are trying to get free? Are we selling face cream or staging a coup?

I’ve always thought that was pretty funny.

*When did they drop the “Oil of”? I assume it was done in a sort of KFC rebranding way: Let’s take “Fried” out of our title and maybe people will feel better eating here. Let’s take “Oil of” out of the equation so those with oily skin don’t rule us out as an option.

**At least no one has said anything to my face.

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11 Responses to “Regime or regimen: What’s your system?”


  1. 1 Sara March 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

    What a timely blog. 🙂 I’ve given a lot of thought to my skin care lately, too, although my problem was a weird persistent outbreak of what seemed like, but didn’t seem like, acne on my cheeks over the last few months. And Proactiv was no longer working, which had always worked before. I switched to the L’Oreal 360 anti acne wash and an Olay anti-aging moisturizer, and started using Garnier BB makeup (all purchased at Walgreens on the square!). I’m relatively pleased, I now need a spot corrector. I’ve tried stje ROC eye cream, but didn’t seem much of a result. The BB cream works well for evening skin tone, but I still don’t know what to do about those wrinkly eyes.

  2. 2 kateandgracie March 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Oh my God! This is perfect – I should have raised this issue earlier. And I feel like it’s kind of an acne situation for me, too. I should have said that. I just don’t want to admit it. It’s like red acne stuff on my cheeks, but it doesn’t seem like full on teenage acne. If that makes sense. Which it really doesn’t. I’ve always been curious about Proactiv. Those commercials feature some mighty smooth skin.

  3. 3 satcla March 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Ok, here’s what I can say, which isn’t much as most nights I pass out in front of the tv with my makeup on but here goes. During shooting, my skin became a splotchy disaster so the makeup artist recommended I exfoliate more. She suggested a line called Eminence because it’s all natural- apparently you can eat it so that’s a plus (no, I have not yet tried). It’s not the cheapest but I bought the Blueberry-Soy Daily Exfoliating cleanser and the Pear-Poppyseed Exfoliating scrub. I used the B-S cleanser daily and the scrub once or twice a week. Lately I haven’t been doing this regimen as much but while I was shooting, it worked miracles. My skin was all soft and dewey and glowy. Finally, I’d like to add, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about ProActive. I have a few friends that use it and their skin is stunning, so I have to assume it works. I have not yet tried that either.

  4. 4 bellygirl April 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

    First off ur skin is beautiful and that’s why no one has said anything.

    I know very little a out face/skin health but i had a friend in Milwaukee who was very up on this stuff and swore by bobby brown products. One day we both got a free day from work because there weren’t a lot of patients. We spent the afternoon at the bobby brown counter–they were super helpful and I learned a lot and received written step by step instructions. I have gone back a time or two to make sure I shouldn’t alter my routine and I’ve stuck with their soothing face tonic, under eye hydrating cream and some sort of all over face moisturizer. They have cleansers and other products but I’m happy with plain old cetaphil from Walgreens. I’m also super guilty of going to bed without washing my face…
    So there u have it…not sure how helpful it is:)

  5. 5 gwendolyngarden April 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I agree with bellygirl- you basically have the nicest skin I know. Although, as I mentioned to you in Walgreens, I recommend Fish Oil a few times a week if your skin feels dry.

    Now I apologize, but you asked…

    As an oily/acne (and now combination as an oldster) girl, I’ve always had a multistep system. First: Hands off face. This is the hardest step and the one I forget constantly. These conference calls are terrible for my skin.

    Then: wash in the evening only- my grandmother told me that only coal miners need to wash more than once a day. I use either a Dermatologica french clay (kaolin) wash- which is nice and minty (Monday/Wed/Fri), or a inexpensive non-nutshell exfoliating cleanser(T/R)- right now, it’s neutrogena basics or something or other, and smells like green apples, which makes me gag.

    After washing/dry, then alcohol-free toner. I think I am using a neutrogena toner, but I don’t remember- whichever I have, it’s the cheapest (actually, I just steal boyfriend’s toner). I use a 1% salicylic acid cream (currently Neutrogena All in One Acne Control) then Benzoyl Peroxide, the cheapest available.

    Then, cuz I’m old, I do face lotion on eyes, neck, forehead- currently creme precieuse immortelle by l’occitane. I mean, immortal? How can you not? My favorite moisturizer of all time is actually Nicel. It’s super cheap and they sell it at HyVee. It feels like wonderfulness on, but it doesn’t fly well… it gets runny.

    I do this about 80% of nights. 10% are nights when I wet a washcloth to wipe off makeup and then load up on the moisturizer and drink two huge glasses of water (particularly after book club or wine club). The remaining 10% are at boyfriend’s house and I use those grapefruit oil-free cleansing wipes from Neutrogena, which smell awesome, and then do a proper washing/creme/moisturizer in the morning.

    On the road (which I feel like I am a lot in this spring) I add a lot more moisturizer, water, and those dry [Oil of] Olay foaming face cloths, which are plane-friendly.

    Now if only you can recommend what to do about these eye bags… besides sleep!

  6. 6 gwendolyngarden April 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    And I used proactiv for years, but it made me have a benzoyl peroxide sensitivity, which took about 5 years to overcome.

  7. 7 kateandgracie April 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Excellent work, everyone!! I so appreciate it. You have all given me lots to think about.

    I’d like to report that after 1+ week with the retinoid I have noticed no difference other than that the area around both of my eyes has become flaky and painful. So that’s nice.

  8. 8 Stephanie April 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Word. My skin is super deydrated, dull, blotchy and blackheady lately (not to mention wrinkley). I think it’s a comblination of age, long winter, motherhood (post partum) and not enough sleep. Needless to say, I am not happy about the state of things. Last summer, I was having great results using a clarisonic skin brush for cleansing and then Olay regenerist serum and then whatever else I had on hand for cleansing/moisture. One thing also helped this winter was switching away from gel foaming cleansers, which were drying things out too much. Right now my favorite items are from the Evan Healy product line from Whole Foods (cleanser, hydrating spray, rose oil and chamomile eye cream). I also like the MyChelle products from there. I’ve been doing a lot of reading too, esp about retinols, and so the BIG news is that I am trying retin-a cream. I’ve been on it for a month or so. I’ll report back. I’m flaking some but my skin seems to be clearing up a lot over the past couple of weeks. It cost me 50 bucks, but if it works better than all of the other schlock sitting there expiring in my drawers and closets, it will be money well spent.

  9. 9 kateandgracie April 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Great tips! Do you still use the Clarisonic? I’ve been curious about it. My mom gave me hers (she’d never used it) but because she’d never used it, it didn’t work. Something about if it’s not charged regularly, it loses the ability to charge. Anyway, they said I could just buy the brush part, but I wasn’t sure if I should right then so I said I’d think about it. You can’t buy just part of it online – you have to call. Last time I went to call, I was on hold for 15 minutes and the friendly auto-voice suggested I call back later. I haven’t. Should I? I think maybe.

    I’m so tired, by the way. Who isn’t? I know, I know. But I am. So there.

  10. 10 Kayt May 2, 2013 at 12:48 am

    My skin has slowly become super sensitive. About three years ago it peaked in crazy sensitive with a ezema outbreak that caused my face to get scaly and peel like I was prepping for a zombie run.

    It turns out that many moisturizers and make-up brands make my face feel attacked…and when I have to wear make-up for dance (and I was dancing in public 2 times a week then) …yikes.

    I now use a very simple moisturizer (some Japanese medical/drugstore brand) but am searching for gentle sunscreens and would love to hear what brands you use.

    And for that, I will pay you with the most absurd but great tip for make-up (gifted to me by the many make-up artists in the dance community I begged for help from)….

    Monistat anti-chafing gel as a base before you put on foundations or make-up. It’s got the same active ingredients as expensive Smashbox bases. It’s been invaluable in protecting my skin from make-up irritation (and keeping my make-up in place) on the days I have to bother and it’s cheap.

    You’ll feel a little silly buying it…but remind yourself that it’s not a crotch cream. It’s an anti-chaffing.gel…and also can help with jogging chaffing issues.

  11. 11 kateandgracie May 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Good God – that is fascinating. I admit to an involuntary cringe when I read “Monistat” but I believe you 100%.


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