skincare

My Acne Ride or Die: D’Ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence Review

D’ran is a Korean dermatological brand whose products rely on many natural herbal ingredients to deliver results. The D’ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence contains a powerful 5% concentration of Tea Tree Oil, in addition to several other nutritive and hydrating powerhouse ingredients.

This essence is supposed to help with a multitude of skin woes, most notably acne and excess sebum, but also with tone/textural issues like scarring and PIH. While the product focuses on “natural effectiveness,” it also boasts suitability for sensitive skin.

The brand claims that this product is multi-functional, meaning that it can potentially be used on the scalp to help manage dandruff and irritation while providing nourishment. I have only ever used this on my face and neck, so I can’t speak for this product’s effectiveness when used in this manor.

Ingredients:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensus root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Ammonium Acryloydimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glyceryl Caprylate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Adenosine

Click here for the CosDNA analysis

Macadamia Seed Oil: improves skin elasticity and helps with moisture retention

Tea Tree Leaf Extract/Oil: a classic anti-acne ingredient, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties

Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil: all are highly moisturizing. Meadowfoam can help strengthen the skin barrier (skin protective ingredient) as the oil closely resembles human sebum. Argan Oil has nutritive properties that can lend a healthy glow to the skin. Jojoba Seed Oil has soothing properties in addition to being highly moisturizing.

Vitamin E: a deeply hydrating ingredient with antioxidant and smoothing properties.

1469922300165
D’ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence also contains a few of my favorite ingredients, namely both the whitening/brightening niacinamide and deeply hydrating sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid).

A quick heads up that this product does contain alcohol which can be irritating to some. Tea Tree can also be known to sting a little when first applied (like Vitamin C).

The Results:

I’m nearly through my second bottle of this essence and have been very happy with the results. For my skin, this product’s main draw is its anti-acne properties, but before I began delving into using prescription-strength actives, also one of the most helpful products in terms of reducing red marks/PIH.

Tea Tree is a very old, time-tested, acne fighting ingredient, and at a 5% concentration, unlike many tea tree products, this essence’s concentration is high enough to actually yield results. It helps prevent the formation of acne without drying out or irritating the skin. After a little over two weeks of consistent, twice daily use, I began seeing a decrease in the number and severity of spots, especially around my ever-acne-prone chin/jaw area.

I had some very mild pockmarked areas on my cheeks and a lot of PIH from over a year’s struggle with adult acne to contend with. After finishing about 2/3 of my first bottle of this essence, much of my PIH had lightened from deep red/purple to a light pink/brown. Some of the less severe PIH wasn’t even visible anymore! I also noticed that my skin was a lot smoother in the pockmarked areas, to the point that it was no longer noticeable at all with minimal makeup on, and only visible with no makeup on to those hunting for it.

I started using actives around the time I finished my first bottle of this essence, and I think the results of this product in terms of skin lightening/texture are comparable to most 8% AHA’s, but it may take an extra month or two for this product to show the same results.

However, even though most actives may work a little quicker than this essence, this essence isn’t anywhere near as drying (or as finicky-no pH or wait times to worry about!), and also delivers superior anti-acne benefits to regular AHA/BHA products. Its only drawback is potential stinging/burning. Just like most actives (think Vitamin C) and anti-acne products, any sensitive area (like sunburn) or open wound/acne is going to sting and/or burn slightly upon application. It is not severe by any means and quickly dissipates after a few minutes, but it is something to consider if sensitive skin is an issue.


I am now steadily working through my second bottle of this D’ran Tea Tree Wonder Essence, and am still impressed with how helpful it is in managing acne, and even more so, with its gentleness. Even in combination with a prescription-strength treatment, it still does not dry out my skin, and has been vital in helping manage my roller-coaster skin purging experience(s). I continue to see my skin’s texture evening and smoothing out with continual use, which may be in part due to the heavy-hitting active I am using, but given the results of my first bottle, I know this essence is helping those results along as well.

Some other perks worth mentioning include the super-sanitary pump bottle packaging, the sturdy glass bottle, and the lack of smell. There is also no wait time, pH adjustment, or photo-sensitivity to worry about. It is also amazingly quick to absorb, and other products can easily be added on top of this product-including makeup (no balling, fuzzing, etc).

Rating: 2-a solid part of my routine for now πŸ™‚

Rating Scale:

1:Holy Snails! Its a Holy Grail!

2:Current-routine worthy (would buy again unless I found something better)

3:Meh, it was worth a try

4: Bleh, this was terrible. Don’t buy this. Ever.

 

Advertisements

Novemeber MEGA Haul+Rose Rose Shop Mini-Review

Well, this year is sure going by fast! Christmas will be here soon and it’ll be over before we all know it. Quite frankly, I’m a little miffed that it’s already November, but it’s still 80 F outside πŸ˜“ 

But speaking of Christmas, I’ve already blown my budget and gotten er, quite a few, um, “totally necessary” AB products from several sources. (I have no will power, what can I say?) X-mas has arrived a month early for me everyone. Now, to pay my bills 😰

Anyway, here’s a brief preview of a some of what I got:

Oh Photography, how I detest thee…let my count the ways


My skin can be quite sensitive, and for sake of my skin and 100% honest and accurate reviews, each of these products (that I’m *dying* to try) will have to be patch tested and introduced one by one. Ooh, such a test of patience!


See anything I should do first?

I’m so excited about all these quite different (for me anyway) products; I literally was jumping around a squealing like a middle school girl going to a Beiber concert when this package arrived. It’s one of two very special orders 😜

Being a regular lurker on the r/asianbeauty community (I know I should join, I know), I’ve heard A LOT about Rose Rose Shop, but had never strayed to far from my beloved Memebox to place my orders. When I ran low on a bunch of my regular skin products, I decided it was time to not only try some new brands and products, but why not order from somewhere new too?

This jump really paid off. I’ve always relied on Amazon for samples or major Memebox sales to try products out without committing to a full sized bottle along with its full price. Rose Rose Shop is basically my new favorite place to buy because they have hundreds of not only skincare, but also makeup samples, available for  next to nothing! We’re talking maybe 0.50-1$ for a package of 10 pouches (most of which, like in the case of the Etude House collagen cream, is equal to half the product in the full-size but for waaaay much less money). I was able to stock up on products and brands I wouldn’t normally try in sample form without completely braking the bank! It really allowed me to break my own mold πŸ™‚

The other great thing is that there is a very (VERY) large selection of full-sized products available for wallet-friendly  prices. While this first order was mainly samples so I could (ideally) find new, cheaper, better favorites without forking over my entire life savings, I will definitely be returning to this site for any full-sizes I might want in the future.

Of course, overseas shipping is where the best of deals tend to die, but the trick with Rose Rose Shop seems to be to first fill your cart with all the heavier, full-sized products, find your weight teir/fee, then stock up on samples until you tip the weight limit all the way to the top of the teir.

The idea is to get the most bang for your buck with shipping, so if the teir is for example, 30$ for packages between, say, 1-3 pounds (I’m totally making this info up; don’t quote me on it), then why pay 30$ in shipping for a 1lb package if you could still pay 30$ in shipping and get 3lbs of stuff? Yes, you still have to pay for the additional products to hit the high end of the weight teir, but take advantage where you can!

This is why I wouldn’t recommend this site for small purchases, but it seems to be excellent for bigger hauls/group orders.

Having ordered things from overseas before, waiting a loooonnngg time for your stuff is something I’m accustomed to. Basically, I order it, check the tracking number in agony for a few days, then give up on it arriving within the next three months, only to be presently surprised in the mail a month and a half later, nearly having forgotten placing the order (#firstworldprobs).

With at least this first order from Rose Rose Shop, I was impressed with the quick processing time (3 days!), then the tracking number  came, my package didn’t move for a few days, and I prepared myself to wait for a long time. 

However, on a random evening trek out to my mailbox to collect the usual bundle of bills, flyers, and presidential election nonsense, my package was there! When I had thought it was still on the other side of the world! A grand total of 10 days-I was *thoroughly* impressed! 

This lightening quickness may have been a fluke, but I’d like to think not πŸ™‚ 

Another perk of ordering skincare from a) overseas and b) Rose Rose Shop is the samples generosity. With my nearly 80% samples order, I still received a large bundle of additional samples from Berrisom and another brand I don’t know or recognize (time to learn Korean I guess πŸ˜…). This is something I wish stores here did-I personally think it’s an amazingly effective way to market. Try the product for low cost/free, like it, buy it. After all, it’s what I’m really doing with this particular order if you look at it!

Bottom line: Yes, I would recommend. 

Why?: sample galore,large inventoy, cheap product prices, quick processing and shipping time

I’m always so excited to try new products and (over)indulge my inner skincare junkie! 
Is there anything you’d recommend for me to try first?

What are you excited for this month?


And does anyone know what this product may be?

Etude House Bubble Tea Sleeping Pack: What Happens When You Buy Skincare Based on its Packaging

It’s no secret that Etude House’s packaging brings me (and my wallet) to my knees. But that’s about it. With the exception to their Moistful Collagen line, I have yet to find more than an handful of products by them whose formulation is worthy of repurchase. From their makeup to their skincare, I buy based on looks alone, knowing I’ll be smiling at it every morning while reaching for something else.

That being said, the bubble tea sleeping pack gets a holy grail for cuteness, but two thumbs down for actual product.

image

It was surprisingly smaller than I had expected…

I knew going in that this product would 99.9% not be anything mind-blowingly amazing for my skin, but went ahead and purchased the pink, “strawberry” flavor meant for moisturizing dry skin. There is also a green tea version meant to help with acne and oiliness, as well as  a black tea one to help with firmness.

The product itself is a pink that would make Elle Woods swoon, and smells like “strawberries” as well (as in the chemical attempt at strawberries fresh from farm to table).

image

The bubbles in the bubble tea are a majorly cute selling point, but a total pain in the butt in real life. They are supposed to be broken and mixed in with the moisturizer, but they are super hard to squash open, and they don’t mix in much with the lotion, so when applying it, chunks of bubble wind up stuck in your eyebrows or drying on your cheek. It’s gross to say the least. Especially because of the dark brown color. At least this is meant to be worn at night where not too many will see you with “bubble tea face.”πŸ˜… 

And for something meant for intensive dry skin care, this doesn’t moisturize much more than a regular hydrating toner or emulsion. The first night of testing, I applied this in lieu of my regular nighttime routine (like you can with most sleeping packs), and the next morning, my skin looked as if I hadn’t done anything the night before. Next night, same thing. Not okay.

I gave my skin a night of recovery, then applied the sleeping pack over my routine the night after. The next morning, no added hydration, plumpness, smoothness, or anything remotely resembling the common effects of a sleeping pack. Didn’t even seem to help seal in my other products.

Even when demoted to a regular, daily moisturizer, it’s effects are limited, if not non-existent. Pretty much, this product has been totally worthless in terms of my dry skin routine. I have toners-TONERS- that moisturize just as well as this supposed “sleeping pack.” (Sorry, Etude House 😒)

image

One perk is how the spoon attached directly to the lid-I need more of this is my life!

All in all, I wasn’t expecting much from the actual product itself, but this was a bit worse than what I had braced myself for. My skin has needs that this product certainly doesn’t meet like I’ve come to expect a sleeping pack to. At least it didn’t cause any breakouts or irritation! Frankly, I just love looking at this thing on my vanity, and am racing to use up the product so I can find a better use for the cuteness…maybe it can house all my other plastic spoons I use to scoop out products that actually work 😜

Well, now my feet, elbows, and knees are getting some bubble tea action because this stuff certainly doesn’t belong on my face…

The Verdict:

In terms of looks:

1-Holy Grail…cuz bubble tea is just too dang cute!

In terms of actual product:

3-a solid “meh.” Definitely won’t be repurchasing for the product (but gosh I love the cup container and could surely use one in every color lol!) Maybe the other “flavors” are better, but I highly doubt it. Right now, it’s a hella cute foot cream for me πŸ™‚

I hear that many people love their bubble tea sleeping packs-are you one of them? What flavor do you have?

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate: The Secret to Smoother Skin?

No, its not drunken skincare…its yeast!

Galactomyces and Saccharomyces fermented filtrates have been around for a very long time in the world of Korean skincare. Due to the vast range of skin issues these yeast-based ferment filtrates are rumored to treat, they have gained quite the reputation. The hype is similar to snail secretion filtrate: basically, name a common skin issue, and this will fix it. 

Galactomyces ferment filtrate can help with skin issues such as acne, pore size, oil/sebum management, uneven tone, textural refinement, signs of aging, and dry skin-only to name a few. 

Some think this yeast and other hangbang herb fermentation craze may stem from the many fermented foods like kimchi, commonly eaten on a daily basis in the typical Korean diet, and their positive effects on body, including the skin. Korean skincare companies caught on to the benefits of fermentation and translated this into their products, creating the first treatment essence.

 By using helpful bacteria to break down other beneficial ingredients, it is said to help with absorption into the skin , getting the benefits deeper into the pores than a non-fermented formula. Almost all hangbang companies, and most mainstream ones, have some sort of fermented step in their product offerings, usually herbs or yeast.

Another theory stems from brewery worker ‘s hands, which would reatian a much more youthful appearance than the rest of their body, supposedly due to the yeast. 

Either way, these fermented and yeast-based products have gained a lot of popularity in the Kbeauty world.

Having yet to try a pure yeast ferment filtrate, when the Ramosu Galactomyces ferment filtrate went on sale in a set of three, I had to buy it. I’ve been testing it for review since the start of September, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the results I’ve been seeing. 

The ingredients: Galactomyces ferment filtrate

As you can see, it’s a very long and complex formulation that makes this product so effective…

I’ve been using 2-3 shakes (approx 1/8 t) of the product twice a day for a little over a month. The product itself claims  that after 28 days “you can experience special feeling in your skin.”  I’m assuming “special feeling” is referring to smoothness. 

***

In the 28 day time frame, my skin slowly became more and more healthy/radiant looking (starting around two weeks in), but the effects would wear off if I missed an application. Twice a day kept my skin consistently glowy, but it would fade by the time of the next application.

Where my skin is generally well-behaved, I didn’t notice much change in terms of smoothness, however, in my troubled areas (namely my jawline where things get desert-dry, flakey, and bumpy), there was a definite, noticeable  reduction of texture. My skin in this area looked and felt more nourished, meaning less and smaller flakes and rough patches. It did not help with acne in this area (including some cc’s), but made it appear less noticeable as the surrounding skin looked a lot better.

***

These effects have not plateaued since the 28 day mark.

***

I apply it before my toner (like a first essence), and the formula is light and non greasy in finish. The second it hits the skin, it begins to absorb. This is a wonderful quality, because as it’s the first step in my post-cleansing routine, I have numerous products to be applied  afterwards, and the last thing I want to do is add more wait time to it.


Galactomyces is meant to be nutritive, making it an excellent option for stressed skin (like mine chronically is). From troubled areas to dryness, this filtrate has soothed and nourished my skin so it can heal.

By the second week of using this product twice daily, I could already see and feel a small difference in my skin. By the end of the 28 day period, my skin felt healthier, and most of the effects from both my natural and prescription-exasperated dryness  had faded. Now, my skin looks a little more youthful and bouncy, and is so much smoother to the touch in previously sandpaper areas. There is nowhere near as much flaking or peeling as before either, which is a total blessing (seriously,  it’s like no matter how many products I apply, my skin will still be dry). πŸ™„ This product will be 100% be staying with my through this winter.

Rating: 

2- the results make so glad I have 2 bottles left. Tis product has definitely been worthwhile.

***

Is your skin also a carniverous black hole that just sucks up product and money, but never gives you much to show for it?

What do you think of the fermentation craze? Of yeast?

Why I Got Into Korean Skin Care

Hello my lovely readers!

I briefly touched on this topic in my first post ever (click here if you dare. Gosh, the embarrassment), but I never really elaborated on the why’s of my deep love for Korean skin care. Out of all the possible hobbies to have chosen to really and truly love in this life, I picked this thing of all things. Does it make any sense to you? Because it makes zero sense to me! So, in short, this is why I’m hooked for life:

  1. Hands down, it is the only thing that has ever really worked for my skin because it’s gotten down to the roots of my problems vs masked the side effects.
  2. The packaging is either gorgeously elegant or super cute, and either way I want to stare at it and use it every morning and night for the remainder of my adult life. Etude House will forever have my soul.
  3. Prevention is the best cure. Like, duh, why did I not put two and two together when I was using Windex and toothpaste in my teen years? Thank God I mainly stayed indoors and didn’t tan. This makes so much more sense than the American deal-with-it-as-it-comes approach.
  4. Its so affordable. Even with shipping, you can get so much bang for your buck in terms of quality and quantity. Not to mention all those wonderful freebies and samples.
  5. There is an infinite supply of super weird, super amazing products that the U.S. has never heard of…sheet masks? facial mists? cleansing balls? What about all the cool, unique ingredients? It’s a skin care junkie’s dream. I can experiment all I want and barely feel guilty about it!
  6. It’s discovery came to me at a point in my life when I was really struggling. It was my hardest semester of college, I was balancing waaaaaaaay too many difficult (and in hindsight, stupid) things on my plate, lots of drama in both my work and home life, several really expensive and really awful health problems, you name it, it was happening. Quite frankly, everything just sucked (in a first world problem kind of way). Finding something that sparked some long lost inspiration and a nudged me towards self-care was a total blessing for my burnout. The Korean skin philosophy created a small sliver of order in all the chaos that was going on around me. It made me look better, made me feel better. It gave me something to calm me down in the evenings and something to invigorate me in the mornings. Putting that 30 minutes aside everyday to just focus on taking care of myself helped pull me back to a place of empowerment where I could make the changes I needed to to get my life not to just where I wanted it to be, but surpass those expectations as well. In full honesty, no tub of face cream, Korean brand or not, will magically fix your life and make you happy, but the dedication to your face and yourself that the extensive Korean method requires can be advantageous to those between a rock and a hard place. At least, that’s how it worked for me πŸ˜…

Needless to say, the Korean routine has done a heck of a lot for me, and I hope if you dare go down the Korean path and risk becoming as obsessed as me, it is everything I find it to be and more. My love for it was a major motivating factor for when I first started the Skintuition beauty blog.

Has something beauty ever gotten you hook, line, and sinker before? Real Technique’s beauty blenders don’t count πŸ˜‰

Managing Your Moisturizing Routine

Welcome back to another installment of the Beauties on Fire collaboration! This week’s voted theme is the four elements: water, earth, fire, and wind. 

Photo Credit:Byrdie

Being the skincare slut that I am, I of course have to discuss the element that is the backbone of any successful skincare routine: water! Without sufficient water content, not only will you, well, die, but your skin will become dry and problematic, making it look older and more tired than it may really be. 

So how do you ensure your skin remains looking youthful and healthy? One word:moisturization. 

Photo Credit:@peachandlily

Why the Western world thinks only one measly moisturizer is enough to maintain let alone create good skin is a total mystery to me. Once I got off that 3 step routine train and incorporated more and more moisturizers into my routine, my skin changed drastically for the better. I attribute a big portion of success in eliminating my (mild) cystic acne to proper moisture levels as well as many other smaller skin successes.

Moisturizing is an essential part of what makes the Korean approach to skincare so different and effective. Regardless of skin type or even skin concerns, layers of moisture are going to constitute the majority of any effective routine. But moisturizers are not created equal. So how do you figure out what’s going to work and what’s going to be a big waste of time and money?

Let’s start with the basics.

Moisturizers are divided into three classes:

Photo Credit: Into the Gloss

Humectants: these guys work like magnets, attracting and absorbing (aka forming Hydrogen bonds with) water from deeper layers of skin (and sometimes from very humid air) which in turn increases the amount of moisture your outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum) can hold. Humectants can provide an instant plumping/wrinkle-smoothing effect due to the increase in moisture. Long-term use can fight signs of aging.

This category can be further broken down into two additional categories-synthetic humectants and natural humectants. These names pretty much describe it all. Synthetic humectants which draw water up from the skin include urea, hexylene, butylene, and propylene glycol (“the glycols” is how I’ve remembered them). These will help moisturize the skin, but tend to only draw water up from the deeper layers of skin, providing short term moisture. These can potentially dry out the skin if other moisturizing agents aren’t used (they just suck water upwards, but don’t replenish).

Natural humectants not only moisturize the skin, but deliver other beneficial nutrients to the deeper skin layers, providing more long-term moisture. You’ve probably heard about many of these natural humectants: honey, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and AHA’s in smaller doses (think glycoloic, lactic, and malic acids…AHAs also occur in the natural world like in fruits and milk). Many of these natural humectants have secondary benefits: everyone knows about the anti-inflammatory properties of aloe, the anti-microbial wonders of honey, that AHA’s provide exfoliation if used correctly…and so on and so forth.

Photo Credit: The Beauty Lookbook

Emollients: Emollients work like a lubricant, lending skin a smooth softness by filling in the gaps between skin cells. Any flakes get smoothed over as well. Emollients also give that “slippy” feel to the skin (think of a pore filler). Emollients can provide a slight film to keep water in as well-much like occlusives but to nowhere near the same extent.

The texture of emollients is easily spreadable and generally thin. Most emollient ingredients also provide additional benefits to the skin like antioxidants and have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Many also help strengthen the skin because emollients often contain fatty acids as they are often oil-based (a big help for those with dehydrated skin!).

Emollients are generally plant/animal-based oils. These include almond, coconut, jojoba, olive oils, etc, but also animal-based oils like emu and horse oil (which I personally detest and discourage the use of especially given all the other plant-based alternatives. But my opinion of animal testing and the cosmetics industry and what-not is for another time and another place. YMMV and you are entitled to your own opinion. But I personally think the thought of something like pig collagen on my face sounds nasty to begin with…)

OTHER emollient ingredients include things like glycerides and squalene/squalene (not derived from shark liver for me of course, but rather olives or the like…).

Photo Credit: Peach and Lily

Occlusives: This category of moisturizers strives to do pretty much one thing and one thing only: prevent moisture loss. Water loss is the main culprit in both dehydrated and dry skin and its when we lose water that we start looking so suddenly tired and aged. Oily skin may not struggle with water loss as much as other skin types because of natural sebum production preventing moisture escaping.

This moisturizing class works by creating a physical barrier (generally, a thin film) over the outermost layer of skin, effectively sealing good things like water and other products in by slowing down the process of evaporation. Occlusives work best when applied over wet skin (or humectants) as occlusives must have something already there to seal in to do much good. Unfortunately, many times these formulas can be a bit “greasy” or “oily” looking on the face so I personally have relegated them to night-use-only. I have found that the occlusive “film” doesn’t typically play well with my generally “light and sheer” approach to makeup.

Ingredients include pretty much any vegetable-based wax (and also beeswax), or plant-based butter (cocoa, shea, etc) as well as well-known mineral oil and petroleum.

Photo Credit: Sokoglam


Some Rules of Thumb
If you tend to lean on the dry side, dry skin will benefit most from occlusives applied over humectants to draw up/in moisture, then seal it in. Emollients can also help reduce some of the flakiness dry skin types can experience as well. Oilier skin types along with more combination skin types should avoid thick occlusive formulas and heavy-handed use of emollients and stick to lighter, humectant layers. Normal skin types have free range, but should probably stick more to the lighter end of the scale.

Selecting moisturizing ingredients based on skin concerns can also be a beneficial strategy. If you are acne-prone, obviously avoid thick formulas which may clog pores and maybe try an ingredient with anti-microbial properties, like honey. Dehydrated skin should head straight for emollients due to their oil/fatty acid content. And so on and so forth.

Your Skin Knows Best

Everyone’s skin is different and often changes through the seasons and with lifestyle factors like chronic stress and hormones. Once you know what each type of moisturizing class does and what main ingredients to look for, finding where to start for your skin type becomes a breeze.

To read the other collab posts, click the picture below!

How I Fixed My Keratosis Pilaris

YYQ3XBYDAPMany people struggle with a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris. This skin condition causes tiny, acne-like bumps and dry patches to form on the arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks; the bumps form due to an overproduction of a protein called keratin which can block pores. It’s by no means a serious condition, but it can be annoying and unsightly. Its also not really curable: it can only be managed and subdued.

I’ve struggled with these little bumps on my upper arms ever since I can remember. In grade school, I was always so embarrassed to wear short sleeves or go sleeveless. A couple of times, kids would ask “eew, what are those?!” and for my middle school self, comments like those did nothing for my self-esteem. I’ve tried countless methods over the years to eradicate these stupid SOB’s but nothing really worked. I spent my middle school and high school years in 3/4 tops and sweaters, embarrassed and self-conscious (in only the way a typical teenager can be) about my bumpy arms.

It was by no means severe (except in my teenage mind, which, well, we’ve all been there), but I didn’t register that fully until I hit true adulthood (and had other bigger things to worry about like college finals, bills, real health problems, and, of course, adult acne).

As most of my readers know, Asian (well, Korean) skincare is more exciting to me than the creation of pre-sliced cheese and bread. Along the way down that rabbit hole, I picked up two products (I’m getting to them, I swear!) that in a true stroke of luck/fate/whatever have you, I combined and applied to my arms and was like “whoa!”

Status: keratosis pilaris remission achieved!

Now that all that background is out of the way, here is the method that took my upper arms from full-on granola mode to sleeveless-ready.

I use two products: Papa Recipe White Flower Clear Up 8% AHA Gel and Let’s Cure C-ster High Performance Powder.


The AHA gel stinks to high heaven (and much MUCH worse than a typical AHA which will smell like butt to begin with) and that rotting fish odor on my face was just something I couldn’t tolerate even for the sake of skincare…and that is saying something. Being the ardent “waste not, want not” stingy person that I am, I had to find another way to use it.

Within this time frame, I also picked up my first, very sad attempt at Vitamin C and wound up with a powder formulation that was supposed to be mixed with whatever moisturizer of choice. I didn’t know anything about pH or using vitamin C at the time, and when I used it on my face for 2 months, several times a week, and was not seeing anything that resembled results, it went into the same pile as the AHA.

And then I got creative and decided to mix the two. I had noticed that the Vitamin C powder helped neutralize the scents of whatever it was mixed with and lend it a gentle citrus-y note. Figuring the AHA couldn’t get any worse, I went ahead and mixed it as a 1:1 ratio (as per the C-ster powder instructions) and slathered the slightly less terrible solution on my upper arms where it wouldn’t be directly under my nose.

To use these two products up and get them off my valuable counter surface real estate, I mixed this solution up every night fresh and applied it. Within about a month of doing this, I started noticing how soft and smooth my normally rough upper arms were getting. Within two months (the products you don’t want always last the longest right?), my arms were 98% clear-the most “normal” arm state I ever remembered achieving.

Its now been three months since arriving at this lucky fusion of crap products and my arms are totally tank-top appropriate. They are also ridiculously soft. While I do have to apply sunscreen to my arms now in addition to my face, its worth the newfound texture.

I have yet to totally decide whether or not the Vitamin C powder actually works  (its just sketchy as hell y’all), the AHA definitely does as its not only at a powerful 8% concentration, but also a powerful exfoliator which keeps keratin from building up and forming bumps.

Before I conclude this post, I just want to say that I am no doctor or scientist and I’ve also been very bad and not done any research on if these two formulas can be mixed together without preservative measures cancelling out the other, etc. I figured (for my own safety, when I first played mad-cosmetic-scientist on my vanity) that the C-ster powder could be mixed with any moisturizer of choice, and since that territory was pretty broad, I figured why not a gel? If the C-ster powder actually does work, it would work with a product with similar pH needs. When it didn’t burn my arms off or anything, I think just mixing it up fresh, every night is safe enough for my own self. I would NOT recommend keeping a bottle of this stuff pre-mixed as, despite the fact these are acids, who knows what might want to play petri dish? (And geez, whatever would grow in THOSE conditions, I would NOT want on my face even more than just typical compact cushion/hangbang serum dwellers). The powder as well, should you choose to buy it (I honestly don’t know if it does anything other than minimize the day-old fish market “scent”), you’ll find that the amount of mixing will make successful bottling near impossible.

If you do try this method, know that YMMV, I am not a doctor or scientist or any kind of person that is qualified to be doling out this sort of information, and that if anything bad happens, I refuse to be responsible (although I will feel bad, probably cry a lot, remove this post, and send you lots of care packages).So if you attempt this, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK and release me from any sort negative consequences like legal action. Love you guys!

Anyway, now that I’ve made this sound super scary and serious (lol, sorry, you just never know!), this very strange, very lucky, and in hindsight, very stupid adventure with two products that my stingy self just couldn’t chuck in the bin led to a very nice discovery and some very nice results. Just in case anyone who reads this is struggling with managing this skin condition, I thought I would share my findings here online. To perhaps try this method at their own risk πŸ˜‰

If you do so happen to try this method, please let me know how it went. I am very curious to see if this is just a me-thing or if I’ve actually stumbled on something weird-but-super-helpful. I can only tell you in this case that it gave me my arms back in about two and a half months from a M/W/F application schedule [and with wearing sunscreen on them during the day (so no burns or anything from AHA and Vitamin C photo sensitivity)].

This post is finally over, and I hope it was helpful. Please let me know if you’re interested in tying this method or know of something that worked for you! Have a wonderful rest of your day/night everyone! *mwah!*