I’m starting to think that if people don’t share their skin-care routines on social media these days, they don’t have one at all. So many elaborate threads are popping up on Instagram (like this one) and Twitter (and this one) lately that I feel like I might need to make one, too. Usually, the routines involve a lot of that “drink water and cleanse your soul bullshit,” in the words of Malia Khan, a makeup artist based in Ontario. But because hers doesn’t, Khan broke down every single step of her skin-care routine for clearing up cystic and hormonal acne, scars, and hyperpigmentation — and then shared before-and-after photos of the results to her social media channels. Although her routine involves some questionable products, the results are astounding.
The very first step of Khan’s routine involves everyone’s favorite lazy skin-care product: face wipes. She takes off her makeup with Neutrogena’s Night Calming Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes as soon as she can. But she doesn’t stop there. Khan follows with micellar water on a cotton pad “to really get everything off,” she said. Her thought process: “Impure skin leads to bacteria buildup and acne. Clean skin equals good skin,” she wrote, and she’s not wrong.
The second step is when things start getting dicey. “Then I take a shower and I exfoliate my face with this St. Ives Apricot Scrub,” Khan explained. “It has salicylic acid, which prevents breakouts.” The Internet and experts are divided on the efficacy of the classic St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. In a lawsuit last year, people claimed the exfoliator caused serious irritation and inflammation. After that came out, we asked Bruce Katz, a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, how he felt about the beloved scrub. He said it’s “too harsh” and “can cause fissures or tears in the skin, which can lead to infection if not cared for properly.” Yikes.
Khan still swears by the stuff, though. After people started commenting on the downsides of using the St. Ives Apricot Scrub, she added a disclaimer to her Instagram post. “This is what I’ve been doing for almost two years now and this is what has worked for me after struggling with acne for years and years,” she said in regard to the divisive exfoliator. “I’m not saying it will work for everyone, and something that works for me may do the opposite for someone else. Trust your skin. As for me, the apricot scrub has been a blessing. Scrub gently.” If you plan to follow Khan’s regimen but are skeptical about the scrub, try the Best of Beauty-winning St. Ives Exfoliate & Nourish Apricot Oil Scrub instead. The oil component ensures that the walnut shells will nourish — not harm — the skin in the process.
Next, Khan mixes one to two drops of tea tree oil into a bit of the Murad Clarifying Cleanser (she calls it an alternative to The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Face Wash) and washes her face again. Then she rubs one of First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Pads, which is formulated with brightening lactic and glycolic acids, all over her face in place of toner to help get rid of her hyperpigmentation. From there, Khan has three choices for her fifth step. She either washes her face with The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion Exfoliator, smoothes on Kate Somerville’s D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum, or picks up her at-home dermaroller. She added that the latter has been helpful with her ice pick scars.
For the sixth step of her skin-care routine, Khan dabs some tea tree oil on her new breakouts and lets it sit. (Our digital deputy beauty director loves this as a spot treatment, too.) Then Khan slathers on the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. In the comments section, she added that, “A pinch goes such a long way, and your skin is left so soft and smooth.” Her last step is smearing on diaper rash cream. Yes, you read that correctly. “Hear me out…The active ingredient in diaper rash cream is zinc oxide, which can help by calming inflammation and further protect skin,” she explained about this unexpected addition. “It helps soothe redness, decrease the size of breakouts, and dries out oil production.”
Depending on which dermatologist you ask, they may or may not recommend that you actually use diaper rash cream as a spot treatment. Rebecca Tung, a dermatologist in La Grande, Illinois, has told Allure that zinc does, in fact, calm inflammation. “Its main beneficial properties relative to the skin include being an antioxidant, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial,” she said. “Studies have suggested that zinc may reduce acne-causing bacteria counts and that it may also reduce sebum and oil production.” However, it can dry out skin in the process and clog pores. If anything, use it on single spots — not your entire face.
After going through all the products, Khan finished off her thread with one last note: “The only big procedure I’ve had done are glycolic peels (the before pic is after four treatments biweekly),” she wrote because she definitely knew all of us were wondering. “Helps SO much with cystic acne but cost me about $200.” Noted. You can read through the whole thread for yourself below. If you decide to try it, be sure to keep my notes in mind.
- Here’s Exactly What This Woman Uses to Get Her “Glass Skin”
- This K-Pop Star’s “Glass Skin” Skin-Care Routine Is Totally Genius
- This Woman Swears This Skin-Care Routine Totally Cleared Up Her Acne
Now, here’s what happened when an Allure editor smeared egg all over her face:
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