Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMHmySW_PwE]

It has been ~6 months since I stopped dermarolling and started using OTC Differin 0.1% Adapalene. I have done quite a few things for my skin since then, and I thought I’d do a Skin Update if you were curious about my progress and my current approach to achieving healthy skin! As seen in the title and main image, these will be the main focus of this update.

Before we continue, please be sure you’re caught up with the following, that way you have a better understanding about my skin and my approach to this post!
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018
My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018
REVIEW: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

RECAP:
– Did 4 at-home dermarolling sessions with the Banish Kit. Stopped microneedling in general because I had no control over my acne breakouts. (March – April 2018)
– After microneedling, used OTC Differin for ~6 months. (May 2018)
– Sun not as strong, reintroduced chemical exfoliators back into my routine. BHA in the AM only on days when I workout, and AHA every other night. (September 2018)
– Tried Banisher 2.0 and did another 2 microneedling sessions. (Novermber 2018)
– Saw a dermatologist after 10 years of not seeing any skin professional; Got prescribed Aczone Gel 5% Dapsone + Differin 0.3% Adapalene to heal acne lesions and prevent breakouts. She was okay with my at-home microneedling. (November 2018)
– Created a more focused skincare routine in consideration of the new prescriptions. (Decmber 2018)
– Spoke with a Medical Esthetician about a PRP (Vampire) Facial. (December 2018)


Acne

IMG_20181209_144157-1.jpg

Differin 0.1% Adapalene for 6 months
After using OTC Differin 0.1% Adapalene for 6 months, here’s what I have noticed:
– Skin is subtly smoother, but not by a lot
– Quickly reduced pain caused by active acne
– Helped acne to quickly heal
– Red acne marks fade faster

Overall, OTC Differin was a great introduction into my skincare routine. Any skin professional will tell you Vitamin A is the most superior ingredient for improving acne and anti-aging, and this one is easily available for Americans (*shakes fists of jealousy*). However, after half a year of use, my skin plateaued. By that I mean it was working okay, but not great – not significant. Quite frankly, I really disliked how I was still breaking out into large, painful cysts. Definitely a sign to me that 0.1% was only doing so much.

Dermatologist Visit
My family doctor booked me an appointment to see a dermatologist about a few spots I noticed on my body (FYI: no skin cancer, yay!), so when I went in for the visit I also expressed concern about my persisting acne breakouts after YEARS of trying to get it under control (antibiotics, birth control, previous prescriptions, cleaned up diet).

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181128115502296_COVER.jpg

The derm prescribed me Aczone Gel 5% Dapsone to help heal current inflamed acne lesions (painful AF cysts) and non-inflamed acne lesions (blackheads and whiteheads), and upped the Differin to 0.3% Adapalene to better prevent blocked pores as well as treat inflamed skin. I’ve currently been using Aczone in the day and Differin at night (since Nov. 27th), and I, as well as family members and BF, have already seen a difference. Current inflamed acne lesions subsided a lot, and I find my skin way more even tone and smoother than usual *no placebo effect, plz*.


Scarring

I’ve hoped for years topicals could help me with my acne. I’ve been trying this for 5 years. Half a decade. And only recently I decided to incorporate Vitamin A into my routine and speak to a professional. I feel like a dummy, but at least I’m still in my 20s and I got over my fear of prescriptions (due to my poor routines years prior) and understand my skin concerns enough to address them with a professional.

As I previously mentioned, Differin 0.1% Adapalene made my skin appear subtly smoother, but frankly, there was no significant change. In attempts to take a Before/After photo (the Before photo being my last picture in my dermarolling post) I found it not only difficult to remember the exact lighting angle I used, but also my atrophic scarring didn’t look THAT different. On top of that, I am still breaking out so you can see red marks despite previous ones healing fast, as well as active acne *le sigh*.

I’ve seen Chemist @kindofstephen post a study on 0.3% Adapalene helping with acne scarring just before I got prescribed Differin 0.3% Adapalene; After reading the study, I am more enthusiastic about my higher prescription and the potential results.

IMG_20181209_143756.jpg

Reintroduced Acids
Before I saw the derm, I began using chemical exfoliants in my routine once the sun became less strong and we started moving into the fall. I’m currently using Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid in the morning only on days I workout. In the PM I was using Krave Beauty’s Kale-lalu-yAHA, a 5.25% Glycolic Acid toner *, but now rotate it 1-3x a week due to prescription use. PC’s BHA Liquid makes my face lovely and smooth every time I use it, but AHAs seem to always be my bestie when it comes to scarring. I’ve been using KB’S toner for just under 2 months now and I already notice my face looking smoother. I think I’ll keep using the AHA all year round just because it’s probably the only topicals easily available that I notice makes a difference in my skin. Also I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this, but I got 2 free BHA Peels done by George Brown College Students in downtown Toronto last year (2017) because it was free.

At-Home Microneedling
If you read and watched my brand review on Dear, Klairs, I did mention that I started microneedling again. I had the opportunity to review Banish’s new Banisher 2.0 * and have done 2 microneedling sessions since receiving it. These were done before my derm visit, so now that I have new prescriptions to get used to I won’t be using the Banisher 2.0 for another month or so until I get a better understanding on what’s happening with my skin.

original vs. 2.0

Considering a Professional for Microneedling
I told the derm I’ve done 6 microneedling sessions total with 0.5mm titanium needles and she was okay with that. Actually, she said microneedling or Fraxal laser were my best options for getting rid of my scars completely since topicals can’t do it themselves *le sigh*. My boyfriend’s mom (Medical Esthetician) discussed the Vampire Facial (PRP) with me and suggested to have the facial done through her friend who is an RN. I’m planning to meet her soon for a consultation. I also asked my sister (who’s now in Seoul working) to scope out the prices for PRP. In the meantime, at least the at-home 0.5mm dermastamp will assist in the appearance!


My Current Skin Goals & Routine

After all I have just said and done, my skin goals have not changed much. Acne Control, Hydration, and Barrier Protection are still my top priorities for maintaining and achieving healthier skin! Instead of using so many products like my previous routines, I want to achieve these goals by attempting a more minimal approach *key word: attempting*.

I’ve also been watching way more skin professionals online, including dermatologists, so I have a better idea (and patience in general) on how to incorporate the prescriptions in a routine with products I like to use. I’m going to try my hardest to keep an efficient daily routine, and leave the fun stuff for bath time or lazy times. I’d say my approach is inspired Dr. Davin Lim’s Vitamin ABC’s, but it seems like my routines always had them!
Vitamin A – Differin 0.1% Adapalene to 0.3%.
Vitamin B – Niacinamide (B3) is da besttttt.
Vitamin C – Using a derivative at the moment, but will try to focus more on L-Ascorbic Acid with future products.

TBH, I’m having a hard time with the C. I currently am using Dermalogica’s Biolumin-C Serum * and in November I received the Banish Oil * when testing out the Banisher 2.0 *. I just find the effects I usually get from Vitamin C (even skin tone, brightening, glowing, reduced hyperpigmentation), are also coming from/being assisted by the other Vitamins, and I don’t know if there’s really a purpose for the C. Or maybe, they all just work best together, which is why I haven’t noticed anything individual! I’ve heard great things about Melano CC Essence and have ordered it from DokoDemo along with a couple of other items. I’ve also been curious about Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma, but we all know that shiz is esspenssive. Skincare peeps, what do you think?

Now that topical prescriptions have been introduced to my routine, I want to make sure what I use with it has effective ingredients and helps offset any dryness or irritation I may expect.  I will share my updated skincare routine once I have comfortable used all the products.


And that’s that for my skin update! I hope you found it informative, especially if we’re on the same healthy skin journey! Stay tuned for an updated skincare routine with Aczone and Differin!

xo, M

REVIEW: The New Banisher 2.0! | AD

This post is sponsored by Banish Acne Scars.
Products provided for review purposes.
This post contains affiliate links / codes. This means if you use this link / code to make a purchase, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.


Banish Kit

Back in March I began using the Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit in hopes of smoothing out my textured skin from the onslaught of cystic acne I suffered 5+ years ago, as well as controlling my hormonal acne breakouts. It was my first time microneedling, so I figured the selected products included in the kit would also help with my skin issues. To my surprise, microneedling wasn’t painful, and I saw results within 3 months.

The Banish Team saw both my First Impressions/Demo and Banish Starter Kit Review, and reached out to me and a few other “influencers” (I can’t take myself seriously calling myself that) to test their newly launched, limited edition Banisher 2.0!

banisher 2.0

I agreed to partner with Banish because:
1) I have already purchased and tried almost all of their products.
2) Daisy, the owner of Banish, experienced the pain of acne and acne scarring just like I, and many others are currently going through. Banish products were originally made for her personal use, until friends and subscribers started requesting them after seeing her skin’s progress in her Youtube videos!
3) Banish partners with influencers with similar skin concerns as ours, who could also benefit from their products and achieve similar results.


How the Banisher Works

Microneedling


Banisher 2.0

original vs. 2.0

I’m happy to report that the Banisher 2.0 was created based on the questions and feedback received from customers, as well as Daisy’s personal needs. During her travels, Daisy always brought the Banish Stamp, but wanted a bigger surface area, clean it easily and store it securely in her bag. I’ts always a big thumbs up when companies revamp/create products based on customer input!

original vs. 2.0

Features
Price: $69 USD
Needle length: 0.5mm
1. Cleaning cap acts as a protector, stand, and sanitizing container
2. Bristles are finer & sharper than current Banisher
3.  Design more ergonomic; Better grip, provides a platform for even distribution of bristles into the skin vs. rolling.

banisher-improvements
Picture from Banish website

Angle of needle penetration is straight line as opposed to roller; less skin trauma, easier to work around pimples
4. Titanium needles coated in 24k gold to accelerate collagen production in skin
5. Lasts twice as long as Banisher – can use up to 8 times
6. Can be used once a week


Usage

banish-oil.jpg

Skincare
Since I already know microneedling works with the Banish Oil, I tested the first session with products in my current skincare routine: peptide serum, HA lotion, moisturizer with Niacinamide.

cleaning cup vs. cap

Cleaning Cap
VERY handy; Wastes less, and less annoying to disinfect.

banisher 2.0

Ergonomics
– Takes a tad longer to microneedle with the new design, but I don’t mind it if safety is considered!
– Easier to concentrate on specific red marks and large pockets of texture.
– Difficult to microneedle on the nose, the Banish Stamp is better for this.
– The handle has soft, grippy material with a wider body, felt secure to hold and easily rotate when I stamped.
– I felt the needles more, and my face became quite red! *beauty is pain* > . <

up close needles

It’s Goooooold
I haven’t found anything solid to convince me that gold can indeed help induce collagen, but I haven’t read anything controversial to say it’s not safe to use; Gold mostly acts as an extra precaution against infection from microneedling.


Before & Afters

Time Period: 11/11/18 – 11/18/18; I had a short amount of time to review this. Since I already showed Before & Afters of texture improvements, the photos below capture the improvements of my red marks in a week’s time.

Note:
– It typically takes 4-6 weeks to see the most results, especially for texture. I’ll try to update as I continue using the Banisher 2.0.
– It was my time of the month when I tested this :\

banisher-2-0-left-1-week.jpg
Left; Mark top of cheek faded
banisher-2-0-1-week-right.jpg
Right; Marks closest to mouth on chin faded

Final Thoughts

banish kit 2.0

Compared to the original Banisher, Banisher 2.0 is most definitely a fancy (and effective) upgrade! In my Banish Kit review, I mentioned how there was not enough information on using the Banisher safely. I appreciate that the Banisher 2.0 was created to ensure a safer and easier approach for beginners, with a less likelihood of problems (still use it carefully!). Another step I hope they consider in the future is making just the head replaceable, which will make Banisher 2.0 more cost effective.

If you want to give the Banisher 2.0 a try, they are currently selling it in a kit. Banish offers:
– Products made to order in the U.S.
– International Shipping on purchases $150+
– 30 Day Money Back guarantee
– Products only available on their official website.

Banish Acne Scars
Banish Kit 2.0
Shop all Banish products
Use code “MICH” at checkout to get $5 off!

If you want know more about my experience with Banish, be sure to read my Banish Starter Kit review. I post Before & Afters after 4 microneedling sessions and review every product in the Kit.

I hope you found this review helpful!

xo, M