My Pared-Down Skincare Routine for 2021

It’s that time again – time for me to take stock of the products I’m using on my own skin! Since I write about skincare, it can be easy for me to get lost in the trends, recommendations and the ‘ideal’ ways to treat your skin. But what about what’s realistic? Taking a look at what I personally use pulls me back to reality and helps me recommend better things to others. So, here’s another instalment of my skincare routine: 2021 edition.

Things to know about my skin

The basics: Oily, dehydration-prone, acne-prone, Fitzpatrick Type 1 (i.e. pale).

Lately, I’ve been dealing with flares of acne, seb derm and type 2 rosacea all at once. My skin hasn’t been doing great, and I’ve had to cut down a lot on the complexity of my routine to handle these flares.

I’ve also moved back from Japan to Australia, where we’ve just started to get some previously US-only products, which has influenced my purchases. Think less Japanese products, more locally available ones.

So, compared to last year’s routine, I’ve pared down overall.

My goal in putting these products together was to curate a routine that would be easy to stick to, affordable, easy to keep purchasing, not piss my skin off, and manage my skin issues. I think I nailed it.

The routine

I start off my cleansing my face twice a day using the CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser. I try to lather for 30 seconds or more, and use lukewarm water. I like this cleanser because it’s lightly foaming and cuts through grease great, rinses clean, but there’s no squeaky dry skin feeling afterwards. It lets me fit in super mild chemical exfoliation step every day.

Every other day or so, I’ll use AzClear 20% Azelaic Acid for treating rosacea and acne. If my skin starts to sting or burn, I’ll back off. Unfortunately this product is a PAIN to apply, because it soaks in and dries up almost immediately, and loves to pill when you put anything over it. Using it on slightly damp skin works best.

To keep my seb derm in check, I use SolvEasy Tinea cream (10% terbinafine) on and off. It’s got a nice silicone base, so it’s easy to spread.

Then I apply CeraVe Moisturising Cream. This is super thick but not oily or creamy, it’s actually quite matte once it dries down. It leaves a definite residue on the skin, which I think is nice, but it can sometimes play up under makeup.

If it’s morning, I’ll follow that up with a generous amount of the Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel. Invisible, fragrance-free, great packaging, this product gets a 10/10 and I will be going to the effort to reorder it online from Japan.

Products that didn’t make the picture cut

Now, not everything gets pride of place in my top drawer because I like to keep things really organised. So, if it doesn’t get used almost every day or it’s not in rotation right now, it is delegated to under the sink. Here’s some of the things that I find myself digging out regularly:

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – in place of the CeraVe cleanser when my skin’s feeling irritated. It’s, like, the most broing cleanser on the planet earth. But that’s fine!

Moogoo MSM Soothing Cream – before the CeraVe cleanser when my skin’s feeling dry – it contains plant oils so it’s not great with my seb derm. But it is super emollient and lovely, with a fresh natural scent.

Nizoral 2% cream- sometimes in place of the SolvEasy Tinea terbinafine cream. I’ve read that switching up your antifungals can sometimes be the key, and this one’s supposed to be the top-of-the-line seb derm treatment. I hate the smell.

The Ordinary’s AHA & BHA peeling solution – as part of my occasional (bi-weekly or so) facials. Obviously, if my skin’s not going so well I’ll steer clear because this baby burns if you’re not careful.

Konjac sponge – used after the above peel during facials, just to buff off any dry patches.

CORTIC DS steroid ointment – for when my itchy flares get too much to handle, sparingly as needed.


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