My Skincare Routine for Oily/Acne Prone Skin and Recommendations From 2017

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Hey everyone!

Though we're nearly done with January, I wanted to share my skincare favorites from 2017, what my skincare routine is for day/night, and some skincare realizations from the year. I categorized the items into Cleansers, Lotions/Essences/Serums, Actives, and Hydrators/Moisturizers. I also wanted to share if and how many times I've repurchased an item. Though I am acutely aware of how many products I use, I do think that sometimes more is better but don't feel like your skincare routine has to look exactly like mine. 

I modeled my skincare routine by incorporating aspects of the multi-step Korean Skincare Routine, while adding in a ton of American products. If you want more information into what goes into a Korean Skincare Routine, check out Snow White and the Asian Pear.

Skincare Routine for Oily Acne Prone Skin

To show that the proof is in the pudding, here's a photo of my unretouched skin so you can see what I'm working with. My routine is concerned with targeting my oiliness, dehydration, acne, and hyper pigmentation. I've mostly got my acne tackled (except for hormonal acne) and virtually all the red spots you're seeing are hyper pigmentation, not active acne.

If you'd like to know what I use and enjoyed from 2017, keep on reading!

There are a few things to keep in mind about any sort of skincare routine, including my own. 

1) Consistency is key. You have to introduce and use products consistently over time to see any real effects, merely using a product for a week won't give you real results. Some products may need several months worth of investment. 

2) Light layers > Heavier products. This is what's true for my oily skin type, especially since I've discovered that my skin is dehydrated and seeks to have moisture. I have noticed my skin being less oily over time, which I attribute it to my skin not overproducing oil because it's better hydrated/moisturized.

3) Overexfoliation is a thing. I'll admit it, the feeling of super soft skin especially after a nice acid peel is addicting but I've learned that too much of a good thing (exfoliation) is bad. I loved using The Ordinary AHA/BHA Mask but overused it to the point that my skin felt tight and sensitive. I've learned that my skin still enjoys exfoliation but responds better to a once a week event instead of twice a week.

4) SPF SPF SPF. Use that SPF!! It doesn't have to suck and I have a recommendation for a great SPF below.


Oil Cleanser and Low pH Cleanser for Oily and Acne Prone Skin

Oil Cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Low pH Cleanser: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I've used this cleanser off and on over the years and rediscovered it this year. It works incredibly well for removing makeup without overly stripping my skin. You can read my review for more info. I don't always use it every night, primarily when I wear makeup. I ran through one bottle before and this is my second bottle.

I've talked about the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser before on the blog and I'll say it again that while it's a seemingly mundane product, it's helped make a subtle but meaningful impact on my skin. You can get more info from my review but I use it as a morning cleanser or a second cleanser after my DHC Cleansing Oil. I'm currently on my third bottle.


Toner, Lotion, Essence, and Serums

Toner: Paula's Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
Lotion: Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lotion
Serum: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Essence/Serum: Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Serum: The Ordinary Buffet

The Paula's Choice toner is something I started using for a sponsored post. I quite enjoyed using it but got caught up in using other products that I didn't end up repurchasing it until last year. I forgot how much I enjoy using it for soothing my skin. This is my second bottle (though first repurchase)

The Hada Labo Gokujyn Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Lotion has a super long name for what's a rather simple product. Don't let the term "Lotion" deceive you, it's basically a thin lightweight hyaluronic acid liquid that's a good go between after cleansing and before my serums, it helps everything soak in better because my skin is already lightly hydrated. This is my first bottle so I haven't need to repurchase.

I knew my skin loved niacinamide, but I didn't know how much until I stopped using the The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I ran out and while waiting for it to get back in stock, I noticed that I was getting more stubborn hyper pigmentation. I was able to get a refill when it came back in stock and I'm thankful for it. I've heard people say it can pill up under other products but I've never had a problem (thanks to the next product) but if you wait a few minutes it can help.

Cosrx was one of the first Korean skincare brands I got in to that seemed really affordable yet really effective. Their signature products revolve around snail mucin, which I didn't think I would love but this serum adds yet another hydrating layer and helps to prevent the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from pilling.

On the anti-aging front, I love the The Ordinary Buffet. It's got a bunch of peptides, probiotics, amino acids, etc. I love it because it's a hyaluronic acid based serum that layers well and can help keep my skin in tip-top shape for the future. It's way too early for me to say that it's made any sort of drastic change, but I can at least appreciate it as another layer of hydration.


Vitamin C: Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum
Retinoid: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (Previously the Advanced Retinoid 2%)
Acne-Fighter: Clean & Clear Persa Gel 10
Physical/Chemical Exfoliator: Dr. Brandt Poredermabrasion

Actives for Oily Acne Prone Skin

Where was my life before Vitamin C Serums were in it? My skin feels brighter and my hyper pigmentation has been going down too. The anti-aging effects aren't too obvious yet but I'd love any improvement to fine lines. I've been enjoying the Timeless Vitamin C serum but I know I'll soon have to repurchase another (my serum is turning yellow, indicating it's beginning to oxidize and lose its effectiveness)

When it comes to retinol and retinoid, I'm not 100% convinced yet but have been enjoying the The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% (previously the Advanced Retinoid 2%). It's a milky serum that absorbs quite quickly into the skin. I think its effects take many months to happen but I've not noticed any negative effects so I'm going to continue investing in its use.

I've been using the Clean and Clear Persa Gel 10 for over 13 years now because I know my skin responds best to using benzoyl peroxide to fight my acne. Everytime I try to stop using it, my skin begins to flare up with more acne so I know it's been continuing to work its magic. Plus it's super cheap. This is my millionth tube? I've repurchased it so many times over the years.

The Dr. Brandt Poredermabrasion is the newest addition to my skincare routine but I have already been enamored by its effects. I had received it after attending The Makeup Show LA but didn't begin using it until I remembered Alyson from The Gloss Menagerie rave about its results. It's both a physical and chemical exfoliator using alumina crystals (like in microdermabrasion) and salicylic acid/BHA to create baby soft skin that you feel during the whole week until you use it again. 


Moisturizer: Stratia Liquid Gold
Sunscreen: Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++
Oil: The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
Eye Cream: Biossance Squalane and Peptide Eye Gel

Moisturizers for Oily Acne Prone Skin

My moisturizer of choice for 2017 has to be Stratia Liquid Gold. This ingredient packed moisturizer packs a punch with ceramides, cholesterols, and fatty acids that your skin needs to keep itself in good shape. Don't be turned off by the color, it's due to the oils that help nourish your skin. This is my second bottle.

Remember when I said SPF didn't have to suck? This is the sunscreen for people who hate sunscreen. It's a recommendation from Tracy at Fanserviced but basically it's a sunscreen lotion that doesn't feel chalky, blends in super quickly, and doesn't feel cakey on the skin. It adds a nice layer of moisture on my skin to top it off in the morning. 

Rose Hip Seed Oil (also known as Rose Hip Oil) is the oil you need if you have acne-prone skin like myself. It's a wonderful oil to use because it's not super greasy feeling and works great as another anti-aging product.

Some people don't believe in them but I have come to realize the importance of an eye cream or gel. My particular favorite this year is the Biossance Eye Gel, mainly because it absorbs quickly while still hydrating my undereye. This came in handy because I was experiencing some redness on my eyelid that wouldn't go away but this Eye Gel did a wonderful job at calming down the redness. 

And that's every single product I've enjoyed in my skincare routine. Here are a few photos showing the order that I use the products for daytime and nighttime (depending on which actives I use)

Day Routine

Products for Day Routine for Oily Acne Prone Skin

I try to wait a few minutes after applying the Vitamin C serums to apply the rest of the products. I know people believe that you shouldn't mix Vitamin C and niacinamide together but that's only when it comes to formulating products, layering the two is fine.

Night Routine (with Retinoid)

Products for Night Routine when Using Retinoid

The oil cleanser is optional depending on if I wore makeup that day or not. I use the Retinoid twice a week so I like to shift the routine so as not to add too many actives and irritate my skin.

Night Routine (without Retinoid)

Nighttime Skincare Routine for Oily Acne Prone Skin

This is the routine when I'm focused on hydrating/moisturizing my skin.

Night Routine (Exfoliating)

Skincare Routine for Oily Acne Prone Skin

I only exfoliate once a week (usually on Sundays) so I dedicate the rest of my routine to reducing most of the actives and helping my skin have as much moisture as possible.


And that's it for my skincare routine/favorites from 2017! I know my skincare routine has many many layers but it works for me and I do feel I'm seeing results. Not everyone is into a multi-faceted routine but I do find that my skin improved when I started adding more layers of lighter products instead of fewer layers of more heavier products. 

What do you currently use in your skincare routine? Anything I should check out?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. The post also contains products I received as press samples.

1 comment

  1. We have similar skin types and address really similar issues! I need to get a Vitamin C serum back into my routine. Have you tried the Melano CC Essence?


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