You Have Acne or Sensitive Skin?

What made a huge difference on my acne? A derm visit, and embracing sensitive skin that CAUSED my acne.

Here I am, a 28 YO writing about an acne journey. I never cried “Why didn’t I grow out of acne?!”, because I know it’s genetic in my family. And as dr. Anjali Mahto said, she kept seeing women in their 30s, even older, with chin/jaw acne in her practice. Just looking at women around me, and their skin, I know I’m not alone.

I do have the tendency of getting rather-big, pre-period “adult acne” on my chin, but they are never the big problem. Moderate acne that I had around the age of 23-24 YO was. Then it got worse after I visited a couple of sketchy skin clinics that secretly infused my tretinoin night cream with steroid.

Skin clinics with GPs prescribing acne-curing concoctions are common where I live. Unfortunately.

So that was a nightmare, until I found a good derm that changed my life. And Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation.

acne-or-sensitive-skin-concern-2 - Edited
How my old skin would look. Not only acne, being South East Asian, I am PIH prone as well.

My derm informed and confirmed that I didn’t actually have acne problem. My problem was microcomedones, where the plugs on my skin were not quite infected by the acne bacteria yet. Another reason why I kept breaking out, was none other than the improper use of steroid from the previous year, that only hid the skin problems while slowly damaging my skin barrier and natural ability to stay healthy.

Now, before meeting this good derm, I already suspected my skin’s sensitivity. Makeup would keep breaking me out, especially base makeup. Once I tried the Estee Lauder foundation from a MUA friend, it was the very first time that I didn’t get a new popping acne after removing my makeup.

The ELDW was fragrance free. And that’s when I learned my skin was sensitive to fragrance; synthetic and natural. I kept finding my skin tolerated Western products better than Asian ones. The difference? All those exotic, interesting botanical plants.

acne-or-sensitive-skin-reaction-1 - Edited
My bare skin now. I would still get acne every now and then, but “normal-people-acne”.

As I continued troubleshooting skincare with my findings, I realized most of my acne was not really acne. It was my skin reacting to certain triggers.

I promised on my Indonesian YouTube channel that since deciding to go cruelty free with my beauty products, I wouldn’t promote anything cruel. But this is different, okay: If you suspect you have similar skin as mine, go with the no frill, “boring” brands: Eucerin, Bioderma, Paula’s Choice, CeraVe, Differin. Watch out if you’re clogged prone, some of them have dimethicone, mineral oil, shea butter etc.

And your trigger could be anything. Hey, people come out of allergic test with PEN INK and DOG FUR as their triggers. Cross-check your skincare. It could be anything in those ingredients list!

I want to touch a little bit on the term “sensitive skin”. Some knowledgeable people disagree that I have sensitive skin. The people that freaked out when I said fungal acne (I know it’s not acne, but it’s the popular term). The people that freaked out when I said I couldn’t do skincare with “something as gentle as rose ingredients”, not knowing I decided that not just after trying only one or two rose product.

There are people with sensitive skin since they were born. Then I believe sensitive skin is their skin type. Then there’s me, with my history, I believe sensitive skin is my skin concern.

If only those people would agree-to-disagree like normal adults. It’s not like I said rapists were saints, or you’re valid to be a thief if you’re poor  -___-

Bottom line: Tretinoin takes care of my microcomedones, and a non-sensitizing skincare routine (English language native readers, you may check the product lists on the description box)  takes care of my sensitivity.

As always, I hope this sharing was helpful. At least in a way.



One thought on “You Have Acne or Sensitive Skin?

  1. Nah, here I am, 35yo women still struggling with hormonal and fungal acne.

    Oh I don’t know if fungal acne is not acne, need to learn more about that then ( ͡°³ ͡°)

    I also have allergic to most fragrance such geranium and lavender, anything with animal protein, and also aloe vera (╥ω╥`)

    I have PIH too but I don’t mind it, haha old women have many other thing to worry about ᕕ( ՞ ᗜ ՞ )ᕗ


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