Vacation Preparation Series: Skin care

I’ve been counting down to my Florida vacation on a little calendar in my cubicle since January, and the wait is almost over. On Friday, Matt and I will be meeting up with my parents in Orlando for 5 days and then we’ll all be heading to the beach for 9 days. I’m looking forward to beach running, shopping, and spending time with my family.

Being mildly obsessive, I’ve been making lists of stuff I want to bring on my vacation for about 2 weeks now – I’ve already got a list taped to my bathroom mirror so that I don’t forget anything. I thought that I may as well share my vacation ‘must-haves’ with you, since many of these things could also be considered my summer must-haves. I’m planning to do a post on my vacation necessities as far as skin care, makeup, diet/fitness, and books. So without further ado…

I’ve been on a bit of a mission for the last month to get my skin clear enough to be able to go without foundation during the summer – at least on weekends. Growing up I always had very clear skin, and while I definitely wouldn’t call my skin ‘acne prone’ nowadays, in recent years I’ve been finding that when Ido get breakouts, they leave scars that either take forever to fade, or don’t fade at all. This has proven to be incredibly frustrating and leaves me feeling really self conscious when I go out without foundation on. After extensive research, I’ve picked up a few products that have really been doing wonders for my skin as far as fading existing scars, prevent new breakouts from scarring, and preventing breakouts all around.  I’ll list them here in the order that I use them, and explain a little bit about the frequency of which I use them.


Dr. Bronner’s Organic Baby Mild Liquid Soap

From the Dr. Bronner Website:

Our unscented baby contains no fragrance so is great for people who have allergies or sensitive skin. Of course it is great for babies as well. All oils and essential oils are certified organic to the National Organic Standards Program. Packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

I have combination skin, meaning that my forehead and nose gets quite oily, while my cheeks and chin tend to be normal (not too oily, not too dry). A friend of mine with a similar ‘affliction’ was telling me about research suggesting that for those with oily skin, washing the skin with oils (which seems counterintuitive, I know) can be highly effective at preventing the overproduction of sebum (oil – how many times can I say ‘oil’ in one paragraph?). Since I’ve been using it, I’ve found my number of breakouts have drastically reduced, and my skin isn’t as oily during the day. Bonus tip: Use this stuff to wash makeup brushes! The best part: this stuff is CHEAP! Depending on the size, I’ve seen these retail for between $2.99 and $10 at American Apparel.

Dermaglow 10% Glycolic Acid

From Dermaglow:

Dull skin got you down? Reveal a fresher, brighter complexion with this toning and exfoliating solution.

Bring back your skin’s vitality! This two-in-one exfoliating toner lifts away dulling surface debris to uncover younger, more radiant skin. Suitable for all ages and skin types, the complex visibly diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and scarring left by acne. Skin looks smoother, softer and more even.

Clinically Proven
• Significantly improves skins condition for younger, more radiant looking skin
• Improves appearance of sun damaged skin and age spots
• Minimizes appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
• Instantly smoothes and softens the texture of skin
• Non-Drying, Non-irritating
• For all skin types

This stuff has changed my complexion. After using it, my skin looks radiant and feels so so smooth. I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks and I’ve seen differences in my acne scars. The directions say to use it 4-7 days a week, and I’ve been using it 4-5 times a week since I bought it, and my skin hasn’t been irritated at all. I got this for $50 at Shopper’s Drug Mart (I bought it at a 20x the points event!)

Avene Triacneal

From Avene:

A clinically-proven trio of acne-fighting ingredients, including patented Retinaldehyde® with proven anti-aging benefits, Glycolic Acid and the new patented Efectiose®, formulated with soothing thermal spring water to help eliminate breakouts, abnormal keratinization, acne-related redness and irritation and residual scarring.

I realized just now that I forgot to put this in my little banner above! Oops. Given that this has a little glycolic acid, I only use it on nights that I don’t use the Dermaglow (except maybe 1 or 2 nights, when I use both). I haven’t noticed anything dramatic since using this, except that my breakouts are less frequent and tend to clear up faster. Still, I do enjoy its properties (lightening acne scars, eliminating acne-related redness, etc.) so I’ll keep using this. I got this at Shopper’s as well, for about $30.

I should add here that I will not be taking this product to Florida as it contains retinaldehydes (like a retinol but stronger, apparently) which increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Avene Cicalfate

From Avene:

A technologically advanced restorative skin cream that helps speed the recovery process by maintaining an optimal healing environment for the skin.


  • Cuts, scrapes, scratches
  • Burns
  • Cracked skin
  • Stitches
  • Hair removal
  • Diaper rash
  • Post-treatment


  • Helps speed the skin recovery process
  • Provides a healthy skin environment to minimize a potential infection
  • Prevents signs of scarring
  • Fragrance-free, preservative-free, colorant-free
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe and soften the skin
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

Basically, this stuff is zinc oxide diaper cream (that thick white cream people wipe on babies’ butts so they don’t get a rash) but made to be a bit more malleable (improper use of that word, I know). This stuff has been miraculous at clearing up pimples so that they don’t leave scars, and my skin feels indescribably soft after I use it. I did a fair amount of research on this before I bought it (since it was around $30 at Shopper’s Drug Mart), and people raved about its ability to clear up scars as if they were never there. Love it. This is a must have for my trip to Florida, since I think it will be great to apply to my skin after a day in the sun.

Sibu Sea Buckthorn OIl

From their website:

Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil

Sea buckthorn seed oil has long been used as a topical treatment to aid in the relief of skin conditions such as eczema, acne, rosacea, burns, and wounds AND as a traditional beauty treatment to preserve youthful skin tone and texture. It is a secret remedy to fight wrinkles and age spots so you may (or may not) want to share it with your friends.

Our therapeutic grade organic seed oil will help restore damaged skin to its natural beautiful state.

  • Quick acting/readily absorbed
  • For all skin-types
  • Helps relieve Rosacea, Acne, Eczema
  • Helps diminish wrinkles/age-spots
  • Use to treat burns/wounds
  • Promotes skin recovery and healing

I ordered this from a website called, which I love love love. It was 16.99 with free shipping, and I should mention that the bottle is teeny tiny (but you only need a very small amount for each use). I saw some reviews of this product on Youtube, and was on the hunt for a good oil to use at night (I usually use 100% Argan Oil – I buy the President’s Choice version for $15.99. Bargain!). The most noticeable effect of this bag is that it makes my skin super soft. Disclaimer: it stinks.

Neutrogena – Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF 60 with Helioplex

Not much to say about this. It’s sunscreen! I use this on my face regularly since I use retinol products (the Triacneal). I like it well enough – it’s not too greasy and doesn’t make me particularly oily.


Lush Lovely Jubblies

From the Lush website:

Take care of your finest features with Mother Nature’s finest ingredients. Inspiring men and women alike, our rather brilliant breast cream is packed full of tightening meadowsweet infusion and firming tiger lily petals to help fight the forces of gravity. We add heaps of beeswax and organic oils of almond and avocado to soften your melons and keep them supple, (and to make it even harder to keep your fans at bay!) Smooth a generous amount over your décolletage area and leave your cleavage smelling like a fresh floral bouquet of orange blossom, rose, jasmine and ylang ylang.

This stuff was pretty pricey (around $26) but I’ve noticed a big difference in my…ladies…since I started using it. Perfect for preparing to bare it all in a swimsuit!

Designer Skin Angel Daily Moisturizer

I can’t find a website for this stuff, so here’s some information from another site:

Silky-soft, sensuous skin. Velvety to the touch. Angel Daily Moisturizer is indeed heaven-sent. Unlike other moisturizers, this Guardian of Your Skin also protects, firms, and nourishes your most precious asset…your skin. Potent anti-aging and firming ingredients visibly improve skin’s firmness and texture. Hemp Seed Oil provides the ultimate moisturization. So spread your wings and get ready to fly. This Angel is going to nourish your body and soul.

I have only seen this stuff sold alongside tanning lotions. I’m not really sure why, since it clearly has broader applications than tanning; it smells amazing and absorbs beautifully into the skin. I can’t attest to its firming properties since I’ve only been using it for a week, but it’s among the best moisturizers I’ve found, as far as, you know…moisturizing goes. Plus I got it on sale (around $12 – I think it’s usually around $20 which is robbery for a body lotion, if you ask me).

This entry was posted in Health & News. Bookmark the permalink.