Can you believe it’s nearly been a year since I first tackled hellish winter skin here on BCP? Now the cold winds of 2008 are blowing down our doors, and here we are, right back where we started. This morning I got an email from my dear Meredith (her handle on her blog, so I’m going w/ it) from New Leaf, New York asking about a skin problem that should be fairly familiar to most of us ladies:


I chose our gal Posh to illustrate this post because, c’mon, who is oilier than Vicky B? Nobody, that’s who.

“Hey BDJ… I need a bit of skin care help and you’re the first person I thought to ask, because you are all kinds of expert.

So, in middle/high school I had super oily skin, but it went away with time. That is, I thought it was just time, but now that I’ve been off the pill for 2 months, I’m realizing that my skin is somehow reverting to 8th grade, and perhaps the pill had more of an effect on my skin than I thought.

Now my face is an oil slick, I’ve had to start washing my hair every day again (haven’t done this in years) and I’m breaking out not just on my face but on the back of my neck and my chest as well. Also, I should mention that I only wash with the cleanser at night; in the morning, I just use warm water and a washcloth in the shower. Major problem is that my skin is sensitive, too (I’m prone to redness and eczema), so I can’t attack with toner and drying treatments, or it will flip out even worse. I dunno what to do!

Right now I use a Boscia gel cleanser and oil-free moisturizer, and I use a toner I mix myself that’s half water, half organic apple cider vinegar. And I have the Murad acne spot treatment, but I’m not convinced it really works that well for me.

Do you have any suggestions for what I can change to improve things without spending too much dough and while keeping it fairly simple and gentle? If possible I’d like to stick to something that’s paraben-free.

Sorry to bombard with questions! I just know that you have much more knowledge in this department than I do.

Thanks in advance.

xoxo MM”

The Panda Rx is after the jump!

OK, bear with me, because I have 1001 (or really, just 10) tips for this. Hormonal types of acne are extremely hard to treat, because they’re caused by your body rather than external factors. Basically, it’s kind of like how there is no cure for the common cold, and the medicines you take do not cure the cold, but rather assuage the symptoms. Same deal here. You can’t control how your body is going to react to stress or hormonal changes, but you try to deal as best you can. Let me start by saying, MM, that you’re already doing a lot of things right. The gel-based cleanser, light oil-free moisturizer, and natural toner are all really great ideas for use on oily skin. You’ve got all the basics right, so maybe all you need is a little minor tweaking to get your skin on the right track.


Tip #1:

Maybe cut back on the caffeine (this is assuming you’re a ‘user’, if you’re not, skip this part)? Your body is already pretty pissed off about the hormonal changes, so cutting back on stimulants could help quell the freakout within. I mean, there’s a reason meth addicts have bad skin. When your system is stressed, and you throw speed on top of that, your body decides to play underhanded pranks on you like ripping the shit out of your skin for all the world to see. Basically, your body is an immature little underminer like Jenny Humphrey. If she tries to give you a dress, don’t take it!!


Tip #2:

Your basic regimen is great, but maybe you need that extra push to get the purity train rolling. How about incorporating a once-weekly pore-purifying mask into your routine? I looooove clay-based masks, because they really zap blackheads and zits, but I simply cannot ever use them because my skin is so dry. If I were to use one, even once a week, I think my face would shatter like Sharon Stone at the end of that godawful Catwoman movie.

Anyway, I selected a few masks for you to try, based on what I know works in a clay mask. A lot of these contain calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients like: Rosemary, willow bark, tea tree oil, cinnamon, and aloe vera. They also pack purifying, oil-zapping ingredients like: clay, sulphur, zinc, and beta hydroxy.


*DDF sulphur mask

*Dr Brandt Pore Effect mask

*Korres Cinnamon & clay mask   korres-mask

Sadly, many of these do contain parabens, but not a whole ton, as parabens are listed as the next-to-last ingredients. For your specific skin, though, my #1 pick is the Korres mask, as it seems to have all the right stuff.


Tip #3:


I like that you don’t wash your face with cleanser in the morning, so we can rule out overcleansing as the culprit behind the shinyness. My suggestion for all-day mattifying is to try Aveda Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist.  This toning mist in an on-set secret, great for all-day oil control. We used to apply this stuff to oily-skinned actors before applying foundation, so they wouldn’t sweat off their makeup the instant they were put under the lights. A must-try. If Aveda is not a brand you like, try a similar spray by Cosmedicine.


Tip #4:


You may want to try a mattifying moisturizer, if you’re not happy with your current one. Some options are:

*Shiseido Pureness Mattifying lotion

*Cosmedicine Medi-Matte lotion

Trouble is, these are pretty much loaded with parabens. The Medi-Matte has at least three kinds as the final ingredients. Pooh.


Tip #5:henriksen-toner

Your apple cider vinegar toner sounds really cool, but seeing as how I’ve never tried it, I have no idea how it works (you bet your ass I’m gonna try it, though). In the event you’re looking to play around with toners, this one by Ole Henriksen has your name all over it.  This one is loaded with gentle, natural ingredients to calm acne-prone oily skin.


Tip #6:

My favorite acne spot treatment is a mixture of baking soda and water. Just mix the two as best you can into a paste, apply to the zits after cleansing and leave it on for at least 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and follow with moisturizer. You could also do an acne mask out of household ingredients: In a small dish, dissolve 3 uncoated aspirin tablets with a few drops of water. Add a pinch of baking soda and a dime-sized amount of honey (or coconut oil, if you have honey allergies) and mix all together. Apply to face and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse, pat, moisturize. This can be done every other day.


Tip #7:

Body acne is the worst! I break out on my chest and upper arms anytime there’s an abrupt change in temperature, usually worst at the onset of summer & winter. I treat body acne by using my facial soap on it in the shower, and putting toner on it post-shower. If the blemishes are particularly bad, you may want to use your acne spot-treatment on them. The baking soda method works great, too. However, if your body acne does not respond to spot treatments, you can bring out the big guns:

*LUSH Coalface



I first heard of this oil-busting black soap from Kadinsky, and based on the Makeup Alley reviews, it sounds like it’d be a great acne and bacne remedy. However, this soap does sound a little too harsh to be used on the face daily, but I think it’d do well every other day on the body, and once weekly on the face (if and only if you’re not doing the clay mask thing once per week. Don’t want to overload your skin).


Tip #8:

I’m sure you’re doing this already, but a great way to fight acne is to sleep with your hair in a topknot on your head, rather than hair down. This keeps the sebum from your scalp and any hair styling products or excess conditioner from getting onto your face & causing irritation or breakouts.


Tip #9:

This is gonna sound crazy, but I’ve heard the pure Argan oil is a great remedy for adult acne. I know, I know, your skin is an oil slick and I’m telling you to put more oil on it, but sometimes it’s the really nonsensical stuff that works the best. I had read somewhere that a really famous makeup artist (who looks fan-fucking-tastic in her forties) doesn’t use any facial products besides skin oil, and ever since then I’ve been burning to try some. But hell, what do I know, my skin is drier than planet Arrakis, and I need oil like Dune people need Spice. Uh, I am nerd. Hear me reference.




Anyway, Sephora is currently stocking Josie Maran Argan Oil


Here’s the PR rundown: “Josie Maran Argan Oil is a legendary oil that’s rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and grown organically in Morocco. Argan oil is known to have many treatment benefits, including hydrating and nourishing skin, as well as toning and firming. It’s gentle enough to use on all skin types and is believed to help with skin conditions including acne.”

I’m going to Sephora with a clean face on Saturday, and I will be trying and possibly purchasing this ish. Stay tuned.


Tip #10:

And now for the crazy: Legend has it that cold showers are the key to curing adult acne. First of all, we already know for a fact that taking cooler showers is better for the skin than bathing under a boiling tap, but there are some growing whispers among the beauty community that freezing your ass cures all ills. To me, it kind of sounds like some C.W. Post/ John Harvey Kellogg, Road To Wellville-esque brand of late-nineteenth-century-holdover puritanical torture. The method is, at the end of your shower, work your tap towards the coldest setting in slow increments. And, likely, dance around and yelp a lot. Apparently, this causes the blood to rush towards the internal organs to keep them safe from the cold. Once you get out of your polar bath the blood then retreats back to the skin, basically loving your body all over with a fresh supply of blood. This improvement in circulation is said to regulate body temperature and purify the organs, which helps the body protect itself against environmental stressors and blahblahblah. It won’t cost you anything to try it, so I guess it’s worth a shot. But you know, every night I tell myself I’m going to try this, and every night I chicken out. I really don’t like being doused with ice water, yo.


Play doctor in the comments!