Y’all know that I have a strange addiction... changing my skin care routine. Just two months ago I was beaming and boasting about my new Laura Mercier products. Two months previous to that, it was the Clinique 3 step skin care system that had my heart, and my acne at bay! Well, surprise surprise, I have found a new love. One that comes along with peeling, burning, redness, and after 18 weeks, perfect skin - or so they claim. I’m only on week one, so I’m not sure how it will work for me.
I started the Obaji Nu-Derm line last Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Obaji has tons of different systems that can be customized to your personal skin type. Well, y’all know mine. Oily, red, blotchy, acne prone, and scarred. I went to a dermatologist on Tuesday, not knowing what I was looking for, other than a cure.
Let me recap you really quickly and let you know about my skin. I’ve had acne since I was in 6th grade. My blackheads are untamable, and I have tried anything and everything, including Accutane. If you’ve watched my skin care videos, you know that I was extremely allergic to Accutane, which I tried when I was 14 (beginning my freshman year of high school). I know your skin is supposed to get dry and flaky in the first two months. Well, in the first four days my skin on my entire body was so dry it was cracking. I had slits all down my lips, and 1/2 millimeter cuts on the corners of my mouth, between my upper and lower lips. My lips inflamed to where my bottom lip was down to my chin, and my upper lip was pressing against my nose. We immediately rushed me to the dermatologist, and she told me to stop it for two weeks, then start back up on half the dosage, every other day. I did exactly as she instructed, and I had the same reaction, this time, my eyes also swelled shut.
Now, I am not in any way telling you this to try to scare you! My sister, Elle, went on Accutane 6 years ago and she has the prettiest, porcelain-like skin I’ve ever seen. (Well, if you don’t count Kim Kardashian, sorry sis!) I just had a really awful experience with Accutane. I wanted it to work so badly, I would dream about having skin like Elle’s, and I was furious and upset that Accutane wouldn’t work for me, too.
My skin relaxed after a month of my allergic reaction, and I turned to the Clinique 3 step skin care system to tame my acne. I wanted to get the “acne” version of the system, but ended up with level 3 of the original formula. To my dismay, it worked! Religiously, I used it every morning and night, along with a clinique exfoliator 3 times a week, in the AM. The only time I would skip a day is if I was sick, and couldn’t make it out of bed. I think the consistency of never skipping a morning or eve is what helped my acne, since the system isn’t specifically formulated for that.
I used this routine up until the end of February of 2010. I stopped the clinique simply because I think my skin got immune to it, and to be quite honest, I was kind of tired of it. My skin stopped responding the way it used too, and since I was tired of using the system, I got a little bit lazy, and quit using it every single day and night. Skipping a random morning here, and the occasional night here.
In February, I went to NYC for Fashion Week, and stopped by the Laura Mercier counter in Saks. I picked out a new skin care routine and quickly fell head-over-heels. I went to go get a facial right when I got home from the city, and of course, broke out (I always break out right after facials, since they pull all of the bacteria to the surface). Loving the Laura Mercier products, I blamed the breakout on the facial, but it didn’t go away for a whole month. Still, up until last tuesday, I hadn’t had any luck.
That being said, I still love the Laura Mercier products. If you just had oily skin, but not too much acne, it would do wonders for the texture and look of your skin. Unfortunately, after giving it a two month shot, it didn’t make the cut it for me. Except for the face polish which is the exfoliator! I will never use another one on my face, I’m loving this one way too much!
So on the 20th, I was at the dermatologist, asking for a cure to my acne, blackheads, oiliness, and scars. We had already tried so many failed approaches, that she turned to an extreme. Obaji Nu-Derm Skin Care System. This is a harsh, Retin A, based treatment that is commonly used on older people with lots of scars, wrinkles, discoloration, and sunspots. It can also cure acne, help fade scars, and make the skin quality that of a baby’s bottom.*
Sounds great! Right? Sure, but there’s a downside, a kind of big down side. For the first 6 weeks, your skin is going to be very red and irritated, extremely peel-y, and it burns! Why would anyone put themselves through this? Because the after pictures and testimonials are AMAZING. The reason people don’t hear about it more often? Most of the time, people can’t take the first six weeks, and give up on it. Then leave nasty reviews saying it left their skin blotchy and peeling. Well, DUH! You didn’t give it time to work, dumb-dumb! Oh, and also, it’s an expensive line! Ranging anywhere from $200-$600, depending on how much your doctors office marks the price up, and what products you require.
The first six weeks has such awful side effects because it is pushing all of the “bad” out of your skin, then peels your skin off to reveal a fresh layer of unscarred, smooth, baby butt* skin. Your skin should start looking better after week 4-6, and you will see the full results by week 18. By the way, this seems like an eternity to me...
The point of me sharing this with you? Because every Tuesday, I’m going to update this blog and let you all know what side effects I had that week. So here we go, Week 1.
In the morning I have 5 steps. Cleanse, tone, #4 cream, moisturizer/sunscreen, then eye cream. I also use my Clarisonic facial brush with the cleanse step. Night time is 5-6 steps, depending on the day. I take off my eye makeup with Mac’s Eye Makeup Remover, but that doesn’t really count as a step... First, I Cleanse twice, (once to remove makeup, and the second time to actually cleanse the skin, the second time I use my Clarisonic brush) tone, #3 cream, #5 cream, then eye cream. Every other night, in between the #5 cream and the eye cream, I use this strange, thick, yellow liquid stuff. In two weeks, I’m supposed to move it up to using it every night, for now it’s too harsh.
The first morning, when I started the system, I was so excited! The creams were a little bit thick, so I had to pat them into my skin, instead of rubbing it in, to avoid stretching my skin. I didn’t feel any burning, and I took this as a good sign. That night, I did the night time steps and went to sleep (I did use the yellow liquid this night). I woke up the morning of day two and my nose was SO oily! Like, visibly oily. It was shiny and nasty. I hope this was just the systems way of pushing to oil out. I also noticed my pores were closed and small. SIDE NOTE: When I heat them, like taking a hot shower, they open back up and seem to grow before my eyes! Day two was fine, the oil washed off and my skin looked like it normally did. I didn’t use the yellow liquid this night. Day three, I woke up the same as day two, extreme oiliness, but it rinsed off. This night, I did use the gooey, yellow stuff.
Day four I awoke to look in the mirror and see a RED face starring back at me. Like RED, the exact shade of a cherry. I called my dermatologist and she said this is not only normal, but supposed to happen. It still freaked me out, not only was my skin red, it kind of felt raw, and burned a little bit to put the creams on. That night, my skin was starting to flake, just a little bit here and there, and it burned even more this time around. The next morning was the same as day four’s, minus the calling-my-dermatologist part! That night, it was time to use the evil yellow goo. As I slathered it on my skin got even redder, how this is possible, I don’t know. I wanted to scream it burned so badly. But I got through it. Day six my skin was not only flaking and peeling, I had layers of skin falling off of my face, again the creams burned to high heavens. That night was not very comfortable, either.
The morning of day seven (Today, Tuesday) was the worst of all, so far... Again, red skin, falling off of my face with an awful burning sensation. But this time, when I went to put my makeup on, I couldn’t stand it, I wanted to rip my face off. Running to the kitchen, I was fanning my face, I threw the freezer door open and stood there, with my head submerged into the cool, crisp air. This seemed to help, but it was still too much. I visited my dermatologist today to discuss what to do, and also, that there was no way I was going to prom on May 8th with red skin sliding off my face. She assured me that it would be better by then, and the side effects would be much milder. I told her that I have a really important event to go to on Thursday, the 29th, and she said it was safe for me to just use the cleanser, starting tonight, then use my Laura Mercier face cream and leave it at that. I could resume the Obaji after Thursday, and she said that they first week is the worst. This gave me hope.
Tonight, I did as I was told, just used the cleanser and my own moisturizer. It felt so good! I would quit the Obaji, but the before and after pictures of people who have actually completed the course is just too much for me to pass up. I hope that the first week really is the worst, and that it only goes up from here. Each Tuesday or Wednesday, I am going to update this blog and let you know how the previous week went. Hopefully, this will be the miracle worker I’ve been waiting for!
Let me know how you get your flawless skin in the comments, and I’ll blog to you guys later.
Bbyyyeeee! (insert wave here)
P.S. I wish I would have taken a “before” picture, but I’m not that smart. Also, this is not something I’d recommend buying online... you really need to sit down with an Obaji representative and make sure you get the right system for your skin type.
*I added that little part. Not quoted from the company :)