Glycolics and Hormonal Acne Trial Run

A few folks from my PCOS FB support group were interested in more posts about my trials with products for hormonal acne, so if that’s what directed you here, hello! Happy to have you here!

I’ve had acne for the past decade, and it’s always been difficult to treat. It became even more difficult to treat when you threw in a lovely hormonal imbalance (from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) on top of all of the usual dietary, environmental, and stress-related triggers. Recently starting training to become a full-time skin laser technician has given me access to many different products and treatments to help with my acne, including the Celazome Gly-Trio.

The feature ingredient of the Gly-Trio is glycolic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and acts as a chemical exfoliant. The kit features a cleanser, a daily lotion, and repair cream. With these products it’s recommended that you start using them one day a week and gradually increase usage to three days a week, alternating every other day.

For myself, when I started using these I initially broke out. However I googled around and asked around, and apparently this is normal! They call it a “purge” phase, when all of the gunk, crud, and breakout material is first brought up to the surface. Week One was a breakout, Week Two was recovering from the breakout, but by Week Three I was noticing that my skin had really improved. I still had zits for sure, but they were fewer than before, and in the areas where I didn’t have breakouts my skin was significantly more smooth. By Week Four I wasn’t left with much of a breakout, and the mostly clear skin I had continued even after menstruating, which is when I typically have my worst breakouts. Here’s a few pictures of my skin after about a month of using glycolic products:

I look like I just got out of bed because I literally did–in the morning I typically answer snapchats from the night before, and when I opened up the app I was like “DAMN your skin has improved! What?! You need to document this!” Of course you can still see my wonderful accumulation of acne scarring and a bit of the usual redness around my brows, nostrils, and lips, but the majority of my breakouts cleared up.

My favourite product out of the trio is the Gly-Repair Cream because it’s a cream texture that actually feels pleasant on oily skin, and it’s a little fighter with salicylic acid, glycolic acid (10%), lactic acid, malic acid, and citric acid. I didn’t find that any of these product dried me out, but again, I have a substantial amount of oil, so that may be a contributing factor. My skin has been less oily since incorporating glycolic acid, which on its own makes it worth it for me.

I feel awful recommending these specific products, because Celazome is currently incredibly difficult to find. The Celazome plant in the southern United States was hit by a hurricane this past summer, and they have had to resanitize and rebuild, which is expected to take quite awhile. This means that all centres that carry it are unable to order new product, and that the products are not available online from the Celazome site. However, there are SO many other good products out there than contain glycolic acid if you are unable to find somewhere that still has Celazome in stock near you. I will be sure to mention different substitutions in the future as I need them and try them out!

Other contributing factors that may have played a small part (in my opinion) in clearing up my skin and making it feel good lately are drinking green tea (wicked anti-inflammatory properties and makes me feel less awful than coffee), drinking much more water, and taking my vitamins regularly. Right now I’m taking a multivitamin, Vitamin D, and Evening Primrose Oil. I’m not knowledgeable about supplements AT ALL, but I want to look more into evening primrose oil as it contains omega-6 and linoleic acid, which I’ve heard good things about here and there.

Fungal Acne: I needed this video a year ago!

About a year ago I got this weird rashy breakout on my forehead, and I could not figure out what to do about it. I worked at a spa at the time and the estheticians just told me it was likely a stress rash, and told me to keep using the acne products that I had from there. Eventually it did clear up, but it was really quite stubborn and caused me a lot of grief. Not to mention it was unbelievably frustrating because I didn’t know specifically what it was or how to fix it.

Then this video popped up on my subscriptions feed last night, and I knew instantly that this had to be what I had on my forehead last year. I can’t say for certain obviously that it was for sure fungal acne, as it was never diagnosed by a dermatologist, but the pictures, causes, and symptoms all align with my experience of it.

I am so grateful for Youtubers like Liah Yoo who work so hard to do their research and do more than recommend whatever expensive skin care line is trendiest at the moment. I wish I had known how to treat fungal acne last year!! At least this time around I am prepared in case it ever comes back full force.

Biophora Acne/Oily Skin Kit Test Run

On November 25th I started with the Biophora travel set I received from work, and took some before pictures to show what my acne looked like beforehand.

I had a fair bit of acne lingering on the lower half of my face above my lip, on my lower cheeks and jawline, and on my chin.

The kit itself contains their Bioactive Cleanser, Bioactive Solution, Bioactive Gel, Light Hydration, SPF 30, and Antibac Veil. It is recommended that the Bioactive Cleanser, Solution, and SPF 30 be used in the morning, with the Bioactive Cleanser, Bioactive Solution, Bioactive Gel, Light Hydration, and Antibac Veil. The Bioactive Gel is to be “used as tolerated”.

For myself, I found that my skin was too dry to simply go without a moisturizer in the morning routine, so I use the Light Hydration during the day as well. The Bioactive Gel was quite strong, so although I did try it in the morning as well, I cut back to every evening or every other evening. In the evenings too, I found that after the Bioactive Gel and Antibac Veil my skin stung slightly and felt really dry, so I put on additional moisturizing products as well.

After three weeks, my skin looked like this:

I think there have been slight improvements on my upper lip and chin, as well as my cheeks. Nothing drastic, but still a bit of a reduction. I really don’t mind this line. It is quite strong, so I definitely would not recommend it for those with acne and sensitive skin. In the winter it is far too drying though, so additional hydrators are needed. The smell of these products isn’t enjoyable or horrible. I don’t think these products alone would necessarily get rid of all of my acne, because a large portion of my acne can be blamed on PCOS hormonal imbalances, stress, and diet.

Out of all of these products, I would probably purchase the Bioactive Solution, the Bioactive Gel, and the SPF 30. The SPF 30 does wear quite well under my makeup, and has a nice consistency.

Project Pan April 2018: Check In #3

I’ve noticed that I plow through skin care products, but using up makeup products has been so much slower. I’m chalking this up to the fact that I have been working so much lately that I savour every second of sleep I can get, and makeup has just not been happening lately, no matter how happy it makes me. The cool thing though about starting two new jobs is that through my work I now have so much new skin care and makeup products to try out! I’ve still got a lot of skin care products from past purchases and my recent Planet Bee order to eventually try out, but I’ve put those on hold to try out a Biophora routine and see what it can do for my acne that has popped up as of late. I’ve taken “before” pictures so that I can check in and see how it’s working for me in a few weeks. Anywho, here’s what’s new in my empties box:

  • Deciem Hylamide Pore Flush toner: Definitely not my jam. I tried to push through it but it stung, didn’t make my face feel good, and didn’t make my face look good. I used three quarters of it and then eventually gave up and dumped the rest.
  • Deciem The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA: I think this will always be my default moisturizer that I default to when I don’t know what to use or my skin is tired. It just gets the job done and is super cheap.
  • Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: I bought this back when charcoal was the huge new trend, and it work pretty well to remove excess oil. I like to use it two to three times a week in the shower. It’s not a LOVE for me, but it’s been a good product. I’ve got one more travel size of this to use up, and then I probably won’t be repurchasing just because I have other masks that I do love.
  • Urban Decay Deslick Setting Spray: The best setting spray I have found so far for my oily skin. Not perfect, and I’ll still continue to search for something better, but pretty damn good.
  • Doctor D. Schwab Bamboo Cream Peel: I have tried quite a few Doctor D. Schwab products and they just don’t wow me. I think their brand is more aimed towards those with mature skin. Just not for me.
  • Deciem The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG: This is supposed to be used on the eye contour for pigmentation and puffiness. Because I am sleep deprived most of the time because of university and am also quite young, I can’t really say if I saw results. (I don’t have aged under eyes). However the caffeine does feel great on the skin and is nice in the mornings! It’s cheap enough too that it’s definitely worth it.
  • Touche Oxygen Serum: This is meant for acneic, exhausted skin, and it smells amaaaazzzinnngg. I really enjoy the feel of it on my skin, and have had great success with it and my acne previously. However, post PCOS diagnosis this hasn’t been working quite as well for me, and unfortunately because it is over a hundred dollars I likely won’t continue on with repurchasing it. I enjoyed every last drop while it lasted, though!
  • Doctor D. Schwab Flawless Skin Fluid: I don’t mind this, but I have resentful feelings toward this because the tube leaked while I was on vacation and ruined everything in my wallet and purse.
  • Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder: It’s kind of cool how this product gently foams, and it is a very nice albeit incredibly gentle exfoliation. However, I always wash my face in the shower and of course because this is a powder, the opening does get clogged when exposed to water. Just not a good fit for my routine and needs.
  • Last but not least we have two essential oils. A Doterra Juniper Berry 5mL and a Vitruvi Peppermint 10mL. I like the quality of Doterra oils, but can’t stand their pyramid scheme mentality. I also had a very bad experience with their Facebook Public Relations team in which my comments calling them out for their dangerous cleanse diet suggestions were deleted by the team, and my complaints to them were entirely ignored. Doterra and Young Living unfortunately do operate under a very aggressive, cult-like mentality and I don’t know any sane person who wants any part of that nonsense. I’ll be using up the oils I have from them because I paid for them, but all future essential oil purchases will be from Canadian, non-pyramid-scheme, environment-respecting companies such as Saje and Okanagan Lavender Farm. The Peppermint from Vitruvi wasn’t bad and their company has great customer service, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of their peppermint itself.

The farther I get into this project pan, the more I am convinced that I could probably go an entire year without needing to buy makeup. Other than possibly needing to restock once on foundation, concealer, and mascara (if even that), I think I could genuinely do it. If I can make it through the rest of November and December without purchasing anything, I may try to do a year long makeup no buy. Mainly to see if I’m even capable of doing it, but also to challenge myself to use what I have, and get creative with my collection. With my trip to Toronto coming up in March and the goal of moving out, saving that makeup money and putting it towards things that currently are more of a priority to me has become more important.


Going foundation-free semi-permanently has been on my mind a lot this past year. When my skin was really clear, I was going without face makeup to work the majority of the week in the summer. However, as my skin started to break out due to hormones and severe stress this semester, I found myself reverting back to my old unhealthy relationship with foundation, where I felt that I had to cover my acne at all times because it was ugly. I realized that I was getting back into this negative puddle of self esteem crisis, and wanted to get out of it because I started doing the usual spiral into self hatred and feeling ugly.

I had seen Liah Yoo’s #foundationfreesunday posts a few times on Instagram, and today I finally went and watched her “How to Go Foundation-free”¬†¬†video. I really like Liah because she’s not only super knowledgeable but absolutely kind and positive and lovely. Her video made me realize that going foundation-free more often may help my skin recover from these stress breakouts, and eventually I may re-develop that confidence I had when I had clear skin. In lieu of this, I started looking for more foundation-free videos and Youtubers, and made a personal goal of going foundation-free three days and week and going from there. I’ve compiled a very list of foundation-free tutorials, if you’d like to check it out as well!

Foundation-Free Youtubers/Youtube Tutorials:
JkissaMakeup: Here’s a video in which Jkissa describes how and why she goes foundation free. What I found particularly helpful is her section of the video where she discusses contouring and adding blush to foundation-less skin. I personally love her because she’s cruelty-free and manages to create really flawless looks without using foundation. From what I’ve seen from following her for awhile, she does have pretty dry skin and tends to go for a dewy finish.

The Anna Edit

Mariah Leonard

Keara Graves: Side note: I really enjoy that she is gender inclusive in her tutorial!