I’ve been struggling with acne since I was roughly 15 years old, making routine trips to the dermatologist for various creams, products, and antibiotics throughout high school and college, keeping it under various states of control. When my acne resurfaced again around the time I was 21, I sought out a new dermatologist and was finally put on Accutane. Several months into my treatment, I had mostly figured out what products to use to prevent dryness when you’re taking Accutane. If you’re scared of your face turning into a dry, desert-like mess, don’t worry — I’m speaking from experience and am here to offer some tips. Some people are blessed with great skin. Some people are not — I am one of those people.
By the end of my eight months of Accutane, my skin was clear, albeit a little dry, but not terrible. According to my dermatologist, I had some of the most moisturized skin while on Accutane that he’d ever seen. I felt #blessed. Finally, after years of trial and error, I had clear skin. My acne wasn’t supposed to come back. Until it did.
Generally speaking, the only kind of acne that comes back following a round of Accutane is hormonal acne. When hormone suppressants didn’t keep my acne in check, my doctor recommended a second round of Accutane. Yipee!
But luckily, having kept the dryness fairly under control the first time around, I felt confident that I could do it again, and with a few tweaks to my previous routine, I have found a group of products that do a great job of fighting dryness when you’re on Accutane. Keep in mind, I am not a dermatologist, and these products might not work for you, but they’ve worked miracles for me, so they might be worth a shot.
1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $13.42, drugstore.com
It’s important that you get the cream, not the lotion. The cream has a thicker consistency that really locks in moisture. But the best way I’ve found to truly lock in CeraVe’s moisturizing effects is to top it with a face oil. So on that note…
2. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil To Go, $16, josiemarancosmetics.com
If you layer this face oil over your CeraVe moisturizer before you go to bed, you will wake up with plump, moisturized skin. I am honestly amazed every day when I wake up. It’s almost dewy. And if you’ve been dealing with acne your entire life, “dewy” is a very foreign concept.
3. Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil
Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, $32, josiemarancosmetics.com
People, especially those suffering from acne, might still be freaked out by face oils, but I promise you, they will change your life. Not only are cleansing oils amazing at taking off makeup, they also keep your skin’s natural moisture intact, leaving your skin less dry and irritated than if you used regular soap. I started using the Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil because I bought this amazing Josie Maran kit from Sephora (I would highly recommend the daily moisturizer with SPF 47 that comes in the kit, whether you’re on Accutane or not) but you can definitely find more affordable alternatives, like Neutrogena’s Ultra Light Cleansing Oil.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $4.79, drugstore.com
I know no one cares about how I discovered the beauty that is Aquaphor, but I’m going to tell the anecdote anyway. My dermatologist had recommended Aquaphor in case the skin around my nose got chapped (which was highly likely considering I was on Accutane during winter in Minnesota). One night, I couldn’t find my chapstick on my nightstand, so in desperation, I used Aquaphor on my lips. When I woke up, they were like, Kylie Jenner-full, super smooth, and super hydrated. I haven’t looked back since. Aquaphor is a necessity to have on hand when you’re on Accutane. It will keep your lips and nose in tip-top condition.
5. Lush Tea Tree Water Toner
Lush Tea Tree Water Toner, $10.95-$22.95, lushusa.com
Chances are, if you’ve struggled with acne, you have some acne scars. If you don’t, I envy you. This tea tree water toner from Lush is multipurpose. Not only do a few quick sprays keep your skin feeling moist in the summer heat, helps set your makeup, and balances the oil in your skin, but it also helps fade acne scars. I spray this on my face every morning and evening, after applying my moisturizer and face oil.
Other products I would recommend, but aren’t crucial to the routine, are e.l.f’s. Lip Exfoliator, in case your lips get extra dry you need to exfoliate some of the dead, flaky skin (gross, sorry!), and the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47. It comes in the Argan Skincare Ritual set and is great to put on in the mornings before your makeup — but the CeraVe cream and a sunscreen will also do a great job of keeping your skin moisturized and protected throughout the day.
Now go forth and show your skin who’s the real boss.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Drugstore.com (2), Josiemarancosmetics.com (2), Lushusa.com, Tumblr.com