Acne Skincare Simplified, by Dora.

Interviewing skincare expert.

Pharmacist, chemist, nutritionist, and skincare specialist, Dora has given her advice to the Lakewood community for over twenty years. Today we're focusing on Dora's approach to acne, which has shown legendary results in our communities.

I'd like to push the boundary that we establish in our previous interview. You explained that for non-problem skin, you could formulate a few simple rules that every woman can follow. These rules were the focus of that interview, indeed. However, for problem skin, we always need an expert, as no simple rules would suffice.

Furthermore, you explained that non-problem skin is clean, not too dry, not too oily, not itchy, with no acne, rosacea, or eczema.

What I'd like to do now is to go into some "problem" areas, and see to what extent we can handle them without an expert, without professional customization of regimen or products.

First, let's take acne. Let's say, I saw your ad and am calling you, asking you to help with acne. What are your thoughts at that moment?

First, I would ask your age. Not that age is meaningful by itself, but it helps me to make some assumptions. For example, if you are a teenager, an assumption is that we deal with acne itself: pimples, blackheads, and bumps. If you're older, it's not just acne; we often deal with blemishes and scars too.

It's a crucial distinction that I need to make: acne itself vs. the consequences of acne vs. the effects of wrong treatment of acne. The consequences of acne may include blemishes and scars. The effects of improper treatment of acne may include dry skin, red skin, purple skin, etc.

I make assumptions based on your age, and then I'll ask you questions to verify the assumptions, for example:

  • Do you have pimples?
  • Do you have scars and blemishes?
  • What exactly have you done for your acne until today?
  • If you used OTC or Prescription medications, you will most probably give affirmative answers to the following questions:
    • Is your skin dry or even very dry?
    • Is your skin red or purple?
    • Is your skin irritated?

Okay, so you have to know if I have 1) acne itself, 2) consequences of acne, or 3) effects of acne's wrong treatments. You ask me questions that help clarify which of the three I have - correct?

Yes, exactly.

I would also ask you to send me a picture of your face. If you're younger than 17-18, you usually have some pimples, and even if you also have scars - they are not deep. I'd like to see the extent of the problems.

So, which cases would be easy enough to establish some simple rules, and what would the rules be?

First let me tell you which cases can't be simplified and need an expert opinion. It's when your skin is red, or purple, or irritated. I would need to customize your products and regimen. There is no way out.

Otherwise, I can formulate the rules.

First of all, most probably you need a facial. Facial in my dictionary is not just a procedure that helps eliminate blackheads (though it's also essential - Do you have any? This would be another question to ask.) By facial treatment, I mean extraction of blackheads, peeling off dead skin layers, and deep moisturizing treatment. What makes facial crucial is that after the proper facial treatment, all skincare products work much better – in any age, for any skin in general, and for acne skin in particular.

Is facial a must? Would you refuse to go further if somebody doesn't want or can't do a facial? Not at all. As I said, after the proper facial treatment, all skincare products work better. Much better. However, they still work without facial, though less efficiently. Without facial, achieving results takes more effort, more time, and more money. However, sometimes facial is not practical. For example, we can't insist that a girl who is 11-12 years old would go through facial treatment. It takes some maturity that comes with age (and life experience) that helps a girl agree on such a procedure and tolerate it gracefully. But one has to come to your spa a facial - correct? So we're talking about those who live near your office? No. Of course, we can do it in our spa. But you also can get a DIY
and do it at home by yourself. We've got quite a few happy clients who preferred this option (especially during social distancing).
Okay, so we're done with facial. What's the next step?

For acne itself, you need a cleanser, moisturizer, spot pads, scrub, and masque.

  • The cleanser is
  • Moisturizer is:
      for dry skin, and
      ) for oily skin.
  • Scrub is
  • Spot masque is
  • Spot pads are called spot pads because they go on spots - on pimples (i.e., not on the entire face).
    • For oily skin, spots pads are AM Pads -
    • For dry skin, spot pads are Combo Pads -
      AM/PM Pads Combo ()

Masque is applied overnight, and it's a spot masque. It goes on pimples only and helps fight infection.

So, the morning routine is as follows:

  • Washing face with plenty of water
  • Spot pads
  • Moisturizer

The night routine is as follows:

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Spot masque
Scrub you use once a week. It's always beneficial to get rid of dead skin. It's not acne-specific, but the acne regimen works much more efficiently when you use scrub weekly.

So this was for acne itself. What if I also have scars and blemishes?

Then you add serums and PM Pads.

is the title for PM Pads. They are used at night and go on the entire face, in contrast with spot pads that we described earlier). PM Pads are different from AM Pads (though look identical). They specifically address scars and blemishes.

Serums is one or two of the following four:

  • Derma-corrective serum, which comes in two variations:
      (for the skin which is closer to dry; it's gentler than the one for oily skin.)
    • This is not your regular retinol encountered in some prescription creams, damaging blood vessels and making skin purple. We use natural, vegan vitamin A precursor instead.
Alternate serums! Begin from Derma-corrective (it may last a few months), and then alternate, if you still have acne. Serums address different problems inside the cells. For old scars and blemishes Problem-Solving and Scar Removal complement the action of Derma-corrective.

Derma-corrective comes in two flavors. The one for oily skin is stronger. The one for dry skin ("for all skin types" on the label) is gentler, though the action is the same.

Now the morning routine is as follows:

  • Washing face with plenty of water (no cleanser in the morning!)
  • Spot pads (on pimples)
  • Serum (for example, Derma-corrective)
  • Moisturizer
The night routine is as follows:
  • Cleanser
  • PM Pads (all over the face)
  • Moisturizer
  • Spot masque

So, we've got the regimen. But how long does it take?

It depends not only on the skin, but also on how long it took to develop acne and acne-related damage. If you got a few pimples just yesterday, and decided to take care of them today, it will take you a few days to fix it up.

However, if you ignored the problem for years, or used improper treatments, be prepared for a longer journey.

But we have one more secret weapon that can speed up the results when it comes to scars. If you practice your regimen for a month, and you still don't detect visible effect with your scars, get the most effective tool -
. It's a powerhouse when it comes to stubborn scars. They call it Russian masque, due to its extreme effectiveness, though it's not more or less Russian than everything else. After applying Scar Kit, continue with your regimen, and you'll be surprised how fast the visible results will manifest.
What about acne that comes in older age?

The older you are, the less chances that you have acne. But it happens. The regimen is similar for any age. It's easier to pinpoint what's different.

Instead of one moisturizer which is used twice a day, you would need day and night creams (as the skin with age needs more protection provided by day cream):
as a night cream, and
as a day cream, until the age of 27.

For 27+, I would combine acne regimen and Anti-Aging regimen, but this goes beyond our simple set of rules and must be custom.

To summarize, we have the following:

  • Just for acne, you need cleanser, moisturizer, spot pads, scrub, and spot masque.
  • For acne with scars and blemishes, you need cleanser, serum(s), moisturizer(s), spot pads, p.m. pads, scrub, and spot masque.
  • For scars and blemishes (with no acne), you need cleanser, serum(s), moisturizer(s), p.m. pads, and scrub.
  • For younger girls with acne (11-12 years old), I would only give cleanser, scrub, and moisturizer. Usually, other products are unnecessary.

What is the most common mistake that one may make applying the rules you've explained? It's interesting that very often people don't get the basics right. Namely, they can't distinguish correctly if the skin is dry or oily. They may think it's oily, while it's dry. They perceive clogged, dirty, flaky skin as oily, yet in reality it's dry. Accordingly, the regimen they choose is not aligned with their skin. So, where is now the boundary between simple rules and expert opinion? Where can simple rules apply vs. customization of the products and regimen?

The customization must begin with red skin. With redness, the distinctions become subtle. I can still formulate the rules, but I will not do it, because it won't help. You wouldn't be able to figure it out correctly anyway, even with the rules. When the skin is red or purple, perhaps irritated, with rosacea or other similar conditions (for example, after harsh "treatment," which caused harm to the skin) - damaged skin - you need an expert opinion. Everything becomes customized. You must seek out an expert if this is the case.

Another example is when the skin is itchy, without color change. Itchy skin calls for the most effortless customization (if I may use such term). I customize moisturizer, and everything else is the same. It's even tempting to take itchy skin out of the custom category. I wouldn't do so only because it's not easy for people to distinguish between "simple" itchiness and other, more complex types of irritation. I would have to see it, or at least ask some questions about it.

Can you give an example of an inquiry that resulted in custom regimen, the one that didn't fit into the simple rules patter?

Sure. Here are the text messages from this morning.

The initial inquiry: “Hi, I saw your ad. My skin is pimply. Can you help?”

I asked to send a picture of the face. After the picture came in, here is my response: “I see. The skin is irritated, with blemishes. Some pimples are infected. Pores very clogged. You need to come for a facial treatment for cleaning the pores, peeling off the dead skin, and deep moisturizing treatment for red, irritated skin. After the treatment, I'll prepare cleanser for you, custom moisturizer to hydrate your skin, a scrub to keep the pores clean, and pads for blemishes and to control and prevent pimples.”

Thank you, Dora, for sharing your professional secrets to approaching and overcoming acne!

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