Friday, April 19, 2013

Carley's Clear And Smooth Skin Challenge!

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been entirely happy with my recent routine of cleansing with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and moisturizing with their Moisturizing Cream. It's a gentle routine that doesn't irritate, but it's just not enough for my acne-prone skin. And so, my search began once again.

A few years ago, I was looking into a brand that I came across on Ebay called "Carley's Clear & Smooth". The products had amazing testimonials, but I never got around to ordering. Just recently, I was browsing, a great website with all sorts of information for acne sufferers, and saw reviews of Carley's once again. I contacted the company and spoke with Steve, who is extremely knowledgeable about skin care. For as long as I've been researching skin care disorders and dealing with them myself, I consider myself a connoisseur of skin care, but it's people like Steve who put me in my place and remind me that there are always new things to learn. I told him about the skin conditions that I suffer from and he explained how most of the products available today are very acidic and damage the skin's natural protective flora. Instead of actually helping your skin, they make your skin more sensitive and susceptible to even more damage.There is all sorts of information on the website at Carley's Clear and Smooth and they also have a blog that has TONS of useful information, here: Carley's Blog.

Steve challenged me to use their products, and ONLY their products, for the next several weeks to get the full benefits of using the line. This would mean that I could use NOTHING from my current arsenal, no other moisturizers, no other cleanser, no other makeup, etc. Being the human guinea pig that I am, I gladly accepted the challenge. Here is what I received:

As you can see, I received an amazing assortment of products from the company! It was so much fun opening and looking through the box! Here is a list of what was included and the price of each:

  • Carley's Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment - 16oz for $22.99
  • Carley's Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Soothing Eczema Cream with Black Seed Oil - 4oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Tamanu Cream - 1oz for $21.99
  • Carley's Natural Soap -Single Bar for $8.00 or 4 for $22.99
  • Carley's Elder Flower Mask for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 4oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Regeneration Anti-Aging Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 1oz for $21.99
  • Carley's Exotic Butter Night Time Moisturizer (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Kukui Nut Body Lotion (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Midnight Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's VANILLA moisturizer (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • CupuaƧu Face & Body Butter (sample) - 8oz for $19.99
  • Carley's Clear and Smooth Kick Ass Industrial Strength for Teens (sample) - 16oz for $25.99
  • Carley's Tangerine Lip Balm - Set of 5 for $17.00
  • Carley's Mineral Foundation - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Bronzer (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Blush (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00
  • Carley's Mineral Finishing Powder (sample) - 10 grams for $19.00

For the past 7 days, I've been using the Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment, Natural Soap and the Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin, and occasionally, some of the other products as well. I ONLY use the makeup they sent and haven't touched anything else from my stash. This is only my initial review and I will be updating for the next several weeks. Steve informed me that it may take weeks to clear someone completely up, so I'm not going to expect a complete skin reversal this short time in. My main problems when I began were a persistent eczema rash on my forehead, light breakouts along my jaw and clogged pores around my nose. I also have mild rosacea, which causes my skin to flush and produce hive-like bumps.

 So, here's the process:

You can use the treatment day or night. I chose to use it at night. In the shower, I take a big dollop of the Clear and Smooth Acne Treatment and massage around on my face for around 30 seconds. It has a lot of scrubbing power and I don't think my skin could handle much more than that, although they say you can scrub with it for up to a full minute. 

Next, I lather up a white terry cloth wash cloth with the Natural Soap and thoroughly wash all parts of my face, making sure that I remove every last trace of the Treatment. This step is said to be very important and so I've been using a bright blue towel to dry my face and make sure that it doesn't bleach from any leftover product. 

After my shower, I coat my face with a dollop of the Day Time Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin and let it soak in completely.

In the morning, I wash gently with the Natural Soap again and apply the moisturizer. I let it soak in completely before applying makeup.

 After 7 days, I can say that my forehead is almost completely clear. There are only a few remaining specks of the outbreak, which is great. My skin is still pretty sensitive and red, but I'm definitely breaking out less.The clogged pores around my nose are still pretty persistent, but I have faith that they'll soon be gone. My jawline stopped breaking out completely, which is great. I'm going to be trying out the Tamanu cream on the leftover marks that the blemishes left behind. I'm also loving the body moisturizers! They feel amazing and so nourishing. I haven't tried them all, so I have yet to report on my favorite. 

I think this is going to be all for now. Like I said, I'm going to be updating on my progress for the next few weeks and I hope you'll join me! 

Thanks for reading!! =)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CeraVe vs. Cetaphil

A few months ago, I had to visit my doctor for one of my many annual cases of eczema. My arms, legs, torso and face were so itchy, I just felt like clawing through my skin. Usually, she prescribes a round of steroids, I take them, the rash clears and then my face breaks out horribly for a week straight. The same thing happens every single time and I completely loathe the process. This time, however, was different. She recommended that I go out and purchase a tub of CeraVe moisturizing cream. I was intrigued because she's NEVER recommended a skin care product to me before. I was so itchy and desperate that I thought, "Hey, why not?". It honestly could not have gotten any worse. I forked over $15 for a large jar of the cream and followed her directions precisely. I washed, waited 20 minutes to avoid the risk of irritation and slathered the cream from head to toe. To my delight, I experienced immediate relief from the intense itch I'd been suffering from and my skin felt soothed and calm. I didn't even have to take the steroids this time, which was amazing! The CeraVe sorted everything out within 3 days! Fabulous!

After my rash completely cleared, I continued to use the CeraVe cream on my face. After I apply it, it makes my face turn a bit red for a few minutes, but then subsides. For a while, my skin was completely smooth and clear, but then my skin started protesting a bit with clogged pores. Not wanting to give up the product that saved my skin from the horrible eczema rash I had, I went out and purchased a cleanser form CeraVe called Foaming Facial Cleanser to accompany the moisturizer. The product has good reviews on several sites, but it just didn't work for me. It was drying and a bit irritating. Many of the CeraVe products contain an ingredient called Niacinamide, which is supposedly wonderful for improving the skin's natural skin barrier, but many people react negatively to it.  Unfortunately, I'm one of those people, so the moisturizing cream seems to be the only CeraVe product my skin can tolerate.

Then I started reading excellent reviews on Cetaphil cleansers and moisturizers and about how similar they were to CeraVe, so I decided to go out and buy the Gentle Skin Cleanser and Moisturizing Cream. I had used the Moisturizing Lotion from the line in the past and hated it, so I opted for the cream because I thought it would be similar in texture to the CeraVe cream. I started out by using the Gentle Skin Cleanser with my CeraVe cream. I didn't want to switch all of my products at the same time and risk my skin freaking out, so I started slowly. I loved the way the cleanser felt, milky, lotiony... It feels so good as a morning cleanser. Unfortunately, it doesn't remove makeup well at all, so I have to use something as a pre-cleanse at night, which I hate doing. The cleanser didn't seem to upset my skin at all, so I added in the Moisturizing cream. I found the cream very emollient and thick and I had to thin it out a bit with water before applying so it would spread more easily. My skin really seemed to appreciate the fact that I wasn't using any harsh products. It calmed down considerably and the tone evened out a lot. I still wasn't satisfied with the way my skin was, though. Even though all of these products are great and gentle, they still don't seem to lessen my mild adult acne. They don't claim to either, even though a lot of people state that these gentle products alone completely cleared their acne. My skin seems to need more. 

I've been using the Cetaphil duo for about 2 months now and I'm wanting to try something different. My skin doesn't feel that clean after I use the cleanser, especially now that the weather's getting warmer, and the cream feels a bit too heavy. Even though I appreciate the fact that all of these products are extremely gentle and I think they would be incredible for someone who ONLY has skin sensitivities, allergies or rosacea, they're not enough for someone like me who also has to deal with acne. 

So, who's the winner? I would honestly choose Cetaphil over the CeraVe for everyday, gentle care and reserve the CeraVe for emergencies such as my ordeal with the eczema rash. If you suffer from sensitive skin, I would definitely look into these. They're readily available at most retailers and you get a lot for your money.