Ah, in my young adult years from 1992 to 1998, my skin was a major source of pride that remained constant. In spite of forgetting to wash my face before bed or being too tired to do so, my skin was virtually flawless. I hardly ever broke out. I only needed a dab of foundation here and there on my face. Too bad I didn’t have the confidence to appreciate it more at the time. 

 As I got older, life got more complicated. So did my skincare routine. I started needing products that I never had to worry about buying before for new and pesky skin issues that surfaced. While I’d never be able to eliminate them, I spent a lot of time learning how to minimize the problems that showed up with age, and they are now my go-to. 

Over the years, these are the products that help me manage my imperfections and slow down the aging process so that I can embrace who I am – flaws and all – while still maintaining a youthful glow, let me share them with you to save you some leg work.

For cleaning

Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar for Dry/Sensitive Skin, 4.5 ounces

When I was 24, my first and favorite dermatologist was wonderful enough to point me to this when my skin was going nuts from numerous issues that were occurring all at once and are way too lengthy to go into here. 

I’ve been using it for almost a couple of decades and I get really bummed out when it’s out of stock. Also, if you have acne-prone skin, I recommend using this, as well as the rest of the items in this beauty regimen, twice a day.

Additional tips

I also advise using makeup, especially foundation, as little as possible. I know. I love my warm water too, but turn it down when you’re washing your face. If you tie your hair back when you wash your face, keep it that way for the rest of the day to keep your hair and the oils from your hair out of your face.

For acne

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, 0.75 ounces

After the worst acne flare-up ever on my face in my mid 20s, I really thought my bad breakouts were finally behind me. But, no such luck. They returned with a vengeance in my late 30s and early 40s. 

These flare-ups were angry, ugly, itchy, and painful. On both occasions, I couldn’t afford to see a dermatologist. This spot treatment is the next best thing. The salicylic acid shrinks unsightly blemishes down. Two of the smallest and gentlest squeezes of the product are perfect for small and smaller acne areas. 

For larger ones, use a little more force in squeezing the contents out of the bottle twice. And, I know this is easier said than done, but hands off. Patience is key here. They will heal faster if you just allow them to run their course and slough off.

For the eyes

 Clinique All About Eyes Eye Cream, 0.5 ounces

I wish you could wave away puffiness and wrinkles around the eyes with a magic wand. I never noticed these till about five or six years ago when I was putting on my makeup and there they were in full Technicolor. 

All it takes is a very small amount on your index finger and a couple of traces around each eye – from underneath the bottom lashes on out and around the top of the eyelid line – and tired eyes and fine lines are diminished. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’ve never been able to afford this size at $35 either. No worries. Just buy a travel size and it will do the job for a fifth the price.

 Moisturizing (and wrinkle-fighting!)

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Lotion with SPF 15, 4 ounces

My older sister, my most trusted beauty buff, recommended this nearly a decade ago and it is, hands-down, the best face moisturizer I’ve ever used to protect my fair skin against the sun’s increasingly volatile rays. 

It has the ideal consistency. Moreover, just a dime-sized amount is fine for each side of your face and even less for the rest of the areas on your face. This moisturizer will last you for quite some time. I had my last one for well over a year and counting!

Dr. Bell Skin Ointment, 2.6 ounces

When moisturizer doesn’t completely do the trick for dry patches of skin on the face and is too irritating for itchy eyebrow dandruff, a small amount of this gets the job done. 

Plus, it’s less greasy than other ointments out there. This is the one item in my skincare routine that should be used as needed, being that using this twice a day during the warmer months can make the skin too oily and lead to more breakouts.

For the neck and chin

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Day Cream SPF 25, 1.7 ounces

When I turned 21, my metabolism finally caught up with me, as if to say, “I told you so” and my chin and neck dropped. 

I went through many kinds of creams throughout the years and none of them worked as well as this one. I originally started using this when my Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Lotion with SPF 15 ran out around five months ago and was too expensive for me to repurchase. So I bought this instead. 

Not only did it have a more accessible price tag, but it took care of three things: the face, chin, and neck. 

Because it is thicker and heavier than Eucerin’s Q10 moisturizer, it can clog the pores and increase the likelihood of breakouts. So less is more and I do the swiss-cheese method of applying it by only using it on the areas of your face where there are no breakouts. Due to the skin being less sensitive and oily on the chin and neck, massaging two penny-sized amounts into these areas, including the back of the neck, is ideal in yielding the best results.

 The results

My skin will never look as good as I did from the ages of 14 to 20, but now I look in the mirror at my imperfections and smile. 

They’re all more on the subtle side and they embody the wisdom that I have gained from my life experiences. I’ve grown quite comfortable in my own skin to the point where I can easily say that I love myself unconditionally. 

I’m confident that I can handle pretty much anything that comes my way. I wouldn’t trade all of this in the world.

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About Stephanie Sklar

Stephanie Sklar is a 43-year-old writer whose work appears on Movie-Blogger.com, The Movie Buff, and Vocal Media. She resides in Silver, Spring, MD with her spectacular boyfriend, their wonderful 17-year-old daughter, and their two 7-year-old orange tabby cats, Slam (the shorter, fatter, lighter-colored, and more tabby one) and Allie (the longer, leaner, and skinnier hunter who is more Siamese, orange, and stealthier). Stephanie loves the beach, boardwalk, Barn 34's pancakes, and soft-serve ice cream in Ocean City, MD.

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