Oct 20, 2011

this is my skin story + Paula's Choice Resist - reviews.

dear readers, please prepare for a long post.
i've been using some skin care products from Paula's Choice for a few months now and since i know that some of you want further information after i mentioned these in my "favourites" posts, here a full review and my skin story - something i was very embarrassed about but since i could manage it i wanted to share with you, even though it costs me quite an effort to do so.

i struggled with oily skin, clogged and enlarged pores with many(!) blemishes and impurities and an uneven skin texture that felt thick and bad and looked even worse. in late summer i was in a terrible state, the make up wouldn't look right on me at all and i just felt very uncomfortable in my own skin.
aggressive moisturisers, toners and peelings left me with horrible redness and an unhealthy life style with too little sleep, hormonal imbalance and bad eating habits due to self-imposed stress in my  "learning-for-the-exams-phase" made me break out even more. my skin was aching and very sensitive. i was sad because of it and envied the girls with nice skin, especially when a good looking complexion is most important to me for a nice appearance.
i needed a proper skin care regimen and a definite change in my life rythm.
these photographs i only made quickly for personal comparison (this explains the bored expression), but since i decided to do this - here you can see the results:

please enlarge the photos to see the full horror - but only if you can stand it ;)

august 2nd                        august 6th                         september 17th                          october 11th

the right side was even worse:

      august 2nd                         august 6th                         september 17th                     october 11th

i'm now satisfied with the appearance of my skin, it has improved a lot. the dark marks fade quite quickly and i don't have many pimples anymore, also the redness is noticeably reduced. but only because these pictures are integrated in this post about Paula's Choice products, it doesn't mean at all that they were my skin changing factor!
sure, they definitely helped or otherwise i would not have mentioned them in my favourites, but there where many other factors that i owe the improvement of my skin.
what helped me a lot was:

a more gentle face cleansing routine
i would remove my face make up with normal cleansing wipes but then follow with a micellar lotion (Vichy's Purété Thermale) as a toner and last step, too. no more face wash with water. no more traditional toner for the face (only on the neck and chest).

less abrasive peels
only once a week i would do a mechanical scrub with my Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant. with bad skin, it's really hard to hold up with this limitation since you want to peel away every new bump that occurs, but it's very important to hold the abrasive stuff at bay to let your skin calm down and regenerate.

gentle chemical peeling
to keep the pores clear and smooth the skin texture. this step helped to reduce my break outs, the increased cell turn-over made the dark scars from previous blemishes fade quickly and my skin appears brighter.

a face oil at night
although i have oily skin, itreally likes a good face oil overnight. this keeps my skin moisturised and calms down the redness. it makes it softer and glowy for the day and even helps it to become less oily throughout the day. i really liked the Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Pearls and the REN O12 Rose Synergy.

at least spf 20-25, better is 30+. best is broad spectrum, preferably mineral (physical) instead of chemical. especially when you use chemical peels and retinol/retinoids, sun protection is a MUST! your skin is more sensitve to sun damage than normal, and sun damage is the biggest ageing-accelerator (this includes artificial "sun"!).

anti-oxidative serums and good hydration (this includes a good eye cream)
i like the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, the Paula's Choice Serum (that i will talk about in depth below), the SkinCeuticals B5 Hydrating Gel and the Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti Wrinkle Eye Cream.
to give the skin a youthful and fresh appearance, to fight further damages and to help the skin regenerate. this step helped my break outs to heal very quickly and make it soft and nice to touch - but:

not touching your face!
the more pimples you have, the more you want to fight them with *finger-force* - but this just makes it worse. you'll be left with bad scars, get skin infections and in the worst cases the infection can ascend your vascular system (especialls in the center of the face) and may lead to meningitis, encephalitis and dural sinus thrombosis with haemorrhagic infarction of the brain - all might have a lethal outcome. to follow the strictly-not-touch-your-face rule is the best you can do to save your skin. and of course washing hands (especially before you touch your face, apply skin care etc) - but i don't need to tell you this.
the germs on your hands will cause more pimples and blackheads.
i would often touch my face unconsciously, like to rest the chin in my hands, but do you know what helps the best to hold me off? a nice make up. even when i'm at home learning, i sometimes put on a nice face make up so i wouldn't touch my skin to ruin it (this reflex is even more engrained haha).

but the biggest and most important factor that helped my skin to improve was:

a healthy diet
since i started to eat one hotpot/soup made of fresh vegetables each day and inreased fresh fruits and muesli in my diet, my skin became better than ever. this made the biggest improvement i ever experienced. i've tried some dietary supplements before (like biotin, msm, fish oils, different vitamin supplements), but none have really helped me like fresh nutrients.
i get less break outs, my skin heals faster, it looks more even and fresh.
no more coffee and no more fried food helps, too. beauty really does come from within ;)

i'm more relaxed now and don't put myself under too much stress anymore, but i still need more sleep and physical exercise to fulfil my lifestyle change - but step by step, right?

so now to the Paula's Choice part of this post:

i have always heard good reviews about the products from Paula Begoun's skin care line called Paula's Choice, and after browsing cosmeticcop.com (her product-review-page) and makeupalley.com, i decided to order some products from the Resist line to try (which is targeted on anti-aging). you can purchase from paulaschoice.com.
the products are moderately priced and packed full of effective ingredients.
i've been using the products about 3 months now. i will only tell you about my personal experiences with each product, for further informations about the line, the products and the targets of each, please check the website.

Daily Smoothing Treatment

this is a chemical peel product with 5% AHA (in this case glycolic acid). it also contains lots of antioxidants and some BHA - i like how the ingredients lists on the official website explains each product, so the credits for the ingredient information goes to them!
this product comes in an air tight pump bottle and should be used daily (even twice when your skin can take it) right after cleansing and even before serums etc.
it has a light creamy consistency with a yellowish colour and a sweet bubblegum scent. it spreads easily and sinks in quickly. i use 2 pumps every night and follow with a serum after about 5 minutes, then my face oil.
this product does make a prickly feel when my skin is freshly peeled with a scrub or does have wounds in terms of pimples, but otherwise it doesn't feel funny at all. it doesn't increase my redness or make my skin more sensitive.
i noticed that my skin became a lot brighter over the time, dark marks fade within 1-2 weeks at the most. my skin feels and looks soft and delicate now and not the disgusting thick elephant skin of before anymore. i have less clogged pores, only some blackheads left on my nose and chin, but these are removed easily. also, i don't have dry and flaky patches anymore, which occured beside my nose, in my brows and below the corners of my mouth previously.
this product contains 50ml and costs 25.95$/26.95€. i only wished that there was some little window so you can see how much you have left and can plan the repurchase - which i will definitely.

ingredients: Water, Glycolic Acid (AHA exfoliant), Cetyl Alcohol (thickener), Butylene Glycol (slip agent and penetration enhancer), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (cell-communicating ingredient), Ceramide 2 (skin-identical ingredient), Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuoylmethane (anti-irritants/antioxidants derived from curcumin), Epigallocatechin Gallate, Caffeic Acid (antioxidants), Salicylic Acid (BHA exfoliant/anti-irritant), Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates (vitamin E-based antioxidant), PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol (fatty acid thickener), Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Bisabolol, Allantoin (anti-irritants), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethiconol (silicone slip agents/texture enhancers), Tribehenin (texture enhancer), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, PEG-40 Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate (thickeners), PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide (film-forming agents), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), C13-14 Isoparaffin (solvent), Laureth-7 (emulsifier), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Hexylene Glycol (solvent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Weekly Resurfacing Treatment

this is a tonic with 10% AHA in form of glycolic acid which should be used once weekly in combination and alteration with the Daily Smoothing Treatment. it's a clear watery liquid and has a herbal scent (reminds me of wasabi! :P ).
it comes in a drop bottle, i always putted some drops (about 10-15?) into the palms of my hands and patted it onto my face, leaving out the eyes and lips. it didn't feel stingy and sunk in immediately.
well, i don't use it anymore because it's too strong for my skin. it made the skin around my nose and on my chin become more sensitive, red, flaky and spongily thick so i stopped using it.
my skin goes well with the 5% AHA product since then.
this contains 60ml and costs 28.95$/28.95€.

ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (anti-irritants), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant),Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Borago Officinalis (Borage) Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidants), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Lamium Album (White Nettle) Flower Extract (antioxidant), Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ulmus Fulva (Slippery Elm) Bark Extract (anti-irritants), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant) Propylene Glycol (solvent), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

the Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is my last PC product. it comes in a squeeze tube which is nice to get a controlled amount of product and to estimate how much product you have left, but only marginally acceptable in terms of air-tightness. the serum should be used daily after the cleansing and the chemical peeling product and before moisturiser.
i use a drop of it for the whole face. it's a thick clear yellowish liquid which feels very siliconey and greasy, which i don't like (luckily it doesn't break me out, if your skin doesn't like silicones, though, you shouldnt try this). it spreads easily but sits on the face for about 10 minutes before it sinks in to a dry finish. this isn't moisturising at all so i pair it with a moisturising serum or apply a light moisturising cream underneath. i would use it in the mornings, it's a nice base for foundation due to the siliconey texture. in the evenings i don't like that thick feeling because i already use the face oil.
it definitely helps my pimples heal quicker and my skin look fresh and healthy. my skin feels firm and resistant, but not thick, my scars fade faster than normal. if i feel a pimple to sprout, i would also use this at night and most times in the next morning, it's calm again.
i might repurchase this but still have a few other serums i want to try.
this product contains 30ml and costs 25.95$/26.95€.

ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone (silicone slip agents/suspending agents), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 (cell-communicating ingredient), Tocotrienols, Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidants), Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10/antioxidant), Alpha Lipoic Acid (antioxidant), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Ferulic Acid, Caffeic Acid (antioxidants), Beta-Glucan (anti-irritant), Saccharomyces/Selenium Ferment (skin-conditioning agent/antioxidant), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Epigallocatechin Gallate (green tea-derived antioxidant), Ergothioneine (mushroom-derived antioxidant), Glutathione (fruit-derived antioxidant), Xanthophyll (antioxidant pigment), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Ceramide 3 (skin-identical ingredient), Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract (anti-inflammatory agent), Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract (antioxidants), Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil (emollient), Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol (preservatives), Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol (slip agents).


  1. Great review! And you look amazing, btw. I also learned that using an oil has great benefits for skin. I'm currently using a vitamin E oil overnight and it's drastically improved. My skin was like yours but probably more redder since I was breaking out like crazy :( I'm going to look into PC because there are lots of people who've used their products and noticed a lot of changes in their skin after. Thanks for the update! I hope you continue to have nice skin :D

  2. I love the 5% treatment as well ;)

  3. Wow, I have more in common with you than skin tone and a love of Cargo blushes!

    I am a regular user of Paula's Choice products. I have been using her BHA liquid and gel for approximately 5 years now and it's kept my skin clear. I'm lucky in that I have good skin; apart from a period of chronic breakouts on my forehead in Grade 12 after my mom took me to my first facial. :( (I thought facials were supposed to be good for the complexion! I've been too scared to have facials ever since.) The BHA has been good for me as even though my skin has changed slightly over the years.

    I branched out a few months ago and ordered the Weekly Resurfacing Treatment and several samples of the Daily Smoothing Treatment. I found that the WRT stung a lot the first time I used it, but I followed the directions to rinse it off after a few minutes. Did you do this? You might still be able to use the WRT. I think my skin has gotten used to it because I can leave it on overnight now -- it only tingles a bit in the beginning.

    I've been impressed with the Daily Smoothing Treatment. I got three uses out of one sample packet. It's interesting to hear that the full-sized product is dispensed through an air-tight pump. I wondered about losing the effects of the antioxidants by using the sample packet 3 times. Maybe I'll check for more information on this on the Paula's Choice Website.

    I think I'll continue using it on and off (as you're not supposed to layer AHA and BHA products) and figure out what AHA/BHA routine works best for my skin. I can't remember why I branched out as the BHA had been working well. Perhaps it was to see if my skin could get even better...? I have 2-3 more samples of DST left, and I'm eager to see if I'll get the skin brightening effect you experienced. I'm not aiming for skin lightening, but like the idea of looking healthier and more luminous.

    Please keep us posted about your skin care. I'm interested! I highly recommend PC products to you if you have normal skin or problem skin. While her products have decreased in size and cost has increased in the past few years, I do think her products live up to their claims.

  4. Every single one of your posts is fantastic. Thank you for this, it's very informative.

  5. Thanks for posting, much appreciated!!

  6. toll! vielen dank! ich werde mir das daily treatment wahrscheinlich holen!

    hat es auch geholfen deine narben zu verblassen oder war das eher das serum? ich bin echt verzweifelt und will meine blackheads loswerden..du hast hier eine "lösung" für mich^^

  7. das mit der ernährung stimmt absolut - auch wenn die schulmedizin etwas anderes behauptet ;)
    meiner haut geht es zb viel besser, seitdem ich täglich obst und gemüse esse und vor allem die milch weglasse (auch keinen joghurt, käse, gebäck etc). ich kann bei hautprobelemn jedem wirklich nur empfehlen, sich auf eventuelle unbemerkte unverträglichkeitten (laktose, kasein, gluten wären da die üblichen verdächtigen) abchecken zu lassen sowie den industriezucker zu meiden.
    normale chemsiche peelings mag ich nicht so gerne, und paulas choice ist mir auch viel zu silikonig. ich habe ein aloe vera serum mit weidenrindenextrakt von john masters, das gefällt mir sehr gut.
    lg kaddi

  8. Awesome reviews as always, even with ingredients & infos about them!!

    Some acids work wonders for the skin.. and are even more helpful when you got keratosis pilaris like me, as it also affects my face. My HG to keep the skin bright and reduce clogged pores is Zeniac LP Forte (Mandelsäure 5 %, Weinsäure 4 %, Salizylsäure 1 %, Ammoniumlactat 6,3 %) Not gentle, but effective. ^^ My mother actually started using it a few months ago on her nose to refine her pores and is amazed, she says her pores haven't been this small since she was a kid :D
    I'm still curious about retinol A though, and have to say I liked Avène Cleanance K and Diacnéal, which I still have, with glycolic acid.

    Your skin looks really good, congrats on all the improvement! I totally agree that beauty often does come from within.. lifestyle, stress, health, nutrition.. My skin was actually almost flawless when I was vegan (can't.think.musteat.dairy. though, haha)


  9. keeping skin looking healthy and good-looking is really a challenge! thanks for sharing!

    good luck!


  10. wow! those are great before and after pics. I'm currently going through a 'bad skin phase' so I can relate to the frustration. Sadly, my problem is caused by allergies/hypersensitivity.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sure this will be very helpful to a lot of people.

  11. I don't think your "before" skin was so bad. You have a natural luminosity to it that's nice.

    Still, congratulations on your success. It must be very difficult to resist the urge to pick or overexfoliate.

  12. Wow! This is an amazing review so helpful! Love this blog!!!
    I also have problems with oliy skin and some acne, I use microdermabrasion of dermanew and it has improved my skin a lot!
    Gonna check your rutine out aswell!


  13. vielen danke für die alle seiten einer hautverbesserung umfassenden review.
    mochte ich sehr gern!

  14. Vielen Dank für diese Review! Meine Haut scheint ähnlich wie deine zu sein. Hast du schon Clinique Produkte ausprobiert? Ich würde sie gerne ausprobieren, aber ich weiss nicht, ob es wirklich etwas bringt.

  15. Eine sehr nette offene review!
    Magst du verraten, warum du dich für die "Anti-Aging"-Linie entschieden hast?

  16. Thank you for sharing your skincare results! I too have been looking into getting into a routine, especially with winter setting my skin all wonky like. <3 Great read.

  17. Vielen Dank für die ausführliche Review und herzlichen Glückwunsch zur zarteren, reineren Haut! Es ist unglaublich wie schnell und wie deutlich die Verbesserungen eingetreten sind.

  18. Hi,
    Is really amazing seeing ur skin improvement over 2 weeks ?? Can you share your exfloliant skincare regime? I'm currently using BHA 1% lotion (use to be on daily) now 2-3 times a week

  19. @Simonne: i just used the daily treatment twice a day :)

  20. @simonne: oops, pressed "comment" too early...

    once a week i do a mechanical peel also. these days it's the Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant.


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