I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I've been on prescription acne medications since I was, like, 13. The two topicals I remember using most were Differin and Epiduo, which I currently have in its new-ish totally gangster pump dispenser sitting amongst my other products-that-I-actually-use.
Even before I got this job, where I have access to a bonkers huge assortment of different skincare products, I would still experiment with new creams and peels and stuff any chance I got. I've had rashes, breakouts, dryness, stinging, redness... all of these "side effects" that you think won't ever happen because it's a mass-marketed skincare product that the pretty chick in the ad uses to great results. And you're a pretty chick! SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ME HOW THIS LOGIC IS FAULTY.
I would wreck my face and then freak and go back to the basics; my skin was best when I would chill on all the experimenting and just do my whole cheap-drugstore-acne-cleanser + prescription-topical routine. In the morning, I would do a lightweight moisturizer, but never any eye cream and DEFINITELY not a night cream--I didn't want to eff with whatever the Epiduo was trying to do.
I'd deal with the occasional dry patches as they came around--dabbing a little of my day moisturizer onto them (which always stung, but all moisturizers I'd tried until then stung), and maybe a bit of Neosporin, Aquaphor or Phelityl Cream if it was super-flaky and irritated, like especially around my upper lip/nostril region. My mom uses the Phylityl cream all over her face at night--it's SO heavy. It's, like, intense preservation and probably why my mom looks so babely.
Also this stuff was the only real reference I ever had to a night cream: petroleum-based and with plenty of oil. I figured they were just greasier moisturizers that only those with aging skin really needed to use, because grease and oil are too much for my cherub chub mug and surely no other types of night creams exist. I also pierced my own bellybutton with a dull earring and would bite my lips until they swelled, because, like, "it's more cost-effective than injectables." I have a history of idiocy.
I haven't really been breaking out enough in the past year or so to want to use my Epiduo religiously, which is great because I can start experimenting with other stuff to slather all over my gorgeous face--cautiously.
WARNING: I'M ABOUT TO RECOMMEND ANOTHER BADESCU PRODUCT
Nicole at Mario Badescu recommended the Seaweed Night Cream at my first visit, and while I was skeptical (I just wanted to smear the Drying Lotion all over my face and sleep clutching a rabbit's foot after sacrificing immaculate vintage lambskin Chanel shoulde bags to the Editor Gods in hopes that I didn't break out), I was willing to do whatever she told me to at that point.
I've been using it for a while and feel really stupid. I mean how many freaking beauty articles do I have to read to drill it into my mind that, "You should really moisturize, even if you're prone to breakouts!"? For real, the article could be about anal bleaching and they'd have at least one paragraph that's like "... you may experience slight discomfort. Oh, did we mention that dry skin produces excess oils which can cause pimples? Moisturizing can prevent this! OK, now back to your asshole..."
This is the. Best. Moisturizer. Ever. It's sooo rich, but melts perfectly into skin without any greasy residue. It's made without oil and PACKED with every miracle-promising ingredient you'd want in a moisturizer. The seaweed extract has antioxidants and acts as an anti-inflammatory, so it's great for healing irritated skin and won't screw with sensitive skin. Seriously, it's extremely calming and doesn't sting angry skin at all.
It contains glycerin, which is known to be a softening, gentle, and protective moisturizer. Then you have your elastin, hyaluronic acid, and collagen which collect and hold in moisture, making skin more elastic and firm. That whole sentence read like cheesy marketing material, but that's exactly how my face feels waking up from a night of letting this stuff sink into my skin: bouncy and stuff.
Just use sparingly; your skin should absorb whatever you apply rather than having excess product sitting on top, which is what clogs pores according to celebrity (my) facialist, Irina. It's so non-greasy, though, that I've put it on in the morning after trying out an especially drying mask the night before that left flakey patches on my cheeks. I just avoid using it on the sides of my nose, where I'm excessively greasy, moisturizer or no.
God, this is the longest product review ever, but my point is that if you've been avoiding night creams because you're afraid that a heavier product will clog your pores: try this. I haven't experienced any breakouts; just really pleasant moisturization that leaves me waking up with soft, smooth, "bouncy" skin.
Sure, I was happy at the lack of breakouts from using my prescription acne cream before, but I had never experienced the way my skin looks and feels after using this. Try it! For real! I've already texted all my IRL, touchable friends about it.