I've had acne, a somewhat mild amount (small bumps around chin always, 2 or 3 larger nodule pimples per month on chin and occasionally elsehwere, other small intermittent breakouts around nose and forehead) since puberty. So that puts me at what, 17+ years of it. It was never bad enough that I felt the need to see a dermatologist, I had accepted it as part of life for quite some time. Most of this time, I didn't wear foundation, didn't moisturize, generally ignored my skin except for washing it with some salicylic acid containing face wash in the morning and using a topical salicylic treatment on pimples as needed. My family all had similar skin issues, but they died down around 30. I was holding out for that magical time, but I'm 31 now and the skin is still doing what it has been for the past decade (not a surprise of course, not like it would change overnight arbitrarily, but a girl can dream!). Now I am getting some distinct lines around my mouth to add to the fun.
I also have started taking care of my skin, I had always thought with my oily breakout-prone skin that moisturizer was not an option. I did some reading, found some ideas for shaking up my skincare routine to try to improve it. I am very consistent now with this routine.
I wash in the morning with the same type of product as before, something with salicylic acid in it - currently using something with scrubby exfoliants. Next, I put on a sunscreen product; right now I am using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid which is oil free and very watery consistency, doesn't leave me slimy. I apply a moisturizer over the sunscreen, using Clinique Dramatically Different Gel for the light texture and easy absorption. I was having a lot of problems with products balling up on my face so I've been going for the very light and easily absorbed options of late. Last skincare product on my face (I am applying regular Ultra Sheer type sunscreen on my neck, chest, ears, hands and lower arms) is the salicylic acid treatment gel - have been using Clean and Clear's variety for years.
Over all this I apply oil free foundation of some flavor, a light dusting of a powder (Cargo blu_ray powder or MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural) and generally no concealer as I feel it tends to make the pimples/oil worse.
When applicable - before exercising in the evening, I use a makeup wipe or a very mild facial wash (Aveeno Ultra Calming) to take off my makeup. After exercising or for my regular evening face wash I use either the Aveeno or another wash not containing salicylic acid with the Sephora face scrubby brush (instead of using something like a Clairsonic or Olay PRO-X). In general I am able to get off the majority of my eye makeup unless I've used a lot of waterproof liner/mascara in this washing. I also dry my face off with a face-only-for-drying-washcloth and do a very light scrubbing of areas that tend to peel (chin, around nose) along with cheeks/forehead.
Once I'm dry, I apply RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum for the retinol - face and neck. Once that has dried, the Clinique moisturizer over top and very small dabs of the Clean and Clear salicylic gel on active breakouts.
Both morning and evening, I am applying an eye cream of sorts and sometimes I will use that on a trouble spot that continues to drive me up a wall. It's one area that has confounded me. My nose is oily on the top, but around the base/nostrils it peels every single day. I've tried Vaseline, eye creams, Origins heavier night creams, Nivea Creme, Neosporin, Cortizone10, you name it. I don't know if it's eczema or what, I do have a few lingering skin issues I didn't grow out of as a kid (scalp problem and occasional reactions to metals).
I never noticed the peeling nose issue more than occasionally in passing when it was very bad, but now that I'm wearing foundation regularly I'm reminded on a daily basis. It doesn't seem to matter what I do, how much I moisturize it; it will still be dry and peeling when I put foundation on and it will be grossly obvious.
In a way, I think freckles can be an advantage with not-so-perfect skin like this. There's the downside of not being able to use a more full coverage foundation - but the upside is that your skin is naturally not evenly one color and a few spots here and there do just sort of blend in better. Go figure.
I am hoping that continuing this routine of consistent moisturizing, exfoliating and retinol usage my skin will brighten up slightly along with slight smoothing of the lines. I find the most obnoxious part of having these first wrinkles is foundation tends to collect in them if not careful. I just want a smooth canvas for at least a couple years! Maybe one day.
I didn't have a clear direction for this post, just breaking down what I'm doing now and how it's going. My acne level hasn't changed much, the best improvement has been when starting to wear foundation it helped break the habit of picking at sore breakouts. It's a nervous habit and I still have to stop myself on a regular basis. The texture of my skin has improved from the exfoliation and moisturizing; I haven't noticed any difference in fine lines but retinol does time quite a long time to start having a noticeable effect. We'll see. One day I may just give up and see a doctor about it all. I should likely see a derm anyway with my complexion type being high risk for cancer and having had several bad burns when I was younger.
Keep fighting the good fight.