Cutting to the chase, the regimen I've finally found to heal my skin is the combination of retinaldehyde and glycolic acid. Two simple ingredients. Retinaldehyde is a form of vitamin A and a less irritating form of retinoids - i.e. tretinoin, retin-A. It practically does the same job as retinoids without any of those harsh, drying side effects. Furthermore because it is less irritating, retinaldehyde can be easily combined with other acne treatments, such as glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). I'm sure a lot of you have heard of AHAs and that it's a natural skin exfoliator - commonly used in plenty of acne treatments, though in very small amounts. I believe finding a stronger glycolic acid product is better when you really want to see results. I used Avene Retrinal Plus 0.1 as the retinaldehyde and Glytone Facial Cream Step 1 for its glycolic acid (10%). I also used Glytone Mild Cream Wash, a gentle, moisturizing cleanser with 3.4% glycolic acid. I honestly never knew my skin could look the way it does now. It's not perfect yet, but it's the best it has ever been. My pores shrunk, my skin tone evened out, and most noticeably, my skin glowed. I remember looking in the mirror after the first month and was literally shocked at the moment I realized I looked different, in a good way. I used these three products day and night, seven days a week (although normally for anti-aging use, it should only be necessary about three times a week). Like I said, I saw amazing results in just one month and for the last two years, my skin never went back to its old, stubborn ways.
Oh and now I actually use step 2 facial cream with 15% glycolic acid but you should always start out with step 1 at 10%. These products and their brands are highly recommended by dermatologists. They've worked for me so well; I hope you found my tips useful and if you do try it, please let me know how this works out for you! I will be posting and reviewing other skincare products I use so stay tuned ;) Thanks for reading this long one!