I want to tell you about my results with YOU Skincare. For those of us who struggle with serious acne, the search for skin care can be a minefield. Before I discovered YOU Skincare, I was convinced that skin care for acne-prone skin came in two varieties: useless or brutally harsh. For months, I suffered through trial and error with products that contained hidden comedogenic and acnegenic ingredients, fueling the cycle of congestion and breakouts rather than ending it. Out of frustration, I briefly turned to conventional acne treatments. They successfully destroyed my acne, but sadly decimated the rest of my complexion, leaving my skin a dried up, irritated, flaking mess. While trying to minimize these ugly side effects, I came across research showing that a single application of 10% benzoyl peroxide depletes 93% of the vitamin E in skin and 70% of the vitamin C in sebum—not exactly a recipe for healthy skin. Having acne is bad enough by itself, but when you add to that the long series of disappointments most of us endure in the quest to find an effective-yet-gentle remedy, things can feel hopeless. Faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem, I became stubborn if not obsessive. Consumed by a need to resolve my complexion woes, I happened upon a blog entitled Pamper Urself Green. It would change everything.
The author of Pamper Urself Green, Amy Le, is a chemist who used her blog to document how she cleared her own adult-onset acne. I related to so much of Amy’s acne narrative: the wacky assortment of supposed acne cures she attempted, the way she leapt from one natural skin care line after another without results (possibly without giving the products sufficient opportunity to work), and her eventual realization she needed to look at her overall lifestyle and be gentle and patient with her skin. Key to clearing and healing her skin was her development of her very own highly-advanced serum targeting all her biggest skin concerns: acne, inflammation, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and sunspots. The minute I saw the list of healing, anti-inflammatory ingredients in Amy’s serum, I was impressed; Clarifying Glow Serum is not your average acne treatment serum, and in my mind, that is a very good thing. I had never seen a serum—never mind a serum designed for acne-prone skin—that had such a dream team of choice ingredients: with notable highlights Centella Asiatica, Licorice Root Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Niacinamide, Daisy Extract, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Lemon Peel Ferment Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Honeysuckle Extract, polyhydroxy acid Gluconolactone, and Cucumber Oil. What a recipe!
Perhaps Amy explained it best when she said, “I chose the ingredients very carefully, and since I’m making this for myself and not for profit, I didn’t skimp on good ingredients; otherwise, what’s the point of making it yourself?” When Amy shared her creation, others had striking success, and soon, people were clamoring for her product due to these word-of-mouth reports. When I came across Clarifying Glow Serum, it was both the mix of ingredients as well as those ingredients featured prominently at the top of the list that caught my attention. Centella Asiatica as one of the top three ingredients was enough to pique my interest, as this is a healing ingredient that also stimulates collagen production, two aims dear to me. Next, there is licorice, another great healer and skin brightener, along with gentle exfoliator willow bark extract, and the multi-benefit niacinamide, brightening daisy extract, and the underused N-Acetyl Glucosamine, all in high enough concentrations to work some magic. Amy has broken down all the ingredients and her reasons for including them in her serum here. YOU Skincare Clarifying Glow Serum particularly excels as a healing and brightening treatment and is uniquely effective at diminishing and healing the stubborn marks acne leaves behind. Overall, this is a fabulous serum to minimize inflammation, brighten skin, and deliver anti-aging benefits along the way. How many acne-treatment serums can live up to that claim?
Clarifying Glow Serum Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower hydrosol, Hydrocotyl (Centella Asiatica) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract), Niacinamide, Squalane, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Blossom Extract, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Lactobacillus/lemon peel ferment extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Morus Nigra Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, Alpha Arbutin, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Rosa Canina (rosehip) Seed Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Chlorelleth-20, Glycerin, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Gluconolactone, Benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, Pelargonium graveolens oil, Cucumis sativus oil, Sclerotium Gum.
What started as a single product designed to heal her own skin has quickly grown into an entire line of products. As Amy has released new products, I have been eager to try them, and between her generous gifting followed by my eager purchasing (and repurchasing), I now have a complete YOU Skincare regimen. Every YOU Skincare product has been stellar; though Clarifying Glow Serum may be the best-known of Amy’s formulations, each of her subsequent product releases has hit the mark and offers a new and valuable added dimension to the line. There is no fluff here, just excellent substance. Below, I will tell you a little about each of the other YOU Skincare gems I have tried.
This rich, faintly citrus-smelling balm is soft and giving to the touch, with a smooth and creamy texture like butter on the verge of melting. Its color is a vibrant marigold that belies that it is bursting with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and botanical oils. The top ingredient, rice bran oil, delivers a combination of antioxidants and fatty acids, and papaya seed oil and watermelon seed oil deliver anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and skin brightening effects. Camellia seed oil delivers healing polyphenols, baobab seed oil is nourishing and anti-inflammatory, and Elderberry provides potent antioxidant effects. Next, sunflower seed oil helps boost ceramide production, which improves barrier function. Barrier Repair Cleansing Balm is luscious and hydrating as you massage it in, and yet it washes off better than several other balm cleansers I have tried. Skin is left soft but with no thick or sticky residue. For me, Barrier Repair Cleansing Balm hits just the right notes, efficiently cleansing the skin of makeup and SPF, without the slightest hint of tightness or dryness. Barrier Repair Balm Cleanser leaves skin clean and soft and is an especially great product for acneic, dehydrated, or otherwise barrier-compromised skin.
Barrier Repair Cleansing Balm Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Seed Oil, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Sambucus Nigra (elderberry) Fruit Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang), Melissa Officinalis (Melissa), Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange), Citrus Reticula (Tangerine), Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint), Citrus Limon (Lemon).
To be honest, I was not in the market for an essence/toner when I purchased YOU Skincare Moisture Replenishing Essence, and I am suspicious of most toners. The only reason I threw caution to the wind and bought this was that Amy formulated it, and she is consistently among my favorite formulators. I will eagerly try anything she makes, but I must admit that based on previous experiences with toners, I did not expect that any—even one formulated by Amy—could prove indispensable. At least ninety percent of the toners I have purchased over the years have collected dust, rarely used, and never finished, mainly because they accomplished little other than stinging and irritating my skin. Not Amy’s Moisture Replenishing Essence! This incredible hydrating spray is gentle, cooling, and refreshing to apply. Despite the generous quantity in the bottle (4 oz.), I am well over halfway through Moisture Replenishing Essence, and I intend to reorder before I run out. This will be the first and only toner/essence I have ever repurchased. Moisture Replenishing Essence is a soothing thirst-quencher for my skin that goes on with absolutely no stinging, even when my skin is at its most sensitive. Amy carefully formulated Moisture Replenishing Essence without fragrance or essential oils so it would be suitable for all skin types, and the formulation is soothing on contact. With actives like aloe juice, Thanakha, green tea leaf extract, nettle leaf extract, and cucumber extract, along with hibiscus, panthenol, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate, it is healing and hydrating for even the most highly reactive skin. Although I have not been much of a toner or essence fan in the past, I have quickly come to look forward to the refreshment of Moisture Replenishing Essence. Applying it is a satisfying step in my skin care ritual, and the Essence has made both a calming and hydrating difference to my reactive skin, with the added bonus of also enhancing the absorption of actives in the next steps of my skincare routine. I am sold on this toner! (Moisture Replenishing Essence is on par with the very best of this category, namely Siam Seas Yen Heal and Hydrate Toner and Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, both of which are legendary.)
Moisture Replenishing Essence Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Juice, Limonia Acidissima (Thanakha) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower Extract, Panthenol, Glycerin, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Yucca Vera Leaf Extract, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid.
The perfect hydrating follow-up to Moisture Replenishing Essence is Essential Hydration Serum. This lightweight hydrating treatment is very fluid, spreading easily so that a little goes a long way. It absorbs quickly with no pilling and little residue, binding moisture to even the most dehydrated skin with potent hydrators hyaluronic acid, sodium lactate, and panthenol (vitamin B5). Essential Hydration Serum also delivers highly anti-inflammatory, hydrating, Beta-Glucan-rich Reishi and Shiitake Mushroom extract, along with potent antioxidants Prickly Pear and Amla, and soothing Cucumber to hydrate, protect, and rejuvenate skin. As if this is not enough of a winning formula already, Amy also includes anti-aging peptides, Argireline, a neuropeptide that helps to relax facial muscles thereby reducing expression lines, and Syn-Coll, a peptide that stimulates collagen synthesis. The result of this multi-functional blend is luscious, restorative skin-plumping hydration, particularly when paired with Moisture Replenishing Essence. Besides my endorsement, Essential Hydration Serum’s effectiveness has been empirically proven by @beauty_unplugged; using Wayskin’s biometric sensors to measure skin hydration 15 minutes after application of Essential Hydration Serum yielded a hydration reading of 99 (out of 100). Impressive indeed! This deceptively lightweight serum delivers powerful results.
Essential Hydration Serum Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Aloe Barbadensis Juice, Lactobacillus/Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom) Extract /Lentinus Edodes (Shitake Mushroom) Extract Ferment Filtrate, DimethylSulfone (DMSO), Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Panthenol, Opuntia Tuna (Prickly Pear) Flower/Stem Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica (Alma) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Levulinate, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Allantoin, Sodium Anisate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Butylene Glycol.
Last but not least, to seal all this hydration-goodness into the skin, I top off my YOU Skincare regimen with a few drops of Amy’s Hydrating Glow Face Oil. As someone who has tried my share of face oils, I can tell you this one is a winner. First , it has a highly potent 10% dosage of a stable, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) shown to penetrate the dermis (and, once there, stimulate collagen and glycosaminoglycans) better than L-Ascorbic Acid. In addition, Hydrating Glow Face Oil features rejuvenating CoEnzyme Q10 and an assortment of nourishing, brightening oils that include: Sea Buckthorn, Blueberry Seed, Raspberry Seed, Cranberry Seed, Pomegranate Seed, and Chia Seed Oils. Hydrating Glow Facial Oil leaves skin luminous upon application, and over time, it hydrates, calms, and brightens skin. In one last major feat of formulation, this antioxidant, phytonutrient, and essential fatty acid-packed, skin-nourishing blend is—based on my trial of my own highly acne-prone skin–completely acne safe.
Hydrating Glow Face Oil Ingredients: Aleurites moluccans (Kukui nut) oil, Adansonia digitate (Baobab) oil, Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) oil,Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) fruit oil, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus(Raspberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed oil, Psidium guajava (guava) seed oil, Squalane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (and) Tocopheryl Acetate (and) Ubiquinone, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract, Rosa Canina (rosehip) Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Chamomilla Recutita (chamomile) Flower Extract, Curcuma Xanthorrhiza Root Extract, EO blend of Santalum album (sandalwood), Citrus x aurantium (neroli), Helichrysum italicum (Immortelle), Litsea cubeba (Litsea), Pelargonium graveolens (Geraniums), Cucumis sativus (cucumber seed), Cucumissativus (Ylang Ylang), Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood),Daucus carota (Carrot seed), Cymbopogon martinii (Palmarosa), Pogostemon cablin (patchouli).
In conclusion, I have loved every YOU Skincare product I have tried, and I have every intention of adding to my collection whenever Amy announces new releases. For those of us with troubled acne-prone or barrier-compromised skin, YOU Skincare offers an assortment of products that are safe and effective, with an emphasis on healing and improving skin health. In each of her formulations, chemist Amy Le brings together the best time-tested botanicals with state-of-the-art science to provide skin solutions. YOU Skincare has grown—and continues to grow–exponentially as a brand, its success propelled almost solely by word-of-mouth reports by satisfied customers. A skincare secret quickly gaining prominence, YOU Skincare is loyally used and endorsed by some of the savviest beauty and skin care bloggers in the industry, including Amy Chang, Teri Miyahira, and Parita Shah. Though I am not in the same category as these influencers, I like to think I have good taste, and I give YOU Skincare my highest recommendation for acne-prone, barrier-compromised, or otherwise troubled skin. Each of Amy’s products is a high-performance standout that has quickly earned a regular spot in my routine. Her products shine most of all when used in combination with a complete routine like the one below. Try it, and I think you, too, will be delighted with your results!
YOU Skincare Routine
- Barrier Repair Cleansing Balm
- Moisture Replenishing Essence
- Clarifying Glow Serum
- Essential Hydration Serum
- A few drops of Hydrating Glow Face Oil