12 years. That’s how long it took for me to realize that bacteria was causing the unrelenting breakouts along my forehead. It’s easy to assume that your breakouts are hormonal and many times it can be: puberty, stress, medication. You think it’s temporary and will go away in due time…until it doesn’t.
While trying to survive the obligatory awkward stage in middle school (not sure this ever ended), I tried every acne spot treatment over the counter. Naïve and desperate, I looked for words like overnight, control, rapid, and clear. I needed something to work yesterday.
After wasting 6-7 years of falling prey to marketing speak, I decided to start reading about ingredients and learned the difference between salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, the most popular ingredients formulated in acne products. Salicylic acid, also known as BHA (beta hydroxy acid), is a chemical exfoliant with anti-inflammatory properties perfect for combatting acne. Benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial properties that help to kill acne-causing bacteria deep into the follicle.
Once I realized that my acne was caused by my Aaliyah bang and twist-outs, I started wearing my hair up (more on this) and switched from acne treatments with salicylic acid to benzoyl peroxide. I struck gold. The sebum our skin produces holds on to anything it comes in contact with, and whether I was touching my face or sweating excessively, my blocked pores were being exacerbated. Oily skin needs ingredients that combat bacteria and exfoliate, so I look for BHAs in my cleansers (rinse off) and benzoyl peroxide in my treatments (leave on).
In an effort to avoid drying my skin out with Clearasil Ultra Vanishing Acne Treatment 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, I reduced my application from twice a day to only daytime use. I needed more nighttime treatments.
While browsing AstridaNaturals.com and preparing Discover interview questions, I noticed the Astrida Naturals Mulberry & Licorice Brightening Facial Serum and purchased it immediately after reading the ingredients (side note: anticipate an article on the difference between brightening and whitening).
First 10 Ingredients: Aloe Leaf Juice, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Mulberry Extract, Licorice Root Extract, *Calendula Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Shea Nut Oil
- Consistency: thin
- Price point: $36
- Packaging: 1 oz. bottle with dropper
- Longevity: Six months with daily use (3 drops)
- Retailer(s): AstridaNaturals.com, Amazon, and Etsy
The Astrida Naturals Mulberry and Licorice Brightening Facial Serum is amazing for those searching for radiant skin. The first ingredient, aloe vera juice, helps to moisturize the skin while providing antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits to combat bacteria, free radicals caused by damage and pollution, and inflammation, which leads to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Next is niacinamide, the beloved ingredient in many Olay products and the popular Mary Kay Even Complexion Essence. Niacinamide improves skin’s elasticity and erases discoloration, which is great for anti-aging. An even skin tone warrants plump, hydrated skin. Mulberry extract brightens the skin, working in tandem with the other ingredients to fight against discoloration. And the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of licorice roots are perfect for ladies with oily skin who are also looking for a natural ingredient that fights acne and reduces dark marks and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka acne marks).
Notice that these effective ingredients are all at the top of the ingredients list. Where else can you find this? And for $36? Only Astrida Naturals. For those who are skeptical about the effectiveness of natural products, this is one I strongly endorse. I purchased this product on April 10 and have been using it consistently (2-3x/week) for three months before writing this review. You see the photo above. The bottle is halfway done.
Since my skin is oily, I reserve this serum for nighttime use, especially since it is formulated with shea oil. After applying my toner, I dispense three drops directly on my face and massage it in a circular motion with my fingertips. The heat from hot climates stimulate the sebaceous glands, making oily skin even greasier, so I enjoy using this serum at night to reverse the effects of the day. For a serum that is acne fighting, evens your skin tone, and brightening darks marks, Astrida Naturals Mulberry & Licorice Brightening Facial Serum is the way to go.