Many months ago I asked you for recommendations on the great triumvirate of skin care (cleanser, toner, moisturizer) for sensitive/oily/breakout-prone skin. I have tried a few different things since then, but have settled into a set I think I can live with. Cetaphil or Dove Beauty Bar for Sensitive Skin have worked fine as cleansers. The Dove bar in particular has been great in that it lasts forever, and costs virtually nothing. Never thought I'd like a bar of soap for my face, but it really leaves my face feeling nice and clean.
For the moisturizer, I've settled on Neutrogena Skin Clearing Moisturizer, with salicylic acid and retinol. Benzoyl peroxide, as an acne fighter--the active ingredient in Proactiv and many others--was peeling and drying my skin too much, and bleaching any cloth it touched in the bargain. Salicylic acid does not bleach, and is in low enough concentration in this mix to keep it from drying out my skin.
But the real money product, which I recommend enthusiastically to anyone, is plain old pure tea tree oil. I've been using it as a toner, dabbing a tiny bit onto a wet cotton ball (to dilute it--that stuff is strong!) and applying it between cleaning and moisturizing. My face, for the first time since puberty, has not been getting shiny by the end of the day; which is interesting, considering I'm actually putting oil onto it. But tea tree oil is not your average oil. It is a natural antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent. You can treat pretty much any infection on the exterior of your body with this stuff--cuts, scrapes, poison oak, athlete's foot, supposedly even yeast infections (!). Some people complain of the smell, which is sort of like eucalyptus and turpentine, but I actually like it; and anyway, the vapors vanish after a few minutes.
I do still get breakouts, yes, but they're fewer and less serious; and they heal faster. The little myriad bumps on my forehead, brought about by Proactiv, are gone. The tingle of the tea tree oil gives me a nice glow. All hail the weird little Australian tree!