I had to stop using tretinoin for more than 3 months and change my whole skin care routine because I got pregnant. I’m no longer pregnant and I think I’ve already accepted what happened. I decided to use tretinoin again (I was in denial for a while and still avoided products and activities that pregnant women are supposed to avoid).

Incidentally, Olay sent me two pore minimizing products: Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing CC Cream* and Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing Toner*.

To be honest, I don’t know how I would review those two individually.  I believe products interact with each other. Since I’m using tretinoin, which is a ‘drug’, it would be harder to isolate the effect(s) of the other products I will be putting on my face.

I guess it’s timely that I got them — both the pore minimizing toner and the CC cream has niacinamide.  I read a few studies saying that niacinamide helps reduce irritation from tretinoin.

In the coming months (or until I finish up either the toner or the cc cream), this will be my skin care routine:

Skin Care Routine | June 2015
Skin Care Routine | June 2015

Morning Routine

Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser.  I will be finishing this up since I only have a fifth of it left.  I will replace it with another non-foaming cleanser once it’s emptied out. [Purchased from Healthy Options, I forgot the price but I’ll check and update this post once I get the info.]

Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing Toner*.  I got really excited when I found out that Olay PH finally carries a non-alcohol-based toner. I got even more excited when I saw that it has niacinamide.  Back when I still believed that I needed to use a toner, the only available option from Olay was the oil-minimizing toner with SD Alcohol 40 listed second in the ingredients list. [I saw this at Watsons, priced at Php 849. *I got mine as a PR Sample.]

Moisturizer/ Sunscreen
Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing CC Cream SPF 15*.  This product reminds me a lot of Olay Total Effects Touch of Foundation, only the CC Cream seems a little bit more runny.  Unfortunately, the CC Cream only has SPF 15.  I need at least SPF 30 (with lots of UVA protection) since I’m using tretinoin.  I would only use this when I know I’ll just be staying indoors all day. [I saw this at Watsons, priced at Php 499. *I got mine as a PR Sample.]

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF 40+++ [4.5 Warm Beige].  This is a recent purchase that I’m also currently testing out.  This is what I will use as my moisturizer/sunscreen if I’m going outdoors.  As you can tell, I don’t like layering goop so I won’t be using a separate moisturizer.  The two latter products are emollient enough.  [Purchased from Bobbi Brown Mall of Asia, Php 3,500]

Evening Routine

I will use a makeup remover (bifesta or bioderma) before using the cleanser and toner listed in my morning routine.

On the Olay Toner label, it says something like: “best used with Olay Total Effect Night Cream”.  I find night creams too heavy for my oily skin so I’ll just stick with the one I already own, Olay White Radiance Cellucent Serum.  It’s lightweight but is moisturizing enough for me.

Read a book, watch a sitcom, or catch up on youtube videos

Apply tretinoin right before going to sleep
Stieva A Tretinoin Cream 0.025%.  I used to use Stieva A Forte 0.1%, but I haven’t been breaking out that much anymore.  I think 0.025% is enough for maintenance.  Same as before, I’ll start slow.


Cure Nature Aqua Gel (Exfoliant).  I will use this as needed e.g. when I feel that my skin is getting ruddy.

* * *

I feel like I’m treading dangerous waters here.  I’ve already added the pore minimizer into my routine last week and didn’t experience any negative reaction.  I’ve also already tried the cc cream before and didn’t react negatively as well.  If my skin breaks out, bahala na, I’ll cross the bridge when I get there.

Expectations:  Since I will be layering niacinamide products, I’m not expecting adverse irritation from tretinoin as I slowly add it in to the routine.  I’m also hoping that those two Olay products could improve the appearance of my pores. Tretinoin alone didn’t do much in that area.

I’ll update in two weeks or if there will be adjustments to the routine.


Hi, I’m Rae and I am a scatterbrain. I am in my 30s and I write in this blog from the Philippines. I spend a tiny portion of my time de-stressing with makeup and skin care. Email: scatterbraintures@gmail.com | Instagram: @scatterbraintures


  1. How’s Cure? Is it worth it? Do you have an updated beauty regimen post? I need to figure out what to do, and I think we have similar skin types. Thanks!

    • Rae Reply

      I use The Ordinary products right now:

      AM: Gel cleanser (no particular brand), The Ordinary Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, TFS CC Cushion SPF50+++

      PM: Gel cleanser, The Ordinary Niacinamide, The Ordinary 2% Advanced Retinoid

      Once a week: The Ordinary Lactic Acid

  2. Hi ate Rae! Dati po kasi gumamit ako ng Maxi peel pero di ko po nagustuhan naging texture ng balat ko. Mas gusto ko pa yung dati. Makakatulong po ba Retin A (tretinoin). Help naman po. Thanks! =)

      • Parang kumapal yung balat tapos pale ang kulay. Di rin siya nakakaabsorb ng creams, parang nakapatong lang sa ibabaw. Wala po ako visible pores before pero now meron na. Truth is I really regret using this(Maxi peel). Really don’t know what I was thinking when I used it. Feels like it’s bad effects are here to stay if I don’t do anything about it. I’d like to consider Retinols that I want to buy from trusted/U.S.brands but I can’t find any. Suggestions po na Retinol products Ate Rae. =))

        • Rae Reply

          Naghahanap nga rin ako ng retinol. The only one I found sa reviews na ok (and suggested by cosmetic chemists, too) os neutrogena, pero wala dito.

          Anyway, I stumbled upon a forum site ng users ng products with tretinoin na nakaexperience ng pareho ng nakaexperience mo now. Skin care talk ata yung name ng forum site. Ako kasi before malalaki na talaga yung pores ko. So when I used this, walang change sa pore size. I honestly didn’t know that could happen to people na hindi ganun ka visible yung pores.

          That’s why I don’t really recommend maxi peel. It’s a last resort type of product for me. For people like me noon na parang our skin is at a state na it can only get better.

          • JENNYJAM

            My mom is using it ocassionally like twice a month thats why I got an access to this solution. But in my case I used it every day for a month like what I’ve read in the blogs and forums. Anyway I am looking for a good Retin A and I’d like to try that Stieva A. Where did you bought yours po Ate Rae? Is it available in Watson?

          • Rae

            Try mercury drug or watsons. Pero lately daw madalas out of stock

          • JENNYJAM

            Thanks po Ate Rae. I will constantly check for it on Watsons every week. Hope they don’t get annoyed with me. hahaah.

        • Rae Reply

          Yung mga nasa forums, they stopped using all retinoids (pati retinol), and they just focused on moisturizing the skin. I’ll reply to your comment again once I find the link.

    • Rae Reply

      I’m not so sure if makakatulong yung Retin A kasi tretinoin din sya. Yung maxi-peel tretinoin din may hydroquinone lang). Nabasa ko nga din yan sa forums na US-based. Nawala daw yung acne nila sa tretinoin pero nag-iba yung texture ng skin and parang mas malaki daw yung pores. Is that what happened to you?

  3. Will wait for your update on this! I have problems with my pores too! currently using loreal revitalift and anti aging line, so far super okay but still medyo oily parin and my pores are still big.

    • I gave up on oiliness na. Kaya pores na lang. Pero I don’t have high hopes din haha.

  4. I wanted to start using tretinoin (for my laugh line) but I’m afraid that it will irritate my skin (maybe I have to research for a milder product). I hope you are okay :)

    • I read a clinical study that over time nagiging pareho din daw ang effect nang retinol and tretinoin. And retinol seems to be the better option because less irritation daw.

      Let me know if you find one :)

  5. Unpaletteable Reply

    ‘Pore minimizing’ is usually toner secret code for ‘lots of alcohol!’ so that Olay is a cool find. I’ve been using a toner of theirs (‘Anti Wrinkle’) with niacinamide alongside a retinol cream with no problems, so I hope you find the same.

    • Which one is that? I’m curious.

      They have a newer one, Olay Regenerist Miracle Boost and I really want to try it :D It has niacinamide din. Will check if it’s ‘Anti Wrinkle’

      Thanks for sharing :)

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