A Little Holiday Gift: An Actually Upbeat X-Mas Playlist

Hi there! Been a little sidetracked by the holidays, to say the least. In the meantime, wanted to share a truly upbeat holiday playlist from me to you.

The holidays can be a tough time for some of us. It can be a stark reminder of who isn’t with us. Many holiday songs have lyrics or tone that can add to that struggle. So, I’ve searched high & low for ones that are playfully cozy.

I’ve chucked the typical ones so we can take a pause to make new memories. And dug up some fun ones that have fallen by the wayside & deserve their time to shine – both old & new! Expect some sprinkles of funk, 60’s cool cat, jazz, pop, & a little Legend (the new Mariah, I’m calling it!!).

Curl up & take a listen below! Or find & follow it on Spotify as “Cozy Christmas Bops” playlist from Fifteen Skincare to take it wherever you wish to bring cheer.

Have a bunch in the works & excited to share more posts soon!

Till then, be warm & be well.

Peace & joy,


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Is It Hormonal Acne or Your Toothpaste?

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through & make a purchase.

All opinions are honest + my own. All products are put through a 2 week test period conducted on myself.

At the 2 week mark of my Test-Avoid experiment, my face was basically clear of new breakouts except for a few near my mouth. Before, I would write these off as classic hormonal chin acne.

But, I had noticed some would occasionally appear at the center of my Cupid’s bow, somewhere between lips & nose (a perverse version of a beauty mark), or near the corner of my lips. That placement, especially at the center of my Cupid’s bow, seemed a little too outside the normal hormonal acne chin zone.

Photo by Alina Kovalchuk on Unsplash

I decided to take these outliers as a clue that perhaps there was still a puzzle piece hidden somewhere in my daily regimen.

On a hunch, I checked my toothpaste’s ingredient list & found (*cue swears*) one of my test-avoid ingredients. A light online dig (bada bing, bada boom) unearthed articles noting toothpaste was indeed a culprit for some people, backing up my theory.

Ran back to the store & bought the only toothpaste I could get my hands on that fit my test’s parameters.

Those stubborn pimples around the true “hormonal” chin area?  Disappeared. In days.

What I was experiencing wasn’t hormonal acne, it was a drip-line reaction to the SLS in my toothpaste. 

Can I experience hormonal acne?  For sure, like any human girl.  But all the time?  Not me once I switched to a non-SLS toothpaste. 

I just wish I had bumped into that FYI years ago. About a $5 toothpaste investment prevented at least $50 in zit targeting creams & moisturizers. Moisturizers mainly to try to combat the overdrying & peeling that acne targeting products usually caused on my skin.

What’s that saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

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Sensitive Skin Starting Talk – My Acne Breakthrough

A good sensitive skin routine begins in the shower.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through & make a purchase.

All opinions are honest + my own. All products are put through a 2 week test period conducted on myself.

About 4 years ago, I had one of my worst acne breakouts. It was out of control & not letting me rein it in despite all my best efforts. Worst – it was July, the height of the summer, a time when everyone’s wearing the least amount of clothes coverage. Skin exposure is at its lowest tidal ebb. And my skin was at its worst. Yay.

Usually, summer was the one time I was a bit less pimply, and I could get a slight pressure release from my struggles. This breakout just made no sense.

Nothing was in play that “you just have to be more diligent” or “you have to take better care of yourself” could claim any ownership from what I was experiencing.

  1. I was not stressed at all – nothing stressful in my work or personal life.
  2. My sleep levels weren’t suffering. In fact, they were great!
  3. I wasn’t “eating badly”.
  4. It wasn’t even that time of the month.


Then I Thought – What If Something I’m Using Daily Is Causing This?

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Call me ignorant, but until then, I had so many voices telling me I just wasn’t trying hard enough to prevent or control my breakouts. This was the first time I had a moment when I was absolutely sure it wasn’t something I was doing wrong.

So, half determined & half feeling I was going down a bizarre path with a dead-end, I pulled together an annoyingly wide list of ingredients. They included: a) what everyday people online believed was affecting their skin b) anything noted as known or possible acne causers according to articles out there. Call it one part acne sufferers poll, one part research.  

Taking this list, I spent almost 2 hours at my local drug store – my closest ASAP toiletries source when I was living in NYC. I was there so long they asked me 2 or 3 times if I needed help. I’m sure I looked like a weirdo kneeling on the floor in the middle of the night, squinting at a bunch of bottles while I scoured the ingredient lists of shampoos, conditioners, & body wash. But, finally, I found a few that fit.

The Test-Avoid List:

I wanted as pure an experiment as I could get for the clearest answer possible. So, this meant being strict about sticking only to these. No post-shower hair adds – even if my hair needs it.

Within 4 days, my skin calmed & almost cleared. Within a week, my skin was clear enough to go nearly make-up free. That is, from full coverage make-up to only touching-up the healing areas or post-acne dark spot zones. I kid you not.

Boom. Answers.

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My skin was reacting to a product.

Most importantly, I was starting to see a pattern: my skin was aligning with ingredients commonly described as “for sensitive skin”.

What I came to figure out was SLS/SLES, a foaming detergent found in most shampoos & body washes, was too much for my skin type. And silicones, frequently found in conditioners to give that lovely silky smoothness, were also too clogging for my skin. Basically, my skin was getting a 1-2 punch. 

Even after all my dermatologist appointments and 15 years of acne, I had no idea that products were my core problem. I thought I just had normal, acne-prone skin.

Jump to Part 2