I wanted to publish a post regarding my skin care routine because I’ve discussed complained about my acne issues on the blog before… and hey, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of this dark, nasty acne-ridden tunnel! For those of you who don’t know, I’ve struggled with cystic and hormonal acne since my senior year of high school and I have the lovely scars to prove it. I’ve been to many dermatologists, I’ve tried numerous treatments, and I’ve gone through the clear skin/zit farm cycle since my teenage years.
I shudder when I think about how much money I’ve wasted on prescriptions, Proactive, over-the-counter acne skin care sets at Sephora and Target, and all the “natural” methods I found on the Internet. Phew! It’s been a long journey, but my skin has finally stabilized due to lifestyle changes, gentle cleansing and something called Epiduo (God send).
Here are 6 tips to get rid of acne for good:
1. Change your diet
You’ve probably had people tell you this before, but changing your diet really does work. I used to scoff at all of the message boards and think, drinking more water and eating more fresh fruits/veggies won’t help this mess (aka my face), but it did! I still indulge on occasion (please see my Instagram photos) but I watch what I eat so much more than I did before. I’ve replaced soda with tea and lemon water, I don’t add as much salt to my meals, I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts, and I try to stay away from processed foods. I also take a hair, nail and skin supplement that I’ll discuss later.
I hate working out, I really do. But every time I go hiking, biking, or sweat excessively during the Insanity workouts my husband forces me to partake in, my skin feels amazing (after a long shower, of course). When you sweat, toxins are released from your skin and that’s why your pores feel open and clean.
3. Get naked
I never thought I’d go to work (when I had a job) or run errands without wearing foundation, powder and bronzer, but I did… and I still do. It’s sad that society has taught women to rely on makeup to feel beautiful — and it’s pathetic how nervous I was to go makeup-less for the first time — but that’s the world we live in. I still love makeup and wear it when we go to dinner or out with friends, but during the day, I usually only wear mascara. Sometimes your skin needs to breathe!
4. Blot off excess oil throughout the day
Instead of spending money on oil blotting sheets, I take paper napkins and stash them away in my purse. The napkins don’t mess up my makeup, but they do get rid of the nasty shine. I’m convinced this trick helps prevent pimples.
5. Be nice to your skin
Whenever I had a face full of pimples, I wanted to poke, pop and scrub them raw. I would overuse my Clarisonic, glob on harsh cleansers and creams that irritated my skin, and even attempted to extract underground pimples myself. I also had a Dermatologist tell me that I should try a tanning bed (what?!) to dry out my pimples. Tanning made my pimples angry and red, and I now have sun damage on my chest… please, be nice! When you keep things simple and gentle, your skin will have time to heal.
6. Find a Dermatologist that listens to YOU
I feel like I’m very in tune with my body and nothing ticks me off more than when a dermatologist tries to write me a bunch of prescriptions without even listening to my concerns. How will they know what treatment is right for you when they don’t even know what prescriptions you’ve tried in the past? Find someone who will sit down with you, examine your skin closely, and come up with a plan that actually works.
Here is my regimen for sensitive and acne-prone skin:
Blemish Relief White Clay & Shea Butter Bar: This little organic bar of clay and shea butter has completely changed the texture of my skin. I use it in the mornings when I don’t need to remove makeup, and it controls oil while making my face completely smooth.
Avène Cleanance Soap-Free Gel Cleanser: This is my go-to cleanser every single night when I need to remove grime and makeup. It’s soap-free, gentle and doesn’t sting my skin.
Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30: I’ve tried many moisturizers and most of them irritate my skin until my face actually turns red. Even though I absolutely hated the original Cetaphil moisturizer I was introduced to, this one is a winner.
L’Occitane Fresh Face Water: I am in love with this face water. It’s alcohol free and removes makeup, tones and moisturizes at the same time. It’s smells lovely and makes my skin feel fresh.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Sunscreen: I apply this sunscreen over my moisturizer every single day, even if I’m not going to be outside a lot. The formula is light, non-greasy and doesn’t make me break out. Since tanning made my cystic acne worse, I truly believe that sunscreen is key.
Phyto Phyophanere Hair & Nails Dietary Supplement: True story… I once stopped taking my supplements and my face looked like hot garbage. These babies have essential fatty oils, antioxidants and other ingredients that can prevent acne from the inside. And you don’t have to buy this brand — just compare the ingredients and find something else you like.
Epiduo: This is the only topical treatment that has worked for me. It won’t fix everything overnight — like, seriously, it took months — and the initial purge is so horrible you’ll probably cry a lot like I did, but it’s completely worth it.
PCA Peels (not pictured): Last year I went to an esthetician and had a set of 3 PCA Peels done. They were so gentle my skin didn’t even peel, but they unclogged my pores, reduced the appearance of acne scars and gave my skin a nice glow. I will continue to get a series of peels once a year.
Everyone is different but this is what cleared up my skin. I might get a single pimple around the time of my menstrual cycle, but that’s a whole lot better than having a face full of acne. If you’ve tried everything and are still struggling, birth control pills really work, although I stopped taking mine months ago since I had such great luck with the tips I listed.
Filed Under: Acne, Lifestyle