my skin care routine | 6 tips to get rid of acne for good

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.

2. Sweat
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:

6 Tips to get rid of acne for good

 

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.

       
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Filed Under: Acne, Lifestyle43 Comments
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08199445695610808770 Angela Peters

    I love Cetaphil!! Thanks for sharing and I absolutely agree with all of your tips!!

    xo
    Ange

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13011807225792787568 Casey Aslan

    Great tips! I suffered from acne for years and ended up taking Accutane…intense but definitely worked for me.
    And I need to look into the supplements! Sounds like a great idea.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04685253944514672324 Jennifer

    I’m really glad you found things that work for you. I have had problems with acne in the past but I’m getting old enough now (almost 35) that my skin is dry in some places and I was drying it out too much with acne cleansers, so I have switched to a gentle Neutrogena one with one of their oil-free moisturizers and that has helped me a lot.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12004647900986865467 Katy

    These are great tips! I struggled with acne for years and it was horrible when I was in middle school and high school. I think my skin has finally grown out of it, but I still treat it like acne prone skin. I take a hair, skin and nails supplement every morning and I swear that’s doing wonders for my skin.

    http://skinstuffbykaty.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06625001742281959799 Ashley

    Thanks for this post! I’m going to try some of these. I agree with what you said about dermatologists not listening. The last one I went to forced a prescription on me even after I told him I’d used it before and it DIDN’T work. He didn’t bother asking me what products I used on my face either. When I asked him what moisturizer I should use, he told me if I have acne, then I don’t need moisturizer. I didn’t fill the prescription he gave me and I didn’t go back! My husband uses the napkin trick, I think I might start too! And I’m excited to try those cleansers and face water.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05397938436534381990 Kelly P

    I love Cetaphil! I use the moisturizer :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06425245107783930386 Jodi

    Great post. This is something that I struggled w/ for such a long time. It made me so sad to look in the mirror b/c I would feel so gross. I finally switched to a new dermatologist and got the right treatment which was awesome. But I always love hearing about products that others like. I’ve also never heard of that oral supplement. Sunscreen is so important and I always wear it too. So glad you found a routine that works for you!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17238318858529984513 Ginny

    Thanks for the post! I do the same things with napkins – and thought I was the only one! Thanks for the tip about the white clay balancing soap. Adding it to my wish list and going to try it! Thanks!

    Ginny
    http://www.moderncommonplacebook.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00399790095138803371 Teal Vogue

    This is a great post, I love seeing what facial products other people are using. So happy for you that you have found the products that work for you! :)

    Kate

    http://tealvogue.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13673033206542527050 Jenn

    Thanks so much for sharing. I continue to get sucked in with new products but my skin hates me afterwards. I need to remember to stick to the products that I know work for me. It’s a never ending battle.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00882827024745865244 Rachel @ front row seat

    I had no idea that sweating is actually good for your skin. I always thought it was the opposite..now I don’t have a good excuse to keep from working out. ha! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11479335750054931927 Leslie Hernandez

    Thanks so much for the awesome tips and for the product reviews it is very helpful for those of us that suffer from acne.

    Thanks

    Leslie(Bravenezz.com)
    XXXX

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16325846295515331238 Sara @ Sara in Texas

    Great post! I will definitely have to try some of these out. My skin goes through months when it’s clear and great, and then a month of awful-ness! Annoying, especially as a young adult trying to be professional!

    Sara

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16729300459045995864 Lady Indo

    I’ve been breaking out a bit over the past few months so this was a good post to read. It’s dying down but there are still red spots / scars (they just won’t go away!) but people keep telling me to visit a dermatologist and I keep delaying that process. This post helped me to be happy with my decision (I can’t believe she told you to go to the tanning bed -_-“).

    Lady Indo

  • http://expattravels.com/ Meryl @ Expat Travels

    I found cutting out grains + reducing dairy cleared my skin up completely. I’ve since heard that both gluten and dairy are common culprits.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12838101155785905633 Jennifer

    Great post. I have my usual huge cystic zit in the center of my eyebrows as we “speak”. Annoying! I use to be on a routine with my derm, but I had a baby and am still nursing so those things are not good for me.

  • http://themovetoamerica.wordpress.com/ themovetoamerica

    Great post!
    I too suffered from serious acne from the age of 11-18. I had it all over my face, back, chest and in my hair line and it made me feel so unhappy. My doctor gave me lotions and potions to try and eventually some long term pills. None of it worked so she refered me to the main hospital where she also worked as a dermatologist and put me on Rocautane. It is a serious medication with serious side effects but it worked. I was on it for 3/4 months and suffered some horrible things because of it but it was worth it as it completely cleared up.
    Thanks for sharing, it is so helpful to realise other people understand and have gone through it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14649925876032481504 Amanda

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15595967086979768400 Michael

    How’s the greasiness of the Cetaphil moisturizer? I’m using the Target brand of Neutrogena with SPF right now and I’m not loving it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12518239232924662332 SweetMarie83

    This is a great post. I’ve dealt with breakouts my whole life too and I’ve tried so many different things. My mum happened to see me washing my face a couple months ago and pointed out that I was too rough…I seem to produce dead skin on my face like you wouldn’t believe, so I tended to scrub to get it all off, but I started being gentler and I had far fewer breakouts. Then a couple weeks ago I was getting an electrocardiogram done and the technician out of the blue mentioned my acne and said she tells everyone she can about a secret she discovered: Ivory soap. She said her son and daughter-in-law had acne for years and they heard about using plain old Ivory soap and it cleared up their skin so she tried it and it worked on her too. I’ve been using it for less than two weeks and I already notice a difference – far fewer breakouts and my skin is much softer and less oily. Plus it’s like $1.50 for three bars, which is a nice change from expensive face wash! BTW, the napkin trick is genius, I do that too. Who needs expensive blotting papers? ;-)

    ~Marie @ Lost and Found ~ Reflections of a Daydreamer

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03222437193341574739 kayleigh maryon

    I have also suffered from acne especially from travelling around Australia with such a big climate change. My favourite products that I have worked with as an Esthetician would be Emenience Organic. The products for oily/hormonal skin are excellent. I would also suggest microdermabrasion or AHA peels by a professional to get rid of the scars. Treatments of about six make a huge difference.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08050842513843517537 Samantha (at) Life Style Love

    I have a hard time controlling my acne too and sometimes feel so stupid because it seems like acne should be a “teenage-girl” thing, not a “25-year old woman” thing! Thanks for sharing those tips and the products you use – I haven’t heard of most of those products so I might need to try a few out :)

    xo Samantha
    http://lifestyleloveblog.blogspot.com

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a95a88d5970b Kathy

    i found that diet plays a HUGE role in the condition of your skin. when i cleaned up my diet, my eczema went away and just looked better in general.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13108277504908086831 Quinn

    Great tips!. I think ‘Get Naked’ is probably the only one that I don’t really follow, but know I should. I just feel so, well, naked without makeup. Definitely something I will be working on this summer!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17407264912813700256 John Mathews

    Nice tips. I also use a good, deep cleansing clay facial mask once a week and that really cleans the pores and keeps my oil lever balanced to prevent breakouts.
    http://beautifulfacial.xanga.com/772657770/treat-rosacea-to-get-clear-skin/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00230390071037087205 Alison Clarke

    Great tips. I love your skin care routine. I never take care of my diet so thanks for information.

    Alison Clarke
    obagi nu derm starter kit

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06517644801354224224 JOSEPH THOMAS

    I absolutely agree with your tips But I have one more tip – Drink sufficient amount of drinking water. You have been told that 8 glasses of drinking water a day is recommended. Enough drinking water in your body allows in better functioning of your systems.

    Natural Skin Care Products

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13573205759995080361 Lesa Mitchell

    To say cosmetics and makeup products are huge sellers on market would be a massive understatement. Billions of dollars are spent on makeup every year. A few of those cosmetic items may be oil based and those prone to suffer from acne breakouts are well advised to stay away from them.
    Oil can clog the skin and if you want to reduce the number of acne breakouts you get, you have to stay away from oil based cosmetics.
    thorough healthcareguru website

  • Gem De Leon

    These are all cosmetics. Thank you for sharing, but I prefer natural methods rather than using cosmetic products. Just wanted to share some information about how to get rid of acne fast.

    http://getridofacnefast.net

  • http://www.onlineusadoctors.com/ Terrie Dawson

    Wonderful tips!! A proper diet is best for skin and Water Off course best source
    for glowing skin. I enjoyed your tips a lot, Mine problem is that I pop up
    pimple of my face which obviously irritate me. I prefer to ask from online
    doctors they helped me to overcome my problem.

  • http://www.dermology.us/ Terrie Dawson

    I agreed we spend a lot in these cosmetics every year but some of them are effective and good. And which type of Oil based cosmetics are you talking about can you please explain??

  • http://www.companylitigation.net/ James

    Changing our food habit really can help to avoid several disorders. Especially eating oily foods more often causes pimples and wrinkles of skin.

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