Here we are at the second part of My Acne Story and probably the one you are looking forward to most! If you missed the introduction to my acne that I shared yesterday, click here to read that first to find out a little bit more about my acne.
If you're looking for me to tell you about a quick fix cream that will cure everything I sadly am here to tell you I don't have that. What I can share with you though are some of the lifestyle changes I made that I think dramatically helped my skin and also some products that I've changed in my skin care routine that have led to my clearer and much more radiant skin. Nothing was a quick overnight change and I'm not saying all of these will work the same for you, but I believe they are worth trying if you're struggling with some similar acne issues. We are all unique and this means we will have to sometimes try a lot of different things to find what works for us individually. Patience is key though and so is the ability to form good habits.
I noticed that my acne was always occurring in my chin and jawline area which is a sign of digestive issues or hormonal acne so I knew I needed to not only try new products but make some changes in my lifestyle too to help my skin. In regards to the hormonal acne, there isn't much you can change. Women in their 20's and 30's undergo many hormone fluctuations due to the fact that it's the time in our lives when we have children. This can cause breakouts which much like those lovely ones we get during our periods, we can't do much about except keep our skin happy and clean. I lost a significant amount of weight during this time period which I think is what set off my initial acne because significant weight change can cause your hormone levels to fluctuate. But let's get back to the things I did change that helped!
1. The first thing I started doing more of was drinking more water. I've always been good at drinking water but I knew I wanted to make a conscience effort to drink even more (to compensate for all those cups of coffee I consume...) because I know it's good for the skin. This may seem silly for some of you but as a competitive person, downloading an app that kept track of my water consumption everyday made it a game which reminded me to do it. I like the app 'iDrated' but there's many that work well in the App Store.
2. I have been a milk addict since I was a baby so this next change was really hard but I'm proud to say that I switched from cow's milk to almond milk. While its tough to say that acne is caused by certain foods, we can say that eating foods that are less inflammatory (i.e. Dairy, spicy foods, sugar) can help our skin from freaking out. I still eat some dairy here and there but my main consumption was definitely through milk so I'm glad I was able to give it up. I really enjoy the almond milk fortified with fiber and protein as a replacement!
3. Stress management was huge. If you've ever experienced breakouts due to an increase in stress you'll understand this one. When we're stressed our skin has no problem showing us, so managing it is huge when it comes to healing acne. Whether it's doing more yoga and meditation or cutting out toxic relationships in our lives, it's important to evaluate your life and figure out a way to cut down on stress levels. Not only will your skin improve but your sanity will thank you haha. I was extremely stressed during my period of terrible breakouts and while I am just as busy now as I was then, I've found ways to let go of things that don't matter and decrease my stress levels. If you need more suggestions or ideas for this leave a comment below and I would be happy to share with you what I've done.
SKIN CARE ROUTINE CHANGES
Now for the fun part. Products! Before I can share what I've been loving I need to slap a big ole warning label on this section. No matter what you try you absolutely must get in the habit of a good skin care routine. I have not gone to bed without taking my makeup off in a very very long time and even if I don't wear any makeup that day, I STILL use my same routine at night. Going to bed without cleansing your skin is like writing a personal invitation to acne to show up ASAP wherever it would like. No thank you. So you must become consistent with a routine if you want to clear up your skin. Let's not forget about the morning either! I have a simplified routine for the morning that's not quite as in depth, but still deep cleanses my skin and preps it for the day!
Another huge part of this is to give products a fair shot. It takes the average person's skin 4 to 6 weeks to turnover so we can't expect miracles overnight. Give products a few weeks to see if they are helping. If you notice sensitivities of course discontinue using them right away, but don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away. Like I mentioned before, patience and forming good habits are key! (Think of this as a skin diet)
So above we have six products that are holy grail for me that I have continued using even after my skin is healed for the majority. Starting on the very left and going clockwise we have the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion, Ole Henriksen Aloe Vera Deep Cleanser, Ecotools Pure Complexion Deep Cleansing Charcoal Facial Sponge, Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant, Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil, and lastly the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask. Now let's go over them one by one.
I start with the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion because I believe it is the item that has done the most for me. I had heard rave reviews about this product for cystic acne so I jumped at the chance to try it. It's rare to see skincare targeted for cystic acne because I was always told there's nothing you can do for it since it is deep in the dermis. The deep penetrating and fast absorbing formula is full of B vitamins and amino acids which target the deep cystic acne, but there are also many anti-inflammatory herbal extracts that help soothe the irritated areas. It's a really thin liquid which is pretty strange to get used to but I simply apply this product to my whole chin and jaw area where I either have acne or am likely to get it and it keeps breakouts at a minimum. I wouldn't go a night without this product and could not recommend it more. The only thing I would be careful of is applying it to any open blemishes becaue it can sting a little. If there's anything you try from this post for hormonal cystic acne near your chin or jaw, make it this one!
The next two products I use together to cleanse my skin after I've already removed my makeup. The ECOTOOLS PURE COMPLEXION DEEP CLEANSING CHARCOAL FACIAL SPONGE is a miracle worker when combined with the OLE HENRIKSEN ALOE VERA DEEP CLEANSER. Both products give me a good deep clean feeling and get rid of any excess oil buildup in my skin. The cleanser has soothing aloe vera, chamomile, and vitamins to sooth my skin yet effectively treat and help restore balance. Both combination and oily acne prone skin types can use this. The facial sponge is a good way to gently exfoliate my skin a little while pulling impurities with the added charcoal to give me a very deep and soothing cleanse. If you've read previous posts of mine, you would know that I'm not big on mechanical exfoliation for my skin because it's sensitive and I have a lot of hyperpigmentation, but I find that this is a gentle way to get some of the benefits without causing more harm.
The AVEDA BOTANICAL KINETICS EXFOLIANT is another holy grail for me because there aren't a lot of products like it on the market. It's a simple and gentle chemical exfoliant that you apply in the evening instead of a toner with a cotton pad to your face. The exfoliant breaks down dead skin cells overnight to reveal smoother skin. For me, this is huge because I prefer chemical exfoliating. I like that this is something I can apply gently every night and it's boosting my cell turnover and keeping my pores free of dead skin cells that can trap debris and bacteria in my pores to contribute to more blemishes. I think this is another huge factor in what has helped clear up my skin. Consistently getting rid of the dead skin cells is keeping my pores clean and reducing the likelihood that oil and impurities will get trapped and create that perfect environment for the acne bacteria to want to live. I use this exfoliant only at night.
Next up is my favorite moisturizer. I joke at work that I would shower in this stuff if it wasn't so expensive and that would be none other than my best friend PURE MARACUJA OIL FROM TARTE COSMETICS. If you've never heard me mention this then you must have been accidentally reading someone else's blog haha. I use this both day and night as a moisturizer for my face. Now I know what you're thinking. ADD OIL TO OILY SKIN?! You must be crazy! But in order for our skin to function properly we need some oil. If we strip our skin of too much, we will end up doing the opposite of what we want and forcing our skin to produce even more oil because it will freak out that there's nothing there. We need some oil to protect our skin. I find that using this oil as a moisturizer gives me enough moisture without being greasy that my skin doesn't produce extra oil. Plus I haven't even mentioned the amazing benefits it has because it is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants because guess what...Maracuja oil is pure passion fruit oil so this lovely friend is Brazilian like myself (As if I needed more reasons to love it haha). Vitamin C is amazing for evening out your skin tone and fading hyperpigmentation so I love the effect it is having on my acne scars! They are slowly going away! My skin is also becoming more radiant overall. It also helps with fine lines and wrinkles, so this is an amazing product for women who are starting to think about anti-aging products but still dealing with adult acne! I know the price can be scary at $46 but the bottle is huge and if you use only a few drops a day I promise it will last you at least a year which is pretty cheap overall.
Lastly, we have my favorite charcoal clearing mask, the ORIGINS CLEAR IMPROVEMENTS ACTIVE CHARCOAL MASK. I love this stuff. I use it once a week for a few reasons. The active charcoal works like a magnet drawing deep impurities out of your pores. The white clay absorbs environmental toxins in your skin, and the lecithin dissolves the impurities. Overall you get an extremely deep clean and refreshed happy skin. Plus it's always fun to put a mask on that's a crazy color like gray.
So there we have it. The changes I made in both my lifestyle and my skin routine that have brought me clearer and happier skin. If you have tips that have helped please be sure to share! Just remember to have patience and I promise you can get rid of your acne too!
Come back tomorrow for my post on what I used to camouflage my acne while it was still there!
Acne or no acne, have a beautiful day!