Hello friends! So, although many of you may not know this, I suffered from acne for quite some time. Throughout high school and college, I was lucky enough to have fairly clear skin. I would get a pimple here and there but chalked it up to puberty or hormones and they always went away soon enough so it honestly didn’t truly bother me. Somehow, though, as I graduated from college, when I was around 21 and 22, my face began a full-on mutiny against me and I would wake up with over a dozen pimples on my face on any given day. I’d stress out so much over them and throw so much time, energy, and money on masks, cleansers, steaming, facials, you name it. I would get my skin clear for a day or two before the next bout of pimples popped up. It was exhausting.
Acne is looked at so negatively like anyone who might have acne doesn’t wash their face or has bad hygiene. But that isn’t true at all. Sometimes, our body don’t warn us and all of the sudden there are marks all over our faces that we can’t get rid of for so many reasons from diet to hormones to stress. My acne caused me to have serious confidence issues. I mean, ask anyone, I was very insecure about my face. I would use more makeup to cover them up each day, using full-coverage foundation and powder just for work or errands, disguise them as beauty marks, and once even ordered pills online to try to get rid of them (this didn’t work.) I got the most expensive skincare products I could find but they didn’t work. I then went all natural and used only natural products / makeup (this doesn’t work either.) Nothing worked. So, as someone who’s literally tried it all- here are my steps to what cleared my skin.
- Find yourself a darn good dermatologist. SO many people will complain about acne for years and years. I was one of them. Finally, after seeing several dermatologists who didn’t actually end up helping me out, (one gave me a cleanser which broke out my entire face in small bumps) my mom suggested I go to her dermatologist. Her doctor had a closed practice, which means she doesn’t take on new patients aka she’s so good she doesn’t need any new business. I squeezed myself into her schedule and she immediately prescribed me 2 creams for spot treatment- one for the night and one for the morning. I have to use them sparingly, because they are STRONG and they cost over $100 altogether (with insurance) and I pay almost $200 per visit but it is so worth it. What is a more important investment than your skin? (If you’re unsure what derm to go to, ask your friends or friend’s moms with amazing skin who they see. I’m sure you’ll get some good recommendations! Try them out until one really understands your skin and your issues.)
- Taking medicine is okay, too. After the creams only did their jobs for so long, my acne started up again and this time it was on my chest and back. My dermatologist prescribed me medication, which I would slowly wean myself off of, to get my flair-ups under control, and she gave me some sort of antiseptic wipe for my back and chest. She also told me to stop going to hot yoga, assuming that the bacteria in the yoga studio was the culprit for my sensitive skin. I was sad to see my hot yoga hobby go but my body acne completely disappeared after about a week and my face cleared up entirely after about a month on the pills. I don’t like taking more medicine than I need to. But in this case, it was a lifesaver.
- Don’t overthink your skincare routine. When I was going through my rough periods with my skin, I would try extensive skincare routines. A face-mask, then cleanser, then two toners, then moisturizer, then serum, then a mask for bedtime… yuck. No wonder my skin was freaking out. One day, I had an epiphany and went back to basics. I went back to the Clean N Clear cleanser I was using in high school and it worked so well! Now, I’ve slightly upgraded to Cerave’s cleanser. But nonetheless, they’re both fairly cheap and they get the job done. I use this toner (currently trying out this one) and then I use a really simple Aveeno moisturizer. My products combined all less than $100 and this simple 3-step routine is working! I threw out or donated so much of my half-used skincare products and I am so much better off now.
- Give your face TLC but not too much. Like I said above, too many products is a bad thing. I remove my makeup (this is SO OBVIOUS but still), cleanse, tone, and moisturize every single day, twice a day. I also jade roll my face at night when I have time, too. I love jade rolling because my skin always looks amazing the next day. (It makes my skin look smoother and more toned!) But, when it comes to other self-care treatments- like this Tea Tree mask– I stick to doing them about once a week and that’s it. I don’t put serums, face masks, exfoliator, anything like that on my face more than one or twice a week, tops. I like doing them! But I know too much is not good for my sensitive skin.
- Sun is a good thing! Yes, sunburn, cancer, sun spots, and wrinkles are all very real concerns. But no one says sitting out in the sun, properly covered in SPF is necessarily a bad thing, either. In fact, every time I do this, my skin clears up so much the next day and I look overall healthier due to my new glow. Embrace that Vitamin D! Just be sure to bring a hat or sunglasses if you’re fair skinned so you don’t get too much sun. P.S. If you live by the ocean, salt water is great for skin, too.
- Stop picking! My New Years resolution last year was to stop picking at my pimples and I’m not even kidding, my acne got worse for about a week and then it went away by about 50%. I know it’s nearly impossible not to pick at those little buggers, but I PROMISE you, you’re spreading germs which cause more pimples in the same area and you’re most likely going to make that pimple bigger, redder, and last longer. Unless you are a licensed aesthetician, just step away from the mirror and go to bed.
- Be confident. My last tip is such a big one. About a year ago, I went on a girls trip to Florida and I remember my face was COVERED in acne. I counted over 20 small spots on my face and me picking at them was making it worse. My friends convinced me (even though I didn’t want to) to go makeup free for mostly the entire trip. I remember one of them saying, “no one is going to remember whether your face was clear or not on this trip but you.” And they were right! Looking back, it was one of the most fun trips and after about a day or so of walking around feeling like people were judging me, I stopped caring. My skin actually cleared up a whole bunch on that trip but partly, I think it was because I stopped stressing. Acne normal and it’s okay. You’re beautiful because you’re you, not because your skin is clear. And if ANYONE judges or even pokes fun at you based on acne you cannot control, then please remove them from your life.