My Acne Story + Current Skincare Routine
Over the past couple of years I’ve unexpectedly received comments and questions about how my skin is so clear. It makes me laugh and cringe and furrow my brows all at once because as much as my skin has been clear the last two years, it’s been such an emotional roller coaster dealing with hormonal acne and the lack of self esteem that was deeply rooted within it. I've recently adopted the notion of "disease is the cure." It's mind blowing to think that acne is simply happening because your body's toxic load (caused by diet, stress, other lifestyle factors) is overflowing. If you have acne please know there is help and it's a sign that your body is trying to heal you!
A Pimplistic Timeline
I won’t bore you with my “woe is me” acne story but it might be helpful to give you a rough idea of how shameful the experience was for me and the things I’ve personally learned along the way to finally clear my skin (and PS I still get breakouts!):
• To my dismay, at the ripe age of 13 I discovered a village of cystic acne had migrated on my face
• For two years I struggled with having to face kids at school, fearing that no one would like me let alone want to date me
• I tried every unpronounceable generic acne product found through online research with no luck or even worse results
• I had a nasty habit of picking at my face which only made matters worse (a vicious habit, really)
Around 15 I got my shit together and started seeing dermatologists, who did fuck all for my skin until I found an amazing dermatologist who was able to finally help clear up my skin by prescribing Yasmin birth control pill. The results were immediate and my self esteem finally restored itself. Unfortunately though, over the years I began to learn the negative side effects of Yasmin (note to self: dedicate an entire blog post to this) and decided to go off the pill completely. As soon as that happened my skin issues surfaced again since the pill was only treating the superficial symptoms of my acne.
Today I’ve never been happier with my skin because I know I’ve come a long way and finally feel empowered with my skin. I've gotten to the root cause instead of just treating symptoms. I've learned how important self-love and self esteem are to having clear skin. What worked for me might not work for you, but going Vegan is the thing that literally saved my skin. Cutting out meat and dairy had a great affect on my metabolism, and within a week my skin cleared up (note: some people who go Vegan will experience a temporary skin re-tox before their acne finally gets better). Eating tons of vitamin-rich fruits and drinking water also really helped. My diet has changed tremendously since I’ve been plantbased for 3 years now but here are some additional tips that have helped my skin along the way (*note I have dry skin*):
• Wash face with just water and/or lightly exfoliate with the Clarisonic Mia 2 (If I'm applying makeup afterwards, exfoliating helps the application process go much smoother, *WARNING* PLEASE do not use an exfoliating brush on cystic acne as it can further annoy the shit out of your skin/spread bacteria and cause further breakouts).
• Apply moisturizer (I’m still on the hunt for a low-no oil moisturizer), I currently use Skin Drink from Lush Cosmetics because it helps my makeup apply super smooth and keeps my skin hydrated (only downside, it's terrible for my acne-prone skin, if I use it too often I have the worst break outs)
• Add a drop of doTERRA’s Frankincense and/or Myrrh essential oils (Frankincense is “the king of oils” and helps reduce acne scarring), Myrrh is great for anti-aging. My skin seems to be fine when I use just a drop or two of therapeutic-grade essential oils (contact me here on more info on the best way to buy these).
• Exfoliate/remove makeup with Clarisonic MIA 2 (it’s seriously worth the money but I've also used Vanity Planet’s budget-friendly spin brush for a year with no complaints - ideally in the shower) and Dr Bronner’s bar or liquid soap as a cleanser
• Apply Sunday Riley’s Good Genes + Luna Oil (contains anti-aging/acne scar-fading retinol) - I’ve been using these products for a month now and they’ve done WONDERS. My skin feels baby butt-smooth, and I swear my cells are regenerating overnight with this stuff. I never want to live without it. Before using Sunday Riley’s products I used a not-worth-mentioning oil-free moisturizer from my local health food store to prevent breakouts )
Lifestyle Tips for Clear Skin
• Drink 3-4 cups filtered or alkaline water (lemon for extra ph-balancing pzazz) upon rising every morning, and plenty of water throughout the day
• Consider adding carrot juice to your regime (vitamin A is amazing for the skin)
• Replace dairy with plant based alternatives (dairy contains hormones as it's sourced from pregnant animals and not designed for human consumption)
• Focus on eating Whole Foods. Avoid processed foods that can contain a ton of sodium (can cause water retention in the face), refined sugar and oil (this combination will create bacteria that acne will feed off and make grow bigger, and sugar = more inflammation = increased skin aging)
• Consider taking a daily probiotic (does wonders for the gut and will help clear toxins from your body to prevent acne from building up). My favorites are from Natren (must keep refrigerated) and Real Food Omega (travel friendly)
• Work up a sweat around 3X a week (for me that means yoga)
• Reduce Stress - Consider taking Ashwaganda root and Magnesium powder / spray (on feet) daily to reduce stress (or meditate, dance to a crazy playlist on Spotify, or do yoga (Stress wreaks HAVOC on your skin)
• If you're serious about looking after your skin but also love to drink alcohol, try sticking to clear spirits instead of sugary cocktails or salt-laden beer. Regardless, all alcohol dehydrates the skin! If you have rosacea, red wine is also more likely to cause rasacea flare ups
• Get a good night's sleep (turn your phone on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb + enable Nightshift as close to sun set as possible to reduce cortisol and switch on melatonin production. Aim for 8-10hrs of sleep a night and only use an alarm if you need to)
• If you live near a beach, swim as often as possible! Mineral-rich sea salt water is so healing for skin issues. No beach no prob - 20 minute Epsom salt soaks for the body or feet do wonders
Please don't stress about adding all these tips into your regime. Test one at a time for a week and see what works! As I uncover more and heal around my hormone imbalance I’ve found my skin is getting better and better, so I’ll keep you guys updated! I'm currently working on a post to help you determine whether you have stress or hormone related acne. And if you have any tips let me know below!
To our health xx