So many of you reached out to me after one of my more recent posts on my personal Instagram where I talked to you about my skin. I have always had trouble skin and acne. But three years ago, it was out of control. At the time I was preparing to remove my Nexplanon implant. My acne was flaring up and breaking out constantly but it wasn’t until I had removed it and switched back to the pill that my skin began to break out in cysts. By far the worst acne I have ever had. It was painful, uncomfortable, and quite frankly- unflattering.
I was ashamed of my skin. I had no confidence. It wasn’t until I finally went to the dermatiologist for the first time since moving to Greensboro that I started to get a grip on what my skin and my body was going through. My doctor perscribed Accutane and while it worked, its side effects were severe dry lips, joint aches and pains, dry, patchy skin, and frequent headaches. For anyone interested in taking this medication- I had to take a quiz before each refill that reminded me of the side effects as well as a pregnancy test to ensure I wasn’t preganant, and I had to be on some sort of birth control. If I got pregnant while taking it, my baby had a higher chance of having birth deffects and if I didn’t fulfill my perscription within a certain window of time, I had to go and retake a preganancy test before being able to pick up my perscription. The point of Accutane is to stop all oil glands from producing oil – hence such dry lips and skin. It’s considered a category X medication. The real deal Holy Field of acne medication and is used when it seems nothing else is working which was the case for me.
I took it for about a year. My skin was crystal clear for all of two to three months and then my acne was right back – never as bad as before the Accutane though, but still it was back. At this point about a year into my relationship with my now fiancé, right before he deployed, I had stopped all forms of birth control because I was curious how it would effect my skin being that I was starting to break out again. I was so desperate to have clear skin that I also stopped wearing foundation and any heavy makeup products completely (with the exception of eyebrow pencil and mascara).
*Takes a deep breathe…* Now that I’ve brought you to speed on my acne journey, I can get to the point of this post. Because of all of the positive feedback I received from my Instagram post and all who reached out to me about what I have been using to clear up my skin, I thought I’d take the opportunity and make one big forum about it for anyone interested in taking the health of their skin into their own hands.
I’ll start by sharing with you what I use if I have worn a full face of makeup and go from there.
First things first, wipe off that makeup. The Cucumber + Citrus Face and Body Wipes from Trader Joes are a super great and affordable option. They are vegan and cruelty free as well as lightly scented. They smell ahhhh-mazing! I typically use anywhere from one to two wipes which is pretty typical for a makeup wipe to remove a full beat face. They aren’t harsh on the skin either which is why I love them.
Another great product I love to use to remove makeup but especially mascara is the Cetaphil Gentle Oil-Free Makeup Remover. It is great in that it doesn’t burn your eyes and the makeup melts right off your skin. I use a small cotton pad with the product and it works wonders. It’s also great for removing matte and traditional lipsticks. This product is great for any skin type.
Once I’m sure I’ve removed all of my makeup, I love to wash my face with Pacifica’s Cosmic Hemp Balancing Face Wash. This stuff has been my go-to cleanser for about a year now. I love, love, love it. It has such a soft lather. It isn’t thick like most cleansers I’ve tried and the amino acids aide in smoothing texture in my skin while also providing hydration. I am convinced that there will never be another cleanser that compares to this one. At least for me.
If I’m washing my face in the shower, I love to use an exfoliant. I don’t exfoliate every day but I do it often. About four to five times a week. I also never exfoliate when I wash my face in the morning. I use two different products. I’ll start with the one that I have used for the longest and it is the Alba Botanica Acnedote Face and Body Scrub. This stuff makes my skin feel so deeply cleansed that it leaves a bit of a cooling feel once I wash it off. It isn’t so abrasive that it feels like my skin is peeling off but I only like to use it about twice each week because it contains salicylic acid. I have used it as a body scrub as well, and it leaves my skin so soft.
Another exfoliant that I use on a more regular basis because it contains no harsh chemicals and is used to help with acne scarring is the Trader Joe’s Microdermabrasion Scrub. Like the Alba Botanica scrub, it isn’t super abrasive but just enough to leave my skin feeling renewed. I like how light it feels when washing and that it doesn’t have any scent at all- good or bad. It’s great for deep acne scarring and it retails for only $5. We love affordable and effective skincare, am I right?!
Now that our face is cleansed and exfoliated, lets talk about toner. For the longest time I never used a toner. Anytime I had tried one before it always burnt my skin and made it feel so dry… until I was introduced to Thayer’s Facial Toner. I love this stuff because it absolutely does not burn but rather cools my face off. It helps to further cleanse the skin, moisturize, and balance your skin’s pH. Not to mention it adds to your skins natural glow. I just recently purchased my second bottle after having the first one for about five months. Being that I use it after every face wash, I love that a little goes a long way and this product isn’t something I have to buy all the time.
Okay… so we all get those pimples that take forever to go away. They’re big and vuluptuous but not in the way you want a pimple to be. They’re noticeable and annoying. You know what I’m talking about. For those guys, I like to use the Thayer’s Blemish Stick. It’s amazing for minimizing the size of those vuluptuous zits that aren’t pretty to look at. This product has been very effective for me even with smaller zits that I just want to go away as quickly as possible. I will say that if you’re thinking of using this with another product or medication perscribed to you by your dermatologist, then don’t. Continue to use what has been perscribed to you. If you’re just wanting to try a new blemish stick, then great! But don’t use this with other products meant to dry up breakouts. Your skin might get too dry and this is a big “no no.” I noticed on my skin that using it after each wash on problem areas, caused me to have dry patches. So I would also advise using it either in the morning or at night but not both.
Now to my favorite part of my routine. And in many ways, the most important part. Let me not get ahead of myself but instead let me tell you about this product called The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. This stuff has changed the game when it comes to inflammation. I’ve been using it after every wash and before applying my moisturizer and it’s like the redness never existed. I swear by this stuff. And would you believe that it’s only $5.90!? You read that right. It retails for only $6. So affordable and it actually works. I was shooketh. Definitely snag yourself a bottle. It’s magic. You can purchase it on their website – theordinary.deciem.com – or you can purchase it online from Sephora, or in stores and online at Ulta.
Now – the most important part of your routine that I will never be able to stress enough – moisturizer. Honey, if you don’t use a moisturizer then WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! For as long as I have had acne (which, again, has been my whole life), no dermatologist or beauty guru that I can remember has stressed how important a moisturizer is. I learned coming off of Accutane that having dry skin isn’t natural. It’s totally unhealthy. And so to get my skin back on track, and to stop it from secreting more oil to have a somewhat moisturized face, I had to begin using a moisturizer consistently. Because oil is the bodies natural moisturizer, if your face is dry, then your bodies natural response is to create and disburse more oil onto your face so that it isn’t dry anymore. Having oil glads constantly working to moisturize your face leads to clogged pores and… acne. So MOISTURIZE! I love using the Pacifica Dreamy Youth Day & Night Cream. It is light, smooth and it doesn’t leave any oily residue on my skin. It feels like a breath of freash air. Please do yourself a favor and GET A MOISTURIZER! It doesn’t have to be this one but just get one.
After completing all of these steps, this is the part where I’d crawl in bed and go to sleep (of course after brushing my teeth too) but I can’t end this blog post here. I also want to share with you two of my favorite face masks. The first is a limited edition product from none other than Trader Joe’s. It is the Watermelon Overnight Face Mask. Watermelon is famously known in any skincare product for its hydration and that’s exactly what this mask does. Personally, I’ve only left it on once overnight, and I loved how soft and supple my skin was the next morning, but more often I apply it for ten minutes and then wash it off (after I tone and before I apply the Niacinamide). If you want to try this stuff, make your way to a Trader Joe’s sooner than later because it won’t last forever.
Lastly, Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask is great for when you need that extra boost of encouragement to tell your skin to act right. This mask is used to clarify oily, blemish prone skin. It doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or sulfates and it is cruelty free. I would encourage anyone who has never tried this mask or this brand to sart with the small sample packets Target sells for $2.50. No sense in investing in a jar when you aren’t sure how your skin might react to it.
That being said, I obviously am no doctor. If you have gotten this far, and I thank you for sticking with me, but are still unsure of what to purchase, ask a doctor or do your own research. There are so many products out there and it can certainly get overwhelming, so maybe youtube a specific product and listen to actual real life experience from other people who have tried it. Or read product reviews on Google and the products website.
I sincerely hope that this has helped some of you. Please let me know how you liked this post and any of the products mentioned. Leave me a comment or talk to me over on the “Let’s Talk, Foodie” tab. I want to hear your thoughts. Also please be on the lookout for my first ever YouTube video. It will also be about all of the products I’ve shown you today but for those of you who’d rather listen than read. Thank you so much for your support, friend.
Until next time. Sending you peace, love, and light.