My struggle with bad skin started wayyyyyy back in elementary school. While my classmates still showed their baby faces, I started to sprout little bumps on my forehead. Nothing some bangs couldn’t hide, but that all changed when I got to high school. Suddenly, those bumps migrated to my cheeks and there was no way of hiding them. I was now a slave to my foundations – no way was I leaving the house without my liquid coverage.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
As I graduated from high school and many of my peers’ faces started to clear up, mine went into overdrive! Right after high school, my skin went haywire and a bad case of acne took over my face and demolished my self-confidence. I had tried just about every drugstore medication you could find and nothing worked. So I visited a dermatologist who suggested I go on a form of Accutane or Isotretinoin which is used to treat cystic acne.
If you’ve ever had to deal with severe acne, you know the toll it can take on your self-confidence and your ability to, literally and figuratively, put your best face forward. You feel like every time you talk to someone, all they can focus on is your face. My family was always supportive and never mention my bad skin. They were so good at not pointing it out that I would forget I had these gnarly bumps on my face.
It wasn’t until a young family member – only about 5 at the time – drew a picture of me and it had big red dots all over the face. She showed it to my whole family and of course I hid behind a smile but at that point I came to terms that there was no hiding behind any makeup – I was crushed. I also came to the realization that kids will always be brutally honest – no fault to her, she was just a kid and I love her dearly.
MY EXTREME TREATMENT EXPERIENCE
At that point, I made the decision to go on the extreme medication. This type of medication essentially dried you out from the inside which in turn made my lips crack and my nose bleed — this apparently was normal. It also made my acne worse in the beginning and it took every ounce of strength to continue the treatment. I also had to take monthly pregnancy tests and was required to be on birth control because the medication would cause severe deformities to a fetus. How freaking scary is that?!??
After treatment, most of the acne went away and I trucked on for a few more years before I was back on the medication. At this point I was in my mid-twenties and had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to deal with adult acne. UGGGGHHHH why me??!!?? Again, the treatment worked and I’ve managed to keep my skin clear the best I could. I’ll still have a little troll pop up once in a while but I’ve found some alternatives to keeping my skin clear. Mainly, a good skincare routine.
MY CURRENT SKINCARE ROUTINE
I’m always on the hunt for the best products for my skin type. It wasn’t until my most recent breakout that I found some products that have worked wonders for my skin. First and foremost, I will say that I am a strong believer in clean eating and its skin-clearing benefits. I try to limit, if not eliminate, processed foods and try to drink a ton of water daily. Good nutrition will do wonders for your skin so we have to start there. Next, I make sure that I wash my face every. single. night! I never go to bed with makeup on my face.
First, I start by using Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water to remove all my makeup. I douse a cotton ball and wipe my face, eyes and lips. Next, I will use Derma E Very Clear Acne Cleanser which contains 2% salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is great for reducing inflammation, relieving painful acne and reducing the oil that may cause clogged pores and lead to pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. I find that this cleanser also takes off any leftover makeup. Next, I use good ‘ole Witch Hazel on a cotton ball to clean my face again. This toner helps to calm and sooth my skin and is great for oily skin. I also use this in the morning instead of washing my face with a cleanser. I just wipe Witch Hazel and it leaves my skin refreshed and ready for my makeup.
There are a few serums that I will use at night to help with aging and to help moisturize my skin. One is my Vitamin C serum. I’ve seen a huge improvement in the tone and brightness in my skin. I also add pure hyaluronic acid which is great for retaining moisture in my face. I’ve skipped moisturizing because some of the products I’ve used in the past caused little pimples. I was using Murad’s City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer but I ran out about a month ago and haven’t had the chance to get more. It’s a bit pricey but it worked great and didn’t clog my pores.
Since this post, I started using Tula’s Day and Night Skin Cream and will have to report back to you in a few weeks to see how I like it. Another great serum that I use is Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum. This stuff has helped brighten one particular sun spot below my left eye and has left my skin bright and even toned.
If I do have a pimple that pops up, I immediately apply Murad’s Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment. Y’all this stuff is legit! It will zap a zit overnight! I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!!
Also — while we’re on the talk of skin care — I also use Murad’s Essential-C eye cream with SPF 15 around the peepers to protect that delicate skin. I mean, C’mon — pimples AND wrinkles? No way! And to keep my lips luscious and soft, I also apply Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Berry. This helps smooth my lips and keeps them chapped-free.
I also like to put on a mask every couple of days. I alternate between two in particular – Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel and Murad’s Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask. The Green Apple Peel has Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids which help with exfoliating the skin and the Vitamin A helps with those pesky fine lines. You only apply for 10 minutes and then rinse. It does leave your skin a little red, but it does go away after a few minutes. The Pomegranate Mask is ahhhhhmazing for your pores. You instantly see the difference after rinsing this mask off. The volcanic clay acts like a magnet to pull out all the nasty gunk hiding in your pores. This stuff is great!
There are a couple of tools that have also helped with cleansing and for serum application. I just bought this Mircroneedle derma roller on Amazon and I am a true believer that it helps with cream and serum absorption. The tiny needles create micro grooves that help serums seep deeper into your skin. I’ve noticed my skin is a lot brighter and smooth after using the roller 2-3 times a week. I also like to use my EcoTools Facial Cleansing Brush with my cleansers. I cannot afford a Clarisonic brush – yet – so this is what I’m using and it costs less than $5!! The bristles are soft but effective and help exfoliate as well.
So there you have it folks! My acne-clearing skin care routine that has helped transform my skin and keep the blemishes to a minimum. I am currently looking into getting microneedling done, hopefully later this month to combat the acne scars left behind. I’ve been doing research and was on the fence between microneedling and a hydrafacial. Ultimately, I feel like microneedling will be best to boost collagen and help fill in some of the scarring. I can’t wait to share the results so stay tuned. Or you can subscribe to my newsletter to stay on top of all the happenings.
I really hope some of these products bring relief to anybody struggling with skin issues. I know how emotionally debilitating acne can be so hang in there. There are treatments and medication that may help so I urge you to go see a dermatologist to get the best medical advice. Hold your head high — my friends — because your scars and blemishes do not define you. You are more than that and you will get through it.