Today I wanted to take a moment to chat about my skin and skincare. I've had quite a journey with my skin over the past decade and it's taken me a really long time to finally find a way to clear it. Over the past year I've seen drastic changes to my skin and I've finally achieved the skin that I've wanted for so long. I know there are so many other men and woman out there that are struggling as well, so I hope this helps to give some insight with what might help.
I want to make it super clear that everyone's skin is different and you'll have to play around and discover what works for your skin the same way I did. You can use this as a starters guide and then play around with some other products to see what will yield the best results for you.
IF YOU'RE FEELING ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLE WITH ACNE: YOU'RE NOT! I often felt like I had the worst acne in the world and that it would never get better, but that's not true. SO MANY PEOPLE suffer from the same acne you do and it's totally possible to have clear skin if you're willing to put in the time and work for it.
And one last thing - check out my skin before & after's at the bottom of this post. The difference is actually SHOCKING. You can also watch a video with all this info if you prefer that. Just scroll to the bottom of the post and you'll find the video there!
Just for a bit of context - I suffer specifically from cystic and hormonal acne. Both are hereditary and my mom suffers from both as well, so it was almost inevitable that I would have to face the same issues at some point myself. Through out middle school and high school I would definitely get worse acne than some of my friends, but it was probably around after 16 or 17 that my skin started to get worse.
My skin got unbearably bad around 20 and probably hit the peak of it's worst moment right before I turned 23 (photo evidence down below). I would be too embarrassed to leave the house without makeup, I would skip classes because I wouldn't want to go out with my face the way it was. I wasn't being dramatic, it was bad. And even more than it being embarrassing, it was PAINFUL!
I had tried starting birth control to help regulate my hormones, but that just wasn't doing the trick for me. I had been on it for quite a few years and hardly saw a change in my skin. I do think birth control is collaboration with other products I use helps my skin be it's best, but I understand being on birth control is a personal choice and something you have to decide for yourself. I tried all the systems and regimes I could and none of those worked either. I knew I needed something more.
seeing a dermatologist
I finally sacked up and saw a dermatologist. It was something that I probably should have done a long time before that. In fact, I had, but I had never stuck to the products and medicines they had given me. But I had reached a boiling point and I knew I needed to make a change ASAP. Going to see my dermatologist definitely made all the difference for me. If you're suffering from hormonal and/or cystic acne I think it's absolutely necessary to see a dermatologist if possible. I really don't believe that there are over the counter options that will fully clear your skin.
what I use
Now lets chat about the products that I use on the daily!
This is the medication that my dermatologist prescribed to me and what I attribute my clear skin to overall. This medication helps to even out your hormones and therefore helped to clear my acne. I truly believe without this medication I would still be seriously suffering. You do have to be patient though - this medication takes THREE MONTHS to start showing results. I definitely went on it and gave up before three months because I wasn't seeing results. But once I finally stuck to it, it made all the difference in my skin. I take a very low dosage (50 MG) and luckily it's safe to use for extended periods, so I plan to continue taking this for as long as I possibly can.
Ask your dermatologist if Spironolactone is the right choice for you!
This is what I use in the evenings to remove my makeup. The brand I use is the Garnier one and I prefer the waterproof makeup formula. Obviously, taking your makeup off every single day is crucial to having clear skin. No cheat days ladies! I will be stumbling into my apartment after a night out and still force myself to get my makeup off. I also love using this on days where I haven't worn makeup because it's great for pulling dirt off of your face anyway. One cotton swab of this a day and my skin is starting to feel clean as can be!
Get your Garnier Micellar Water! Retails for $8.99 and lasts about a month and a half.
Toner has been another important piece of my skincare routine. I have very dry skin, but I know people with oily skin are hesitant to use toners. I recommend if you are oily to do some research about which toners work best. I use the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid toner. This pulls all the excess makeup and dirt off of my face. I use this morning and evening to get the perfectly clean feeling across my skin. I don't think I could live without this being apart of my daily regime. The other toner I really enjoy is the Mario Badescu Aloe Vera toner! It's super cooling and calming on the skin. Definitely another great option if you rather something a bit more gentle.
Moisturizing my skin is absolutely necessary because my skin tends to get so dry. I use the Clean & Clear Dual Action moisturizer. I know a lot of people with oily skin are nervous to use moisturizers, but the Clean & Clear one is oil free and fragrance free. It will be super gentle on your skin while still getting the moisturizing job done! And mine is lasting me forever. Like seriously, daily use of it for more than a year and I'm not out yet. Pretty awesome!
Get your Clean & Clear Dual Action moisturizer! Retails for $4.99 and last forever!
Alright guys, this is the only pricey item in my skincare routine, but it is well worth it! It's the l'Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil. It is an anti aging product (never too soon to start using those), but it also hydrates and refreshes the skin. Again, if you have oily skin you might be hesitant to add an oil to your face, but as far as I'm aware this it totally safe on oily skin. It's a different kind of oil than the oil your skin produces, so it can actually help reduce signs of acne. However, of course, do your research and use at your own discretion!
Get your l'Occitane Youth Oil! Retails for $99 and lasts forever!
My go-to spot treatment is the Mario Badescu drying lotion. You've probably heard about this product before since everyone with acne is obsessed with it. And YES it really works! This is one of my holy grail products that I can't live without. Use this has changed my life. After a few days of use whatever zit I'm treating will be, at the least, significantly reduced in size if not totally gone. I think this is an absolute must have for anyone who suffers with acne. And it's another product that last forever, so you'll rarely need to repurchase. I apply this most often at night and sleep with it on, but also if I'm just around the house I'll throw some on to treat my acne while I hang around. If you get one thing from this post, let it be this.
Get your Mario Badescu Drying Lotion! Retails for $17 and lasts around a year.
This is another spot treatment that I've come to love in the past few months. It's the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches and they work wonders on white heads. I don't think they do much for acne that doesn't come to a little point the way white heads do, but they will pull so much gross gunk out of your white heads. It's actually super disgusting, but also really satisfying that you can actually see them work. I love using these overnight. They stick on your face really well and work magic. I also will wear them for maybe 3 hours at a time if I'm hanging around at home. When I wear them during the day I like to change them out every once and a while. Definitely get these if you have a white head problem.
Get your COSRX patches! Retails for $6 for one sheet, but you can get 5 sheets for $14 with the link I included!
I love using a scrub in the shower when I wash my hair (so once or twice a week). My favorite is the Neutrogena Grapefruit Scrub. It's actually safe to use more often than I do, I just happen to use it when I wash my hair. This leaves my skin feeling so smooth and super clean every time I use. It's oil free as well and I love the deep clean I can get from it every time.
Get your Neutrogena Scrub! Retails for $9.99 and lasts forever!
This is more of a luxury item, but I do like having it on hand. I love the Mario Badescu rosewater spray for when my skin is feeling a little irritated. It's super calming and cooling and just makes you feel good. If your skin is bothering you, give it a few sprays and this will definitely help to calm it down. It can also reduce the redness in skin, so if you're like me and your skin can get pretty red, definitely give this a go.
Get your Mario Badescu Rosewater! Retails for $7 and lasts forever!
before & after
I want to share these before and afters so that you can see how drastically my skin has changed. My before shots were taken on February 19, 2017 that way I could keep track of my progress. My after pictures were taken on July 22, 2018, the same day I'm writing this post. Warning... they're pretty gross... I still can't believe my skin looked like that since it's changed so much now.
B E F O R E
As you can see, my acne was bright red, raised off the skin, and beyond painful. No matter how much makeup you have, it's very, very hard to disguise that much acne. This was definitely my breaking point where I went back to the dermatologist and actually stuck with my regime.
A F T E R
I can't begin to explain how happy I am with my skin today. As you can see, I just have some scarring left over from my years of bad skin. I'm planning on getting a laser treatment on my face to help reduce the signs of scaring. However, even if my skin looked like this for the rest of my life, I would be so happy. It's come so far. I do still get zits, but when I do they normally will be gone by the next morning if I treat them properly and normally only happen when I'm coming up to my period since that's when my hormones are acting up.
That's all the info I have for you today. I hope that this helps to motivate you and show you that YOUR SKIN CAN GET BETTER! There were definitely moments where I thought my skin would never get better, but it did! I just had to stick with a regime that worked for me. If you do the same and have a little patience, I promise the same can happen for you. It took me a year and a half to get to the place I'm in now, so please be patient with yourself. It takes time and a lot of trial and error to figure out what will work best for your skin. Go speak to a doctor if you can and get all the help you can!
Share your story with acne in the comments below as well as any tips or products you're loving. Let's chat and support each other.
I LOVE YOU! YOU'RE NOT ALONE! YOU CAN DO THIS!