I wanted to talk about something I’ve struggled with since puberty: SKIN. Specifically, the skin on my face. This is gonna be a long one since I’ve been struggling for 10+ years (craziness), so strap in! Get some snacks.
First, let’s break down my journey a little bit.
I’ve had what I would call “problem” skin since I was about 13. Specifically, I would breakout on my chin. Usually it was one or two, but I always was embarrassed about it and started wearing makeup very early in order to cover it. My aunt, being a Pharmacist, was the first to prescribe something for my skin. After months, my skin stayed the same, despite dosage increases.
Once I was starting 8th grade, I went to a Dermatologist for the first time. He prescribed me a BUNCH of different stuff, but again, nothing really changed.
For a couple years, I just used the stuff you could get at Target like Neutrogena, Clean & Clear etc.
Around my Sophomore year of high school, I started using Proactive. It worked moderately well and I would say my skin was bearable. After not seeing the dramatic results they show on their TV adds, I decided to try something else. In the rise of Pinterest and blogging, my mother and I read about using oil as a cleanser. I don’t really remember my exact results with this (I was but a wee junior in high school), but I wasn’t satisfied with how my skin was reacting to it.
I was recommended acne products by a Sephora worker and switched all skin care to a particular brand (doesn’t exist anymore). This made my skin better, but I still had breakouts regularly. I ended up just going back to regular ‘ole Clean & Clear and my skin was pretty okay the entirety of my junior year. I would still breakout, but it was bearable. Of course, I obsessed over every pimple, but looking back it was really tame. Calm before the storm, as they say.
Going into my senior year of high school, I got the worst breakouts of my life. It went from being manageable or a few here and there, to full on cystic acne all over my cheeks and chin. I went back to Proactive in hopes that would help and after another failed attempt, went to a Dermatologist. He sent me back with a few things to try, while my skin stayed basically the same. I was going into College, trying to meet new people and make friends so this was not ideal.
Around the same time, my cousin was also struggling with her skin. Like me, she had trouble skin later in life and was struggling to find anything that worked. She began taking the drug Accutane and was surprised by it’s dramatic results.
Accutane is controversial for a few reasons and so most people use this as a last resort. It has very strong side effects including: back pain, dry lips, dry skin and even depression. You take this everyday for at least six months. As a female, you have to jump through A LOT of hoops to get the medication. Blood work and pregnancy tests are a monthly thing as well as making sure you have two forms of birth control. Despite all of this, I was determined to find some way to get it. Luckily for me, a doctor at my school’s health center prescribed it to me. Yes, my skin got drier and thankfully, my hair did too. Other than that, I was lucky enough to have no serious side effects.
After about the 3rd or 4th month, I started to see a real difference in my skin. Going through my first year of college and finally having manageable skin was the best feeling. Accutane was really the only thing that ever worked for me, personally. After being on it for 7 months, I was finally down to about two breakouts a month.
Unfortunately, since getting rid of breakouts, I was left with scars. I’ve struggled so much with just breaking out, that I just basically thought “Okay this I can deal with,” and mostly left my skin alone for the past 4 years. Still trying to hide from anyone seeing me sans makeup, of course. You can’t really see the difference between my skin after Accutane and now since I wasn’t really documenting it. My skin looks similar, but I promise, some of these pictures (sophomore and junior year) I have good makeup and strategic lighting.
I do want to share the, few, subtle things that I have been doing lately that have helped me dramatically. My skin right now is about the best it has ever been, (except my baby skin) and I wanted to share what I’ve been using/doing to help get a more even tone!
I’ve touched on this before, but just to reiterate, this is the best thing for a brighter tone to your skin! I literally just cut this baby in half and squeeze the juice on my skin every night before I go to sleep. Seriously, do it.
This stuff has been my saving grace lately and I’m so sorry I neglected (hated on) it for years! I use this for very simple masks, here’s a couple:
Tumeric and honey=spot treatment
Pink Himalayan salt and honey= exfoliation mask
I’ve also been using it in my coffee as a sweetener!
Cut. That. SUGAR
I’m sure ya’ll are thinking, “is this girl about to tell me to stop eating sugar again?” and I AM!!! I just stopped using sugar n my coffee and it has changed my skin so much, and its only been a month. So much of your skin is a reflection of what you put in your body and sugar is the worst thing you can do to your skin. I cut sugar in my normal diet and really only eat sugar (I’m talking like cookies, cake etc. or what I call “obvious sugar”), maybe twice a week. Sometimes, I’m just really craving it, so i definitely let me myself have it. I never wanna go back to that long month of no sugar and making myself miserable (do not recommend).
Wearing less makeup
This is hard to do if you have a full-time job, obviously, but try as much as you can. I definitely recommend not using foundation if you do feel like you need to wear makeup. I only ever use tinted moisturizer and then cover-up for my scaring and dark circles. I recommend this or this, they are very similar in my opinion and I like both!
Don’t use a cleaning brush every night
This discovery stemmed from me just being too lazy to buy a new brush head for my Clairsonic and then not using it because the brush was too gross. I was basically over-exfoliating my skin and it was not thanking me. I would say if you have one of these, use it once a week.
Wash your face TWICE
So since I’m not using the brush to get all of my makeup off, I now have to wash my face twice. Once to remove my makeup and second, to cleanse. Never been a fan of makeup wipes, I feel they can be super harsh. I prefer just washing it twice.
Cold water only
Recently, I followed another blogger with UNBELIEVABLE skin. Like baby smooth and dewy. She used a bunch of different things. I’ll admit, once people suggest products to use, I usually tune out. Having tried so much stuff, I really don’t take advice about skin products that claim to work. HOWEVER, she did say she only washes her face with cool or cold water. It takes some getting used to, but I’ve been doing it ever since. Putting boiling hot water on your skin in general probably isn’t great, but definitely if your face is sensitive. I would recommend at the very least warm/cool water.
For years, I had people tell me what I should be doing for my skin. I hated anyone who would comment on it, as I preferred to pretend it wasn’t an issue. Most of the skin advice I got, was unsolicited. Random people would tell me what I should be doing and honestly, that was probably the worst part. I tried not to think about my skin, as I knew I had more things about myself to offer. No matter what, you are not your skin. We get so wrapped up in how we look, that when we don’t look our best, it can be hard to live normally. If you’re struggling with your skin, you’re not alone. One of the reasons my skin is better could be simply age! Don’t dwell on it, everyone has something they’re embarrassed about. If you know someone struggling with their skin, for the love of god, just leave them alone about it. Whatever you’re about to say, they’ve probably tried it. At the end of the day, you still have to go out and live your life. My skin’s not perfect. I still get embarrassed walking around without makeup, sometimes. Everyone has something about them that they don’t like, but find your way of dealing with it and do what you can.
*Not a professional or expert, only sharing what has worked for me in my own, personal life.