I never experienced acne until about a year ago at the ~super convenient~ age of 20. When I first started getting acne, I was so upset. I didn’t like taking pictures with my friends, I didn’t like to look at my face in the mirror, I tried every product in the drug store that I thought might fix my face, and I even stopped wearing makeup because I couldn’t even cover the acne up. The acne was mostly just on my chin, but even eating clean and drinking water wasn’t enough to clear it. The acne lasted for about 9 months, no breaks. It was there day and night, and seriously was a huge blow to my self-esteem.
What to do?
I spent hours watching YouTube videos by bloggers like Sarah’s Day and how they cleared their hormonal acne with natural remedies. I tried them all, nothing worked. Defeated, I went to my dermatologist. She took a look at my chin and prescribed me Tretinoin (retinoid) & Sodium Sulfacetamide 10% and Sulfur 5% cleanser. I started using both products, which caused extremely dry, flaky skin and experienced a purge period of my skin. Not fun. Again, I sought help from the Internet. I found that the skin purge period could last months. Awesome.
A few months later after using the products my dermatologist gave me, my skin was still tragic. I ended up having to stop using the Tretinoin and Sulfur wash because they were increasing the frequency of me getting sunburns, and I started religiously moisturizing to try and relieve the symptoms of my dry, peeling, and now sunburned face.
That’s how I figured out how to clear my skin.
Instead of trying to dry out the acne, I moisturized it. I got rid of my harsh products that ultimately were making my skin angry and went natural and delicate with the products I chose to put on my face. I stopped wearing foundation, except for on special occasions, and prioritized my skincare routine. I realized that my skin needed help with exfoliation, so I found one to use a few nights a week.
If you’re like me and are searching for “the answer” to clear skin, this may or may not be it. Trust me, I know that trial and error is an annoying, heartbreaking process. What works for some, doesn’t always work for others. I do recommend seeing a dermatologist if nothing is working, sometimes the issue is on the inside, not the outside and an oral prescription might work better than topical.
My Current Routine:
1. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
I started using this cleanser after seeing one of my Instagram friends post about the brand. I use this first thing in the morning when I wash my face before the gym, first thing after I workout, or whenever I wash my face. I don’t carry face wash to the gym, but when I get home the first thing I do is wash my face. This helps to get all of the bacteria and sweat off of my skin and keeps my pores clean! I’ve used a ton of cleansers, including Cetaphil (another great one), but this one is good for when your skin needs a little extra exfoliation.
2. Thayers Witch Hazel
You’ve probably heard of Witch Hazel before and it’s “acne fighting” properties, because it seems to be a ~thing~ these days, and for good reason. I started using Witch Hazel a few months ago, and my skin has been the best that it’s ever been. I use the Witch Hazel on a cotton ball after I have washed and dried my face. I personally use Thayers, but I’m sure any brand would work the same. I have also heard awesome things about Micellar Water, and the brand above makes a good one, but I haven’t tried it! Since using the witch hazel, I’ve noticed that my skin is smoother, more hydrated, and blemishes disappear more quickly.
3. Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Face Cream
This is the holy grail of my skin routine, but it also happens to be the most expensive product that I use. Like I said above, I fully believe that using this quality moisturizer after I wash my face saved my skin. I use this moisturizer after I let the witch hazel dry a bit, and I use upward hand motions to rub it in (on my neck, too)! I’m not sure what that does, but I read it online and felt like I might as well include that. You definitely don’t need to use this particular brand, but use a moisturizer meant for your face! The skin on your face and the skin on your body are very different, the ones for the face are usually lighter and less likely to clog pores. Despite the price, I do love this moisturizer! Whenever I run out and have to go without it for a few days, I notice more acne and less smooth skin.
4. Cocokind Skincare My Matcha & Macabeet Sticks
Another brand I discovered from Instagram and loved! Cocokind makes clean skincare and beauty products and I am seriously obsessed with them. I use the My Matcha stick under my eyes at night for extra hydration & on my lips. Like I mentioned above, I don’t really wear makeup anymore except for on special occasions. I’ll swipe on mascara and use the Macabeet tinted moisture stick on my cheeks and lips for an easy, everyday look.
5. Cocokind Skincare Highlighters
Again, can’t say enough things about Cocokind. The company is incredible. I started using their highlighters soon about two months ago, and paired with the Macabeet stick above, the two comprise my very simple everyday makeup routine. I purchased their Highlighter Trio, which comes with Sunrei, Mai-Light, and Chagaglo. I’m super fair skinned, so I use the Mai-Light everyday and the other two for more fun looks for nights out.
6. St. Ives Apricot Scrub
Like I mentioned above, my skin needs a little extra help with exfoliation. A few days a week in the shower I will scrub my face gently with a little of this. It smells really good and it’s not too intense. I feel like this is one of those products that I have had forever and just use as needed, but now that I am conscious of my skin, I use it probably every other day along with the other products I mentioned above.
7. Cocokind Chlorophyll Mask
Bet you can’t guess my favorite skincare company at the moment! Just kidding, it’s Cocokind. This is another product that I saw raved about all over Instagram and had to try out for myself. I love it. My skin always feels so clean and smooth after using it, and breakouts have significantly decreased. It’s delicate enough that you can use it everyday, but I usually use it every other day or as a spot treatment on specific zits. The ingredients in this mask are super clean, and I hear that you could even eat it? Not sure how that would taste, but products with ingredients that clean should be more common than they are.
I just want to make sure that you guys know that all of the products I listed above are products I have purchased on my own and are not sponsored in any way! I have worked super hard to find a routine that works with my skin, so I am thrilled to share this with you guys! As always, if you have any questions or want to vent, please reach out. I know as much as anyone how saddening it is to feel like everyone is looking at the acne on your face (they aren’t), but that doesn’t make it any easier. When my acne was terrible, I looked at everyone else and saw how clear and perfect their skin was. I was so jealous at how effortless everyone else had it and wondered what I was doing wrong. It can be especially frustrating, but consistency is key to clearing your skin! They say to try something new for three weeks before you decide that it either is or isn’t working. I suggest NOT using Tretinoin or any other retinoid until after you’ve exhausted all other options. Why not Tretinoin? Retinoids can increase the occurrence of acne as a result of the purge period, which might make things initially worse instead of better.