I know some of you have been wondering how and what did I do that helped me fight my acne problems especially with the amount of grossness I had on my face previously. There's no secret to it really. It's what you're mom has been telling you (at least what my mom has been telling me), old fashion remedies, and just plain beauty common sense. So don't be surprised if what I'm going to be listing is nothing new or exciting to you.
For a couple of years, I had to deal with painful and not to mention ginormous cystic acne on my forehead and cheeks. Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation is the root of it all. Yes, to some people it might be the best thing since sliced bread. Flawless skin within minutes with minimal caking and no streaks on your face. But for some reason it just won't agree with acne-prone skin. Why? Because of this ingredient they have in it called Bismuth. It makes your face flare up with acne, yet you end up using more products on your face to cover up the same blemishes which really only makes it worse. Bare Escentuals was probably the very first foundation I've ever used and it broke my heart... and face. All because of their marketing line: "So pure you can sleep in it." And so I did... numerous and countless times. Dumb move I know to fall for it and everyone knows that you're not even suppose to wear makeup to sleep. But when you know nothing about makeup and with the sales pitch they're feeding you (besides it's mineral makeup so that must mean natural right?), chances are you will believe what they say. And the hype that was surrounding it just increased the chances of falling for it.
But, enough of the sappy story. I should've been smarter than that. It took me a good two years before I actually recovered from all that insanity. After testing every possible products that I can think of that you can buy at the stores, all it really takes is self-control, finding the right products, and beauty common sense. So here are the things I've learned throughout this whole ordeal and how I dealt with it:
- Know your skin. At least get a pretty good idea what type of skin you have and the ingredients you might be allergic to. It really helps to know so you know which products to avoid and use.
- Do some research. It's usually not enough just asking your BFF what product she uses to maintain her always great looking skin or it's the latest hype that everyone and their mom and neighbors are using it (*ahem* BE *ahem*). She can be using a bar of soap and it'll just work out fine for her. But remember that everyone has different skin and different reactions to certain products. Try not to get drag along with the hype. Be smart and at least Google some product reviews or ratings from a third party perspective or go to makeupalley.com or any other forums that offer this service. Try to avoid testimonials from the company's website because we all know that only the good ones will be posted there. Also, be familiar with the product's ingredients.
- Do NOT overdo things. I admit I was guilty of this in the beginning. I used to wash my face at least four times a day because "I am cleaning it whenever my face feels dirty" thinking it'll minimizing my breakouts. Well too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Overwashing your face can strip away your face's natural oils. As well as over-exfoliating can make your pimples bleed. Wash twice a day only - morning and night - with the exception that you probably were sweating in your workout. Just don't wash because it 'feels' dirty or just because you feel like washing your face. Exfoliating should only be done once or twice a WEEK, as well for masks.
- Do NOT evaluate the product's quality based on the price. Just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it will work or if it's cheap and it's not going to be effective. Most of my skincare items are actually inexpensive. I probably have ONE item that cost me over $20. There are really cheap yet good products out there that actually works. But if it works for you then keep it even though costs you an arm and a leg. (What I use: Cleansing - Pure Luxe Calmine Bar Soap $6; Moisturizer - Jojoba Oil $7)
- Use sunscreen/sunblock before heading out the door! Make it a habit before you walk out of the door. Skipping the sunscreen makes your acne scar pigmentation darker. It's just like when you go tanning: You get darker easier when you don't have sunblock or sunscreen on (What I use: Shiseido - Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ $37). It'll also prevent wrinkle formation in the future.
- Try to skip foundation every other day. For some people this might be a hard thing to do and would not be caught dead without foundation or concealer, but I made sure I wasn't wearing foundation everyday to let my skin breathe. If you really can't avoid it... use mineral makeup at least instead of liquid foundation.
- Do NOT use all your new skincare products at the same time. You will disturb your skin's balance. Introduce any new products at least a week later and introduce it to your skin by using it once a day in the first few weeks. I know you're excited to try out that new moisturizer, cleanser, and spot treatment, but by using your new products one by one can help pinpoint which product broke you out in the event that you (then you can toss that product forever!). This includes foundation and concealers.
- DRINK WATER! This is probably the greatest beauty advice that people don't follow. Keep your skin hydrated. Water also helps flush out the bad stuff out of your body. Drink at least 8 glasses a day and notice the difference. Also drinking green tea helps and improve the look of your skin because of its anti-flamatory properties. So have a cup every morning at work.
- Stick to a routine. If you already have a skin regimen that works, stick to it. Why fix it when it's not broken?
- Don't touch your face. No matter how tempting it can be. Just keep your hands off your face.
- Wash your face EVERY night before you go to sleep. You've been out and about the whole day. Pollution, makeup, and other gunk that you got from a day's worth is on your face. No matter how hammered or tired you are, get up and wash your face. Lazyness doesn't pay off. Think about that pimple you'll get the next day when you don't. Big, fat, red pimple. Not pretty.
- Avoid products that contain alcohol in it. It takes a few minutes to check the ingredients of what you put on your face. Check if it contains alcohol.
- If a product stings or itch, TOSS it. Or return it as long as you don't use it anymore.
- Wash your face brushes. Do this at least once a week. Your brush is harboring bacteria already and it's getting on your face AND makeup.
- Avoid scratchy brushes. Usually synthetic hair are better than animal hair. Using face brush that scratches your face everytime you use it will cause micro-tears on your face making your pores larger which makes it easier for bacteria to get in (hence why you need to wash your face brushes and keep them clean).
Those are only some of the few things that I religiously lived by when I was dealing with my acne problems and even til now. It's really no secret and there's really no miracle to it. It's about having self-control. If you're still breaking out, you're probably doing something wrong and your face is retaliating. Don't take your face for granted because it WILL show!
What do you do to keep your skin healthy?