Today, on this gloriously beautiful Sunday in February, I’m going to go over my natural skincare routine for my oily, acne-prone skin that addresses aging skin, as well as pesky hyperpigmentation issues. I’ve been battling acne for about 20 years, however, my acne didn’t become full on cystic, painful, horrific acne until I went off the birth control pill in my early twenties. My hormones were trying to fight to regain equilibrium and my skin showed the battle wounds. So, my doctor put me on antibiotics for EIGHT MONTHS to kill bacteria…..thus killing all of the healthy bacteria in my gut, which led to a lot of other health problems that I’m still battling to this day. After the antibiotics, I was put on every prescription topical cream that dermatologists can prescribe and went through not one, but TWO rounds of Accutane by the time I was 24. Soon after, my immune system was shot, I was getting sick all the time, was chronically fatigued, and was slowly gaining weight out of nowhere. This is when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and IBS, as well as lactose intolerance. I started getting headaches every day, which turned into chronic migraines in grad school. How I made it through working, interning, going to school full time, and feeling like I was never fully awake is beyond me. Nevertheless, I made it through and graduated with a Masters in Counseling and became a Licensed Counselor.
Doctors and specialists only treat your symptoms and NEVER EVER address the root causes of a condition in western medicine. I got so fed up with this system because my brain doesn’t work this way… I need to understand things through and through in order to feel like I can get a grip on issues in order to overcome them. In our society, doctors make us feel powerless by keeping us ignorant (most of the time it’s because they’re ignorant, as well) and they want us to be chained to the pharmaceutical industry. After doing all of my own research, I’ve learned that skin issues, like any other bodily issues, are simply a sign to show that something else is wrong within our bodies. Through my own research and education in becoming a certified Wellness Coach, I learned the direct influence of extended antibiotic usage and long term use of the birth control bill is directly correlated with hormonal imbalances (hypothyroidism, PMS, headaches, Autoimmune diseases).
Our bodies’ systems work together to keep us moving, healing, and thriving. If one system is suffering, the other systems have to work twice as hard to make up for the malfunctioning system. This creates the initial imbalance. Finally, the other systems can’t keep up the pace of working twice as hard and they begin to slowly fail… This is when you’ll see your symptoms turning into actual results “aka” diagnoses. Doctors will treat the symptoms of these diagnoses, but they won’t figure out why that original system or what the original system even was that started failing and WHY it started failing in the first place!
All of this is a long winded way of saying please do your best to educate yourself on symptoms you may be having. Acne is not “normal”. Yes, there is a genetic component, however, not every gene is designed to express itself. Acne is a sign that your body is struggling in some way. You could be eating certain foods your body doesn’t process well (dairy, gluten, soy, acidic foods, high glycemic index foods, etc), your hormones can be imbalanced, you could be applying skincare products and haircare products that are aggravating your skin. Are you drinking enough water? Do you allow your body to detox regularly by eating high fiber foods, veggies, fruit, etc.? Are you going to the bathroom on a regular basis?
Skincare is incredibly important for the overall health of your skin from the outside in, once you address the inside out factors mentioned above. First and foremost, wash your face TWICE a day! It kills me when I see or hear people who talk about their skincare regimens and they say they just “pat their face with some water in the morning”. Think about it this way…. Your hair picks up so many toxins throughout the day, simply from being outside with air pollution. Combine that with the amount of time you touch your hair with your dirty, germy hands throughout the day, sit in a movie theater seat or couch that’s never, ever been thoroughly washed, fall asleep on a pillow case that soaks up all these glorious amounts of bacteria/toxins that smear all over your face during the night while you sleep. Combine that with dead skin cells, oil build up, bacteria from current acne and this is a recipe for disaster. It’s also just…gross when you really think about it.
So, with that said, please wash your face in the morning. The same way you should brush your teeth twice a day….treat your face to the same kindness.
Left: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=completenat0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0052P0XPU&asins=B0052P0XPU&linkId=043134c9b2c8ae49f278c101a5efdffe&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Cleanser>Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser. Morning This is a VERY gentle, creamy, non-lathering cleanser that gently exfoliates the dead skin cells from your skin, clarifies your skin tone with lemon peel, and kills bacteria with manuka honey. Your skin will feel so refreshed after using this cleanser. Since we’re not removing makeup in the morning, I go for a very mild cleanser that will clean my skin from any bacteria that built up throughout the night and will remove toxins that I may have gotten on my face from sleeping with my hair down and sleeping on my pillow case.
Right: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=completenat0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B015OWD370&asins=B015OWD370&linkId=d742d101c4230c53e27396e2978ee779&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Pacifica Kale Detox Cleanser>Pacifica Kale Detox Deep Cleansing Face Wash. This is my night-time cleanser. This stuff is AMAZING! It will dissolve all of your makeup from your face (I only typically use mineral makeup, but it will take off heavy duty makeup, as well). I do use hemp seed oil to remove my eye makeup with a bamboo wash cloth separately, because i don’t like using facial cleansers to remove eye makeup—it’s just a personal preference. This cleanser also detoxes your skin with healing clays, kale, and algae that really soak up oil build up and get deep down in your pores to remove built up gunk that has formed throughout the day. This cleanser works wonders without drying out your skin and your face will feel baby smooth afterwards. It also helps with hyperpigmentation, as well.
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=completenat0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B01ADTK5Q6&asins=B01ADTK5Q6&linkId=6651d44c05d75e985471f801346998c4&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Dr. Sponge Konjac Sponge in Activated Charcoal: I use this product every morning to mildly exfoliate my skin with the Meyer Lemon Cleanser and this has dramatically helped my skin. This product has worked better than the Clarisonic or any scrub I’ve ever used. The Activated Charcoal blend has the added benefit of detoxing your skin, as well, although I’ve tried the other versions, including the Original, and they all work very well.
Tone: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=completenat0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0091OCA86&asins=B0091OCA86&linkId=56223c2513ab88982bad3291a3a61489&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Andalou Naturals Clementine Brightening Toner Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner
After cleansing, both morning and night I use a toner. I spritz it liberally all over my face and then immediately apply my skincare, which helps skincare absorb more deeply into your skin on a damp face. This toner is calming, soothing, has Vitamin C and Aloe, which helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and reduce inflammation.
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=completenat0d-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B0091OCANG&asins=B0091OCANG&linkId=d70951028cd5b0d047374077648c8a52&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Andalou Naturals Turmeric SerumAndalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum (I did a full review on this product here.) I combine this serum with 100 Percent Pure’s Vitamin C Serum for extra Vitamin C and nutrients. I then combine one small pump of Andalou Naturals Oil Free Moisturizer from their Clarifying Line. Vitamin C is incredibly healthy for your skin. It decreases the progression of aging, it lessens overall inflammation in the skin, it hydrates and regenerates the skin, decreases hyperpigmentation, and heals current acne blemishes. The Andalou Naturals moisturizer is the perfect base for makeup, it contains clarifying and antibacterial ingredients, and fills in my pores and marks better than any primer I’ve ever tried.
One Love Organics Eye Balm: I apply this morning and night as my eye cream and it has cured my eye dermatitis. You can read more about it in my blog post here.
Nighttime Skincare: After I’ve washed my face with the Pacifica Detox face wash, I combine equal parts Reviva Labs 10% Glycolic Acid and this Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream. I don’t have a photo of the Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid because I ran out of it, didn’t save the jar, and my Amazon order hasn’t arrived with it in time for this post. Also, gradually work your way up to using Glycolic Acid every night. My skin is tough, so it can handle it, but everyone’s skin varies in how sensitive it is. Reviva Labs also has a 5% Glycolic Acid Cream that may be easier to use every night at first. Glycolic acid is integral in breaking down excess dead skin cells, breaking up built up bacteria and oil in your pores, and is VITAL in lessening hyperpigmentation. At the end of this post, I’ll show you my before and after pictures of one week of using this skincare regimen after my skin had a horrific flare up. The Andalou Naturals Renewal Cream has Priobiotics, which helps fight bad bacteria, has vitamin C, and manuka honey to kill bacteria and brighten skin.
I mix in Maracuja Oil (AKA Passionfruit Seed Oil) that I have added Lavender and Frankincense essential oils to. I mix this oil in with the glycolic acid and Renewal Cream all in the palm of my hand, rub my palms together, and then apply liberally to my face, neck, chest, and shoulders until nothing is left on my hands. Lavender Essential Oil>Lavender has so many healing benefits: antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, calms redness. Frankincense Essential Oil>Frankincense helps heal my scarring like no other oil I’ve ever tried. It also helps with stress and anxiety, as well. Even though I have doTERRA essential oils in the picture, they’re very pricey oils and although I stand for the brand’s overall quality, I realize they’re not in everyone’s budget due to their MLM scheme (especially their Frankincense). So, I linked my absolute favorite cost effective brand that has the same quality, if not better overall quality, than Doterra, above. I buy all of my Plant Therapy oils from Amazon (I always have–and I’ve never been disappointed! I have a full review of my favorite oils from Plant Therapy coming soon!)
Passionfruit Seed OilMaracuja Oil is one of the only oils that does not break me out (Argan oil is my skin’s nemesis!!!!). Maracuja Oil is lightweight, high in Vitamin C, and is incredibly soothing and anti-inflammatory to the skin. It helps keep my skin’s tone even, as well. The Tarte brand is known for their maracuja oil, however, it’s very over-priced. I got mine when they were having a 30% off sale and it was marked down 50%, so I got it 80% off. The brand that I linked above is the brand I use when I repurchase it and it’s of equal, if not better quality to the Tarte brand.
Lastly, once or twice a week, use a detoxing mask:
The one I have shown here I received in a Petit Vour subscription box, but you can easily make your own. I have a blog post dedicated to a DIY Detoxifying Face Mask for Oily/Acne-Prone Skin.
This mask from Pacifica’s Deep Detox Pore Refine Mask is a blend of activated charcoal and clays, which pull toxins out of your skin and body. These types of masks help heal existing blemishes by bringing them to the surface, drying them up, and helping them heal a lot faster so that they are less likely to leave such long-term hyperpigmentation marks.
Yes, this all seems like a lot and this all does add up to be quite a pricey skincare regimen. But, I’ve included direct links to where you can purchase each product at a discounted price on Amazon.com. You don’t have to buy each thing all at once. Instead, you can slowly replace existing items with the ones I’ve recommended. You can also pick out some standout items, such as the Reviva Labs 10% Glycolic Acid cream or their cheaper, milder option Reviva Labs 5% Glycolic Acid Cream and add the above mentioned Plant Therapy essential oils (Here is a link to a great starter set Plant Therapy Essential Oil Kit) to your routine. If you want to really rev things up, I would add the Detox Mask as soon as possible.
Lastly, if your skin is acting up, you cannot be lazy or lax with your skincare regimen. Every time I get lazy and try using cleansing clothes instead of my regular cleansers, for example, my skin freaks out all over again and I’m back to square one with healing it. As someone with fair skin, it takes A LONG TIME to reduce red marks and hyperpigmntation from post-acne scarring, rashes, and dermatitis flare ups. It’s not worth it, in the end. No matter how tired I am at night, I wash my face and complete my skincare routine. Even if I fall asleep, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to do my regimen.
This is a photo I took of my skin showing what my skin looked like a week ago when I woke up to the worst dermatitis flare up I’ve ever experienced, where my skin was red, itchy, swollen, full of new, deep cystic acne, and was basically one giant rash. The after photo shows the improvement in my skin after ONE WEEK of using this regimen described in this post.
Obviously, I still have some healing to do, but all of my cystic acne/acne is gone, the rash cleared up, the scabbing is gone, my skin is evened out, and all that is left is the hyperpigmentation marks from the cystic acne marks.
This photo was taken under florescent lighting, which shows everything!
If you’d like me to do a post showing my makeup routine to show how I covered this flareup so that no one even knew I had it, please leave me a comment below!
(All of the pictures of me in last week’s posts show me with all of this going on underneath my makeup and you wouldn’t be able to tell.)
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. I’m sorry it’s so long. There’s just no easy way to describe all of the steps and factors that go into a healthy skincare regimen and/or how to address active skin issues.
Please leave any questions you have below!
Have a happy and healthy day!
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