Saturday, April 14, 2012

Acne....and how much it sucks.

 *Disclaimer: Everyone's skin is different. Some products that work for me and my skin, may not work for yours.*

So, pretty much every teenager goes through some sort of 'acne phase' and pretty much every teenager can either grow out of it or find a product, like proactiv, to help them rid their face acne.  However, for some of us unlucky people, acne just likes to stick around and make us feel like we are still a teenager...when in reality we are in our twenties or older.

I've struggled with acne for....about twelve years...ick. I didn't realize it was that many years lol. Anyway, I am going on twenty four and I STILL get break outs like I am a fifteen year old girl, no joke. I am sometimes a pizza-face and it is okay. So...over the years I've tried countless products and pills and dermatologist appointments-nothing has seemed to fully work.  I've had minor successes with things like proactiv, but the results are never to their full potential (meaning my face is not completely clear) and always short lived (meaning my face would be clear for 5-6 months and then break out worse than it ever had before).

So...this blog is to kind of list what I've learned to do and not to do, products (some, not all-that would take a million blogs) that have and haven't worked for me, diet, and some new products I have/will be using in the near future.

Number one thing for me is to stay away from SODA. I'm pretty sure it isn't good for you anyway, and even if I have one soda a month or every three months, that ONE soda will make me break out.  Even 'clear' sodas like Sprite Sprite the only 'clear' soda? Well, in any case, the sugar and just bad stuff in soda will almost always make me break out. Which sucks because I love fountain coke or pepsi...but I've gone about a month now with out soda or energy drinks and my skin, although still breaking out, is wayyyy better....but I miss red bull, have to say.

Another thing that constantly breaks me out is STRESS. This one is a bit of a struggle for me because for the most part, a person cannot control the amount of stress in their life.  However, how that person deals with the stress, has a good amount of impact.  So, lately I've been trying to not sweat the small stuff and try to relax when I get overwhelmed as much as possible. Not the easiest thing.

Finally, since I am a woman, my HORMONES are probably the largest reason why I break out. I won't go into all the details just in case some men are reading this blog, but girls- you know what I'm saying, right? Something that has seemed to help with this though, is birth control pills. It's amazing.  My skin is not clear, but I do break out less frequently than before and in less areas than before I started taking it.  For example, I used to break out all along my forehead and cheeks and now I mainly break out along my chin area and only sometimes on my cheeks. I've only been on it for a month, so I'm looking forward to more great things! Also, side note-I get way less migraines since taking the pill as well. It's awesome sauce.

Okay so now on to products.

Make up-
There has been countless make up products (ie:concealer, foundation, blush, etc.) that has made me break out over the years so I won't list all of them.  Mainly the important thing to look out for in make up products is to make sure they say 'non-acneagenic' or 'non-comedigenic' which means it won't clog your pores and cause acne.  And make sure, if you can, that it is 'hypoallergenic' and 'oil-free'.  I don't think it matters whether or not you have oily, combination or dry skin. Oil in make up IS going to make you break out, at least that's what it's always done for my skin.

Right now I use:

L'oreal True Match Foundation in THE whitest shade they have since I am casper-the-ghost-pale. Honestly, I do not know if this product is hypoallergenic or anything, but it has never made me break out.  Also, my two sisters use it and have near flawless skin compared to mine. Annnnd this is the only foundation that is anywhere close to my actual skin tone. It's about 9$ at Walmart.

I also use:
Maybelline Superstay, 24 Hour Concealer.  I have quite a few acne scars/marks that have not faded yet and so this is, in my opinion, THE BEST concealer for that (and blemishes of course).  Again, this product has never made me break out and I am currently on my 5th tube of this stuff. Also a tip: if you find you are running low on concealer, take OUT the stopper from the tube and you can literally get everything out of it. Just be careful, I've cut myself on butter knives trying to get the stopper out lol. It's about 6$ or 7$ at Walmart.

Finally I use:
Palladio Loose Setting Powder. This stuff is amazing. It's all natural, hypoallergenic, non-comedigenic and just AWESOME. I have pretty dry skin to combination skin, so I don't use powder all the time.  However, if I come home from work or class all day and find my make up looks a bit too shiny, I dust a very small amount of powder on my face and BAM awesomeness happens.  Sometimes too much shine ot 'glow' can make imperfections in skin stand out more, so powder that bitch up. Tip- don't use the crappy spongie thing it comes with, use a blush or powder brush. And this was about...4$ or 5$ at Ulta.

Another tip when it comes to make up and acne: PLEASE, I cannot stress this enough, wash your make up brushes/sponges/etc every day or after every use. All kinds of icky oil and bacteria can get stuck in those bristles and then go on to your skin and cause a nasty break out.  Also, I use a wet make up sponge to apply my foundation and it lasts pretty much all day. I NEVER re-use make up sponges. Ick.

Skin care-
This is just what I use, personally. And what I use right now with one or two I'll be trying out. Before I list them, some products that have NOT worked for me have been proactiv, murad, any kind of drug or face product the dermatologist suggested/prescribed, and the list could literally go on for days.

Here's what I have been using for the past few months.

Step one:
Remove make up. I use any kind of cheap, dollar store, hypoallergenic make up removing wipe just to make sure my make up is gone before I actually wash my face.

Step two:
I actually wash my face.  I only wash my face at night, since if I did it morning and night my face would look like a dried out piece of leather. In the morning, sometimes I will wash it if I'm sick or feel like my skin needs it. Mostly, I just do it at night. I am now using:

PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash.  It has 4% benzoyl peroxide and, surprisingly, has not dried out my sensitive skin yet. I like this product just because it has no perfumes in it and it does make my skin feel clean, however it has not really helped in clearing my skin up and I am almost out of it.It cost me about 9$ at Walgreens. 7-10 business days I will be using:

Fresh Farmacy from And yes, that is how they spell it so :P. Since the nearest Lush store to me is about an hour out of the way, I ordered it online and it cost me about $10 with out shipping.  I've wanted to try it for a while since a lot of people on youtube and things have said it has really cleared their skin up.  I also like it because it is 100% vegan and 100% all natural. It has chamomile and lavender and tee tree oil so...I'm looking forward to trying it. Also, check out They have such sweet stuff, not just for acne! I'll have to write another blog for a review once I start using it :).

Step three:
Treat acne. I love this stuff so flipping much.

 Say Yes to Tomatoes Acne Roller Ball Stick. This shit is...the shit when it comes to spot treating acne.  It's a bit pricey; about $9-$10 at Walmart/Walgreens but it seriously has lasted me about 5 months and I have just a little less than half of the stick left.  A little goes a long way with this and if you use it more than twice a day, it kind of dries out your skin.  Otherwise, this is probably the best acne spot treatment I've ever tried. It's got salicylic acid and tea tree oil, as well as an ingredient from tomatoes that helps with inflammation. It's A-MA-ZING.

I also will sometimes use:
Clearasil Vanishing Acne Spot Treatment.  This has I think 2% benzoyl peroxide and I only use this when I have a really stubborn SOB zit that is painful. The cystic ones? Those SUCK ARSE. But this, although never really gets rid of it completely, does help to shrink it and make it hurt less. It's about $4-$5 at Walmart.

Moisturize. I have tried countless moisturizers over the years. Some make me break out, some don't moisturize enough, some make me itch, etc.  The best moisturizer I have found is:

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Skin Moisturizer. I love this stuff. Aveeno is just a great brand for everything, especially if you have sensitive skin like I do.  I love this product because it helps with redness and it has SPF 15 in it so I don't have to worry about the sun. It looks great under my make up, too. I use this morning and night after I wash my face or right before I put make up on.  I like to let it sink into my skin for a good 20 minutes before I put make up on, though. It's about 15$ at Walmart, but it does last a good three to four months.

Exfoliate/ microdermabrasion. Now, important: do not exfoliate your skin every single day. You WILL break out more.  I only do this about one to two times a week, just to get the dead skin off and help with my acne marks. What I have been using lately is:

C Booth Green Apple Microdermabraison scrub.  I love this stuff because it doesn't irritate my skin and it makes it baby-butt smooth after I use it.  Also, it smells like green apple jolly ranchers! It's about 12$-13$ at Ulta, or you could get it on I'm sure for cheaper, they just happened to be sold out when I went to purchase it. It has lasted me a good 6-7 months and I am only now hitting below the half-way tube mark. Well worth it. It also has lactic acid which helps lighten acne marks and I've seen a definite improvement since using it.

My Diet-
Only second to my hormones, a very close second, my diet has the largest impact on my skin. Now, soda of course, as mentioned, makes me break out.  However, if I eat a lot of chocolate or sugar, greasy foods? That'll do it, too. Mainly, I try to balance things as much as possible, which is hard since I am a broke college student and eating healthy is expensive.  Plus, I love me the cheese fries.  Anyway, balancing good foods and bad foods has helped a lot.  For instance, if I have those nom-nommy cheese fries one day, I'll try to eat semi-healthy the rest of the week.  I'm a stress eater's never pretty when I'm stressed. Soda and candy and cheese fries everywhere.

Also- I am planning on exercising with my boyfriend pretty regularly this summer. Exercise helps with stress and therefore can help clear up acne, some what. Even though the thought of joining a gym or running makes me cringe, I'm thinking if I do it with my boyfriend and we're miserable together, we can work it out :)....No pun intended.

Some last tips:
  • Don't let other people say nasty things about your skin.  Most of the time, it isn't anyone's fault that they have acne and it is not something that person can control.

  • When it comes to seeing a dermatologist: IMPORTANT find one that is going to do everything they can for you and your skin under your insurance. In my case, my dermatologist would do next to nothing in his office because my insurance did not cover anything besides popping zits, really. Also, use the dermatologist as a near-last resort thing.  Prescriptions and office visits can get wayyy pricey.

  • When it comes to acne marks/scars: They take forever and a day to get rid of, just be patient. Also, don't pick at acne or touch your face, etc. It only makes the marks look worse and take longer to fade.

  • Finally, acne sucks. For those lucky-ass people who have never had it or a zit in their lives (which is not many) they cannot really understand what it's like.  It doesn't matter your age, gender, race, etc- acne is one of those things that can just mess with your self-esteem.  So, my advice is to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are and support you. 

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