When I was going through adolescence, like most, my face broke out with acne. I had what is called cystic acne that was very painful. I'd also have smaller pimples and blackheads, but it was the cystic acne that was the most unbearable. I was already shy and awkward so having acne just made it harder for me to feel good about myself. I would hide my face and look down when talking to people, and I can't remember a time I ever had clear skin.
When I got older, the smaller pimples went away, but the larger cystic type pimples never did. I would always break out along my jawline and down my back. The rest of my face was pretty clear, so I would hide a lot of my acne with my hair and makeup, but if you have ever struggled with acne, you know how depressing it can be.
When I was 28, I can remember this huge (and I mean huge like a grape) cystic pimple popped up on my cheek. I did what you aren't "supposed" to do, and I tried to pop it. The pimple imploded, and my entire cheek swelled up. It was so painful, not to mention horrible to look at, so I went to the doctor. He prescribed me antibiotics and gave me an injection which didn't help. I suffered with a swollen face for over a week. I later found out that I was pregnant and my face for the duration of the pregnancy was pretty awful.
When I turned 40, I had grown a huge audience on social media sharing my beach yoga photos. My jawline acne was still an issue, but I just covered it up with makeup. One day I noticed that my back was breaking out with cystic pimples. It got so bad that I had to turn down jobs to model clothing because of the scars and pimples on my back. I have a vivid memory of my husband looking at it and saying "you must be allergic to something" because it was so unreal at 40 years old to have acne all over my back. That was when I decided that I had to do something to fix this.
I did what most people do, and I went to an allergist, my OBGYN, and my dermatologist. They prescribed antibiotics, put me on special cleansers, had me see a facialist once a week, and made me change all my makeup to mineral makeup. After 6 months, and no change, they decided to put me on Accutane.
I know some people have good results from Accutane, but I did not. In fact, not only did my acne not change, but I had terrible issues in my body. I became chronically dehydrated and ended up tearing two ligaments in the 4 month timespan I was on the drug. I was so sick that I couldn't complete the 6 months of the drug and quit around month 4. After that experience, I really just thought that I'd live like this forever. I am always searching for the "magic" pill or potion to help my acne and not to say that I have found it, but the combination of the following things has finally lead me to a path of virtually clear skin.
*all products mentioned are not sponsored and bought with my own money.
No more animal products.
I had never wanted to become vegan because I loved cheese and chicken. I felt that a vegan lifestyle was impossible, so I never even tried it. After a miracle happened to me (I will blog on this at another time), I finally made the choice to become vegan for life. This helped extremely with inflammation. I noticed immediately that my pimples where smaller and less swollen. I also didn't have as many!
Fruit is not the enemy. Fruit is your best friend.
I used to think that fruit made you fat. I had literally demonized fruit most of my life and almost never ate it. What I didn't realize was fruits actually help flush out the toxins that cause acne! I started a regime of 2 apples a day, 1 banana, and either 1 cup of strawberries, mango, or blueberries almost every day.
Celery Juice for the win.
I'm sure you have heard about the Medical Medium, and his celery juice. Well, I had too, but I hate celery! I bought his book and read it and thought, "that's nice... for everyone else, but not me!" I really didn't want to do it because it just seemed... well, extreme. :) When my eyes broke out with eczema one day, I decided to give it a try and after about 2 weeks I noticed my skin looked amazing! I now drink it about 4 times a week. It is hard to keep fresh celery in the house; otherwise, I'd drink it every day.
I found a small miracle... topical probiotics.
I love Amazon. Like, I really love amazon. I hate to go shopping, and I never believe commercials or ads for products that "cure" anything but I do believe Amazon reviews. If I see a product with over 100 reviews and it has a 4 star or above rating, I know that it must be good! This topical spray I found that way. I have been using it for over a month now and honesty, it works! Not only does it work for acne, but it works for eczema, psoriasis, and a whole host of other skin conditions. It helps create good bacteria on your skin to fight off the acne causing bacteria. This product is made by a Mother and daughter run small business. I love supporting companies like this! I highly recommend it!
Not all soap is created equal.
Amazon to the rescue again! I found this one, by Teena Skin Care after reading endless reviews online looking for a vegan, organic cleanser that would help my acne. I've been using it for over a month and have notice that my skin isn't dry, it doesn't strip my skin, and I haven't had any major breakouts since using it. It doesn't lather like most soaps so be aware. It actually feel like nothing is happening except my skin is completely clean afterwards. It's amazing! I highly recommend it!
Moisturizers that are all natural and organic make a difference.
This moisturizer called Manuka Honey Rescue, I found on someone's blog (so sorry, but I don't know who or I'd tag them). They recommend it for their eczema and acne and said it was a miracle so off to Amazon I went! :) After using now for 4 months, I'm completely sold on it. I love the way it makes my skin feel and it smells amazing!
Ladies can shave their faces too. :)
Say what? Yeah, I know! I can't believe I'm admitting to shaving my face but I am. It works! I buy these eyebrow razors, and I dry shave my entire face (minus the nose). At first, I was scared that I was going to grow stubble or somehow make my facial hair thicker, but I've read so many articles and my facialist promised me that is a myth! Bad bacterial and dirt can live on the hair follicle which can cause acne plus, shaving the skin gets off all the dead skin that sits on top and really helps to exfoliate your face. You'll be so surprised how smooth and soft your face is not to mention how much more effective your moisturizers are!
Finding the right foundation!
Because I struggle with my skin, I am a snob about makeup. Since going vegan, it has been really hard to find products that are cruelty free and work with my skin. Foundation is something that I NEED! I am so self conscious about my acne scars on my neck and jawline that it has to not only cover my scars, but also not clog my pores. This was my delimma. After searching the internet, trying so many brands (not kidding - like, 25 different foundations), good ol' Amazon reviewers came through for me. I was a little hesitant to buy it since matching skin color can be tricky, but I once I received Evxo and tried it, I fell in love. Not only is it Vegan, it smells amazing and covers up all my acne scars. It stays on all day, and I don't need to re-apply. It also hasn't caused any breakouts on my skin. I'm super happy with it and I highly recommend it.
Stop touching your face, it only makes matters worse.
This was me. Literally, for no reason touching my face all day long. I would notice myself running my hands over my face to see if the swelling had gone down or see if ... I don't know, to see if my acne was still there?? Silly I know, but once I realized that my hands had bacteria and dirt on them and I was making my problem worse, I made a vow only to look (or touch) my face twice day - when I wake up, and when I go to bed. I try to avoid looking in the mirror during the day because my reflection doesn't really change and honestly, I can go down the rabbit hole of obsessing over acne if I look. Now that my face is clear, I hardly ever even think about it.
Yoga can change your skin!
My face always matches my moods! If I am stressed out, my face breaks out. I've learned now to just let everything roll off my back or at least take it to my yoga mat. It is definitely hard when dealing with the holidays, work, or personal issues but when I feel stressed, I get on my mat. 20-30 min of yoga can completely change my perspective on things. If I slack on my yoga pracitce, I notice my stress levels will rise, and my face usually breaks out the next day. Finding time to practice yoga is mandatory for my health, wellbeing and for clear skin. I try to have clean skin when I practice, but not always. I usually just wash or shower after practice and apply my topical spray and moisturizer before my foundation. Yoga makes such a huge difference in everything in my life. If you don't know where to start, I have classes on my Playbook app for all levels! I will help you fall in love with a yoga practice!
I know what it feels like to hate your skin, and I hope that these things help you find some freedom with your acne. Feel free to leave me a comment and ask me questions about any of the above mentioned things. Try some of them, try all of them, or combine a few of them with things that already work for you. Remember this is just my experience and everyone has acne for different reasons. Hopefully, some of these things will help you! Please share this with anyone that you know would appreciate it.