Hey Guys! As promised, here is part 2 of my skin clearing tips. Last time (for Part 1 Click Here) we talked about diet, keeping your pores clean, skin type, avoiding scrubs, and scar prevention. So this time I want to dig a little deeper – I’m going to touch on “special issues” that can cause acne, specific skin care lines that I like, natural remedies, prescription meds, and make up options for acne prone skin!
Please note that this post will be written a little differently as I share a little more about myself along with acne tips… It’s long, but I know it will help someone! 🙂
1. “Special Issues”. One thing that can contribute to acne for both men and women are hormones. If you are breaking out in the chin/jaw line area you may want to see your physician and get your hormone levels tested to see if there is any imbalance (and whether the imbalance is being triggered from the brain or reproductive organs). For me, I was not getting my cycle regularly due to too much testosterone in the ovaries so my body was not filtering itself properly which was contributing to my cystic acne immensely.
Hormonal balancing suggestions will be included in the Natural Remedies section.
Another thing causing acne could be a build up of bad bacteria internally. If you have gained weight, developed stomach problems (like acid reflex, chronic gas, etc), or noticed a reduction in the amount of times per week that you make a bowel movement during your skin flare up, this is a good indicator that you may need to do a colon cleanse. Believe it or not your intestines play a huge role in your skin’s appearance! When bad bacteria gets out of hand it produces substances that can irritate your stomach & intestines, prevent your body from absorbing the right nutrients, and interferes with digestion.
Note, there are safer internal cleansing options like drinking aloe vera juice, and eating less meat/starchy foods and more veggies. Check the Natural Remedies section.
2. Skin Care. For the past year I have been using the Bussell Skin Care line from my dermatologist’s office. I wash with the Anti Bacterial soap (contains salicylic acid) using cool water, and gently rub in circular motions to make sure I wiggle out as much dirt from my pores, as well as increase blood circulation for a nice glow. It kills on surface bacteria, and exfoliates without microbeads. After letting my skin air dry, I take a cotton ball and apply their Toner for Normal to Dry skin all over (avoiding the eye/under eye area). I finish by moisturizing with a noncomedogenic (doesn’t irritate skin) nighttime moisturizer by Cerve. Because it’s made for nighttime use, it is unscented, does not contain any SPF and helps my skin to stay moisturized without that extra greasy feeling throughout the day. However, on days where I am in the sun I like to use Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen (SPF 15). This moisturizer is also unscented, nongreasy, and good for sensitive skin. As for makeup removal, I use either Neutrogena’s Makeup Remover wipes (unscented), CVS brand makeup remover wipes (blue pack, lightly scented), or Ponds Cold Cream.
Other skin care product favs: Kate Somerville’s Detox Cleanser, Eradikate Treatment, and Anti Bac Acne Lotion; Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser; Neutrogena Clear Pore Mask/Wash; Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser & moisturizer lotion
3. Prescriptive Meds/Treatments. Like everyone else that has suffered from acne, I too have experienced a whirlwind of pills. From oral antibiotics like Clindamycin, Minocyclin, doxycyclin, and Solodyn to Tetracyclin (used topically)… Can we just talk about how annoying it is to take a pill everyday for your skin? The nausea, the removal of other good bactiera in your body (ie. down below), the reminders you have to set on your phone, etc…. just blah!!! I could not do it. If you can stick it out with these meds, I commend you – There really is a treatment for everyone and have worked wonders for people I know but I just did not have the will at all. Not to mention, on top of those medications, I was also taking Metformin (a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, but can also treat Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome) for my hormones, which also made me nauseated, and gave me diarrhea (this med has been used for children’s weight loss as it doesn’t impact the heart rate like diet pills).
So yea, pills weren’t for me but here are some of my favorite creams and procedures:
• Finacea Cream – This treatment is usually given to patients that suffer from Rosacea, but because it has azelaic acid in it, it has been used for treating bacteria causing acne (this is the only cream that completely eliminated my acne). Some of the things I noticed about it right away is that it worked fast and dried out my pimples in 1-2 days (even the deep cystic ones), but it did give me a burning sensation when I used it twice a day. So after reducing my usage to once a day (and mixing it with my Cerve moisturizer on my problem areas) I found that it stopped me from getting oily throughout the day, and controlled my breakouts as well. I also believe that because I reduced my usage, and mixed it with my moisturizer it prevented me from any hyper pigmentation caused by drying out the skin.
Note: Finacea is really expensive… So make sure you get a coupon from your dermatologist. *serious face*
• Tazorac Cream – If you can get through the peeling, you will LOVE this cream’s results. It’s is one of my favorite acne treatments because it dries up your pimples, and helps your skin to resurface simultaneously since you are shedding the dull layers. This product can be expensive, depending on your insurance, but it’s worth it. Just be careful when using it because like the Finacea, it can dry you out and cause burning if you over use it.
• Aczone – This cream is great because it’s light weight, not over drying, and it works fast. I didn’t have any burning or peeling side effects and it kept my oily skin in check all day.
• In office Treatments – I see my dermatologist twice a month for blackhead extractions and/or cortisone injections to remove any new blemishes (works within 24hrs). While I’m there I also like to get an acid applied all over my face, then a spot treatment with a slightly higher acidity on my scars. This will usually cause my skin to peel for 7-10 days – super annoying but well worth it! When I can’t make it to the dermatologist, I like to use a Mini Peel by Glytone 3 times a week. It has glycolic acid in it so you will still get the exfoliation and scar fading benefits on a lesser scale (no actual peeling of the skin).
4. Natural Remedies. Teatree oil, and Neem oil are both great treatments for acne as they are naturally antiseptics and increase blood circulation (important for rejuvenating the skin’s surface). However, these two oils are VERY pungent in smell so you really have to acquire tolerance for them. With that being said, I find that it’s really hard to get rid of the smell even after washing your face. But, mixing them with yogurt helps tone down the smell, and keep your skin from getting to hot (tends to happen with neem).
Honey mixed with cinnamon is also a good acne treatment. It smells great, fights bacteria, and helps even your skin tone as well. The only thing is that honey can be a bit moisturizing so if you have oily skin try adding a little lemon juice to the mixture.
Crushed Aspirin mixed with water is also a good acne treatment as aspirin is an anti-inflammatory. It calms the skin, reduces redness, reduces pore size, and gently exfoliates the skin.
Dickinson’s Witch Hazel or Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar work similarly to aspirin when it comes to its calming effect on the skin. It gently cleanses the skin free of bacteria, and reduces redness.
Grandpa’s Natural Oatmeal Soap is a vegetable based facial soap that cleanses your skin without stripping away natural oils. It smells great, softens & exfoliates, and gives the skin a great glow.
Natural Remedies for Special Issues (Check with Herbalist prior to taking):
• DCI (D-chiro-Inositol) – Helps the body burn/store insulin and stop producing testosterone (great video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I82OtKb4jtA)
• Progesta Care for Women (natural progesterone) – Reduces menopause/pre-menopause side effects, and helps to balance estrogen levels
• Syngenic 2% Micronized Natural Progesterone (with 600mcg B12 Methylcobalamin) – Reduces menopause/pre-menopause side effects, and helps to balance estrogen levels
• Preservative Free Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Juice (by Lily Of The Desert) – Helps build your immune system, reduce toxins, and improve digestion & the absorption of nutrients.
5. Safe Makeup. As discussed in part one of my skin tips, oil free is always the best for acne prone skin. I love Makeup Forever HD – it’s lightweight, buildable, noncakey, and photographs beautifully. I use it regularly and it doesn’t break me out. Other foundations that I would recommend are Chanel’s Vitalumiere-aqua or Perfection Lumiere, Kat Von D Lock It, Laura Mercier Silk Crème, Lorac Natural Performance, and Clinique’s Even Better foundation.
Hope this helps!