Do you suffer from acne or pimples periodically? If you are, you're not alone and I know how you feel.
This is me in the past.
This is me now.
I was a chubby girl with lots cystic acne back then all throughout teenage years till early adult life.
It's like trapped in a body I dislike and I hated everything.
Seriously, I hope my existence gave you hope.
Living with Acne is Depressing
Acne can be caused by various reasons.
It could be triggered by the diet, the poor quality sleep, bed sheets, dirty towels, other lifestyle habits or hormone.
Acne can make a person feel depressed, lack of self-esteem, and even withdraw from social events.
I hate taking pictures back then because I used to be very conscious and have low self-esteem due to being chubby with acne problems.
I’ve tried many facial products, prescription medications, birth control pills, antibiotics, been through several dermatologists and few doctors for it.
Aside from clinical assistance, I’ve also done microdermabrasion, peeling, facial, tons of different face products from expensive to name brands to popular brands ordered from the magazine.
None of them worked effectively or lasted long.
I don’t have a very stable and healthy lifestyle back then, I don’t know how to manage my stress, I’m pessimistic as hell, I don’t eat healthy and I get insomnia quite often.
Needless to say, the vicious cycle of poor lifestyle and stress reflected back onto my face and I became very resistant to go out to meet people or participate in any social activities.
It wasn’t until I took action to change then I started to see the improvements on my skin.
Take Action to Make Changes
Like I said before, I tried many products and none of them give the results that I wanted.
I did a lot of research on product ingredients and their effects on the skin. I’m sure you’d probably did the same thing if you are trying to clear your acne.
However, sometimes information overload is actually causing more confusion and burden on your skin than what you really need.
It is then a good friend of mine gifted me this book called The Acne Cure by Terry Dubrow and Brenda Adderly.
After I read the book and tried out the recommended methods in there, I start to transform myself from inside to outside.
The Beauty Routine
First, you must understand the basic steps to healthy skin routine:
The products you choose needs to serve their function properly in order for you to have the healthy glowing skin you want.
It's possible that a lot of the products on the market may contain unnecessary ingredients that can cause more burden to the skin than good.
As a consumer, it's important to educate yourself on the ingredients and know exactly what you need and don’t need.
First, the cleanse
Cleaners, or, face wash should contain at least 2% Salicylic acid.
This ingredient can effectively wash away your skin’s sweat, dead skin cell, makeup, and dirt or dust away without peeling too much of your own natural oil off to the point it’s too dry.
It’s also a good idea to use proper makeup remover to remove makeup first before you use the cleanser.
When the skin gets too dry, the dry skin may cause the dead skin cells and can possibly clog the pores.
Dry skin also means it has less lipid to protect it against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which can potentially lead to the formation of the bad stuff that causes acne.
That’s why it’s important to use an effective cleanser to get rid of acne-prone bacterias without overdrying your skin. It’s best you wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
The brand I use is Zapzyt.
It contains 2% Salicylic acid and cleanses the skin very well.
It’s cheap and very efficient. You can easily purchase from drugstore or Amazon.
Second is Exfoliate
The purpose of exfoliating is to remove the outermost layers of dead skin cells.
The cycle may promote skin rejuvenation for that it helps remove dead skin cells to promote new ones.
Products that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as glycolic acid, citric, and lactic can help your skin exfoliate efficiently and safely when given the right amount.
As recommended from The Acne Cure book, glycolic acid can be applied to the face once every morning after cleansing.
If you’ve never used or rarely use glycolic acid products, I highly recommend you start with 8% because it's going to sting a little.
Then, slowly increase to 10%, 15%, 20% and so forth.
The first glycolic acid I use at the beginning of my clear the acne journey is Gly Derm’s products.
I used the GLYDERM Face Solution Plus 10 after cleaning my face.
As I get used to the product, I switched to GLYDERM Solution Plus Exfoliator 12%.
Depending on your skin tolerance, you can increase glycolic percentage when your skin grew more resistant towards the product.
Third is Hydrate
When you have this cycle of removing dead skin cell and promote new skin growth, it’s important to hydrate your skin to keep the skin healthy and soft.
There are quite a few ingredients that can keep the skin hydrated.
Some of my favorites are:
Witch hazel - contains antioxidants compound that may protect against sun damage and it’s good to relieve any skin irritation.
Rose water - have anti-inflammatory properties that can hydrate the skin. It’s perfect for acne-prone skin because it’s antiseptic and also astringent, meaning, it can remove problem causing bacterias and protects the skin.
Hyaluronic acid - a wonderful hydrating ingredient that is safe for all skin types, it can retain the moisture in the skin and provide antioxidant protection against harmful environmental factors.
I usually look for products with these ingredients to effectively hydrate my skin.
Some products I love include Thayer’s Witch Hazel Rose Toner.
It’s a great toner to hydrate your skin after cleanser or exfoliate to calm & hydrate the skin. It can also relieve any sunburn and possible skin irritation.
Another one of my favorites is Cosmedica serums with hyaluronic acid.
I like how it does not contain unnecessary fragrance, it’s safe and gentle and can make my skin smooth and silky.
Another hydration tip:
I also love to use face masks at least once a week to pamper myself.
I would first steam my face with added essential oil like tea tree or lavender to ensure the pore is open and ready to absorb.
My favorite masks are usually from Taiwan or Korea.
It’s a good idea to do this DIY facial at home at least once a week to rejuvenate your skin and feel zen.
Fourth is Moisturize
Not only our skin needs hydration to retain the water, it also needs moisturizers to lock in and promote the skin elasticity and softness.
There are different ingredients that can moisturize the skin, as per recommendation from The Acne Cure book, I chose moisturizers that include retinol.
Retinol helps replenish dull skin to a more youthful smoother look because it seals in the water and moisture.
I use different face moisturizer because I alternate between seasons.
A lighter one in summer, heavier moisture in winter.
Some of the ones I use includes:
Baebody Retinol Moisturizer
What I love about this product is that it contains wonderful moisturizing ingredients, it does not cause any breakouts on my acne-prone skin, and the bottle is designed to prevent bacteria growth as normal creams in jars would.
Another retinol moisturizer I love to use is RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum
This moisturizer is rich in Retinol and is perfect to use all year round, especially in winter time.
Last Step - Protect
Don't you think a lot of Japanese woman always looks so youthful and beautiful?
They often look so young despite their chronological age and some of them even earn the beauty fame of being called - the Beautiful Ageless Witch (true thing).
Witch or not, who cares!? Their beauty routine obviously works!!!
Hats, sunglasses, UV block jackets and all...almost like Caliban in Logan level.
Well it's no wonder they look so luminescence white and youthful.
To prevent your skin from sun damage, you need to apply good UV block sunscreens at least 20 minutes before you head out the door.
Here’s what you need to look for in an effective safe sunscreen:
● Titanium dioxide
● Zinc oxide
● Broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB
You can read more about protection against UV rays here.
The best sunscreens that are my favorites are Thinkbaby,
I often stock these products in packs and travel everywhere with them.
Why I don't use other sunscreen products?
Because there are certain sunscreens with ingredients that may be more hazardous to the skin rather than protection, I’ve been using the wrong products all along that may have contributed more damage to my skin than good.
Last Important Step to Clear Acne
One last cream to clear your acne is the 10% Benzoyl peroxide cream.
Benzoyl peroxide, also known as the BP cream, is a wonderful cream that can kill acne-causing bacteria and it’s to be applied at night time after moisturizer and cooling therapy.
BP cream is best to be placed in the refrigerator so it does not warm up when you apply it on your face.
Cooling therapy can reduce inflammation.
It’s nothing fancy, just use a simple zip lock bag, fill it with ice, wrap a face towel around it so it does not freeze your face, and let it sit on your face at night before you go to bed.
After cooling for about 10-15 minutes, you can dab the extra water moisture from your face, apply the BP cream and leave it on overnight.
Whenever I have this big pimple coming, I use this method and can usually wake up in the morning with the pimp shrink in size and eventually disappear.
It’s a very important to know that when you pick and choose your products, make sure it does not contain too many active ingredients, fragrance, or other cluttered stuff that may conflict each other’s functions or else it might be too irritating for the skin.
And of course, this is the methods I’ve tried and has worked for me. Sometimes what works for us may not work for others.
If you feel uncertain whether a product is suitable for you or not, you should do your research, consult with the professionals and see what works for you.
As for me, I've come a long way to transform.
Aside from learning the correct face care, I also transformed by the body through proper diet, exercising, relaxing, and letting go stuff that doesn’t work for me.
It took me about 2-3 months to completely clear my acne. I now just try out other methods like micro needling and acid peel to reduce acne scars and healing my skin.
With this skin routine that covers from cleansing to protect, you are better off to care your skin properly and reduce & prevent acne.
Thank you for your support.
Wish you live a happy + healthy freedom life in style!
Here's the video version of this post.