Since I was 16 years old, facial acne has been the norm.
It was an up and down kind of battle – picking at my skin at night until I felt fully satisfied with myself (so entertaining, yet so terrible for your skin; take it from me — don’t do it!), or dousing my skin in as much cover-up until my face had the consistency of a birthday cake (gag – high school, anyone?), being too self-conscious to show my face on snapchat as a blogger…yada yada yada. One week it would go away, and within 3 days it was back (*sigh*).
BUT– you guessed right–we’re going uphill from here: I’ve been acne free for most of 2017 — which, let me tell you: feels like facial f-r-e-e-d-o-m. I’m sure my skin problems weren’t as terrible as others but, we are our own worst critics (aren’t we?) and waking up to blemishes on the daily just simply doesn’t feel good.
Every person’s skin is different. Every woman’s hormones are different. Stress levels are different – and eating habits are different. But since so many of you girls asked — I thought I’d put together a post describing my journey to successfully squash acne by tackling it in 3 areas of my life. This may not work for everyone, but after years of trial and error, dermatologist and natural practitioner visits, topical skin products, and more — I’ve conquered the blemish game. (PS – still dealing with scarring but we count our blessings right?) I’m going to break this post into 3 parts: 1. What you’re putting on your skin, 2. What you’re putting in your body, and 3. What’s going through your head.
1.WHAT I’M PUTTING ON MY SKIN:
Rewind back to college and all I was putting on my skin was drugstore buys. I have nothing against grocery store buys, especially because, hey – they fit the budget quite nicely – but I honestly never saw a difference when switching from product to product – just blemish consistency. I also felt the same about topical solutions the dermatologist would prescribe for acne – no change, nada, nothing. I want to preface this with, if you have a routine that is working for you — stick to what is best for your skin because every person’s skin type, lifestyle, and hormonal balance is different.
Enter TULA: I know it’s all the rage right now in the blogger world and you probably think that all that talk could be sponsored — but let me tell you – with me, this is real (and I’m sure it is with the rest of the girls too). In my case, this probiotic-based line changed my skin game completely — there’re a lot of products I could link from their site but I’m going to make it simple and show you guys my absolute favorites. While we’re on the subject of linking, I’m also going to link the two lightweight foundations I use every single day – that have also allowed my skin to breathe freely. Here’s the DL:
Morning & Night Routine: for all TULA products, use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
- Purifying Face Cleanser – this probiotic-filled facial cleanser has a “soft” feeling when you wash your face, causing me to be absolutely addicted morning and night. I was using a grocery store neutrogena cleanser before, and I’m convinced it was not helping my skin’s case – this Tula cleanser is pure gold! use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
- Pro-glycolic Resurfacing Gel – a probiotic take on a toner, this has been by far one of the best topical products I’ve ever used. I haven’t broken out since I started using this. use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
- Hydrating Day & Night Cream – this moisturizer is addictive — with a cooling sensation, say bye bye to dry skin. use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
- Acne Clearing + Tone Gel – if you’re dealing with lots of breakouts or acne, I highly suggest using this gel after you wash your face, and before your moisturizer! I use this acne gel as a spot treatment now that my acne is gone and it’s been super helpful for those nasty little monthly pimples that decide to pop up! use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
***If you want the first 3^^ (I’m swear by all three day and night!), try the The Complete Package – a package of the purifying facial cleanser, resurfacing gel, hydrating day and night cream, and probiotics but discounted. use code: JESSI for 20% off orders
- First, I apply Supergoop! CC Cream, I am absolutely obsessed – it has SPF to protect my skin from the sun and the consistency is so smooth and mattifying! Color: light/medium.
- Then I apply bareMinerals Matte Fountain with a bareMinerals brush – it’s super lightweight and you can coat it multiple times for thicker coverage.
- Then I apply bronzer – see my makeup post for more details!
2.WHAT AM I EATING or WHAT AM I NOT EATING?
Your skin is a reflection of what you’re putting in your body.
The day my sneakers touched down in Paris, France last fall — I hit my turning point. Big shout-out to mes amies en France – the mostly bread- + dairy-filled diet in Paris hit me with a rude awakening. My skin? Torn up – worst ever. Acne everywhere – matted cover-up, not working. Jessi’s self-conscious. You get the point. After getting home from Europe, I decided something was seriously up with my skin and stomach and it was time to figure it out. One week after my trip, I worked with my first food allergy specialist (also known as a holistic practitioner) — who taught me that gluten, dairy, and sugar were inflammatory food groups (for every human ever) but each person reacts differently or more or less dramatically. For me, acne is a form of inflammation and those 2% lattes were making their big debut front and center on my face. Nice.
The very first thing I did was learn to cut out dairy – and I saw an immediate/overnight change in my skin. Gluten followed dairy, and lastly I learned to shy away from adding sugars or sugar-y products. Now – I want to emphasize, this may not be applicable for everyone — but I encourage girls to try it if they’ve tried all other means. Simply cutting back can help reduce areas of inflammation which can show up anywhere. This isn’t a blog post dedicated to slamming gluten and dairy – but being aware that what you put into your body is key. Disclaimer 1.18.17: After one year of cleansing went by, I’m able to eat some inflammatory foods once and awhile (a girl just wants some pizza!) however, I do notice slight headaches or small bumps in my skin.
Next step was building up what I had been tearing down for 24 years:
- Try Collagen Peptides — Blend it in your smoothie, froth it into your latte — these peptides help build up your stomach linings and are *exceptional* for healthy skin and nails.
- Fish Oil Pill Supplements — Another easy and quick fix for glowing skin, hair and nails. The best part is how quickly they make your hair grow. Find the ones I take here.
- Water. Water. Water. — Hydrating is good for your entire body. Dehydration is the enemy. I’ve really up’d my water intake in the last 2 years and I feel all over better.
- Exercise is Key — This is just important as what you’re putting on your skin. Get outside, get active, up your cardio, and give you body a chance to breathe. This is also something major I’ve changed in the last few years.
- Test for allergies — If you’re interested in figuring out food allergies, I would try a local natural practitioner (if you’re in Austin, feel free to comment on the post and I’ll send you mine), or you can try EverlyWell tests — which is an Austin-based company that sends you tests you can take at home. They have an “inflammation test” here.
- Hormones — Hormones can be a big cause of acne. This is tough because it’s different for everyone. My holistic doctor was able to prescribe me supplements that got my hormones back on track.
3.WHAT’S GOING THROUGH MY HEAD:
Stress makes me stressed. The word stress is simply just stressful, isn’t it? I’ve learned that stress is one of the biggest causes of health issues – and stress in and of itself can be one of the main reasons for birthing blemishes (ew). Part of my skin journey boiled down to inner-healing and mindfulness. Okay woah, Jessi, this a lot. I know – it is. But this is more of a lifestyle and mindset change, and it takes time, practice, awareness and lots of patience. But it’s most definitely worth it. I’ve written a lot of posts on working on mindfulness, finding peace, trusting the journey, etc – check out my Instagram @my_darling_diary for more daily-type devotionals towards living a more peaceful life.
My skincare routine isn’t just an overnight step-by-step process; it’s a journey to mind and body health. What has worked for you? Please comment below! XOXO