Health + Beauty: Skincare After Acne
Alright, ya’ll, I’m going in. Letting you in on my cooking for the past year (yes, it’s been a year as of 7/25/17! And 203 posts! #whoa) has been really fun, very personal, challenging, and everything I could ask for. I appreciate the dedicated readers I have, and I love hearing about when you make one of my recipes!
So now I’m going to get a little personal. Let’s talk about moisturizing. On its own, moisturizing contains the one weird word people tend to get grossed out by: moist. But moisture is literally the essence of healthy skin, hair, and nails.
I am so careful with my skin these days. I didn’t always used to be –I used to put on tanning bed level accelerator (ie: zero SPF, plus bronzers and stuff to get you as brown as possible) and then lie out in the Florida sun (in addition to going to the tanning bed on a daily basis). I did this for almost 10 years. I had acne. I had clogged pores. I used oil free face wash and moisturizer. I tried far infrared saunas, blue light therapy, and then Accutane to fix the problem. Accutane helped, and then later fractionated laser fixed the scars, and now Retin-A helps maintain it on a regular basis. Now I only get 1-2 zits per month, which is a huge relief. (Plus I don’t tan anymore! If you still go to tanning beds, please consider quitting. One of the best self tanners that I’ve found is super cheap and looks amazing.)
If you suffer from cystic acne (or if you ever have), you understand. Acne may seem like a superficial problem, but it can affect your self-esteem and everything else along the way. I used to only take pictures on the right side of my face because my left side always looked terrible (this was about 10 years ago). I was always nervous to wear makeup — would it cover my scars and blemishes, or would it highlight them?? Do people think I’m disgusting for having this — because I feel disgusting for having this.
Of course I can’t give you a prescription (and there are risks with the medication), but there are options, and you’re not alone. Accutane really did help fix and prevent acne in the long term. Since taking the course of it in 2011, I’ve not had more than 1-2 zits at a time (and even that is rare). I also recommend the fractionated laser therapy. It’s painful and expensive (about $1000 for several sessions), but it really minimized the appearance of damage done by scarring. It helped smooth everything out. And finally, the Retin-A helps prevent and deal with breakouts now. Like I said, I only have about 1 per month, but the Retin-A will stop it in its tracks. Retin-A is by prescription only, but most docs will write it, and not only does it help treat and prevent acne, but it also smoothes and prevents lines and wrinkles. It’s an all-purpose skin cream. When you get it, it should be used 3-5 times per week at night in a thin layer. Your skin will thank you.
Now that my skin is under control, my skincare routine has had to really change. No longer can I use oil-free products to cleanse or moisturize my face. You know why? Because healthy skin needs oil! When my skin is producing the right amount of oil and able to shed it all (instead of producing too much and sucking it back up –yuck!), an oil based beauty regimen is optimal.
I stopped used an alcohol-based toner and switched to a micellar cleansing water. This is my favorite. I’ve stuck by my old faithful: I used Clinique’s oil-free version when I had acne, and now I use their original version. Simple also makes my favorite face wash, but I also like this quinoa senstive blend. If you don’t have oily skin, don’t wash your face more than once a day. Also, moisturize as much as you can, and not just your face!
For the past 15 years, I’ve been moisturizing my entire body every single day as soon as I get out of the shower. It takes like 2-3 minutes. But literally, when you step out of the shower every day (or night), drip-dry for a minute and then moisturize. I rotate what I use all throughout the year. In the summer, I love these spray moisturizers, but I also love these tanning foams. In general I love jergens aloe andogx sea mineral. But really anything. As soon as your skin dries off from the shower, moisturize, and let it marinate for 10 minutes before getting dressed if you can. Your skin WILL THANK YOU.
Don’t neglect! There are a few areas we tend to neglect, but it truly only takes an extra minute to make them feel included: it’s our feet and armpits. Please don’t forget them. Your feet take the brunt of everything all day. I use to avoid moisturizing them because they’d get sweaty, dry, and flaky. Gross! Ugh. But instead of caving, I started exfoliating them weekly in the shower, and daily moisturizing them with whatever I used on the rest of my body.
And lastly, the same goes for our sad armpits. Recently, I was examining/being grossed out by my armpits. Why after every night I shave them, do they look rough and gross the next day? Simple answer after a lot of questioning: because I was exfoliating them daily without ever reapplying moisture. I would shave in the shower, then get out and moisturize everywhere but my armpits. Then apply deodorant, then scrub the remnants off after 5 minutes. No love. No love were my armpits getting! I actually felt sad for them. The solution? Moisturize them WITH the rest of your body. Then, when you put of deodorant, leave it on. If it’s the type to clump up (yeah, yuck..me too), then gently brush the clumps away with a soft cloth. No more rough housing.
This post was a new arena for me– but I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Any tips? Questions? Let it out below =)