Here is my confession: I have never had perfect skin and it’s been a daily struggle for many years. My skin journey began in middle school when my body was going through crazy changes. I had combination skin, acne all over my forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, back and chest. It wasn’t cystic but it was blotchy, red, unpredictable and too often occurring. I never had clear healthy skin for any prolonged period of time in my life until now. (Check out my before and after photos at the bottom of my post)
I was always embarrassed, self conscious and I refused to leave the house without makeup on. Looking back, it’s incredibly sad that I felt like that and it’s sad that I know there are others who are going through it as well. Wherever you go it’s hard not to see some airbrushed model with perfect skin and it does start to eat away at you if that is your struggle. I tried nearly every skin care product and gadget on the market in effort to find what would help my skin clear up and glow like those models. I ultimately discovered that the true answer to perfect skin is called photoshop so I became disheartened for a little while. I then decided to change my perspective on my skin and my skincare routine (for the ten thousandth time!).
I needed to learn how to care for my skin, love it and nurture it like I do with the rest of my body.
Everything I ever used on my face to try and cure my acne ended up making it worse and made my breakouts flare up. The chemicals in products like ProActiv, Clean & Clear and others are incredibly harsh on your skin and can damage your skin. If these products worked for you I’m so happy you found something, remember that everyone’s skin is different and reacts differently to products; these just happened to wreck havoc on my skin. With my new outlook on nurturing my skin rather than treating my acne I began looking for entirely different products to use.
I now use a variety of essential oils to clean and moisturize my skin. My go to oils are Helichrysum, Lavender, Vanilla and Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil. In addition to using oils I make sure that I remove all my makeup once I get home from work and I make an effort to go without makeup on the weekends. I’ve also been changing my makeup routine and I’ve transitioned from heavy foundation to BB Creams and now I’ve begun to use tinted moisturizers. If I do have a heavy makeup day like on holidays I will use Burt’s Bees facial cleansing towelettes. These are great for getting off all the primer, foundation, powders and eye shadow. The towelettes are premoistened and are large enough to use on your whole face and neck. Burt’s Bees is a company I prefer to buy products from because their products are 99% natural (unfortunately not organic but sometimes you can’t have it all) and the try their best to leave a positive footprint on our world. Check out their website to learn about sustainability in their company.
Coconut Oil // Coconut Oil has become one of my favorite things in not only my kitchen but also on my vanity. I use it to wash my face, moisturize, heal and maintain my healthy skin. To wash my face I lay a hot wet towel on my face for a few minutes to open my pores, I then rub coconut oil all over my skin, working it into my face and I wash off the rest with a wash cloth and some water. As a moisturizer I use the tiniest amount on my face. Why I’ve fallen in love with this is because of how restorative coconut oil has been for my skin. The Vitamin-E in it is great for the repair and growth of your skin which makes it perfect for healing cuts and abrasions or in my case scarring from acne. Vitamin-E also prevents wrinkles and slows the ageing of your skin. A key component for a healthy body and healthy skin is proteins and coconut oil is very rich in just that! Proteins help your tissues and cells grow, repair damaged ones and replace cells at a quicker rate. After using coconut oil I’ve noticed that my skin is softer, clearer and scars are beginning to fade.
Night Routine// My nighttime skin routine has been the reason why my skin got healthy so quickly. The secret is that I use a mixture of my favorite essential oils before I head to bed. Here’s the mix: 2 drops Helichrysum oil, 1 drop Vanilla oil, 1 drop Lavender oil and a dab of Coconut oil. I mix them all together in the palm of my hand and work the mixture into the skin on my face or problem areas. If you do this make sure your face is clean of all makeup and grime from the day. In the morning I wake up with a beautiful, soft and clear face. If you keep reading I’ll share more about the different oils I use.
Transition Period // Your skin may need a few weeks to transition into this routine. Any skin care routine you begin can take up to 12 weeks to show improvements and dermatologists suggest maintaining a new routine for the full 12 weeks, my skin only took about 3 weeks to be 100% clear though. For about 2-3 weeks I had a consistent breakout as the oils were removing impurities from my skin. Once I hit that third week my face was unbelievably clear. Please give your skin time to adjust, you will not have perfect clear skin over night because it takes time to make something healthy. Do not be discouraged if it doesn’t work in the first few days, keep going. Another tip to quicken the transition weeks is to not cake your face in makeup trying to hide your blemishes. You are risking clogging your pores, getting more bacteria in your skin and lengthening the process. Embrace your body, embrace your skin.
Helichrysum Oil // This oil is one of my favorites. It has been used for hundreds of years as a healing oil due to its’ antibacterial properties and diketones. Helichrysum oil is one of the only oils that have a high prominence of ketones which are key in skin regeneration. This helps to prevent breakouts, reduce and heal scarring from former breakouts. This oil also aids in calming and soothing your skin; including fading redness or inflammation. In addition to all these great traits, the oil has anti-aging properties that will firm up your skin, preventing wrinkles.
Lavender Oil // Lavender oil is known to soothe not only your skin but also your nerves. I use this oil mostly for the fragrance, it’s calming for me especially at nighttime when my head is filled with worries. The calming affect of the oil helps me to relax and helps to prevent stress induced breakouts. This oil has also been used to promote cell and tissue growth in damaged skin.
Vanilla Oil // This oil is fantastic for helping you get your skin glowing and healthy. Vanilla has antibacterial properties that helps to get rid of acne causing bacteria. Just like the other oils, vitamins can be found in this essential oil; vanilla is packed with B vitamins. B vitamins promote healthy skin that heals quickly and revives itself after coming in contact with toxins.
Healing from Within // Another way that I healed my skin was from within. I now drink tons of water throughout the day and maintain a healthier lifestyle in the kitchen. I also track my menstrual cycle daily so I know when I can expect a hormonal outbreak. When one might be approaching I drink extra water and use a dab of tea tree oil on any early signs of an outbreak.
Where to Buy // I bought all my oils at Wegman’s in their nature section. I’m pretty sure Whole Foods has them hidden away in a corner someplace. I know unrefined/virgin coconut oil can be found in any food store usually near the oil or baking aisle. The essential oils you can find either online or at a GNC/Vitamin Shop. Also, if there is a “health food”, or a vegan specialty store I’ve commonly found these oils there as well. The oils I use are some of the more popular one’s so they shouldn’t be too difficult to find! If you need help let me know!
Before and After // These are not the best photos to show you the extent of my acne problems but they’re all I have since I just didn’t take photos when I couldn’t cover a breakout with makeup. The first and last image are untouched photos and the second photo only had a filter on it from instagram. You can see that my forehead has scars from chicken pox, acne and more than a handful of pimply bumps. My skin was never smooth and it always had an incredibly uneven, blotchy complexion. My after photo was taken on 1.3.15 in the morning right after washing my face. Its a little red and blotchy since I used a exfoliation puff on my face but my skin is now even, bright and clear. I get the smallest breakouts if and when I do get them. I no longer have bumps all over my face and huge white heads. Even dark marks from previous outbreaks are healing and scars that I got from chickenpox and picking at my acne are fading entirely. A great plus with using oils on your face is that your skin gets so soft, I can’t stop touching my face after I clean off my makeup. After changing my skin routine I go out without makeup on and I feel comfortable in my skin finally. I never realized how freeing it would be to finally have skin that’s clear and skin that I didn’t need to coat in layers of makeup just to leave my house.
So tell me, what breakthrough skin care products have you found or what skin routines you taken up that have worked wonders! Also, if you have questions or want to talk if you are trying this or are thinking about it please feel free to contact me!
*Side note* Just remember I am not a doctor, I’m just sharing my own experience on this skin care journey and this just happened to be what works wonders for my body.