I’ve always battled acne and I have the scars to prove it.
All over my cheeks.
Over the years, I’ve fruitlessly spent tons of money and put myself through a lot of pain trying to get rid of my them, but now they are like battle scars that I wear with a badge of honor.
Ok, that’s a lie. I hate them, but refuse to allow them to make me feel insecure.
My acne was at its peak when I was in high school. I remember being mortified during summertime when I would hit the beach with my flawless-skinned friends and feeling like I was in between a rock and a hard place in the beauty department. By that time, my acne was horrible. Horrible. I knew it was bad to wear makeup to the beach when I would be sweating and in the sun, but I also didn’t want to be seen without foundation and concealer because my skin was so terrible.
Red and irritated.
So I ignored my gut instinct, caked my face with makeup, and my skin only got worse.
My mother didn’t want to put me on Accutane because of the side effects. My primary care physician recommended that she purchase a popular over-the-counter three-part system containing benzoyl peroxide that would clear up my skin without the risks that came with Accutane.
But it also smelled bad, stained my pillows, sheets, and clothes, and also contained tons of toxins that are banned in other countries.
Oh, the price we pay…
The bad skin continued into my adulthood and got worse with the stress daily life. Moves. Career changes. Kids.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve stopped putting so much stuff on my skin and can really say that less is so much more.
Here’s what my skin looked like four short years ago:
Here’s another golden delight:
And another. Even all the professional bridesmaid makeup couldn’t hide the redness and inflammation of my face.
I started a new skincare regime around eight months ago and this is the result. I am not wearing any makeup in this photo, other than my usual uniform of fuchsia lipstick, which doesn’t count. This picture was taken during Thanksgiving weekend of 2016 and has not been altered or photoshopped in any manner.
Here’s what I did to transform my skin on the cheap:
Lay off the Dairy. Sorry, folks, but this means cheese and milk. Studies show that 80- 85% of adult acne is connected to the consumption of dairy, which is an inflammatory. I love, love, love cheese and yogurt. They were difficult to part with. However, once I cut them from my diet, I saw a measurable difference in the appearance of my skin. For most people, it’s nearly impossible to cut all dairy from your diet, especially when dining out at restaurants. Because I didn’t want to become neurotic and worry about what was in my food (you have to live your life), I decided to cut out blatant dairy products like drinking glasses of milk and snacking on yogurt and cheese. There was still a huge difference in my skin and it took two weeks for the impact to be noticeable.
Stop Using the Wrong Products. Most cleansers, especially ones formulated for acne-prone skin, are too harsh. When you have a breakout, the worst thing to put on your skin is something that will make it even more red and irritated. Start treating your acne-prone skin like sensitive skin. Reducing inflammation begins with eliminating harsh cleansers from your routine. Don’t be scared! I promise it works. These harsh cleansers strip your skin of natural oils that were meant to protect your skin. If your skin is stripped, it can become chronically oily, which results in the body making more oils to compensate for the oils that are stripped. It’s a hamster wheel. You must use a gentle cleanser. How to tell if your cleanser is too harsh? If your face feels tight or dry after you wash it. If it burns when you sweat. If it gets red in areas that are broken out. When choosing a cleanser, don’t select something that foams or lathers. Known ingredients that contribute to acne are sulfates, alcohol, isopropyl, silicones, mineral oil, paraffins, fragrances, and algae extracts. Contrary to popular myth, you don’t want to have a squeaky clean feeling after you wash your face. Use something more gentle that doesn’t contain these ingredients and is specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Wash Your Face Once a Day. If you are washing your face before bedtime and being sure to remove all of your makeup, there is absolutely no reason to wash your face again in the morning. This is true even if you work out in the morning. When I go to the gym in the morning and come home to get ready for the day, I splash water on my face in the shower. I don’t cleanse it again. This rule goes hand in hand with Rule #2 above about avoiding stripping your skin of its natural oil. I used to wash my face twice a day and my skin looks so much better now that I’m taking a break from all the products. Bonus: you’ll save money on products when you’re only washing once a day.
Shots, shots, shots. Of wheatgrass, wheatgrass, wheatgrass. Not only does this superfood contain a complete spectrum of essential food and vegetable nutrients, but it is also condensed, so you don’t have to drink a lot to obtain the benefits. I drink one two-ounce shot of wheatgrass juice per week. You can usually purchase this at your local health food or juice store. (Tampa friends: I get mine at the Village Health Market on MacDill and Xtreme Juice on Dale Mabry.) Wheatgrass is inexpensive and shouldn’t cost more than $4 for two ounces. I usually drink a shot of wheatgrass the day before I have somewhere to be where I want my skin to look awesome.
Drink Mint Infused Water. Hormones are one of the main causes of female adult acne. Aside from its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, mint is a natural hormone balancer. One of the most effective acne treatments I have found is to drink mint-infused water daily. Like, every single day. (Hint: drinking mint-infused water is substantially more effective than drinking mint flavored tea and it won’t stain your teeth.) It’s easy. Buy a fruit infuser (I use this inexpensive one from Amazon), then fill the infuser portion with fresh mint leaves that you can purchase in the produce department of your local grocery store and add water. It took me two weeks for the effects to show up, but was worth it.
What do I use on my skin? Two products. That’s it.
First, I use this cleansing balm from Beautycounter, which hydrates while it cleanses, removing make-up and impurities, but never stripping the skin of its moisture. 100% of the women who use this product showed a significant increase in skin hydration after only eight hours. Eight. Last, I use this soothing face oil which, unlike most synthetic oils on the shelves, is easily absorbed and serves as a moisturizer. Two drops at night before bed, every night. That’s it. All I use.
I am a Beautycounter consultant and, if you purchase the products, would appreciate if you would use my name on your order- Jennifer Burby!
There is no need to use so many freaking products! No need at all.
If you have questions, email me. I’m also happy to mail anyone a list of all the ingredients that you should never use on your skin, so if you’re interested, leave me your name and address in the comments.