For almost 10 years I struggled with chronic acne.
It’s definitely one thing to struggle with acne as a teenager but somehow it felt even more painful battling with full breakouts as an adult.
Every single treatment I tried only led to more breakouts and less self esteem.
Let get more specific for a second…
Here is a quick list of all of the different ingredients, prescriptions, and products I have experimented with thoroughly:
- Salicylic Acid
- Glycolic Acid
- Topical Retinoids such as Tretinoin, Adapalene, and Tazarotene
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Isotretinoin AKA Roaccutane (stay away from this one!)
- Laser Therapy
- Chemical Peels
- You name it baby, I’ve tried it!
I’ve been to multiple dermatologists too many times to count and tried out far too many fads and products that promised clear skin.
The #1 Thing Dermatologists Never Mention
At this point I truly don’t know how many dermatologists I’ve actual seen. They would half listen to my honest concerns and whip that prescription pad out fast.
But after religiously trying countless prescriptions and seeing no change I started to heavily research the topic on my own.
I would spend hours searching through forums and you tube videos of women going through the exact same struggle with acne. It was awhile until I came across an acne cure that actually made sense.
Countless times I had been told by my dermatologist that diet played no part in what popped up on your face.
But the more research I did, the less and less that seemed to be true.
Dairy Really Is Scary
One of the biggest enemies of clear skin is DAIRY.
Although many researchers are still trying to understand the complete connection between Dairy and acne, many evidence-based studies agree that acne can be irritated by dairy.
To break it down:
Dairy cows are loaded up with artificial hormones.
When we consume milk products we digest these artificial hormones.
In turn our hormones get a little whacky and thus, the sprouting of acne.
Thanks A Lot Western Diet!
Dairy isn’t the only offender of clear skin. There is a handful of foods that are incredibly common in the western diet that wreak havoc on the skin.
Here is a collection of other classic offenders with specific examples of what to avoid:
This includes foods such as:
- white rice and rice noodles
- sodas and other sweetened beverages
- bread, cereal, and crackers
Any and ALL Fast Food
They don’t call it ‘Pizza Face’ for no reason.
Fast food is loaded with saturated fat. Studies have shown that individuals with chronic acne are far more likely to eat a diet high in saturated fat vs. those that have clear skin.
Safe to say that a diet of fast food almost guarantees an acne prone face.
Whey Protein Powder
“The amino acids in whey protein can also stimulate the body to produce higher levels of insulin, which has been linked to the development of acne“.
I highly recommend opting for a vegan protein powder instead.
Even though research hasn’t pinned this offender down quite yet, I do recommend reaching for dark chocolate with high percentages of cacao instead.
The Anti-Acne Diet
Eating delicious meals that your skin loves isn’t that far fetched.
The key to having amazing skin is by maintaining a low glycemic diet. Low-glycemic foods are composed of complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in: legumes, whole grains, and unprocessed fruit and vegetables.
The following ingredients are also prime at maintaining clear skin as they have been proven to actively reduce inflammation:
- Vitamin A + E
Here are some of the best foods that actively promote clear, healthy, and happy skin:
- Dark leafy green vegetables such a spinach
- Brightly colored fruit and veg such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
- Brown Rice
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate (the higher the cacao percentage the better!)
- Green Tea
- Chia Seeds
- Beans, Peas, and Lentils
- Whole Wheat Bread
Self Care Rituals For Clear Skin
It’s important to think of your face and everything it touches in 24 hours. Having this simple mindset and being conscious of what comes in contact with your skin can definitely help you avoid unnecessary breakouts.
Here are some self care rituals to stick by:
- Wash your pillowcase at least 1-2x per week.
- Wash your face before going to bed + first thing when you wake up (and don’t forget to wash your hands before you wash your face!)
- Never fall asleep with make up on!
- Take a bath or aromatherapy infused shower 1x per week to maintain stress levels
- Clean your phone screen 1x per day
- Exfoliate 2x per week
- Use a natural clay mask at least 1x per week
- Try to let your skin breath + be make up free on your days off
- Never pick your face
- Stay out of harsh sunlight + always wear an SPF
- Wash your hair often (oily hair = oily face). Try to keep hair out of face.
- Invest in natural + organic make up
- Try out some light exercise 3x per week (Yoga, Strength Training, Cycling, etc.)
- Start taking a multivitamin daily
The Importance of H2O
Drinking a healthy amount of water helps to hydrate your skin cells. Hydrated skin cells are far more efficient at eliminating harmful toxins which can in turn prevent breakouts.
Hydrated skin = Happy skin.
Not only does drinking water help to clear your skin cells of toxins but it also:
- Softens the skin
- Reduces Puffiness
- Reduces Inflammation
- Rejuvenates skin
But how much water are we actually talking about?
“Health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.”
On most days I make the half a gallon goal and other days I exceed it.
Trust me, I notice a huge difference in my skin if I’m unable to hit my 1/2 a gallon goal.
Keeping a large water bottle with you during the day helps. Also if you aren’t a fan of just plain water, seltzer water is a great alternative. There are also lots of great products to flavor your water, just be mindful of the ingredients.
Even if chugging a gallon of water might seem like an ordeal at first don’t give up! Increasing your water intake is one of the easiest and cheapest way to help your skin clear up fast.
The Best Skin Care Routine For Acne Prone Skin
Clean and Clear?
Don’t worry! I feel you haha!
With so many different skin care products out there it can get pretty overwhelming trying to choose a successful skin care routine- especially if you have extremely acne prone skin like me.
With years of research (and of course plenty of experimenting with different products at home) – I have found that the best products are those that promise pure ingredients.
Your skin in your largest organ. It absorbs everything you put on it. The last thing you want to do is put a product on your face that has harmful toxins + ingredients and let it sink in. That is the last thing irritated skin needs – trust me.
Although some organic skin care brands can be a little pricey, it is worth the investment.
It’s also important to always take the time and look at the ingredients on the labels of skin care products. Even if a product raves that it is ‘All-Natural” or “100% Organic”, there is still a chance some toxic ingredients can make an appearance on the back label.
Here are some brands that I have had wonderful results with:
I first tried Juice Beauty products in 2016. Some of the make up I found a bit difficult to use (The foundation didn’t support the full coverage I needed to cover all my acne + acne scars) but I immediately fell in love with their skin care products.
Juice Beauty products are all natural, 70% or more organic ingredients, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and have no artificial dyes.
The Blemish Clearing Cleanser (~$24)
I started using KORA products in 2018. They were definitely on the expensive side, but I decided to treat myself to a handful of their products (thank you xmas bonus!) . I immediately fell in love after using the line’s moisturizer. My skin felt amazing and seemed to have a fresh new glow overnight.
Their products are typically 99% naturally sourced and up to 98.7% organically sourced (varies by product).
Favorite Product (by FAR):
Purifying Moisturizer (~$48)
Simple skin care products have been my go to for years. Even thought Juice Beauty + KORA have amazing products they are definitely expensive. Sometimes running all the way to sephora for a $25 bottle of moisturizer isn’t always ideal.
Simple is a far more affordable skin care line that you can easily find at your local drug store.
“All Simple products have no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh chemicals that can upset skin and contain skin-loving ingredients and added vitamins for natural, healthy-looking skin. They are also hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and pH balanced.”
My go-to routine usually consists of washing my face 2x with their Moisturizing facial wash (once to get all the make up off, twice to ensure a super clean face). And then following up with their Replenishing rich moisturizer.
***Also if I am having to spot treat any one-off pimples that have appeared I used witch hazel as a toner on there trouble spots before applying moisturizer. ***
Replenishing Rich Moisturizer (~$12.99)
OK…But How Long Will It Take Me To See Results?
SO we’ve covered a lot in terms of the best ways to get clear skin. We’ve gone over:
- What NOT to eat
- The best Anti-Acne Diet you should follow
- Daily + Weekly self care practices to prevent breakouts.
- The best skin care products to use daily
So if you start doing all of these things right now, you’re skin will clear up in 3 days right?
I’m afraid not.
Taking care of your body and your skin is a process that takes time.
If you stay religious with the tips I’ve mentioned in the article you probably won’t reap the benefits of a flawless face until around 4-6 weeks.
WHHHHHHAT?!?!? (You may be asking…or screaming…)
This is why:
“Dr. Obagi defines one full skin cycle as the time it takes from baby cells to be born at the deepest layer of the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer), and mature as they rise to the surface of the skin, and ultimately are shed off. This process takes approximately six weeks. ”
If you start putting nourishing foods in your body + using natural products on your face you won’t see the everlasting benefits until your skin cells completely replenish and you enter into a new skin cycle.
Even if you eat green smoothies all day today you can still wake up to a break out tomorrow. Why?
Because your body is getting rid of the toxins from the harsh make up you wore last Thursday.
Or it’s trying to detox from the deep dish pizza and slim jim night from 3 days ago.
Give your body + face time to process all of the amazing energy you are putting into it.
Even though 4-6 weeks may sound like a ridiculous amount of time it’s worth it.
Being able to wake up to a clear face is one of the best feelings. I’ve never felt so confident + in control in my life.
It’s a truly wonderful feeling. I wouldn’t trade anything for it.
Of course the occasional pimple pops up here and there but it’s more than manageable.
Also remember everyone’s body is different. Your skin may need to take a full 6 weeks to truly shine. However it may only take 3 weeks until you wake up to a glowy + pimple free face.
The most important thing to do is stay determined and practice self-care consistently. You WILL see results.
I know this was a CRAZY amount of information crammed into one giant post so if you have any questions or comments about anything that was mentioned in the article above please feel free to leave a comment below! I’m always here for you!