Acne pisses me off.
I mean...aren't pimples for highschoolers and pre-teens? I'm nearly 22, shouldnt it be smooth sailing?
Granted, I don't struggle with my acne anymore like I used to....I used to have bad cystic acne before I found what worked for me.
Before now I used to be at war with my acne...I felt like I couldn't leave my house without feeling like the I was being STARED AT as if I should be locked in a dungeon somewhere because of the big ol' bastard on the side of my chin or my forehead.
Nevertheless...I found what worked for ME! And I'm going to share it with you, in hopes that it helps someone with similar acne troubles get a footing with the battle against their skin, along with any other advice I've learned after 11 years of battling with cysts and other skin issues.
So, before I can give you my regimen, it's probably best that I give you background on my skin when it's untreated.
*I get all kinds of nasties on my forehead and chin area.
*My chin and T zone are pretty oily.
*My nose gets blackheads, and the the areas beside my nose get a maybe three or four blackheads and clogged pores (that never erupt)
*My cheeks stay clear and not oily. Always. I think I've had maybe one or two zits on my cheeks, and in each case they were pointy, run of the mill whitehead zits (which never just show up overnight for me.) In that area I do have one thing to be thankful for!
I get four types of nearly impossible-to-banish skin atrocities:
The hormone imbalance induced cysts I get that spontaneously arrive, usually not containing puss and not painful, but usually a very noticeable, hard, fluid sac on my forehead or chin...
Those little white clogged pores on the sides of my chin.
They're not red or painful, its a little clogged pore filled with white stuff. Hardly noticeable unless I put my tongue under and push my cheek out. Then it's like 20 little white dots. (Not raised.) And some come out easy, shooting out a thin, stringy, sometimes coiling substance with very slight pressure...and some don't.
Some are at the very surface and take almost no effort for the stuff to come out, and some are a little further underneath the skin and I make the stupid mistake of just pressing harder for it to come out (and it usually does)..and ta-da! Next day, I've got a cyst.
So far I've just assumed they were plain, clogged pores, and there wasn't a name for them...but of course there has to be a diagnosis. I want to put a name to their evil little faces.
And not even because they're highly noticeable like cysts are, but they are hard to get rid of short of squeezing them, which, even though satisfying, is highly likely to lead to way bigger issues. Like a monstrous, puss-filled cyst, which I'll get to next.
The dreaded, painful, puss/lymph filled cyst.
The the kind of cyst I occasionally bring upon myself from trying to squeeze those tiny little white clogged pores I get on my chin...and it turns around and seeks it's revenge. And oh, do I pay the price. Usually these cysts are self-induced (I've gotten better, but I love to squeeze my clogged pores. I'm a squeezer. I get all amateur surgeon on it. Big no-no.)
If I get these from squeezing, it's because the clog was deeper in the skin than I thought, and I couldn't get it out without lancing or tearing my skin up badly...so essentially I just squeezed the clog too hard, pissed it off, and it swelled up into a cyst and it stays there, pouting. Teaching me my lesson, taunting and asserting it's dominance until its made it's point and is ready to apologize and comes to the surface. I just have to wait for it to come to a head, extract the sebum, let heal....
But sometimes these seemingly come out of nowhere. Those deep clogged pores suddenly decide it's time to f s*** up and get inflamed, and there's not a dang thing I can do about it (for several days, anyway).
Yeah, I get open comedones (blackheads) on my nose, forehead (T zone) and the center of my chin. Who doesn't?
Closed closed comedones (whiteheads) on my forehead (and sometimes chin) as well, which look like small, non-inflamed sebum filled bumps covered by a layer of skin that show up on my forehead in my T Zone. No head, just small little barely-risen bumps. They're tough, un-sexy little suckers, especially in the wrong lighting...but easy to get rid of. In fact, comedones are the only skin atrocity I get that isn't a nightmare to get rid of.
So, if my acne sounds like your acne, here's what I did:
1. First of all, get on birth control, and take it like you're supposed to. This alone has helped me wonders. But if you don't take it right, your acne is going to go loco.
2. Follow my skin regimen :
i. Wash face with Wexler Resurfacing Microbrasion.
*(Use your facial sponge!)
ii. Use Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
iii. Apply Wexler 10% Glyco Peel, wait directed time.)
iv. Apply Wexler Skin Neutralizer
v. Use Aztec Healing Clay 2-3x/week
BASIC PRODUCTS I USE:
Wexler Resurfacing Microbrasion Step 1: Skin Resurfacing Cream - $35
-This facewash is awesome. At $35, It's a little on the pricier side, but worth it. It has teeny little crystals that slough away the dead skin cells and bacteria from the day, leaving you fresh and clean. You can buy online or at Bath and Body Works.
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner - $18
Mario Badescu has an entire line against fighting cystic acne...but It has never worked for me, short of two or three products (which I will be listing). One of them being the Glycolic Acid Toner. After washing your face, put some of this Toner on a cotton ball and wipe any excess debris. It costs $18, and I order mine online. I believe the line is also available at Ulta.
Wexler Exfoliating Glyco-Peel (2-3x Week) - $45
-This box contains two steps, 1, a container (30 days worth) 10% glycolic peel pads, and a container of Skin Neutralizer pads. Costs in my opinion, the most important steps in the whole routine.
*The glycolic peel pads sound scary, but trust me when I say it won't make your skin peel excessively or anything. It's not drastic, but very, very effective. In fact, it's my second favorite skin-care product, ever. It round-house kicks pimples in the face.
*The Neutralizer pads are important. It counteracts the Gycolic acid, and balances your skin's Ph.
**The directions say to use these pads 2-3X weekly. This depends on how sensitive your skin is. If I feel a breakout coming on, I use them more frequently. If you have sensitive skin, this is your first time with the pads, and you don't want any dry skin to occur, use as directed.
**FOR THE PENNY PINCHER: Word of advice, cut the pads in half! The pads have enough on them to cover your whole face, and you'll save money getting twice the use out of them.
Aztec Secret Healing Indian Clay - $5
THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I use this all the time.
Mix equal parts clay powder with equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar, mix well, and you've got yourself a kick-BUTT facial mask.
Sure, its green and it smells like apple cider vinegar, but I'm not kidding, it's a Godsend.
It quite literally sucks all of the gunk out of your pores. You can feel your face pulsating while its working!
Just leave it on for 20-30 minutes (or until it gets firm, or dry) and wash off.
I also use this as a spot treatment for acne cysts. Just dab on a thick amount, wait for it to dry (or harden) and peel the clay off, then reapply and repeat the cycle until the cyst has come to a head. I last monday used this for a cyst that was coming up, and it had come to a head by the end of the day!
Body Images Body Benefits Loofah Bath Sponge
Seriously, go buy these things. They come for a 2 pack at Walmart. The best face-exfoliator in the world. I use it every time I wash my face. Keeping skin well-exfoliated is a big part of preventing acne cysts.
Let me know what you think!