I just wanted to write some things down about the things ive went through and things that have helped and didnt help. Idk if anyone will read this but i hope it helps someone. I know that i have found so many helpful tips and things i connect with on this site. This is probably going to be really long.
I'm 19 years old in my 2nd year of college and my skin was clear and normal up until my junior year of HS when i started getting moderate acne. Enter proactiv. Burning stinging red more breakouts. Gentle formula helped. Got off proactiv and the right side of my face started to break out in medium sized pimples. Always red and left marks, so the entire right side of my face was always covered in active pimples and marks. Then I finally found a few products that worked extrememly well for me: aveeno moisturizing bar, neutragena gentle scrub, and clearasil 4 hr treatment cream. Those 3 products kept the active acne at bay for a year and a half almost. I still had annoying red marks so i used scarzoneA every single night which left my skin really smooth but it took a long time for the red mark to go away. Overall, throughout my senior year of high school and first semester of college, my skin was almost flawless with a small amount of makeup.
Then during my second semester of college it started again. I was shopping at target to repurchase my aveeno and neutragena products (ive repurchased these countless times, thats how much they worked for me) I saw a "skin hair and nails" supplement and was intrigued, who doesnt want better skin hair and nails? i was so WRONG to try these. Biotin is a HUGE no for acne. I got 2 cysts one on my cheek and one on my chin. I threw the pills out right away.They were so painful and took weeks to go away. Then i started noticing my forehead, temples and chin breaking out in tons of tiny pimples. None of my usual treatment worked, they actually made the pimples more inflamed and irritated. Weeks went by and i became obsessing over trying to clear these pimples. I put aside all my usual skin care products and went for a more natural routine. Tried witch hazel, raw honey, lavender oil, oat flour, oats, sea salt, manuka honey. The honey worked for taking down inflammation and giving a "glow" to your skin, but doesnt really help with preventing acne. Witch hazel made my skin rough and oily. Oats did nothing. Lavender oil is good for treating post pimple red marks, but is irritating when used all over my face. Sea salt worked at first, made my skin more even, but then i just brokeout in painful whiteheads. i also tried calamine lotion, worked at first but then i noticed anywhere i put it, the next day the breakout would look even more red and inflamed. At this point i was becoming very frustrated and stressed out. I wouldn't leave my house, i would call out of work sometimes, when people would ask to hangout i would have to decline just because i felt so bad in my own skin. I became extremely self conscious to a point where it was really unhealthy. All i could think about was my skin. And all i wanted to do was to NOT think about it. So i spent most of my time in my room with my face covered in my homemade concoctions, thinking it was helping. I was so wrong about that. I would sometimes even leave face masks of honey on overnight thinking my face would be clear in the morning. No. I was even using all of the natural remedies i listed above at the same time. That was a big mistake. I made my skin worse by overloading it with these natural products thinking they would all work but in reality they just irritated my skin more and clogged/congested my skin. This went on for weeks. I was really looking forward to enjoying my summer break but i feel like a lot of it was wasted because my acne got in the way of everything. I'm sure you all know these feelings. I became somewhat depressed and nothing i loved seemed enjoyable anymore. I would go out and just look at peoples skin and wish i could be like one of them and wake up to clear skin not worrying about makeup or anything. My relationship with my boyfriend was also affected because of how i felt. I wouldn't wanna sleep over at his house anymore because i didnt wanna take off my makeup, and i would always make up excuses about being busy or something, so i wouldn't have to show my face. I know this sounds extreme and i definitely was overreacting but my self esteem was literally zero. I would cry in my room at times. Even though my loved ones all accepted me no matter what, i still felt really shitty. Alright enough with the emotional stuff. On to how im getting clear!!!!!!!
So, i went for my physical at the doctor a few weeks ago and she prescribed me birth control and epiduo. Those were the last things i wanted to try. Hormones and chemicals that MIGHT work for my skin, but MIGHT make it 10x worse was a chance i did not want to take. So i ditched my doctors advice and the prescriptions and instead i did something even better. I put aside all of the things i was using on my face and bought a gentle goat milk soap with exfoliation added, and a Simple moisturizer (ultra light gel). My skin started to clear up and look better each day......
MY ADVICE/THINGS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY WORKED FOR ME: I know everyones skin is different but in my opinion, everyone should have a gentle exfoliation agent in their every day cleanser (keyword GENTLE) this helps to slough away all the dead skin every day to prevent clogged pores. I started noticing less and less congestion and gross little bumps. Another important tip is to be CONSISTENT with your routine. I was NEVER consistent the past few months when my skin was freaking out, which i think contributed to all the irritation and breakouts. I've been consistent with my face wash and moisturizer for almost two weeks. My forehead acne is pretty much gone... It's so weird to see a smooth forehead again!
DIET/LIFESTYLE TIPS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY WORKED FOR ME: Some of these might sound strange and seem like they have no connection with helping skin/acne, but I have seen improvement. Well the obvious things are that i started drinking more water, but instead i drink ALKALINE water (like evian water or fiji water) which helps balance the ph. The only other thing that i drink is my "super smoothies" I know i know, i sound like a middle aged dieting rich soccer mom, but trust me. I blend up whatever fruits i have with a glob of coconut oil, a dab of honey, a spoonful of chia seeds and flaxseeds, lemon juice, and water. I also eat foods high in vitamin A like carrots and sweet potatoes. Also i eat pumpkin seeds every day which are high in zinc. I've limited sugar and dairy, but i still eat desserts and cheese sometimes (im a HUGE eater.. i didnt wanna completely throw in the towel just to clear my skin:/) No one should have to competely give up what they love to eat. Another thing that has REALLY helped as well is taking a vitamin c supplement of 500mg every day. I've also just started taking cinnamon supplements (why not). I try to get exercise everyday, usually either power walking, swimming, biking, or exercises in my room like pushups, squats,etc. Ok, on to the weird non-diet related tips. I've started oil pulling with coconut oil for 20 mins or less each day. I just swish it around in my mouth while i set a timer, then spit it in the garbage and brush my teeth and use a tongue scraper. Most of you have probably heard of this method, but if not you should look it up bc apparently it has skin clearing benefits. The next thing which i think is very important is ive starting BREATHING properly. Yeah, apparently you can be doing that wrong....I was something of a "shallow breather" i would never take the time to breathe deep breaths and i would breathe from my chest. I've learned that you need to breathe from your abdomin (diaphram) to get the maximum oxygen benefits. Google deep breathing exercises or how to breathe properly. More oxygen to all your cells=better skin. I think this has really helped, i try to be conscious of my breathing throughout the day and i deep breathe before going to sleep. Alright and the final and probably craziest thing ive done that has helped my skin: doing headstands. Yup. 3 mins a day. Google it. It increases the blood flow and circulation to my face and my skin looks really healthy.
I hope this post has helped.