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An exercise in patience....finding my inner zen while my face is in turmoil

About three months ago, I went through some really stressful times concerning my family and marriage...

And of course, my skin happens to be a barometer of my emotional state.

I'm a 24 year old woman, had suffered from mild to moderate hormonal acne my whole life, but as of three months ago, I have made the dubious jump from moderate to severe category...and my skin has become quite reactive due to the barrage of drugstore washes, high end scrubs, prescription medication, etc., etc. etc....

Thankfully, my life has settled back down, and I'm hoping with a little extra care and love that I can talk my skin into doing the same.

My failing up until now was that I would change up my regimen literally every week or less, and my skin has become as frustrated with me as I have with her.... yes, my bumpy spotty skin is its own entity, or at least it feels that way.

My regimen will consist of all natural, herb based products (mostly garden of wisdom), minimal chemicals, and I will try to stick to a somewhat low refined-carb diet + daily workouts. I'm also going to take a loving attitude towards my body and face, and try to believe my husband when he tells me I'm pretty first thing in the morning.....rather than rolling my eyes and scoffing.....

I will be using mostly garden of wisdom products ( my skin has agreed with this) along with supplementation of natural herbal remedies.


Garden of Wisdom Castor/Castille Cleanser

- super gentle, removes makeup, has mild exfoliating capabilities..I was told that the castor oil would help open up small comedones....also, this doesn't piss of my skin.

Greek Yogurt 2% + dropper full of olive leaf extract

- Oleuropein is the active ingredient in olive leaf extract and allegedly has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant capabilities...if it works, I'll probably bathe in it....j/k..(or am i?) Also, I love the feeling of cold yogurt on my skin in the morning...cold = less inflammation. Allegedly. Rinse off after 20 minutes.

Helichrysum Hydrosol Mist

- Hydrosols are a byproduct of the essential oil production process and retain many of the benefits of the active essential oils. Helichrysum is an herb that aids in wound healing ( freshly picked skin, anyone?) and scar prevention.

Oxygen Rich Gel

- Garden of Wisdom's answer to BP. Stabilized oxygen is meant to defeat Acne bacteria in a most epic way, without skin aging.

*My preference to go BP free is because I have found that even in super low percentages, my skin burns off from topical BP's. Maybe when my skin balances out again, I'll consider it as a treatment for flareups.

Helichrysum Hyaluronic Acid

- My skin, she is dehydrated. And oily. And scarred. This is meant to hydrate, and is infused with the helichrysum hydrosol. Double dosing.

Coconut Revival Cream + drop Lavender EO + drop Tea tree EO + drop Oregano EO

- All are meant to have antibacterial qualities. Allegedly. Plus, after much trial and error, my skin does better with a moisturizer than without.


Garden of Wisdom Castor/Castille Cleanser

Manuka Honey UMF 18+

- I heart this. It drastically reduced my amount of skin flaking and helped my acne-treatment burned skin heal. Also, I believe that this does help control my breakouts somewhat. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse.

Helichrysum Hydrosol Mist

Oxygen Rich Gel

Helichrysum Hyaluronic Acid

Coconut Revival Cream + oregano,lavender,tea tree oils

Supplements - AM and PM

*in a double shooter shot glass....i'm holding my nose and taking it quick

1 shot aloe vera juice - (for digestion and detox)

1/2 shot blackstrap molasses - (for mineral content)

1/2 shot flaxseed oil - (for skin health)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar - (for detox)

1 milk thistle capsule

1 olive leaf extract capsule

Diet -

I'm going to cut down on my carbs/sugar intake. I know much of my acne is due to hormones, be it stress or female related.... it will be paleo-esque, but I'm going to still allow soy (for the isoflavones, and phytoestrogen content) and cultured dairy products (for the probiotics).

If I fall off the wagon, I promise not to hate myself or beat myself up. I also promise that if I

happen to eat one tortilla, I won't throw up my hands in defeat and announce,

"Oh no, I'm fucked. Now I have to go ahead and eat this whole package..."

Exercise (working my way up to it......)

Cardio - 5 to 6 days a week

Body weight strength training - 3 to 4 days a week

Ok, so it's Thursday 9/30/10. I'm going to give myself until 11/15/10 to chart the skin care aspect of this regimen. And I will photograph my skin no more than once a week in order to preserve my sanity. They say natural remedies take longer to work, so this is also good for me to exercise patience. This log will be awesome for me to chart my progress as well.

Being healthy and happy is what's most important to me....hopefully my skin will jump on board as well.

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Ok, so its been about a week since I agreed to start my regimen....and after just a few days my skin didn't get any worse, but it didn't seem to get any better. It also got oilier. Ick.

Product overload. Rather than deal with the oiliness...I treated it as a new symptom. I scaled back on what I was slathering on my face and here's the streamlined regimen:


Castille/Castor cleanser

Yogurt mask w/ one drop oregano oil, one dropper of olive leaf extract

-leave on for 10-15 minutes (the oregano oil makes the my skin really warm, not burning, but too warm to leave on for more than 15 minutes)

Spritz helichrysum hydrosol

Pop 2 milk thistles, 2 olive leaf extract capsules


Castille/Castor cleanser

Manuka honey mask w/ one drop oregano oil, one dropper of olive leaf extract

-leave on 10-15 minutes

Spritz helichrysum hydrosol

Goal: trying to remember to pop 2 more milk thistles and 2 more olive leaf extracts before bed.

I figured out that my facial skin was getting enough moisture from the fats in the yogurt or the honey combined with the glycerin base in the olive leaf extract. My skin feels nice and balanced, and after a week of adding the oregano oil to my mask, I have observed much of my active pustules die down. Cysts have somewhat subsided, but this week also coincides with my cycle, so the hormone ebb may have much to do with that. And due to limited finances, I have only been able to afford the milk thistle and olive leaf capsules, but I'm actually happier to only have to remember taking those alone, not the aloe, blackstrap molasses, flax oil, etc. Perhaps I'll add those later, but for now, this is working fine.

The workouts have been pretty consistent, but this was something I had been doing before I made my complexion my focus. As for the paleo eating....arg, I do love my apple jacks. haha.

I've been about 50% consistent with the paleo eating, however, I do notice that it has aided with a little bit of fat loss. So maybe when I find it within my to commit 100% to paleo eating, it will have a greater effect on all aspects: my skin, and my fat %.

After realizing that maybe less is more, I'm going to keep things simple. And for the first time in months, my skin (dare I type this) actually seems to be on the right track....

Now if I could only find a good sunscreen and a good makeup line....

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Ok, so i'm still at it.....while new flare ups have kind of subsided, I'm still dealing with the same comedones/papules that have been around for what feels like for weeks....

Also, turns out that manuka honey can be a complete aternative for OCM. Seriously, I was pulling gunk out of my face and cracking up. All I did was apply a generous amount to my face and lightly massaged the skin with my fingertips in circular motions....I started to get a ton of those little "gritties" and realized that they were sebum plugs. I massaged for about 10 minutes and my skin was a little tender after, but definitely glowing the next morning. I followed this honey cleansing with my normal yogurt mask but added a touch of turmeric.

I've used the honey as a cleanser for about three days now with no immediate purging, unlike my OCM experience (30% castor, 30% hazelnut oil, 30% hypercium oil). Each time I have used it, I have pulled sebum plugs each time, but the quantity of plugs have decreased from session to session.

So the regimen is starting to look like this:


Honey Cleansing Method

Yogurt + turmeric + olive leaf extract + oregano oil mask

Natural Salicylic gel - leave on for 20 minutes

*I'm testing to see if my skin actually will respond to some form of exfoliation. I felt that since I was manually releasing sebum plugs with the Honey Method, then perhaps Salicylic acid would be great since its exfoliation action works to 'flush' pores as well. The plan is to do this everyday until some result is seen in the treatment of the old comedones/papules. Then I'll try to take it down to every other day.

If dry, tiniest bit of hazelnut oil with a drop of tea tree oil and 1/2 drop oregano oil.


Honey Cleansing Method

Yogurt + turmeric + olive leaf extract + oregano oil mask

If dry, tiniest bit of hazelnut oil with a drop of tea tree oil and 1/2 drop oregano oil.

I've found that since I have started using the honey to deep cleanse, that my skin tends to be a bit drier, so I have found that a touch of oil with some sort of antibacterial essential oil has definitely made a difference in keeping my skin comfortable.

And huge note to self: Picking one whitehead will result in two more. STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE!!!!!!

My husband has just been thrilled with the speed at which I've been going through some of our groceries for the sake of my face. I know, I'm crazy. But I am serious about treating my skin with natural products or food based products.

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