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Hey everyone! 

I feel like I've spent forever trying to get my skin to where it is now. Though it's not 100% clear, it's so much better than it used to be and it's getting better every day. I used to have the most severe cystic acne I've ever seen on anyone ever. I'd have giant red/blue/purple cystic spots that would last for months and they hurt so bad. They'd bleed and I'd cry and hide away in my room or I'd completely smother my face in makeup. Last year was one of the worst years of my life when it came to my self esteem. Throughout all of this, I've tried many things with little success until I got my first chemical peel and I started learning more about skin health. It's been about seven months now since I've started getting chemical peels and they've helped the most, and I always promised myself that if I ever managed to get to where I am now that I'd share what helped me so I could hopefully help someone else. I'm warning you though this is long as heck but I'll try my best to keep it as short as I can. 

So late last year I went in for my first chemical peel (Vi peel). I had no idea what to expect and I definitely did not expect for that one chemical peel to change my entire face for the better. It dramatically reduced my breakouts to the point where I haven't had cystic acne in certain spots on my face since that first peel. I used to get breakouts along my hairline and on the sides of my head (around my eye area), and now my cystic breakouts are usually only located around my nose, or the center of my forehead. Since I got the first peel, the breakouts that I do get don't last nearly as long as they used to. I used to get breakouts that could last for months and they'd turn purple/blue, but now after my third peel, my breakouts are very small, and if I take care of them right away they usually only last a few days maybe a week at most. So that's what got my skin on the right track, but I'll also talk about what I do to keep breakouts to a minimum. 

First of all, I think the main mistake I made in the past when it came to treating my cystic acne is that I never focused on the actual health of my skin. I was always so focused on trying to dry all my breakouts out that I was really just damaging my skin and making it easier for it to get damaged by the sun and anything bad my skin came into contact with. But since going to get my first peel and talking with the people at the skin clinic, I've started reading about skin and how to keep it healthy to prevent breakouts and other things like wrinkles, instead of trying to battle them as they came along. I started with using things like rosemary water because having naturally dry skin, it helped my skin stay moisturized. I didn't think it would work but it did. I've started using products with caffeine in them because it helps reduce redness and inflammation. I've also started using sheet masks and stuff with vitamin c, because it helps build collagen and basically keeps your skin firm and young. I really love Pacifica berry happy wipes because they have fruit extracts, caffeine and vitamin e. I also use things like thyme water, cucumber, aloe, and ginger. I always always always wear sunscreen. I really think sunscreen is one of the main reasons my redness has cleared up as it has. I never realized before how damaging the sun really is for skin and damaged skin is a great place for cystic acne to develop. Another thing that's really been helping is putting a cold pack on my skin at least once a day. I really believe heat makes my breakouts so much worse. I've realized that after I exercise, if I wash my face and then put a cold pack on it, I get less breakouts than if I were to just wash my face and leave it at that. Also, I know it sounds awful to most people but taking showers that are room temperature or colder have helped reduce any inflammation I have too.

And I've also started focusing more on my inner health. I've started consuming more antioxidants, and I have zinc hard candies I use occasionally. 

I know a lot of this might just be really obvious to some people but I really underestimated the power of plants, sun protection and inner health when it came to acne. I really realized how hard it is for my skin to heal when all I've done is neglect it and hurt it for basically my whole life up until this point. I found that after I started focusing on the overall health of my skin is when I really started to clear up. So basically to list them off, this is what's helped me: 

* Chemical peels
* Keeping skin cooled off
* Antioxidants 
* Keeping skin moisturized with a glycerin based moisturizer 
* Sun protection 
* Natural ingredients like ginger, caffeine, thyme and so on 
*sulfur and vitamin c spot treatment 

I don't know if this will even help anyone but I wish so bad someone would've told me the importance of actually keeping your skin healthy when I was younger. I feel like this all could have possibly been avoided. I spent years hurting my skin with things like alcohol and benzoyl peroxide, while my skin just got worse and worse. I tried diets like gluten free and trying to cut out sugar. I tried antibiotics (made me terribly sick) and stupid creams my dermatologist kept insisting was working but they obviously weren't, when all I really had to do was focus on giving my skin the nutrients that it needs. Anyways this is a lot longer than I meant it to be but I never thought I'd be able to look in the mirror and see my skin this clear ever again. I really hope whoever is reading this and is in the same position I was in when I was younger finds something that can help them. I can't say what I'm doing will help stop someone else's breakouts, but I hope it can in some way. 

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