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best acne advice and products

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Keep Smilin

Acne sucks...

I found that it actually started taking over my life. I was never able to feel pretty, just looking in the mirror caused severe emotional breakdowns, I stopped going to social events, I even stopped leaving the house because I was afraid I would bump into someone I knew and it killed me to think they'd look at me and be wondering what happened?! I was just constantly fixated on curing my acne.

I had a special event coming up and my face was so inflammed, the worst it's ever been. I had just started minocycline (for the second time) and tactuo gel, which was actually making it worse, but I thought the more heavy duty the better because my goal was to have clear skin by the time this important event came up. Of course my acne didn't get better, more so worse, and I was just so upset I didn't even want to go. I'm a film student and they were showcasing all our thesis projects in a theatre downtown and having a huge after party. It was a huge deal to have the film I wrote and directed up on the big screen in front of 500 people, but it made me sick to my stomach thinking I had to see all these gorgeous actors and showcase my horrible bumpy face. My roommate said something to me as I was voicing my concern that really helped me cope with going. She asked me what I thought about a boy in our program, the first things that came to mind. I stated three things, and she said see you didn't even mention his acne! This boy had suffered from really terrible acne for a long time, but it's true I never looked at him and only saw his acne. I looked at him and saw his personality. His acne didn't define him, rather it was just something that was there but didn't really matter to anyone.

Now this is something to think about because if you let acne rule your life, people are going to notice it. You have to let your personality over power. I know this can be hard when you feel like you have no confidence but getting out and doing things that take your mind off it really helps the process.

What I actually ended up doing was taking down the majority of mirrors in my house and avoiding the ones that were up. I stayed home for a month not doing anything other than watching tv all day. There were many days when I didn't even get dressed- actually most of those days I never got dressed. I started to take control over my acne. I began working out more, yoga is best. I like cardio because it releases endorphins, but it's actually really harmful to your body, biking is the less harmful form of cardio though, so I often stuck to that and did ab work everyday. I cleaned up my diet, cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, and meat except poultry. I found taking control helped me feel like I was in charge. Now I'm not sure I recommend staying home everyday in your pajamas, and watching tv, because I did end up crying a lot from lack of socialization. But on the other hand I would experience a lot of anxiety when out in public places, worrying that people were looking at my skin. So staying home really was the best option for me. If I had a pet like a cat or a dog that probably would have helped in terms of having a companion I could somewhat interact with all day.


Try doing things for you. Pick up a hobby, like writing, art, or reading more. I found painting very therapeutic. I also started reading more incredibly interesting books, specifically the autobiography of Steve Jobs. I would sit outside in the sun more, and I watched more tv. <-- I'm in film so I consider this research wink.png I actually ended up watching four seasons of LOST. But I would recommend watching happier things as something as simple as this can really mess with your psyche. Virtually any movie or tv show by Judd Apatow is a good option if you're in need of a giggle. For the ladies, five year engagement, mean girls and anything with tina fey and amy poehler is superb. I also highly suggest giving Arrested Development a go if you haven't already.


Now for awhile I would watch tv and see all these beautiful girls with flawless skin, well guess what- It's a digital world we live in. Did you know Keira Knightly had her forehead acne photoshopped in the pirate movies? So there you go, now when you see these girls or guys with flawless skin, remember they probably have or have had acne too and it's a lot worse for them because their life's work actually depends on looking flawless. Imagine the pressure?!

This may sound awful but I also found it comforting searching celebrities that have had acne troubles in the past. Just do a quick google search and there are tons of pictures and articles, it made me feel like I can still become successful in life and push forward. I would also sometimes just look at pictures of acne sufferers in general and it made me feel like I was not alone.


Supplements that really help the weepies are vitamin D. Try taking 4, 1000 mg's a day. You'll notice your mood is a bit better after about a week or two. <- this can also help you acne. I also really liked the bell stress relief capsules. I believe they have a depression capsule as well that may help. I find their supplements very beneficial, except their acne one didn't work for me. I also found cutting out caffeine and just having green tea helped as well.


Now for days when I couldn't just hide away in the safety of my home, I would take more time primping myself. I would do something more special to my hair, like curl or straighten. I'd also wear a lot more eye makeup, specifically colours that made my eye colour pop, so that people would be drawn more to my eyes rather than my skin. I'd also only wear nude lipsticks because I didn't want any attention drawn to my mouth as that was close to my problem areas. I would also spend more time on my outfit. I'd usually wear a lot more high waisted skirts, or dresses, and make it more visually appealing and different so that people would notice your outfit.


In order to really relax and turn your mind off get a massage. No one is going to see your acne because the lighting is so dim there anyways, and it's so worth it. I also suggest trying acupuncture. They can actually relieve your acne symptoms through accupuncture. You have to go about two-three times a week, but it really does help. But be careful when choosing an acupuncturist. I had a terrible experience with a chinese acupuncturist once. I guess they use thicker needles and are more aggressive when placing it in your skin. I found it to be incredibly painful and traumatizing. However japanese acupuncture uses very thin needles and the insertion is painless.

I hope these idea's may be beneficial to some of you out there. If you want more info on products and my acne journey check out my blog.

I wish you all the best of luck and remember you're all beautiful.


Keep Smilin

The Best Products

Hello beauties!

I just recently wrote an incredibly lengthy blog explaining my acne journey, in which I included some regimens and products that really worked for me. However I realize probably no one wants to read an essay about my life, so here's a shorter version of products that have really worked and didn't work for me.

Good cleansers:

Skin essence - pure: A cleanser made up of different healing oils made specifically for the face. This is the only cleanser that has really helped my skin and made it feel incredibly soft as it evens out your natural PH balance. I'm never going back. I found this product at Healthy Planet in Toronto.

Clean and Clear: it is a nice gentle cleanser that gets rid of oil and makeup residue. It's a good cheap cleanser if you aren't looking to spend much money. It doesn't heal your acne, but it doesn't make it worse. It leaves a nice cool, clean feeling.

Atmosphere tea tree wash: this is a gel cleanser that is nice for those who find tea tree oil beneficial for their acne. I always felt that tea tree helped my acne, so this cleanser was a good option for me. It was 8 dollars at shoppers drug mart.

Bioderm: It's a blue gel that came in a great bottle with a pump and smelt fantastic. It also worked well for healing.

Vichy: It's a green gel with small exfoliating beads. It really helped my skin and smelt wonderful.

Dermalogica daily exfoliant: This stuff truly rocks. You can use it every day, although I suggest only 3 times a week. If you have acne you really just want to soothe it. I've read plenty of time to exfoliate everyday because you need to get rid of the dead skin in order for your acne to heal, but I never found this to be true. I believe it makes it worse by irritating the hell out of it.

The body shop's vitamin C daily exfoliator: this stuff is amazing for scarring. It smells AH-mazing and really works. I absolutely love all the facial products at the body shop, especially the tea tree line. Give it a try!

100% Pure eucalyptus and seafoam cleanser: feels fabulous on the skin, it really hydrates and awakens your skin- if that makes any sense. It's 100% organic, and although I didn't find any improvement with my acne, it did help my oily skin, and I just loved washing my face because it was so invigorating.

Green Beaver makeup remover with soothing aloe: I absolutely love this stuff! It's 100% pure organic and is a company that makes products for those who have severe allergies to gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, etc. It's very gentle, soothing and gets rid of your left over makeup. I always use this for days I wear makeup after I've taken off most of it with equate facial cleansing towelettes, just so I'm certain it's all off. Even though my skin essence cleanser claims it takes off makeup, I wear a lot of heavy foundation in order to cover everything so I know I need more heavy duty cleaning.

Equate facial cleansing towelettes: These pre-moistened makeup removing cloths are only sold at wal-mart (as far as I know anyways) you get two packs of 60 for 10 dollars. I love these especially for removing eye makeup. These cloths are super gentle and don't break me out. Be careful you don't pick up the exfoliating cloths, I did this by accident once and it broke me and my mother out terribly. The exfoliating cloths come in a white with mint coloured packaging. The one you want is white and light blue. To be certain read the label so you know. Also do not just wash your face with only these, follow with an actual cleanser. I've tried a lot of makeup remover wipes and these are by far the best ones. They're gentle enough for acne prone skin and don't cause breakouts whatsoever.

For blackheads on your nose the clean and clear blackhead eraser actually works like a charm. Took about a week for it to clear up mine, but you have to use this stuff continuously or else they'll just come back.

Bad Cleansers:

Spectro gel: It always leaves a weird filmy feeling on my face, and it makes me feel like it's never clean. Plus I hate the chemically smell. Although I find this product great for my neck, back and chest. It stops the occasional pimple from popping up.

Cetaphil: my dermatologist always recommended this to me, but I could never figure out why. It doesn't heal your skin, and it doesn't feel very nice on either.

Derma-e tea tree and vitamin e: I picked this up on a whim thinking, OH tea tree and vitamin e! How lovely, two things that are supposed to be so healing for your face! SOLD! Last time I buy something without researching it first. I truly hated this product.

Yes to Tomatoes: This product does nothing for me, and it doesn't clean your face very well. I tried both the cleanser and the exfoliating cleanser. I preferred the exfoliating cleanser, but it's still not great.

dermelogica clay cleanser: this product felt nice on the skin, but I never noticed a difference. It also smelt kind of weird and chalky.

dermamed green tea cleanser: this product kind of dried out my skin. It's nice because it's 100% organic, but It never healed my acne so I give it a thumbs down. I've heard a lot of people love it though.

Kimberly Parry organic cleanser: I didn't really give this product a lot of time, so I shouldn't really be judging it. But I didn't like it only because it doesn't get rid of excess makeup and it kind of smelt like trees.


The best toner I've ever had in my entire life was something I picked up at an organic beauty salon in Collingwood. It was by kimberly parry. It smelt delicious and just made my skin glow. It healed my acne and prevented new ones from coming. Truly a miracle product. I just found she has a website it's The toner was called "repair." I'm going to collingwood again in a week, and I'm definitely picking this baby up. Can't wait!

for awhile I made my own toner which consisted of peppermint tea, mint leaves, witch hazel and lemon. You can find this recipe online anywhere, just google peppermint tea toner and it will come up. I really liked it, but it doesn't keep in your fridge for long, so I got a little lazy and stopped making it.

just plain ol' witch hazel works well for closing up your pores. It smells like shit though.

The body shop's tea tree toner is awesome. Helps heal/reduce look of acne and smells excellent.

Vichy is okay. I never found it healed my acne, but it felt nice and refreshing.


I love my skin essence - light oil moisturizer. It's specifically made for people with acne/oily skin. It smells amazing, makes my skin angel soft and gives it a super nice glow.

spectro gel is nice. I got the dry skin one and it felt nice on the skin, but never fully moisturized as much as I needed it too. I use heavy acne fighting creams at night so my skin really needs some moisture in the morning, and it seemed as thought my face would just eat it up too quickly. I'd have to reapply minutes later. For those who don't suffer from dry skin due to their acne products then give this one a go! It's about 15 dollars, which I thought was a little pricy, but much less expensive than my oil moisturizer for sure.

I actually bought an oil spray to help with my scarring back when I got my first round of cystic acne. It was from wal-mart and the brand was equate. It had vitamin e and a in it. On the bottle it specifically says it's meant for scarring, dry skin, sunburns, etc. It never broke me out but actually helped heal my acne, and scarring! It's amazing and super cheap! For those scared to try oils on their skin, don't be! Just make sure these oils are mean't for your skin. Don't go rubbing oils your mom uses for cooking. Your skin needs oil and it actually helps heal faster.

aloe vera works well, it's soothing and heals your acne, but I find doesn't moisturize as much as I need it too. But again if your skin isn't too dry this might be a good option for you. Just make sure it's 100% aloe. I believe wal-mart sells fruit of the earth 100% aloe for cheap, cheap, cheap!

MSM cream is my all time favourite product. I use the NWC that I picked up from the big carrot. It was 20 dollars, but well worth it. The cream itself has a lot of antioxidants like grape seed, grapefruit, aloe, tea tree, etc. It's amazing and 100% organic. It's really wonderful for pitted scarring and red marks, but also acne! Really rub it into a clean face 2 - 3 times a day. If your skeptical (like I was at first) just try rubbing it into a small area on your face and see if you get a breakout.

For my pitted scarring, along with MSM cream I use Loreal collagen filler. It smells awful but I think it helps along with the MSM cream. Be patient with these products though, and continue using them even when your skin starts to even out.

The body shop's tea tree blemish fighting night cream is an amazing product. I go through it so quickly though because it's such a small bottle! But it really gets rid of those red marks and definitely prevents new acne from forming. It's magical. They also have a lightweight oil control lotion for the day which is amazing as well. You really can't go wrong with their tea tree oil line.

I didn't like the vitamin C moisturizer from the body shop. I actually found it to feel too oily on my skin. My best friend who has been blessed with acne free skin swears by this cream though.

I love the avene moisturizer. I tried this cream about five years ago, so I'm not sure if they have changed the formula, but this cream was heavenly. It was so light weight and hydrating. They sell it at shoppers and you may be able to try some samples first.

The yes to tomatoes cream is actually quite nice. It's hydrating, smells good, and doesn't break me out.

Bioderm anti-redness cream I never liked, but i'm still holding on to it hoping one day I will.

The burt's bee's blemish clearing moisturizer didn't work for me.

I hate cetaphil moisturizer. I would only use this on a day where I'm outside needing sunscreen, only if i'm not wearing makeup. Otherwise my makeup has SPF and I don't need to be doubling my SPF, because I actually usually find products with SPF will cause breakouts.

If you're finding your skin is really irritated try the avene mineral spray. It's essentially just spraying some mineral infused water on your face, but it seriously soothes the shiiiii out of any irritation you may have. When I was going through a tough breakout, like really painful and sore cystic acne the nice lady at shoppers drug mart gave it to me for free and said "honey, if you ever feel like you just want to rip off your skin, spray this on it, it will help." I did, and she was right. I absolutely love this stuff. It's great for after you work out, or being in the sun, or washing your face, or before washing your face, or if your face is just stinging with pain from all these acne products. I love it.


I absolutely love the tea tree oil mask from the body shop (surprise, surprise) but I have tried a lot of masks and this is certainly a magical green pot of love. It stays on your skin moistened, it actually never dries, so it doesn't hurt your skin and you can leave it on for as long as you want and use it everyday. It reduces the inflammation and redness. Whenever I felt a big one coming on, I'd rub a little bit of this and poof, no pimple. Or if I already had a big one, i'd rub this on and leave it for a couple of hours and the size reduced significantly. Now If you can't say this stuff is magic then you be trippin' sista.

dermalogica clay mask is also quite nice and can be left on overnight on spots.

I never liked the mint juliep mask from sally's beauty salon only because it's super drying an irritated it skin. But my old roommate loves it. Her acne is only mild, but she said it would get rid of her spots quickly.

Neo Strata makes a great mask as well. If you mix it with their toner, your pimples will clear quickly. I did this on my back when I was in high school and had only acne on my back, it cleared it right up!

I just purchased the green tea mask from sally's. It smells amazing, but I'm not in love with it. It's okay for using it only for 10 minutes, but if it's left on for longer your skin dries out like a prune. I'm going to keep using it and test to see if it heals, but I really don't think it does anything. Plus it has perfume in it, which really isn't good to be putting on your skin, but also why it smells so great.

I really like making a plain greek yogurt mask with a probiotic pill emptied and mixed in. Only leave it on for 15-20 minutes and be sure to moisten your skin with a hot cloth before wiping it off. It really dries up fast. Your skin seriously glows afterwards though. Also be sure to wash your cloth right away or else it will emit a vulgar smell.

The acne mask from Kimberely Parry is also great! It's a small tub though and I went through it quite fast.

oatmeal, honey and baking soda masks never worked for me.

I did NOT like the skin essence green mask. It felt very oily on my skin. It was a huge let down because I'm so in love with their cleanser and moisturizer.

grinding up mint leaves in your blender/magic bullet IS THE BEST THING EVER. GO DO IT RIGHT NOW. seriously. Go buy mint leaves, wash the shit out of them, don't dry the leaves, pop it in your magic bullet until all the leaves are crushed up, place it on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes. Do this twice a day. You can leave your leaves in the fridge as long as they are sealed up tight. You'll notice your acne and scarring are reduced after two weeks. I did this for three weeks and it was the best thing I could have ever done topically.


I could never live without my rejuva-a which is basically the same thing as retisol, although I think I may like it more. AND my clindoxyl gel.

I also absolutely love my brocco fusion sulforaphase micro stylus ointment which I picked up at the big carrot for 13 dollars. It's quite expensive for something that is about the size of a chapstick, but it really works! if you feel a pimple coming on, rub this on and no pimple will form. Or if you have a big honker, rub this on and it was disappear after just two days. I am not making this stuff up. Mind you, you have to apply this stuff 2-6 times a day for it to work, but it's well worth it. It's also nice just to carry in your pocket for emergencies. I often get pop up zits around my mouth, so having this when i'm out with friends is awesome because they think i'm just applying chapstick!

I actually found hat the spectro gel BP gel worked. I believe it was 10%, might have been 5... but it went on nicely under my makeup and actually helped clear them after like a week! I found it much better than OXY BP.

I love neo strata products. You really can't go wrong with any of them.

I tried the bioderm clearing gel or whatver, and it did nothing.

dermalogica's overnight clearing gel works well too. It flakes your skin away, but reduces your pimple size.

tea tree oil - only if you're at home doing nothing, because you have to use this stuff at least three times a day and your skin looks like an oily mess after awhile. This stuff also doesn't work well under makeup, and smells awful. Atmosphere does carry a tea tree oil + witch hazel product that doesn't smell at all and works under makeup.

fucidin antibiotic cream works really well for popped pimples.

never use polysporin, even on popped pimples. I've tried it a couple of times, never works out.

I actually quite like the clean and clear popped pimple product. Also the spot treatment worked for me when I was in high school, but I hardly had any spots back then so I'm not sure how well it would work for me now,

The yes to tomatoes spot stick I actually really like. It's good for mild pimples.

I also recommend the burt's bee's spot treatment, but like tea tree oil you need to apply more than twice a day for it to take affect, and it's quite expensive for a very small bottle so unless you have very mild acne, this product might not be the best for you.

Whatever you do, do not use murad. Such a scam, did not work at alllll!!!

Also proactive never worked for me. It only just left my skin feeling awful and dry. However, I always did like their mask. I'd leave a dab on overnight. But I haven't tried the new formula yet, and they do have a two week guarantee or your money back, so it may be worth a try. They also now have a green tea mask, and green tea masks and creams are supposed to do marvellous things for acne. I've been researching the best creams but haven't been able to find any in toronto- mind you the extent of my searching was the big carrot, healthy planet, and sally's beauty supply.

I heard that tincture of Thyme was supposed to work better than BP, so I tried it, and it stung like a BEEEEEEE, but I never felt it did anything for my face. This was one I had a huge hormonal outbreak all around my chin and mouth area.

Don't use tactuo gel. It made my skin incredibly dry, which will actually make your acne worse. It also goes through a purging phase, but this purging phase apparently lasts for about 1-2 months. I couldn't keep up with it, simply because my skin was way too dry.

I never liked anything by biore except for the blackhead strips.

Putting ice on my breakouts never worked.

The salt water trick DOES work short term, but it's also irritating. I would only do this in an emergency situation. If you don't know what I'm talking about, google salt water for acne. Basically you soak a cotton ball in salt water and hold it on your spots for three minutes and then press down on the skin around your pimple, with two salt water soaked cotton balls, almost as if you are about to pop it.

I also heard washing with salt water helps. I believe it. Every time I go swimming in salt water my skin gets much better.

My parents also just bought the baby quaser lights, one red and one blue. The red one is used mostly for wrinkles, but it also helps reducing redness and helping scars. The blue light gets rid of the acne bacteria. They're both very gentle and easy to use, but very expensive. I think together they were about 700 dollars. I've been using the red light for about two weeks and I've noticed a reduction in redness from my scars. It hasn't helped the pitted areas but I think that may take more than two weeks. I just got the blue one this week and have only used it twice so I can't so much of that so far, except that I actually did notice the couple of pimples I have now reduce in size drastically. So it definitely helps heal.

My regime:

Morning- Wash face with skin essence- pure cleanser. Use red light baby quaser, rinse face with cold water, then apply skin essence- light moisturizer, wait a bit for that to absorb then apply msm cream, or loreal collagen filler (i change it up sometimes) only on areas that are pitted, and rub my micro stylus ointment miracle treatment on spots.

* before I had the baby quaser light I would put on crushed peppermint leaves after cleansing for a half hour. This really made a huge difference.

Evening- Take off makeup with equate facial towelettes, use the green beaver makeup remover for access makeup, then cleanser face with skin essence- pure. Work in rejuva-a cream, then apply the miracle, micro stylus ointment on spots, then follow with clindoxyl gel over the ointment. I find these three products really work well together.



For primers I really like the tea tree primer from The body Shop, It's the only primer that has never broke me out. I've tried smashbox photo finish foundation primer, as well as the smashbox targeted pore and line primer. I prefer the targeted pore one, it does fill in my pitted scars mildly. The foundation primer actually works best for eyes, I find it's very greasy on the skin, and I will only wear this if I'm going to an event or somewhere that I'll need my makeup to be flawless all night.

I also like the e.l.f makeup setting spray. It has all natural, soothing ingredients, and helps keep your makeup in place all night! Again I only use this for events.


For foundations the best coverage I have ever gotten was from Bare Minerals powder. I've tried the matte and the original, I prefer the original because it looks more natural. It was light enough for my fair skin and hides redness like a mofucka. The only thing is that It's very drying, so if you have dry skin this might not be the best for you, which is a shame, perhaps a really good moisturizer before this is applied would help. I used this when I had a really bad cystic acne breakout because it actually helps heal your acne. Although it did accentuate some dryness I had from all the products I was using I didn't give a FFFUUUUK, because It hid the redness. Now for those who are dealing with pitted scars powder isn't the best because it actually accentuates these problem areas. So a liquid foundation is best for this.


Last year when I first had a terrible acne breakout on my cheeks I used Makeup Forever HD. It really concealed, but I would use the bare minerals powder on top for better coverage. This combo was fabulous. I believe it was 55, or closer to 60 dollars at sephora. But it comes in a nice pump bottle and it lasts maybe about 5-6 months.

Right now I'm using Lancome Idole Teint, and I'm obsessed. It actually has amazing coverage, gives an overall natural flawless look, is light enough for my skin tone, and no break outs! It's 50 dollars, but if you buy it at the bay you get a nice little gift with it.

I sampled tarte clay foundation from sephora and it actually felt great, and covered amazingly. It was a bit thick for my liking, and was definitely too dark for my skin tone, but it might be worth a try.

I absolutely despise cover fx liquid stuff. I can't say anything about the powder because I haven't used it. And although this stuff covers very well it feels horrible on my skin. Very greasy and comes off easily.

For a year or so I was using Chantecaille foundation that I ordered from holt renfrew. It was quite expensive but an overall amazing foundation. It didn't offer a great coverage, but you could double it up with bare minerals or a concealer. I loved this foundation because it was extremely light weight and gave my skin a healthy glow. It also is made of products that are healing for damaged skin. You could probably sample this first if you don't want to spend a lot of cash.

I also sampled NARS makeup and I absolutely hated it. Although it ended up giving a nice-ish porcelain finish it didn't blend well on my skin at all. I did apply it with a sponge, and i'm going to try it again with my new foundation brush, but this stuff just seemed to sit on my face, and if you were to accidentally touch your face it would come right off. I tried the matte finish, but perhaps the original might be better.


For a cheaper foundation go with Almay clear complexion. It's doesn't feel too heavy on the skin, you can layer it for better coverage (just make sure you wait for the first layer to dry before applying the second one). This stuff actually has 2% salicylic acid in it, but also a lot of other crap that probably isn't so good for your skin, but it doesn't cause break outs and looks natural!

I've been using the Almay clear complexion concealer stick for years, it's the best. Put this on top of your liquid foundation and it's just fantastic. It also has 2% salicylic acid in it.

I used the revlon colourstay and it just felt awful on my skin. It smelt bad, and felt very irritating. It also made me breakout.


The best BB cream is by far Vichy. It feels nice on the skin, and gives the best coverage. It doesn't last too long on the skin though, it starts to blotch a bit after 6 or 7 hours so you will have to blend it in again with clean hands or sponge. I've heard good things about marcelle, but their bb creams are too dark for my light complexion. I have used marcelle tinted moisturizer (only in summer months when I'm tanned) and it's a really nice product, not the best coverage though. Overall I think BB creams are over rated, and possibly only good for those who don't have cystic acne problems.

I sometimes use organics tinted moisturizer underneath bare minerals powder just to give some hydration to the skin and it's really great. This product would be good on it's own if you didn't need a lot of coverage.

Mineral Veil by bare minerals works great for finishing the look and setting your makeup.


I found the worst side effect of taking antibiotics and/or topicals is that my lips would get so dry. I've tried a lot of intense chapstick but it wasn't until recently where I found vaseline lip therapy with cocoa butter to be the best! My lips stay hydrated for hours! I use a lip sugar scrub from lush, but e.l.f makes a good one too. This is a must for those experiencing flaky lip syndrome. Follow with vaseline and you're good to go! I also found rubbing pure vitamin e oil worked well, especially on the sides of my mouth that would often get cut, or bleed.

chapstick that didn't work for me - eos (although I still love the mint flavoured one once in awhile), burts bees, bath and body works mint chapstick actually accentuated the chapped mess, but their glosses work great! Polysporin didn't work, I also tried the intense polysporin night lip therapy, nadda. Chapstick brand actually works nicely, my favourite is the all natural kind.

For those who like a lil gloss but can't stand the sticky icky feeling and the chappy flakes that occur, I wouldn't recommend anything by mac. They're stuff is great but not if you have chapped lips. My personal favourite is lancome, I believe it's the brand new one that just came out, I have the colour peach show and it gives a beautiful colour with so much moisture. I also really like the bath and body works lip glosses, specifically the mint ones.


The best application for liquid foundation is using a foundation brush. This is a specific brush that you can buy at winners for like 8 dollars. You can buy this kind of brush virtually anywhere, but the cheapest and best quality brushes are at winners. I like using a brush because a little goes a long way. It also blends in better than a sponge. Clean your brush every with a brush cleaner from quo.

Sponges are good if you use a new one everyday.

Kabuki brushes and a concealer or even an eyeshadow brush works well for mineral makeup. Again you should wash these everyday if you're having a bad breakout. If your acne isn't too bad then every 2-3 days wash them.

The best brush cleaner is quo, it's 6 dollars at shoppers, and lasts a very long time. Spray a little on the brush and work it in until it suds up then rinse with warm water, and let try on a towel in the shape you want.

*If you're in a hurry a good way to quickly clean your brushes is to spray the cleaner on your brush and then wipe off with a moist facial towelette.

Quick tips:

Change your pillowcase everyday.

If you are using oils or creams in your hair put your hair in a messy bun at night so it's out of your face.

If you are really unsure about what makeup will work on your skin the ladies at sephora are great for giving you samples to try. As long as you seek out the nice ones! wink.png

Keep Smilin

Hello my fellow acne sufferers!

I hope this blog may help someone out there!

Brief acne history:

Four years ago I went on tetracycline for acne, although my acne was really quite mild back then, but it was my first year of college and since I always had flawless porcelain skin in high school, it was a big deal for me. My dermatologist had me on one pill a day for a little over 6 months, with retisol-A and clindoxyl gel. It worked great, my skin was better than ever! After about 3 months of being off the antibiotic I started noticing little white bumps had formed on my face, I knew this wasn't good.... However my derm didn't seem too miffed.

3 months later I suspiciously develop a liver virus, doctors couldn't figure out the cause. Nothing came up in any tests other than the fact that my liver enzymes were about 15-20x higher than what they normally should. I had severe abdominal pain, arthritic symptoms, couldn't eat, lost 50 pounds in ONE MONTH. My parents had to take shifts on staying home with me, because I was a vegetable, I even needed help drinking water. I was in so much pain that I was constantly in and out of hospital on morphine drip, and oxy-cotton. (please don't ever take oxy-cotton) At one point the doctor actually prescribed me too much oxy causing me to overdose, I was convulsing and although I very well could have just been incredibly high, I honestly thought It was the end for me. I said to my mother, "Is this what it feels like to die?" Needless to say, she phoned an ambulance right away. I didn't die, so I was probably high.

Of course my acne started coming back, about the same as it was before I started tetra, pretty mild (but a big deal for me). I was so concerned, but I figured it's just flaring up because I'm sick.

Although never proven, I'm convinced this all happened because of antibiotic abuse for so long without the help of probiotics. It was also my first year of college, so of course drinking was happening quite often, along with some marijuana intake. Stupid adolescent mistake, but I was never warned the effects of antibiotics on the liver, and I trusted my derm because he's a doctor, so why would I research it!?

Fed up with the western doctors not being able to figure out what the hell was wrong with me, and sticking needles in my arm twice a day (seriously, I looked like a heroin addict from all the bruising, and skinny-ness) I decided I should give chinese medicine a go. I met with a chinese doctor and he felt my pulse, looked at my tongue and was able to tell me all my symptoms before I told him anything. I was impressed to say the least, and decided to go with his approach. I drank awful tasting teas twice a day for 6 months. This was not only supposed to help my current health issue, but cure my PMS related issues (horrible cramping), which I had been dealing with for years. I didn't experience any pain while on the teas, I thought it was a miracle. Eventually my skin started clearing and it actually looked quite nice without makeup. I started gaining my weight back and was feeling good! Then the herbalist changed the remedy around 4 months in and instantly my skin inflamed, the worst it had ever been. Big red cystic acne covered my cheeks. It was so painful and really took a tole on my self confidence. I actually ended up breaking up with my boyfriend at the time, we hadn't been dating long, but I was so ashamed of my skin I just couldn't be close to anyone.

I kept on the teas because I didn't expect this to be the acne corporate, until about two months later the herbalist confessed this is how they know the formula is working, because all the toxins from inside the body are being released into the skin. I was absolutely mortified. If I had known this all along there's no way I would have continued with it. Immediately I stopped the teas and my skin cleared up completely after one month. I was left with horrible scarring, (red marks and some pitting) but tea tree oil was helping the red marks, and best of all my confidence was beginning to climb. After about two months of acne free face, I skipped a period, came down with bronchitis, and my acne RAGGED. I had small, but very red pustules cover my face, but mostly around my mouth, chin and lower jaw area. So I thought, obviously this is a hormonal problem and probably had to do with the teas, my hormones were probably all like "WTF were you feeding me for the past 6 months? I'm changing back bitch!"

School was starting in a couple of weeks and I couldn't go back knowing how awful I looked, so my family doctor prescribed me 150 mg of minocyline a day. This time I was smart about it and took plenty of probiotics! My skin cleared completely in about two months, but now my scars were on top of old scars so I started researching more on what could help, and found MSM cream to be quite beneficial. It actually resurfaced my pitting, and faded red marks. I applied it twice a day(sometimes more) to affected areas and found results almost immediately. It took probably about three weeks for my skin to look completely smooth again.

After being on mino for three months my doctor advised me to stop, given my liver history, so I slowly weened myself off it. 2 months later my skin started getting bad again, it just kept getting worse and worse. I decided to cut out dairy, I didn't notice a difference, so I started with supplements, 30 mg of zinc everyday, and 10,000 IU of vit. A a day, along with probiotics and garlic. Still my skin was the worst it's ever been. HUGE cystic acne COVERED my face, except my forehead. It was really bad around my mouth and jawline, but also found its way on my upper neck and cheeks. It hurt to sleep on, touch, and most of all to look at. There were many instances where I would look at myself and just break down and cry. I took down all the mirrors I could, and hardly left my house. I felt so defeated by everything. I honestly felt like I had tried every topical remedy at that point. I'm allergic to BC pill, and my liver couldn't handle accutane, so what else was there for me?

I had a very important school event coming up and my goal was to have clear skin by that point, so I went all out. I started mino again at 150 mg a day, but eventually upped it to 200 mg as it wasn't showing improvement, and I started using TACTUO gel which seemed to be a miracle gel from all it's reviews. Well let me tell you, it's not a miracle gel, it's a devil gel. It made my skin so dry and red, plus caused much more inflammation. Everyone said oh it's just purging, this is what it does but then you'll have clear skin, you just have to be patient! Well I had no time to be patient! My doctor also didn't like the fact that my skin was scaling off like a lizard, so he suggested I stop and go back to retisol, which I hadn't used in over a year. So I ended up trying rejuva-A, which is essentially the same thing. And let me tell ya, I LOVE THIS STUFF. It's 50 dollars, but comes with a 30 SPF sunscreen, which is great because I find most sunscreens, even if it's for the face, or in makeup will break me out. I also use clindoxyl gel on top of it for spot treatment. Regardless, my skin didn't clear in time for the event, but luckily the place had dim lighting.

Since my body just hates everything foreign, it eventually started rejecting the mino, and started giving me awful chest pressure and abdominal pains. My doctor took me off it right away and I felt better instantly, but he still had me do a bajillion tests in order to make sure I wasn't dying again. The medical practitioner said to me, "Why are you getting all these tests done? You're too young!" It was true, I was going to all these great lengths to cure my acne, because this is what was taking over my life. It's all I ever thought about, and I spent my days endlessly researching for the next best cure! I was willing to jeopardize my youth and health to rid my face of this invasive bacteria. But I knew I would never fully love myself until I felt beautiful again, and that wasn't going to happen until I was clear.

So what did I do next?

I cleaned up my act:

I saw a naturapathic doctor who had me go on a liver detox diet. This worked by cutting out everything delicious tongue.png, JK it wasn't that bad. But it was an adjustment. I started with new supplements and a diet plan. I was to have no cow's dairy (which wasn't a big deal, because I was already off it), no gluten, only poultry, no citrus fruit, no sugar (including honey, and agave nectar). I had to up my intake of protein and fats. This involved having a protein at every meal and snack time. So my daily food intake would go something like this:'

breakfast - protein shake with coconut/almond milk, berries, tsp of almond butter

sometimes I'd throw in some matcha green tea, chia seeds, ice cubes, or some greens like spinach, avocado or kale.

If you have a magic bullet, this is the easiest breakfast of all time, and it's really quite filling. If I got sick of the smoothies I'd go for two hard boiled eggs.

lunch: chicken or turkey with a salad (olive oil and balsamic vin. dressing), or sometimes homemade soup (low sodium)

snack: a handful of nuts and a fruit (usually an apple)

dinner: chicken or turkey, veggie stirfry (using coconut oil on the skillet) and a salad.

dessert: fruit with rice whip(whipped cream substitute, 0g of sugar) <-- it's amazing

ALL ORGANIC (this is important!)

I was allowed to start introducing gluten free grains in the second week, but decided not too. About three weeks later I started eating rice (brown rice is better for you, white rice is better for digestion) and some potatoes. I found grains were upsetting my stomach a bit, I'd feel bloaty and would have minor pain, which is why I still don't eat much. I'm finding I'm okay with corn pasta (although you shouldn't be eating corn AT ALL, while on the detox) brown rice pasta is okay, but can sometimes upset my stomach, I'm still experimenting with it.

For supplements:

I'd start off my morning with 1 probiotic on an empty stomach and a hormonal detox packet, provided by my doctor which included milk thistle, magnesium, calcium, green tea, tumeric, b12, a bunch of vitamins and minerals and I believe there was a fishy pill in there.

with breakfast: two carlson's cod liver oil with vitamin D, and two extra vitamin D (in winter months only)

with lunch: i'd take 2 allimax garlic supplements (which I decided to use on my own, not my doctor)

with dinner: two more cod liver and 30 mg of zinc

with dessert: two more garlic pills and magnesium glycinate (which I eventually stopped taking because it gave me a weird reaction, flu like symptoms)

It may not sound simple, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not hard! There are so many places in Toronto that offer gluten and dairy free products with low sugars, the big carrot is the best, there's a bakery on queen st. which is apparently amazing, but i've yet to go, bulk barn, loblaws and longo's grocery stores have an amazing selection.

good finds:

daiya dairy free cheese ( high sodium though )

nature's path gluten free toaster waffles

rice whip

coconut milk yogurt IS THE BEST (make sure you get the kind with 0 sugar)

Oh wait, did I mention it's not even been a month and my skin has cleared?! YUP! It's a miracle! I'm not sure exactly what it is that helped, but I'm not about to change anything to try and see. I'm supposed to start reintroducing foods again to test and see what i'm sensitive to, but I think I'm going to enjoy being acne free for awhile.

What I think really helped was:

1) drinking more water than seems humanly possible

2) lots of green tea

3) cutting out coffee (but having occasional decaf organic is okay once in awhile) <-- with coconut french vanilla is AMAZING.

4) drastically increasing my fish oil supplements.

5) cutting out gluten. there are so many delicious gluten free recipes online and already made products in stores, why eat gluten if you're suffering? eventually you can start eating it again, but just give it a go for now.

6) lowering sugar intake. This I think probably helped the most as insulin has a lot to do with hormonal imbalances. white sugar also feeds bad bacteria. It's not worth it. You can instead use natural sweeteners like stevia or xlytol. stevia has a bit of a weird after taste, the french vanilla flavoured is by far the best, but I have yet to try xlytol. I just purchased coconut nectar which tastes awful on it's own, but it's nice in teas and coffee. I'm also wondering if coconut sugar would be okay (i'm thinking not, but I shall investigate) Also when cutting down on sugar look at labels, sometimes the most random item will have a shit ton of sugar, like ketchup, or fruit juice (including popsicles).

7) 2 cups of peppermint tea a night

I know, so you're sitting there being like well wtf can I eat?! Well it's actually simple, just limited; only poultry, goat cheese (tbs. a day) <-- you get used to the taste after awhile, but I will never like goats milk, or goat yogurt. lots of veges!! 3-4 cups of green tea a day, a glass of water every two hours, an apple a day, more protein and fats, and fruit! My diet suggested only a cup of berries a day, however I definitely eat maybe 4-5 servings of fruit a day. I love fruit, and if I can't eat sugar, then I'm going to eat my fruit. You should also add in anti-imflammatory spices into your meals like cinnamon and tumeric. I sometimes back an apple for dessert and add some cinnamon and a dash of stevia, it's delicious. This diet is quiet similar to that of a vegan, so this may help you navigate restaurants, or recipes.

Now on to topicals I've been using that have helped me lately, and I'll share ones I've used that didn't work for me.

By far the best cleanser I've ever used, and will never go back is the Skin Essence - Pure cleanser. It's made up of a variety of special oils that evens out the PH balance of your skin, and gives a beautiful glow.

I've used clean and clear cream cleanser for years, and have always liked the feel of it. I don't think it did anything for my skin, but it certainly didn't make it worse. It was nice and gentle.

I didn't mind atmosphere tea tree oil wash. Its more like a gel, but it didn't make my skin worse, and I always found tea tree to be quite heeling for acne.

dermalogica daily exfoliant is awesome. try it. but I wouldn't suggest using it every day.

green beaver soothing aloe makeup remover is the best for getting off that extra bit of makeup before cleansing. I also use a makeup remover wipe by equate (not the exfoliator kind, which break me out) they're quite cheap at wal mart and are very soothing and remove makeup like a mofucka.

cleansers I hate:

murad - i got the kit, it sucked, waste of money

yes to tomatoes- maybe it's 99% organic, but it's also 99% shitty

derma e- tea tree and vitamin e cleanser. WORST EVER.

spectro gel left an awful feeling on my skin

cetaphil is poop

face masks I love: body shop tea tree oil mask. It doesn't dry on the skin and makes it feel so silky smooth. It also helps heel blemishes quickly and reduces redness. I also really just love all the tea tree oil products from the body shop, especially the night cream.

I heard great things about the mint julep mask from sally's beauty supply store, but it never helped me, just dried out my skin.


spectro gel is okay, it doesn't make my skin worse, but I never found it really helped either, maybe more so for just certain spots.

I use the skin essence light oil moisturizer and it's amazing, smells so good and feels like a dream on the skin.

cetaphil i never liked because it has sunscreen in it and i find basically anything with SPF will break me out. plus why would i need a sunscreen if i'm inside all day?

msm cream - i use NWC which i got from the big carrot. It was 20 dollars, but well worth it. Makes my skin smooth and helps with scarring.

I heard green tea cream is amazing, but I have yet to try

spot treamtent:

clindoxyl gel

rejuva a or retisol

tea tree oil (if used more than three times a day)

a special stick I got that looks like a chapstick, and is actually meant for bug bites or other skin irritations but heals acne rather quickly - brocco fusion sulforaphane - micro stylus ointment. It's about 13 dollars, which is a bit pricey for the tiny lil thing, but it seriously heals very quickly, and is nice to carry in your pocket in case one pops up out of the blue while you're out!

fucidin helps pimples that pop, without you doing so I hope! It's an antibiotic cream and will heal with very little scabbing.

at home remedies:

grinding up fresh mint leaves in your blender, or magic bullet and leaving it on your face for 30 mins twice a day for two - three weeks. Helps reduce redness and inflammation, and also soothes like no other. You can leave it in the fridge for 3-4 days. It's my favourite.

honey masks are okay, but I never found they did much and they are too messy.

I love greek yogurt with a probiotic tablet mixed in. Made my skin glow, but don't leave it on too long, or your skin will seriously dry out.

baking soda masks are too drying for me, and they are also messy.

I hear tumeric and honey makes a good mask, but I would suggest ingesting tumeric rather than putting it on your face or you will be stained with an awful orange glow.

Aloe vera is always good but make sure it's 100% aloe, or just get the plant.

making your own lemon, peppermint tea, and witch hazel toner helped me too.

Now for people who experience incredibly dry lips while using all these products I found the best thing to do is exfoliate with lush's mint julips and then follow with the tiny vaseline mini with cocoa butter. If the sides of your mouth feel cut like mine did I would put vitamin e oil on them, and that helped a lot.

I hope this helped someone out there. I think I more so just needed to write this all down and get it out of my head, or system or whatever.

I hope you give the diet a try if you are really suffering and feel like there is no hope for you. There are so many online recipes that can help you through the process, I promise it will make you feel and look good!

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