Hey beautiful friends! A few months ago I shared the above photo of my skin transformation and was overwhelmed by the kind words and amount of questions that I was getting about what I did to clear my skin. Acne has been a constant struggle for over half of my life. I started getting deep cystic acne when I was 12 years old, and my skin issues continued through college and into my adult life. If you are currently struggling or have struggled with acne at any point in your life, I see you. I know the emotional toll that acne can take on your confidence. I have tried every possible remedy, from prescription to drugstore, and I have known the pain of feeling like nothing will help for over a decade of my life.
However, one thing that I want to emphasize, above all else, is that ACNE IS NORMAL. Nobody’s skin is perfect. Skin with bumps, visible pores, and texture is normal. Preaching to myself here, but we’re always going to be able to find something “wrong” with our skin. Whether it’s a blemish around that-time-of-the-month or a newfound wrinkle, we need to learn to embrace imperfection and be confident in our beauty regardless of how our skin might fluctuate on a daily basis. I’ve found a routine that made an incredible difference for my skin, but the reality is I still have the occasional breakout, and that’s just the reality of being a human and particularly a woman with fluctuating hormones!
Following are the steps I took to bring clarity to my skin and some current products I’ve been using and loving. While these products and practices worked for me, everyone’s skin is unique and reacts differently to products. I am not a certified aesthetician or skincare professional.
When it comes to real, lasting results, consistency and patience are key. I stuck with the following lifestyle changes and products for months before I started seeing results. You can’t expect instant change, and you have to give your skin time to heal.
I know y’all, this one hurts. In January 2019, six months out from my wedding, I decided I would do everything I could to clear my skin before the big day. A friend who is a dietician encouraged me to give this a try, so I figured, what better time than before the wedding? You guys. About 2 months after I cut dairy, most of my large pimples had cleared. I was very strict with this for about a full year. Currently, I’ll cheat here and there, but have switched to non-dairy alternatives in most areas of my life, like oat milk in my coffee or oat milk ice cream. Once you make the decision that you’re going to cut out dairy from your diet, it really isn’t as difficult as it sounds. For me, finally achieving clearer skin was worth the sacrifice. Again, this is what has worked for me. If you have a history of eating disorders or struggle with obsessive thoughts when it comes to any sort of restrictive diet, please be cautious in trying any sort of diet-related remedy.
I now only use Tide Free or a fragrance-free detergent to wash my clothes and bedsheets. While I’m not sure how much this contributed in helping clear my skin, it was an easy swap to make and rules out the potential factor that my skin reacts to any harsh chemical fragrance on my clothes or pillowcase.
By the time of my wedding in July 2019, my skin was mostly clear of any large blemishes and I was really happy with where I was at for the big day. However, in the months following, I was still really struggling with a lot of texture and congestion underneath my skin. While the big blemishes had gone away, I had white heads and small bumps mostly on my cheekbones and around my mouth that still made me self-conscious and were really visible, especially when I wore makeup. I had found a Green Bay aesthetician (S/O to Hope Della, check her out if you’re in the GB area) on Instagram who specialized in acne and figured I’d give her a go. At this point, I had tried every possible product under the sun, so I was skeptical going into the program, but so glad I gave it a try!
Hope is certified with a product line called Face Reality. The program consisted of following a strict product routine and going in for a bi-weekly light chemical peel. While I no longer go in for treatments, I continue to use the Face Reality products and my skin has, for the most part, continued to stay clear. Here are the products that I stuck to faithfully and cleared the congestion under my skin:
This is a very specific routine focused on clearing your skin. It can be harsh, so it’s important to work with someone who is certified with the products and can help you ease into using them. Again, it’s all about consistency. I was using these products every morning and night for probably 2-3 months before I really started to see a difference.
Because I’ve done so much research in my lifetime, I’m a skincare junkie. There are a few products that I think everyone should be using for the overall health of your skin, even if you’ve got clear skin already.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin for your skin. It promotes collagen production and helps your skin stay firm and youthful. Vitamin C helps to brighten and reduce hyperpigmentation in the skin. I’ve loved the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and am trying out The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension right now because it’s super affordable and I’ve been a huge fan of some The Ordinary products lately (keep reading for those!).
Retinol is a super powerful skincare product that reduces the signs of aging by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin texture. Retinol encourages cell turnover to keep your skin looking young and fresh. I’ve enjoyed the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream in the past and am currently giving The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalene a try. Retinol leaves your skin more sensitive to harmful UV rays, so it’s essential that you use SPF as well. Speaking of…
EVERYONE SHOULD BE WEARING SPF. If there’s one product that you add to your routine from this post, please let it be SPF. The sun is not our friend when it comes to skincare. You better believe I lather up with SPF every morning to protect myself from skin damage that can lead to sun spots, wrinkles, and uh yeah, skin cancer. I used the Face Reality SPF I mentioned earlier, and am now using Neutrogena Age Shield Face SPF 110 because ya girl ain’t messin’ around.
I picked up some popular The Ordinary products a few weeks ago because they are all the rage and SO affordable. Like crazy affordable. My skin was feeling a bit dull and dry (yet still oily, why?) and I was hoping they would bring some life back into my skin. I’ve been really loving them and wanted to share if you’re looking for some really great products on a budget. The Ordinary products can be a bit confusing, so it’s important to really understand the products you’re using to not damage your skin with strong ingredients. Below are those products I’ve been using along with a couple others that are amazing and I’ve been loving for a while!
There you have it! The steps I took to clear my skin and some products I’m currently loving. I hope this was helpful and provided some insight into some things that might be helpful for your skin. Just remember that while we strive for clear, healthy skin, you are BEAUTIFUL just the way you are.